Chapter 17: The Chinese Knott's Berry Farm?--Chuanlord Holiday Manor
We next spent the afternoon at Chuanlord Holiday Manor, a park which presented a nice contrast with Chimelong Paradise. If the latter is the Chinese version of a "good Six Flags park," the former could be looked upon as the "Chinese version of Knott's Berry Farm"--a good, quirky regional park that emphasizes local culture and history (much like KBF, with its Ghost Town and Fiesta Village, mirrors the history and culture of southern California).
Everything about this park says "old China," from the sampans on its lake to the rustic interiors of the shops and restaurant to the natural, somewhat tropical landscaping. It's nice park for rambling around and taking in the sights. While the attractions are not exactly "world class," there are some interesting offerings:
Ghost Ship Gothenburg--This was my favorite haunted walk through of the whole trip; and, in true Chinese fashion, it "strains" the restrictions of copyrights held elsewhere. The preshow is a video using music and footage lifted from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the 1960s version of Mutiny on the Bounty (Marlon Brando even shows up in a few segments). I'm sure that other seafaring movies were plundered, as well. After the preshow, guests are ushered into the next chamber. Some are allowed to tour the ship, while others sit in the dark and listen to various scary sound effects before moving on. The tour itself consists of the pop-up haunted-house gags you'd expect, along with well-hidden live actors who aren't shy about whacking you with feather dusters and brooms as you walk by. The last part is a simulated storm, complete with a rocking floor and waves crashing against a window. We did this one twice, and they added an extra surprise at the end, which actually startled me a bit! This was the single best attraction in the park.
Gliding Wing--This was a zipline contraption using a pair of gondolas that held three or four people each. You get some nice views of the park as you glide over the lake.
Animal Show--This is the one time I've actually regretted missing a trained animal show. You have to love any show that features a goat and monkey balancing on a stool on a tightrope--or features an elephant slapping the crotches of volunteers from the audience with his trunk! (Dan has some video of this.)
We also got our Jungle Mouse and Sliding Dragon fix for the day at this park, as well as another one of those bizarre spinning coasters where the car looks like a flying saucer or a washing-machine agitator (see chapter 1). But, alas, the Golden Horse Spinning Coaster and the looping toboggan were down for maintenance. Such is the coaster enthusiast's lot.
We had a great dinner at this park, too--which included that TPR favorite, Mr. Fish.
As you can see, already quite a contrast with Chimelong Paradise.
The park's attractions are pretty well hidden by the vegetation. The park is fairly large, too.
Shouldn't the first sign on the lower left read "Passway of the Disabled Person"?
You are greeted by your lunch almost immediately.
These boats are actually dining rooms for a restaurant. We didn't eat in them, though.
Watch your step! (This area was later roped off and traffic was diverted around it.)
Like I said, there was a Knott's Berry Farm vibe to the place--only in Chinese.
Knott's has boysenberries. Chuanlord has mildly suggestive eggplants.
We were all afraid that we wouldn't get our Jungle Mouse fix for the day--thank god we found one!
The queue needs 30 minutes for what?
Everyone breathed a little easier after this. It's hard going "cold turkey" when you're a Jungle Mouse addict.
Those hooked on Sliding Dragons were satisfied, too.
"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, /A tale of a fateful trip . . ."
And now, the weirdness truly begins.
Oh no! They're stuck! Oh, the humanity!
Where there's bamboo, there's hope!
Hooray! Bamboo can fix anything! It's the Chinese duct tape!
"Always put your trust in bamboo, my American friend."
"Thank you, o venerable, wise giraffe."
The buildings and vegetation hid quite a few rides and attractions.
"Yes, I'm legal and fully licensed, citizen."
My best guess is that this is a lizard in a top hat. On the right. Just to make sure that's clear.
"Where's the restroom! I need it bad!"
Judging by the funk and mist emanating from that door, the bull found the toilet.
I remember when Busch Gardens Williamsburg had one of these. It was near where the entrance to Apollo's Chariot is today.
Oh dear lord.
Yep--another "looping toboggan." But it was out of commission.
Robb checked to see if the ride would open, but no luck (thanks for trying, Robb). Whether this was good or bad fortune is, of course, subjective. More to come.
Mr. Fish was quite tasty, indeed. In fact, this was probably the best Chinese meal we had after we left Chendu (and before the very nice Cantonese dinner in Hong Kong). I knew absolutely nothing about Chuanlord before we got there, and was very pleasantly surprised by the park.
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