Taiwan’s Gravity Max – Quite possibly the scariest roller coaster in the world

grav real

RocketNews 24:

Whatever that thing is in front of us is, I really hope it can hold all of our weight,” says roller coaster aficionado Robb Alvey as the car he is sitting in reaches the end of the track. And it literally is the end – just a couple of feet ahead of where the train has come to a halt, the rails suddenly stop and there is naught but blue sky.

This is the Gravity Max roller coaster in Taiwan’s Discovery World theme park, a ’tilt coaster’ built by Dutch thrill rides designer Vekoma which features a section of track at the top of the chain lift that slowly tilts from horizontal to vertical before clicking into place and releasing the safety lock to drop the train down. Provided, of course, that the rails line up…

Shot by the professional thrill seekers from Theme Park Review, the following video shows just how terrifying Discovery Land’s roller coaster really is. For anyone who’s afraid of heights (right here!), roller coasters can be nerve-racking enough, but add in the fact that the track your car is connected to isn’t even complete until seconds before you’re thrown into the abyss, and you reach a whole new level of fear.

▼ Um, are you quite sure this thing’s finished?

grav max approach

▼ If that safety latch were to break open… <shudder>

grav max 1

▼ Still no track.

grav max fornt view

▼ Please line up, please line up, please line up…

grav lining up

We’ll leave you now with Robb’s video in full. Honestly, just watching the footage is enough to make us feel a little queasy, and we’re not entirely sure we’d be able to get on this thing without a little man-handling and maybe a gentle tranquiliser.

After all, as Robb says, there are two kinds of fear to be dealt with when riding the Gravity Max: “The ‘oh shit’ factor is when you come to the top and you realise there’s nothing in front of you; the ‘shit’ factor is when you go down the drop.”



Hong Kong Disneyland hits its stride and readies for Macau rivals

Bloomberg Businessweek:

Hong Kong Disneyland Hits Its Stride, Readies for Macau Rivals

Hong Kong Disneyland is finally on a roll. After years of disappointing results, Disney’s first foray into Greater China earned HK$242 million ($31 million) in the year ending in September, the company announced yesterday. That profit came on revenue of HK$4.9 billion, 15 percent more than 2012.

Last year was the second consecutive year in the black for Hong Kong Disneyland, a joint venture between Walt Disney and the Hong Kong government. Hong Kong began in 2005 as the smallest of Disney’s parks, and dedicated Magic Kingdom fans expressed disappointment with the limited number of attractions. When the park opened, for instance, it was missing Autopia and It’s a Small World, two Disneyland classics. Disney has since made amends, launching those attractions as well as three new lands: Toy Story Land, with Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and pals;Grizzly Gulch, anchored by a Wild West-themed roller coaster; and Mystic Point, featuring a haunted mansion that’s not very scary. (Alas, there seems to be little demand for one of my old Disneyland favorites, the Enchanted Tiki Room.)

Even with the expansion, which increased total park size by about one-fourth, Hong Kong Disneyland remains smaller than Disney resorts in California, Florida, Japan, and France. With Disney scheduled to open Shanghai Disneyland next year, the southern Chinese park has plans to keep growing. Next up and scheduled to open in 2016 is Iron Man Experience, a ride based on the Marvel superhero popularized by Robert Downey Jr. in the hit Disney movies. Hong Kong Disneyland also wants to add a third hotel because occupancy rates have grown from 70 percent in 2009 to 94 percent last year. If Hong Kong’s legislature approves the proposal, the new hotel will open in 2017, increasing room capacity by 75 percent, to 1,750.

One reason Disney needs to keep expanding is growing competition in the region. On the other side of the Pearl River Delta, casino operators in Macau want to make the city more than just a gambling destination. They’re eyeing Hengqin, an island next to Macau but on the Guangdong side of the border; it has ample space for the golf courses, theme parks, and other attractions needed if the tiny former Portuguese colony has any chance of becoming the Orlando of China. Galaxy Entertainment, run by Lui Che Woo, Asia’s second richest man, wants to invest HK$10 billion in Hengqin.

A first test of Hengqin’s attractiveness is Chimelong Ocean Resort, a new, Sea World-like park run by a mainland-based theme-park operator called Guangdong Chimelong Group. During the week-long Chinese New Year holiday, the new Chimelong park attracted about half a million visitors with rides, an aquarium, and a circus, according to local government data. The park “may help boost Macau visitors this year and beyond, which would likely benefit casinos,” Bloomberg Industries analysts Tim Craighead and Margaret Huang wrote last week. Many of the Chimelong park visitors were tourists from Guangdong on package tours to Hong Kong and Macau, so the Hengqin park might draw people away from the Magic Kingdom.

Still, Hong Kong Disneyland execs should be rooting for Chimelong to succeed in Hengqin. As Disney has shown in Orlando and Anaheim, the company’s parks can thrive as part of a bigger cluster of family attractions. That’s especially important for Hong Kong Disneyland in the countdown to 2015′s Shanghai Disneyland opening. When a Disney park is operating in the mainland, rather than on the other side of a border crossing, the more reasons Chinese tourists have to skip Shanghai and travel down to Hong Kong, the better.

Check out this link:

Hong Kong Disneyland hits its stride and readies for Macau rivals


Checking Out the Myanmar Amusement Park “Happy World”: An All-star Lineup from Mickey Mouse to Doraemon to…BATMAN?

RocketNews 24: 


When traveling overseas, we like to check out the nearby shopping malls and amusement parks, too, whenever we can. But we don’t waste our time with the famous amusement parks that everyone and their mother has been to. For us, it’s the local, never-before-heard-of amusement parks that we love. Why? Because that’s where you can really see the way the local people live… and some of the clever stuff they’ve come up.

So, this time around, we headed to “Happy World” in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma), located right in front of the world-famous Shwedagon Pagoda.

  • Out of nowhere…Bugs Bunny!?

As you approach the entrance, you can see a sign with “Happy World” written on it. If you look closely you can make out a full lineup of characters, including what look like Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, and a rather questionable Doraemon. (If you’re not familiar with the name, Doraemon is a much beloved Japanese cartoon characterthat looks vaguely like a large robot cat.) So that’s what we have to look forward to. Alright! Let’s do it!

  • The mouse is in the house!

At the entrance, we were greeted by Pluto, who was helping hold up a shish kebab cart. As we proceeded into the park, there were a bunch of Happy World flags. And among them was none other than Disney’s Mickey Mouse!

  • The Puny Batman

Going further, we came across a Teletubbies statue. But the eyes… oh, how horrible! With a cuteness rating of zero, they were simply terrifying and if we had kids with us we’d be ushering them by as quickly as possible to avoid countless nights of bad dreams and bed wetting. After recovering from that ordeal, we headedinto the facilities, and a number of suspicious Mickey Mouse figures appeared! Even legendary Japanese superhero Ultraman made an appearance, just sort ofhanging out. But the best, without question, was the puny Batman we spotted in a quiet corner, a definite must-see.

  • Admission fee: 21 yen (US$0.21)!

All things considered, we were really looking forward to seeing some costumed characters, but, unfortunately, they never showed up. Maybe it was too hot? Still, the admission fee was only 200 kyat—about 21 yen (US$0.21). Extremely cheap!And even at that price, we could enjoy the attractions all we wanted!

  • Basically aindoor amusement park

While there weren’t any flashy attractions like big roller coasters, there was a haunted house, a mirror maze, an indoor Ferris wheel, and a winter room. It was a great place to play around, kind of like an indoor amusement park. And the haunted house was actually much better than we expected. (Check out the end of the video below to get an idea!)

  • Alcohol? No problem!

For adults, there were also some billiard tables to be enjoyed. And if you felt like relaxing, even just hanging out in the gardens around the premises was great! Then, after you’re done having fun, you can sit down and gulp down a frosty Myanmar beer. Yep, that’s right, this is a pleasure land with all the alcohol you want! If you have the time, be sure to check it out!

The gang’s all here!


So tranquil


And here’s the entrance!


The helpful Pluto


And here’s… someone else!


Doraemon, Bugs Bunny, and…what the hell is that blue thing??


Whaaaat?? Mickey Mouse!?


Yikes! They have some crows here too!


Teletubbies! (We think.)


This is what nightmares are made of.


And this is what a lifetime of therapy sessions results in.


Entering the indoor amusement park.


Here’s the game room.


Hey, even monks play videogames!


Betty Boop! Haven’t seen you in a while!


Looks like she’s seen better days.




More Mickey!


Even more Mickey!


And Minnie’s here too!




Kinda puny looking actually…


The park was a bit simple but had a good vibe.


And it had bumper cars, too!


The winter room.


Take a look at this! Space Pirates of the Flamingo Pond?


Billiards for the cooler kids.


And karaoke for the rest of us!


Here’s one of the flashier attractions.


But the haunted house is our number one recommendation!


You can see what’s going on inside via security cameras. (Clever!)


And this handsome young man is the beer server!


Check out this link:

Checking Out the Myanmar Amusement Park “Happy World”