Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Happy Valley Wuhan

After the rather excellent day at Chimelong we took a train ride to Wuhan in the centre of the country to visit another large theme park, this one another in the Happy Valley chain (but you'd already know that from the title of the page). That coaster is a clone of the bullet coaster at the Shenzhen park.

This park was the youngest in the chain at the time of the trip having opened in 2012 as well as a great selection of rides, the park looked immaculate, if a tad empty.

On our club trips we have a dedicated t-shirt day where we all wear the official trip shirt. This usually happens at the park that has the most to offer us...I wonder what that could be?

The group gathers around the first ride of the day, which the park's PR department were kindly walking us onto.

This wasn't it.

It was this twisty (oh god, there I've said it) launched thing, which was actually surprisingly good, and I appreciated that the park had chosen to hide the majority of it in the shade.

The pair of towers offered a mixture of shot and drop ride experiences, but remember what goes up, must come down.

Loving the mural

The quality of the portraits was pretty bad, unless Marilyn Monroe had a lazy eye, in which case it's extremely honest.

Some more nice theming touches, which were scattered all around the park.

We had been told by the park that the Sky Loop coaster was down for maintenance. We had heard of an evacuation on one of these so I suspect all the other versions of the ride had been taken down pending the outcome of that.

The reason for including this park, and for wearing the shirts was for the pair of wooden coasters at the back of the park. Mistakingly called "dauling dragons" the ride has received superb reviews.

We started our ride session with a repeat ride opportunity on the red train. This one was a great ride but already showing some signs of roughness, unfortunate given the ride is barely one year old. Still everybody seemed to enjoy it, some taking the opportunity to queue jump the group to ride it again.

There is a blue side that doesn't run as often and was deliberately closed when we got to it. Apparently the duelling doesn't happen that often; I have no idea why. But the park had kindly agreed to open the blue side for us and race them as the ride was intended. This was what the group had wanted. However there was a catch. For the duelling runs we had more people in the group than could fit 2 trains and we didn't want to be moving people in and out of their seats as our time was limited, so we were asked if anyone didn't mind giving up their place. Given the negativity that was starting to permeate from some of the group (I'm putting it down to the heat) I could sense myself exploding so I volunteered first to relenquish my place, and I appeared to be the only one. It was only when I suggested whether those that didn't ride could be given the opportunity of photographing a certain element on the track, and they agreed, that we were able to get our full set of volunteers.

So leaving the majority of the group to ride, our little group headed down to a gated area of the park to get the photo. The photo opportunity I'm talking about is a unique to this ride, and rather strangely not made available to the public. Having reached the top of their lift hills the 2 trains drop and cross over each other then at the top of the second hill they bank 90 degrees lifting you sideways out of the seat and within a finger stretch reach of the other train. It'll make sense in the photos below.

These are from the first 3 runs and this "high-5" element was the highlight for most people on the trip. I was told that each side was amazing but the two together, even more so.

On the final run my camera was starting to feel the effects of being out in the heat and the burst fire mode only managed a single photo. Was I disappointed that I didn't get to enjoy the effect? Nope! To be honest I wanted to be away from the group, and having found the ride to be a little rough, felt that it would aggravate my mood. Some others in the group were obviously feeling the same way as there was an almighty barney between a number of them after the ERS. Hey ho!

After the ERS the blue train was kept running for a little while longer. I have no idea how Christian managed to get his own ride, but I recall he got an amazing selfie whilst on it.

Having my go on the blue side I actually found it to be a much better ride experience. I think partly because I rode it in the back but also due to it not getting to run as much as the red-side it wasn't so rough. So an excellent ride but I've no idea how the general public can get to enjoy the ride in a dueling capacity, and why did they not make the high-5 element the on-ride photo.

Ignoring the "do not take photos" sign.

Nice little bronze statues, as part of the Port Conquest theming in this part of the park.

Again, really nice skies but today was deceptively hot. As we moved further north from Shenzhen the humidity was getting worse and the temperatures more unbearable. I think today we hit 38 degrees. The park doesn't have a great amount of shade and we saw some people resorting to hiring the buggies to give them shade...hold on the buggies aren't used by fat people as often happens in the West; they're used by smart clever people who don't want to get sunburn so taking a cue from the locals a small group of us spent our last hour in the park driving them around and even joined in the parks parade. Given my grumpy mood in recent days this was actually a great lift and became one of my favourite parts of the trip. We had so much fun just dicking about in the buggies, and I guarantee those of us who rode them will be doing so again at other parks.

The S&S coaster was running but only in a testing capacity. Given that the Shenzhen one had only opened on the day we arrived it was perhaps fortuitous to expect this one to be open also. The Happy Valley chain has 3 of these (Shenzhen, Wuhan and Beijing) and for some reason these took a long time to open to the public. The Beijing one had opened a good while before the Shenzhen one; this being the newest was apparently the last to open. I believe it's now operational (its taken me months to get this written up) but it is in such a remote city that I'm not sure I'll be back there soon.

The final coaster was a mine train ride but rethemed to be a truck driving around a motorway. It was just alright.

These are strange 2-seater bicycles where you sit side-by-side rather than tandem-style (now there's a Psy parody waiting to happen). I assume there's some sort of gyroscope element that prevents the cars rotating around, although that would be pretty cool if they did.

After a very nice lunch (most resorted to the safe burger option) I checked out their haunted walkthrough. No cameras were allowed inside so I couldn't get any photos, which is a shame as there's a piece by Banksy included in one of the rooms. Now I didn't expect to find that on the trip, and I've now got no evidence to backup my story.

Happy Valley Wuhan were extremely good to us, and their wooden coasters are great, I'm just perplexed by how they're run and I suspect I'll only come back here as part of a group where the likelihood of the ride being run properly is higher.


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