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Photo TR: 22 Days in China with TPR


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^The Dive Coaster was good (Dive Machines usually are), as was the Booster Bike, and I thought the 10 Inversion Coaster wasn't as rough as its British cousin.

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Chapter 17: The Chinese Knott's Berry Farm?--Chuanlord Holiday Manor

 

We next spent the afternoon at Chuanlord Holiday Manor, a park which presented a nice contrast with Chimelong Paradise. If the latter is the Chinese version of a "good Six Flags park," the former could be looked upon as the "Chinese version of Knott's Berry Farm"--a good, quirky regional park that emphasizes local culture and history (much like KBF, with its Ghost Town and Fiesta Village, mirrors the history and culture of southern California).

 

Everything about this park says "old China," from the sampans on its lake to the rustic interiors of the shops and restaurant to the natural, somewhat tropical landscaping. It's nice park for rambling around and taking in the sights. While the attractions are not exactly "world class," there are some interesting offerings:

 

Ghost Ship Gothenburg--This was my favorite haunted walk through of the whole trip; and, in true Chinese fashion, it "strains" the restrictions of copyrights held elsewhere. The preshow is a video using music and footage lifted from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the 1960s version of Mutiny on the Bounty (Marlon Brando even shows up in a few segments). I'm sure that other seafaring movies were plundered, as well. After the preshow, guests are ushered into the next chamber. Some are allowed to tour the ship, while others sit in the dark and listen to various scary sound effects before moving on. The tour itself consists of the pop-up haunted-house gags you'd expect, along with well-hidden live actors who aren't shy about whacking you with feather dusters and brooms as you walk by. The last part is a simulated storm, complete with a rocking floor and waves crashing against a window. We did this one twice, and they added an extra surprise at the end, which actually startled me a bit! This was the single best attraction in the park.

 

Gliding Wing--This was a zipline contraption using a pair of gondolas that held three or four people each. You get some nice views of the park as you glide over the lake.

 

Animal Show--This is the one time I've actually regretted missing a trained animal show. You have to love any show that features a goat and monkey balancing on a stool on a tightrope--or features an elephant slapping the crotches of volunteers from the audience with his trunk! (Dan has some video of this.)

 

We also got our Jungle Mouse and Sliding Dragon fix for the day at this park, as well as another one of those bizarre spinning coasters where the car looks like a flying saucer or a washing-machine agitator (see chapter 1). But, alas, the Golden Horse Spinning Coaster and the looping toboggan were down for maintenance. Such is the coaster enthusiast's lot.

 

We had a great dinner at this park, too--which included that TPR favorite, Mr. Fish.

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As you can see, already quite a contrast with Chimelong Paradise.

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The park's attractions are pretty well hidden by the vegetation. The park is fairly large, too.

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Shouldn't the first sign on the lower left read "Passway of the Disabled Person"?

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You are greeted by your lunch almost immediately.

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These boats are actually dining rooms for a restaurant. We didn't eat in them, though.

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Watch your step! (This area was later roped off and traffic was diverted around it.)

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Like I said, there was a Knott's Berry Farm vibe to the place--only in Chinese.

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Knott's has boysenberries. Chuanlord has mildly suggestive eggplants.

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We were all afraid that we wouldn't get our Jungle Mouse fix for the day--thank god we found one!

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The queue needs 30 minutes for what?

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Everyone breathed a little easier after this. It's hard going "cold turkey" when you're a Jungle Mouse addict.

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Those hooked on Sliding Dragons were satisfied, too.

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"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, /A tale of a fateful trip . . ."

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And now, the weirdness truly begins.

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Oh no! They're stuck! Oh, the humanity!

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Where there's bamboo, there's hope!

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Hooray! Bamboo can fix anything! It's the Chinese duct tape!

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"Always put your trust in bamboo, my American friend."

 

"Thank you, o venerable, wise giraffe."

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The buildings and vegetation hid quite a few rides and attractions.

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"Yes, I'm legal and fully licensed, citizen."

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My best guess is that this is a lizard in a top hat. On the right. Just to make sure that's clear.

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"Where's the restroom! I need it bad!"

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Judging by the funk and mist emanating from that door, the bull found the toilet.

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I remember when Busch Gardens Williamsburg had one of these. It was near where the entrance to Apollo's Chariot is today.

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Oh dear lord.

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Yep--another "looping toboggan." But it was out of commission.

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Robb checked to see if the ride would open, but no luck (thanks for trying, Robb). Whether this was good or bad fortune is, of course, subjective. More to come.

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Here's one last look at Chuanlord Holiday Manor, home of Mr. Fish.

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Hmm--appears to be some activity going on down there.

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This map may offer a few hints as to what's being built.

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The park had a huge go kart track.

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I'm not sure if these horses were available for hire or just used as part of a show. Some guy was riding one around the construction zone earlier that day.

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"No, I do not poop chocolate like that donkey at Efteling. Please quit asking me."

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"No, nothing resembling candy is produced by my bowels--have you asked the bull?"

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Thar be a ghost ship, sez I!

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Can ye not read the sign, swab? Cursed be he who enters!

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Best Chinese-English sign ever.

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You can make it even scarier if you book in advance--that might be worth checking out if TPR returns to Chuanlord someday.

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It be too late to alter course now, mates.

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Arr! Man the windlass, you scabrous dogs!

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These women will catch you a fish for a fee.

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Here's the zipline thing.

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It's sort of a "suspended funicular."

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The mysterious ship beckons to us once again!

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You can get very nice views of the park from this thing.

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Yes, you can see things you never would have noticed from the ground.

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Heading back.

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Yes, it did get a little damp that afternoon.

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There's nothing more relaxing than watching fish while you urinate.

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"Please! No pictures! Thank you!"

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Welcome to the restaurant with a speech impediment.

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How the place got its name. There was a story behind this, but I've forgotten it.

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Mr. Fish did not die in vain.

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No, he died in China.

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"Next time folks, you should definitely eat me! I'm delicious!" That's all for now.

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Another great update, especially the fish at the end. It looked really good!

 

"No, I do not poop chocolate like that donkey at Efteling. Please quit asking me."

 

I could only imagine how big the 'prizes' would be coming out of that!

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Mr. Fish was quite tasty, indeed. In fact, this was probably the best Chinese meal we had after we left Chendu (and before the very nice Cantonese dinner in Hong Kong). I knew absolutely nothing about Chuanlord before we got there, and was very pleasantly surprised by the park.

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^That was good, as was the "500 yuan" fine if you're caught taking pictures inside. Interesting that they're so keen on protecting their "intellectual property" (as Bob noted earlier).

 

Prohibiting "home-bound patients" from participating in the Ghost Ship is pretty amusing, too--considering that they would be at home.

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Chuanlord was a weird, quirky park, but I kind of liked it.

 

Unfortunately, the zipline was closed by the time we tried to ride it. I'm not sure if it was because of the rain.

 

One thing that I'm not sure if most people realized. Remember those paper tickets they made us all wait for? That we never actually needed for anything? It turned out that those were for the multi-level maze of a zoo in the back of the park. So, Robb actually paid extra for tickets that probably only a handful of us used, thanks to our oh-so-helpful tour guides.

 

And speaking of the zoo, it featured a statue of the giraffe (well, i'm not sure if he's supposed to be the same one as the one in your picture -- he had different clothes, but the same glasses) pulling down his pants and flashing his privates at us! The scary part is that he wasn't the only animal statue to do that in the zoo! (I'll post pics when I find them when I get to that day of my update, probably several months from now!)

 

As for the fish in the pool, I think you had to go in and wade in and catch your own. I think those girls were getting their own. They sold mini tanks that you could buy and then fill with as many fish as you could fit in them. Somehow I doubt that they told people that they'd need a MUCH bigger fish tank for the many, many fish they were squeezing into those containers. Which meant that likely all of the fish they sold were dead from suffocation and swimming in their own urine and feces within a week, if not a day or two!

 

And the Ghost Ship was definitely the best haunted attraction we did in China, although I think some of the mazes at Ocean Park were better -- but I don't think any of you went back to the park for that.

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^I completely missed the zoo. I'm not sure about the girls in the fish pond. Some of them were in there for quite some time, so I guessed they were employees (maybe one of them was); interesting idea for an attraction, though.

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^

The zoo was way in the back of the park, past even the looping toboggan.

 

I think those girls were in there for a while because they were tyring to get a TON of fish in their container. Everyone I saw in there had like 50+ fish in their small containers and were still catching more. Since they charged by the container size, not by the number of fish you caught, I gather that people were trying to get more fish for their money. I just hope they had somewhere else to put all of their fish, because getting 50 DEAD fish isn't a bargain at any cost!

 

Unless you're eating them, I guess.

 

Or for cheap cat food?

 

Damn. I should be saving my good jokes for my own PTR thread!

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This park looks really cool, and the Ghost Ship is squarely on my bucket list. Bravo to China for all the wacky haunted attractions!

 

The mist pouring out of the restrooms, though, that is pretty bent.

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^They had misters set up at the entrance of this restroom, which was actually a series of private stalls surrounding an outdoor courtyard. It was kind of nice (would've been better if they'd had facilities other than squat toilets, though).

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Misters seemed to be everywhere in that park. You couldn't stand anywhere without being sprayed with water!

 

With all the vegetation it felt like we were in the middle of a rain forest.

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Chapter 18: From the Mountains to the City: Knight Valley and Window of the World

 

Knight Valley is really more of a resort (or, as you'll see later, "rosort") than a theme park--it's also the site of tragedy. This is the park with the "Mission: Space" knock off that essentially collapsed and killed a number of people, leading to a crackdown on park safety in China. It's also the home of one of GCI's best creations, with a beautiful mountain setting (Wood Coaster). In fact, this was the best setting for a ride I'd ever seen, until we hit Ocean Park in Hong Kong. I do like the way this park is incorporated into the mountain. Nothing seems to intrude on the natural beauty of the area, and Wood Coaster fits in perfectly.

 

Wood Coaster is, indeed, a great ride, but much of Knight Valley's other attractions left a bit to be desired; maybe my opinion would've been different if more of them had been operating. The park's flume ride, which used large rubber rafts instead of "logs," looked like it could've been great--especially the way it flowed through part of the park's hotel. Unfortunately, the ride looked as though it hadn't been running for a few years. Their "Journey to the Center of the Earth" knock off was down for maintenance, as well. Many of the flats seemed to be closed; at least, there was a lack of staff to operate them. Many of the park's escalators were also out of commission. (Fortunately, the park's staff was quite nice and gave us a tram ride up to the coaster.)

 

That being said, Knight Valley was worth the trip just for Wood Coaster alone. There was a surprising amount of airtime hidden in the usual "twisty" GCI layout, and it was very re-rideable--in fact, it cracked my top ten in the 2012 Hawker Poll (6th place). A funicular ride to the top of the mountain above Wood Coaster offers great views (and some more rides). There's a stunt show, too, along with a nice set of Bob Karts.

 

Overall, Knight Valley is a beautiful place, if a bit lacking as a theme park.

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A blessing! A blessing from the Lord!

 

God be praised!

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Hmm--the maintenance guys seem to be a bit concerned with something they've spotted on this sign.

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Perhaps this caught their eye.

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"Oh, crap! How am I gonna scan this into the Park Index?"

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Hmm--looks like our filming session is a bit higher up the mountain.

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Fortunately, the staff gave us a ride (it would've been quite an uphill trudge to the coaster).

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We were lucky that "Aquapig" (?) was there to protect us. . .

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. . . along with the rest of the Super Friends.

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Our quest is at an end.

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The staff warmed it up for us.

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I think this is Chinese for "Mind Thy Head."

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Yay! It's our turn now. This filming session was great (maybe the best one of the trip).

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This ride never lets up from beginning to end.

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And it uses its mountain setting very well.

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I really liked this turnaround.

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Not quite "90 degrees" on the turnaround (as I recall), but close enough. And, yes, there is that trademark GCI "fly through" of the station.

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It's like riding a coaster in a jungle.

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Yes, there is a "tunnel," which you do, indeed, "take."

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Another great run done!

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TPR at work--great job, Robb and Hanno!

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I think the whole group was pretty happy with this ride. I think the mountain setting really makes it.

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We were really looking forward to checking this one out.

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D'oh! Oh well--such is life.

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There's always the stunt show with three names. "Roaning Flood" is name no. 1.

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Name no. 2. And hooray for "fire exploration"!

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And no. 3--at least they all contain some form of the word "flood."

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No sign of any flooding yet, but there is a lone woman wandering around on the rocks.

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"You'd better start the flood or set someone on fire before I get really mad!"

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Yeah, they love to set dudes on fire at Knight Valley.

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They love it so much, they do it twice.

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There is, indeed, a flood.

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Yes, this is a "flash" flood that "roars" and, er, "roans," I guess.

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There's an exhibit and a 3D "Circlevision" flick about jellyfish in this building.

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None of the jellyfish were set on fire.

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Er, Avatar, anyone?

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I think this is the building that houses the infamous "Mission: Space" knock off.

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Nope. Not gonna say it, Chris.

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The Bob Karts were running--and they were good.

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This makes Larry very excited.

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I agree that "real anger" could lead to some sort of "emergency." More to come from Knight Valley--with a bit of Window of the World.

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