Discussion in 'CoasterForce Live' started by Ian, Jun 27, 2015.
I aspire to be the "Green" more than anything.
I'm sorry but however hard you try, Green will always have the advantage. Just look at the way she is lounging on the bench leaving no room for anybody else. She probably did it on purpose when she saw me hobbling towards it. What a villain <3
Our final day of the trip started with a group trip to McDonalds, where we ordered European McDonalds using an Argos style serving system. Nic went to the supermarket to get a bottle of vino for the lovely lady at Movieland, I went on a coaster mission I couldn't find any so a day of rationing was ahead.
The day started with faff. There are two entrances - one for the water park and one for the theme park. Unsure where to collect our discounted tickets, we went to the theme park entrance first. After queueing we were told to go to the water park entrance. Nic and I went to get the tickets, leaving the rest of the goons by the theme park entrance. It took an age thanks to their "Spanish Operations" (Spanish Operations is a way of defining irregular, un-cordinated and slow operations, as experienced at virtually every Spanish theme park, fast food restaurant, super market and car hire place).
With our tickets in hand, we entered the park missing the welcome show by about 10mins. This made Nic upset. Anyway, I adore the plastic fantastic facades. I do love a tacky facade.
Our first ride was the Intamin First Generation Drop Tower. For about a third of the group, this was a whole new experience. I love them. The clunking noise they make as they climb up, the weird curve has it goes from vertical to horizontal, the generic theming. They're rather enjoyable. I particularly like the smoke effect and falling sign on this one.
As we moved deeper into the park, we had a choice of rides to do. We opted for the Terminator ride which is like a live action arcade shooter. We went into the briefing room where we watched a silly pre-show film by one man and his tripod, before entering the arena.
The attraction consists of actual thing to shoot (such as robots) and a 3D game screen. There's fire, too. And we all love fire. At the end, the floor vibrates (what it it with the Italians and vibrating floors?) and it tips forwards. It's great. My score was pretty low but meh, I was too busy taking everything in and trying to snap photos. In 2001, they awarded the highest scorer with a red armband as a prize. They weren't doing it this year.
Everybody seemed to enjoy it.
We rode Magma 2.1, which was a 0.1 upgrade on the ride compared to 2011. I don't know what you call these types of rides. It's like a safari ride where guests sit in a truck and are given a tour of a disaster movie set. It's all very matcho, with the big trucks, fire, muscular men and so on. Two attractive young ladies were invited to ride in the front seats with the driver. I can imagine the driver was being all cool driving with one hand on top of the steering wheel trying to impress the two tarts.
It's a great attraction, full of bumpy track, big explosions, water courses and so forth. Nic managed to convince some of the ride virgins to sit on the back row on the left hand side. She knew what she was doing Let's just say that Attackhammer got very, very wet! He had the content of a "broken" water pipe pour all of him. Oh how we LOLd!
I did pay for the video which, unfortunately, is awful. It shows about 2 seconds of our ride (in terrible frame rate) and is mainly stock footage. It's not worthy of putting online because it's turd. Shame really because I would have LOVED to shown it to everybody.
As we chuckled over the amazingness of the ride, we took a trip to the arse end of the park where the two creds are situated. Everybody except me stopped off to to the Speedboat thing. The Magma ride jolted me about too much so I wanted to preserve my spine. From what I heard, it was great. I'm sure the goons will tell you all about it in their report.
We briefly saw a Freddie Mercury tribute which made us laugh the second his Italian accent came through. I guess nobody should try to imitate Freddie.
Then everybody except me did the submarine simulator. Unlike the one at CCW, this one is actually meant to be good! With water, panic and thrills. I experimented with a new thing on Twitter where I would put photos of members with quotes online. It's all well and good to hear what I (or "CF") thinks of a ride so the idea was to show that CF is not just one person, but has many people with different opinions. A quick photo outside of the ride, bung on a caption and voila! Mike, Chris and Dan were the first three to do it. Do you like this idea or not?
At this point, there were six major rides to do in the park (seven if you include the monorail and Pirate Ship).
So we did the Big Powered Go-Gator! The ride op looked bemused. Whilst the cred whores got the plus one, I asked the ride op to keep it going for as long as possible. He said "half an hour?" to which I chuckled. In the endI think they had about three laps.
We walked across the pathway and did the log flume. I don't really have much to say about it. It was mildly moist.
Looking at Diabolik, the new coaster at near the entrance, we were pretty sure that it would remain closed and spite us. Therefore we headed to The Schwarzkopf what would be our last coaster of the trip. It's really tucked away at the arse end of the park, almost on it's own like a lonely goon sat at his desk at 3am in the morning pressing F5 on RCDB's home page to see what random coasters crop up. There was a lizard on the train who evidently enjoyed getting the cred. As for the CFers, they had several goes making it one of few coasters we rode more than three times!
With two thrill rides left to go, our time at the theme park was nearly up. Half of the group did the Octopus and Coconut bouncy spinning thing. WTF?
We made our way back to the entrance, stopping off for a Drop Tower reride, for the final ride - Tomb Blaster. It's one of those Top Spins with bendy arms. The water jets were quite fab and managed to get Peter right in the face. It's a great ride to watch, but not the sort of thing I like to ride.
So that was that. Everything was ticked off. Six of us went to the water park; me, Dan, peep and Vadge had the difficult task of entertaining ourselves in the park for a few hours.
We went for lunch in the dinosaur area where I had a steak and sang the Dogtanian theme tune. Bets of all is that we saw Green! Yes, the Judgemental Italian from Gardaland was at Movieland wearing the same clothes and judging people! It made our day.
Vadge checked her phone and received a Facebook message from Peter - Diabolik was open! The six water parkers had done the cred so we stomped back to the entrance of the park to rid it ourselves. I was thrilled dot see Green there filming her husband but not riding. She blatantly looked at it and thought "I'm not riding a Vekoma Invertigo, instead I'm going to film my husbands pain." She had no regard for people in the queue behind her and filmed what she wanted without giving a . She was fab. Alas, that was the last we saw of her. I hope she is at a theme park today, wearing green and judging people. <3
The queue area is quite good. There are interactive boards that play sounds and give it that superhero comic book theme. It's very blue.
To say that the four of us were dreading it was an understatement. I kept myself sane by telling everybody that in less than two minutes, we'd all have a plus one and we'd never have to ride it again. Never. Ever. And then it started. I kept my eyes closed throughout the whole experience and thought happy thoughts length line of "plus 1, never gain, plus 1, never again." Ok, so it wasn't that bad but it was easily my least favourite coaster of the trip. I don't like the ride position, the elements, the Vekoma jerkiness. I simply don't like it. Good points? The on-board audio and themed seatbelts.
That killed 20mins, so we had about 2 left to kill. We decided to watch the shows.
The Flashdance show was turdio. "What is it about?" asked Dan. "It's about a woman welder who can dance." replied Nic. It was so underwhelming, even the climatic song at the end failed dot get my toes tapping.
We stopped for a wee break. The gents was being cleaned so I used the ladies. What a disgusting state it was in! Not only was it a hole in the ground, there were stains in the pan, loo roll everywhere and a discarded sanity towel wrapper. Jesus! Give me pube ridden urinals any day.
We re-rode the Terminator ride. This time I took my time and kicked ass. My unit was flashing all of the time indicating that I was the best shooter in every section. The lady next to me complimented me in Italian, to which I said "Cheers, love" and walked away.
We watched the magic show next. It was terrible, but so terrible it was good. At one point we were covered in foam. The highlight was when they did a trick where the assistant was tied in a bag, placed in a padlocked box and the magician stands on top. He then pulls up a curtain, drops it and the two people change places. What made me and Vagde mega-LOL was as they lifted the lid, the trapdoor in the top fell wide open, relaxing the secret! They tried to cover it but too late, we spotted it. To make matters worse, as they move dot off the stage, it fell open again. I could watch the rest of the show due to tears from laughing in my eyes (and the imposing bass from the speakers).
The biggest show of the day was the John Rambo Stunt Show. The usual affair where there's a big arena with water, explosions, a sexy lady to rescue, motorbike chases and boat chases. It's very cheesy but enjoyable at the same time. Nic and I decided that Rambo's full name was John Rambo Stunt Show which caused us to giggle stupidly throughout.
Thankfully time was running out and we'd only have to endure one more show - the end of the day show. It was terrible. I had no idea what was going on. Thee was a priest, an old Italian general, some ladies wearing dresses and a barista. One thing Movieland needs to do is tighten up their shows. With the exception of the the John Rambo Stunt Show, they really lack grandure and excitement. I'm not the biggest show lover ever, but when I watch something I want it to entertain me in a good way - not in a "it's so crap it's good" way.
At the end of the day, we all met up by the water park where we sat around for a while watching Mike sing along to the Disney tune that was playing.
We said our thanks to Nic for organising the Live and we all chirped in with our own comments about the week. Chris got the biggest "awww" when he thanked everybody for making him feel welcome on what he described as one of the best trips he's ever been on. It's always great to hear positive feedback.
We made our way to the airport where me, Chris, Mike, Rachel, Dan and Fraser waited for our plane home. It was a quick yet emotional goodbye to Peter, Rach, Nic and peep as they stayed on in Italy for a few days after.
And that was that! The week of coasting and exploring Italy had come to an end. I know it's cliched to say it, but Italy 2015 was one of my favourite CF trips ever. All week we managed to stay together as a unit, not once getting pissed off with one another, no dramas, minimal faff and generally being excited to go on the next ride. I love big groups as there is a wider variety of people, but the cosiness of this group made it feel like I was more on a holiday than ticking boxes. It was also the first time I could take a back seat and not have to stress over anything. I immensely thank Nic for doing 99% of the organisation and both she and Peter for driving. It was great to experience it as everybody else does and now I'm really thirsty for Germany next year!
Most of all, big thanks to Rach, Peter, Nic, Chris, Mike, Rachel, Dan, Fraser and John for helping me to achieve the three things I want most from a CoasterForce Live - make good mates, having a carefree laugh at silly things and pissing about at theme parks.
Thanks for reading my take on this CF-Live. I can't wait to read the rest of the reports <3
I have to say, Italy has to be one of my favourite CF Trips that I have done! A massive thank you to everyone that went for making the whole trip fantastic and in particular Nic and Ian for the superb organisation.
We flew out to Italy on the Friday, a few days before the start of the trip to do some culturey things. BA through us into a last minute panic and decided to reroute out flight out to Rome to Naples instead giving us a headache of what to do and how to get to Rome.
So on the Friday, we arrived at Gatwick and headed for our flight to Naples instead. We had managed to amend our hire car reservation to pick up at Naples instead as BA hadn't bothered to put on transport to get people from Naples to Rome. Thanks...
We picked up our Skoda for the next 10 days and headed to our hotel in Rome.
The drive didn't take us that long in the end so it wasn't too bad. We headed to bed ready for an early start to explore Rome.
We had asked the hotel reception how they recommended getting into Rome, turns out you could park the car for €2.50 for 16 hours at a metro station a short drive away. So we done that!
We only had a day to explore Rome (and all the other cities that we visited on our own) which suited us and ensured that we got everything that we wanted done. I will briefly cover these days where we were on our own as well as covering the parks.
Our first stop was the Colosseum. Here starts the tour of Italian Monuments covered in scaffholding; a trend that was set to continue for the whole trip!!
We had booked tickets online to go inside the Colosseum and also onto Palentine Hill and into The Forum, saving a fair whack of money in the process and skipping some long and burdenous queues!
We spent around 45 minutes wondering around the Colosseum pointing out what our favourite tour group "follow me" things were. The stuff sunflower toy was the winner for us.
We headed out of the Colosseum and went over to The Forum and Palentine Hill.
It was all very pretty, but very warm and very busy.
We must've spent a good hour wondering around here before following the masses out of the area. We pretty much done most of the day walking from place to place which was a good way to see as much as we could and as cheaply as possible.
On our way towards the Trevi Fountain, we passed this very pretty palace area. A quick photo or two and many touts trying their hardest to sell €15 selfie sticks, we continued our walk.
On our way to the Fountain, we got hassled by one of these Romans that want €20 for a picture. He got about €4 from us and we left.
After a quick detour via The Disney Store (thanks to me wanting more Tsum Tsums) we arrived at the Trevi Fountain.
We knew that this was going to be under scaffholding, so wasn't too disappointed to see it like this. A few others around us were saying that they had come all the way to Rome to see this and this is what it looked like!
We continued on towards The Pantheon were we stopped to have lunch in a nice little restaurant just opposite from The Pantheon. Whilst having lunch, we checked the weather forecast, within moments the heavens opened and it threw quite a storm at us!
Lunch took a little while longer than we anticipated due to allowing for the storm to pass. When it had, we continued in search of some good old Italian Gelato. We found some in a square not too far from where we were and thankfully, the weather had calmed itself down again!
Now that the rain had subsided, we began to head over towards the Vatican City. We got a few little bits of tat along the way (our country and destination shot glasses not seem to outweigh our ride/park ones!)
After getting hassled by people along the way asking to go onto their tours, we crossed the border and into the Vatican City. Country Cred +1
The queue to get into the Basilica/Sistine Chapel looked a bit grim, so we went to sit in the shade and watched the queue. We picked a victim and watched how long it took them to get in. 15 minutes was the answer, so we joined the queue.
The queue did move pretty quickly and soon enough we were in. The whole place was very grand and we found ourselves comparing it to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque we visited in Abu Dhabi last year. This was stunning and the inside we found to be even more impressive.
Whilst inside, we noticed that there were people walking around the top of the Dome area. As both or us like climbing buildings for the views, we had a wander around and saw that it was only €5 to climb to the top. So we decided to do that as well.
When we got to the top, there was a mass going on below us. How the music filled the entire room, even up to where we were standing was beautiful. Not realising that included in the cost, you could also get right onto the top of the Dome. Obviously, when we realised this, we were climbing up there in no time!
The stairs got more twisty and narrow as we proceeded to the top. Aside from the amount of sweat pouring off us when we were inside, it was well worth the climb.
The pictures that you always see of The Vatican are what you can physically take yourself when you got to the top. It was well worth it. Even though we could see another storm heading our way! Not the best when you are at the top of the tallest building in the area!!
Just as we were about to leave, the wind picked up and the heavens opened. It was quite refreshing to have to walk outside in the pouring rain when we had clambered back down the narrow staircases.
We took shelter again for a little while until it passed us. Loads and loads of touts were desperately trying to sell their ponchos for €1, it was quite funny as they seemed to do a roaring trade by the amount we saw as we headed out the area only for the rain to stop within 10 minutes after!
Our final stop of the day was to be the Spanish Steps. Having done a lot of walking, we jumped on the Metro instead this time. Another box ticked of what to see in Rome.
With that done, we had completed our tour of Rome in 1 Day. We headed back towards the Trevi Fountain for some dinner before arranging to pick Mike, Dan and Rachel up the following day and heading back to the hotel.
We enjoyed Rome and think our 1 day tour was enough to see all that we wanted to see in the city. For me, it was nice to finally go to Rome after not getting the chance to back in 2011.
I'll start on the park reports a little later today.
Okay, so onto the coaster part of the trip then!
On the Sunday morning, we arranged to meet Mike, Dan and Rachel at the Metro station we parked the car at the previous day. With a full car load, we begin the short journey out to Rainbow Magicland.
Having been to RML back in 2011, I was interested to see how much things had changed since then. We arrived and thankfully the car park was pretty empty.
We waited a while for the Vadge Mobile to arrive before heading on it.
Was certainly looking forward to re-riding Shock and was hoping that it hadn't changed much since we last visited. When Ian grinned at us like a Cheshire Cat after his ride before us, I knew it was still as good as it was! Apart from a lot of fading on the track, it was still as fantastic as I remember it being. The forces that it pulls after the none inversion are something else. Brilliant ride and so glad that it hasn't got any worse since before.
We decided to hit up the water rides next. I don't have any photos of these. The rapids were first up and we squeezed all 9 of in the boat and had a very moist ride. I remember them being pretty turdio back in 2011, but I certainly got soaked this time around!
We done the shoot the shoots next, again, I don't remember much about it from before, but did enjoy it. Another moist ride ensured that I wasn't going to be dry for a a while!
We headed over to Huntix next which I remembered to be amazing from the last visit. That good we all rushed back around for another ride. This time, it just felt very disappointing. Maybe I had been spoiled from other similar rides over the last few years. Half the effects didn't seem to be working and it just felt very flat. A shame as I loved this before.
We headed over to the Vekoma Mine Train; Olandese Volante which was turdio last time and exactly the same again this time around. A +1 for the group that hadn't been before, but did absolutely nothing for me.
Continuing around on the creds, next was Cagliostro which I thought was lame before. They could've done so much more with the shed it's in, but no, it's still as bad as it was before.
We had lunch next in the self service restaurant next door to the cred. Here started the flat chicken of the trip, but it was reasonably priced, tasted ok and filled a hole.
We headed to the drop tower next. I remember from last trip that the breaks started stupidly close to the top. The most amusing thing was the kid who had gone on it without any of his group and they all stood at the exit cheering him on! It could've been a decent drop tower, but it's just not!
The two kiddie creds were up next. First was the Big Apple which I sat out of as already had the +1 and then we headed to Bombo the Vekoma Junior which was ok and probably the 2nd best cred in the park! Nice to see they have added a station building since our previous visit.
We also done the Fairy Ride which the name of escapes me. Longest queue of the day but nice to have a sit down. We made our way over towards the Island on a Stick whilst taking photos of the lake.
So Island on a Stick didn't rotate which it did used to do before. And now you can only stand on the side that overlooks the park. Probably not a bad thing given the other view is the car park!
Obviously it gave us some lovely views over the park and in particular Shock.
From the Island on a Stick, you could see how much (or how little) the park had changed since we visited back in 2011. Here's my same picture from back then in comparison to now. There's a few more trees, a lot more faded Shock that are different. Everything else, even down to the weather is the same!!
4pm was starting to approach us which is when the half priced tickets came into effect. So we had a couple more rides on Shock. I really do love this ride and am so pleased it has retained itself well in the last 4 years. Even with a cred count of more than 500 more than when we visited before, it is still one of my favourite coasters out there.
The Mad House was closed back in 2011, so we headed over to that before we left. None of these can compare to Hex, this one certainly didn't feel as effective in terms of spinnyness than some of the others that I've done.
We decided as 4pm had came around now that as we had done everything, it was time to leave the park as the masses were heading in! We headed out taking a few photos and visiting the lacklustre tat shop. The tat shop had gone rapidly downhill as before they had loads of RML merch and now it's mostly stuffed toys and a few tshirts.
Thankfully, I picked up a shot glass back in 2011 thinking if the park shut down, I would at least have something from it! Glad I did get that as they had none this time.
It was really nice to go and visit Rainbow Magicland again after visiting on opening year. It's a shame that there has been little investment since then apart from a Splash Battle but good to see it's still doing well with pulling in the crowds. Shock is by far the best ride there and I would go back just for a few more re-rides on that if I were in the area. But wouldn't look at spending a whole day there.
As we were finished with RML early, we headed to the hotel to check the rest of the group in. We then jumped in the car and headed for the nearby Oasi Park which had a +1 for us. It was a lovely little park with a cracking little atmosphere. Lots of children's entertainment going on and the place was full! We had to park a little way off to actually get there.
Thanks to Ian for buying us all the tokens, we obtained a +1 which was a slightly more glorified Big Apple.
After finishing up there, we headed back towards the hotel and went to a local restaurant for some homemade pasta. So nice to have something as rustic and homemade as this and we spent a good few hours there chatting (and making cred noises) away the evening. We retreated back to the hotel ready for a new for everyone park tomorrow!
Brilliant report Ian! Love your heavy use of oblivious Mike photos haha. Still can't get over that Green was at MovieLand too, clearly she takes great pleasure in getting her husband to ferry her about everywhere to places she can watch his pain and of course judging the public peasants. I feel blessed to be on the same planet as her, I love her.
Anyway to save me from falling behind, onwards with my own report!
Day Three: Mirabilandia
To say I was excited for this park is an understatement, I had been itching to visit since I first became an enthusiast and had spent ages searching "big rollercoasters" on YouTube in 2009. The main reason for my eagerness to visit was predictably, and rightfully so, the B&M Invert behemoth Katun and the prospect of finally being able to ride it set butterflies in my stomach. Throughout the whole breakfast time and journey in Peter's car I couldn't stop thinking about it - that's right, I had a severe case of cred anxiety.
We arrived before Nic's car so we had ample time to take in our surroundings and goon over the rides we could see, with me and Dan fanboying over Katun dominating the skyline from behind the trees. We also saw a man being treated by medical staff before being whisked off on a buggy. We could only assume he'd passed out from heat exhaustion or something.
We were soon joined by Nic and the rest of the group so after we collected our tickets it was time to make our way inside.
The entrance avec the giant Columbia S&S shot tower looming in the distance.
THOUGHTS ON THE PARK
A very impressive theme park to say the least, it was a lot bigger than I thought it'd be and the landscaping was beautiful. It was nice to be in a big park with world-class rides that wasn't in the corporate grip of Merlin. A great selection of rides, fantastic setting and home to my new #1 coaster it quickly became one of my favourite parks so far.
First stop was the Intamin Accelerator which, pitchforks at the ready, I actually really loved. Enthusiasts tend to moan about a lot of things to which I usually find myself disagreeing and this was no different. Sure it was a little snappy and neck-choppy in some parts but it certainly wasn't offputting and it really is quite easy to avoid if you brace correctly. So how did I rate it? The launch was fun though a little weak, the airtime going over the tophat was incredible and I really liked the rest of the layout with it's pops of airtime, inversions and snaking transitions. I rode front row with Chris later and gosh it made such a difference, definitely helped my positive view of it. I wish Stealth was more like this...but keeping it's ace powerful launch of course.
The obligatory shameless +1 kiddie cred with a heavy focus on vegetables. Everytime it picked up speed it was rudely taken away and was home to the world's most disappointing airtime hill. Mind you I can't really complain because I wasn't expecting anything spectacular!
(Taken from the park's website)
A logflume that has you sitting in boats that are actually 50s American 'Greaser' cars! Nothing to write home about but the drop was quite fun (hooray for double drops). The queue was also where we first crossed paths with Steel Panther Guy that Dan previously mentioned. I would've taken photos of him but that would've been a bit weird, although going by his smug cocky expression he wouldn't have minded, probably used to the paparazzi.
All of us bar Mike decided since we were already slightly moist we may as well take a ride on the rapids. Little did I know I would be in for a treat and get the full force of just how wet this ride is. At one point the boat passes through a stretch with crashing waterfalls on either side and sod's law would have it that I was sat right on the edge of the gap and the water gods decided the boat should twist around to my side and smash it right under the waterfall. In an instant I was drenched and the sensation of relentless water pouring onto me made me panic and my immediate reaction was to stand up and try to push the water back out with my hands. It was a losing battle but it caused the group to burst into hysterics. Don't ever sit next to me on water rides, if this is anything to go by :lol:
A Mobius coaster that features dueling trains. We waited a while but thankfully we found ways to pass time. I thought it was quite tame but inoffensive at the same time. It's quite cool that you get to experience both tracks without even having to leave the coaster!
If you couldn't tell by the amount of photos this was the crowning jewel for me...and many others it'd seem! Me, Peep, Dan and Mike all opted to queue for front row although Mike soon bailed as it would take almost an hour. I thought about jumping into the normal queue to just impatiently get on but I decided to be stubborn and wait it out since I wanted my first go to be special. Luckily Steel Panther Guy had followed his fans to Katun too and JUST SO HAPPENED to be queuing for front row too. This made the waiting time go by that little bit quicker.
We were finally ready to board our chariot and our blood was pumping. The further up the lifthill we climbed the more I realised just how HUGE this thing actually is. When we began our high speed descent I was taken by surprise as there's actually strong airtime as the train swings violently outwards before swooping down for what seems like an eternity. Wow. The speed alone was enough to take my breath away and as we made our way around the colossal loop there were actually tears in my eyes - it's just that fast. What follows is a buttery smooth flow of inversions, dips into tunnels and a zero-g that genuinely makes you feel weightless. To finish it off is that gutwrenchingly tight helix and it's fantastic. As soon as we hit the brake-run I knew this was my new #1 coaster and I think Dan thought the same. While I do still hold Nemesis dear and it's atmosphere is still unrivalled Katun managed to steal it's crown for me. Absolutely stunning. 11/10.
This one is not the cred but still, same area.
A generic mine train coaster, which seemed like it'd spite us because it broke down when we joined the queue but luckily it opened again later on. I don't really have anything to say about this other than I like the theme I guess.
One of these coasters here is amazing, the other is turdio. (Spoiler, the one on the left is vile)
ANOTHER Wild Mouse, so absolutely awful. Not even a holy nun in the queue and Ian making terrible Dad jokes about it could soften the pain and mediocrity. If you ever find yourself on this then BRACE YOURSELF ON THE BRAKE RUN otherwise your gut will get the Chuck Norris treatment. +1.
Sadly the spiteful coaster saga continued, although at least we were prepared for this one to be closed. Apparently it's been a technical nightmare since day 1, I wonder what's causing so much hassle? A shame really, it looks like it could be a big laugh. At least it's ultra photogenic. Guess the chance of it opening is just another excuse to come back!
Peep suggested we did their dark shooter ride and I'm glad he did - the apocalyptic theming is really immersive! I can't really remember much of the ride itself but I think a few of the effects were broken. I'd like to try it again someday.
This one's just begging for a What Ya Finkin...
Some of us did the S&S Shot Tower, which while these rides still make me anxious I will still always ride them unlike their Drop counterparts - the anticipation for the launch seems much less intimidating than waiting to be dropped hundreds of feet in the air. Anyway I really enjoyed this, it was pretty intense and the willy lift at the top was amazing. I can't really compare it to others though since the only other one I've done is Ice Blast at Blackpool which is pitiful. Can't wait to ride more of these!
We did some re-rides on the almighty Katun in the back row and and iSpeed and decided to call it a day after browsing the tat shop.
As I said before Mirabilandia quickly became one of my new favourite parks, it just has so much going for it. Even if Divertical was closed we still managed to make the most of it and have an awesome day out. I can't wait to see what else the park does in the future and I certainly can't wait to go back. I can't recommend this park enough to anyone.
To wrap things up I'll leave you with this nerdy photo that just had to be done. Thanks to Peep for taking it.
To answer all the questions I see on YouTube, yes Katun is themed to StarGate. Fans of the show will get the "Indeed" reference...
With an immensely satisfying day under our belts it was time to return to our hotel, knowing that Gardaland would most likely be the busiest park of the trip. But first some of us ventured into Bolgona where we had dinner...
"Surprise" - None of us were brave enough to try this one...
...saw another leaning tower...
...and Chris became an instant professional photographer...
Thanks for reading! Part 4, Gardaland, coming soon.
I'm loving reading everyone's reports, reminding me of so many great moments <3.
So finally we were getting to the “big” parks, starting with Mirabilandia. It was a little bit cooler in the morning and the crowds were pretty light, so I was hopeful that we were going to have a nice, chilled out and fun day.
First up was iSpeed. I’m a massive Stealth fan (see my top 10) and love anything with a launch so I was really looking forward to riding an accelerator with the extra bit after the top hat. I shouldn’t have been. I completely agree with what Ian wrote in his report – launch, top hat, great! Anything after and ouchhh! The launch was fine, as was the top hat and then after that my ears took a real bashing and I wanted the whole thing to be over as quickly as possible. There was this horrible moment after the MCBR where I thought it was ending, but instead the track turns sharply to the left and my head went smashing into the restraint. Just dreadful.
Next we did the vegetable themed kiddie coaster. I noticed the ride op seriously judging us as she checked the restraints, hey ho, +1.
The log flume was nearby so some of us decided to ride that. It had a decent final drop and we all got mildly wet, the boats had this retro 50’s car style going on that I thought was really cool (no pics though I’m afraid )
Continuing the wet ride theme, we decided to head to the Rapids next. Mike sat out so we had the perfect number for the 9 seater boats. The first half was fairly standard, splashes here and there, the anticipation of who would get hit next. Then came the waterfall section and one of the most amazing, funny scenes I have ever witnessed on a ride. The water came pouring in between Nic and Fraser, causing Fraser to start frantically trying to push the water back out of the boat. I cried with laughter for what must have been a solid 5 minutes. Even as I sit here typing this, the memory is making me chuckle to myself. Absolutely brilliant! :lol:
Next up was Master Thai, a coaster with 2 sections and 2 lift hills. We were worried that we would have to queue twice to get both sides, luckily we didn’t as it was probably the longest queue of the day. It was okay, a bit jerky but nothing terrible.
We were finally heading to Katun which I’d really been excited to ride. My first ride was on the back row, in the middle. It was brilliant. Amazing. Pretty much perfection. There’s this beautiful floatiness as you are pulled down the first drop, the pace is spot on throughout, forceful but not too intense, smooth, and ultimately a lot of fun. Whilst some of the group were queueing for the front row, I got a couple of rerides in, once on the 2nd row and once on the 2nd to back row. Neither were as good as the back, but it was still amazing.
Once the front rowers had been on we headed off to find lunch. We ended up in the self service diner restaurant, I had chicken and salad, it was very nice. I liked the variety they had in these self service restaurants.
After lunch we went in search of more creds. First up was the Wild Mouse, again just like every other Wild Mouse, the brakes were particularly brutal on this one though. We followed this with the Mine Train which was uneventful, it made this horrible loud noise as it went round though, which was added to our list of Theme Park sounds.
Next we headed over to Reset, the dark shooter ride. Boring. The theming outside did look pretty good though so I give it that.
We took photos of Divertical, Spite! </3
Some of us did the shot tower next. The ride ops spent ages faffing about doing god knows what giving Dan, Chris and Fraser the opportunity to wind up and take photos of John, Mike and I anxiously anticipating the launch. Turns out it was forceless and crap, nothing to be anxious about.
We ended the day with rerides on Katun and iSpeed. Back row on Katun again just confirmed the fact that it was definitely getting a space in my top 5, so so perfect! iSpeed I regretted almost instantly.
After we had finished at the park we made our way back to the hotel, and most of us decided to head into Bologna. The taxi driver played fab opera music that you would only hear in Italy. We took lots of photos once we got into town of stunning buildings, more leaning towers and other tourists.
Once we had finished being photographers we went in search of food and came across a restaurant down a side alley. They opened the upstairs area just for us and once inside we enforced a no-phone rule, and everyone had to put their phone in a pile in the centre of the table. I think we all just about coped with having to actually talk to each other at the dinner table :lol: . The food was good and the conversation flowed nicely. We were all pretty tired after this so we got taxis back to the hotel, to get a good nights sleep before the long day that lay ahead.
Absolutely disgusting! The hang time wasn't the worst bit, the turning the correct way up was!
Faces of enjoyment:
Next up was this beast:
Seven lift hills but first let me take a selfie:
It was then time for Magic Mountain, it was vile:
Then we did [strike]Iron Maiden/Terminator the ride[/strike] Ramses:
It reminded me of:
It was a good ride and the music was fab, I got the CD.
It was then time for Pirates of The Car Park, you'll see why it's call that soon:
The theming was incredible, especially these cannon balls:
The ride went on for a long time but it was a nice ride.
Here is the exit:
Here we are [strike]going to the pay station[/strike] exiting. Now you see where Pirates of the Car Park came from.
We then went for lunch:
We met back up at Raptor
IFC kindly got us all a front seat fast pass, I owe you a beer mate. Here is IFC and I on ride:
Two very snazzy goon straps on show there!
Raptor was brilliant and my favourite ride in the park! The near misses are just incredible and there were plenty of them!! Raptor is very well paced and blows Swarm out of the water!
Next we rode Blue Tornado:
Then it was onto Mammut:
It was a fun coaster.
The new for 2015 Oblivion - The [strike]Glory Hole[/strike] Black Hole was next:
In person I didn't like the paint scheme:
I did however, really like the theming:
It was a great ride! The hole was the best coaster hole, that I've been through :lol:
Next was Island on a stick:
Next was the water coaster cred:
Poor old Zeus wasn't treated well by the locals:
We then had some re rides and went to the Ibis for the night.
I'll leave you with this:
Nice reports everyone! My turn!
After days of crazy times at work (finishing at midnight is not a fun game) I was almost too tired to be looking forward to this trip but I managed to get myself out of the house at like 3am and get to Gatwick airport in time to meet Nic for our meh Easyjet flight to Rome Crappino airport. When we landed at the silly airport there was major faff waiting around for the stairs to arrive which resulted in our pilot saying over the speakers "this is the reason Easyjet doesn't usually fly into this airport" - resulting in much amusement by the bored passengers.
After all of the faff we managed to sort ourselves some coach tickets into the City centre. We had missed out on getting the next one so had to wait 30 mins for the next one. Fine. Apart from it didn't turn up. Well it did, just really late which when waiting out in the Sun is a little frustrating. Anyways the actual coach journey isn't too bad, about a 20-30 minute ride. On our route we saw thousands of posters for Rainbow Magicland and a couple for Cinecitta, so that was nice. We decided that although it was too early we'd drop our luggage off at the hotel, it was a 5-10 minute walk from the main train station (which is massive). The hotel seemed really posh and I questioned Nic about entering the correct hotel - this became a theme for the trip....
We then made our way via the subway to the Vatican. Half way during the ride the train peaked outside and the weather had turned from blue sky and sunshine to a massive storm, fun. When we got off the train the underground entrance plaza was rammed with people not wanting to go out into the ridiculous storm. Some people came in that looked like they went swimming, it was hilarious. It was also frustrating as it was eating away at our tourist activities.
We were still amused after discovering a certain advert...
It was for some beer but it looked so much like Joey that we were in hysterics for pretty much the rest of the trip.
After what felt like an age the weather started to calm and we went in search of food while occasionally hiding in shop doorways when the rain got heavier.
We ended up diving into some little touristy place for a sandwich. Our waitress was weird and had a proper attitude, she was almost comparable to a troll. We also confused her so much with our order which didn't please her. meh, food was nice. Sun came out to say hello so we continued down the road to the Vatican City. Last time I was there we stood outside, appreciated the costume characters and then moved on. This time I wanted to at least see the museum, as did Nic. So after talking to some guy trying to get us to do his tour we just used him for directions for the entrance. We had got there fairly late in the day which meant we pretty much walked straight in (after paying some monies, l'obv).
We decided to rush through to the Sistene chapel before appreciating the rest of the place. The initial climb up to the top is exhausting and having to do it at large tourist group speed was agonising. Still, we eventually made it to the main area where we then proceeded down a really long corridor full of slow tourists in their natural habitat with some added rude pushy Asian ones for 'entertainment'.
Some of it was being refurbished which meant some sections were rather dull.
We then made it to the Sistene chapel where a slow moving queue down some modern stairs happened. There were warning signs about clothing, photos and talking everywhere. The chapel is very impressive, the sheer scale of intricate paintings is amazing and awe-inspiring. The rough security constantly hushing people out of the room for breaking one of the million rules was a constant sight. Their over-bearing presence was almost too-much and I found it quite distracting at times, felt rushed.
Anyway with the main attraction complete we then pissed about the museum for an hour or two. I was fascinated by their collection of old maps, like, how the hell did they know what countries looked like from above before people learned to build aircraft. They also had a lot of statues, some were missing heads, others a limb or two. We even found some where there was nothing left bar their feet. Why the hell would you preserve just a pair of feet?
Err, I grew an obsession of taking photos of statues with funny faces.
The Mummy really freaked Nic out
We were amused by the stone envelope for the stone tablet
I really enjoyed the museum and it was nice that as soon as we left the chapel the crowds just disappeared. I also enjoyed making up fun little tales for the funny statues. To get to the exit was a steep and very epic staircase...
Just as we were looking at the main bit of the Vatican the storm decided to return so we scampered and found shelter in a gelato place. It was tasty and it ended up being the best gelato of the trip by far.
After the very tasty gelato we went back to the hotel where we checked in properly and met up with a Rachel, Dan and Mike where we immediately became aware that we had all made the same assumption regarding Joey posing with beer in the advert. It was decided that food was on the menu so we went out in search of the Hard Rock Cafe (as you do). We found said cafe but it was not to be as the wait time was too long. We went across the road and in a "I'm hungry just give me food" we made the decision to just go in without a care. However what table we sat at was a whole different ball game. I think we sat at about 4 tables before settling. The waiter was full of confusion and despair. The food was tasty.
On the way back to the hotel we discovered another Joey advert which resulted in the below...
(Sorry if Facebook doesn't share this pic)
We then popped into a supermarket where we proceeded to find Joey's face on the beer! Some of that was happening by the end of the trip. We then (finally) went to sleep in the very nice hotel (kudos to Rachel for booking this one!).
We all had quite a nice breakfast at the hotel before Nic and I caught a train to the airport beginning with F. The train was so short that it caused a bit of a flurry with all the peeps waiting for it. Pretty sure I had a nice nap on the train (love a good train snooze, or inemuri). When we got to the airport we arranged to meet Ian "From CoasterForce" Bell and Chris "by the big fountain". We timed our arrival pretty well and we were all soon in a little mini-bus on the way to the burdenous car rental place in the sticks. Car hire faff happened and we were soon in our new car (it was really new) for the week...
Nic proceeded to meet her expectations and panic drive around the car park for a while before making way for Rainbow Magicland. Before long we were at the park to find the park was pretty quiet. This was excellent news for me as it was heaving on my trip in 2011.
The entrance area is still fantastic, a great style (similar to one of my favourite parks, Islands of Adventure). We headed straight for Shock. Like those that had also been previously I was concerned this was going to age poorly (not helped visually with its faded colour scheme). We didn't need to worry though as it still rode extremely well, the launch is great and the layout is interesting and fun. That little overbank after the loop-but-not is just phenomenal, the speed it kicks it around that tiny piece of track is such an amazing moment. We immediately ran straight back around for more.
We decided to continue our day with the two big water rides. I was so, so, happy to not see a giant cattle-pen queue of hell this time and it was great to see the park fixed their capacity by making the loading and off-loading a normal procedure rather than their faff-tastic display of woe from opening year. I was sad to see the name change in person from something original (Drakkar) to the rather bland le rapide. *sigh*
Still, the ride was good fun with a decent amount of actual rapids and some fun blasts of water. It was just a shame that it ends so suddenly into a cave of nothing before returning to the station.
Due to the crowds on my first visit I didn't get the chance to do Yucatan so I was over the moon to finally be riding it. It was pretty much as I expected. Some great splashes with some nice bit of theming on the front exterior and the interior.
Now pretty wet it was time to go inside and away from the sunshine. Huntik was one of my favourite rides in the park last time, some how getting two rides in after an initial break down - so it's always had its troubles. However I felt a little let down this time, some of the interactive elements didn't work and one of the screens had a proper error message all over it, it was a sad state of affairs. I imagine it must be a nightmare to keep these rides on top form but it just wasn't the epic ride that I rode in 2011.
Next up was the mine train with it's excessive entrance (which is so fab).
It's a shame it's all a little downhill from there then. It could have done with more immersive theming to detract from the rather bland ride layout.
It was then time to ride the spinning coaster. I remember thinking it was a totally wasted opportunity in 2011 but I'll admit my memory let slip exactly why. From the initial throw outside ruining the entire dark room effect it then proceeds to start with quite a good first drop and then it just sort of meanders around for a little bit in a room that is way too bright with a couple of disco lights that you can't really see because of all the natural light. The icing on the cake has to be the lift hill back into the station though. Just what were they thinking when designing this thing? Maybe it was originally meant to have a whole host of cool effects and theming but the budget cuts (there were plenty - Shock should start off with an indoors section) meant we were left with this rubbish?
Food was up next and it was into the giant canteen of emptiness where we found some tasty grub. We then opted to ride the drop tower because that's always a good idea after eating food. Much faffed occurred while the staff waited for the whole park to join us on the ride. The kids cheering on their friend, and Mike imitating them sarcastically, was amusing. The drop is pretty good, does stop about half way up though on it's way down which is just odd. It's like they stuck a small drop tower (with their great initial punch) on to another tower with weird results.
While most of the group grabbed the kiddy cred and the Bombo cred Nic and I went in pursuit of gelato. It was found and devoured. It wasn't as good as the stuff we found in Rome but it was still pretty tasty - and satisfying given the heat. It was then time for the park's second dark ride, the Winx something. Based off a cartoon for little kids it doesn't really have a narrative, just a collection of themed 'realms' where you see each of the Winx fairy things in their home. It's quite poorly executed and loves going up just to come back down again. Meh.
We opted to go on the flying island and just about made it on to the next batch. I couldn't believe it didn't rotate any more, it was so silly. Still the views are quite nice from up top.
We had some more goes on Shock before heading into the Houdini Mansion. The lady opping it really shouldn't have put us into the batch she did, we barely squeezed into the pre-show room (mid-way too, not that it matters as it was all in Italian) and then proceeded to make life a little unbearable in terms of getting to the mad house section of the ride. Pushy people everywhere in a cramped hot places makes for an unpleasant time. The ride itself is meh and the ride soundtrack is ruined by a loud man shouting over it. The design of everything is nice, it's just ruined by the lack of space (I don't think they realised how much space is needed for 48 people) and long talky narrative.
That is one of the things for Rainbow Magicland, the design of everything is just amazing. It all just looks fantastic and they thought about crowd management too with large spacious restaurants and large paths to get around, just a shame they didn't pay the same sort of attention to their ride selection and design. So it's a lovely park to be in but it's only good rides are the two big water ones, an interactive dark ride (when it works) and Shock...
Still, we had a very nice time at the park and I'd still recommend a visit if you're in the area. I'll happily return again in a few years too.
Anyways the crowds had arrived so we left via the tat shop. Yet again we had a very nice hotel. Nic and I had a room with an unusual painting (probably not good to post it on here though ).
After a quick refresh we all met in the hotel lobby where we proceeded to plan our evening. We ended up driving about 5 minutes to Oasi park. What a delightful little park in the middle of the suburbs. It was full of families, there was an entertainer putting on a show which a whole bunch of kids seemed to be enjoying and there were about 4 huts with kids birthday parties. It was buzzing and there was a +1 to be had!
We ended the evening going to a restaurant around the corner from the hotel. It was very traditional and local which was great. The owners spoke little English but we managed to order food and receive food so all was good. I think we all had their home made pasta which was very nice. Mike trying to eat it was hilarious and the owner's reaction when he came out to see how we were getting on was priceless. The banter was also pretty top.
It was the perfect way to end our day.
Thanks for reading, I shall try and write more soon!
Sorry it’s taken me a while to get around to writing a report. I can only blame this on my laziness I’m afraid.
I had been looking forward to this trip for months; having never been to Italy before but having always wanted to go, this CF trip couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me, yet still departure day seemed to sneak up on me out of nowhere and take me by surprise. Having not done any preparation whatsoever, and not reading anything about any of the parks we were going to, I set off with an open mind, not knowing what to expect.
Day -1 - Rome
With the “official” start of the Live being on the Monday, almost everyone took the opportunity to fly into Rome a few days early to tourist-it-up around the city. I was on the same flight as Dan and Rachel, so we all agreed to get lost in Rome together.
After meeting in Stansted airport at Goon o’clock (well, at about 6:30am, which is still far too early for my body to handle) and starting the day off with a usual overcooked Weatherspoons breakfast, we were soon ushered to an area of Stansted airport I never even knew existed; a shed right at the back end of the main terminal building, with about 6 gates and no chairs! Waiting for what seemed like an eternity, we were eventually told that our flight had been delayed (it was already after our scheduled departure time, so no real surprise there), and by the time we arrived in Rome, it was already around 2pm… On top of this, after getting a bus into the city centre, we were dropped off onto an uncovered street with this going on…
So, yeah, not the most perfect start to a trip in the world. After hiding out in a small shopping centre, we eventually braved the rain to get to our hotel, where we had a quick freshen up before making our way to Termini train station 10 minutes down the road to begin our exploration. Luckily, the rain stopped by the time we left the hotel, and it turned out to be a rather nice but extra humid day.
Of course, being in Italy and Rome for our first time, the very first thing we decided to do was to get the hell out of the entire country and head to the Vatican City. On the way there, we were stopped by several extremely rude and sexist tour salesmen, who were all adamant that we were not going to get into the city without buying one of their overpriced tours of the museum and Sistine Chapel. We managed to get past these, and after explaining to the “official” member of staff at the gate that we only wanted to walk around the main square, we were finally in a brand new country and capital city!
Oh, wait, right, this is the Vatican City, the only perfectly symmetrical country in the world.
Standing in front of the area where the Pope does his weight lifting (that’s what Mass is, yeah?), in front of the Sistine Chapel.
With a queue to get into the Chapel meandering around the whole country, we decided to give it a miss and were off to our next attraction back in Italy. Realising that we had all managed to cleverly forget to bring any sun cream with us, we made a quick stop in a chemist, where we also managed to get directions to the Trevi Fountain…
Also known as the Fountain of Spite.
It has apparently been this way for quite a while. Luckily, we have already had the Blackpool CF Live this year, so I’ve already had my fountain fix for this year.
From here, we realised that it’s a lot easier just to walk around the city rather than going back to the Metro every time. On the way to the next attraction, I needed one of my now-apparently-famous bathroom stops, so I darted into a café and had to buy something to be able to use their loo. This allowed us to have our first taste of proper Italian gelato, and rather tasty (and much needed, as I was getting a bit peckish at this point) it was too.
Seeing a crowd of people gathered around, we knew we had got to our next landmark, the Panthenon.
The aforementioned Panthenon.
Knowing we were a bit short on time, and with more rain forecast for later, we just took photos from the outside and didn’t bother venturing into the building, and we were then on our way to our next building of touristic interest…
This building, which I still have no idea what is called and can’t be bothered to look it up. It was definitely my favourite building of the day, with me being particularly impressed by its statues and sculpturing.
Walking up to the building, we saw a load of people climb it, and thought it was fairly cool how you could really get up close to it, before seeing a dozen or so police officers emerge from their hiding to get people off and send them back behind the gate.
This place was deserving of my first every “group selfie”.
Seeing dark clouds starting to gather overhead, we decided to pick up the pace quite a bit to get to the Coliseum, taking photos of some Roman ruins on the way.
A-ha, the Coliseum!
We all took a quick photo in front of it before the heavens really opened up and sent everyone sprinting to the Metro station. I would have loved to have gone more around and into the building, but the weather was not being kind to us unfortunately.
The Metro station was absolute chaos, with an entire family of people all finding out their tickets weren’t working, so instead of all moving to one side, they all decided to stand in front of the turnstiles, blocking 3 or 4 of them. Utterly ridiculous!
Getting back to Termini station and then getting totally lost trying to find out way back to the hotel, we witnessed our very first (and incredibly only) crash of the trip, with a women pulling out onto the main road without looking at all, and proceeded to be ploughed into the side of by a taxi! The lady and taxi driver got out of their cars, started shouting at each oher whilst using typically Italian hand gestures, and causing a major tailback behind them.
I’ve heard horror stories of Italian drivers, but I never really realised just how bad they are; none of them seem to pay any attention to what’s going on around them, freely looking at their phones whilst driving and not being able to drive in a straight line, often swerving between two lanes and the hard shoulder. Luckily, on the 2nd day, Peter managed to avert having quite a major accident by being alert at the wheel and noticing a car that was definitely not going to give us the right of way, even though we were on the main road! How we didn’t see more accidents, I do not know, as almost every car we saw had scratches and dents in.
Eventually getting back to the hotel, we were met by Nic and Peep who had been exploring the city separately to us (their flight landed a few hours prior to ours), and we were soon off to find some dinner. As we hadn’t really eaten anything since breakfast, I was absolutely starving! Dan had the idea of going to the Hard Rock Café, which we all agreed with, but after finding out they don’t do same-day bookings and finding out they have an hours wait to get in, we decided to downgrade to some café across the road.
Being an empty restaurant, you’d think it would be quite easy to sit 5 people at a table, no? Well, no. The first table the bloke sat us at had litter underneath, and the second table had a big puddle of water underneath! We found a table, and ordering what I thought was chicken breast was more a pulled-chicken sandwich covered in some kind of creamy sauce, but as I was so hungry I ate it. It wasn’t a taste sensation to say the least. The waiter then offered us a “surprise” for dessert, and brought us some bland biscuit things, yummy!
With us all being knackered, we all made our way back to the hotel to get some rest. Dotted around the city, there were two main things being advertised; Rainbow MagicLand and some beer brand… It just so happens that one of the people used for the beer advertising looks hysterically like Joey, so obviously we all crowded around a billboard to take a photo. Just before we got back to the hotel, we stopped in a supermarket quickly, where we actually found Joey beer!
With our first day over and done with, my verdict of Rome is that it’s a very nice city with plenty of stuff to see and do, but it’s certainly not the easiest city in the world to navigate. Our time was very limited in the city, made worse by some bad weather, but I still felt we got the major landmarks done, even if we didn’t fully explore any of them.
After a good sleep at the very nice Best Western Hotel Villafranca, it was time to go to our first park of the trip, Rainbow MagicLand. As this was still not part of the Live, this counted as Day 0…
To be continued.
Ahh, these reports are fantastic. I can't remember the last time a CF-Live had so many detailed reports. Cheers, goons. <3
So the next morning, we had a little bit of a lie in before having to head to the local pharmacy thanks to my legs and arms having been nibbled to hell the previous day and I had massive bite lumps all over!
We jumped in the car and headed the short distance to Cinecitta World. I hadn't done much research into this park but all I knew was it had a Colossus like clone. We saw the cred from a distance and the excitement rose.
We were slightly head of Vadge who had gone to pick Fraser up from the Airport. We tracked a member of staff down outside and soon enough were greeted by the two lovely gentleman who grabbed our tickets. Once everyone had arrived, we headed into the park.
The park was deserted, there was barely anyone around at all. It was all very clean, neat and tidy and you could tell instantly that the park had gone for quality over quantity which was lovely to see.
The two guys took us for a little walk around the park first showing us their water coaster. I'll come back to this when we rode it a little while later.
Naturally, they then escorted us over to Altair, their Colossus like clone. The paint scheme and surrounding area made it look stunning. Then comes the train with the lap bars and it is instantly looking more promising than Colossus. I do have a bit of a soft spot for Colossus, so was very interested to see how this rode.
We walked straight onto the ride, I headed towards the front. It was quite surreal pulling down the over the shoulder lap bar and not being squished in like Colossus, there was a slight hint of vulnerability coming from it knowing that you have 10 inversions to go through like this.
The train rocketed up the lift hill and away we went. The whole thing was very enjoyable, however right from the moment it left the lift hill it didn't half rattle around the track. If they had put OTSR on it, there would be some nasty headbanging. However, with the lap bars, you didn't feel it as much as you rode it.
The inlines are the highlight of this ride though. You do feel very vulnerable as you head through them. I think we all held on for the first one but then just let ourselves roll with them. It was fantastic.
It is a shame that it does rattle so much as it is a very good ride. But wasn't the best coaster at the park.
When we got off, the two guys took us for a walk back around the side of the ride so we could get a few images that you can't get if you were visiting the park normally.
Of course, we all had to get the signature inline shot...
We also headed down towards the loop for a couple of photos down there.
We finished up behind the scenes of Altair and headed over towards their indoor coaster.
Darkmare I hadn't heard anything about apart from it being an Intamin Drop Coaster similar to 13. I enjoy 13 so was looking forward to this.
This for me was the best ride in the park. It was fun from start to finish, the projection in the ride building was fantastic and there are some fantastic moments of S bend track that really shunt you from side to side whilst being very enjoyable. The drop was decent as well which made for an overall very enjoyable ride.
We all said pretty much the same thing about Darkmare and headed over towards Aktium to get our ride on that. They were only running one train on it but this wasn't a problem at the two guys got us straight on it. It is one of the longest water coasters out there and it was a decent enough coaster. Their was a nice mist from it and with the heat meant it was nice and refreshing.
This is where we said goodbye to the two guys who had been with us since we arrived. It was lovely to walk around the park with two like-minded guys who really enjoy the industry and are enthusiasts themselves. Thank you for taking the time to show us around and the free entry was so very generous as well. All the little pockets of information given were great. Thanks to them as well for the ORP that they got us of Aktium.
We were right next door to Altair, so decided to have another ride on that. Choosing this time to ride somewhere at the back, it delivered pretty much the same ride as it did in the front.
If Colossus happened to get the same style lap bar trains that Altair has, it would be a really good ride again.
I think by now we split for lunch, we headed towards the Wild West BBQ area which we must've waited around 25 minutes to get seated, but our order was quick to be taken and food arrived pretty quickly.
The food was ok, but nothing much else to say really.
We met back up outside Engima; their main show and in we went. I wasn't massively keen on the show and failed really to understand it. However, can appreciate the effort that had gone into it to make it what it was. Some of the routines were out of sequence a little but it was certainly high energy and nice to sit down for a little while.
After coming out of the show, we decided to do Erawan the Elephant themed drop tower. I really liked this, it felt slightly more powerful than some of the other Intamin Drop Towers I've rode. To me it seemed with the station being so tall, it hid a lot of the ride and made it feel a lot taller than what it appeared.
We done the Submarine ride next which was a little disappointing. What was really nice was the member of staff who realised that we were English took us through it herself with an English Version which was a really nice touch.
We also headed to the CineTram which on the maps says it's not open yet, but in fact it is. Again, nothing really amazing and it got a little bit lost in translation.
We were pretty much all done at the park, so headed over for a couple of re-rides. First up, we headed back to Darkmare which really is a fun coaster with some very good drops and turns in it. Some of the group headed to re-ride Altair, whilst the rest of the group went back on Darkmare. We were done by this point, so went to grab an ice cream and waited for the rest of the group.
We finished off by heading to the tat shop as we always do. I really enjoyed Cinecitta World and hope that they do keep on going. The park was very quiet when we went which seems to be the same things that others are saying when they visit. I hope that they do manage to pull in a decent crowd at times as they do have some great attractions.
If anything, they need a couple more on top of what they already have and they will have a fantastic park!
There was a +2 not too far away from the park at a place called Fantasiland. We turned up and there were people about so headed in.
We found the two coasters, both of which looked shut so went to find someone to help.
It turns out that the larger of the creds; the Zyklon was closed until August, but we could get the grumpy dog Big Apple. A member of staff opened up the ride, we paid and before long had all grabbed ourselves a nice +1.
With nothing else of note there, we headed back to the cars ready for a long drive up to Grosseto.
Ha, Mike I had totally forgotten about the "surprise" biscuits at the restaurant in Rome. They were tasty.
Definitely the sexiest post you've ever made, Ian. If that doesn't win me CPoA, I don't know what will!
^ I'm half tempted to use it as the new CF logo. It'll get the girls and gays flocking to CF!
Enjoying all the reports so far guys, bring back some great memories of the week. I also echo Ian’s comments about this being one of the more relaxed and enjoyable lives I’ve been on. Whilst a large group can be more exciting with such a wide range of people, the intimacy of our group size really made this trip, being able to stick together as a group, everyone had their say and minimal faff – even though Mike managed to take the toilet burden award (well someone had to since Sue wasn’t there!)
I also love how most of our priorities in Rome were to get the country credit of Vatican City! :lol:
Don't worry, they'll appear here soon! I only got a chance to look at them last night and they've come out pretty fab. Having finally found the time to get them off my camera and online yesterday I can now post a few on here too!
I won’t go into as much detail as everyone has done a pretty good job of covering the day’s activities already, as besides, my reports would just be exactly the same as Rach’s! I will add a few of my comments as we go though.
Up first was Rainbow MagicLand, which seemed to have some reasonably positive reviews about the place from the last CF live here so was glad it turned into an unofficial add-on for the trip, otherwise no doubt we would have made our own way here anyway!
Starting with the fantastic coaster that is Shock. I’d heard raving reviews about it before but had always been skeptical as to how good a Maurer X-Car could be so I wasn’t really expecting much, but this thing blew me away. The launch was pretty good (although not as good as some other launch coasters out there –despite what my deformed face in Johns photos seem to say. I'm sure I was doing that on purpose - honest! ) but the rest of the layout that follows was superb. Some great airtime over the hills mixed with laterals to throw you out sideways followed by the outstanding speed of the over bank turn – the forces here are relentless. Definitely one of the best coasters and surprises of the trip.
Unfortunately, from here on in a RML it was downhill all the way. All of the other coasters are forgettable. The spinner is a joke with its bland layout and lift hill into the station, I’ve never vibrated so much as I did on the mine train and the other two are simple +1s (although the big apple was unique with an extended first corner which added a little excitement!)
Having been the lucky receiver of about a thousand Huntik playing cards at a previous CF Xmas meet I was looking forward to finally seeing what it was all about. However, broken 3D and error messages on screens means I’m still none the wiser. Looks pretty from the outside though!
I never tried one, but apparently the watermelon ice creams were fab. Here are two more to add to Ian’s Mike collection!
Strangely I really liked the fairy dark ride. It was very relaxing, comfy and great to sit down out of the sun for a few minutes. No idea what it was about though…
I enjoyed the park very much for a first time visit. It was clean, tidy, beautiful settings with the lake and mountains in the distance and very well themed despite everything being tacky and hollow on the inside. Shock saved the ride line-up with its multiple re-rides but otherwise it’s a park of mostly mediocre rides and after 4 hours we were all satisfied and ready to move on. A park that was great to experience first time with CF but not one to rush back to.
Back to the hotel for a quick turnaround and we went out to the gem of a park that was Oasi Park. A fantastic small family park hidden in a residential area on the outskirts of Rome, the place was bustling with life, kids shows & entertainment and a +1 that was the reason for visiting in the first place. Many thanks to Ian for sorting us all out with tickets.
The evening ended with a great meal and a lovely local restaurant with homemade pasta. Somewhere we never would never have found to eat if its wasn't for the hotel map and turned out to be one of the best and most genuine meals of the week. Once again CF manages to turn something as simple as a meal out into a very memorable experience!
After our random +1 the evening before and word that we would travel near more +1s on our travels after Cinecitta World, Ian prepared a presentation for Nic at breakfast to show our best options for boosting our cred counts. After some Dragon's Den grilling from Nic some decisions were made, we finished our breakfast and we moved on. Our first stop was at the Rome airport beginning with F to pick up a Fraser. Ian went in search of him while Nic moved the car about a lot in a panic. After lots of faff we received a call from Ian providing us with the Ianformation that the "Llama had landed" and they were on their way to the car. We then set sail for Cinecitta World.
I was looking forward to visiting Cinecitta World, I followed construction closely and I couldn't wait to see what it was like in person. The rest of the group were waiting for us in front of the epic park entrance...
We were greeted by two of the park team, including the website manager who got the job after making the fan site that I used for all the construction updates. I love that story, it's a role he deserves and he's being doing a sterling job with the official park website. We were handed our park maps (which are fab and themed to film clapper boards) and we headed into the park. First impressions of the 'Gangs of New York' inspired set are good attention to detail within the theming but also a bit sparse but I suppose that was more down to the lack of other guests.
The guys showed off Aktium first, their large Mack Supersplash. It has a little bit of nice theming around the bottom/viewing area.
We were obviously more excited about getting on Altair, the new version of the Intamin 10-looper. So we were taken over there where we proceeded to walk straight on. Despite being fully aware that it's got lapbars there's no getting over that weird sensation when no huge chunky restraints are lowered after sitting down in what is essentially the same train as Colossus at Thorpe. I maybe expected too much from this, while the speedy lift hill is nice and the more curved first drop looks nice I can't help but feel like it's a lot slower than Colossus, it felt like there was no energy as it made it's way into the vertical loop and the air time hill contained zero air time. It lacked a certain punch. However the ride got better as the lapbar effect took on it's role properly when it entered those ridiculous inline rolls. The restraints place a lot of pressure on your legs as your entire body tries its best to fly out, it's relentless and very entertaining. I was really hoping that as the day wore on the ride would warm up and the first half would gain the impact I was expecting. Time will tell.
The staff were awesome and let us take a bunch of photos in staff-only areas. I was pretty impressed that Ian's panoramic of the train going through the inlines turned out really well. We then made our way over to Darkmare. There was some sort of summer show going on in between the two massive studios buildings.
Darkmare didn't appear to really have much of a queueline but inside there was a bunch of 'evil' text all up the walls. With there being no queue we walked straight past all of it. I didn't really know what to expect from this coaster and I'm glad I didn't read too much into it. It's a brilliant family coaster, the transitions are so smooth and it's just great fun from start to finish. The projections everywhere portray a simple theme but it's done well. The netting with a projection on that you go around is fab. I was quite shocked at the random gore on one projection that you sit near, some dude squishes another dude and blood bursts everywhere. Fun. I think it is actually one of my favourite rides from the whole trip, I enjoyed it so much.
We then went back over to Aktium. Ian volunteered to bag lady which was very nice of him. The ride wasn't actually that wet, it was a nice moistness which was most welcome on a very pleasant day in the Sun.
The staff purchased our ride photo for us which was extremely kind of them. We thanked them for showing us around etc and they went back to work. It was nice to meet some people that work at a park that are so genuinely thrilled to be doing what they're doing and their enthusiasm for everything the park has to offer was contagious.
We continued our day with some good ol' fashioned faff...
Before some lunch we decided to re-ride Altair. Oh jeez, my hopes of it warming up and fixing the first half went up in flames when we re-rode this. It has such a horrendous rattle the whole way round. It's like the wheels are trying to escape the entire time, I just... How? They made both this and Darkmare but their ride experiences couldn't be more different, one butter smooth and fun and the other just rattles its way around in the hope that one day it won't have to any more. Such a shame.
We then broke for food, options are a little limited but when you're visiting a brand new park which has gone for quality over quantity you have to expect that. Some of us stayed in the fab looking Wild West area for their burger place. The wait for a table was agonising, we think the whole park were at this restaurant. There was a clown who was odd, occasionally amusing, mainly weird. Once seated we were served pretty quickly and the food was alright, especially for park food. While we were eating the wild west show was going on outside which looked fab, I was a little gutted we missed the whole show to be honest.
Pictures like this make me feel like the park is quite poorly designed, what with a giant spaceship just chilling at the end of a Wild West street
The plan was to meet everyone outside Enigma, the park's blockbuster show. I was quite looking forward to it, knowing some of what was in store. Inside was huge, I was shocked at how temporary all the seating looked but I can't help but feel this is so they can host big gigs in there for special events. The show's "gimmick" is the use of projection mapping (I'm a huge goon for it) and the rough plot is about the illusion of cinema. It's similar to Siro-A, a Japanese act incorporating dance and projection mapping technology (they're fab). Unfortunately for the performance we saw a lot of the dancing was a little out of sync (missed markers etc) but overall I thought it looked pretty great and the soundtrack was quite energetic. I also really liked the projection mapped dress thing towards the end although I found the beginning act the best bit of the entire show, too much faff and random peeps turning into werewolfs. There were some nice ideas in there just very poorly executed. Either way I enjoyed it but I think I was pretty alone in that.
Some of the cast - and that bloomin' clown!
Next up was the Intamin drop tower, Erawan, which looks fab and pretty imposing over the rest of the park. To even things out I ended up doing stand-up floorless, such a bad idea. It's a great drop but it's just such an uncomfortable position.
Next up was Aquila IV. A walk-through submarine attraction which I may have harped on a little bit about because it looked weird and different and the safety board was giving people all the idea it was more like Movieland's terrifying submarine ride. A small batch of us joined the queue and after waiting a little while we soon gave the staff a big shock - English people trying to do an Italian-speaking attraction - panic! So after a bit of a faff the lady came back to us with a cunning plan. Baldrick decided that she will attempt an English-speaking edition of the attraction just for us. She made it clear that she wasn't very good at speaking English but it was a damn sight better than our Italian! And with no idea what was in store, our journey into the unknown began...
...For starters we all put on hair nets and then reinforced baseball caps. She then literally gave us a tour of the interior while making various movie references, U-571 is the film being referenced here and I had to make her feel sane by being the only one apparently having a vague idea of what she was on about ( I was really doing this though ). She was fab though and she really went out of her way to let us experience the submarine - wished we'd taken down her name to put in a good word with management. However, for those that listened to my babbling while we waited, below is the video in which I was referencing...
Next up was the Cinecitram. I didn't even know this attraction existed and according to the map it wasn't even meant to be open! Might explain why it felt a little unfinished then with the 3D still needing some additional alignment and that. Overall it was very bland, it was an interesting take on this now popular ride type (Simworkx's immersive tunnels ) but nothing really happened. Another wasted opportunity. However with it does look like the park plan on making it a ride that changes the film from time to time (like most 4D attractions now) so it'll be interesting to see if they improve on it in the future.
It was becoming apparent that people wanted to leave so we decided to split for some final re-rides on Darkmare or Altair and met back up in the tat shop. I chose to re-ride Darkmare and I'm so glad I did, it is such a fantastic ride, the park have a real gem there.
Angels and Demons
Made me chuckle
It was then into the boiling hot cars and off to Fantasiland for a cheeky +2. Upon arrival we knew we were in for a fun time...
The place was pretty quiet and it was a bit hard to track down park staff but the lady behind the ticket counter soon called over a guy to translate for us and eventually open the kiddy coaster themed to a dog with a sore head?
The bin found the dog's predicament amusing...
The park was a bit of a state and it was a shame the Zyklon was closed and not due to open till later in the summer. Still we gained a +1 and proceeded to continue our journey to our next hotel in Grosseto. It was yet another good hotel in a fab location. It was right inside the walls of the old city which was nice.
Nic presented Dan and Fraser with their own new bag straps after they purchased the exact same bag as Nic...
After checking in we went in search of food and discovered the Gusti in Piazza. We had a right old chinwag, the food was fun and the waiters were hilarious. For my own amusement (and for the bants) I ordered the sausage and potato pizza. I happened upon one of these last time I was in Italy, apart from they called it an American pizza (even the frozen supermarket edition was called that). It is literally bits of sausage and chips on the pizza, I find it quite amusing because it's so silly and it tastes nice so yay.
Occasionally there were some odd rumbles and every time we could hear a rumble a different member of staff would appear and the previous waiter would disappear, I think it was the third time when it happened that we all just burst out laughing causing the waitress to nearly have a heart attack. The Mighty Morphing Pizza Rangers were great though, served good food and drink and supplied us with plenty of fun moments. Getting us to like them on Facebook or write a trip advisor review was so much funnier than it should have been, it was brilliant. For doing those things we ended up with free cake (it was proper moist) and prosecco!
It was yet another excellent evening and a brilliant end to yet another fantastic day. I love how Cinecitta World really went out of their way for us and it is very much appreciated, I look forward to seeing what they do in the future. I liked the park despite my small rantings about some of the attractions, it does look nice but some areas do clash quite heavily and there is a lot of big open spaces of nothing which feels odd. Still, worth a visit if you're in the area.
A missed thank you to Mike for the hotel booking of the Sunday night accommodation.
Thanks for reading, I'll get the next part up tomorrow (hopefully).
Fantastic reports guys, taken me quite a while to get through them all!
Just to answer Ian's personal question, I think the annotations on the pictures is a fab idea, will look great to use on the CF Twitter etc.
So the penultimate day of the trip was upon us and it was time to visit my first non-UK Merlin park. We arrived a little later than planned due to some burdenous traffic at the tolls, and it was clear from the crowds that this was going to be the busiest day of the trip.
With that in mind we headed to the coaster that had the slowest throughput – Sequoia Adventure. I was dreading this but needed the +1. I was petrified going up the lift hill, I knew the hang time was not going to be enjoyable and the restraints made me feel really vulnerable. It was as bad as I expected and I was glad when it came to an end.
Next was a kiddie coaster, it was fairly standard, made more enjoyable by Nic’s commentary of the several lift hills, “One lift hill mwahaha. Two lift hills mwahaha….” And so on.
Magic Mountain was displaying a 35 minute queue, so wanting to get it out of the way we went and joined it. The queue seemed to go on forever, especially with the ridiculous amount of people with fastpasses that were going on. Eventually we got on, it was a bad coaster made slightly more bearable by the wing-rider type restraints. Jerky, snaps through the inversions and not at all pleasant.
Next was another 3d shooter. Boring. Except this one was even more turd than the rest as my gun wasn’t registering the score. I got fed up and spent most of the ride shooting at the backs of peoples heads.
Next up was Pirates of the multi storey car park. I love these sorts of indoor river rides, just a chance to sit back, relax and take it all in. I thought it was impressive and I particularly enjoyed the escalators when exiting the ride.
Following this the group split for lunch. I’d been eating fairly sensibly up until this point of the trip, but I was in the mood for some crappy theme park food so went to the burger place with Dan and Chris. I got the chicken wrap and chips which was okay, chips were a bit too salty. I was getting some pretty bad cred anxiety since it was lunchtime already and we hadn’t yet hit the biggest rides of the park….
So I was very pleased that the next ride we hit was Raptor. The queue was long and it was baking so Ian very kindly got us all front row fastpasses so that we would be in prime position for the near misses. I have to admit I was slightly underwhelmed after my first go – the near misses are brilliant but I found the whole thing forceless and almost a bit boring. There was still some time for my mind to change.
Next was the SLC, Blue Tornado. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch and more ouch. Jordan was 100% right in her 2011 description of the ride. I think you all know what that was by now :lol:
Mammut came next, which was a family coaster. Kind of reminded me of Big Thunder Mountain, with the several lift hills and coaster sections in between. Nowhere near as good mind, but still I enjoyed it.
Finally we were heading to Oblivion: The Black/Glory Hole. The first part of the queueline was so unexpected but fab, I think I let out a little scream of delight on the vibrating floor aha! Unfortunately the second part of the queue is dreadful, the poor throughput really shows and it felt like we were waiting for ages. The queueline is also really wide at this part which kept allowing for randomers to keep trying to slip between us, so we formed a human barrier. Anyway onto the actual ride. Its good but nothing about it really stood out for me. I perhaps unfairly compared it to the 2 others dive machines i've been on. Oblivion has a certain atmosphere for me what with the tunnel and the mist and the element of the unknown which makes it stand out. Sheikra has the intimidating height and 2nd drop, but this just lacked anything special and seemed like it was over too soon. Still a good ride though and definitely re-rideable.
We did the observation tower next, which spun round so we could take some good photos of the park and Lake Garda.
Last new ride for the day was the water coaster type thing. There was some debate over whether it was a cred or not – it had coaster track so i've totally counted it. It was a lot of fun, I was sat at the back and there was this great moment where on the final drop every single person on the boat lifted their arms, I can't even explain why but it looked so cool! Nic and Ian discovered judgey green woman in this time, I have to admit she looked pretty fab and her husband was sitting next to her looking really sheepish as if he had done something wrong, so funny!
We had some time for rerides so headed back to Raptor and all joined the single rider queue. I got lucky in that I ended up sitting next to someone I knew both times, firstly Dan and then Fraser. It was on this second ride that probably my favourite moment of the whole trip happened. Fraser and I were on the 2nd to last row and as the train pulled into the brake run everyone went really quiet except for this one guy who let out the biggest groan i've ever heard. Me and Fraser looked at each other and then just burst out laughing so loudly and it was so obvious that we were laughing at this guy. Just the perfect funny moment, once the train pulled into the station we legged it so the guy couldn't see who we were.
I developed a new appreciation for Raptor on these 2 rides though. What I had thought was slightly boring a bit earlier actually felt a bit more forceful and it was smooth, the inversions give you a little bit of hangtime but not too much, it just rode really well and was a lot of fun. I'm glad I had the chance to give it a few more goes.
Last ride of the day was another go on Oblivion. There was some faff in the station with the ride ops not letting people sit together which was annoying but I managed to get a front row ride in which I was glad of. Same opinion really, fun, floaty but nothing spectacular.
We finished the day with some food, I had some ribs which were okay but at 10.30pm I was struggling to eat anything reallly. After 12 hours at the park I was absolutely knackered and ready to call it a day.
Really enjoying the rest of your reports guys, you know it's a good Live when we all have so much to blabber on about!
Day Four: Gardaland
Being a Merlin park and with the Italian kids already out of school for summer holidays we all knew this would be the busiest park of the trip and we certainly weren't wrong. This became particularly evident at the toll booth leading up to the park where the clash of trademark Italian driving and too many cars was a recipe for disaster (in Nic's car we were also delayed since we missed our turning because we were distracted by silly car games and ridiculous conversations, oops) but despite all that we all rolled into the car park and made our way to the entrance.
Naturally we faffed outside the SeaLife and experienced more hole-in-the-ground toilets.
To get from the car park to the entrance you go through a rainbow tunnel which is pretty cool!
THOUGHTS ON THE PARK
Being my first non-UK Merlin park I wasn't really sure what to expect; would it be poorly staffed with loads of cut corners or would it be a polished quality park? Luckily I found it to be the latter and despite the crowds really enjoyed my time there. For me it still doesn't beat the atmosphere and layout of Alton but then again I think that'll be hard for any park to beat. Definitely my second favourite Merlin park though.
There was a lot we wanted to do here with loads of crowd-pulling rides and honestly I was sort of worried we'd miss out on a few things but thankfully that wasn't the case.
We originally wanted to ride Raptor first but a 60min+ wait put us off, besides we had to get the pain out the way first...
I thought this area looked cool but it was just a distraction from what awaited...
...for when we went around the corner we were greeted with our hangtime-infested first ride of the day!
Now I'm usually very open minded when it comes to riding new rides and ones people usually moan about at that, but this S&S Screaming Squirrel was an exception and I had been dreading it for ages. As we sat in our [strike]car[/strike]torture device and the minimal restraints locked there was that horrible sense of "no turning back now" looming over our heads. Me and Dan were sat in front row and I was bracing myself the best I could as we climbed the lifthill...and then we were left at the ride's mercy. Filled with hangtime that outstays its welcome, juddery movements and the feeling like you're about to fall out it was every bit as bad as I had imagined, I don't even know how or why I put my arms up - maybe it was all the blood rushing to my head sending me insane? In any case I never want to ride this thing ever again. Blech.
We rode the kiddie cred next because Magic Mountain was still testing and had quite a queue. HOWEVER this is not your standard +1 as it has SEVEN LIFTHILLS. It's totally excessive but it provided some good entertainment and it was actually a long ride!
The Vekoma looping coaster finally opened and even though it had a large queue we just wanted to get it over and done with. The queue was a total mess, it was spilling out way into the path and there were loads of people all trying to funnel into the small entrance at once. As for the ride itself I liked the restraints - similar to B&M wingriders - but with the layout only consisting of 2 loops, 2 corkscrews and a helix it was pretty lackluster. I'm sure it thrilled loads of riders when it first opened but nowadays I think we're spoiled with more advanced rides. I definitely didn't hate it though, it was just 'alright'.
Another dark shooter ride and much like Chessington's Tomb Blaster it's themed to ancient Egypt - always a good note in my book! I never really bother with trying to get a high score on these rides but I do love observing all the theming and getting a close look at the animatronics - ESPECIALLY when it involves Anubis (I'm a fanboy, what can I say...). I didn't really get the story as everything was in Italian but I assume it's the usual Merlin thing of 'disturb powerful force, escape'. I also think I made the ride stop because I was taking pictures of things, going by the angry Italian lady shouting over the microphone...
Pirates of the Multi-Storey Car Park
Nic and Ian insisted we rode this and kept referring to it by the aforementioned name which I really didn't understand at first, to which they both kept saying "You'll see...no really, just wait and you'll see". The queue leading up to the ride is fantastic, it has you boarding a detailed pirate ship before descending into a dark and wet spiraling cave. It's all really immersive and has a brilliant atmosphere, just goes to show that UK Merlin has absolutely no excuse for it's usual shipping container and tin shed station 'theming'. The ride itself was okay but perhaps falls victim to generic pirate ride syndrome, some scenes were also ruined by the emergency lights being on which totally broke the immersion. As you exit the theming abruptly comes to a hall and you're met with a beige/pink corridor and an escalator...suddenly Ian and Nic's name all made sense! Confusing but good for a laugh nonetheless.
Having only ridden The Swarm in terms of wingriders at this point it's safe to assume I was very excited to ride this and see how the prototype would compare to Thorpe Park's. Being the middle of the day the sun was out in full force and the queue burdenously huge so Ian bit the bullet and got front row fastpasses for the whole group which I can't even begin to thank him enough for! While I do still like the pops of intensity on The Swarm I must say I much preferred Raptor in terms of layout, near misses and length. I felt a greater sense of speed on the traditional drop instead of the inverted one on Swarm and I just thought the overall layout and pacing was so much better. We rerode a few times later with the help of single rider and this only helped cement my positive view of the coaster. Me and Rachel also managed to get sat next to eachother near the back where we heard famous grunting man behind us let out a "BAAAH!" which made us burst out laughing and the fact it was dead silent made it all too obvious we were laughing at him...
But yeah, a good solid ride that has lots of reride value like it's Surrey cousin and it's still silky smooth despite being 4 years old.
Another Vekoma at the park, this one being an SLC - a coaster type that while I may have only ridden Kumali, Infusion and this I actually genuinely enjoy and don't get all the hate. Myself and Chris sat in the back row which convinced the rest of the group we had a death wish. I thought the layout was pretty good and there are some great spots of intensity, the only thing that let it down was the restraints and that goes for the other SLCs too, they're far too restrictive and invasive to avoid any sort of head bashing. I think I was the only one who enjoyed this coaster :lol:
Yet ANOTHER Vekoma (what is it with this park and Vekoma?) and another coaster with multiple lifthills, it's a mine train themed to snowy mountains and a mammoth. It was nothing too special and it seemed to do the same thing after each lifthill but it still had a bit of speed. The highlight was sitting near the back with Nic and catching Chris at the front wave his hand and snap his fingers in a chavvy "brrrraaap" fashion - or at least whatever he did looked INCREDIBLY like it. He refused to admit it
Oblivion: The Black Hole
Lots of photos there for a coaster VERY deserving of the attention, it's of course Gardaland's new for 2015 B&M Dive Coaster. I knew that because of my love for the original Oblivion at Alton I'd enjoy this coaster regardless of length. As you can (kind of) see from the photos the queue has an indoors section filled with lots of screens, lighting and special effects i including a very loud vibrating floor and a hallway with air blowing up from the floor! It's a really fun interactive queue and it's perfect for a silly group like CF. Unfortunately the fun stops as soon as you go outside into the B&Q warehouse staircase stuck with quite possibly one of the most repetitive soundtracks on a loop. It's a shame because the first half has so much going for it then it seems like they just gave up.
We eventually made it to the tiny station which is only big enough to have one train at a time, and I was lucky enough to get front row while the rest of the CFers sat behind. I've always thought front row is the best way to do these coasters and this one definitely confirms that! While not as intimidating as Alton's the slow lifthill with the imposing wide track still made my heart race and being held over the edge of the vertical drop is still a nerve wracking experience - although this one doesn't have the floor and bar in front to get in the way so you feel more exposed. Sadly I didn't find the drop as intense as the original but the rest of the layout made up for it, complete with smooth inversions and an airtime hill that flings you out of your seat and lets your bum float for a few seconds. Brilliant!
Do I prefer it to the original? In terms of actual ride yes, but Alton's still has the nostalgia and awesome atmosphere that can't be described. Naturally we re-rode this in the dark later which I'd recommend to anyone.
Island on a Stick
A big rotating observation tower that I initially wanted to baglady for when I found out there's no glass keeping you safely inside - I'm not so good with heights - but I went on anyway because I knew I'd regret it if I didn't. The views were so nice I even leaned right over the edge to get some shots! The weather meant it was perfect for photos too.
Fuga da Atlantide
Water coaster ahoy! I totally counted this as a credit. The drops pack a nice punch although the rest is just floating around aimlessly which I suppose lets you appreciate the theming. We got quite wet but that's because we sat at the front, and you only really get soaked from the splash of the jet of water at the top of each drop. The last new ride of the day and we couldn't have picked a better time - this is where we met Green, the sassy judgmental lady with a thing for green clothes sprawled on her side taking up a whole bench next to her rather timid looking partner. Even CF weren't safe from her piercing judging gaze.
After some rerides on Raptor and Oblivion we split up for dinner, Nic and Ian went for coffee while the rest of us sat in a BBQ joint. I had 1/2 a spicy chicken with fries although it was hard to see what we were eating since it was the darkest restaurant ever in there! We met up again later at the tat shop. I had already bought a Gardaland CD, Oblivion watch (which was the source of much entertainment for everyone) and Oblivion mug but I couldn't help but buy a large plush of the park's dragon mascot and a Chinese dragon shirt. Predictable I know but this park is full of great merch.
It was after 11pm so it was dark and we'd had a long day so we decided to hop into our cars and head back to the hotel for one last night.
THOUGHTS ON THE PARK
There really is a lot to do here and bar the vile Sequoia Adventure the ride selection here is fantastic, there is something for everyone. Even if it was busy that didn't detract from the experience at all and I honestly can't wait to return. It left me feeling annoyed that most our parks in the UK aren't run with nearly half as much care but hopefully UK Merlin will prove me wrong one day!
The next part will be the final one as we made our way to our final stop, MovieLand Park!
So did anyone enjoy the screaming squirrel??
Thoroughly enjoying these reports, its great to see different opinions of the same trip .
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