World Joyland has made international news in recent months due to the fact that its spectacular theming is completely unlicensed. Legal action against the park is pending from many quarters, which will be quite interesting to watch given the general disregard for intellectual property rights found all over China. Some of the coverage can be found via CNN and Kotaku.
The weather conditions for today were fairly unpleasant, with a mixture of rain and fog. We'd been warned up front that the various roller coasters were not scheduled to operate today due to weather conditions, but fortunately our tour organisers were able to talk park management into opening the various rides for short periods. It is highly unlikely that we'd have been able to get any credits today without their efforts, so my thanks to them for achieving miracles.
While we waited for operations to begin, we got to enjoy the 3D Simulator, showing a movie of a particularly impressive roller coaster (what else?) that could never exist in real life thanks to a blatant disregard for the laws of physics. Once we'd disembarked, we headed to Dragon Roaring Heaven (#1834), a Golden Horse copy of the standard Vekoma mine train design, and not a bad ride by all accounts. It's interesting to note that there are now quite a few more installations of this ride from Golden Horse then of the original version designed by Vekoma, which is probably a bit of a sore spot for the engineers in the Netherlands.
Our next stop was at Sky Scrapper (#1835), a genuine (!) B&M flying coaster that is easily the best of the family, and in my not terribly humble opinion one of the best B&M coasters to be built to date. The lift hill leads to a steep vertical drop with a brief moment of weightlessness, a high turn, then the highlight; a 540° roll that leads directly into a vertical loop. It is this moment and the unexpected nature of it that really made the ride for me; riders coming out of a 360° turn don't generally expect a further flip. I managed eight laps, and would have done more but for the fact that there was a large park outside the ride station that I wanted to explore.
On a side note, for the second time in my life I can now say that I've ridden every roller coaster built by Bolliger & Mabillard, a current total of eighty-five coasters. This is obviously a moving target, but one which I'll be able to feel a little bit smug about for the next few months at least!
From there my group went to the 4D The Undersea Spiritual City film, a title that probably makes more sense in its original Chinese. The projection effects on this show were working really well, with completely convincing 3D augmented by an animatronic model at the front of the screen, seat movements, and air effects. The plot was impossible to follow without an understanding of the local patois, but the story seemed to involve some brightly coloured fish (bearing a striking resemblance to those in Disney's Finding Nemo) defending their home against large and evil looking fish. Or something like that!
There was also a semi-clone of the Soarin' rides, albeit with seats that could only move forward rather than up. As a result, we had to climb quite a long way before boarding. The screen suffered from the same issue as yesterday's model, with distortion occurring at the edges of the display coupled with a projector that wasn't entirely in focus. Next to it was the Heaven Trip of Demogorgon dark ride, which used the Spider-Man system albeit in a very haphazard fashion, with some projectors that only came on once cars were facing the relevant scene, and at least two that were completely broken.
We finished up with a ride on Clouds of Fairyland (#1836), which the park opened for just long enough to allow our group to ride. The restraint on this version didn't seem to tighten mid-course, which made a nice change from the other model a few days back.