China 01/20 – Guangzhou

To save extra (potentially wasted) journeys, the two spare days I had at the weekend were reallocated to extra time down here. Hotels were extended and shortened and the train back to Changsha was postponed.
One of those spare days was provisionally another day trip to Wuhan – had a couple of spites there last time involving a different set of duelling dragons but the ones down here were a different ride experience at least – higher priority right? Wuhan was also where the initial outbreak of this virus took place and it was already flooding the regional news so depending on your scepticism could have been a bullet dodged there too. (Epidemic – does that count towards my natural disaster spite collection?)
The other spare day was provisionally another day trip to Nanchang but the way Sunac was currently treating me that could have ended horribly as well, souring my previous experience with the park by running it terribly and leaving me coming away from the trip with more damage than improvement to my favourite rides.
No big loss in retrospect, but it did feel like a waste of potential at the time.

Particularly this day.

With its culture.

Day 10 – Jin Ying Amusement Park

I smell a mouse.

#1 Speed Slide



Guangzhou Zoo

Quite often in China the city zoos will have a small amusement section.

#2 Little Worm Train

Wow. Look at that unique layout.

#3 Forest Flying Mouse

This one not so much.

Aww, pandas.

What you can’t see here is a sign every 12 inches saying do not bang the glass, then as everyone has blatantly been ignoring those signs, crowd control barriers physically keeping you away from the glass.

Always been more of a red panda man myself. Can I take one of these home?


South China Botanical Garden

In fact almost any outdoor attraction in a city is likely to have something for me in it.

Are we sure about this one?

Go on, take a closer look.

#4 Jungle Flying Squirrel

Fear not. The tranquility of the Botanical Garden has been broken by some ugly amusements.

Sadly this one was ‘maintenance.’
From what I saw, I’d say it’s beyond help.

+4 for the day then.

Canton Tower looks pretty at night.

Up next – a bit more of an actual park.

Day 11

China 01/20 – Guangzhou Sunac Land

Like Shanghai, I always underestimate how stupidly huge the city of Guangzhou is. What I thought was a decently located hotel between the south railway station (the only practically usable station out of 4 in the city – ridiculously overcrowded, a total pain in the arse and miles from anywhere) turned out to be a 2 hour journey from the park I was here for.
And that was without the random traffic jam that cost another half an hour within spitting distance of the park (should have got out and walked at that point, but couldn’t be sure).

The only entertainment on route was this. I love the idea of someone ‘beating’ the glass, most likely in frustation.

So turned up frustrated and late to

Day 9 – Guangzhou Sunac Land

Entrance is a bit more garish than the others. For some reason, like it was fated, we asked whether all the rollercoasters were open today – hadn’t really been bothering this trip because it’s usually a waste of breath. The answer though – yes.

Let’s start with the ticketing system here. China is obsessed with making payments via apps with QR codes these days and it’s frustrating to behold. Everywhere you go there will be someone stuck at the front of a queue for a convenience store counter, standing in front of the ticket gate for a metro or holding up the awfully slow queues for high speed rail tickets in the way of everyone else, head down fumbling with their phone because for any number of reasons they’re struggling to make it work. If it doesn’t work when they scan it, they never have any backup method to pay so just begin a shouting match with the staff who obviously can’t do anything about it.

The park has decided to roll with this system and operates a pay per ride as an alternative to getting an unlimited ticket at the entrance gate. This confuses everyone because they all turn up to the front of a queue to then have a shouting match with the member of staff who is supposed to be batching for the ride about their eligibility to ride something.
“I thought it was free.”
“No use the app.”
“Why can’t my children go on?”
“No use the app.”
“That’s going to cost me 4x X, I don’t wanna pay that much.”
“Use the app for your children and then push past everyone else to get out of the queue then.”
Every time.

If you get an unlimited ticket they do a Fuji Q and use facial recognition on screens to let you into each ride, but the initial setup of this isn’t upon entrance to the park, it’s upon batching of your first ride, only adding to the faff each time someone comes to start using it and doesn’t understand (or it doesn’t work).

So a queue of 5 people can easily turn into a 10 minute ordeal. And this is what greeted us at the first ride.

#1 Garden Fantasy

Which was this thing.
I wasn’t a fan of Arthur to be honest. It was a cool idea, but poorly executed.
Compared to this it’s a masterpiece.
If you’re in the back of the 3 car train, you miss all the screen based scenes and just catch the characters as they’re literally walking off screen to the next one. Every single time. Like it’s a joke.

The outdoor section looks crap.

I’ve seen pictures showing that the ride has the ability to produce tons of fog effects. This is already broken.

And their equivalent of the really majestic part of these ride systems where you go swooping out over a big public area, triumphant music playing?
It goes over this.

A frog hopper.

Here we are then. All the lateness from earlier didn’t matter of course because they didn’t open this until 3 hours after the park. Sat down to wait.

#2 Dueling Dragons (Invert)

Watched them test both sides seperately. We’re in.

Got to the station behind 2 kids and their parents. 10 minute ordeal with ticketing.
The green side was open and ready to roll.
Got to the airgates. Another 10 minutes of waiting for who knows what.
Sat down in the ride. Another 10 minutes of waiting before they do the restraints.

It was really good overall. Definitely some interesting sensations in there.
The launch is surprisingly un-punchy but the amount of time spent upside down in the loop feels off the charts.

It has some great forceful turns, the inversions are cool. A couple of attempted airtime moments that it’s nice to see, but don’t quite pay off.
And it leaves you feeling a bit short at the end. Like it’s yellow soaring brother.
The potential for something truly special but doesn’t quite pull it off.

Coaster-wise this was my main draw of the whole trip really. I held off from this area until it was open. It looks so badass. So I was a little disappointed already.
I wasn’t expecting a duelling ride by any stretch of the imagination, but have faith in Wanda/Sunac – I’ll get both sides separately.
It’s already been reported that they alternate between the two when it’s quiet. Had a quick chat with the staff at the entrance about that, see if they knew roughly when.
But they didn’t understand the concept of that at all.
“It’s the green one now and you get what you get when you get there.”
Most of the staff don’t usually know what they’re talking about, I’ll come back later.

This show was round the corner. It was mildly entertaining, if a bit more child-orientated. (The whole park seemed to be really. Spent most of my time sharing the rides, even the big coaster, with 10 year olds).

It had a couple of decent magic tricks, a bit of dance, slapstick. And it’s namesake dog in a crude costume alternating between walking on two legs and all fours in amusing fashion.

This one seems to be trying a bit too hard. That’s not just translation. It’s self-aware.

#3 Crazy Waves

Didn’t know what this was, but I think it appeared on RCDB as a water coaster-ish ride a couple of months after the rest of the park opened.
The ride sign does actually say ‘the dual combination of drifting and roller coaster’.

Thought I’d judge it for myself. Got a free thin poncho, which was cool. Got stuck behind 2 people at the front of the queue for 5 minutes…

Anyway, it has an extensive indoor section. Drifts around some jungle stuff, enters a stormy cave with both wind and rain effect in your face and while that’s happening to you, up an elevator lift.
Does the backwards coaster section of your Atlantica Supersplashes.
Drifts around some crystals and a volcano before a…

Big drop finale. It looks very Tidal Wave and does the same thing where the water hits your legs a good 5 seconds after touchdown. My poncho had ridden up in the wind so I got stupidly wet knees and nothing more.

Storm Surge! Sums up the park really.
It had been about 3 hours since the dragon opened, so headed over for another look to see if they were thinking about swapping over yet.
Still the green side. The maintenance card gets played. Right.

It was billed to be open for 7 hours in total that day, so we’ll give them a while longer.

A parade happened. I would have felt a little sad for them like Xishuangbanna in the fact that it’s all fenced off for them to perform, dance and wave on both sides of their path but it was quiet enough for one side to be completely empty and often they would stand still waving to nothingness.

Jumped on the wheel to watch intently.

Don’t know what this was other than closed.

Another flying theatre. Fast becoming the Jungle Mouse of the dark ride world.
The video takes you round Guangdong province and basically it ain’t as good as Yunnan province.

The day started to ebb away.

So went to guests services for a chat. Usual rubbish in that there is no actual answer, just a long string of meaningless excuses including:
“They only open the red one if they get enough footfall.”
“The green one is more thrilling, so you don’t need the red one.”

Being in this silly hobby, those last words hurt. I know it doesn’t affect anyone else in the world but even though they’re different ride experiences and they are here actually acknowledging them as such, they treat it as a single attraction and if you’ve done one track, you’ve done Dueling Dragons, what’s your problem?

I think I was 10x more wound up by it all by having the knowledge that they used to do the sensible thing and run both alternately on a quiet day, but only 6 months into the operation of the park they’ve already decided themselves that it’s a wasted effort.
I should have gone in blind.

Anyway, the footfall excuse caught my attention, foolishly . There were a couple of spare days in the trip allocated for instances such as this so asked whether it would be open in the next few, including the coming weekend.
I’ve done a weekend at a Wanda before, it was really busy (and this city is stupidly busy) but they were coping really well and became the only park in China I’ve seen outside Disney to run 2 trains on a major rollercoaster.
The word weekend then caught their attention.
“Yes. The red one WILL open at the weekend.”
“Ok then, I’ll hold you to that.”

Last ride of the day was this Octopus simulator thing that wasn’t any good.
It was obnoxiously following a couple of octopi around a cruise liner while they bounced from danger to danger screaming oooooooooooooooooooooooooooh continuously and I was just done by then.
Spent the whole time replanning the rest of the trip in my head to make sure I could come back and get that other dragon.

Oh I’ve experienced a Typhoon. They ran more rides in it than you do.

Well unfortunately, yes.

Day 10

China 01/20 – Fantawild Asian Legend

So here’s something I was properly excited for. I already miss the time when Fantawild parks were a new experience. The magic of trying out all the new rides they had to offer. (Yes I’m still going to be moaning about clones again today).

Day 8 – Fantawild Asian Legend

Rather than being themed to Chinese history and legends, this park represents the countries of South East Asia, each with their own impressive architecture and ride or experience.

First interaction I think I’ve ever had upon entering a park like this involved some blokes trying to rope you into one of those ‘take your picture, get a free key chain!’ deals that waste a lot of your time before revealing that it isn’t free, you have to buy something and you feel under the pressure of the moment you may as well go for it.

This was dismissed with a wave of the hand. No time for that – rides.

Being bored of flying theatres at that particular moment and as it appeared to break the mould of the country theme, decided to skip past the first ride on the left and start in the Phillipines.

There was time of course. First ride. Time Slot. Half an hour. Now we have to ride with other people. When you’ve had a few days worth of completely free runs of parks, this can be quite jarring.

Manila Manila is a 3D cinema with a rotating platform of seats, many screens and most interestingly some interchangeable scenery which pops up and down when you’re not looking, based on what’s going on around you at the time.

It’s generally just a good time with fun visuals and music – the singing manatee sequence really brings the party to life. Strong start.

We were very intrigued about the Singapore ride. Armed with more local knowledge than the park we were ready to pick the hell out of it. It wasn’t difficult.

Finding the Merlion was potentially the weakest ride of the day – being a small 8 person simulator in front of a screen, with an awkwardly cramped waiting room experience (other people again) that has the safety rules played 5 times over for good measure.
Once on the ride, you’re following our old Fantawild pal Boonie Bear who is parachuting into the country. Mischievous escapades and crashing through a ton of buildings follows.
Halfway through they just run out of Singapore things to show and you end up in something that looks like a game of Sugar Rush from Wreck It Ralph.
You find the Merlion. He’s better in real life.

#1 Stress Express

There’s a gap in the theme after that, with a fantasy children’s area containing a Vekoma Boomerang. Hey, at least it’s not blue.

I got stuck in the empty queue for 10 minutes not knowing if they were running or not, until my saviour appeared, something you never really see in China, a friendly park guest on his own (they’re never alone) who spoke a little English.
He was bold enough to just shout up at the station and then told me to follow him up there. I did and the staff were just milling around ignoring us basically. We sat in the front, sadly.
In a human equivalent of all these signs we keep laughing about, he turned to me and in trying to say ‘are you scared?’ it came out as “do you feel the fear?”
Which is better in my opinion.
“No, not really.” was my response.

The experience was made even better in that he said “my head hurts” when it was over.
“Yes, they’ll do that.”

While he got lost in the delights of the remaining children’s rides, my lust for creds had suddenly been reawakened, so surged through a large portion of the park and headed out to the woodie.

Of course it ain’t ready yet, come back at 11.

Ended up in Vietnam from there. Ha Long Bay in fact. Skipping past a bunch of the park had worked in our favour as well, with not another guest in sight.

There’s this ride in the Oriental Heritage parks about the history of Chinese Opera. It looks cool, has these huge trackless vehicles. But I didn’t like it. It’s immensely boring, keeps stopping, feels like it’s sucking the time out of your day and at the time of riding it was full of old guests shouting at each other, ignoring their surrounding and behaving like a pack of animals.

Meeting in Ha Long Bay fixed absolutely everything about that and was gorgeous. Nice story, great scenery. Even the smells – there’s a lively city/nightlife section and you can smell the food, it’s just spot on as a ride experience.

Went back to the Woodie at 11, it aint ready yet, come back at 11:30.

Which meant we’d just missed an 11 time slot for one of the other bigger rides. Spite.

Try Brunei then. Their Small World-boat ride system with theming based on the rainforests and Mosque (singular) of the country.

Nice theme, good scenery. Another step up from their other iterations of this thing.

Third time lucky, they’re letting me wait for the Woodie.

#2 Jungle Trailblazer (Nanning)

So here I am, sitting at the foot of a clone of my 3rd favourite ride in the whole world.
And it’s a bit of a crisis.
I should be excited right? If it was the original I would be. It’ll be amazing, I’ll rekindle my love with it.
But another one? I’m nervous.

The call comes.
It’s already not the same, there’s people smoking in the queue. They sit in the middle of the train, but they aren’t intimidated by the staff description of the ride, which doesn’t happen.
The seatbelts don’t come out of the same place!
I sit in my favourite seat at the back. I get the perfectly framed view of the drop. A slight tingle.
But I’m not timidly told to hold on to the restraint.
And at this level, that stuff matters.

Alright, it was still amazing. No, it didn’t quite live up to the original for whatever reason but it’s still clearly my perfect wooden coaster package and it only got better as the day went on.

The vicious, vicious multi-directional ejector on the non-straight first drop.
The stupidly placed, most effective speed hill on the planet. Take note RMC, Intamin, B&M, even Gravity couldn’t pull it off again in Xiamen. That’s how you do one of them.

The aggressive whip in and wrench out of the first 90 degree hill.
The perfectly contrasted flop in the second 90 degree hill. Sideways hangtime.
The most continuous and effective sequence of back to back wild, twisty, shouty, bumpy, ejecty hills on and on and on ‘til the brakes.
Everything I love about Gravity summed up in one ride.
The only sacrifice is that it’s a bit shorter than the others, but it uses it oh so well.

So part of the crisis remains. And a serious question to readers now. Have you ever ridden a clone of a ride that holds a significant standing in your top coasters list and what did you do about it?

As far as I can see, there’s three possible outcomes and two things you can do with each:

A. It’s better
1. Place it above the other one in your list – I don’t like the idea of one layout using up 2 precious slots, but objectively the original one should remain better than everything else you had below it.
2. Place it where the other one was in your list and relegate that to just outside the numbered list – feels harsh, but the cleaner option. The original one was only better than all those other rides when it was unique, now it’s a cop out ride.

B. It’s exactly the same
1. Place it the same as the other, have them joint – I don’t like the idea of rides losing identity this way, it just feels awkward to say something like ‘My top ten coasters are: Number 5 – The Megalites
I already take issue with things having the same name and having to specify which one in the world you mean, it just feels awkward to say something like ‘My top ten coasters are: Number 5 – Goliath, the one at Six Flags Great America
So put that all together and end up with ‘My top ten coasters are: Number 5 – One of the Jungle Trailblazer layouts, the one found at both Fantawild Dreamland Zhengzhou and Fantawild Asian Legend Nanning
And then you feel silly.
2. Pick one that has the slightest circumstantial edge to represent and relegate the other one to just outside the numbered list – feels harsh, but the cleaner option.

C. It’s worse
1. Place it below the other one in your list – I don’t like the idea of one layout using up 2 precious slots, with the added difficulty of saying how many other things it’s still better than, even though it’s not as good as the first one.
2. Relegate it to just outside the numbered list – feels harsh, but the cleaner option. The original remains better, this one isn’t unique, it’s just a cop out ride.

I am yet to find another opinion on this, as the answer is inevitably either ‘no’ or the conversation ends up steerting towards ‘because the people in Zhengzhou don’t go to Nanning your opinion doesn’t matter.’

Where was I?

Hero of Malacca’s next time slot had opened up. This had big shoes to fill, being a fresh version of Jinshan Temple Showdown.

The queue is even more immensely themed and has a pre-show, introducing you to one of the two pirate clans from the story.
As you take your seat on the giant boat, some action is going on screens in the surroundings, keeping it all a little more engaging.
And I found this to be true for the whole ride portion. There’s a couple more stand-out scenes including a giant ship shooting at you with geysers going off and a stormy wind tunnel section while Krake attacks you.

The end show however is a little less spectacular. You reach the other pirate clan’s base out in the middle of the sea. Without the magical powers aspect of the story – flying snakes and priests, they don’t have use for the water projection action sequence, it’s just a couple of pirate blokes shouting at each other.
Eventually Krake attacks the base, both clans die and you get the same amazing flood sequence to finish.
So I’d put them on par really. Both one of the best in the world.

Puppy Coaster was now open, in the shadows of the beast. Give the kids something to aim for.

#3 Puppy Coaster

The last of the creds here. Very cute. Watching his tail while it does the Wacky portion of the layout is amusing.

I’ll do one of my shout outs to the visuals in this place now because it really was lovely. Lots of care and attention into the upkeep was clearly visible as well, which is rare to see around parks in this country.

They were jet washing the plaza areas around certain rides.

They were actively cleaning the intricate facades of several attractions with wet rags on sticks.

They were painting all these service gates to make them blend into the areas nicer. Top marks for effort.

There was a singular show that day called Dancing Islands. I believe they had a similar thing at Wuhu under the name Bubble Ballet, but it spited me twice.

It involved a lot of fancy dancing and stunts in it. Then these magic balls on wires made all sorts of cool shapes, eventually with the performers coming out and dodging them with an amazing display of timing.

Aside from the costumes and stuff, to make it Indonesia, it had a couple of traditional songs from the region and then the remaining music kept coming back to the word Indoneeeeeeeeeesia, in comical fashion by the end.
It was cool.

Unfortunately then got followed by a herd into Pha That Luang.

The most striking thing here – it doesn’t have seats. Just awkward wooden back rest type things that were deeply uncomfortable in any position. Is this how they sit in Laos?
It was another rotating platform, multi screen 3D experience about the history/legend of it’s namesake temple. Quite interesting but even more uncomfortable than the seating was the other people again, having shouting matches across rows, letting their kids run around and watching their infinitely more fascinating than anything else in life – phones.

Rama and Sita was really good. Legend of Nuwa ride system with a fresh story.

6 armed evil demon man steals Sita – go fight him to get her back type affair.
All the pre-shows were up and running which was rare to see for this type of thing here. Making the most of the epic queuelines.
Rama is another bloke with a bow and befriends a big grey monkey man before setting off on the quest. You tag along, get into some peril and watch it all unfold with varying degrees of violence from the vehicle.
At the time I thought it surpassed the regular iteration but, you know, spoilers.

That was the last of the major stuff I wanted from the place so I got a bit hungry for more goes on the woodie. The rapids opposite looked a bit more interesting than usual so gave them a go as well.

Foolishly declined ponchos again and had a similar situation. It had a decent rapids section and a baby drop, but none of that was the issue. There were three or four of what looks like those trick water curtains that turn off just before you go through them. None of them turned off. They’re just evil things that get you good and proper, right on the head. Chuck in a couple more KABOOM geysers at the end and you’ve got yourself a wet ride.

Sadly it was time to part ways with the back end of the park and see what was left to dust up near the front in the last hour or so.

Getting headaches from too much 3D and poor time slot timings meant Angkor Wat didn’t happen on this visit.

This area never opened. I believe it contained another show.

So just that flying theatre left. It’s quite an appropriate ride to do last really. It takes you around the sights of all the countries represented in the park so it’s a nice little summary, a reminder of some of the amazing rides you’ve done that day.

I’m 100% sure I took a picture of a full sized bed in a shop on the way out of this park, but I can’t find it anywhere.
I was going to caption it ‘For those who weren’t satisfied with the merch in Chinese parks, you can now buy your bedroom furniture there’.
We bought a Boonie Bear for the collection.

Really liked this place then. Looks fantastic. Lots of high quality attractions to fill your day right up and honestly just a breath of fresh air in the Chinese theme park scene for me at this stage.

All came to an end with exactly the right amount of time to spare to pick up the bags from the hotel and catch an evening train to the next city.
Why did I just shudder?

Day 9

China 01/20 – Visionland

From Nanning we took a day trip out to another city, Liuzhou, via more big boy trains.

I’d sort of forgotten what it was about other than a Megalite and was thinking to myself halfway through the journey was this really worth the bother?

The clue is in the name of the park though – dark rides. Let’s take a look.

Day 7 – Visionland

The entrance had a really long road leading up to it that took forever to walk, so it was giving me Six Flags vibes.

Other than the fact that the entrance looks amazing and there was absolutely no one around, again.
Just these two having wedding photos taken. Good taste? Maybe.
They were still hanging around doing more of the same when we left many hours later, so dedicated at least.

This confuses me.

I guess while we’re in the mood for enjoying signage, I’ll chuck in a few more.

Think this one is my favourite.

#1 Light Speed

Enough! Ride time.
First up was the Intamin Megalite.

Themed to Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, the German Labour Front and Lamborghini.

It ran with a bit of a rattle, but noticeably more forceful than the most recent 2 I’ve done.

The first corner in particular was proper intense and the faithful twistys packed a good punch. You can tell it’s better when it shifts you around uncomfortably in your seat and you have to brace a bit.
Still ain’t no Piraten for some reason.

It looks a bit weird in this particular setting, jacked up over the water. There’s a splash effect after the big hill but it was off.

The staff here were unusually relaxed. Letting me just chill in the empty station and reride it a bunch before moving on.

But what else do they have?

This feature reminds me of a motorbike simulator ride that was closed. So not that.

This reminds me of a dinosaur themed ride.

Called Crazy Bus. It was odd.
A simulator vehicle in a bus station trundles forward into a 180° curved screen. The best examples I can think of off the top of my head are the Joypolis ones and the Pan Em ride at Motiongate.
The film that plays is a variation of an immersive tunnel video I recognised from other parks, dinosaurs attacking your vehicle, falling off a cliff etc. The subtle difference was that this didn’t show other vehicles full of people getting attacked on screen, which I clearly remember from the previous. Was it a PG edit?
It only got about halfway through this however, then the screen opened up! The ride moves forward again and up a slight incline, now looking at another screen.
A second video plays, showing the end of the world in dinosaur times, destruction, driving around, death.
Then it slowly lumbered backwards through both sets to the bus station.

So it wasn’t very good. This poster provides a good reaction shot.

Spitey worm. Children only. Bah.

This Bonk Choy provides a good reaction shot.

This was a shooting dark ride called Car School. It was mostly screen-based, either involving shooting these yellow blob people, evil versions of them, or both. Couldn’t really tell what was going on and there was no score at the end to shed any light on it.
So it wasn’t very good.

The saga of the empty gift shops continues.

Another ride is supposedly being constructed at the moment, but I’m starting to think this Motocoaster/Test Track hybrid is just for decoration now.
There’s only this section completed along with one other bit that goes through the show building of a separate dark ride, but the system for that ride then crosses over it and it makes no sense whatsoever. And then where would it go from here? Too much plaza.

It was also here that we learnt the 2 year old Ferris Wheel had been ‘closed for a long time due to concern over the integrity of some bolts.’

And then the park turned into a public construction site.

Ooh, excitement. What exciting new ride installations are coming this way?

Oh, some rainbow stairs.

Onwards from there, this mine train was closed. That’s what I get when I keep cursing them I guess.
First legit spite of the trip. You don’t count, Xingdong.

There was a bunch of other stuff in the same area – dark rides and/or shows, but they were all closed too. Mine land is a write-off.

This water ride looked good aesthetically, but I was in no mood for wetness.

New favourite sign so far.

They could have done with one of these over by the construction site.

Now we’re talking. This was really good.

It was running on a time slot basis as always, so had to sit here and enjoy the view for a while. Could be worse.

Myth is based on our mate Nuwa again. The sexy creation god. Just this time without all the fighting.

Flying theatre meets domed theatre and is then taken to the next level with this massive arm system that can put you on your back or on your face as opposed to just gently listing from side to side. Definitely the most spectacular ride here, if Megalites are old hat to you.

This was a 3D cinema with a female Nemo-type character that fights some crabs and then turns into a mermaid. As good as it sounds.

The last dark ride available for the day opened really late. Crazy Magician used Spiderman technology and was a bit of a step up from previous OCT attempts but still not quite polished enough for my liking.
The plot involved following some wizard bloke in his escapades around the destruction of a city. I was getting quite into it but then one of the last screens was completely broken, leaving the car just sitting still, on board audio playing, nothing else happening.
We told the staff about it upon exiting. They didn’t care much.

Not sure what to make of this place. It’s either only half done and they’re taking their time on the rest of it, or it’s already screwed. For an attempt at a more studio-esque park than their Happy Valleys, it wasn’t quite all there for me. You’d hope the other attractions would make up for the more lackluster coaster lineup, but other than Myth, I wasn’t particularly impressed.
Nothing else I tried here came close to surpassing a simple shooting ride at HV Chongqing, which still sticks out in my mind as one of the chain’s finer dark ride creations.
Maybe there’s some other stuff, maybe it’s closed.
I didn’t dislike the park as such, it was kinda fun and interesting if only for the novelty, the exploration. But if they’re rolling out a bunch more of these parks and they don’t step their game up (the next one being built seems to already just contain Golden Horse creds), it may become a bit of a Fantawild Adventure situation and I’ll start to resent it a bit more.

Didi booked, onwards to creds!

Queshan Amusement Park

There are a couple of insignificant parks around Liuzhou, this one was sort of on the way back to the station and the easiest to achieve with any time constraints. Looking good.

#2 Jungle Flying Squirrel

It contained a Jungle Mouse of course.

#3 Roller Coaster

And another one of these devices.

I do like how they’ve done a bit of a history of the rollercoaster on the sign here. At a quick glance it looks like it’s claiming they were invented by Amanda Thompson.

Shame it’s not a particularly worthy tribute to the genre.

Up next – magnificence.

Day 8

China 01/20 – Nanning Wanda Theme Park

The next stop on the journey was Nanning.

After the hectic nature of the previous day, took a morning train down and minced around a mall for a while.

Then went to another mall, where a duck said there was a cred.

I recognise that name.

Day 6 – Nanning Wanda Theme Park

The panda in this picture unnerves me now when I look back at it. It could almost be someone in a costume, but one that I never noticed in person.

The park is a free entry, pay per ride set up. And not quite what I was expecting.

The reason I was here – Flower Bloom.

No, the Adverture of Phoenix.

#1 Phoenix Adventure

Otherwise known as that Golden Horse with the drop track. Drop tracks are a set that keeps eluding me – I ride one and another appears.

It has a terribly weak layout that trundles around some rocks, surprisingly poorly.
The drop itself is reasonably powerful and makes it worth a couple of goes, if only for the novelty.
It happens inside a mine looking bit and there’s a crude projection of a phoenix, followed by what I believe to be a projected written warning of what’s about to happen. The wusses.

Here’s some pics of what the park looks like. Don’t have a huge amount to say about the place to be honest. It was a bit something and nothing, less significant than I had imagined.
I would have done a few other creds in the city first before coming here, but I didn’t want the cred here to be on some dumb timings even though the park was open late.

This poor bloke was bumping cars on his own.

I’m having to stoop to dodgy translations on signs for entertaintment now.

They’ve done a Happy Valley here and got completely the wrong ride sign outside some things.
This was in fact a spitey 4D simulator which had 3 minutes until the next hourly time slot but they could only take payment via an app and I’d have to run back to the entrance. They said they categorically wouldn’t wait for that even though there were absolutely no other guests involved.

So we left.
The start of the fall of Wanda.

Day 7

China 01/20 – Xishuangbanna Sunac Land

I’ve always been tempted by this place, even though it seemed slightly out of reach. What didn’t help this time around was the degree of uncertainty about it all. They didn’t update their 2020 calendar/opening dates until the 4th January 2020 (the night before we flew), until which it just said we’re open 10:00 – 19:00 from 1st July 2019 to 31st December 2019. Helpful.
I threw caution to the wind and booked flights anyway, I was reasonably confident given the part of the country it was in that it was gonna be a 365 day a year job, but you never know. I’ve already personally been on the receiving end of every single excuse this country can throw at me to not open something.

I love taking the big trains everywhere in China so it sucks that it had to be a plane in this case – they’re such a faff, and more expensive, and less refundable. And planes are the only option here unless you want a 9-16 hour coach drive (I’d rather walk). I believe from what we saw out the window they are working on some trains down here, carving their way through absolutely everything. Might be easier in future. Might be gone.

So we jumped on a plane first thing.

Goodbye Kunming.

Hello Jinghong.

Or should I say Xishuangbanna.

Had our first ever female taxi driver in China to the park, which was a welcome change. They clearly do things differently round here.

Slight confusion at the ticket office as tickets were so offensively cheap (£9) I wasn’t sure whether they included the rides or just admission. They did.

Day 5 – Xishuangbanna Sunac Land

And it’s another pretty start.

Also a very typical start. Arrive for opening but have literally nothing to do but mince around for the first hour, I guess having a laugh with friends and thinking ‘I’m in a theme park!’, because none of the attractions are open yet.

#1 Harpy

Exciting sounds. The sole reason I made this journey today. She’s testing.

I tried not to look at the layout too hard while watching. I still wanted to be surprised by this thing. To the untrained eye, it’s a Superman clone, and they suck. I most likely wouldn’t have come if it was one of them.

But it’s not, and it’s awesome. It hits the pretzel loop first which kicks your ass, winds you, messes with your head and is amazing all at the same time. Then it doesn’t end. It maintains that intensity through another corner in a similar vein to Acrobat/Manta by which time you’re shouting ‘ahhhhhhhh I cant stands no more.’ Then out of nowhere – weird airtime on a flying coaster, it whips into an unexpected drop over the water.

Sadly (or perhaps not, it could have shot something nasty into my face) the water effect wasn’t working, the whole water around the area with fake animals and stuff in it looks a bit… forgotten.

From there it does a cool inversion (not an inline as RCDB would have you believe) and then it’s like the best bit of Air/Galactica where you swoop down really close to some grass before the finish. And no spit on the ground.

So I loved it and I’m really glad I went. The experience made the plane ride worthwhile alone. As a bonus I’ve now got every flyer layout in the world.
I could leave now.

#2 Hydro Racer

But let’s see what else this quaint little place has to offer.

Round the corner is one of these things. Bit shorter than the original.

The first splashdown was off and overall much less wet. Lift is cool, is what it is.

Last cred is in the Tea Horse Trail area.

#3 Storm Rider

The name makes it sound much cooler than delivering tea, but it’s not.

Being a clone of Pony Express, it’s a figure of 8 with a launch on some horses. Shorter than the time it takes to walk through the queue.

And that was that really. As with the other Wanda/Sunac places I’ve done so far it lacks in certain ride categories – namely dark rides and leaves you feeling a little short around halfway through the day.

But we were stuck here all day until the flight that evening, so chilled out and made the most of it.

Found Xishuangbanna cat.

There were a couple of ‘cultural’ shows throughout the day including some traditional dancing by these ladies.

And then some more traditional dancing – I approved until the other guests joined in and made a hash of it. The blokes with the bamboo poles basically act like robots for 30 unflinching minutes, moving them in and out to a rhythm. You have to get your timing right and step between the poles without tripping up.

Rapids opened up later on – it was alright. Didn’t do a whole lot.

So I took many more rides of this beast.

Amusingly it might have the most ghetto exit of any B&M out there. You’ve got competition, Six Flags Great Adventure.

The park was dead, as ever, and it was a weekend as well so it got unnervingly quiet at the end of the day.

They said there was one last show at closing time, outside the entrance and what this consisted of was all the performers from earlier lining up to do a bit of a jig and wave goodbye to everyone as they left the park. But despressingly, there was almost no one to say goodbye to. They outnumbered the remaining guests at this stage.

I liked it though. Quirky and special, fitting for the park as a whole.

It was an easy ride back to the airport, no flight issues, no complaints.
Surprisingly really. Something’s got to go wrong soon.

Day 6

China 01/20 – Colourful Yunnan Paradise

Unusually photo heavy day for me here, but this place deserves it. Proper impressed.

Day 4 – Colourful Yunnan Paradise

Come on in.

That looks awful.

#1 Wing Coaster

That looks amazing.

Obviously first port of call was the B&M and I loved the whole area for this thing.
There’s a sinister sounding heavy rock soundtrack intertwined with Tibetan monks singing and when combined with the visuals it makes for a great atmosphere. Beautiful ride.

Snow leopards watching you closely.

Suppose I’d better talk about the actual ride experience. It’s good. Not great.
Something many rides of this type lack for me is a proper wow moment. It goes through the motions, does its thing. You enjoy it, but it doesn’t really get you going.

The wingover drop is par for the course these days, then it hits an airtime(?) hill that’s far too big and sluggish to do anything at all. Some corners and inversions follow, it does the classic bouncing around in the outside seats that’s a bit of laugh.
Think the highlight for me was the above pictured keyhole inversion. It looks like those dumb slow inlines these things have, yet somehow it’s even more drawn out and at the same time much more comfortable. Like the world’s longest Zero-G. It doesn’t crush you or leave your shoulders falling into the restraint even though it holds you upside down for laughably long amount of time.

#2 Mine Train

Next cred was the saaaaaaaame oooooooold mine train. With the newer track style.
At least the scenery is different.

Just some kids area.

#3 Tiger Leaping Gorge

That water coaster with the big ass tigers. I found out from being here that it’s actually named after a real place.

I turned down paying a pound for a poncho in the queue thinking I’ve done a couple of this layout before, it ain’t that wet. The ride host seemed surprised at this and double checked to make sure I didn’t want one.
Ok, should I be nervous now? Nah, let’s do this. Boat to myself.

Drop was fine, as expected, time to drift slowly back to the station.
KABOOM. Huge geyser goes off. Rains down on me moderately hard. Aww, really?
KABOOM. Not again.
KABOOM. Getting uncomfortably wet now.
KABOOM. Just seen a bunch of locals watching me – KABOOM – “look at the white man riding the” – KABOOM – “water ride.” Ahhhh.
Station staff looked smug on my return. Good thing it was considerably warmer down this end of the country.

Blue Fire was spiting for now, they didn’t know when it would open.

So found a flying theatre.
Don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the amount of these I’ve done now so they all blend into one a bit. It was alright.
Specifically it was about all the sightseeing attractions of Yunnan province, which is meant to be the pretty part of China.
From this park alone, I’d agree.

The monorail in the park was less than ideal. Took almost half an hour for it to turn up as it only had one train. Then it wasn’t stopping at all the stations, defeating the purpose of it as a transportation ride. Then it also kept slowing almost to a halt and juddering vigorously at several seemingly random points during the circuit.

Had some good views though. And there was no rush. Happy to just chill in this park.

Rapids looked a little lacking compared to the rest of the place. Didn’t do it.

#4 Launch Coaster

Hey, Blue Fire is running.
I like these. The original always faded a bit in my mind, leaving me thinking it was a bit something and nothing. So each time I ride one it’s a pleasant surprise.
The loop is cool, the airtime in and/or out of the midcourse and on the twisty hill is fun and the final inversion kicks ass.

Main difference here is the big elephants and the pre-launch section contains a load of historical pots and weapons scattered about with seemingly little thought.

Did this show next. Very cool.

Two tribes fighting it out. One of them is doing well in life and resides inside this fort, the other aint doing so well and wants a piece.

Had some cool horse stunts and trickery. Perhaps a bit too dialogue heavy for me overall.
It sucked that they left the doors open so people were still rocking up three quarters of the way through to then sit on their phones.

Ending was amazing. The tiger god rose up into the sky, breathing fire and wrecking both tribes because he was angry at their dispute.
So they got scared, everyone became friends and they all did a jig together to finish.

Ferris Wheel for more views. Huge.

Fallen in love yet? I had. Contender for my favourite park in the country. As a place to be, rather than for things to do.

But things to do? Lots more of this.

Got one last ride, completely alone, just as it got dark and they’d switched all the lights on around the park. Had one of my magical theme park moments on the lift.
But it wasn’t really the ride this time, just, everything else.

For the evenings entertainment they had 3 back to back shows.

First one was a light show on the wheel. Visually very impressive, got a bit repetitive.

Then there was a water projection one.
Story about a bloke with a bow basically having 3 boss fights to win back his woman.
Cool thing was – one of the boss fights was against the elephants from Launch Coaster.

More fire!

Last up was these hundred-odd drones doing their own light show.

Never seen something like this before, so I thought it was really decent.

Happy 2020. Yes, I’m starting to think so.
(Future note: little did I know how the year would turn out).

Farewell peacock. It’s been a pleasure.

Day 5

China 01/20 – Anshun

They seem to have got more proactive about ‘restricted’ items on the big boy trains now. Apparently a can of deodorant in sealed luggage is too much of a fire risk these days, so that’s a pain.

Took a morning train down to Anshun, dumped the bags in the station and hitched a ride to

Not so Great Xingdong Tourist World

I fully expected this. It was yet another case of hope, it may have slipped under the radar and be ready now. It wasn’t.

There was an even more eerie silence than usual for Chinese parks around the entrance. None of the turnstiles were manned or open. The ticket office was open, seemingly empty, but a woman appeared out of nowhere, behind a ticket desk, to tell us the whole place was closed.
It’s a pretty laughable situation so we literally asked the question “why are you even here then?”
She laughed too and appeared to contemplate her life for a second, I thought we had broken the ice, but then she turned back into a robot and gave some made up scripted excuse like the weather or maintenance.

There’s this A4 bit of paper up, the gist of it being it’s closed for ‘equipment inspection, weather, etc.’ We’re still working to turn this place into a wonderful experience for everyone. You can now pay a nominal fee (50p) to get a previously reported experience – walk in, look around and take pictures of nothing running. We’ll let you know the opening time on 20th November 2019 (This was 2nd January 2020).

A group of locals also rocked up to the park after us, only to be disappointed and start kicking off at the woman before walking off again. The communication levels are really bizarre.

I didn’t particularly go out of the way for this, so I’m sort of at peace with it. The city was directly on route this day and there was backup stuff to do here so the time wasn’t wasted. I know it’s a lot of interesting looking rides, but none of them are gonna be life changing are they?

I started using Didi on this trip, and that was pretty life changing. You can say up front on a map in the app exactly where you want to be picked up, exactly where you want to go. It’ll tell you how much it’ll cost and then find you someone for it. There will always be someone miraculously 2 minutes away. They’re incentivised to give a good impression and get good ratings. They have better cars, they don’t smoke in your face continuously and they don’t try to rip you off.

And the most important thing? It meant I had the means to get proper down and dirty with the creds in this country. Something I’ve always held back from previously. Let’s go.

Shen Jun Ecological Culture Town

A place of many layers. The outskirts of this place is a construction site. Within that, there’s these fancy looking buildings.

Within that, there’s what looks like your regular Chinese amusement area, but much more shiny. Within that, a window to load your top up card. And creds.

#1 Jungle Rat

The Jungle Mouse was a great start. These places always look deserted until money changes hands and then people start appearing out of the woodwork to get things going.
So we were giving the eye to a couple of blokes on benches near the ride as we approached, any one of which could have been the ride operator.
Turns out they were just strangers chilling, as we reach the top of the stairs a young girl wakes up from her nap inside one of the mouse cars, cuddling a stuffed toy. There’s the operator!

#2 Gliding Dragon

The main course was the classic powered dragon. The Changsha Maglev of the coaster world.

#3 Four Ring Roller Coaster

And for dessert, this bad boy.
They’ve had the sense to pad the hell out of the restraints on these things with really soft, comfy stuff so it’ll never try to hurt you like that mean SLC.
What it will do is shake your brain uncomfortably around in your skull. Can’t be good for you.
Is any of it?

There’s a half finished hotel next to this ride, implying the whole resort is still a work in progress. I wonder if this amusement section is just filler until something more significant actually gets done. They should band together and set one up inside Xingdong while no one is looking.

From there we booked our next ride.

Ruofei Park

At first all we encountered were vast monuments within sprawling public spaces, which can often lead you to think is there really something for me here?

Always have to dig a little deeper.

#4 Fruit Worm Coaster

Ashamed to say this was actually my first one of these Worm things. I’ve been turned away from ones that aren’t pay per ride. Money talks.

Legit ducking was required each time it cycled through the apple tunnel. Like that support on Fury 325.

#5 Jungle Flying Squirrel

Second Jungle Mouse of the day. Place your bets on what total we’ll reach in the trip.

Mickey Mouse and anime girls in perfect harmony.

Park was a bit of a tease in that there was an old map outside implying they had once had another big looper thing. I went for a closer look at the area it was supposed to be in, but just got shouted at by a bloke because it had turned into some paid zoo area for which I hadn’t paid. Have to make sure.

+5 then. Pretty much all the city has to offer at the moment.
Back to the station and onwards to Kunming!

Day 4

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.

#1 Jungle Trailblazer (Zhuzhou)

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.

#2 Stress Express

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.

#3 Flare Meteor

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.

#4 Vesuvio Volcano

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?

Day 3

China 12/19 – Window of the World Changsha

I couldn’t come up with anywhere else to go at this time of year for a major coaster fix so I ended up caving and getting myself another Chinese visa.
Using scientific method I have previously proved that the best time to visit in order to be spited least (unless you’re going to the seasonal regions of course) is actually January.

Previous China trip spites:
January 2017 – 5/32 (15.6%)
September 2017 – 15/52 (28.8%)
January 2018 – 3/11 (27.3%)
April 2018 – 29/61 (47.5%)

But did the science hold?

The most notable area of the country I hadn’t yet covered was the South West so we flew into Changsha which is sort of in the middle and worked from there. It wasn’t the most welcoming of returns with the immigration kicking up more fuss than they ever had before about 2 weeks in this unremarkable city?! That’s unprecedented. Well no, we’re going to other places too…

Changsha has one of the world’s few operating Maglev trains running out of the airport, I’ve always thought it was a cool bit of tech and seen it as a bit of a set to complete outside of the world of coasters. The one in Shanghai is impressive but is still a bit disappointing in the fact that the regular high speed trains in China often outperform it.
The rest of them (including this one) just potter along at a measly 100km/h and it seems entirely unjustified, so it feels kinda like collecting Powered Dragons at this stage.

Window of the World Changsha

Another new year spent in another theme park. Admittedly not quite in the same league as my Universal Singapore or Magic Mountain from previous years but they gave out wearable foam red noses at the entrance here and amazingly the Lost Gravity theme was played at some point during the night (a greater achievement than Walibi Holland, the park it belongs to, managed previously).

They’re building an S&S launch here and taking forever to do so, as is the trend at the moment. I figured there was a slim possibility that it had slipped under the radar and actually been completed by now, you never know with China. Sadly it didn’t quite look ready to receive me, unless it turned out to be a shuttle coaster.
It loomed high over the park at the top of the hill, mocking me. Reminding me how much of a tease this country is.

#1 Speed Shuttle

Other creds then. This is one of those unusual Zamperla Motorbike things with a lift hill instead of a launch. There’s an indoor one at Dinoconda park that caught me off guard before, though this one is a little more obvious.

It’s alright. It had quite an exposed feeling at certain moments which I don’t remember from the other models as they’re so compact. Runs out of steam very quickly though. More comfortable than the Vekomas (and Intamin…).

#2 Spinning Coaster

Chinese Reverchon spinner was next. The layout is far less adventurous for reasons I assume to be either manufacturing limitations or laziness. Stuff like the janky double up is just a straight line and the vicious little air time bump on the final diagonal is missing, sadly.

#3 Suspended Coaster

Which left the Chinese SLC.
OCT (Happy Valley) operations were back in full force here. You get batched into the station to unload your gear and select your seat, sit down but DO NOT touch the restraints. Once everyone is seated, you all get out again and stand to the side of your seat facing out at the queue. And yes, you then have to do an exercise routine while they watch.
I just want this over with.

It’s the layout that hasn’t yet graced the western world as far as I’m aware. The one you see pictures of with hilarious transitions and awfully shaped inversions. I’ll have to dig into my archive to find an example.

There’s one.
They’re a bit more ironed out on this particular one which I’ll put down to it being newer, but it’s still rather awful.

Creds complete we took a wander up to see the spiteful S&S. I gave them every opportunity to have it ready for ‘2019’ as indicated on all the posters by being here on the very last day but they’re just soooo slow. I’m not even sure if that other one I tried to ride in April 2018 has actually opened yet.

The remaining track is just lying on some grass to the side of a path and you can walk up and touch it, which of course I did. I do love these things, when they exist.

The observation tower took forever to load, but offered some decent enough views. It was from here that it struck me how different this park is to the other Window of the World in Shenzhen.

Bad glass, bad weather, not ideal for pics

It’s much more ride focused with a large amusement section and the ‘World’ bit, being the big replicas of famous landmarks and monuments from around the world seems secondary to that.

The fact that they’ve bought this beast shows a further commitment in that direction I guess.
The other park has one indoor themed cred which is meant to fit into part of the world stuff, a Bobkart in some trees and then is 95% landmarks.
It also sits pretty much over the road from a Happy Valley though, and this one has the opportunity to combine the two.

So here’s some landmark stuff.

Tasteful as always.

Took a spin on the ferris wheel for a few more grim views.

The city ain’t much of a looker.

Called it a night after that, as we were too tired for new year parties and there was plenty more important stuff to come.

Up next – my old friend Fantawild.

Day 2