Spain 03/17 – Parque de Atracciones de Madrid
Admittedly it wasn’t the best of planning on our part, but it all went a bit wrong today.
The park wasn’t due to open until the afternoon, so we did some general sightseeing in the morning.
Not usually our cup of tea but it was rather nice.
We arrived at the park entrance before opening time and joined a reasonably hefty queue, dodging some unnervingly huge ants while we waited. There’s also a zoo here so we remained hopeful that not everyone was going to be here for the rides. Time wasn’t going to be on our side – we had a plane to catch later.
Day 2 – Parque de Atracciones de Madrid
As well as the very late start in opening hours, we discovered once inside the park that there were also several staggered timings for some of the major attractions, making our life even more difficult. This was our first encounter with the chain owner Parques Reunidos and the operations were, in a word, dire.
This is the only Maurer sky loop in the world that isn’t just a loop. Worryingly for me it has had an incident of becoming stuck upside down on the lift hill – my absolute worst nightmare. It quite easily earns the nickname of Abysmal as it is far from a comfortable experience.
The restraints are attempting to be a lap bar design, but they are rather large and generally fold up as far as your chest, at an angle, and continue to tighten against you throughout the ride duration.
The vertical lift and slow upside down crawl are deeply uncomfortable, of course. You then drop into an extended version of what the standard model would consist of, entirely filled with positive forces. As the restraints have already tightened so much from this sequence, the following airtime hill, though very powerful, fails to deliver with any satisfaction because you’re just so pinned down and restricted in your seat. If anything, you’re just going to take it lung first.
Not much else happens, a slightly awkward turnaround and then being thrust into the brakes at far too high a speed that can only result in either relief or disappointment.
On paper, Tornado was to be the most significant coaster of the day. A rare Intamin invert of which there are only 3 in the world. As one of the main rivals in terms of manufacturers, we were interested to see how they could compete against B&M who had established themselves as king of the invert.
Sadly the result was far more comparable to a Vekoma SLC.
The trains have a rigid build, with pairs of rows being joined together in a fixed straight line. This makes the whole thing ride a little awkwardly. Though not rough in any way it lacks the grace and smoothness I usually associate with the ride type.
Aside from this, the layout was entirely uninspired.
Dissatisfying inversions seemingly for the sake of it, and corners. That’s all I can really describe. Apologies for the lack of pictures, we really were prioritising getting things done.
What turned out to be the best ride of the day was this Gerstlauer mine train. The queue was awful, just awful. We seemed to be waiting around forever with very little movement. By the time we reached the station we could see why – the two ride attendants who were supposed to be checking restraints and loading guests into and out of the train in a timely fashion were animatedly chatting away to each other the whole time, more often than not completely stopping what they were supposed to be doing to continue their conversation. I have rarely seen ride staff quite so distracted.
(Future note: so it came to me as no surprise that there was a full on train collision on this very ride later in the year).
It’s a shame, because the ride itself is good. Similar to the Mack on the previous day, it’s a clear cut above your average family ride package with smooth tracking and surprisingly significant forces.
The terrible operations continued onto Vértigo, a standard Mack wild mouse being run in a very non standard fashion. They would load 4 cars at once, all in the station, then send them off in block sequence, waiting for all of them to return again before unloading and starting the procedure again. Usually you can achieve a constant flow of guests on a ride like this, but with the method they chose to enforce it was painfully slow and stop-start.
The custom Maurer spinner was the only other coaster we managed to achieve a single lap on. It wasn’t particularly interesting as a layout and didn’t seemed designed very well in order to initiate any good spinning, which is a shame, as I thought it looked rather fun.
There were 2 very small creds here, one of which was closed all day and the other had a huge rowdy queue of families. We weren’t 100% on the park’s policy for adults riding such child sized rides and didn’t really want to risk putting up with another long wait only to be turned away for silly rules that they would no doubt have, so in that sense we failed to finish the park.
The only other attraction that there was time for was a walk on – a spider shooting dark ride called Cueva de las Tarántulas. It followed a particularly claustrophobic series of tunnels without any more open areas of scenery, which was quite impressive and befitting of the theme.
It was now time to rush back to the airport for our flight, somewhat disappointed that the weekend hadn’t ended as well as it had started. I wasn’t impressed with this park at all, everything about it was just a bit shoddy, seeming to actively work against us having a good time at every turn. The lineup is poor and I can’t foresee coming back for another attempt.
Well… maybe for Warner.