A family-friendly amusement park in Tokyo ceased operations Monday 94 years after it first opened, with part of the site slated to be turned into a new Harry Potter theme park in 2023. Toshimaen, which opened in September 1926, was one of the largest amusement parks in the capital with over 30 rides and attractions including a wooden carousel that was made in Germany in 1907 and brought to the park in 1971.
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The carousel is the legendary El Dorado, which was previously at Steeplechase Park in Coney Island. The product of noted German showman Hugo Hasse, it toured Germany and Eastern Europe fair circuits before being sold to George Tilyou. When Steeplechase turned out the lights in the 1960's Toshimaen purchased it (sans the large A. Ruth & Sohne organ that came with it, which was repatriated back to Germany).
I thought El Dorado was bumper cars.
Anyway, what a unique and beautiful machine. Given Coney’s current renaissance, wouldn’t it be great if it could be returned to that area?
(Wishful thinking, totally ignoring those showmen haven’t made a dime this summer...)
Over the years I’ve seen photos of those amazing, giant dueling swinging ships. I always wondered if the park was ever busy enough to fill both boats, as that would be a lot of people.
Not anymore sadly. The rise of Tokyo Disneyland and its second gate Tokyo DisneySea combined with low investments and the 2007 derailment on a coaster at Expoland lead to dwindling attendance across the Tokyo parks. Toshimaen last roller coaster was the small mini-Cyclone in 2009 and it had little in capital investments since. Funnily, DDT Wrestling, a wacky and comic wrestling promotion, had crazy "street wrestling" shows in the park after hours over the years. A few days before Toshimaen closed forever, they had one last show and yes, one wrestler ended up taking a swim in the log flume reservoir. Another match happened near and in the Lazy River.
Yomiuriland was able to modernise and clear out ancient rides while surviving the doomed Twist Coaster Robin accident. Twist Coaster Robin was Sensei take on the El Loco that unfortunately had a rollback on the lift hill on opening day. It never reopened and was taken down a few years ago. Since then, the park opened unique job and food pavillions with weird experiences and this helped make them different from the rest. For example, Hafema/Alterface provided an interactive river rapids where you are a cup of Nissin instant noodles floating around a river. Gerstlauer built a fashion runway themed spinning coaster.
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