Instead of going to Dandong during our three-day weekend (we’ll wait until it warms up more), we went to a Chinese theme park called Discovery Land. Because it was Tomb Sweeping Holiday, we had to wake up early and meet our Chinese friend, Vincent, at 5:30 in the morning. We ate a quick breakfast at Kentucky Fried Chicken (closest thing to an American breakfast) before getting in line to hop on the bus to the train station. We were some of the first ones on the bus, meaning we were able to sit during the long bus ride to the train station. Once we arrived at the train station, Vincent helped us buy tickets and find the appropriate train. Discovery Land is in another town so the train ride was even longer than the bus ride. Unfortunately the trains were even more crowded than the buses, so we had to wait for people to get off at various stops before seats became available. When we arrived at Discovery Land, we bought our tickets and then waited for thirty minutes or so in one of several lines. Because of the wind coming off the ocean, it was rather chilly.
The park layout had different sections, each with a different theme, and there was a small lake with an unique structure in the middle; the sections form a circle around the lake. The first section we went to was similar to Toon Town. Everything in this section was very cartoon-like. There were people dressed in costumes, putting on shows, and there were sculptures of random things to take pictures with – something the Chinese seemed to really enjoy. We watched a show with American, Australian, and Russian performers. We couldn’t really tell what the plot of the story was, but the whole show was very cheesy. The Chinese seemed to enjoy it though, especially the kids and young adults. In this section of the park we also did bumper cars and rode a small ride.
The next section of the part had an Arabic theme. This was my favorite section because it had a lot of stores to shop at, and the stores all had the heat on! We ate lunch in the cafeteria of this section; the food was Chinese but still good. The next section of the park reminded me of the Disney cartoon Robots. The two big roller coasters were in this section of the park, but the lines were already too long by the time we got there. We moved on to the next section of the park, which had an enchanted forest theme. We walked through the small park, shopped at some of the stores, and rode the water ride. The ride is similar to “Lost River” in Silver Dollar City except it is a bit shorter. Because the windy made the air chilly, the line for this ride was very short. We bought some plastic covering to cover our clothes and shoes, which kept us from getting wet (for the most part). We rode this ride numerous times before moving on to the next thing. We went to what turned out to be a really big tree house and found a couple of American kids playing there. We talked with their parents (who teach at another school here) for bit.
We continued on to the next and final section of the park. It was designed to look like an English castle. Latino-style music played as we walked through the stores and “haunted” chamber. We then went to a fake church where the only thing people did was take pictures. We walked across the bridge and back to wear we started. To exit the park, we had to walk down “American Street,” which had stores with souvenirs.
Overall, the park was fun and interesting. We realized just how the Chinese enjoy cheesy things and taking pictures with stuff. After leaving the park, we went down to the beach to take some pictures and relax before getting on the train to head home.