I was particularly excited for this day. One of those places I’ve been meaning to get to for a very long time and what was always meant to be the ‘main event’ for Italy in my mind.
Day 5 – Mirabilandia
Things didn’t get off to a great start as what was meant to be an easy journey arriving for opening turned into a bit of a nightmare as soon as we got near the park. We slowed to a crawl for nearly an hour just to get into the place and therefore missed rope drop by miles. Everything all gets funneled into this one roundabout which has the car park entrance as well as a couple of other local attractions and then there’s a massive queue of cars for self-serve parking machines that don’t work very well and have to have some bloke running between them to help everyone out.
It seemed we had still managed to beat a good amount of people as the car park looked quite quiet and everyone was (sensibly) heading to the water park in the heat.
Went to iSpeed first as it’s an Intamin (could explode at any moment) and has the lower capacity of the big 2. Queued for 20 minutes. Doesn’t seem too bad. Then it broke down.
Stuck it out and eventually got on it.
Eh. My expectations weren’t huge, I’ve just come off the back of discovering that at least a couple of these Intamin accelerator coasters can be really world class (Storm Runner), but on the whole they don’t really do enough for me. Sadly this was the latter.
If you’re being fussy you might say it’s an Intamin blitz coaster instead, but that’s worse really. This was the birth of Taron and Taiga?
You start with your bog standard top hat, which is alright. There’s an alright hill after that, but this then marks the end of airtime for the ride. The rest was corners that felt a bit uninspired and then the ‘mid’course happens stupidly late, kills the pace, puts you into a hill that does nothing and it ends (like Shambhala).
Sure it’s decent fun, but I thought this thing was regarded really highly. Is it just another European anomaly? (like Shambhala).
We then wandered in the direction of the legend that is Katun, a name I’ve been saying before I even did this hobby properly. It wasn’t as easy as you might imagine to find a massive invert, wandering round the what was now standard crowds of shirtless, sweating Italians.
We passed the wild mouse/mine train on the way which had a queue stretching miles outside of what it could physically hold. Not a good sign.
There it is.
Being the throughput machine it should be, the queue moved reasonably quick. We noticed for the first time that people in this park were happy to suck up extortionate waits for front row queues – often reaching a similar length to the main queues. Ouch. Back please.
The trains look really cool as they often do on these and I like the moving floor decoration. Through the stargate we go.
Eh. My expectations weren’t huge, I’ve recently had the realisation that as amazing as some B&M inverts are, they’re no longer going to be absolute game changers or threaten the best for me personally unless something radical is going on. I’m just sad to be let down by a legendary name. Never meet your heroes.
It didn’t really excel at any particular moment, and that’s important to me when you look at the fact that so many of these things do all the same stuff in pretty much the same order with a couple of different corners (or straights) in between. Loop, zero-g, cobra, mid course, couple of corkscrews. The formula is fine if it’s kicking your ass and it works, otherwise it may as well be ‘whatever lads, chuck a Batman in there.’
It doesn’t have any of those really forceful moments that inverts are renowned for. It doesn’t have the vicious snap in the inversions that I really enjoy. It doesn’t have any other quirks, unique features or character going for it. It’s just big, and there.
Sure it’s decent fun, but I thought this thing was regarded really highly. Is it just another European anomaly?
To add to the disappointment, I got rudely shoved by a member of staff just as I was climbing out of the train for no apparent reason. Wasn’t like they were hauling ass and trying to beat a throughput record or anything.
Oh boy. Potentially the worst queue of my career here. I DESPISED this thing. It has Virtual Reality headsets. It’s run really badly. Everyone queues for it anyway.
2 short switchbacks took in excess of 90 minutes.
In baking, sweating heat. With poxy shade tarpaulin things that were 50% transparent, had huge gaps in and therefore 0% effective. Of course I’ve queued longer for a few rides in my time, but I honestly can’t recall anything on this scale of unpleasantness that wasn’t at least for a ride of actual significance.
It’s not even two creds either. Damn these Mobius loops. Didn’t do the VR obviously. Stupidly rough for its size and generally a complete waste of my life.
Having the farce that is Desmo Race broken in your face isn’t the best solution when you’re starting to take issue with a park. We took a wander past that but they were sending endless tests round with pieces of the train missing. Not a quick fix.
The rest of the new area is ugly and dumb. I understand that it’s themed to motorbikes but there’s a total excess of cheap rides that all amount to the same thing.
A flat spinning ride where you’re sat on a motorbike.
A swinging spinning ride where you’re sat on a motorbike.
A tracked ride where you’re sat on a motorbike – they managed to break this one later in the day and had to crane one of the bikes off.
A low capacity coaster based off a prototype that didn’t work where you’re sat on a motorbike.
All poorly themed and pointless.
Moving on from there, we found the smallest cred in the park. It had a reasonable queue, but nothing could top Master Thai at this stage and were committed to the long haul. Then it broke down. An engineer showed up holding a portable power supply and began having an animated Italian argument with the woman in the exit shop, then left. As did we.
Divertical then. This thing should have had an awful queue due to the weather but didn’t for some reason. It seemed perfectly manageable.
Are these Skyrush’s old restraints? Literally a bar on your legs. Seems fun.
I ended up leaving with a very basic opinion of this. The lift is cool to watch, but the ride doesn’t do a whole lot. It picks up a fair speed for what it is and got me wet to a welcome degree for the weather at the time.
Was somewhat depressed by this stage, sat down and had a sandwich. Food was alright at this place. That was something.
Sucked up the queue for another of these things. Credit where it’s due, it ran stupidly violently and consequently left us on the brake run in hysterics. Probably the highlight of the day.
Sucked up the queue for Flying Fish themed to dinosaurs without any dinsoaurs.
Didn’t suck up the queue for the cred that had broken. Decided to do the ferris wheel and prioritise a couple of rerides instead. This was a 13 hour operating day in a park with about 9 things to do and we were already running short on time. That’s not good.
Queued an age for the wheel which had terrible glass, giving terrible pictures.
Went back to Katun after that.
A large number of the guests by this stage seemed to have covered themselves in an orange dusty powder. To soak up the sweat or because it looked cool? I don’t know.
It was annoying as it just ended up on everything they touched (seats, bags) and even though the sun was going down, the queues remained as unpleasant as they had been all day.
A night ride was no better.
Ended the night with another 90 minutes for iSpeed, which was a little better to be fair to it.
Then got lost trying to leave the park ahead of the rest of the population, eventually making it out by pushing directly through the centre of a large crowd that was having a rave in front of a stage and throwing orange powder everywhere.
It was quite funny when you stopped to think about it.
(Note from the future: In my haste to leave and general disgust with the overall experience of the day, I somehow ended up getting my first ever speeding ticket directly outside the park. A whole 9 months later, a letter arrived from the Italian police to break the bad news and this park has now indirectly cost me an extra €150, with the whole ordeal still ongoing as it’s a very poor system. I can now happily declare that this is the worst major theme park I have ever been to).