Apr 20, 2009

Happy Valley

Took a day off last week to enjoy the only significant theme park in Beijing, Happy Valley. It's very close in area to the amusement park portion of Cedar Point, but with a lot fewer coasters. There are, however, enough rides to bring you to the edge of vomiting that you do get your money's worth. I think the three best things in the park have to be:

1. A HUSS Giant Frisbee, named the Apollo Wheel, with a nice feeling of vertical g's, and a pretty short wait time since each time it seats 50 people at once:

2. Crystal Wings, a flying roller coaster that looks like it's pretty slow, but it's pretty exciting since you are suspended headfirst down the track. This one had lots of vomity wet spots on the platform below the track right before the ride finishes:

3. Golden Wings in Snowfield, a short but fun inverted coaster:

I highly recommend doing Happy Valley on a weekday rather than a weekend or holiday. The wait times were about one hour for the roller coasters and for the water log ride. After 4:30 PM, all the grade school and middle school students at the park on field trips disappeared, and the wait times went down to about 30 minutes. I suspect you'd wait around two hours per ride on the weekend.

If you phone Happy Valley to check the opening and closing times, you also should ask the opening times of the specific rides. For example, although the park gates may be open from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM or 9:00 PM, it's possible that your favorite roller coaster is only open from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, so you need to plan your time accordingly. Each ride seems to have a slightly different opening and closing time.

As others have mentioned, food, drink, and other add-ons are very reasonably priced for a theme park:
  • 5 kuai for a bottled soft drink
  • 10 kuai for a tub of popcorn
  • 20 kuai for a high speed digital print out of you on the roller coaster.
The water log ride is pretty standard and you get wet. The Twin Heroes, a drop tower ride where you get raised up and then dropped free fall for a few stories, is very fun. The nice thing about the Twin Heroes is that you have some variety: one tower lifts you up nice and slow to the top, and then drops you vertically; the second tower shoots you up vertically at several g's to the top, you pause for a split second, and then fall vertically. You get to pick the one you want to wait in line for.


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