Welcome to Shanghai, a Chinese metropolis with 26 million inhabitants. To put things into perspective: that’s roughly three times the population of New York City. Bigger is definitely better here in Shanghai, where you’ll find three of the world’s tallest structures: the Oriental Pearl Tower (467 metres), the Shanghai World Finance Center (492 metres) and the 632 metres tall Shanghai Tower. Fun fact: one of the Oriental Pearl’s spheres is home to a family rollercoaster!
Shanghai features supertall skyscrapers, traditional Chinese architecture and everything in between. But did you know that Shanghai is also home to one of Vekoma’s most legendary coaster types?
… oh yes, I’m talking about a Giant Inverted Boomerang. This enormous ride can be found at Jin Jiang Action Park, a small-sized amusement park in one of Shanghai’s suburbs. Just take the red subway line (number 1) to Jinjiang Park Station and this legendary Vekoma will be within sight.
Jin Jiang Action Park is currently building a new admission area (themed to The Smurfs?) and that makes my first impression a little bit messy.
As long as construction is in progress, this remains the park’s main entrance. Not glamorous at all, but we shouldn’t complain for 60 RMB (less than 8 euros). Our ticket includes access to the park and two ride credits.
There’s no doubt that I will spend my first ride credit on the Giant Inverted Boomerang. It’s conveniently located right next to the park’s entrance, so let’s ride!
Unfortunately, our enthusiasm is immediately blocked by a staff member. The worst news we could possibly get, becomes reality: Giant Inverted Boomerang will not open today. Damn…
Just look at those sexy Vekoma curves. I’ve hated Boomerangs since the day I rode my first (and only) one, but I would’ve made an exception for this legendary piece of steel.
Standing next to a Giant Inverted Boomerang is a huge disappointment, but there’s nothing we can do about it. To make things even worse, the Zamperla motocoaster accross the walkway is currently closed as well. Luckily, we’re told that this ride should be opening soon.
The list of closed attraction at Jin Jiang Action Park is rather long.
The park’s Frisbee is operating, but the shuttle loop coaster in the background isn’t. This doesn’t come as a surprise: according to the Rollercoaster Database, it has been SBNO since 2017.
There are four attractions in the photo below, but the two most interesting rides won’t be opening anytime soon. What a pity.
One of the few operational rides this morning is the park’s huge ferris wheel. It’s not included in our ticket, though.
You can read the despair in my friends’ eyes. What are we doing here? Which rides should we spend those credits on?
But then… suddenly, there’s good news. One of the park’s three coasters is opening its doors. And although I’m not able to read Chinese words, I guess these red characters mean Cheap Zamperla Indoor Coaster with Crappy Dinosaur Theming. More or less.
It really didn’t look like this coaster would operate today, so I consider myself lucky.
The ride is called Karst Cave Coaster and it’s guarded by the Karst Coaster Cat.
Karst Cave Coaster’s ride experience is hilarious. This powered coaster makes two laps: one in darkness and a second one with colourful lights turned on. During that second lap, yiu can clearly see the theming: rocks and static, cheap-looking dinosaurs. Surprisingly, the lay-out is quite long, but it contains a few painful transitions. Anyway… I’m glad I got the credit and this is exactly what I expected from a Chinese indoor coaster: rubbish.
Talking about rubbish… the area right next to the indoor coaster has been transformed into a garbage dump during the past few years. I guess those bumper boats won’t be operating soon…
… and this open-air stage needs some cleaning before the next show starts.
Some parts of Jin Jiang Action Park feel like a war zone, but other areas actually look pretty nice. These dragons, for example, live in a cute litte pond…
… and this corner looks peaceful as well. By the way: do you see that boat ride on the next photo? This may be one of the most boring rides on the planet. There’s no current, so the boats move at the speed of a dead snail.
That boat ride may be extremely boring, but it’s a great way to sail through an animal’s anus.
This huge building appears to be a local copy of It’s a Small World, but unfortunately it’s deserted. It was a Small World after all.
Looks like somebody bought the entire Zamperla catalogue…
Those Zamperla kiddie rides are quite useful, though. Jin Jiang Action Park is mainly visited by Chinese school groups and they seem to love such small rides. However, the main attraction for these children is… us. Two western looking guys are considered an oddity in this part of Shanghai. If you want to know how it feels to be stared at, just head to Jin Jiang Action Park.
A strange looking western guy buying colourful cotton candy… Those kids probably find it hilarious.
Our second ride credit is spent on Moto Coaster, a standard Zamperla rollercoaster. It’s similar to a ride at Särkänniemi in Finland, so I know what to expect. Oh well… actually you never know what to expect from a Chinese amusement park.
I haven’t got a tail of 150 centimetres, so let’s hope they let me in.
To be honest: Moto Coaster isn’t bad at all. The acceleration is powerful and most other parts of the track are pretty smooth. I still prefer Shanghai’s other motorbike coaster, though. Something called… TRON?
Credit number 621… check.
And that concludes our visit to Jin Jiang Action Park. Needless to say: this day would’ve looked totally different if the park’s coaster icon were open. That missed ride on Giant Inverted Boomerang came as a bummer, but I’m still glad that I discovered this place. It’s not as famous as Happy Valley or Shanghai Disneyland and it isn’t difficult to see why: Jin Jiang Park feels old and a little crappy. Would I recommend a visit? No, I wouldn’t. But if you ever find yourself in Shanghai, in desperate need of a ride on a Vekoma GIB… this might be the place to go. Let’s hope together that the ride will be open, then.