Chapter 10: Well, Enough Magical Powder and You’ll See Lobster Pinocchio, too—Lagunasia and Hamanako Pal Pal
I really thought that it couldn’t get much trippier than Parque Espana. I mean, how much more psychedelic can it get than the Shining Luminous Castle Sparkling Carnival Ride and Musical Circus? I’ll be damned if both Lagunasia and Hamanako Pal Pal didn’t give it their best shot.
The best way to sum up Lagunasia is “mini-DisneySea,” thanks to its Mediterranean architecture and mostly nautical themeing. This was, outside of Parque Espana, the most elaborately themed of the non-Disney, non-Universal parks we visited. Lagunasia’s coasters were hardly among the biggest of the tour, but one of them was among the best.
Aqua Wind—This strange little coaster combined the hairpin turns of a wild mouse with some airtime and twistyness. It’s a great ride that zips around both in- and outdoors, with plenty of surprises—one of my favorite coasters in Japan.
Pirates Blast—This dark-ride/coaster hybrid is a bit on the rough side (a kneebanger, thanks to it’s cramped cars). But it’s themeing is nice and piratical--fun stuff.
Stellar Coaster—Why a kiddie coaster with whale trains has the name “Stellar” is beyond me, but the ride was OK for what it was.
Lagunasia had the best shooting dark ride of the trip next to Buzz Lightyear at Tokyo Disneyland—Fire Fire! This ride actually gives you a grade at the end. If you’re good, your car faces a cheering crowd; if you’re bad (as I was—twice), you’re jeered and laughed at by monsters (a nice touch). There was, unfortunately, a lame simulator ride (something about space bumper cars) in the same building. Legend of Labyrinth was one soaker of a flume ride—lots of fun.
But everybody on this site needs to check out the Magical Powders ride—a Disney dark ride as designed by Timothy Leary and Cheech and Chong. You tour a factory where elves make “magical powders” that can make people fatter, thinner, etc., and as near as I can tell, some crazed star-shaped stoner is the “villain” of the piece. It’s all in Japanese and makes no sense at all—you just have to see it for yourselves (like Espana’s Musical Circus).
Hamanako Pal Pal is basically an arcade surrounded by a little amusement park. In fact, like an arcade, the park is just full of random, wacky stuff, including four coasters.
Mega Coaster—This looks like your standard Togo Migraine Machine, with it’s bizarre inversions and strange, eccentric transitions. But, oddly enough, it’s OK—not all that rough.
Batflyer—This was the first time I’ve ridden one of these mini-suspended coasters. Kind of fun, but the little cars, which you have to be some sort of yoga master to mount, are very cramped.
Mini Coaster—A wild mouse with “antique cars”. OK, but nothing special.
Jungle Mouse—This rusty, rickety-looking steel wild mouse was actually kind of scary. You really wondered if it was going to hold together (nice views, though).
Togo struck again with an insane, paratrooper-like ride with seats that can spin around 360 degrees! Lots of fun (and this from a guy who doesn’t care for spinners). But, for my money, the coolest ride at Pal Pal was (for lack of a better title), the Legend of Lobster Pinocchio. This dark ride apparently came from the same folks who gave us Lagunasia’s Magical Powders ride—another whacked out excursion into cutesy psychedelica.
There was an OK log ride (with a musical fanfare that sounded like a Japanese copy of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” music), and a shooting dark ride.
All in all, a nice way to end our stay in Nagoya.
Up next—real DisneySea
The Japanese are very nice and well mannered--unless they really need to catch a train!
Oh yeah? Well, people shouldn't wear expensive coats if they don't want 'em burned.
Well, after fighting our way out of the train station, burning our overcoats, finding the bus, and watching Tom nearly kill himself in the parking lot, we made it to Lagunasia--an excellent little park.
The place was full of big birds . . .
. . . and hungry cats. (Angus McNasty would approve.)
OK, now where is this "Aqua Wind," wet-fart ride?
Ah ha! This be it, sez I!
Yes, we are breaking . . .
. . . like the wind!
As I recall, that Ferris wheel isn't part of the park.
Ahoy! Swabs to port, skeletonized fish to starboard, if ye please!
Aye, we're such tough pyrates, that we tattoos the concrete!
Arghh! Ye be listing to port, lubber!
Hey, Barry wasn't with me when I boarded! My god, he's developed teleporting powers!
Aye, did ye have a nice swim in the Legend of Labyrinth, mate?
I can't believe that somebody took a picture of me on the kiddie coaster!
Aw, what the hell! Whe-e-e-e! More to come from Lagunasia, then Pal Pal.
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