Adventure World29th May 2007
Some parks can be described as being off the beaten track. Getting to such places invariably involves long and often complicated journeys. Sometimes the end result can be very rewarding, as was the case with New Reoma World yesterday. On other occasions, the intrepid traveller wonders why they bothered. It is my sad duty to record that Adventure World falls firmly into the latter category, though for a relatively unusual reason. It is, in three words, far too expensive.
An admission ticket to the park comes in at ¥3800, or approximately €25. However, this does not include any of the park rides; if you want to do those, you have to pay for each one in turn, with prices running as high as ¥800 for some attractions. There is no pay one price deal available. We ran through just under four thousand yen of ride tickets between us, and for that we got one ride on the ferris wheel and one circuit on each operational coaster. If any of these attractions had been stellar it might have been less insulting, but to be frank, none were.
The Dolphin Coaster was unfortunately HNFT. There were signs in front of it indicating a reopening date in July, so presumably the park is rebuilding or replacing the rolling stock at present. The Big Adventure Coaster (#949) was probably the best coaster present; a moderate paced scenic tour of the park. It wasn't exactly thrilling, but reasonably pleasant at the same time. A word of warning though; larger riders would probably do well to avoid the left side of the train, as the banking is all in that direction and the lap bar doesn't inspire a huge amount of confidence.
The Mad Mouse (#950) was not much bigger than a standard Big Apple, but it had a unique layout which made it much more interesting. If any showmen are reading this, I'd encourage you to contemplate a clone of this ride next time you're shopping for a kiddie coaster. Finally, the powered Tropical Coaster can best be described as an oddity. The layout is mostly indoors, but it has two outdoor helices. These are covered by a canvas roof which looks very strange, though presumably is sufficient to allow continued operation of powered coaster track in light rain.
As far as rides go, that's pretty much the entire show; there are a number of childrens attractions but nothing for the thrill seeking teenager or adult. There is a moderately sized safari and animal area, but it is hard to envisage any enthusiast spending more than an hour or two here, unless of course they travel with an unlimited budget and a supply of caffeine to counteract the soporific effects of the coasters.
Porto Europa29th May 2007
Any internet search for Porto Europa is likely to throw up photographs of magnificently themed buildings that could be from anywhere in mainland Europe. It was on the basis of these that we felt that our time budget for the park of two hours would, if anything, be too small. However, there was nothing we could do, as trains between our two target stations, Shirahama and Kainan, were nothing like as frequent as much of the Japanese rail system. We decided to optimize what time we did have by using a taxi to get from the train station to the park. This was actually very reasonable, coming in at just twice the cost of the bus fare we paid to get back to the station.
As it turned out, these beautifully themed buildings represent the entrance and restaurant areas of the park alone. The dozen or so amusement rides are scattered across a large area of tarmac that looks and feels utterly out of place next to the picturesque vista next door. It's as if the owners ran out of money after constructing the entrance; if they had continued the theming over the rest of the park it would easily compete with Europa Park and Tokyo DisneySea. As it is, the two areas don't blend at all; it is the equivalent of mixing Venice and Port Talbot. The latter springs particularly into mind when looking at the scenery behind the amusement rides, thanks to a rather hideous oil refinery which blocks out part of the horizon.
The two coasters were check offs and nothing more. Round and Round (#951) spins like there's no tomorrow, and the restraint design serves to bash riders in the head from time to time as well as leaving them feeling slightly ill. Pinestar (#952) is the ubiquitous Vekoma kiddie coaster, seen in many other places in many other forms. In the end, our two hours turned out to be about three times as much time as we needed. Future visitors take note.