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Photo TR: TPR Taiwan 2013


rctneil
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Hey,

 

Thought I might as well put up a quick overview of Theme Park Review's run around of Taiwan earlier this year. Enjoy!

 

I landed around mid afternoon at TPE and after an hour or so in the customs line got into the arrivals hall only to be met with what looked like thousands of people holding signs. I knew someone would be waiting for me and it took around 15 minutes before I spotted our guide.

 

Due to Anth getting stuck in Shanghai and his flighting arriving several hours later it was decided that I should go to the meeting hotel in Taipei. The drive was about 1 hour from the airport to the Howard Plaza Hotel. I checked in and then decided to have a wander down the street to see what was around. I bumped into Robb & Elissa and a couple of others who were returning from their wanderings.

 

I set off in search of a coffee and eventually managed to come across a Starbucks and surprised myself in (just about) managing to order a drink using my extremely limited Mandarin phrases that I could sort of remember from last years China trip. (Knowing a few, even a tiny amount of a foreign language and at least attempting to say it really does help in people actually wanting to help and try to understand what you are getting at.)

 

I returned to the hotel to have a nap after not being able to sleep on the flights.

 

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View from the hotel window. I spent several minutes sat watching all the bikes jumping to the front of the queue at the lights and then all speed off when they changed. (oh what an interesting evening! :-) )

 

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The Howard Plaza even had a piano inside a pool. Strange but it works I guess!

 

The next day was culture and travel day. So we met up and said hello first thing in the lobby and then set off for what is Taiwan's tallest building, Taipei 101. Our guide took us to an area a short distance from the tower where we could take some photos and then we headed to the tower itself.

 

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Taipei 101! - I bet you can't guess how many floors it has?

 

The tower has a shopping mall on the lower floors but we headed to grab our tickets and head up the tower in the worlds fastest elevator!

 

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This looks like the correct place

 

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Proof of the worlds fastest elevator.

 

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View from the top

 

Right in the centre of the tower at the top was the damper. (This counter balances the shaking from earthquakes). You could walk into the room with the damper to see it.

 

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The aforementioned damper

 

There was only a small portion of the outdoor section open for people to observe from and they kindly let people know that jumping was strictly prohibited.

 

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Looking up inside the shopping mall part

 

After a trip up the tower we met up at Din Tai Fung, thanks to R&E's excellent recommendation, and had our first group meal of the trip. Excellent food and would highly recommend it to anyone.

 

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Our dumplings at din Tai Fung being hand crafted!

 

After lunch we started our long drive from Taipei to the Kiohsiung area ready to hit our first theme park E-DA the very next day.

 

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Random photo out the bus window during the long drive

 

On the journey we actually passed by several of the places we would be visiting over the next week. We passed Leofoo and saw a sad sight of their Intamin Impulse all scaffolded up after the incident there earlier in the year. We also passed by pretty much the main attraction of the trip even though we were all terrified of the thought of it - Gravity Max at Lihpao Land, the Vekoma Tilt Coaster.

 

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THE SCARY LOOKING VEKOMA TILT COASTER! - We'll see you in a few days time!

 

The hotel restaurant provided a chinese meal for us that evening

 

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Evening meal at the hotel

 

We then wandered around the hotel area and a few of us took a ride on the huge Ferris Wheel ontop of the mall opposite the hotel. The hotel also had a mini Bellagio fountain show, whcih turned out to be very strange indeed. It started out with it's fair share of music but then a track started and was "All I want for Christmas, is you!". It was very strange hearing that as I thought "I'm in Taiwan, watching a dancing fountain show, synced to christmas music in this hot weather at just before midnight". At that point I knew the whole trip was going to be totally crazy and bizarre (including the following Japan trip).

 

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Dancing Fountains

 

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Ferris Wheel ontop of the hotel shopping mall.

 

The hotel itself was situated in a very strange place. It had the E-DA Theme Park right next-door and the hotel was very nice but was surrounded by a load of buildings that were just shells, totally empty and unfinished. It did make it all seem a bit creepy and deserted.

 

Anyway, Enjoy and E-DA should be following soon.

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Day 2 - E-DA Theme Park

 

After driving all the way down south to Kiohsiung, we might as well spend some time at E-DA Theme Park.

 

E-DA looked a relatively new park and it sounded like it had some pretty interesting attractions so we spent the day just wandering around and seeing what they had.

 

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At least we knew where to store our luggage that morning.

 

We then set off on the small park shuttle bus to E-DA Theme Park and awaited at the entrance ready for the time they would allow us into the park to have some ERT on the very unique Vekoma Big Air.

 

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The E-DA characters

 

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First coaster of the trip - Big Air!

 

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Big Air seemed to be guarded by the giant Cyclops

 

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The park has a really nicely themed Splash Battle. Shame the water guns didn't seem to work though

 

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The Splash Battle

 

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Trojan Horse

 

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This is where you stock up on DooDoo apparently

 

Our next coaster was called Dark Ride and was a brand new Vekoma indoor roller skater. Nice little ride and it had the new roller skater trains that are also used on Drayton Manor's Ben 10: Ultimate Mission Junior Boomerang. The ride did have one point that smelled weirdly of farts. I didn't believe Robb at first when he mentioned it but on the second ride around, he was right, it strangely did smell like that!

 

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Surely this is a tease of a certain park coming up at the end of a future trip?

 

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New roller skater!

 

The 3rd and final coaster at E-DA was Rooftop Junior Coaster. This was a spinner on the top of the big indoor attractions building and over the side of the cliff. It span a lot.

 

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The Taiwan trip was similar in a way to last years China trip in way of guides. Thankfully our guide in Taiwan, Michelle was much better than any that we had in China. This was mostly due to the fact that A guide was hired rather than mandatory and I think this made all the difference. It took several days for her to figure out the group but as the trip progressed she got to know about TPR and how crazy everyone is.

 

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Michelle, our Taiwan tour guide

 

They had a knockoff version of Soarin' called Fly over Taiwan and literally did what it said on the tin!

 

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The entrance was themed to an airport, even including the departure gates

 

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The seats, ready to Fly over Taiwan! - Note the sickbags

 

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The group

 

We then visited one of the most bizarre attractions I have ever seen, it was called the Mermaid Aquarium and none of us quite knew what to expect and it turned out to be a room with loads of full wall screens showing underwater scenes with mermaids swimming about! odd.

 

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The park also had a Haunted Ghost Ship walkthrough. Can't say I was a fan of this.

 

Now, there was also a simulator attraction and I think the story had a car and a dog in it but due to an incident I never got to experience it. Keith, Anth and I queued up, we went in, sat in the front row on the left hand side and were wearing our glasses and then suddenly, the left side slowly tilted down and then shot down so the front left corner smacked into the floor of the room with such a crash that i'm sure some damage must have been caused. We were evacuated, (sort of clumsily) and never got to see anymore. I think our, side of the pod had somehow lost it's hydraulic pressure and failed but it didn't reopen before we had to leave so that was that!

 

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Where's Anth going?

 

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Yeh, random games for sale. This one was titled, "Hit the Bum"

 

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Some afternoon entertainment

 

After leaving E-DA we drove about an hour and a half north up to our next hotel, The Nice Prince Hotel Chiayi, which was about an hour away from Janfusun Fancyworld.

 

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I took this shot due to the fact that during our meal that evening which turned out to be an amazing help your self international buffet, that I suddenly received a text from Robb stating "We can see you" so I looked around at the above 7 floors trying to spot where he was hiding. The trouble was the corridors of the above floors went around all 4 sides of the hotel so it did take me a while.

 

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my photo attempt of trying to search for Robb

 

This buffet also had UNLIMITED HAAGEN-DAAS ice cream. Yum!

 

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UNLIMITED HAAGEN_DAAS!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Next up, the hottest day ever at Janfusun Fancyworld and my new favourite roller coaster Insane Speed!!!!!!!! (Only kidding)

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Nice report so far, Neil.

 

Did you guys ride Flume Ride, the Golden Horse water coaster? It had enough coaster track for many to count as a coaster, though I chose not to count it. It had some very nice theming, too.

 

Also, did you do the park's dark ride? If so, how was is? I wanted to ride it, but didn't know that it closed earlier than the rest of the park, so I missed it. Just wondering how it was. In fact, ALL of the rides closed earlier than the park, some earlier than others. I literally JUST made it to the walkthrough ghost ship as they were about to close it!

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That spinning coaster scared me more than the tilt coaster! It felt so rickety and would fly around the corners over a 1000ft cliff!!!! I assumed one of the cars would just fly right off!

 

Yeh, that spinner was frankly nervewracking. It span like crazy. It was worrying as you really couldn't see much of the track layout from the pathway.

 

Someone better have purchased that Hit the Bum game! And what noise did it make when you hit the bum?

 

I don;t think anyone did buy it unfortunately and it didn't have any batteries in it so we couldn't test it out.

 

Nice report so far, Neil.

 

Did you guys ride Flume Ride, the Golden Horse water coaster? It had enough coaster track for many to count as a coaster, though I chose not to count it. It had some very nice theming, too.

 

Also, did you do the park's dark ride? If so, how was is? I wanted to ride it, but didn't know that it closed earlier than the rest of the park, so I missed it. Just wondering how it was. In fact, ALL of the rides closed earlier than the park, some earlier than others. I literally JUST made it to the walkthrough ghost ship as they were about to close it!

 

The flume was closed all day for maintenance or something so we had to bypass that one. Not sure what the dark ride was as I didn't see one. The roller skater indoors was called "Dark Ride" though.

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^ There was an actual haunted dark ride (not "Dark Ride". the coaster) in the indoor section, but it was closed when I tried to ride it.

 

The water coaster was nice, but nothing special. I didn't count it as a credit, though i wouldn't argue with anyone who did, since it did have more than a little coaster track. But ultimately, to me, it was more shoot-the-chutes than anything. I'm not very whorish in my counting.

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So day 3 was at Janfusun Fancyworld. This park is quite in the middle of nowhere and surprisingly is home to Taiwan's 2 B&M roller coasters: A Floorless and a Dive Machine.

 

We set off early from the hotel with a breakfast box and hit the park extremely early due to the fact that we were meant to be meeting up with the Travel Channel to perform some filming on one of the coasters.

 

We arrived at the Fancyworld hotel to wait for the parks media person who then let us follow her on her moped straight to Insane Speed, the aforementioned B&M floorless.

 

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Our first view of INSANE SPEEEEED!

 

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The ferris wheel here has 2 modes of operation, today was the insane crazy mode!

 

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At least they got the type right in the name!

 

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The view from the station platform

 

We were waiting on the platform before the Travel Channel arrived so Robb thought why not stop wasting time and get a few rides in and filming for TPR done in one fell swoop.

 

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Robb mounting the GoPro's

 

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Partially empty trains making the morning rounds

 

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We had a couple of rides and Robb got ALL his filming done in 1 cycle of the ride! GO ROBB! The coaster itself was an awesome little ride, smooth and a good number of inversions. Just a typical floorless coaster really. I just dread to think how many times I rode it and how many of those rides were my first ever go!

 

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The trip tried to confuse everybody by consisting of two "Keiths"

 

Travel Channel arrive and start their hour and a half setup. At this point Robb persuaded them to allow us to wander off around the park to ride their other B&M and be back quickly ready for filming.

 

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The cavalry arrives.

 

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Vicky the Viking was overly present in this park

 

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The giant Starwa... Sorry... "Hill Escalator" nicely warned us to be aware of Sharks.

 

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This sort of looks slightly familiar

 

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G5!!!

 

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DON'T LOOK DOWN!!!!!!!

 

G5 was the parks B&M Dive Machine. G5 is an exact mirror image clone of Oblivion at Alton Towers, UK. It was also much warmer to ride than Oblivion, had a much nicer colour scheme than Oblivion and had no queue! But we did manage to shout the typical "DON'T LOOK DOWN" catchphrase from the top!

 

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Remember, Welcome to Oblivion!, wait, err... no, Welcome to G5!!!!! Duh Duh Duhhhh!!!!

 

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Awesome view from the viewing platform. why can't Oblivion have this?

 

On the way back to more Insaaaaanely speeedyness I managed to get a glimpse of other attractions that the park had including the big indoor area that we all thought must be at least be air conditioned and turned out not to be. This building was also the station of the KuKu Coaster, the parks little powered coaster.

 

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A set of S&S towers

 

Just incase you thought that the park was closed on the day we went to make way for all the filming going on. Nope, the park was fully open and totally empty. I would say there we less than 100 guests in the entire place! and that can include our group and the small group of "extras" that the Taiwanese filming company brought in the fill up Insane Speed.

 

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This is where we are, just so we don't forget

 

Janfusun Fancyworld also had this weird attraction which I wanted to try out but it was down and looked totally down and out. I was told it would be a ride once and never again type of flat.

 

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Back at Insane Speed, the film crew were still fiddling around and getting different shots:

 

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Anth was looking surprisingly cheerful considering the pole, that had just appeared from the contraption they were building on Elissa's seat just infront of it, was pointing straight at his face.

 

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Will I survive? - Yep, He did Anth is all well and good

 

The said pole. The film crew then decided that "oh this pole doesn't seem very safe to me, let's fix that by covering the end with a tiny bit of blue tape. That'll keep Anth safe enough."

 

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Pole of doom

 

And this is what they built onto Elissa's seat as she sat there for a very long time just to hold a GoPro just off to the side. It was tremendously hot and humid so one of the crew kept getting her bottles of water and wafting her with a plastic sheet to keep her cool!

 

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Saw Death Trap Contraption

 

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The park had a very nice (but very empty) waterpark

 

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The Starwa....Hill Escalator, I'll get this right eventually.

 

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G5! - At least you don't forget it's name

 

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Speeeedy!

 

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Robb wanted shots of the ride but as the park was empty, Anth was sent to keep riding just so some video could be taken. I think a few others joined him for this ride though.

 

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I'm on TV!!!!!!

 

after our supposedly 1 ride on Insane Speed, we voted to give our thoughts using the iPad's set up just outside the ride.

 

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The voting! What did we think? Well you'll have to wait to find out

 

After more Travel Channel things, I got to spend a small amount of time wandering around the upper section of the park. Up there was a coffee museum that was delightful in two ways: 1. It smelt of coffee and 2. It was wonderfully air conditioned. There was also a small haunted walkthrough with a stab in the back preshow. I apologise profusely to Miles for this walkthrough!

 

After leaving Janfusun Fancyworld we made our way to our next hotel which was situated right next to Sun Moon Lake. Sun Moon Lake has a cycle path around it which is apparently one of the top 10 cycle paths in the world according to Michelle. It was a beautiful area and had stunning views across the lake and the hills beyond.

 

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Bitter Nut Trees

 

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Sun Moon Lake

 

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I think Anth is hungry.

 

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Yumm

 

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Night view from room balcony

 

Our next park is Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village situated about 15 minutes from our hotel here. I know what you are thinking, oh no, a culture park. Wait! It was a surprise to us as to what awaited us and it was an awesome day overall, but that's all for next time.

 

See you all then!

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That steel rod of death totally looks safe! Thankfully you were on a B&M so you weren't bouncing around in danger of bashing your head into it, haha. Looks like a lovely little park on the side of a hill; the pictures from the stations of each coaster were very pretty! Thanks for sharing all the photos.

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