Today, we will continue with this month's theme of non-Disney parks. This is also a follow-up to my April Fool's Day/Disneyland Trip Report post. I had a record number of hits with that post, but surprisingly, nobody asked me where those photos were taken, and at least one reader believed they were actually taken at Disneyland...and I apologize for that! I did go back and add "Happy April Fool's Day" at the end of the post to hopefully clear things up. Well, just in case anyone out there was wondering, the photos in that post were all taken at Hanayashiki Park in Tokyo Japan, with the exception of the Sleeping Beauty Castle construction photo.
Hanayashiki Park opened in 1853 as a flower park and in 1872, the first rides were installed. The oldest roller coaster in Japan can be found at Hanayashiki (seen below.) It was built in 1953 and was considered to be the most "modern" roller coaster at that time. What is the name of this historic attraction, did you ask? It's simply named, "Roller Coaster." I think I would have at least put an exclamation point after the name, but that's just me.
The oldest existing attraction in Hanayashiki is the "Surprising House," which was built in 1949. It was the Three Little Pigs themed structure seen in that April 1st post. The guide describes this attraction as "A mysterious house that spins around." I did not go inside at the time that photo was taken, but on a recent trip back to Tokyo and Hanayashiki Park, I did venture inside. Basically, you sit on a long suspended bench seat, which then begins to rock forward and back while the room you are sitting in does 360 degree flip flops around you. The room is "finished" with painted windows, hanging pictures, light fixtures and the real door that you entered through, so it really does a number on your head. It made me think of the 1951 Fred Astaire movie, "Royal Wedding," where he dances up the wall and onto the ceiling. (As a side note, that movie set was supposedly a real room that rotated along with the camera, as Mr. Astaire literally danced "around" the room.) This attraction was definitely not for people prone to motion sickness. I think it's kind of neat that the attraction still exists and continues to entertain people 60 years after it's debut at the park.
Below, is a view of the Sky Ships attraction boarding area. Gee, I wonder where they got the idea for flying pirate ships? If you look off in the distance and to the right, you will see a hellicopter on a track below the blue Sky Ships rail. That attraction follows the same route as the Sky Ships, but the helicopter vehicles ride on top of their track. The attraction is similar to the Sky Trip ride at Tokyo Dome City, but you don't have to pedal these vehicles yourself!
I may do one more non-Disney park post just to finish out the month (perhaps another Knott's post) and then we will get back to Disney stuff. I did visit Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea during my recent Tokyo trip, so I will definitely be posting some current photos and items from those two parks!