Korea + Japan 08/18 – Lagunasia + Hamanako Pal Pal

Day 7

After close to 10 hours sleep I woke up feeling considerably better but still not 100%. With some of the most exciting stuff on the trip quickly approaching I vowed that today I would go as easy as possible and drink more fluids than I’ve ever drunk before.


Previous reviews of Lagunasia promised uncomfortable levels of friendliness from the female ride staff, a park swarming in bikini clad women and not much else, I think I’ll let it slide.

We were planning to hit 2 parks today so we rocked up for opening, only to find out that the park’s major dark ride opened 2 hours after opening. Luckily we managed to keep ourselves entertained until said ride opened because it was quite the experience.

Aqua Wind – We started with Aqua Wind, the park’s Gertslauer Bobsled and it was better than expected.

I’ve become slightly bored of these coasters (excluding the awesome Van Helsing) and they all blend into one but Aqua Wind’s first drop was more intense than I was expecting and unlike other examples this hauled ass over the air time hills at the end. The ride’s theming was really nice too.

There was some sort of J-pop 360 3D cinema experience thing that looked awesome but sadly the first showing wasn’t until like 2pm and would have meant missing the next park, in retrospect it may have been worth it…

Legend of Labyrinth – I had read online that Lagunasia’s log flume was special and Christ was it.

The flume is called Legend of Labyrinth and all but the last drop is enclosed. To spoil what you’ll find inside would be evil but trust me when I say I was utterly speechless at the scale and quality of what I was faced with. Easily the best ride at the park.

Pirate’s Blast – After politely turning down the VR option at batching, I left this coaster confused as to why it was an option in the first place.

80% of Pirate’s Blast takes place within a highly themed show building, with the coaster speeding past and reacting with some really nicely designed set pieces.

After that interesting section ends you drop out of the show building, jolting in amazing fashion as you do, then you slither around on a patch of grass for a while before re-entering the station. To call the ending a let down is a bit of an understatement.

Stellar Coaster – A singing whale coaster with intense onboard audio, 10,000 times better than your average Vekoma Junior.

Magic Powder – 2 hours had now passed and the aforementioned dark ride was now open.

Named Magic Powder, which should give you some idea of just how messed it was going to be, this thing can’t be explained and you wouldn’t even believe me if I tried.

It would be a stretch to say I enjoyed this madness, it rather occurred around me as I was having several out of body experiences and then it ended and I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same person again.

An absolute must ride, just make sure you’re of a semi sound mind before you enter because if not it WILL destroy you. Literally the dark ride you imagine you’ll stumble on in Japan but you guess it can’t exist, then Lagunasia has it and suddenly you regret everything.

And with that, Lagunasia was finished and while I sadly wasn’t swimming in bikini clad women or fighting off ride staff with tins of magical powder, the park itself far exceeded my expectations.

Heartline and his wife really wanted to ride the Ferris wheel next to the mall opposite the park, so we crossed over the bridge and had some ice cream for lunch. The woman serving me at Baskin Robbins more than made up for the lack of female attention elsewhere and even saved me money, that’ll come in handy soon.

At the entrance to the Ferris wheel a sign mentioned that the pods had no air con and currently the temperature inside them was 37 degrees, as I was being good to myself I opted out and instead sat under an air conditioner in the mall.

Hamanako Pal Pal

After a relatively short drive we arrived at Hamanako Pal Pal, a park I walked away from rather disappointed.

The park has a strange mall like hub which you enter after purchasing tickets, this “hub” connects the two sides of the park together. There was something rather off putting about walking through a dirty looking mall type room full of arcades as you enter an amusement park.

Mega Coaster – Online I’d be led to believe that Mega Coaster was some sort of hidden gem and since then I had been quite excited to give it a go. Unfortunately I found it rode exactly like I’d expected before I read the hype, completely devoid of excitement or charm and just another coaster for the count, what a shame.

Mini Coaster – +1

Jungle Mouse – This coaster looked all kinds of ghetto so I was half expecting it to be funny if nothing else but sadly no it was just pointless.

It was a shame that a park I was quite excited for ended up being a bit of a disappointment. I wouldn’t recommend bothering with Hamanako Pal Pal unless like us you’re just doing it for the count, the park itself needs some work done to tidy it up, the staff weren’t up to Japan standards and with Mega Coaster being a disappointment there’s very little to love.

Following this we went to a mall to get food and watch Ant Man 2, both were great.

We left the mall at about 9pm for the 2 hour drive to almost Tokyo. The first half of the journey was spent watching an absolutely beautiful thunderstorm light up the night sky in spellbinding fashion. With the second half spent trying to see Mount Fuji or Eejanaika out the window, I saw neither but don’t worry I promise you I see ONE of them before the end of the trip.

Then we arrived at our hotel for the night at almost midnight. We go in, exchange pleasantries with the friendly woman behind the counter, get our rooms keys and head upstairs…

I open my room door to discover that Heartline without telling me had booked us into a traditional style Japanese hotel. The kind where the floor is a straw mat, there’s nothing else in the room and you sleep on a half inch thick piece of cloth on the floor. I was livid…

If it wasn’t for the following day containing something I’d have given body parts to attend, I probably would have put him through a window, I did honestly think about sleeping in the car.

It took me half an hour to kill the largest fly I’ve ever seen that was circling my room and a further 20 minutes of spraying various scents around the place to get rid of the awful smell before I managed calm myself enough to attempt to sleep on the floor.

Thanks for reading, click here for the next part of my trip report where we bond with Kpop idols, visit Joypolis, half visit Yokohama Cosmoworld and have a great time at Yomiuriland.

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