UK theme parks from another point of view!

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Nemesista
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Universal Studios Japan

Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:21 pm

You may remember some time ago I posted asking about the various theme parks/attractions in Japan; well, months later, here I am!

OK, OK, its 5.16am and I can't sleep so I'm online, must be something to do with the jetlag. Anywhoo, I'm going to Universal Studios in several hours! Whey!

I'll get back to you on how it goes, hopefully it will rain so there will be fewer guests (its raining atm, chuckle).

Anyone else been? Or on the same attractions at a different park?
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Nemesista
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Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:01 am

OK, I've been!

I'm thinking I may need a little input from someone who has been to Universal Studios in Hollywood or Orlando somewhat, as I am lead to believe that they are all very similar.

First off, the journey alone was exciting as they had their own trains. Some decorated entirely in spiderman (more on that later), some in sesame street, and so on. Unfortunately I was with my sister who strongly opposes such things and theme parks, so I had to enjoy things on an insular scale.

Theming
The theming is absolutely fantastic. The giant Universal globe is so magnificent as you come out of Universal City and the music from the different attractions starts playing from here on; jurassic park, jaws, et, even some snippets from neverending story, and tv shows like pinky and the brain.

What struck me was just how convincingly american everything was. I would imagine the japenese would struggle, as few speak english yet it was everywhere through New York, San Fransisco and Los Angeles. These three sections sort of merged into one another which was a little confusing for me, obviously as I'm not american. :) I spent a lot of time just looking in the fake shop windows, appreciating all the little details everyone barged past.

Attractions

Spider-man
Without doubt, this is my most favourite attraction, and apparently its not at the other universal studios yet. The favourtism may be spawned from the fact I have a long standing obsession with spiderman, so an entire shop and ride dedicated to him literally made me squeal. I went on this twice, queue times 0mins-10mins (amazing considering on an online review it was reported to typically have 2.30min waits) The queue line was immense, a work out in itself, but really fun as it was set around the Daily Bugle office, lots of posters, desks, red rooms etc.

The actual ride= wheyeheyey! It was a kind of a track simulation/4D show. You wear some 3d specs and sit in a 3x3 carriage. You get quite quicky pulled into the streets on Manhatten, where you first off get an exciting glimpse of a shadow of spiderman. When he actually arrives he lands on the front of your carriage (with a HUGE bump) and talks to you in 3d.Obviously I have no clue what he said. The rest of the ride is sort of a face of between him and various villains including Doc Oc and Green Goblin. You get sprayed with water, heated with flames (a pumpkin bomb comes right up to your face) and the carriage shakes and wobbles according to what is happening. The ace bits come when you get to do some webslinging with spidey as the simulation is really satifying, with moving walls, hex-style and proper stomach churning drops.
Overall it was just a damn fun ride. Occaisonally the 3d effects seemed a little blurry, though that may have been the speed we were going. I may have even enjoyed the shop more, just as I love collecting spidey stuff. :)

ET: the ride
Even my sister couldn't help but be excited about this one, but frankly, the queue was better than the ride. You walk through the forest which included scary NASA anamatronics, the saw/fokr/umbrella/spelling machine contraption and wierdly, a 10 foot ET covered in lights, wearing a cape and holding an orb (not a clue). The idea of the ride is cool. You sit on 'bikes' which takes you round various set ups. being chased by adults etc etc, eventually going up up and over a minature city, complete with moon. This section was totally lacklustre compared to the epic moment of the film, the moon was tiny, the music almost muted. The wierdness was yet to come. For some unknown reason you end up in ETs home planet. There are unbelievably cute mini-ETs doing handstands and waving, but the set is totally trippy. You do feel like you've been eating japenese magic mushrooms. A cool bit happens at the end, where ET waves at you and says your name. Overall though, a disappointment.

Back the the Future: The Ride
I was really excited about this as I adore the movies, though the best bit about the whole section was the fact that there was a Delorean outside. ARgh! Queue times minimal, of course, and the ride is basically a simulation from inside a bigger delorean with a huge dome screen. For me, it was too bumpy (ledging on unfortable) though my main criticism was the fact that it had little to do with the film. You went to see (unconvincing) dinosaurs and other such time periods, though I would have liked a swoop around sun valley a little more. A nice touch was there was a speedometer at the front with did get to 88mph before you switched. Also, the merchandising was a little sparse.

Backdraft
Oddly enough, I hadn't heard of this film, and so the preshows were boring because a) i was tired b) it was in japenese c) they were long and dull. The actualm attraction was exciting though; basically- look, woooosh- FIRE! I was on front row so got very hot, but I didn't move as I kenw I'd be save, so giggled at everyone else cowering against walls. It was big, it was explosive, it was fire. Yes, we know, they're scary. Yeesh.

Jurassic Park: The Ride
By far the best area. Actual JP jeeps (love it), reconstructions of the places in the movie (including jiant reconstructed t-rex) and general aceness. As I'm sure you all know, its a flume ride. The dinosaurs are actually really good anamatronics. Nice, tame ones at the beginning which quirt water at you. but soon things go sick. You go through the 'high voltage' gate and see the velociraptor cage broken. (to be honest, I was cacking myself, I have nightmares about velociraptors) The are little evil dinos tugging at some guys shirt. Then for some reason you go inside and up up up. From this point on I wanted to cry, with v-raptors coming at you from everywhich way. On the second ride we didn't make it all the way to the top, the lift hill just couldn't do it so I was there for 5 mins wishing I was elsewhere. The finale rocks: a jiant T-Rex, terrifyingly real roars at you and you go for the 25.6m drop. On my second riding I was at the front and the only person wearing nothing but the clothes on my back, and got drentched. A really ace ride, but bloody scary.

Jaws: The Ride
The theming around this ride was great, especially the huge shark hanging in the courtyard. Amity looks great, although my sister (the Jaws nut) moaned it was too wild west. The signage of the advert for the town made me happy enough though. The ride itself actually scared me, probably because I'm terrified of sharks. The explosions were cool, the shark fun. The announcer seemed a little fed up though, but he was speaking Japenese so I wouldn't know. Not a hightly memorable ride, but fun enough.

Waterworld
Well, not in everyones top ten list, really, is it? I have seen this film but couldn't remember it so didn't really know what was going on, but it was thumping good fun anyway. The stunts were really good, and only several parts got a little dull. Overall, an entertaining ten minutes or so. I do think they could pick another, better loved film to do something with though.




Conclusions

USJ was a fun day out, as it combined so many of my favourite films with great themed areas.
PROS:
- 100% litter free, as is typical of Japan.
- Very short queue times, although I planned visit times strategically.
- Fabulous theming
- Mostly good merchandise, many t-shirts etc.
- Plenty of street entertainment: pizza operatics, cheerleaders, firemen.
- Great music all round

CONS:
- Food was appaulingly overpriced. A burger, chips and drink at a lower quality than McDs (and THATS saying something) cost five pounds. And that was the cheapest we could find. I would recommend going to Universal City for a meal.
- Some merchandise overprised. It could cost up to sixteen pounds for a tshirt which would cost 8.99 at AT.
- Some rides had less merchandise, ie. BTTF.
- C'mon, a rollercoaster or two couldn't go a miss, could it? Although Snoopy's World Tour was fun (what the Beastie should be) I'm sure it could keep its 'studio' feel with a few well themed filmic coasters. PLLLEEAAASSSEEE. or maybe I'm just too into AT.
- Not very big. By mid afternoon I'd been on everything and felt a little bored. The re-ride factor isn't fantastic.

No comparison to AT, but I shouldn't really compare I suppose!
Last edited by Nemesista on Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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evil cod

Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:38 am

 
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Nemesista
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Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:45 pm

Ok, I've updated this thread quite considerably over the last few days, been writing bits while I've had the chance. Please applaud me for the longest post I've ever written.

Oh and my mistake evil cod, its just not listed on Wiki yet. :)
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Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:24 pm

If Wikipedia is what you mean by Wiki, (I'm guessing so), then here it is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amazin ... Spider-Man
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Adam
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Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:33 pm

Yeah, Spiderman at Islands of Adventure, Orlando was the first Spiderman. It's not been at Japan too long.

And apart from The Revenge of the Mummy, the actual 'Universal Studio' parks don't really have coasters, more themed movie rides. For coasters and thrill rides you should go to Islands of Adventure. :)
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Kaz
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Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:32 pm

New coaster for next year:

Universal Studios has announced that they will open a new large steel roller coaster in the spring of 2007 at a cost estimated between 5-10 billion Yen. The coaster will stretch from the entrance gate to the lagoon in the center of the park, with a track length of 3937 feet and a top height of 144 feet. The maximum drop will only be 50º and top speed will be 55 mph. Throwing a little confusion into the mix, the description says that the trains’ four cars will carry 36 passengers, but that means 9 passengers per car, which is a really odd number for a coaster. The coaster will run through many areas of the park, and not stay confined within just one themed area. At this time no name, theme or manufacturer information was given for the ride.
Being Universal I would say its a B&M.
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Nemesista
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Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:55 am

Argh too bad, I don't think I'd re-visit.
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Williscroft

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Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:59 am

I’m surprised no one has mentioned this coaster before asit looks like a pretty impressive ride. I’ve been watching the construction of the ride for a while now but never really took in any information off any of the other forums.

One of the most impressive things about this coaster must be the cars as they are covered from head to toe in lights and look magnificent by night time. Looks like something Disney would have done.

Anyways here’s the video of the B&M mega coaster at Universal Studios Japan which has just opened.

Hope to see some more cars with lights like this in the future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoWj5l1tFxU
 
AstroDan

Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:55 am

The ride itself is one of the smaller B&M Mega/Hyper Coasters, but it looks nice and fluid, with that tunnel entrance and the light up cars at night.

Certainly one of the better coasters opening up around the world this year I would imagine.

:)
 
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MostMagicalCat
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Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:49 pm

she looks very nice

nice and smooth, looks fab at night

glad to see there are more coasters that i cant ever ride, unless i move or visit that that part of japan, which is unlikly.

if only we can devise a space and time folding device, we can ride all these rides over and over again.
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Mikey
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Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:21 pm

Definately a strange looking coaster - the trains are certainly unique!

Going purely by the video, it looks as if B&M have let themselves slip another 'forceless' coaster in to the market. It looks as though it crawls over some of those hills. Not one on my list of 'rides to ride before i die'
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Craig

Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:00 pm

I was thinking exactly the same Mikey. Looking at the video, some parts look like some sort of monorail ride, never mind a B+M. Still, I suppose it could be a bit deceptive looking at it from the ground, but I still can't help but think it looks a little dissappointing ride wise.

I do love the lights though, despite them being a bit Bling :P
 
sammie04

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:31 pm

Wow looks like a nice smooth coaster and aaww it looks quite impressive at night the lights look like little glisening diamonds :D .
 
Kelly
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Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:37 pm

Ahh this is why i love Japan :) The ride looks so cool in the dark, and looks pretty decent ride tbh! Looks really smooth and generally fun!

*Adds to list of 'What to ride' when finally visit Japan!*
 
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Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:41 pm

wow that looks awsome! ive never heard of it before, and im japan coaster geek :oops: (or at least an extreme japan geek)

oooh i cant wait to go to japan!!! Their coasters just look like they have a different "feel" to them if u get me

^^ Chris ^^

EDIT: whoops silly me, i just realised it opened this month, thats probs why i havent heard of it! :oops:
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Space Fantasy: Universal Studios Japan

Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:25 am

Universal Studios, Japan have now opened their new indoor coaster..

Space Fantasy. Is a Mack free-spinning coaster and looks amazing.

Length: 1919 foot
Height: 62 foot

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POV Here: The end is amazing!
[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1ucVkrC6t8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1ucVkrC6t8[/url]
 
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Re: Space Fantasy: Universal Studios Japan

Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:39 am

Wow, that looks truly incredible!

Universal does Space Mountain and does it... better? Dare I say? *waits to be pounced upon by Disney fanboys*

That bit right at the end where you are spinning around some sort of molten planet core is truly breathtaking.
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DiogoJ42

Re: Space Fantasy: Universal Studios Japan

Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:52 am

:shock: Wow! That looks ace!
 
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Re: Space Fantasy: Universal Studios Japan

Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:53 am

HOLY! CRAP! Now THAT is what you call theming. Even with a POV off a camera it looks stunning! God only knows what it looks like in real life. :shock:
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