Spain 03/17 – Parque Warner Madrid
Madrid is home to two sizeable parks that should make for a good weekend away. They both open at a reasonable time in March and as much the rest of the world seems to be getting lazier with operating periods, it seemed like a good trip to kick off the new season.
There wasn’t much distance to cover and the second day is really a city park, so we opted to stick to public transport for the weekend. A straightforward train journey and subsequent bus ride took us to our first destination.
Day 1 – Parque Warner Madrid
We didn’t have the best of luck in terms of attraction availability here. It turned out that two major coasters were closed for the duration and while neither of them were the main draws for the place, it was a bit of a disappointment.
The first spite was the park’s Giant Inverted Boomerang. There aren’t many of these in the world and they have a bit of a reputation for being broken all the time, this one staying true to form. I was lucky to be able to ride my first of these a couple of months ago in China, so wasn’t particularly bothered other than the obvious lack of +1 and making it difficult for me to one day complete the set.
The other unexpected closure was Coaster Express, the only wooden coaster in the park. Generally this ride gets very poor reviews, but I never like to let that put me off. Experiencing something for yourself is the only sensible way to form an opinion and we wanted to see what the fuss was about.
So that’s the negativity safely out of the way, what was actually running today? Leaning heavily on their IPs and the fact that this park is owned by Warner, the two smallest coasters are both situated in a Looney Tunes area.
Roadrunner’s contribution is a Mack youngstar, a model which I find to be rather superior in the world of family coasters. The ride is always butter smooth and elements like the pictured overbank turn have significantly more vigour than the more common hardware for this type of attraction. It just feels well designed.
The larger models of Zierer Tivolis are always amusement for the ridiculous length of their trains.
At the back of the park, the superhero rides sit by side, what would be a very common sight over in the USA.
As would this particular attraction. This B&M invert is known as the Batman layout, named after the first that was built at Six Flags Great America in 1992 and then also the fact that the many, many clones that followed (12 currently operating) more often than not ended up sharing the same name and branding.
But this was my first encounter with one, so I wasn’t going to let that bother me and I really, really enjoyed this ride. The theming is very impressive, entering the attractive looking asylum for an indoor portion of queueline. Overall there’s a great aesthetic about it, even from just the foliage.
What matters most is that it’s ridiculously intense. The first loop immediately reminded me of the signature characterisic of these inverts in that they feel like they’re trying to rip your dangling feet off with their strong positive forces.
Before you can catch your breath, you hit a snappy zero G, immediately followed by a second loop. This loop is even more intense than the first, but the foot sensation doesn’t go away when it’s over, it stays, entirely sustained throughout the following tightly banked corner. The length and consistency of this force was ridiculous, almost to the point of being unbearable and all I found myself doing was laughing and instinctively punching my legs as if to restore a sense of feeling to them.
The remainder of the layout is a densely packed series of turns complete with two more satisfyingly whippy inversions. You can see why it became a popular layout to buy from the way it fits such a high level of thrill into a relatively small area, I just wish more parks had the creativity to try something new each time.
The other big B&M is a floorless – again with more dangling feet, but this time above the track. This one also had a nicely themed queue, entering through the Daily Planet, with plenty of decoration to represent the franchise.
The remainder of the surroundings are a little less attractive as the ride just heads out into open desert beyond this service road, but this doesn’t matter as it was another highly enjoyable ride.
The characteristic feature of many B&M first drops is that they don’t enter them directly out of the lift hill, instead having a little stress easing section of track and this particular one provides a satisfying surprise kick of airtime, most prominent in the back row.
The layout is a simple sequence of 7 inversions, only really broken up by a single hill after the cobra roll. Though not the most inspiring, every element flows very well together and nothing feels particularly wasted (even the trim brakes were more amusing than jarring – I heard them more than I felt them), resulting in a solid experience from start to finish.
The park’s signature dark ride is Hotel Embrujado, a Vekoma mad house and I am beginning to learn that these were more common than I thought. The preshow and overall presentation was impressive, it just lacked a little of the storytelling spark of British rival Hex, though that can partly just be put down to language barrier.
The water ride lineup here was strong. An Acme themed rapids back in the Looney Tunes area was good fun, with much wacky theming and many moments of water based peril.
We also tried Rio Bravo, the log flume out in the Western section of the park. It contained a great surprise moment of an indoor backwards drop complete with airtime hill (log flumes can do that?) which really made it stand out from the crowd.
The final attraction of note was their exceptionally huge S&S shot and drop towers, which we rode just for the sheer size. While height helps the overall spectacle, it doesn’t always result in more significant on-ride sensations – there’s further to travel and less opportunity to catch you off guard with any punchier moments.
Ride closures aside, I was impressed with Parque Warner Madrid. We had a lovely day here with a very relaxed atmosphere, racking up many laps of Batman and (vs?) Superman well into the evening. Operations were decent, the supporting lineup was significant, nothing else to complain about at all really.
Save that for tomorrow.