China 01/20 – Fantawild Resort Zhuzhou
Though I said there was more important things to come, this isn’t a particularly good example. It was a right royal clone fest for me and done more for the sake of completionism.
Although this is called the Zhuzhou resort it’s in the middle of nowhere almost equidistant between its namesake city and where I was and only a 30-40 minute drive from the high speed rail end of Changsha so I’d only ever consider doing it from Changsha as it has better transport links and other stuff as well. No one needs you, Zhuzhou.
The weird thing about this is that there’s now a Fantawild resort specifically for Changsha as well and it’s even further out from Changsha than this is, in a completely different direction. We’ll get to that later in the trip.
A familiar Fantawild setup here – 2 parks on one resort. One with the good stuff and one with the crap stuff. The 2 park 1 day ticket is offensively similar in price to a regular 1 park ticket so it’s almost rude not to try at least some of both (creds), though if you were new to all of it you may well end up missing a fair few attractions due to how they run things.
After having a particularly stressful day when I was in this situation before, I opted to start on the good stuff rather than the cred run to eliminate any unnecessary anxiety.
Fantawild Dreamland Zhuzhou
Not that it mattered in the end. Walked to the woodie to find it closed off. A friendly staff woman came over and informed us that it wasn’t ready yet, it rained earlier this week (oh here we go…) BUT, it WILL open later today, they’ve just gotta check the track.
I’d make some comment here about the fact that most parks do this before guests arrive, but it just seems normal to me now.
It was the same story at the other coaster, so dark ride time I guess.
Except half of them weren’t ready either, we were told we ‘should have gone round the park the other way’ cos when there’s like 10 guests on park (most days) they expect you to travel in a little tour group together so they can open one ride at a time for you in sequence, when they can be bothered.
Ended up in this 3D painting building, burning time for a while.
Then Qin Dynasty Adventure opened (Indiana Jones style ride themed to Terracotta Army).
I never quite absorb enough of this ride to know if they’re all exactly the same or not. It always seems a little fresh to me each time, but that’s a good thing right? It’s really good at what it does theming wise and for some reason here they said don’t bother with the seatbelts so I was almost being thrown out of the vehicle at some parts. And we had it all to ourselves so it’s super immersive.
Rumble Under the Sea/Dragon King’s Tale does feel the same every time now and the magic is starting to fade on me a bit, especially when they don’t have the preshow and water tunnel working properly. It’s a slower boat like vehicle that isn’t actually a boat with movement limited to forwards, rotation and backwards.
Found a ride I haven’t actually managed to do before called Havoc in the Heavens.
I recognised the ride system – a rotating platform with several screens around the perimeter and under a giant dome ceiling screen. This one had a different story.
It’s the prequel to the Journey to the West story found on the ride Devil’s Peak, which features the Monkey King again. That was also here, but wasn’t open.
Here’s how I’d tell the story then – some higher up guy gives our man Monkey King the task of cleaning the royal stables, which he doesn’t like. He goes to a Peach Festival and gets mocked by many beautiful women for it, so flips and wrecks the joint.
For this, his monkey home gets firebombed and all his friends and family die. Harsh right?
So he goes up to heaven and wreaks havoc there out of revenge. Gives the higher up bloke a mouthful before smashing tons of buildings and trolling the hell out of some guard who tries to stop him.
Things get out of hand and a buddha bloke gets involved saying you’ve gotta calm down mate. He doesn’t calm down (and who can blame him), so buddha kicks his ass, sends him back to earth and buries him under a ton of rock. The end.
Not the best of rides really, potentially quite an endurance test. The platform of seats just keeps rotating backwards and forwards without any gusto and you have to keep craning your neck round to see the action. Wouldn’t do it again.
White Snake Maiden’s Fury/Jinshan Temple Showdown was about to start so couldn’t say no to that one. I’ve raved about it on here before and it’s still spectacular as ever.
It has so much to look at during the ride sequence with the massive boat, aside from the live actors appearing out of nowhere.
You all get off and watch a show at the end with water effects, projection, fire and actors again and it just generally kicks ass. Proper world class theme park attraction.
Something else I’ve never managed to catch before is this show, Eternal Love.
It has a gorgeous queue. Something that’s often hard to appreciate at these parks because they’re so empty, you just blitz through them.
There’s 4 seating areas looking through transparent projection screens around a stage that interact with some dancing performances going on in the middle of it. There’s not much to the story really, just a bit of falling in love, getting spited then reuniting again. It was kinda cool. Wouldn’t do it again.
With all that out of the way, the Woodie was finally open. They were doing the classic sit you under a shelter in the queue for 15 minutes at a time, waiting for a walkie talkie call to send you up to the station, but there was never even a trains worth of people so that’s as good as you can expect. For laziness sake they were also sending people up the exit stairs as they were closer than the entrance.
This Jungle Trailblazer is a clone of Fjord Flying Dragon at Happy Valley Tianjin. A ride which I love. Like top 20 love. So I was a bit nervous. I don’t like this whole clone business, aside from the fact that it detracts from the status of a ride to me personally, it always leaves you in a certain degree of doubt about your previous experiences.
I parked myself in the back seat and let it do its thing to me. I needn’t have worried. Still loved it.
I kept giving myself a ton of room with the lap bar and the amount of ejection I was getting over the first drop should be made illegal. Has a ride ever made you involuntarily laugh/scream out loud through pure fear? That feeling right there.
Air-time galore in the rest of it, of all shapes and sizes. I just love the variety in this layout – the sections of straight underneath the structure with 2, 3, 4 out of your seat moments in a row. The side by side twisted hills that brutally throw you into the cushy edges of the train. It doesn’t really have a dull moment, and that makes it a top tier Gravity Group ride for me.
It has a roughness to it, but it’s just at the perfect level for me on one of these, plenty to give you something to think about but nothing to detract from the experience. It can even get a little physically exhausting after a few goes. Personally I admire that in a ride.
Even though it was a good 30°C colder here, I’d say it easily has the potential to run the same as the original.
As much of a pain to take pictures of though.
Managed to tear myself away from that to tick off the boomerang. Vests over OTSRs = good. Braking dead in the station over overshooting = bad. Sucks.
And then sadly I had to tear myself away from it forever to go do the other park.
Fantawild Adventure Zhuzhou
There was a time when I’d vowed to never do one of these Adventure parks again, but here I am sucking it up for the hobby.
They had this fake snow stuff out which was quite a cool effect, but a pain to walk through and it got in your shoes easily.
Literally didn’t look at the park map to see what they had because it would just give me the sense of ‘I’ve been there, done that, and it so isn’t worth it.’ The park was as dead as the other one so no issues there.
Marched straight to the SLC. Worst ride of the trip. Oh it was awful. The restraints are the massively over-henched ones made out of concrete that are deeper than your head and touch your ears at all times no matter how you sit.
It’s the Kumali layout so it does the big drop into that tight corner at a speed these rides shouldn’t be travelling and that’s exactly where the pain happened. Two proper nasty punches to the side of the head. The type of stuff that’s clearly beyond acceptable roughness on a ride and make you deeply question why you even put up with it. Managed to keep it together and endure the rest of it without incident but seriously, burn it.
Walked even quicker to the bastard Mine Train clone. There’s soooooooo many and it’s soooooooo lazy at this stage. Every park in the bloody country has this layout. Hats off to Quancheng for breaking the mould.
Went to the shop on the way out and the shelves were basically empty, something I found a lot over the coming days. Worrying for the future of these parks yet?