Our morning began with a short journey on the Hefei city metro. We disembarked at Dashushan, where we were able to transfer to bus 801 for the five stops to Hefei Wildlife Park. It was impossible to get a seat (or indeed breathing space) due to the number of people on board, but the total journey time was less than fifteen minutes making things fairly manageable. We disembarked with the multitudes at the park entrance, where we handed over 35 RMB (~€4.53) apiece for admission.
We immediately headed towards the ride area, located approximately six hundred metres from the gate on the left hand side. On arrival we discovered half a dozen locally built attractions, with the highlight of the collection being an Outer Space Flying Car (#2659) with a striking multicoloured colour scheme making up for its diminutive stature. Our 15 RMB (~€1.94) ticket entitled us to three pleasant laps. Other attractions included Bumper Cars, a Carousel, Paddle Boats, and the improbably named Super Pirate Ship.
Huiyuan Pleasure Island
3rd May 2019
Huiyuan Pleasure Island is a 120,000 square metre park located close to the center of Hefei. Around ten percent of the space is occupied by a seasonal water park with tube slides and a wave pool. The rest consists of landscaped gardens that have been blended with a fairly typical collection of locally built amusement rides. The admission fee today was 80 RMB (~€10.34), a price that included unlimited use of all available attractions. Neither coaster was operational when we arrived shortly after 11:30am, but we used Google Translate on the sign in front of the larger of the two, which told us to "Come Back Soon".
We spent much of the next hour exploring. One whole section of the park featured hundreds of pinwheels in the grass, a fascinating local tradition which merits a blog post on its own. In an other area we found some decidedly tired dinosaur theming, including a generic specimen whose broken leg had been repaired with a quantity of sellotape. Last but by no means least, we located the site that was formerly home to the four Rainbow Shuttles listed as undefined entries on Coaster-Count. These had been removed, though the foundations where they once stood were clearly visible, enabling some thoroughly cromulent photographs.
In due course we heard the distinctive clatter of a chain lift indicating that the Shuttle Loop Coaster (#2660) was now open. Loading speeds were appalling even by local standards, but after an incredible fifty-five minutes in line we were dispatched on what was only the third train of the morning. Against all expectation the ride was actually pretty good, with no headbanging or knee issues despite the fact that I was only just able to shoehorn myself into the back of the lead car. Older enthusiasts should be aware that the ride has an age limit, though we've no idea what it actually is; Bruno told the staff that he was 48, which apparently passed muster. I was similarly challenged, despite being quite a bit younger than my companions.
After disembarking we made our way across to the Jungle Roller Coaster, one of six known examples of the ZXC-8A design developed by the Zhongshan Jinbo Recreation Equipment Company. The ride was closed, but we decided to sit on the station stairs for a period of time in the hope that an operator might turn up. It was only after half an hour in situ that it occurred to us to double check that the sign that we were waiting in front of was the same "Come Back Soon" that we'd seen earlier. It wasn't; the symbols officially translated to "Ride Under Maintenance", though a more accurate translation might be "We Don't Feel Like Operating This Ride Today".
3rd May 2019
Our final stop in Hefei was at Xinghua Park, a free admission facility located to the north of the city centre. We got there using bus route 30, which cost just 2 RMB (~€0.26) per person for the eleven kilometre journey from Huiyuan Pleasure Island. Those planning their own trips from 2020 onwards may find it easier to get there using the local metro, as the proposed Funanlu Station on line five (currently under construction) should be within walking distance.
Our first hit was Green Worm Coaster, a 10 RMB (~€1.29) powered coaster that can be thought of as a horizontally stretched Fruit Worm. There was no problem with adults riding, though taller readers should be aware that the track routes through a fiberglass apple with minimal clearance; both Bruno and I had to duck to avoid incident. The station brakes were out of service today, so we stopped by the simple expedient of cutting power at an appropriate moment, allowing the train to roll back to its start point. The operator hit the button a tiny bit too late for our lap, and as a result I had to climb over the two rear cars to get back to the boarding platform.
We'd expected to find a Golden Horse Spinning Coaster and a Chengdu Xindu Wave Shuttle, but both were conspicuously absent today. In their place was a brand new Crazy Mouse (#2661) from Baoding Hengrui Youle Juxie Co Ltd. The ride featured a new style of car and track not previously known to the enthusiast community, and better yet it proved to be excellent, with smooth tracking and powerful laterals in the corners. We rode twice for 20 RMB (~€2.58) each time.