China 01/17 – Shanghai
The final city of the journey was Shanghai, where we set up shop for many days hoping to hit a few ‘local’ parks as well as shuttle out to a couple of others. I underestimated how huge the city would be, thinking that a nice central hotel location would cover everything comfortably. It still did to an extent, but the metro journies alone could take hours.
Day 6 – Jin Jiang Action Park
Not the most glamorous of city parks. Took a little while to spot it from the nearest metro station – it’s amazing how well a huge flyover road network can block the view of a massive ferris wheel and rollercoaster.
Took a stab in the dark with ride ticket quantities, as the staff at the entrance couldn’t possibly tell me what was actually open, even though they insisted on knowing the exact number of rides I wanted to buy up front before going in. Let’s find out.
Turns out the star attraction was closed when we got inside so I burned through all the tickets in a huff of a hurry.
Not a good start as the operator of the first attraction clearly didn’t have the time of day for me.
“Sit on the ride and read the instruction sign for 10 minutes while I have a smoke.”
“Feet flat on the floor. FEET FLAT ON THE FLOOR.”
“Anatomically impossible mate.”
What a weird representation of motorbike riding. The transition out of the launch is really awkward and then it meanders slowly downwards and gets stuck on the brakes for a further 10 minutes.
Lowlight: More junk.
An indoor powered coaster with over the top lateral forces and a dinosaur to look at. Cool.
Shuttle loop cred – Spite! Would have quite liked to have given this a whirl.
The ferris wheel was also closed. Ready to leave already?
Plot twist! The ride started testing at some point and then managed to get stuck partially up the lift. I sat and watched for a while to see how this would play out. After much nothingness, it lowered itself back into the station where parts in the vicinity of the wheels were treated to a bottle of lube.
Asked the staff how it was going and was told they’d be ready in a few minutes. More than a few minutes later, after paying Winter Wonderland prices for a single extra ticket because of course I had got the quantities wrong earlier, I was sitting in the front row.
Killed some time by demonstrating to other guests on how the restraints were supposed to be used while the staff went to buy more lube and then off it went.
The famously temperamental Vekoma creation was a lot better than it could have been. The layout is still a boring Boomerang, though scaled up and with vertical spikes. Hanging horizontally into the restraint, facing the floor on the lift hill was a little more unnerving than usual and overall it rode surprisingly smoothly.
Highlight: Made the park worthwhile.
Lowlight: What a tease.
Oriental Pearl Tower
It may not be the tallest, but Oriental Pearl Tower is the observation deck of choice in Shanghai, because it has a cred in it.
The free museum underneath was mildly interesting as well.
Those ones look a bit taller, but they’re short of something else.
They’ve stuck Virtual Reality headsets on this indoor coaster and probably jacked the price up for it. 2 creds at London prices in one day? You used to be cool, China.
The VR was bizarre, pretending you were on a coaster outside the tower rather than inside it. The imaginary coaster layout was that of a child’s scribble, which didn’t match much of the physical sensation from the ride and the default direction of facing didn’t line up with the direction of travel, or your head, at any time. Clever.
Highlight: Instructions on the car.
Lowlight: Rather have just ridden in the dark.
This was supposed to be the last cred stop of the day, but spite! Once again they couldn’t confirm or deny the simple question of is the rollercoaster running from outside the entrance, so we had to go in to find out that it had been closed for months (it has since gone for good).
Burned a few hours ticking off all the simulator attractions mainly to justify the price of entry, but also to save doing them elsewhere in another of these branded arcades.
The transformer ball one was somewhat fun, in an evil way, in that it could flip you onto your head while you were supposed to be shooting robots.
The other highlight was a Sonic the Hedgehog themed dodgems ride, on which driving over projected images on the floor gave you points and a sense of competition in addition to senseless bumping.