Korea + Japan 08/18 – Nagashima Spa Land

Day 5

Nagashima Spa Land

Today was the day I’d literally had dreams about, the day we seek revenge on Nagashima Spa Land.

For those who haven’t read my report from 2017, the last time we visited it rained an hour in and they closed almost everything for the rest of the day, even though the sun came back. Rain wasn’t going to be an issue today thankfully, although the sudden immense heat that descended on Japan made for other issues.

Learning from our past mistake of arriving late and Steel Dragon having a 90 minute queue instantly, this time we arrived slightly before park opening.

While Heartline got our tickets I marvelled at one of the best theme park investments in years, Nagashima Spa Land now has large electronic information screens telling you what’s open in Japanese AND English. Previously you had to contend with 2 different hand drawn signs, contradicting each other and only in Japanese, which is about as helpful as it sounds.

Steel Dragon 2000 – Once in we powered straight to Steel Dragon and entered a 30 minute queue, it was about now that it became apparent just how hot it was going to be today as I found myself sweating from places I won’t discuss. Looking around the queue and seeing that even the Japanese were dying led me to believe it wasn’t just me being weak, this time at least.

After the usual Japanese faff of nothing in pockets, this time featuring a metal detector, we took our seats on this legendary coaster and what great seats they were.

Steel Dragon has trains designed by B&M, which amounts to the coaster pretty much using 2 wide B&M Hyper trains and they are awesome.

After the ride staff finish an amazing chant which ends with “Steela Dragon!” you are off up the unnervingly tall lift hill, sadly the following drop doesn’t amount to much though.

With this being my first giga coaster I foolishly expected the drop to be quite special but it really isn’t. The shaping of the drop and the fact it pulls out 100 feet from the ground means Steel Dragon’s drop delivers an experience that goes on forever but is completely forceless.

Following the disappointing first drop is 2 camel back hills which do absolutely nothing and then 2 huge inclined loops which only exist to kill speed.

Thankfully things pick up on the return to the station though, with several air time hills in a row, with at least half of them providing some decent pops of ejector. 2 of these hills are inside tunnels which makes for some good headchopper moments and in the heat made for some interesting extremes of temperature.

While I’m very satisfied to be able to say I’ve experienced Steel Dragon, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed.

Acrobat – From the moment Flying Dinosaur showed me that B&M flyers can be so much more than lumbering gimmick coasters I was desperate to try another and Acrobat didn’t disappoint.

This beast of a coaster packs so much intensity into it’s perfectly paced layout, it really is hard to point out a favourite part of the coaster when everything just flows so well.

With the important stuff that we missed from last time knocked off, we spent the next couple of hours mopping up all the filler stuff that litters Nagashima.

Bobkart – We started with the park’s Bobkart, I love these things and this one was no exception.

Ultra Twister – My second time experiencing an Ultra Twister coaster, still amazing.

Next we rode the park’s Intamin first gen drop tower, much like Ultra Twister this is yet another insane contraption I’m fond of.

Looping Star – Blame it on the heat stroke or the concussion at the hands of the drop tower but I really wasn’t a fan of my first Looping Star. I’ve seen these things talked up all around the internet and I can’t understand why at all. Not as good as Nessie and I can’t remember Nessie is my review.

Shuttle Loop – From one boring Schwarzkopf to another, give me Pyske Underground any day, on second thoughts just give me the Pyske Underground theme.

After this we had lunch and I got to experience my first and last ever soda float.

To let the food settle we rode the Ferris wheel which was thankfully air conditioned.

Wild Mouse – The last of the missing coasters finally knocked off, well almost, they were only running one side…

After this we went back to Steel Dragon, which broke down 5 minutes after we entered the queue, having not gained anything we tried to leave but a staff member told us to wait and we’d get a priority pass for when it reopens, can’t say no to that.

Next we went for a second lap of Acrobat and I fell even more in love with it.

By the time Steel Dragon reopened it was dusk and this made for a lovely backdrop to our second lap.

Arashi – Now you may notice that I’ve yet to mention Arashi…

When I first rode Arashi last year I really didn’t enjoy the experience it offered and vowed that it would take a lot to make me go on it again. Well I whole heatedly retract all previous statements about this wonderful ride.

While walking past, after having ignored it all day, I on the spur of the moment decided that I NEEDED to give it one more go to be sure.

Once seated however I couldn’t have been regretting my decision more, as the seating position jogged my previous traumatic experience.

Without a shadow of a doubt going up the lifthill was the most scared I’ve been in years, with palms sweating so much they were sliding on the restraint and my heart thumping harder in my chest than when I met the girl of my dreams on Valentine’s Day 2018.

Then it began and I wish I could do it justice.

Spinning so fast, so many times, I lost count and even though I try not to swear in Japan I found myself painting the almost night sky with every profanity under the sun. Intensity like I’ve never seen before and will likely never see again, in a hobby that features so much of the same sensation this thing takes you completely out of your comfort zone and then keeps going.

I can totally understand why I hated this thing last time but now that I’ve grown some balls Arashi is beautiful.

Riding Arashi twice in one day caused Heartline to spend 20 minutes in the bathroom sorting his life out and wanting to leave the park, thankfully I managed to convince him to join me in riding Acrobat one last time. At night I fell even further in love with it and I couldn’t think of a better way to end the day.

In the gift shop I bought an Arashi shirt as a peace offering to the beast for moaning about it last time.

Nagashima Spa Land has gone from a park I mocked and despised to a park I’m ashamed to say I’ve grown slightly fond of. When running, the sheer amount of rides surrounding you at all times is quite the sight and at night the place looks fantastic. Acrobat and Arashi are incredible coasters and Steel Dragon isn’t without it’s charm and things will only improve further when the park opens it’s RMC conversion of White Cyclone.

Thanks for reading, click here for day 6 where we visit 3 parks in 1 day.

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