Fantawild Adventure Shenyang

29th April 2019

Our morning began with a half hour journey from our city centre hotel to Putianlu, the northern terminus of line two of the Shenyang Metro. Fantawild Adventure was not shown on the area map in the station, but the top section of a roller coaster was clearly visible from what is (as of this writing at least) the only exit. The walk is a little over a kilometre and there is paved footpath for the whole route. (As a fun aside, the Shenyang Metro currently has three lines, which for reasons unclear have been numbered one, two, and nine; the reader is invited to speculate as to what happened to lines three through eight.)

The park is one of three opened by the Fantawild Group in 2011, and though all were laid out differently each was equipped with the same basic ride package. While some readers may lament the homogeneity it's fair to say that the vast majority of customers at each park will be local and thus not bothered; I'd be willing to bet that the only people who have been to more than a handful of the chain's parks in their lives are construction workers, corporate managers, and foreign coaster enthusiasts. Furthermore, it makes sound business sense for any organisation to acquire the same hardware in bulk, both for quantity discounts and for commonality of spare parts.

Vesuvio Volcano

Tick number one became Vesuvio Volcano (#2643), a Golden Horse KSC-26A mine train. The ride is one of fourteen known examples of the type in China, eight of which can be found in Fantawild parks. The on board experience was exactly as expected, and as ever completely indistinguishable from the hardware it was copied from. We waited less than fifteen minutes, aided considerably by the way that the operators were filling the air gates while a train was on course, a radical improvement in efficiency over what we saw at a sister park earlier in the trip.

With that out of the way we subjected ourselves to Flare Meteor (#2644), a Golden Horse XGC-20A suspended looping coaster identical to one I had the dubious pleasure of riding at Victory Kingdom back in 2013. The ride was fine aside from the portion between the top of the lift hill and the brake run, which was the very antithesis of fine; two particular highlights were a sideways slam in the middle of the loop and dramatic shaking in the cobra roll. Golden Horse has switched to a different track design for its newest SLCs, apparently with good results; I look forward to experiencing one of these models for myself at some stage.

Our third stop was at Space Journey, a locally built simulator. The hardware consisted of a series of thirty-seat motion bases in front of a large shared screen, in theory allowing for excellent capacity. In practice throughput was kept to locally accepted levels by the operators showing us to our seats and then leaving us unattended for almost ten minutes before the ride actually began. There was a brief preshow on a small screen, after which the roof of our vehicle rolled back to reveal an enormous screen. Sadly the main video was rather disjointed, with the camera constantly jumping between different worlds; any storyline that might have been there proved impossible to interpolate.

The adjacent building looked like it might contain a dark ride, but stepping inside it revealed a bare concrete interior and an indoor go kart track. Something like half the space was vacant, and the ceiling was perhaps one hundred feet high, far more than one would ever need to house an indoor circuit without elevation changes. My guess is that the park's construction budget was slashed after the outer walls were finished, forcing a last minute rethink by management. Posters of high end sports cars have been added to the walls in the attempt to make the interior look a little less spartan, and though these are better than nothing the result stands out like a sore thumb in what is otherwise a very well themed park.

Our walk took us past what was almost certainly a target shooting dark ride, but it was closed due to maintenance work on its main entrance: a number of workmen were fitting a new door, a task that really should have been performed outside of regular opening hours. The gift shop at the ride exit was open, though it didn't look to be doing much if any business. We next made our way into Dinosaur Rampage, a duplicate of the attraction we'd enjoyed four days earlier, but decided to abort after a few minutes when it became evident just how slowly the queue was moving.

Haunted House

Soon after light rain began to fall, diverting the multitudes to the indoor attractions. We had hoped to experience Sky Sailor, a flying theatre, but a member of staff at the entrance told us that the wait time was around two hours. Rather than hang around we made our way to the Haunted House, an up-charge walkthrough costing 30 RMB (~€3.83). We were given coloured torches similar to those at Century Amusement Park along with high visibility vests, the latter indicating that obdurate health and safety personnel have found their way to China. The interior was very good indeed and well worth the additional payment; there were several really elaborate rooms, with a particular highlight being one that featured a burning corpse using artificial but effective light and heat effects not unlike those found on the Wicker Man. There were also a few places where something at ankle height grabbed at us as we walked past.

 

Nanhu Park Shenyang

29th April 2019

We decided against spending our afternoon at Fantawild Adventure Shenyang due to the lengthy queues. Instead, we used DiDi to relocate to Nanhu Park, a city centre facility with five roller coasters listed on RCDB. We found a previously unknown powered coaster shortly after arrival, but a lack of wheel marks on the track indicated a ride that had yet to be commissioned. Even if it had been open the dinosaur-themed ride would almost certainly have been impossible for us (and most western enthusiasts) due to limited clearances and tiny vehicles. The layout was respectably large otherwise, making it a modern counterpart of the infamous Auto BergBahn.

The earlier rain had evidently impacted guest numbers today, resulting in quite a few attraction closures. The train on the Roller Coaster was wrapped up in striped blankets, which was almost a relief given the beating that we'd had from an identical machine the day before. The Fruit Worm Pulley was similarly wrapped, and there was a padlock on the gate in front of the Golden Dragon Roller Coaster. Fortunately the remaining credits were open, and we decided to tick them off without delay.

Our first hit was Spinning Coaster (#2645), a standard layout ride that looked from a distance like one of the ubiquitous Golden Horse machines. Up close however it was obviously of different origin, as could be seen from the cars which had a two person bench on each side rather than individual seats. The lap bars were very loose, making me very glad of the secondary seatbelt. We started to rotate gently from the moment our car left the station, though as ever the rate was moderate at best; I'd estimate that we managed no more than six full revolutions over the complete course. The only really memorable part of the experience was the straightening device on the brake run, which was unequivocally brutal. We paid 30 RMB (~€3.83) for our lap.

Spinning Coaster

The same money bought us access to Jungle Squirrel (#2646), a mirror image of the mouse we'd really enjoyed at Zhengzhou Zoo. We thought at first that the ride was closed, as there were cars stopped in the block brakes, but it turned out that there were more vehicles on track than could be stored in the station – not something one ever expects to see at any park, least of all in China. Sadly the ride lacked the thrill of its twin, as the cars ran at a noticeably slower speed, and though the experience remained respectable we felt no need to do it more than once.

The park has two separate haunted houses. We decided to skip a walkthrough, but took our seats for a motorised model that ran at a unusually fast speed. The perceived quality of the scenery inside may well have been boosted by the fact that we barely had any time to look at it. That being said, the ride was enjoyable, not least because it included several seconds of complimentary back massage delivered by a human actor.