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SO, long time reader, infrequent poster...

 

In the past few years, I've been lucky enough to get on several major overseas trips with work. And unlike my, let's say "less funloving colleagues" (and not like anyone on TPR!) if I happen to be near a rollercoaster, I'm going to try to ride it. I'll also probably take pictures of it.

 

And so, I decided I'd take the leap of sharing some of this with you, the kind and polite people of TPR. Be gentle with me.

 

First stop: Shanghai.

----------------------------

EDIT: Added navigation links to the different posts & parks:

 

June 2011:

Jin Jiang Action Park, Shanghai: Just A Local Family Park

Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower: Observations & Hidden Credits

Beijing Shijiangshan Amusement Park (BSAP) Part 1: With Your Arrival, Departs Your Sanity

BSAP Part 2: From Bigger Budgets Comes Stranger Things

BSAP Part 3: The End! (of the world as we know it)

TBA: Fall 2011: Tokyo Disney, Ocean Park, and Shanghai Happy Valley

February 2012:

Dubai: Wild Wadi & Mall of the Emirates

Ferrari World & the Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Dubai Mall/Sega Republic & Orphan Elephants

May 2012: Coming soon: Europa Park, Porsche Museum, the Jardin d'Acclimation, and Disney Paris.

2013:

Coming Soon: Tokyo Disney Sea, Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Singapore

Efteling (The Netherlands)

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A month or so ago, I got back from a 3.5 week trip to China & Hong Kong. (Yes, I know Hong Kong is technically part of China, but that's like saying the UK is technically part of Europe - the money is different, and try telling that to someone who lives there. And you still need a passport & visa to go between them, and by the way, there's still a moat full of laser armed sharks separating them).

 

On said trip, I spent some time in several cities, including Shanghai. And when I go places (especially places I've been to before) I try to go to their theme parks. In Shanghai, that should have included Happy Valley, to ride their awesome collection of coasters, including what would have been my first Intamin Megalite, and China's first (only?) wooden coaster. Sadly, I was there to work (stupid job!) and the only full day I had free was pouring rain.

 

Consolation prize? A few hours on the afternoon I was leaving Shanghai... and a quick trip to Jin Jiang Action Park.

 

It may not have the great rides that Happy Valley does, but it does have a certain charm. And more importantly, enough weirdness to make it entertaining.

 

One advantage of Jin Jiang over Happy Valley - much closer in to the city, as it is much older. It's also conveniently located alongside a major freeway and surrounded by apartment buildings... which gives it an odd aura. Not something that happens in the US, much.

 

Admission is cheap, and then it's pay-per-ride. They happily sell a combo ticket that includes 6 rides of your choice, for around US$20. At the back of the park is a typically huge Chinese observation wheel, which has a separate ticket.

 

These pictures make a roughly counter-clockwise walk around the park.

 

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The entrance to Shanghai's local neighborhood amusement park: Jin Jiang Action Park!

 

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Inside the gate, we discover that the Eiffel Tower is yellow... er... GOLDEN! (and GIRAFFES! Who knows why?!?!?)

 

See what I mean about the apartment buildings?

 

This year is apparently going to bring a new addition, a Giant Inverted Boomerang. I'm sure it'll be named something catchy, like "Inverted Boomerang Rollercoaster" but as the station is yet to be built, who can say?

 

Given the size of the park, this is an excellent call as a new addition: appropriately imposing looking while being very compact. Plus, it's right alongside a major freeway, which is like free advertising. Maybe it'll be named after the road? But then "Middle Ring Road Madness" may not be catchy enough.

 

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The new hotness.

 

(Not pictured: I apparently missed taking a picture of their Zamperla Motocoaster. It looked to be a stock traveling fair unit, though fun!)

 

Next up: What I'm guessing is the oldest coaster they have. Mainly because they named it "Rollercoaster".

 

As others have noted on here, a very unique Chinese design - not launched like other shuttle loops I've been on, the train is pulled forward out of the station, up an incline, then across a flat bit of track, then released... flying through the station, loop backwards, incline backwards, forward through the loop, brakes into station. Pretty smooth, all things considered.

 

As old as the trains are, I felt better when the ride ops honed in on me, Mr. Foreign Tourist to ensure my OTSR were locked over my Mr. Foreign Tourist size body, and the seat belt clipped into them properly. This will contrast dramatically with another park later.

 

This was also the first encounter on this trip with the fascinating behaviour of Chinese women on rides - when with their husbands/boyfriends/fathers/girlfriends/whoever, before the ride, they are all giggly, and acting like they are about to faint from the idea even, of going on such an INTENSE, EXCITING adventure. On the ride, they are incredibly stoic and maybe just enjoying it a bit. No screaming. Afterwards, back to giggling, nearly fainting, delirious at having survived. to match up to this, the menfolk tuypically act all Chinese machismo: "Oh baby, I'm strong, this is nothing for me. I KNOW KUNG FU! You're so weak & silly!" And then they start acting like little kids on the ride, screaming and almost fainting. I've sort of started assuming the before and after is mainly an act to make it all more dramatic and the woman appear more delicate and fragile, the man more, well manly. Thoughts? Anyone else notice this?

 

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Original naming!

 

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This is not just a rollercoaster loading station... it is a loading station for Rollercoaster

 

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Not play... if gestation, wenerable age, soak in wine.

 

Next up was a pretty original creation... a powered indoor coaster, the Karst Cave coaster. Hidden away in a decent looking mountain, it offers intriguing twist... not a great ride though. The interesting idea: You go through twice. The first circuit, in the dark cavern. Then, you roar through the station (at like 10 MPH) which has "time travel" lighting effects... then you go through the ride a second time with lights on... revealing DINOSAURS! You have obviously traveled from boring current day cave to ancient prehistoric times through the power of inline Chinese lighting technology! You bravely whoosh past said dinos, and back into station.

 

Cute idea, really.

 

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Karst Cave Coaster! No word on coyote trying to kill roadrunner 'round these parts.

 

Nearby they have a well themed looking whitewater raft ride. Past that my friends is one of the things that more than any other theme park ride in the world has tested my sanity and grip on what we generally call "reality". Yes, I speak of JOYLAND.

 

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Among other animals, a duck without pants welcomes us to "Joyland"

 

Other, braver souls have documented the interior of this landmark attraction. All I will say is that I was very glad I did not speak Chinese that day. Perhaps only not being able to comprehend the song in the ride saved what shreds of sanity I have left.

 

For a better description of what they were going for, read this sign:

 

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YOU MUST READ THIS SIGN!

 

In short, the folks running this park devoted a pile of money and a good chunk of space trying to build an analogue of IASW. And they succeeded, sort of. Kind of like how fake Chinese iPhones look like iPhones, but aren't at all like iPhones. This ride alone makes visiting this park worthwhile for a true theme park lover. I mean, whoa.

 

(On a side note, whenever I think I should try to do something, say, in my yard better left to a professional who knows what they're doing, in an attempt to save money, I can just think back to JOYLAND, and remember to leave stuff I'm not really good at to the professionals. Just a thought. The more you know.)

 

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Golden Horse Spinning Coasters are as common in China as fried rice and KFC.

 

Next door to the epic JOYLAND is a staple of the Chinese amusement industry. And they don't suck. Except for the incredibly rough, nay, painful, "straightener" right before unloading. Basically there's a giant bar that whacks the cars straight before you get to the unload spot. Be facing to far out of line, be unprepared, and it's like the coaster car heavy weight punches you in the side.

 

Other than that, fine.

 

They also had lots of fun games. Though food looked a bit worrying.

 

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They need this game in the US. At ACE conventions. Or our local Buffalo Wild Wings.

 

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The park is surprisingly pretty in spots.

 

Also: A weird obsession with self propelled / pedal type monorail type rides... at least 2 here (plus an actual monorail, SBNO). And a boat ride. Through a tiger.

 

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And then, there's this - how many times has a ride gone into a lion/tiger mouth... and then come out it's butt?

 

All in all, an interesting park. Affordable. Easy-ish to get to. And new hotness on the way!

 

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WOLVERINES!

 

More to come...

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No bug issues that day, thankfully. It had been raining the day before, and most of that morning, so that may have kept them under control.

 

And "Engrish/Chingrish" signs (and their other foreign equivalents) are one of my favourite things to document when overseas!

 

I'll be adding to this thread in the next couple days, hopefully folks stick around... it gets weirder!

 

Thanks for the comments!

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So, a brief somewhat cultural interlude before heading to the next crazy Chinese theme park... and technically this does include a coaster!

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In case you thought bad news headline puns were an American phenomena

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Shanghai's show off Apple store beats NYC's cube... because the Chinese have tubez.

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Anyone want some chicken(s)?

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Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai Soup Dumplings) are one of the greatest culinary creations in the world

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OK, so there's actually a credit in this!

 

One of Shanghai's most recognizable landmarks is the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

 

If nothing else, you have to admit it is pretty unique. The locals have a nickname for it - they call it the same name as for a skewer of fresh fruit.

 

The tower isn't just a simple observation tower - admission gets you elevation to either the main top "pearl", or if you pay more, an additional claustrophobicly packed small elevator up to the "pinnacle" tiny "pearl". After taking pictures, enjoying vertiginous views through the massive glass floor observation deck, you then descend to the lower "giant pearl".

 

Here, somehow called "Space City" you enjoy various attractions highly reminiscent of Japan - capsule machines, claw games, 360 degree fighter simulator, motion theater, 4D movie in a box, arcade games, etcetera.

 

The big attraction is Space Switchback, billed as "the world's highest enclosed rollercoaster" which I can't really debate. It's dark, has poor dark ride scenery, but is, indeed a rollercoaster. Indoors. Up in a tower.

 

Space Switchback isn't thrilling, but it doesn't hurt, gets a little speed in places, and mostly just is unique.

 

AND! included in your admission ticket to the tower.

 

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Once again, I am not qualified to enter a Chinese attraction.

 

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I, for one, am glad our new Chinese overlords see fit to ensure elevator buttons are sterilized.

 

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These are currently the two tallest buildings in China. The larger one has a fancy name, but I prefer "God's Bottle Opener".

 

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Here we see the world's tallest observation deck, including some of the world's highest observers.

 

The WFC is actually a really striking building. Fun fact: the hole at the top was originally supposed to be round. Circles have a lot of great symbolism in China. Unfortunately, someone figured out that it would also bear a striking resemblance to the Japanese "Rising Sun" flag when viewed from the main part of Shanghai in the morning.

 

Also: The 128 story Shanghai Tower is being built on the next block to these two buildings. When finished it will be the undisputed second tallest building in the world, after the Burj Kalifa in Dubai. You know, until the Saudis, Russians, or other Chinese people get excited about beating the record. Again.

 

 

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Through the pollution is the sight of Shanghai's Expo 2010... the red reverse stepped building is the China pavilion, which will soon permanently open. Tie giant egg is a permanent theater.

Also, something I missed the first time I visited the Pearl Tower was the Shanghai City Museum... again, included in admission. It's in the bottom level once you get off the elevators, but before you run out of the tower. Many, MANY models (some impressively detailed) of the city, and lots of well done dioramas portraying the historical life of the Shanghainese.

 

Of course, it wouldn't be China without some Chingrish and some anti-foreign-white-devil-imperialist sentiment.

 

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No one likes a city infested by foreign adventurers.

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The museum is filled with exhibits like this, demonstrating how Chinese women managed to balance work and having a family.

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See you later Shanghai!

Hoping to get pictures of my visit to Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park up soon! You know any place the hotel concierge tries to get you NOT to go to is going to be great!

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Fantastic thread; this is informative AND hysterical! Can't wait for more.

 

(So, at the Oriental Pearl TV tower, if I'm drunk and insane, but properly dressed, I'm good, right?)

 

(^There is no "Red Dawn" remake. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It does not exist. Banish it from your mind. (Lea Thompson 4ever! ))

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Awesome! Thanks for the pics. Those two pictures of the skyscrapers in Shanghai are fantastic. Although, the Jin Mao tower isn't the second tallest in China; there are taller ones in Nanjing and Guangzhou (and Hong Kong and Teipei if you count those).

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For all those people who don't know, this world famous "Xiao Long Pao" is available at New York City , at a restaurant branch named , "Din Tai Fung" . Be warned though , extremely famous in Singapore and Malaysia , might have to wait in line to get into the restaurant . "Din Tai Fung" is also available in one of the countries of the Asia Continent . Especially Australia

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  • 1 month later...

OK, it's been WAY too long since my last addition to this read, but here goes...

 

On the same work trip as visiting the JinJiang Action Park in Shanghai, I also spent some time in Beijing. Fortunately, I had been there before, and seen the major tourist attractions. I say "fortunately" as this allowed me to visit a sight even more exotic than the Forbidden City: Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park.

 

Now you KNOW a park is going to be awesome when your hotel concierge tries to stop you from going there: "Hi, can you please write down the address of Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park in Chinese for my taxi driver?" "Ummm... why do you want to go there?" "Well, I really like rollercoasters." "Oh. This place is very old. We have a new place called 'Happy Valley'. I'll get you directions there instead." "No, I've been there before, I really want to go to Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park, please." "Sigh. Well, sir, here is the address. Please be careful and have a good day."

 

See? It's bound to be awesome.

 

After taking a taxi past the Forbidden City, we arrived at BSAP. Or actually drove past the entrance, with a lot of waving and cursing from the taxi driver. I won't post pictures of the backside entrance to BSAP, as it would probably scare you off. Know those threads showing pictures of Six Flags New Orleans after Katrina? It looks like that, with less water damage. As in, you should be filming horror movies there. But actually operating! I felt better when a local Dad was buying a ticket for him and his little girl... well, a little better.

 

Anyways, I'll start the photos at the actual main entrance to the park, nearest the local subway station:

 

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Wow, what an epic entrance!

Admission is very cheap, on the order of $2. However, that's just park admission... you pay for each ride, ranging from a little less than a dollar for small stuff, up to around $5 for the biggest attractions. All of which means REALLY short lines.

 

You can buy tickets at little ticket booths near each ride, or some folks had sheets with different currency coupons (5 RMB, 10 RMB, etc) that ride ops would tear off at the stations. I didn't figure out how to get these though, and just pointed at a ride, and bought my tickets for each. Again, the place was not busy, and this didn't really slow me down.

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Here's an idea of the high quality nature of this park

What would a trip report be without a map to start out with?

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A high level view of the park. We'll start on the right side of the train tracks. That's literal, not figurative in this case.

The entrance area also had a bunch of posters promoting various attractions and events. These serve to get you excited, and raise expectations, in order to better crush them during your visit. A couple examples:

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This looks great! Unfortunately, this ride doesn't seem to exist. In this form at least.

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This ride DOES exist, but it isn't operating.

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What should I ride first? How about 4D hover???

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I have no explanation why this is here. It's hot and June. And Communist!

Going past the entrance area, the park looks like... well, a park. At least this area has lots of grass and nice pathways, with some rides scattered about:

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A Spaceshot! Possibly from S&S! Maybe!

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Maybe NOT from S&S. It wasn't operating, though I was tempted to see if I could engineer a solution.

 

As you will see, the whole place is (like much of China) filled with "local versions" (ie. knockoffs) of famous brands. When buying a cheap watch or purse, hey you get what you pay for. When building a rollercoaster, the same applies... which is why a lot of the rides here kinda sucked. It nothing else, the place was very, VERY unique!

 

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The entrance to Canyon Driftage. Actually vaguely impressive. Plus an AWESOME name.

Their raft ride was actually pretty decent, and decently themed!

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See? Actually pretty decent!

Another point on the "knockoff" front is that Disney came after them for using imitation characters... and frankly a lot of design elements. More on that on the other side of the park in a later update.

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Storybook characters! And look, a rollercoaster!

 

The first ride here is a very similar design to the shuttle loop coaster at JinJiang Action Park in Shanghai... except much worse!

 

As was related in a trip report from Robb, when going through an inversion, you don't actually want to feel the train banging against the upstop wheels. This was easily the scariest ride I had been on... to this point in my life.

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What's not to love about elegant, descriptive ride names like "coaster"?

So, funny story... after not dying on 'coaster', I stopped to take some pictures in honor of surviving the ride. The only other non-Chinese I saw that day at the park were just getting on a couple trains after me. To relate the conversation I could hear going on between father and son:

"Don, I think I'm going to die!"

"Why Dad, what's wrong?"

"They just wrapped the seat belt around! And tied a knot!"

"It'll be OK Dad! Just hold on tight just in case!"

 

You see, the restraints are typical Arrow-ish OTSR types... with bonus seat belt. But the seat belt goes from the floor of the train to the restraints... and instead of clicking into the restraints like on a B&M inverted for example (or for that matter, the near identical shuttle loop at JinJiang Action Park) they just wrap the seat belt around the restraints. Not exactly a confidence builder. Add this to the shuddering and CLANG feeling going through the loop, and the terror factor is a lot higher than the ride type would indicate.

 

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"coaster" lift hill

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"coaster" loop... aka, The Loop of Death.

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I mentioned that a lot of this park looks creepy and abandoned, right?

 

Next up was BSAP's mine train... which didn't suck. It was a mine train, with a fake mountain, and was pretty speedy, had some laterals, and both didn't hurt, and didn't imply that it would potentially kill its riders, so win!

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Mine train station

The big bonus was the incredibly creepy "miner" dummies around the station:

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To add excitement, zombies attack you in the station, so you flee in terror via the coaster. OK, not really, but they were creepy.

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Also guarding the station was this. Mummified miner? Zombie solider of the People's Liberation Army? You decide!

Oh, and interestingly, they used the 'peak' of the mine train mountain as a launch area for ziplines. Going back to the earlier comments on not getting killed this day, I declined to ride them.

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Low rent Chinese ziplines? No thank you.

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It was a hot day. Fortunately they had this attraction, the Pink Car Nap Zone.

Next up was another bit of oddness... from around the park you could see what looks like (from a distance), EPCOT's Spaceship Earth. Turns out this is actually a low rent version of Soarin'... which adds to the weirdness. It's a darn similar ride system, but with a cheap computer animated "soaring over China" film.

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Something about Spaceship Earth seems a little off here...

"Soarin'" only runs at certain times of day, and I had some time to kill... so I visited this nearby, very unique attraction:

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Deer World! Awesome! It's like a park-within-a-park concept.

Basically you buy a ticket to get into "Deer World", then you pay an ancient Chinese man for several packets of food... and use of a long handled metal spoon to feed the animals.

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I'm a cute little deer! Please feed me!

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I'm a big scary ostrich! Feed me or else!

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OK, so Deer World was crazy and more than a little sad.

The whole experience was pretty sad. Though unique! Where else can you feed an ostrich? Overall though, I'd be cheering for PETA or the SPCA to shut this stuff down... clearly the animals aren't living a good life in "Deer World".

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The American Adventure is right beside Chinese Soarin' Spaceship Earth. And it's about guns & gangsters.

Lastly was "American Adventure" which is a grinding ride through several shooting gallery scenes where you machine gun away at various targets. It's a the sort of ride you could build in your spare time in an empty warehouse if you had a few bucks and weren't married and wanted to get a reputation for being super, SUPER creepy.

 

Oh, did I mention it's called "American Adventure" and is right beside "Soaring over China inside Spaceship Earth"?

 

OK, that covers this half of Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park... join us for the next update, where we go across the railroad tracks for more credits, more cheating of death, and yet more WEIRD ASS CHINESE THEME PARK ACTION!

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It's scary that this park looks like it's only gone more downhill since our visit!

 

I will not be surprised when I wake up one morning, check our website, and see that people have been killed when that Shuttle Loop doesn't make it through and falls out of the loop! Congrats on surviving 'those' side of the tracks, can't wait to see what the 'nice' area from 2008 now looks like!

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It's scary that this park looks like it's only gone more downhill since our visit!

 

I will not be surprised when I wake up one morning, check our website, and see that people have been killed when that Shuttle Loop doesn't make it through and falls out of the loop! Congrats on surviving 'those' side of the tracks, can't wait to see what the 'nice' area from 2008 now looks like!

 

Yeah, riding that shuttle loop was more than a little frightening... I didn't really expect it, since I had ridden the (seemingly) identical one in Shanghai the previous week, and it was well... OK.

 

This video of you guys just goes to show, "Kids, do serious TPR research before attempting overseas theme parks, and infamous Chinese knock off rollercoasters in particular":

 

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^ So did it still do that creepy "Stall out in the loop" thing?

 

YES! It was very, very disconcerting. It looked "slow" through the loop while waiting in line, but the "thunk" kind of feeling/noise was (in my rollercoaster experience) unprecedented.

 

Not sure if this is a result of poor maintenance or design, but it makes you much, MUCH more appreciative of the high standards of international manufacturers and maintenance folks!

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OK, so let's wrap up the rest of the Beijing Shjiangshan Amusement Park (which I will lovingly refer to as BSAP) today, and move on to much nicer parks in short order.

 

First of all, BSAP is split into 2 main sections - the one we just went through, and another, larger portion. It is split by train tracks... and not any cute theme park train, but an honest-to-goodness-actual-train-tracks. To get across this, you go up, and down a lot of stairs.

 

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Going to the (other) wrong side of the tracks.

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A gate to a magical world...

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I'm pretty sure these aren't ADA compliant.

 

After entering the "main" part of the park (oddly on the other side of the tracks from the main entrance, STOP ASKING QUESTIONS, NONE OF THIS PARK MAKES ANY SENSE AND MAY KILL YOU!), you are greeted by more high quality thematic elements:

 

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I always had a suspicion China was building a People's Liberation Android Army. Here's proof!

 

Nearby are more rides, including "Space Trip" which is vaguely Galaxi-esque. It's became clear (and is worth mentioning) that none of the coasters here are actually good, some are just less crappy than others, and seem to have less chance of killing you.

 

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I love a good Moonliner. Right beside "Space Trip"

 

Also nearby is this:

 

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Warrior Turnplate is yet another fantastic ride name.

 

A great, GREAT Chinglish name. However, after my recent run-in with Chinese knockoff Death Loop, the chance of me riding Chinese knockoff Starflyer of Doom was zero.

 

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There is absolutely no chance I was riding this.

 

I did however sort of enjoy the unadulterated violence of the Crazy Mouse.

 

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Crazy Mouse!

 

And there was this:

 

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Chinese local theme parks seem to have a thing for overhead sky trains. More importantly... Airvagility?

 

Pretty sure no native English speakers would have approved that name.

 

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The log flume was actually decent looking.

 

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At various times, it looks like Florida. The feeling doesn't last long.

 

On the other side from knockoff Soarin' over Spaceship Earth, is BSAP's castle. The Chinese government actually listened when Disney complained about the castle and walkaround characters being knockoffs... so they were forced to repaint.

 

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I think the bumper boats really add to the majesty of the castle.

 

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Dumbo! Errr...

 

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Even the souvenirs are knockoffs.

 

My apologies for the over-exposed photos, but I was working with my phone and it was crazy hot and eerily sunny & bright out.

 

The one coaster in the park that was actually sort of enjoyable was the wonderfully named ATOMIC COASTER. It is a knockoff Arrow loop-screw, and actually did not suck. Given the park it's in, this is a major achievement.

 

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Atomic Coaster

 

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Atomic Chain

 

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BSAP's Atomic Coaster Car

 

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Hardworking BSAP castmember maintaining their world-class theming & landscaping.

 

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China loves giant wheels.

 

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Much like Boomerangs in America, Golden Horse Spinning Coasters have spread across China like kudzu.

 

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Shoot aliens with your balls!

 

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For tickets to ride the Worm Coaster, please inquire at the Giant Worm Head.

 

Also nearby is the infamous "knockoff Vekoma SLC" which I can't seem to find any pictures of. It's highly likely that by this point in my day I was addled by heatstroke, jerky coasters, near death experiences, the lack of Western toilets/toilet paper, or just the sheer WEIRDNESS of BSAP.

 

It's worth noting that the fake SLC would only be dispatched with a 3/4 full train... possibly because of lazy ride ops, or possibly because they were worrying that it was SO slow that it needed the extra weight to get it through the course.

 

That said, I'll add pictures of the (comparatively) NICE, NEW part of BSAP soon. It's nicer, it's newer, it's still really, REALLY weird!

 

Net result though: a bunch of crappy credits. And some good stories.

 

 

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Does this count as a Jeff Johnson credit?

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  • 4 months later...

So I came to the realization that I never actually posted the third & final part of my photo report detailing the wonders of BSAP.

 

Sorry. Here it is.

 

The third and final section of the mighty BSAP is the "new" part of the park, allegedly built to combat the invasion of bigger, newer, costlier, BETTER amusement parks, *Cough* Happy Valley *Cough*. I'll let you judge if they succeed or not.

 

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This is immediately looking more promising. Sort of like Islands of Adventure!

 

It really is a separate section of park... with a distinct entrance from the indistinct areas of the main park.

 

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See! More betterer!

 

You'll notice several of the attraction names are "inspired by" familiar properties... for a park that has actually been nailed for IP infractions, this was amusing.

 

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Even the signs are more themey! And no less entertaining!

 

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Did I mention it looked a bit like IOA?

 

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The rides are WAY better themed. King Kong's Spin is still a Chinese knockoff though. And wasn't operating this day.

 

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That IS a Hummer on top of the ride. It was placed there by the "Hurricane" obviously.

 

If you read the earlier parts of this report, you'll know that several of the rides essentially dare you to take your life in your hands. While not REALLY that daring, it's still notable that the restraints on "Wings of the Sun" were probably seatbacks borrowed from the factory that makes the $29.97 office chairs at Walmart. Including the cheap black plastic accordion stuff covering the metal.

 

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Well themed, knock off Disk-o.

 

The showpiece of this section is a large mountain. It contains the double reversing flume ride, an indoor coaster, and also has a rock climbing wall on one face. Pretty well integrated, really.

 

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Ooooh, a mountain! Just like Disney!

 

The Jones Expedition loads from an elevated station, themed to look like... an ark? It's OK, you tried really hard.

 

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Everyone get on the ark, two by two!

 

The ride itself is fun, not particularly wet, but the reversing makes the first drop cool. I don't think I'd been on a backwards drop before.

 

The mountain theming is nice, but the interior of the ride looks more Gatlinburg than Disney. Which works for me, in this case. They also hand out disposable ponchos upon boarding!

 

The more terrifying thing was that the seatbelts are weird... and tight... and basically even with a bunch of "obvious weird foreign tourist" gesticulating, the ride op dispatched our boat with me not actually wearing it. At all. Needless to say, my first ride was a little more thrilling than it normally would be.

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Double reversing flume! Squee!

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I was relocated through space & time from Orlando!

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Ever seen a themed skyscraper before? Me neither.

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This (and other) signs imply rather heavily that there is (or was supposed to be) a drop ride inside this Big Ben-esque tower. We may never know for sure.

The Jurassic Adventure is an indoor coaster... in the dark, with dinosaurs. When I rode, it was insanely sunny out, and the seams in the building ruined the dark part. Still, coaster + dinos = OK in my books.

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Entrance to the Jurassic Adventure coaster

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I feel some shame being employed here.

 

I'll really finish this off in a day or two... I'm literally about to board an airplane, so bear with me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, I promise this is the final post from my visit to BSAP. If nothing else, I pray that the completist nature of these posts will act as a deterrent to all but the most credit-crazy from visiting.

 

Along with the Islands of Adventure "inspired" section next door, BSAP's other new area appears to be "inspired" by DCA of all things.

 

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Welcome to Dream World!

 

Most of the rides are reasonably well themed. Most.

 

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Any bets on this being a knockoff Frog Hopper?

 

They did return to IOA as the clear basis for their carosel. I mean, are they flying teams of designers over to the US, or just reading TPR Trip Reports?

 

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This is NOT actually the Caro-Seuss-El

 

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This is NOT actually the entrance to Mermaid Lagoon, just a shaded rest area.

 

I'm not sure what Ents have to do with Splash Battling yellow submarines, but the queue started through this:

 

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Hello! I may be a character from a non-litigious franchise!

 

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The colour of the water in the Splash Battle was very... organic?

 

Now back to DCA:

 

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Jumpin' Jellyfish?

 

And the apparent need for multiple overhead rail rides at Chinese parks continues with what I dubbed "Fruit & Vegetable Express":

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Spongebob Rail

 

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You cannot pass the Gourd Guards without answering their riddle.

 

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Pink dolphins are actually a thing in China. Or were. Seriously, go Google it.

 

The big ride in this section was a dark tracked shooter, with back-to-back seating, themed to outer-space & familiar anthropomorphic animals.

 

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Star Fox: Farewell, Beloved Falco!

 

Next door was a mysterious forest! It actually looked a LOT like the folks who make artificial Christmas trees went to town here -

 

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Can hardly see the forest for the trees.

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Ah, the infamous SBNO Spinning Batman!

Unfortunately this credit was still not operating. Has anyone ridden this in a long time? Given the mechanical quality of the other coasters at BSAP, I'm morbidly curious about what the failings of Spinning Batman could have been to warrant it not running.

 

Oddly, the queue to the station was open... and there were no barriers of any kind, so I went in and took a couple (bad) pictures. It was exceptionally creepy!

 

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Abandoned Spinning Batman cars

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I like to think this is a test dummy from the failed ride.

 

And that is FINALLY it.

 

Next up: a park that is pretty much the exact opposite of BSAP.

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OK, next stop: Dubai.

 

My company was sending my team on some business that (fortunately) was being handled out of our regional office in Dubai... meaning I "had to" make stopovers. Yes, my life is hard. And of course, that meant stopping over in some of the most interesting new themed environments in the world.

 

First came packing...

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Our cat wanted to come. She thought Formula Rossa would be fun.

 

It was my first time to visit "The Home of the World's Largest _________"

 

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View from my hotel's breakfast.

After some food, it was time to go check out one of Dubai's famous malls.

 

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Ski Dubai!

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But I was really here to try out this.

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While here, I noticed what may be the world's dumbest (or most brilliant!) video game idea.

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With some leftover credits, I played this (SUPER BONUS WHEEL EDITION!)

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Which, crazily enough, I won.

With my insane number of tickets (my inner 9 year old was ridiculously pleased), I traded in for a marble rollercoaster set.

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Treasure!

That taken care of, it was now time to check out one of Dubai's waterparks. Since I only had a few hours, I headed over to Wild Wadi. Although older than the Atlantis one, they were:

a) cheaper

b) had a "sundowner" discount

c) were easier to get to

d) I had never been to a full "transportainment" park anyways, so either would be good.

 

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Wald Wadi!

 

The entrance area, check-in, landscaping, and really the whole park was incredibly well themed, first-class in every way. It definitely helped that it was February and a nice 80 degrees out. Which of course, the locals consider "Winter" and the place was empty.

 

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The Burj Al Arab lurking above the waterpark

 

The setting was also BEAUTIFUL with one of the world's new iconic buildings overlooking the park, the beach and ocean adjacent, and the sun low on the horizon.

 

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The "new" slides... Tantrum Alley, and "Burj Surge"

 

I really enjoyed both of their "new" slides (a Tantrum Alley and Bowling Alley) which each had maybe 3 raft waits. Both were new experiences for me, and I think really fun ones... not the extreme thrill of the giant versions of each, but very dynamic and wet.

 

It's also important to note how INCREDIBLY nice the staff was... on the Master Blaster slides (which is the bulk of the park's offerings), tubes get stuck on corners while in line between sections, or need shoves by the staff; every time they were SUPER friendly and chill, asking how your day was, where you were from, etcetera. Obviously a very positive contrast from a lot of the US amusement industry. I hope the park is taking as great a care of their people as they are of their guests.

 

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Surf rider... and watch out for the first drop on Jumeriah Scarah!

 

The funny thing was that the park had just re-opened from a winter tune-up... lots of cleaning, resurfacing of slides, and so on. They also had removed their big speed slide... though the tower is still there, waiting for a new attraction to be installed.

 

The park even had a "Rest in Peace, Old Friend" poster up in several places, bemoaning the passing of the slide, and teasing a new ride for summer.

 

Overall, I had a great time... I spent about 2 hours at the park, and with the light crowds, rode everything as much as I wanted to, even a few go rounds on the Flow Riders.

 

The "transportainment" concept is fantastic... especially for when the summers come to Dubai and heat up the walkways and the sun beats down. When the crowds are this light, it was kind of a pain, as it took too long to circle the lazy river and re-blast up the slides!

 

The next day - a trip to Abu Dhabi and the world's fastest coaster!

 

But that will have to wait a couple days - I'm about to board a flight to LAX though... gotta make it back to the US for the West Coast Bash! Hope to say hi to lots of folks there!

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