Theme Park Review 2013 Trip Reports

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Part Two

Tobu Zoo With An Aqua Stadium Chaser

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John Carpenter's remake of "The Thing" is one of my favorite movies, of any kind. I think it's the scariest movie I've ever seen, and I've seen hundreds of scary movies. Maybe the original "Alien" is just as scary, to be fair. They are both masterpieces of sci-fi horror; we can all agree on that, yes? Anyway, one of my best friend's nieces loves scary movies and this best friend and I both urged her, frequently, to see "The Thing:" the dog transformation scene; the "blood test" scene; Kurt Russell owning it all over the place; best practical horror effects EVER; best sci-fi horror movie ending EVER; and on and on and on.

She finally watched it and was thoroughly – and I mean thoroughly – unimpressed. "Lame," she called it. Lame. I'm still trying to figure that out. Did we oversell it? I guess so, but to this day, I don't see how that's possible. A dude's head turns into a spider!

Anyway. If anything was ever at risk of being oversold to me, it was Intamin Mega-Lites. Theme Park Review is filled with testimonials to their brilliantly compact, twisted layouts, their diabolical airtime, their ability to cure erectile dysfunction, yada, yada, blah, blah. For years, we've been hearing this kind of thing, over and over, am I right?

Well, get ready to hear it some more.

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Before the official start of the trip, there were three "add-on" days, and Tuesday marked the first official day of the add-on portion. Most everyone who would be on the trip proper had selected this "super size me!" bonus pack, which I had initially thought I'd exclude. Thank god I changed my mind, because Kawasemi and Harikata and a BUNCH of other stuff. Moral of the story: if you are presented with the option for more Japan, and can afford it, you choose more Japan. Always.

So when I went downstairs that morning for the buffet breakfast (again, so much and so good), there was a nice, big crowd of TPR folks meeting and chatting it up.

Another thing about TPR trips I'm sure you've already gleaned from previous reports, and/or first-hand experience: the people who go on these trips are just the kind of people you'd want on these trips: people who love parks and coasters, who love to travel, who love to have a good time. These are my kind of people. (And they were from all over the world, which was mega-awesome.)

Breakfast out of the way, we gathered in the hotel lobby, lots more excited chatter, Robb and Elissa greeted everyone, handed out the TPR tote bags filled with helpful supplies and snacks and goodies, holy crap, this is really happening, after all the months of dreaming, of planning, of desperate waiting: GAME ON.

Here's how you get to Tobu Zoo from Tokyo: make sure you are traveling with TPR and do exactly what Elissa tells you to do. See how easy that is?

This park is a bit of a walk from the nearest train station and honestly, I'd love to tell you which station, but I don't remember at all. ("Someone else appears to be doing all the mental 'heavy lifting' here, so I'm just going to shut down everything but my pleasure receptors for a couple of weeks. Laterz!" - My brain.)

It was neat to get a little taste of this more sedate, suburban part of Japan, after a day in the hyper-urban dynamism of Tokyo.

Lookit, there it is! The first park of the trip, officially! Yay!

Here's Robb setting us up for the day; to his right is an Asian rep for Intamin (super-nice guy, can't remember his name, either) who was instrumental in helping to arrange this morning's ERT session. Yeah, our first morning, our first park, the very first official ride of this trip, an Intamin Mega-Lite. Not too shabby.