Alexander: Following a quick taxi ride from Joyland, we embarked on a fabulous afternoon at one of our new favorite parks: Dinosaurland! (also known as China Dinosaurs Park).
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Dinosaurland is part of a large shopping and entertainment complex. We walked through one of the dried-up water features, as is customary.
Located in the heart of Changzhou, Dinosaurland is just one of many dinosaur-themed attractions celebrating the region’s paleontological discoveries.
Changzhou’s “Universal Dinosaur City” is like a true Jurassic Park, anchored by Dinosaurland’s 20,000 square meter fossil museum.
The commitment to the dinosaur theme is unwavering around here – even the snacks resemble the reconstructed skeletons of fossilized creatures.
Here we have the 5-star China Dinosaur Hotel, which like most construction in the resort, resembles European architecture being attacked by dinosaurs.
There it is! Dinosaurland! The 226ft S&S 4D Coaster is somehow obscured from view from this angle, but it’s there.
Upon entry to the park we witnessed a standoff between flamboyantly dressed girls and flamboyantly dressed dinos.
Dinosaurland has a variety of themed areas, all of which are designed to look like the dinosaurs have taken over.
The largest area of the park boasts impressive stone work that invokes a prehistoric feel.￼
Ahh! Here’s what we came for!
Dinoconda is the third of three traditional 4D coasters, roughly mid-way in size between Six Flags Magic Mountain’s X2 and Fuji-Q Highland’s Eejanaika.
The ride’s theme? A fictional (but still terrifically horrible) t-rex-sized anaconda.
Thanks to Dinosaurland’s VIP pass system, we were able to skip the 1hr queue for our first ride.
First impressions were strong. The intensity of the elements feel more akin to Eejanaika, while the swiftness and forces of the ride reminded us of X2.
Dinoconda demonstrates impressive re-workings of Eejanaika‘s basic design, much like Eejanaika did with X before it.
Any Pokémon fans out there? Though not the largest or fastest, Dinoconda feels like the superior, final evolution of the original 4D design.
We were so mesmerized by Dinoconda that we took our time waiting for trains so we could take lots of pictures. Here’s the threshold of the park’s new urban-themed area, which we captured as we waited on Dinoconda.
Check out this element here. What started out as a fan turn parallel to the station on X (a half-way point, catch-your-breath moment of the ride) evolved into station-hugging overbank on Eejanaika, and finally, an almost tophat-like manoever that flings riders over Dinoconda‘s lift hill and final brake run.
The positioning and execution of this element took a breather moment on X2 and turned it into the perhaps the most intense event on Dinoconda.
We’ll have more Dinoconda action and analysis later. Now let’s get the rest of the credits!
New for 2018 was Super Roller Coaster, a surprisingly good Golden Horse inverting/spinning coaster.
While the vehicles (in true Golden Horse fashion) are a rip-off of Intamin’s design (and feature very B&M-like harnesses), the ride’s layout appears to be a design original to Golden Horse.
An earlier installation of this model severed as the first free-spinning coaster to feature an inversion.
The 8 total clones of this ride remain the only in-ward facing spinning coasters to feature inversions, and the only inverting, spinning coasters in China.
With most Golden Horse rides being note-for-note copies of popular coaster layouts, we were surprised to encounter something (vehicles aside) that the company (might have actually) developed themselves.
On top of that, the ride is pretty solid (though milder than Gerstlauer spinners, despite the inversion), and is something I could picture being successful in the Western market.
The urban area of Dinosaurland ended up being our favorite part of the park. It’s very Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles meets dinosaurs on motorcycles. What’s not to like?
Even the locals can’t deny the area’s compelling aesthetic.
Alright! So next we need to talk about one of the biggest surprises of the entire trip!
The park’s oldest coaster is the indoor (with a pretty large show building) Dinosaur Mountain. With no prior knowledge of the ride, we hopped in line –Turns out, it’s a raptor-themed Zamperla motorbike coaster. But the big surprise is it has a traditional lift hill and a massive (for an indoor coaster; 78ft) first drop! And a really excellent layout! Huge, huge surprise – it was so good that we rode it twice (instead of a 3rd ride on Dinoconda).
If it weren’t for Ocean Park’s Mine Train Coaster, I’d say this was Zamperla’s best ride by a clear mile! The various effects inside the show building are a nice touch as well.
With credits procured, it’s time for some snacks and another lap on Dinoconda!
With only a 45min posted queue time, we decided to wait standby for Dinoconda this time around (plus getting the VIP ticket the first time was a struggle with the language barrier).
The queue has some amazing views, including views of people smoking in front of a “no smoking” sign.
And some nice views of Dinoconda.
And, smokers aside, the queue is very pleasant. Lots of canopies and foliage, and a long bench for sitting between dispatches (our wait actually ended up being 40min).
Dinoconda is a total slam-dunk of a ride. The theme, the queue, the scenery, the thrill-factor, the location, etc.
It’s worth noting that, like Eejanaika, Dino keeps multiple dispatches inside the station in holding pens, although here it’s a free-for-all for seats (Fuji-Q assigns seats for Eej).
There was a lot of the park left to see after our 2nd Dino ride, so we took a walk around the park’s central lake.
Next to Dinoconda is the park’s newest ride – a massive dinosaur safari! The line was over an hour, however, so we skipped it.
The walk around the lake affords gorgeous views of Dinoconda.
Dinosaurland really knew what they were doing when they built Dinoconda. It’s an incredible focal point for the park, frankly, an impressive asset to the city of Changzhou.
As the Chinese theme park boom continues onward with no end in sight, Dinosaurland remains an unwavering, market-wide superpower with such an exceptional coaster.
Fun fact: X2, Eejanaika, and Dinoconda all have a different train length – the smallest (X2) has the longest train (7 cars), while the largest (Eej) only has 5 cars per train.
An unexpected highlight of Dinoconda is its brake run: what appears to be lengthy, multi-block brake run is actually a very short brake run with an extremely long catwalk. Observant enthusiasts will no-doubt be fooled into thinking the initial brakes have failed as the train flies past more than 50% of the “brake run” catwalk.
In the back of the park is a colorful kiddie area. We didn’t explore the area in detail, but it looks nice.
At the center of the park is this impressive mod-brontosaurus building, which is the actual dinosaur museum.
Ok, back to Dinoconda.
I really feel like we had a well-rounded experience at Dinosaurland, but if you didn’t know any better, you’d think we just drooled over Dinoconda the entire time.
Another characteristic that’s unqiue to Dinoconda is the shape of the big raven turn – while X2 and Eejanaika have big raven turns that are elongated (and seemingly/almost as tall as the first drop), Dinoconda has a squat, almost circular initial raven turn that amps up the speed and forces as you crest over the top.
A L S O, like Eejanaika, Dinoconda performs a total of TEN 180º flips, compared to X2′s eight. The simple explanation for this is that there’s an additional 360º backflip off the big raven turn (a more complicated explanation involves a flip-by-flip breakdown of the rides’ maneuvers, wherein the combined number of forward and backward half-flips is always divisible by 2 See? Complicated).
The fact that these coasters make enthusiasts calculate (rudimentary) geometric factors is just another testament to their greatness.
Important note (but not the easiest to explain): because of the additional 360º (back)flip off the big raven turn, Eej and Dino spend a lot more time performing “correcting” (front)flips than X2, which despite sounding like a murky and abstract trait, is actually a highly discernible characteristic that sets X2 apart from its larger counterparts.
Alright, I think that pretty much covers all the bases with Dino. It’s perfect timing because I’m officially out of Dinoconda photos.
As if Dinosaurland’s quality coaster lineup and compelling aesthetic weren’t enough of a reason to come back, rides like the dinosaur safari and this massive, largely indoor log flume (which also had a 60min+ wait) are more than enough reasons to return.
There was, however, a zero-minute wait for the park’s rooftop S&S Turbo Drop, which offers great views of surrounding “rock-area” attractions, including this enclosed Zamperla Supended Windshear.
If you want a shot of the S&S tower, you’ll have to go aaalllllllll the way back to the beginning of the report, where the tower is visible on the left side of the park entrance photo.
Bobbejanland fans will also recognize what is (we think) the only other installation of a Huss King Kong ride. We didn’t ride, but thematically the Skull Mountain feel of this area of the park makes a perfect home for Kong.
The exit gift shop offers lots of dino-goodies, but no official park merchandise, sadly.
Not sure how this dangling conveyor of toys ties into the theme, but it sure is impressive.
Back outside the gates of Dinosaurland, we walked around Universal Dinosaur City some before grabbing some dinner and returning to our nearby hotel.
That concludes our coverage of the Changzhou area parks! Tomorrow we head back to Shanghai with a pit stop in Suzhou (roughly half way between the two cities) for a visit to brand new park that nobody we know has visited besides us: HB World! You won’t want to miss it!