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Arabian Nights: Exploring the Coasters of Saudi Arabia (Part 7)

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
I'm currently on a business trip in Saudi Arabia ahead of moving here for my job in about a month. I'll be living in Riyadh, but there will be plenty of time to explore the rest of country. We all know about Six Flags coming next year, but there's a fair number of smaller coaster scattered throughout the county. I've taken the last two evenings to start picking off some of the FECs in Riyadh and will begin to further my exploration once I move.


Thursday May 9, 2024:
I'm staying on the northern side of Riyadh for the SEA Expo this week (think Saudi IAAPA), so we'll start in this region. There's a lot of larger development here like the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD). Lots of good restaurants here and some impressive buildings!

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But on to the malls. Malls in the middle east are on a whole different level than elsewhere in the world. They're gigantic, clean and sparkling, and usually pretty rammed with people. And almost all of them seem to have a little FEC. Or as we're about to see, not so little. Stop one of the Riyadh Gallery Mall for Sparky's. Sparky's is a chain of FECs throughout this region. I'd done a few in the UAE previously. Here, the park is located on the upper floor and it surprised me with the attractions on offer.

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The lady at the desk misunderstood my ask for enough credits to just ride the coaster and I ended up with a fairly expensive 250something credit card. The coaster was 18. Whoops. Our coaster on-hand isn't called out by type in RCDB but it's pretty clearly an L&T systems 32x18 mini coaster. "Roller Coaster" Not too big, not too small. Shark themed cars. I had no trouble getting on and settled in and was treated to 3 laps which were fine. Not that I'm expecting anything mindblowing here. The little dip into the brakes is fairly aggressive. What's cool about the coaster is that it's intertwined with a log flume. While not a huge flume, it's still a flume. Inside. On the upper story of a mall. So that's cool.

Quick note on pictures: in Saudi, it's considered rude and is generally frowned upon to take pictures of people-- mostly women-- without their consent. Because of this my pictures of things in motion are pretty limited as I didn't want to offend. It's very important to be respectful, especially as an outsider in a new country!

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The flume took me by surprise, but I was even more impressed by a full on rapids ride. Again, a rapids ride. In a mall. On the upper floor. I wasn't able to get great pictures, but it's a fairly substantial layout. It didn't look crazy dynamic nor terribly wet, but I think that can be excused. I don't think I'd want to be soaked at the mall.

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I didn't get many other pictures here, but they had a few other fairly large rides including a swinging ship, a miami type flat ride, and some other small round rides. In a completely other area, they had an enormous arcade with ticket redemption for prizes. They also had a kids haircut place in the back, which I thought was odd (but have since found that to be recurring). An easy in and out with a stop at the food court for "Shrimp Daddy" (how could you not?).

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Mall & park #2 as it turns out is right across the street. Like literally right across the street. The Marina Mall is not, in fact, anywhere close a marina or even water for the matter, but we go nonetheless. Be careful crossing the street. The drivers are next level here.

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RM Roma Land is another chain of parks across this region, with 3 in Riyadh alone. Once again we go upstairs, though this time the ticketing lady understood my ask and we scored a much more reasonably priced ticket for the Zamperla Junior Twister Coaster, imaginatively named "Junior Twister". I love these coasters, to be honest. This is my third one and I'm always impressed with how much they spin. A train of 4 cards seems to build on the spinning as the first lap always ends up pretty sedate but picks up from there. I had 3 laps on this one with 2 and 3 being a blur to a finish of sitting parked in the station whipping around for a good 15 seconds before the ride spin arrest system slowed it down. Current winner for best coaster in the country, though the bar is low and we have far to travel!

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Aside from the coaster, this park also had a pretty large number of rides for an FEC. A full size Disk-O, indoor electric go karts, a teacups type ride, several swinging and round rides, a few small simulators, and a giant climbing area with a bowling alley adjacent. This takes up nearly 1/3 of the entire upper floor of the mall and could easily occupy a kid for a few hours I'd think. If I wasn't on my own, I might've stayed and tried more stuff too. But a fun in and out once again before another silent Uber back to the hotel.

(note the modesty panel add on this disk-o)
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So there's our day 1 of chasing insignificant coaster. Nice to see the malls and some surprises about the size of the FECs. A running recap:

1. Riyadh Gallery Mall, Sparky's, Roller Coaster, L&T Junior Coaster
2. Marina Mall, RM Roma World, Junior Coaster, Zamperla Junior Coaster

Follow for Part 2!
 

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
Friday, May 10, 2024
My second day of exploring Riyadh pushed me a little further than last time. I haven't wanted to take any very long Uber rides thus far-- I'd rather wait till I have my car.

But stop #1 was about 20 minutes south of my hotel at the Panorama Mall. As far as malls go, this one was the most impressive so far. A huge collection of shops and restaurants. As is now typical, I headed upstairs to track down my second Sparky's park in as many days. These appear to be the best of the FEC's in the country. I was impressed with the one last night and this was equally large.

As is tradition, we must start with the coaster. Formula Fun (rcdb's name-- I didn't see a sign) is a substantial SBF Visa coaster that dominates everything in the space. I love weird custom coasters and this one fits the bill. The lift takes ages-- upwards of 90 seconds and has a little curve in the middle so you don't smack your head on the trusswork above. From there it's a large but shallow diving drop into a large climbing helix. Another helix in the other direction cuts through some themed panels before the ride hits another completely unnecessary (far as I can tell) lift and a fully unbanked 180* turn into the brakes. For a big coaster, this does a whole lot of nothing though it does pick up some speed.

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Although this park didn't have the cool rapids ride that the other one did, there was a little mini looping ship thing (above picture, right), a larger Miami type flat ride, a Zamperla Air Race, a drop tower, multiple climbing structures, and this translucent Gravitron type ride that I've not seen at a bunch of the FECs. I don't think I've encountered one before.

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The coaster being a one and done meant it was time for lunch before taking off to the next thing. Of course you can't just ride coasters-- it's probably ok to do some culture every now and then too, right? (right?) With that in mind, I traveled to the west of the city to the area of Diriyah. Within Diriyah is At-Turaif, a world heritage site comprised of old adobe structures from the first Saudi state. It's a pretty incredible setting and has a huge dining district adjacent where I was able to sit with a tea and enjoy watching the lights come on across the ruins. Adjacent to this area is the Diriyah Gate project, one of the Saudi mega projects which will bring more food, merchandise, hotels, museums, and more to the area. It's certainly keeping the tower crane business booming...

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With a big 'check' in the culture box, it was time to get back to filthy cred hunting. It just so happens there was a mall on the route back to the hotel so it's almost like I *had* to stop. The Riyadh Park shopping mall is home to Magic Planet, another in a chain of FECs. I'd previously visited a few of these in the UAE. Entering the space covers you in blue and purple light with some various space-ish theming and a fair amount of rockwork throughout. Although it's no Termite Coaster at Wonderla, this wacky worm does a decent job at looking the part. Crystal Mine Train has the sad distinction of being my 50th different wacky worm... at least it's sort of themed.

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As expected, there was nothing remarkable about the coaster except that the operator let me ride with the bar up when I was having trouble latching it. So that's another strange thing to cross off the list. As far as other rides go, this FEC was a little less packed full, but it still managed to have a looping frisbee, another of those Gravitron things, and a cool themed bumper cars among other things.


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After the FEC, it was only a matter of dinner and what better place to go to while in Saudi Arabia than...Raising Cane's? Surprisingly, it was pretty close to how it is in the US though really the main thing I cared about was the large soda (being American and also kind of dehydrated from the heritage site).

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And that's it for day 2! We're 4 of 4 so far and also crushing it on the rare points on Coaster-Count-- each of these has been 7 so far! Updating the running total here:

1. Riyadh Gallery Mall, Sparky's, Roller Coaster, L&T junior coaster
2. Marina Mall, RM Roma World, Junior Coaster, Zamperla junior coaster
3. Panorama Mall, Sparky's, Formula Fun, SBF Visa custom junior coaster
4. Riyadh Park Shopping Center, Magic Planet, Crystal Mine Train, wacky worm
 

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
Saturday May 11, 2024

On what would be my last day of picking up coasters on this visit to Saudi, I mixed in a few stops while visiting prospective apartments. In what was very quickly identified as a "poor choice", I made the decision to walk from the housing complex I was visiting about 1 mile to the Park Avenue Mall. With no real sidewalks to guide my way and cutting through large asphalt parking areas and empty lots, I realized I maybe should've just spent the money on an Uber. Oh well, I was committed now. When my sweaty ass finally made it to the mall, I decided to take a stroll in the AC to cool off. Being early by Saudi standards (midday), it turns out that almost nothing was open.

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It also turns out that there was almost no one here. Upon turning up to FEC, Sala City, I realized that I had indeed miscalculated and it was going to be another 90 minutes until the park opened for the day. Going on a hunt for a bench to waste away some time, I quickly found that the only places to sit are at little cafes throughout the mall. In the end, I forked over a couple Riyals for a tea and let time pass me by. At 2:00pm sharp, I turned up at Sala City to find there still wasn't much happening. But watching some young children with their mothers in tow, I figured I might as well stroll on in.

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As with most of the FECs on this trip, it had a mix of arcade games and full size rides. At the entrance is a 3 across ride that resembles a Zamperla Nebulaz. One It was one of the larger flat rides I'd seen so far, so that's a good start. But before we go too far, let's find the coaster. All the way in the back was the imaginatively named Spinning Coaster, and my first encounter of the ubiquitous SBF Figure 8 spinning coaster in KSA. Having confirmed that the coaster did indeed exist and did indeed look to be in working order, I went up front to get my ticket. No problems in getting the credits added to the increasing amount of FEC cards I'm racking up. From here I had to find an operator, which was probably more challenging than it maybe ought to have been. After way more trouble than it was probably worth, I had a ticket, had an operator, and had a working coaster. Perhaps as a reminder from on high that this is sometimes as stupid hobby, I was treated to no less than 10 laps on the coaster by myself while another family watched me go around waiting to board next. At least it's better than a wacky worm.

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The coaster out of the way, I could look and see what else was there. There was an SBF drop tower in the middle of one of the coaster turns along with what is now the ubiquitous collection of 1. looping frisbee, 2. glowing bumper cars, and 3. translucent gravitron. There was also a little wave swinger and a drifting round ride-- both nice additions to fill out the park. All in all, this was of the same pretty high quality presentation as the other FECs so far. Obviously I'd have liked a bigger coaster, but I'll still gladly put a big checkmark in the 'ridden' box.

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From here it was onwards to the next park. Granada Mall is one of the biggest malls I've been to yet and has a suitably sized FEC called Fun Oasis to go along with it. Sadly, the custom SBF spinner, Animal Race, was "under maintenance". An inquiry at the desk provided news that the ride was down for approximately 3 days. Something I'll have to pick up next time, I suppose. It's worth coming back to, though, as the park has a pretty sizable log flume as well as some other rides integrated into the theming. As an aside, I did come back the next day to double check on the coaster since I was in the area and there were maintenance guys working on the lift chain. So at least stuff was happening. It did look fun in an 'I'm not sure if this will beat me up' way.

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With Animal Coaster out of action, I went for the consolation credit which actually turned out to be pretty alright. Atyaf Mall is about 15 minutes from Granada Mall and is not nearly as big but still on the larger end as far as malls go since that's just how they do things in Saudi. Toy Town is a chain of parks in KSA aimed at a bit of a younger audience than the typical FECs. Because of that, it was a little bit of a surprise to find F1 Roller Coaster, an SBF Race Coaster model. I've previously ridden this model at Ferrari Land Spain, but this model somehow felt a little less refined than that one. It fits great-- in the corner with a class atrium. A nice billboard for the park. I was the only one in the park over the age of like 3 so naturally I had the coaster to myself. I was a little concerned about getting a ticket for this one despite the size of the coaster since the park is much more young children focused, but the cashier was happy to sell me a pass and the operator was happy to fire up the ride for what might have been the only time this ride was run in a few hours. For the most part it's a fine coaster, but the laterals on the curved climb around the lift are pretty extreme and not really in a good way. It doesn't hurt, but it definitely feels like the shaping could be improved. As it stands, I still think this is one of the better SBF products and is probably the 2nd best thing I've done here so far after the Zamperla spinner.

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I didn't spend much time in the park after finishing the coaster since I was well out of the typical age range. I grabbed a few shots of attractions on the way out for posterity and settled in at the local "Herfy" fast food chain for lunch...which was passable.

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And that concludes trip #1 to Saudi Arabia. It's funny that a country where the current largest thing is a Premier Sky Rocket is about to get the tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in the world along with a bunch of other world class stuff. But despite all of that, I think these little FECs are going to reign supreme. Seems like there's more opening every year, so I guess it will be my goal to keep tracking down the rest of them once I move here.

1. Roller Coaster, L&T junior coaster, Sparky's, Riyadh Gallery Mall
2. Junior Coaster, Zamperla junior coaster, RM Roma World, Marina Mall
3. Formula Fun, SBF Visa custom junior coaster, Sparky's, Panorama Mall
4. Crystal Mine Train, wacky worm, Magic Planet, Riyadh Park Shopping Center
5. Spinning Coaster, SBF Visa figure 8 spinner, Sala City, Park Avenue Mall
6. F1 Roller Coaster, SBF Race coaster, Toy Town, Atyaf Mall
 

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
Friday, June 7.

I have returned to Saudi Arabia full time as I transition to a new job in the region. As my company home office is based in Al Khobar, I'm now spending about 2 weeks on the coast before moving to Riyadh full time. And of course, making the most of that, I took day 1 of my weekend to go coastering.

Stop #1 was on my list for quite a while now-- the original IE Park Loop coaster layout was custom designed for Sparky's Dammam, running inside and out of the mall in this area. Although the park opened at 2, the coaster didn't open until 4 according to the ride operators. A fairly long wait ensued while I browsed the food court and saw how many American chains I could find (it was a lot). At around 5:15, Roller Coaster cycled twice and lumbered around the layout to the point where I thought it might valley. After the tests, the ride operator went to have a chat, a drink, and a browse of his phone with other operators at the info desk and I waited for another 15 or 20 minutes until they asked what I was doing. Obviously, I'm there to ride-- at which point they told me I was probably too large to fit. I had been concerned about this, but was hoping for the best. Sadly, the best wasn't good enough today and while I was able to get the bar down and the seatbelt buckled with some help, the sensor light didn't turn off. So that's 0 for 1 on the day and the first coaster I've ever missed for being fat. But the two upsides on the day: further motivation to continue losing weight and at least I live in the country now so it's not hard to get back here.

Regardless, the ride still looks funky, so I want to come try it at some point.

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Feeling a bit discouraged, I decided to make up for the miss and pick up some of the other coasters in the region. There's been a bunch of turnover recently and various things have both closed and opened. A recent addition is Funtura, an FEC located in the Flamingo Park Shopping Center. The presentation of this FEC is pretty standard fare for the country as I've come to see. Clean, cool lighting, great collection of kids rides, climbing structures, and lots of arcade games. My goal today was Spinning Coaster, yet another SBF visa figure 8. This was #23 of the type added to my list, but I was also the first enthusiast to log the ride on Coaster-Count, so I'll take my 10 rare points, thank you very much! A small consolation to make up for earlier in the day. Perhaps the operator felt bad for me or perhaps she was just evil because I got a solid 12 or 13 laps for my trouble. At one point I was wondering if we were ever going to stop.

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So we've had 1 loop at Sparks, 2 loops at Funtura (sort of), so might as well make it 3 loops, right? RCDB says there's 24 of the SBF 3 loop spinners, which is larger than I'd realized. But there's one to be had, so we might as well. Crazy Twister is only my 5th of the 3 loop variety, but it's probably the best presented with 2 flat rides inside two of the loops and the final one being in its own room. Octo City is part of a larger FEC area at the Al Nakheel mall with other laser tag, bowling, and trampoline/climbing places all nearby on the same level. This place was by far the busiest FEC I've done in my time in KSA, so that limited pictures somewhat. It was also the first ride I've done with a completely full train. There was good spinning on the ride and we got probably 4 or 5 laps in total, which felt reasonably long for this larger version of the spinner. Outside the coaster, there's the usual FEC rollout including a small teacups and drop tower, bumper cars, a carousel thing, a translucent gravitron, and some VR shooting games in addition to the usual arcade machines. This one had a pretty high standard of presentation including a cool lighting package.

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Although Dammam and Khobar are both big cities adjacent to each other, there's not as many coaster things to do than Riyadh. But it's still worth tracking down a few of these. It's a shame that the Pax shuttle at Cobra Entertainment City is no longer open. There's a small hope the park will get refurbished, but it appears unlikely, which is a shame. Nevertheless, we added a solid +2 today with a boatload of Coaster-Count rare point to boot. We're also on a 6 in a row SBF Visa streak which is something I'd really love to break! Here's our tally:

1. Roller Coaster, L&T junior coaster, Sparky's, Riyadh Gallery Mall
2. Junior Coaster, Zamperla junior coaster, RM Roma World, Marina Mall
3. Formula Fun, SBF Visa custom junior coaster, Sparky's, Panorama Mall
4. Crystal Mine Train, SBF Visa wacky worm, Magic Planet, Riyadh Park Shopping Center
5. Spinning Coaster, SBF Visa figure 8 spinner, Sala City, Park Avenue Mall
6. F1 Roller Coaster, SBF Visa Race coaster, Toy Town, Atyaf Mall
7. Spinning Coaster, SBF Visa figure 8, Funtura, Flamingo Park Shopping Center
8. Crazy Twister, SBF Visa double figure 8, Octo City, Al Nakheel Mall
 

gavin

Moderator
Staff member
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Those transparent gravitron things are also from SBF Visa. The Turkish shopping mall parks are also full of them. I'd imagine a lot of other rides come from them as well.

I'll take a big apple over an SBF Visa spinner any day. Cheap, nasty little things that have become far, far too common.
 

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
Those transparent gravitron things are also from SBF Visa. The Turkish shopping mall parks are also full of them. I'd imagine a lot of other rides come from them as well.

I'll take a big apple over an SBF Visa spinner any day. Cheap, nasty little things that have become far, far too common.

That doesn't surprise me those are SBF. Between them and Zamperla, I think they've supplied 99% of the stuff here.

I actually don't mind the spinners. If you can get a nice whip coming off the corner, the spinning can be a bit fun. I've never gotten that out of a wacky worm.
 

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
Saturday, June 8

Day 2 of the weekend and we go again. There's not actually a ton of coasters in the Dammam/Khobar area so it won't take a whole lot to complete the set. One thing I've struggled with in KSA is getting used to opening times of various parks. Everything opens late-- but often the websites, google, and the actual opening times disagree with one another. Today, Google told me the first park would open at 3pm, however it ended up being 4 by the time the lights came on.

First call of the day was RM Roma Land, a chain which I'd previously visited on day 1 of my KSA adventures. As it turns out, both that mall in Riyadh and this mall in Dammam were both the "Marina Mall." At least this one was located by some water (though no marina in sight). Like I said, I showed up at 3:30 to a mall with most of the stores closed and the park gate closed with the lights off. I figured I'd have a sit at the food court and in due time the lights came on and the rides fired up. After 6 straight SBF rides, it was pleasant to find something different. I've only ridden 1 (and been too fat for another) previous IE Park coaster until now. Roller Coaster makes 2. While not exactly notable in terms of a large ride, it's at least a semi-interesting layout with couple fun corners. As a whole, the ride was fine-- and the 4 laps were certainly pleasant. The one oddity was a kicker tire towards the end of the ride that the train slammed into every cycle. Can't be good for the ride.

The rest of the park was fairly large with a number of rides and games as well as a few fun homemade theming elements that were equal parts funny and creepy. Weirdly, there are actually 2 RM Roma Lands in this same mall. The coaster is in the one that's upstairs. But there's a whole other FEC downstairs (but not connected to the other weirdly) with a number of similar or exact same games and rides. I walked through to confirm no coasters and with that, it was off to stop #2.

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All of today's hits were relatively close to each other, which makes the travel convenient and the Ubers cheap. It was another chain repeat as I landed at Toy Town Dammam next. What's different about this locale is that it's a standalone facility rather than being in a mall. And a big one at that-- this park probably had the largest collection of rides that I've encountered so far. A friendly English speaking staff member was happy to sell me a ticket for just the roller coaster rather than a package deal, so with card in hand I took off to the ride.

Shark Coaster is a small ride with a layout very similar to the Cavazza Diego Nessi models, but what seems to be a different manufacturer. The ride was generally fine, though I was surprised at how I could have stuck my hand into the roof rafters during much of the ride. There was also a concerningly low crossbeam on the helix that I ducked for the first time around. Thankfully the intrusive thoughts stayed inside and I have both my hands still. 6 or 7 laps was more than enough to check the box and move along to seeing what else was in the park. A Zamperla looper flat ride, a kids log flume, some SBF visa spinning ride, and a little disko looking ride that some who count powered coasters may be tempted to count (but I didn't bother riding). On the whole a very nice collection of rides. In addition, the park had several fast food chain locations (like the local Herfy burger joint) and other things like a barbershop, which is surprisingly common at these FECs.

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Again it was a short under 10 minute car ride to the other side of the Dammam corniche for park #3. Dolphin Village Dammam was the first fully outdoor park I've come across in KSA. Although the park is noted on RCDB as being 'families only' (which can be typical in the region), they were happy to sell me an entry ticket and enough points to ride the coaster.

This place was a little bit of a mixed bag. Although the stuff in the bag may be going sour. Outdoor places are always a gamble in this sort of weather and Dolphin Village was looking rough. Although I was 'early' compared to after sundown when it gets busier, there were a lot of workers milling around doing various projects including peeling off graphics from the coaster station while standing on the coaster train. As you do. Eventually they finished and I convinced an operator to open up "Big Train". As it turns out, the ride is a copy of what I just did at Toy Town. But this one has had the elements up against it and the ride was janky at best. It felt quite a bit faster than the one indoors and a whole lot rougher. I was almost surprised it didn't derail! I got at least 6 laps for my trouble, which was probably 5 too many, but I was able to get a coaster I didn't expect I would.

The park has an odd collection of attractions from bumper boats and water slides to a homemade looking haunted house and a full size swinging ship among others. The park has a dolphin and sea lion show which I didn't see a schedule for and skipped anyway. They also have a circus on another side which I also skipped though there were still walkers and midget clowns driving around in dune buggies (again, as you do), as well as a dude with a big snake you could pet. A strange place all around and one that looks like it's going to struggle to make it through the next few years, though attendance was pretty decent despite it all. Good luck to them!

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With Dolphin Village complete, I had finished all of the operating coasters in the Al Khobar / Dammam area. But it wouldn't be really mopping up everything if I didn't go ride the one powered coaster as well. So with that, I was off to Adventure World, another indoor FEC with a pretty high standard of theming. Roller Coaster is a Zamperla powered coaster, so it doesn't count, but thankfully the ride was a lot of fun. The ride was quite fast and had a bit of nice theming including a tunnel and several props that were definitely inside the ride envelope. Aside from the coaster, there were various other jungle themed attractions like a mini frisbee, several Zamperla rides, and a fairly large ropes course with a curving zipline. A fun visit despite it doing effectively nothing for my count, but happy I did it.

And with that, this area of the country is now truly complete until I can get back and fit on the looper.

1. Roller Coaster, L&T junior coaster, Sparky's, Riyadh Gallery Mall
2. Junior Coaster, Zamperla junior coaster, RM Roma Land, Marina Mall Riyadh
3. Formula Fun, SBF Visa custom junior coaster, Sparky's, Panorama Mall
4. Crystal Mine Train, SBF Visa wacky worm, Magic Planet, Riyadh Park Shopping Center
5. Spinning Coaster, SBF Visa figure 8 spinner, Sala City, Park Avenue Mall
6. F1 Roller Coaster, SBF Visa Race coaster, Toy Town, Atyaf Mall
7. Spinning Coaster, SBF Visa figure 8, Funtura, Flamingo Park Shopping Center
8. Crazy Twister, SBF Visa double figure 8, Octo City, Al Nakheel Mall
9. Roller Coaster, IE Park Rolly, RM Roma Land, Marina Mall Dammam
10. Shark Coaster, Unknown, Toy Town Dammam
11. Big Train, Unknown, Dolphin Village Dammam
--. Roller Coaster, Zamperla Powered, Adventure World
 

roomraider

Best Topic Starter
Good read as always.

Out of interest what would the increase in your count be if you were sensible and counted powered coasters? 😜

I'll have a proper look for some missed FECs when I finally have a full day off.
 

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
Good read as always.

Out of interest what would the increase in your count be if you were sensible and counted powered coasters? 😜

I'll have a proper look for some missed FECs when I finally have a full day off.

+26 mountain
+45 powered

But if I started counting powered coasters, what's to stop counting anything that undulates with a hot rail?? I could find a lot more I'm sure!
 

roomraider

Best Topic Starter
+26 mountain
+45 powered

But if I started counting powered coasters, what's to stop counting anything that undulates with a hot rail?? I could find a lot more I'm sure!
Because they're obviously not... Oh never mind we've had this discussion a million times.. I'll save the millionth and first for the next coaster trip 😂

Decent collection though. So I dare ask how many butterflies?
 

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
Sunday, June 16

For the first time since arriving in KSA, I've got wheels! The process of renting a car was very very painful since I now have a Saudi resident card, but not a Saudi drivers license. In the end, I was able to use my passport and drivers license from the US, however I can't cross borders in the car. This scrubs my intended travels to both Bahrain and Qatar. Those will have to wait for later this year, I suppose. But we're gonna make the best of it and practice driving before I get to the traffic hell that is Riyadh and also visit a few places around town.

Of course the first place I stopped after getting the car was a McDonalds. Clearly, I am a typical American. That said, it was fairly good and also cheaper than the US. I like to stop at a McDonalds in every country I visit since it gives me a basis for comparison. A fun side quest, I guess.

I had been holding off visiting Cobra Entertainment City during my trip so far. RCDB listed is as SBNO since last year and a quick check of the Google aerial didn't fill me with confidence. Not worth the Uber fare to look at a (really rare) closed coaster while I wait for my next Uber pickup. But with a rental car, the world is my oyster. Or at least my ability to further this kind of stupid hobby. With the GPS directions in my phone, I soon caught a look at the rare Pax double looping shuttle coaster... and it had some nice LED lights on the spike... that were turned on. And were those searchlights? Now I'm excited. The amusement park is part of a larger city park and I guess they've reorganized the access because I had to drive ALL the way around the thing... which felt like the longest drive of my life. But finally I parked and sure enough, there's an open park. I can see a Huss condor running, but that's about it so far. A fair number of people milling about. There's no entrance fee, so I headed in past a few rides that look like they're in some process of refurbishment perhaps. The whole park looks like it's about half under construction with a lot of weird empty spaces, former ride pads, but also some fairly nice looking rides that have clearly got a coat of paint or two.

I still haven't seen the coaster run. It'd be just my luck to have them turn the ride into a billboard for the park but not be running. The coaster is at the far end of the park. All the way in the back. The station is hidden behind a fairly janky looking gravitron. But I get back there and there's lights on and an operator in the station. I pass a guest speaking to her kids in English. I ask if the ride is open. "yes." Hot damn. I bolt for the ticket booth and load on some random amount of credits. Essentially a 'shut up and take my money' situation. Racing back to the station I'm told that they need 4 people. I am #3. Soon enough another person shows up and we're in business.

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Cobra is a double looping Pax shuttle with a bent reverse lift hill and an airtime hill after the station. The loops look small and intense and the reverse spike has some tire drives and a sort of vertical reverse point for the first few cars. And then there's the trains. It's a 12 car train and the two halves face each other. The lap bar looks like an OTSR but it wraps around the outside of your arms so it's effectively just a big fat lap bar. Very interesting. There are two vertical grab bars under the lap bar. No problems fitting, which was admittedly a worry. Seats were surprisingly comfortable. I took a seat facing 'forwards' and was ready to go.

This is Pax #3 for me so I know the general traits to expect now. There are lots of bangs and fairly disconcerting sounds on a ride that looks like it will break you but is somehow surprisingly fun. We back out of the station as the train shutters twice with two large bangs of the cable going taught and smacking the track. Once it's engaged and we're off the motor is shockingly quick. The two angle lift is bizarre and as you reach the lower angled section you realize that bend is gonna be some airtime. There's no pause at the top. It releases immediately. Sure enough, there's a lot of airtime over the bend. The airtime hill is quick but not super strong in a mid seat. Loops are forceful. Quite small and you can really see the train and track yank to the side. The shaping is suspect at best but the lap bar means it's pain free. A jolt engages the reverse spike with the top maybe 4 cars going vertical as the tires drive the train very quickly to the top. I'm surprised to see the trains get right to the top of the hill-- as far as it can possibly go. In reverse, the loops are still fine. Still forceful. The airtime hill is sedate now as the train hits some brakes and spend 4 or 5 passes rocking to a stop, eventually parked by hand thanks to the operator pushing the train. Whatever works.

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I was over the moon to have gotten this unexpected credit-- and what a fun ride it was. Tickets are about $8US, which seems fair as it's far and away the most intense ride running at the park. Weirdly, the ride didn't seem to draw many guests-- maybe due to the weird location-- or maybe due to the demographic which skewed younger-- but thankfully they came in packs. I took another ride in the 'back' of the train and the airtime over the lift hill kink is extreme to put it mildly. Thought my head would hit the station roof. I took a last ride facing the opposite direction, which was a little more wild with the backward airtime over the hill, but still fairly comfortable.

Here's an offride video I filmed:

The Saudis aren't really used to this kind of ride. I watched a number of people ask the ride operator what it did, ask to sit in the seat, or just take a selfie from the train before saying nope. I rode with a few people who clearly got more than they bargained for. But thankfully there were quite a few who were happy to ride it a few times over like me.

Aside from the coaster, I tried to ride the powered coaster-- a layout I've done many times-- but was told I'm 'too big', it's 'for kids', and I'll 'hit my head'. Disappointing for sure as I'd like to have a clean record in the area, but not counting powered made me far less bothered. The most popular rides of the day seemed to be the bumper cars, Condor, and Breakdance. There's a nice collection of other rides including swings, a tadaga, a Huss Ranger, and a bunch of kids rides. It's clear the park had some refurbishment time last year and it's clear that the process is still going. My cell phone was dying and I was sweating through my shirt so I didn't stick around to ride other stuff. I want to come back and get some daytime pictures before the sun goes down. The park doesn't open until 4 (which is fine because it's way too hot beforehand) so I'll just have to swing by another evening this week.

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I am ecstatic to get this coaster after having expected it was done for good. It's not something I'd expect a lot of people to go out of their way to get since there's nothing else notable in quite a large range. But come on out if you can make the journey. It'll be worth it!

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1. Roller Coaster, L&T junior coaster, Sparky's, Riyadh Gallery Mall
2. Junior Coaster, Zamperla junior coaster, RM Roma Land, Marina Mall Riyadh
3. Formula Fun, SBF Visa custom junior coaster, Sparky's, Panorama Mall
4. Crystal Mine Train, SBF Visa wacky worm, Magic Planet, Riyadh Park Shopping Center
5. Spinning Coaster, SBF Visa figure 8 spinner, Sala City, Park Avenue Mall
6. F1 Roller Coaster, SBF Visa Race coaster, Toy Town, Atyaf Mall
7. Spinning Coaster, SBF Visa figure 8, Funtura, Flamingo Park Shopping Center
8. Crazy Twister, SBF Visa double figure 8, Octo City, Al Nakheel Mall
9. Roller Coaster, IE Park Rolly, RM Roma Land, Marina Mall Dammam
10. Shark Coaster, Unknown, Toy Town Dammam
11. Big Train, Unknown, Dolphin Village Dammam
--. Roller Coaster, Zamperla Powered, Adventure World
12. Cobra, Pax looping shuttle, Cobra Entertainment City
 

TilenB

Strata Poster
Nice to see this still running. It looks like the coaster got a nice spruce-up since late 2022 from when the rcdb photos are from. The trains looked in pretty sorry state back then.
 

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
Nice to see this still running. It looks like the coaster got a nice spruce-up since late 2022 from when the rcdb photos are from. The trains looked in pretty sorry state back then.
Yes, it appears that's what the SBNO status last year was. Lots of rides have new paint and some of the paths look like they've gotten work. I just sent a selection of pictures over to RCDB to add and I'm going to swing by the park tomorrow to get some pictures in the daylight.
 

CedarPoint6

Hyper Poster
June 18, 2024

I feel like I need to prove that I actually do non-coaster things every once and a while. And in this case, it's a pretty cool other thing. I drove nearly 2 hours and visited the area of Al Ahsa, and Al Qarah Mountain. This is a natural cave which cuts its way through some pretty impressive rock formations. The cave is a much cooler temperature compared to the outside and is actually quite pleasant throughout. And the whole thing is pretty striking!

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From the cave, I spend a bit driving around Al Ahsa National Park. To be honest there wasn't a ton to see here, but it killed a bit of time until the FEC's were due to open up. I still had a bit of time, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to go to do a bit of searching malls to see if there are other FEC's with coasters that maybe haven't been reported yet. Also at least that mall would be open and give me a spot to sit in some AC and have lunch. So I made my way to the Othaim Mall where they have Safforiland. This is a chain of parks (some of which have coasters) built by this mall company. As it turns out, the park is pretty impressive, occupying the top floor of the mall alongside the food court with a bunch of rides including a fairly large swinging ship and a full size Disk-O. Sadly there was no coaster to be had, so after some lunch at the food court it was time to head out.

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The first of two parks in this region is Toy Town in Al Mubarraz. I've already visited two of this chain, so this made #3. I knew what to expect generally, but I was excited for this one because it would be the first time I'd be riding something from EOS Rides. Although these locations tend to skew towards the younger demographic, Roller Coaster is more of a tween type ride perhaps. At the very least, it's something different than an SBF Figure 8. I found it funny that the second hill/turnaround has a single kicker tire which is absolutely necessary or else the train would roll back. I seriously thought I was about to need an evac. But we creeped over the hill in the end and there was some decent spinning along the 3 laps. The operator of the ride wanted a picture as I don't think he'd every met someone from the US. Happy to oblige. I went around and grabbed a few other pictures of some fairly decent rides for a facility like this.

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Next stop was Tooty Town, which proves that I'm clearly still a child because I won't stop laughing at this park name. For some reason, Tooty Town is Egyptian themed. I didn't see any other related theming in the larger mall, so I guess it's just a design choice. The park is actually pretty small with only a few rides and arcade games. The target was Mine Gold Coaster, an SBF Visa double coaster where the operator told me I didn't need the lap bar. Fine by me, I guess. I saw no mine, nor any gold. They give you like 5 laps, which is more than enough to contemplate why this is kind of a stupid hobby sometimes. There wasn't much to do otherwise, so I grabbed my pictures and took off. And with that, I completed all the known coasters in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia (except the Sparky's one I'm still too fat for). It was nice to see all the little places though of course the highlight still remains the Pax.

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1. Roller Coaster, L&T junior coaster, Sparky's, Riyadh Gallery Mall
2. Junior Coaster, Zamperla junior coaster, RM Roma Land, Marina Mall Riyadh
3. Formula Fun, SBF Visa custom junior coaster, Sparky's, Panorama Mall
4. Crystal Mine Train, SBF Visa wacky worm, Magic Planet, Riyadh Park Shopping Center
5. Spinning Coaster, SBF Visa figure 8 spinner, Sala City, Park Avenue Mall
6. F1 Roller Coaster, SBF Visa Race coaster, Toy Town, Atyaf Mall
7. Spinning Coaster, SBF Visa figure 8, Funtura, Flamingo Park Shopping Center
8. Crazy Twister, SBF Visa double figure 8, Octo City, Al Nakheel Mall
9. Roller Coaster, IE Park Rolly, RM Roma Land, Marina Mall Dammam
10. Shark Coaster, Unknown, Toy Town Dammam
11. Big Train, Unknown, Dolphin Village Dammam
--. Roller Coaster, Zamperla Powered, Adventure World
12. Cobra, Pax looping shuttle, Cobra Entertainment City
13. Roller Coaster, EOS Rides spinner, Toy Town Al Mubarraz
14. Mine Gold Coaster, SBF Visa double coaster, Tooty Town Al-Hofuf, Fawares Mall
 
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