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Vince's Trips Abroad and Home


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Hi everyone. I don't normally post trip reports here on TPR because I've always had more fun reading others' than making my own. I'm a big fan of other members' reports of bizarre or hardly-known parks, and their creative ways of telling the stories of their adventures. Very recently, however, I've had the chance to visit a few parks that don't get that much coverage; and there are more trips planned this year for me that I think are worth sharing my experiences. Thus, I've created this thread in the hopes that whoever reads it can find some entertainment from my park visits, and maybe even learn something they never knew existed.

 

Part 1: Star City

Part 2: Enchanted Kingdom

Part 3: Universal Studios Singapore

Part 4: Circle of Fun

 

First up: Star City in Pasay, Manila, Philippines

 

Before I begin, it should be noted that amusement park visiting was not the top priority during my stay in the Philippines. My family's goals were

1. Visit family and friends I had not seen in years (in case anyone cares, all of my family and friends made it through Typhoon Yolanda okay)

2. Visit places in the country we had never been to

3. Visit amusement parks (Though not the top priority, my loving parents appreciate my passion for coasters enough to put it that high up on the list of goals)

 

That being said, we could only visit Star City at night; and my aging camera is not exactly in peak condition in low light. But I digress. Star City is one of the two most well-known amusement parks on the island of Luzon, and maybe even the whole country. It is an indoor/outdoor entertainment complex on the coast of Manila Bay, and is a part of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. With four roller coasters, Star City has more coasters than any other park in the country, though you may find that statistic to not be as impressive as it sounds as you read on. But enough talk, let's get to some grainy, blurry pictures (the pictures in the next update will be much better, I promise!)

 

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The entry sign to Star City. We visited the park on December 29th, 2013; and as you can see by the giant tree and presents, Christmas is celebrated SIGNIFICANTLY in the Philippines.

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The last time I visited Star City was in February of 2007; and since then they have made several big changes to the overall look of the park. I don't remember the entrance looking this well-crafted.

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The park was packed. Signs were placed at the all ticket counters saying to expect long waits. By the way, for those of you who don't know, Tagalog is the first language of many Filipinos on the island of Luzon. But English is a widely used second language, and is not uncommon to be used on signage and advertisements.

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The park is divided into three distinct sections: an outdoor part for the larger attractions, the first floor of the indoor section, and the second floor of the indoor section. The "Ride-All-You-Can" package allows entry into the park and unlimited rides on everything that isn't upcharge, it costs 420 pesos (US$ 9.38).

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Star City presents a show attraction every few months or so, and the production during my visit happened to be "Jurassic On Ice" ..... I really wanted to know what this was about, and if the show was as bizarre as its title and promotional art. Unfortunately, it was additional charge, and we would not have time to check it out anyway.

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When you first enter the park, the first thing you see is a long hallway with vendors selling all sorts of crap you didn't know you needed. Almost all of it is inexpensive, and it is really fun to let the child inside you gawk at all the toys you could get.

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Poor Zyklon Loop. This Pinfari looping coaster used to be one of the premier attractions of the outdoor section before being removed. It's a good thing I rode it back in 2007.

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Unfortunately for me, Star Flyer, the park's new premier outdoor coaster and only inverted coaster in the Philippines, was not operating that day. The coaster was added a few months after my 2007 visit, and I don't think I have ever been this disappointed at seeing a Pinfari coaster not running.

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Oh well, also new for me was Star Frisbee. Although not as big as MaXair, this frisbee seemed to have a faster cycle. Unfortunately, the line was way too long, so we had to skip it.

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Finally, our first ride of the day was Tornado, and ..... it's a standard Tornado ride. Nothing special, nothing awful, but we sure did get our car to spin a lot!

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At 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), the log flume also had too long a line to catch our interest. Shame too as it looked like there was some decent themeing on the ride's course.

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Yes! The one ride I am glad is still here, and the one ride I WILL wait in a ridiculous queue for is Surf Dance.

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Due to its popularity (and probably because Star Flyer was closed), Surf Dance had one of the longest wait times in the whole park. So long, in fact, that the entrance to the queue extended into the second floor of the indoor section.

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The ride is worth it, though. It's just a really fun, giddy experience.

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By all descriptive purposes, it does not sound like anything even worth considering. 'It's like a bus attached to a wonky set of Top Spin arms, and does not even go upside down.'

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You need to go ahead and do a Youtube search of this ride, because it is just crazy awesome.

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You twist, sway, slow down, speed up, rise, drop, and whip around for a very lengthy ride cycle.

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And with only lap bars, it really feels like the ride is trying to eject you into the parking lot.

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Mondial is quickly turning into one of the companies that I will be quick to cite for craziest park contraptions.

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The inside parts of the park were not quite as tightly packed as the outside section, but there were still a few long lines at various attractions.

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As we ventured further into the park, we came across the Pinfari Wacky Worm called Dragon Express, and those pagodas were NOT there the last time I visited Star City.

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This Wacky Worm model got quite the visual overhaul, getting some very nice oriental themeing, and even its own cool looking signage (albeit, missing a vowel).

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Dragon Express truly does look very nice, and probably displays the most effort anyone has ever put into making a Wacky Worm look good.

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Speaking of Wacky Worms, if you head up the stairs to the second floor and make a left, you will come across ..... another Wacky Worm ..... Yeah, if you thought having Behemoth and Leviathan in the same park was bad, this is much more brain baffling.

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Unlike Dragon Express, this Wacky Worm (appropriately called "Wacky Worm") did not get an extreme makeover since my last visit. It looks just about the same as most Wacky Worms with only a little more effort put into the themeing.

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And it's not like this coaster was added as an afterthought to Dragon Express, I actually rode this Wacky Worm back in 1996 when it was outdoors. I guess it was popular enough that the park felt it necessary to add a second one?

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Still, kids seem to love it; although I saw just as many (if not more) adults going for a ride, and screaming as if they were on Surf Dance. Maybe being on the second floor gives a more terrifying perception of being higher above sea-level than other Wacky Worms?

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Moving on, Viking, the park's pirate ship ride.

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The location for this ride is really cool. The entrance is on the second floor, but it swings right over the first floor, making the ride look much higher off the ground from a non-rider's perspective.

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Unfortunately, the ship swung very slowly, you could not see the first floor from your elevated position, and this was about the highest the ship ever swung. Also, the cycle was five very long minutes of a mediocre attraction.

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On the plus side, the themeing this ride received is one of the most ridiculously awesome things I've ever seen on a swinging ship ride. It's impossible to catch the magnitude of the awesomeness in one picture, but here's a summary. A single viking on his ship is about to decapitate a sea monster who is attacking the ship that is also being attacked by a shark that would be devouring the viking if it weren't in the clutches of a giant octopus who is also attacking the ship and is about to get one of its arms bitten off by the shark.

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The park's final coaster is Blizzard, a Top Fun coaster that really needs to reconsider putting OTSRs on a relatively small coaster. I rode it back in 2007, but even a short line may not sway me to give Blizzard another ride.

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On the plus side, Blizzard also got a surplus of themeing objects, and it looks pretty darn awesome now.

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The quality of the themeing ALMOST makes up for some of the crappiness of the coaster.

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Tucked into this part of the indoor section is this tall, inflatable climbing tower.

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Last time I was here, this boat ride attraction was themed to the Lion King, and had live actors mixed in with poorly made animatronics and creepy looking stuffed animals telling the story. The line was very long for this Pirate Adventure (and they were running only one, maybe two boats); but considering the themeing overhauls other rides in Star City have gotten over the past few years, it's entirely possible that this ride could have improved to a few "distant" steps below Pirates of the Caribbean

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These inflated "Water Balls" actually popped a number of times throughout the Philippines.

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It's one of the most pointless attractions, but I can't help but feel that I would find a lot of amusement if it were me in that ball.

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Also really common are bumper boats. I didn't ride this time around, but these were some of the higher quality bumper boats we found in the Philippines where manueverablility was still somewhat possible.

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"Jumping Star," and indoor MoseRides drop tower.

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Star City had a number of walkthrough attractions. This one, simply titled "Dungeon" contained some hydraulically activated jump scares before a few scare actors appear at the end to chase the crowd out. At one point during our visit, a fight broke out over someone trying to pick pocket a camera from another guest.

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Telecombat is a classic ride. So classic in fact that a bunch of the rides' mechanics no longer work.

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This is actually one of the few rides I remember being at the park when I visited at the mentally developed age of 4. Back then, every single car had the ability to go up and down when they pleased, and every car had a wheel that would spin the car.

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Today, the height of the car is determined by the ride instead of the rider, and only a few cars can spin manually.

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I was one of the lucky ones who got a car with a working spin control, and the nine-year old son of a family friend riding with me knew just how to spin it to make it whip really fast.

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There are some familiar looking spacecrafts up there.

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The Ferris wheel was also new for me. From what I have read about it, it is the tallest Ferris wheel in the Philippines, and the tallest ride in the park. Each gondola is air-conditioned. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we could ride it (and the others in my group find Ferris wheels to be boring).

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This area is filled with nothing but games, but it still has a magical forest theme to it.

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With lines for everything being too long and Star Flyer remaining closed, we let my nine-year old buddy start picking what rides we ride (since the smaller rides had shorter lines). He was hesitant at first, but eventually worked up the courage to pick Dragon Express to ride next.

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We wound up getting the front seat, and he absolutely loved it. He may just become a coaster enthusiast one day :)

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Once again, this is a Wacky Worm.

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We were about to ride Happy Swing next, but our little event planner suddenly found it to be too tame after tackling Dragon Express.

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Another walkthrough. This one tells Disney's tale of Peter Pan, sort of. It starts out telling the story, even having a narrow bridge pass over a miniature model of London as you head to the second star to the right, but then it divulges into a bunch of statues of the characters in trippy looking showrooms. Most of the characters' paint was faded and some had pieces of their figure missing.

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And one more look at Star Flyer. Despite employees saying that it could possibly open later that night, we never even saw maintenance work on it. Oh well, so much for getting this credit during this trip ..... or will I? (foreshadowing)

 

So that was Star City. It is unlike any park I've visited and further from an American-style park I've ever been to, but I love the attitude they have that no ride is too small or too crappy that they can't give it it's own special themeing. It was a little hard to fully enjoy what the park had to offer with how crowded it was, but it's not the park's fault we could only visit on a weekend. Having Star Flyer down was a bummer, but being a former ride operator I know that no ride is 100% problem free. But I had a fun day because my friends managed to have a fun day. This is one of the most unique parks I've ever been to, and perhaps I'll be returning sooner than I think?

 

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Stay tuned for more Filipino parks and MUCH better looking pictures. I promise!

Edited by VinTheAttendant
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^Thanks for the reply, man!

 

Part 2: Enchanted Kingdom in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Philippines

 

Unlike Star City, Enchanted Kingdom has a much more "traditional American amusement park" feel to it. Nearly everything is in English from rider information signs, to menus, to ride attendants saying safety spiels. Wikipedia even says that Disney and Universal are the main influences for the park layout. I'd say that probably the least American aspect of the park is the entry price; which, excluding the small parking fee, maxes out at 600 pesos (US$ 13.33). Even though it houses the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the Philippines, Enchanted Kingdom is a relatively small park, and there has not been a coaster added since opening day. But I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the park was, considering how many times I have heard that it is a place for children.

 

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Enchanted Kingdom is approximately an hour south of Star City and the Metro Manilla area. At least, it's an hour if you're lucky and don't run into any traffic. Driving in the Philippines is not for the faint of heart.

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I was very excited to see that there was a Larson/ARM drop tower here. These are probably the shortest drop tower rides on the planet that still scare the crap out of me.

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My last visit to Enchanted Kingdom was in 1997, and there were a few things here and there that I remembered. But it felt like I was visiting the park for the first time upon entry, so there were plenty of surprises to come.

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The Ferris wheel is one of many rides that opened with Enchanted Kingdom in 1995, and it still is the tallest ride in the park.

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There were a lot of people out front, but the park still managed to remain empty for a good portion of the day.

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And now that we're in the park, and I've established myself as the whitest person here, the fun can begin.

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This is the first thing you see when you get into the park. I remember being completely blown away at the sight of this. I love the Philippines, but it does not exactly have the greatest looks in many rural and urban places. And this gave a better first impression than what a lot of American parks have to offer.

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This park also gets the award for most unique park maps. They come shaped like wizard hats...

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And then fold out into a circle displaying everything.

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"I have the strangest feeling that someone is watching me."

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The Ferris wheel is right in the middle of the park, meaning it is visible just about anywhere you go.

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The date is January 2nd, 2014, and Christmas decorations are still up, and Christmas songs were being played over the intercom all day. As I said before, Christmas is an extremely special time of year in the Philippines, and there is never any of the dumb drama America likes to spin on the holiday.

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Our first ride of the day and first ride of the new year.

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The group I was in saw that there was no line for the Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 3D ride, so we decided to give it a go (plus, it had air conditioning).

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The queue area had posters lining up ever single wall of the shows/rides the theater had featured. From what I had heard, they cycle through these shows every few weeks, giving a different experience over time.

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The actual show was a bit of a let down, though. All it did was show clips from the movie while moving the seats around to it. I was sort of expecting an original picture to accompany the ride. However, if you remember the pterodactyl chase scene from the movie (for those of you who saw it), that part was included in the ride and was actually very enjoyable.

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The midways looked really good. I kept forgetting that I was still in the Philippines.

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And there it is, the tallest, fastest, most inversion-packed coaster in the whole country.....it's a Vekoma Boomerang.

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This is Space Shuttle, and it would be my very first coaster of 2014 (and the second year in a row I start off a year with a Boomerang style coaster).

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On the plus side, this is one of the lucky Boomerang coaster to be retrofitted with the brand new Vekoma trains.

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I had ridden Carolina Cobra a few months before; and while I kind of liked the new trains, it still gave me a rather uncomfortable ride, so I was not expecting a pleasant ride.

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To my surprise, not only did the restraints feel more comfortable here than on Cobra, but this was probably also the smoothest ride I had ever had on a Boomerang.

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Aside from one quick snap going backward into the cobra roll, there was no headbanging effect anywhere in the ride. My cousin who was with me said that the old trains had beat him up on his last visit, but the ride was much better this time around.

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Who would have thought that I would have to travel halfway around the world to get a ride on what is now my favorite standard Boomerang coaster.

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And in the spirit of TPR, I've got to ask: Is that a real space shuttle?

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One more look at the sign.

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Behind Space Shuttle were a couple of tracks. One was for go karts, and the other was for Segways that looked like it used to be for go karts.

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I'm not quite sure I understand why there were giant bugs on the Segway track. Maybe they eat the tourists?

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I said before that the price of admission was the least American aspect of the park, but there were also popular Filipino cuisines offered amidst traditional amusement park food.

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See what I mean with how nice the park looks? Who puts this much effort into the facade of a bathroom?

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It was pretty darn hot this day (and record low temperatures were being reported back at home), so the log flume was certainly welcome.

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It's not pictured here, but there is a very nice course leading up to the big drop.

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The splashdown does not get you very wet, but don't worry, there's a curtain of water at the end of the ride to make sure you don't walk off dry.

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Entrance shot.

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You see that silver disk? That's actually a wheel that you can use to spin the gondola. You can't achieve crazy tea cup speeds, but you can definitely get your car to spin at speeds uncomfortable at 130 feet in the air.

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And there's the one and only Filipino Boomerang for you!

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From the top of the wheel, you can just barely make out Metro Manilla.

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There is the park's other roller coaster, a standard Vekoma roller skater. There really aren't that many custom coasters in the Philippines.

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I remember this swinging ship. When I was five years old, I was so scared of this ride that I forced my family to sit in the middle row. My older sister was not too happy about that.

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Along with the new trains, the ride got a new paint job as well. The track used to be black.

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I actually really like Boomerang coasters, and will always try to ride one if a park offers it. It's just a shame that most of them ride awfully.

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Fun fact about me: Space Shuttle was actually the very first Boomerang I laid eyes upon. I still remember vividly looking up at Space Shuttle at the age of 5 and thinking that it was the scariest looking roller coaster in the world. So you can probably imagine how surprised I was when my home park (Riverside being Six Flags branded) got the exact same model coaster three years later.

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The park really isn't that big. But for a park it's size, they managed to put in a lot of charm and a lot of fun things to do.

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Swan boats, you don't see many of those around nowadays.

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Not quite sure why I took this picture, but yeah, the path changes from green to blue.

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Always good to see parks adding Diskos to their lineup.

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In the distance is Mount Banahaw, an active volcano.

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And the park's river rapids ride.

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Another look at the log flume.

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Surprise, more bumper boats.

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After the Ferris wheel, we went on the pirate ship. To make up for not getting on the end 17 years ago, we grabbed the very first row this time around. Needless to say, it was much more fun than the swinging ship at Star City.

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Boobs.

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We were going to ride the Bumper Boats, but they require you to wear life jackets, and that made the line go very slowly.

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It was pretty cool that the boats came equipped with water guns though.

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Um.....'kay.

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No, those arches are not Intamin track, but the park does have a Roller Skater.

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Just like in Star City, there was a surprising amount of adults on the kiddie coaster, and screaming like it were one of the big rides. In fact, seeing kids on the ride was almost rare.

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By this time, the lines for all the rides were beginning to get very long, but the ride crews actually do a very good job here at loading and unloading.

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Overall, Roller Skater was fun, but I wouldn't wait in a 20 minute line for it again.

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Meet Eldar, the wizard mascot for Enchanted Kingdom. I'm a sucker for parks that come up with their own unique mascot, and Enchanted Kingdom loves him enough to have statues of him, plush dolls, many souvenir items with him, and t-shirts. He isn't just an image for the park, he's a much cherished emblem.

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Oh boy...I find Larson/ARM towers to be the scariest drop rides there is. S&S aren't that scary, and Intamin at least stops before letting you fall; but these guys torment you by giving zero warning as to when you'll plummet.

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From what I have heard, a Condor ride used to occupy this space. While I do like Condors, I think this scary-genius contraption was just the thrill this park needed.

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I think my face and the face of the girl next to me perfectly capture just how sinister these rides are.

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I don't think I have ever seen pool as a midway game before.

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The rapids ride looked very nice, and from the look of the boats, it looked like a Hopkins rapid. However, like most rapid rides I find myself on, it really is a gamble as to how wet you will get. I wound up getting thoroughly drenched.

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Earlier in the day, Space Shuttle was a one-train wait. We planned on riding it again, but the line had expanded to about 45 minutes.

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So here's what is crazy about the Disko here: as the ride cycles, it is accompanied by an original theme song for Enchanted Kingdom. It was even cornier that it was a disco song. Yes, it's cheesy, but I honestly wish that more parks would go out of their way to put some creativity on their attractions.

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Unfortunately, the line was way too long for us to get on, and we had to head out earlier due to big plans for the next day.

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I decided to snap a few pictures of the kids' areas before heading out, though. It's not the nicest I've seen, but there is still plenty for the children to enjoy.

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Even the kids get their own bumper boats.

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Maybe one day, the little ones who ride this frogger will grow up to brave the bigger drop tower.

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Bumper cars, an amusement park essential, even in the Philippines.

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My only gripe of the day was that I was unable to ride the carousel. I've recently developed a soft spot for classic carousels; and while this one was only 19 years old, it still looked like a beauty.

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I realize now how stupid I look in this picture for blocking the "to" and how it could have been remedied by taking two steps to my right.

 

So to the people who told me that this place was for children, they need to go Enchanted Kingdom and actually enjoy the park before giving an opinion on it. I had such a blast here, and was hardly expecting to have this much fun. The park was extremely clean to the point where it would feel like a sin to litter. The ride staff didn't act like some of the happy employees you hope to come across at most parks, but they were very efficient and got their jobs done perfectly. All the rides were operating, and there was never any downtime for any attraction. And as I've said before, the park just looks extremely nice. I think the only way I could be more happy with the park is if they were to get another big attraction, but as it is, it's still a great place to spend a day. I hope to revisit the park one day, and I hope I can have just as good a day, or even a better one when that day comes.

 

Hope you're enjoying these pictures, and feel free to comment.

 

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Thank you for sticking around, things are going to get bigger in the next update.

Edited by VinTheAttendant
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Awesome TR. I visited the Philippines when I was eight (I have family in Manila and Bacolod), and I remember seeing Enchanted Kingdom but it was closed. Looks like a great park, and I think it could use another decent coaster. I'll have to stop by next time I visit my family.

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Thanks for the awesome TR! I haven't visited Star City in 9 years; surprised to see how much it's changed. Would love to ride Surf Dance. Also, I agree that Enchanted Kingdom just needs one more major attraction (They haven't gotten a new coaster ever since opening day, so I hope it's a great airtime machine )

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AWESOME! I love seeing smaller parks! Now if they would just add a Intamin megalite!

 

If they are screaming on the Roller Skaters I'd love to see their reactions to a megalite

 

Great photos. Even if the Philippines are kinda low on thrills, they definitely make up for it with excellent themeing.

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Thank you everyone for your feedback (and a big thank you to the one who posted the thread to the front page ). I've got a few more updates left for this trip, so let's get started on the next chapter.

 

Part 3: Universal Studios Singapore in Sentosa, Singapore

 

I'm just going to get this out of the way: Battlestar Galactica is still closed.

 

Now that that's out there; on to how I got here. During the planning of our vacation to the Philippines, we found that we had three days of no activities planned, and we wanted to fill in that space with some place we had never tried before. Singapore was one of the candidates to fill in those three days, and since I have heard that it's one of the most strenuous places to get to from America, I was immediately on board with spending our free days there. By April, the trip was confirmed; and then of course, BSG mysteriously closed down in July and has been closed since. Of course I didn't want to be the jerk to call off an entire leg of vacation just because two roller coasters were closed, so we went ahead with our plans to visit USS. And you know what? Even with the dueling coaster closed and lousy weather for most of our stay, we still had a blast!

 

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We had arrived in Singapore on January 3rd (the morning after Enchanted Kingdom) and had spent our first day at the Aquarium on Sentosa Island. Once we had the public transportation figured out to a T, we were ready to take on Universal Studios.

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USS is just one part of the Resorts World Sentosa. The island is packed with dozens of activities and attractions. One day, I hope to dedicate an entire trip to exploring what the island has to offer, but today was all about the theme park.

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So the only other Universal Studios I've been to is the resort in Orlando, and if there is anything I have come to associate it with, it's walking. I'm so used to the long journey from the parking lot to the actual parks that it felt kind of strange getting off the shuttle and seeing the iconic logo spinning a short distance away.

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Upon arrival, the crowds were moderate. And thanks to purchasing our tickets the day before, we got through the entrance gates quite quickly.

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The weather in Singapore was lousy over the three days we were there, which really makes me grateful for this giant glass canopy that covers the entryway, the Hollywood section, and the New York section in almost their entirety.

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I see you hiding back there BSG!

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And the award for most adorable ride name goes to Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase. I wanted to check it out just for the nostalgia of seeing some of my favorite childhood puppets (and because of the awesome name), but I wound up putting it aside for later and then forgetting about it as the day went on. Stupid mistake.

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Seeing the New York Public Library on the other side of the world certainly made me feel more at home, though it did feel strange that there was a giant roof over it.

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So our first ride of the day would be the original Transformers: The Ride. I wouldn't classify myself as a fan of the franchise (my sister on the other hand...), but I do enjoy the robots and the action. I AM however, a big fan of the Amazing Spider-man at IoA, so I was more than excited to give Transformers a go.

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The wait time was estimated to be 50 minutes, but it felt faster than that. It may have been the line was moving rather quickly, or it may be because there were many details and things to look at in the line to keep your attention occupied.

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Explosives in the queue? Yup, Michael Bay was definitely involved in this attraction.

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While the recent movies kind of sucked for the most part, I did find the lore it set up for itself to be very creative. Seeing that lore continued through the queue surprisingly made me want to watch the movies again.

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Easily the best part of the queue were the thousands of useless buttons, knobs, and switches that an easily amused tourist like myself could flip and switch aimlessly.

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Our military has been hiding secret DVD technology from us!

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Some familiar props and artifacts from the movie could be found in the queue, like the fragment of the Allspark.

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And even Scorponok's tail can be found on display.

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There are many tv screen throughout the queue that brief the folks waiting in line as to the events leading up to the plot of the ride, as well as the role of the rider within the story. It's all very well done, and each video clip is long enough to last waiting in a single show room.

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So the ride is freaking awesome! It is easily my favorite thing Michael Bay has directed, and right up there with Spider-man as one of the great dark rides. The action is perfectly paced and has the guests riding alongside the best of both the Autobots and the Decepticons. This is a fantastic ride, and I'm glad that it has found its way into the United States.

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And I mean it when I say "behemoth." This ride looks so much bigger in person than it does in pictures and videos. I really hope that it reopens one day. It is a very beautiful looking ride, and it would be a shame to see it leave.

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And now for the depressing part. Actually, in the months leading up to the trip, I had been preparing myself for the inevitability of finding BSG closed. I had heard many reviews on the ride looking awesome, but really being nothing special and not even that popular. Knowing that helped me cope with seeing this behemoth closed.

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The sign is still up, and there were still a few bits of merchandise being sold, but all other references to the ride's existence have been removed from the park and website.

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Also, the entrance to the two queues have been completely walled off. I can't tell you what the future for this ride may be, but I sure hope it's a bright one.

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Moving on, it's time to check out Ancient Egypt, and of course, Revenge of the Mummy.

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Fun fact about me: At 9451.4 miles, this is the farthest roller coaster from my home I have ridden.

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This Revenge of the Mummy is almost identical to its Orlando counterpart with the biggest difference being the changes in the story (most notably, no Brendan Fraser). As much as I like the fake unloading platform in the Orlando version, the more story-focused changes of the Singapore version, I feel, make it superior.

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Universal Studios is fighting the good fight with a cap gun free zone for their hippos. Support the Anaheim Animatronic Hippo Conservation Society movement people!

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I'm so glad that Jurassic Park is still influential enough to warrant a section of the park nearly 20 years after the first movie released. While this area did not feel as big as IoA's, it still looked just as good.

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As much as I despised Jurassic Park III, I have to admit that these statues are pretty bad@$$.

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I can't believe I didn't take more pictures of Rapids Adventure. For those of you who don't know, Rapids Adventure is a rapids ride as opposed to River Adventure. Singapore's offers a bit of a longer ride, but I still think it works better as a shoot-the-chutes. And while this rapids ride does some things no other rapids ride does, Orlando's has a better climax. Still a very fun ride, though.

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We decided to check out the Waterworld show because, believe it or not, there is a Waterworld fan in my family. I guess since Kevin Costner isn't in this, it makes it okay.

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There were three sections: the soak zone, the "you might get wet" zone, and the dry zone. If you are in the first two zones, you WILL get wet.

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The preshow entertainment was hilarious. They paraded the stadium with water guns, hyped up the audience, and are the primary reason why those in the "you might get wet" zone got wet.

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So the show itself is filled with a lot of swashbuckling stunts and actions and made for some great entertainment.

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Gunfire, explosions, jet skis and speed boats; it made for a really fun show, and I'm glad I checked it out.

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After the show, we decided to check out Canopy Flyer. We figured that since each car on the coaster holds twice as many people as Pteranodon Flyer, MAYBE the capacity won't be so bad ..... the wait was 80 minutes. I'm a credit whore, but even I objected to waiting that long for such a short coaster. We decided to return after the next Waterworld show started.

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In the meantime, a truck towing a live raptor passed by. This was perhaps one of the coolest costumes I've seen in an amusement park, and it even came with the roars and screeches it made in the movies.

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[insert Disneyland castle joke here].

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The Far Far Away section was the best surprise of the trip. This area of the park is absolutely loaded with jokes and themeing from the Shrek movies.

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At least ONE Vekoma coaster here is working.

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The queue for Enchanted Airways is downright hilarious. With all the airports we've been to on this trip, seeing all the gags of what a dragon airport in the Shrek universe would look like was great.

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I had never seen restraints like these before on a Vekoma roller skater; they were very comfortable. Does anyone know if any other roller skater has these.

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Personally, I find the dragon-donkey hybrids to be...creepy, but headstock of the train still looked pretty cool.

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We went on Shrek 4D next, and my opinion on it is the same as Orlando's version. I feel that the ride would work really well at a smaller-scale park; but for a park with as big a name and standard for quality as Universal, Shrek 4D just doesn't impress me. I will give it this, the castle looks really good.

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Finally, you get a chance to see Shrek's house, and you can even get a closer look at the outhouse on the hill.

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Keeping up with Dreamworks Animation, there is a Madagascar section too.

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Universal sure likes their carousels to be outside the box.

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We decided to check out the Madagascar Crate Adventure (and yes, I realize this is a terrible picture of the entrance sign) because we were not quite sure what it was. It's a boat ride on the same lines as Pirates of the Caribbean and It's a Small World, complete with props and animatronics. It's a cute ride; and I forgot to include the picture, but the ride is housed in a MASSIVE container ship.

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I thought it was a cool touch that the signature on Marty's release form was Madagascar's director Tom McGrath.

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After A Crate Adventure, a thunderstorm rolled in and shut down many rides. We had finished just about everything we wanted, so we decided to take a break to let the storm pass.

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This was the third time within five months I've visited a park only to have their biggest coaster be closed. Oh well. Good luck BSG.

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Universal Studios Singapore is actually a rather small park. It is extremely easy to make your way from one end to the other.

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After Waterworld started up again, and after the thunderstorm passed over, we returned to Canopy Flyer. Our devious plan had worked, the line was down to a 20 minute wait.

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Canopy Flyer is the same concept as Pteranodon, minus the maximum height limit and horrific capacity. I already lucked out once getting my Pteranodon Flyer credit, and I'm glad I didn't have to go through it again for Singapore.

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The first half of the ride is nice and relaxing, but it actually gets a speedy finishing half. I rode the ride backwards, and thought that made it more fun than the average family coaster. I never got the chance to ride Roller Soaker, so I can't compare the two.

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We passed by Battlestar Galactica one more time on our way to the other side of the park. I keep forgetting that this was a Vekoma coaster, it's probably their most ambitious project to date.

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Transformers was easily my favorite ride of the trip. If you like action, explosions, and slow motion, this ride is for you.

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We finished our day by checking out Lights, Camera, Action with Steven Spielberg. The attraction is a mix between Disaster! and Twister, celebrating special effects by simulating a devastating hurricane in a New York City harbor warehouse. The preshow is not as fun as Disaster's, but the effects show is really cool.

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As the sun set, another thunderstorm unleashed itself on the island (thank goodness for the roof covering the midway). So we had dinner at one of the restaurants outside the park and had a nice time reflecting on the great day we had. No pictures could show the special family time we had as we waited outside the park for the storm to pass. Only a theme park like Universal could make something like that a memory.

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And one last picture. A bolt of lightning happened to light up the sky as the shutter snapped this picture. Thank you all for reading; more updates and big (or should I say "small") surprises are on the way!

 

So that was my day at Universal Studios Singapore, and it was one heck of a good day. The quality of the attractions and the atmosphere of the park were exactly as I have come to associate Universal's title with (or at least when I've had my best days at Universal). However, even though Battlestar Galactica was not the powerhouse popular attraction it looks like it should be, I feel that from a coaster enthusiast stand point the park could use that giant roller coaster to satisfy the thrill seekers. But that's a nitpick, the park is perfectly fine even without BSG. The small size makes it ideal for completion within a one day period and still have enough fun should you explore another day. I would love to see the direction this park takes, and maybe one day return.

 

During our stay at Singapore, we visited the S.E.A. Aquarium on Sentosa and the Singapore Zoo. I'll post some pictures from both places in a later update. Until then, we've got some more parks in the Philippines to get back to.

 

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The ride is not mentioned on the list of attractions, but it can still be seen on the map, albeit greyed out.

Edited by VinTheAttendant
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Good review! I was there just 4 weeks ago. It's a really good park, and the theming is outstanding!

 

I too was closely following the BSG issues, and was at least prepared for it to be closed, but there was still a bit of a pang seeing the giant structure in person and not being able to ride!

It's a real shame, as USS seems to be a little short on the "thrill ride" department of rides. The kids and family rides are excellent, but if BSG was up and running, there would be a perfect range of rides for everyone.

 

In regards to Canopy Flyer, I waited a little over 90 minutes, and regretted it massively! I gave in to my inner credit whore, and chose to tough out the wait, only to realise the coaster was pretty pathetic. I would much rather have ridden the Mummy a second time rather than waited for Canopy Flyer.

 

Also, anyone who has ridden Enchanted Airways, I read it is a custom Vekoma Junior, but it seems to follow the same layout at the 335m model... Not sure where the variation comes in... I also, for some reason, found this version to be actually quite forceful, much more than the other Vekoma Junior 335m model I rode at WB Movieworld Australia.

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Also, anyone who has ridden Enchanted Airways, I read it is a custom Vekoma Junior, but it seems to follow the same layout at the 335m model... Not sure where the variation comes in... I also, for some reason, found this version to be actually quite forceful, much more than the other Vekoma Junior 335m model I rode at WB Movieworld Australia.

 

You noticed that too? Good to know I'm not going crazy . Yeah, I'm not sure what the difference between Enchanted Airways and the 335m model other than the unique trains and restraints.

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Nice reports!! My wife and I just spent the last couple months in the Philippines. Wish I had known there was another enthusiast there. When I was at Star City, the line for the invert wrapped all the way around the ride and then some. Didn't have the time for it. And Blizzard was one of the worst rides I've ever been on. And Enchanted Kingdom was a little too far south for us.

 

Buuuut, there was a Wild Wind model up in Quezon City that was my favorite ride in the country. Not saying much, but that thing hauled! Glad you had a good time! The Transformers Ride in USS is probably the best non-coaster ride I've ever been on. Good stuff!

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^^^It's nothing ground-breaking, but it is a nice, classic boat-style dark ride. We also had a very entertaining ride operator as a bonus

 

^^Thanks a lot! That would have been insane if we happened to have gone to Star City on the same day. And it's good to know I haven't missed a thing by skipping out on Blizzard. I don't think my neck has forgiven me for my first go on it. Too bad you couldn't have gone to Enchanted Kingdom, then again, the less time you spend in a car in the Philippines, the better.

 

Thinking about it, I have to agree with you on Transformers; I think it really is one of my favorite non-coaster rides. And as for that Wild Wind ..... you might see me bring it up in a future update

 

^Thank you very much! Actually, reading your trip report on the park was one of the ways I was able to hype myself up for the park with BSG still being closed; so I have you to thank for that.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi guys! Thanks for all the responses, it's time for another update!

 

Part 3: Circle of Fun in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

 

So the date is actually January 9th, five days after Universal Studios. In between then was a bunch of adventures in Singapore, followed by a nice trip to the island of Bohol back in the Philippines. They're actually looking for tourism after Typhoon Yolanda, and the cleanup efforts looked really amazing, but I digress. After flying back to Luzon from Bohol, my family piled into our van and headed straight to Circle of Fun.

I'm going to be honest, I had doubts that this park even existed. They had no website, only a minimally run Facebook page; we had to get the hours of operation and the prices from a tourism site. I half expected pulling up to the site of the park and finding nothing. But after braving the horrible traffic of Metro Manila, we arrived at Quezon Memorial Circle, paid for parking, asked for directions to the park, and lo and behold, there it was!

 

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Circle of Fun is a relatively new amusement park. I believe it opened in 2009, and even my cousins, who go by this area a few times, did not know it existed. This place felt a lot like a park for locals. Unlike Enchanted Kingdom, there was a lot more signs in Tagalog. And probably the most bizarre thing about this park is its 30 Peso entry fee (30 Pesos = US$ 0.67).

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And this was the whole reason I wanted to visit here. For those of you who don't know, Rye Playland built the only Interpark Wild Wind model in America in their park, tested it a bunch of times, and then tore it down, claiming the G-Forces were too high. It's definitely interesting knowing there is a ride out there deemed "too intense for American audiences."

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According to RCDb, there are five known Interpark Wild Wind models operating (and one at a traveling fair I believe), and all the permanent models are in locations I doubt I will ever get to visit, so this was an exciting opportunity.

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On the other hand, it also looks like a possessed amateur welder put the track together, and a torture specialist assembled the ride train.

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The ride is brutal! The loop didn't black me out like I thought it would, but it did thoroughly slam my ear into the restraint. Despite being nearly unbearable, I still had it in me to laugh like a maniac throughout the ride.

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STORY TIME: So I wanted to get a picture Wild Wind in action as I couldn't find many good ones when I first found out about the ride. However, there was literally nobody in line when we went up to it. After our first round on the ride, my two cousins and my dad were out for the count. We waited a little to see if anyone else would ride so I could snap a picture, but all the other park goers kept their distance. Against our better judgement, my sister and I decided to go a second ride so my Dad could snap a picture of the train going through the loop. We got on the ride, and just as the coaster was in position, BOOM, the camera died. Luckily, our van was parked practically next to the coaster, and the rest of my family hanging out there were able to get new batteries for the camera; but now my sister had enough of the coaster, and nobody else in the entire park (and probably the entire city) wanted to ride. So I silently cried to myself and got back on the ride (the operators were enjoying my company.....or maybe it was my pain). I go through the ride, my dad snapped a picture with his phone while my sister got a picture with the camera. After three rides on this shaky, violent, out-of-the-way incredible coaster, I finally got the picture I wanted.

 

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That thumbs up......it's because I'm happy to be alive. (Note that there's both a lap bar and OTSRs)

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That was Wild Wind, and despite being a total sadist of a coaster, I'm really happy I got the chance to ride it. My family members who rode it now have an unforgettable story to tell, and I can claim that I got to ride one of the most bizarre, uncommon coaster models in the world.

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The other "coaster" in the park is Dragon.

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It's a powered coaster, looking similar to a Zamperla model. I don't count powered coasters, and I still had a pulsating headache after Wild Wind, so we passed it up.

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Oddly enough, this ride is not on RCDb.

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Dragon's station.

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It was a weekday evening, and the park had only been open for a few hours, but the park was EMPTY!

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An interesting thing with Wild Wind, a bunch of the few people there were extremely hesitant to ride. A couple teenagers were actually watching our group, seeing if we would go on it, and it was only when our group got on the ride that they would find the courage to board themselves.

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Adorable little go-kart track.

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We found this makeshift game stand with the challenge being karaoke (known in the Philippines as Videoke).

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The park had a Zamperla Skater. I'm not a fan of these, but it is nice seeing parks with these.

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It really is a great place for locals to take their children, and the most expensive ticket item in the park is 50 Pesos (US$ 1.12).

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It's not Deno's, but it is definitely an interesting looking wheel.

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It's like it was decapitated and pulled from RCT3!

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Lots of kiddie rides.....dead park.

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The park's Frog Hopper, and once again, no riders. Many ride operators in the park actually scrutinized our group, almost begging us to ride their rides.

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The pirate ship ride seemed to be the most popular ride in the park. There was never a line for it, but I saw it running much more frequently than the other rides.

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So I'm an idiot. I had seen this ride a bunch of times on TPR and always wanted to ride one. But that darn Wild Wind really put an end to riding rides for the time being.

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More fun looking flat rides.

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This was the third Filipino park I visited with bumper boats and those weird water ball things.

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Even though I didn't ride anything else, it really is a nice looking park for locals.

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I wonder if it's a coincidence that the first aid station is directly outside Wild Wind o_O

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This made me laugh. I love parks with a sense of humor.

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Learn Tagalog: Salamat Po is the equivalent of "Thank you very much" in English.

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And that was Circle of Fun, a very cute park with a very bizarre coaster in the middle of a busy city. The operating schedule is strange, and they hardly advertise themselves, but I really was glad I could stop by this place. If I'm ever back in Quezon City, I will be sure to stop by again.

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Just outside the park was an automatic coffee machine selling cups of coffee for 5 Pesos (US$ 0.11), can't pass that up!

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Leaving Quezon Memorial Circle was probably the biggest challenge of the day, but this park is just beautiful! I can't remember the last time I had this much fun while being lost.

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It sure was strange seeing Alien on this Aztec looking walkthrough. It's kind of like they had that statue lying around and just decided to throw it up on this attraction. At least it looks alright for a smaller park.

 

So that was Circle of Fun. It's not your average amusement park, and it's very different from Star City and Enchanted Kingdom; but for what it is, it's a very enjoyable little park. Everything is extremely inexpensive; I only spent approximately US$ 4.00 while there (including that cup of coffee). It's not a park I would ever go out of my way to visit again, but if you're ever in the area and want to brave the adorable little freak-of-nature that is Wild Wind.....good luck

 

This park may have been finished, but surprisingly, we visited another park this exact same evening. More pictures to come!

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