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August 27, 2009

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Sadly, Happy Valley fails to amuse

THE city's Happy Valley amusement park, it appears, is most inappropriately named. Happiness and amusement are decidedly lacking.

Songjiang District quality authorities will examine the rides at Happy Valley after 12 failures or breakdowns have hit the park since its "soft opening" on August 16.

The park said the facilities were still adapting to their new environment and operations would improve next month.

A roller-coaster failure this week equates to 12 glitches in its 13 days of operations, causing some wags to call the park "Scary Valley."

Passengers on the "Crazy Elf" roller coaster were stuck on the 10-meter high rail when it stopped in midair for more than 10 minutes on Tuesday. They had to get down on an emergency escape ladder.

A manager with Happy Valley shrugged off the complaints, saying the glitches were "normal and not at all dangerous."

Most of the problems are happening with roller coasters.

The park's landmark wooden roller coaster, for example, stalled seven times on its first day of operation.

The Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision's Songjiang District branch said examinations would last to the National Day holiday to ensure visitors' safety.

Officials said although all the facilities passed quality inspections before being put into operation, recent bad weather had played havoc, making some facilities unstable.

The park cited the same glitches when Happy Valley first opened in Beijing and Shenzhen, saying they tended to occur on big rides before they were fine-tuned.

"Such small problems are really normal in setting up," said Zhong Lin, an official with the park.

Zhong said the facilities were expected to be all-systems-go on September 12, when the park is officially opened to the public.

"But we can't promise they won't have any problems then," she said.

Happy Valley had repeatedly delayed its opening date, finally opening on August 16, eight days later than planned.

The park has imposed a daily visitor limit of 30,000 to ensure safety as it has proved to be in hot demand.


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