Sunday, 16 October 2022

Coaster Stories - My 2022 NordTrip

Why do we ride coasters? Is it for the thrills? For the escapism? For forgetting our worries? This is a question which I often ask myself. Time and again, I tell myself that this hobby is too expensive, too unorthodox, too lonely. Yet, time after time, I find myself making a booking for yet another coaster trip. With an injured knee, skyrocketing everything prices and a war going on nearby, I somehow got myself to visit the Theme Parks of Germany, Denmark and Sweden in September 2022.

2022 Coaster Trip Collage

Monday, 10 January 2022

Top 10 Roller Coasters of my Germany-Netherlands Coaster Trip

In Oct-Nov 2021, I took the first European coaster trip. In this trip, I experienced a total of 46 new roller coasters over 6 theme parks over a period of 12 days (not every day was riding coasters, duh!). Of course, due to a certain global event that shall not be named, I only travelled to Netherlands and Germany. Additionally, some parks were already closed for autumn when I was there. Nonetheless, this trip marks several key milestones for my coaster journey:

  • Riding my 100th roller coaster (Silver Star)
  • 20 rides on roller coasters in 1 day (previous record: 11)
  • First time riding a major roller coaster 2 times in a row without leaving the platform (Silver Star)
  • First time staying in a Hotel within a Theme Park (Hotel Charles Lindberg)
  • First time being the last rider of the day (F.L.Y.)
  • First time finishing a major theme park within 4 hours (with 8 coasters, btw)

Top 10 Coaster Germany Netherlands

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Hirakata Park - The Oldest Theme Park in Japan

Japanese theme parks can be divided into 2 types: the large, big brand parks like Disney or Fuji Q, and the small, classic parks. These classic parks usually play host to old rides that cannot be found at the big chains. As the oldest amusement park in Japan (opened in 1910), Hirakata Park falls in the latter category. It plays host to a decent collection of family rides, festive events and a respectable 5 roller coasters. Hirakata Park is also located at the side of a small hill, so this park will be a treat to your eyes and a pain for your legs.

Hirakata Park

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Nagashima Spa Land - Have I found roller coaster heaven?

Most theme parks have less than 5 roller coasters. In fact, before this day, there was only 1 other theme park I visited which has more than 5 roller coasters. What if we had not 5, not 10, but 12 roller coasters. This is Nagashima Spa Land in Kuwana, Japan - the park with the largest number of roller coasters in Asia. So the question is: Have I found roller coaster heaven?

Nagashima Spa Land

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Shanghai Disneyland vs Hong Kong Disneyland

With the opening of Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, there are now 2 Disneyland resorts in Chinese speaking countries. However, there are some distinct differences between Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland, both in terms of concept and attraction lineup. For those of you who can only afford to visit one park, the question will be: which one is better?

Key differences

Before I continue with the actual park battle, let us first explore some key differences between the 2 parks.

Shanghai Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland
All attractions in Chinese
Attractions can be in English, Cantonese or Chinese.
A lot of walking between attractions
Minimal walking between attractions
Many walk-through/small scale attractions to complement large signature rides
Mostly mid-sized signature rides with a few kids rides
Large scale, Broadway style shows
Smaller scale theatre shows
Mostly Chinese guests
A lot of Chinese guests, but with a surge of Indian guests during their tourist season
Ticket price varies, cheaper during off season
Ticket price fixed throughout the year. Look here for how to save money at HKDL!

Roller Coasters

Mine Trains: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train vs Big Grizzly Mountain

This is a no contest win for me. Big Grizzly Mountain offers so much more: drop, launch, special effects and even a backwards portion. It is also a long ride. Seven dwarfs mine train does have some interesting features like the rocking seats, but the storytelling is weaker and gem stone scene feels quite out of place.

Current Tally: 0:1

Indoor Coasters: Tron Coaster vs Space Mountain

This is an interesting match up. Space Mountain has a longer ride but Tron is more intense. I think that Tron is a somewhat better ride simply because the motorcycle seats are quite interesting and the ride building is really, really beautiful. Not to mention, Tron Coaster is now Disney's fastest roller coaster!

Current Tally: 1:1

Water Rides

Thrilling water ride: Pirates of the Caribbean vs Jungle Cruise

Come on, I am sure you know the winner. We are pitting a 50 year old classic against one of the most innovative new water rides ever built. Seriously, Pirates of the Caribbean ride allows you to experience diving underwater, dodge cannonballs in a naval battle and even has a backwards water coaster drop!

Current Tally: 2:1

Family Boat ride: Crystal Grotto vs It's a Small World

I really struggled with this one, not because both attractions are good. Voyage to the Crystal grotto was one big missed opportunity for Disney the whole ride basically contains generic scenes from various Disney cartoons. Its a small world is not much better, repeating a single song for the entire ride and featuring relatively repetitive scenes. I give a slight edge to Voyage of the Crystal Grotto only because the ride is less repetitive.

Current Tally: 3:1

Rapids Ride: Raging Rapids

Shanghai Disneyland also has a rapids ride called Raging Rapids, which is unlike anything that Hong Kong Disneyland has to offer. Oh yes, the lizard like monster is scary!

Current Tally: 4:1

Family Rides

Indoor Dark Ride: Peter Pan's Flight vs Mystic Manor

Peter Pan's flight has some interesting scenes, such as the flying into the sky scene where you really see the buildings getting smaller and further away. However, I think it is blown away by Mystic Manor. Mystic Manor is a longer ride, has lots of special effects and the ride vehicles dance around each other. Not to mention: the ride experience is different each time.

Current Tally: 4:2

Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear

Both Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland features a Winnie the Pooh dark ride and Buzz Lightyear shooting ride. Although the Shanghai version has some new features, I think they are similar enough that both parks will get 1 point each for these rides.

Current Tally: 6:4

Simulator Ride: Soarin over the Horizon vs Iron Man

Soarin over the Horizon is better. For anyone who has seen my post on Hong Kong Disneyland's Iron Man Experience, you will know that it is quite a mediocre ride. While Soarin over the Horizon has some flaws, such as the distorted screen, it is a more enjoyable and unique experience.

Current Tally: 7:4


Fantasy: Frozen - a Sing Along Celebration vs Mickey's Storybook

This is an easy victory for Mickey's Storybook show at Hong Kong Disneyland. This is a real show, whereas the Frozen show is actually like glorified a sing along session.

Current Tally: 7:5

Adventure: Tarzan - Call of the Jungle vs Festival of the Lion King

This one is interesting. Festival of the Lion King used to be one of the best Disney amphitheater show productions. However, Tarzan - Call of the Jungle just blows it away. The Tarzan show combines acrobatics, speechless drama and a tinge of Chinese humour to deliver a visually stunning show with deep storyline. I think it is the best show at any Disney theme park... any theme park.

Current Tally: 8:5

Stunt: Captain Jack's Stunt Spectacular

Shanghai Disneyland also has a Pirates of the Caribbean themed stunt show which Hong Kong Disneyland cannot counter

Current Tally: 9:5

3D: Mickey's Philharmagic

Hong Kong Disneyland has a 3D show called Mickey's Philharmagic, which Shanghai Disneyland has nothing similar.

Current Tally: 9:6

Signature Shows

Day Parade: Mickey Storybook Express vs Flight of Fantasy

Although both parades are quite impressive with a good lineup of floats and nice costumes, I have to give it to Hong Kong Disneyland's flight of fantasy for one reason: the actors are more friendly and actively interact with the guests.

Current Tally: 9:7

Night Parade: Paint the Night

Hong Kong Disneyland is one of very few theme parks in the world to have a night parade. Trust me, if you like the day parade, you will be truly mesmerised by Paint the Night Parade.

Current Tally: 9:8

Fireworks: Ignite the Dream vs Disney in the Stars

This is a tough one. Shanghai Disneyland's Ignite the Dream features musical fountains and screen projection on top of the standard fireworks. It is also a longer show. However, I will give the title to Disney in the Stars for several reasons. Firstly, the fireworks are more concentrated. Secondly, the show plays a lot of nice classic Disney songs. Third, the musical fountain at Shanghai Disneyland's show is only visible to the front few rows of guests.

Current Tally: 9:9

Special Attractions

Shanghai Disneyland has a far stronger lineup including a height elements adventure course, an indoor interactive play area and no less than 3 full sized play structures. This is on top of the standard kids rides that are found at both Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Current Tally: 10:9

Other Considerations


Disney is known for impeccable theming, so the quality of the landscaping is a very important element. If you experienced in person, you will know that Shanghai Disneyland has much more extensive and immersive landscaping than Hong Kong Disneyland. I mean, just look at the volcano at Adventure Isle...

Current Tally: 12:9


I personally found the staff at Hong Kong Disneyland a lot more friendly and welcoming. The staff at Shanghai looks very overworked and many of them are very tired. Also, staff at Hong Kong can speak English, Cantonese and Chinese. How many theme parks around the world can offer a full multilingual staff?

Current Tally: 12:11


This is quite tough. Hong Kong Disneyland have a better queue management system. I also prefer Hong Kong's system of issuing Fastpasses at the entrance of the ride rather than a a centralised point. However, Shanghai Disneyland has some innovative practices like a toilet pass system that allows guests in long lines to leave for the toilet and return back to the same point in the queue. TIE

Current Tally: 13:12


Both parks are very well equipped in terms of toilets, water coolers and family friendly amenities. However, I like the ones at Hong Kong Disneyland more because the locations are more intuitive and the capacity to guest ratio is better. Oh yes, Hong Kong Disneyland has 100% sitting toilets unlike Shanghai which is 50% sitting and 50% squatting.

Current Tally: 13:14


Basically, Hong Kong Disneyland won because it feels more like a theme park. You will really enjoy a day there even though the attractions may not be stellar. Shanghai Disneyland has a far better attraction lineup, but you can be really stressed out and worn out if you want to experience a day there. 

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