Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Happy Valley Tianjin

Happy Valley Tianjin isn't open to the public yet and was in the plans for our trip until I realised that the opening date, at the end of July, was too late. This was why we'd gone to the other parks previously. However during the club trip we had been in contact with the builders of the wooden coasters in Wuhan and Shanghai and I had been given a name regarding organising something in Tianjin. That came to fruition the night before our final day in Tianjin so some rapid reorganising was needed to fit it in. Fortunately Victory Kingdom went much quicker than we had planned and our driver was happy to drive us over, and see the park for himself, so we headed on over. 

It was clear that there was still quite some work to do to get the park ready for opening but there were plenty of people working away to make that happen. The park is the smallest in the chain and consists of an outdoor section, which we could see was pretty well themed in a European way, and a huge geodesic building making this park the first to have a significant indoor section.

The Bavarian castle tower has a drop ride within it.

Like Victory Park, Happy Valley has a Flying Circus ride. Having only seen these previously in German Fairs it's quite odd to suddenly see the ride twice in two days.

Flying Fjord Dragon is the fourth M&V Gravity Group coaster following Fireball in Shanghai and the two duelling in Wuhan. The first thing we noticed in walking the ride is how long the queue line is. On two floors in the shade beneath the ride it's not a queue line you want to be stuck in for any length of time. 

The layout is a straight out-and-back layout, doing so twice. 

The trains are rather basic PTC trains. Better to have these than the Millennium flyers, which I'm not a fan of. 

So we were taking loads of pics in the station when the ride was started up and an empty train sent around. When it returned back to the station we were then asked if we'd like to ride it. Less than 20 seconds later we were sat in, belts clicked and restraints in place. Wow! I hadn't expected to get to ride it and was happy to take photos, but I was happier to put the camera down, take the glasses off and jump in.

So, how was it? Considering the coaster is very young, had only had one previous run as a warm up, and only two passengers in the front, it still kicked with a great first out-and-back section. The second half was noticeably slower but I know that given a fuller train the pace is going to be insane throughout the ride. I preferred it to Fireball but still think the Wuhan pair is their best in China, for now; it has been confirmed that there is at least one more coaster to appear in the country.

With the ride complete and the realisation that we might be the only two enthusiasts to have ridden all the wooden coasters in China putting smiles across our faces, we carried on to see the rest of the park. 

The ground around the coaster has been given a snowy path look. We had to be very careful that as we walked around taking photos that we didn't unwittingly step into one of the open manholes. 

Nice theming on the bumpy disko ride having it within a viking longship.

The mountain houses the twin mine train coaster. 

Top Spin ride.

Pirate Ship. 

A rear view of the tower. 

That's the turnaround section at the back corner of the park. 

Odd looking windmill :)

For now the tower is the centre-piece of the outdoor section. Not quite a Disney Castle, but the theming on this was really cool. 

2-tiered carousel given a slightly Christmas/Russia theming. 

This is the El Loco coaster housed neatly within the indoor section of the park. 

There was plenty of construction going on in here. 

Our host did try to get us on this too. However, unlike the wooden coaster, this one hasn't been signed off yet so it wasn't possible...not that it was expected either.

Previous reports had had this named Angry Birds, so it was nice to be the first to make people aware that the name was something else and this had nothing to do with chucking birds at pigs. 

Inside this section there are quite a few children-friendly rides. Obviously the plan had been to be able to keep punters happy if it rains outside so they need quite a lot under the roof to make that happen.  

The mini coaster is Irish themed and has a small standard layout. 

The theming in this part of the park was superb and my favourite of all that we'd seen. 

The sound of the splash ride is going to be pretty deafening I reckon. Beside it you can see a small section of the mine coaster trains that run outside of the mountain. 

Work was still being done with the statue locationing around the park. Teams of guys were manually lifting them off the lorry and carrying them to their homes.

Like most of the big parks in China, there's a giant frisbee here too.

The entrance to the mine train rides is through the lighthouse. 

The ride looks pretty big if it uses all of this space. Unfortunately there was too much construction going on around the entrance to be able to peek in. 

One of the restaurants dotted around the park.

Liking the theming on this dining hall. 

On the way out of the park I also noticed that the wooden coaster had a slight variation to its name than previously thought. 

A couple of nice touches on the tower theming. I'm not sure how the Americans will take their bald eagle being caged. 

Swiss style buildings. 

Russian orthodox rooftops. 

Back inside, attracted by the sound of a rather impressive sound system, we could see the dancers rehearsing their show. A small gathering of workers were taking the time out to enjoy it.

This is the structure at the entrance to the park. I'm assuming it's not a termite mound but an erupting volcano.

So, with only two weeks away til the heavily advertised opening date, there still appeared to be quite a bit of work to do. But people were all over the park working flat out and I'm sure they'll be ready in time. 

The wooden coaster runs down the eastern side of the park and is already acting as a magnet to people driving past. When we returned to our car, a small group of passers-by had stopped by asking when the ride would be open. I hope they didn't spot us riding it and were asking for the same. If they were anything like our driver they'd likely be querying if the coaster was really made of wood. With only five in the country, wooden coasters are still a new concept to the majority of Chinese :)

So considering I wasn't expecting to have any Happy Valley Tianjin on the trip it was great to be allowed in to see the park ahead of its opening. It was even more mindblowing to be given an opportunity to ride the wooden coaster. Huge thanks to the guys at Martin and Vleminckx for their amazing hospitality!

1 comment:

  1. Really, Malcolm? You prefer PTC's over Millennium Flyers? Wow, Dude, you'll say anything for a first ride.