China 01/20 – Oriental Heritage Changsha
Back where the trip began then, in Changsha, they’ve got this shiny new Fantawild resort.
With a second gate on the way? From the décor it looks like they’re going backwards and doing an Adventure next. I hope it’s an upgraded version. I do like it when they do something new, as we’re about to find out, again.
Day 13 – Oriental Heritage Changsha
Having being put back in a cynical mood, I wasn’t expecting the coasters to be open for another 6 hours after the park, if at all due to the cold. So the first thing we ended up on was…
Another flying theatre called Let’s Fly! Yes!
It was alright, I think.
In poor taste it did have this picture in the queue of that stupid Vekoma Stingray that spited me twice before being demolished.
On to better things, the area for Celestial Gauntlet looks amazing. I’ll be doing lots of visuals as I go along for this park as I really think they’ve outdone themselves this time. Normally the ‘thrill ride’ areas with a Woodie and bog standard water rides are very plain and often lazy by their standards.
To my surprise it was already open and they were just waiting for someone to ride it. Go on then.
I liked the look of this thing, other than the vests.
Ride without prejudice.
And it didn’t disappoint overall. The lift hill provides some unusual audio of people screaming as you approach the summit.
The drop gives you the briefest moment of ‘wahey I’m out of the seat, oh no I’m not.’
The hang in the inversion is insane. I love how all these modern rides are managing to pull off sensations like this now. Loops used to be so boring.
Everything else in the layout is about a third of the height of the first element so it hauls its way through a bunch of hills and a couple more inversions with a varying degree of pleasure – some of them actually are good and some of them just look good while not really doing anything to you.
Tunnels at the end provide some great interaction.
It’s a cool ride. Nothing game changing. Very fun and re-rideable, but to me not quite worthy of being the stand out attraction at a park. It should be a secondary compliment. To a Jungle Trailblazer. With a new layout.
From there, we unknowingly wandered into one of the standouts of the whole trip. I had something written down on my bit of paper for the day saying ‘new dark ride?! – rocks and vines out front’ and didn’t even notice this was that until afterwards.
The queue went on forever and just kept getting more and more insane, to the point where I was beginning to think it was the attraction and there was no ride at the end.
Particularly when you end up in this room looking like an art gallery with this big ancient scroll on display. So, it’s just a museum?
No, keep going.
It’s a trackless dark ride. Oh yes.
It’s called Magic Gallery or perhaps better, Magic Brush. It follows this boy who can turn into a brush and then bring to life the contents of any drawings or paintings. He takes you on a bit of an adventure.
The ride is really, really long and packed full of intimate detail. Stuff of proper wonderment and awe as you go round. What real dark rides are made of.
The smells are back and more amazing than ever. You end up inside a physical set of a rotting ship at one point and it smells just like the Mary Rose museum. Then a massive flood effect happens while a dragon is playing hide and seek with you.
You learn some history along the way, you meet a sexy water Goddess with her Kirin-drawn chariot, then it smells like the nicest soap ever, you go behind a curtain and he’s found that giant scroll painting from the gallery in the queue and it comes to life and you fly around and it’s all magical and ahhhhhhhhhh. So much to take in. So much charm.
I get back to the station in the midst of re-contemplating my life, like you get on the brake run of a new top 10 coaster.
The ride host walks over with two cups of tea for us as we get off.
I can’t describe how happy this makes me. It’s the simple things.
Stuff like that just doesn’t happen and yet here we are.
So we’ve got a potential Jinshan beater on our hands here. I’m tempted to give it the edge as it’s much more of a ‘ride’ and therefore better paced, without reliance on a show.
The ONE criticism I do have is that because it was running so few vehicles (no capacity required), you often got a bit ahead of the scenes and you’d have to swivel and crane to catch all of it.
Here’s one of those water rides that looks anything but plain. Sadly all closed for the weather.
A show was starting here soon.
The puppy was round the corner to fill the time.
Entrance area to the show.
No big deal.
In a similar vein to Magic Brush the story was about reawakening a famous lady who was mummified in a tomb, along with all the creatures in that flag, but this time it was done with science rather than magic. The characters came to life, portrayed by actors, some conversations and traditional dance happened.
I don’t know what black magic was going on here. The techonology of the Butterfly Lovers show I described at the start of the trip with the translucent projection screens around a stage was cranked up to the max.
They described it as augmented reality and you couldn’t see a screen at all in front of the single big stage but projections appeared out of thin air, completely covering up the action when required. This was complimented by a huge screen behind the stage as well.
Sometimes they used that lying on the floor of the trick with more projections and a giant mirror to make it look like people were flying and it was overall pretty epic.
Same closed for winter story with the rapids, but wow.
Legend of Nuwa has had an upgraded entrance façade since the other parks as well. She’s much bigger and more detailed and the fighting blokes aren’t normally there.
In fact the whole package felt like a Legend of Nuwa 1.1 to me. I may be suppressing things but it felt like there were a couple more details thrown in. Most importantly it was running with a ton more ferocity.
Properly vicious movements from the car that make you concerned for your safety.
Do they weaken over time or do they just make them better now?
They’ve got another cool show here that I’ve seen before – Legend of Lady Meng Jiang, that contains a brick version of the bubble ballet amongst other things. Good lineup.
And something else that stands out to me about this park is how each attraction has much more of it’s own dedicated themed area.
Often they can look amazing out front, but where they are is a bit plonked amongst everything else.
Not quite as pretty, but it’s in the kids area themed to Boonie Bear at the circus.
I like the Orkanen layout. The opening drop and turn are really good and it’s generally much less meandering than the smaller models.
They had the most relaxed staff in China here. You could just walk in and sit on the train at any time without any of the usual batching nonsense. Or even have a nose around the operator’s box because they’d just disappear down the queue for a chat while people were taking their seats. And it’s one of very few rides in China, if any, that I’ve been allowed to keep my glasses on. A nation that doesn’t like them on gentle flat rides.
Maybe it is pretty after all.
Maybe I’ve just got a thing for reflections now.
I hadn’t done this drop tower ride, The Plummet for about 3 years, back in my first Fantawild where I despised the place. Maybe that gave me a bad impression of it.
Nah, it still sucks. So much wasted potential. It has that horrible controlled sensation all the way up and all the way down.
It has doors at the top that make it look like it’s trying to be Tower of Terror. But it doesn’t do anything.
It has screens in the middle that make it look like it’s going to do something cool. But it doesn’t do anything.
Very slowly drifts past a snake on them at the end of the ride cycle while the hardware hisses loudly.
Staff were friendly though, sneaking me up the exit path just before the sequence was about to start. High chance it was time slotted
I’ve managed to put the Marvels of Chinese Culture off at about 10 parks previously. Finally gave it a go on this day.
Expected a lengthy 3D cinema that wasn’t particularly interesting, but actually got a brief and graphic history of all the different Chinese dynasties and the various wars involved.
From other reports I’m not sure if these are all the same now, even if the names are.
It was decent enough.
This was amazing. Another boat ride with a new theme, River of Tales is all about 4 letter Chinese idioms or ‘Chengyu’, represented by scenes.
‘To send charcoal in snowy weather.’
Have a read, they’re great.
Rerides until satisfied then, followed by a slight sadness on departure.
Really, really liked this place. I thought I would be done after the Asian Legend park on this trip but even after so much fatigue I fell in love with Fantawild all over again here. They’re now by far my favourite chain in the country – and it’s taken them long enough. Ningbo was clearly an anomaly and I’ll take the Adventure parks as a learning process for them to develop their rides further. This is a spectacular example of that process continuing.
I shall now follow their future with greater interest than ever.
Sunac can suck it.