Korea + Japan 09/18 – Fuji Q

I feel more so than any park in the World that since I first learnt of it’s existence many years ago, that Fuji Q was both the most intriguing and most unobtainable park out there. Way before I actually got out there and went to see what the theme park World offered outside of the UK, this place was already at a legendary status in my mind. Dodonpa, Takabisha, Fujiyama and Eejanaika were on pedestals and the fact I was going to get to experience these icons was almost unbelievable. Some of you may find it annoying that I’m against cloning certain rides, let my respect and intrigue for these 4 legends be a perfect example of why I am. The sheer thrill of being able to say “holy crap I’m about to ride Dodonpa, something I’ve dreamed of doing for years”, is almost completely ruined if there’s a clone of it chilling somewhere else in the World, I guess some will never be able to see it that way and that’s fine but I do.

Day 10

Today we woke up early to make the almost 2 hour drive from central Tokyo to Fuji Q. It would be fair to say we were absolutely expecting the worse in regards to this park. Way before I saw it myself in Nagashima, China and Korea, this was the original park that I heard closed everything in anything but perfect weather. It was spitting with rain and looking disgusting as we approached, so things weren’t looking good at all. Also I’d read far too many trip reports saying X was closed but that’s to be expected, I’m just glad we got Y, so that was a concern.

Fuji Q

When we got to the park our spirits were lifted by a digital board in the car park showing all the rides operating today and the times they were due to open. To further reinforce that idea Fujiyama (which is mostly in the car park) starting testing as we parked.

We are all used to exiting through the gift shop but at Fuji Q you enter through the gift shop.

While buying tickets Dodonpa started testing and Christ does it sound absolutely terrifying.

After entering the park we made our way straight to Dodonpa, which it turns out is located right by the turnstyles. We entered the queueline and as soon as we did 2 things happened, 1) it began to rain heavily and 2) I felt the most nervous I’ve felt in a queueline in YEARS.

The queue was probably only about 20 minutes and contrary to what I’ve read online the operations appeared to be fine, with a ground shaking launch sending one of the 8 person trains out of the launch tunnel every couple of minutes.

Despite it raining heavily, Dodonpa launched full train after full train for about 15 minutes, before operations were suspended due to the weather. At first I was honestly glad they stopped the ride as being launched 112mph into the rain was concerning me. Sadly my initial appreciation for operations stopping was short lived. For almost an hour we stood in the queue, hearing them power down Dodonpa, watching them close Takabisha and seeing no sign of the rain stopping.

Then suddenly the queue started moving again, I was sure the ride was still powered down so didn’t understand why. Then when we reached the ride station it became apparent as we were handed priority passes to come back later and got an apology and a bow from the ride staff. See the internet had me believe that when it rains Fuji Q close everything and the staff go home, so an apology and a ticket to return later blew my mind.

Well, that’s an hour and a half wasted. We know Dodonpa is shut, Takabisha (which is next to Dodonpa) has it’s entrance gate locked and Eejanaika hasn’t even tested yet…

So we entered the queue for Fujiyama. Despite the ride testing with 2 trains, possibly due to the weather it was only running 1. This meant an almost 8 minute coaster (including loading) was running 1 train with no other coasters in the park open. The queue which was quickly filling up was displayed at 4 hours as we entered…

That’s us screwed then. When we leave this queueline it’s going to be 3pm, we absolutely have to leave at 7pm and there’s no sign of the rain stopping and who knows if they’ll close Fujiyama in a minute..

About an hour into the second most frustrating queue of my life the rain did stop and about 30 minutes after that a parkwide announcement proclaimed “ladies and gentlemen we are happy to announce that Takabisha has now reopened”. Before we could even think of how to react to this information, nothing short of a swarm of people began running in it’s direction and almost everyone behind us in the Fujiyama queue bailed too. Heartline left the queue to get an update on what the Takabisha area was looking like, he returned with the simple statement, “it’s a mess”.

Desperation made us draw up a plan on how to react to Dodonpa reopening. It appeared the Fuji Q way of queueing was to leave 1 member of your group in the queue, while the others go to the toilet or to get food, then simply slither back in no questions asked. Ok we thought, if Dodonpa reopens, we will nip out and use our priority passes, while Heartline’s wife holds our place here.

30 minutes after coming up with this plan, this happened, “ladies and gentlemen we are happy to announce that Eejanaika has now opened”.

Eejanaika – A swift nod was all we needed before we jumped over several queue fences and began to literally sprint in the direction of Eejanaika. The thing was, we didn’t even know the way, so we just followed the crowd and overtook as necessary.

I’m not even sure why we expected anything less but when we got to the coaster the queue time was listed as 5 hours…

We had seen literally hundreds of people purchasing fast track for Fujiyama while we queued, so now with the situation being desperate we decided to join them.

As we got to Eejanaika so fast and everyone had just piled into the massive queue without thinking, when we did purchase our fast track from the vending machine, we got offered the very first slot to ride.

So before even seeing the coaster test, we entered the fast track queue and were immediately batched into the station building.

After being told to remove our shoes and put anything loose in the locker, it finally dawned on me that I was moments away from riding Eejanaika and because it all happened so fast I wasn’t prepared at all.

With the S&S freespin Arashi being one of the most intense coasters I’ve ever ridden, the idea of being spun while riding a coaster this time doing almost 80mph from a height of 250 feet was honestly terrifying. The reviews of S&S 4D coasters range from best coasters in the World to absolute hatred and I could easily see it swinging both ways for me.

The seating and restraint set up for Eejanaika only further helped to make me feel even more uneasy. A very small over the shoulder restraint holds your top half into the seat while absolutely nothing at all holds your legs in. I have never felt so improperly secured in a ride seat before, we will get back to this on the ride itself.

With the restraint set up already looking absolutely insane, it was also extremely complicated. One part comes in from the side, the other part comes down from above, then no less than three belts hold it all together. I let the staff member secure me for fear of actually killing myself if I did it wrong. When they were finished they smiled and said “is this OK?”, I smiled and gave a big thumbs up, while deep down thinking “I don’t know, oh God I am going to die”.

After all the ride staff do a dance and chant, the coaster is dispatched and immediately becomes terrifying. Between the station and lift hill the 3rd rail which controls the orientation of the seats is missing, meaning on the corner between station and lift you get a small teaser of what the ride can offer, as it quite violently tilts backs then wobbles around to centre itself. It was here I knew my fears for nothing holding in my lower half weren’t for nothing, as my legs bounced around in a most unnerving fashion.

On the evil, evil, slow lift hill my life flashed before my eyes and I thought of meeting Arin and the feel of her hand in mine, as I could literally hear my heart tearing through my chest. As we neared the top a massively unnerving thought sprung to mind, wait a second, which way are we tilting for the first drop? And then it happened…

It would be impossible for me to explain Eejanaika to you and unfair on the coaster itself. All you need to know is it’s absolutely amazing, probably the scariest roller coaster on Earth and unlike any other coaster out there. With the tilting of the seats, Eejanaika has you at it’s mercy to experience the layout however it wants you to and that creates some truly crazy moments.

Eejanaika bonded with me on a first ride like very few rides do. I respect the sheer terror it instills in me and adore the incredible things it’s able to accomplish with the rotating seats. S&S 4D coasters are incredible and it’s such a shame there’s only 3 in the World.

Fujiyama – We stumbled back to Fujiyama and slithered back into the queue where Heartline’s wife was standing, still about an hour from the station. During the last hour of the queue we noticed Dodonpa had just reopened too, we might complete this park after all!

Fujiyama was rather good, like not 4 hours queue good and it’s easily the lesser of the park’s big coasters but for what it is (a giant jet coaster) it’s good. A great first drop, some properly decent airtime moments and wicked laterals near the end.

After leaving Fujiyama, we heard an announcement telling the people who had Dodonpa priority tickets to please head to the ride now, so we did.

Dodonpa – Much like Eejanaika, things proceeded at such a pace that the fear from earlier didn’t have time to build up again. We walked up the coaster’s exit and met a smiling man, who put us straight us on the train waiting in the station.

It’s fair to say the fear came back as soon as Dodonpa dispatched though. It wasn’t Eejanaika bad but I was certainly on edge while waiting for this monster to launch.

Now put it down to Eejanaika before or having done Bullet Coaster in China but Dodonpa’s launch didn’t really pack anywhere near the punch I was expecting. In fact the whole experience was just really smooth and enjoyable, not the being hit by a truck I was expecting.

Dodonpa absolutely glides through the rest of a it’s layout and while it’s not boring, it’s a bit something and nothing. Even the loop which replaced the insane looking airtime hill is completely forceless and smooth as silk.

And that was Dodonpa. Not the ultra intense coaster I was expecting but rather a big softy. I’m absolutely delighted to be able to say I’ve ridden this legend, so I won’t hold much against it.

3 of the legends down, 1 to go.

Takabisha – Another fast track to avoid a 4 hour queue and soon we were standing on the station platform of Takabisha.

Takabisha is a Gerstlauer Eurofighter, that really should have been an Infinity Coaster and that really shouldn’t have been cloned and shoved in a mall.

It features much slimmer over the shoulder restrainsts than any other Eurofighter I’ve ridden, they were much better and it’s a shame they weren’t implemented elsewhere.

Takabisha is good but sadly it’s nothing too special, pacing issues and a lack of forces hold it back from greatness.

The first half is really good but then you are stopped dead before climbing the awkward looking lift hill. Much like Atlantis Adventure, putting the launch in the first half and the lift hill in the second causes some really bad pacing issues.

Now onto the lack of forces. Takabisha’s layout is much more suited to be an Infinity Coaster, with many huge inversions. Taking these elements in a small Eurofighter car really makes them ride forceless and strange.

The big 4 down but no time to relax yet, we had 3 more coasters to knock off and I was determined to get another lap on Eejanaika.

But first up was the Thomas dark ride which was surprisingly good.

Rock n Roll Duncan – +1

Mad Mouse – This coaster was just awful.

Voyage Dans Le Ciel – This coaster’s station building was the closest we came to seeing Mount Fuji on the entire trip…

Now with everything we wanted knocked off, we headed back over to Eejanaika but there was an issue…

They had ran out of fast track slots for the day and the current queue time was listed as 2 hours. Now this shouldn’t have been a problem, Eejanaika is easily worth waiting 2 hours for but the issue was we had to leave at 7 at the latest to get the hire car back for our 9pm drop off. Regardless we entered the queue with the plan to bail out at 6:45 if we didn’t make it. I’m so glad to tell you that we did infact JUST manage to get on Eejanaika before we ran out of time.

Second time around, this time in the dark, cemented Eejanaika as one of my favourite coasters in the World and I rank it in my top 5 with other coasters that caused a deeply emotional reaction in me. Even after riding it earlier, if anything it was even more intense a second time around, I love Eejanaika!

Following this we literally sprinted from the Eejanaika area at the back of the park to the park entrance, which damn near killed us.

And with that our day at Fuji Q was over. Now while I’ve got nothing massively positive to say about the park as a whole, other than that from our experience it’s no where near as bad as the internet makes out. There’s almost nothing you need to say when the park is home to 4 legendary coasters and one of them happens to be one of the best and most unique coasters in the World.

Thank you for reading, click here for the next part of this report, Tokyo DisneySea during a typhoon…

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