China 01/20 – Guangzhou Sunac Land

Like Shanghai, I always underestimate how stupidly huge the city of Guangzhou is. What I thought was a decently located hotel between the south railway station (the only practically usable station out of 4 in the city – ridiculously overcrowded, a total pain in the arse and miles from anywhere) turned out to be a 2 hour journey from the park I was here for.
And that was without the random traffic jam that cost another half an hour within spitting distance of the park (should have got out and walked at that point, but couldn’t be sure).

The only entertainment on route was this. I love the idea of someone ‘beating’ the glass, most likely in frustation.

So turned up frustrated and late to

Day 9 – Guangzhou Sunac Land

Entrance is a bit more garish than the others. For some reason, like it was fated, we asked whether all the rollercoasters were open today – hadn’t really been bothering this trip because it’s usually a waste of breath. The answer though – yes.

Let’s start with the ticketing system here. China is obsessed with making payments via apps with QR codes these days and it’s frustrating to behold. Everywhere you go there will be someone stuck at the front of a queue for a convenience store counter, standing in front of the ticket gate for a metro or holding up the awfully slow queues for high speed rail tickets in the way of everyone else, head down fumbling with their phone because for any number of reasons they’re struggling to make it work. If it doesn’t work when they scan it, they never have any backup method to pay so just begin a shouting match with the staff who obviously can’t do anything about it.

The park has decided to roll with this system and operates a pay per ride as an alternative to getting an unlimited ticket at the entrance gate. This confuses everyone because they all turn up to the front of a queue to then have a shouting match with the member of staff who is supposed to be batching for the ride about their eligibility to ride something.
“I thought it was free.”
“No use the app.”
“Why can’t my children go on?”
“No use the app.”
“That’s going to cost me 4x X, I don’t wanna pay that much.”
“Use the app for your children and then push past everyone else to get out of the queue then.”
Every time.

If you get an unlimited ticket they do a Fuji Q and use facial recognition on screens to let you into each ride, but the initial setup of this isn’t upon entrance to the park, it’s upon batching of your first ride, only adding to the faff each time someone comes to start using it and doesn’t understand (or it doesn’t work).

So a queue of 5 people can easily turn into a 10 minute ordeal. And this is what greeted us at the first ride.

#1 Garden Fantasy

Which was this thing.
I wasn’t a fan of Arthur to be honest. It was a cool idea, but poorly executed.
Compared to this it’s a masterpiece.
If you’re in the back of the 3 car train, you miss all the screen based scenes and just catch the characters as they’re literally walking off screen to the next one. Every single time. Like it’s a joke.

The outdoor section looks crap.

I’ve seen pictures showing that the ride has the ability to produce tons of fog effects. This is already broken.

And their equivalent of the really majestic part of these ride systems where you go swooping out over a big public area, triumphant music playing?
It goes over this.

A frog hopper.

Here we are then. All the lateness from earlier didn’t matter of course because they didn’t open this until 3 hours after the park. Sat down to wait.

#2 Dueling Dragons (Invert)

Watched them test both sides seperately. We’re in.

Got to the station behind 2 kids and their parents. 10 minute ordeal with ticketing.
The green side was open and ready to roll.
Got to the airgates. Another 10 minutes of waiting for who knows what.
Sat down in the ride. Another 10 minutes of waiting before they do the restraints.

It was really good overall. Definitely some interesting sensations in there.
The launch is surprisingly un-punchy but the amount of time spent upside down in the loop feels off the charts.

It has some great forceful turns, the inversions are cool. A couple of attempted airtime moments that it’s nice to see, but don’t quite pay off.
And it leaves you feeling a bit short at the end. Like it’s yellow soaring brother.
The potential for something truly special but doesn’t quite pull it off.

Coaster-wise this was my main draw of the whole trip really. I held off from this area until it was open. It looks so badass. So I was a little disappointed already.
I wasn’t expecting a duelling ride by any stretch of the imagination, but have faith in Wanda/Sunac – I’ll get both sides separately.
It’s already been reported that they alternate between the two when it’s quiet. Had a quick chat with the staff at the entrance about that, see if they knew roughly when.
But they didn’t understand the concept of that at all.
“It’s the green one now and you get what you get when you get there.”
Most of the staff don’t usually know what they’re talking about, I’ll come back later.

This show was round the corner. It was mildly entertaining, if a bit more child-orientated. (The whole park seemed to be really. Spent most of my time sharing the rides, even the big coaster, with 10 year olds).

It had a couple of decent magic tricks, a bit of dance, slapstick. And it’s namesake dog in a crude costume alternating between walking on two legs and all fours in amusing fashion.

This one seems to be trying a bit too hard. That’s not just translation. It’s self-aware.

#3 Crazy Waves

Didn’t know what this was, but I think it appeared on RCDB as a water coaster-ish ride a couple of months after the rest of the park opened.
The ride sign does actually say ‘the dual combination of drifting and roller coaster’.

Thought I’d judge it for myself. Got a free thin poncho, which was cool. Got stuck behind 2 people at the front of the queue for 5 minutes…

Anyway, it has an extensive indoor section. Drifts around some jungle stuff, enters a stormy cave with both wind and rain effect in your face and while that’s happening to you, up an elevator lift.
Does the backwards coaster section of your Atlantica Supersplashes.
Drifts around some crystals and a volcano before a…

Big drop finale. It looks very Tidal Wave and does the same thing where the water hits your legs a good 5 seconds after touchdown. My poncho had ridden up in the wind so I got stupidly wet knees and nothing more.

Storm Surge! Sums up the park really.
It had been about 3 hours since the dragon opened, so headed over for another look to see if they were thinking about swapping over yet.
Still the green side. The maintenance card gets played. Right.

It was billed to be open for 7 hours in total that day, so we’ll give them a while longer.

A parade happened. I would have felt a little sad for them like Xishuangbanna in the fact that it’s all fenced off for them to perform, dance and wave on both sides of their path but it was quiet enough for one side to be completely empty and often they would stand still waving to nothingness.

Jumped on the wheel to watch intently.

Don’t know what this was other than closed.

Another flying theatre. Fast becoming the Jungle Mouse of the dark ride world.
The video takes you round Guangdong province and basically it ain’t as good as Yunnan province.

The day started to ebb away.

So went to guests services for a chat. Usual rubbish in that there is no actual answer, just a long string of meaningless excuses including:
“Maintenance.”
“They only open the red one if they get enough footfall.”
“The green one is more thrilling, so you don’t need the red one.”

Being in this silly hobby, those last words hurt. I know it doesn’t affect anyone else in the world but even though they’re different ride experiences and they are here actually acknowledging them as such, they treat it as a single attraction and if you’ve done one track, you’ve done Dueling Dragons, what’s your problem?

I think I was 10x more wound up by it all by having the knowledge that they used to do the sensible thing and run both alternately on a quiet day, but only 6 months into the operation of the park they’ve already decided themselves that it’s a wasted effort.
I should have gone in blind.

Anyway, the footfall excuse caught my attention, foolishly . There were a couple of spare days in the trip allocated for instances such as this so asked whether it would be open in the next few, including the coming weekend.
I’ve done a weekend at a Wanda before, it was really busy (and this city is stupidly busy) but they were coping really well and became the only park in China I’ve seen outside Disney to run 2 trains on a major rollercoaster.
The word weekend then caught their attention.
“Yes. The red one WILL open at the weekend.”
“Ok then, I’ll hold you to that.”

Last ride of the day was this Octopus simulator thing that wasn’t any good.
It was obnoxiously following a couple of octopi around a cruise liner while they bounced from danger to danger screaming oooooooooooooooooooooooooooh continuously and I was just done by then.
Spent the whole time replanning the rest of the trip in my head to make sure I could come back and get that other dragon.

Oh I’ve experienced a Typhoon. They ran more rides in it than you do.

Well unfortunately, yes.

Day 10

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