Chapter 18: From the Mountains to the City: Knight Valley and Window of the World
Knight Valley is really more of a resort (or, as you'll see later, "rosort") than a theme park--it's also the site of tragedy. This is the park with the "Mission: Space" knock off that essentially collapsed and killed a number of people, leading to a crackdown on park safety in China. It's also the home of one of GCI's best creations, with a beautiful mountain setting (Wood Coaster). In fact, this was the best setting for a ride I'd ever seen, until we hit Ocean Park in Hong Kong. I do like the way this park is incorporated into the mountain. Nothing seems to intrude on the natural beauty of the area, and Wood Coaster fits in perfectly.
Wood Coaster is, indeed, a great ride, but much of Knight Valley's other attractions left a bit to be desired; maybe my opinion would've been different if more of them had been operating. The park's flume ride, which used large rubber rafts instead of "logs," looked like it could've been great--especially the way it flowed through part of the park's hotel. Unfortunately, the ride looked as though it hadn't been running for a few years. Their "Journey to the Center of the Earth" knock off was down for maintenance, as well. Many of the flats seemed to be closed; at least, there was a lack of staff to operate them. Many of the park's escalators were also out of commission. (Fortunately, the park's staff was quite nice and gave us a tram ride up to the coaster.)
That being said, Knight Valley was worth the trip just for Wood Coaster alone. There was a surprising amount of airtime hidden in the usual "twisty" GCI layout, and it was very re-rideable--in fact, it cracked my top ten in the 2012 Hawker Poll (6th place). A funicular ride to the top of the mountain above Wood Coaster offers great views (and some more rides). There's a stunt show, too, along with a nice set of Bob Karts.
Overall, Knight Valley is a beautiful place, if a bit lacking as a theme park.
A blessing! A blessing from the Lord!
God be praised!
Hmm--the maintenance guys seem to be a bit concerned with something they've spotted on this sign.
Perhaps this caught their eye.
"Oh, crap! How am I gonna scan this into the Park Index?"
Hmm--looks like our filming session is a bit higher up the mountain.
Fortunately, the staff gave us a ride (it would've been quite an uphill trudge to the coaster).
We were lucky that "Aquapig" (?) was there to protect us. . .
. . . along with the rest of the Super Friends.
Our quest is at an end.
The staff warmed it up for us.
I think this is Chinese for "Mind Thy Head."
Yay! It's our turn now. This filming session was great (maybe the best one of the trip).
This ride never lets up from beginning to end.
And it uses its mountain setting very well.
I really liked this turnaround.
Not quite "90 degrees" on the turnaround (as I recall), but close enough. And, yes, there is that trademark GCI "fly through" of the station.
It's like riding a coaster in a jungle.
Yes, there is a "tunnel," which you do, indeed, "take."
Another great run done!
TPR at work--great job, Robb and Hanno!
I think the whole group was pretty happy with this ride. I think the mountain setting really makes it.
We were really looking forward to checking this one out.
D'oh! Oh well--such is life.
There's always the stunt show with three names. "Roaning Flood" is name no. 1.
Name no. 2. And hooray for "fire exploration"!
And no. 3--at least they all contain some form of the word "flood."
No sign of any flooding yet, but there is a lone woman wandering around on the rocks.
"You'd better start the flood or set someone on fire before I get really mad!"
Yeah, they love to set dudes on fire at Knight Valley.
They love it so much, they do it twice.
There is, indeed, a flood.
Yes, this is a "flash" flood that "roars" and, er, "roans," I guess.
There's an exhibit and a 3D "Circlevision" flick about jellyfish in this building.
None of the jellyfish were set on fire.
Er, Avatar, anyone?
I think this is the building that houses the infamous "Mission: Space" knock off.
Nope. Not gonna say it, Chris.
The Bob Karts were running--and they were good.
This makes Larry very excited.
I agree that "real anger" could lead to some sort of "emergency." More to come from Knight Valley--with a bit of Window of the World.
After making a brief credit stop at Zhongshan Park in Shenzen (the Spinning Mouse and Sliding Dragon strike again), we spent a few hours at Window of the World. Like Beijing World Park, this place features re-creations of famous world landmarks, such at Mt. Rushmore and the Eiffel Tower, in addition to some shows and a few rides. I thought it was a bit nicer than the park in Beijing: the landscaping was quite pretty, the replica buildings were in pretty good shape, and there was a very engaging Chinese goofiness about the place. The coaster there was the odd Greenland Underground Exploration ride, which was themed to time of the Vikings. At least I think it was. The ride vehicle looked like a Viking ship, but the ride itself was do dark you couldn't see a damn thing as it rumbled and slammed and bumped around the course.
WOTW also had a very wet flume ride, some nonfunctional Bob Karts, and anatomically correct sculptures. But, first, I have a few more pictures from Knight Valley.
Look! I've found the new Mayan Calendar! Turns out the world wasn't going to end on December 21, 2012, and we have a few million years to go. Oh, well.
Piers? What are you doing at Knight Valley? I thought you hung out at Happy Valley parks.
This is one of the most interesting flume rides I've ever seen.
Somehow, I don't think it'll be opening today.
On the left is the best theme-park 4D flick ever. On the right is Pandaf*****gvision. To each his or her own.
Not being able to "exist" during the show could be a bit of a challenge.
We skipped both shows to make sure we could ride the funicular before the group had to leave. It was a lot of fun.
Hi there, Wood Coaster.
It was very nice at the top.
Now that's a a helluva setting for one of these rides.
This is another good reason for visiting Knight Valley . . .
. . . if some chunky American doesn't block the view. Time to move on.
Our latest guide, Jack, did pretty well his first day. But when we reached Shenzen, his entire world collapsed. Here we see him asking some random woman on the street for directions to Zhongshan Park--even though Robb had the place pinpointed on Google Maps.
"Dude! The woman in the hat already told you which way to go!"
Thanks to Robb, and despite Jack, we found the park.
And there was much rejoicing.
If I didn't know this was China, I'd swear I was in Reno, Nevada, back in the 1980s.
Why, thank you! Damn glad to be here.
Time to explore--or at least "Walk Like an Egyptian."
When comic book franchises collide.
This sculpture depicts the upbringing of Romulus and Remus, founders of the Roman Empire. Or was that of the Romulan Empire. Or maybe it's just some random babies suckling a wolf. At any rate, it's culture.
That must be one dangerous grate.
Hi George, Tom, Teddy, Abe.
"From the Rainbow Bridge of Asgard . . ."
It's a boat. It's a roller coaster. One thing it isn't, is good--but it is "interesting."
Torture! Torture! It pleasures me!
I'm shocked that no one drowned.
And, as we all know, Robb is an art lover.
This is Egypt, not Vegas--even though the sign out front reminds one of Reno.
They did do a pretty good job with some of their replicas.
The giant fruit is just what you'd find in the real "Land of Dutch."
Remember--this is "culture."
The Japanese garden was very pretty--even though the Japanese are not too popular in China.
Hello, Angus! So, you finally caught up with me.
We missed the "Epic Romance," . . .
. . . which apparently starred Tobey McGuire as a Chinese soldier.
There is an attraction called "Splendid China" in China. How silly is that? Next, you'll tell me there's a "California Adventure" in California. ;)
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