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Photo TR: Megan's China Trip with TPR!


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Damn, I missed a shooting ride. I'm sure you thought you found a new coaster when you saw that from the Parachute Ride.


At first glance, yes--but then I remembered I'd seen trip reports with the shooting ride and put two and two together. It was still highly entertaining. There are two guns on the car and at least on mine, they had different sound effects. Amusing, to say the least.


Love your captions on the photos Megan! What is up with the crazy spiders in China?!?!?!


Do you remember that Chairlift of Death, Scraggly Branches and Very Large Scary Arachnids attraction in Jamaica? Brought back some fond memories, this trip did.

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"Robb, I…I’m afraid I didn’t make it to the ladybug in time.”


(Okay, so as I was going through these pictures, I briefly noticed this. I didn’t bat an eye and kept clicking through. Is it bad that Robb taking a picture of Ruben’s crotch doesn’t seem the slightest bit strange?)


You caught us.


But I must admit, odd things do happen in China!




They seem to have problems spelling "forbidden."


That must be why there were so many people in that city we visited earlier!

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I saw the ride (in fact, I saw Megan and Mike on it), but didn't think we had enough to time to ride it, so I skipped it. Didn't look like much anyways.


Loving the TR, Megan! Reliving the memories of a great trip with great people. And meeting and spending time with you guys was one of the highlights! Glad we were able to help make your olympic dreams come true.


It was funny how we basically just missed the rain on that drive to the water cube and bird's nest. I actually really lucked out with weather on that trip. I spent 45 days outdoors in Asia during typhoon season, and barely managed to get rained on at all! i think I have some kind of amazing luck on overseas trips, since I've really only had like 5 days of rain in all of my 5 overseas trips that amounted to 19 weeks or so.


Just got back from the trip yesterday (I did a VERY extended version of the trip), and may work on my own PTR, though it will be much longer, and probably far less witty! (And obviously far wordier!)

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^Ruben, are you at least going to tell us WHY Robb was taking a photo of your crotch!?!?!


Why, because I asked him to, of course!


But seriously, Robb remembered correctly. I asked him to take a picture of my knees, because they looked like they had been barbecued after that coaster!


Dented knees

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^ I have to say "Yes Please!". Loving all of these unique views on this unique trip!


I agree--extra perspectives are always good to have, because people tend to notice different things on these trips.

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I'm sure you thought you found a new coaster when you saw that from the Parachute Ride.

There were some people who said they "counted" it... Oh, boy....


Well, it is some kind of shooting powered coaster with a HUGE drop at the end, so technically... OK, I'm just sad and pathetic...

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Thank you again for the kind words and thank you also for your patience! Let’s get this rolling again:


Day 3: Happy Valley Beijing


I was really excited to finally see one of the Happy Valley parks. I’d heard they were beautifully themed and that I might swoon at the sight of a real Vekoma SLC, the latter of which really exemplifies the desperate nature of the coastering situation after just two days of knock-offs. And you know what? It was a beautiful park. Quite impressive, actually. Combine that with Crystal Wings and the fact that I was seeing the sun for the first time since departing the U.S. and the day was shaping up for the better.


It soon became as clear as the skies, however, that like the Bolivian Flag Experience at Sun Park, beauty served as a distraction in this case. This is Happy Valley we’re talking about, and Happy Valley is the stereotypical blonde of amusement parks: pretty to look at but unbelievably clueless. It’s evident in bewildering staggered opening policies, unexplainable ride closures and lines that don’t move for hours. In short, Happy Valley operations are abysmal. They are abysmal in an everything-negative-I’ve-ever-said-about-Six-Flags-suddenly-seems-moot kind of way.


With that, I present to you Happy Valley Beijing: “We’ll run rides when we feel like it. Might be in an hour. Might be next week. We don’t know. Neither should you.”


I woke up, looked out the window and…wait a minute, is that…is that…a clear, blue sky? I mean, you have to look past all the dirt encrusted on the glass, but…there’s a city outside? Well golly gee whiz, who knew?


Welcome to Happy Valley Beijing! And no, you can’t see the design at the top of the sign too well because of the sun glare. Isn’t it beautiful?!?


Just some quick rules before we head in, folks: no smoking, no outside food/drink, no dogs and PLEASE, keep those exploding badminton birdies at home or it’s free hotel for you.


Well, hello there.


You are looking mighty fine.


But you’re closed today. Waiting on a part or something. I know, I know—it’s not me, it’s you. Same old spiel.


But that’s okay because I was looking forward to this more, anyway.


I can’t even begin to tell you how much I was anticipating Crystal Wings. I have long been disappointed with Six Flags’ Superman flyers because they’re essentially a gimmick in a field. Superheroes should fly through, under and over things, not putz around a lawn.


Crystal Wings, on the other hand, is situated within this mountain structure, and the result is that a layout that grew stale long ago seemed new and exciting, even after a few rides. That close of an interaction with the scenery really amplifies the sense of speed and makes it so the ride isn’t finished after the pretzel loop.


We had to wait a little while they tested the ride, and with that layer of heat-trapping smog disappeared for the day, I found myself a little chilly. Sure was awfully thoughtful of the park to supply these Warm Tips, no?


My first ever rider cam filming. I wasn’t nervous. I just accepted the wisdom and energy presented by Atlanteans while flying.


But this? This made me nervous.


Here’s that distracting imagery again. Tra la la, I’m flying through a snowfield with my gilded wings! Everything is grand!...or so they set you up to think. The reality is a far darker picture. I mean, sure, this one had no problems making it through the course like the Crab Island knock off. And no, the train did not make those unsettling noises like Shenzhou Coaster. But it still shook and it still hurt and it still is located at Happy Valley, so there’s really not much going for it, unless, of course, we take the glass half full approach and say that because it’s located at Happy Valley, it didn’t run the rest of the day for reasons no one could explain and therefore couldn’t pummel any more ears.


“Three. I have ridden this three times now. I think that it enough, because I seem to be hallucinating that there is a Scotsman next to me actually enjoying this.”


“Real Vekoma? Who cares? It still sucks.” (What? I’m just reading the sign at the top of the lift.)


Next up was Flight of the Phoenix/Jungle Racing/whatever. I liked this. It had some pep to it and had some close encounters with the surrounding scenery, which resulted in foliage souvenirs for some of us. Not for my mere 5’3” self, though.


It was impressively themed, too. I have to give credit where credit is due—there was one of these mine trains at each of the Happy Valleys I visited and each had a different theme to it. I liked this one the best, but that could simply be because the blue sky made everything look nice that day.




Oh David, you are such a ham…burger :)


We went searching for the Golden Horse spinner afterwards, which took us to this children’s area themed after ants. Ants and rotten food. Makes sense.


I hate watermelon. I hated it even more after this trip, because apparently it’s Chinese law that watermelon be served for dessert at every meal.


Also not too fond of apples, but hey, I’ll still take this over yet another Planet Snoopy.


Onward to credit #4! Except I was greeted with a sign that roughly translated into “Sorry folks, ride’s closed…


…the trident-wielding ants out front shoulda told ya.”


A little disappointing, sure, but I got to ride a carousel of completely trashed looking ants instead, so I was still a winner.


Since we were at Happy Valley, nothing else was open except for this. (And seriously, Yogi, you’re a freaking BEAR. If you really want that pic-a-nic basket that badly, you can just maul the humans in your way. This scenario would have made for a far more entertaining 4D experience, I can tell you that.)


Stop teasing me.



By this point, we were at the front of the park again. Apparently the flat rides up there had just opened (even though the park had been open a couple hours) and were the only rides open, as evidenced by completely full switchbacks. We all continued around, only to see the line for Crystal Wings stretching approximately six miles from the ride entrance itself. I started figuring it out then, so this next part of the TR is called The True Happy Valley Experience.


Looks pretty? Check. Flying Island—closed for no apparent reason? Check.


Terrible flat ride that took ten minutes to load? Check.


Huge Frisbee? Check. Huge Frisbee whose queue literally did not move an inch between cycles? Check. (No, really. I’m not making this up. I watched the ride run a couple cycles and the line did not move forward AT ALL!)


More flat rides closed? Check.


This was a catastrophe of Mayan proportions, alright.


I hear ya, guys. I was pretty disgusted with this place by this point, too.


I SAID, knock it off; I am NOT in a good mood.


Yet so pretty, so pretty…wait, that’s it!


I’ll just take out my frustration by blasting these innocent riders with this vile water! Enjoy your cholera, everybody!


And I can get roasted gristle for lunch, too?!? Everything’s coming up Megan!


(Okay, so I cannot figure out for the life of me how to link to a youtube video in a picture caption (if that's even possible), so please just humor me and go here using the old fashioned copy and paste way:

(Just because I can’t take credit for that line above :) ))


The rest of the day was spent getting sunburned and finding things that were actually operating, like this.


This was where I learned that Happy Valley does some pretty fine haunted walkthroughs. I remember this one contained a forest scene that had rubber cushions on the floor to emulate mud. I thought that was pretty neat.


Drops of Jupiter and Hey, Soul Sister were great. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye is absolute junk, but you win some, you lose some.


Oh yeah, the Happy Valley Train was fine, too. I had to make a choice between spending the last half hour on this or in the line for KFC. Remembering where I was, I decided I had a better chance of making it to the meeting point on time by riding this. I was right.


After that, it was time to go. Only went 3 for 5 today, but it’s all good.


Never mind, I’ll find someone like you.



In the end, Happy Valley Beijing was, well, not that happy of a valley. It was pretty, yes, but it was also pretty terrible operations-wise and I really don’t have much tolerance for ineptness in that area.




Statue-wise, they scraped up a few brownie points.


No, I have no clue what this had to do with anything, but…


Anything that reminds me of these guys is all right in my book :)


Next up?


We’ll be hanging out at some Olympic venues!


(har har, I’m a riot, I know)


Thanks for reading!

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Even more rides closed than in US parks I visited. Always wonder what's the basic problem of all the rides closures. Andreas Leicht of Hansa-Park lately stated that every ride in his park should be open on 98% of opening days - and if this can't be achieved the ride goes out of the window sooner than later. Of course this is a seasonal park so they can do rehab on the closed winter months but Happy Valley just looks bad on this account - I'd be feeling cheated off my money.


Terrible flat ride that took ten minutes to load?


Well at Vienna Prater it took about a minute or two to unload/load - guess they're just doing it wrong...

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It's so frustrating dealing with parks that look so good, and operate so poorly. The best was still the SLC that operated us for morning filming, then they just never bothered opening it again for the public!!! We looked back and sure enough that mouse was also not operating back in 2008. Pathetic.

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