Chapter 9: A Park that's Almost There--Happy Valley Wuhan Have you had enough "culture" for now? Are you ready for another Chinese theme park, along with a wee bit of credit whoring? Very well. Let's move on.
We left Chendu that night for Wuhan and exchanged Sammi the guide for Erik--or was that Eric?--the guide (Never got the spelling straight.) And, like a good Chinese guide, Erik filled us in on the culture of Wuhan. Well, I don't remember any of that stuff, so let's get to the park, shall we?
Happy Valley Wuhan reminded me a bit of Victory Kingdom, thanks to its lack of shade and "unfinished" quality. That is, two of the park's major rides--a launched S&S coaster and a launched X-Car--weren't ready (this is the newest park in the Happy Valley chain). Theming wasn't as elaborate as the other Happy Valleys, either, but this chain tends to fill in as they go. Their observation tower didn't run that day, either; in fact, I think they were still working on the queue area.
That being said, Happy Valley was much better than Victory Kingdom and has potential. It also has "Dauling" Dragon, a damn good Gravity Group dueling coaster. At least the blue side is damn good; the red side is a wee bit brutal. The filming session on this ride was great fun; there's a good mix of airtime and crazy laterals; and, of course, there's the insane "High Five" element. Robb captured all this perfectly in his video. Again, my thanks to Robb and Elissa for another excellent ERT/filming session. If only the park would duel (or "daul") the dragons consistently.
Robb and Elissa also arranged for us to be "backdoored" on Hidden Anaconda, the park's Skyloop. I was dreading this ride a bit, thanks to the problems Magic Springs had with their version and the rather uncomfortable ride I'd had on the "inverted" lift hill of Drayton Manor's G Force (another Maurer Sohne X-Car coaster). But this was a pleasant surprise! Although it is pretty freaky when you top that lift and turn over, the ride itself was excellent (even when "rocking" back and forth at the end). My thanks to TPR and the park for setting this up.
There was the inevitable "Mine Train" ride, this one courtesy of Golden Horse (not Vekoma)--Monte Carlo Raceway. It was OK, but a bit odd (as you'll see in the photos later). The park also had a good haunted walk through, as well as a 4D movie--yes, my first time sitting through Yogi Bear. (I think--the sign outside and the theming in the theatre suggested pirates.) The park also has a rather well hidden Midway Mania knock off, but I missed out on it. (Word is that the ride was, at best, blurry.)
Overall, Happy Valley Wuhan is a fairly solid, enjoyable park. Let's have a look around
Hmm--something tells me that we might be near a theme park. Or maybe a casino.
Happy Valley is in a "No Bugle Zone."
We went in through a side entrance before the park opened to the public.
Looming up through the haze were our two objectives.
We made it! High Five, bro!
You see? "Dauling." And the "dragon" is actually two trains. Based on the engine number, I assume the one on the left is the "party train."
Here's what we were getting ourselves into. The ride is actually much crazier than this map suggests.
I think Barry White would find this ride much sexier than the knock-off SLC at his "pleasure" park in Victory Kingdom.
Apparently, Soviet-era Russian car = "theming."
Every now and then, the trains let off some steam--nice touch.
We had some time to kill while the staff finished testing the ride; so, we took a little walking tour of the empty (well, except for the staff, of course) park.
This is the S&S "Not Ready for Prime Time" Coaster.
Like Chendu, Happy Valley Wuhan has a circus-themed area.
Here's the "Still Working Out the Kinks" Coaster (aka, Magic Express, the launched X-Car).
One last look at the S&S before we head back to "daul."
OK--time to ride and film!
I think the sign is Chinese for "Mind Thy Head."
Here's just a hint of how insane this ride really is.
Robb and Hanno set up the rider cam.
"Robb? What's my motivation?" "Your motivation is that you're some guy who really wants to ride a roller coaster--a lot!"
The blue side has an insane beginning--see how it drops under the red side's track?
"Save me Jeebus! High Five!"
The ""dauling" on this ride is the best I've seen since Lightning Racer--if only the park would run it that way consistently.
Speaking of "Save me Jeebus" . . .
It is rather ominous looking.
You know, I think I'll watch you folks as you ride first.
So far, so good.
Pray that it doesn't pull a "Magic Springs" on you here!
Yay for gravity and momentum!
Yes, a surprisingly good ride! Maurer, you've redeemed yourselves greatly since G Force! More to come.
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