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  1. Hello everyone: Me and my family are looking at maybe doing a trip to Japan, most likely in April or May 2026 but that is not confirmed yet. Any places we should go? We will most likely be going to Osaka and maybe Japan via the Bullet Train, so we are looking at things to do there. We want to go to Universal in Osaka and maybe Tokyo Disney, but we wont just be doing a park trip so we want some suggestions on what else there is to do in Japan. If any previous visitors to Japan could leave some tips here that would be great.
  2. With Volcano Bay and Islands of Aventure out of the way its time to take a look at Universal Studios Florida https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/universal-studios-florida (For all the pics) Again, I spread out my entries over about 3 days. I made it there one evening when it was an absolute downpour. This meant the crowds were light, and outdoor rides were closed, so a good excuse to knock out indoor stuff with minimal wait to start with. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts Wow, this one really impressed me. Universal have copped some flak for doing a lot of screen based attractions, but this one did the 'ride' part well too, and the theming was fully immersive right from start to finish. In short You are on a tour of the bank vaults but are caught in a battle between Harry and Voldemort. After making your way through some well themed bank corridors, you catch a lift down to the underground vaults, which used a cool vibrating floor to give the sense of the lift shuddering and siezing up on the way down. Eventually you end up in a grimy underground tunnel system with stalectites hanging from the ceiling, where you find the load area.The ride is a roller coaster system, but the cars can rotate to any position, and there are some pretty nifty special track sections used throughout. Right at the start of the ride, the evil Belatrix attacks you, and the whole track tilts like a Vekoma Tilt coaster, but only to about 45 degrees. From here you are released down a first drop, theres a brief s bend (a very minimal amount of coaster!). The next couple of scenes are in front of screens, with the ride vehicles actually rotating quite powerfully in time with the on screen action. I recommend back seat on this ride since both the tilt track and the rotations feel more intense up there. Another section has the train actually stop on a section of track with a full motion base underneath it (must have to be as strong as anything!), and again the ride vehicles jostle a fair bit. The final showdown takes place in front of a wraparound screen, with you being hooked up behind a dragon to escape the vaults. There's a small launch and turn (another brief bit of coastering) and you are back at the station. I think it did all the dark ride and screen based bits perfectly, and the motions are really good, I just think the coaster bits at the start and end could have been just a teensy bit more fleshed out . Obviously doesn't have to be as substantial as revenge of the mummy, but it should be more than 1 turn! Hogwarts Express Did this in both directions on my first night. It's a train ride connecting both parks, but it does have limited capacity (only 2 trains, operating like a shuttle), so during the day I saw waits of 40 mins or more, at which point its quicker to walk between the parks. The stations at each end are well themed, particularly the whole Kings Cross complex at the USO end. There's a neat feature where guests appear to pass into a solid brick wall to access platform 9&3/4, done by having a well positioned mirror and a wall you walk around. In practice, it means you watch the people ahead of you walk through the wall, but when its your turn, all you end up seeing is a black painted opening in the wall on the other side of the mirror. Cool that they at least managed to fake the effect though! Onboard the train, you are locked into a well themed carriage, with a screen showing the outside world (no real windows, since the track has to travel through all the back of house areas between both parks...the commitment to immersion is impressive!) There's a different film depending on which direction you are travelling. Personally I thought the USO>IOA direction one was better and more dramatic. Diagon Alley Should touch on this, much of the same ideas seen in the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter....A pub selling british food, quirky shopfronts with animatroinic displays, a bit of a 1910s look to everything. Just substitute the village for laneways of London. It all does look superb, with plenty of details, and all buildings having this slight wonkiness to it. And they did nail the whole instagram moment, with the dragon wrapped around the rooftop that regularly spits fire. I did stop in at Florean Fortescues ice cream parlour. Wouldn't have minded trying a few flavours, but at about $8 usd a serve, I limited myself to the pleasant tasting "butterbeer ice cream", which tasted caramelly. Fast & Furious Supercharged Much like Kong, this is just a clone of immersive tunnel part of the Studio Tour in Hollywood. The queue line is well themed, through some car workshops, but the preshows were kind of lost on me. Apparently we are going to a party on a bus, but now some bad guys are closing in on us? The lady presenting the preshow was taking the piss a bit, repeating "Family" every time it was said on the video. Guess you'd have to watch the films to really get it? The buses you ride depart from a back alley themed loading dock, and go around a corner into a warehouse, where a large transparent screen shows crowds of people partying. A CIA agent turns up and shuts the party down (?), some words are said, and then all of a sudden you roll out of the party and are in the middle of a high speed car chase with various guys in cars and helicopters shooting at you. (Achieve by having two long screens either side of the bus, with a motion base underneath) They get around the fact a bus is slow by having two allies turn up with supercharged tow trucks that you are attached to with cables, allowing you to escape at high speed. The visuals here are good, racing through an arid LA themed environment with freeways and oil refineries. Of course, one of them is blown up, with you feeling the splash of fuel onto you. It's still worth a ride for that simulator sequence, just dont expect to understand anything else prior unless you have seen the films. Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Better than expected. It's a simulator with a large curved screen like Sky Voyager, but you sit on a more conventional motion base in front of it rather than the whole multi level, leg dangling arrangement seen on an actual flying theatre. The queue is quite attractive, themed like NBC studios, and the preshows are done as if you are going on set for a real tv production. The ride is imagined like a zany challenge on the show where the audience races against Jimmy Fallon. Its zany and unrealistic though, as in you end up going to the moon, underwater, through subway tunnels (and of course familiar sights like Times Square, Statue of Liberty and so on). Good motion and animation, but the park already had 2 standalone simulators anyway.... Villain Con - Minion Blast Shooting dark ride, but instead of riding in cars with guns attached to the seat with a cord (Like JL), you are given a handheld laser tag type gun, and you stand on a moving conveyor belt that travels through scenes. For those of you who get intrusive thoughts about jumping on the baggage carousel at the airport, your dream just came true here! The queue theming is a lot of fun, imagined like a trade show for villains, with various booths selling products geared towards villains, like weapons, underground lairs, dangerous animals and getaway vehicles. You are then invited to take on the "Vicious 6" , and board the 'ride' One of the coolest things i saw was you grab a gun off a rack that works like a dry cleaning carousel, synced to the boarding speed of the conveyor, so as you pass, a gun is right there ready for you to grab. Each scene has a bit of theming, and one large screen, so you are shooting at animated targets on screen...Kinda felt like every Triotech thing ever, though a bit hard because theres 20 other people shooting, so you really have to concentrate to note lose sight of your icon amongst everyone elses. Was OK. Transformers Always a solid attraction, but perhaps feels less unique in Orlando with Spiderman next door. Still one of my favourite dark rides, with very well integrated 3D screens and set designs. For those of you unfamiliar, you are on a mission to protect the Allspark and chaperone it out of the city, but are intercepted by Decepticons. The ride vehicle spends brief periods parked in front of 3D screens, with the areas in betweeen done as real life sets and walls. The screens are positioned to work into the environment, for example you might be looking down a corridor, and the screen at the end appears to carry the perspective off into the distance.A few of the screens are full 180 degree curved screens too, and these are used for sequences where you are being chased, or flying. Some really ways to tie this all together, for example at one point you are racing along a street and pass under a bridge, your vehicle spins out and is thrown into reverse, and you transition into the next scene, but in the transition space they have built a recreation of the bridge you just saw on screen, and before you know it, you are now in front of a different screen. The Bourne Stuntacular More screens, this one is actually a pretty innovative use of them though. Imagine a stunt show, where the entire backdrop is a screen, and its all indoors. In a normal stunt show you would have people running or driving around in a set area, eg like what happens on HSD. But here, the screen is used for beautiful panoramic shots and moving backgrounds, and they bring physical things in front of it. For example at one point there is a car chase, the cars are sitting static on the stage, but the background is moving behind them, giving the illusion they are racing along at high speed. One of the most impressive things is where they somehow get a whole facade of an apartment building about 3 stories high to slide in from one side of the stage, a guy jumps off the balcony, and grabs onto a cable hanging from a helicopter. As the helicopter starts moving, that whole apartment building moves away into the distance. Pretty full on, I'd like to see shows like this at other Universal parks. Springfield USA Around the simpsons ride, they have built a whole food court with places from the show like Krustyburger, Moe's, The Frying Dutchman, Luigis Pizza and so on. Tried a couple of items but found them both to be a bit of a miss. The Flaming Moe is pretty much just fanta with some dry ice in it to make it bubble. I was hoping for some sort of faux cough syrup flavour as in the show, but this is what we get. They also had the Ribwich at Krustyburger. Though it wasn't really like a mcrib, but rather a few big chunks of marinated pork on a bun.F Flith. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem I'll just copypaste my previous review of the Hollywood one. "I was expecting to be meh about this one because Facebook ruined minions (apparently adding a picture of a minion to a meme makes it relatable) But it was actually funny! Basically you are shrunk to minion size and sent on a training course, so it feels like you are in a computer game level, with minions falling over a d being knocked over by obstacles." I think that's all the new stuff since last time I was there, so onto the rerides. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit All the music has changed since last time. I did Darude: Sandstorm, which really worked well in terms of reaching a crescendo before the first drop. The ride still shakes and bangs around waaaay too much, so it was 1 and done for me. ET Adventure Hehe this one is fun. The queue is themed like a forest, and you ride on flying bicycles back to ETs planet, which is dying. ET uses his healing touch to bring it back to life, so most of the ride is pretty trippy, with alien flowers blooming aroud you, fountains spouting and so on. Revenge of the Mummy Still holds up well, with some good fire effects, animatronics, and a forceful indoor coaster sequence. Has a great gag where you believe the ride has come to an end, but this is followed by even more coaster! MIB Alien Attack Justice League style dark ride, with you shooting at aliens. This one has some extra spice, with two tracks. at one point you are shooting at the other vehicle, which makes them spin out of control, making it harder for them to get points. *********** Final Thoughts. I think the Diagon Alley area, and Bourne Stuntacular are excellent, as is the port of Transformer but in some way it feels like the park has had a bit less love compared to the calibre of attractions they have opened next door at IOA. Do they really need to have added so many simulators?
  3. Universals Islands of Adventure https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/islands-of-adventure (For all the pics) Ah, nice to be back at one of my favourite parks. Well themed, good mix of dark rides, water rides and thrills, and pretty well considered in terms of having plenty of things for kids scattered throughout. I've been here before, so less urgency to see everything (I skipped over the water rides), that will make this trip report a bit shorter. For those unfamilar with the park, it has a few themed lands: Port of Entry. The "main street" of the park, with a bit of exotic explorers theme, with plenty of gags. Marvel Super Hero Island: Built before the whole MCU thing / Disney, its a real animated looking area with oversized cutouts and stylised buildings. And because of the terms of the licensing agreement, Disney cant use these characters in their parks lol. Toon Lagoon: Errr, more comics I guess, but these are the ones you'd see in newspapers, like the Phantom, Popeye (But no Garfield or Peanuts it seems!) Jurrassic Park, needs no introduction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Islands of Adventure was a good park, but just didn't get the attendances it needed. Potter turned all this around. Lost Continent. The only non IP zone in the park, but part of it was swallowed up by Potter, and the two attractions it DID have are now closed. Hopefully this gets redeveloped. Seuss Landing. The most kid friendly area of the park, wonky and full of colour. But lets cut to the chase, everyone probably wants to know about Jurrasic World Velocicoaster Yep it lives up to the hype, a highly themed, properly intense launch coaster from Intamin that is just a polished experience from start to finish. The story goes that in their quest to further thrill guests, Jurrasic World have decided to build a roller coaster in a raptor pen, where you can see them up close. The queue is well themed, a highlight being the medical room where a couple of raptors are in a crush getting their daily check up, and the room actually smells like antiseptic. There's also windows onto the launch track, with transparent screens showing raptors chasing each launching train. Just before the station you have to put your stuff in a locker, activated with your park ticket (and if your ticket is on your phone, they give you a card with a barcode to use instead. The final bit of the preshow is hilarious, with Owen the raptor trainer ranting about how the whole concept of a coaster in a raptor pen is a terrible idea and you should all leave, and Claire the manager saying it will all be fine and perfectly safe. There's a separate queue for the front row in the station, with not too much extra wait due to the speed they dispatch, so its worth doing once or twice. My tip, front right is the best seat, because on a few of the elements that side seems to get banked up more. As for the coaster. Before the launch is section with raptor pens either side of you, with screens showing them thrashing around inside, bumping the cage walls etc and workers keeping them at bay with cattle prods. A good launch leads into an Immelmann with strong airtime at the top (think DC rivals loop), dive down steeply into a rocky tunnel (and the rockwork on this ride is really good, with sharp spiky bits that you feel like you're going to hit. Next comes a dive loop, followed by a bunch of quick twisted turns, transitions, and a couple of airtime hills all crammed in. You are constantly rising and falling and avoiding rocks, so there's a real element of surprise as you work through this section. There are a few raptor statues perched on the rocks, but they sort of blend in, so you really have to look for them. Eventually you hit the 2nd launch, which really spices things up. A top hat with ejector leads to a steep drop, a high speed S bend at ground level, and then a very long zero g stall which has you hanging upside down for a few seconds. Next comes a 720 degree helix, but the 'helix' is interruped with elements, so theres this fake out reversed banked turn, then a wave turn (imagine a sideways airtime hill) And then for the wild finale, a speed hill over a lake, followed by the "mosasaurus roll", which is like a more agressive version of the roll on ST, really dunking you down and throwing you to the side, so you cant help but grab the bar. A quick couple of turns and you hit the brakes. I think the name of the element is a gimmick though. I get the feeling the intent was that there was supposed to be a jaws style animatronic jumping out of the water when the train goes past. They totally should do that. Pretty awesome overall, the two halves have their own character. Fast transitions and confusion on the first half, big grand elements on the 2nd half. Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure A real 1-2 punch with the park having this as well. Imagine the fun of Jet Rescue spread out over 1.5km of track. The park is onto a winner, with it consistently having a a posted wait of 60-90 mins. Again though they tend to overstate, i saw a wait of 70 min but it was more like 45. The first bit of the queue is themed well too, full of magical creature classroom stuff. By magic they have duplicated flying motorbikes for everyone to join hagrid on for a lesson on magical creatures in the forbidden forest. The final room in the queue I thought was clever, Imagine standing under a deck, with people riding motorbikes and doing doughies above you. They used some form of projection to simulate this. Ocassionally too you'd see silhouettes other creatures like giant spiders appearing to walk above you. Loading is done by a moving conveyor, so this ride really does have huge capacity, its just that demand is high too because its a good ride. The first bit has a short launch then a drop down then a bigger launch, and a few quick turns at ground level. Eventually the track enters hagrid's hut, when a blast ended skrewt (imagine a giant double ended scoption shooting fire out of its ass) shoots smoke at you. With that you launch again, up into an airtime hill through a castle ruin, down a curved drop into a tunnel, more ground level turns, another launch, and even more turns. Already at this point the coaster part has been pretty substantial but there is more to come. The track continues into a short foggy tunnel through a rocky outcrop, with a crashed car on it, surrounded by cornish pixies. Well they have designed the sightlines well here, because the shape of the outcrop is good enough to disguise a vertical reverse stall, like a little baby tower of terror. Obviously you get to go up higher in the front seat, but i never got that sadly. You travel backwards, with a high speed track switch sending you up into a helix, and by the time you have had a moment to process all that you have reversed into a show building. In the show building, the walls and ceiling appear to be writhing with devils snare vines all around you. Great concept, but you can see the shed roof and trees ''cutting off" at the ceiling line quite clearly here, which undoes some of the immersion despite the money they would have spent. But a couple of seconds later, the whole track drops a few meters (Much like Thirteen at Alton or Namazu at Vulcania), and you exit the darkness into the open air. Then one last launch, the most powerful of all. The coolest feature is a trail of light and smoke along the side of the launch, giving the impression of rocket fuel (or in this case "dragons breath" giving you the power needed to accelerate. A couple of final high speed turns and you hit the brakes, and join a conga line of 3 or 4 trains rolling into the unload station, also with a conveyor belt. Overall this ride is excellent. Good level of intensity on the coaster bit, and the way it hides both the reverse stall and the drop tracks as suprises on the way, integrated seamlessly into the pacing works really well. The level of theming is high for the most part, aside from perhaps the indoor show building (from the outside it looks like a shed too, guess it needs more trees to cover it?) As a final note, I saw perhaps the most chaotic good, but non condonable behaviour ever at a park. On one of my rides i was in the singles queue, but it was moving slow. You get most people in even groups, which can make this line crawl. A group of people ahead of me decided to cut into the main queue sneakily. I was thinking they were just line jumping, but of course, I was not going to cause a scene and complain. But, the plot twist came when they were at the front. When the grouper asked them how many, each of them said one, one, one, one. Net result, was that 8 people got cleared from the singles queue in the space of a minute lol. Skull Island: Reing of Kong This is the only other 'new' ride for me was this. It's an immersive tunnel attraction, or rather a few of immersive tunnels in sequence. You ride in a tour bus that stops in long cylindrical rooms with screens either side. There's also a motion base, so at each of these points stuff happens on screen, before you drive off into the next. The studio tour at Hollywood has an abridged version of this (Where the tour shuttle will drive into a building shake table with screens either side) The queue is well themed, through a dark temple. A highlight is this giant worm in a glass cabinet moving about, a taste of all the other mutant things you'll see on Skull Island. You board your tour bus and from there set out on your jungle expedition. The next few minutes can be described as various battles and attacks from giant creatures, with a liberal amount of water being squirted at you every time something gets decapitated or shot, ugh. Overall, decent I thought, but I think the limitations of the bigger vehicles and the longer time spent at each screen makes it feel a bit less frantic than other screen based dark rides like Spiderman or Transformers. Incredible Hulk Coaster Tell a lie, technically this is 'new' since they replaced all the track since I last visited. The queue has been totally refreshed and looks great, with lots of neon scientific equipment, too bad you cant take pics, since the lockers are before you enter the queue, so no phones. Onboard, the launch tunnel has been fitted out with LED screens, showing energy pulsating around the train before you launch. Forgot how darn intense this ride is, with positive G forces that dont let up, and huge elements. And of course that zero g roll straight out of the launch tunnel is a great start to the ride. Cat in the Hat A bit of a sleeper hit. This ride goes through the story of Cat in the Hat, with the words being recited, with each scene being an animated version of a page of the book. A real delight actually. **** A note on food. I had the "Green eggs and ham". Basically potato gems, with scrambled eggs (with chives to make it green) and diced ham and some cheese. Actually a filling breakfast option. Amazing Adventures of Spiderman Always a favourite, and now in 4K (I've done the 4K version in Japan, good to experience it in English) Still holds up well, and the re animated sections have more background gags to spot. Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey A great ride from a physical standpoint, after all, being flung around on a robotic arm whilst following a track is real technical achievement. But since then, the newer Harry Potter rides have done a bit better in terms of storytelling, leaving this one feeling a bit chaotic. I guess you cant blame them, this was the first HP ride ever built, so it seemed like they were trying to fit as many things in there as possible. Quiddich? Dragons? Dementors? Still a great ride, just wish more parks would do them, and with more themes (At this point, I think its only WB World Abu Dhabi that has done one) **** These days you can now get 'warm butter beer' in the area, but I thought it tasted like white hot chocolate mostly. I had a laugh that Heathcliff was mentioned....Heathcliff comics are absurd: And thats IOA for another decade likey.
  4. Volcano Bay https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/volcano-bay A couple of weeks ago I finally got to visit Volcano Bay in Orlando. Got a pretty good run at the place, the weather was rainy, but it was also warm and humid, and the water is kept at a perfect temperature, which was fine for this South East Queenslander. The net result was a dead park, and walk ons for almost everything. I was in and out in about 4 hours, and that was with re-rides, a lap to take some photos and mucking around to have lunch. Entry to the park is a bit of a pain in the arse if park hopping. You have to walk right to the back of the car park, where they have built a bus station, for shuttles to the park. Nothing screams tropical getaway like this? IDK maybe they could have built a shutte train from Citywalk itself and called it the Pineapple Express or something? But they make up for it when you arrive because its legitimately one of the nicest park entries anywhere. Overall impressions, has one of the most impressive slide line ups anywhere, and I guess what sets them apart is they are typically much longer than other installs. This means much longer climbs to the top, but it also means you get quite a lengthy ride every time. Theming is nice and has been beautifully styled, but for me it's still fundamentally a water park, just with all the signs and handrails etc better themed than usual. None of the slides really had any additional theming or SFX on them. There were lots of nice details to spot if you keep your eyes peeled. Most of the technical wizardly is reserved for the various interative Tapu Tapu things you can activate with your RFID wristband. This ranged from interactive fountains to underwater features, right through to light shows in a cool little walkthrough hidden inside the volcano. This wristband is also used to make ride reservations, though given the non existent crowds it went unnoticed, though you still tap in on each ride, so i guess they get super accurate guest flow statistics! The Punga Racers Body Slides and the 'normal' lazy river Kopiko Wai were closed for annual maintenance but I didn't really care, and of course the Runamukka Reef (get it? run amok) is just for the kids. Onto the slides. Ohno and Ohya drop slides Drop slides that finish a few meters above the pool, with some nice waterfalls. Fun to watch and quite attractive. The nicest feature was the interative kids pool next door with big spinning fountains that would throw water in a giant spiral pattern. Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides I'll get my one moan out of the way early. Yes there are a couple of attractions with catchy sounding names, and I can see they were trying to keep to the theme with these tribal sounding words, but for most of the rides the names they have are just not memorable. Which of these slides was Maku and which was Puihi? I dunno? It's not like something such as "Perfect Storm" or "Mammoth Falls" or "Summit Plummet" where at least its kind of fun and catchy and gives you an idea of what the ride might be like. I guess thats why they have given them captions like "Round Raft Rides", anhow, whinge over. The one that is the big saucer type slide is actually pretty good, even if the saucer is a visual gimmick, since this was quite a fast slide and you rode up on the walls a fair bit on the turns. The double tornado slide is the 36ft model, so its Smaller than the 45ft Tornado at Adventure Park Geelong, but bigger than the 24ft Tantrum Alley at at Raging Waters Sydney. Despite this, it might as well been as rough as the 24ft ones, but didn't really have all the extra turns and helices that come with it, so it felt quite short, but also lacked the signature tornado airtime. ehhh. Te Awa - The Fearless River This is a high speed lazy river, so fast in fact you have to wear a life jacket, which you'd never see in Aus lol. This was great, its fun to power swim along, and there are some big waves, including a huge surge of water that gets released periodically, and happened to go off right as i was in front of the inlet. Woosh! Waturi Beach Bit of a miss. Looks great, but the waves are definitely underpowered. Typhoon Lagoon reigns supreme as the best wave pool in Orlando. I did like how they had a spinning dial on a tower that would rotate to show a wave icon when the waves came on. Taniwah Tubes Take the Temple of Huey from WWW and make it 3x higher and this is what you get. What is also nice is the way rafts have a conveyor, which land on a mezzanine below the start deck. So you only have to carry your raft one flight of stairs, and there is none of that muck around with queuing separately at the bottom for a raft. Another minor grumble, all 4 slides were running and had water going down them, but they only had 2 of 4 open, and yeah they are pretty similar, but one had this intense looking double helix I wanted to try and of course that was the one that was not available and they weren't rotating. The green one was standard raft slide stuff, but the blue ones had a bit more kick, with Proslides Explosion Curves, which are like their take on the constrictor, so you got a little head spin on each helix. Krakatau Aqua Coaster Again, like Supertubes at WWW if you made it several times longer. Im not normally that big on water coaster type slides, because to be honest straight gentle drops in a raft just aren't all that thrilling (though the uphill slighty bumpy LIM launches are fun). I guess i just prefer slides that wash you around a bit and feel out of control. Give me a tornado or a wave any day. These slides just repeat the same trick over and over. Somehow, my head was just at the right height to get hit by every single sprayer that wets the surface, so the whole time I'm squinting trying to avoid chlorinated mist in my eyes. The one big thumbs up I'll give this is the completely over the top theming of the station and the beautiful landscaping around the first couple of drops. Why did they do such massive safety fences? They almost treat it like a real roller coaster in terms of safety. Ko'okiri Body Plunge The biggest and baddest, it's a straight trapdoor drop from the very top of the volcano. This has the fun gimmick of transparent sections a the top, and again at the bottom where the slide passes through a swimming pool, so people can swim right up and apparently watch as you shoot past. Aaaand of course you get water in your face the whole time so can't really see much, and half the drop is in darkness so perhaps you lose the sense of speed a bit. Gave it a couple of goes because that intial trap door release is still pretty cool. The bit passing through the pool is nice on paper, but doesn't really work in practice because physics. If you keep your head above water and try to look at the tube the refraction of light means you end up seeing shimmering instead, though if you put your head underwater and open your eyes then yeah you can see a split second splatter when the rider goes past. Kala & Ta Nui Serpentine Body Slides Also from the top of the Volcano are a couple of turbo tunnel slides with trapdoors (again only 1 was open). This was the only ride where I was given a return time (The whole of 10 mins). The climb up the Volcano is very cool, with the staircase zig zagging through the tangle of slides and supports. The ride down has a bit less water in your face and consists of several very fast turns, so you cover a lot of slide in short space of time. Only did this one once. Honu ika Moana - Turtle & Whale A couple more decent family raft slides. Again with the naming, the blue slide is apparently the Turtle and the green one is Whale, so try and figure that one out. The Green one is mammoth type slide, without any gimmicks, and you know what it was legitmatley one of the best slides the park, it was long, it was fast, you got good wall time, and the straights in between actually work well because they give the rafts a chance to wash around. The double tornado wave is really good too. These rides are heaps of fun to begin with, but having the 2nd drop following from the first is a bit of genius because you get this scary moment where it feels like you could go airborne. Of course its all highly calculated and you get two big airtime moments. Worth a couple rides, especially if you can get a fully loaded raft. Overall, yes I'd recommend the place, especially if you have a multi day ticket to Universal since if you get bored you can go sit on Hagrids or Velocicoaster for the rest of the day. The slides are all mostly better versions of your favourites.
  5. Hi All So we've bit the bullet and booked our first overseas family trip! It's been a long time coming (i haven't left our shores since 2000). Despite saying i wouldn't take my wife and son to any other Disney park for their first taste of the magic until they had been to Disneyland itself, i went back on that given the ridiculous Aussie dollar, and the opportunity to travel with friends in a large group which is great for the adults, and the kids. It's also my first trip to Japan. We are in the country for 2 weeks, starting off with 3 days in Osaka - 2 of which will be spent at USJ. Already booked the 7 attraction express pass for one of the days (hello to a $1000 day out for 3 people). We're staying at the Universal Park Front hotel right on the doorstep which will make the early start a little easier. We'll be doing the aquarium one night too as cant pass up the chance to see Whale Sharks in the flesh. We're then off to the snow for 2 days in Hakuba (again something none of us have experienced) Before heading to Tokyo for 9 nights. We're staying at Hilton Tokyo Bay, so not an official disney hotel, but a partner hotel not far from the park. I've penciled in 4 Disney days (2 at land, 2 at sea). Open to another day at one of them if need be. My partner has a mild disability so being on her feet all day wont be an option, so there will be plenty of resting time, potential hire of a wheelchair etc, so we may not be as quick around the parks as others. Bummed they dont offer multi day hopper passes like DL/CA do, you can only buy single day tickets to one or the other park. We have a heap of other things we want to cover off while there - Harry Potter Studio Tour, TeamLabs, animal cafes, pokemon centre/cafe, shopping etc BUT would love some suggestions on some theme park/rides/attractions in Tokyo itself, or any other must see's if people have anything they'd like to personally recommend. I'd love to get out to Fuji Q if we can score a free day, but it's not the highest on the priority list given the travel needed.
  6. Hi all, Been quite a while since I posted here - but after any tips/tricks/advice for visiting Disneyland and DCA in current times. Husband and I are travelling just after Christmas, and have four days at Disneyland/DCA and two day at Universal. We have pre-booked Genie+, as well as a few dining options (Goofy's Kitchen, World Of Colour Dessert Party, etc). I have NEVER been the American Disney parks (only HK as a kid), but I have done A LOT of research into Disney parks and would like to say I'm fairly comfortable in planning our days. That being set, both of us have never been to the US, and especially after changes to the parks with covid, we would love to hear any tips, tricks, suggestions or advice. Or just general advice for being in California in general is welcome! We are both plus size as well - I'm around a 90kg and 163cm - I have had no problem fitting on any gold coast rides. My husband did struggle, he is about 180cm and around 140kg (or thereabouts) - he hold most of his weight in his belly. He struggled at our recent trip to movie world/sea world - I think the only ride he got on was wild west falls. For any fellow larger size people, I would welcome your advice on disney/universal rides - i would rather go with my expectations low than be disappointed there. Thank you everyone for your help
  7. Hey! (I'm only imagining how many eye rolls that this title would have received... 😂) So I know this is a 'cliche' topic and has been discussed several times, but I just want to know peoples thoughts to the following; Many say that Australia can't accomodate a Universal Studios park due to the small population that Australia has, yet Singapore has only got a population of 5 million? As well as that, Universal Studios Singapore only has about 20 attractions - in comparison to Movie World that has 24 - and it's size isn't ALL that big (It literally surrounds a lagoon). I can understand why a Disney park wouldn't work in Australia, but I feel like a Universal Studios park has potential? Anyway, I'm a curious person and just want to see/hear what other people think about this.
  8. Hi everyone firstly I couldn’t think of a good title, secondly over summer I am going to go to Florida and California for the first time, I already have passes to Walt Disney World and Universal and I have a few questions. 1) Are there any other recommended theme parks. 2) Should I bother to also go to Disneyland. 3) Any recomended must see shows, rides or attractions. 4) And any tips or things to look for.
  9. Looking good, ‪#‎TWDatUniversal‬ @UniStudios! ‏@UniStudios 8m8 minutes ago SVP of Entertainment Tim Runco is ready to give the media a sneak peek of #TWDatUniversal! The Walking Dead at Universal Studios Hollywood. #TWDatUniversal @Attractions 360°
  10. Wow after heavy investment in Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new Jarasic Park now Universal Studio Japan is going to have the first Mario Land. http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/05/nintendo-land-universal-japan/
  11. So I just came back from a trip to Japan and managed to get to two parks, universal and Fuji Q. Unfortunately the only day I could get to Fuji Q it was very cold and all the coasters were shut. Totabummer, especiallyly when you travel 2 hours to get there. I supose I should have checked the weather. I did get to ride a flame 4 times in a row and checked out their haunted house/hospital which was interesting. I ended up having four Japanese school girls cowering behind me the whole time which was hhilarious They also have a prison break type atraction which was fun, although I only got through the first stage. What I would like to know have any of you guys been there and would it be worth visiting again? The coaster did look impressive. I did manage to get to a a full day at USJ, and had a ball. I was especially imprimpressedh the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The themeing was immaculate. It really captured the essence of the franchise. I have never been to disney but imagine this is how their parks look, or have universal just out done hem? Also wow Harry Potter and the Forbidden Forest is the most amazing experience. From the theming of the queue to the walk though to the ride itself. I have never been on a dark ride like it. I would be interested for those of you who have ridden it do you feel the same or am I just out of touch with what the new standard is? Is there anything else out there like it? I managed to get two rides that day and could wipe the smile off my face after each ride. Lastly I also noticed what looks like an interted or flying coaster being built there in the jarassic park secition. Does anyone have any details on what its going to be? I will post some happy Snaps when I get to a PC
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