Here it was again, the last day of our trip, and without knowing it we had saved the best for last. Italy had peaked far too early with Etnaland on our first day here, but today it would be topped by our short visit to Movieland Park.
Before even visiting this wonderful place crazy stories and speculation had gotten me even more excited. “It’s owned and run by the Italian Mafia.” Surely that’s just a rumour, but it does make everything that little bit more exciting wondering if it’s true. “The place isn’t dangerous but they fly a little close to the sun in terms of health and safety rules.” Sound funs to me, I hope that’s true. “The park’s monorail literally turned to spaghetti and partly collapsed.” No way, that’s not possible… No wait that actually happened 3 days before our visit. I’d better delete that from the list of attractions we need to ride on the day then.
Talking of attractions we need to ride. When I was browsing their website and making that very list, Pangea made me do a triple take and I had to immediately inform Heartline. Mate, they have a fully unguided jeep ride, that you drive completely yourself, past loads of animatronic dinosaurs. That’s not just a World’s first and probably only, that’s freaking amazing.
The best part was it was even better that I expected. Heartline drove, exactly as advertised might I add, while I sat in the back. The roads you drive on are insanely bumpy in places and I spent most of the ride being violently ejected, in such a way that it was almost too much. I don’t think I’ve had this much pure fun at a park in ages, all 3 of us spent the whole experience crying with laughter, it was wonderful.
What a start!
Hollywood Action Tower
Intamin 1st gen drop towers scare me at the best of times, but now that Pangea had me believing this park wasn’t afraid to be brave I was even more concerned. This led to me and Heartline once again laughing and screaming for the whole ride and that was special.
There’s many things that separate Movieland Park from other parks, but one that needs mentioning is how almost all of their attractions feel like the main event.
Look here’s another! Jump in a converted racing truck driven by an absolute madman and discover the magic of movie making special effects at crazy speeds. Nothing I can say can do this insanity justice, just go seek it out, if you’re brave enough. Every single person on our ride broke into epic applause when it ended and I think that says more than enough.
Next up was the park’s 3D cinema of sorts, Andriod 3D. It didn’t quite live up to what came before it but it was still good cheesy fun. The preshows were hilariously lip synced by actors who looked like they didn’t care. Then the main ride had a stage infront of the screen where a live actor ran about and lots of special effects erupted from. In any other park it would be iconic but here it’s almost like they were playing it safe.
Brontojet was next, the park’s Schwarzkopf City Jet. It didn’t really make much of an impact on me but it was nice to get to ride such an elusive coaster model.
Right, back to insanity again. Oh my God, this thing was amazing and much like Pangea I have to believe it’s a World exclusive. Jump into a 600bhp speedboat driven by an absolute madman and well yeah, that’s the whole concept and it’s genius. Terrifying acceleration, terrifying water acrobatics, a special effects show thrown in mid ride, it’s truly one of the most exciting things I’ve ever experienced. If you’re brave enough and don’t mind get soaked to the skin, this is seriously one of the best attractions I’ve ever seen at a park.
We ended our amazing visit to Movieland Park by riding their Vekoma Invertigo, Diabolik. This thing rode amazingly smoothly for what it is and I honestely enjoyed it. To ride forwards is brave, to ride backwards is Diabolik!
Heartline, who reads the dirty forums, tells me Movieland Park isn’t very highly regarded amongst enthusiasts, who think it’s too wacky and out there. Well they are just too boring for their own good because let me tell you, after visiting nearly 200 different parks in the World, Movieland Park is a breath of fresh air and truly stands out from the pack. I loved this park and it was perfect way to end our visit to Italy.
But we aren’t finished just yet.
On the way to the airport we stopped off at Leolandia, a park aimed more at families with younger children, but they still had 4 coasters to knock off.
A Zamperla kiddie cred was first up. We got some strange looks from the staff while boarding but that’s to be expected.
Then it was time for a Zamperla spinning mouse.
Next up was Vroom, a really well themed Preston and Barbieri coaster. I wasn’t expecting anything of this calibre from Leolandia, I’m impressed.
The final coaster of the park (and trip) was a Zamperla (of course) powered coaster. It spends half it’s course riding strangely high over some grass and then interacts with the park’s log flume during it’s second half, it was alright.
And with that our mega trip to Finland and Italy was over. It was great to be able to finally visit these countries we’d been putting off for so long. Finland and Taiga left a very strong impression on me, whereas Italy was slightly disappointing if I’m honest. Having experienced almost all of the Italian coaster scene in 1 trip, it was a shame the country doesn’t appear to have a seriously kick ass coaster to it’s name. Also with the exception of Etnaland and Movieland Park, the park scene seems to be somewhat lacking as a whole. Hopefully soon they can rectify this because I’d love to get back out to this beautiful country and risk more intense sunburn.
It’s probably not correct to say I was excited, but I was intrigued to visit the only major Merlin park I hadn’t been to.
We left the hotel heading towards Gardaland in a massive thunderstorm that hadn’t stopped by the time we arrived in the car park. At first we were one of the only cars in there, wondering if we’d come for nothing. Over the next 20 minutes or so though, despite the intense rainfall, the car park began to fill up around us, clearly the Italians both trust that the park will open and that the rainfall can’t stay this heavy all day.
During a break in the rain we left the car and moved at pace towards the park entrance. There it started again in spectacular fashion, the ground flooding around us while everyone attempted to shelter under the turnstyle building.
During yet another break in the rain, this time we actually got to enter the park and made it as far as Blue Tornado’s massive restaurant building before it started again. There we sat until finally the rain stopped for good and Blue Tornado started testing.
And then it opened. Probably the happiest I’ve ever been to get the SLC cred.
Just in case the rain comes back, let’s hit the park’s Vekoma Mine Train next door. It was fine.
Up next was the World’s first B&M Wing Coaster, Raptor. It would appear my luck with this coaster model has run out because it well and truly lived up to my friend’s nickname for it, Craptor.
Raptor is the perfect example of style over substance, because in places it looks fantastic but as a coaster it’s lacking. Mostly uneventful and almost completely forceless is how I’d describe Raptor’s ride experience. It took me straight back to the days before I knew it was possible for B&M to do something special with this hardware.
Kung Fu Panda Master
I couldn’t believe it when Merlin announced they were opening a terrible capacity off the shelf Fabbri spinner in one of their major parks and I still can’t even after riding it. Thankfully the park was still quiet at this point because I imagine the queue for this thing gets disgusting when it’s busy.
The second large scale Wacky Worm of the trip. It’s got nothing on the original at Fiabilandia but it was still a unique experience and great fun.
We had lunch next, in a completely deserted restaurant. After we finished eating and went to leave, the zip came off of Heartline’s bag. What followed was 2 minutes of us faffing and making it worse before an extremely friendly staff member came over and fixed it for us. This was awesome and one of the strongest memories I have of the park.
I have no memory at all of the park’s Vekoma Looper though, other than speaking of vote manipulation in Kpop while in the station.
Sequoia Magic Loop
My first Screaming Squirrel. The same friend of mine who invented Craptor says he enjoyed this thing. Heartline was freaking out and getting me worried about it though. How was it? Pointless, stupid, but actually quite funny and I don’t hate it.
I was rather let down by the park’s shooting dark ride. I thought I read online it had a kick ass rocking soundtrack while you shoot robot mummies but all we had was sound effects for our entire ride, leading to the whole thing having almost no atmopshere. I can’t deny I really like the concept though.
While I’m getting slightly bored of Pirates inspired dark rides, this one was very good and was different enough to be interesting.
Oblivion – The Black Hole
I’d been cringing at the name of this B&M Dive Coaster for far too long, now it’s time to add it to my spreadsheet.
I can only assume the queueline for Oblivion has been repurposed from a previous attraction, or at least I hope it has, because it’s pretty awful. You enter a large tent, that’s easy to get lost and queue jumped in, that’s full of various annoying effects that don’t really link together and don’t at all link to the theme of the coaster. Worst of all though it takes forever to walk through the stupid tent making re-rides a chore.
Is Italian Oblivion worth re-riding though? No, not really. Right, hear me out. I’m not the biggest Dive Coaster fan at the best of times and when you couple that with the fact Oblivion is one of the weakest examples I’ve ridden then I hope you can understand where I’m coming from.
A weak drop sends you through a sluggish Immelmann, then an airtime hill that doesn’t have much air, a pointless helix and finally a drawn out heartline roll.
While taking photos of Oblivion, 3 Italian airforce Tornados flew over the park, this is another of the strongest memories I have of Gardaland but it’s probably not right giving Merlin credit for it.
Next we rode the spaceship looking Flying Island for some aerial views of the park. Sadly I only took 1 picture and you’ve already seen it…
The weather situation had returned to the Italian normal by this time, high 30s and running from shade to shade to avoid serious sunburn. The perfect time to check out the park’s water rides.
First up was the rapids, that I’m going to review as not very good because I’ve completely forgotten everything about it.
Fuga da Atlantide
This was a strange one. This Intamin water coaster of sorts runs on coaster track for 2 prelifts, 2 lifthills, 2 turnarounds, 2 drops and 2 splashdowns but has water channels everywhere else. According to those in charge it isn’t a cred but I’d argue otherwise. Enough about what it is, how was it? It was alright. The theming is really impressive in places but the attraction itself is a bit boring. You spend a lot of time slowly floating around and then the drop sections aren’t anything that special.
With everything we wanted to do knocked off, we dumped our no longer needed rain protection in the car and then began re-rides on Raptor and Oblivion.
It was during these re-rides that a thought set in for the both of us. We were only re-riding these coasters out of respect of what they are and not because we really enjoyed them that much.
Things were also made worse by queue jumping and rude staff at both attractions. These factors led to us not making it to park close with our re-ride session, but never mind, we were more than satisfied.
I enjoyed my day at Gardaland, it’s just a bit of a shame that the park doesn’t have a stand out attraction yet.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 11, where we visit one of my new favourite parks in the World, Movieland Park.
Right let’s get our re-visit to Mirabilandia out of the way as quickly as possible, we’ve got much better things to do today.
This time we made damn sure we’d be the first people waiting at the turnstyles, and we were, but not before I found a vending machine that was giving out unlimited treats after I only paid for a Pepsi. Me and Heartline filled our pockets and then remembered they don’t allow outside food (of course not, this is Mirabilandia), so we had to stuff countless food items into various places as we shuffled past the park’s armed security team.
Despite being the first people waiting at the turnstyles, in true Mirabilandia style, there was an issue. The ticket scanner computer system crashed every time they scanned a ticket and it was taking a minute or so to let just 1 person in. At first the staff tried to make the angry Italian rabble be patient and put up with this major inconvenience, but thankfully in the end they got scared and just opened the floodgates. Which of course meant that we didn’t need to validate our tickets last night, then be late, then get a speeding ticket…
We literally ran to iSpeed. I like running through parks with Heartline, it makes people think you’re crazy and it’s funny to watch both of us keep dropping from running to walking because we are getting too old for this crap.
So last night I half convinced myself that iSpeed was actually quite good. This morning’s ride proved me wrong however, so after 3 laps I officially rate iSpeed as meh.
Park complete, let’s get the f out of here.
We walked past stupid Desmo Race again just incase a miracle had happened, it had not.
Before ending our speed run of Mirabilandia with 1 last lap of Katun. It’s consistant, I’ll give it that, consistantly disappointing though.
In and out in an hour, perfect. While driving away from the park we saw a solid 5 miles of queuing traffic heading towards the park. Get used to queuing lads, that’s only the beginning.
The contrast from Mirabilandia to Fiabilandia is shocking and all in the favour of Fia. This small family park is class and the most welcome of breaks after Mirabilandia made us fall out with the Italian coaster scene.
First coaster on offer was the park’s brand new L&T Family Coaster, Red Mountain. Maybe it was being able to walk straight on it, maybe it was the friendly old lady operating it, but I quite enjoyed this little coaster. Better still we got a station E Stop as the coaster attempted to go for it’s second lap because a kid was crying and this park is friendly.
Next up was the park’s Fabbri Spinner, once again walk on, once again a friendly ride operator. Mirabilandia made me forget that such things existed.
Valle degli Gnomi
The World’s first Wacky Worm was next and it was amazing. A true terrain coaster featuring adorable theming and dark ride sections. This coaster made me so damn happy and it was awesome to see all the other riders, kids and adults alike, having a great time too.
Miniera d’Oro Del West
Heavily themed Pinfari mine train, this park is just so unique.
Il Lago del Sogno
I’ve never seen anything like the park’s water ride/dark ride hybrid. You sit in a boat, formed into a train, which gets external power from a current collector, then you sail around outside for a bit before getting eaten by a big monster, then it gets even weirder if you can believe it. You really have to see it to believe it and I highly recommend you seek this thing out. I told you this park is class.
Thank you for saving Italy Fiabilandia.
Europark Milano Idroscalo
After a long drive North West we found ourselves on the outskirts of Milan looking for the car park of Europark Milano Idroscalo.
As we neared where we thought the park was, Heartline pulled into a car park with Idroscalo in the name, what followed was one of the funniest encounters I’ve ever been involved in.
“Is this the parking for the park?” says Heartline. “Idroscalo?” says an angry and confused Italian man. “The park?” says Heartline. “DO YOU WANT TO PARK?” shouts the man. “Yes, but is it for the park? says Heartline. Fed up the man now repeats the word no and signals us to leave. Then to make it even funnier he starts going crazy with amazing hand movements while we’re attempting to leave. We believe that was some sketchy car park for a local airport but we will never know.
We did however find out that it wasn’t parking for the park because that was further on and was shared with many restaurants.
Europark Milano Idsroscalo, yes you do have to say the full name every time, is pretty much a giant permanent ghetto funfair but it’s the fun kind of ghetto.
After walking around the site to work out how many tokens we’d need, we first headed to the park’s Barbisan Jamming coaster. That name alone was enough to start me and Heartline laughing but it got even funnier. This thing was absolutely brutal and had us in stitches. I like Jamming, I hope you like Jamming too.
Wacky Worm where they batched us onto the platform while the ride was doing laps past us, I told you this place was ghetto in a good way.
Before we ended our day with this beast. Funny Mouse is the only offcial Interpark Funny Mouse in the World and it was hilarious. Savagely brutal and hitting all kinds of strange transitions. Much like Jamming, the entire ride was spent almost crying with laughter.
Yeah, this place is better than Mirabilandia too!
We ended our day with another amazing pizza and watching Chief Wiggum sing Jamming in the car.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 10, where we visit Gardaland.
As I said at the start of this report, Italy had been thrown around for years as a possible trip idea and it was mostly Mirabilandia that was drawing us to the country, or more so 2 of the coasters that call this park home. Mirabilandia was in the lucky position to be home to not 1 but 2 supposed World class coasters and it was about time we checked them out.
We were off to a less than great start though. Despite booking a hotel close to the park and making every effort to get to Italy’s “best” park for before opening, it all went wrong. The roads on approach to the park were disgusting and we found ourselves stuck in a massive traffic jam for nearly an hour. It became apparent what was causing it soon enough, it was the park itself. Mirabilandia make you pay for parking on entry to the car park and the ticket machines were positioned far too close to car park entrance, resulting in the absolute mess we saw today. Surely the staff were making every effort to get things moving and to ease the strain on the public road though? Nope, not at all.
While finally parking up we noticed a lot of people were heading into the water park. Knowing the park was open until late today we assumed they’d at some point migrate over, but now would be best time to dust off the coasters with shorter queues right? If only we knew…
The first of the 2 supposed World class coasters was iSpeed, an Intamin LSM launch coaster. No I’m not calling it a Blitz coaster until someone explains what a Blitz coaster actually is.
I should have just trusted my judgement and went in thinking it was just another Intamin Accelerator coaster, because let’s be honest it pretty much is. Sadly I let myself get slightly caught up in how highly rated iSpeed is and this led to me being even more disappointed when the coaster wasn’t very good.
Don’t get me wrong, iSpeed isn’t a bad coaster, but it’s nowhere near deserving of the praise I’ve seen it receive. I’d compare it heavily to Superman Escape in Australia. Both are Intamin launch coasters, both have restraints that kill half the elements and both travel too quickly through the other half for them to have any effect.
Right, it’s all on you now Katun….
On route to the beast things started to look desperate. The park was heaving and several of the coasters we strolled past had queues pouring out past their entrances.
I’d been excited to ride Katun for years now. I’m a massive fan of B&M Inverts and this was meant to be one of the best in the World. Me and Heartline had even given the coaster a cute nickname years ago.
How was it though? It was alright, though slightly forgettable. Yes that’s right, this Invert fan is calling the legendary Katun forgettable, because someone has to.
No part really stood out or did anything that special for me. The coaster itself lacks a sense of character too. We hit the brakes and the first thought that came to my head was what’s the point of having a massive B&M Invert with loads of inversions if none of it’s all that exciting?
So, yeah, there’s no nice way of saying this I don’t think. Both of Mirabilandia’s supposed World class coasters aren’t very good…
From that crushing disappointment we entered one of the worst queues of my entire life. In nearly 40 degrees, with the sun pounding down on us to the point that I thought I’d faint at some point, we waited over 90 minutes for a stupid Preston & Barbieri Möbius loop coaster. Due to shockingly poor operations the queue barely moved at all and we just stood there sweating and dying. It was deeply unpleasant and our moods towards the park began to shift from disappointment to anger.
Next we went to look at the park’s latest investment, Desmo Race, a Maurer Spike coaster that we delayed our trip for. How did it repay us? By missing it’s July opening date, opening for a week, breaking itself and then not running since then. While dying in the queue for Master Thai we watched them sending around cars with half of the panels missing and they were violently juddering themselves to pieces, it’s not looking likely it’ll open for us today then…
Moving on, we went to ride the park’s L&T kiddie coaster, a clone of the one with the twisted airtime hill from Cavallino Matto. Sadly as soon as we entered the lengthy queue it broke down…
I’d been excited to try out Divertical from the moment I first saw a picture of it’s crazy lift structure. Sadly it turns out the lift is the best part of the ride, because from that point onwards Divertical is a forceless journey towards foul tasting green water.
After a much needed break from the sun for lunch, we joined yet another digusting queue, this time for the park’s L&T Wild Mouse coaster. The queue was miles past the entrance and it took a good half an hour to even enter the official queueline. I began to feel quite unwell after once again baking in the scorching sun. In no way does it excuse what we went through to ride it, but the coaster itself was hauling in an extremely brutal manner which led to us all crying with laughter on the brake run.
After another much needed break from the sun, this time for ice cream, we joined yet another disgusting queue, this time for the park’s ghetto powered coaster. We queued far too long, this time with no shade at all, all while my body was screaming at me to stop being stupid, I seriously wish I could.
During the longest queue ever for a Ferris Wheel, we decided despite not wanting to, it would be best to make use of our 2 day park tickets and return tomorrow morning. I knew today hadn’t gone well, but at the time I had no idea just how badly things truly were until Heartline pointed it out. We had ridden almost 7 things in 11 hours…
We returned to Katun after this crushing realisation. Had giving it all day to warm up made any difference? No… And it really annoyed me because it looks amazing and I really wanted to love it but it really isn’t anything that special.
Then we ended what had been one of the most frustrating park days in recent memory with a 90 minute queue for iSpeed. Is it my ultra mega heatstroke talking or is it riding slightly better now? We will have to return tomorrow morning to find out, yaaay…
Wanting to get pizza before our new favourite restaurant closed, it was essential we left the park in a timely manner after leaving iSpeed. So of course we got lost, then ended up walking through the middle of a massive rave where everyone was throwing packets of coloured powder on each other…
Finally we got to the park entrance but we couldn’t leave just yet. We needed join yet another queue, this time to validate our tickets for tomorrow. We’ve paid for 2 day tickets, what’s is this mess?
Now late we left the park going slightly faster than the limit on the completely deserted road, only for Heartline to get a speeding ticket in the post 9 months later. Mirabilandia just keeps on giving…
Thanks for reading, click here for day 9, where we visit Fiabilandia and EuroPark Milano Idroscalo.
Today started once again with another half day park, this time Cavallino Matto.
This park felt a lot more down to Earth and homely than the 2 we visited yesterday. If it wasn’t for the insanely hot Italian weather I think it would have been a great park to take it easy in. Today though taking it easy would have meant getting seriously sunburnt, so instead we ran between shade and tried not to overstay our welcome.
On that note, I only took photos of the main event, so once again you’ll have to accept my apologies.
We started strong on the park’s Wacky Worm themed to a cheese loving rodent. Makes a change doesn’t it?
Then we dusted off the other L&T Compact Coaster, having ridden the only other one in Finland several days ago. To quote Heartline, set complete.
Before jumping on yet another L&T creation, this time one of their Wild Mouse models. No complaints.
Wait! Another L&T coaster? And it’s also themed to rodents? This one features a twisted airtime hill straight off of a Mega-Lite though, so I’ll let it slide.
The only Technical Park Water Coaster in the World was next and it was good! It’s basically a large log flume, with roller coaster sections bolted on and featuring loads of big animatronic dinosaurs. All 3 of those things excite me so I’m all in.
Time for the main event now.
Freestyle is the park’s Togo Stand Up coaster and can we for a moment please appreciate how well the park is looking after this 34 year old coaster, it seriously looks brand new.
Now we need to appreciate how unique and awesome the ride experience is on Togo Stand Ups and then I’ll explain why Freestyle is the best one yet.
Togo Stand Ups, unlike the inferior models from other manufacturers, provide a TRUE standing experience. You are fully standing, with all your weight on your feet, with very minimal restaints to hold you there. No matter how much of a thrill seeker you are, I promise you, you will feel out of your comfort zone as soon as you start climbing the lift.
Taking loops standing is an awesome experience. Taking the positive Gs through your legs is crazy, not to mention seeing the World upside down under your feet. That’s not the best part of Togo Stand Ups though, that would be the delicious sensation that is known as standing airtime. Milky Way in Japan had a go and it was amazing. Freestyle though, oh man, it’s insane.
Several moments of this coaster outright eject you while you’re standing, it’s beautiful. The first time it happened me and Heartline were feet fully off the floor, looking at each other in concern, while flailing and laughing like idiots. No other coaster type offers that experience and it’s one I need more of in my life.
There was a rule on the ride sign about not riding Freestyle more than once every 50 minutes, which makes sense because it’s insane. Of course we didn’t listen though, we needed as much of this as we could physically take because where else can we experience something like this?
I was properly impressed with Freestyle and it was worth sweating bullets to get pictures of this beauty.
Very satisfied we left the park and went off to look at some leaning tower in Pisa. Yup, she’s leaning alright.
Thanks for reading, click here to read day 8 of my report, the death of Mirabilandia.
It wasn’t all that obvious when we arrived last night what our surroundings really looked like. So much like yesterday I opened my curtains and got a bit of a shock, we are quite literally on a volcano.
Clearly still not wanting to spend 90 Euros and 12 hours of our time to get to the top, Heartline had spent the night doing some research. He had discovered that there was a newly formed crater about a mile from our hotel, so that was how we’d start today.
I kept saying it at the time and I’ll say it again now, “we are literally walking on an active volacano, this is insane.” I’ve always been fascinated by the power of the Earth, so walking on and touching a freaking volcano was awesome.
Like I said yesterday on that mountain, I’m not normally moved by landscapes, but this makes 2 days in a row now that I’ve felt too much while staring off into stunning views. Italy has some damn fine views man.
Right, let’s move out before we spend all day here.
Before boarding our ferry back to the mainland we had intended to visit a tiny ghetto park in Messina. Thanks to Italian lunch time laziness though, we’d be presented with nothing but a locked gate for our troubles. It was almost 40 degrees out if you are wondering what troubles I am referring to.
The ferry process from this side was an absolute farce. It appeared everyone had decided to escape Sicily at the same time and sadly the waiting area was no where near large enough to hold the sheer amount of cars trying to board the ferry. This meant the queue started on a major crossroads, on top of tram tracks. So in short, most of this part of Messina was in gridlock and there was no option but to become one with the chaos or you’d never get anywhere. What followed was over an hour of Italian shouting, horns honking and people doing dangerous manoeuvres to cut infront of each other.
Once finally back on the mainland our plan was to ride some +1s located around Naples. This meant we got to see Vesuvius, our 2nd volcano credit of the day.
The first park we went to was an interesting one. A small collection of kiddie rides located on the side of a road, in a slum. I got out, told Heartline to lock the doors and moved in to investigate. There was no credit in site, despite coast2coaster claiming there was. Instead of a coaster, I was presented by 10 or so large angry men staring me down, I think we need to leave…
Next up we visited Liberty City Fun, a slightly less scary but still incredibly ghetto park. They had 2 coasters up for grabs but one was closed today, we aren’t having very good luck are we?
After this we visited a shopping mall that’s shaped like a volcano, can I count that as our 3rd volcano cred of the day? There we ate Rossopomodoro pizza for the first time. Pizza is my favourite food and this was the greatest pizza on Earth, no seriously, it’s that good.
Would the first major park of the mainland be as good as Etnaland was? Nope, but it had it’s own charm.
First up was the park’s star attraction and a coaster I was really excited about, Shock. I don’t know, there is just something about the photo used on RCDB that really excited me. Don’t worry I’ve cloned that photo for you, though mine is much more sun bleached.
What a beautiful looking coaster, everything should be painted crimson red. How does it ride though? It’s very good, but as you can see it’s also very short.
The launch is intense, the slightly braked airtime hill provides decent air and then things get silly. Entry to the non-inverting loop provides crushing positives, then the top of the not loop violently ejects you in a brutal fashion. Following that is more crushing positives as you exit but this time they are sustained through a very low to the ground overbanked turn. Shock ends it’s rampage by once again violently ejecting you as you enter it’s midcourse brakes.
Sadly after the midcourse Shock loses much of it’s bite, as it crawls through a turnaround and into a weirdly shaped corkscrew and then it’s over.
Despite a lacklustre ending, I enjoyed Shock far more than I expected to if I’m honest. I was not and will not ever be ready for the brutal airtime and crushing positives this beast delivers.
After that very strong start, it was time to explore the rest of the park.
A Vekoma Junior, what a step down. You can see it photobombing my Shock photos, that’s all this thing deserves.
Next up we rode a dark ride themed to anime pixies, that may or may not have since been removed because I can’t find the name anywhere. It was alright.
The park’s newly repainted and rethemed Wacky Worm. It looked nice but you’ll have to take my word for that because I forgot to take a photo, I do apologise.
Me and Heartline had been shouting the name of the park’s Maurer Spinner, with an Italian accent, since before this trip even started. So imagine our reaction when a local shouted it in our faces as went to enter the queue, life complete.
As for the coaster itself though, it sucked.
I really liked the park’s interactive dark ride named Huntik. It had some good effects between screens and a real epic feel to it.
Vekoma Mine Train that was pretty brutal, but in a good way.
The final ride of the park was their Flying Island, a must ride if you want aerial photos of Shock.
Then it was time for Shock re-rides before we left and went for lunch at a mall near the park.
When planning the trip me and Heartline weren’t sure half a day would be long enough for Rainbow Magicland but after visiting I’d say that it was the perfect amount of time to enjoy the park.
We were ready to leave but the park wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. On arrival to the exit barriers, with our prepaid parking ticket in hand, we discovered you had to exchange that for a barcoded ticket at guest services…
So we drove back in and I took our parking ticket to the woman at the desk of guest services. “Where are your entry tickets?” “In the car.” “You NEED them for me to validate this parking ticket.” Why? Back to the car I go, grab the tickets and walk back in. Now the only woman there is serving 2 strange men, who are flirting with her to try and get discounted tickets… We paid for this online to avoid this crap, what is actually going on! Finally it got sorted and we were able to leave though.
A quick lunch and 45 minute drive later and we arrived at our 2nd park of the day, Cinecittà World. I remember reading stories about all sorts of shady goings on at this park. Was it worth all the hassle? No not really.
We had 30% off vouchers, but they were only valid for 1 member of each group. So we split up and each walked to our own ticket window to beat the system, then somehow got in for even cheaper than we were expecting, that’ll do!
First up was Aktium, the park’s possibly not Mack water coaster, that isn’t a coaster. Confused? So am I.
The only thing I remember about this thing was getting queue jumped infront of the staff in the station and them allowing it.
Colossus clone, now featuring lap bars.
Ever since Altair was installed fanboys have been screaming for Thorpe Park’s Colossus to get new trains with lap bars. After riding Altair allow me to counter that statement with nooooooooooooo….
Colossus isn’t a great coaster to start with, though I do have a soft spot for it thanks to growing up on it. Lap bar Colossus rides considerably worse than actual Colossus, it really is as simple as that.
Now for the reason I was excited to visit Cinecittà World, their Intamin drop track coaster, Inferno.
Thankfully for the park’s sake Inferno is awesome. The section of coaster before the drop track is stupidly good fun and a lot more forceful than I was expecting. Then the drop track itself is crazy and got me nervous every time. Inferno’s final section isn’t as lacklustre as Polar X-plorer’s post drop track section but doesn’t kick as much ass as Th13teen’s. Fantastic overall though.
Inferno’s theming style really impressed me to. Hellspawn straight out of Dante’s Inferno projected onto large canvas screens all around you as you ride, it’s pretty awesome.
Next up was Jurassic War, an immersive tunnel attraction themed to dinosaurs, I really enjoyed it. It went a lot harder than other immersive tunnels I’ve ridden, both in movements from the ride and in the content on the screens. This one got quite gory and intense.
We had planned to check out the park’s knock off Soarin’ next but it broke down for the day just after we finished the preshow, so close.
So instead we just rode Inferno until park close, which was a lot more fun.
You would certainly struggle to get a full day out of either Rainbow Magicland or Cinecittà World but it worked out nicely doing them together in a day.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 7 of my report, where we visit Cavallino Matto.
I woke up today with this view outside my hotel room window.
Well that’s stunning, let’s get out there and explore, but not before eating breakfast served by the hotel owners.
The first park today was a crazy one. Heartline told me he had discovered a park on the side of a mountain, with an alpine coaster so obscure it wasn’t on Coaster-Count. That on paper sounded awesome, but in the end the park and it’s surroundings would be even better than I expected.
We started by driving up beautiful mountain roads with stunning views and through tiny villages, before we reached a car park halfway up a mountain. There we ditched the car, bought our tickets from an actual shed at the side of the road, then got on a shuttle bus which took us up the final stretch of road to the park itself.
Parco delle Stelle
I think it’s more than a bit of an understatement to say this park has nice views. I’m not normally moved by things like this, but it really did feel like we’d stumbled onto something really special here. Even more so because we were basically the only people up here.
Time for the alpine coaster and this too was very special. My thoughts were jumping between oh my God that view is unbelievable and this is some serious speed now, if this comes off the track will they ever find my body?
To get our money’s worth (though I’d say the views were more than enough) we decided to try out another of the park’s attractions, Big Bang. I’d best describe it as a ghetto knockoff S&S Screamin’ Swing but this time it goes full 360 and holds you upside down, oh and it’s hanging off the side of a cliff.
It was pure evil but the views were stunning, our mistake though was accidently agreeing to ride it twice. We were the only 2 people on the ride, when it was slowing down to finish it’s cycle the operator shouted out the operator’s cabin something in Italian. Me assuming this was, “how was the ride boys?”, gave him a big thumbs up, to which he started the cycle all over again… Thankfully everything is less scary when you can’t breathe from laughing.
After walking around and enjoying the views for a little while longer, it was time to leave this wonderful place and get back on the road.
We had a ferry to catch, or did we? Heartline had shown me the ticket he had booked for our crossing to Sicily and it quite literally said, even with this ticket you might not get on the ferry, I see…
Arriving at the ferry port with nothing to go on other than our pessimistic ticket, we asked a worker what we needed to do, he told us, then demanded money from us for doing his job. Come on Italy, you started so strong…
The ferry experience itself though was awesome. We sped through the waiting area dodging cones, then flew straight onto the ferry, which pulled away shortly after we got on, while the ramp was still raising. Then in next to no time we were in Sicily.
First impressions of Sicily were not quite what I was expecting. Messina apppeared pretty run down and there was a lot of rather undesirable looking people milling about. Never mind, we aren’t staying the night here, tonight we are sleeping on a volcano.
But first we would be visiting Etnaland, we just need to get there first. The last 15 minutes of driving to the park was comedy gold. The road quality descended into nothingness, the sat nav took us to a burnt down petrol station and told us that was the park and then we got stuck at a level crossing for 5 minutes, to witness a rusty train the size of a bus roll through, with everyone onboard glaring in disgust at us.
This would set the tone for the park perfectly and things would only get funnier from here.
We arrived to chaos in the car park. People were driving in all directions, ditching their cars wherever they felt like it, and then getting out, shirtless and getting in the way of others trying to park illegally. It was almost too funny to handle, so we decided to join in and parked our stupid hire car in a space we invented, at a strange angle to every other car around, then I got out and threw a half eaten baguette on the floor. Almost instantly we were joined in our newly made parking area by more shirtless Italians who were bursting to get into Etnaland.
It was this experience that taught us that we’d get so much more out of Etnaland if we joined in with the locals.
During summer, probably because of the heat, Etnaland opens for the day at 7:30pm. There was something really strange but equally awesome about entering a park for the first time as the sun is going down.
But first we need to buy tickets. So we entered a rabble of thousands of shirtless Italians outside the ticket office. They were all buzzing with excitment, so we had to do the same. ETNALAND BOYS EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
As soon as the ticket windows opened we got queue jumped several hundred times, they were sliding in at all angles, so we copied and suprisingly it worked very efficiently.
With tickets in hand and already kind of in love with Etnaland, we finally entered the park and made our way towards the reason for tonight’s visit.
Me and Heartline buried common sense alive in order to add Etnaland onto this trip and it’s all because of Storm.
Storm is 1 of only 2 Mack Mega-Lites in the World. Alpina Blitz (the other) is an exact Intamin Mega-Lite clone, that’s not as good as the coaster it’s cloning, which made it rather difficult to love. Thankfully though Storm does it own thing and it’s much easier to rank it uniquely.
I’ll cut straight to the point, Storm wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. It’s a great coaster with several great airtime moments and fun inversions but overall the coaster just fell flat for me. Being both a bit of a Mega-Lite and Mack fanboy, it’s a hard pill to swallow that I’m not in love with either of the Mack Mega-Lites, never mind though, I’ve still got Piraten.
We rode Storm countless times throughout the night and worked up a bit of a friendship with the staff. The staff assign seating on Storm, but after we asked for the back row once, we basically became Storm VIPs. Every time they saw us we’d get a reaction and lead us straight to the back, even if we were the only ones riding, it was awesome.
Are the Italians against the concept of credit whoring? Nope, we had no trouble riding this kiddie coaster with a cat on the front.
Hip Hop Coaster
Zamperla family coaster made amazing by the rowdy Italians riding it. Loud chanting throughout the entire layout, followed by a sitting ovation and EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! when we hit the brakes, it was amazing.
Speaking of things getting rowdy, Eldorado, the park’s S&S Mine Train, was the life of the party. Every time a train was dispatched, and every time a train arrived back, every single person on board and every single person waiting in line would go absolutely crazy, with thunderous applause and a deafening EYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! It was so fun to join in with!
Our fellow riders had every reason to get rowdy too, because Eldorado is amazingly good fun, with some great forces and interactions with the man-made mountain it flies in and out of.
The moment that sticks with me the most though was on one of our many re-rides. We hit the brake run after having an awesome time speeding around in the dark, we all go EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! then the operator of a small children’s ride nearby shouts EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! back at us, so we all go EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! even louder. It was hilarious and it’s something that will forever stick with me, I really like Etnaland.
It’s a really weird sensation to be exploring a park for the first time when it’s completely dark but that’s exactly what we were doing now, it was pretty special.
Finally we stumbled on what were were looking for, the park’s Hafema log flume Dragon River.
This was properly awesome, floating around in the pitch black, with no other people in sight, while in full blown Etnaland frame of mind, which means shouting EYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! on every drop.
Despite being a relatively small log flume we all got completely wrecked by it.
The park is home to a really weird little dark ride called The School. It’s a ghost train that changes depending on how you answer questions, which are in Italian only. Heartline was trying to be smart, while me and his wife were shouting EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! and jabbing the buttons like crazy.
We saw while queuing that a member of the ride team was jump scaring every carriage as it returned to the station. We had all planned to respond by shouting EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! at him but sadly he didn’t scare us. He did however thank us for riding and told us to enjoy the rest of our night, so that was nice.
While exploring we noticed a sign saying that the park were aiming to open Jungle Splash, their giant shoot the chute attaction at 9:30pm. We weren’t too sure we wanted to get soaked this late at night but the ride’s theming intrigued us into giving it a go, this was a fantastic idea.
We boarded our boat with 18 shirtless rowdy Italians and off we went.
During the first section of the ride you enter a dark cave with suspenseful music playing. While floating through the darkness Heartline let out a massive sneeze that made everyone on the boat jump and shout EYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
Then you enter an elevator lift and aggressive tribal drumming plays. We decided to drum along on our lap bar and everyone else joined in. I’m properly loving this now.
Just as we reached the top, me and Heartline let out an almighty EYYYYYYYYYYYYY! to which all our fellow riders joined us and we hit the splash down united as one.
What a perfect ending to our night at this awesome little park. One of those rare times where the locals make a park memorable.
There was a downside though, Etnaland would set the bar far too high for the rest of Italy to follow, but we wouldn’t know that yet.
Tonight we slept in a hotel halfway up Mount Etna and our plan for tomorrow was to hike up it, this sounded great on paper but didn’t quite work out.
The hotel itself was overpriced for what it was, to cash in on tourists visiting the area.
Then the man behind the check in desk put our plans of hiking Etna to bed. “There’s only 1 trek up tomorrow, we’re meeting here at 9am.” We wanted to do this our way, not with a big group and a set time, so f that. “It’s 90 Euros each for the cable car, a jeep, then walking.” 90 Euros to walk?! “It takes 3 hours to get to the top via those means, then you have to walk down yourself.” Yeah never mind…
Thanks for reading, click here for the next part of my report, where we explore Etna, escape Sicily and visit Rainbow Magicland and Cinecittà World.
Let’s end this trip on a high then. The Italian coaster scene has been getting a bit depressing.
Day 8 – Movieland Park
Didn’t know what to expect from this place, all looks a bit dodgy and the cred lineup doesn’t do it any favours. The place did already have comedy on its side though in the fact that their monorail had collapsed a couple of days prior to our visit.
Quality is to be expected then.
The unassuming entrance. They also have a waterpark and some themed restaurants so they can use the word ‘resort’ everywhere.
The actual entrance. We were going to get the major cred out of the way first, but it was down. So we settled for their newest attraction, Expedition Pangea. And it’s a whole different level of themed experience.
You get to drive your own jeep, freestyle.
Just let loose into the wilderness with dinosaurs.
Cause as much damage as you want.
I was driving, but I’m told the airtime sitting up on the back seat is terrifying.
It’s got interactive screens and a guide as you go round.
I believe it’s a world exclusive, because who would be bold enough to put guests in this much danger? I already love this park.
Looks like I didn’t need to go to Hollywood after all.
These things are scary at the best of times. This one has the added bonus of playing the Twilight Zone tune at the top while things are falling apart with smoke and explosions. Making that drop a little extra special. Love it.
Magma 2.1 is what you’d call a studio tram tour, but it takes place in a racing truck driven by a maniac (and the maniacs all have plaques on the wall with hilarious code names). The way they speed around the place in these things would make a good ride alone, but it also has loads of stuff going on with big scenes, water effects, explosions and one amazing trick that I can’t even begin to describe. Love it.
Android was a bit much. The preshows have some terrible footage of what looks like Italian people who have come to mime an English script and it’s their very first read through. And that’s the take they went for. So you can visibly see them miss half the words that are being spoken and keep on bumbling through without caring for the effect.
It turns into a simulator thing on rows of seats and the footage far too Transformers. Same plot with you being in an escape vehicle. Same machines bursting out of the ground to punch you. Same being dragged through a building on a chain. Same you want the allspark? you can have the allspark! moment. Same falling over the edge and being caught by a machine at the end. The one thing they did differently was it had a live actor sitting in front of you miming stuff, but I couldn’t really get behind it. Didn’t love it.
Construction, get excited.
This was different, don’t think I’ve done one before. RCTs legendary Spiral Roller Coaster. Bit of a Schwarzkopf snap to it and the cars dangerously scrape the grass at a certain point.
They have one of those XXL Go-Gators here that I was particularly looking forward to. It was closed all day. Spite!
Never mind, speedboats. Again I believe Kitt SuperJet is proudly world exclusive, for a theme park anyway. If you want watersports you have to go out and pay for it the hard way, but Movieland brings the danger to you. As well as the monorail collapsing, they had flipped one of these a few days prior to our visit. Good. Aside from the sweaty life vests, this thing was incredible. As with the trucks, it’s driven by a complete nutter (and the nutters all have plaques on the wall with hilarious code names). Before we began, he had a bit of banter with a nervous German woman behind us who was particularly scared of the outside seat. “All is wet, all is wet. We go in. We swim.” I was also on the outside seat. Good. The 600HP is unleashed and you go bouncing around a big watery stage set, tightly gripping a metal bar while things pretend to shoot at you. The power is cut, the boat spins and you launch off the water with incredible, blister inducing, whiteknuckle force. As you land, a wall of water to the face. This happens many times and no mercy is shown. There’s also a shed scene that you fly into with enough force to bring a tsunami crashing over the boat. Effects go off, more things shoot at you, water cannons shoot you in the face and then round 2 begins. Love it.
So while I’m soaked to the bone on one side, let’s hit the legendary submarine simulator, U-571. I was rather nervous going into this, with images conjured in my mind that it was even wetter than the speedboats, that I’d be waste deep in water and the logistics of clothing and having a plane to catch the very same day.
It starts off in an incredibly immersive preshow room, with the submarine sitting in a dimly lit dockyard and an actor teasing people with buckets of water before oh no, people are shooting at us again. This time it’s planes and big geysers are going off everywhere, threatening to soak us while we run to the sub and clamber down a ladder.
What goes on inside was bizarre and cool, but a little underwhelming. You sit sideways on a pipe in the dark while the actor bloke pretends to take you down into the depths. Stuff goes wrong, you start tilting at an enormous angle. Again this is quite a physically tough ride on the hands as you’re gripping onto sweaty metal bars on either side to stop yourself sliding onto the floor. It’s mostly that, I think it sprung a few leaks somewhere and shot a few people, just it wasn’t the sadistic waterboarding experience I kinda hoped for. A cool setup that should have gone all out on us to be something truly special.
With the insanity out of the way, it was time to tick off the Invertigo and leave.
Luckily it was up and running. Turns out Diabolik is a superhero/villain who steals stuff, so it has a theme and on-board sound making it slightly better than your average Vekoma Boomerang-fest.
Done. Easily my favourite park in Italy because it’s just so wild and different. The big boy parks were very run of the mill and this place just did things to me that I’d never experienced before. I value that a lot these days.
But we weren’t quite finished with Italy yet.
There was still a +4 to be had before we departed.
Starting with yet another of these.
And another of these.
Construction, get excited.
Then things suddenly got a lot more good looking.
This appears to be Preston & Barbieri’s finest creation. 2 lifts!
It’s all done very nicely. With rabbits flying planes.
Didn’t expect that level of theming at all. I like that some of these family parks are going all out these days, putting some of the big boys to shame.
They’ve got an animal-y bit on one side of the park.
Donkey, no hat.
Chickens on the loose.
Parrots on the loose.
Finally the powered coaster. Interesting decoration on the back of the train. All the focus is usually on the front.
Had some good log flume interaction.
Their centrepiece seems to be this Miniland area, like lego but not with lego. Looks slightly more impressive than Fiabilandia’s attempt. Had a quick whirlwind glance, but then had a plane to catch.
And with that, we’re done.
New creds – 70 Total parks – 15 Volcanoes – 2 Best coaster (Finland) – Taiga Best coaster (Italy) – Storm Best park (Finland) – Linnanmäki Best park (Italy) – Movieland Miles driven – 2625 Spites – 3/73 (4.1%)
The next day was an interesting start, with extreme rain and lightning following us for the whole journey to the park.
For far too many places I’ve been to this would be a reason to not bother at all. But trust in Merlin, one thing they do have going for them is their willingness to put up with a bit of weather.
And the Italians know it. They were rocking up in nothing but shorts while we sat sheltered in the car, assessing the situation via the app and confirming that they had just opened a couple of rides. Eventually there was a lull in the rain and we headed in through the garish tunnel.
Got as far as the entrance before it started absolutely chucking it down again. We took shelter by the ticket scanners, getting stranded as the ground began to flood around us and sure enough all the rides were suspended again. Well we’ve got another 13 hour day here (12 by this stage), lets see how this pans out.
Day 7 – Gardaland
With another dip in the rain intensity, we navigated a couple of rivers that were pouring down the paths around the entrance area, up to higher ground and made it to Blue Tornado’s restaurant. The rides were still all closed, so this was to be our third camp out spot of the morning.
The very last of the weather had cleared by midday and our day could finally begin.
And what a beginning. Bonus helix SLC. Running on three trains. 3! That was the best part.
Straight to #2 Mammut from there, not pictured yet because it was still damp and then I forgot. I might have one somewhere. Started off concerned. Could have sworn this was a custom mine train but it begins as yet another straight clone of the double lift jobs. Luckily there’s a whole bonus lift hill afterwards and a third section to spice things up. They clearly like their bonuses here.
Believe that was all I needed to make something more significant into my cred #900. The choice wasn’t great to me, between a couple of seemingly vanilla B&Ms while I’m on a big dose of B&M fatigue at the moment. So Raptor – world’s first wing rider. That’s something I guess.
The fatigue continues.
It’s nicely presented and all that, but the way I’ve interpreted it the layout positioning seems to be a bit backwards. It uses the terrain and heads outwards to the big straight drop, but that’s the lowest point of the ride and it has to then head back up a hill to the rest of the layout, over the pathing and everything and this just makes it sluggish as hell.
So it’s loses all momentum after the first corner and then bumbles around some stuff. Then ends exactly like Swarm with the slightly too uncomfortable inline, some brakes, a corner, then more brakes.
Milestones brushed aside, we went back into business mode and hit Merlin’s greatest investment of the last decade before it had had too much of a chance to get an unbearable queue. It was still an unpleasant queue as it had flooded badly and required climbing over posts and fences so as to not go wading in some parts, but it was quiet. Done.
The other huge custom Wacky Worm of the trip. It had a weird rock song playing about losing your soul that seemed to be speaking directly to our inner hobby brain. Great stuff.
It didn’t look like it was going to get busy at this stage, so we stopped for a bite to eat instead of needlessly ploughing on. Special mention to the member of staff here – my bag has been on it’s last legs for about 10 years now and has a very temperamental zip, which gave out as we went to leave the restaurant. She saw us struggling with it and decided to make it her mission to fix it for us. Of course her skills were far superior to ours and we were soon on our way with a renewed sense of appreciation for the park.
That could very quickly fade again. Which first?
Putting off the inevitable, Shaman. No Virtual Reality in action. It had the video they would have used playing on screens in the station though, so you could imagine the unpleasantness. Rode alright as it was.
This was probably my most dreaded ride in the whole world. As you may well know by now, I can’t think of anything worse on a ride than being stranded upside down. I’ve come to the medical conclusion that I have powerful arteries, the blood flows to my head in under a second and it’s indescribably unpleasant. It’s definitely the closest I’ve come to just not riding something while we were standing in the station watching the cars mischievously bump into each other. I was continuously saying out loud that I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this.
But I did it anyway. Instantly regretting it as I adjusted the Slammer restraints down onto myself and reminisced about the way that thing used to torture me. Lots of nerves up the lift. How am i going to cope with this? Mostly by holding onto my head and repeatedly saying ‘stop it’ until it ends. Three times over. We thought the being thrown downwards beforehand would be the worst part, setting up the discomfort nice and early but it teases you over surprisingly smoothly. So it was manageable. Just. I’d ride the other one now without too much hesitation.
We headed towards the other B&M next, but got distracted along the way by Ramses the dark ride. Shoot those robot mummies. Sadly it didn’t have any music playing, so was rather lacking in atmosphere and it ended up being somewhat forgettable really.
I Corsari, the other dark ride around the corner was rather good though. Yet another ‘inspired by’ Pirates of the Caribbean style attraction and it had some impressive sets. The queueline in particular, climbing downstairs in to the boat was so well themed that it didn’t even feel like a theme park, just completely real and effortless. They seemed to have shoehorned in some projections of angry ghost pirates on top of whatever the original focus was though and this came off a little tacky. Not sure I’ve seen such a forced ride exit shop either – with lots of generic plastic swords sharing the same space as the actual exit platform.
There’s a couple of themed areas of the park between there and Oblivion – The Black Hole that literally have nothing in them, so that’s weird.
Oh good, here it is. There’s a really jarring queueline for this that starts off in a big tent separate to the ride. It shares a bit of the original Oblivion vibe but with an added Smiler feel in that it’s all in your face a bit too much rather than being subtle. I imagine queuing is deeply unpleasant (like Smiler) if it’s long and actually holds you in any of this first section with loud noises, flashing lights and vibrating floors. You then leave the tent, scale some unthemed stairs, over an unthemed bridge and enter an unthemed tin shed to be batched into the unthemed station. This was all roasting hot, with some metal walls that could actually burn flesh.
It hadn’t really clicked through all of that that it’s themed to black holes (seems obvious now) and this is probably the coolest effect of the whole thing, stuff being sucked into the bottom of the drop. You don’t really notice it on the ride though sadly. And why is it green?
The ride itself? Meh. Middle of the road for this kinda thing. Not quite big enough to give you the spectacle and not punchy enough to give you something to think about either. Yes it has forces and yes it’s fun, but it’s another one that doesn’t excel in anything. Not even sure if it was meant to.
Flying Island time. Really short cycle, it was dripping stuff on the seats and I could barely see. Pictures turned out alright thankfully.
There’s a rapids down there somewhere that we did. Not wet and no jeopardy. Another very forgettable attraction.
Mammut as promised.
Last ‘cred’ was another of those strangely contentious Italian ones. It features an Intamin cable lift, this track and I believe they call it a coaster on their website. That’ll do for me.
This is a very attractive ride, just not dynamic in any way. It seems to spend a lot of time meandering around static scenery which starts out impressive looking but it isn’t long before it gets very repetitive. Both lift and drop sequences are almost identical as well, which doesn’t help. Where’s the fuga? Clearly should have been an Aquatrax.
With the park complete, we had some logistics to deal with back at the car, namely dumping a load of rain related stuff we no longer needed so we could relax at the park for the evening.
As the evening drew near though, the main issue with Gardaland began to show. It’s all a bit underwhelming. Rerides on the main attractions just reconfirmed that they aren’t very standout or interesting and only really highlighted some operational niggles that began to wear us down far too quickly.
In Raptors case, there’s some emergency exit gates positioned throughout the outdoor queueline ‘cages’ and very large quantities of teenagers began using these to queue jump everyone who was walking the long way round repeatedly, usually more than doubling each wait time. Ride ain’t worth putting up with that.
For Oblivion, it broke down a couple of times (only Merlin can break B&Ms) and they moved us all back out of the station into the roasting shed in haphazard fashion. Then they took a train off and from then on staff just ground to a halt and started running it painfully slowly and being faffy about article storage. Ride ain’t worth putting up with that.
So we got bored and left a few hours early. It was a pleasant enough day and good to get it done, but left absolutely no desire to go back. Bit too one and done for a park of this scale.
It just dawned on me again as I was thinking about that park again. 7 attractions in 13 hours. What was that, Legoland Windsor?
I left you hanging in suspense about that last kiddy cred in the park from the previous day. Well don’t worry, being such a nice park and knowing their audience, they were running all standard tickets with a come back for free the next day thing.
Meaning we left stupidly early to be sure we were knocking on the door of opening this time. For rerides or the +1? You know which.
Day 6 – Mirabilandiaagain, sadly
Did iSpeed again just to make sure. It was alright.
Walked on to Leprotto Express. Park complete (Desmo Race aside…)
Could have walked on to Master Thai. Hindsight.
Did Katun again just to make sure. It was alright.
Caused a bit of a hilarious scene by powering out of the car park less than an hour after opening, while it was completely rammed full of foolish souls desperately queueing and trying to get into the place for the day.
What is it with the road system for the place? As we headed south away from the park, there was 5 whole miles of tailback, not moving. 5 miles. For Mirabilandia. No.
Places to be.
This place has those big shady things in the car park. Off to a good start.
First cred you’re likely to come across is this one. It looks very shiny and new, but a bit plonked compared to lots of their other stuff. Where’s the mountain?
As a bit of a bonus we got E-stopped in the station after the first lap as the operator saw a kid crying. She didn’t know how to reset it, but an engineer slithered out of the trees in under a minute, manually parked it and opened the bars to let the kid off. We followed. 1 lap is all we needed.
Giant map of Europe on the floor with a couple of oddly scaled landmarks chucked in. (Not my finest caption).
More Fabbri spinners in the world. Who knew? At least they put a rocket in this one.
Now we’re talking. The World’s first Wacky Worm. Custom layout. Terrain coaster. Dark ride sections. This represents so much to the hobby.
It was amazing. The indoor cave section especially is of much higher standard than I would have imagined. They present their Pinfaris with pride here. It has 2 trains. 2! And people were piling in 3 to a row. None of this 1 adult per car nonsense. Beast.
The last cred is the same technology again, but as a mine train. It has a bit of a darker theme and a more intense drop. Gotta build yourself up for this one.
Took a wander round the lake where we found a goose who trolled us. It seemed like it was stuck here and was visibly trembling in fear. What can we do to help the poor guy? I went in for a closer look and in its effort to run away from the nasty human, it comfortably backed out and waddled off.
This dark ride, Il Lago del Sogno was also amazing. It’s a train, of boats, that floats, with an external power rail thing like a Bobkart. Weird and cool.
They did lunchtime ride closures here so we had to chill in the shade for a bit while waiting for the last one. Luckily it was a nice place in which to do that.
And that ride was Il Castello di Mago Merlino. It had some stuff going on, but spent too much time outdoors and lacked the ‘I’ve got a golden ticket’ song.
Better than Mirabilandia.
We had a bit of a stupidly long drive after that at which point we realised how much of a pain the toll road systems are when it’s a busy motorway. Queueing half an hour to pay a couple of quid for the upkeep/privilege of using a road seems counter-productive. And they’re clearly not flogging the electronic payment system enough as barely any locals use it. We were also avoiding the manned booths like the plague after some earlier encounters with them. The entry slot for giving money is in a really awkward and difficult place for a driver to reach, they treat you with disdain and refuse to even look you in the eye while making the transaction, then they the put change down with no effort to make it any easier for you to reach out and take it, slowing everything down even more and pissing people off.
Eventually found ourselves on the outskirts of Milan, near the smaller airport I forget the name of. As we drew near to where the sat nav thought we were going, I pulled into a place that had a brown sign and the name of what we were looking for. A confused man asked me if I wanted to park. The way the conversation went I assume it was some knock-off parking for the airport and not what we actually wanted. The actual parking was further down the road, by a McDonalds. And in a weird old place.
Europark Milano Idroscalo
Basically a permanent funfair.
And a tasteful one at that.
Scouted out the prices and worked our way through it. Starting with this. I hope you like Jamming too.
This ride type was on my bucket list for new ride types, cos the name amuses me. And now I’ve done it. It’s hilarious. Horrible restraints, stupidly rough and the spinning never really gets going when there’s people in it. But they’re all positives in this instance. Sadly M&Ds with their other one has even less appeal for me to visit now.
I’m not a football man, but I assume it’s amusing that the lowest scoring for this game is represented by the UK flag.
Had a new found appreciation for this trusty +1 after riding the king of worms the same day.
This was also amazing. Looked like Wild Maus XXL until you get up close. Then something looks off. I didn’t know Kingda Ka was a travelling ride either. It is according to that ticket booth at least.
It’s made by the legendary Interpark, known for their quality rides (interestingly enough I think the Wild Wind was the other thing on my bucket list for new ride types) and this is the only (permanent, I guess) Funny Mouse in the world. It had a bizarre layout, laced with beautiful violence and comedy. Loved it.
The walls of the ride were mostly covered with images of RMCs, but from before people knew they were cool, like concept art for Twisted Colossus – I said they were tasteful. But this was the exception to that rule.