Flying through Rookburgh

A new themed area at Phantasialand

Phantasialand has once again built something new and of all things it was completed during the Covid 19 pandemic. Whereas elsewhere the opening of the new attraction, the new themed area and the new hotel would have been postponed until next year, the park in Brühl has once again taken the initiative to completely turn the theme park world upside down.

After the closure of the huge IMAX Simulator Race for Atlantis at the end of the winter season 2015/16, rumours about the future use of the area started. At the same time, the new themed area Klugheim was in its final preparations. Shortly thereafter, Taron became Europe’s most signature ride and Klugheim one of the most immersive areas in a European theme park.

A teaser of the new themed area appeared to the start of the 2017 season and in June of the same year, the roller coaster F.L.Y. was announced to the public. The first track was installed soon after. Yet, due to the location at the edge of the park and between the areas Berlin and Fantasy, there was not much to look at. Indeed, no visitor would know what Rookburgh and its flying machine would look like until the opening of the area.

The Pre-Opening of Rookburgh

With time, the anticipation grew immensely and all the sudden – and in a time when nobody would have thought about it – Rookburgh opened its gates for a preopening. Due to Covid-19, the number of visitors to the area was restricted and only the front entrance to the area was opened, which led to a long queue right from the start expanding over a large part of the Kaiserplatz and into the Fantasy area.

I joined the queue around noon and enjoyed the time in the open-air queue on the Kaiserplatz for quite a while. Once Rookburgh was in sight – all the sudden – a queue jumper thought it was a good idea to be a group member of mine. Apparently, he was an employee of the park on a day off and was just interested in the area. As I do not accept queue jumping, I informed the staff about his behaviour and he was denied entrance to the area for the day of visit. He called me – rather thankful, I guess – an asshole.

From the moment, he forced himself into my life, I was angry. But all the anger was forgotten once I stepped into the immersive world of Rookburgh. This steam punk paradise is just incredible. The way the roller coaster F.L.Y. is passing through the area and the nearby Hotel Charles Lindbergh is awesome. There is so much going on, yet everything is reduced to the new sensation of flying and clear in its visuals.

Apart of the main attraction, Rookburgh offers some delicious treats. In Emilie‘s Chocoladen & Candy‑Werkstatt you can buy high quality chocolate and candies, whereas Zum Kohleschipper offers a range of delicious sandwiches and the restaurant Uhrwerk fully concentrates itself on exclusive hamburgers, craft beer and Gin. This all comes for a price and covers a segment, which was not yet been covered by the park. Phantasialand therefore offers a large range of fantastic food options for a very reasonable price.

F.L.Y. – a flying sensation

The signature attraction of Rookburgh is the Vekoma flying coaster F.L.Y. Albeit Vekoma was the pioneer of this kind of coaster, their Flying Dutchman model can only be found in a handful of parks. The complicated loading mechanism and the lowered capacity in regard to the competitor’s product never led to another installation since 2001. In 2009 a first iteration of the train’s mechanic got presented with the short-lived Stingray coaster at the Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou. For F.L.Y. the Flying Dutchman design received a completely new development. Now the trains are featuring the vest design to be found at other modern coasters of the company and the shin clamps are fixed to the train and not to the restraints and can be entered while sliding into them. But the most important novelty is that you are entering the train whilst the track is in a 90° rotated position – a swivel turned the car to a horizontal position.  The station is therefore highly unusual, as it needs to be rather long.

The ride on F.L.Y.

Once the train is boarded, the ride can begin. In a dark ride section, we climb a ramp while still sitting in an upright position. In a curve, we then change into the flying position in probably the most elegant way so far. Shortly thereafter, we are accelerated in the first launch section of the ride and into a wide and upwards leading curve. Along and above facades of Rookburgh, we now twist ourselves around in a corkscrew. After a left-hand bend, we cross the first launch section in an airtime hill. Accompanied with a lot of pressure, we fly through the back section of Rookburgh before gaining a bit of height in a curve to the left. We then make our way through the centre of the area before we descent in a very wide left-hand curve. A tight bend to the right then leads us towards the area front right corner of the area, where we descend to the ground level in a tight helix. Here we hit the second launch track and accelerate once more towards the Hotel Charles Lindbergh.

As the launch track is leading upwards, we soon have a view onto the upper levels of the hotel. A steep curve then takes us down. With a lot of momentum, we now fly over the restaurant Uhrwerk, before we make our way through the centre of the area once more. In a left-hand bend we then surprise the visitors of the Chocoladen & Candy-Werkstatt, while continuing our journey towards the front right section of the area. Here, we descent in a left-hand helix, before we plunge down towards the ground. In an intensive left-hand bend, we now head towards the second inversion of the ride, whereupon we continue in a wide curve close to the ground. A short swivel to the right later, we then hit the brakes. Like the start of the ride, we are then turned back to the horizontal seating position while passing through a short turn. We are now waiting for debarkation in a very comfy position. Shortly after, we reach the exit station.

Conclusion F.L.Y.

Rookburgh is without a doubt one of the most immersive areas in any theme park and F.L.Y. is its masterpiece of a roller coaster. It became my favourite flying coaster somewhere in the middle of the ride, as I could not stop laughing. As most of the flying coasters out there, F.L.Y. is a very intense experience, yet a very enjoyable one. The trains are a lot comfier than the standard ones to be found on a B&M coaster of the same type and guarantee a very safe journey through the air. The high capacity, the long ride time, the technology of the ride and its location certainly enhance the overall experience on F.L.Y.: a ride which got with ease the next big signature ride of Europe.

Pictures Phantasialand


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The history of Nagashima Spa Land

Nagashima Spa Land came into being as an addition to the resort near the city of Nagashima, which was developed in 1964. Located directly on Ise Bay, Otani Natural Gas Co, Ltd hoped to find a natural gas deposit in 1963 when they came across a hot spring while exploring for natural gas. The temporary bath that was then built quickly proved extremely popular, and Nagashimakankokaihatsu Co, Ltd was established in the same year with the aim of developing the spring, now known as Nagashima Onsen, for tourism. In November 1964, the bath was opened to visitors, followed a month later by the Nagashima Hotel. In 1966, the resort was further expanded with the opening of the second hotel and the Nagashima Spa Land, including a jet coaster.

The Nagashima Resort quickly became more popular, which is why the third hotel followed as early as 1970. The resort now consists of three hotels, the Nagashima Spa Land amusement park, the Nagano-no-Sato gardens, the Anpanman Children’s Museum, the large Mitsui Outlet Jazz Dream Nagashima outlet centre and the Yuami-no-Shima hot spring. Every year, around 5.8 million visitors come to Nagashima Resort.

Tour of the park

If you arrive by bus, you land at the side entrance of Nagashima Spa Land, located between the hotels and the outlet centre. From here, a path leads directly to the spacious children’s area, including a covered playground. In addition to a large number of child-friendly round rides and two small log flumes, there are two children’s roller coasters.

Children Coaster

The oldest of the two children’s roller coasters at Nagashima Spa Land is the very inconspicuously placed, medium-sized ladybird ride by the manufacturer Zierer called Children Coaster. As usual, you ride two laps through the figure-8 layout and enjoy the manual braking towards the end of the ride.

Oh, it’s beautiful here. In addition to the tried and tested fun of the time-honoured children’s roller coaster legend, characters from the classic English children’s book “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” have also found a home here. Peter Rabbit has been the mascot of Nagashima Spa Land for ages, but it was only in 2012 that a roller coaster was dedicated to him.

Peter Rabbit Coaster

The ride on the Peter Rabbit Coaster from Hoei Sangyo begins with a wide left-hand curve in which you gain a few metres in altitude, which you immediately lose again in a somewhat narrower right-hand helix. Once you reach the ground level, you go full steam ahead after a change of direction through a curve that is just as wide as the one at the beginning of the ride. At this point the track leads straight into the station and through it. After another lap through the track course, the very nice ride ends.


Before we get too far away from Kinderland and its park mascot Peter Rabbit, we are immediately drawn to the double monorail with its two tracks running in opposite directions. Actually, on the way there, we are drawn to a completely different, extremely imposing set of rides, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else on this planet: the Viking boat swing conglomerate.

When I first came across Nagashima Spa Land, I was immensely impressed by the Japanese people’s love of swings. Whereas in some European amusement parks there are two, at most three, boat-swing-like rides, here there is the full programme in its maximum range, including three boat swings, two rotating swings and an overhead boat swing. From that moment on, one thing was clear to me: I have to go there! And more importantly: I have to ride them all!

Because let’s be honest, who cares about the longest roller coaster in the world when there are two gigantic boat swings far above a third, normal-sized boat swing? That is insane and, above all, simply terrific.

After the success of the small boat swing in 1980 and the success of the large HUSS double ride in the Toshimaen amusement park, Nagashima decided to go one better and built an equally large boat swing in 1986, also in a double ride. Now, it is somewhat difficult to trace how far the three existing large rides in Nagashima Spa Land, Toshimaen and Samsung Everland are related to each other, because although the boats are all built in the same way and are each located above various facilities, two of these rides are considered to be double rides of the HUSS Traumschiff. This is understandable, as the ride looks at first glance as if two somewhat larger ship swings of the Pirate model have been placed directly next to each other and connected to form a boat. However, the double Viking is called Twin Flying Bounty in Intamin’s reference list. The reason for this is probably the bankruptcy of the Arrow-HUSS company towards the end of 1984, after which the company reorganised itself in 1986 as HUSS Maschinenfabrik. In the intervening years, planned rides were built by other manufacturers (e.g. Ninja at Six Flags St. Louis).

But what is a Traumschiff/Twin Flying Bounty like to ride? It’s nice; the ride is actually not earth-shattering, as the basic construction itself is already incredibly inert, but seen as a whole it’s pretty nice. It’s a huge attraction of unbelievable proportions that is accessible to all park guests and doesn’t let anyone get off dissatisfied – a crowd pleaser of the highest order, so to speak. Taken together, the ship’s swing collection has a total capacity of 380 people (160 people per boat in the large swing plus 60 people in the normal-sized ship’s swing) per synchronised ride cycle. All in all, this means an hourly capacity of up to 5,000 people, which is certainly still necessary during the Golden Week and many other days. On emptier days, one of the Flying Bountys sets sail at least every 15 minutes.

Jet Coaster

In the meantime, you can take a nice panoramic ride on the aforementioned double-track monorail that runs in opposite directions. Here you have a wonderful view of the lake and the small forest that you are circling. The park railway, a go-kart track and the oldest roller coaster in Nagashima Spa Land, the Jet Coaster, are located in the forest.

Secured only by a belt, we immediately climb the lift hill of the time-honoured lady. Now far below the treetops, we pass through a long right-hand bend, where we immediately plunge steeply to the ground in a completely untypical manner for a classic jet coaster. We climb the following hill in the same way before we take another right turn. This is followed by a somewhat flatter gradient with an even flatter ascent diagonally through the ride. The ascent then leads into a left-hand bend one level below the first bend, which is consequently ridden at a somewhat more leisurely pace. This is followed by a last exceedingly brisk descent that leads into a slightly longer straight above the lake. A final hop leads us to the station level, whereupon we also reach it after a left turn and the obligatory braking section.

The Jet Coaster is an extremely charming roller coaster that is particularly visually appealing with its framework structure. The ride through the forest is extremely fast and knows how to thrill its passengers with ease. So much so, in fact, that the longest queue was here on the second day of the visit, thanks to the unfortunately existing one-train operation. Apart from that, however, it’s a beautiful old and extremely ride-worthy treasure from the house of Togo.

Space Shot and Flying Carpet

On the other side of the forest, a somewhat rare sight awaits visitors, right next to a more common one. While the S&S free fall tower triumvirate called Space Shot is still a very rare sight, a ride on a suspended flying carpet is the only one outside the Danish amusement park Tivoli Gardens. Both rides are quite convincing.

Shuttle Loop

Just like the ride of the next roller coaster, whose layout can be perfectly described with the words launch, loop and reverse. You’ve probably already guessed, it’s a Shuttle Loop from Schwarzkopf. As with every roller coaster from Münsterhausen, it doesn’t take much to create an all-round satisfying ride experience, and so the ride is unusually puristic compared to the (so far) only European ride (Psyké Underground in Walibi Belgium). That’s enough, because the ride is absolutely perfect as it is, which is why you’ll want to get on again and again, and more than once in a row.

Looping Star

The same applies to the sister ride, which is only three years younger. The Shuttle Loop was apparently a great success, so that another Looping Star was ordered in Münsterhausen and the roller coaster was interestingly placed right next door.

The ride in this classic of German engineering begins quite confidently with the ascent of the lift hill. From a height of around 24m, you immediately plunge towards the ground in a steep curve to approach the only inversion figure, a loop, at full speed. With a lot of power, you then pass the element that gives the ride its name, after which you shoot upwards again to make a turn at a lofty height. But the peace and quiet doesn’t last long, because immediately the wagon group throws itself towards the ground again, which can lead to unexpected airtime, especially in the rear part of the train. In the opposite direction to the first gradient, you gain a little height again and then reduce it efficiently parallel to the lift hill. Since a straight line with a constant lateral inclination is a bit strange to ride, you are straightened out in between, but without taking into account the principle of turning around the heart line; but there are other roller coasters in Nagashima Spa Land for that (like the Ultra Twister). Leaning to the left again, you ride through another curve before you enter a hill and approach the ground again. This is followed by a fast-paced right turn, which then takes you into the braking section of the ride.


Interestingly, the rival product from Arrow has been situated directly opposite the Looping Star since the year 2012. In 1979, the Corkscrew coaster in Nagashima turned its passengers upside down twice. Interestingly, it is one of four identical rides that started operation in Japan that year – all probably inspired by the first inversion coaster in Asia, the Corkscrew at Yatsu Yuenchi.

The layout is quickly reproduced. After leaving the station via a small incline, you ride through a tight turning curve, which then transfers you to the ride’s lift. Having reached a height of about 21m, you leave the lift in a short dip, whereby the necessary lateral inclination for the following turn is already generated in the same move. Once the turn is completed, the train plunges towards the ground, which leads to a pronounced airtime, especially in the rear part of the train. Now the train roars powerfully through the first valley and shortly afterwards shoots up a hill. This then quickly turns into a longer downhill curve, in whose transverse valley the train enters the corkscrew. Absolutely skilfully, the train now turns over twice. The exit of the second corkscrew then leads into the final turning curve, whereupon the brakes are already waiting.

The ride on the Corkscrew is great. Nowadays the ride is nothing earth-shattering, but in 1979 it was enough to make the masses stand on their heads. Unfortunately, the ride characteristics were below the manufacturer’s average – but that hardly matters. All in all, the ride fits perfectly into its very strong field of competitors, which is why you should definitely take a ride or two; where else would you find so many idols of the late 70s in the same corner of a park?

Past a typical Japanese scary house and an excellent Star Flyer, the path now leads us to the other side of a gigantic steel structure, which we save for later. Here we turn left and follow the wide main path into a dead end, where the Flying Coaster Acrobat is waiting for us.


Attracted by the appearance, we quickly find ourselves in the spacious waiting area below the station and decide to go to one of the two sides of the station. After climbing the stairs, we are immediately assigned to a row, whereupon we stow our personal belongings and valuables in lockers belonging to the rows. Nothing unusual as far as that goes, but at the end a security scan including a metal detector awaits us. After we have proved that all our bags are empty, we are let through to the gates and can immediately board our preferred aircraft.

As soon as the starting position is reached, the ride can begin. We reach the ride’s lift via a switch, which takes us up to a height of 43m. Once at the top, we plunge into a steep curve to the right towards the abyss. In a wide radius we now float through the following valley and immediately climb a hill, which turns out to be the starting position for the now following Pretzel Loop. Without mercy we now plunge down, stand overhead for a short time and then watch the spectacle lying on our backs in reverse order, almost being killed by the G-Forces. Once again at high altitude, there is enough time to take a short breath, because now we cross the element we have just completed in a tame left turn. But before we know it, we are spinning around our own axis in an inline twist and hurtling towards the ground in a right turn. In a corkscrew we cross the Prezel Loop once more and soon have a look at the station of the roller coaster from behind. After a short ascent, we reach the middle block brake section of the ride, which, however, releases us into the second part of this without any major slowdown.

In a right-hand bend, accompanied by synchronised water fountains, we shoot across a lake. Similar to a Bavarian curve, hill follows dale and at the end of the curve there is even another inline twist waiting for the passengers. Still in this great flow, we find ourselves in a left turn, which unfortunately leads us straight into the final brake.

Acrobat is the tamer of the two Japanese flying coasters, but that doesn’t mean that the ride doesn’t try to beat you to death with the forces at its disposal. It just does it a little more subtly. While Universal’s Flying Dinosaur has one element after the other, Acrobat still has enough time to devote itself entirely to flying. This has its advantages and the ride itself seems a little more harmonious. Especially the part after the block brake is quite impressive and offers wonderful insights for the rest of the park guests. In general, the ride is wonderfully open and can be seen from all sides, so that even more guests from the nearby outlet centre will switch to the Nagashima Spa Land amusement park. It’s worth it, at least, because Acrobat is a really ingenious flying coaster in Nagashima.


Right next to it, the Wiegand Bobkart double track has been in place since 2004. On a length of 822 and 797m, both lanes theoretically duel each other. For the time being, the track runs parallel through a very bumpy left-hand bend. The driving comfort increases significantly with the steadily increasing speed, the fun in turn through the numerous waves on the now following straight. After another left-hand bend and just as many waves, the two lanes now separate from each other.

While the right lane now turns into a short right-hand bend, the left lane continues straight ahead. In a wide left-hand bend, the right-hand lane now steadily builds up height, whereupon the left-hand lane is crossed on another undulating straight. The competing lane meanwhile devotes itself to a right-leading upward helix, whereupon both lanes run parallel again for a short moment. This quickly changes and so both tracks separate at an sharp angle. There is a reason for this, because in the following downward helix of the right lane, the left lane comes towards you. The left lane circles the helix, but then runs parallel to the track you have just completed in the right lane. After a wide right-hand bend and a short straight, the left-hand lane meets the right-hand lane again, which in the meantime has only passed through a longer straight, and both enter an upward helix in parallel.

On an elevated part of the track, both tracks now cross the just completed and future track before entering a left turn along the station. Following a downward helix to the right, both tracks then continue on the ground. After a left turn and a 180° turn, both tracks reach their destination.

The double bobsleigh track is quite impressive, but the ride itself is only okay. Admittedly, you get a bit distracted by the rides surrounding you, but the ride over the numerous bumps is unfortunately also a bit repetitive. Although you could also look over them if the bobs ran parallel. Of the total of 28 bobsleds per side, unfortunately only about 5 were running on the first day of the visit – which was perfectly adequate in view of the crowds – and these were sent on their way one after the other per side. Whereas at the beginning both sides were served, shortly afterwards only the right lane was running. That was a pity, but also understandable, after all you can vary the capacity of the rides according to the rush in no time at all. Overall, the left lane was a little better than the right lane, but all in all, both lanes offered a good ride.

Ultra Twister

Directly behind the ride is the station of the Ultra Twister roller coaster. The standard model of the manufacturer Togo also awaits us in Nagashima, but here in a somewhat less colourful paint scheme than in the Greenland amusement park, but with ingenious lighting effects. Since we had already ridden 12 laps of the ride in Greenland, we knew what to expect and got on with pleasure.

After the car has been checked, you approach the transfer element at the rear end of the track. This is then turned by 90° degrees, which is promptly followed by the ascent in the vertical lift. Having reached a height of 30m, the car crosses a very narrow crest and plunges rapidly down a steep 85° gradient. There is intense airtime in every seat, but especially in the last row. The following and quite narrow valley is driven through with extreme pressure, while the following airtime hill skillfully tries to throw you off. With strikingly high speed, you now race through a heartline roll that couldn’t be more beautiful. Shortly afterwards, you climb a small incline, at the end of which you reach the first braking section of the ride.

In a second transfer element you are now brought to the lower lane, which you follow backwards from then on. On a short descent you then steadily increase speed before the car is turned upside down a second time. As soon as the station level is reached, the third and last roll of the ride follows. Shortly afterwards, the second braking section is reached and the ride on the Ultra Twister draws to a close.

Also in Nagashima, the tube roller coaster is completely convincing. The interplay of vertical acceleration is just wonderfully brutal and always worth experiencing. Especially since the end stops are not quite as hard as in Greenland, which makes the ride all the more inviting for repeat rides. Unless you don’t burn your shoulders on a visit to the Joyful Waterpark, which you should definitely plan to do so, and torture yourself accordingly on a night ride through the ride. Nonetheless, this is also totally worth it, because the illuminated ring elements enhance the visually very appealing ride even more.

Steel Dragon 2000

Equally appealing is Steel Dragon 2000. Built at the turn of the millennium, Steel Dragon 2000 is Japan’s largest roller coaster, with a height of 97 m. Even more impressive, however, is its length of about 2.5 km, which still makes it the longest roller coaster in the world. There are rumours that the roller coaster The Ultimate from the English amusement park Lightwater Valley will be extended, but until then there will probably not be a longer roller coaster.

The ride on the Steel Dragon begins with a small dip out of the station, followed by a short right turn. The first lift chain is then waiting to take us up to a height of about 50 m, where we change to the second lift chain, which in turn takes us up to an impressive 97 m. Once there, we descend very quickly. We pass through the first valley at 152.9 km/h, and the train starts to vibrate. Unfortunately, this vibration is transmitted to the passenger, which is why you can only be happy to shoot up a 76.8 m high hill shortly afterwards. After a moment of shallow airtime, another valley of terror awaits you.

The ride through the second valley is also no fun at all and so I was happy to find myself on the third hill of the ride. This hill is only 64 m high and leads the train into a special combination of curves. In a wide steep curve, one approaches the bottom and immediately shoots up an inclined clockwise helix. On the way into the following valley, a change of direction takes place and a second, now counterclockwise, huge helix follows. With steady pressure, the smile on your face slowly comes back and you may slowly forget the crappy start of the ride. In the process, you race through a ground-hugging and bloody long left turn along the large shopping centre. However, you don’t notice much of that, after all, you’re still going at a breakneck pace. It’s just a shame that after a long bend and two small curve swings, the ascent into the block brake awaits.

On the block brake, which is placed very low in relation to the overall height of the ride, the speed of the train is reduced considerably before it descends into a series of continuous camelbacks. Here the train passes two tunnels and six crests, each with valleys at different heights. On each hill you take off in a wonderful floating airtime. Shortly afterwards, however, the braking section is reached and the ride comes to an end.

The Steel Dragon 2000 is not a bad roller coaster, but it doesn’t meet my personal taste. I really enjoy the ride from the entry into the long curves, but the vibrations in the first two valleys are so nasty to my stomach that I only did one more repeat ride during the two days of my visit. I’m interested to know what the ride would have been like in the original trains, as the trains built by Morgan were much more solidly built and therefore shouldn’t have started vibrating so quickly. The trains built by B&M, which were added in the tenth year of operation of the ride, are by no means bad and allow a much freer ride, but they do not correspond to the original.

They must have had their reasons – I don’t have a comparison with the previous state of the ride anyway – so it’s not that bad. It doesn’t stop anyone from doing a marathon on the ride, and if the start of the ride wasn’t so messed up, I would do it too.


The Free Spin coaster Arashi on the other hand is simply no fun. The ride is inharmonious and absolutely hard. The rollovers are all generated only by the forced rotation of the gondola carrier, otherwise the ride here would be a leisurely scenic ride very similar to the new concept by the Swiss engineering firm Ride Engineers Switzerland, which will soon be realised at Schwaben Park. Unfortunately, the whole thing is no comparison to the competing product from Intamin, which is less squeamish even in the smallest version and fortunately dispenses entirely with technical aids for rollover – interestingly, although the ride on a Zac Spin is hard on the edge, the harmoniously superimposed movements make it much more pleasant and interesting.

Rock ‘n’ Roll

In fact, the Rock ‘n’ Roll ride shows that even forced somersaults can be ridden in a reasonably harmonious way. A friction wheel causes the individual gondolas to rotate, whereupon the passengers (depending on the load of the gondola) do one somersault after another.

Paratrooper and Telecombat

The Paratrooper next to it is similarly interesting, with its wheel rim tilting horizontally during the ride. Otherwise, the ride is typical for a Twister-like round ride, so it goes up and down in free-swinging gondolas, over and over again. This one was built by Technical Park, as was the Telecombat next door.

Wild Mouse

The ride portfolio in this corner is then complemented by the water ride Jet Rescue of German production. This is fitting, as the Wild Mouse is located right next to it in a double version, just as it could have been at a German funfair. Of course, it’s only real with the matching ticket booth and Schuko sockets. The attraction resembles one of the many Wild Mice from Mack Rides and therefore invites you to take a ride or two; after all, you can ride the ride in a mirror image – at least if both rides are running on the same day. We were lucky and were able to ride one of the two tracks on each of the two days we visited.

Free Fall and Frisbee

Unfortunately, we had no luck with the Free Fall, a first-generation free-fall tower, and therefore had to forego a ride. Fortunately, there is a park version of the HUSS Frisbee directly opposite, which is always a guarantee for a successful ride. In Nagashima, however, things were a bit different – the fast spins were missing – and so the ride was a trivial swing, which not even the showman Robrahn from Bremen could undercut. A pity, because the little Frisbees are usually always a big deal.

Shoot the Chute

When one of your favourite rides bitterly disappoints you, it takes another favourite ride to put you back in a good mood. It’s a good thing that the Shoot the Chute of the Nagashima Spa Land amusement park, designed by O.D. Hopkins, is next door. As one of the first rides in the manufacturer’s Figure-8 design, the 30-metre-high ride is impressive, especially with its merciless wetness. Normally, in a spillwater, you are usually wet, but not soaked, by the time you reach the bridge over the run-out section, but this changes abruptly when you pass under the bridge. Here, however, it is the case that the boat creates such a high wave when it dives into the pool that it absorbs all the energy of the boat and thus decelerates the boat considerably so that the water has enough time to splash down on the passengers. You don’t get out this wet even from Valhalla of the English amusement park Blackpool Pleasure Beach and even there the degree of wetness is known to be like jumping into the Irish Sea. So everything is just right here and the name of the ride really lives up to its type – only why the first rows have to wear life jackets is beyond me, but luckily we were sitting a bit further back.

Something that has never been clear to me personally is the success of the Looping Starships from Intamin. In the looping fever at the beginning of the 1980s, the Bremen company HUSS developed an overhead boat swing in which the axle of the ride was driven, making a large number of rollovers and other rides possible. Only a short time later, the Weber company, also based in Bremen, followed suit with a similar ride. Intamin, on the other hand, planned an overhead boat swing that lives up to its name and uses a classic friction wheel drive to keep the ship moving until at some point it manages to roll over very narrowly.

Space Shuttle

It’s interesting when you realise on your own body during the ride that this is exactly what makes the Looping Starship the best representative of its kind. It’s as if a normal boat swing just keeps accelerating, so you suddenly find yourself at angles you wouldn’t otherwise experience. At some point you manage to do a headstand and are afraid of getting stuck upside down. Shortly afterwards, the next, somewhat quicker somersault follows. A moment later, the long deceleration phase begins and you change direction again in all possible angles of inclination. Wonderful! I am absolutely thrilled with the ride. The design of the Space Shuttle also speaks for itself. It’s just a shame that none of them have survived the test of time in Europe; at least not in their original version. So dear Movieland Park team, please buy a suitable counterweight and the corresponding shoulder restraints. It’s worth it, I promise!

Giant Frisbee

The rest of the ride portfolio consists of a wave swinger, an Italian-made swing up with far too narrow gondolas, and a giant frisbee from HUSS. The latter just does its thing – like every other Giant Frisbee from the same manufacturer. It’s okay.

White Cyclone

A glance at the clock on the 90-metre-high Aurora Wheel tells us: it’s time for wood. We are happy to comply and accordingly head for the entrance to the large white-painted wooden wall with the charismatic name White Cyclone.

The ride in the PTC trains begins with a wide left turn around the waiting area of the ride. We constantly lose height to gain enough momentum to enter the lift hill. This then takes us to a height of 42 m, where we then have a moment to enjoy the magnificent view of Nagashima Spa Land and Ise Bay. After a left turn, however, we rapidly descend to the ground. With the finest shake, rattle and roll we cross the first valley and then climb a high airtime hill. The exit then leads into a gigantic, constantly tapering helix far above ground level. Here you ride a little over hill and dale until you leave it at some point after a rapid dip over a hill.

The hill in question seems to be almost as high as the entrance to the helix, but based on the existing speed, it shouldn’t actually be the case. Visually an interesting trick in any case and so we plunge down again in a wonderful play of forces. Another airtime hill follows, as it is written in the book, before we disappear in the forest of pillars. In a very wide upward spiral, we now steadily increase in altitude metres before we reach the same kind of helix we already experienced a few moments ago. But instead of diving down briefly and then gaining height, we climb metre by metre up the wooden structure before then reaching the block brake of the ride.

After the fast-paced first part of the ride, the train plunges to the ground again. With gusto we pass under the valley of the first descent, conquer another airtime hill and dive into the wooden structure one more time. Inside the first helix we now go through a wide left turn before we are surrounded by wooden beams again. We then cross the ride over two hills and make our way along the outer edge of the roller coaster. Below the lift hill, the train disappears under the wooden construction for the last time in a wide left turn. Shortly afterwards, we reach the braking section of the ride and soon the station.

White Cyclone was a great wooden roller coaster with great pacing, lots of airtime moments and a well-tuned acceleration curve. In addition, the roller coaster lived on the shake, rattle and roll like hardly any other wooden roller coaster in the country, let alone any other wooden roller coaster I have already ridden. While I can understand that the roller coaster is now undergoing a makeover by the company RMC – because the layout offers many possibilities that have not yet been exhausted – on the other hand it is a pity that one of only four wooden roller coasters in Japan will disappear as a result. At least the basic structure of what was once the best roller coaster in Nagashima Spa Land remains and will be used in the future best roller coaster in the park. So we can be curious!

Pictures Nagashima Spa Land

Conclusion Nagashima Spa Land

Nagashima Spa Land is a great amusement park that offers so much in such a large area that you can’t help but be happy. This park simply offers everything possible, which means that every target group is covered – with the exception of dark ride fetishists, of course, because there are simply none of those in the park (outside of the scary walkthrough and a Pokémon attraction). I, at least, was completely thrilled by Nagashima Spa Land, which is why I would gladly return. There are many reasons for this, and the renovation of White Cyclone is yet another. So we’ll see you again sometime, but then with the full programme of onsen, water park, hotel visit and a detour to the nearby gardens.


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Hollywood’s Backdrop

The History of the Universal Studios Japan

When 30,000 visitors means a less crowded day, and every local visitor seems to be wearing yellow T-shirts and blue overalls, then – and only then – you are in Universal Studios Japan and the Minions have found their way into the park.

When it comes to Universal Studios Japan, it is important to understand how successful this park is and that 30,000 visitors is not an everyday number for any major park in Europe, nor would it be a desirable starting point for the visitors; but how did it come about that the fourth most visited theme park is located in Osaka, Japan?

To answer the question, you have to go back in time a little, to the 1980s to be precise, when the group’s only theme park to date was located in Hollywood and offered little apart from a studio tour and a few shows. Plans to build a similar attraction in Florida were always on the cards, but it wasn’t until after the huge success of the King Kong expansion of the studio tour in 1986 that these plans were realised. At the same time, sites for another park in Japan were also considered – including Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC) sites in Kitakyūshū and Sakai. While the Space World theme park was built in Kitakyūshū, the Sakai site was abandoned in favour of an urban development project in Osaka. At the end of 1994, Osaka Universal Planning Inc. was founded and two years later renamed USJ Co., Ltd. Arnold Schwarzenegger broke ground in October 1998 and Universal Studios Japan opened in March 2001.

In the first year alone, more than 11 million visitors came to the park, an unparalleled success – because unlike most other theme park projects, the park did not miss its target number of visitors by miles, but topped it many times over. However, the number of visitors dropped to 8 million in the second year and stabilised at this level until 2011. With the construction of the children’s area Universal Wonderland in 2012, the average number of visitors changed to 10 million. In 2014, the inauguration of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme area was followed by a jump in visitor numbers to 12.7 million visitors and 13.9 million visitors the following year. Another boost came in 2016 with the opening of The Flying Dinosaur roller coaster, which, however, also led to waiting times of up to 750 minutes at the roller coaster.

Tour of the park

It’ s therefore no wonder that we have included the Universal Express Pass 4 – The Flying Dinosaur in our planning for the tour. Other fast passes are available, but the Express Pass 4 was the most reasonable because of the Flying Coaster. But before we reach it, we first have to walk around the central lake of the Universal Studios Japan theme park.

Space Fantasy – The Ride

We therefore start on the covered Main Street in the Hollywood themed area and disregard the highlight on the right side of this; instead, we continue straight ahead, where several studio buildings smile at us on the left, including the one of the indoor roller coaster Space Fantasy – The Ride.

The ride on the most Japanese of all spinning coasters from Mack Rides begins with a small right turn, which soon leads us into the first lift hill. To the sounds of the band Dreams Comes True, we now throw ourselves into a steep left turn that quickly turns into a 270° upward helix. After a short straight, we head towards the floor again in a similar manoeuvre and, after a crisp right-hand bend, into the first braking section. With reduced speed, we now tackle the path towards the second lift hill and have plenty of time to let the J-Pop sounds and grandiose design take effect on us.

At some point, the ceiling of the hall is reached again and a wonderfully jagged downhill helix follows. A short bend to the right in the valley then leads us onto a short ramp, whereupon we cross the track of the first section. Two serpentine curves follow, leading us directly into the third and last lift hill of the ride.

The finale of the spinning coaster then begins quite brilliantly with a steep curve down to the hall floor, followed by another steep curve to transport the train back towards the ceiling of the hall. After a short straight section, the train enters a 180° downward helix in which, visually very convincing, a supernova is ignited on the passengers. This is followed by a short bunny hop and after a small turn you soon find yourself in the final brake of the ride and shortly afterwards in the station.

Space Fantasy – The ride is completely convincing despite its low altitude and speed. The space ride has a great flow and a simply wonderful design, and the comparatively idiosyncratic layout with its many straights and rather leisurely gradients fits perfectly to this country – a true Japanese coaster and thus a great product out of the Black Forest.

Terminator 2 3D

Equally brilliant innovations can be admired at the Cyberdyne Corporation in the building next door. Accompanied by a hostess, we are guided through the annual Cyberdyne Expo, which includes an image film and a product presentation in the theatre next door. But one thing in advance, the lady is hilarious and so the audience is first made fun of in a bitterly nasty way – of course only in Japanese, but still (especially thanks to the lady’s over-acting) uproariously funny. The image film itself is interrupted by an announcement from John and Sarah Connor, and Cyberdyne’s employees do their best to somehow cachet the situation.

In the theatre, we then experience the presentation of the first Terminators and, more importantly, the Skynet. Sarah and John Connor break into the auditorium. The situation seems to be under control, but a T-1000 appears and pursues the two. But first he quickly gets rid of the hostess. A second Terminator then comes through a time portal on a motorbike and immediately appears on stage. He then grabs John and flees with him through another portal. A wild chase ensues between our hero duo and the T-1000, as well as other adversaries on the way towards Skynet. Once there, the aim is to destroy the central core of the system – yet the T-1000000 is waiting here as the final enemy. Briefly stopping the T-1000000, the T-800 manages to make the necessary preparations to send John back in time and destroy Skynet. During the ensuing explosion, the visitors’ seats abruptly lower.

It was not really our priority to see rides and shows that still exist in the other Universal Studios parks and can be marvelled over there with a shorter waiting time. Interestingly, shortly after our visit, it turned out that Terminator 2 3D is to be discontinued at Universal Studios Orlando. We were lucky, because the show itself is just fantastic, albeit a little tough in the middle part of the 3D film. The interaction of stage and screen is exceptionally well done and the finale is beyond surprising, likewise the special effects in the auditorium are all worth seeing. Awesome!

The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man – The Ride

Another extremely well-attended attraction at the studios, at least as long as a raving Elmo isn’t setting the mood on the big stage and most of the Japanese are attending the concert at Universal Studios Japan, is the dark ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man – The Ride, in true 4K3D style.

There’ s a lot of things one has heard about the Spider Man ride in advance. Statements like “The best darkride in the world” were definitely true, especially after the update of the video quality, but I was still extremely sceptical, after all, one should keep one’s expectations low in order to be all the more amazed by the system in the end.  Perfectly coordinated movements interact with the video projections in the most ingenious way, so that in the end you leave the ride vehicle speechless and amazed and would like to queue up again. Particularly noteworthy is the electric shock scene, triggered by the villain Electro, and the scene with the anti-gravity gun; otherwise it is difficult for me to describe this dark ride, as it really is simply overwhelming.

Despicable Me Minion Mayham and Backdraft

Past the Minion Park and the dark ride Despicable Me Minion Mayham, which was characterised by horrendously long waiting times, as well as the fire effect show Backdraft – whose last show we unfortunately missed by just a few minutes – the path leads us directly to Jurassic Park. But not to the world-famous water ride Jurassic Parc – the Ride, which everyone knows anyway, but to the good new stuff that makes you fly. But don’t worry about the water ride, it’s still extremely exhilarating, just to say that in advance.

Flying Dinosaur

In fact, the ride on the Flying Dinosaur was our first of the day, after all, our Express Pass had a time slot that we were keen to heed – but that was still a little way off, so we dutifully joined the regular queue. Faster than expected, we made our way through the half-empty waiting area, which gave us a first glimpse of the immense willingness of the Japanese to wait, only to find ourselves 40 minutes later in the double loading station of the ride, standing in the front row.

After you have dutifully stowed your luggage, it doesn’t take long before the restraint is checked and you are waiting in the flying position for take-off. It is interesting, especially during boarding in the first row, how the staff in charge protectively stand in front of the wings of our chosen aircraft, knowing very well that some people have already bumped their heads. Via a switch we immediately reach the lift hill, which takes us up to an altitude of 38 metres. The first drop follows, which is extremely steep. In the first valley, we fly over the astonished passers-by at a lofty height that is nevertheless quite close to the ground, before we skilfully spiral upwards in an in-line twist. In doing so, we almost experience the crest again in flight position, but in the exit of the roll another half-twist is waiting for us to be pressed extremely brutally into the back cushions in the next valley. In the following inside raven turn, a kind of immelmann loop without a headstand, the dinosaur does not refrain from reducing the pressure in any way, which is why we only get to breathe again at a distant altitude.

But the next element is already approaching and after a short right/left turn far above the heads of the potentially riders at Universal Studios Japan, we reach it.  With a lot of momentum, we plunge into the Pretzel Loop, a ride manoeuvre in the shape of a pretzel, the valley of which we ride through in a lying position. With breathtaking speed and insane pressure on the ribs, we shoot through a short tunnel, just before we find ourselves again in lofty heights and lead our way from now on relatively close to the ground along the central lake. In a wide right turn we take momentum to be turned around our own axis once more in another in-line twist. This then turns into a beautiful and powerful 360° helix, which releases us parallel to the lift hill. A short dip later, we cross the last of the three in-line rollers before we soon find ourselves in the final brake of the ride.

The Flying Dinosaur is an insanely intense roller coaster that likes to use its high forces very often on its passengers. In fact, I would go so far as to call it the most intense roller coaster I have ridden (up to the time of my visit), and that includes calibres like the spinning coaster Tornado from the Danish amusement park Bakken, but with the fundamental difference that the Flying Dinosaur is also fun. Whether it’s the brutal in-line-twist-fly-to-lie combo and its subsequent breathtaking valley or the Pretzel Loop that is ridden through way too quickly – the flying dinosaur simply knows how to convince. Even the slow passages, which do exist, fit absolutely harmoniously into the overall picture and make The Flying Dinosaur one of the best rides of its kind.

Jurassic Park – The Ride

Another of the best rides of its kind is the Shoot-the-Chutes Jurassic Park – The Ride. The ride through the time-honoured dinosaur park is certainly one of the best-known rides in the world; so it’s all the nicer when the posted waiting times go by much faster than initially thought.

Since the ride is thankfully based on the first film, we are looking forward to an adventurous ride without divorce drama and genetically manipulated hyperdinos on the island of Isla Nublar. After leaving the station, a short lift hill takes us to an intermediate level, where we first bob through the channel for a few metres before approaching the significant gate from the film.  The gate opens, the music plays and you feel like you’re back in your childhood again, so my primary school self was addressed, and so the path leads us quite leisurely through the Ultrasaurus and Stegosaurus enclosures. In the hadrasaur enclosure we get a warning that the raptors have escaped. Meanwhile, two dilophosaurs fight over the remaining coat of a park employee, enough distraction to worry about our own escape. As we approach a building, a small container almost falls on our heads. In the building itself we use the transport device inside to get to the power station. On the now very long lift hill we gain some height and are attacked by velociraptors from both sides.  Once on the power station level we are attacked by more dinosaurs as we approach the evacuation path in a wide curve. A short lift hill brings us to the aforementioned shot, so that we can only very narrowly escape from a T-Rex that has just appeared. We now descend a good 26m, after which the obligatory splashdown takes place at the end.

This is also quite effective and can soak you wonderfully, although on the first trip we wondered when this would take place, before (quite untypically) it simply caught us ice-cold with a wave generated from behind. Although the subsequent trips used the more traditional method, you could observe it quite well on some boats. But before I digress too much, let me say that Jurassic Park – The Ride is a water ride that is absolutely worth seeing and should not be missed.


Certainly worth seeing, but unfortunately only once a day, is the water stunt show Water World, which we actually wanted to watch – but which absolutely did not fit in with the time schedule. Instead, we now focus on the fishing village of Amity and its famous harbour tour in Jaws, which visits the sites of the shark attacks from the summer of 1974.

Passing numerous well-known buildings and locations from Jaws, we leisurely sail through the harbour of the coastal town before a distress call reaches us. A short time later we only hear screams and then a torn boat and the fin of a shark. The shark now passes under our boat, which is then shaken back and forth a little.  Our skipper grabs a gun and fires two shots at the shark, but both miss their target. Meanwhile, we drive into a nearby boathouse to wait for Chief Brody. But the inevitable happens and the great white shark attacks us here as well.

We flee, but the shark is always on our trail. Armed again, our boatwoman shoots the grenade launcher once more, but now hits a gas tank, whereupon it ignites. Again, we only just manage to escape. On a nearby pier the boat is now to be evacuated. The great white shark attacks again, but bites into a conveniently placed underwater cable of a nearby electricity platform and thus roasts itself. After this stroke of luck, we reach the saving harbour and a truly adventurous harbour tour comes to an end.

Jaws is simply sheer cult, but the ride itself varies greatly due to the performance of the ship’s captain. The ride itself is solid and visually convincing, but it’s only really fun when the staff are excited and slightly panicked, and some are much better at that than others. Nevertheless, you should by no means miss out on the fun at Universal Studios Japan, because solid as the first film is, it certainly is.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, on the other hand, has led to a solid increase in the number of visitors to Universal Studios Japan, and today we can even enter the themed area without a time ticket. But before we stand in front of Dumbledore’s office entrance at Hogwarts, we have to explore the village of Hogsmeade and get a wand from Ollivander’s branch. Admittedly, the service is terrific and having a Japanese woman recite the spells from the Harry Potter universe was an extremely entertaining choice by the old man.

Flight of the Hippogriff

Since we were already close to Hagrid’s hut, we didn’t miss the chance to pay him a visit and take a flight on the Hippogriff. Flight of the Hippogriff is the standard model of a Vekoma Roller Skater with a little special feature, namely two trains.  Accordingly, the ride begins with a short curve out of the station and the subsequent lift hill. Immediately, you complete a left-leading steep turn with a subsequent upward helix, cross a short valley and a wide right turn near the station. Over a hill you cross the course you have just covered, whereupon you lose some altitude in another helix. A left turn follows, and soon the braking section is waiting. Here you wait a little until the train has been dispatched at the station and you can enter it.

Harry Potter and the forbidden Journey

Inspired, we joined the guided tour of Hogwarts, after all, we wanted to see what the castle looked like inside and we did not planned to experience the normal queue with its length of 120 minutes on this day. With our express pass in hand, going through the express queue at Harry Potter and the forbidden Journey was also of an enjoyable nature, even though we had no further rights after checking in our hand luggage and had to wait there for a few minutes.

But that was also only of short duration, so that a short time later we could take a seat on one of the four-seater gondolas. The wild ride through the old walls begins with Hermione’s generous use of flea powder, on which we are soon to find ourselves in the observatory. Slight tilting effects to the side provide initial excitement during the transport, because all movements are absolutely smooth – which is quite unexpected, given the otherwise very rough movement profiles of the stationary robo-coasters. In the observatory itself, we join Harry and Ron and experience a fabulous ride over the rooftops of Hogwarts towards the Quidditch game. Meanwhile, we encounter Hagrid, who confronts us asking if we’ve seen the dragon, only to encounter said dragon moments later. Pushed by the dragon, our path leads us into a bridge, where it then waits for us as an animatronic, but we manage to escape.

Shortly afterwards we find ourselves in the forbidden forest, where we immediately encounter Aragog. Hermione rushes to help and chases him away, while we continue our escape. More spiders get in our way, but we manage to leave the forest. In the clearing, the whipping willow awaits us, although we are able to avoid it quite well, it eventually catches us and we are thrown into the Quidditch stadium. So far so good, after all it was our goal and we are live in the action – which is much cooler than the trendy sport of the Muggles in Europe.

When Slytherin unfortunately scores a goal against Gryffindor, Dementors enter the arena, and since evil plus evil always results in evil, Harry immediately escorts us out of the arena. In the process, we get separated from Harry and soon find ourselves in the Chamber of Secrets. Another Dementor chases after us and even Lord Voldemort gives in. We manage to escape, but a horde of Dementors is already waiting for us. It is getting cold, the movements of the gondola carrier noticeably slow down and a heartbeat sounds from the subwoofers of the gondola is played. At the last possible moment, Harry chases the Dementors away and we follow him through the collapsing entrance towards Hogwarts. In the main hall leading to the grand staircase, we meet all kinds of students and teachers and, last but not least, Albus Dumbledore, who uses flea powder to transport us to the Room of Requirement, i.e. the station of the ride.

I was flabbergasted. I would never have thought that the Kuka robots could make such a journey. I was also simply overwhelmed by the scale of the decorations and screens. The whipping willow in particular thrilled me so much that I could only respond to the rest of the ride with a broad permanent grin. The symbiosis between projection and real scenery works just perfectly and the ride system supports this in the best way. The great freedom of movement of the robots in particular brings an incredible dynamic to the ride, which is also used perfectly and thus ultimately offers an absolutely wild but extremely harmonious ride through the Harry Potter universe. I’d love to see more of it!


I’m at least looking forward to returning to Hogwarts at some point and taking another ride on the magical benches, but before that I’m heading to see Harry Potter And The Cursed Child in London and for you now to the Wonderland themed area, where characters from Snoopy, Sesame Street and Hello Kitty can be found.

There are all kinds of children’s rides here, such as a horse carousel, a Kontiki, a children’s driving school and much more. In one of the halls of Snoopy Studios there is another children’s roller coaster, which unfortunately had horrendous waiting times during the day, but luckily in the evening you could get on directly, which is why I didn’t miss out on a ride – especially as it is a Japanese ride from the manufacturer Senyo.

Snoopy’s Great Race

The ride in the soapboxes of Snoopy’s Great Race begins with a small right turn out of the station. The friction wheel lift quickly transports the train up to the ceiling of the hall, whereupon it quickly picks up speed on a short straight. In a left turn in Bavarian curve style, the train leads over hill and dale before it dives under the lift hill. In a wide right-hand bend, the train breaks through a large billboard and shortly afterwards gains height on the rear wall of the hall. A short dip to the right leads the train into the rapid finale of the ride.  After a short uphill section, a wonderful left-hand helix follows, whereupon the braking section and station are soon reached and the ride on this wonderful family roller coaster comes to an end.

Hollywood Dream – The Ride

Passing the show theatre of the Universal Monsters Live Rock and Roll show, which we once again just missed, we head for the last roller coaster at Universal Studios Japan: Hollywood Dream – The Ride. Universal wouldn’t be Universal if the B&M Hyper Coaster didn’t have one or two special features – so it’s no wonder that in addition to a selection of different songs, there’s also the option to ride the ride backwards in the backdrop train.

Since the waiting times for both options differed only minimally, we naturally chose the backdrop option for our first ride, as we wanted to be surprised by the track layout. Since three of the four trains are forward-facing, the queue was always pushed forward, but with the handling here at Universal Studios Japan, even this circumstance hardly mattered, so that we were able to board the train quite quickly.

Once dispatched, the train leaves the station via a switch and then takes a wide left turn with a straight intermediate segment before reaching the lift. For us at this moment, of course, everything happens the wrong way round, which is why a short time later we are hanging in the clamshell bars. To the sound of Justin’s Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling in a rendition by the in-house music band R&B The Voice, we climb the 44m-high lift hill and immediately plunge down to the loud cries of jubilation of the first shot. With the flow of the music, we pass the first slightly transverse valley, whereupon we shoot up a camelback and immediately lose contact with the seat. Landing on the seat again, we are immediately torn back and forth in a wild S-curve manoeuvre, very similar to the finale of the Silver Star roller coaster from Europa Park, only to then tackle the front turn of the layout. This is shaped like a classic horse-shoe element and is driven through with a lot of pressure. The exit of this element is much lower than the entrance, because the next metres of the track we now complete directly below or slightly parallel to the track we have just completed. In the process, we cross two more wonderful camelbacks before the train takes a new path. Another camelback follows after a short curve, just before the intermediate brake of the ride is reached.

We pass through it at a good speed and immediately plunge down again a few metres. We throw ourselves into a transversely inclined hill and plunge towards the ground. With insane pressure we now cross a 540° helix close to the ground before we take the way back just below the route we just completed. In the process, we cross a small hill, pass through a house façade and end up in the final brake after a small S-curve swerve. The band says goodbye and wishes us another wonderful day at Universal Studios Japan, whereupon we reach the station.

We leave the ride full of enthusiasm and immediately agree that Hollywood – The Ride Backdrop is the best roller coaster at Universal Studios Japan and one of the surprises of the entire tour. Everything is just right here, so of course we didn’t miss the chance to do a little marathon on the ride; after all, the waiting time in the single rider line flew by despite the waiting time indicated. Unfortunately, there are deductions in the B grade for the forward ride, as you can already see the track in front of you and there are no surprises. On a positive note, however, even in this case the ride is outstandingly good and makes all European rides of this kind look so old. To be fair, however, it should be mentioned that I generally find the smaller rides from the manufacturer B&M much better than the large representatives.

Pictures Universal Studios Japan

Conclusion Universal Studios Japan

We ended the day at the nearby Hard Rock Café, because apart from its catering prices, Universal Studios Japan is the best amusement park I have visited so far. Despite the crowds, we were able to ride all the roller coasters more than once and probably got our money’s worth thanks to the Express Pass. Of course, the question is whether we would have needed it, but the answer is definitely no – it was just nice to have it because it allowed us to do more. Since we still didn’t see any of the shows and even did without a ride on the Minions, we definitely recommend a longer stay at the studios, because Universal Studios Japan is simply not doable in one day – it’s hard to imagine what it would be like if the park is actually full (which is often the case) and you can’t even get into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter or take a ride on The Flying Dinosaur.


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