Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Making a wonderful ride a Great Coasters ride!

Great Coasters International and Leisure Labs announce first Great Coasters International product in Japan

Clair Hain, president and owner of Great Coasters International and Tim Viox, co-owner of Leisure Labs have announced a partnership with Sanoyas Rides Corporation to bring Tobu Zoo’s legendary Regina Wooden Roller Coaster back to its original glory!

Mr. Toshio Kamei, manager, Sanoyas Rides Corporation said: “Great Coasters is the only company who can execute this challenging project, and we are excited to have Great Coasters as our partner in bringing the legendary Regina Wooden Coaster back to its full glory!”

Mr. Masakazu Matsumoto, manager of Tobu Zoo said: “Regina is a well-known and long loved ride by many people. We are very pleased to be able to re-open the Regina with Great Coaster’s new trains.”

Mr. Kamei continued: “It is an honour to have this opportunity to work with Great Coasters on “Regina”: The Legend of Wooden Roller Coaster in Tobu Zoo. Not only roller coaster enthusiasts, but also many amusement park patrons in Japan have been waiting for it to come back. We have no doubt that Great Coasters is the best partner to make their dream come true.”

Clair Hain, owner of GCI stated: “We are very excited to finally be working in Japan. We have been working on this partnership for multiple years and countless miles! As a lifelong builder of Wooden Roller Coasters, I have been familiar with Regina since it was originally constructed. It is an honour to have the opportunity to make this wonderful ride a Great Coasters ride!”

Viox added: “We have developed a very good relationship with the team at Sanoyas and Tobu Zoo – a real partnership beyond a normal business relationship. All parties involved understand the tremendous value such a strong partnership brings to a project. Clair and his team are perfectly suited for this unique endeavour!”


Becci Knowles caught up with Mr. Toshio Kamei, manager of Sanoyas Rides Corporation to find out more.

When and why was it decided that Regina needed updating?

Regina was closed due to deterioration of trains in 2019. Soon after the closure, strong desires for revival were heard from not only the guests but also from TOBU’s employees. The operation was closed once; TOBU wanted to express a feeling of “renewal” of the ride.

Why did you choose GCI?

We took a ride on White Lighting at Funspot America and experienced the comfort of GCI’s coaster train and track. With GCI’s experience of Ghost Rider at Knott’s Berry Farm, we were sure that they could successfully execute this project.

How closely have you been working with the team?

We have been liaising with GCI for 7 or 8 years for various other projects. Regina is the first project for us to realise together.

How far into the project are you and when do you anticipate it completing?

Work on the new station and new steampunk design began in January this year. Due to current Covid-19 pandemic, there is a possibility of delay, but we are aiming to open new Regina in March 2023.

 What kind of experience do you hope it will provide?

We are sure that new Regina will be smoother and more exciting coaster than the original one.


Becci also spoke to Mr. Masakazu Matsumoto, manager of Tobu Zoo.

When did Tobu Zoo open?

Tobu Zoo was opened on 28 March 1981. The Zoo was the major attraction at that time.

What is the history of your relationship with Sanoyas?

A small ride was delivered by Sanoyas Rides Corporation in 2001, and after a while of absence, a ferris wheel (Emma’s Cheese Windmill) was delivered by Sanoyas in 2013.

A ride was also delivered in 2014 and 2020. In addition, Sanoyas also carries out some ride maintenance for us.

What is the ride’s history?

Regina was opened as a wooden roller coaster installed over a pond, which was first in the world, on 18 March 2000.

Total length was 1,334m and max speed was 90km/h. On August 9, 2019, it was closed due to deterioration of trains but there was a strong desire for it to re-open from both our guests and our employees.

After our inspection and verification of structure, the track and columns were found to be sound, so we decided that we would re-open it.

What are your plans for Regina? What are you doing to the ride that will “bring it back to life”?

New Regina will have a steampunk theme. The entrance and platform will be upgraded with the theme and themed figures will be installed around the ride to appeal to the sense of it being “re-born”.

How will the updates/technical elements enhance the ride?

Originally 4 passengers x 7 coaches, the train will be upgraded to GCI’s 2 passengers x 12 coaches train.

The 9 pry track will be fully replaced and the 2 pry rail at the outside of curve will also be replaced.

With these upgrades, we are aiming to make new Regina more comfortable and smoother ride than the original one.

What kind of experience do you hope it will provide?

We would like to provide more exciting and exhilarating ride experience to our guests while maintaining the identity of the wooden coaster.

Can you give me some fun facts about the ride?

Regina is a unique wooden roller coaster installed over a pond. Especially at night with illumination, its ride experience is fantastic.

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