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Photo TR: Taiwan


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Day 1: Farglory Ocean Park, See Below

Day 2: ShanGriLa, Window on China, Leofoo Village

Day 3: Atayal and Discovery World

Day 4: Janfusun Fancy World

Day 5: Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

Final Days: E-DA Theme Park, Taiwan High Speed Rail, and Taipei 101

 

 

In our never ending search for credits that will (hopefully) not duplicate future TPR trips that we would like to do, Cheryl and I found ourselves going to Taiwan for my Spring Break. Yes, this kind of trip is a major pain in the ass if you don't speak/read Mandarin and you don't have Robb and Elissa doing all the work for you!

 

Nonetheless, we met on the other side of the world, with Cheryl going JFK-NRT-TPE and me going AMS-BKK-TPE.

 

Taiwan is an interesting place. The official name is Republic of China, as opposed to the much bigger People's Republic of China. The ROC took power from the Emperor on the mainland back in 1911, but then had to retreat to Taiwan after losing the Chinese Civil War when the Maoist Communists revolted in 1949.

 

Since then, Taiwan has been able to behave as an independent country, thanks to U.S. aid, although the U.S. shifted its formal recognition to the PRC in 1979. Taiwan has become a democracy, so the U.S. remains supportive, even while the PRC has threatened to take Taiwan by force. In spite of the ever-present Chinese threat, the Taiwanese are friendly and tolerant. They don't have a seat at the U.N. and they get called "Chinese Taiwan" in the Olympics. Nonetheless, Taiwan is economically successful and industrially developed. We really enjoyed our visit.

 

Day One: A lovely little park called Farglory Ocean Park in Hualien, a city on the eastern coast of the island.

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Yay! Notice that the women don't wear no tops. Actually, there are a lot of hot springs in Taiwan.

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Yikes. But apparently just a precaution. Cheryl flew from NRT but didn't have to get checked.

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The reasonable rate for the hotel made sense when we realized that we had to share our room with the hotel's mascot.

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The next morning we found ourselves at Songshan, the mainly domestic airport in Taipei.

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Because, yes, some stupid people will get on a plane for the chance to ride a Vekoma Junior.

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The drive from Taipei to Hualien is simply too arduous, and the train was too slow for us to do a day trip.

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Beautiful downtown Hualien, Taiwan.

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Welcome to Farglory Ocean Park!

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Most Taiwanese parks have a zany cast of mascot characters.

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Nice theming. The park is on a mountainside, so everything is on levels like Tibidabo, and you have to take escalators or ramps to get up and down.

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The payoff is these amazing Pacific views as you get to higher levels of the park.

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Unfortunately this great looking flume, Pirates of El Dorado, was down.

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Beach Balls ride. Notice that the park is sort of dead. This was a mixed blessing. Small crowds and short queues were great, but since school is still in session and the weather is good, parks do a lot of maintenance work, which led to more than one credit missed.

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But we didn't miss this credit.

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One of the nicest settings for a Vekoma Junior ever!

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Here it is in action!

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Here's that sign.

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Here's that section of the park from the sky ride.

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Great sky ride views.

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Swingin' Shells and Castle

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Alas, the missed flume ride.

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We did not watch any shows, but the park is big on seal and dolphin shows, plus other aquatic exhibits.

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Gotta love these views.

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Ferris wheel and flume.

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We were very pleased with the merch selection.

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After the park, we visited the Taroko Gorge, Taiwan's most popular natural attraction. It's within an hour's drive from Farglory Ocean Park.

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One could easily do a report just on the gorge, but I'll just give you a few looks. It's pretty amazing.

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Gotta wear a helmet in some places. Tourists have been bonked and killed by falling rocks.

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There are a lot of shrines and buddhas too.

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Well, thanks for checking out Day One of our Taiwan coaster tour! Go to page 2 for Day Two at Shangrila, Window on China, and Leofoo!

Edited by milst1
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BTW, not sure how much help that helmet will be when the giant rock comes tumbling down several hundred feet!!

 

Yeah, it does seem more of a psychological precaution! Nice report so far Martin, I enjoyed the little history/politics lesson too.

 

Dave

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^^^ That's a European Coaster Club lanyard.

 

For what it's worth, I'd agree that the drive to Hualien is a distinctly bad idea. When we went there we drove, and there's no way in hell I'd go through that again, even for a park as beautiful as Farglory. Domestic flights are definitely the way to go.

 

Also, though Hualien is theoretically sixty kilometers from Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, it is a five hour drive. You have been warned.

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^^^ That's a European Coaster Club lanyard.

 

For what it's worth, I'd agree that the drive to Hualien is a distinctly bad idea. When we went there we drove, and there's no way in hell I'd go through that again, even for a park as beautiful as Farglory. Domestic flights are definitely the way to go.

 

Also, though Hualien is theoretically sixty kilometers from Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, it is a five hour drive. You have been warned.

 

Let me publicly credit Richard with advising us on our itinerary and helping us avoid the crazy driving, although there were some difficult stretches, namely to Atayal from Taipei and then from Sun Moon Lake (near Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village) back to Janfusun. All of this will be coming in future installments.

 

Incidentally, Richard, did you have a truly English-language GPS? I bought a GPS in Taiwan with operation buttons that were easily set to English (a nice Garmin nuvi 1300 for about US$150), but all destination listings and street names were in Chinese characters. I managed to work with it and it proved invaluable, but I wondered, did you have pinyin listings? The GPS offered by the car rental firm had the same issue. Just wondering. I was unable to buy Taiwan maps for the two Garmin GPS units that I already had in my possession. Disclaimer: I own shares of Garmin.

 

And yes Indeed, that is an ECC lanyard. And that is my wife Cheryl (thanks, Elissa!). We have a few of those lanyards and we're ECC members, although we've only done a single ECC event.

 

I love seeing TR's from these rarely visited places. Too bad you missed some of the credits but it looks like a really nice little park.

 

Thanks for checking out the report. As you know, missing credits due to both reasonable and unreasonable circumstances is a big part of this game.

 

Thanks everyone for taking a look.

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Incidentally, Richard, did you have a truly English-language GPS?

 

Not really. I managed to load Taiwan maps onto my existing Garmin, and you're right, they were in Chinese. However I had exact locations for the parks pre-entered via latitude/longitude coordinates and the GPS was sufficient to give me "turn left" and "turn right"

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Incidentally, Richard, did you have a truly English-language GPS?

 

Not really. I managed to load Taiwan maps onto my existing Garmin, and you're right, they were in Chinese. However I had exact locations for the parks pre-entered via latitude/longitude coordinates and the GPS was sufficient to give me "turn left" and "turn right"

 

Cool. For some reason I couldn't get a Taiwan map product for my U.S. and Europe Garmin units (nuvis 770 and 775 - wrote to Garmin and they said not possible), but I was able to take the list of theme parks from the Taiwanese unit and match the Mandarin characters to the parks on my itinerary. Took a couple of hours but it worked just fine.

 

I even had the Chinese female voice on speaker for laughs. Her "recalculating" is much less accusatory than the English voice I usually use.

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Nice TR! I hope G5 wasn't down for maintenance when you visited Janfusun Fancyworld? According to the website, its currently down until mid may.

 

I did Taiwan last fall and did it on my own with some help from a friend who lives in Taipei. I used Taichung as a home base for the first part of the trip and booked the Holiday Inn Express Taichung Park there. What a great choice! Great central location, staff that spoke great english and were more than happy to practice with me and they really helped me out to get to the parks.

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Day 2: We spent a little bit of time in Taipei on the first night after flying back from Hualien. We walked from the airport to the rapid transit system and went to buy my Taiwanese Garmin GPS in the Guang Hua electronics market. Then we went to Din Tai Fung for dinner. I'm very jealous of you in Seattle and LA where you can find this place. The next day we got our car and hit three different parks, ShanGriLa Paradise, Window on China Theme Park, and Leofoo Village Theme Park.

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I'd never heard of Din Tai Fung before, but apparently they have a Michelin star.

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They are kind enough to show you how to eat dumplings first.

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Complete and total satisfaction.

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So we rented a car, I got used to the GPS talking to me in Chinese, and we ended up here, at ShanGriLa Paradise.

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Seems nice enough. A little restaurant, gift shop, rest rooms.

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Now, where's that credit?

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We walked all over the place, unable to find anything but gardens and empty seating pavillions. In the meantime, we can hear hundreds of schoolkids chanting and cheering and screaming from somewhere hidden from view.

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Finally we see some bumper cars and we stumble into this pavillion with a few rides and a magic show going on. Note the balloon roof ride. I ask about the credit and point to my shirt, which has a picture of a roller coaster on it! All of the shirts I brought had roller coaster pictures for exactly this reason!

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This girl was sent by her manager to lead us to the coaster!

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On the way we see bumper boats, this flat, a kiddie train.

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And then the Blizzard! It's a "Cavazza Diego" according to rcdb. The only other one we've ridden is at Flamingo Land in Yorkshire.

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Uh oh, tool box alert! The lady tells us it's closed. Argh! Nothing like travelling 7000 miles for a closed coaster. But we think she says 1 o'clock, so we sit down to wait a couple of hours. But then the grease monkey shows up and within 10 minutes, they say "OK!"

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You know how scary these things can be!

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Cheryl poses with the nice mechanic.

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We head to the exit for the next park, passing one of those cages that you see in circuses, with motorcycles and bikes inside.

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Fake pandas in the play area.

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A Disney-approved show! Note the teeming attendance!

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It's back in the car and we drive to Window on China Theme Park! Things are starting to look at little less forlorn.

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Happy Dragon welcomes you to Window on China! You walk in past a theater (there are a bunch of shows in different locales), a restaurant, and a gift shop. Then you come to the heart of the park...

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...the miniatures. Window on China is first and foremost a miniature park. Apparently these are very popular and there's even an International Association of Miniature Parks, although Window on China and France Miniature don't seem to be members.

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Then you have to take a little train.

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This train brings you over to the theme park side.

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More miniatures on this side too.

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Nile River, a really good-sized Shoot-the-Chutes.

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A relaxing boat ride through the miniatures.

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A large indoor area.

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Wipeout

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And the indoor credit, Laser Blaster, a Vekoma Junior of course.

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Then there's an outdoor area with a bunch of more stuff.

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There's a ferris wheel and the other credit, Mini Mine Train.

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It's another Vekoma Junior!

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Don't ride if you're absentminded! There were numerous other kiddie type flats including a Rockin' Tug, a push-up-and-down-seesaw powered rail car, a small flume, and others but I wanted to point out...

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...the somewhat adorable kiddie show...

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...and this insane "Dark Ride"...

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The storyline seemed to follow a good vs. evil path.

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I think this was one of the evil guys.

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Just what the hell is going on here?

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Bad guys captured and all ends well!

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We caught a piece of a Chinese acrobats show on the way out.

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Thanks, Window on China!

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The last park of the day was Leofoo. As you can see, the signage was all Sponge Bob.

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You walk quite a ways until you reach this big open area..

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Then you finally started seeing the park, which turned out to be one of the better parks in Taiwan.

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We were then miraculously transported to 19th Century America.

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And just as our American forefathers in the Old West did, we headed directly to the Intamin Inverted Twisted LIM Impulse Shuttle, Screaming Condor.

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The condor screamed "Get down there before the 2:30 maintenance break!"

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Op was nice enough to take a picture of us. Notice my t-shirt with roller coaster picture. You saw Cheryl's shirt from earlier in the day.

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Next credit was Little Rattler.

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A Vekoma Junior!

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Teacups ride was actually a Budweiser beer barrel ride!

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Now this ancient Arabia land was really something, especially the area's signature attraction.

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Sultan's Adventure was a cheaper Taiwanese ripoff of the Lotte World (Seoul, S. Korea) ripoff of the Disney Indiana Jones dark rides!

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Similarly elaborate queue theming.

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And just like that, I'm at the wheel of a Taiwanese EMV. The ride wasn't bad. It added a bunch of Chinese mystical stuff and didn't really have a hero, just a lot of monsters, with a Middle East War thrown in. It was good enough for a re-ride.

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Various unique theming touches.

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There was a fairly elaborate dinosaur walk-through area.

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And the dino area was integrated with a flume.

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Flume was good. You can see well-themed Intamin drop tower in background.

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The flume-y climax.

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The drop tower, Pagoda's Revenge, was great, with a base below ground level and a top with a view obstructed by the mask, which created some surprise when you dropped.

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Incidentally, the aboriginal theming is no coincidence and we found it throughout the Taiwanese amusement parks.

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Found this amusing notice in the restroom.

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Deep Sea Adventure was a wild looking flat.

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Self-serve coin-op cotton candy machine. I couldn't get Cheryl to bite.

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Damn that's a long report! Thanks for bearing with me for Day Two. Fortunately it was the only 3 park day of the trip. Go to Page 4 for Day 3: Atayal and Discovery World (Yamay)!

Edited by milst1
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How would you rate Screaming Condor against the other impulse coasters? I've been there twice and it has been down both times

 

That sucks Richard. Have you been to Taiwan more than once? For some reason I thought you'd only done one trip.

 

I've only ridden the Vertical Velocity's at the Six Flags and Steel Venom at Valleyfair. I'm not a big fan of this particular type of ride so I haven't put much thought into which ones were better or worse. I do remember that Linear Gale kinda sucked and was underpowered. I think V2 at SFDK also had the same problem, if I remember correctly? That's the one with the lower towers, right?

 

In any case, Screaming Condor scared the crap out of me because it seemed to go very close to the very end of the available track in each direction and kept its speed up through the cycle. And I imagined, during the ride, something going wrong with the LIMs and shooting the train off the end of the spike. This over-active imagination makes me a bad flyer too.

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Yeah, I've been twice. The first time we missed three credits (as you did); Screaming Condor, Gravity Max, and the Cavazza Diego heap in Shangrila. The latter two were due to rather unfortunate timing, which also gave me an extra day in country...

 

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Roller Coaster Typhoon

 

The second visit was a two day trip on the way to the China attempting to fill in those blanks, as well as hit the newly discovered Atayal Resort. That trip was fairly successful (Screaming Condor notwithstanding), mostly because Gravity Max proved to be everything I'd hoped for (and more). It's a real shame that more installations of that tilt design don't exist; it's an incredible experience.

 

I'm hoping that it'll be third time lucky; I'm heading back there, again for two days, and with luck I'll get the Screaming Condor credit this time (in addition to E-DA World, TCRC Wenshan Park, and Bada Forest).

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Awesome. I used to live in Longtan, Taiwan which is a few miles away from Windows On China back in 1999. Looks like nothing has really changed in the park, other that I do not think that the Vekoma outdoor coaster was there.

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That dark ride looks like rip-off of the Jim Henson characters from the Labyrinth!

 

I wasn't very fond of that movie though. The Introduction took about ten minutes and it wasn't interesting at all. Just a bird flying around.

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