Mangyongdae Funfair

1st June 2011

The amusement parks in the DPRK are normally closed during the week, but Mangyongdae Funfair was open today for the Children's Day holiday. It was raining as we walked through the gate, and as a result all rides were temporarily shut down for safety reasons. We used the time to explore, and found a small number of flat rides accompanied by one very large roller coaster. For some unknown reason there were three identical rocket rides located side by side. We subsequently located a fourth in another section of the park, suggesting rather strongly that this design was (or is) a local favourite.

Mangyongdae Funfair

Once the rain had dried off we were able to enjoy the Double Loop Coaster (#1625), a Meisho-built ride dating from the early 1980s. It was above average in quality, and noticeably smoother than some other coasters of the period. The train had been weighted down with sandbags in each seat, which restricted the available legroom, though only foreigners would be worried about this; as with many other Asian countries, the locals don’t seem to stretch much beyond five foot eight inches. In common with the Taesongsan Funfair the ride station was adorned not with the coaster name, but with a slogan; “Long live our great leader, Comrade Kim Jong-Il!”.

After riding, we got back in our tour bus for the short journey to the other section of the park. The map suggests that it is possible to take a cable car between the two areas, but it was down today, so we ended up driving to the second entrance. This area was much busier than the first section, with numerous buses lined up in the parking lot and large numbers of children milling around.

Due to bad timing we’d managed to arrive a few minutes into the standard two-hour lunch break followed by most businesses in the DPRK. However, we need not have worried; as honoured guests a ride operator was rounded up to run whatever attractions we were interested in. The Loop Coaster (#1626) needed a mostly full train to complete the course, so a number of local children were rounded up to occupy the remaining seats, and in due course we were sent on our merry way. There were no sandbags on this version, and it was perhaps for this reason that we enjoyed the experience more.

The final credit was on Kwansong Tancha (#1627), a somewhat smaller mouse than the version we tried on Sunday, though rather more scenic thanks to it being built partially over a lake. With that completed, we took one lap in the ferris wheel for some overview photographs before moving on.

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Mangyongdae Funfair

Reports from this park: