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China 2016: Day 4, Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou and Suzhou Amusement Land

Jordanovichy

Credit Whore 2016
So, I have been meaning to get around to writing a report for this...considering I went 4 months ago, but other trips in the summer happened, then I started year 3 at uni, and then field work, and dissertation work, other assignments, and here we are, nearly December. But nevertheless, I want to write a report, this could well be the only day I ever write up, but enjoy anyway ;)

Quick bit of background then, back in February, Stone Cold, Ploddish and myself were trying to think of where to go to get some credzzz, we settled on China and tying it in with Taiwan, we tried loads of potential flight combinations, but fitting Taiwan in was just too much effort (but it would have meant a 10 hour layover in Kazakhstan which would have been nice), so we decided just China would work well, visiting Shanghai, Beijing and a couple of places in between. We flew with Aeroflot, via Moscow.



As was expected, the food was pretty uninspiring...



But I did have a nice savoury crepe and milkshake in Moscow's airport.



We arrived in Shanghai at about midnight local time, so public transport was a no-no, we knew we'd have to get a taxi anyway. Our first experience with Chinese taxis was fun, as soon as we stepped out into the terminal building we were surrounded by people shouting 'TAXI', 'TAXI', these were all unlicensed taxis, I'd read multiple things online to take a metered, licensed taxi as they wouldn't overcharge etc, so we just ignored them and followed signs for the taxis. We knew Shanghai would be hot and humid, but stepping outside, at 00:30 came as quite a shock, it was ****ing stifling. Instantly we were dripping sweat so were grateful to clamber into the back of an air conditioned taxi and be en route to our hotel. It took about 40 mins, and cost about £15 in total.

I had my own room which was lovely, no waiting for a shower! My room was on the 10th floor and the shower had a huge window overlooking Shanghai which was quite an awesome way to get clean!

Bed time, and up early ready for our first day in China!

Jin Jiang Action Park
I had compiled a document with all the parks we'd try and visit and how to get to them, so we decided our first stop would be Jin Jiang Action Park, home to 5 coasters, including a Jiant Inverted Boomerang. It was also our first time using the Shanghai Metro which was really nice and modern. Wikipedia calls it the world's 'largest rapid transit system by route length'. The first lines opened in 1993, and has been expanding ever since, it really was efficient and simple to use.

The park has its own stop on the Metro, Jin Jiang Action Park, on line 1, five minute walk under the motorway and we were faced with the first park of the trip!


We went to the ticket booth, which was in the Sun and ****ing awful, some Chinese couple in front were taking ages whilst we were melting, desperate for some creds. But we paid the 100¥ and entered.

We headed for the Giant Inverted Boomerang first, cleverly called Giant Inverted Boomerang as it was clearly the most substantial attraction. It wasn't open yet. Across from it was Moto Coaster, a Zamperla Moto Coaster. This was my first every coaster where you sit in this motorbike position.



Owain clearly looking excited.
Eh, it was alright, smooth enough, well paced launch but that's about it. I was just happy to have my first Chinese coaster!


Giant Inverted Boomerang was still shut so we headed further into the park and stumbled upon Roller Coaster.

Annoyingly, this was closed for now too, despite the gate at the front being open and so inviting! You could literally get to the station and sit in the coaster if you wanted to, there was no one around.

We went on to find Karst Cave Coaster...a geology themed cred! Copyright infringement en route:

Other photos of the park:


Happily Karst Cave Coaster was open.


It is an indoor Zamperla powered coaster, it was good fun, bright lights inside, all above water, and from memory, the rapids ride also passes through this building.
There was one more coaster to check out, Spinning Coaster. We were all really excited for this one, our first Golden Horse! You've all read Gavin's reports to know just how rare they are...and pretty soon the novelty of them had worn off.

We squeezed ourselves in and enjoyed the turbulent, spinning ride.
When we got off we could see that the GIB had started testing, yay, but we were so hot we needed to get a drink first, I bought 2 bottles of water at a ridiculous 10p each and smashed them into my face. I also bought this rather sad looking burger.

After an aircon stop, we headed over to the GIB, have some more photos of the park





We were treated to our first experience of Chinese operations, we sat on the coaster for a good 10 minutes waiting for it to fill before they'd dispatch it, but soon enough they did. Ok, so I wasn't expecting much, and it delivered that, but it was smoother than I remember Stunt Fall being, so that's as good praise as I can give it.

Happily from the top, I saw Roller Coaster operating with people on it, so we headed over to that next. It is a shuttle loop coaster, I didn't get any good photos so I won't bother posting any (not that that usually stops me). It was rough, painful and relatively ****. But no spite for us at Jin Jiang! We knew that some attractions closed at 12 for a couple of hours due to the heat and the rapids were one of them (yeah, let's close our water ride because it's too hot).

I mean, it's no River Quest is it.
We spent the whole ride with out mouths sealed shut not wanting to get the water in our mouths, we hardly got wet anyway. The indoor section (in the Karst Cave Coaster building) was quite cool actually, and I got some excellent photos for you to enjoy:

We decided to call it a day, we were due to meet with Owain's friend at 2:30 and wanted to get to another park before that, on the way out we went to a mini food market thinking it'd be perfect to get a bottle of drink for the journey. Alas, not a single place sold bottles of drink, so we made do with a corner shop on the way back to the tube.


The carriages behind this train contained a sit down restaurant, we'd have eaten here if we had time.
We got back on the metro to head to Zhongshan Park, home to a +1. Again, it has its own stop on the metro, line 2. Quite a view at the station exit.


The entrance was uninspiring, but at least entrance was free.

The park had been covered in these red banners, apparently they are support banners for the Communist Party and are becoming more and more common.

We followed signs for 'amusements' and had a pretty nice walk through the park.


Loads of the parks we visited had at least some building work going on.

'Lotus Pond' with the Chinese name for 'Zhongshan Park' shaped from a bush.

We eventually reached the amusement area, and saw the coaster, Inertia Train.

The whole area was dead though, not a single person around. I wandered off to try and find a member of staff to point at it and beg, but could find no one, other than a janitor who looked at me weirdly before going. I went to the vacant ticket booth which had a sign which, although in Chinese was easy enough to decipher as saying when the temperature is over 37C, the rides will not operate, but they do operate until 22:00 most evenings. We decided we'd try and come back, but in the end never did.

It was time to meet Owain's friend, someone he used to work with and now happens to live in Shanghai, for a guided tour around Shanghai! Once we met him, we all wanted to make our first stop somewhere to eat, so we went to a place which specialises in Hong Kong style cuisine...and tea apparently, but that was way too sweet and milky for my liking. I had a plate of shellfish but we all shared each other's to try as many things as possible.

We headed back out into the sweatbox, the road the restaurant on had huge trees for a road of its size, they were literally growing in people's windows.

We found a place selling German beer so treated ourselves to a refreshment break, it was quite a nice little area actually.

There was also a parrot

There were also some statues of the characters in Adventure Time.

Saw this in a shop as well, quite bright...

We were heading to People's Park (Owain and his friend didn't know this but Richard and I wanted a cred). It is quite an impressive square with huge sky scrapers all around.


The coaster itself was a pain to find. There are about 4 smaller parks around the main central park, which we didn't realise at first because trees and buildings separate them all, but we soon found what we were looking for.


It cost about £1, plus one! The rest of the park was pretty dull and didn't offer anything else.

We had a sit down and drink before deciding to head to the Bund next, passing through the massively busy, really commercialised area.

The Bund was pretty spectacular though.

Certainly one of the major sights here, and the iconic image of Shanghai which was great to see. I definitely wanted to come back at night.

I took a sweaty selfie too, just to prove I was there.

We were all pretty shattered by now, Owain went back to the hotel, Richard and I went off to find a bar and somewhere to have something to eat and drink. I can't remember what it was but it was really nice.

We fell out of the pub at about 22:00, grabbed a bottle of water, Richard fell down the stairs at the metro and we went back to the hotel for a shower and a good night's rest before an early morning because tomorrow was DISNEYLAND!!!

I might get around to writing the next part within the next 4 months, if not, just assume I enjoyed Disneyland ;). Thanks for reading!
 

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SimonSays99

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Shanghai and Hong-Kong are definitely on my bucket list. Hope I can do both in one trip - visa restrictions allowing hopefully.
 

Mysterious Sue

Well-Known Member
How odd that after three months I sat down and began to write my own China trip report the same day as you. Hopefully I'll finish it soon.

Please try and get the rest up. I'm intrigued on your thoughts of Chinese parks and operations. As much as I love Gavin's cynical approach, it'll be interesting to see what it takes to break Jordan's legendry optimism ;p

Also, I think the world deserves to hear more of the story of Stone Cold vs. aircon.

You seriously flew Aeroflot?!
 

gavin

Administrator
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I want to see more as well, from both of you and anyone else who gets to this part of the world. It's always good to see a different perspective.
 

Jordanovichy

Credit Whore 2016
I have legendary optimism? I didn't in 45C that's for sure.

Yup, flew Aeroflot. Didn't die, probably preferred them to Air Asiana, with their beige upholstery and 100C cabin temperature.

I'll get the next part banged out soon.
 

Jordanovichy

Credit Whore 2016
Day Two, Shanghai Disneyland
One of the main reasons for coming to this part of the world was to visit the brand spanking new Disneyland!! I had followed construction for quite a while and assumed it'd be years before I'd ever visit, but I ended up visiting just a couple of months after it opened.

Speaking to Gavin and looking at other things on the internet we had a vague plan of action: get in, get fast pass for rapids, then I think it was to get over to Tron...but it didn't quite work out like that.

The Shanghai Metro has a new stop for the Disney park, it takes about 15 minutes from the last stop so is further out of the city than I expected, but we soon arrived at the station.


We had booked tickets online well in advance. The walk from the station to the entrance took a good 15 minutes, meaning the park had opened by the time we got to the front. We got speaking to an American teacher in the queue, she was here for a conference in Beijing but had decided to get to the train down to Shanghai for the day just to come here...dedication!

****ing umbrellas.

We essentially pushed in front of a large queue...but we had fast passes to get. Not much time for photos because we were in a rush but here are a couple of entrance photos:





We turned right and into Adventure Isle:

The umbrellas become a running theme in these photos. I won't mention them anymore...


The park opened at 8am and we got to the rapids by 8:10am. They'd sold out for the whole day. From memory the attraction closed earlier than the rest of the park, so there were fewer fast passes anyway, we were going to get in the queue there and then, but with a 3hr queue, we just weren't willing to do that when Tron was waiting. We bailed and decided to ride Seven Dwarves Mine Train as we were there.

We went in the Single Riders queue to save time, I ended up getting back row and with Owain anyway. Yay.

After that, we decided to get over to Tomorrowland to Tron. Some photos from en route:



We ended up passing Peter Pan's Flight, it only had a 5 minute queue so thought why not.




It was fab. I can't remember the Florida one at all, and don't even know if I rode the Tokyo version (you're welcome). Flying around a cartoony London and through the Darling's house. It all uses projection mapping too which enhances the experience. Then we reached Neverland, and entered Skull Rock, with a projection mapped splashdown which was fun. Then there's the fight on the boat, a great Captain Hook animatronic and you're at the exit. I've just watched a POV of the Florida version, and obviously they're very similar, but it has been updated with new technologies and it really has breathed new life into it.

So next we really did head over to Tomorrowland. I bought an ice cream (a ridiculous £1) on the way.

But soon:


The new area was great, the Tron station looks incredible.






We decided to grab a fast pass for later (around 7pm I think it was) and get in the queue anyway as it was only around an hour and we knew we'd want to ride it a couple of times.
I've never seen any of the Tron films (no surprise there) but Owain said the station was just like the films so that was good. My first Vekoma Motorbike Coaster! The launch was great! Straight out of the nice air conditioned station into the blast furnace outside which was quite the juxtaposition. Then back inside and weaving in and out of various 'light gates', well paced, really enjoyable. Really liked it. It's probably my favourite Disney coaster, just overtaking Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

It was pushing midday by now so we wanted lunch, we checked the map and decided to head to the front. Also give a chance to get some better photos of the castle. Have some more photos of Tomorrowland as we left:


So, back at the front then,


It is a ****ing stunning castle. It looked big in pictures but absolutely huge in person, I love it, and you can see it from most parts of the park from what I remember.

We decided to have lunch in here:

Quite cool inside


I had this, which I think was duck and noodles. Richard had something that he couldn't eat because it was too spicy for him so we ended up swapping anyway. It smelt nice anyway.

When we left there was a parade outside which I wanted to get to see (not to enjoy the parade, but for the League of Goons points).



We had decided to go back to Adventure Isle and see how long the queue for the rapids was. It was listed as 2 and a half hours, which we didn't want to suffer through, but given we only had Pirates of the Caribbean left, we sucked it up and joined the queue.


The queue actually only lasted 2 hours, the second half of which flew by due to in-queue entertainment! In the penultimate cattle pen, a Chinese family were REALLY shouting at each other. Like a guy spent a good half hour yelling at his (I presume) wife and kids. It all calmed down for 10 minutes before starting up again. The best bit was there were three security guards nearby who were just staring, at one point one of them tired to intervene but soon gave up.

Anyway, the ride. A really good rapids ride, but definitely not worth the 2 hours we queued for it. The main drop was good fun, it had an extended splash down, apart from that I can't remember anything other than leaving a little disappointed. Like, they were a really good ride, but I was expecting more. I think I prefer the rapids at Animal Kingdom.

We then headed to Pirates of the Caribbean, something I was really looking forward to. Generic park photos first:

This looked quite fun but I think it was upcharged, and **** doing it in 45C and blaring sunshine.


But soon enough:

I had made sure not to watch a POV before the trip, but had heard it was supposed to be exceptional, we were all very excited. Just a shame we had an hour queue first.

The indoor section to the queue line was great though (plus it was air conditioned).



We were soon boarded. Richard couldn't contain his excitement...

Spoilers ahead so bare in mind. First room, just pass through the back of a restaurant so nothing particularly special. You then pass through some caves with some pretty convincing animatronics, it gets darker and darker allowing the tension to really build. There's a fab bit with lightning and a skeleton transforms into Captain Jack. Such a life like animatronic, just like he is in the films, so good! Then things start getting really good, we were confronted with a MASSIVE screen, it felt so so immersive, yes you could see the edges if you really tried, but what was the point, the music got louder and the whole boat moved in time to the screen, it was amazing. You then pass through the ship wreck, which also has screens in, and through more of the underwater scenes which are incredibly themed and realistic. The whole of the roof here has the water surface projected on it, ahh it's so good. There's an INCREDIBLE Davy Jones animatronic in another shipwreck, another incredible screen to bring us to the surface. I'm aware I'm rambling but it is just so good. Finally the fight with Captain Jack Sparrow, with the theme tune blaring out, the whole boat spins, you speed between two massive **** off boats. It is the single best moment I've had on a dark ride. So good. That is pretty much it for the ride. It is just incredible. The best dark/water ride I've ever ridden. Watch a POV if you don't mind spoilers, but what I've just put here is essentially from a POV ;)

Across the way a pirate show was just about to begin so we thought we'd give that a go, titled 'Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack's Stunt Spectacular!'. Well, it was crap. The pre show was hilarious. I mean, it was in Chinese but they were all laughing so...

There was a part where one of the guys took off their trousers and was wearing Union Jack underwear and Rule Britannia started playing. That was weird. After a couple of hours of painful fun and entertainment, we were taken into the theatre.

I don't know what I was expecting, but after the ride we had just experienced...this was rather severely lacking in all aspects.



It got a little more exciting when the whole room filled with smoke and the backdrop lifted.



There was a twister in the middle at one point which was quite cool, but everyone on stage decided they needed to jump into it and disappear which I thought was weird. Oh well. It was nice to not be in the heat for so long.

Going through my photos, it turns out we actually did the Pirates of the Caribbean stuff before the rapids, which makes sense because priorities, I can't be bothered to swap the order around, so just remember for the quiz later :p

After all that excitement, we were hungry again, so I had more Mickey Mouse themed sweetness and a baguette:

It was time for our fast pass on Tron so we headed back over to Tomorrowland.

Just as good the second time, even better because we didn't have to queue.

We decided to head up to the castle next, have a look inside and take some photos. I wanted to do the walkthrough but the 45 minute queue just wasn't worth it, have some pictures:


I loved these mosaics.

It was nearly time for our Soaring Over the Horizon fast pass (we got them at some indefinite point in the day, goodness knows when) so we headed back to Adventure Isle.

I'm glad we did get a fast pass, they had just closed the queue line due to there being a THREE HOUR QUEUE. We felt smug just walking by them all. Annoyingly we were sat at the front, which means a bottom seat view. I do like this ride, when I rode Soarin' at EPCOT it had the original video, just stuck in California, but this one was the same one they've now updated it with (I think anyway, I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong) with an added Shanghai bit on the end. Being at the bottom did detract but oh well, still good fun.

It was getting dark by the time we got off Soaring, we wanted to ride PotC again, see Tomorrowland at night and re-ride Tron and watch the fireworks. When we got to PotC, there was apparently a queue of an hour, we decided to come back after the fireworks but heard someone in English say 'there is no queue, it's just re-opened after breaking down', so we raced inside, and sure enough it was walk on so enjoyed another ride!

The parked looked lovely as it was getting dark.



Found a big chair:

And then we went to Tomorrowland.



Tron had an hour queue and we really wanted to see the fireworks, as we had done PotC we said we'd come back here after and ride Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue as it had no queue.

It was good, just like Spaceranger Spin I think. I won obviously.


I don't think Richard even turned up...

But yeah, Tomorrowland looked pretty darn cool at night.

We headed over to the castle after that ready for some fireworks.

At least there were no umbrellas...but an annoying lamp post but we were ready for some fireworks! Loads of fireworks photos coming:








In terms of actual fireworks, it was a really good display. I prefer Wishes as a show though, although the fireworks aren't up to much, the projection mapping and soundtrack is much better. But it was a really great way to end a great day. We did wander back to Tomorrowland to look at Tron, but annoyingly they'd closed the queue already, but I still took a couple more photos:

This gave a chance for the crowds to disperse before heading for the exit.


We made the long tube ride back to the hotel, it was so nice to get under the show after such a long day in constant 45C!

So my thoughts on Shanghai Disneyland. I really liked it. But I feel I should be able to use stronger words than 'like' as it is a Disney park. The problem is it doesn't feel atmospheric, maybe slightly at night. The paths are so so wide, they've obviously done this to accommodate large crowds, but in doing so, everything feels so open, rather than immersive. We didn't visit on a massively busy day, but it wasn't exactly quiet either, and lots of these paths were quite often really empty. I was a little worried about operations, I had heard bad things about operations (and experienced that for myself the day before) but surely Disney wouldn't succumb to such bad habits? Of course not, really good operations all day, what let's this down are the guests, they are faffy as ****, and that's what slows **** down.

This makes me sound like I didn't enjoy it, I obviously did, it looks amazing, and I do love a day at Disney. It was certainly the least 'Disney' of the Magic Kingdom parks I've visited, in that sense it did feel a little like DisneySea, but is no where near as well themed or immersive. For me, of the three Magic Kingdom parks I've visited it slots in the middle with Magic Kingdom WDW in front and Tokyo Disneyland behind. I had a great day here, and really really liked it. It's a shame we'd visited the best quality of the trip so early on...but we always knew that'd be the case.

Thanks for reading. Happy Valley Shanghai up next!
 
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Ben

Social Media Team
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I feel from photos my opinion of Disney Shanghai is going to be similar to yours - I've set my expectations as a good park, but not like the others?

Tron and Pirates are what I want in my face they look amazing. Hopefully I can get on the Rapids or the SRQs are open!

Also interesting how long it takes to get there, I'll make sure to leave lots of time!

But yeah I agree, I want to see your opinions on China properly it's interesting and I'm excited to get back myself soon.
 

Jordanovichy

Credit Whore 2016
So I had begun typing up part 3 of the report, but saving as a draft only saves for a limited amount of time :( but oh well, I shall endeavour to begin again.

Day Three: Happy Valley Shanghai and Shanghai Joypolis
We had decided the night before that we'd go to Happy Valley Shanghai today. I was excited to visit my first Happy Valley park, since becoming an enthusiast it is probably the first Chinese theme park chain that I had heard of, and assumed I'd never visit, because China is dangerous and has no health and safety...

Happy Valley Shanghai then, home to a Sheikra clone, the only B&M family inverted coaster, a Gravity Group woodie, Intamin Megalite, massively themed mine train and 2 plus ones, probably in the order of what I was most looking forward to. The nearest metro station to the park is Sheshan Station. When there you have to get a shuttle bus to the park which is about 10 minutes away, it's easy enough to find if there is a bus at the station as it is on the other side of a motorway, but the bus is covered in pictures of creds so we knew it'd take us somewhere where coasters were. We soon arrived.



We paid about 200Y for our tickets and entered. I decided to try some coconut water they were selling outside, I regretted that immediately, it was ****ing disgusting.

The 'main street' reminded me of the one at Parque Espana in Japan, the whole street was lined with gift shops that, as far as I could tell had nothing to do with Happy Valley, only one sold Happy Valley things, the rest were just generic ****, whether they're owned by the park or not, I don't know. (On further inspection, there is a KFC and Pizza Hut here so chances are, the gift shops are external brands).

At the end of the main street we were confronted with a sight of coasters!

In the foreground is a shot tower, and the thing on the left is something to do with a water/fireworks show they do at night, but we didn't hang around for that. We turned right as we could see a big woodie and a dive coaster. Some photos from the park en route to Wooden Coaster Fireball.



As we arrived at it first we decided to ride Wooden Coaster Fireball first.

Now, quite why we decided the first big attraction in the park was they best thing to ride first, I don't know, you can see the queue was already quite hefty. Luckily, it turns out the queue had only just opened and only lasted about 20 minutes.

Strictly 2 people perrow...

It was really good, the first drop was definitely the highlight, and it seemed to go on for ages, I rode back row which was quite vibratey but I wouldn't call it rough. Loads of ejector air time, I really it, I think I prefer Cu Chulainn (the only other Gravity Group I'd ridden at the time) as it isn't as relentless, but I still really enjoyed this.
Next we decided to head on over to Diving Coaster....no idea what type of coaster that is. Some pics en route:





Soon a B&M materialised!

An elaborate building and ride sign suggested we were at the entrance, but all the gates were closed. Oh no, please be open. We waited a couple of minutes and wondered why no one else had gathered around, they must have known it'd be closed. ****.

Just as we were about to head on, we could see the coaster operating, yay! We assumed it was testing so waited around for them to open the doors but no one came...in fact there were people on the coaster. Turns out, the entrance is actually about 200m away in a gap in the fence. **** sake, what was the point in this, but oh well, we were going to ride a B&M!


Luckily there was no 'strange wind' today so it was operating. I don't really remember Sheikra that well but this felt a little meh, like it's a B&M dive machine so it was obviously excellent, but for what it was, I was expecting to be thrilled more, the first drop was great, held you at the crest for ages and the drop was thrilling, but it generally just sauntered around. It's a weird one, because I loved it but left feeling underwhelmed.



An action shot of Richard getting an action shot. Owain and I were hoping he'd get soaked...alas not.
We moved on to the Megalite next, more original names, it's called Megalite. This part of the park was really pretty.


The Megalite was in quite an elaborately themed area...


So well themed, gravity was at 90deg. I have no idea why this photo has done that.

I've only ridden one other Megalite, the one at Tobu Zoo, I believe they're exactly the same coaster (as are all Megalites) and I really like them, so much airtime! It does get to the point where it hurts your upper legs, but they're a really really enjoyable coaster.
Some more photos from this area.



I loved this view.
The park has a massive water park joined on to it, we didn't bother with it though.

The next area had three more coasters in it, the Family Inverted Coaster called Family Inverted Coaster and 2 +1s. We rode Coastal Ant first.


Nothing special, just a Golden Horse kiddie thing. I took a (sideways) selfie anyway.

And then Crazy Elves,


An actual Zamperla spinning coaster! Nothing much to write home about, meh.
By now it was about 40C and we were dying quite frankly so we went into an air conditioned building for a bit before riding the B&M. You know it's hot when you need air conditioning before creds. The area was quite fab actually, themed to under the sea.



We all bought slushies, and I went off to ride Jellyfish, mainly for the LoG points. It was dull. And annoyingly hot at the top.

After cooling down we went back outside into the searing heat to ride Family Inverted Coaster.



I assume this woman was giving a speech on how to ride.
It was ice smooth and good fun, of course, it's a family coaster, so it wasn't particularly thrilling, it was just weird to think we were riding a B&M. Glad we rode it for sure!
It was past midday by now so we decided to grab some lunch in a fast food place. It was generic theme park food.

Generic in as far as buffalo wings in a burger can be anyway...
Once fed and watered, we headed over to Mine Train Coaster, the last cred left. En route photos through some foliage.



The theming alone was pretty darn impressive.

It's a shame it spited really :(


Especially when you can literally walk right up into the station.

It was annoying but I took solace in the fact that the 2 B&Ms, woodie and Megalite were open. Phew!
That was all the creds ridden/investigated so we decided to finish off walking around riding anything else that took our interest.

We didn't bother with Shoot the Chnte, couldn't be bothered with the chaffing involved in getting soaked in this heat.

Normally I'd have ridden this, but again, no way did I fancy spinning around in this heat.

There's a theme here, the heat was ruining our time, we expected it to, but by 2pm we'd pretty much had enough. We came across a dark ride called Storm Tour, it was inside so gave it a go.


It was pretty poor, themed to an extent, and the same ride system as Spiderman...but obviously no where, no where near the same level, poor graphics etc. In case you're wondering, it was essentially a sequence of various storms hitting you. Meh.
We got back around to the front, took a couple more pics and decided to ride the rip of soarin' called Flying Dragon.


It was pretty tedious, it had an odd fish-eye thing going on which meant if you didn't look directly at the centre it was quite nauseating, I'm glad we had middle seats otherwise it could have been awful.
We'd cooled down a bit after being rather fed up earlier so decided to reride Fireball, but the 45 minute queue just wasn't worth it. It worked out in the end that we rode it first.


There was a haunted house in this area which we had a wander around.

We walked towards Diving Coaster because earlier I'd seen what I thought was a dark ride, alas it wasn't, it was an elaborate show building that appeared pretty deserted. It did give us chance to buy some meat on a stick though, which they cooked in front of us.

We decided that was it for Happy Valley. The park was pretty nice to be fair, a nice selection of coasters, couple water rides and flats. Some pretty extensive theming, quite high quality in places. I was happy it was quiet, the heat had definitely driven some people off, I'd have hated queuing for some of the rides.

Finding the shuttle bus when we left was a ballache, there was nothing to suggest a bus might pick us up from where it dropped us off, there was a coach park with about 3 of the shuttle busses, but no one around whatsoever. Great. About 20 minutes later a driver finally materialised. We got on and sat in the coach without him turning on the ****ing air conditioning for 10 pissing minutes. Ugh. On the journey to the metro station, we consulted my cred sheets and decided to go to Changfeng Park for the +1.

We made our way to Jinshajiang Road Station, time for some proper cred whoring!

The amusement part was on the other side of the park, but it was a really nice park to walk through!



Although this picture doesn't show it very well, clouds in the distance looked pretty menacing, luckily it didn't amount to much other than a couple of spots of rain and a little lightning.

We soon made it to the amusement rides!


There was no one around initially but I went off, found someone and pointed at the coaster, Sliding Dragon, they happily accepted our money and on we got!

We decided our final stop of the day would be Shanghai Joypolis. It was open late and we wanted to spend a decent amount of time here after not spending nearly long enough at the Tokyo equivalent. It is hidden inside an elaborate shopping centre.

When I say hidden, I mean hidden. I had the name of the place in Chinese and went to a couple of help desks and they had no idea. Great. This was the right shopping centre so we'd have to find it ourselves, the name was probably wrong as we couldn't find any matching symbols on any notice boards. We were about to give up and wait until we got some wifi to do it properly when I decided to try one more information desk. The woman spoke English and told us it was on the top floor at the back. And sure enough, it was!

As far as I'm aware the place opened last year with most of the attractions (including the coaster) opening this year. Upon entering we headed straight for the coaster, Music Coaster ft. Violet. I assume Violet is some Chinese popstar, but **** knows really.


It's just an indoor Golden Horse spinner with a custom layout. Nothing special, the music was quite fun though, even if the roofs were a little niche.
Once done we decided to check out some of the other random crap here. Fun webcams:



We headed to the Sonic Olympics, I'd loved this in Tokyo so was excited to do it again!

Essentially 8 people compete as a character from Sonic in a series of sporting events on a conveyor belt that you have to push yourself, I was Sonic, Richard was Tails. First up is a generic 100m race. Once you start pushing the conveyor belt it's easy, getting it started is the challenge. I won. Richard didn't even start his moving which I found hilarious. Next was a hurdle race. I wanted to have to jump but I suppose with a moving conveyor this would be dangerous, instead you have to push buttons at the right time, miss one and you fall over and you have to wait an age for it to start again. I won and it said world record, now whether this actually was the best I don't know but I like to think so. There were about 5 events in total. These were the final standings.

Richard had managed to get the hang of it enough to come 3rd!
I was very happy to win, I love these things. I feel I won the Tokyo version too, but who knows.
We did some Sonic Brain Training next.

Luckily they were all visual puzzles/maths so the language barrier wasn't a problem. Richard won.
We decided to give the Dinosaur Excavation thing a go, we had no idea what we were doing really.

Basically, there were some boards with 'dinosaur bones' on around the rooms, each with a different part of a different dinosaur. You used a crayon to, effectively 'brass rub' the bones onto the dinosaur you got and had to be the first to get all your bones rubbed. I couldn't find the last one so that was tedious. I gave up and went to ride this.

I think it was a racing simulator that REALLY threw you around, I went hardcore so it went upside down, really rather unpleasant, but there we go.
Next, cars!

Obviously a driving simulator, I decided to ride automatic (I don't drive so **** a gear box at this stage!), it was quite realistic, crashing into a wall really jerked you forward, I did terribly, but I didn't expect anything otherwise.
It was around 7pm and we were starving so decided to head out into the shopping centre and have a bite to eat before riding anything else we wanted to ride. We found a place just around the corner from Joypolis. The food was really nice, I had a ramen, and we shared some duck between us.


We decided to go a little niche too...the plate in the top right contains sheep tongue. Yup, those are the remains, i.e. the tendons that would have stretched down its throat. They were alright, not much flavour and virtually nothing to actually eat...
Back to Joypolis then. First we went in to an escape room thing, but the ride op couldn't speak english and the instructions were so poor we gave up quite soon.
Next to the Wild things. These are a collection of three simulators, Wild River, Wild Jungle and Wild Wings. They have Wild Jungle in Tokyo and I remembered it being pretty fun so we tried all three. Up first, Wild River.

So, you sit in a boat, and enter a room with a 180deg screen, it's fab. It is obviously a boat simulator so you crash over waterfalls and splash down rapids, whilst various other things happen. Really enjoyable. Next, Wild Jungle.

This is a jungle tour, you're in a Jeep and it keeps crashing down mountains, hitting trees etc, again, it's great, quite violent, but it feels so immersive as the screen surrounds you both sideways and up and down. The thing you actually sit in moves from the loading station into the screening room, then obviously backs out. My favourite bit is the ending, on all three, the video sequence ends with whatever vehicle you're in reversing, whilst the actual car reverses so you suddenly look around and you're back in the station. They're great. Finally, Wild Wing.

No prizes for guessing what this one simulates. I was most excited for this one, you can go much more crazy in the air. Yeah, I loved it, the plane crashed, somehow took off again, was hit but 'us' in the jeep earlier. That was another thing I loved about all three, they work together, so although the video sequences are all different, they're all based in the same jungle so you see the jeep and the boat at various times in this sequence. We re-rode this one straight away.
The only thing left to 'do' was Laser Mission: Spy School.

Another really fun ride. It is a room full of lasers that you must avoid. On the walls are various light-up buttons, high and low, and you have to press these without touching the lasers. Only two people at a time, so I first did it with Owain, then with Richard. I was quite good at it, the others...not so. Thoroughly enjoyable!
And that was about it. It was about 10pm but we were all shattered so headed back to the hotel for an early night as we had an early start the next morning.

Thanks for reading as always! Part 4 up soon I expect where we venture out of Shanghai to Suzhou, for Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou and Suzhou Amusement Park!
 

Ben

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Happy Valley Shanghai is fab, Fireball is soooooo good. The Dive Machine didn't seem to have the same something something as Sheikra but I'm not sure what it is?

Is there pay per ride at Joypolis or is it wristband? The info online all says like £20 a wristband no pay per ride and like, I wanna go next year but if it's £20 I've only got limited time and so might just go ride some Golden Horse spinners in parks for a quid instead?
 

Jordanovichy

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Yeah it's a flat entrance fee. It is a fab place though, did you do the one in Tokyo? It's worth going one evening to be honest.
 

gavin

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It's s**t, just like the one in Tokyo. It's open late though, so you can get whatever other +1s and still head there later.
 

WelcomeToOblivion

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Joypolis looks like tacky **** I need in my life! Also sheep tongue looks disgustaaaannnn why????

But overall I am living for these trip reports, looks like you had an awesome time and actually makes me want to go.
 

Ben

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Yeah I did the one in Tokyo, but it was gross haha. I don't really like those sort of places and I'll be on my own which they're really not designed for.

The issue is I have one night only - in the day I'm going to start the day at Happy Valley to grab the B&M, get a taxi to Jin Jiang to nab the GIB and then just slither around the city getting whatever I can, so if that's going to cost me like £20 I might as well just ride some more Jungle Mice... and it'll be a Saturday so I bet it'll be heaving.

But then the point about it being open late is true - if it's the only thing open at 8pm I'll probably just suck it up.

#firstworldproblems
 

gavin

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The city park creds tend to close around 5 or 6, maybe a bit later on the weekend. Joypolis is open until like 10 or summat.
 

Jordanovichy

Credit Whore 2016
It's been a while since I posted but I've been banished to my room whilst my housemates watch Sherlock on MY TV. So, day 4 then...

Day Four: Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou and Suzhou Amusement Land

Our first proper train ride out of Shanghai awaited us today. We'd booked trains before coming to China using chinatrainguide.com and ctrip, both very useful. We had no idea really about how to go about getting our tickets, how long we'd need etc. Our train was booked for 8:00 from Shanghai Hongqiao to Suzhou East, we left our hotel in good faith and used the metro to get to the station. We arrived with 15 minutes to spare, but the collection booths all had stupidly long queues, we got our tickets, but were refused entrance at the gates. The train station was run like an airport terminal, first of all it was ****ing HUGE, and they have tens of gates down the centre where your tickets are checked and you go down an escalator to where all the trains are.

So we'd missed our first train. Great, but we went to the booth, and they were changed to the next train...which was in 15 minutes...free of charge. This gave us chance to not rush and get a bottle of water or eight and get to our train calmly. It was 8:15 and already the temperature was...

But soon we were racing towards Suzhou at a steady 200km/h...

You mustn't lie down ready to be painted like a French girl...
[/IMG]

When at Suzhou, we hopped on the metro and made our way to Times Square, they were showing Tom and Jerry on the Metro and we had great fun relating various different scenarios to scenarios faced when getting creds.

So, Suzhou was quite impressive.


We were looking for a giant ferris wheel, that much we knew, and suddenly this materialised.


It certainly was giant! It all was a bit of a shambles from then on...continuing the theme from the journey, we bought our tickets which were a weird A5 sheet of paper with various tokens with attraction names on that could be torn off, they included the ferris wheel and the Fantastic Castle...but not Stingray, but we did manage to get a ridiculously good student rate at about £2 so all was well. We headed straight for Stingray.


It just looks so ****ing weird!
But, it was closed. This sign was outside...you don't need to understand Chinese to know what it meant...

So that's why the ticket didn't include Stingray, whether this was a normal thing or because it was too hot (approaching 45C) I don't know, but we'd have to come back at 17:30 if we wanted the cred...which we obviously did. We decided to pass the time on a certain giant wheel. Before getting on we made sure the pods had air conditioning otherwise, no. Just no. Luckily they did and we go on the giant wheel of Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou!




We had bottles of water so made sure we sat tight and didn't enjoy ourselves.
I took a sweaty selfie

And a sweaty picture of the others

And we just kept on climbing.



I'd seen this building on some wonders of architect programme once, I didn't realise they were in Suzhou!
It was great to get some aerial shots of Stingray too.


We then headed for the Fantastic Castle. I mean, if it is fantastic, it'd be rude not to, right??

It was actually pretty cool! It was full of illusion ****, I always enjoy these things at parks.


Believe it or not, Richard hasn't grown, and Owain hasn't shrunk!




But that was enough fun for one park, we decided to head back to the metro but stop off at a shopping centre en route to get something to eat. The whole thing was eerily quiet, all these shops and virtually no one shopping, we casually walked into one part of the centre that had a load of building work going on, with nothing cornering it off. Surreal. I went into KFC, I like to keep cultured by keeping my finger on the pulse of western fast food brands in Asia....I had no idea what I was ordering, but it turned out to be one side prawn, one side chicken. It was quite nice!

For dessert I had (I believe my first ever) frozen yogurt. They had loads of different flavours, you choose your size cup, help yourself to as many flavours as you want, add a **** tonne of toppings, and then weigh it, so you pay per 100g, I can't remember how much it was but I remember it being expensive...expensive compared to other things in China at least, I think about £5, but it was delicious, and just the cool down needed when it is 45C outside.

After having cooled down, we stepped out into the raging inferno once more and made our way to the metro to go to Suzhou Amusement Land, home to 3 creds, though we knew one was likely SBNO.

We got 2 bottles of water each before entering and I think just downed them there and then, we payed the entrance fee, 110Y for students, and headed on in!




Our first mission was to run through those tunnels....it was great fun!

They have an SLC here, an actual Vekoma one, a whole team of people once came up with the genius name, Suspended Looping Coaster, what it is, is a suspended coaster, with loops. I took some photos of the pretty fab theming on route.




We stumbled upon Jungle Flying first, the SBNO coaster, it looked like it had been SBNO for quite some time, and I doubt it'll ever operate again, looks pretty rotten.

Having said that, these coasters always look like that to me, living in Portsmouth I regularly see Skyways, and I always think it looks as if it's about to fall into the sea.

Suspense indeed...

We got bored of China so popped over to Germany for a bit

And then took some more photos of the pretty elaborate theming.


Like, look at the ****ing scale of this thing!


I didn't really understand this? There were a series of bridges and empty whitewashed (inside) buildings that didn't lead to anywhere...is it supposed to be Venice?

The SLC had a pretty fab setting to be honest, as this **** photo demonstrates.

But we made our way around to it.


This was our first time properly experiencing Chinese operations I think, and oh my god. Standing in a queue of about 10 people, in the sun, in 45C is not my idea of fun, when they leave it a good 10 minutes between dispatches. Just, what the **** are you doing. It was such a relief to actually get on, I forgot I was on an SLC until after the first drop. Brutal. Followed by brutality, followed by pain. It calmed a little in the middle, but made up for it in the end by somehow ****ing up a tunnel fly through, it was as if we were running along the rocks making the bloody tunnel. It was just awful. We got off and nursed our cuts and bruises, Owain's arm had fallen off and my back had broken but we were otherwise fine.


One redeeming factor, it went over the water, and I do like a coaster that goes out over water.
Whilst recuperating we watched a water jet pack stunt show, he did flips and all sorts!



No idea what happened to this guy, my only guess is he rode the SLC and died of a brain haemorrhage shortly after.
We headed off to the final cred of the park. More elaborate theming!




It was at this park we devised the new AA, air-conditioning anonymous, we would deliberately walk into shops, toilets, whatever just to stand infront of an A/C machine...including if we were just walking down a street. We were desperate for it.

So, next up, Max Speed, a Beijing Shibaolai Amusement Equipment shuttle-loop coaster!

Getting this cred was fraught with problems. First of all, instead of the crowds we were worried about and having to queue for ages...they would not dispatch the cred until there were 10 people on board. This lead Richard and I to literally walk off and coerce random Chinese people to queue, before long we had our ten. Richard and I went front for leg room...which went well. We had seen a sign on entering 'no one heavier than 80kg', well if I am over 80kg (which I am by 10kg) then Richard certainly is, but he got in and restraint locked...but not locked properly. A couple of Chinese people tried to push and managed to click him in but realised, if he was having trouble then he must be too big, so they told him he could not ride and to get off...but he couldn't because the restraint was locked. And they couldn't release it. You know how you sometimes have to pull your restraint down a little before it'll release? Well Richard couldn't because his restraint was already down as low as it could go. Ride ops were clearly getting worried that he wasn't going to get out, and I think he was too, and then suddenly he'd literally disappeared. He had crawled underneath his restraint, into the ****ing footwell to then climb out, I'm sure Richard would say himself to not be the most agile of men, how he did that I will never know, but he did and was free, leaving Owain and I to endure the terrible pain we were about to be subjected to. Yeah, it was ****, but +1 and a little story to tell about it too!

I really liked Suzhou Amusement Land, when it was new, it clearly had a whole load of investment, maybe it had the customers too, but over the years the customers have dried up, so has the investment, the whole place felt tired and lacking, there were several large stages and sets that just hadn't been used in ages, it really is a shame. It became a bit of a running theme for this larger parks, outside of Disney, Happy Valley and Oriental Heritage, these larger parks have some great theming but not the crowds that I'd imagine are needed to sustain it.

It was then time to leave Suzhou Amusement Land and find a +1 hidden in a park! We were quite far out so decided to get the metro to Suzhou centre, the nearest to the park, which was still 30 min walk away, and get a taxi from there. The taxi ride was quite fab actually, we were out of the business area Giant Wheel Park is in and it seemed like a pretty nice place. We soon reached Suzhou East Park, home to Golden Dragon Roller Coaster.

We headed straight for the amusement area which was pretty easy to find...but it was dead.



We found someone sat in a booth and pointed at the cred but she shook her head and made an 'it's too hot' motion, it was cloudy now, it had cooled quite a bit, probably below 100F now! Oh well, it wasn't to be.

It was about 3pm and Stingray wasn't due to open for another 2.5 hours, luckily we happened to be in a UNESCO World Heritage site! We didn't realise but Owain pointed it out that it's supposed to have a nice centre so we went exploring. I love roads like this that are so densely covered in foliage.


The official name for the World Heritage site is the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, which is split into districts, the most iconic after the gardens is supposedly Pingjiang Street which we headed down next.

And I loved it from the offset.

Classic Ming Dynasty vending machine there.


The sun wasn't that strong now, it was quiet, genuinely peaceful and I loved it here.



Owain loves his tea so we stopped off at a tea shop. They were offering free samples and one particularly took my fancy so I thought I would go ahead and buy some. Peach Melba! I have had it twice being back in the UK and it's ****, I've left it brewing for ages, I've used a tea strainer full of the mix, but no, it just tastes like slightly sweet hot water. I have since looked at the label 'imported from Germany'. Great.



Not sure I'd want to eat any fish out of that canal...



These were sweetened bread with an unidentified meat in the middle. They were quite nice!




I loved these, Eiffel Tower (quite an obsession with this in China, every gift shop have models of the Eiffel Tower), Big Ben, Tower Bridge, The Great Wall, Forbidden City, a camera.

We had actually killed off over 2 hours just aimlessly wandering down the road, really did enjoy it here though, luckily the road lead out onto a Metro, how considerate of The Song Dynasty to build it so close to where a Metro station would be constructed 800 years later.

Chinese Metro advert...
We knew full well that we wouldn't be allowed in with the ticket we had bought earlier at Giant Wheel Park, they clearly only open some rides in the day, and charge more and open more attractions in the evening, but we decided to go to guest services to try and feign the old 'ignorant Brits abroad' chestnut! Naturally they told us to **** off so we went and bought our tickets, and entered heading straight for Stingray.



It was great to see it operating! But we still had to wait for a car load before they'd even let us into the station. We got talking to the ride op at the front of the queue line, when I say 'talking' it was a lot of miming on our part, and a lot of Google Translate (or equivalent) on his. He told us Britain had left Europe, we were shocked! So much happens when you're out of the country, hey? We could wait no longer and headed up to ride.

Instead of your usual flying coaster track being above you in the station and seats lift up from the bottom, these laid you down on your back, so going up the vertical lift hill was nice because you were in a sitting position, but then the coaster starts. The immediate sensation is a head rush, blood surged into my head making me feel ill, brief respite around a couple of corners but it was mostly just too forceful to really enjoy. The final break run sees you laying down on your back, head facing the direction your going so that when you do break, even more blood rushes into your face. I won't lie, I can see why they never caught on. I wish I could have given it another ride to be honest, because Richard and Owain really enjoyed it, but I couldn't help but feel it was just too forceful, maybe I need to grow a pair!

Giant Wheel Park was a bit of a **** hole to be fair. I know I shouldn't expect much from these parks, but Suzhou Amusement Land is actually really nice for what it is, this place, in the heart of the city, has a niche cred and a big ferris wheel...oh and a Fantastic Castle. Meh. It was nice to see it reasonably busy in the evening though, I might not have liked the place but I wouldn't want the cred to close and be sold or anything...especially considering it could end up closer to home. Ew.

On the way out we decided to be daring and eat some street food from this.

It was really nice, just several meats and veg in a tortilla, simple but nice. Obviously, given how we were massively delayed due to Stingray, we'd missed our train by a good couple of hours, but we just got our tickets changed, free of charge and got the next available train to Shanghai.

Quite a long one that! I expect part 5 to be long too, we visited Changzhou for World Joyland (featuring a B&M flyer) and China Dinosaurs Park (DINOCONDA YES PLEASE). Thank you very much for reading!
 

jayjay

Active Member
I can't decide if the Stingray sounds like a great or terrible idea. I guess the mixed reviews make sense. It's a shame the parks don't seem to be pulling in the crowds. Is Suzhou a popular touristy area, with the UNESCO status?

Loved this report Jordan, I'm looking forward to the rest :D
 

gavin

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The Suzhou parks are a bit crap really considering the size of the city. It's a massive tourist draw for all the gardens and stuff, but maybe its proximity to Shanghai affects the parks. You could do any of the Shanghai parks as a day trip if you live in Suzhou, and if you're a tourist in the area, you're not there for parks.

Giant Wheel Park is in a weird location as well. It's easily accessible, but near the business district, which is out to the east a bit, rather than the proper middle of the city with all the tourist stuff.
 
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Ben

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Yeah the Suzhou parks are disgusting and Stingray is vile, it's such a rush of blood to the head and it's not fun xD

How was the train website? I'm trying to plan what to do in April and saw it the other day and thought it would probably be a good idea but it looked a bit dodgy and I didn't want to get there and still have to do the queues and yell at Chinese people.
 

Jordanovichy

Credit Whore 2016
The chinatrainguide is exactly that, a guide for times, but ctrip is legit and really easy to use. There's an app as well in case you want to change plans when in China which we didn't use but knew the option was there should we want it.
 

gavin

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Ctrip all the way. They charge a few quid per ticket as a service fee, but there is literally no way you could buy tickets yourself in advance. They just send you a code to show at the train station ticket counter.

You'll have to queue up to collect the tickets, but you can get ALL of your bookings from any station, so only have to queue up once. If you're picking up tickets for a different station, they charge you about 50p a ticket. Still s**tloads better than having to queue up every time.
 
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