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A New Chapter in China #3 - Summary


Theme Park Superhero
Ah, China. The bane of my life, but I can't get enough. It's been two-and-a-half long months since I could visit and they've built and closed a hundred more things I want to try in that time.

The plan was to go to Europe around this time, but as no one can open anything in a timely fashion, might as well have another crack.

Nothing exciting in terms of travel. Landed in Shanghai. Picked up a SIM card. Phoned Suzhou Amusement Land.
Is Beyond the Cloud running?

Unintelligible noises.

Jumped straight on the world's fastest Maglev for maximum efficiency, but was once again treated to the 'slow cycle' capped at a mere 300km/h. Regular high speed trains would regularly outstrip this for the rest of the trip again but it beats the metro equivalent of that particular journey a hundredfold at least.
From the end of that it was metro anyway to Shanghai Railway Station. High speed train to Suzhou. Dump bags at the hotel. Didi to the park. Breathe.

Day 1 - Suzhou Amusement Land Forest World again


Even when you do get positive confirmation it's never a guarantee in this game. The nerves were high as I powered over to the ticket office, gazing distractedly at the magnificent blue top hat all the while. A train crested it. A scream.


And thus, Beyond the Cloud only manages to tie with Wood Coaster for the honour of my worst spite. Third time's the charm. The queue was just about trailing to the bottom of the station stairs and took around 30 minutes, so, 4 trains.


I'd never actually seen the trains, but here they are. Non-headlight editions. Noticed some fun details while waiting like the fact the LSMs have little cooling fans and tubes mounted underneath them, which fire up just for the launch sequence. Must get pretty hot those things.


Talking of pretty hot, god damn, this ride. After so much more anticipation than I usually allow myself, mainly circumstantial of course, it was everything I wanted, and more.

The launch is nothing overly special, beyond being the fastest Mack and all that. A smooth acceleration into an interestingly rough transition - there's quite an intense judder as it heads up into the top hat, but a characterful one that added to the experience on this occasion. A reminder that this thing is gonna kick my ass.

Top hat happens in no time at all, with a bit more kick at the top than your average accelerator one of these and then a full on, wild, first drop type experience on the way down with some legitimately scary airtime, especially for a Mack I must say. And herein lies the strengths of this ride, something I perhaps didn't expect. Violent ejector punctuates proceedings on multiple occasions.


As such, the super fast inversion almost manages to be the most pedestrian part of the layout. Sadly this didn't ride like a Blue Fire roll, which would have amped the whole intensity even more, but you're soon up into the big twisty turnaround.


Which reminded me a bit of Zadra, with another fantastic lurch downwards. Then it goes straight into another ejector hill, which was pretty obscene.


Before what, on paper, seemed like a questionable choice of inversion sequence. Cobra roll? They're never good. Vertical loopings? Yawn.
Not so, the cobra is profiled in a rather uninterrupted way when it comes to forces, which, leading directly into the loop at such high speed and being, unusually, the last inversion of the layout, gave a ridiculously strong amount of sustained positives. After a few laps I was getting pins and needles in my feet from this, badly. A feeling I haven't felt since... 2018 Batman La Fuga. And I loved it.

Then just to wake you up again, bam, brutal ejection into the brakes.

I'm still in the processing stage for this ride, it certainly took my breath away in multiple ways. It's a tad short, it's not perfect, but a Mack launch having more and better airtime than Helix and RtH, as the world's biggest fan of those rides, scares me. Multi-launch this and you're looking at a list breaker. The year of the Mack just got even more exciting.

For now, it's the best steel coaster in China by quite a margin and, given the way their woodies are deteriorating, probably not far off the best they have to offer full stop.
For me, I'll keep you posted. At least top 25.


Something that somewhat shocked me in the planning stages of this trip is that the park has added another cred since I was last in the country. They couldn't even open the ones they already had, but they could build more in no time at all.

Anyway this Goose Coaster had stopped itself on the lift hill and, to their credit, they were actually doing something about it. Am I going to remain forever spited by this park though?


Meanwhile I did their flying theatre because I hadn't done it yet, I guess. It was, ok, I guess. Done soooooo many that they're like the Vekoma juniors of the dark ride world now. There's like 10 more this trip alone, so stay tuned for that fun. Most memorable thing about it was that it flew over the old Suzhou Amusement Land, which used to be elsewhere in the city. Was a nice touch.

Back over at the goose things were looking slow. Endless test laps and an ambiguous response from the staff. Oh well, Beyond the Cloud had reduced itself to being basically walk on, so rode that a bunch more while keeping one eye on the potential +1.

The ride was injuring me in multiple ways before I finally stopped, would have stayed longer but had been up for well over 24 hours at this point. And the goose had reopened.


A magnificent specimen and close out to the day.

Up next - spite


Strata Poster
Nice job. Sounds like the best outcome you could've hoped for in terms of ride quality? Would've been a bummer if the Mack hadn't been all that special, especially with how hard it was to maintain hype after multiple spites.


Roller Poster
Glad to hear the Mack is indeed as good as it looks - Beyond The Cloud is top of my list for my China trip this September, though I'm pretty worried about it spiting after your experiences...


Staff member
Social Media Team
Glad you finally got the Mack. It's the best one of theirs that I've done so far and is definitely one of the best Chinese steel coasters currently. I'm trying to think what I might put higher, and off the top of my head can only really think of Dinoconda.


Theme Park Superhero
Off to a new city the next morning, by the name of Huai'an. Why?

Day 2 - Xiyou World of Adventures Resort


More of a dark ride park for me this one, I remember looking online and exclaiming damn this stupid hobby because, by visiting, I'd be obliged to ride Chinese Goudurix. We definitely peaked with coasters on the first day here, so feel free to check out any time you like.


There's a big tourist centre and what could loosely be described as a citywalk with restaurants a significant walk away from the main gate, where tickets were purchased.


I didn't do much further research beyond the above, so headed in with relative excitement to see what we could discover.


First stumbled across their cookie cutter mine train, save for the monkey face on the front. The park is predominantly themed to Journey to the West, so Monkey King and his gang. Nothing new there on the Chinese park scene anyway.


It had a few trains wait and was slow as hell, but above average rockwork I guess. Even a few peaches to decorate the final brakes.


Round the corner in some more rocks was the first dark ride of the day. Loosely billed as the origin story of old mate Sun Wukong, it seemed we were going around the park in chronological order at least.


The ride was a Peter Pan style suspended boat type thing, which I must admit I hadn't expected as I can't think of another one like this in the whole of China.


It was built by Jiuhua Rides (who?). Wonder if they have more. Anyway it had some good stuff and some not so good stuff.


Physical sets weren't bad in places, a few need some tlc.


The media based bits were poor, with a company logo or DEMO plastered all over them (made it easier to identify them for the database at least), sometimes not working, sometimes not synced up etc. Story was confusing too and not usually how it goes down. Eh, different.


From there, stumbled blindly into this flying theatre. This one told the story of when he got mad one day and kicked off, started some fights in heaven and then got stomped on by a big Buddha. Fantawild have a revolving theatre about it.


Another weird one, it just didn't flow that well, although was different for a flying theatre at least. Ended hilariously by just fading to black on said stomping though. Where do we go from here?


Next building had a show in it, said to come back later. Wish we hadn't.


Next building looked rather impressive and unique. Story was a new one too, something about spiders in the Pansi cave.


Monkey's mate Piggy likes the ladies and some spider ladies had lured him into some cave and webbed him up good. The result was a motion-based trackless dark ride from a company I hadn't come across before now - Playfun.

It lacked the motion part somewhat and it's interesting to see the 'inspirations' being passed down throughout these ride systems now. From Transformers, to the Fantawild ones, now onto these more obscure Chinese brands, they all like to riff off of these same specific moments. Same framework, different story. Fun though. We got out of the cave.


Chinese Goudurix was closed. I didn't know how to feel. Mostly relief of course, but the cred hunter in me obviously wanted the +1 and to a lesser extent the morbidly curious coaster enthusiast in me wanted to at least try the largest coaster ever created by Hebei Zhongye Metallurgical Equipment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. I've pretty much hated everything else they've ever done with a passion.


The cobra roll in particular looks disgusting from off ride.


But, credit to them, for all those places that claim something is closed for 'maintenance', there was actually genuine maintenance going on in the station. I fear it's not enough.

What a pity, never mind.


From there you reach the centrepiece of the park, the massive rock structure with palace bits sticking out of it. I had no idea what it was, but surely it must contain a ride, right?


First attempt to clamber up some stairs led to a huge, but closed, door. And this sign at least. Know your audience.

Then, after a parade had passed through the plaza below, another tunnel further round led to the next dark ride. Not signposted at all from that particular end. Exploration at its finest.

This one is trippy. Billed on the sign (if you enter from another angle) as Monkey goes to India to find a book, there's very little Monkey going on and you visit several different locations. The vehicles are big motion based things again, shaped like a flower or shell, but rather than your usual jerky motions they have a rythmic sway to them. They slowly pitch you around and dance in front of each scene, for much longer than you would expect from most dark rides, it's kinda funky.


Enter Thailand, pass by some stuff, pause, turn round, sway and dance for a while looking at the same scenery, turn, move on.


Enter Fata Morgana, the same.

Enter some projection room with fancy lights on a palace and fireworks, the same.


Enter some British blokes on steam trains, the same.


Then you end up in a Chinese High Speed Railway Station in your big conch and exit on the left.
And we haven't got to the ride where you walk through a woman's body yet.


Well, that's the next one. The guy on the door could only really describe this one as 'a film', so we headed in the massive queue which is more of a 'walkthrough' experience I guess. We're looking for the plantain fan to help us cross the flaming mountains.


You enter the mouth anyway, Monkey's head is sticking out of the wall of the lungs somehow.


Some long, winding pink ramps fill this huge chamber with a big glowing heart in the centre of it. I admire the commitment to theme here, as there's a couple of service/backstage staff doors that also have their own winding pink ramps that are unnecessarily shaped.


I thought this was cool, the statue rotates to form two distinct shadows.



Then mountains. Then disappointment at a tiny room with seats that clearly can't move. Is this not a dark ride. Then excitement at the fact that there's no screen or projections, we're just staring at a wall. Something must move.


And move it did, it's like carousel of progress but facing outwards, a revolving theatre that stops in several scenes. Monkey pretends to be the Bull King and goes to his wife to ask for the fan we wanted. She gives it, then finds out and gets annoyed, Bull King shows up, bit of a fight. Then the backdrop changes and random light show because we've got to show off our projection mapping technology I guess. Need I say, bit of a weird one.


And we're not done yet, around the next corner was yet another dark ride. A robot arm one to be specific.


This guy really didn't wanna ride.


Back to some more action based misadventures this one had a very similar vibe to the Suzhou Amusement park one with the big worm, cos it had a big floppy monster head instead, in a similar location, which wasnt very good. Here's a diagram, woo:


It entered the same revolving projection screens in an obvious fashion too. The system was rather fun though, had some hilariously overstated tip you up on your back moments for seemingly little reason, quite intense in that regard. This one we now know was made by [someone], there's a plaque to prove it, I haven't deciphered it yet.


Behold! Actual maintenance.


And we can't have a trip without a cat photo can we.

Thus concludes the rides at this park. Stuck around for the two shows because I thought they might be impressive. They really weren't.


First one we had come across in the morning was trash, a Stitch Encounter style theatre thing that had the audience interacting with Nezha - the cool kid who usually beats up the dragons in Dragon King's Tale. Many guests just upped and left halfway through, but as is the English way, I put up with it for fear of a slight on my character amongst total strangers.


There was a better, more genuine theatre performance for the other show. It just wasn't that engaging and by this point we were just so done with the damn Monkey King.


He's on every damn ride (except when he didn't show up in India) and here he's just being a dick. Ruins some woman's tree. Gets his ass kicked by a guy. Restores the tree. Like why are we supposed to like this guy at this point?

And then we left.

I had fun here, mainly because I enjoy all this discovery and new experience business. There's nothing great going on in the park, I probably rated the dancing ride the most for the technology and effort in the early scenes. The place itself looks pretty good, but it feels way more than two or three years old already and there's a marked step down in attraction quality when we compare it to the inevitable baseline that is Fantawild. Ah, my beloved Fantawild...

Up next - Fantawild


Giga Poster
Glad you finally got the Mack. It's the best one of theirs that I've done so far and is definitely one of the best Chinese steel coasters currently. I'm trying to think what I might put higher, and off the top of my head can only really think of Dinoconda.
Starry Sky Ripper?


Theme Park Superhero
Starry Sky Ripper?

Elsewhere in Huai'an, but also not really in Huai'an is the newest Glorious Orient park from Fantawild. Like several other of their resorts it's a good hours drive out of the city centre in a bit of a no-mans land, but that also means they have plenty of room to grow I guess.


Case in point, one of their new Boonie Bear Harbour parks is going up over the road. One of these has opened so far and it was a smaller lineup of park aimed more at families - no big cred. Still had a unique dark ride though, so that'll be enough for me one day.

Day 3 - Glorious Orient Huai'an


And so we're here again, sort of. Glorious Orient Ningbo was an experience, a highly competent park that was a bit of a disappointment in terms of tone. Going in knowing this, I think the theme has grown on me.


*Flying Theatre music plays* Skip!
This one isn't hiding in military guise however, spaceships?


Started strong on the cold steel of Sky Track. Other guests hadn't made it into the park yet, which was a bonus.


And it's best to take advantage of this fact to hit Fighter Jet nice and early.


Case in point, I walked on to the first train solo.


Then walked on to the second train with 6 other guests. It ran noticeably quicker with the extra weight, an effect that must be exacerbated by the baby trains. It completely changed the dynamic of the ride, it was significantly more intense with the positive and absolutely hauling.


And then a larger group of guests arrived and the queue was ruined instantly, so I left. It soon posted 90 mins.

I remain impressed, though not blown away by this Vekoma. The launch initiation is still beautifully smooth and the first element airtime inversion thing is glorious. Then it just gets a bit new-gen V in the wrong way for me. Lots of corners, positives, a couple pops of airtime but with nothing particularly characterful about it. It goes through the motions of being a high speed rollercoaster with gallops and vrilles and then you're done. I can say that it's technically great, but it doesn't give me a buzz.


Frontline Charge rounds out the creds. Standard Vekoma Junior here, not a Boomerang.


Next to Railway Guerilla, which went up a lot in my estimation this time.


Beginning with the fact that we got the pre-show this time. It's acted out like a professional drama, but the key takeaway from me is that it entirely resisted having the actors turn to the camera, point and say 'we need you! Jump aboard these high tech all terrain early 20th century war machines and help save the world.'
They do however more cleverly weave an animation of the ride vehicles into the 'plot' which involves blowing up a train to stop munitions and supplies. We're just observers.


The ride itself was always spectacular, a real culmination of a lot of Fantawild creativity and technology. Big impressive sets, an array of clever special effects, immersive screens and the vehicle movements are absolutely on point.


Should have a POV for you in a couple years.


I was less buzzing from new Fantawild and more focused on what was actually going on in the shooting dark ride this time.


This led to noticing that you're shooting the bombs and missiles in this one, so I guess the actual message is stop the war! Which is nicer.


Here's what it looks like when there's nothing to shoot.


I had Amorous Northwest Feelings about one of my favourite Fantawilds over in Taizhou. This one only has Amarons Northwst Feelings.


This confused me, I was expecting the dark ride Hangar Breakout somewhere in this park and the building here looks rather like it. The clue was that it had timeslots, though that can be common for rides on quiet days.


It wasn't, it was a China is so great 3D cinema that amused me somewhat. You're seeing here a race for GDP between countries around the world, punctuated by technological achievements and advancements in China. They were claiming that by 2030 they would be beating the US (a low bar if ever there was one).

Later on there was a vision of a city from the future. It had rollercoasters running through it, which was a plus, but they also misspelled their own company name so... it's just not up to par with the other attractions of this generation.


Construction, get excited.


This contained a show called Heroine.


It told the brave wartime stories of several women using their usual fancy projection and stage tech. It's the first one I've seen that didn't actually end up using any live actors, usually there's a mix. Not enough paying customers. As for the story, not the most engaging but conveyed some good emotion.


This contained a show too, but it was too quiet to run, so that's twice I've missed it now. Ganzhou, you're up.


Apparently the 'Old Summer Palace' was given to the British but, being the bastards we are, we wrecked the joint and are the reason a number of historic artifacts are now missing.


The massive frontage of Zhiyuan Zhiyuan still impresses me, as does the ride.


Shanghai Pirates tech still impresses me too.


The ship sinks because the Emperor likes to party. Or because the British built it.


And from here I noticed a key difference to the Ningbo ride. Instead of passing underneath a big wreckage set of the ship, you drift by this haunting and eerie scene of people and debris sinking to the bottom of the ocean in the darkness. It's very well done.
Until they bang on about their technological advances again, which kinda ends it weird.

Some school trips had been arriving throughout the day, steadily making the queues less manageable. These would start to impact the trip for the foreseeable, must be the season for it I guess.

As such, there wasn't a whole deal of opportunity for rerides, though I was thoroughly enjoying the park itself. Instead we turned sights to a couple of creds in the city before our train that evening and booked a Didi back a little earlier than originally planned in order to grab the +1s.

In the car, it rained, hard. And so that was that.

Imagine being in the 90 minute queue for Fighter Jet when that happens though.

Up next - malls


Theme Park Superhero

That night we took the train over to Qingdao, another new city for me. Nothing overly exciting going on there in the coaster department but it was a surprisingly nice place, for China anyway.


The place is famous for two things it seems - beer and movie studios. Our closest experience to the latter was having Harry Potter flying above the bed.


And cursing us in the shower.

Day 4 - Qingdao Sunac Land


I use that term loosely because RCDB have combined three parks into one for ease of navigation. In reality this is another Sunac mall that has an indoor Sunac Land park, a Sunac Movie park like the (deceased) ones in malls next to outdoor Sunac parks AND a Sunac Water park. Each of the three are separately entranced, ticketed and contain a cred of some description.


We had arrived too early for the main park anyway so headed over to the movie park which I was most interested in. I found this Jinma interactive dark ride coaster hybrid in research a few years back and the way in which it was described was like it was located in an actual movie studio tour/experience, so had been picturing more of an HB World type affair.

The reality is more pedestrian in that it's just another a Sunac mall Movie park sadly. But is it even that? I was getting a vibe. No entrance sign actually straddling the entrance area, just a bunch of claw machines and, in the distance, darkness. Am I going to be accosted to ride some go-karts?

Taking a wander deeper inside was very familiar. It was dark, there were no signs of life, there were leaflets strewn about the place.
It once again turned into a bit of an abandoned park exploration, all of these pictures being taken with flash.


Spooky dragon heads poking out of the darkness.


This was the beginnings of a horror walkthrough, which I imagine could have been quite the experience to walk through by nothing but torch light.


This was the entrance to the coaster I wanted (and track above). Not looking promising, but I did find some sort of maintenance/cleaners check sheet taped to a wall somewhere that had dates and signatures up til the current month. We'll be back.

Back over at the 'main' park, which was ready to receive, it's free to enter so picked up a cheap deal for 4 'major attractions' - only really wanted the two creds.


They have a crappy 9D experience here, which was promptly skipped.


Laoshan Flying Dragon or 'Suspension Roller Coaster' was the first to open. Apologies for the bad photos in this place, the extremes in lighting were playing havoc and I was on the wrong phone.


Had mild intrigue about this ride, it's a Jinma suspended with the new style track, custom layout, inversion. Think Vekoma STC.
I got the old Wanda classic of staff woman being very happy to have an actual customer, leading me down the queue and setting everything in motion. She got as far as pushing dispatch before being shouted at by some bloke and was then never seen again while he proceeding to run the ride. Hope she wasn't fired.


Think Vekoma STC, but poor. It rode like ass, barely gaining any momentum throughout the layout against all the shaking and then clunked itself through the inline in four countable and uncomfortable stages. I've seen signs that their products have been improving in modern times. This was not one of them.

We then sat on a bench for an hour because there was nothing else to do and they wouldnt open the other cred yet.


And then they did. Told you they had a thing about beer here.


Custom spinner? Or at least a layout I haven't come across before. It was different, it weren't great.

Thus ends the park. Headed up to the water park, hoping they'd be lenient about outfit requirements should we want just 'the cred'. All the ticket desks were lit up, but no one was home. The actual entrance was semi-permanently fenced off. I can only assume the place only opens in peak periods.

From the limited photos on rcdb, one of which, amusingly, is a duplicate that's zoomed in and mirrored, along with a brief promotional video that was playing outside the main park, I have my doubts about whether 'Air Sea Battle' is a cred at all. It's powered, has water guns, I'm yet to see an elevation change, so in my head canon, this was no loss.


Headed over to the movie park again and they had actually turned a few lights on. A lone woman was running a desk and offering up some crappy 7D experience, two less Ds than the main park sadly, in what had already become a repurposed area.


The park is clearly in decline like several of the others, though it was claimed that the coaster would reopen for the school holidays, further backing up my theory about the water park.


No use to me, so RIP.

Time to get jiggy with some +1s

Beer City Neverland Theme Park


To use a Gavin line, there were no pictures of these places online, so you're welcome.


There's a bunch of tents set up around the perimeter of the place, all about beer, it appears they host some form of festival here but clearly that wasnt going on at this moment in time. Nevertheless, after some corralling of staff, this pumpkin provided tickets for the lone cred and lone reason we set foot in the joint.


We already knew it was made by Qin Long, the biggest of theirs I've ridden so far! We still don't have a name.


Two laps and it vibrated hilariously throughout. Job done.


There's a 'beer culture museum' across the road, but I had a date with destiny.

Qingdao Rio Car(no)val Theme Park


Elsewhere along the coast, lies a rather pleasant shopping district with a rather unpleasant rollercoaster.


Thankfully it was closed for refurbishment. That guy in shot was snooping around too, even peeking in one of the locked doors. Maybe he'll have the revolutionary information out there before me.


So, done for the day, we took a pleasant stroll around the area.



And the perimeter of the park of course. There is/was an indoor/outdoor log flume thing.


And a Beijing Shibaolai built Volare. Yet to experience one of these, I was fairly confident that I didn't want to. It had no station or cars, so it won't be hurting anyone any time soon.


Jumped on the Qindao Eye (yes, spelt wrong) for some views.





Up next - more discoveries


Best Topic Starter
Great report from some less visited parks. Shame about the invert. It was their first ever new style invert. Seems the new ones are much better at least. Small steps.

I'm fairly sure that Volare has never opened. Been there for years and never seen anything to suggest it worked.

If anyone is wondering why theres so much beer themed stuff around. Qingdao was once occupied by the Germans. Who wasted no time setting up a brewery there, as Germans are wont to do.

That brewery (now nationalised) is Tsingtao (anglicized version of Qingdao) which can be found everywhere today.

So technically Tsingtao is a German beer I guess.


Theme Park Superhero
Qingdao is a weird layout, set around a big bay but they use some massive bridges to just cut right through it. And I mean massive, if you get driven from one section to another along these and the air is slightly murky, so, in China, always, you can see nothing but road and sea on all sides, quite eerie.


Not my picture.

I wanted to get to the Fantawild here obviously, so we did just that.

Day 5 - Fantawild Dreamland Qingdao


'Bit' of an extended entrance to this one and a slightly different to usual Dreamland vibe.


Until you get to the usual. They were painting the floor here - upkeep!


Doing something inside too.


Had a snoop round the stores as it's a more vintage park than I've been visiting recently. Even took a look in the back here - no fantawild dragon to be found, even in the fantawild dragon boxes.


Sadly this was up first.


There's an obvious problem with most of these Kumali layout ones, all seeming to have two real nasty pumps at the bottom of the curved drop which will take any opportunity to punch you in the head. Many parks have padded the hell out of the restraints in response to complaints I can only assume, but a few are still rock solid and ready to bite. I've managed to develop a technique to counteract it over the years, why do we riiide coasters that cause us pain.


A more pleasant surprise here was this.


Usually called Qin Dynasty Adventure, I hadn't clocked what 'Warrior's Tomb' was going to be from the sign outside the park.


It's been a while since I've been acquainted with their original motion jeep vehicle things. Does it hold up against their latest and greatest attempt?


Well not much can compete with Deep Down right now, but it's still really good. It's a great atmosphere setter, in the dark and brooding mausoleum, though I don't quite remember previous iterations going literal ghost train style with heads on wires type scares. I'm still never sure whether these are all the same or not. Fundamentally, yes, but always with little unique touches. I like that.


The other cred wasn't ready to receive, so back to another old classic. Earlier this year I did Wizard Academy 2.0 so was fun to compare it to the original once more. Should have a pov of both for you to do the same, in about 3 years.


It's amazing the things you forget even when doing these a bunch of times. The big squid thing on the facade of the new one is in the old one too, one of the closest of the actually 'remade' scenes in fact, just without beating the wizard up. And he's just more of a dick here, as I do remember, literally pulling faces and sticking his tongue out at you in between trying to kill you.
But you're all mates at the end, you can visit the Wizard Academy any time. Odd.


Not a cred, or a dark ride, just how we like it. Skip.


The dark ride to end all dark rides. I'll never say no to a Jinshan Temple Showdown.


I love how they describe it here, sets the scene perfectly.


Again these are all subtley different, not least in the fact that you get a variation in live actors. This one heavily featured little sister lady greensnake.


But it never ends well for anyone.


This was a show I've never managed to catch before - Ghost Romance.


I thought this was it, and was ready to get uncomfortable.


Thankfully just a preshow and you move into a proper auditorium. It's a very early version of their standard projection magic stage shows but still a pretty powerful one. An old guy recounts the tale from his youth, of meeting a magic woman in the cherry blossoms here. She's meant to be luring him to get eaten by some demon but the power of love gets in the way.
Eventually the demon shows up and fights ensue, she sacrifices herself to save the guy and the demon just gives the most hilarious sigh like 'ugh, oh well', and off he pops.
Old guy is sad now and has been waiting here ever since. Maybe now is the time to give up. He leaves a walking stick upright in the spotlight, which pauses before falling over on its own. Fade to black.
Damn, Fantawild.


Mount Tanggula was finally ready to receive.


Or was it. The mountain itself was gone. Still the usual shaky mine train clone though, with a different view.


Sadly this was closed, I've somehow still never managed to do a 'Space Expo' (yet).


Music pla.. skip!


Must admit I never knew that Chicken Stew would be a dark ride.


Of the shooting variety, with different cars to anything I've seen them use before. It was based on another of their older animated series - the one with the chickens.


This is/was an on-site hotel. And that was that, good little park that.

What else is in the city?

Power Long Mall XMXQ Panda Planet Dreams and Childhood Super Paradise Something


This was supposed to contain a mall cred or two.


Well damn, that ain't running any time soon. Poor pandas.

This turned into quite the interesting exploration though. They were in the middle of renovation and didn't seem to care if you just walked around.


Laying down carpet around the footers.


Still got a train.


Down the stairs and past the parked car took things closer to the action.



RCDB knows all. It had an unknown one of these listed too.


It ain't running.


POV - exploding pandas.


POV - You just got the human powered cred.

And that was that.

Up next - the worst rollercoaster lineup on the planet
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Theme Park Superhero
Over in Weifang next I had some unfinished business. Well, not with Weifang specifically, I'd never been before, and why would I, there's nothing remarkable going on.

What they do have is a sort of sister park to what I dubbed the worst theme park experience of all time - Oriental Neverland in Hangzhou. With its big spiting Chinese duelling dragons thing which I still really wanted to ride, for some reason.

First things first though, we were also within striking distance of the S&S launch at Sun Tzu Cultural Park that spited me. Obviously that would be the better option. A phone call was made.
Oh that? That never opens.
Of course it doesn't.

Day 6 - Fuwah Amusement Park


And so here we are. Place annoyed me immediately out of the gate. Being shady about what was available and what was not at the ticket office before I shelled out for a piece of plastic to get us into the park anyway. The piece of plastic gave you one free ride!


Decided that free ride would be this, as it was the first thing we came across. The best rollercoaster in the park. We brandished our piece of plastic excitedly - free ride this - only to then have the piece of plastic taken away from us. Oh, ok. It's gonna be a QR code based experience from now on apparently.


Anyway, Zamperla speedy coaster with the world's most violent chain lift engagement and disengagement. Not one for bad backs, but also a 2 inch speed hill that offered the most airtime on park. This was the highlight of the day.


Just over the way was one of these horrible things. There's a QR code on the ride sign which you can scan in order to pay for the attraction, convoluted of course. The staff woman from the Zamperla was friendly enough to jump a fence and offer to help though. Nothing doing, the QR code didn't work. During this faff, they dispatched a single car with half a dozen guests on it. Hold that thought.


The alternative solution to paying for the ride was to retrace our steps back to a ticket window near the centre of the park and buy a piece of plastic to use on the rides... One for the death machine sky loop please. Again the staff themselves were friendly enough but asked questions like why don't you pay for a few more rides while you're here, to save you coming back again?
Why don't you confirm to me what's actually running?
I'll come back.

Back to the sky loop I brandished my new piece of plastic and got in, being forced into a row I didn't particularly want to experience the ride from. Some faff and a few minutes later they locked the restraints, except mine wouldn't lock. They came over and led with the weird interaction I sometimes get out here in that they think I'm not sitting far enough back in my seat. Get some good lap bar clearance you know - extra airtime on the sky loop with OTSRs. I'm guessing it's just a leg length thing, I don't know, I physically cant sit further back anyway.

This wasn't the issue however, the restraint just wouldn't lock. They pushed some buttons several times, but not in a fun Steel Curtain kinda way. Then asked me to move to a different row. Score! I selected row 5, that's my jam. Less upside down, non wheel - there's a science to the horror.

This wasn't the issue however, the restraint just wouldn't lock. They decided to move a Chinese man into the broken seat, as if it was a body type related issue.

This wasn't the issue however, the restraint just wouldn't lock. Not really something you want to see on a ride of this calibre, but no one seemed overly phased about it. They called engineering or something but apparently it wouldn't be a quick fix, so we were asked to leave the ride and come back later. But what about the money on my piece of plastic? Don't worry, we'll remember your face. I suppose that's likely.

Silly really, I could have been on that last car had they not made it so difficult to pay for a ride. Not that time was an issue here.

Already rather dejected by this point, headed over to the other half of the park to figure out what else was actually open.


There was little in the way of signs of life over at the main event. I hadn't seen or heard it operate.


On closer inspection they were actually doing 'maintenance' to the suspended train in blue. That ain't opening then.


Just over the way was a Zamperla 80STD, a glorious sight if ever there was one. No one was there to run it though, and we hung around for a while to see what would happen. One of the maintenance men from the big ride eventually wandered past and we asked him if either of these things were open. The answer - yes.

Well now we had an answer, it was back over to the ticket window to top up the piece of plastic to cover what we'd just discovered.

On return to the Zamperla, someone was there to run it, and ran it. +1.


So the man had said this was open. I took a wander into the queue to discover that, at the entrance to the cattlepen, a sign says it runs on 15 minute time slots. Well, only the top half, because maintenance. So the train was just sitting there, 15 minutes a pop, before hitting that despatch button. Save those pennies. Or lives.


So I rode the damn thing anyway, I have no idea why I was so captivated or intrigued by it. It's trash.


It's an illusion of the track work I guess. We're used to seeing Chinese built coasters riffing off of old, horrible track types like, well, Vekoma SLCs mainly. If the original is bad, and this looks bad, it probably is bad.

Here we have some Intamin mashup of tri track leading into some modern spiney stuff. It doesn't look so bad, but it is. Negotiated horribly the whole way round, in an unpleasant 'brain-rattling' kinda way. The main mercy is that it traverses most of the layout at a snails pace due to poor pacing. The drop and loop are fast, and dire, but then it meanders around up high for an age, saving that little bit of sanity before a car crash of a final inversion.

I won't be seeking out the suspended side in a hurry.


In search of some respite, the park claimed that they had a dark ride.


This is it, and it's looked like that since about 2019.


They were also building a flying theatre, every park needs one of those, since about 2019. Seeing this was the most interesting aspect of the entire visit.




Not to worry, to cure my headache they had a Chinese built Volare, looking exactly like the closed one two days prior. Can't escape them that easily I suppose.
A glimmer of hope came in that some guests walked up to the entrance before me, had a conversation with the staff, and then left. Closed? Advised against it? Sadly I tried the same and had it confirmed that it was open.

Time to top up the piece of plastic.


Padded jackets are available for this ride, though I wasn't offered one, so it can't be too bad can it.


Yes, yes it can. I know people hate these things but I've never been overly offended by the Zamperla ones. Janky as hell, but never any lasting damage. We spent the entirety of the one in Finland in hysterics.

I spent the entirety of this one willing it to slow down. Every block section was negotiated with no braking but really could have used it. A full on, battering assault on the body was taking place, one which I've never really experienced before. I've heard the originals described like being in a washing machine and that felt quite apt in this instance. The clearance behind me was too much. The clearance to my sides was too much. This thing bruised and grazed both my shoulders and hips against hard plastic and/or metal and I just wanted it to end so bad.

A top 5 worst for sure, so bottom 0.3%, sadly a portion of the list which is entirely measured by the fact that the rides do lasting physical damage to the body. Why is such a factor allowed to exist in this hobby?

As if all that hadn't been torture enough, I still had the Sky Loop to deal with.


Well they fixed it. And remembered my face. There's been a shift in my estimation of these on this trip, and for the worse, if that was even possible. I don't even care about the upsidedownness any more. I used to hate it, it was something that affected me too much in a really unpleasant way. Now it's not even the issue. They just ride like total ass. Shaking itself to pieces at 60Mph in a straight line. Almost head banging the restraint levels of shake, but also just that same horrible brain rattling in your skull effect that really makes you question your life choices.

And thus concludes the park. The worst rollercoaster lineup in the world. I challenge you to find me something that beats it.
If you do, I might even go. Because of course I don't question my life choices.

Bonus cred

Why would I, when this happens? Took a taxi out to another cred in the city. Some jungle mouse in a green space. The entire park was closed off. Nothin doing.
Went back to the hotel and then headed over to McDonalds.


The greatest McDonalds in the world because it had this outside. That's twice now I've just happened across a Chinese travelling coaster on some concrete outside my hotel. It was magnificent, by far the best ride of the day, with cute touches like little plastic windmills blowing in the breeze. The guy operated it wirelessly somehow and then just left it running for 10, 11, 12 laps while staring at his phone and forgetting we existed. This became an issue as time was running on, we had a train to catch and it was a struggle to get his attention.
I'd like to get off now, please. It reached the stage where I was psyching myself up to bail out of a moving, albiet slowly, ride.
Didn't have to.

Up next - all sorts


Strata Poster
That mall park in Qingdao is so odd. The entire mall was SBNO for ages before it reopened in 2021 and now the rides are apparently SBNO again with the stuffed pandas taking over them? Bizarre.

Here's a video of it a couple of years before it reopened.



Theme Park Superhero
That mall park in Qingdao is so odd. The entire mall was SBNO for ages before it reopened in 2021 and now the rides are apparently SBNO again with the stuffed pandas taking over them? Bizarre.

Here's a video of it a couple of years before it reopened.

Yeah at least the cred lives on in some form through this endless rejuvenation cycle, rather than succumbing to some other scheme. It looks rather fun, for a Vekoma Junior.
Having Massive in the title is very clickbaity, it's not that big.

The next night was spent in Jinan, a city I've frequented on numerous occasions. They've got some good parks to be fair, but as is the nature of the beast I had to head out and find something new.

A brief hop away by train is the city of Tai'an, most famous for being next to Taishan, one of the sacred mountains of China. Less famous for being home to this place.

Day 7 - Sun Tribe


This was another example of me being slightly obsessed with finding out about dark rides in what could be a very hit or miss park. All part of the adventure.

A slight crowd had gathered around the entrance for opening, perhaps concerningly - I had optimistic plans for how the day would pan out. Ticket office was nice, got the usual spiel about use this QR code and put me out of a job - it's cheaper than I can sell it to you too! QR code didn't work, but they offered to just do the discounted rate on their own phone and take the cash, so it was a win. Why can't more places/people offer this.


What the park lacks in coaster lineup is made up for by impressive visuals at the very least. You cross some water leading up to this entrance before heading into a tunnel straddled by some scary dudes, then down an escalator into the centre of the earth or back in time or something.


Bringing you out into the land of the tribe.


Some cultural ceremony was going on here, but as is the modern culture, everyone was looking at their phones instead.


The main reason I had come here was this swinging ship, or snail, or perhaps something else.


Walked past some more cultural stuff on the way to the more significant rides.


It was quite the walk. Gotta beat those crowds though.


There was no beating the crowds however, arrival at the first attraction, the wrong Legend of Nuwa, demonstrated that the entire park was timeslotted to some degree. This meant queuing with the masses, being inconvenienced at every turn because times overlapped with other times and darting around to get everything done blah etc. Plus it wasn't until like an hour after park opening that this first thing on the to do list was going to open anyway. So I took a wander to get the lay of the land at least.


Big boy.


Water ride, closed, what a pity, never mind.

After all that we still parked ourselves at the very front of the queue that gradually built up in front of the wrong Legend of Nuwa. With a couple of minutes to go we were let into the actual queue. Then a couple more minutes out of the queue, through an archway and into the ride building.


Where we were greeted with this. What is this.

No one was at the door with the height checker and it was closed and so I assumed another batch point, taking the train station seat closest to it. The masses were pouring in behind us however and, completely obliviously, barged past, opened the door and started walking up towards the ride.

Joined the masses up the obligatory ramps that indicate this was going to be another flying theatre, yay. It was, and not a very good one. The sound was poor, the visuals were blurry enough to make most people dizzy. The tale of Nuwa was sort of told, heavily featuring old mate blue bloke punching old mate red bloke as we all know and love. Except they were flying and shooting magic at each other rather than punching and it went on far too long. It ended as weirdly as it started, I don't quite have the words for the experience other than 'different'.


Talking of different, this was the clear standout of the park, for all the wrong reasons. No idea what was going on, headed through some scary tunnels with rocks and skeletons before being greeted with 3D cinema seating. Oh.

Oh! It wasn't a cinema though, we've found another revolving theatre experience and it was, an experience.


Several scenes had this physical set up, someone would come out and waffle on about something, or the narrator would do it for them. If i recall we went digging and found a thing and were now cursed. Each scene was meant to be scary.


The DEMO media was back in full force for a screen based scene, which was faded and barely visible without the desecrated 3D glasses we had been given, let alone with them on. Scary voices and storms and I don't know what, before an animatronic dragon head above the scene lit up and jiggled in hilarious fashion.

Another scene had wolves shaking the bars like the one that was too scary on tomb blaster so they turned it off. All comedy gold, it ended in confusion and despair, with no one seemingly phased in the slightest.


House lights on and everyone leaves to Gangnam Style.

Apologies for the structure of the review, but the attractions here didn't have much of one either.


Lizards! Tigers. Excitement?


It's an immersive tunnel I guess. Not usually the strongest of dark rides, but has potential.


This was the extent of the theming, a darkened corridor with two illuminated creature things. Both of which you could see from the station anyway if you wanted.


Then tunnel happened. The usual blurry rubbish of animals fighting each other on either side of you. This time komodo dragons but also the usual helpful king kong kinda guy.


Then it goes outside. Daylight!

And then it ends.


This was closed, and considered one of their highlight attractions.


Cred though. Wait...


Cred though. Ah, the old Zamperla motocoaster thing that's nothing like riding a motorbike, but built by the Chinese. With bulls on the front. Bull Fight in the Sky. It's not much like one of those either.

I scoffed at the usual heads down hold on tight spiel and then received a surprising amount of whiplash from the launch for having my head too high. It's got some punch. And then it rattles its way uneventfully back down to the brake run. +1


Teacups? A 2 hour queue? Both were possibilities.


He's gone.


No, in the teacups was a big boat ship dark ride. It had about half an hour of queue, not sure why, just slow I guess. And one of the most significant attractions, for those who might actually know what was what.


Dated, long, but fun. It covered the history of civilisation in great detail. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.








These days we have women and robots.


This may be the greatest attraction of all time.


Haunted walkthrough, skip!


The more I look at this, the more I laugh.


Drop towers! Dark rides. Excitement?


Well we got weighed on the way in and then were greeted with this glorious hardware. Double decker though!

In terms of tower ride it went up one level, to where the 360 screen was, faded of course. Rotated around a while, while covering the history of civilisation again, or was it journey to the centre of the earth. A dragon fighting a hydra. That's it. Then it ended and went down one level.

But the building looked so tall :(


One thing I didn't mention about the park is that it's all kinda one way, you have to go to a separate exit at the end of a big loop and can't get back to the entrance without backtracking the entire circumference, adding further to the awkward time slot shenanigans. As such, we had reached the end of the loop, with these parade things chilling under a shelter, a ton of shops to walk through, a staff car park to walk through and then a tunnel through some rocks to walk through to wind up back next to the big impressive entrance thing.

Rather ambivalent about the whole park experience. It happened. It was cheap. We now know what's what, sort of.

2 parks 1 day, but they can have their own part.


Mega Poster
thank you again for your service to the community. i was very curious how much worse you could make a volare and I am pleasantly surprised that the answer is 'significantly'


Theme Park Superhero
Having finished that one in a reasonable timely fashion we jumped straight in a car and

Day 7 (still) - Fantawild Adventure Tai'an


Into the arms of a Boonie Bear. There was a time when I hated this, particularly Adventure parks, but now they're like a premium experience, an old friend.


Smoke bubbles. Genius.


CrAzY knock off Disney with InSaNe rides.


Like old mate fruit worm, not open, but can't ride it anyway.


Puppy Coaster! It's been a while, I'll take it.


This has also been a while. While in a foul mood because of China being China, luggage spites, and wanting to bust through some horrible creds to get to the greatest Gravity Group woodie in the world, I once hated Dino Rampage and everything it stood for. What a horrible, violent, gory mess of a knock off spiderman attraction that I had to put up with for 9 minutes when I could have been queueing 90 for a knock off sky loop. Ah, those were the days.

My renewed appreciation here is twofold. The very original Fantawild park in Chongqing, which is sadly no longer with us, because housing estate, had this ride. It's grass roots. And I've witnessed first hand how far they've come.

Secondly Fantawild Dino Kingdom had the remake of this attraction, which was vastly superior in every way, but I also think that's so sweet that they already look back on these old rides and, in tribute, think how can we make them better?


So, extensive queue for one of the originals. Dinosaur bones. Museum. Things about to go down.


A high quality preshow on a 5" TV. Dinosaurs. Death. Things have gone down. Climb aboard these high tech, all terrain vehicles and help save the city/make your selfish escape.


A high tech, all terrain vehicle.


Well the parts I do remember, dinosaurs, blood and gore are definitely still there.


I remembered less of the fun physical stuff, like this, rawr, but there's always subtle changes between installations so no guarantee it was a thing.


Blow up his head.



When I mentioned at the other park that these types of attractions all play off of the same beats, this is one of them.

Amongst all the death and destruction against dinosaurs I don't quite remember it going so extreme on the human aspect either. By the end of the ride there's literal skyscrapers falling down across the road in front of you, with visible human bodies clinging on, hanging out of windows and dropping, screaming down to the tarmac below, where you proceed to run a few of them over in your desparate attempt to escape. It's ****ing grim, like worse than I remember in that regard.
But I'm at peace with it now. It's mold breaking and we've all gotta start somewhere.


Somehow I'm yet to experience a Space Journey, probably because I've been avoiding Adventure parks to be honest.


And this remained the case. If you look close enough you can see that they've stuck a new ride sign over the old one.


And what this means is that they've overlayed their old simulators in front of a screen about space with the new Crazy Idioms guy we found at Fantawild Wonderland with his big new fancy facade.

The screens were faded as hell as well though, that's not just my camera. A theme of the day.


On the way out of that mild disappointment we continued our trend of watching/avoiding parades from a higher vantage point. I like the massive boonie bear on tiny castors being pushed by blokes in colourful shirts aesthetic.


Fantawild dragon lives on through Space Warrior. Kinda.


It was his ride, see.


But he was never true Fantawild, and licensing happened.


The bears invaded and now introduce the interactive screen fest.


If you look close enough, but not even that close, you can see they've stuck a new poster over old Duludubi. But we like the boonies too.


I have no idea why this is the exit to the ride.


If you look close enough, you can see that this used to be an Origin of Life 3D cinema. Now a restaurant.


This is exactly what I picture when I think of the West too.


Sadly they have one of these here. This one was either better, or worse, than the last. I can't quite recall.


Mount Tanggula got its mountain back though! Or is it a Vesuvio Volcano?


Taishan gives this park a rather nice backdrop I must say.



Music p... Skip!


Somehow I'm yet to experience X-Cops, probably because I've been rushing Adventure parks to be honest. It's got a bangin soundtrack.


You get in these massive things in front of a screen. They had seatbelts but they've since decided to ditch them.
Story is something about a future where robots are a big part of daily life. What happens if they fight back? Will humanity survive?

Fun anecdote - there's 9 of these vehicles in a 3x3 and everyone rushes to the front middle one for the best vantage point. I opted for the middle middle.


Plot twist, the screen in the first room is only a preshow, the vehicles all spin round 180 and power into a second room with more screens and this animatronic. The front has become the back. The middle has become the front because no one went to the back. Not planned.


Stuff goes down, robots get out, explosions and the like. Humans prevail? X to doubt.


He's gone.

And that was the park, fun that one. Not a patch on a new Fantawild, but better than most other things in the country when you've run out of good coasters to do at least.

Driver on the way out took us the 'scenic route' as we still had a bit of time before the train.


This was taken out of the window of a moving vehicle, while negotiating a mosquito net. Not bad.

Up next - new Fantawild.


Theme Park Superhero
The more relaxed half of the trip was over and it was time to go rather hard in order to tick off a few of the more 'unique' Fantawilds I still had my eye on.
An early morning few hours on a train took us out of Jinan and over to Handan where, in the middle of nowhere, between two non-descript cities, this one lives.

Day 8 - Oriental Legend


It all looks rather familiar however.

There are a lot of Oriental Heritages out there, 9 to be precise, but for some reason this park got its own separate designation, logo and branding. At heart, it's pretty much the same as a middle-aged (2019) Heritage park, with a few different flourishes here and there.

Tick though.


A pleasant sight on the right greeted us for what should have been the first ride of the day.
School trip season hit hard here, as we rounded the first corner to be greeted by a member of staff, and the sounds of several hundred school children in switchbacks. They advised we come back later. I do love a Magic Gallery, but I'm not queueing for it.


Pressing on, they had a fairly early showing of Daydreams about to happen.


Actors, magic projections, there's so many of these now that it's hard to keep track, but in this generation of park they do tend to be entirely unique to the local scene. I hadn't come across it before anyway.

It told the story, back in the day, of a guy travelling to the big city to become learned and, by extension, rich and influential. Some bloke tells him to rest on a bench for a while and there he has an extended dream sequence laying out the possible outcomes of what he seeks to achieve. Basically it's not all it's cracked up to be - your beautiful wife won't love you, some military General might get you in trouble, demon spirits could take you away from your child. Such is life.

He decides to keep it simple and goes back home to be happy instead.

Kids were making a bit of a racket, but it was a decent one of these. Thankfully we managed to avoid crossing paths with any school groups again, by means of some good tactics.


I've skipped reriding this revolving theatre a good hundred times now, but we'll get to one again at some point.


This was rather unfortunate. Maybe a bit of learnedness does count for something.


The mid-sized cred here is unlike any other at a Fantawild.


It appears to be the same model as when Beijing Jiuhua made their own Mack Youngstar attractions and called them White Horse Coasters cos, you know, Pegasus.


This one has the dragon from Legend of Nuwa on the front though, because Fantawild are better than that.

They ride with rather less gusto.


Obligatory shout out to the painted service gates.


Boat ride, Chengyu, 4 character phrases, life lessons.



We've been here before, but each and every installation of these rides appears to mix things up a bit with some local, specific or inspired choices.


I had trouble finding the entrance to the main cred.


It's not through here.


Yes, star of the show here is Flying Dragon, another Vekoma Space Warp, or 'lift-hill Formula, extended'.


It's a very respectable ride that would do well at a few places no doubt, but I felt like I was just going through the motions with it on this occasion. Can safely say it lacks the spark that Vekoma found not too long after.


Rounding out the +1s was another Puppy Coaster, although it got upgraded to being called 'Mountain Voyage' here, not sure why.


Interactive shooter caught our eye for having a similar sign up to Taizhou where we earned a badge by beating a target score.


Here you could win a medal by getting 15000 or more. And, more amusingly, you could win a trophy by getting 50 medals. I'm not that dedicated, yet.
Got the medal though.


Let's try again with Magic Gallery.


Now a walk on, it's also the first time I saw the pre-show playing for this particular version of the attraction (Brush Boy, not Belly Buddha), but didn't get to see much.


Plenty more queue to walk through anyway, I still remember the excitement and confusion of my first one of these, eventually heading into that station to find a trackless dark ride.


Somewhere on a Chinese theme park forum, there may well be a picture of me taking this shot, posted by this guy. I wonder what the caption would be.


My first one of these was amazing, second was a little broken, then this one full on broke, but it was amazing for it.

After you go on a magic turntable and get this gorgeous reveal, the other car headed off into the trees while our one just got stuck in this position. All the media played out for them as they passed and then paused, waiting for our arrival that wasn't happening.
After a minute at most, an engineer walked out of the shadows with a remote controller, stood just to the side and manually drove us off of the turntable and onto the 'track'. It was the geekiest experience I've ever had with a ride out here and I loved it.


The whole ride was a little bit skewed from here on, but I admire how clever the many systems were in being able to keep it mostly together. Everything still triggered as we headed round, out of sync with the rest of the world, until a moment near the end where you head into the 'flying theatre' segment that begins with a physical curtain reveal.
The curtain timing was off and closed in front of the car, which kept ploughing on almost as if it was going to crash or get tangled.
I got nervous, don't want to break the thing.
Sensors kicked in thankfully and stopped it just short of the calamity, before the curtain opened again and it fixed itself once more. Added jeopardy.

Let us recall the visit to Warner Bros Abu Dhabi last year when I rode their Justice League thing after a long, rough queue, only for the cars to not rotate or have a functioning motion base. We saw absolutely nothing of what the attraction was supposed to be, facing the wrong way at every screen and it was a complete waste of time. The staff just laughed and offered nothing but 'go queue again'.

Upon our arrival in the station for Magic Gallery, even though we hadn't queued, the on-board delay was minimal, we still saw everything the attraction had to offer and, from a fan's perspective, received what I'd consider an 'enhanced experience', the staff profusely apologised for the technical mishap and gave us a free souvenir rabbit as compensation.

F*ck you Warner.


OG red bloke punching blue bloke for Legend of Nuwa. Not that Sun Tribe rubbish.


She still got it.


I got confused in the dying moments of the day. Didn't recognise this name. There was a closed off building at the other end of the park that was illustrated on the map with the magic door guy coming out the roof.


This magic door guy. World Idiom was this simulator attraction again, I didn't realise it was so prolific. Good though.

For fun we can compare this bespoke build to almost exactly the same shot from the overlay in the Adventure park.


Night and day.


We'll end here on an obligatory donkey shot. No hat, but he's got like a waistcoat thing.

Great park overall, a tad disappointing for me to learn that this one doesn't really have a unique identity beyond the badge, but you can't knock the source material, except in Ningbo, and it's another one off the list.

Didi let us down on the way out, far too obscure a location it seems, so we ended up with some sketchy taxi bloke to take us to Anyang, the other non-descript city that this park lies directly in between. He was alright though, negotiated a fair deal with no fuss.

From there it was another few hours train Journey to the West.

Up next - another one off the list.


Best Topic Starter
Great report as always. Love your dedication.

I believe the reason for the different name is because just 30 or so mins south Anyang has an Oriental Heritage park which never opened. (Just think of all those unridden dark rides)

Guess it avoids some confusion

Never really understood why they built the 2 so close together and within such a short space of time.


Theme Park Superhero
Great report as always. Love your dedication.

I believe the reason for the different name is because just 30 or so mins south Anyang has an Oriental Heritage park which never opened. (Just think of all those unridden dark rides)

Guess it avoids some confusion

Never really understood why they built the 2 so close together and within such a short space of time.
Ah, I remember clocking that one in previous trip planning. Something must have gone rather wrong I guess.

I've been eyeing up a couple of Fantawilds now for what feels like a very long time. The trouble is they're rather remote. To put it into the perspective of a coaster trip planner, they're 8 hours away by high speed train from the nearest 'destination' coaster, which would be Flash in Xi'an. And there's nothing in any other direction, they form the final moments of civilisation as you head up the long and narrow path known as the old Silk Road into the North-Western deserts of China, Kazakhstan and beyond.
If I ever need a reminder of how huge this country is, for all that cred density in the East, half of the land mass doesn't contain anything at all.

Or it's an hour by plane.


Stupidly early the next morning we headed over to Xi'an airport and boarded a reasonably pleasant flight with Sichuan Airlines. Landing in Jiayuguan was great, it has a very limited schedule and a single baggage carousel, so the least faff you could possibly imagine. While heading to that area, they had a corridor displaying exactly what you could do in this region.


Some rocks, or Fantawild.

I wonder where we're headed

Day 9 - Silk Road Dreamland


Here of course. Of the two parks in the city, this one was the big pull, another uniquely named and branded one in the chain, bringing me up to 10 out of 11 of those. And the 11th is a kids park that only opened this year.

I knew a little more about this one before heading in, not least that it has a unique dark ride specific to the region. Again the park shares a number of characteristics with that of a middle-aged (2019) Oriental Heritage, along with a good chunk of the lineup, but the twists are far more significant. Are they good?

There's a number of different ways in which these park handle their quiet days and low crowding (most days) and rather than the hotfooting around an entire park for specific timeslots that was experienced in say, Jingzhou, here they have more structured windows of 'this half of the park runs for a few hours, then the other half runs for a few hours', with a bit of overlap in between.

I didn't know this at first as we headed off into, of course, the closed half of the park. Everything was clearly stated upon arrival at any attraction entrance though so expectations could be managed accordingly.


As such, the first ride of the day couldn't be what I'd come for. It was a Puppy Coaster instead. Classic.


From there I clocked the old Chinese Opera Express, an attraction I hadn't experienced since my very first Fantawild over 7 years ago. The one I despised. This ride did no favours to those feelings, but it was a funny story.


With a fresh perspective on just about everything Chinese theme park related I was intrigued to give it another shot, heading through the queue of scattered opera memorabilia to lay eyes upon what is potentially the largest dark ride vehicle known to man. They seat a good hundred people and are dual loading so, naturally, this thing could haul. But it was only due to run three times in the whole day and they only needed one car.

Took a seat front and centre and waited a couple minutes until after the scheduled start time so that they could let a few other guests bumble through the queue and join. Hold that thought.


The ride is, as proclaimed, all about opera. On the surface it looks great, some of the sets and theming are quite striking and the visuals can be interesting in their own way. The main problem is that it's a 25 minute experience and, without being a Chinese opera expert perhaps, has very little dynamic range in scenes.


Corner after corner is turned and most things look very very similar, while a lot of the things going on sound very very similar. It simply doesn't need to be this extensive for the casual guest.


After passing all the good looking stuff anyway you end up on a platform in a circular room with a 360 screen. To add insult to injury basically at this point you get several minutes of video either recapping a lot of the performers and things you've just seen or something very very similar, while slowly rotating one way or another.
This is the precise moment when all 100 of the unsavoury characters in Ningbo, who had been shouting at each other loudly during the entire ride, decided to pile out of the still moving vehicle and head towards a fire exit, where staff were unable to stop them. Now I've got the true measure of the experience I can kinda see why, but it's still dumb.

Though we were now in 'the desert region' the temperature had dropped a fair amount from what we had been used to the past few days and there was a chilling wing running through the air. This apparently meant that the nearby SLC was down, for now. Shame.


So what better opportunity to try another attraction I hadn't done for 7 years, in my second ever Fantawild, the one that showed me their true potential.


This was also time slotted and, though we passed by the staff member outside the entrance, who then radioed ahead to say you've got a couple more coming through, perhaps a minute before the allotted time (which was kinda dumb because we had walked straight from the finish of the last timeslotted attraction), by the time we had bumbled through the queue and reached the preshow doors... they had closed on us.

Walked back through the queue and asked what the hell that was about. Oops. Wait for the preshow to end and you can get straight on the ride.

Good thing I know the setup.


Bridge to Love weaves the tale of the cowherd and the weaver girl, through the medium of a telescopic revolving theatre. There's screens and a few physical touches around the walls and then also a dome in the ceiling. It turns back and forth periodically, while the seats can also tilt you back for a better upwards persective depending on where you need to look. And the whole platform rises up and down towards the dome when necessary.


To summarise in the usual fashion, a talking cow likes his owner but thinks he needs a girlfriend,


so goes to a nearby pool where some magic ladies are bathing and steals the clothes of one of them from some rocks by the side.

Without their clothes, they cant fly back to heaven/space, so she gets stranded in the pool and the cow is like nudge nudge, wink wink to the guy, go give her her clothes back. This heroic deed is grounds enough for the beginning of a beautiful relationship, for some reason even with her clothes back she's missed the bus to heaven/space so they spend a lot of time together and hit it off.

Several years later, big mama magic lady up in heaven/space finally realises whats going on and magics the girl back up there. The guy panics and, with the assistance of the cow embarks on the actual heroic deed of going up there himself to get her back.


An extended sequence of upwards travel follows, with various encounters along the way like a big tree who offers money and he says no, a scary dog thing chasing him and, um, jetpacks maybe. They're reunited for the briefest of moments but big mama puts her foot down again and they get separated across space and time.


But there's a bridge, to love, in the stars, with birds, so they can see each other once a year or something. Not the happiest of endings, but Fantawild are good at those.



Tune Tour, boat ride, ethnic groups, subtly different




One of the areas had no sound and one had no movement. We told the guy at the end. He didn't know what to do about it.


I didn't know what Silk Road Saga was. I was in for a treat.


The guy at the entrance was confusing, saying something like bit of a queue, Dudley Do, but brand new (to me) attraction so I didn't care. We headed in and reached a chained off batch point and so sat down in front of it, with the expectation that we would be waiting for a bit. Some family came from behind and, this again, immediately just removed the chain themselves and headed further into the depths of the queue. Fine.


A room of screens about stuff on the silk road.


Our first glimpse at the main character. Don't know her name, but this annoying kid is about to shout Jiejie ('elder sister', doesn't have to be related) a hundred times at her, so henceforth she shall be known.

She's a magic princess, rides a broom, takes a kid (and us) from a library on a magical tour of the sights of the silk road. Good set up.


We were then presented with the first and only time I've encoutered a high tech locker system for a ride at Fantawild. We were given F.L.Y. wristbands, but before F.L.Y., to activate our door and stow stuff away. What the hell is this ride?


Heading down a spiral staircase soon answered that question as we arrived on a small circular platform with 5-seater robocoaster vehicles travelling around it.

a) I didn't know they had one that wasn't Devil's Peak. A scream.
b) I didn't know they made them different to Devil's Peak, and any other version of the ride system I've seen. Unintelligible noises.

It all led to a rather interesting and different use of the system. It didn't bounce around physical sets or play with any trickery or illusions as to the linear path you were taking, rather moved somewhat serenely through big open corridors and spaces, from big screen to big screen and spent significant time in front of each one mimicking more of a flying theatre type experience. As such it was less intense than usual, perhaps a little less atmospheric, but still rather gorgeous.

Here's some promo art.







The aforementioned kid gets to ride on a goose as you go from place to place. Things start off plain sailing but then you meet a nice looking dragon who, probably because the kid is annoying, thwacks him off the goose with his tail after being shouted (*point* dragon) at.

He falls through the sky and some vines while the goose is stunned, shouting for Jiejie far too many times (sometimes I wake up screaming her name myself these days), before she portals us to safety somewhere else.

That somewhere else is a pirate ship in a storm. The goose is still recovering and the kid has lost his glasses or something, so Jiejie, Jiejie! before she portals us to safety somewhere else.


That somewhere else is Rome, did you know the silk road ended in Rome? Specifically the Colosseum. The now flying pirate ship crashes into it and then, of course, the kid ends up surrounded by some lions from the Colosseum that get on board. Jiejie, Jiejie!
Am I the only person that finds this annoying? The overuse of names, to the persons face, like we both know who you're talking to, don't wear it out. Chinese media is certainly guilty of it, but it's probably just cultural politeness.


Anyway, saved again, shut up kid, back to the library for you. You can portal with me any time.

Loved it, big surprise, four and a half thumbs up. Made the extended trip out here worthwhile and we haven't got to the main event yet.

It was time for the other half of the park to open.


This was the main event and yet I knew nothing but unique dark ride. Usually enough for me anyway.


Dunhuang is a city further up the silk road, famous for being home to the Mogao caves - some ancient grottoes full of buddha statues.


As such, this ride is an exploration of those, with a twist.


A vault sealed for two centuries.


Preshow has this guy talking about what we might find.


My inner fan screamed. 3 months ago it had done the same, when finding Deep Down was a nu-Qin Dynasty Adventure. Well this one is as well, and I believe the original version of that layout.


And it's amazing. Huge. Has such an atmosphere in places, heading through these dark grottoes with creepy statues looking out at you while monks are throat singing. I'm getting the chills now.

The archaeologist guy interferes with some artifact in front of a statue of a mythical deer, known as a Fuzhu. It comes to life and everything is magical for a while as we follow it round some wondrous sights, galloping away happily.
Eventually you end up in this big ancient pretty foyer and then the guy interferes again. Fuzhu is mad now and dark, fire breathing deer starts to chase us through the backwards portion of the ride layout for a while, all sorts of scary effects going off. We come to a halt in what was the most intense dark ride scene of all time over at the dinosaur park, here the walls come in at you from the sides and a big ancient siege type battering ram comes at you from in front.

Time to make the quick escape. Pillars collapsing, fire, cogs, it all happens and we make it out in one piece.
Don't disturb the peace basically (like a Chinese tourist), get out, Fuzhu can go back to being a statue.

Loved it, big surprise, five and half thumbs up. The trip out here had already been made worthwhile, but this was everything I wanted and more. I was back in the zone with my peak Fantawild experiences.
Should have a POV for you in about 5 years.


Sadly the opening of this side of the park meant it was also Boomerang time.


They asked me if I was sure I wanted to ride this, as a show was about to start. Well not really, but I've seen the show before.


The most aptly named coaster out there. It was ok.


Sadly the SLC had also opened itself by now, so time to complete the creds.


Coaster game in Jiayuguan is poor. Both Fantawilds have one of these as their star attraction, which is kinda dumb. This one is the newer, non-Kumali layout at least, with the janky attempt at airtime. It was ok.


Legend of Nuwa


She still got it.


It's taken me a hundred laps to notice something fun. There's a glowing light in the front of the ride vehicles that I thought was always there just to look cool, but it only lights up to signify the moments when you, the riders, are in posession of the magic stone or 'all-spark' of the story.


And here's the dragon that was on the front of that cred.


Here's a dragon in the park.

God damn, this place was perfect. Well, not perfect, there were operational embuggerances of course, but it wasn't an issue.

It had its own identity and we got 2 for 1 on unique, high end, Fantawild dark rides and I'll happily move the earth for that at this point. Sadly I think this marks the point where I've run out now though, as you do when you obsess. But we know how quickly these places can fade, so no use in slowing down.

Up next - no parks


Theme Park Superhero
Such was my fascination with the Legendary Dunhuang ride, we took a day out from parks to go and visit the actual Dunhuang for some general sightseeing, another few hours further out into nowhere by train.


In a welcome change from the endless high rises and chain hotels that punctuate the average Chinese city, we had no option to stay somewhere such as this quaint inn.


It's China, but not as we know it.

Day 10 - Dunhuang

The staff were really friendly and arranged a driver for us out to the Mogao Caves the next morning. Catch was, upon arrival at the ticket windows, sightseeing and culture had 'sold out'. You HAVE to take a coach to get into the compound because it's all barricaded off because people are stupid, and you HAVE to use a massive tour group ticket for exploring inside the caves to get on the coach. So you can't even just go outside and take pictures.

Good thing we have Google isn't it.


Not my photo.

This was 'offpeak season' and both the driver and the hotel were shocked and confused that we couldn't get in. They told us like ten times not to take any lighters into the caves because they're banned, but not once had it been necessary for them to ask 'have you got a ticket?'

Therefore the ride was better than the real thing.


Oh well, something there isn't a ride for is the desert literally on the edge of town.


You have to pay to get this far, but it wasn't sold out. Because you can't sell out a desert.


Once inside there's all sorts of activities you can get up to. The first and most recommended is renting shoe covers, which were like giant luminous socks up to your knees to stop the sand being coarse and rough and irritating and getting everywhere.


As seen here on the right.
Camels are also a thing.


About a km into the desert is the Crescent Moon Spring, which you can take a big golf buggy to, though it only drops you off around halfway and you have to trudge your way the rest of the distance - surprisingly tough going in soft sand.


I'll let the pictures do the talking for a bit.





Tourism is overrated, but if you have to put up with it, this was my kinda jam.


On the walk back I decided to be brave and scale this dune, to see what was on the other side.

It's an intense climb, all you have is this tiny rope ladder with wooden slats, disappearing into the sand, to give you any semblance of sure footing. The incline is pretty hefty in the dry, blazing heat and I had a guy keeping pace in front of me who was literally collapsing, breathing heavily and barely crawling his way up for the most part. So that made it easier.


What you don't see here is that about half way, I looked back and saw a thousand school children in the same hat all clambering up behind us like a scene from a horror film. It was time to circumnavigate the guy, at my own peril.

Also I guess they're just building a road straight to the oasis, so it looks pretty bad right now.


At the top, of course, was just more sand.


I'm probably now on someone's mantlepiece because to all the thousand school children up here, the foreigner was far more interesting than the view and they all wanted to say hello and have a picture with me.
I believe this sort of thing was a lot more common just anywhere 10-20 years ago, but you have go somewhere real obscure now to garner the same reaction. Thankfully.

Coming back down was fun, you can just freestyle away from the ladder, almost gliding with huge strides that take you knee deep into the side of the dune. Shoe covers were a life saver.

Then we had a culturally appropriate on-site KFC and called it a day.

Up next - Fantawild, obviously