China 01/18 – Oriental Heritage Xiamen
Today started very early as we needed to be at Gold Coast airport for our 8am flight back to Singapore.
Once there we had just enough time to have a meal before we were due to be boarding our flight to Shenzhen.
While Scoot had been great at getting us to and from Australia, today would be their downfall with our plane leaving 2 hours late and then losing yet more time in the air, meaning we didn’t touch down in Shenzhen until 1am.
Heartline had always told me China can be hard work and I was about to experience it first hand.
By the time we got through immigration and collected our luggage it was now 2am and we were ruined. We made our way to the airport hotel for a very quick sleep, 4 hours if I remember, before checking out and making our way to a hotel near Happy Valley where we were going to be based for the rest of the trip.
It was raining when we got to this new hotel and I was already fearing the worst. While it’s common knowledge that rain and Asian parks don’t go together, I’d heard that China were the worst offenders. I’d come to learn though that the Chinese will use just about any excuse to not run their coasters.
Our plan was to visit Happy Valley and Knight Valley today but because of the weather Heartline decided it would be best to phone them to see what’s happening.
Happy Valley: “It’s raining, the coasters won’t open until the rain has stopped, then we’ve had sunny weather to dry the tracks, then we will test them to see if they can open”.
So that’s a no then…
Knight Valley: “The wooden one isn’t running, weather is bad and it’s under maintenance today and tomorrow”.
And so is that…
The plan for tomorrow was an 8 hour round trip to Xiamen for Oriental Heritage, while we are phoning around let’s see if that’s still an option.
Oriental Heritage: “Tracks have been wet for a few days now, if they dry, the coasters should be open”.
That clears that up then…
With plans ruined we effortlessly crossed “one of the most hostile borders in the World” from Shenzhen to Hong Kong to go shopping.
On return to Shenzhen that evening we had the best Pizza Express of my life and purchased our bullet train tickets to Xiamen. We just decided to risk it in regards to our plans for tomorrow because it was the only day we could make it work.
Today was another very early start, in order to catch a taxi to the train station, thankfully we’d actually managed to get some proper sleep last night.
Chinese bullet trains are fantastic it turns out and just as awesome as the Japanese ones but MUCH cheaper.
The almost 4 hour journey flew by and better still the sun was shining!
After arriving at Xiamen station we went to the bus park but only managed to confuse ourselves. After a while we just decided to get a taxi to the park in order to save time and anymore confusion.
This taxi journey was actually scary, as is the way the Chinese drive in general.
Oriental Heritage Xiamen
The Fantawild company operate many different parks across China and they have set styles they build the parks around. This was one of their Oriental Heritage parks, which basically means it’s themed, beautifully I must add, around traditional Chinese culture.
Most of their Oriental Heritage parks contain large Gravity Group woodies all named Jungle Trailblazer and nearly all of them unique. Jungle Trailblazer was the main reason we came on an 8 hour round trip to Xiamen but I was also very excited to try out the park’s many dark rides because Heartline had told me Fantawild dark rides are amazing. Enough back story, let’s get to it.
After yesterday’s farce you cannot imagine our excitement when we got to the park entrance and found out that everything was open.
We quickly slammed our money on the counter and began powering towards Jungle Trailblazer.
Between the park entrance and the coaster we saw not one other park guest, it was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever witnessed.
Jungle Trailblazer – Oh how I wanted this to be great, but it wasn’t…
Jungle Trailblazer (Xiamen) is a ride of 3 parts.
Part 1 is really good and starts with a vicious first drop followed a 10 foot tall air time hill. Following this is a sideways air time hill and then yet another air time hill. While none of these air time moments are quite as good as I wanted them to be, they are still really good fun.
Part 2 is meant to be more of the same but the coaster has now lost so much speed that none of the air time moments have any effect.
Part 3 is even worse because you are now pretty much crawling your way back to the brakes.
If Jungle Trailblazer rode for it’s whole layout how it rides it’s first 1/3 then it would be a fantastic wooden coaster but sadly it doesn’t and that’s such a bitter disappointment.
Galaxy Express – I remember rather enjoying Orkanen but this Vekoma SFC clone seemed to lack a lot of what made that coaster good.
So with Jungle Trailblazer being much less impressive than I was hoping for, it was all hinging on the park’s dark rides now. Thankfully this would not only be where the park would shine but it’s where my mind was about to be blown.
The Legend Of Nuwa – This dark ride uses the Spider Man/Transformers ride system to take you on an adventure where you help Nuwa (a Chinese Goddess) protect a magical stone from some bad guys. It’s fantastically done and while not quite as good as the rides it’s based off, I still loved it.
The Flaming Mountains – While I didn’t like Forbidden Journey, I absolutely loved this ride. Using the exact same technology, better utilised and with an actual story, this thing is beautiful. You join forces with a golden monkey to fight a demon bull and it’s even more fun than that sounds.
Rumble Under The Sea – This ride features a huge trackless dark ride vehicle, following a young warrior girl trying to get an angry dragon to unflood the city. It’s very good, just perhaps not as good as the other 2 dark rides in the park.
Those 3 dark rides alone were worth the trip here and more than made up for Jungle Trailblazer being weak.
Little did I know I was yet to ride the day’s best dark ride.
Thanks for reading, click here to continue today’s adventure in Xiamen where we venture next door into Fantawild Dreamland Xiamen.