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Photo TR:Barcelona and Madrid


davidmorton
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So there I was at work the other week, reasonably bored as I was not busy -

"I know" thinks me, "I'll nip off on a quick holiday", so promptly book a flight,

a couple of hotels and shortly thereafter I'm off to Barcelona for a few days

followed by Madrid for a few days. I kid myself that I was going for a bit of

culture, but we all know that its really only for the coasters....

 

After a tour around the Camp Nou (a pretty impressive place) and a day spent

wandering around the streets of Barcelona (very nice) I turn up at the main

railway station for the 08:30 train to Port Aventura (€38 for return train and

park entry), and just over an hour later I'm at Port Aventura for the first park

of the trip;

 

Port Aventura 31/8

------------------

 

http://www.portaventura.es/home.asp?pIdi=uk

 

It has to be said, initial impressions are not good. Get off the train at the

rather grotty and graffiti trashed train station, cross the road to the park

entrance and are met by the sight of a vandalized park mascot. Disney would

never let anyone do this to their mouse would they?

 

 

Wandering up the hill past the defiled mascot, you wander past a few of the resort

hotels. They didn't look terribly impressive to me either, just your run of the

mill Spanish hotel.

 

Getting into the park it starts to get a lot better, enter through the "Meditterrania"

area (who'd of thought it, go to a theme park in the Mediterranean only to be met

by a theme Mediterranean zone - just like going to DCA to see what California is like??).

 

Anyway, wander around the lake and up into the park proper. The place isn't the

easiest to navigate, there are four other themed zones; Mexico, China, Polynesia

and Far West and they are all in a rough circuit - ie you can't get from A to C

without going through B. My plan was to get to the new attraction first (the Intamin

drop ride) to beat the queues so I head in what seems like the quickest route, through

Polynesia and China towards Mexico (my geography being tested somewhat by this).

By the time I find myself in China approaching the rather impressive looking Dragon

Khan, the drop ride still has started testing so I divert from the plan and hope

ride or three on the B&M looper;

 

Dragon Khan - an excellent looper, 10 years old, nowadays I guess that it'd be a

floorless, but to me its great just as it is. Big hill, drop, loop, dive loop,

zero-g roll, cobra roll, MCBR, second loop, interlocking corkscrew finale.

Interestingly it was sign outside announcing it as the world’s only 8-inversion

coaster, more marketing spin there then. Some excellent views going up the lift

hill, try to look to the right over the resort down to the sea rather than to the

left, over the ugly industrial area that adjoins the park!

 

 

 

After sating myself of the B&M I finally get over to Mexico and the drop ride;

 

Hurakan Condor - an Intamin giant drop, themed as a Mexican temple and unusually

with a roof bit on it. It has different configurations of seats - tilting floorless

(pretty uncomfortable for the gentleman!), seats, tilting seats. Anyway its a drop

ride, takes you up, hangs around for a few seconds, drops you, job done. Surprised

to see that you do not actually get up into the roof bit, you stop short of it (so

its just themeing after all). has to be said that the on-ride photo is really well

done though, they get it portrait style so you can see all the way down the drop on

it (you'll have to look elsewhere for an example of one of them though as I don't

do on-ride photos - cheapskate!)

 

 

I try out the other stuff in Mexico;

 

Templo del Fuego - pyrotechnic show, lots of fire effects and stuff, a bit "Backdraft"y

a bit "Poseidons Fury"y. Pretty good though.

 

Yucatan - spin and chuck ride ala a Music Express. Big laterals!

 

El Diablo Tren de la Mine - The mine train is up next, has to be said that it looks pretty

good as you approach it, lots of themeing and the trains whizzing around you. However

that where it ceases to be impressive, its a really poor ride. Its got three largish

lift hills so you'd expect it to be good, however its not. Apart from the last hill a

nd drop it never really does anything. the second hill just drops you into a tame

turnaround into the third hill...rubbish pacing. Anyway, not a great mine train.

 

 

They have a big theatre sitting between the China and Mexico zones. Cleverly you

can enter from the China side where its themed as the "Grand Theatre Imperial" or

from the Mexican side where its just the Mexican "Grand Theatre" - cool. Anyway

I wander in here to see the "El Sol de Oriente" show, just on a whim, BUT it is

by far the best show I have ever seen in a park! Fantastic, full of Chinese

acrobatics, lots of effects, Chinese dragons etc. Absolutely fantastic - and

that’s from an old cynic like me!

 

 

Wander into the Far West and you are into woody zone, they have two next to each

other, and the amount of people who were in the queue for the kiddie Tomahawk who

thought that they were in the queue for the big Stampida you would not believe!

 

Stampida - Racing woody that turns into a duelling woody, cool. Pretty good racing

coaster, well paced and which tricks you when halfway around you enter a tunnel

racing parallel with the other train, only to emerge without the opposing train

- "what the? where have they gone?", only to turn the next bend to find them racing

towards you, now duelling away! An excellent trick, making this a pretty good ride

indeed. Bit hard to photograph though so no great shots of it I'm afraid!

 

 

Tomahawk - the aforementioned kiddie woody is intertwined with Stampida at one

end. Its not a very good ride and I wonder why they bothered with it really, buy

2 get 1 free perhaps?

 

I manage to spend the rest of the day happily doing the other stuff, a Vekoma

junior (a Roller Skater job) "Tami-tami", there’s a pretty good rapids ride (although

they do seem to have overdone the fibre glass rocks somewhat!), a simulator "Sea Odyssey"

(which seemed familiar to me, I swear I'd seen the film before but I can't place it,

anyone???), and all the usual theme park trimmings; a nice train ride, pleasant boat

ride, a shoot-the-chutes ride, wave swinger, kiddie zone, various shows etc....

 

Overall a pretty good park. Not too busy the day I went, but reasonably popular.

Easy to get to from Barcelona and all the local tourist areas. Cool.

 

 

Spanish local trains however seem to be a different thing, obviously the

advertised schedule is more of a suggestion; I turn up for the 19:38 back to Barcelona,

which never turns up, then the 19:47 eventually turns up at about 20:15. Oh well,

the "Waiting at the crap train station for nearly an hour" ride was the day's downside!

 

==================

 

The next morning I spend wandering around the hill in Barcelona where they had the

1992 Olympics - Montjuic. Really pleasant place with some rather stunning buildings

dotted around.

 

However you don't care about that, you are more interested in the afternoon; what you

do is get the metro out of the city, get on a tram ride halfway up the mountain

overlooking Barcelona, get onto a funicular railway that takes to up the rest of the

mountain and bingo, you are at the local "funfair";

 

 

Tibidabo 31/8

-------------

 

http://www.tibidabo.es/default_eng.asp

 

The main thing about this place is just where it is. Right on the peak of the

mountain overlooking the city. The views are just stunning. Combine the view

with some decent rides and you have a winner.

 

For example, there’s a pretty unexciting suspended train ride thing, doesn't do

a lot, but it does do this;

 

 

Theres a coaster up here, a wildcat-esque thing called "Montanya Rusa" (that’s

Russian Mountain to me, the Spanish for roller coaster), this isn't very exciting,

but does have a rather spectacular view.

 

 

There's a powered coaster too, called Tibidabo Express, actually quite good

- no pictures though, its a bit hidden!

 

Perhaps the highlight ride is this ancient "flight simulator" from something

like 1927, basically its on a big arm and "flys" you out over the mountain side

for a few circuits.

 

 

And its got a bit of a view!

 

 

The scariest ride (for me) was this "Giant Lever" thing that dates from the middle-ages

sometime (I exaggerate), you stand in an open basket on the end of this arm and they

rotate you up to the top. No pictures from the top I'm afraid, I'm not ashamed to say

that I had slowly put the camera away and was gripping onto the basket for dear life

- that basket rocks around a bit too much for me!

 

 

And as for the drop ride, how cool is that;

 

 

 

Overall a really cool place, they have a top spin, a pirate boat, wave swinger,

Ferris wheel, log flume, fun house, loads of stuff. And all topped off with THAT view!

 

 

==================

 

A few more days in Barcelona, doing the sights. That Gaudi stuff is really good.

And that big cathedral they are building; bonkers! Got a train over to Madrid and after

a day touring the sights there I was off to get the 10:02 train from Atocha (€32 train

fare and park entry combo) to get to;

 

 

Warner Bros Movie World 5/9

---------------------------

 

http://www.warnerbrospark.com/ingles/

 

This place is in the middle of nowhere. Not even a resort hotel. There’s a train

station, a car park and a theme park. Can't complain really.

 

Waiting for them to open up the gates to the rest of the park, I can't help but

notice the distinct lack of other punters - odd.

 

They open up proper at 11am and I lead the dribs and drabs around the park and

get on the first train of the day on Superman. Stay on for the second and third

trains of the day, then wander next door to Batman and ride the first and second

trains on that. Bizarrely unbusy! By now its 40 minutes in and I've been on ALL

the cycles of the 2 big coasters!

 

Superman:Atraccion de Acero - (which would be Spanish for "Ride of Steel") -

this is a nice big B&M floorless. There are literally 3 people on the train on

my first ride, the park is that busy. Anyway, its lift hill, drop, loop,

immelmann, zero-g roll, cobra roll, airtime hill (what no MCBR?), interlocking

corkscrews, mini-helix. And its good, really good. The lack of a MCBR really

makes a difference and its easily the best coaster on this trip.

 

 

Batman La Fuga - your standard B&M Batman clone. Themed differently to all the

American ones, instead of the "trashed Gotham city" theme, this is set in an

"Arkham Asylum" building, lots of gothic stuff going on, quite well done actually.

You could also walk right under the first loop, and if you stuck your camera

out of the side of the covered walkway you could shoot things like this;

 

 

I wander back down to their GIB and they are holding trains until there’s

enough passengers, somewhat different to my experiences with SFMM and SFGAM's

Deja-Vus where I waiting for > 1 hour for either (or SFoG's one, which wasn't

even running when I was there).

 

 

Oddly they aren't opening the front or back rows at all, so I get a couple of

rides in row 2 and the penultimate row. This is a BIG ride, I really like the

"suspended vertically" business on the first spike, something really different

with that. I felt this was rougher than the Deja-Vus I ridden (but I only

managed 1 ride on each of those so maybe the novelty clouded my judgement?).

Also thought that this one went very slow through the cobra-roll on the return trip?

 

 

I've not said much about this park generally yet - well I thought that it was great.

In fact the only other park that I feel was better themed is DisneySea, and that’s

high praise indeed I think! Its well layed-out, not too big, not too small,

fantastic attention to the themeing, really clean, really interesting, some really

good rides, lots for the kiddies too. And it was empty. Hardly any punters at all.

The only queue I had ALL DAY, was for the kiddie coaster, and I had to wait 1 train.

The only time I've ever been to a park this quite was Sydney's Wonderland, which

closed down shortly afterwards. I really hope that I'd just come on a quiet day

(that was my plan after all) and that this place does get busy in season because

its really excellent. Someone (Madrid city I believe) has thrown a heck of a lot

of many at this place (and it shows) and it really does deserve to be a massive

park on an international scale!

 

Anyway I digress, the centrepiece of the park is the big S&S tower "La venganza

del Enigma" (aka Riddler's Revenge), which works in either shot, drop or combo

mode depending on the time of day. Am I missing something here - what’s the point

of that, why isn't it just always combo mode? Anyway, that’s what I rode.

 

 

The woody, "Coaster Express" (formally known as "Wild Wild West" - wonder why

they dropped that, I know that the Australian MW park renamed their Wild Wild

West ride too?), was actually a bit dull. The trains were bizarre, not your

usual woody trains but Intamin ones, complete with Intamin's tiered seating

business and individual seats. Didn't really like them on a woody at all,

seemed wrong somehow.

 

Speaking of the Australian WBMW park - there is a number of rides here in

common with that one - Madrid's Batman:Knight Flight was the same simulator

ride that appears as Batman Adventure:The Ride 2, Madrid's Rio Bravo water

ride is Australia's Wild West Falls, Marvin the Martian 3D appears at both

(although I read the Aus one is being replaced by Shrek), both park's share

a "Police Academy Stunt Show" too - although I have to admit I did follow

what was going on a bit more in the Australian one rather than the Spanish

one.

 

This place however was miles better than the Australian one (which I thought

was a bit poor when I was there 3 years ago).

 

Can't recommend it enough - excellent. For a change the train back to the city

was on time too!

 

 

==================

 

 

So after a day touring a few museums and the Santiago Bernabau (a theme park

AND football stadium holiday!) I get the Madrid Metro out to;

 

Parque de Atracciones 7/9

-------------------------

 

http://www.parquedeatracciones.es

 

Actually a reasonably impressive place. More themeing than I'd expected and

probably more rides.

 

This park was much more popular with the locals than the WBMW park - guess

because it is right in the city centre and you can pop in for a few hours

or so. Also its cheaper, €22.60 entry.

 

I start out on Tornado, the Intamin SLC. Pretty good but it doesn't do

too much; lift hill, drop, loop, loop, inline, helix. They seem to have

an odd policy for loading it too, basically if they haven't got a train full,

they'll wait, and wait, and wait. I was waiting for a good 20 minutes at

one point for them to get enough people to be bothered running the thing.

Very odd.

 

 

The Schwartzkopf wildcat "7 Picos" was OK but interestingly I see a tv

crew and later it is on local TV. Think that they are closing it soon?

A shame, its old and was pretty busy while I was there.

 

 

Tarantula, their new Maurer Sohne spinner, opened late, but was pretty good

- on a par with AT's Spinball Whizzer but perhaps not quite a good a ride,

interesting layout though and you could get it spinning pretty well. Nice

themeing too with plenty of big plastic spider bits lying around!

 

 

The rest of the rides that I did; their medium sized Intamin drop tower,

a rotor, a wave swinger, zeppelin (another suspended train thingy), the

Ferris wheel, a bizarre gentle boat ride, a "Small World" type ride, the

worst "4d" film showing I've ever seen (tiny screen, rubbish 3d and their

4d amounted to a few lights and a bit of smoke) but by far the best of all,

was Alton Towers' old Mississippi Steamboat!!!

 

 

I remember this being at Alton Towers when i was a lad (going back a bit

now) and I used to really like it there so I was well-chuffed to find it

in this park! It was in a bit of a state though unfortunately, a bit run

down and trashed. No jazz band on the roof either.

 

 

The other cool thing about the Parque was that I could see it from the

balcony of my hotel room, so at night you could see the Intamin all lit up, cool;

 

 

 

 

Thats all folks....!

 

 

Dave "No hablo Espanol" M.

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Hi Dave

 

A great trip report & some good pictures there..

 

I'll have to get back to Spain some time soon.

I've only been to Port Aventura & WBMW Madrid, that was back in Sept 2003.

 

I see somethings don't change -

 

* The graffiti covered station at Port Aventura

* The front 2 seats still closed on Stunt Fall at WBMW

* Batman & Superman coasters almost empty - while Wild Wild West had 2hr queues

 

Paul 'Want to go on Tornado' Chapman

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Great TR,

 

I had never heard anyone speak negative of Port Aventura and your report seemed quite 'honest', glad to hear it so I don't go in with amazingly high expectations.

 

As for the Intamin SLC, I heard that if it has less than 20 people it will valley!

 

Spain didn't leave a great impression on me on my last visit (didn't do coasters, went with family) so I haven't been ready to rush back.

 

Thanks again for the report!

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That 'Giant Lever' ride looks hilarious!

 

Like the very very old, very very steampunk version of a Fabbri Booster

 

Great trip report. I'm probably going to be doing Spanish parks soon since we have relatives out their I can remind my parents exist and how long it has been since we last saw them

 

Cerberus

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Hmmm - I didn't think that I was being negative about Port Aventura, I

enjoyed the place. Just some aspects of it weren't "up to scratch" which I

found surprising!

 

After all I said it had the best show I'd ever seen, a great B&M looper, a

great woody, a good drop ride etc - I was only really negative about the stuff

outside the park?

 

Dave "Honest, its worth the trip!" M.

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I loved Tibidabo when I went. I actually spent too much time there and missed the last train to Port Aventura that day. Whoops. I had originally gone for the V shaped dueling coaster I had seen, but it had been removed (the year before I went I think) I didn't ride the observation platform thing because of the heights, but I did ride the suspended monoral. From what I remember, the Suspended monoral/dark ride, observation platform, and big airplane ride (which is powered by its own propeller) are all insanely old. I picked up a replica poster from something like 1922 for the suspended dark ride.

 

The other thing I loved about the park was the different types of transportation required to get there. Subway (with an insanely deep station), Streetcar from the end of the subway line. And finally, Funicular from the end of the Streetcar line up the mountain to the park.

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Amazing pics, thanks! The views from some of those rides over the cliff were unbelievable. Definitely will have to make that trek over to Spain sooner than I thought.

 

Glad to hear Tarantula was good, I absolutely adored Spider over in Lagoon, so I've wanted to ride all the ones overseas pretty badly.

 

Thanks again for the TR and photos!

 

JC

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Since y'liked them, a couple more of Tibidabo

 

from below;

 

 

Hyper zoomed in, taken from Gaudi's park Guell, which is about half

way up the hill towards the park.

 

You can see (from left to right) the ferris wheel (with the drop

ride in front), the giant lever thingy, the big church behind the park,

the coaster is below the right hand side of the church, the airplane

ride and the log flume is at the extreme right on the lower level. Not

sure what the other tower thing is near the airplane, not part of the

park.

 

And that drop tower with a bit more context (this one (but much higher res) is currently set as my wallpaper at work!)

 

 

Again..

 

 

And to show off the view from the coaster (that one of Robb's in HK hasn't quite got the scale of this one I think!)

 

 

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When I went to Port Aventura back in 2003 I have to say i thought it was one of the nicer parks id been to. Very good themeing and rides all around. I do remember graffiti in the Stampida que as well tho, ud think they would clean it up!!

 

Went to WBMW Madrid the same year and it was also very quiet, almost like a ghost town for half the day but a bit busier in the afternoon. I also thought Superman was a great floorless although I think I preferred Dragon Kahn at the time. I counted myself lucky getting on Stunt Fall at the time and even more since missing Deja Vue at SFGA on my recent US trip (Too big a que, it was actually WORKING!!)

 

Glad you enjoyed your trip and great photos.

 

James

 

p.s Did you take the overnight train from Barcelona from Madrid? We did and it was a killer!!

Edited by selfyselfy
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Did you take the overnight train from Barcelona from Madrid? We did and it was a killer!!

 

Nope, just got one at 9:30 on the Saturday morning out of Barca - into Madrid by 2 - (First class as well, tourist was full up) just in time to get to the hotel and get out to the nearest Oirish-bar that was showing the England Wales match!

 

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I remember when I went to WBMW Madrid 2 years ago. Batman and Superman were walk-ons all day, WWW had a big queue before they added the second train and the Stunt Fall station was completely dead. There was probably no more than 4-5 people waiting to ride it when we entered the station (and yes, the ride was open). People just stayed in their seats.

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