Our second day at Wonderland Eurasia began with us arriving a full thirty minutes before the scheduled opening. There were traffic cones blocking the vehicle entrance, but a guard removed one of them as we approached, allowing us to claim what an American park would refer to as a "preferred" spot just metres away from the entrance gate. In due course the security checkpoint opened up, and we passed through it on our way to the ticket desk where we elected to purchase unlimited ride wristbands even though we were only intending to spend a few hours at the park. There were three reasons for this:
- It was a small way to provide support to a park that we want to see succeed in the long run.
- Trying to figure out individual ride prices would present an enormous headache.
- The 50 TL (~€7.76) headline price was in any case an absolute bargain.
Our attempts to signal what we wanted to the cashier were met with a veritable flood of rapid fire Turkish that continued apace despite our obvious incomprehension. I was just about to break out translation software when a helpful local offered to interpret on our behalf. It turned out that there were different types of wristbands available for those on a limited budget. We were also shown a small list of attractions that were excluded from even the highest price option. This was refreshingly honest, if somewhat surprising given that there was no mention whatsoever of the much larger list of attractions that were out of service entirely.
We spent a little over an hour walking around the eastern side of the park with our cameras in order to document the various attractions that we'd missed during the previous day, and in particular the various unfinished roller coasters. Throughout this time we saw no other guests and only a handful of staff members, making the whole experience more than a little surreal; it felt like the theme park equivalent of wandering around a completely deserted Forbidden City. I found myself thinking of the early scenes in 28 Days Later, and dreaming of just how exciting it might be to walk around an equally deserted Disney park.
In due course we wound up at Canavarlar Nehri (River Monsters), a 450 metre long Intamin Rapids manufactured (according to the information plate) in September 2013. The ride turned out to be very good; highlights of the layout included a tunnel through an artificial cave and a waterfall. A wide variety of animatronic dinosaurs lined the route, though none of them were moving today. In an ideal world we'd also have experienced the adjacent Hiper Sıçrama (Hyper Splash), but though the water was running on the drop the ride was closed today.
The other essential for us today was Skyliner, a thirty-six car Giant Wheel manufactured by Moser Rides. The ride is located adjacent to the lake on the western side of the park, and though its positioning isn't optimal for photography there were still some potential shots from the apex. Unfortunately the cars were not camera friendly; the windows were dirty, and though there were grilles for air they were facing downwards rather than straight out. Readers after their own overheads should probably head for the nearby Uçan Ada (Flying Island) once it opens to the public.
Ben had to leave for the airport at this stage, so I continued wandering on my own. In due course I found myself back in the Buz & Ateş Şehri (City of Ice & Fire) where I took up position in the back car of Lav Macerasi. There was a twenty minute wait for the other seats in the train to be filled. Once they were the restraints were checked, the dispatch bell was rung, and nothing happened. The same procedure was repeated about half a dozen times, accompanied by some excited gesticulation from the control booth. There was a brief hiatus while someone more knowledgeable was sent for, and after one more aborted attempt we were sent on our way for what was a truly excellent ride.
I returned to the kebab place I'd enjoyed for a quick lunch before deciding that the time had come to head for the exit. I could certainly have stayed for longer, but I'd already added ten kilometres to the seventeen from the day before and my feet were really beginning to hurt from all the walking. Those planning their own expedition to the park should think carefully about their choice of footwear; my regular brogues were entirely inadequate for the distances involved. It would also be a good idea to study the map in depth before visiting so as to minimise backtracking.
Though there are no certainties in this life I sincerely hope that I'll be able to return to Wonderland Eurasia in due course once the eight remaining coasters have opened. I've provisionally scheduled a weekend trip for the middle of next summer if anyone would like to join me!