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  1. 18 points
    This is probably the testimony I've been most interested in reading about, and all I can say is wow. Now we see the real cause of the issue, not $25 an hour ride ops not pressing a button, what he have here is a fundamental failure of a person overseeing the park's rides. The head of engineering doesn't know how the rides work but is in the position to make judgment calls about them? If he doesn't know how the rides work then why on Earth would anyone have told him that there's a problem? Not like he can do anything with that info. He'd been at the park for 4 years, the fact he didn't know how to run the rides is either a lie to cover up the fact he knew it was fucked, or he is terrible at his job. What amazes me the most is he's still there. He's still not a qualified engineer. He still hasn't taken any steps to mitigate the fact he's not a qualified engineer. He seems like he thinks not knowing how to operate the rides is OK. Elsewhere in his testimony he says he wasn't sure who had the job of making sure the rides are safe. I'll give you a clue, Head of Engineering; its you. It's your department, you set the agenda. Your agenda didn't see you making the effort to get to know the rides you were managing. Had you have taken the smallest bit of interest you would have known the ride's control system was a mess. I have zero confidence in the safety of any rides he's in charge of, and to be honest I wouldn't trust him to change a tire on my car. He doesn't need to go because of PR, he needs to go because he's a danger to the community in his current role. I know on this forum we can get hung up on trivial stuff like 'the wall is ugly now the tree has been cut down' or 'drinks should be in meal deals' so important points can get lost. But here's the thing, this person was allowed to continue to be in a position of authority while having no idea about his area of responsibility and feeling no need the change that. Other staff have had problems with the computer systems and encountered 'push back' from Ardent about safety issues, but they were all people who legitimately tried to make it better before something happened. Right here is someone who straight up was the problem, and continues to be the problem. A bubble of pure incompetence at the top of the engineering food chain. I don't care who you are, you cannot fail that badly at a job and be given a second go at it.
  2. 17 points
    Merlin would not be a bad outcome. They know what they are doing, have a strong reputation and bucket loads of cash to splash. The downside from what I know of my old company from colleagues either still working there or those that have recently left is that Merlin is not the company it once was. It is a huge global business that has seen rapid growth and that usually means a dilution of quality.... somewhere, and Oz is a long way from Poole, Dorset. Dreamworld is a fantastic name for a theme park but sadly the dream has turned into a really horrible nightmare, not only because of the incident itself but the handling of it and the subsequent inquest and it would take a miracle to rescue the brand, regardless of a change in ownership (slightly helpful possibly). A name change would not make a lot of difference and people would see straight through it. To make this work someone needs to make Dreamworld appealing again in such a way that helps move everyone on from the tragedy and that would take a world first and brilliantly executed $50m+ attraction launch as phase 1. That would be a gamble for an already bruised Ardent. I was not around during the period but it seems it took Luna Park Sydney decades to recover from the Ghost Train fire tragedy but it did...finally. The question is does anyone have the metal to take it on and see it through for the long term? I do hope so. Australia needs to buck its game up in the Theme Park sector for the greater benefit of the tourism community and economy. I find it frustrating that a country with such a great climate and reasonably strong tourism prospects (See Asia in particular who LOVE theme parks) does not have really great anchor tourism products other than the Opera House and amazing beaches/landscapes (and PLEASE, no one claim Flinders Street Railway station or anything in Melbourne has really strong tourism appeal to compete on a global scale? Maybe for sports tourists/nuts) The landscape in Australia is ripe right now for someone to be bold and build a fabulous theme park that would assist the resurrection of the entire industry. All ships benefit from a rising tide. Is that tide coming from the direction of the South China sea I wonder?
  3. 16 points
    But what is window dressing, and what is real make-a-difference infrastructure? You talk about the redevelopment of the ice cream shop a few years ago. A few weeks back I talked about looking at buildings that were falling apart and I wondered how much was held together by paint. The building I was specifically referring to was THE ICE CREAM SHOP. As the saying goes, you can't polish a turd, but you can add glitter - and it would seem that that is precisely the kind of redevelopment they did with the ice cream shop if a few short years later the building looks as it does (go and view it from the train station and you'll see what i mean). They removed thunder river - It killed people. They removed Eureka Mountain - it sat rotting for more than a decade They removed the rest of gold rush - without TRRR and EMMR, what exactly was left? - Oh wait - the disused Skylink chairlift station that also sat rotting for a decade. You suggest they might have plans to remove rides - but history suggests that they need to shutter the ride and let it sit for 8 or more years before they do. How many years did the gravitron ride sit in the boneyard? So they renovated a store to capitalise on a new hot craze (lego). They rebuilt their old food outlet into something modern - which was only about 15 years overdue. They redeveloped tiger island, yes - but they botched it with the giant green prison. Coroborree was only done because of generous government grants for indigenous cultural projects. This wasn't done with their own money or because they felt strongly about the subject matter. The expansion of White Water World? A lazy river that WNW has had for more than a decade is hardly an inspiring investment - and its still just one attraction. The plans for that park had staged developments including numerous attractions, none of which we've seen - instead we've seen the kneejerk reaction to Aqualoop that is the Wedgie, Triple Vortex, and finally the lazy river... 3 new attractions in TWELVE YEARS. Shall we talk about the cock up that was Trolls Village that was supposed to open last Christmas, and didn't open until more than 8 months later? Plonked smack down in the middle of an ocean themed area? Shall we talk about those big screens or the revolving globe? Dreamworld have had screens all over the park for years, showing music videos and crappy advertisements for related products. I'm not getting excited over a few outdoor LED screens when their marquee attractions can't even stay open, or carry a full load of passengers. And the globe. Yeah - what a photo opportunity. Its pretty, but its just window dressing. It is a take it or leave it thing that wasn't really necessary. Things they could have spent their money on instead: Upgrading the control system on their flagship 21 year old coaster to newer technology (and actually running it at its capability Properly rebuilding Wipeout so that it can run as designed Running rides at capacity - both sides of Giant Drop, for example Maintaining a working steam railway, instead of wasting money on a glorified yard tractor that tears up the rails and constantly breaks down Maintaining the park's people soaking paddlewheeler attraction The article points it out better than I ever could - but there are just so many things WRONG right now, its hard to be positive in the face of such blatant mismanagement. You choose to focus on the positive, and let the negative slide, and thats your choice - but don't decry others who speak the truth - you can't live in a dreamworld and pretend that the issues don't exist, just because it doesn't fit your mould of 'fun'. If you're going to ignore the negative, then you shouldn't be complaining about bored train conductors. You can't have it both ways.
  4. 16 points
    I wouldn't call that the graveyard... Isn't this the graveyard? Or is this the graveyard? Or is it here? This? Wait.... I found the Sea World Graveyard!!!
  5. 16 points
    Here's a crazy thought - if the ride doesn't work with either a full load or an empty load, it definitely shouldn't be open. If you were going to hop on a ride at the Ekka and the carnie out front said "just give 'er a bit aye, if we load too many people on it doesn't work properly" you'd be calling Queensland WHS, so why is this any different? Here we have Gary Weiss stating before the inquiry that both him and the Ardent board are "committed to ensuring Dreamworld becomes recognised as Australia's global benchmark for theme park safety" but he's got a ride that literally half works and three signature roller-coasters that have been closed for months with no reason why and no end to their closures in sight. Enthusiasts need to take their rose-tinted glasses off - this is a bloody mess.
  6. 15 points
    New legislation proposal. Skeets law – If it takes longer to read a post than to drink a beer, then the post is too long.
  7. 15 points
    Mr Naumann can’t cant recall any times where a risk assessment is completed on a ride during its annual maintenance. Mr Naumann was asked if there were any maintenance issues from October 2015 to October 2016. Mr Naumann stated that there are always maintenance issues that occur or any ride. After an annual inspection a ride must be run a certain number of times and then signed off, this includes completing the daily maintenance checklist before the ride can return to service. During February 2016, an additional sensor was added at the start of the conveyor that would shut down the ride if a raft was sitting there for too long. Mr Naumanns role during this was to ensure contractors didn’t overlap when undertaking those works. Mr Naumann was asked if there was a person in charge of the maintenance and upgrades of the ride as there was no original manufacturer to refer to. Mr Naumann confirmed there was no one who undertook this role and stated that there should be someone in that position We have just adjourned for lunch. I unfortuantly won’t be here for the second half today. I’m having some family problems that I’ve got to take care of. Rest assured that I will be back again tomorrow and live posting again. Sorry for calling it early today but I hope my coverage so far was informative
  8. 15 points
    Had to take a leak and get a coffee, so I stopped in at Dreamworld to see how things are. "Theming" (don't worry, keep reading and you'll see why this average first impression and degradation of an iconic building bugs me.) This new precinct, dubbed WhiteFacadeLand is coming together nicely. Guests will be stoked. This is a good execution of continuity for the new WhiteFacadeLand as it starts outside the park and continues inside now. Jokes aside, i'm sure all these panels will eventually get wraps on them but to have your first impression when you enter the park be this is pretty piss-poor. If regional theme park operators like Six Flags don't miss details this glaring this then so can Dreamworld, a park that was once known for its attention to detail. Also, the whole Buzzsaw area is now closed. More WhiteFacadeLand construction. Stuff is definitely happening for "unknown i-ride #1." After taking a leak, I noticed this. Can you guess what picture doesn't belong? If you guessed #6 you guessed correct! Speaking of Peter Brock's Garage - they've wasted no time gutting the place and putting up bollards near the sliding doors to keep guests out. Does that stop them from advertising it in park though? Hell naww! That photo was taken outside of their brand new "Designated Smoking Area" a.k.a. Big Brother Cafe a.k.a. Hollywood Cottage (no shit, that building there is 100% Hollywood Cottage and played a pivotal part in Dreamworld existing in the first place. They would actually be nuts to demolish that building given it is such an integral part of Dreamworld lore.) Currently the whole space is very inviting and "themed." Half removed walkways more theming. Super flammable foam disintegrating more rustic theming. Posts from abandoned pathways more colonial theming. After walking down and seeing Log Ride unexpectedly closed, I jumped on the train to see what was left of Blue Lagoon. While I was waiting I got to take in this scenic theme park vista. (Below is what it used to look like.) It used to be awfully pretty. But leaves are too hard to sweep up so it is what it is. Nothing to see here. Definitely nothing to see here, like unkempt and hazardous tree matter. Nothing to see here either apparently, even though it's the only thing you can see. Definitely no dangerous fences to be seen. On my final walk around, I stopped to admire the maroon theming that's been in place for nearly two years now. Theming. I'm definitely in Australia's Disneyland right now. You thought seeing this from ground level was bad? Check this out - if my theme park went through a globally seen incident people then i'd probably avoid giving influencers a great vantage point of where we're trying to pretend like nothing happened hey. On a positive note, after The Claw's random extended downtime (it's okay, we'll gloss over Buzzsaw's extended downtime, the West side of Giant Drop's random down-time earlier in the year, the east-side's current un-announced down time and just a total myriad of unplanned maintenance because the park is super duper safe) the ride has re-opened and it's looking really good. This was a tiny silver lining from what was otherwise a super depressing visit - the signs look great (both the one pictured above and the entrance side have been really well taken care of) and the new surfacing and paintjob is very well done and should be the standard for the whole park. I don't care for upcharges attractions that are forced into areas like this. You couldn't have just chucked all of this into Kevil Hill and connected it via the current passholder centre? You know, i'm just saying that if you did that, then the Trolls IP would be connected to all the other Dreamworks IP. And you know, if you did that, then the whole area would be air-conned and then when it closes (because you said it was temporary except first it was 12 months and now it's 18 months so who knows) then there'd be no impact visually for guests? Because you know, no parent wants to have a toddler crying because they see Troll stuff but they can't actually DO any troll stuff. And you know, then you wouldn't be chucking more conflicting themes inside an ocean themed area. Because, you know, you're a theme park and people expect that kind of hindsight. Because you know, maybe you should've learnt that when you tried to jam car stuff into an ocean themed area? Because you know, it's an ocean themed area. Dreamworld was successful because of John's attention to detail and nothing else. Today's Dreamworld is not even remotely detail focussed and I think it shows. Those who reckon there's no money to keep it to some unrealistic "Disney" standard couldn't be further from the truth - poorly-placed attractions and mis-matched themes are the result of bad management, not a lack of funds. Same goes for rides that continue to be down with little to no communication on why or when they'll re-open. Same goes for letting iconic facades get knocked over, spray painted and then lets design aesthetics be ruined by a dozen and one poorly integrated conduits, crap paint jobs and air-con boxes. You folks tell me - looking at the pictures below that were all taken in the 80's and 90's, has the park really improved?
  9. 14 points
    For the record - If people want to waste their time writing bogus reviews then that's fine, kudos to you for the creativity. But when their responses start becoming abusive and offensive that's where we draw the line. We've removed a whole lot of posts here. Rest assured no one has missed out on anything other than a bit of fan fiction. 🙄 Every indication I have is that the ride has only been experienced by Brogent employees as the formal handover has not yet taken place.
  10. 14 points
    Was in the park and snapped these on the way out. Still think the original facades looked a million times better, but it's not the worst thing in the world. Will say i'm now excited to jump on this thing in a week or two - bonus points to Dreamworld / Cutting Edge if they pull a Soarin' at the end of the ride's film and the fly-over ends back in at Dreamworld. Switchbacks are all in. Sails look nice. Not sure about all the white. Bit boring. With the huge barriers down it's much easier to see now. It's a tight fit. (THATS WHAT SHE SAID) The connection between old and new is... interesting. 😕 Note the switchbacks on the left - i'm guessing for Ride Express? A closer look at the main entrance. Three stories? Signs. There was another sign near Billabong which shows something different as well. It definitely wasn't always going to look this way outside. Big ol' white bum with a lot of exhausts. A wider look at what's going on. And some panos for the pano folk.
  11. 14 points
    Please if the post contains 20 photos... don’t quote them
  12. 14 points
    The 3rd part is now live. Be sure to let me know your thoughts. Selling the Dream - John Longhurst's Dreamworld Stories.
  13. 14 points
    This is quickly becoming the epitome of Ardent's ongoing hubris. Literally the only reason why Ardent chose to retrofit their existing theatre with a flying theatre, just like the Canadians with their IMAX Theatre overseas, is to primarily minimise cost, to also minimise local disturbances to neighbouring attractions and amenities and to speed up delivery time. But that cost-saving specifically comes with some huge drawbacks, too - namely the ability to build a full-scale flying theatre. And like Canada's flying theatre retrofit, ours will be a clever but scaled series of hacks to getting the motion bases inside a smaller than usual space that come with a lot of consequences (reduced capacity, smaller screen etc.) So then here's the thing - if Dreamworld's only going to preserve a forty year old warehouse shell made out of cinderblocks and literally nothing else (not the facades which have far more intrinsic value to the park) you've got to ask - why even bother retrofitting there in the first place? It's not like they're trying to minimise the impact on the guest experience during the retrofit - they've closed another multi-million roller-coaster with not even as much as a word on when it might re-open. And let's not even get started on how a giant un-covered demolition site in the heart of the park would impact every single guest's first, second, third and last impression of the park. At this point they could've built a larger flying theatre for cheaper had they literally put it anywhere else inside the park and they could've had it in the same time-frame since Ardent have continued to push back the open date multiple times over. This whole thing makes me feel as frustrated as reading news about Trump - everyone's watching the world burn but no one's doing anything about it.
  14. 14 points
    How long are they going to blame their failures on TRR, instead of the fact that they are a poorly planned and poorly run park with boring and unreliable rides? There are better parks with better rides, better water slides, better animals, and better experiences. Dreamworld's unwavering commitment to relics TOT, Wipeout, RHLR and HWSW seem more like a desperate attempt to cling to the nostalgia of when the park was in its prime and wasn't a confused mess of cheap, mediocre 'thrill' rides dumped into any available piece of land. People don't hold that nostalgia. Dreamworld is not Disney and anyone under the age of 30 is too young to remember any of those rides being new and exciting at an age when they would have been able to ride them. Young people - the people that you want coming to your park - don't care about how 'classic' RHLR is, they only know that WWF is better. They don't care about how 'iconic' Wipeout is, they care if it is open and can actually make it through a complete cycle instead of just rocking them side to side for a few minutes. They don't care that TOT2 launches you backward, if you can get a faster and better launch on SE. And the sure as hell don't care about a rickety and painful old steel coaster made by a company that went bankrupt in 2001 - when they can ride a brand new Hypercoaster, and a rickety old Inverted coaster at a different park for the same price. The TRR incident is not the reason people aren't returning to Dreamworld. In my opinion, when they closed for several months, people (like me) realised that we didn't really miss it when it was closed, and when it reopened there really wasn't anything interesting or exciting worth going back for. There still isn't. And that's the problem.
  15. 13 points
  16. 13 points
    While I expect that Dreamworld/Brogent will have done a great job on the ride itself, in my opinion, DW have really missed the mark with the building facade and theme. Immersion is a key factor to getting people to suspend their disbelief, and it is also a key factor in getting people to open their wallet - not just for the cost of entry into the park to engage in the immersion, but also on food, drinks, souvenirs and up-charge experiences. This is one of the key rules of shop design to encourage more sales. It is why Ikea is one long path with room after room of products featured in-context, rather than endless racks of shelves. It is why Apple has tables at just the right height to angle their laptop screens in a way that invites people to touch the product. Immersion increases sales and can justify higher prices if it looks like a 'quality' product. Credit where credit is due - DW have done a great job with Dreamworks and Tiger Island and have proven that they are capable of creating immersive environments. However, they always manage to drop the ball, like the Green Prison at Tiger Island, or the Trolls attraction. Despite the iRide being one of the highest quality theatre attractions available, this building doesn't do the ride justice. I'm giving DW the benefit of the doubt that the ride itself will be great, but the building looks cheap. It breaks the immersion that did exist, and replaces it with something that can't even clearly be identified as an 'airport' terminal. Here is a comparison (photos from earlier in the thread): I've mentioned previously that I don't care if they tear down one facade and replace it, but it should be replaced with something that is consistent with a future vision for that area of the park. It should also be replaced with something better. Different is ok, but lower quality, less immersive and less aesthetically pleasing is not. I also don't think that Dreamworld have executed their design well. They tore down a classic style of architecture that could have been improved, but was at least consistent and immersive. They promised a modern, futuristic building with sweeping curves and sleek, bright entrances. But they delivered a lumpy, bulbous mess. This is just my opinion, but I don't think this building belongs in a theme park. I don't even think it is a good looking building outside of a theme park. I've mentioned before that this is a multi-million dollar tourist attraction and there is nothing about this building that is iconic or memorable, and no one is going to take a photo outside of it to share their memories or experiences on social media. For me, the most disappointing part is that Dreamworld had the opportunity to create a great historical Aviation story. Qantas was founded in Queensland, and Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was born in Brisbane and was a global pioneer in Aviation. From Wikipedia: In 1928, he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia. He also made the first non-stop crossing of the Australian mainland, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, and the first eastward Pacific crossing from Australia to the United States; and, also, made a flight from Australia to London, setting a new record of 10.5 days. In my opinion, this history and unique Queensland connection would have been ideal for a story and immersive experience to wrap around a ride like this. What is more is that it would have given Dreamworld license to theme the building to something consistent with the existing Main Street - if not Victorian - then at least the simpler (and cheaper to maintain) Art Deco style of the early 1930s. I appreciate that many here won't feel the same, but I personally believe that Dreamworld has lost something good, replaced it with something bad, and completely missed an opportunity to create something great. While I am interested to experience the ride, I think Ardent need to hire a Creative Director to help build a future vision for Dreamworld. Hopefully, when they have a vision for the park and the theme of each area, they can re-theme it for a 2.0 version of the experience.
  17. 13 points
    Yeah I think @webslave has the right of it. I'd also suggest that a lot of this crap is a downgrade. I think everything about the execution of this upgrade from the sign out the from (The fuck even is that?) to the final scare is worse than what was there when the ride opened. When I talk about the evils of installing technology for technology's sake, this is exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. The only thing I'll give it credit for is what it tries to do; it tries to tie the ride back to the movie more, so credit for that. But the laziness of the animation, how badly blended the screens are to their surroundings, the junk that's been added in there all take away from what they're going for. The animation is significantly worse than the move, which normally I wouldn't complain about but the movie is from 2002 and the effects weren't all that great back then. Finally, the marketing for the ride just made promises not based in any kind of reality; we were promised projection mapping, we got screens. Of course that'll be disappointing for anyone who follows this sort of thing. Maybe the public won't notice as much but if you're following the stuff they were saying like fans were, then you'll know how much it doesn't deliver. Also you can't put an A-frame out the front that says 'Technical rehearsal' after the fact and think that makes everything OK. Where on the Facebook posts or on the website does it say 'Tech Rehearsal'? Oh that's right it doesn't, it just says in multiple places it's open. I hope it gets better, I hope the animation is improved, I hope that the levels get sorted, I hope the queue gets fixed and I hope marketing have learnt something. Ultimately, it's a downgrade, but the only reason I felt compelled to write anything about it at all is because of the apologists who come on here saying how wrong anyone is for feeling let down and how great MW are for putting the themeing back in. I'm sorry but this is objectively worse that what was there originally. Tech doesn't automatically make things better, particularly when it's as badly done as it is here. It's not unsalvageable but any means, and there's some decent creativity gone into it, but as it is it looks either lazy or very amateur.
  18. 13 points
    So they removed the AstroTurf and re-installed the river that now is home to the new turtle exhibit!
  19. 13 points
    Arrow loopers are like the coaster equivalent of an 80's corolla; they are known to be extremely reliable and run forever unless a park doesn't maintain it properly which Dreamworld has apparently done. A ride like Hot Wheels could easily run for 15 more years, but Dreamworld ends up shortening that by not maintaining it properly and letting the ride look like this: When they struggle to keep their rides looking anything other than appalling then we have problems here. This ride hasn't been repainted in 17 years. No other park I can think of has gone this long without repainting a ride. And if they struggle to maintain a type of coaster that every other park on the planet can do, then we're having problems here. Rides like 50 year old Arrow mine trains are being maintained by companies like Six Flags with barely any problems yet here we are with the second youngest Arrow looper being closed for over two months. Or, heaven forbid - keep a seven year old Maurer Skyloop closed down for nearly 6 months because of maintenance. And this crap doesn't happen just to Dreamworld. It also happened when they owned AMF Bowling back in the day, I work at an AMF centre as a technician, and I can tell you that Ardent cheaped out on maintenance there. When Timezone bought AMF earlier this year the safety standards hugely improved and checks became much more frequent. This company needs to be shut down or end up going the way of Dick Smith. What has come out of the inquest is telling of how appalling the safety standards of Ardent actually are, had TRRR's accident not woke them up the situation would probably be even more worse. And I still don't think they are getting it. I've said it a few times already, so apologies if I've repeated myself here, but I can't stand having this company run a Gold Coast icon like this into the ground like what Sunway did to Wonderland.
  20. 13 points
    Yeah I vote for clog the shit out of this thread with info. More the merrier. I cant believe there is still the vibe of defending Dreamworld on here. They have literally done everything not to do, much all tied back go saving a buck. Gaol is where much of the management should be, which is still a lot better than Dead! Which let's not forget us where 4 innocent people are because this park cut corners, went against industry practices and tried to save money as a priority over YOUR safety!
  21. 13 points
    @Rollercoaster_Lover , this is obviously you because you are the only person who spells Green Lantern as Greenlauntern
  22. 12 points
    Volcano Beach - Construction Update - 7/10/2018 I had a chance to visit the park over the weekend, and take some construction pictures of the new Volcano Beach wave pool. It was an absolute stunner of a day; beautiful 27 degree sunny day. Crowds were light, but more than I was expecting for the 2nd Sunday of the 2018/19 season. The grounds and gardens were in great condition; as always. The wave pool is bigger than I expected. It's a big attraction for the park that will definitely be a hit. It''ll give guests an alternative 'home base' for their day; other than the shelter/bbq area and kids water playground. I'm glad a compromise was found to keep the Go Karts. It's still a very popular attraction for families. The shorter course doesn't take anything away from the experience IMO. But I really would love to see some more theming around the track. There is a lot of work still to do. But knowing the Funfields team, they will have it completed by December as advertised. Also, expect some high quality rockwork all around the Volcano Beach area. FF are using the same team who did the Voodoo rockwork.
  23. 12 points
    I was fortunate enough to visit Shanghai for a couple of days while I was on my way to visit another part of China, which gave me the opportunity to visit Shanghai Disneyland (my second Disney park, Paris being the other one I've done). This is the first of two trip reports (the other one is for another park elsewhere in China that you probably haven't heard of before). It was an insanely busy day (welcome to China...), so even though I didn't get everything I wanted to done, I'll run through my opinion on everything I did manage to do. It's hard to believe this park only opened a few years ago, it's a huge park and is certainly a complete Disney experience (not quite the same as the experience you'd get at other Disney parks though - more on that later). I'll run through every area of the park and the rides I managed to do in each area (in the order I did them). Mickey Avenue/Gardens of Imagination/Storybook Castle I've grouped these three areas together because they're the first three things you see when you walk in. Interesting to note Main Street USA is actually called Mickey Avenue because China doesn't want any references to America :P ). Mickey Avenue itself is a little underwhelming, but the Gardens of Imagination is an enormous open area, with the giant Storybook Castle in the middle. It's hard to describe the scale of this area of the park. Certainly makes Paris' castle look tiny, even if this one doesn't have a dragon underneath it (it does have a boat ride though!). Treasure Cove This area of the park is Shanghai's replacement for Frontierland (remember - no American-related theming allowed). As the name implies, it's a pirate themed area, and even though it's pretty small, the theming and attractions in this part of the park are incredible. Pirates of the Caribbean - Battle for the Sunken Treasure I had very high expectations for this ride, and they were exceeded. This ride is strides ahead of the Paris version (the other version I have done) in almost every possible measure. If you haven’t already seen one, I highly recommend watching a POV (even though they don’t fully-capture the full on-ride experience you get). Keeping in mind that I haven’t been to a huge amount of Disney parks, I reckon this ride is definitely a contender for the best Disney ride ever, words cannot describe how impressive this is. Pros The boat movement (the structure of these boats allow for spinning and some sudden changes in acceleration that tie in really well with the rest of the ride) The animatronics - the skeleton that turns into Jack Sparrow is breathtaking (even though I’ve watched the POV many times before.) The Davy Jones animatronic was probably my favourite though, it’s so lifelike The screens - In particular, the scene where all the ships surface feels like you’re actually there The storyline is fantastic (even though the audio is in Chinese), something that other Pirates rides are lacking Cons Not at every Disney park in the world Only in Chinese so wasn’t sure what the audio was saying (not really much of a complaint as this was to be expected in China) I’m pretty sure I rated the DLP version of the ride a 10/10… and this is at least 10 times better than that, so I give this ride an overall score of 100/10 Fantasyland Like every other Fantasyland, this is probably the most "magical" area of the park. A quaintly-themed area that I didn't get to see in full due to it being so huge. Many things here that I would have loved to do, but just didn't get time for, such as Voyage to the Crystal Grotto. Seven Dwarves Mine Train I took the single rider queue for this ride, so didn't get to see the full extent of this ride's theming. The actual ride was good fun. Obviously not the best coaster I’ve done, but some really fun moments. The biggest problem on this ride was definitely the pacing. Pros Some sudden drops that provide decent airtime Lots of twistyness The swinging of the carts was a lot smoother than I was expecting Cons Not a long ride Just as the ride started getting some good speed it ended Below average operations Overall rating - 7/10 Alice in Wonderland Maze Stopped here on the way to the next ride. Not exactly a maze since I could see over some of the hedges and there were very few dead ends… clearly catered more to younger audiences. Peter Pan's Flight Honestly a little underwhelming - had heard a lot of great stories about this ride but didn't find it too amazing. Don't get me wrong - it's a fun ride - just nothing I'd rave about. Pros The “take-off” scene and flight over the city is pretty cool Really captures the flight sensation Cons Not completely immersive (if it was a bit darker inside it may have been harder to see some of the doors and backstage areas that were partially visible) Some technical problems (the audio kept cutting in and out) Overall rating - 6/10 Toy Story Land Only walked through this area, so didn't spend long here. No different to other Toy Story Lands. Tomorrowland I've heard from many people that Tomorrowland at many Disney parks envisions what the future was thought to be like 20 or 30 years ago - certainly not what we think of when we hear the word "future" today. Disneyland Paris' Jules Verne theme, while very unique and full of detail, certainly isn't what we think of when we think of the future. Shanghai's Tomorrowland does not have this problem, its space-age theming makes me feel like I've been thrust right into the far future. Tron's structure is certainly the highlight of this area, especially at night. This might even be my favourite area of the park. Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue Another ride I wouldn't rave about, but still found it fun. Would’ve skipped it if we didn’t have a fastpass for it. Overall rating - 6/10 TRON Lightcycle Power Run Despite a three hour queue, this ride was certainly worth the wait. The queue for the ride starts outdoors, and isn’t incredibly immersive. However, once you get inside the experience really begins. Near-complete darkness with only bright (mainly blue) lights to lead the way. It does feel like another world. With the only motorbike coaster I’ve done in the past being Motocoaster (unless you count Jet Rescue), I didn’t have too high expectations for this ride. But after riding this I can say that Motocoaster is put to even more shame by this ride. Unlike Motocoaster, the restraints are really comfortable and there is a lot of freedom to move around. Big bags are taken by the staff and given back to you on exit. Each seat has a small compartment to store any smaller items (eg. phones or glasses). The ride starts with a twist out of the dual-station and around onto the launch track. After a countdown (in Chinese) and a few flashing lights, you’re thrusted down the launch track. This is a very powerful launch - makes Motocoaster and JR seem very weak. You then fly through the outside portion of the ride (it’s a lot more intense than it looks) and come into the first MCBR back inside the building (which doesn’t actually kill the pacing too much). The indoor part of the ride is truly world-class - it’s fast, intense, and the lights and screens make it super immersive. Even a bit of airtime! My new #3 coaster (just behind Taron at Phantasialand). Pros An incredible coaster Much more forceful than it appears Some of the best on-ride theming I’ve seen, rivalling the likes of Taron Even more fun at night time, even though only a small portion of the ride is outdoors (passed up an opportunity to do a new ride so I could ride this at night) Cons Start of the queue and the exit path is a little underthemed The single rider queue wasn’t being used properly - even though the queue started at the start of the queue, they were forcing single riders to queue in a large portion of the main queue before switching queues. Once past the main queue the single rider queue was empty, which resulted in a lot of empty seats on the trains Overall rating - 10/10 (yes, this takes the cons into account, it’s just such a good ride. When the Florida version of this ride opens I’ll definitely try to head out and ride it there) Adventure Isle A really cool spin on Adventureland. Multiple rides here that I didn't get the time to do, like Soarin and Roaring Rapids. Camp Discovery, which is a smaller area inside Adventure Isle is possibly one of the most unique attractions Disney has done. Camp Discovery Challenge Trails These were really fun, and something you would not expect to see at a Disney park. There were two challenge trails operating, and the one I did was really fun with some tricky sections to get across. Definitely would give this one another try if I were to come back. Pros Very unique attraction Some great challenges Cons The lax Chinese safety laws made me question how safe my harness was at times Overall rating - 9/10 Sadly, that is all the rides I managed to do. Other rides I wanted to do, eg. Soarin and Roaring Rapids, were sitting at 3-4h waits all day. To finish up, I will run through a couple of problems I had with the park. Issue 1 - Cultural issues I was warned about this - seeing the park is located in China there are a few cultural differences. While I didn’t encounter any of the more disgusting habits (eg. spitting - in the park at least), I did encounter a few line jumpers (fortunately none of the ones I noticed managed to get past me). Issue 2 - Crowds Kinda also a cultural issue. This park was incredibly busy. I visited on a weekday and yet there were people everywhere. 2-3 hour queues for most rides, with upto 4h queues for some of the most popular rides at times). I did visit in summer though so if you are planning on visiting, I do heavily recommend visiting in a quieter season. Even the next day, which was very rainy had similar wait times on the app. Issue 3 - Operations For a Disney park, the operations here were pretty poor. Staff were slow and seats were running empty on multiple rides (including ones with a Single rider queue). This definitely would’ve been one of the contributing factors to the long queues too. Issue 4 - Sight lines Okay, I know this is picky. But I know Walt Disney cared a lot about this, and this is an issue I did notice in a few places. For example, as soon as you step off the metro the first thing you see is the exposed back of the Camp Discovery mountain. Additionally, the back of Tron (which basically looks like a giant blue shed) is very obvious in Toy Story land. My overall opinion of this park is mostly positive, despite the issues. If it was in another country, it could be up there in the top few Disney parks in the world. But the crowds, operations and cultural issues do bring this park down a bit. Definitely would still rate it above DLP, but the park isn't perfect. With the negativity aside, it is a superb park. Pirates and Tron alone make this park worth the price of admission, and there are some unique attractions that can’t be experienced in any other Disney park. Since it’s a relatively new park, it still has a lot of room to grow, and I look forward seeing where it goes over the years to come.
  24. 11 points
    Hello everyone! Last month I attended the 2018 Euro Attractions Show, which is the IAAPA European event reuniting most of the professionals in the industry. I was covering the show for French website CoastersWorld.fr resulting in several interviews starting with these two: First of all I had the great privilege of meeting Sascha Czibulka and Camiel Bilsen of Intamin. Sascha is the company's Executive VP and has been with Intamin for 17 years, while Camiel is their promising young designer and has been heavily involved in the making of Hyperion. Highlights include: - Going for a bolder approach to design Hyperion and staying ahead of competitors (4:58) - The strengths of Intamin's new track design (5:55) - Intamin's new seat and lap-bar (7:18) Secondly, I also approached James Swinden who was recently promoted to Lead Engineer at Great Coasters International. In a more concise interview, James discusses various creative and technical aspects of designing wooden coasters. I very much thank him for his accomotation and patience doing this report, his serious dedication to his work truly shows I hope you'll enjoy these interviews. In any event, feedback/criticism is always appreciated. More interviews will be coming up, including one with Vekoma's lead engineer Benjamin Bloemendaal! He's arguably the mastermind behind Vekoma's spectacular renaissance and gave excellent insights into his job and the process of coming up with exciting coaster designs Some extra pictures from the event: Model of the Takabisha clone currently in construction in New Jersey
  25. 11 points
    Agreed - it's like what, .01c per cup to put a bottom on them?
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