Ride Review – Jungle Trailblazer (Xiamen)
I generally try to avoid spoilers as much as possible for rides that I haven’t experienced, even as far as simple layout features in order to ensure the greatest element of surprise on a first ride. However, the nature of these Jungle Trailblazers all sharing the same name (and sometimes a lot more than that) required me to at least look at the layout to determine whether it was unique or a copy of another in the country.
What I saw in this one at a glance really excited me. It shared the same starting sequence as my current favourite Gravity Group woodie (drop, tiny hill, sideways banked hill) and then appeared to stay nice and low to the ground for the entirety of the remaining layout. Airtime galore I said to myself, if there’s one to beat Zhengzhou, it’ll be this one. Dangerous thoughts.
Of course this excitement spurred me into taking the necessary steps to experience it for myself and it’s not exactly the most conveniently located park within China. Xiamen sits on the coast of China about a third of the way up from Hong Kong to Shanghai. This is a particularly sparse region of the country, at least for a theme park enthusiast – I can’t speak for the rest of what might be on offer, and there’s no particularly sensible way to make it en route to anywhere for a trip of this nature.
We daytripped it from Shenzhen in the end (the nearest city with other significant rides), ending up with at least a 4 hour journey, each way, which as I had already experienced every other Fantawild attraction on resort, I consider to be dedication of the highest order. For this reason it was also one of the most nerve wracking journeys I have ever made for the hobby. The weather was hit and miss and the chain have a habit of being unreliable with ride availability – what if the one thing I need out of all this is closed? Even more dangerous thoughts.
Whilst I’ll always happily maintain that it was worth the effort just to try out a unique layout and to aid me in eventually completing the full set of Jungle Trailblazers, the ride itself didn’t quite hit the mark. But why?
To this day I don’t really know, all I can say is a certain spark was missing. The shaping of the entrance to the first drop is subtly different to my original comparison and gave nowhere near the same result. The following two hills were just as I would have expected them to be and were easily the highlight of the ride.
From there the train just ran out of steam unnaturally quickly. It’s like all the hills were put up right, but in the wrong order. What looked on paper to be the usual amazing sequence of unexpected airtime bouncing riders all over the place just didn’t deliver with the same magnitude.
The overbanked corner came too late in the layout to have any effect, the taller hill over the station came too late in the layout to do anything and it was almost struggling to reach the brake run by the end. Nothing added up and it never gave the relentless performance it deserved.
Eventually, due to the mostly useless and unusually unfriendly staff it became a bit of a chore to keep trying and we left it alone far earlier than we had hoped. It remains to this day the weakest of the Jungle Trailblazers, but, a Gravity woodie is still a top notch creation and I don’t wish to belittle it too much. I’d still rate this ride as entertaining and significant in the grand scheme of things, the competition within its own field is just too amazingly fierce.