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Photo TR: 22 Days in China with TPR

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That shuttle loop really does sound frightening. So frightening in fact that it could be the next big thing at Alton.



I'm shocked that this model of shuttle loop hasn't been replicated worldwide.


Awesome TR Chuck! I love the knock off Buzz Lightyear scene! How funny!!


Yes, they were pretty shameless in that little ride when it came to ripping off Buzz. Welcome to China!

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China was definitely a great place for walk-through fans. Rare was the park that didn't have at least one; one of the Happy Valleys had two right next to each other (a regular haunted house and another involving yetis). Quality was variable, of course, but some of the smaller, grungier parks had good haunted houses; they tended to be better than the dark rides.


You'll be seeing some more of these in future installments.

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Yes, this ride had a weight limit of 200 pounds, which excluded the beefier patrons of this trip (such as me).


That's not normally the case for most SLC's, right? I've actually never been on one but have never heard about a 200lb weight limit.

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Yes, this ride had a weight limit of 200 pounds, which excluded the beefier patrons of this trip (such as me).


That's not normally the case for most SLC's, right? I've actually never been on one but have never heard about a 200lb weight limit.


No it is not normally the case.

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Chapter 4: Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'--Happy Valley Beijing


You may have noticed one trait that ties together most of the pictures I've posted so far--a dull, grayish cast to the sky. This is good, old-fashioned air pollution. Yes, the pollution in China is every bit as bad as you've been led to believe; it's so bad that people are restricted from driving two days per week in Beijing. They even have an appropriately bad joke about it (as related by our guide, Bruce): "There was a businessman in London who was in excellent physical condition. In fact, he used to jog every morning before work. He was the picture of health. Then he was transferred to Beijing. He continued to jog in the mornings. By the end of the year, he died of lung cancer."


Yes, in Beijing, "lung cancer" equals funny!


We didn't see our first blue sky in China until we visited Happy Valley Beijing, but that wasn't the park's doing. A timely storm late the night before actually flushed the air clean for a few days.


Happy Valley Beijing is a nice-looking park, with reasonably well-themed areas circling a lake and mountain, which contains Crystal Wing, the park's B&M flyer and best ride. Although the layout is the same as Six Flags' Superman: Ultimate Flight coasters, swooping through caves and between peaks gives Happy Valley's ride a decided edge. The park also has an actual, honest-to-god Vekoma SLC (Golden Wings in Snowfield) and Mine Train (Jungle Racing--or was that Flight of the Phoenix?).


I only wish the park's operations lived up to its appearance. The staggered-opening schedule for the park's coasters basically ensures very long lines for all of them. Fortunately, Robb had arranged some filming sessions that got us multiple rides on Crystal Wing and Golden Wings (ERT is largely unheard of in China). This was a great perk, and I'm very grateful that Robb was able to set it all up with the park and the ride manufacturers. Crystal Wing had a pretty long line the rest of the day, and Golden Wings, for some unknown reason, didn't open for the until late that afternoon! It was great to get them both out of the way so that we could hit the Mine Train and explore the rest of the park.


Unfortunately, we did have to pass on two credits that day. Extreme Rusher, the park's new S&S launched coaster, had broken down earlier in the week and never opened. The obligatory Golden Horse spinning coaster, the ant-themed Harvest Time, was down for the count, too (in fact, it looked like it had been out of commission for quite some time).


The state of Harvest Time sums up Happy Valley Beijing pretty well--nice on the outside, but problems within. (A major park can't keep a spinning mouse running?) That being said, I enjoyed our day there (especially the "ERT" on the two coasters and a very good haunted-house walk through, complete with a suspension bridge). There was also this rather odd show called "Maya Catastrophe," which was pretty uncatastrophic, when you get down to it.


Again, my thanks to Robb and Elissa for setting up the best day possible at Happy Valley Beijing. Shall we have a look around?


"Nothin' but blue skies, followin' me. . . "


Welcome to Happy Valley Beijing!


No explosive flatulence is allowed in Happy Valley.


Poor Extreme Rusher! I hope they eventually got you rushing again. (Any word on this?)


Hello there, lonely little trains.


You know, based on what I saw of this park's operations, this sign isn't far from the truth.


But we still have Crystal Wing.


Looks like we've found the Lost Continent of Atlantis, if the park map is to be believed. (It's bigger than IOA's Lost Continent now.)


So, were these meant to be "Fast Pass" machines, or just ancient Atlantean relics?


B&M goodness on the way.


"A memo to Six Flags."


"Ladies and Gentlemen: You have, no doubt, noted this ride's similarity to your Superman: Ultimate Flight rides. But to say they are the 'same ride' is to miss the point."


"Adding some tunnels, a mountain, and an 'ancient lost city' can make an average B&M Flyer much more enjoyable."


"However, I do recommend that you resist the urge to plunk down a carnival-type Disk-O in front of it." (Apparently, the Chinese just love Disk-Os.)


Cue the bad Burt Bacharach music. We're entering Shangri-La! (I was forever traumatized by sitting through the musical version of "Lost Horizon" when I was a kid.)


A Vekoma SLC! Our quest is at an end!


They took us in through a side entrance past this model.


Good to see that the park turned out better than this.


"Larry! Martin! Back here!"


God be praised!


I can understand why they won't let you get drunk while riding, but why don't they want you know what time it is?


I have never seen a group of people so happy to ride an actual Vekoma SLC.


It took a high-level conference to find the next coaster. Perhaps they should try Google Maps.


Welcome to "Identity Crisis: The Ride."


Is it this . . .


. . . or this?


"Maybe y'all should just call it 'Mine Train.' Just a suggestion."


What ever the name, it was a bit of a hike to the station.


Always mind the steps! They know better than you!


"Jungle-Racing Phoenix Flight" is a good ride though.


After all, Vekoma knows Mine Trains.


And Happy Valley knew enough to theme it up a bit (unlike a park that shall remain nameless in South Carolina).


It's coming right at us! Run!


Boy, running for your life from a Vekoma ride sure makes you work up an appetite. I could go for some roasted gristle about now.


"Save some for me!"


Sorry about that, "stary" cat, but no gristle for you! I might give some of the leftovers to a kid or an old person, though.


"Sorry, coaster enthusiasts, but this ride is closed."


"Please quit asking the warrior ants out front if it will open. They will disembowel you if provoked."


Yes, Hanno is all these things--and much, much more. And there's more to come!

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I forgot to mention that I'm going to throw a little more "culture" at you. Just a friendly warning.


But, meanwhile, back at Happy Valley Beijing . . .


The park has other non-knock-off rides, too.


It may not be running today, but at least it's a Huss.


This was my first of three opportunities to see "Yogi Bear 4D" during this trip. I skipped this time, but ended up seeing it twice. More on this revolting turn of events later.


Here's the park's splashdown boat, which is located in the Aegean Harbor for all you would be Argonauts.


Why, there go some adventurous souls.


Now you see them.


Now you don't. (I do hope they kept their mouths closed.)


Like I said, Happy Valley Beijing is a nice-looking park.


You guys kept your mouths open on the splashboat ride, didn't you?




Oh? Haven't seen one of these since Luna Park Sydney.


Yeah, that makes sense.


The Haunted Grove was a very good walk-through--no inside pictures allowed, though.


"I was a human being once! Then I forgot to protect my head with my hands when I loss my balance . . .


. . . then staggered into a naked flame!"


Hmm--"Catastrophe" is a bit of an overstatement.


Nice setting, though.


Let's start with some tai chi, shall we?


Uh oh! The Mayan gods say, "No tai chi! Ever!"


"Do you speak any ancient Mayan? I can't understand a word this dude is saying. And my mustache is just drawn on. Thought you should know."


"You have an obviously false beard! This will bring on a Maya Catastrophe!"


Oh, the humanity! It is a catastrophe!


My god! What else can happen? Fire? Brimstone? Dogs and cats living together? Another Indiana Jones movie with Shia LaBoeuf?


Oh. Just more water, eh? Er, OK.


"With this jewel, you will have enough wealth to buy a better beard!"


"And this other guy will live to grow a real mustache! Haven't we all learned a valuable lesson today?"


"Excellent! Let's hoist a few! The first round is on Kukulkán, the Winged Serpent! He's the coolest Mayan god of them all!"


Caution is so HOT!


The poor idol was thirsty, so I bought him a Sprite. No sense in risking another Maya Catastrophe!


Remember--You Are Enter! (The Happy Valley parks do not allow reentry unless you buy another whole-day ticket.)


Culture! You have been warned!


Welcome to the site of the 2008 Olympic Games.


Here's the famous "Bird's Nest."


There were very aggressive peddlers all over the place selling kites.


Good to know that the People's Army is here doing its job.


This is the Water Cube. It is, indeed, cube shaped (or at least a rectangular solid); however, I cannot vouch for whether it contains water.


Well, might as well get my picture . . . aghh! Damn photo bombers!


I'll learn you good!


Phew! What a relief! That's all for now.

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^That's what I understand. I don't think Robb and Elissa could remember hearing any reports that it had even been running since then at all.

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I was not lost in that picture. I was following Martin, who insisted that he was following someone with a TPR bag. When we ended up more than 20 yards from the station we should have turned around.

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^It's amazing what a little theming will do to improve an "off-the-shelf" coaster. I don't care for the Superman: Ultimate Flight rides; but putting in a mountain and some canyons makes them more enjoyable.

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^It's amazing what a little theming will do to improve an "off-the-shelf" coaster. I don't care for the Superman: Ultimate Flight rides; but putting in a mountain and some canyons makes them more enjoyable.


So you're saying mountains + canyons > on-board audio + fire?


Bummer about the S&S Launcher. Since they're so far out of the way, I was hoping that perhaps that their operations would go smoothly, serving as a sort of giant overseas billboard enticing American parks to buy these by the dozen (since Powder Keg has somehow failed to accomplish this).


"There was a businessman in London who was in excellent physical condition. In fact, he used to jog every morning before work. He was the picture of health. Then he was transferred to Beijing. He continued to jog in the mornings. By the end of the year, he died of lung cancer."




A horse walks into a bar, the barkeep says "why the long face?"


A man walks into a bar, the barkeep says "are you ok?"

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^At least you don't have to worry about the mountain and the canyons breaking down. We did ride an S&S launched coaster at Happy Valley Shenzen (Bullet Coaster), and it was a very good, if somewhat shaky, ride (crazy airtime over the first hill).

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The S&S launched coasters have some of my favorite looking trains of any rides. Extreme Rusher is quite a unique ride and it is sad that it wasn't operating. Even though this one was closed, you guys still got to ride the Bullet later in the trip.

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I hope your excellent memo to Six Flags is read and noted by all the major chains. Disney certainly gets it; most of the rest not as much: Cool rockwork makes everything better.


Very glad to see you also grabbed some ECAT, Exclusive Clean Air Time.

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