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Photo TR: Megan's China Trip with TPR!

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Happy Valley Beijing--fair of face, but foul (or, at best, indifferent) of temper. I thought the remaining Happy Valleys were better.


I, too, hate watermelons (and cantaloupes and casabas, and . . . insert name of melon here).


Thanks for your very amusing take on Happy Valley, Megan--looking forward to future installments.

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I remember in 2008, Elissa (with a very little KT) and I got in line very early for the SLC. We too, thought we'd never been so happy to see a real SLC.


Yeah. It was still a POS.


Thanks for the memories Megan!

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That was the amazing thing about the park. They have 5 coasters. One of them was closed, due to needing a part or something. That sucks, but is understandable. One of them was down for who knows what reason. That leaves only three coasters and a TON of people in the park. And one of them is a family coaster mine train. So, they've got two major coasters that could be operating. And they close one of them for no apparrent reason. Now, maybe something happened after we rode it. But given how they ran the entire park, I'd tend to doubt it.


So, if you're a thrill-seeker who's NOT with TPR, you show up at the park and pay your admission, and get to ride ONE major coaster. And since it's the only one, you're waiting half the day in line. Now, imagine if you were stupid enough to go all the way to China from the US or Europe WITHOUT TPR! You'd have ridden one really good coaster (which is a clone of something you can ride at home, but with a LOT better theming) and a mine train. And you'd probabaly have waited most of the day to ride them.


Could someone please explain to me how this is a recipe for success?

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You really should do more trip reports as this one has been great. Can't say I like the idea of riding a water ride in China. I guess if I was desperate enough to actually ride something like I am sure lots of you were at that point!

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^ If there was a genuine Intamin Aquatrax in China, and it actually got you somewhat wet, would you have ridden it, Elissa?


I generally stayed off of most of the wet rides on most of the trip. Not so much because I was afraid of the water (although I was!), but because I didn't want my pants and shoes wet. The only real serious heavy rain I ran into on my entire trip was just after getting off the bus from Everland in Seoul, and my sneakers were wet for THREE DAYS afterwards. (Reminder to self: never bring those sneakers on a trip! Luckily, I'd brought a backup pair for that reason!) With the amount of walking we were doing, I didn't want to deal with wet, uncomfortable feet.


I finally gave in in Shenzen, first at the log flume at Window on China, only to run into seemingly all of TPR spraying everyone with the park's sprayers and taking pictures! After that, I loosened up a bit, getting on wet rides at Happy Valley Shenzen, Ocean Park, Formosan Agricultural Cultutral Village, Universal Japan and Tokyo Dinseyland. I managed to survive it, without picking up any major diseases.

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Happy Valley Beijing = Fuji-Q Highland?


Most countries each have their own Fuji-Q, lol.


Just a suggestion.


They're very different, though. For one thing, I haven't seen Fuji-Q close rides for no apparent reason. Nor have I seen such badly staggered ride openings. And most importantly, you can buy their version of fastpasses, which completely saves the day there. More on that when I start my own epic Asia trip report, since Fuji-Q was on day 2.


Operations, however, were pretty comparable.

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My main experience with Fuji-Q's ride closing was that they close the lines towards the end of the night when the lines get too long, so that they can actually close on time. This is sadly very common in Asia, particularly in Japan. Even Disney does it on at leats some rides, which is why I only got one ride on Space Mountain on this trip.

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Happy Valley Beijing's operations do, sadly, echo some of the worst of Fuji-Q (that is, they run their high-capacity rides like low-capacity rides).

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^ And they run their low-capacity rides,

even lower if it can be done, lol!


The ride op took - for - e - ver with everybody on this one

flat a few of us tried....Energy Storm? Took an f-ing

10 minutes+ to get it all together and then run the ride.


And about as long to get us all out of it. Grrr. And was it my imagination,

or was it just in the China parks, that the ride ops wait until everybody is at the

exit gate of a flat ride, and then un-lock it and let everybody exit?


As opposed to just having the gate open, and everybody just exits? Or is it a

line-jumping thing, if that were ever possible at these parks/ride?

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Absolutely great trip report so far, Megan!


Happy Valley Beijing is everything (or less) you've described.


I'm typically one of those people who want to spend as much time at a park as possible to experience everything I can (hence the jokes about me wanting to see all the shows) - but after a few hours at HVB I couldn't wait to get out of there...and fast!


Thanks for the great TR and pix - keep it up!

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^ Be that as it may, I think they encouraged theft in the waiting queue of Wood Coaster Fireball at Happy Valley Shanghai!


Here's what we encountered:



Instruction, part one



Instruction, part two


01. Consult a ride op whether you would like to ride. People in vertically striped shirts generally do not want to ride!


02. If you have a horizontally striped shirt, you may tilt your head slightly.


03. Do your exercises! Yes, really!


04. Select a friend you would like to ride with.


05. Walk onto the coaster and keep on walking!


06. Place your bag on a shelf, underneath a bag you would like to steal.


07. Ever been on a plane?


08. Grab hold of the bar in front of you without looking at it.


09. Don't let the ride op take the bar away from you!


10. Take the Chinese riding position.


11. Should you return, immediately grab you bag and the bag that was on the shelf above it and pretend it is your own.


12. Run!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

^ Thanks! Funny you should make that comment today because I finally have the next part of this to share. I mean, it's only been what, a month? Goodness.



Day 3: Olympics Stuff!


No, there are absolutely no roller coasters featured in this portion.


But if you really want to see something cool, then watch this. It's relevant. Promise.




After Happy Valley Beijing, we visited Beijing Olympic Park. I was ecstatic to get a little more up close and personal with the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube since the night before, I’d only seen them from afar. It took a little bit of time to maneuver past all the vendors, trying not to trip over the cheap toys they had strewn and wriggling all over the sidewalk (not mention thanking my body that I didn’t have to poop because “potent” doesn’t even begin to describe the Chinese Bathroom Smell around the PortaPotties), but I was finally standing in front of them and it was one of those dream-come-true-I-can’t-believe-I’m-actually-standing-here-omg-omg-this-is-so-cool moments.


I love the Olympics. I LOVE the Olympics. I love how they bring countries together, I love all the fluff human interest stories behind them and I love being able to watch sports that aren’t televised on a normal basis, especially gymnastics.


It soon became clear that our allotted time would not be enough, so we opted to stay longer and catch a cab back to the hotel later.


Later turned out to be four hours later.


What does one do for four hours at Beijing Olympic Park? Gosh, I’m so glad you asked!


Yeah, I was far away, but seeing this in person the night before was all kinds of amazing. It just kind of appeared out of nowhere and then all of a sudden, it was one of those “thereitiszomgzTHEREITISTHEREITIS!!1!!one!!!” moments.


Same with this. You’ve gotta admit, this is stunning. And I was perfectly happy with seeing just this. I could say that I saw the things I probably most wanted to see in Beijing.


Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect upon coming here during the day. My first observations were that the metal detectors to gain entry were completely optional, people were popping squats BEHIND the Porta Potties (just think about that for a minute) and not even a ninja could hide from those souvenir vendors. It was a little daunting.


But I kept my eyes glued on this and walked towards it…


…pausing for cartwheels, of course. So yeah, I do cartwheels in front of famous landmarks. It’s my thing :)


So this was starting to look pretty cool up close. Every time I saw an image of this during the Olympics, I was impressed anew. Some people might call its uniqueness gaudy and ugly. I personally think it’s one of the most strikingly beautiful stadiums out there.


Which is why when I learned you could pay to go inside of it, I was overjoyed. (Yes, I am hugging the Bird’s Nest. What?)


That’s right, biatches. I AM HERE.


Oh wow. Oh wow.


Once inside, there is no official tour or anything like that. In fact, you are essentially paying to take a stroll.


It is, however, one hell of an awesome stroll. You are pretty much free to wander wherever you please, including all the way up to the top (and yes, I reached out to touch the ceiling. I’d share that moment of supreme nerdisity with you, except the photo came out blurry. Picture someone way too short leaning over a railing and practically pulling a muscle just to touch a piece of canvas and you’ll get the idea).


Hi, Olin and Lino!


I just thought I’d take a moment for a public service announcement: In the Bird’s Nest public bathrooms, there is one roll of TP to service approximately 50 toilets (most of them squat toilets). You might want to plan ahead here, folks.


Just sayin’.


So gorgeous, right?


I don’t remember so much about seeing the torch so much as being accosted by this Chinese couple there who wanted to interview us on camera for reasons no one, perhaps least of all themselves, could deduce. But the couple lived in Tianjin. That much I figured out. Which is where the 1999 World Gymnastics Championships were held, which is kind of related to some events that happened here, so…okay.


See, I told you that video at the beginning was relevant.


Speaking of which, you know what else happened here?


This happened, in what was one of the more dramatic all around competitions in Olympic history--and thank goodness the judges actually got this one right.


So I did this. It was only fitting. Then other tourists starting taking pictures of me cartwheeling, so I smiled and cartwheeled some more.


One time a boy wrote to me that he loved me with all his hard. It wasn’t a typo for the word heart. He was just informing me he wanted to trample on my tender, fragrant grasses. Honesty is the best policy, after all.


Is it just me, or did everything just start getting happy and magical around here?




Michael Phelps did some cool stuff here. He’s an incredible athlete, but I think he looks goofy. I realize this sets me apart from the rest of the female population. As far as athletes go, Danell Leyva > Michael Phelps.


Not that this mostly male readership cares, so here’s a picture of the ceiling instead. Right.


I don’t dive. The prospect of going headfirst into the water scares the bejeebus out of me. After seeing the height of this in person, I have a whole new respect for the 10m platform divers. I’m also now tempted to dig out old home movies of me attempting to dive at age 8 or so and performing what can only be described as a clumsy flop instead: splashing chest first into the water, eyes squinched shut and mouth twisted into a grimace. I’m graceful and hilarious.


Like the Bird’s Nest, you paid a small fee to enter the Water Cube, where you pretty much had free reign of the place except for the actual pool deck itself. It was an upcharge to swim in the warm-up pool and also to visit the place that makes this post relevant to this site…


…the indoor water park, complete with giant chunks of pool bottom missing! Yes, folks, you are looking at that correctly, and if the life forms in the bathroom sinks were any indication, I do NOT want to know what was living in those pools. Can you say renegade mold colonies?


Still beautiful on the outside, though.


After that, there was a quick McDonald’s stop as well as some confusion in trying to get out of the area (as Beijing is in love with fences. Seriously, we actually had to ask someone how to get out of there. That’s embarrassing!). I was exhausted but was it ever worth it. What I thought would be a few minutes’ picture taking turned into four hours of swooning over things that utterly captivated me four years ago, yet seemed a world away (I mean, technically, they kind of were. Half a world, I guess. Whatever. It’s a turn of phrase. Just go with it). It sounds hokey, but to me there is something magical about the Olympics and to be able to see these places in person was the realization of a dream.


Interestingly enough, I was watching the opening ceremony the night I discovered TPR and came to conclusion that I needed to do one of these trips someday.


Guess I came full circle, huh? (BWA HA HA I am SO punny!)


Parks and coasters return next with Victory Kingdom and some credit whoring before departing for Chengdu. Maybe this time it won’t take a month to put an update together :)


Thanks for reading!

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You were too busy the last month Skyping with Richard Bannister behind my back to put up an update, that's what the real story is.


Sad to finally figure out that all my coaster friends were right when they said that you were just using me to go to China. I didn't believe them. Surprise!!! lol


Good luck with your new relationship and I look forward to the next updates!!!



Peace, Big Mike

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