Where: Hamanako Pal Pal
When: 6 February 2006, Superbowl Monday!
Who: Just me.
The weather was a brisk 40 degrees and there was a breeze. Not too much cloud cover though, so it was pretty nice.
I took the Shinkansen from Shin Yokohama to Hamamatsu station on the "slow" train. The older trains only go about 185-190 km/h, and stop more frequently than the new trains. About 90 minutes later I arrived at Hamamatsu station and transferred to a city bus. (Stop 1 outside the station.) A little more than 30 minutes later and I arrived at the park.
Entry and Free Pass was 3700 yen with a coupon printed online. (Thank you Babelfish!)
Mega Coaster looms large over the entrance plaza outside the ticket booths. Before you can ride though, there is a round building with arcades, restaurant and shops. The park has two main areas and to get between them you have to pass through this building and across a bridge over the street. (No, it's not like 6FKK!)
Immediately outside the door to the smaller side of the park is the entrance to Mega Coaster, a TOGO looping coaster that, to quote Robb Alvey: "is the result if Manhattan Express at and Viper (6FGrAdv) had unprotected sex." (This description is so appropriate, I have to give him the credit.) The station is up a rainbow stairwell just above the second story and there are two trains. In pictures I had only seen the blue/purple train, but that day the red/yellow train was running.
Out of the station the track turns left and climbs the lift hill. At the top, the train turns left 180 degrees and hits the first drop. It's pretty decent, hitting 51 mp/h and 60 degrees, providing the rear of the train some decent air. The train rises and makes a large fan turn to the right dropping down a straight ramp before rising again up a long ramp and executing a twist and diving at the ground. (It's an Immelman reversed.) Pulling out of the dive, the track flattens out above the go kart track and makes a 270 degree left turn, rising enough to pass through the center of the first inversion. The track levels out again and enters a series of rings that provide the support for the heartline roll. Next, the train passes through nearly 720 degrees of downward helix before popping up into the brake run.
While nowhere near as rough as Manhattan Express, (or Viper based on other's experience) this coaster isn't super smooth. It is definitely re-rideable and a pretty decent experience. It's completely unique experience is definitely a draw for die-hard coasterphiles.
Next, I rode the go karts to get some more shots of Mega Coaster and looked at the flats on this side of the park. There was a kiddie flume, a Zamperla Balloon Race, a motion simulator, a car-go-round and what appeared to be a Huss Flipper themed to Football (US type) named Super Bowl! So despite not being in front of a TV, I still got to watch the Super Bowl on Super Bowl Monday. (Time zones mean the Superbowl is shown live Monday morning in Japan.)
Next, I rode the parks Mini Coaster. This is one of those weird coasters that doesn't know what it wants to be. It has Model T shaped cars with wild mouse seating. The track looks like Arrow, and the layout has no switchbacks or air hills. In general, these turn out to be boring for a jaded guy like me, and this one proved to be no exception.
I rode Mega Coaster again before crossing to the other side of the park. Once on the other side of the bridge, there is a nice looking row-building that house some typical midway games, but being indoors in a park that's open year-round is a nice touch. After looking in at the games, I tried my hand at a simple shooting dark ride. I thought I was doing pretty well, but when I got off, I discovered that I didn't have enough points to get a prize.
Moving on, I climbed the hill to the park's Caripro Batflyer named Batflyer. Such originality! A standard single model, at least the brakes weren't 'rack-your-nuts' tight. Either that or I've learned how to ride these defensively. (I actually think it's the first one.)
Next, I passed a carousel and what looked like a 4-sided frog hopper with a crab / tide pool theme, (Huh, a jumping crab?) and tried the park's fun house. I entered, not knowing what kind of attraction was inside, as the attendant knew no Eigo (English) and I don't know enough Nihonji (Japanese). Not amazing, but not terrible, with shrinking rooms, trick doors, a mirror maze and a cage maze with rubber bars. There was a walk through spinning room that didn't start spinning until I tripped a beam and the sudden change in perception actually knocked me off balance! After exiting I told the lady that the phrase for what the attraction was fun house and she had me write it down so she could memorize it!
I continued up to the top of the hill to take Ferris Wheel Photos, passing up on a well-themed mini-parachutes ride, flying elephants and pedal monorail. After the wheel, I proceeded down the hill and past the show amphitheater and the oddly named park train: Food Train.
At the bottom of the hill I passed the summer only lazy river, speed slides and a single water slide. Next to that were some upcharge boat rides including jet boats, fan boats, pedal boats and a party barge. Proceeding along, I rode the fourth and final coaster in the park, Jungle Mouse. It looks like an old Herschell but is from one of the older Japanese ride manufacturers. This coaster sits in what looks like used to be a pool, making for a weird appearance.
Next up was the park's Log Flume. With Splash Mountain (MK) style boats and a large windshield, I felt confident I wouldn't get too wet. A decent length and a figure-8 layout weren't the odd part of this ride, but the chain lifts on a log flume was definitely pretty unusual! I didn't get wet, and I wasn't terribly impressed either.
I rode the spinning boats ride, because I'd never seen one before, then made my way past the Red Baron, Mini wave swinger, ball house and a Zamperla version of the Huss Nightwing at 6FNE.
I looked at the brochure for the Organel Museum that the large ropeway takes you to from inside the park across the lake (included in the admission), but I opted to grab a bite to eat and take a couple more spins on Mega Coaster and catch an earlier train home instead.
In all, the park was very clean, nicely themed, (although Jungle Mouse desperately needs a paint job) the staff was friendly and efficient. In other words, it was like most Japanese amusement parks that aren't Nara Dreamland!
Next: My belated TR for Kobe Portopialand and Himeji Central Park followed by Kyushu 2006: 6 parks, 3 days, 25 coasters.