China 01/18 – Happy Valley Shenzhen
An agreement was drawn up the night before in order to decide what to do on our last day in China. The plan was to wake up at 6am, look out the window, if it was raining meet each other within half an hour and travel to Hong Kong Disneyland. If it looked clear outside, go back to bed for 2 more hours, meet at half 9 and go to Happy Valley.
As though the World knew this was going to happen I was exactly 1 floor below Heartline in the hotel. So imagine the comedy when 6am comes and both of us are shining lights out the windows. Our rooms were facing a housing block who probably assumed close encounters of the third kind. Either way all looked good outside, Bullet Coaster I’ll see you soon.
Happy Valley Shenzhen
Happy Valley parks, of which there are many, are owned and operated by the OCT Group. Heartline has been to most, if not all of them and had prewarned me to expect the park to be frustrating. Well he wasn’t wrong in stating that because today was going to be rather testing indeed.
We got to the park about half an hour after opening and went straight to the ticket office to ask the golden question “are all the roller coasters open today?”. The lazy woman replied “read the sign”, lovely…
The sign said only the rapids and waterpark were closed today so we paid our money and made our way in.
We planned to start with Bullet Coaster but it wasn’t going to be easy to get it however. Massive areas of the park were completely fenced off which meant we had to walk the longest possible way to get to Bullet Coaster.
On this very long walk I started to notice that the park was in a bit of a state and I’m not just talking about the areas that were fenced off and in pieces. Everything seemed to look very neglected and forgotten about. Truthfully this was what I was expecting from China but after Oriental Heritage yesterday looked stunning I clearly raised my hopes too high for Happy Valley.
I then started to think, we’ve just walked past many rides that aren’t operating meaning that sign was lying, I really hope that’s not going to affect us.
Thankfully when we got to Bullet Coaster it was open so we powered straight into the queue. There were 2 people in the queue infront of us and 2 people in the train having their restraints checked. This was it, time to start preparing myself. Then these restraint checks continued on for another 10 minutes and I started to get really nervous. To confirm these suspicions the station and queue were cleared and the ride was closed.
I know there are much more important things in life to get upset about but I was devastated. It was torture to be standing right next to this insane looking roller coaster but not being able to experience it. I was almost certain at this point it wouldn’t reopen, based on what Heartline had told me of China and Happy Valley.
Heartbroken I went to tick off the park’s other coasters.
Snow Mountain Flying Dragon – Heartline, who’d already ridden it, sat off this Vekoma SLC, leaving me to my thoughts about Bullet Coaster’s closure. I was so concerned with other matters that I managed to zone out the whole ride.
Next we wanted to go ride the park’s mine train coaster, which Heartline missed last time he was here, however…
There was literally no way to get to the mine train because all paths to it were closed off. On closer inspection we noticed that the mountain the coaster used to run through had been removed and the ride now resembled a collapsed multi story car park.
It would appear the lying sign would come back to haunt us. It was now, with the assumed loss of Bullet Coaster that I started to get angry. They’d lied to us, half the park is closed off and the parts that are open look awful and/or are broken.
We decided to camp out Bullet Coaster for a while and sat on the wall opposite the entrance. Heartline’s wife asked the staff on the entrance what was happening, this was the reply. “Restraints are loose, not a big issue, should be open in half hour”, I wish I could believe that.
Half an hour came and went and nothing changed, they were working on it though.
They’d need to speed up though because we had to leave the park at 1:30 at the latest, in order to catch a plane out of Hong Kong airport.
This was even more frustrating than it not opening at all, knowing you’d just missed it and you’d probably never get the chance to come back.
Baby Coaster – We made the very long walk back to the front of the park so I could tick of the park’s Wacky Worm, I really wasn’t in the mood to enjoy it though.
North Pole Adventure – Not even the park’s ghetto shooting Santa dark ride could cheer me up.
We walked back to Bullet Coaster and reached it’s entrance area at exactly 1, so we had half an hour tops to watch it not open…
BUT IT WAS!
Bullet Coaster – The change in mood in both me and Heartline as we launched in the queue was unforgettable, we went from God awful, life sucks to OMG BULLET COASTER in half a second, it was amazing.
Everything about this S&S launch coaster is over the top and stupid and it begins with the queueline videos. They list everyone who can’t ride and it’s pretty much everyone on Earth. Then they show extremely over the top Chinese men bolting wheels onto Bullet Coaster before giving a cartoon thumbs up, fantastic.
Then there’s the batching process….
Despite the ride having airgates they don’t let the next batch of riders into the station before the last lot have all fully left. When you’re eventually let into the station you are told to stand on a dot each behind the air gates. Then a 2 minute Chinese only PA announcement is made, followed by a member of staff doing many full body excercises, which everyone must join in with. Once everyone is warmed up the air gates are opened and you are free to take your seat and the restraints are locked.
And then it hit me, I was about to ride Bullet Coaster, I am so not ready. The train wasn’t helping the situation either. Though super comfy, they are incredibly open and with what’s about to happen this was a concern.
After dispatch the train slowly leaves the station and moves onto the launch track. It had been a while since a coaster had truly gotten under my skin but as I sat there, with the train gently rocking back and forth and absolutely terrifying noises coming from the ride’s launch system I could hear my heart beating.
Then suddenly, you’re off, 0 – 83mph in less than 2 seconds, smooth as silk but face tearing.
Clearly I’d be insane to love this coaster as much as I do if it was only for the amazing launch, no things have just gotten started. After the launch you fly up an amazing top hat that rewards you with a nice burst of air time, then leaves you pinned out of your seat the whole way down it. Between this point and almost the end of the coaster you are subjected to an amazing combination of air time moments and an incredible sense of speed.
Unfortunately things ends rather weakly as you travel down a jerky spiral into the brakes.
We managed to get 3 laps on Bullet Coaster in the half hour we had left and I fell thoroughly in love with it.
If it wasn’t for Bullet Coaster opening, this probably would have been one of the most disappointing park visits of my life. But thanks to Bullet Coaster it’s probably only top 5.
Running slightly late now, we rushed back to the hotel for our luggage then once again crossed into Hong Kong. The metro journey to the airport was frustrating and uncomfortable but worse of all slow.
Thankfully we managed to make our flight back to Singapore though, a flight I can’t recall at all.
Tonight I stayed in the 5 star Crown Plaza hotel in the aiport, easily one of the best sleeps I’ve ever had and I’d earned it.
I stayed until almost check out at my amazing hotel and then very slowly made my way on the MRT over to Heartline’s location. We took it easy and then went to the cinema in the evening.
More chilled exploring of Singapore.
Today was our last day and we started it very late, meaning I was able to get 13 hours sleep, which might be a new record for me.
We didn’t really do much when we met up either, instead choosing to just relax.
Our plane left Singapore at 11:55pm and what followed was 14 hours of discomfort.
Thank you so much for reading.