Theme Park Review 2013 Trip Reports

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Part Three

Universal Studios Japan

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Directly from The Guidebook: "June is the height of the rainy season for the main and southern island of Japan. It will be very hot, humid, and quite dreary with a lack of sun and plenty of rain... Understand that most roller coasters will close in rain."

It was further explained on the TPR trip boards that this nationwide rain policy is definitely more extreme than anything U.S. parks enforce. For instance, if anyone at a park in Japan starts whistling "Purple Rain," things shut down. It's pretty extreme.

The night before our day at Universal Studios, Elissa warned us that the forecast was for heavy cloud cover and steady rainfall. But, of course, as most of Uni's rides are indoors, the only roller coaster we could miss due to naughty weather interference was Hollywood Dream: Backdrop (which, frankly, I wasn't all that keen on), and we'd still get to enjoy almost all the park's other attractions.

We also knew well ahead of time that Spider-Man would be closed because the park would still be swapping out ye olde projected film media for newfangled high-def 4K digital eye candy.

Worst case, we'd get to ride Jaws, and Back To The Future, and Jurassic Park, and the Snoopy coaster and Space Fantasy: The Ride. That would be a very, very good day, worst case.

SPOILER ALERT: We didn't miss any credits (and this day was the only day sky-water fell steadily during the entire trip; thanks again, Mother Nature, for being such a stand-up gal!). And we got a super-special walk-through of Spider-Man, with the new digital media running on the show screens, which was flipping bonkers-awesome. AND Space Fantasy, seriously, what the holy hell is going on in there; I have no idea, but in the end, I don't care, because Space Fantasy: The Ride is a tremendous pile of Japanese ass-kickery.

After our wondrous day at Tobu Zoo (...Ah, Kawasemi...*dreamy sigh*...), we took a 700 Series Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya. The picture of the bullet train nose above was not taken that day, but it was the best shot of a bullet train nose I got, so I'm sharing it here. And how about that bullet train nose, pretty damn sexy, right? Amtrak, please go punch yourself in the face.

You can argue the point all you want, but I'm counting this as a credit. Rides on rails, goes really, REALLY fast, is fun and awesome and thrilling in its own way. I'm not trying to stir up a hornet's nest, but if people count powered oval kiddie coasters, well, then, there you go, I think that's all that needs to be said.

Joking aside, bullet trains are freaking sweet.

It's like flying in business class, but better because you are on rails, and you can keep your smart phone and other electronic devices on all the time, and you never need to wear a seatbelt, and you are in Japan. Amazing.

(Also, yes, I'm padding out this report a little because I didn't take very many photos at Uni due to the rain.)

We arrived in Nagoya after dark and after checking in to the Meitetsu New Grand Hotel, a group of us went out to get something to eat, and to take a quick look around.

If we didn't have a big day at a theme park less than 12 hours away, I would have been more inclined to spend some time at a few of Nagoya's "entertainment centers."