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Photo TR: China Theme Parks By Public Transport.


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OMG that was amazing! Stunning views! I can't describe how much I would like to do something like that!

About that twisty road:

Top Gear could have fun here.

Haha! That was the first thing I thought!

I think my favourite photos are:

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That's so steep!!

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Thanks for all the comments. Much appreciated.

 

The second day in Zhangjiajie was spent at the other national park. It's about a 40min bus trip from the central bus station. There are mini buses about every 10mins and its about 3 dollars each way.

 

Here is the best map I could find online of the area (I had a much better one from my hostel though) yellow routes are buses

It's a massive place and you could take several days here (A ticket lasts 3 days).

 

This is also a decent map showing more of the trekking routes

 

Again I'll let the pictures do the talking.

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Arriving at the front gate.

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You have to buy a pass from the entrance which lasts 3 days. There are many routes up to to the top all accessible by a shuttle bus from the entrance. I got off at the first stop and took the cable car up.

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Another massive cable car route.

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While not as long it is certainly impressive.

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They say the mountains round here are where the inspiration for Avatars flying mountains came from.

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And you can see why. Especially later on.

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Another impressive feat of engineering.

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The views from the top. Again very foggy.

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At the top of the cable car there are free shuttle buses that run to various points in the park.

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You could easily spend 3 or 4 days up here and not see everything. There are hiking routes, River trips, caves and a ton of viewing points.

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My first stop was a series of viewing points in an area known as the West Sea Scenic Area according to the map.

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A pagoda sits atop one of the cliffs.

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Some of the Limestone Karsts are massive.

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There are pretty impressive views from everywhere up here.

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And in the middle of nowhere in a National Park on top of a mountain. A McDonalds.

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Impressive Statue.

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I took note and went that way.

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Lovely walk down to the cliff edge.

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And the sign was right. It was impressive.

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I just wish it was a clearer day.

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But it was still pretty epic.

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I jumped on the shuttle to the next stop where down about 100 steps was a nice cafe. Time for a beer.

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Not a bad view from the cage either.

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I went for a little wander down one of the tracks.

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More Karsts seen through the trees.

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The next stop on the shuttle had another one of these.

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There are a ton of viewing points near the area known as The Greatest Natural Bridge.

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It's a long long way down.

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As i walked round the views never got any worse.

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Thankfully it wasn't too busy.

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The walkways are nowhere near as terrifying as Tianmen mountain so this park is better for the less adventurous.

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There's still some pretty big drops though

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The classic padlocks to symbolism a relationship.

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Maybe i went a bit overboard on the pictures.

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But it's a gorgeous place.

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And like nothing I've ever really experienced.

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I stopped at one viewing point and to my surprise saw....

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.... some nutter hanging off the cliff by a chain.

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He did some tricks and ran along the cliff side.

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If you look closely you can see the banner from the previous picture. He was a long way up.

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Wouldn't do that in a million years.

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While most of the park is nice and clean there are some issues with rubbish where the cleaners clearly can't reach.

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Almost at the Greatest Natural Bridge.

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There are lots of areas within walking distance but be prepared for a long day.

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More locks.

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And the Greatest Natural Bridge (Their words) itself.

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You can walk all around the Karst on the left.

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Not a sign you really want to see when in a forest.

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Noted!

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More and more viewing points.

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More and more pictures from said viewing points.

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At this point you can throw money at turtles.

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Both fake ones.

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And real ones who don't seem to phased by the shower of coins.

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It does seem quite odd though.

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Next up was a famous tree.

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I'm not sure why it's immortal as the sign wasn't in English. (most of them are)

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A bridge over a chasm was my next challenge.

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It's not a small drop either.

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Gulp!

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No one wants lifelong regret!

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I caught the shuttle bus to the elevator next as it was getting late.

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The view from the bottom of the elevator.

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And what an elevator it is.

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I suppose if you are going to build an elevator in a forest on a cliff you might as well go all out.

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I caught the mini bus back to the city and spotted this slightly disturbing statue.

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The view from my hostel was not great :( but it was a nice enough place. Next up back to the Theme Parks and Happy Valley Shanghai.

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You know, I was going to select my favourite pictures but then I realised they were practically all of them.

Great photos once again and what a breathtaking site! Truly stunning!

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I walked all the way from the cable car to the elevator. It took me a couple of hours but it was worth it as the scenery was outstanding.

 

I loved Zhangjiajie National Park. I allocated two days there but could have easily spent a week in the region.

 

You trip report is bringing back some great memories for me. Thanks for sharing it.

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What an incredible TR, Zhangjiajie looks amazing and unlike anything I've seen before, very dream-like! Closest description I can think of would be the Grand Canyon meets Switzerland via the Amazon rainforest. When looking at the rather exposed glass walkway however all I could think of was your much earlier picture of the mechanic re-attaching the seatbelt to that knock-off SLC, hmm......

 

From a personal perspective, there's really not a whole lot it seems to entice me to explore China for it's theme parks, the handful of actually impressive rides have a 50% chance of not even being open, combined with the smog, geographical distances, cleanliness issues etc, a lot of these places seemed like they were out of my occasional bizarre theme park related nightmares, especially with all that weird imagery and smog. I'd imagine if you have a strong interest in China and the culture you could easily accept and look beyond these issues. Their trains do look very very good indeed and I too wish we could have something remotely close to that in the UK but there are obvious reasons that allow China to do these epic projects in crazy time frames (and it's not all good).

 

Having been to Japan (and loved everything about it) I think i'd struggle to visit China and be equally impressed, but maybe I'm being a bit naive and should take a chance!

 

As I said at the start, really incredible reports and photos, thanks so much for your effort!

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^ Visit China if you get the chance. It's not as bad as people described. But maybe I'm just not interested in going to all those "People Parks" for credit whoring. Living in Canton doesn't give you much chance to see the horrible smog.

 

We are planning to visit Zhangjiajie next year, thanks for the TR! Now I know what to expect.

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Sorry for the slight delay in getting the next update out. This updates huge too :S

 

Happy Valley Shanghai was my last park on this leg of the trip and It’s one I've visited before. The park is easy to get to and can be reached on the Shanghai Metro Line 9. There is a shuttle bus from the park that leaves from outside Sheshan station (You have to cross over the foot bridge to the other side of the road) and the bus takes about 5 minutes to reach the park entrance.

 

Shanghai’s Happy Valley is one of the best in the chain and is truly colossal in size. The ride line up is also second to none in China with a B&M Dive Machine. Intamin Mega Lite and Gravity Group Wooden Coaster just to start things off. But the real reason for my second visit here was the brand new and unique B&M family suspended coaster. Some people might say B&M have been in the practice of building family rides for some time but this is the first one advertised as such and using a new track and train system.

 

The track is smaller than traditional B&M track and uses new 2 across trains not seen on any B&M so far. This is in stark contrast to the huge track used on the Dive Machine on the other side of the park. The Dive Machine was closed on this visit but as I've ridden it before it wasn't too much of a let down.

 

The Mega Lite and Fireball are both world class rides and Fireball especially is an incredible ride. Arguably one of the best wooden coasters in the world Happy Valley have managed to keep it running smoothly and it seemed to be running even better than my visit 3 years previously.

 

The new kids area is excellent and themed to an undersea world which fits in well with the indoor area behind the suspended coaster. There are new jumping fountains and a selection of new flat rides to go with the coaster and it was easily the busiest area of the park today.

 

Another ride of note is the parks Intamin mine train. A rare ride in itself it is miles ahead of any other mine train in China with a much better more intense layout and excellent themeing to go with it. The only downside of this park is due to its size the themeing doesn't always feel as cohesive and as connected as it does at some of the smaller Happy Valleys. But when the park is this good its only a minor niggle.

 

If you happen to be in Shanghai then this park has to be worth a visit. And will provide a nice accompaniment to the up and coming Shanghai Disney providing a solid collection of thrilling coasters to go with Disney’s more family orientated park.

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My flight from Zhangjiajie took just over 2 hours.

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Arriving in Shanghai, The flight was late and I almost missed my connection on the metro.

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The next day I got up and headed to my final H

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Halloween decorations were out.

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They had some nice touches around. This was in the Wild West Area.

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But my first port of call was the new Happy Ocean area.

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From the bridge you get a

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Aha this is what I wanted to see.

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It's almost a Chinese knock off coaster. But It's not.

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I've long had a theory that since Vekoma's rides started appearing in knock off form after selling rides to Happy Valley that they refuse to build rides for them anymore and B&M were asked instead. That's pure conjecture but it explains the lack of any Vekoma's in the new parks.

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The ride itself was quite enjoyable.

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It's pretty much what you expect from a suspended family coaster.

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It seems smoother than the Vekoma SFC.

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And arguably a bit better.

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The small B&M track is a little odd.

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The whole area is very nicely done.

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B&M's new 2 seater cars.

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A first for one of their own rides I think.

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The ride isn't particularly intense

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But that's what you expect from a family ride.

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I felt the helix was a little less powerful on this version but the outward leg is better with the up and over crossovers.

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Jumping fountains.

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They've used a Vekoma SLC on the logo. Not only that it's the same image used on the Dive Machine Logo.

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This is the main difference between the Vekoma and B&M rides. The B&M one dives under the return leg where as the Vekoma one stays above.

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Close up of the new trains.

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The final helix.

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The ride was quite popular and took about 20 mins to get through the queue.

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One for the lift hill geeks.

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Down the first drop.

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People certainly seemed to enjoy the ride.

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And it does look gorgeous in it's setting.

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The indoor area seems to have been re-themed to be under the sea. But I cant really remember it from last time.

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But it's very nice anyway.

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The famous shoot the Elves santa ride can be found in here. Its brilliant.

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And there are plenty of flats for the kids in here too.

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Back outside I took another ride on this.

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It seems an odd choice for B&M who seem really busy at the moment anyway but I guess why not.

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After my second ride I headed off down the back of the park for some more rides.

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Crazy Elves is the parks wild mouse. It has a shiny new sign too.

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Thankfully not another Golden Horse model.

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But a proper real life Zamperla

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I had the credit already so I skipped it this time.

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Although the queue was pretty short.

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Round the back of the ride is the bridge back to the Wild West area.

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From that bridge there's a view with something we all like to see.

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I see you over there. But first your Intamin brother.

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Approaching from the back of the mine train you can see it tunnels all around the themeing.

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Its a damn good ride too.

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One of the best mine trains out there.

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So much better than the Vekoma one's in the other parks.

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Great first drop.

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I next took a ride in the Flying Island which was closed last time I was here.

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This is one of the best rides in the country but more on that later.

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There is a great view of the mine train from up here.

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The outskirts of Shanghai in the background

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Some of the mine trains many helix's

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I do really like this ride and wish they'd build more.

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This thing was closed today :( but I've already got the credit so not the end of the world.

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The Mega Lite was calling me so I was going to head their next.

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Despite looking like it has awesome themeing it is actually behind those rocks.

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The wild mouse.

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Looking down on B&M's mini creation.

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An overview of the area.

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And that final helix again.

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Heading round to the Mega Lite there are a few more rides.

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And the entrance to the currently closed water park.

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The Coastal Ant is the parks tiny kiddie ride and its hidden in the trees.

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Chinese Credit Whore?

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Nice view over the bridge to the mega lite.

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Some riders get a taste of Fireballs yummy M&V and Gravity Group goodness.

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Love this ride a lot too.

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Some of the rockwork themeing on the way to the Mega Lite. There is a small stage in this area.

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Finally arrived.

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This is a great ride. I'm not really a massive airtime guy but I do like the quick changes in direction.

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Walk on mega lites. The world needs these.

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The cable lift is amazingly fast.

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Train 2 hasn't been used in some time I feel.

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This is a lot of fun.

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Up we go.

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And over the first air time spot.

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This ride has a lot of fun packed into a very small space.

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And breathe...

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Some interesting merchandise available. Guns and guitars.

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Some more weird flats.

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Ah hello Mrs Beckham.

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The rapids. I again missed it today.

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It may be shut but it looks good.

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The ride is a clone of Shiekra.

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And just as good. It lacks the themeing but I felt this one goes over the second drop a bit quicker.

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The view across the lake is excellent.

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The track is MUCH bigger than the rides little sister across the park.

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The fan curve before the splash down.

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Not one but 2 vertical drops. (yes i know the 2nd one probably isnt quite vertical)

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The one and only inversion.

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A view into the lake. Wobbly coaster.

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This ride seems tiny next to the Dive Machine.

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This park has a Gyro Swing and its bloody brilliant.

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I don't know why Wuhan went with the Frisbee because this is miles better in every way.

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More wobbly rides. More pictures after the break. (sorry for the massiveness of the update)

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The last few files. Didn't realise i had so many pictures. But the park is HUGE.

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Heading back towards the entrance I had one last major ride to hit.

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Yup this thing. And my favorite ride in the park.

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It's up there as possibly my number one woodie (I cant chose between this and White Lightning)

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Plenty of airtime all over.

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Arggggggggggg

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That doesn't look like fireball to me.

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This sign is more accurate.

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The parks shot towers sit here too.

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The Happy Time begins.

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The ride had about a 40minute queue making it the most popular in the park I think. Although they did only run the one train.

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It was riding as well as if not better than in 2012.

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The ubiquitous double decker.

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Hey there.

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Sweet ride.

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The soarin knock off was actually open. Its pretty cool but they go a bit overboard with the Chinese landmarks. They really stuff them in.

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A last look over the lake towards Fireball and time for some food.

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The early Happy Valley parks have KFC's.

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But after 2 weeks in China with tons of great Chinese food I was still craving one thing.

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PIZZA... Glorious Pizza. - Next up a side trip to Tokyo and a bit of Disney.

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Another set of great photos! The two rides that have always intrigued me are the Intamin mine train, whick looks great weaving in and aoround the theming, and Fireball, which has a great looking layout for a wood coaster.

 

In what way does the Intamin Gyro Swing differ from the Huss Giant Frisbee? Better restraints? Better overall ride expereience?

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After Shanghai I had plans to spend 10 days in Tokyo with 6 friends. This wasn't going to be theme park heavy but as I arrived a day earlier than everyone else I decided to treat myself and book myself into the Mira Costa hotel at DisneySea and visit the 2 Disney parks.

 

I've visited DisneySea before but I'd missed Tokyo Disney Land last time I was in Tokyo. I had a friend joining me the day after and as he'd never been to either park I decided to do Disney on the first day and DisneySea the second.

 

So once I'd checked into Mira Costa I headed to Disney for the evening.

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The entrance to Mira Costa is impressive.

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The view from my room.

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I'd never stayed at a Disney hotel before. I was impressed. The level of service was impeccable.

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My room was a decent size for one person.

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And best of all. JAPANESE TOILETS.

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I headed out to catch the monorail to the other park.

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Love the monorails here.

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The entrance to Tokyo DisneyLand

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The main street is under cover.

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I headed to Space Mountain first.

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Queues were variable. Space Mountain was an hour and a half but some rides were less than 15mins.

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It got dark pretty quickly.

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The view from Space Mountains queue.

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I like the escalator halfway through the queue.

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Almost there now.

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Inside the Space Mountain station.

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The space ship.

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I enjoyed the ride but missed the music you find on the Hong Kong version.

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The ride looks great at night.

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Star Tours was a walk on so I headed there next.

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Lots of cool details in the queue.

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I've not ridden a Star Tours since I was a kid in Florida.

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Good ride and an excellent queue.

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The park is stunning at night.

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And like China had the Halloween stuff out.

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Heading into Adventure Land.

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Gorgeous. The river boats were packed so I skipped them today.

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The treehouse.

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Heading into Frontier Land.

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The castle also looks stunning lit up.

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Thunder Mountain was down for rehab. But I knew this in advance.

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They go all out for Halloween.

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More shiny things.

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Small World was also closed. But I was less fussed about this.

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The Seven Dwarfs ride was interesting but not great.

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There was a good parade going on when I came across.

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I didnt stay too long as I had more rides to do.

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I hit Whinnie The Pooh while It finished but I dont seem to have any pictures. It is however arguably the best ride here. Up there with Mystic Manor for awesomeness.

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Love the Halloween stuff everywhere.

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Dumbo and the Castle.

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next up was the haunted mansion.

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These rides are a Disney favorite of mine.

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These things gave me nightmares as kids.

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They had the Christmas theme going on. I can't believe the refit the whole ride for this. And its epic.

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Even more Haloween stuff than usual.

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The ride system.

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The last coaster which I had to get. Was also a walk on.

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You know what to expect with a roller skater.

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More Halloween.

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I missed the fireworks while heading to Monsters Inc.

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Toon Town looked nice but was pretty quiet.

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A soon to be closed raceway.

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Monsters Inc was good fun. Really enjoyed it.

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The queue being in English and Japanese was a nice touch.

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Heading out here is the other major hotel on site.

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I had the choice of the 2. And while I hear good things about both I just had to stay in Mira Costa for the view.

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Heading back to the hotel.

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One thing I love about Disney here is the ice cubes in the Scotch.

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A whole massive globe every time. Its a small touch but its amazing.

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And a nice Manly (cough) cocktail to end the night on.

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See you tomorrow DisneySea.

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As I was treating myself I had breakfast delivered in the morning. It was ok but Japan never really got the hang of European breakfasts.

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I met my friend James who being 6ft 4 and blonde was fairly easy to find. And headed into Disney Sea. As I was with a friend I didnt take too many pictures today but we hit all the main rides. Queues were pretty long all day though.

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However Japanese riders haven't mastered the single rider so we walked right to the front on a few rides.

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Including this. Its an OK ride but I don't feel it rates anywhere near as well as any other ride in the park.

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Indiana Jones is an awesome ride though.

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As is this. It may be in Japanese but it's just a great ride. I still don't know how they make the statue do what it does.

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Street Performance.

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After Journey we headed to the Roosevelt Bar on the ship and had more Whisky :)

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At night this thing looks amazing but we had to head off to meet the rest of the group in Tokyo.

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The liner from the other side of the lake.

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Heading out.

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Goodbye Mira Costa. I enjoyed my stay. Next up LaQua

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Mmmm, I would love to stay at the MiraCosta Hotel for a night or three.

But - for now, the wonderful Tokyo Bay Hilton at TDLR will do, in the future.

 

Great interior shots of the hotel and your room! Everything looks just beautiful.

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How old is Happy Valley Shanghai's gyro-swing? Perhaps they went with it because it was second hand and cheaper? Seoul's children's park recently removed theirs in the last few years even though it was included in the concept art for the renewal. Heck i'm not sure it even had any riders at children's grand park, i've never seen pictures of it operating or with riders. I think it was installed just before the park shut for an overhaul, then when the construction walls came down it was gone. Kind-of curious where it went and China seems likely considering Lotte World already has its own gyro-swing.

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I know i promised Thunder Dolphin and that will come I just felt this day was too weird not to put up. It may not be coaster related but its a good example of Tokyo#s maddness.

 

Tokyo and other Asian cities are well known for their animal cafes. I've visited a Cat Cafe in Seoul before and now one has even opened in London. The main reason for them is that with sky high property prices in city centres many people can't afford their own flat and rent. Landlords don't allow pets in the flats so a variety of pet cafes have popped up to provide some sort of solution.

 

It's a little weird to go and see cats in a starbucks environment but at least with the one i visited the cats were well looked after (somewhat better than the humans it seemed) and it was an interesting concept.

 

Tokyo has taken this concept further and within the city you can find Cat, Dog, Goat, Reptile and even a Penguin cafe (you can't pet the Penguins ) However the star of the show was the wonderfully weird Owl Cafe.

 

Some people will obviously have issues here with keeping animals in captivity. Especially animals such as owls. And it does seem a bit weird. Although I didn't/couldn't get into detail with the staff about how the owls are looked after due to my lack of Japanese the staff did seem very caring and careful with the owls themselves. Beyond that I can't say much.

 

However putting that aside here are some pictures of the deliciously weird Tokyo Owl Cafe.

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The owl cafe is exactly what it says. It is a cafe with Owls.

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There are many owls.

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Some of them look like Pixar characters.

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To get in you have to turn up early and book a slot later in the day. Each slot is an hour long.

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Some of the Owls are huge.

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The long sighted owls seem more concerned with the larger owls than you.

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The owls are rotated so only certain ones are in the cafe and available to hold each day.

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Staring contests are tough with owls.

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You hold a small rope attached to a leg. We didnt have any trouble with them if they seem agitated the staff are their quickly to either put them down or show you what your doing wrong.

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They all seemed pretty curious.

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And perpetually surprised.

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This one liked Oli's Viking style hair I think.

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I'm not sure if they are trained to deliver letters.

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I am convinced this one is plotting against humanity.

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There are plenty of owls to go around of all sizes.

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The staff will help you pick up and put down different owls.

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Some of them are stupidly cute.

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Stare into my eyes.

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their freakishly large head rotation is very odd.

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I see you there.

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James does a good impression of his Owl

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This was my owl for a while.

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See... Plotting... Downfall.

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These 2 were pretty inseparable.

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And so so soft too.

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Our hour was coming to an end.

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Awwwwwwwwwwww

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I will kill you ALL!...

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MWHAHAHAHAHA

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  • 7 months later...

Met a guy from China on the bus today...we had a great time going through this report and talking about the theme parks and national parks. Thanks so much for posting!

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Met a guy from China on the bus today...we had a great time going through this report and talking about the theme parks and national parks. Thanks so much for posting!

 

Glad you liked it.

 

With this late bump it has occurred to me i never posted my usual final video of the trip.

 

This video features among other things, Happy Valley Beijing/Wuhan, Dance Dance Revolution, Chinese Knock Off SLC's, ROBOT CAFE, a man wearing a frog as his unmentionables, Drift Racing, Crazy motorbike jumps, the Tokyo sky tree, The insane glass walk in the national park, Thunder Dolphin, Karaoke and bullet trains.

 

I dare you to find another video on the internet featuring all those things

 

[vimeo]

[/vimeo]
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