There are two Wonderla parks in India. Earlier this week we were able to visit the larger of the two, and it's fair to say that we really liked it. While the Kochi park is pleasant enough, it is both smaller and less well themed than its brother. Having said that, there was a lot of construction underway today, with several new rides going up, so this criticism may well be out of date in a year or two. The entrance area was jammed with people when we arrived almost half an hour before park opening, and given that, we made the spot decision to buy Fast Track wristbands for unlimited front of line access to all attractions. This was not expensive and proved well worth the money. Those wishing to buy Fast Tracks have their own dedicated ticket window which is clearly signed. We only saw a handful of others with these wristbands over the course of the day, suggesting that the INR 675 price point is about right.
The first coaster we came to was Wonder Splash, which was under maintenance today (and probably for the next while). The water pool had been drained, and about half of the drop had been removed. There were several engineers working on the ride as we watched, and judging by the components on the ground they were replacing a few sections of track. It's never ideal to miss a credit, but if I had to pick one to lose today this would have been my first choice.
Spinning Coaster (#2027) can be found buried at the back of the park. Built by Hindustan Amusement Machines, this ride has the same basic layout as the Fabbri Spinning Madness rides, and it handles about as well (not very!). Male enthusiasts should be aware that the car has a shark fin in the seat, which has the potential to be a little problematic on sharp direction changes; one is advised to brace. Our second credit had a roof over it while still being open to the outside air. Vintage Tornado (#2028) had a layout similar to a Pinfari Z40, and as such wasn't particularly memorable. That left the pleasantly themed Caterpillar Train and Caterpillar Coaster (#2029), slightly less elaborate versions of the Termite rides in the Bangalore park.
The park has a Giant Wheel which can be found on the roof of the building holding the Vintage Tornado. The location is not a bad one, and definitely superior to ground level, but it was impossible not to compare against the much taller building found in the other park. With that out of the way we went exploring and promptly came across Hang Glider, a fast moving car winched to the end of a steel cable and then released to roll back. This ride was a lot of fun and something I'd happily do again. Thunder Drop, on the other hand, was a fairly dull attempt at a drop tower that took an absolute eternity to get to the top. Once it got there, there were a few good up and down movements at reasonable speed before the car settled at the half way point. From there it took another minute or so to return to earth. The best bit of the ride for me was one of the locals screaming like the world was ending, much to the amusement of his friends (and everyone else).
Dream World Water Park
2nd March 2014
Dream World was a optional stop in our itinerary, as distances meant that it wasn't at all clear that we'd have time in our day for anything other than Wonderla. Fortunately (or otherwise) drive times in southern India are a lot faster than in the north, allowing us to call in and ride Dream Splash (#2030). We didn't get to see this ride operating before boarding it ourselves, as the operators would only dispatch it full. However, the level of wetness was obvious from the large scoop attached to the front of the six person car. As expected the impact with the water was beyond drenching, leaving us dripping wet and making me sincerely regret my misplaced bravado in choosing not to wear a poncho. We rode the Skytrain monorail for some overview photographs before heading for the exit.
Silver Storm Water Theme Park
2nd March 2014
Video footage on the Internet suggested that the last park of this trip might be home to a Water Chute, and it is fair to say that neither of us were terribly enthusiastic about this prospect after what we'd been through in the previous hour. Fortunately, the machine in question turned out to be a boat ride with a splashdown element, a small mercy. We also failed to find the expected Dragon Coaster, which management told us had been removed two years earlier. Instead, we discovered something completely unexpected.
To describe the appearance of Loop Roller Coaster (#2031) as terrifying does an injustice to the word. There is a gap of about a foot between the single four person car and the loading platform. The seats are equipped with over the shoulder restraints, individual seat belts, and lap bars – and as an extra layer of protection, a secondary seatbelt is stretched across each row. There is plenty of soft padding, but there are also a number of sharp edges ready to catch out the unsuspecting rider.
The experience begins with the car being towed slowly to the top of the forward spike by a catch car mechanism. The seating position is tilted slightly back, meaning that the climb feels almost vertical, but the feeling of excitement intended by the designers was, for this enthusiast, entirely eclipsed by the dread at just how much this was probably going to hurt. The release and initial drop were fine, giving a nice pop of airtime and a brief feeling of relief. However, as the car rolled backwards through the station it was flung sideways with violence, throwing me into the nearest sharp object, what I believe to have been an exposed bolt on the back left of the headrest. Riders who don’t suffer from Tourette's Syndrome will quickly develop it as the car crashes through the loop and up the rear spike, before returning with somewhat less finesse than a shopping trolley with a missing wheel being pushed over cobblestones during an earthquake.
The station has a braking mechanism to slow the car, but it wasn’t functional for my visit, and thus the car rolled back and forth for at least a minute, shaking and shuddering as it went, before it was had finally lost enough energy to allow the operators to stop it by hand. A few hours after riding I had a lump the size of a cherry where the headrest had hit me, and it took a few days for it to completely subside.
The only other ride we tried was the Sky Jet monorail with brightly coloured individual cars. From here we could see that the park was well themed, with a particularly nice looking water play area for children and a large green dragon grinning happily over two of the walkways.