DoDonPa is one of the emblematic coasters of FujiQ highland, the amusement park located at the bottom of Mount Fuji, Japan. DoDonPa was known for its blistering accelerations produced by a giant pneumatic piston.
In 2017, FujiQ decided to go further: The system and the trains were adapted to produce an even faster acceleration. In its new version, dubbed DoDoDonPa, trains are propelled from 0 to 180 km/h in less than 1.56 s.
Such acceleration deserves adequate conditioning for the guests about to experience it.
Tetsuya Miyao, in charge of the project at FujiQ explains: "Since the early stage of the renewal plan, it has been determined to modify the camelback tower into a large loop, and intensify the speed and acceleration. However, other than renewed tracks and specs, we were wondering what elements will speak and appeal for DDDP that it has evolved into something completely different from how it used to be."
FujiQ has discussed several options with us. The obvious one was a show running in concert with the loading / unloading process, the thundering launch of the train giving the start of the cycle.
"We went through a series of discussions with Tejix to analyze technical aspects and examine through various theming ideas. As a result, we came up with astonishing theming ideas such as the gigantic LED wall, videos and lights changing their colors based on the trains, and so on.” Tetsuya Miyao explained. Indeed the entire width of the loading dock has been covered with a bright LED screen. A 10 000 watts tri-amped sound system has also been installed to focus crystal-clear sound on the station platform.
The new sound system is also used for safety announcements: " we are grateful that Tejix has pushed us to switch to a new PA system. We were almost giving up as the crumbling old system was 15 years old and no schematics or drawings were left. Tejix went out their way to inspect the site and coordinate with concerned parties to successfully replace the system,” Miyao added.
Tejix produced the video and soundtrack of the attraction. Rossukhon Vittayaset, in charge of video media, wished to associate the color of each train with a particular theme. This led to the production of 3 different video segments. “We revisit Japan mythology through air, water and earth,” Vittayaset explained. “I found DoDoDonPa's transition from shadow to light daunting. I wanted riders to get a glimpse of the actual launch in the preshow videos."
The original score composed for the attraction had to be reminiscent of the throbbing DoDonPa rhythm. Hard rock style imposed itself, but it has to be melodic enough for the allegorical phase of the videos.
Patrice Peyrieras, our appointed composer, was in charge of this work. Unfortunately, the maestro was hospitalized for surgery at the time the recording of the music was to take place. "I started composing just before going to the hospital, and the recording sessions started the day after I left," he told us.
The recording took place in France. Our team at FujiQ was communicating daily with the maestro in order to adapt the score and musical arrangements. The final mix was carried out in the audience area, on the attraction’s platform, and from a train positioned in the launching tunnel. A special version of the score was created for the queue line. The main theme baseline is used, embellished with a thundering guitar solo. "To get the squeaking sound desired by FujiQ, I called one of the best French guitarists who spent a day in the studio. The result is beyond our expectations," Patrice Peyrieras told us.
Upon entering the station, each train is identified by its barcode. The Show Control unit uses this information to select the station lighting color and corresponding video media. No operator intervention is, of course, needed during the whole process.
The show system works closely with the ride control system. We worked in symbiosis with S&S Sansei, the ride manufacturers to make sure ride and show elements are matching perfectly.
In the words of Tetsuya Miyao: "Among all the positive comments we have received from the guests, we are very proud that a number of them mention that what has changed the most drastically after the renewal is the station theming. For me, everything was new in this project and it was very challenging, but we cannot thank Tejix enough for doing a great job. We are looking forward to our next future projects together.”