Europe 08/20 – Legendia
The entrance to Legendia is a rather understated affair. A crude car park and a stroll past some abandoned buildings.
Day 8 – Legendia
I knew this was a city park but for some reason I expected more trees. I haven’t exactly looked at photos in detail in before (apart from the 1 we’ll talk about below) so I didn’t know that if you look behind yourself at any point – big ugly tower blocks. Early indications were also that the place was going to be a ghost town today. It’s like being back in China.
In the same manner, the tantalising view of a gorgeous looking cred across the lake does make up for this though. We opted for a leisurely stroll in the counter-clockwise direction, taking us past the slightly more themed but closed Zyklon Galaxi. I know there’s 2 of them here but that’s still a spite.
So the first cred of the day became this Soquet looper.
I’ve since learnt that this ride is an old relic from the UK and was at one point tied to the TV show Gladiators, so I’ll be a little more lenient, but… why?
The restraints are shared across two people. This bugs me because shoulder restraints are there for ‘security, comfort, peace of mind’ the usual rubbish, but if the 2 guests are disproportionate in size then that all goes out the window, like with a common lapbar, only that’s a benefit (unless you’re Thorpe Park), this isn’t.
Meandering drop, two loops and we’re turning and we’re… turning some more.
Thankfully rides have come a long way since then, though perhaps not in the restraint department for some manufacturers. I’m finally here to judge this thing for myself, to ride without prejudice.
The preshow is a nice touch that I didn’t expect. A man rides a big bird while a woman looks on, just like we’re about to do. The station was always empty and only ever one train so didn’t get to experience it inverting over our heads, a feature I have often admired from afar.
Something else I’ve admired from afar is that first drop. Construction pics don’t usually get to me but I saw one of that vicious-looking beyond vertical twist when it was first craned into place and it stirred a reaction in me like few other rides had. This was the early days of the buzzing excitement around Vekoma’s new era – they’re changing the game (technically this started back in 2010, though it went rather awry and then most likely ended up better for it), but I remain a doubter.
Having now experienced every model they’ve opened since then? (checks) Yes! I get the sense that they’ve developed a knack for making rides that look amazing, but the actual experience just doesn’t match up. There’s a certain something missing, whether finesse or character, I haven’t managed to put my finger on it yet, but I’ll keep on trying them anyway – hopefully that Firestorm one next.
I’ve diverged a bit there with some spoilers for my review but the first drop was surprisingly unremarkable. The way the track folds under and away from itself actually detracts from what should have been pure violence. I wanted Expedition GeForce, Kärnan & DC Rivals to be quivering at the thought of this element but it felt like they used the auto-heartline feature in No Limits – it’s perfectly engineered for comfort, not thrill.
From there I will admit it’s a masterful layout. Bouncing between inversions, tight turns and airtime, most of which deliver. The water, the castle and the big nest are all great moments of interaction.
It was notably intense, to the point at which I’d have to think about pacing myself after several consecutive laps as I was beginning to see stars out of the first inversion. Generally I admire this trait in a ride – right now I can only name on one hand the other coasters that have done this to me (and it’s a motley crew), but to justify this the experience has to offer other things on top that make it worthwhile. I’m not sure Lech did.
So here we go – the restraints. They don’t directly detract from the airtime moments – I still had full leg contact stopping me from flying out of my seat on that big hill towards the station and it was great. But. They encourage you to ride in a very specific position, there’s no real freedom of movement in the upper half of your body (something I value hugely on all of my favourite rides) and I find that to have a detrimental impact on what the coaster is capable of doing to the rider. Strong positives, a couple of negatives, very little in between.
I like it, I don’t love it, and my excitement for their upcoming projects has been massively reduced by this revelation, so hopefully they’ll now be a pleasant surprise. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Continuing on the loop we started to notice how the park is turning into a barren wasteland. Closed flat rides, the shells of former flat rides, fire damaged flat rides. Things don’t look encouraging.
The last cred was the other Zyklon Galaxi and I was wondering why they were being so keen in beckoning guests up the (7 person) queue to fill every car. The answer came hilariously in that our car, with only 3 people, didn’t have enough momentum to engage with the chain lift and we were treated to a little rollback and valley. The ops came striding over the grass and supports towards us with a look of ‘not this again’ and manually gave us a good running shove up onto the chain a second time. Crrrrr…BANG. “Eyyyyyy!” +1.
Struggling for things to fill the time, we hopped on the ferris wheel for some views. I spent a while imposing my own ideas on what rides should fill the vast empty spaces littered around the lake to help this place compete with Energylandia. Gravity woodie there, Mack launch there, custom raptor there – you know how it goes.
Behind that was the new-ish shooting ride Bazyliszek. Not the giant snake, the dumb looking chicken headed monster. I was hoping this was good, we needed to seriously up our dark ride game on this trip. The trackless aspect is entirely pointless other than to look cool in the station. Aside from that it’s a bit cardboard cutout, a bit screeny and sadly a bit below par for this sort of thing (though the queue is a decent effort). The dragon shooting one at Lotte World kept springing to our minds – it shares that same cheaper feeling, but it’s a lot better than this.
Almost forgot they had a rapids to do. But how could I?! It’s a Hafema. I loooooove them. Sadly the park has managed to suck the fun out of one of these too. ‘I think this one just goes round, bro.’
I can picture the scenario now – the Hafema salesperson arrives in the meeting room with a book as thick as the pages are wide and SLAMS it on the table. As they flick through the pages with excitement – “here’s all the weird and wonderful things we can do with water rides. You can have elevator lifts, you can have vertical drops, you can have people fearing for their very lives. Which of these take your fancy? How about all of them?”
“No, we just want rapids.”
“But this stuff is our speciality, we’re world leaders in innovation, it’s where we excel. This is why you chose us, right? This attraction can put you on the map again, it’ll make a statement to those louts at Energylandia, show them who’s boss, with their two rapids… the Italians? How poxy. And don’t get me started on Intamin, they don’t even know what size to make their boats.”
“No, we just want rapids. We can say…” hands breaking from thoughtful pyramid to gesture a small rainbow, “new for 2020. People will come.”
And Yaga Valley was born.
As there was still a HUGE amount of the day left and, though slightly discouraged, we had had our heart set on a few pseudo-night rides on Lech Coaster, we went to see what the hand stamp situation was, planning to kill some time elsewhere and come back for that. Sadly their policy is to give you a piece of paper that says you have to come back within 30 minutes and they were even reluctant to let all of us go out to the car at the same time.
With that bright idea shot down we went back to Lech to give it another few goes before leaving for good.
I started off wanting to keep riding it, wanting to love it, wanting it to push my body to some sort of limit but we reached a certain point where I just had to say we’re not going to get anything more out of this and a tl;dr statement if there was any – ‘Let’s go get a +1 instead.’
And what a +1 it was. We drove past mountains and castles to arrive in front of what looked like a hospital. On closer inspection it was more like a retirement home and there was an actual dead body being wheeled out into a van to greet us as I cautiously trundled into what I assumed was the car park. There was one car.
But also this banner. It is the right place!
We headed round to the back of the building to find overgrown grass and an assortment of outdoor miniature railway tracks. The only person in sight was happily mowing away, he stopped upon seeing us and gave a friendly greeting, arms wide – “no speak English”.
“Ah, hi, umm… Rollercoaster?” I happened to be wearing my Kärnan shirt on this occasion – it has a bit of coaster track on it and is great for situations like this. Instead of people thinking you’re just strange and lost, they know why you’re here, though they still think you’re strange.
He threw a polite gesture towards the far end of a field, where some yellow track was winking at us. We’re in.
It hadn’t yet clicked that this man WAS Park Kolejowy and as we headed off towards the ride, he went in the opposite direction. While we got stuck at a dead end behind some abandoned dodgems, he had actually been to get the key to run the coaster, soon catching up to us and escorting us to what could loosely be described as the platform.
We had expected some form of transaction to take place before this, but clearly enthusiasts don’t have a reputation for being petty thieves (just child abusers) and we were invited to sit straight on the ride and enjoy a few too many laps on this wonderful creation.
Staggering back out of the train from the adrenaline rush, Mr. Kolejowy declared “1 person, 9 zloty.”
“Ah, umm… can we pay by card?” For what I’ll claim to be covid reasons rather than incompetence we didn’t actually have the cash. Had he required it I would have been happy to drive an hour to the nearest town to find a cashpoint because the man was a legend. Instead however, he gestured back towards the entrance and escorted us to a little wooden hut. Inside was a small shop and, of course, a card reader.
That’s right Plohn. A Polish man in a field has a card machine and you don’t.
I thought I was over this.