So, real talk. Park maps showed a big aviary on this side of the resort. Upon getting there we noticed that some typhoon destroyed it. I mean nothing new here, no surprise. I was excited to see what was left of it. Shocking times ahead.
This isn’t the shocking part, but it was a weird foreshadowing.
A few minutes into the aviary we discover we actually walked into an abandoned zoo. Several levels, buildings, detailed enclosures. Abandoned. All fun and games, right?
This place was hell. The zoo in some capacity was still active. Overcrowded exhibits, check.
Dirty, under maintained exhibits? Check!
Did I shed a tear? Yes. This is why I both hated this park, but also loved it. In the end of the day I’m not defending that many cultures in Asia just have a disregard for animal welfare, but this is an important part of traveling. It’s the real deal guys, we’re in a semi-abandoned resort in China that for some reason is still open, but it was cheaper to put toucans in cages the size of a dishwasher, than it was to maintain the aviary. It sucked, but added to the experience.
We made our way through the zoo/aviary, equally as excited as concerned. I came for Wood Coaster (we’ll get there I promise), but we stayed for this adventure. We could have been in and out in 2 hours. But we easily spent 7 hours at this resort.
Me checking if this animal is alive.
It’s funny how some exhibits were pretty acceptable, and then others weren’t.
It’s also quite strange that this is all left unattended. I mean yeah, the whole resort is unattended. But we can touch these birds. No visitors, no staff to be found around.
After some of the ridiculous behavior we have seen at other zoological parks around the country, I was hoping animals wouldn’t be so close to the public’s reach. But who knows, who even sees these birds. We literally did not see other people for hours.
We visited 3 parks from OCT (Happy Valleys) this trip and all of them had chained tropical birds on display. The first ones we saw were in Shanghai, unattended in the middle of the midway. Again, not my fave. 11 months later however, I look at back at this as pure culture. Hopefully in my lifetime the approach to animal welfare changes in this region but I am still happy we just kept on exploring this place.
It gets more interesting! The park had a giant flume ride, perhaps the largest there ever was. It went through hotels, all over the park, etc. Someone died, the park took a hit, closed the flume and built right over it.
That hotel/waterfalls/rock work ahead featured an indoor flume section that went through the hotel’s entrance and lobby as well.
Amazing, right? It was beautiful. The whole park is slowly being claimed back by nature.
No matter where we ventured in the lower part of the park, we saw remains of this flume ride hidden below walk ways, other rides and shops. It was massive!
This is the backside of those waterfalls! I want to say that if this resort was ever realistically going to succeed it would have been the coolest vacation destination ever.
Again, I can’t get mad at this. Hidden in what is in this picture are small dilapidated flat rides and a KFC. Like? — In the back of this picture is a shipping container themed hotel, it was abandoned. Though upon further exploration we realized there were staff members living there. No other place to go while piles of years-old used linen are still stacked in empty rooms.
The topography differences are just crazy, we are still elevated several hundred feet from the entrance of the resort, systems of stairs and winding midways hide in the jungle (we totally accidentally ended up on a service road but like, it all looks the same here). Though the few sets of escalators are very cool, this park is a workout!
Ah! We’ve made it to Wood Coaster! Or so you think. There is still a climb up. I believe at one point you may have been able to rent carts to navigate this massive place. We had to take these sidewalks.
This was one of the very few parts of the park that had any life left in it. Proudly celebrating something, but not the 10 year anniversary of Wood Coaster as it opened in 2011?
For a minute I wondered how this park was able to afford this wooden coaster. Happy Valley Shenzhen (same region) was the chain’s first major park and opened in 1998. In 2010ish the OCT company had a big run across the country with China’s first major regional chain parks, it was well received. Happy Valley Shanghai opened in 2009 and was a success. They pumped a lot of money into this resort in 2010 thinking it was going to be the next big thing. False dreams, lots of fluid capital and optimism.
Clearly the chain thought this was it! Nine years later and the resort is mostly abandoned, nothing lasted, not a fence could be repainted. Looking at old pictures of this resort is sad, it really was meant to be a big success. But the location, size, lack of easy transportation really crushed the dream. I do feel that OCT gave up on the property. They run it, but it is in bad shape. Meanwhile parks such as Happy Valley Chengdu and Happy Valley Beijing are out there ranking high in attendance for China, and getting major expansions. OCT’s new parks in Nanjing and Chongqing are bringing in new crowds in regions that are rapidly growing. I guess I’m just happy we got to visit. Who knows if this place lasts.
Okay! Let’s talk Wood Coaster! Absolutely phenomenal! No fence is to be repainted, but that money sure went into maintenance for Wood Coaster. This wooden coaster is long, scenic, has incredible pacing, and is just out of control!
Running through the woods with grace the coaster has such a balanced layout with pops of airtime, lateral moments and lots of twisting. Did I already mention that it’s super long?
It’s up there with Dragon at Ocean Park in Hong Kong for some of the best views on any coaster out there. The first turn around is high in the mountains.
Look at it jumping around the mountains!
Wood Coaster was a very expensive woodie, but the product is amazing. We rode several times. During our exploring we made a few pit stops at Wood Coaster as it is located in the middle of the park.
It also seemed to be one of the few things to actually attract people. Besides the Skyride and Wood Coaster there were no guests to be found anywhere. The park boarded Wood Coaster every ten minute to fill up trains, and I thank them for that. We all know that full trains run better.
So we end our report of the craziest park I have ever been to. A mixed bag for sure, but never have I ever been so amazed. I really enjoyed exploring the remains of this ghost resort. We came for Wood Coaster but we stayed for the exploration.
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One Reply to “A Forgotten Report for a Forgotten Resort”
Fascinating. Sad. Animal welfare is one of the reasons Asia is last on my list of places to travel in the world. But in many ways the US isn’t much better. Factory anima farming aside, I was horrified years ago at Busch Gardens Tampa while watching the flock of flamingos to realize they don’t fly away because they’ve have half their wings amputated.