China 01/17 – Chimelong Paradise
Having made a name for themselves the previous day, this Chimelong was a bit of a step down in quality. The amusements definitely are the primary focus here and I’m sure it satisfies the locals as a well-equipped park with a highly thrill based orientation. It just hurts me personally that every cred here can also be experienced somewhere else in the world.
Day 2 – Chimelong Paradise
I remember a stupid online news article about this ‘deathtrap park in China with messed up rides you won’t believe’. It was this park and I probably shouted at the screen for their ignorance and clickbait, knowing every one of those rides existed elsewhere before this park did.
(Nothing wrong with the place really, first-world problems).
This big B&M couldn’t really fail to be good. Predictable and solid fun. The train was never full and I had good picks on various seats to make the most of it. The massive drop is great at kicking you out of your chair for a good few seconds and the intimidation factor to other riders at the top is always amusing.
Highlight: The brakes before the second major drop didn’t slow the train at all, allowing it to throw itself into the sweet mist of the tunnel below in a powerful fashion.
Lowlight: Sweet pollution at 200ft.
The Vekoma motocoaster couldn’t really fail to be bad. I just can’t get on with the seating position on these rides, as it makes for such mild discomfort the moment I climb aboard. Every hill and turn was filled with the thought ‘why?’
Highlight: Local guest glued to their phone choosing not to ride but unable to operate a rope that separates non-riders from the station. Took a quick glance up from the screen to stare at the rope with a look that said ‘I’m not even going to attempt to figure out how that one works.’
Lowlight: Mild discomfort.
This copy of the once record breaking Intamin looper rode worse than Colossus ever has, which is quite an achievement. Not offensively bad. Just shout throughout the layout, then laugh it off bad.
Highlight: Local girl physically dragging her bloke along the queue to ride it against his will.
Lowlight: My preferred seat for leg room and experience was closed off (front of the back car).
This was the first Intamin Halfpipe I had come across and I could have continued living happily without it. Every time it launches while you’re facing sideways you could make a false claim for whiplash.
The band in front of it was interesting at least.
Highlight: New experience.
Lowlight: Unpleasant experience.
Mack youngstars are great for family coasters, the imaginitelvely named #5 Young Star Coaster being no exception, and it’s a shame they’re so outnumbered by other inferior products. The ride is ridiculously smooth and actually gives you a few forces to think about as well.
Highlight: Rat in the station.
Lowlight: Rat in the station.
Alien Attack is one of those immersive tunnel jobs <insert ‘what Derren Brown’s Ghost Train could have been’ joke here>.
Visually the experience was not as good as I thought it would be, is there any reason for the vehicle to have a roof? I couldn’t really get behind the story either – meet playful child aliens, their overprotective parents destroy your city and kill millions, then all is dismissed as a misunderstanding. The end. Something different I guess.
The Forest Temple walkthrough was fun. It had some impressive animatronic dragons and goblins among other things. I’m a sucker for a scare maze that doesn’t try too hard, where you can laugh in the face of fear. China is good at those.
We also caught a magic show and a stunt show here, which were both decent enough and managed to clear everything in a surprisingly short amount of time for a park of this scale.
That evening I learnt that many of the mid- to lower-end hotels bookale online in China take a lot of liberties with their advertised position on the map. The one I had booked that claimed to be near to Guangzhou South Station was in fact nowhere to be found (to this day, there still isn’t anything decent available around here – it’s a bit of a dead spot for the city).
I have, since this episode, always booked a known brand and been particularly meticulous in my research as to whether or not places exist. Generally getting the lay of the land always helps for any unforeseen eventuality.
Our train for the next morning left stupidly early at around 05:00 so we definitely needed to be within walking or someone’s driving distance and after some worrying contemplation that even involved just staying inside the station all night and then sleeping on the train, we took the plunge at an info counter and went for one of their on the spot hotel offerings.
An over enthusiastic minibus driver rocks up and leads us to the dark depths of the station underground where his transport awaits. My first true encounter with Chinese driving involved him animatedly chatting on the phone and smoking constantly, mostly not looking where he was going and taking a couple of shortcuts up the wrong sides of the road into oncoming traffic. I have since come to appreciate the entertainmet value.
The hotel itself was barely passable, but sleep is important on these trips so it was probably the right decision. They allowed you to book the minibus back to the station at the time required for any train and the return journey was equally questionable, though the roads were much quieter.
Onwards and north-eastwards.