In the past few years, I've been lucky enough to get on several major overseas trips with work. And unlike my, let's say "less funloving colleagues" (and not like anyone on TPR!) if I happen to be near a rollercoaster, I'm going to try to ride it. I'll also probably take pictures of it.
And so, I decided I'd take the leap of sharing some of this with you, the kind and polite people of TPR. Be gentle with me.
First stop: Shanghai. ---------------------------- EDIT: Added navigation links to the different posts & parks:
http://coaster-count.com/userinfo15854.xhtml and http://www.coastercounter.com/805Andrew (I don't count traveling fairs and casinos as parks, and I count Coney Island as one park)[url=http://www.clubtpr.com][img]http://www.clubtpr.com/images/memberbanners/07c56b6e6c57795b5e848cab51dd406e.jpg[/img][/url][url=http://www.clubtpr.com][img]http://www.clubtpr.com/images/memberbanners/4bcb6d715cbe293b80fdfea5d0baf0b0.jpg[/img][/url]
A month or so ago, I got back from a 3.5 week trip to China & Hong Kong. (Yes, I know Hong Kong is technically part of China, but that's like saying the UK is technically part of Europe - the money is different, and try telling that to someone who lives there. And you still need a passport & visa to go between them, and by the way, there's still a moat full of laser armed sharks separating them).
On said trip, I spent some time in several cities, including Shanghai. And when I go places (especially places I've been to before) I try to go to their theme parks. In Shanghai, that should have included Happy Valley, to ride their awesome collection of coasters, including what would have been my first Intamin Megalite, and China's first (only?) wooden coaster. Sadly, I was there to work (stupid job!) and the only full day I had free was pouring rain.
Consolation prize? A few hours on the afternoon I was leaving Shanghai... and a quick trip to Jin Jiang Action Park.
It may not have the great rides that Happy Valley does, but it does have a certain charm. And more importantly, enough weirdness to make it entertaining.
One advantage of Jin Jiang over Happy Valley - much closer in to the city, as it is much older. It's also conveniently located alongside a major freeway and surrounded by apartment buildings... which gives it an odd aura. Not something that happens in the US, much.
Admission is cheap, and then it's pay-per-ride. They happily sell a combo ticket that includes 6 rides of your choice, for around US$20. At the back of the park is a typically huge Chinese observation wheel, which has a separate ticket.
These pictures make a roughly counter-clockwise walk around the park.
The entrance to Shanghai's local neighborhood amusement park: Jin Jiang Action Park!
Inside the gate, we discover that the Eiffel Tower is yellow... er... GOLDEN! (and GIRAFFES! Who knows why?!?!?)
See what I mean about the apartment buildings?
This year is apparently going to bring a new addition, a Giant Inverted Boomerang. I'm sure it'll be named something catchy, like "Inverted Boomerang Rollercoaster" but as the station is yet to be built, who can say?
Given the size of the park, this is an excellent call as a new addition: appropriately imposing looking while being very compact. Plus, it's right alongside a major freeway, which is like free advertising. Maybe it'll be named after the road? But then "Middle Ring Road Madness" may not be catchy enough.
The new hotness.
(Not pictured: I apparently missed taking a picture of their Zamperla Motocoaster. It looked to be a stock traveling fair unit, though fun!)
Next up: What I'm guessing is the oldest coaster they have. Mainly because they named it "Rollercoaster".
As others have noted on here, a very unique Chinese design - not launched like other shuttle loops I've been on, the train is pulled forward out of the station, up an incline, then across a flat bit of track, then released... flying through the station, loop backwards, incline backwards, forward through the loop, brakes into station. Pretty smooth, all things considered.
As old as the trains are, I felt better when the ride ops honed in on me, Mr. Foreign Tourist to ensure my OTSR were locked over my Mr. Foreign Tourist size body, and the seat belt clipped into them properly. This will contrast dramatically with another park later.
This was also the first encounter on this trip with the fascinating behaviour of Chinese women on rides - when with their husbands/boyfriends/fathers/girlfriends/whoever, before the ride, they are all giggly, and acting like they are about to faint from the idea even, of going on such an INTENSE, EXCITING adventure. On the ride, they are incredibly stoic and maybe just enjoying it a bit. No screaming. Afterwards, back to giggling, nearly fainting, delirious at having survived. to match up to this, the menfolk tuypically act all Chinese machismo: "Oh baby, I'm strong, this is nothing for me. I KNOW KUNG FU! You're so weak & silly!" And then they start acting like little kids on the ride, screaming and almost fainting. I've sort of started assuming the before and after is mainly an act to make it all more dramatic and the woman appear more delicate and fragile, the man more, well manly. Thoughts? Anyone else notice this?
This is not just a rollercoaster loading station... it is a loading station for Rollercoaster
Not play... if gestation, wenerable age, soak in wine.
Next up was a pretty original creation... a powered indoor coaster, the Karst Cave coaster. Hidden away in a decent looking mountain, it offers intriguing twist... not a great ride though. The interesting idea: You go through twice. The first circuit, in the dark cavern. Then, you roar through the station (at like 10 MPH) which has "time travel" lighting effects... then you go through the ride a second time with lights on... revealing DINOSAURS!You have obviously traveled from boring current day cave to ancient prehistoric times through the power of inline Chinese lighting technology! You bravely whoosh past said dinos, and back into station.
Cute idea, really.
Karst Cave Coaster! No word on coyote trying to kill roadrunner 'round these parts.
Nearby they have a well themed looking whitewater raft ride. Past that my friends is one of the things that more than any other theme park ride in the world has tested my sanity and grip on what we generally call "reality". Yes, I speak of JOYLAND.
Among other animals, a duck without pants welcomes us to "Joyland"
Other, braver souls have documented the interior of this landmark attraction. All I will say is that I was very glad I did not speak Chinese that day. Perhaps only not being able to comprehend the song in the ride saved what shreds of sanity I have left.
For a better description of what they were going for, read this sign:
YOU MUST READ THIS SIGN!
In short, the folks running this park devoted a pile of money and a good chunk of space trying to build an analogue of IASW. And they succeeded, sort of. Kind of like how fake Chinese iPhones look like iPhones, but aren't at all like iPhones. This ride alone makes visiting this park worthwhile for a true theme park lover. I mean, whoa.
(On a side note, whenever I think I should try to do something, say, in my yard better left to a professional who knows what they're doing, in an attempt to save money, I can just think back to JOYLAND, and remember to leave stuff I'm not really good at to the professionals. Just a thought. The more you know.)
Golden Horse Spinning Coasters are as common in China as fried rice and KFC.
Next door to the epic JOYLAND is a staple of the Chinese amusement industry. And they don't suck. Except for the incredibly rough, nay, painful, "straightener" right before unloading. Basically there's a giant bar that whacks the cars straight before you get to the unload spot. Be facing to far out of line, be unprepared, and it's like the coaster car heavy weight punches you in the side.
Other than that, fine.
They also had lots of fun games. Though food looked a bit worrying.
They need this game in the US. At ACE conventions. Or our local Buffalo Wild Wings.
The park is surprisingly pretty in spots.
Also: A weird obsession with self propelled / pedal type monorail type rides... at least 2 here (plus an actual monorail, SBNO). And a boat ride. Through a tiger.
And then, there's this - how many times has a ride gone into a lion/tiger mouth... and then come out it's butt?
All in all, an interesting park. Affordable. Easy-ish to get to. And new hotness on the way!
So, a brief somewhat cultural interlude before heading to the next crazy Chinese theme park... and technically this does include a coaster!
In case you thought bad news headline puns were an American phenomena
Shanghai's show off Apple store beats NYC's cube... because the Chinese have tubez.
Anyone want some chicken(s)?
Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai Soup Dumplings) are one of the greatest culinary creations in the world
OK, so there's actually a credit in this!
One of Shanghai's most recognizable landmarks is the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.
If nothing else, you have to admit it is pretty unique. The locals have a nickname for it - they call it the same name as for a skewer of fresh fruit.
The tower isn't just a simple observation tower - admission gets you elevation to either the main top "pearl", or if you pay more, an additional claustrophobicly packed small elevator up to the "pinnacle" tiny "pearl". After taking pictures, enjoying vertiginous views through the massive glass floor observation deck, you then descend to the lower "giant pearl".
Here, somehow called "Space City" you enjoy various attractions highly reminiscent of Japan - capsule machines, claw games, 360 degree fighter simulator, motion theater, 4D movie in a box, arcade games, etcetera.
The big attraction is Space Switchback, billed as "the world's highest enclosed rollercoaster" which I can't really debate. It's dark, has poor dark ride scenery, but is, indeed a rollercoaster. Indoors. Up in a tower.
Space Switchback isn't thrilling, but it doesn't hurt, gets a little speed in places, and mostly just is unique.
AND! included in your admission ticket to the tower.
Once again, I am not qualified to enter a Chinese attraction.
I, for one, am glad our new Chinese overlords see fit to ensure elevator buttons are sterilized.
These are currently the two tallest buildings in China. The larger one has a fancy name, but I prefer "God's Bottle Opener".
Here we see the world's tallest observation deck, including some of the world's highest observers.
The WFC is actually a really striking building. Fun fact: the hole at the top was originally supposed to be round. Circles have a lot of great symbolism in China. Unfortunately, someone figured out that it would also bear a striking resemblance to the Japanese "Rising Sun" flag when viewed from the main part of Shanghai in the morning.
Also: The 128 story Shanghai Tower is being built on the next block to these two buildings. When finished it will be the undisputed second tallest building in the world, after the Burj Kalifa in Dubai. You know, until the Saudis, Russians, or other Chinese people get excited about beating the record. Again.
Through the pollution is the sight of Shanghai's Expo 2010... the red reverse stepped building is the China pavilion, which will soon permanently open. Tie giant egg is a permanent theater.
Also, something I missed the first time I visited the Pearl Tower was the Shanghai City Museum... again, included in admission. It's in the bottom level once you get off the elevators, but before you run out of the tower. Many, MANY models (some impressively detailed) of the city, and lots of well done dioramas portraying the historical life of the Shanghainese.
Of course, it wouldn't be China without some Chingrish and some anti-foreign-white-devil-imperialist sentiment.
No one likes a city infested by foreign adventurers.
The museum is filled with exhibits like this, demonstrating how Chinese women managed to balance work and having a family.
See you later Shanghai!
Hoping to get pictures of my visit to Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park up soon! You know any place the hotel concierge tries to get you NOT to go to is going to be great!
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