As I have already experienced, nighttime and dusk is when Tokyo comes alive. Taking a trip out to the Tokyo Dome to ride the Thunder Dolphin was no different.
The Tokyo Dome is a MASSIVE stadium home to the Yomiuri Giants and I was excited to see the stadium and see what was around the venue. It just so happens that these Giants share the same colour scheme as the hated San Francisco Giants, so there was NO WAY in hell I was going to purchase any gear with players names or hats or anything else with the word ‘Giants’ on it out of sheer principle.
That being said, I was hoping that we could possibly take a tour in the stadium or possibly take in a sporting event that was going on at that time. Sadly, the only thing going on there was some pop concert that had what looked to be every single tween in Tokyo waiting beyond the gates and talking with their friends waiting for the gates to open. This clogged up the walkway and it was difficult to navigate through the sea of tweens to get to our final destination: The Thunder Dolphin.
I don’t think I have ever been on a roller coaster that, literally, goes through a building before, let alone one that is in the middle of a city. As a roller coaster enthusiast, I knew that the Thunder Dolphin would be an awesome experience just by looking at it. It was a simple process of purchasing a ticket from the kiosk and then waiting in a line. The line is a tad slow, but that is only because there is only one car that runs on the track at a time. While waiting in line the ride operator shows you a list of items that you can and cannot bring with you on the ride. Luckily there are pictures just in case you don’t speak Japanese.
Before you are strapped in you must put your belongings into a locker coinciding with your row. They provide a key attached to an elastic band that fits snugly around your wrist so it doesn’t fly away. No hats, glasses or watches are aloud. Trust me, they will tell you to take them off if they see them. Just do what they ask the first time so you can experience the ride sooner rather than later. Once strapped in, the ride operator in the control booth gets everyone excited and holds up a plush dolphin and everyone gives a good yell of excitement.
This is where the fun begins.
The car slowly lurched up the ramp with a loud CLAK CLAK CLAK and we looked to our left and right out at the city below and just as the car reached it’s zenith my friend said “The [expletive deleted] Japanese are crazy!”, then we plummeted at a near 45° angle, felt weightless and then were slammed into our seats as we shot up at break-neck speed. The track bent left and right and went through that hole in the building from the image above and went up and down and all around until we were back at the ride entrance and everyone was laughing and smiling with joy and excitement after experiencing such an awesome ride. It is a must-see & must-do for anyone visiting Tokyo and any roller coaster lover.