The plan to visit the Blizzard themed amusement park, Joyland, was hatched while visiting Kaolla. Having some beers and playing some SC2 was what motivated us to undertake this journey. Suffice to say we had some difficulties actually getting to Changzhou, missing the train we had already bought tickets for. We eventually ended up in Changzhou at night and decided to hit the clubs before going to Joyland the next day. Since no one from Teamliquid appeared to have visited we decided to write a blog post to inform you guys about our trip to Blizzardland (Joyland).
Pictures and videos are listed here, so lazy people can stop reading here and look at the pretty pictures:
Terrain of Warcraft video impression
Universe of Starcraft video impression
Video of our favorite ride in the park
After a short morning of sleep and with a lot of determination we managed to stumble into the train station and catch a bus to Joyland. Finding the correct terminal was a bit of hassle as there were multiple coach and bus stations. Having found the correct terminal and acquired the correct tickets set us on our way to Joyland.
Arriving at the park we were greeted by two rather large black Orcs at the entrance. It was quite a warm day so we thought we would start the day out by queuing up for the first ride we could find. We had no idea what we queued up for and even though it was an indoor ride air-conditioning or fans were nowhere to be found making the temperature a bit unpleasant. After a horrendous wait, the line continued over three separate rooms which were quite effectively hidden from view. The ride, Path to Warcraft, was a bit like watching a 3D World of Warcraft trailer while being in cart. Not entirely sure that was worth the wait. We exited the ride through a giftshop with a whole lot of fake swords and other toys.
Walking through the park we noticed that the build quality of the decorations and statues seemed quite nice. I actually expected a more cardboard and styrofoam kind of quality but we were pleasantly surprised by the use of proper building materials. The Warcraft part of the park was actually the most impressive with many statues and big stone buildings and of course the Warcraft/World of Warcraft music playing in the background.
The StarCraft area was a bit of a disappointing when compared to the Warcraft area. Sure there was the StarCraft 2 music and I think I might have even heard some of the original StarCraft music, but the design was a bit lacking when compared to the Warcraft area. It was entirely in Protoss style, but looked like it was built by an SCV after an all-nighter on stimpacks. There were no Zerg or Terran influences other than the red creature which might have been a Zergling. The rides were nice though, especially the rollercoaster, it certainly made my top3 of rollercoasters. Twisting and flying close to the ground was a nice experience and it was even good enough to queue up a second time. We found some places which were still labeled as StarCraft, someone must have missed the memo that this was the Universe of Starship, not StarCraft
When we finally decided to go on what seemed to be the main attraction of the park, based on the 2 hour queue we saw earlier that day, the log ride. When we got there the line seemed exceptionally short so we informed and they had closed off the queue because the ride was going to close soon. After playing the 'we are foreigners and came all the way here just to take this ride'-card and exchanging a few smiles with the girl there we were let in through the staff entrance and were able to take the ride without queuing. The people on the boat with us greeted us with big smiles on their faces as we got on the boat without any kind of rain poncho which everyone seemed to be wearing. It is safe to say that I later regretted that decision a bit as I had to take off my shoes to pour the water out. At least I was not bothered by the heat as much after that, being soaked to the bone.
We mostly spend time in the Warcraft/StarCraft areas of the park, the other areas looked alright but with slightly more boring rides. There was an NVidia sponsored gaming room, once again without any Blizzard games but they did let you play some 3D games on gaming stations offered there. As it got dark there was also a performance by some kind of rock band, not quite TAFKAL80ETC but they managed to gather a crowd.
Obviously we managed to miss our last bus back to Changzhou so we shared a minivan back to Changzhou with some other people which ended up being quite a nice ride, albeit slightly cramped. We finished off the nice day by hitting up some clubs in Changzhou meeting up with the friendly locals we met the night before. All-in-all a great day and I can recommend going there to anyone who has a day to kill in the Shanghai area. The only disappointed was that after all this I logged into my StarCraft 2 account without receiving an 'achievement unlocked' notification, I would say that visiting 'Blizzardland' should at least be rewarded by some achievement points.