29th June – 16th July 2013

Flight Out
Flight Arrival / Rest Day
Hong Kong Disneyland
Ocean Park
Zhongshan Park, Qiushuishan Park, East Lake Park
Longfeng Video Resort Dongguan, Knight Valley
Happy Valley Shenzhen
Binhai Amusement Park, Nansha Binhai Amusement Park, Mysterious Island
Quanlin Resort, Jindouwan Resort
Chuanlord Holiday Manor, Nanhu Park, Canton Tower
Chimelong, Train to Wuhan
Happy Valley Wuhan, Train to Changzhou
Dinosaurs Park, World Joyland
Happy Valley Shanghai
Suzhou Amusement Land, Giant Wheel Park
Gongqing Forest Park, Oriental Pearl Tower
Maglev Train, Jin Jiang Park
Flight back, Final thoughts

 

 

 

 

 

Day by Day Reports

Day 1 – Flight Out

 

Justin Garvanovic

Not really much to report. This was the start of the trip with the Club flight. It was on an A380 with Emirates, and both were superb.  Next stop Dubai for a few hours…

 

B. Derek Shaw

“The Night In the Mansion”.

I went to the Newark, NJ airport via an overnight stay with a friend who was house sitting in Lebanon, PA. I went to sleep early, planning to leave at 2am for “Coach” to drive me to the airport. When I awoke, he wasn’t there. I secured the house and went on a search, knowing that I might have to make the 2.5 hour drive myself. Fortunately for once he had his cell phone on and we connected, only being 30 minutes late for our EWR arrival.

 

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Day 2 – Flight Arrival / Rest Day

 

Justin Garvanovic

Dubai to Hong Kong now, and another A380, and another excellent Emirates crew. Will be using them again.

Upon arrival in Hong Kong there was the complicated check-in procedure to tackle – some had already arrived, and had yet to, some were already in rooms they had privately booked.  All very confusing, but we got there in the end.

It goes without saying that Hong Kong is spectacular, so most of us went out to take in the sights and eat. A nice restful first day, although our guide did tell is of the imminent Typhoon…

 

Steve Gzesh

I arrived in Hong Kong last night and stayed at a Marriott Courtyard on Hong Kong Island for the one night. Great room with a great view! Sunday morning, I checked out but left my luggage at the hotel so I could sight see.  I went up to Victoria Peak on the Peak Tram.  Quite an impressive panoramic view of the city.  I later collected my stuff and took a taxi over to Kowloon to meet up with the club members, who had just flown in. Great to see old friends again!  It will be a great 2 weeks to come!

 

B. Derek Shaw

“The Longest Day or 5-4-3-2”

The Air Canada flight departed for a 90 minute trip to Toronto, then another plane to Hong Kong. Tim Galvelis and I were traveling westward, while the club flight left London via Dubai, heading eastward to get to Hong Kong. It was a long flight, however 5 movies, 4 TV shows, 3 meals and 2 segments of sleep later, we arrived. We beat the Club flight by about an hour and welcomed others who were traveling on other flights to join us at the airport meeting place. There were many familiar faces and new ones too, which is part of the beauty of these sojourns.

China is 12 hours ahead of our time zone. That evening, nine of us (7 Americans and a token Brit – Justin – and a token Canadian – Dave) – went to a German restaurant to eat and imbibe. I had a very good Veal steak. This trip is off to a great start!

 

Bjoern Braendli

I arrived in Hong Kong two days prior to be able to do some sightseeing around the city. It was well worth it! I was able to go up the peak with its spectacular views of downtown Hong Kong, and also the fantastic cable car Ngong Ping 360. Both are well worth the trip!

The city itself is especially spectacular at night with all the lights and atmosphere. And I already love the food!

 

 

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Day 3 – Hong Kong Disneyland

 

Justin Garvanovic

The first park day, and Hong Kong Disneyland. (more text to follow – off on our first day in China)

 

Steve Gzesh

It’s always a magical day when I get to go to a Disney park.  Today was extra special, as it was my first visit to the fifth Disney resort (I’ve been to all the others!), and because I hit the milestone of my 1,000th different roller coaster by riding Space Mountain!  It’s an excellent ride and excellent park, which is more similar to the California park (and its Space Mountain ride) than any of the others. A group of us sprung for the Prestige park tour, which made the day all the more special. Now if only that pesky typhoon hadn’t blown through that afternoon!  Well, still in all, an excellent day!

 

B. Derek Shaw

“It’s A Small World After All”

Our first day started out rainy. Fortunately it cleared in time for Disneyland Hong Kong. It was also a national holiday in China which had me worried about huge crowds. Most of my worry was unfounded. This is the smallest of the five Magic Kingdom-type parks around the world.

Chinese people are very friendly. Many times they come up to you and start conversation with the limited English they have acquired. Many (especially younger people) also want to get a picture taken with you. They can be obnoxious too. Waiting their turn in line is foreign concept. They tend to push and shove. So you have to push back. Also they have no concept of personal space.

The Disney staff was their usual friendly self as this is supposed to be the happiest place on earth.

Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars (aka their version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) is a fun ride. I wasn’t expecting a backward part leading into a launch mid course! Space Mountain is the best one of the five out there. The last 25% is extremely fast right to the brake run. Lisa and I were part of the Stitch interactive show – quite fun.

The rain came back for the rest of the day, which dampened our clothes but not our spirits!

 

Thomas Enders

Der erste Park der Tour war gleich eine Ueberraschung. Nachdem der Disneypark in Hong Kong recht klein ist habe ich nicht sehr viel erwartet. Aber die Attraktionen sind fast alle viel moderner als in den anderen Disneyparks und damit auch teilweise besser. Highlights sind hier Mystic Manor und Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars

 

Bjoern Braendli

I knew Hong Kong Disneyland would be a rather small park, but their newest attractions Mystic Manor and the Grizzly rollercoaster really took me by surprise! They are both absolutely fantastic and not only suitable for families but for absolutely everyone! Also Space Mountain was a great hit for me. With the single rider line I was able to get well over 15 rides while the Typhoon was causing havoc outside.

All in all the park is made by those few attractions, but alone they are well worth the visit!

 

David & Susan Ellis

Had a great day at our first park of the tour, Hong Kong Disneyland. Due to a local Typhoon the outdoor rides all closed early afternoon, but fortunately we had ridden the outdoor coasters so we didn’t miss anything too important. At least the fireworks still went ahead, which were great. The mine train here was reminiscent of Expedition Everest, in that it had a backwards section and a surprisingly powerful launch forwards. Space Mountain was also a real surprise, and very enjoyable. Looks like the heat and humidity will mean drinking loads during the day and eating in the evenings.

 

Steve Smith

Not being a big fan of Disneyland I really enjoyed Disneyland Hong Kong. The park was reasonably quiet which gave us the chance to get a few rides in before the typhoon struck. Space Mountain was the best I have experienced, and Big Grizzly Mountain had a few surprises. Single Rider queues were virtually a walk-on which was a real bonus.

 

Tim Galvelis

I liked Disneyland, although it was the smallest of Disney’s parks. Space Mountain was fantastic.  Grizzly Mountain surprised me.  It was a combination of Big Thunder Mountain, and Expedition Everest, on a smaller scale.  Toy Storyland had some great theming using oversized Tinker Toys.  It was a shame that we got hit with a bit of the Typhoon, and having our day cut short.

 

 

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Day 4 – Ocean Park

 

Steve Gzesh

Wow, I didn’t realize that Hong Kong had two outstanding parks.  Of course, there’s Disneyland, which we visited yesterday.  But today, we visited Ocean Park, where they rolled out the red carpet for our group!  The coaster highlight was easily the B&M floorless “Hair Raiser,” a very fun ride.  The panoramic views from the park and all the other attractions made this another outstanding (albeit hot!) day!

 

Steve Smith

Had a fantastic day at Ocean Park. It was a really lovely picturesque park. The staff were really friendly, and we had a fantastic meal. We were escorted to all the rides, and taken straight on to them. We were treated like kings. I would just like to say a big thank you to all the staff that treated us to a really wonderful day.

 

Andy Costin

Two words to describe our day at Ocean Park, awesome (the other word’s not printable).

 

B. Derek Shaw

Hello all. Day number 4 was at a park I had tried to get to when I was passing through Hong Kong in 1999. Ocean Park is situated high in the mountains. Visitors either board a massive themed funicular or a large capacity cable car, sky ride. What a gem of a place! Four coasters (one powered) and an assortment of other cool rides. The view was magnificent – one of the most impressive locations I have ever seen for an amusement park. The hospitality was amazing and the food was impeccable! It only took me 14 years to get back. The wait was worth it!

 

Lisa Scheinin

The beauty of Ocean Park was only exceeded by the hospitality of the staff.  Their generosity was mind-blowing.  And the coasters were fun, too!!

 

Bruno Baumeister & Anita Eisert

We are still overwhelmed by the hospitality, the view you have from almost all coasters and the most delicious food we ever had in a theme park. Incredible!

 

Bjoern Braendli

While Disneyland has three amazing rides with Grizzly, the Mystic Mansion and Space Mountain, they really have to step up their game to keep up with the amazing Ocean Park. I had high expectations, but they still managed to amaze me. And it seems like this park will just get better in the near future! I got “wow-ed”!

 

Nicole Polak

I never experienced such a warm welcome like we had in Ocean Park. They did so much for us. The park itself is great, nice roller coasters, fantastic view and very friendly staff.

 

Jeff Holmes

Ocean Park gave us the best welcome we have had in a theme park. Tom and his amazing team deserve a well earned pat on the back . Also the food was first class which was very much appreciated.

 

andycoasterboy

day 2 and already a major hi-light on the trip – Ocean Park rolled out the VIP treatment in style with an exclusive guided tour around the park – special thank you to Tom and his team for their hospitality and the best park food .  Can’t wait to come back again.

 

Malcolm Marr

Treated extremely well today, with the park giving us walk on tours of all the rides, and a great lunch. With a great day at Disney yesterday the trip is off to a great start. Now into China for some jungle mice.

 

Kat Soderquist

After the passing of the T3 typhoon, today we enjoyed a very warm welcome at Ocean Park.  A huge thanks to Tom and the employees of Ocean Park who treated us to a “Royal day”  Their generosity was beyond anything we ever expected.  From the ‘WARM’ welcome to the guided tours to the incredible four course luncheon, all was wonderful.  The spectacular views added to a brilliant day.  P.S. thanks for all the water.  🙂

 

Marcus Gaines

Today was a WOWFEST. Wow, what a spectacular setting for a park. Wow, what incredible views from the rides. Wow, what unique coasters. Wow, what friendly staff. Wow, the best food ever enjoyed in an amusement park. Wow, what incredible hospitality,

I don’t think we’ll be treated so wonderfully again on this trip. Tom and his team at Ocean Park went above and beyond to ensure we had a visit that we will remember and talk about for many years to come. A well deserved round of applause for the park.

 

Justin Garvanovic

This was my first visit to Ocean Park, and it won’t be my last. The question this park brings up is simply, “is there another more spectacular park?” Well, if there is, I haven’t found it.  It’s simply stunning.

The food was of the highest calibre – some of the best at any park I’ve been to – and the rides were wonderful, but topping both of these was the warmness of the welcome. Not even the 30’C temperature could beat it. I have to get back and explore the park. Problem is though, I think we’ve peaked too early. Maybe we should have ended there…

 

B. Derek Shaw

“Deju Vu”

I was in Hong Kong in 1999. The lady I was dating adopted a baby and we went to Mainland China to pick up the little girl. We stayed briefly in Hong Kong. Unfortunately Ocean Park wasn’t open the day we had available. (I did manage to get to Dong Fang Park in Ghanzhou to ride the Jungle Wild Mouse.) The park is now closed for good.

Today was the day the group went to Ocean Park. Next to Monte Ilgeldo (San Sebastian, Spain) this park has the most beautiful setting. Sitting high above Hong Kong, Ocean Park is only accessible by funicular or cable car. What a gem is waiting for the visitor on top! High up, with islands, ships and skyscrapers below, this diamond in the sky has many areas to explore.

The staff showed us a most pleasant day, escorting us to all their coasters, hosting a super lunch and really making our stay memorable.

The few days we had in Hong Kong was like being guests at a Country Club Resort. The rest of the trip into Mainland China will be like going to Harlem.

“Checkpoint Charlie”

I knew first-hand about the border crossing from having experienced it 14 years ago. All luggage and belongings have to be taken off the bus upon exiting Hong Kong. Then after it has cleared, you load it again, drive a bit and repeat the whole procedure for mainland China. I was told not to look at the Immigration guards, do not smile or make any kind of gestures, as this could slow down the process. 55 of the 56 of us had no problem. Canadian Dave was the only casualty. That was corrected in about 10 minutes. What would this new place be like? The next few days would tell.

 

Thomas Enders

Der Ocean Park gehoert von der Flaeche her zu den groessten Parks in China und hat auch sehr viel zu bieten. Es gibt einen Tierpark mit Pandabaeren, Aquarium, Pinguine und natuerlich einen Amusement Park mit einigen sehr guten Fahrgeschaeften. Highlight ist fuer mich neben dem neuen B&M “Hair Raiser” aber der Mine Train mit der unbeschreiblichen Aussicht.

 

David & Susan Ellis

The park really rolled out the red carpet for us today, taking us up the exits, giving us a guided tour of all the coasters and main attractions. We were treated to a fantastic lunch with all drinks included too, and the lack of queueing meant we got all the main things done, even though the park was busy. Definitely somewhere we would love to come back to and spend a more relaxed two days. Views over the ocean were breath-taking, although the hills were a challenge in the heat.

 

Tim Galvelis

I was kind of waiting to get to this park, as I’ve heard tons of good things about it, and it didn’t let down.  We were fortunate enough to have guided tours for our group throughout the day. Wild West Mine Train is set on a perfect location, overlooking almost all of Hong Kong.  They treated us to an excellent lunch, and I can’t say enough good things about the staff.  They were very good.

 

 

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Day 5 – East Lake Park, Qiushuishan Park, Zhongshan Park

 

Steve Gzesh

We visited three small parks today: Zhongshan Park, Qiushuishan Park, and East Lake Park. All three had their charm (and two had a Spinning Coaster!).  All also had a Tagada flat ride, which I’ve never seen before: a padded rotating, bouncing platform that had people piled on top of one another in no time!  There was a great, fast Alpine Slide (Wiegand) at East Lake Park, too. Alas, I had a minor wipeout on it, but no significant injuries! Looking forward to the first woodie of the trip tomorrow.

 

B. Derek Shaw

“The first trio of triplets”

We are making Shenzhen our home and hub for park hopping for the next part of our sojourn. Today we are visiting three small parks all owned by the same company, each have two or three relatively small roller coasters. (It doesn’t matter how small or large – we ride them all!) All three parks were pleasant. (Zhongshan, Qiushuishan and East Lake). The last one had a Wiegand toboggan – which was great fun.

Our hotel is situated two blocks from two different parks in each direction. That night a crew of us went to Window on the World to locate a small coaster located in that park (This is a bonus, as the park is not on the official trip.) The trek proved unsuccessful as the park part closed at 6:30. We spent an inordinate amount of time trying to locate something that wasn’t wanting to be discovered. (Being on dimly lit midways did not help.) The coaster hasn’t operated in some time. The good news is, this week there is a China Beer Festival in the festhaus-type facility. So of course, we went there.

Picture 1,200 Chinese people (mostly 35 and younger) all drinking and carrying on with loud live music, magic acts, dancing, etc. You get the picture. It was loud – but interesting. (Mayhem and more!) As soon as we entered the building we were descended on by young, attractive female representatives of the 15 or so beer companies all peddling their wares. They all wanted us to buy from their picture selection of product. I settled on a trio of German darker brews – including some dunkels. All told, there was a gang of 9 from the trip imbibing. And this continues all week – I’ll be back!

 

Thomas Enders

Heute haben wir drei kleinere Parks besucht: Zhongshan Park, Qiushuishan Park und East Lake Park. Alle drei haben nur einige Standardfahrgeschaefte und keine extra nennenswerten Coaster. Highlight war im Qiushuishan Park der einzigartige Autoscooter, bei dem man auf die anderen Autos mit einer eingebauten elektronischen Pistole schiessen kann. Wird ein Auto getroffen, bekommt der Fahrer einen auf dem Dach montierten Hammer auf den Kopf.

 

Bjoern Braendli

Basically we visited the same park three times. And they all didn’t have to much to offer. I was bored rather quickly if it would not have been for some really weird and trashy rides, including the fake Arrow looper and the interactive bumper cars which cause a huge laugh among the group!

My personal highlight though was the Wiegand alpine slide close to the East Lake Park. Their understanding of safety was a bit weird, having an operator being followed by five of our group right behind each other, but after we got across that we wanted to go fast, he didn’t try to brake us anymore. And what a surprisingly fast alpine slide it was! I’ve been on many, but this one definitely is up there! The burn marks on my fingers I got after loosing my balance should be proof enough!

 

David & Susan Ellis

David’s Birthday! Spent today visiting three small parks. After a few challenges sorting tickets we all had some great fun enjoying the unique parks, and the (rather not unique) rides…it appears that each park has bought the same rides from the same catalogue…jungle mouse, powered dragon, big wheel, spinning coaster, tagada, bicycle monorail, etc. Really enjoying the dark walk-throughs at many of the parks. At the third park we had some hilarity on a tagada with no seats, so we all rolled about on the floor, with many collisions! All the leftover tickets were passed to a small group of local girls who were loving their unique encounter with the ECC members. Birthday meal was in a Chinese restaurant, with some familiar dishes and some odd stuff, like stir fried bullfrog and chillies…an interesting and unique Birthday.

 

Steve Smith

Had a very energetic day visiting these three funfair parks which had some really interesting rides on offer. I particularly enjoyed the haunted walk-throughs, right up my street, and although there was lots of walking it wasn’t as busy as many of the bigger parks, providing some welcome respite in our busy itinerary.

 

Tim Galvelis

These 3 parks are all owned by the same person.  By the time we got to the third one, I jokingly stated, this is the 3rd time that I’ve been to this park today. Truth be told, All three parks had a bit of its own unique qualities, with the second one having a bit of a rugged looping corkscrew coaster.  All three had a fantastically funny ride called, Tagada.  A padded flat ride with a spinning, bouncing feature that sent you everywhere, including into the person next to you.

 

 

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Day 6 – Successful Land, Knight Valley

 

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Steve Gzesh

We visited two parks today. The first, LongFeng Villa Video Resort (or is it Successful Land??), was just okay. I climbed up and down the park mountainside looking for the amusement rides. In this heat, that wasn’t particularly pleasant. But I did find an air conditioner in a store, where I passed much of my time after riding!  Next up: Knight Valley, which has an extraordinarily good wooden coaster, aptly called Wooden Coaster!  I need to drop a coaster on my Top 10 list to make room for this one.  It’s that good!  If only the park was more accessible. Far too many hills and stairs to climb to get to the attractions. Though once you do make it to the top of the mountain via the aerial gondola, the view is spectacular!

 

B. Derek Shaw

“How to Celebrate Independence Day on the other side of the world.”

Lon Feng Video Villa Video Resort was the first stop. Mostly designed for wedding couples, this park is huge with amazing, beautiful grounds. This park was our first traditional Chinese culture park. It was amazing! The wild mouse coaster they had, was built by a knock off Chinese manufacturer with Mickey Mouse shaped image on the front of the car. (Can you say lawsuit for trademark infringement?!) It was a bag of bolts. Not much was open, however they had a walk-thru haunted house that was just so-so. However this was the first park with a western toilet. (Didn’t have to use the hole-in-the floor ones.) However, you need to bring your own toilet paper.

Our first wood coaster of the trip was at Knight Valley, our next stop. Situated high about the Pacific Ocean, park guests must ascend a half dozen escalators to get half way up the mountain. Walking further up a steep hillside yields “Wood Coaster” the GCI gem that in my opinion is perhaps their best creation! The coaster kicks ass. It’s fast, fun, has two station fly-bys, a tunnel and more. As good as it is, the operation of the ride is probably the worst I’ve ever experienced. They have no concept of thru-put. Everyone waits down the steps before counting out enough guests to fill the train. Then they give the ride rules, after what sounds like a prayer to Buddah – all before the seat gate is opened. Then it takes another few minutes to check people in!

The top of the mountain contains a spectacular view of the area you climbed all the way to the ocean – breathtaking! The park also has a Wiegan Bobkart – rumoured to be the longest in the world. A bit slow, but fun.

Of course we had to return to the Beer Fest. Our same German Beer female representative was there. We did the more civilized thing – eating and drinking outside where it was not nearly as loud and conversation with other trip attendees could easily occur.

 

Gloria Nakamura

Until today my highest ranked GCI was Thunderhead at #9, after today, I don’t know.

Wood Coaster (gets a low mark for name) is fantastic.  It has everything, great airtime in the back row, speed, length and even the middle rows give a great ride.

I didn’t do anything else at the park.  I even counted my rides, something I almost never do.  I rode in the front twice, twice in row 9 , twice in the 2nd to back and 9 times in the back row.

We arrived about 1:30 and left to walk back (it was far to the front gate) at about 5:30pm.  So the only bad thing was slow and terrible ride operation.

 

Bjoern Braendli

At first I didn’t care for “Successfull Land”, or whatever they call it. Screw that Jungle Mouse! But this “park” turned out quite wacky being something like a wedding photographers wet dream. And they had some wacky attractions too like the scary zipline or the toboggan down the grassy hill. It was a tough start into the day with all the hills, but we managed!

The real star of the day though was the GCI at Knight Valley! At first I got a huge scare as I was send back down the stairs as there is a 190cm height limit (I’m 196cm). But since this ride was one of my main reasons for the trip I didn’t give up and eventually got to ride it like 15 times! I didn’t spend much time in the rest of the park as I had my priorities, and this crazy GCI definitely got me hooked! Simply an amazing coaster with an incredible landscape! Some (or most?) of the group hated that the location required quite a bit of a walk up the hill, but for this ride I would’ve walked even 10 times as much!

 

David & Susan Ellis

First park was unusual, with loads of people having their wedding photos in the grounds of the park. Boy it was hot in the sun, and David baked on the top-spin, which left two club members in a bad way due to the extreme setting and the intense sunlight. Knight Valley produced one of the highlights of the trip, in the imaginatively titled Wood Coaster. The down side was the long walk up the mountain, but this terrain-hugging GCI woodie was a real thrill and well worth the climb. David enjoyed eight rides whilst Susan chilled out to recover from the walk up. Views from the top park were stunning, with a cable car trip up and a funicular train back down. Did the world’s longest powered bobcart ride. The only downside to the wooden coaster was the terribly inefficient loading / unloading operations, which averaged out at one ride per 9 minutes, about 180 riders per hour.

 

Steve Smith

Enjoyed the first park but the real highlight of the day was Knight Valley, with its GCI Wood Coaster. This was a real treat despite the challenging walk up the mountain. The coaster was a really smooth twister, the only drawback was the dreadful operating system with very slow throughput and strict rules. I was so happy to get on this ride as the ride’s rules specified an upper age limit of 55!

 

Tim Galvelis

Successful Land is the perfect park for newlyweds. They promoted weddings everywhere in the park.  This turned out to be the park where we broke our first coaster, the Jungle Mouse. They eventually got it running again. Got to ride my first zip line, and I had to go all the way to China to do it.

Knight Valley is the whole reason why I came on the trip. I knew that Mountain Flyer/Wood Coaster was at the top of the park, but even that didn’t prepare me for, THE CLIMB! I was completely spent by the time we got to the entrance, but after a few minutes of regaining my composure, I was set.  I simply love Mountain Flyer/Wood Coaster; it may be my new #1 GCII. I spent the whole day just riding this beast.  When asked what I thought of the rest of the park, my response was, I saw it on the way in.  I could spend a week here, 6 riding the coaster, and 1 eventually observing the rest of the park.

 

 

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Day 7 – Happy Valley Shenzhen

 

Steve Gzesh

Today we visited Happy Valley Shenzhen, which was just a short walk from our hotel. We lucked out and got to ride all five coasters, including Bullet Coaster, which had been reported as being standing but not operating (SBNO).  And we even had a mini-ERT session on it to boot! It was a rather good ride, although it did pull some significant G forces! After all the rides in the very hot weather, it was nice to take a break back at the air conditioned hotel. Two more Happy Valley parks to go on this trip. And lots more Spinning Coasters!

 

B. Derek Shaw

“The first Cre-ho day”

The other park within walking distance is part of a five park chain called Happy Valley. Happy Valley Shenzhen, is two blocks from the front door of our hotel.

Un-benounced to us, this was the very first day of their new S&S launch coaster. It seats four across. We had the very first three public rides of this coaster! It was nice – a bit painful – but mostly fun. Happy Valley is also home to a spinning mouse, kiddie coaster, Vekoma “Hang and Bang” and a great Vekoma mine train. I would have ridden it a second time, however the ride operation makes for a very pleasant experience.

Those who know our group know we ride whatever we can, when we can. A few of us decided to bust loose and be “cre-hoes” (credit whores) at parks that were not on the trip. Eight stops on the green subway line brought us to Culture Park (aka Cultural Palace), yielding a nice little kiddie coaster. Another stop away on the blue line brought js to Children’s Park in search of their coaster. Malcolm said he was there early this morning (6am). We never found what he told us about. There was an empty ride area, where a coaster station and track could have stood, however nothing could be seen.

Back to the Beer Fest tonight. I’m sure we will find our young beer ladies to serve us yet again!

 

Gloria Nakamura

Happy Valley Shenzhen – Not only did the park give us the first 3 rides of the day on Bullet but it was the first day it ran this season. So thanks Happy Valley!

Unfortunately, I didn’t think much of it, it rattles so much that whatever speed it’s going at feels much slower.

The SLC Snow Mountain Flying Dragon was ‘beloved’ by many taller members of the group, so of course, shorter members not so much.

The Mine Coaster had a good section when the train went in and out of tunnels/caves, sort of a Big Thunder Mt./Matterhorn feel. The bad part was that before this section, the train was brought to a complete stop.

I waited 56 minutes for Wild Elfin, the oh so sane mouse.

So after the coasters I was just going to do the train (upcharge) and leave. But then I found out there was an air conditioned monorail that went around the other parks (they don’t have any rides) in the city before returning to Happy Valley. Then there was the ‘Texas Ranger’ ride. Riders get on a horse which does go up and down and you try and shoot targets on a screen (like Toy Story Mania but you don’t move around and neither does the screen. And there’s this moderator who’s like Jack Skellington but with a spring inside him. This doesn’t tell well but it’s great fun! And the show!!! It’s got everything, magic, lighted costumes, comedy, balloon animals. They did this comedy karate type bit, three guys came out on the stage, two of them had bats. The middle guy pulls up his shirt to show his rock hard abs, ready for the bats. Then the two guys hit him in the head. Don’t worry if you didn’t like that one, there was much, much more.

 

Bjoern Braendli

Will the Bullet Coaster be open or not? That was the big question of the day! And it surely did! Our group even got the first three rides before the public, which was great since the operations in this park are almost as bad as in Knight Valley! The coaster sure packs a punch! Very fast and intense! Sadly it also had quite a few jolts, but they were manageable. All in all a fantastic ride! Also a few jolts had the custom Vekoma SLC, but it wasn’t too bad. I had fun on it and it simply looks great! However, the other coasters are not worth mentioning. The park itself looks very nice though, and wouldn’t it be for the hot weather and the bad operations, you could easily enjoy a full day there!

But we bailed it quite early to check out Window of the World, the other park down the street. Even though we knew the small coaster there was closed. It was quite a surprise as it was a well made “miniature world” park with a few attractions. Nothing spectacular, but sure worth a visit.

 

David & Susan Ellis

On arrival at the park we were pleasantly surprised to find that the SBNO S&S Bullet launched coaster was now open to the public, and the park generously took us up the exit for the first rides of the day before letting the public in. The SLC was surprisingly not painful. The park (like many in China) has very strict policies about loose articles, with no glasses allowed on ride, even with straps. A few of us took part in a short piece for Chinese TV about the 15th anniversary of the park and a valentine’s festival, where we had to say the  name of the park in Mandarin…something like Shenzhen wang la gu!

 

Tim Galvelis

This was a very simple park to get to, as we basically just walked across the street to the park.  They had the newer S&S launch model, with 4 across seating called Bullet.  It has a great layout, with a few unfortunate jolting turns.  Their Mine Train was also very good, and suspiciously like another Mine Train at an extremely popular US/Worldwide Chain park, with a mouse.

 

Dirk Ermen

First out of 3 happy valleys from the trip. I was surprised about the looks of the park. It looked all pretty good and we a great surprise on getting the first public rides on the “new” S&S launch coaster! What was this an awesome ride!

 

Steve Smith

A very hot day at Happy Valley Shenzhen with a bonus of riding the SBNO Bullet Coaster which really was a great surprise. Even the SLC was not to painful. There was also a very good Gold Mine ride very similar to Colorado Adventure at Phantasialand but the one thing that stands out most  Woo Shanzan wong la goo or whatever it was which I will leave for Justin or David Ellis to explain !

 

 

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Day 8 – Binhai Amusement Park, Nansha Binhai Amusement Park, Mysterious Island

 

Marcus Gaines

Mysterious Island – Got evac’d off the Screaming Squirrel after Dirk broke yet another coaster. Took a while to be released and then for them to find a ladder for us to climb out the train. Sadly they fixed it and we rode a short while later, my god it was bad. I was ruined by it. The Intamin launched was pretty good though. Unfortunately the park was looking a bit run down and in need of some TLC, I’m sure it looked fantastic new. Oh and the Haunted Ride was cool, and scared the crap out of me at times.

 

Kat Soderquist

Was sad to leave Shenzhen this morning as I really enjoyed the city and the parks.  I do have about 30 mosquito bites to remind of my visit.  I found my experience there very different from my prior China experiences but as we moved away from the city the tour quickly changed.  I believe the ECC visit to both Binhai Amusement Park and Shajiao Fort Park (now called Nansha Binhai Amusement Park) brought a year’s revenue to the park’s tills.  Hopefully Binhai can use the extra cash to repair the coaster broke by Dirk, Dr G and the Norwegians. Sadly no tick for me there 🙁

 

The Frenchies

Bonjour la France ,des news de notre good et humide sejour ,car la temperature est belle et bien au rdv . On avait hate de retrouver la bande de fofolet du club pour decouvrir des coasters que l’on avait deja vu auparavant . A ce jour on s’eclate et on vous fera part de nos futurs aventures bientot

 

B. Derek Shaw

“Dodgy Duo”

It rained in the morning, then got nice. Our first two parks were small “mom and pop” places that the Brits refer to as “dodgy”. Americans call them “funky”.

Park one only had 10 of it’s 18 advertised rides still in operation. The rest must have been removed some time ago. It was home to a powered coaster as well as another clone Wild Mouse with Micky Mouse cars – can you say “trademark infringement”? Another ride was mis-identified and had the wrong spelling to boot. The “Pirate Ship” became “Sirate Phip”! The restsoom was unique, including a granite pee wall.

We arrived at Park two while dodging heavy bouts of rain. Upon arrival, the gestopo guard at the gate would not allow our twin buses to ascend the half mile long hill to the park entrance. We had to get out and walk. This was after 45 minute construction traffic, forcing us to merge into one less lane on a bridge over the Tell River.

Coaster one was a powered variety with one difference: sparks of all sizes and light intensity were shooting out of the under carriage of each car – quite a fourth of July feel. We were then subjected to a 45 minute rain delay. 30 minutes later we were waiting to board the second coaster, a spinning mouse. The problem is when the first four Club members got tot the brake run, a weld broke on the “car straightening” mechanism, creating a large thud and forcing the ride to go out of service at least for the rest of the day. The final offering was another “bastardized” Wild Mouse aka Mickey Mouse themed cars.

Our final park was park of a resort property, with a very nice Intamin mid-size sized launch coaster (Sky Car) and the awful Screaming Squirrel. (Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson about the torture machine when on a club trip to Italy). That had dispatch issues, weight issues and more, forcing the painful ride to take more time to cycle. Overall a great park, with less than stellar operations, with a minimal crowd for a Saturday afternoon. That’s the way it goes.

 

Steve Gzesh

Three parks and 6 (of 7) coasters today. Not much terribly significant, though Skycar at Mysterious Island was mostly good. We checked into a new hotel whose restaurant service was abysmal. Nearly 1.5 hours passed after ordering my meal and it still hadn’t come, so I gave up! Hope tomorrow’s food works out better!

 

Gloria Nakamura

Mysterious Island – I won’t be the first or the last to comment that, now we know why the squirrel is screaming. Any number of coaster trod that line between rough and intense with “the skill of a mountain goat”. Voyage, Skyrush, I-305 to name a few but “Screaming Squirrel” is just no fun. It was a new experience to stand on the platform while it was being ‘repaired’. The crew seemed only too experienced at getting it running again.

Skycar is similar to Xcelerator at Knotts only not as good. This may be a harsh assessment, but I only got one ride. I really liked the park. The setting, on the ocean with mountains on the horizon, is really beautiful. There is a tower on the hill, maybe S&S and a very elaborate dark ride. It has a complicated theme, zombies, the old west and ancient Egypt. As a little bonus, the first zombie/vampire/mummy who pops out is wearing a tie. Definitely worth revisiting…when they put in something new.

 

David & Susan Ellis

Started the day with David’s 900th coaster, a Jungle Mouse, at a small park in the middle of nowhere. The second park visit of the day was eventful for two things, a huge storm shower just as we bought our tickets and agreed we would only stay for an hour, the other being the first train riding on the spinning mouse hitting the metal bar that aligned the car with the track, snapping it, jamming the car and resulting in the coaster being down for everyone else. Fortunately there were no injuries, but it says a lot about the state of some of the Chinese park attractions. Finished the day at Mysterious Island, with a fun Intamin accelerator coaster, and a painful Screaming Squirrel coaster, which also kept breaking down, and at one stage involved a rescue via ladder! The day finished at the hotel with the restaurant meal from hell…I don’t think any table got what they ordered, and after more than 2 hours we managed to get some food (although not what we ordered) and no drinks at all!

 

Tim Galvelis

Our first stop of the day introduced us to a rather interesting park, Fort Fun.  I’ll just go with that.  Our 2nd park, Binhai, brought us some more rain, and a sparking powered coaster.  We lost out on a spinning mouse, as it met an unfortunate end early on, THANKS DIRK!  Our 3rd park really impressed me, Mysterious Island.  Great theming, and 2 good coasters.  Skycar, an Intamin launcher, was short, but packed a good punch.  Should’ve have allowed myself more time to ride it.  I finally got to ride my 1st Screaming Squirrel; again, I had to go all the way to China to do so.  It’s a fun ride, just need to get used to the massive headrush you get, when going inverted.

 

Steve Smith

Today was another 3 park day consisting of bad weather and breakdowns but I really enjoyed the scary dark ride at Mysterious Island. The Screamin Squirrel broke down before I managed to ride it, but unfortunately they fixed it and I ended up riding it twice as my GoPro came attached on the first circuit and I returned for another attempt to capture the onride footage !

 

Bjoern Braendli

That day I was looking forward to the Intamin launcher Skycar the most, but before we got there we had to check out two smaller trashy parks first. There was nothing significant in those two, I personally would’ve skipped them actually. So when we got behind schedule I got a little nervous about not having enough time for the only good coaster that day …

But luckily Mysterious Island was pretty much dead! So even though we had less time than planned, it was more than enough. The Screaming Squirrel (which apparently is called Man o’ War) was clearly the low light of the park, but other than that one ride the park was a nice surprise! Nicely themed and a nice selection of rides. Including a great but also very wet Shoot the Chute that soaked Dirk, Christoph and me. The highlight though was easily the Skycar. Since we were pretty much the only people in the park I got 10+ rides on it. It may be a bit on the short side, but it had everything (launch, top hat, loop, positive G’s, negative G’s) that was needed to make it a great coaster. Lovely way to end the day!

 

 

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Day 9 – Quanlin Resort, Jindouwan Resort

 

B. Derek Shaw

“But Wait, There’s More”

More rain this morning, in the recurring “nice one minute, nasty rain the next” mode. Our first stop was to a nice “Idlewild-ish”-type park that was very beautiful. It also included an impressive cable car ride up the mountain, however time was too short to navigate a ride on it. The loop coaster, with one of the tightest/smallest loops I’ve seen, was rough. There was also a powered one on the grounds. The park had what I felt were the finest Bumper Cars in China. No divider in the middle and head-ons allowed – the ride made for a great deal of fun.

The middle venue of the day had an unusual eight person roller coaster. It was the ride where the Huss Disk’o ride meets a medium size coaster. The ride sways back in for in the valley (with the help of type drive motors.) After sufficient time to participate in the process, the car finally takes off, completing the circuit. A very odd ride. On a personal note, I ate a funky looking hot dog. So far it has stayed down – may the tradition continue! A spinning mouse and junior coaster completed the days events…or did it?

Weigand makes a great product. The one at numerous venues around the world is testament to their popularity. This one (called “Tommy Boy”) did not disappoint. Club members took an alpine sky lift to the top of the mountain, to then ride back down in a train of five. I’m sure glad I got to experience this!

Haibin Park was taken off the tour schedule, because sources said the coaster was no longer in operation. This was in-fact – untrue. So of course we went into bonus mode. While not part of the “official” portion of the trip, those who wanted to ride had to secure their own tickets. The rain kept things interesting – forcing the ride to stop running for 25+ minutes.

The evening was fun. Many of us were given a lift by the bus driver to the center of Zhuhai. Gäelle, one of the four “Frenchies”, was celebrating her birthday. Andy, our trip guide, sung Happy Birthday to her in his native Manderin language. That was special surprise for her. Alex, Rendell and I got to eat Pizza Hut pizza, a nice switch from the typical Chinese food.

 

Steve Gzesh

Three parks plus one alpine coaster today! None of the coasters was particularly noteworthy, but it was nice to find 2 surprise coasters not on rcdb.com (yet)! The alpine coaster would have been tons better without the ride operator leading a group slowly down the mountain. I enjoyed some local flavor by finding an authentic Chinese restaurant for dinner. My pork dish was good, but rather fatty. Gloria ordered duck, which included the poor bird’s head as well. Well, when in China…

 

Gloria Nakamura

Quanlin Resort

I can now say, definitively, that Mickey Mouse’s dad must have had a “Minnie” in every Chinese port because his look alike siblings are everywhere. Mickey’s face has been the front piece on at least 3 coasters . Mr. Duck seems a little more discriminating as there are fewer Donald’s roaming around.

This park has a looping coaster, that as of this morning, was not on RCDB. I’m sure all the info will be up tomorrow. But what made this one distinctive is the smallness of the loop. You pull a lot of G’s in a small loop. Those who have been on John Ivers’ Blue Flash know what I’m talking about.

They also had a Skyway similar to the one that used to be at Disneyland, a zipline, an animatronic dinosaur, a tubing slide and much more. It was definitely worth a longer visit.

I’m sure others have already mentioned how terrible the mountain coaster is…let me just say, they are right!

 

David & Susan Ellis

Today was a mix of small parks and a visit to a nearby Alpine Coaster. In the smaller parks we were surprised to find two coasters not listed on RCDB, although the first of these, a looping coaster, was pretty painful to ride so perhaps not a nice surprise after all! The Alpine Coaster was a nice layout, but ruined due to the operators escorting riders down the track in a braked convoy…sadly not adding another “No Brakes” video to my YouTube collection. As nobody wanted to pay for a second go we managed to squeeze in another small park and a worm coaster, although we almost missed it due to the late afternoon passing storm. Finished the day watching Andy Murray win at Wimbledon…well done Andy!

 

Tim Galvelis

Quanlin gave us a treat, an extra credit, as we didn’t know of the new looping coaster.  The park has a very good Knoebels like setting.  Jindouwan, Guess what?  More rain.  After the storm passed I got to ride a rather fun coaster called, Surfing Rowing.  It’s tire driven, so it took some time to get it going properly, and we had about a 10 minute ride on it.  Haibin Park was originally claimed to be closed.  We rearranged the schedule to go to a Mountain Coaster instead, and while at the top of the mountain, noticed that Haibin Park was in fact open, since we could see it clear as day.  The mountain coaster was handled rather poorly, as we had a lead car governing our speed the whole way down.  Haibin Park was a cute park, but hey, if it’s mid day, it’s gonna rain again, and it did.

 

Steve Smith

Another 3 Parks and an Alpine Coaster which was controlled by staff who had obviously seen David Ellis’s “ NO BRAKES” video and decided to put safety first and guide us down the course themselves. Also we managed to find some extra coasters which took my count past 600. Unfortunately I had left my sign which Justin had made for me at the hotel and ended up giving him a photo shop opportunity.

 

Bjoern Braendli

This was again a day that was not going to have any real highlights. The first park had a great setting and good atmosphere, but the rides were the same ol’ you find at most Chinese parks. But they also had a new looping coaster with probably the worst engineering job on a loop I’ve ever seen. John Ivers Blue Flash was more comfortable …

The second park again was no real surprise. The small spinning ride was funky, but other than that the rides were the usual. My highlights were the Chinese doing karaoke and the millions of fish battling for food!

Justin added a Wiegand Alpine coaster, which came as a surprise. Since I’m a big fan of these rides I was really looking forward to it. I got even more excited when I saw the very steep track. However those hopes for an amazing ride were crushed when we once again discovered they only let you ride down as groups with a guide right in front of everyone. It hurt me inside going down a track that has the potential to be one of the best (and I’ve been on many Alpine Coasters) and such a slow speed. What a disappointment …

And because we saw Haibin Park to be open we also went there quickly to pick up yet another kiddie coaster … *yawn*

 

 

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Day 10 – Chaunlord Holiday Manor, Tianhe Park, Nanhu Amusement Park

 

Steve Gzesh

We made it to only two of the three parks we planned for today because of heavy rain this afternoon.  In fact, it was one of the heaviest downpours I have ever seen!  Fortunately, we did get the kiddie coaster at Nanhu Amusement Park.  And more importantly, we got to Canton Tower (600m tall!) in the evening for some spectacular views of Guangzhou, as well as a great drop ride at the top (at 488m)! A great way to cap off the day!

 

Derek Shaw

“The fun and frivolity, mirth and merriment continue”

Today started out as a busy day. It got a little busier than anyone expected. First up was Chuanlord Holiday Manor. We were able to tick off 8 of the 9 coasters listed. The Universe Coaster (basically a Chance Toboggan with a very tight loop mid-course) has not operated for quite some time – SBNO (Standing But Not Operating), Two of the coasters were more unique: a Spinning Surfboat (same as one we experienced the other day) and Shenzhou Surfing: Four identical parallel tracks where the six passenger cabin rocks back and forth until it crests one small hill onto the next one. Picture one of those high roller bowling ball midway games from the 1980’s and you have the picture. It was very unique and fun. This park has all the potential of becoming a huge park in China, provided they continue to add new attractions and figure out how to effectively market their product. Our 56 were nearly 40% of the attendees on property at the time we visited.

Stop #2 took us to Nanhu Amusement park in Guangzhou. They say timing is everything…and ours wasn’t. This run-down park was pelted with an extremely heavy downpour minutes after we went through the main gate. In China, parks typically shut down during rain and will only restart rides once given the go ahead by the park boss. The severe rain lasted nearly 45 minutes while many of us were waiting in the kiddie roller coaster station. Finally the storm subsided, allowing us all to have a go. However the much larger, featured coaster appeared to have been shut down for many years.

We never got to Tianhe Park as they were also shut when we were at the other nearby property, due to the rain. With a little extra time left on our hands, the majority decided we get to the hotel early, check-in and re-board the busses 45 minutes later to visit Canton Tower.

This is the tallest observation tower in the world – it is magnificent! 122 stores or 488 meters tall, the TV tower, turned revenue-generating attraction, is well run and organized. In addition to ascending the structure, there are additional things to take in and do at the top. First the Bubble Tram, a round pod where 6 passengers can get an unrestricted view of the 22 million people city it is built in. There’s two 100 meter drop towers (Sky Drop), sitting and standing versions (Guys – watch out for Big Jim and the Twins!) Then there’s the four-at-a-time lift to the highest point most visitors are allowed to get to “Lookout”. The final tower attraction is the Spider walk where people negotiate 35 floors of steps, containing an open railing, inside the structure. We started at the 33rd floor and ascended to the 65th – at least some did. I bailed at the 43rd floor as the jaunt was doing a number on my thighs. Walking back down was a tad easier. Throughout the climb, sections of the floor are made of clear Plexiglas, offering a unique view and perspective of the tower. I never took the maintenance tour and forgot all about visiting the all Plexiglas room that juts out of the structure. All the more reason to visit again sometime!

 

David & Susan Ellis

Started the day at Chuanlord Park, which had a high coaster count due to the 4 shuttle coasters placed side by side. The steel looping coaster here pulled some extreme G forces and many of us experienced grey-outs. The odd-looking looping Toboggan ride was closed, and had been shut for a while judging by the trees growing through the track! Best toilets of the trip here…including TV screens and tropical fish, with piped music too! The ‘second park jinx’ continued with a huge storm that created lakes, rivers and waterfalls within just a few minutes of arriving. Sheltering in a ghost train with Steve Smith during a wild thunder storm was an interesting experience! With the third park closed due to the weather we headed to Canton Tower, the non-coaster attraction David was most looking forward to, and it didn’t disappoint. We experienced the world’s tallest observation deck (488m), the highest free-fall ride (including a floorless tilting side!) and the world’s longest spiral staircase, with amazing views over Guangzhou, albeit the 500ft climb in high temperatures was a challenge to even the fittest of us.

 

Tim Galvelis

Our first park of the day offered us nine new coasters, as Shenzhou Surfing had four tracks, and a lot of fun.  There the Spinning Surfboat, identical to one we rode earlier on the trip, without the extended ridetime, due to rain, that will come later.  The looping coaster was a tad it on the rough side, and the looping toboggan was closed (Probably sparing us even more pain).

Our second park was greeted by Mother Nature, and boy did she say HI! I found myself tucked inside a little game shack as the rain poured down, and lightning put on the best light show of the trip so far.  As the rain stopped we found ourselves walking through a drenched park, to find a closed multiloop coaster, with trees growing through the track. We did find the Outer Space Flying Car coaster, a kiddie, running and managed to get on it, before leaving for our hotel, to get ready for the Canton Tower.

To say that I’m afraid of heights would be an accurate statement.  Mostly out of the sense of too much open space, at such a high altitude.  with that said, I had a blast at the canton Tower, which surprised me a lot.  Sure I found myself a little hesitant when we got to the observation level, and knowing that it wasn’t even the highest point didn’t help, but I did get used to it.  The Adventure area, where all the attractions are was well done, and really enjoyed the bubble tram, with the fantastic views of the city, at night.  My biggest thrill was the drop tower, sure it was only 100 ft tall, but remember where it’s located.  Unfortunately I couldn’t wear my glasses, so when we were ready to ride, all I really saw was a large blurry light display.

 

Steve Smith

Today we visited 2 parks instead of the intended 3 due to inclement weather and managed to spend half an hour held up in the Ghost Train filming a very noisy thunderstorm but my highlight of the day was visiting the Canton Tower with spectacular views and some very hairy rides.

 

Bjoern Braendli

Our day has started with a park that has quite a selection of coasters, but none of them really was a highlight. Most were pretty crap again actually. The bigger surprise however was the park itself! Nicely landscaped, lots of shade, and they even had a very nice zoo (for Chinese standards). It was a very relaxing visit!

In the second park I was excited to ride the unique Arrow/Vekoma looper. As it turned out though it has been closed for a while already. So we were left with another kiddie credit we had to wait for because of rain. Oh well …

As I expected it though, my highlight ended up being our final stop on the incredible Canton Tower! The architecture is simply stunning, same with the views you get on the highest observation deck worldwide at 488m. That’s even higher than the joke observation deck on the Burj Khalifa! The Intamin freefall towers on top and the 1024 steps spiral staircase around the tower managed to give me a huge thrill too of course! Amazing tower!

 

 

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Day 11 – Chimelong

 

Steve Gzesh

Today was a great coaster day! We went to Chimelong Paradise and picked up 4 (of 5) coasters there, including some wonderful ERS time on Dive Coaster, one of the best coasters so far on the trip. We were also treated to an authentic Chinese meal for lunch, which was quite good (well, except for the basil beef, which was far too spicy for me!). It was quite the adventure taking the train from Guangzhou to Hunan, a 4-hour trip.  And even more so once we arrived.  Our bus from the train station to the hotel took a route through a flooded field, reminiscent of Rhino Rally at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay!  Egad, we even got some airtime on one of the road ditches!  Yes, this is the China I remember from my 2010 visit!

 

Thomas Enders

Heute waren wir in Chimelong Paradise, ein Park der viele hochwertige Achterbahnen aus Europa besitzt. Am Anfang gab es eine ERS auf dem B&M DiveCoaster, was viel besseres kann man sich gar nicht wuenschen. Dann noch weitere tolle Fahrten auf dem Mack Youngstar, Intamin Half Pipe und dem Vekoma Motorbike Coaster. Der 10 Inversion Coaster war leider geschlossen. War aber trotzdem ein genialer Tag.

 

Gloria Nakamura

Chimelong Paradise – We had a wonderful ERS on the dive coaster.  Although, I do prefer Sheikra and it’s easier to get to.

But thank you Chimelong Paradise for arguably the greatest park lunch ever!  An almost endless number of courses, the highlights being the fried cashews, marinated lamb, crispy duck and a some other things I don’t the name of.

 

Derek Shaw

“Up Early With Good Reason”

Although it would have been nice to sleep in and leisurely get to Chimelong, a surprise was announced. We were having our first ERS of the trip! (ERS is Exclusive Ride Session or ERT Exclusive Ride Time.) This is a chance to ride before the general public (or “lemmings” as some us us refer to them) are let into the park or on a particular ride. We had 45 minutes on “Dive Coaster” a fun Intamin coaster (only 7 in the world). This was the start of a really good day.

Chimelong is a beautiful park with many of the locals enjoying a fun day. This probably explains why Dong Feng Park in Guangzhou closed. (This is the only park I visited in China when I was here in 1999.) The Flying Horse Family Coaster was fun (reminiscent of the one at Europa Park).  We also got credits on their half pipe and Motorbike Launch coasters. I also rode their Jumping Machine, which is a modern day version of the Kangaroo still found at Kennywood.  The shows I saw were good, including the stunt driver action one and the fantastic acrobatics and dance one in the Magic Theater.

This was also one of the few places on this trip that included an organized group lunch. It was served family style via a large lazy susan, where food is placed in the  center of the table and you turn the turntable to take some from a large plate of a particular item. I must say, the lamb chops were excellent (right Canadian Dave?!) Of course the beer was flowing!

The rest of the day was spent getting to the the train station to take the high speed line to Wuhan. This is a four and a half jaunt traveling at 305 kilometers per hour (185mph). That’s the way to travel!  On a sad note, we said goodbye to our bus drivers and Andy, our most excellent tour guide. At the Wuhan train station we met Tom, our guide for the next day and a half. This was at 10:15 pm. The ride to the hotel was another 60 minutes with the first two miles on a road not fit for an off-road vehicle. (It was a shortcut to better pavement. I thought I was back in Pennsylvania!)

 

David & Susan Ellis

Day started with a terrific 45 minute ERS on the park’s B&M Dive coaster, which was really good. The Mack Youngstar coaster was also a very nice surprise, fun, smooth and exciting. The Halfpipe was easily the most painful of these we had ridden. The Club were treated to a huge Chinese banquet lunchtime, which was filling and at times quite ‘interesting’ with a variety of dishes you don’t find back home! The 10-inversion coaster (a clone of Colossus at Thorpe Park) was down – perhaps good news? After the park we headed to Wuhan on the high speed train, with the temperature on arrival being 99 degrees at 10pm. The journey to the hotel involved some off-road driving with airtime, through what can only be described as a river! The hotel room was like a sauna, 90 degrees. Let’s hope it gets cooler soon.

 

Matthias Gill

“The day of the Milestone and the lost name tag.”

Today was my 700th coaster, and saying this, it was on a really nice day. The B&M Dive Machine was ready for a half an hour of ERS for the ECC. On my second trip my name tag flapped over my head and flew down the first drop (this should not happen to a frequent coaster rider, but I was busy holding my “700” sign…) I tried to find it somewhere below the track on the pathway but no luck… After the lunch, I took some more rides on the superb Dive Machine with some other members. Just sitting down on the first row, a ride op came to me and gave me a pair of sunglasses and… my name tag. “You lost that” he just said and shaked my hand. What a nice surprise.

 

Steve Smith

Had a fantastic day today at Chimelong where we really were treated well, starting off with an ERS on the Dive Coaster with Justin controlling the loading station giving everyone plenty of rides and  showing how to operate a ride efficiently. We also were treated to a red carpet buffet which was very enjoyable. The day ended with a long train journey to Wuhan.

 

Bjoern Braendli

Finally it was time again for a larger theme park with a selection of great coasters! Too bad the 10 Inversion Roller Coaster was closed. Most people didn’t care, but I have yet to ride one of those. Highlight here was without a doubt the Dive Coaster. We were even treated with an ERS which was amazing. But later the wait time was never a lot so we got plenty of rides! The other coasters in the park also didn’t disappoint. The Mack YoungSTAR coaster is great as always (even with neutered first drop), the Vekoma Motorbike coaster was a little rusty but still great, and the Intamin Half Pipe of course is also great fun. The park itself seemed very high quality, so I definitely enjoyed the full day there. The great food we received for lunch made the day perfect!

After the park we all headed out to board our bullet train to Wuhan. Since I’m also a train enthusiast this obviously was also a great experience for me. It was a bit troublesome with all the luggage, but once that was sorted out we all enjoyed our 300km/h ride to Wuhan. Dirk and me also tried the food on the train. I still don’t know what I was eating, but it was tasty!

 

 

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Day 12 – Happy Valley Wuhan

 

Steve Gzesh

ECC T-Shirt Day at Happy Valley Wuhan!  Dual highlights include the wooden Dauling Dragon(s) as well as a group of seven of us riding electric mobility scooters throughout the park and then joining the park parade! On the train to Shanghai now.  I’ve been to most of the parks already, so not many more new coasters for me on this trip, but still looking forward to riding!

 

Gloria Nakamura

I loved Dauling Dragons….especially the “dauling”, which only happened twice.  Dueling Dragons used to have the ‘near miss’ as proof it dueled.  I’m hoping that someone has a good picture of the similar effect here.

Thanks to Bjoern for all the luggage help.  It was the traditional train seating, two rows facing each other, which made for a very congenial atmosphere.  Just a bunch of Europeans and North Americans talking “shop” for four hours. And they ran out of beer on this train too.

 

Thomas Enders

Der Happy Valley Wuhan Park bietet viele aehnliche Fahrgeschaefte als der gleichnahmige Park in Shenzhen. Eine Ausnahme gibt es aber: der Wooden Racing Coaster Dauling Dragon. Das ist wieder ein Top-Woodie, der besonders wegen dem Racing-Betrieb sehr viel Spass macht.

 

Derek Shaw

“A semi-happy valley”

Today we went to the second of our three Happy Valley park stops. (Happy Valley is the Six Flags of China – they have five locations.)

We got in early and headed to the Family Coaster Express. Very nice, smooth and quiet. Then it was straight to Dauling Dragon, a Gravity Group dueling, racing, wood coaster. It has a beautiful layout – the high five is magnificent, however it is rough and has serious unnecessarily rough laterals. When the skin on my legs is hurting from the ride it is too much (losing weight would certainly help too.) Many of the other features are very, very similar to GCI-style ones. My thoughts to make this the world-class ride it should be: 1) Timberliner rains 2) GCI rebuild or 3) Rocky Mountain Coasters I-beam track. Otherwise, it’s perfect!

The Monte Carlo mid-size coaster was quite fun. Happy Valley was on semi-fun because two of the five coasters were shut for the day: Hidden Anaconda (x car coaster) and OCT 1000 (S&S    bullet launch coaster.)

Before we headed for the Wuhan train station to take a 4.5 hour train ride to Changzhou, I got a ride on their observation tower and haunted walk through – both quite good. It was hot – 90+ degrees, however it was a dry heat with a cool wind blowing from time to time that made the day more palatable.

 

David & Susan Ellis

The park treated us to the first rides of the day on their Maurer X-Coaster, which appeared to be identical to Formule X at Drievliet, a coaster we had done on a previous ECC trip. We were then taken to Dauling Dragons, the dualling wooden coaster. We were treated to three duelling trains, but it was disappointing to see this coaster being run with one train only all day. Enjoyed the two wooden coasters but without the duelling element it was a tad disappointing. David got taken to a restricted path to get some duelling photos and film but had an extra coaster ride when tripping over some randomly-placed coaster running track, ending up on the ground with a few cuts and grazes! After a lunch at the park we were back on the train, this time to Changzhou…only to find it even hotter than Wuhan, 40.2 degrees (104F) at 10pm…OMG!!

 

Steve Smith

The hottest day of the trip so far started really well with a first ride on Magic Express the family launch coaster followed by an ERS on Dauling Dragons the one we were all waiting for which I thought was a little rough in certain places but still a very exciting woodie. Unfortunately, apart from a short spell during the ERT the park did not run both trains together which I thought took away a lot of the excitement from the ride. We were also treated to a meal at the park which was very nice. The new Thrust 1000 coaster was given a few test runs but unfortunately we didn’t get to ride it. The day ended with another long train journey to Changzhou.

 

Bjoern Braendli

This was supposed to be one of our highlights on the tour. The main reason for that obviously was Dauling Dragons. I had high expectations and at first they sadly were not met. They didn’t duel it and this way the layout was somewhat uncreative and also a little rough actually. That all changed when they gave us a few laps with both track duelling like it was intended! This “little” fact made a good coaster really awesome and the “high five” element really lived up to the promise. What a fun element (when the train duel)!

The Maurer Söhne Skyloop was closed, so was the S&S launcher. But they kept teasing us with plenty of test rides …

The little Maurer Söhne launcher was fun, but other than that the park didn’t offer too much and actually was kind of a disappointment. There was not much shade at all and theming/scenery was quite sparse. It should also be noted that the haunted walk through was also quite nice which we didn’t expect. Another fun day!

Again we then headed out for our next train to Shanghai. It was a slower train (still 200km/h) that had compartments instead of open seats. Which was helpful for those with a lot of luggage. The time was flying on that train ride. Maybe because of all the beer?

 

 

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Day 13 – Dinosaur Park, World Joyland

 

Gloria Nakamura

Has anyone not mentioned the heat?

Credits are like oxygen, a necessity.  But I came on this trip for two rides, Dinoconda and Fireball.  So today, China Dinosaur Park.  Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit to loving X at SFMM but I know many people do not.  I was only able to ride Dinoconda once and I really liked it but I’ve ridden X about 400-500 times.  So it was like being in the bizarro world because X comes out of the station and goes right and Dinoconda goes left.

The dinosaur theming is fantastic but the surprise of the park is the indoor motocoaster, Dinosaur Mountain.  It’s got a Space Mountain vibe and at one point the track goes through a skeleton of a dinosaur.  It is great fun, as are all the Zamperla motocoasters, and I would like to know who actually built it.

Joyland – Many thanks to the park for the ERS on Sky Scrapper!  The park theming is amazing, even if you don’t care about World of Warcraft. However, the rides that use the technology similar to “Spiderman” and “Soarin’ Over California”, need a lot of work.

 

Thomas Enders

Heute waren wir in zwei Top-Thematisierten Parks die sich (fast) auf dem gleichen Niveau wie Island of Adventure befinden: China Dinosaurs Park und Joyland. Der Dinosaurs Park hat mit einem S&S 4D Coaster auch eine Top-Attraktion zu bieten. Im Joyland dreht sich die Thematisierung um World of Warcraft. Es lassen sich viele Aehnlichkeiten zum Island of Adventure Park erkennen, auch bei den Fahrgeschaeften. Wir hatten eine ERS auf dem B&M Flying Coaster Sky Scrapper, den man zu den besten Flyern zaehlen kann.

 

Derek Shaw

“Yaba Daba Do and Jane Stop This Crazy Thing”

Today was the hottest day of the trip so far – 43c or 108 f, however the humid was lower. We visited 2 parks completely opposite in theming.

China’s Dinosaur Park took me back to the age of dinosaurs – Fred Flintstone would be impressed. Dinoconda was my first 4D coaster. It was palatable – I didn’t like it, I didn’t hate I didn’t hate it. The ride experience was very artificial – give me a good wood coaster any day! The cycle time was 9.5 min per ride. I’m learning very quickly that through put and quick is not in the vocabulary of the Chinese people.  The spinning mouse was decent. Even though the pin was released rather early, the spinning action was rather minimal. The indoor motorbike coaster was terrific. This is China’s version of Space Mountain. The haunted walk thru even had live actors.

Joyland is a gem of a park in the middle of nowhere. This is part of a resort complex high in the mountains with plenty of switchbacks. The park has a Jules Verne take on the future.

We had  one hour ERS on Sky Scrapper, their B&M flying coaster. Although I am not a fan of this type coaster, this one is smooth and fast. I managed to get a dozen plus spins on it. The Maurer Sky Loop coaster was closed, the second such on this trip to be down. No big deal in my book. The mine train was pretty good. It features 2 lift hills that are parallel to each other. The dark ride is a lesser imitation of Spiderman. The 3D simulator featured animation, again a lesser version of Disney’s California Soaring.

We also had a very delicious group meal, finished off by a 10 minute light and fireworks show in the main lagoon.

Both of today’s parks were class operations – a good model on how China parks can be built.

 

Steve Gzesh

Wow, super-hot today (about 108° F!), but two great parks: China Dinosaurs Park and Joyland. I’ve been to Dinosaur Park before, but got to add two new coasters today, including the 4D Dinoconda (which I hope to never ride again, like all the other 4D coasters I’ve ridden). Otherwise, the park is still magnificent, with overall excellent theming. Next up was Joyland: a new park for me. What a stupendous park, which was clearly inspired by Islands of Adventure in Orlando, but nonetheless executed extremely well! Two of the three coasters were running and they were quite good. And the rest of the park was impeccable! Great day!!

 

David & Susan Ellis

Today was extreme theming and temperature day…the quality of the theming at today’s parks was simply breath-taking, as was the heat, with air temperature of 43C, 109F, and it must have been around 120F Real Feel after allowing for humidity. Just standing around we were melting, which was a shame as the Dinosaur Park was beautiful. We headed to the S&S 4D coaster first, which was being run incredibly slowly (appears to be the par over here) with one train every 9 minutes! The indoor motocoaster was unique and enjoyable and the air-conditioned queue line was very welcome! Would love to visit this park again on a quieter and cooler day! After checking in to the hotel the group headed for Joyland Park (although Susan decided to stay in the hotel and chillax), which had a terrific B&M Flyer coaster (treated to a 1 hour ERS!!) and ‘World of Warcraft’ theming that was stunning. We were treated to a lovely meal too, and the joy of dark-riding a world-class B&M coaster was an added bonus.

 

Dirk Ermen

Today we had the best themed parks of China. When we started off in the Dinosaur park I didn’t thought the theming could become any better. But when we ended up in Joyland I was totally amazed. Both are very awesome parks with some very good rides!

 

Steve Smith

Scorching hot day at two very well themed parks. Dinosaur Park was very busy but Joyland really looked after us very well, starting with an ERS on the B&M Flying Coaster which certainly packed a punch. The 2nd sky loop of the trip was down which meant David Ellis still hadn’t had a chance to experience the ride. Apparently every time he comes across one they are not working, he must be a jinx !

 

Bjoern Braendli

This was a day I was looking forward to a lot because of the two highlights, the Arrow 4D coaster and the B&M flyer.

First stop was the Dinosaur Park with the 4D Dinoconda. I really like those rides and I expected this one to be similar to X2. But first we had to get on. There were not too many people in front of us, but the operations were so bad that it still took us an hour. The actual capacity we figured out at 150p/h maximum! However, once we got in we were in for a very intense and awesome ride! It had more flips and G’s than X2 and deliverd those non-stop! It actually ended up being my favourite coaster of the whole trip!

The indoor Motocoaster was quite nice and something different. The Spinning Coaster was nothing special again though.

The park as a whole looked very well themed and also had quite a few nice rides. I didn’t try any others though because I simply had to take another ride on the awesome Dinoconda. Luckily the wait was a little less, but operations were still just as bad. So after a total of only 2 rides we had to leave. What a bummer …

But we did not leave without a reason! Next stop was World Joyland which opened late into the night. We were treated very nicely with a great dinner and an hour long ERS on the B&M Flyer. This was one of the reasons I joined the trip and it did not disappoint! While I think it’s not quite as good as Tatsu, it still kicks some serious a**! Especial the 1.5 twist into the loop combination is very intense and fun. I took 11 rides during the ERS and I was totally wasted afterwards. But also damn happy!

The park itself is very special indeed, especially when you like World of Warcraft. I don’t care for it, so most of the theming didn’t “click” with me. But it is very impressively done, especially at night! Definitely one of the best parks in China!

 

 

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Day 14 – Happy Valley Shanghai

 

Gloria Nakamura

We mostly haven’t had internet for 4-5 days and so there will be more trip reports on previous days.

So, my second reason for coming on this trip, Fireball!  Expectations are the root of all evil and mine were not met on my first ride.  Some might say that a Gravity Group coaster riding like a GCI is a good thing.  Not me. I got my first and what I thought would be only ride at about 2:45 in the 2nd to last row on the right.  It was sluggish, the airtime was just average and the track is not especially interesting.

The best GG coasters are just dripping with controlled aggression… think Hades, circa 2005-08 and Voyage, in the beginning.  I went back at about 4:30, sat in the same row but on the left.  I began to feel the magic.  It was already running much faster and I wondered what it would like in another 4 hours.  We have just a sliver of a moon tonight… “Fireball Nights” anybody?

 

Derek Shaw

“Three of a Kind”

Today was our third and final visit to a Happy Valley branded park (There are two more in the small chain.) Today was also the third fantastic park visit in-a-row. This is, IMHO, the nicest of the three we visited on the sojourn. It is very nicely done. While there are some features common to all three, each have their own unique personality.

The mine train is a sister to the one in Bakken – enough said. The Mega-Lite Coaster was fantastic – the best steel coaster on the trip! Loads of airtime – we need at least one in the States. Fireball, the M&V  wood coaster is good. (With that, I have ridden 3 out 4 wood coasters currently in operation in China.) The Dive Coaster was OK – not as good as the Chimelong one it even was braked before descending the second drop. The other two coasters were things that can be ridden all over the universe, ad nausium.

One of the highlights of the day was meeting three members of the 600 person China Roller Coaster Club. They have only been around for two years. We walked, talked and rode most of the afternoon. The Haunted House walk through was too dimly lit, making it difficult to completely enjoy the effects to their fullest. Since the park shut at 6, I was hoping to get serious ride time on Fireball – a miniature ERS (if you will). That didn’t happen, as the park was closing, for the night, soon.

We played it safe for lunch, enjoying Pizza Hut pizza at their location within the park.

 

Steve Gzesh

Today we went to Happy Valley Shanghai, which was a second visit for me.  And I have to say today’s visit was far superior to what I experienced three years ago.  The crowds were reasonably light today (except for Fireball, which had a 2-hour line earlier in the day), and it was cooler than yesterday (only about 95°F today!). The best part was getting VIP treatment from the park, whose logistics were finalized after we arrived at the park.  Officials found a group of us in line for Fireball, got us out, and led us onto the ride through the exit!  Then we went around the park finding others in our group and bypassing any lines!  That’s the way to do a park!  Especially one with several excellent coasters!

 

Dirk Ermen

The best operated park so far on the trip. All the loading and unloading procedures were a lot more efficient than all the other parks we’ve seen so far. Fireball was still running pretty good for being the oldest in china; I’ve enjoyed that ride a lot!

 

Kristian & Mette Johansen

A really great day at Happy Valley Shanghai. Not as hot as the last few days. Fireball is a very good woodie with great layout

I am too tired to come up with some more clever things to write right now.

 

David & Susan Ellis

Very impressed by the line-up of coasters at this park, with another Sheikra-clone Diving Coaster, a wonderfully themed Intamin Mine Train, an Intamin Megalite coaster (please can we have some of these airtime machines nearer to home), and our favourite woodie of the trip, Wooden Coaster Fireball, which provided a fun-packed ride with huge amounts of airtime in the back seats. The park allowed us access to the bigger coasters up the exits, which was a real bonus, although they stopped this arrangement on Fireball after a short time, which was a shame as I would have loved to have ridden this coaster a lot more than the two times I managed…a reason to go back! Was also pleasantly surprised to see the ride operators quite relaxed about us filming on the coasters, a welcome change from the strict rules we found in most Chinese parks.

 

Steve Smith

Another very hot day spent at Happy Valley Shanghai and my favourite woodie of the trip. Wooden Coaster Fireball had bags of airtime and rode like a dream. If only some of the UK Theme Parks would invest in such  a fantastic coaster, I certainly would invest in a season ticket. The park also treated us very well giving us access to the woodie and the Dive Coaster through the exit ramps.

 

Bjoern Braendli

This was our 3rd Happy Valley, and in my opinion it was also easily the best! I had the best selection of coasters in a park on this trip, and also the park itself was very nicely themed and offered plenty of shade!

The coaster highlights were obviously the B&M Dive Machine (which was great like the others, as expected), the Intamin Mega Lite (who doesn’t love those rides?), the Intamin Mine Train (like the one in Bakken), and the Gravity Group coaster Fireball. That woodie was also my biggest surprise. I knew it just got re-tracked recently, but I didn’t expect it to run so well! It had a great speed and plenty of airtime. I ended up liking this one better than Dauling Dragons.

Another highlight was meeting 3 members of the Chinese coaster club “Roller Coaster Dream”. I always wondered if there was a coaster club in China but never found any info. So it was great chatting with them and checking out their magazines. Definitely a fun bunch!

All in all this day way my personal highlight. The coasters were great, the theming was nice, the scenery gave lots of shade, the operations were alright, and meeting our friends from China all played part in that!

 

 

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Day 15 – Suzhou Amusement Land, Giant Wheel Park

 

Steve Gzesh

We went to two parks today and since I’ve been to both before, I added no new credits today. But still it was nice to revisit the parks.  At Suzhou Amusement Land, we took the aerial tram to the top of the mountain for a great view of the park and city, which is an activity I didn’t do the last time there.  And then at Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou, I rode Stingray again and it was much better than I remember it being!  It was disappointing that because of park crowds, it wasn’t practical for some of us to ride the Giant Wheel, but I did ride that last time.

 

Thomas Enders

Heute waren wir zuerst im Suzhou Amusement Land, einem sehr grossen und landschaftlich schoen angelegtem Park. Die Qualitaet der Rides ist leider nur mittelmaessig. Der beste Coaster im Park ist der Vekoma SLC, der hier noch relativ angenehm faehrt, verglichen mit dem gleichen Modell in anderen Parks. Das Highlight im Park ist aber der 4D Film ”Yogi Bear” der ganz lustig ist und sehr gut gemacht ist. Am Nachmittag sind wir dann weiter zum Giant Wheel Park gefahren, der, wie der Name schon sagt, als Hauptattraktion ein 120m hohes Riesenrad hat. Highlight ist aber der Vekoma Stingray Coaster, ein Flying Coaster der sehr angenehm zu fahren ist und viel mehr Spass macht als die alten Flying Coaster von Vekoma.

 

Derek Shaw

“A big hill and a big wheel”

First up was Suzhou Amusement Land. This park is located where the city meets the mountains. What a breathtaking view! The coasters – all four of them – were nothing unique or different, however the location of the park takes care of that. A vintage park with a mix of old and new attractions, works well for Suzhou.

Next up was Giant Wheel Park. We missed out on the daytime ride session, however special accommodations were made to get us in for the beginning of night rides on Stingray (Vekoma.)  This coaster is very unique – kind of a Screaming Squirrel-type coaster. This made for many discussions about how to classify this ride. Worth the trip if you ever get to China.

 

David & Susan Ellis

Today we visited two parks in the city of Suzhou. The first one was a very pretty park with 4 coasters, and some spectacular mountain scenery at the back of the park, accessible via Cablecar. Max Speed was an unusual shuttle loop coaster that looked like something you might create in Roller Coaster Tycoon. The park also had an SLC with a different line=up of inversions, a Chinese knock-off Galaxi Coaster and a junior coaster. I was hoping to do the zip-line from the top of the mountain, but an approaching Typhoon resulted in the wind picking up, and the zip-line closed just before we reached it. We finished the day riding a 120m tall Big Wheel and a unique Vekoma ‘Stingray’ Flying Coaster, which was certainly unusual!

 

Steve Smith

Suzhou Amusement Land had some more steelies, a strange shuttle loop and an SLR set in some very nice scenery also a nice ride in the cable car up the mountain giving some spectacular views across the park. Unfortunately the wind decided to get up which stopped us riding the zip line. In the evening we visited Giant Wheel Park and rode Stingray a very unusual coaster, not really my cup of tea, but certainly an unusual experience.

 

Bjoern Braendli

The day started with a pretty nice park that seemed rather popular with the locals. They had a very nice standard Vekoma SLC with a bonus helix through a tunnel that ran pretty smoothly actually. Other than that the coasters were not that special, but the big surprise was the very good 4D movie with Yogi Bear. I didn’t expect anything licensed so it was a big surprise once we got inside. It was the best 4D movie I’ve ever seen! I didn’t do too much in the park since it was so hot. I simply enjoyed the scenery with the shade and watching the locals while I had a nap myself …

Our next stop was the very cute park with the big wheel. I skipped the big wheel because the line was way too long, but the only reason I was there was the Stingray coaster anyway. I didn’t really know what to expect from that weird ride (except that I had to wear a stupid hairnet), but it managed to surprise me big time! I had to laugh out loud almost the whole ride! It was smooth, it was thrilling, it was unique and incredibly fun! It turned out being one of my favourite rides on the tour! A second ride was no question! The rest of the park was very small without many attractions, but the did an incredible job with all the lights at night. The atmosphere was great!

 

 

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Day 16 – Gongqing Forest Park, Oriental Pearl Tower

 

Steve Gzesh

One park with three coasters and one tower with one coaster today.  Been to all before, so again, no new credits today, but nonetheless a very nice day. I took some great shots from the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, as well as at The Bund, the waterfront area facing downtown.  Hard to believe only one more day to the trip before returning home, but looking forward to tomorrow and getting my last new coaster credit!

 

David & Susan Ellis

David started the day with a 10-mile walk before breakfast (mad or what). The park today was really pleasant with lots of trees (and shade from the sun), and three coasters. The looping coaster looked very pretty although was quite rough. After Gongqing we headed to the Bund, a scenic part of Shanghai famous for its skyline of very tall and unusual buildings. After a short time for photos we headed under the Tunnel to the Bund, and the Imperial Pearl TV Tower, for some scenic views (including a glass floor level) and an interesting (and surprisingly good) buffet in the revolving restaurant at 260m above ground.

 

B. Derek Shaw

“Another Park, Another Sunday”

This Doobie Brothers classic sums things up. Our first visit today was to Gongqing Forest Park – what a gem! This is a big recreational area that has amusement rides strewn among the trees and vegetation. It is kind of a Knoebel’s-type operation – my kind of place!

They had three coasters and we banged them out fairly quickly: standard loop and corkscrew, Wild Mouse and a dragon kiddie coaster. What a fine time we had in this park! It also had a cool train (which we did twice because it was so good!) There’s also a Wiegand Bobkart (powdered alpine coaster.) While the park did not boast a large arsenal of rides, what they did have was well maintained, the sign of a good operation.

The second half of the day took us to Shanghai Oriental Pearl radio and TV tower. Our visit started with a massive roomed Shanghai History Museum on two floors on the ground level. Then we went up 263 meters to the Observation deck area. The tower also has a transparent observatory, where the entire floor is comprised of large sheets of thick plexiglas. I was nervous at first, but soon became acclimated to the height and unique perspective of the world below. Next up, the entire group had dinner in the revolving restaurant. The food was quite good and plenty of it!

We capped off the day with a visit to Pizza Hut Game City at the 98 meter, level. This stop is for an indoor roller coaster. We had no idea what to expect and were pleasantly surprised with the end result – a fun coaster with a good amount of air time.

Instead of heading back on the busses, 13 of us “off-roaded” and visited People’s Park two subway stops away from Oriental Pearl Tower. All that it offers is a kiddie powered coaster, however the thrill of the hunt was all that some us needed to enjoy the bonus expedition.

 

Steve Smith

We visited Gongquing Forest Park today and I really enjoyed it. Fabulous little park set amongst the woods with rides at various points around it. Then on to Oriental Pearl Tower and a chance to take in some of the sights of Shanghai. We first visited the museum and then the viewing tower, a buffet in the revolving restaurant and a ride on the Vekoma junior coaster which really was a nice finish to the day.

 

Bjoern Braendli

Our first stop was another “small” park. But the park was actually a rather large park in the Woods with great scenery and plenty of shade. Having a relatively good Chinese looping coaster, a nice train ride through the woods, and another bobkart made sure we had plenty of fun in the time we stayed there.

Then we were off to Shanghai. I was very happy that it was possible to actually do a bit of sightseeing too, so we got out at the Bund and went for a nice walk in the heat …

Highlight probably was the Pearl Tower where we did everything possible, including a quite nice historical museum. The glass floor on top was very funky, sadly it was way too crowded. After a great buffet on top we went downstairs again to ride the indoor Vekoma junior coaster. This ride was actually quite a surprise and turned out to be the best coaster of this type I know!

 

 

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Day 17 – Maglev Train, Jin Jiang Park

 

Steve Gzesh

Today was the last day of the trip before I fly home tomorrow, so it’s good that we had some nice variety today.  We started with a round trip excursion on the Maglev train, where we topped out at 430 km/h (267 mph)! Very cool to travel that fast on the ground, even if that top speed only lasted a minute or so. After that, we went to Jin Jiang Park, which I’ve visited before, but this time, I got to ride the Giant Inverted Boomerang, my 57th new coaster credit on this trip.  It was actually rather fun, much better than I expected it to be! So that wraps up the coasters for this trip for me and I’ll close out at 1,055 for now.  But the #1,100 milestone is beckoning me, so I’ll be off riding coasters elsewhere as soon as I can!

 

David & Susan Ellis

After another early walk for David we headed to Shanghai’s Maglev train, the fastest scheduled passenger train service in the World. Reaching speeds of 430kph (268mph) it does the journey to the airport (19 miles) in just over 7 minutes – wow! After the train ride we hit our final park, Jin Jiang, a ticket park with an Inverted Boomerang (notable for its smoothness ride but painfully slow loading process that saw one train leave every 15 minutes), a motocoaster, a spinning coaster, another one of those odd shuttle loops, and a powered indoor coaster with an exciting finish.

 

B. Derek Shaw

“To Be Continued”

Up first today was a round trip ride on the fastest train in the world. The Shanghai Mag Lev train connects Shanghai to/from the Pudung Airport. It is a 35 mile course. During peak am and pm rush hours, the train runs at 431 kph or 270 mph!! While it is only at top speed less than 3 minutes, it is still a very exciting ride. At that speed, the whole trip takes 8 minutes! It was a bit hard to walk around the cabin while moving at that speed. There is also some special glass that makes it appear more natural for our brain to get a grip on that type of speed. (The next day, Tim and I left early for the airport to visit the walk-thru museum found at the base of the southern terminus station. It was fascinating.)

With Disneyland Shanghai opening north of the airport in 2015, there is talk of another station to haul the Disney crowd to/from the park/airport.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been discussing a maglev train from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia for at least 25 years. I’m not sure if it will ever get past that stage. It would be great if the USA rail system could at least get trains up to speeds of 100+ mph. We’ll see.

This is our final day for visiting parks during the Great Coaster Tour of China. Our last park on the China sojourn was Jin Jiang Action Park. This place was not real busy, making getting to visit all the coasters in the time allotted do-able. Jin Jiang Action Park was a nice amusement park, home to four legit coasters and a powered one – all were good. I also took the lethargic monorail around the park and nearly fell out of my seat when the brakes were applied on the dark ride after descending the second floor.

My observation of Chinese parks over the past few weeks, yielded three conclusions…

1)  Ride operations are poor. The word hurry, dispatch and through-put are not in their vocabulary. A solution is to hire operations people from Europa Park consult these inefficient parks.

2) Park branded merchandise is non-existent, if not extinct. Bring the Knoebel’s merchandising gurus in to train these parks in how to be effective in this area. (Deb are you up for a road trip?)

3)  Stay open evenings. Most Chinese parks close way before sundown. To accommodate the crowd, offer later hours.

The trip is coming to a close. It was a fun, grueling, challenging, frustrating, busy, frenetic, rewarding, charming, crazy trip. Would I do it again, without question! While we rode over five dozen coasters in 17 days, they were fun, however that was not the ultimate benefit of the sojourn. Meeting new people from different countries, rekindling old friendships and doing something together as a group, were the main reasons for participating in these events. It’s not the things that you do, but with the people you do them with that makes life special.

Let me leave you with two thoughts: “Bandit Still Sucks – yea!” …and “To Be Continued”.

“But Wait, There’s More” (Epilog)

With time on our hands, 17 of us decided to deal with the Shanghai Subway and visit another park before it closed at 5:00 pm. Seven stops and one transfer later, we were there. Century Park is an amusement area within a city recreational park. A spinning mouse with the usual non-spinning gyrations was a big hit with the general public, but was lackluster for connoisseurs.

 

Steve Smith

The day started with a ride on the Maglev Train, reaching speeds of 268 mph which really was fun and then to Jin Jiang Park to experience some of the slowest loading and despatch of coasters I have ever seen, especially on the Giant Inverted Boomerang where riders were seated and the played a 15 minute audio in Chinese explaining who Knows what while operators sat basking in the sun. But I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the Ghost Train at this park, a true classic !

 

Bjoern Braendli

As soon as I knew I’d go to Shanghai I knew I had to ride the maglev! Being a high speed train fanatic it comes to no surprise that this was expected to be a highlight for me. So it was great to see that we’d catch it running at top speed with the Club! Too bad it’s such a short distance it runs. I hardly gives you enough time to comprehend the insane speed. Especially the other train passing us with a relative speed of over 800km/h with a short but big “boom” was quite an experience. Hopefully we’ll see more of those maglevs in the future, even though I have to say that high speed rail for now makes more sense.

After the maglev experience we headed to our last park on the tour. The main attraction there obviously is the Vekoma GIB. I personally totally love those rides. They’re big, intense and smooth. This one was no exception! What was exceptional though was the operations. After the Dinosaur Park I didn’t think operations could be even worse. I was wrong! On the GIB we saw a train maybe all 15 minutes. It was unreal how slow the crew was, sometimes just standing there doing nothing while the speakers blurred out Chinese safety instructions. At least the park was very empty, so when you were lucky you “only” had to wait one train …

The rest of the park was ok. They had a few other nice rides like the Zamperla Moto Coaster, which is always great fun, or a decent ghost train. Also very interesting was the “It’s a small world” copy they had. It was more like a haunted ride. Something like “It’s a small world” on a really bad acid trip. It was unreal and somewhat scary. Definitely worth it!

 

 

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Day 18 – Flight Back, Final Thoughts

 

Jeff and Leslie Graham (USA)

In addition to the “one child” policy, China also seems to have a “one train” policy – most parks only run one train on their coasters no matter how busy it is. If the oppressive heat and park operations get you down, there’s always some good “Chinglish” to boost your spirits. BIG thanx to Justin and all who helped organize this epic China trip. It’s been an awesome experience!!!

 

Andy Lamb (UK)

After an hour and a half at check in (possibly the longest queue of the trip) I am now waiting for my flight to start boarding.

I would like to thank Justin, Marcus and everyone else involved in organising this very memorable trip.

Until next time

 

Owen Rees (UK)

All the parks are very interesting and different. China has changed since I last visited.  the parks have a very strange loading and unloading procedure – often taking longer than the ride itself. I have to keep doing the inside rides just to keep cool.

 

Bruno Baumeister (Germany)

Chinese theme parks have by far the best food that a coaster fan with preference to really good food can wish. If the coasters aren’t yummy, the food always is!

 

David & Susan Ellis (UK)

After around 70 coasters, 26 parks, two towers and an alpine coaster we were tired and ready to go home, but had a great time in China. A huge thanks to all those who organised the trip, and especially to Justin for his hard work and perseverance in addressing the many logistical challenges on our route. Now, back to more normal temperatures!

 

Jan Rush (USA)

CULTURE SHOCK

If there were an amusement park Olympic event for slowest-moving loading procedure and time, China would win the Gold Medal.  “Throughput” is obviously not in their vocabulary.  A three-minute ride turns into an annoying 15-minute wait before the next launch.  And many of the coasters, like the spinning ones, had multiple safety restraints.  Chinese park-goers seem to accept it, though.  They also seem to tolerate line cutters/jumpers.  Oh, you might see an occasional scowl, but that’s about it.

At one of the parks, I watched as a young woman took out a tissue and wiped off the top of large planter before sitting down on its ledge.  I laughed.  Considering the lack of hygiene items in park bathrooms, her gesture seemed ridiculous.  The basic restroom consisted of a squat toilet and a sink with cold running water.  No toilet paper, no soap, no way to dry your hands.  Ick.   By the end of the trip, the ladies, at least, rejoiced when a handicapped sign was spotted.  It meant a sit-down toilet, and at least toilet paper or soap.  The bottle of hand sanitizer and the teeny roll of toilet paper provided in our goody bags came in handy.

Registering a 10 on the ewwww meter was some of the food.  If you like squid on a stick—with tentacles attached—go for it.  Chicken feet?  Yum.  Stuff that can’t even be identified, no thanks.  Every park, even the smallest ones, had ice cream and bottled water.  Pizza Huts and KFCs became popular hangouts on the trip.  The hotel breakfast buffets, on the other hand, were sumptuous.  Western and Chinese foods, and even dessert!

Watch out for all the umbrellas!  Chinese park-goers use them for sun protection.  Getting poked by one was pretty much expected.

HONG KONG

The first two parks on the trip were Disneyland and Ocean Park.  The newest Disney is spacious but not tremendously ride intensive.  It didn’t help that a Category 3 Typhoon was possibly bearing down on Hong Kong on the day of our visit.  Once the rain started, all the outdoor rides remained closed for the rest of the day, even during the periods when the rain stopped.  I didn’t get to experience the Jungle Cruise; it would have been interesting to see how that ride was tweaked for its audience.  Grizzly Gulch, Hong Kong’s version of Big Thunder Mountain, uses the same technology as, and is similar to, Expedition Everest.  What a blast!

I expected Ocean Park to be near the ocean.  It’s actually on top of a peak overlooking the water.  And what a magnificent view!  Hair Raiser is their excellent B&M.  The park put out a lunch spread for us that was stellar.  We all wanted seconds of their fried cashews.  Oh my.  Some of us misunderstood the description of one of the entrees.  It sounded like it was tomatoes stuffed with brains, but it was really grains.

SMALL PARKS

The fun thing about going to small parks is that they have some really good rides not found in the larger or chain parks.  One reminded me of the kind of attraction you might find in old U.S. amusement parks — a sort of spinning barrel that started bouncing up and down, throwing riders all over the place.  I just watched.  Younger and bigger guys were in there; I didn’t stand a chance of getting out alive.  The other one was a variation of an elevated pedal ride.  This one had pedals but was electrically operated, so you could just coast.  It had a steering wheel, though, that allowed you turn the car in circles.  The driver could point the vehicle in any direction, making it easier to take photos from different vantage points.  Outdoor roller rinks are also popular there.

Many of the smaller parks were in the city — municipal parks, actually, with reasonably unobtrusive amusement areas.  These parks were spacious and lush, creating small, green oases within the packed high rises surrounding them.  Forest Park was one of the bigger ones.  It probably took 15 minutes to reach the rides.  That park even had a BobKart — not a great one, but still fun; and a meandering train ride.

Some of the smaller parks, though, were in locations that had seen better days.  It was kind of amazing that they were still operating.  Just don’t look too closely at all the rust on the supports and the weeds growing up through the tracks.

One attraction at most parks was the mangled English rider instruction sign.  If you are pregnant, alcoholic, old, and weak, do not ride.  I’m not sure how you could manage all four at the same time.  Ride descriptions were equally funny.  Kudos to the parks, though, for correct use of the apostrophe.  American’s can’t seem to get that right.

HAPPPY VALLEY

Three Happy Valley Parks, three different experiences.  Happy Valley Shenzhen has the S&S Bullet, which is smoother than some of the company’s top-hat coasters.  (My memory of Dodonpa was that it was rough.)  It was also a five-minute walk from the hotel, close to a mall with some restaurants.  Some of us paid the up charge and took the monorail, which left the park and provided a scenic tour of the surrounding area, including a place called Windows of the World, whose coaster was down for maintenance.  The English voice that supplied commentary said, “Windows of the World, where you can see the world through a window.”  Well, okay, that was funny when we heard it.

Happy Valley Wuhan has Dauling Dragon.  Yes, Dauling, it was an oops! misspelling of Dueling that just stuck.  What an incredible coaster!  There were just three wood coasters on this trip, all excellent, but this one was special.

Happy Valley Shanghai had probably the best coaster line-up on this trip, including the wooden Fireball, a really good diving coaster, and the superlative Intamin Mega-Lite.  Please build more!  How about some in the U.S.?

On a trip of this length, parks tend to blend together after a point.  And towards the end of the two weeks, with the incessant heat taking its toll, I don’t think I appreciated some of the nicer ones we visited.  (I just wanted to ride the coasters and leave.)  Interspersed with all the mouse and spinning coasters and the mild family rides were some excellent coasters and gorgeous parks.  What an amazing trip!

 

Steve Smith (UK)

A very exhausting day spent flying and waiting around in airports but what a fantastic trip. A big thank you to all  involved for a very memorable time.

 

Bjoern Braendli  (Netherlands)

I originally wanted to go back to the airport together with the rest of the club as my flight was just 2 hours later. Stupid me however didn’t hear the alarm and totally missed the bus! Luckily my room mate Tim woke me up in the morning. While it was too late for the bus, I had enough time to catch my flight. Thanks again Tim!!! At the gate I saw the Emirates flight to Dubai with the Club just departing the gate. So missed saying bye to most of the Club, but at least I didn’t end up being stuck in China!

So this was my very first trip with the ECC and also my first trip to Asia! So many things and faces were completely new to me! It was great meeting all you people though, I had great fun and hope I’ll see you all again sometime!

Special thanks go to Justin of course! Planning a trip in China sure is not an easy task, and he managed quite well. Sometimes I got a bit bored with the credit whoring at some of the smaller parks, but since most members seemed to care about it, I rolled with it. It was great to see that he didn’t try to include every Dragon and instead spend some more time with the actually good rides and parks. The choice of hotels was mostly very good, with only two bad choices. But who could’ve known before?

The most memorable experience certainly was the incredible heat! Eventually I got used to being sweaty and full of chemicals (sunscreen, insect repellent), but it was certainly not the most pleasant experience. However, it was definitely worth it. So many cool new rides, so much amazing food, and so many great new faces! Thanks to everyone!!!

 

 

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