Fantawild – A Guide

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Introduction

Fantawild is a company I refer to a lot on this site, perhaps more than any other company and with good reason. Fantawild may now be one of if not the biggest theme park companies in the world in terms of number of parks owned. They show no sign of stopping either with plans for at least another 6 parks already out there.

During my research into these parks over the years it’s become clear that the sheer number of parks and the speed with which they are building them has left many people confused. A number of different park types and a general sharing of rides between these types doesn’t help much either.

This guide is an attempt to break down the parks into easier to handle categories and sections which by the end should leave you with at least a rudimentary handle on the massive Fantawild chain.


Park Types

One of the main reasons for confusion is that Fantawild has several different types of parks, Many areas have two or more of these park styles but all the parks can be slotted into one of several simple categories.

Fantawild City Parks

Currently there are only two city parks. These are smaller than the usual parks and are located in more populated areas. The first park built under this model is Fantawild Sci-Fi park. It’s wedged in the corner of a retail park in Chongqing but there is a decent set of rides crammed in.

These rides are mostly similar to rides found at the adventure parks seen below and as this was actually the first ever Fantawild it could be considered a prototype park.

The other park in this category doesn’t carry the Fantawild name but is called Nantong Adventure Park. The small park is again crammed into a small space next to a shopping mall but was built in 2013. The park has one Maurer Sky Loop coaster, a giant ferris wheel and a few simulator rides. A water park was added in 2015.

Locations:

  • Chongqing (2007)
  • Nantong (2013)

Fantawild Adventure

By far the most common type of park in the chain is the Fantawild Adventure style. Often the first type of park in any location it includes a broad selection of rides with no real overarching theme. The parks often feature a number of simulator and tracked rides featuring various different applications of 3D technology and interactive screens.

These parks tend to have a less exciting selection of coasters than the later parks, with Golden Horse SLC and Mine Train clones common. In recent years the newer parks have often (but not always) built some western coasters including Maurer sky loops and Vekoma boomerangs. Details of these can be found in the coasters section below.

An interesting addition to the chain is the 2015 park in the northern city of Jiayuguan. The park uses many of the same rides as previous parks but adds a northern twist to architecture. For example the Fantawild Adventures ubiquitous central castle is noticeable influenced by Russian and Mongolian architecture. Check out the two images below for a comparison.

Locations:

  • Wuhu (2007)
  • Guangdong (2010)
  • Tai’an (2010)
  • Zhuzhou (2011)
  • Shenyang (2011)
  • Zhengzhou (2012)
  • Tianjin (2014)
  • Jiayuguan (2015)
  • Datong (2015) – Goes under the title “Fantawild Theme Park”

Fantawild Dream Parks

The second most common type of parks and often the second park built in a resort. These parks come under a number of different names including Fantawild Dream Kingdom, Dreampark & Dreamland but all comprise of the same themes and ideas. At first the differences between the Dream Parks and the Adventure parks are tough to spot. And to be honest there’s not much difference.

Ride types are similar if not identical to the Adventure parks but often with a different spin. For example the Adventure parks almost all have a Spiderman tracked simulator style ride themed to Dinosaurs attacking a city where the Dream Parks feature the same ride system but themed to a wizard school (sound familiar?)

Coaster wise the parks have traditionally featured similar if not identical rides as the Adventure parks. As a rule of thumb the first Fantawild park in a city whether its an Adventure or Dream Park will feature either the Golden Horse SLC and mine train pairing or Maurer built sky loop and Vekoma boomerang pairing.

More recently where the dream parks have been the second parks in a city (Zhengzhou and Zhuzhou for example) where they have been built with new Martin & Vleminckx & Gravity Group wooden coasters.

Locations:

  • Wuhu (2010)
  • Qingdao (2011)
  • Xiamen (2013)
  • Zhengzhou (2015)
  • Zhuzhou (2015)

Fantawild Cultural Heritage Parks

The newest of the currently active Fantawild park styles is the Cultural heritage parks. The first of these opened in Jinan in April 2015 and there are ones to follow within the year in Wuhu and Ningbo.

These parks are a radical departure from the more modern themes of the Adventure and Dream parks focusing on traditional Chinese culture and mythology. There is a whole set of new rides and simulators which have been designed for these parks but as the first one opened less than a month ago I am yet to see a review of any.

Coaster wise all three of the first parks have opened with the same coaster line up, Indoor mine trains themed to volcanoes, Vekoma Boomerangs and Martin & Vleminckx & Gravity Group wooden coasters. Perhaps most surprisingly all three wooden coasters are not clones but feature original layouts. These are covered in much more detail in the coasters section below.

Locations:

  • Jinan (2015)
  • Wuhu (2015)
  • Ningbo (2015-2016)
  • Xiamen (2016)

Fantawild Movie Parks

Fantawild movie parks are a set of planned parks that are soon to go into the construction phase. While no parks have been officially announced there are holding accounts on Weibo (Chinese twitter analogue) reserved already for parks in Qingdao and Shenyang.

Fantawild Water Parks

Fantawild has recently expanded some parks with the addition of a water park. These are pretty small when compared to international parks but have proved very popular with the locals. They usually have at least two slide towers and a large wave pool. They aren’t as easy to follow as the theme parks so the list below may be incomplete.

Locations:

  • Wuhu (2014)
  • Zhengzhou (2014)
  • Zhuzhou (2015)
  • Nantong (2015)

Resorts

The observant among you will have noticed that several cities in the lists above have more than one gate and that Wuhu in particular is currently home to four. I’m not sure why Wuhu is quite so central to Fantawild’s plans but they own a massive tract of land just to the East of the city with plans for up to seven parks.

Here is a quick breakdown of which cities currently have more than one park. Click on the park names to see a satellite image of the resorts in question.

Wuhu (4)s

Zhengzhou (3)

Zhuzhou (3)

Xiamen (2)

There are a two parks with vacant lots already waiting for second gates these can be found in Qingdao and Shenyang.


Roller Coasters

Like the parks the rides can be sorted into various categories which are repeated in most of the parks. In recent years Fantawild have begun to expand their horizons in terms of roller coasters and there are a few outliers but the main rides are summarised below

Golden Horse Suspended Looping Coaster

Usually called Flare Meteor in English these rides are built by the Chinese company Golden Horse and are a direct clone of the Vekoma SLC layout first seen on Golden Wings in Snowfield at Happy Valley in Beijing. The ride can be found at most of the older Fantawild Parks and there is usually at least one in a resort. The latest one was built at the Fantawild Theme Park in Datong which opened in April 2015.

Locations:

  • Fantawild Adventure – Wuhu (2008)
  • Fantawild Adventure – Tai’an (2010)
  • Fantawild Dream Kingdom – Qingdao (2011)
  • Fantawild Adventure – Zhuzhou (2011)
  • Fantawild Adventure – Shenyang (2011)
  • Fantawild Adventure – Tianjin (2014)
  • Fantawild Theme Park – Datong (2015)

Golden Horse Mine Train

The Golden Horse mine trains are perhaps the most common of the Fantawild rides coming in several different guises. Most importantly they all share the same layout which has been ripped off the Vekoma model’s found at Walibi Belgium and Happy Valley Shenzhen.

The rides often come set within a mountain which varies in style depending on the location of the park but recently the Oriental Heritage Parks have built their mine trains indoors with a theme to a mythological Volcano.

This has lead to the slight odd situation where  in Wuhu you can find two rides with the same layout in neighbouring parks, one indoors and one outdoors.

Locations:

  • Fantawild Adventure – Wuhu (2008)
  • Fantawild Dream Kingdom – Qingdao (2011)
  • Fantawild Adventure – Zhuzhou (2011)
  • Fantawild Adventure – Shenyang (2011)
  • Fantawild Dreamland – Xiamen (2013)
  • Fantawild Adventure – Tianjin (2014)
  • Fantawild Adventure – Jiayuguan (2015)
  • Fantawild Theme Park – Datong (2015)
  • Fantawild Cultural Heritage Park – Jinan (2015) – Indoors
  • Fantawild Cultural Heritage Park – Wuhu (2015) – Indoors
  • Fantawild Cultural Heritage Park – Ningbo (2015) – Indoors

Vekoma Boomerang

Vekoma Boomerangs are one of the most numerous rides on the planet. While not always popular with enthusiasts the Fantawild rides at least feature the new restraint system which eliminates the head banging from the older models.

These rides can be found at a number of the newer Fantawild Parks under two different names. In the Fantawild Adventure & Dream parks they go under the name Stress Express. In the Fantawild Cultural Heritage Parks they go under the name Polar Express. These rides are all painted the same blue and white colour though and are essentially exactly the same ride.

Locations:

  • Fantawild Adventure – Zhengzhou (2012)
  • Fantaworld Dream Park – Xiamen (2013)
  • Fantawild Dreamland – Zhuzhou (2015)
  • Fantawild Cultural Heritage Park – Jinan (2015)
  • Fantawuld Cultural Heritage Park – Wuhu (2015)
  • Fantawild Cultural Heritage Park – Ningbo (2015-2016)

Maurer Sky Loop

Another of the more recent additions to the Fantawild chain is a line of Maurer sky loop rides. Currently there are only three operating but with a number of new Fantawild parks coming online in the next few years I doubt they are the last. They all operate under the name Terror Twister and all sport exactly the same bright yellow and purple paint scheme.

Locations:

  • Fantawild Adventure – Zhuzhou (2011)
  • Fantawild Adventure – Zhengzhou (2012)
  • Adventure Park – Nantong (2013)

Martin & Vleminckx Wooden Coasters

The most exciting addition to the Fantawild chain in recent years has been the arrival of several Martin & Vleminckx Wooden Coasters. Designed by the Gravity Group these two companies have dominated the market for Chinese wooden coasters in the last few years and have introduced a string of great designs to both Happy Valley and Fantawild chains.

The first of the Fantawild woodies was expected to open at the Cultural Heritage Park, Jinan in April 2015 but has been delayed to May 2015. There are another three due to open this year.

All the Fantawild rides are unique within the chain so far. Although the Zhuzhou ride is a clone of the ride found at Happy Valley in Tianjin. The rides at the Jinan and Wuhu Fantawild Cultural Heritage Parks both feature a single corkscrew inversion each. It is currently unconfirmed if the rides at the  sister parks in Ningbo and Xiamen will also feature inversions.

Locations:

  • Fantawild Cultural Heritage Park – Jinan (2015)
  • Fantawild Cultural Heritage Park – Wuhu (2015)
  • Fantawild Dreamland – Zhengzhou (2015)
  • Fantawild Dreamland – Zhuzhou (2015)
  • Fantawild Cultural Heritage Park – Ningbo (2015 – 2016)
  • Fantawild Cultural Heritage Park – Xiamen (2016)

Other Coasters

There are a number of other individual rides at parks in the chain which don’t fall into the categories above including a random assortment of kiddie coasters and an inverted wild mouse. While I won’t go into too much detail, below are some pictures of the more notable ones.


Conclusions

Hopefully this article will have cleared up some of the (well founded) confusion surrounding the parks within the ever expanding Fantawild chain. To the best of my knowledge all information provided here is correct at the time of writing and I will endeavour to keep this article updated whenever I can. However things move fast in the Fantawild world so please let me know if there are any errors at any time.

A big thanks to Gavin Jones who kindly let me use some of his pictures and imparted some knowledge from visiting a few of the more obscure Fantawild parks out there.

 

A British coaster geek who also happens to be a travel geek with a particular fascination in East Asian culture and cuisine.

Discussion4 Comments

  1. Interesting article! Although those new wooden roller coasters look good, the Happy Valley parks look better overall and less repetitive – I can’t imagine anyone but the most serious credit-counter visiting more than one. I wonder if they’ll use the genuine Boomerangs and SkyLoops in their new parks since the Chinese now build copies of those too?

    Thank you for keeping this up, I have read this website for a while now and it’s great to have this insight into new rides which most websites don’t cover.

  2. David Callen

    Hi Lachlan,

    Thanks for the response.

    I’ve visited some of each brand of park and while Happy Valley certainly has the better rides but overall I think Fantawild beat them hands down for Atmosphere. Its a shame so many of the early parks are clones of each other.

    At least they are expanding their range now with the Cultural parks which seem a bit different. The wooden coasters all look great too and I can see Enthusiasts going to parks just for those. Especially if they keep on not cloning them.

    I’ve wondered why Fantawild go for Western sky loops and boomerangs yet Chinese SLC’s and mine trains myself. It must be odd for Vekoma engineers in Wuhu to build the new boomerang with clones of their SLC’s and Mine Trains in the same park. But I’m not complaining that theyve gone with Vekoma 🙂

  3. Hi! I’m an expat coaster enthusiast living in Shanghai. I was recently at happy valley and it was not that great. Poor management of park. Many rides closed. I been searching for parks within a 5 hour travel radius as I can take long day trips to these places during my weekend. Can’t find any information with regard to location and direction of these parks in china. I sorta have found some information but I just don’t have anything concrete. If you could let me know that would be great.

    • David Callen

      Hi Mariano.
      It’s a shame you didnt have a great time at Happy Valley, I’ve been twice and only had one roller coaster shut between both visits. I’m afraid poor ride running is everywhere in China. It drives me mad. So inefficient.
      However there are quite a few parks near Shanghai worth visiting. I’m not sure on your mode of transport (if you have a car for example) but I have made a map of what I consider to be the best near by
      https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zqgfkpgPaZiw.kOMwu8IXIbuI&usp=sharing

      Here’s a quick explanation of each park on that map
      Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou – Small park and easy to get to. Has one roller coaster but an interesting and rare flying coaster. (On my visit however it was shut) It is possible to do this park in conjunction with the next park in the same day.
      Suzhou Amusement Land – An older and more traditionally Chinese park with a few interesting roller coasters. Not the best park you’ll ever visit but quite pretty and worth a visit
      China Dinosaurs Park – Large amusement park and home to one of only three proper 4D roller coasters in the world. Worth a visit for that alone. There are a number of other good rides here too
      World Joyland – A great park and famous for its themed areas themed to World of Warcraft and Starcraft without any of the licenses. Home to one of the best roller coasters in China (The flying Sky Scrapper coaster) and overall a really good and interesting park. However it is quite a way from the nearest train station. We had to get taxis there from Wuxi and it took quite a while.
      Romon World – Brand new indoor/outdoor park which is by all accounts excellent. Right in the heart of Ningbo. Houses 2 very good roller coasters.
      Ningbo Fantawild Oriental Heritage Park – This park isn’t due to open until the end of 2015 but will be home to one of the best rides in China with a new looping wooden coaster under construction. Worth keeping an eye on/
      Wuhu Fantawild Oriental Heritage Park, Fantawild Dream Park & Fantawild Adventure – 3 large Fantawild parks in one city. The newest just opened this month and features another looping wooden coaster. Wuhu isn’t on the highspeed train line yet but there are slower trains from Nanjing which is on the high speed.
      Harbor Land – Also in Ningbo. Smaller park with one 8 looping roller coaster which is probably worth a visit. Not been myself so can’t comment too much but looks very nice.
      Happy World – Indoor shopping mall park in Nanjing. Small but easy to get to and worth a visit if you are ever in Nanjing
      Quancheng Euro Park & Jinan Fantawild Oriental Heritage Park – 2 parks very close together in Jinan (Google tells me the High speed train takes around 4 hours) Fantawild again features a looping wooden coaster while Euro Park features 9 coasters although only one western built one. A launched looping coaster which is excellent

      I’m afraid I’m not quite sure what else is within 5 hours of Shanghai without doing a bit more research but hopefully that’s a good start?
      Cheers
      Dave

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