Attraction of the Week: Universal Studios Japan's Space Fantasy: The Ride
Written by Robert Niles
Love Disney's Space Mountain? How you'd like to ride another creative team's take on a roller coaster ride through space? Just book your flight for Osaka, where you can blast off on Universal Studios Japan's Space Fantasy: The Ride.Tweet
Photo illustration courtesy Universal Studios Japan
This Mack indoor spinning coaster opened in March 2010, replacing the park's E.T. Adventure ride. The ride itself is similar to Knott's Berry Farm's Sierra Sidewinder, which is another spinning coaster from Mack Rides. But the setting's nothing like Knott's outdoor coaster. On Space Fantasy, you'll fly through an elaborately decorated indoor "space", complete with star fields, looming planets and laser effects.
It's a far trip from a giant chocolate chip cookie flying across the wall.
Universal's even provided a backstory for this adventure. Here's the ride description from the Universal Studios Japan website:
"You board a spaceship departing from Earth with the mission to save the sun. The Earth and Saturn… As the magically captivating planets and comets race by, you dodge through clouds of tumbling asteroids blocking your way. Look out! They seem close enough to be touched! Twisting and turning, spinning and rocking,you will be thrilled as the story goes on. Toward the climax, you dash into the heart of the dimming sun!"
Uh, that doesn't exactly sound like a happy ending for riders. But the journey, from the queue through the ride itself, looks like a delightful trip. Check out this promotional video, which I like because it includes scenes from the ride's queue, which features "GestureTek" video characters that react to your touch.
Along with Efteling and Hong Kong Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan ranks high on my to-do list of top theme parks I haven't yet visited. If Space Fantasy isn't enough to make you long to visit someday, too, USJ will be the next theme park to get the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - their's is opening in 2014. And USJ remains the only Universal park with a Back to the Future ride, which remains a missed favorite among many theme park fans.
If you've ridden Space Fantasy, or would just like to someday, we'd love to hear from you in the comments.
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