Rollercoaster Ranking – Greenland
Yes, that’s right, the place in the Arctic. #0 – nothing. The end.
Formerly known as Mitsui Greenland, this amusement park currently has claim to the second highest number of rollercoasters in Japan, though this can mostly be attributed more to decline than investment in much of the local industry at the moment. Like similarly scaled rivals, the park hasn’t seen a new coaster in over a decade and it does make me wonder/worry about the business side of affairs.
This was the first park I ever visited in this fine nation. It’s not the most well known of places amongst enthusiasts, particularly those only seeking out that next best coaster as there isn’t really anything in the way of a standout attraction to get overly excited about, but what they do have is a varied and interesting mix, of which it’s much harder to pick a favourite than your average park with filler and a clear winner. Creds are creds as well and sometimes the fun is in acquiring the obscure, whether that be the destination itself or a rare type of hardware on offer.
It should make for a passable list topic in any case.
I’m not one to rag on kiddie coasters. They fit their target market nicely and it just so happens to overlap with the more obsessive counters among us. At the end of the day though, this twin helix powered coaster can be found almost anywhere and it’s just a number to me.
Speaking of numbres, the park is home to a Vekoma SLC. I’ve recently covered the topic of this notorious coaster design in great length on here and, basically, it’s not one to get excited about.
Alright, one more. This common spinning wild mouse setup is often seen at travelling fairs and that’s just where it belongs to be honest. I’ve nothing against the type, they can even be rather entertaining, depending on the often hugely unpredictable performance on the day, but for a permanent installation – could do better.
I don’t remember much of the Meisho/Zamperla international collaboration powered coaster here to be honest, in fact I was fascinated just to learn that that was a thing. Set indoors, with a sprinkling of alien theming and much cornering, most hardware of this nature tends to all blend into one – I guess that’s what happens when you don’t confine yourself to the design limitations created by gravity.
And on the subject of coaster collaborations, during their demise Arrow passed the torch on to Vekoma for the suspended swinging coaster design, one of the key results of which was these happy Orca faces. Even if I thought the last coaster was full of corners, this one makes a mockery of it and that does have a bit of an impact on excitement, but I respect this one. Only three in the world exist and this is the last to retain the original trains.
Something about this ride is just so adorable. I could barely fit in the car, it involved more struggles than the actual smallest cred here, but what a custom layout. Many straight lines winding down the hillside like a low key terrain coaster. Fun theming, amusing train, enthusiastic staff. The whole package.
The pink standard sit down side of this Togo racing coaster currently has the benefits of on board music and the drawbacks of shoulder restraints. It’s not the most significant and intense of layouts so it’s hard to see why the latter is necessary, but the ride is great fun for the interaction between trains alone. Despite the bad rep this manufacturer has earned from installations in the USA, the local examples are, to me at least, a fine relic of their era.
As further evidenced by these amazing creations. This one might look familiar – a different angle of the ride tends to plaster anything online with my name attached to it. I was very happy with my first Ultra Twister mainly because it’s just so… ambitious. The trains look like torture devices and the vertical lift and drop sequence, although a lot more common right now, 35 years after these were first made, is terrifying simply because of that fact. They’re actually surprisingly comfortable though, if you don’t mind a bit of a car crash on the brakes, and the rest of the forces, both forwards and backwards, are always a pleasant surprise.
So much charm. My introduction to Japanese jet coaster life provided the perfect example of what they do best. Cast aside any notions of force, intensity, airtime, this is a machine that simply rumbles around like an amped up transport ride. And it’s joyous. Huge, goes on forever, a dinosaur on the train and a dinosaur on the track. A dinosaur is the track (‘Gao’ is how dinosaurs roar in Japanese by the way). Not trying is the key to not disappointing. I can’t fault it.
I have to give the number one spot to this one based on sheer surprise though. There were a lot of firsts for me in this park but this stand-up was the greatest surprise among them, subverting all previous notions of the ride type being a dud. Never has the standing position been more accurately simulated nor unnervingly exposed on a coaster. Standing worried on a metal plate that gets carried up 125ft into the air, feeling every click of the chain and bump in the track straight though the legs. Then it starts racing the other train, all smiling and waving. Then, distracted, you get thrown into the air on the hills with no semblance of control. Togo are the kings of this specific game and I want them back in business for that alone.