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Photo TR: Gardaland and Mirabilandia

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Gardaland: 29th and 30th April

For Gardaland I had a friend to join me so I didn´t need to be alone, which was great because the queue times were quite long, probably because May 1st being a holiday and weather being as perfect as it can. And it helped to have a car, although there is a shuttle bus running from the nearest train station to the park. Due to crowds we ended up buying a fast-pass for the water rides on the second day (it was a good call).


I rode my 100th credit in Gardaland! I chose Raptor to be The One, and it was the perfect choice! It was clearly the best coaster in the park, and though the waiting times were up to 45 minutes, I believe we rode it a total of 5 times during two days. My favourite seat ended up being the last car on the right side – the same as on Flug der Dämonen. Coincidende? Maybe, who knows The whole layout is just pure fun and has magnificent flow to it. The first drop gives nice airtime in the back, the inversions are great and the theming fits the area very well. Comparing to Flug der Dämonen, I’d have to say Raptor loses, but only by a hair. Flug has the diving drop and the demonic knot, while Raptor has an airtime drop and more hand-/leg-choppers. So it’s not easy to compare (but I guess I did so anyway… ). But yeah easily the best coaster at Gardaland.


Oblivion: the Black Hole is the second biggest coaster in Gardaland. It’s a Dive Machine and after riding Krake I wasn’t too excited to ride this, because Krake was a disappointment for me. This was better than Krake, though, with the added heartline roll and a helix. Somehow the drop was better too, I wonder how that can be, they look very similar… The indoor part of the queue is fun and adds a lot to the experience, and the warped theming around the dive is even more impressive to look in person! The level of detail is just incredible, even the smallest pavement bricks and grates are warped! But after riding all the rides at Gardaland I have to say, Merlin really seems to like this theme of “let’s begin an expedition to unknown... aaand something goes wrong, lots of warning lights, signs and alerts”. It’s certainly not a bad theme and rather simple to pull off as well, but having multiple rides in the same park sharing the same idea, it kinda gets old. Another thing is the endless spieling in stations and queuelines. Is it just me or does no-one else actually pay no attention to them? In my opinion they are just boring soundwaste and seem more like a disclaimer than theming.


Blue Tornado was my second SLC, a one and done for me to avoid any brain damage. Luckily two out of my three SLC rides I have survived with quite minimal headbanging. They have also been the times I sat in the very last row, so could it be that I have found the magic seat? I’m certainly going to keep testing this theory whenever I shall stumble upon any SLC’s. So yeah, it’s surprisingly forceful ride, and the layout is long and fun, it’s just the execution that is questionable. Blue Tornado runs with three trains, stacking one train at all times in the final brake run so I’m really not sure if adding a train adds to the capacity. Maybe it does.


Shaman was not running the VR due to “unforeseen technical difficulties”, but queueing for 10 minutes for a Vekoma double loop and cork sounds A LOT better than queueing for 55 minutes for the same but with blindfolds so you can’t prepare yourself for the G’s. Shaman luckily has new Vekoma trains with these vests, which are great. I just don’t get why would you want to add VR to such a forceful ride? The loops pull at least 4G’s (I think) and the transitions between curves is just horrible to think how it would slam you if unprepared… Without VR, a decent thrilling ride, happy to ride it. I’m also happy that Shaman has got some new paint and general care with the VR adaptation, it’s good to see a classic receive some attention.


Mammut had a bit more speed and forces in the helix than I expected! The theming is very well done and with the layout always twisting around itself it’s hard to know where you’re heading next. Kung Fu Panda academy was better than its clone at Power Park, but had individual lapbars. But only one of them actually touches your lap, one of them your thighs, one your stomach and mine touched my ribcage. Riding a Fabbri spinner with a restraint on your ribcage was definitely not something on my to-do-list, but hey I survived. Theming in the queue looked great. Also Ortobruco Tour was interesting. Basically a Big Apple but with long layout and multiple lifts. Yes, we credit-whored a bit, but only because we had the fast-passes.


Then there’s Sequoia Adventure… I was really looking forward to riding this! But man it was so horrible for me. The loading system is basically a joke and the track has like 10 cars while only able to run 2 on the course. The rest just stack on the brake run. The technical aspects… I’m studying engineering, and seeing some of this stuff up close is – let’s say – interesting, or even a bit sketchy. But it seems to run fine, so that’s given. The first time going over the edge was very intense (and fun). I can handle hangtime fine, and the seats and restraints weren’t too uncomfortable, until in one of the brakes I hit my head so hard that the padding gave way and hard plastic was there to greet the back of my head. And then it happened again on the next set of brakes. Because of this and the other stuff mentioned before, I’m really not a fan of this ride. Yes, the first dive/drop/saxophone/whatever was fun and intense, but everything else is just not appealing to me, at all. 2/10, not looking forward to having this kind of experience again, sadly.


Dark rides I Corsari and Ramses II: Il Risveglio. Wow! I had heard they were good but just the scale alone was unbelievable! I wouldn’t want to spoil them, so I’ll just say my jaw dropped multiple times on both of the rides. Definitely a must in Gardaland! Great job!


Overall Gardaland feels very complete as a park, with multiple well-themed areas and plenty of rides, restaurants and shows to easily fill two days!


Entrance. Lots of people.


Trippy entrance walkway.






I think the first inversion is my favourite



The 100th credit!








A very nice station


Oblivion: the Black Hole




Inceridbly detailed theming





I just love Intamin 2nd gen drop towers. Even though it's small, Space Vertigo is still a great drop, with an interesting queue!



I think fighter jets always look cool. Even with an SLC.




Looks bizarre


Rides even more bizarre.






Yes, we were a bit dirty credit-courtesans...


Rapids ride looking good


Decent theming


The log flume Colorado Boat. We had the fast-pass but still waited for 25 minutes.



Fuga da Atlantide. What surprised me is that is has cable lifts! Definitely an Intamin trademark.


They had this kind of bag system outside many rides. I guess it works... but wouldn't want to trust it too many times.


I Corsari. Even the queue is just wow.


Ramses II: Il Risveglio. One of the most iconic entrances I've ever seen.


Pretty lazer effects.


An interesting and funny way to fill up your bottles!

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Mirabilandia 2nd and 3rd May

After Gardaland I continued on by train to Cervia, near Mirabilandia. Turns out during off-season, it’s not that simple to get to Mirabilandia using public transports, so I would suggest you don’t even try it. Seriously get a car. I ended up paying 50 euros for a return taxi trip just because a bus driver didn’t feel like picking me up (he even watched me wave while he drove past me on the stop). While it was very busy at Gardaland, Mirabilandia was basically dead. All of the rides ran with minimum trains and employee, and most of the kiosks and stores were closed. But this meant almost everything was walk-on, while the weather continued almost as beautiful!


Low crowds also meant a lot of re-rides on iSpeed. Which. Was. Awesome. iSpeed entered my top-10 and is now sitting at place #4! During two days I guess I got around 15 rides on it. The launch has a good kick, is forceful all the way through and lasts a good while! The layout is excellent and the first time you can catch some breath is in the Immelmann, a good way over the halfway point. It’s hard to say what would my favourite element be so I’ll just say everything in the first half, but the ending isn’t bad either. The only bad thing about the ride is that it has OTSR, but even with ejector airtime it didn’t feel too bad. The rally theme is solid and fits the ride, but the queue is just an infernal endless cattlepen. I’m SO glad I only had to wait for a couple of trains. In the best case I exited the ride, re-entered the queue just to board the same train again for the next round.


Another big ride at Mirabilandia is Katun. Although big might be a bit understatement, GIGANTIC might be closer to truth. I mean just the lift hill is ridiculously tall, but besides height, Katun makes a surprisingly loud sound while travelling through the track. And I mean seriously LOUD. It’s not just B&M roar anymore, seems almost more like screeching because the pitch goes higher as the trains gather more speed. And while Katun sits at its own corner of the park. I could hear it everywhere in the park, even through other rides’ noises. However, Katun didn’t blow me away after riding it. I wondered quite a while how I would describe it, and I think the best word I have is predictable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not a bad ride. It did everything I expected it to do, but I guess that’s it, it did nothing more (unlike iSpeed which blew my socks off). It was a bit shaky in the first drop and the loop, but other than that it was smooth and loaded with positive G’s. I rode Katun around 8 times, mostly in the back, but I also tried front row and left and right sides. My favourite ended up being the left seat in the last car (mostly due to the zero-g roll). The theming and colour scheme of Katun are really beautiful, the Mayan theme is pulled off well.


Also something I looked forward to was the stunt car show, this year playing “Grosso Guaio a Stunt City” (big trouble in Stunt City). I had read it’s good but holy mother of awesome it blew my mind! Seriously I think it’s the best show I’ve ever seen! It lasts half an hour and I think my jaw was open for at least ¾ of the time. Even though they narrate it in Italian (a language I don’t speak nor understand), I could follow the plot enough. But you don’t really need any plotline when you have such a good pacing, varying choreography and excellent choice of music constantly blasting through the speakers. They even had it down to details such as scooter-cars (?) playing soccer as a pre-show before the actual act, while people were getting inside and finding a seat! I saw the show twice, and on both times the whole audience gave standing ovations, which lasted for a good couple of minutes. And let me tell you, they really deserve it! Any pictures or videos don’t do justice how awesome it is to see in real life. Definitely a must see in Mirabilandia!


DiVertical was just as wet as I had heard. It felt like a bucket was dumped on top of my head and lap. My reaction on the station though, when they don’t allow you to leave your bag, but you have to take it with you… Luckily my camera and phone are waterproof but still… I don’t get it, why would you do that? Sadly no airtime, but the layout is still more than just a lift and a drop, so it’s alright. The funky lift didn’t feel as tilted as I thought, but man it was still tall! DiVertical wasn’t the wettest ride however, El Dorado Falls takes the title. If DiVertical felt like two buckets of water, El Dorado Falls is just like walking into a shower with your clothes on. The splash is actually so strong that the (although padded) lapbar feels like a punch to your stomach. Even though it was sunny and warm, it took a couple of hours for my _black_ t-shirt to dry.


Besides the stunt car show, Mirabilandia has multiple shows during the day throughout the park. Some of the shows are on special arenas or stages, but a couple take place in the middle of walkways! I saw a Mayan show at Katun’s entrance and a Wild West duel literally in the middle of a street. They were both excellent and the duel even had guest interaction! I really have to congratulate the director, because once again everything was in Italian, but I could still follow the plot with ease. Most of the shows had only one show during the day (could be due to off-season), so having two days to spend let me see more of these. I really like seeing special stuff like this at parks. You can always buy the same rides and all, but to have good shows takes a bit more.


The VR-experience at Gardaland was not operational, but in Mirabilandia it was in use. And it had the longest queue time of 25 minutes even though every other ride in the park was a walk-on. Master Thai is a möbius track with dual station and a total of 6 trains. They were running 3 trains without and 3 with VR, having separate queues. Whichever side you choose, you ride through the whole track, meaning you just pass through the station on you first go, which is good I think. Otherwise it would be a very short ride. I tried first without VR, so I could learn the track and if I need to brace in some of the curves. Turned out I do need to brace. I admit, having VR did improve the ride, but is it enough to get a score of 2,1 instead of 2,0, if the capacity is just abysmal? I calculated around 120 pph, with 10 minutes between dispatches. The loading took a good while, during which I just had to look at a static image of a jungle. I had the headset as tight as I could, but it still felt like it shook around. Having ridden this and the VR at Linnanmäki, I think yes the VR can add to the experience, but the ride should NOT have any sudden laterals, or high G’s. It’s just too uncomfortable not being able to prepare for any sudden movements.


Btw Mirabilandia sells not only onride photos, but onride videos as well! You can buy a reverse-POV of yourself riding iSpeed and Katun. Didn’t go for it though.


All in all Mirabilandia has iSpeed and the stunt car show which are worthy of a visit themselves, but somehow it didn’t feel like as complete as a park as Gardaland. Mirabilandia is a bit more difficult to navigate through, and has some empty areas that you just have to walk by (especially to reach Reset). If I’d have to choose either of the parks to visit, I couldn’t decide. So I’ll recommend visiting them both (with a car)!


Entrance. Not that many people.



I suggest looking at the shows before entering the park and deciding which you want to see. I also recommend seeing as many as possible!


Well hello there Intamin gorgeous


Top-10 material indeed


Tophats are photogenic




Ascending riders







Katun. So huge.



Srsly. Massive.













Massive splooosh!


Result of said massive splooosh. Also, Wildfire shirt.


VR on coasters... still not quite into it.




I really like the theme, and the song they play in the area!


Your S&S drop towers. These had different seats and restraints didn't have belt.


Rexplorer, the Blauer Enzian made a weird high-pitch noise...


El Dorado Falls. Yeah there's a boat somewhere


Absolutely soakd.


Nice rapids.





Didn't ride the Zamperla flat rides.


Pre-show soccer!


Stunt show!




Mayan show


After every show you can take a photo with the actors. I kinda regret not taking one with the stunt show drivers, but I didn't want to be the only adult among the little kids.


Steampunks. Once again great choice of music, and clothing.


Themed restaurant.


I took this photo and only afterwards realized this is actually a maintenance entrance!


Owned. This one has a nice and fresh selection of recent songs.

Thanks for reading!

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I really like Mirabilandia. I feel like the Italians don't like it or visit it nearly as much as Gardaland. I kind of see what you're saying about Gardaland feeling like a more full park, but Mirabilandia's attractions, food, shows, and staff have always seemed better to me. Nice TR, thanks for sharing.

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I do not know how many years ago you've been seeing mirabilandia, but the park has fallen for years. When you go you never know what you find open or closed, the employees are very lazy and the shows are so many, but I'm not a big one.

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That's too bad to hear about Miriblandia.


I like the looks of this park more than Gardaland - and that would include their coaster line-up.


ISpeed just looks like it would be a TON of fun!

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Unfortunately, mirabilandia and parque reunidos do not make so much money, and the park suffers. It's a beautiful park but no soul

That's too bad to hear about Miriblandia.


I like the looks of this park more than Gardaland - and that would include their coaster line-up.


ISpeed just looks like it would be a TON of fun!

The coaster is absolutely the best, but it does not help. Not in italy

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I do not know how many years ago you've been seeing mirabilandia, but the park has fallen for years. When you go you never know what you find open or closed, the employees are very lazy and the shows are so many, but I'm not a big one.


I hope they turn things around, I loved Mirabilandia, but that was 7 years ago.

Edited by larrygator
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For myself, Mirabilandia > Gardaland. With Katun and iSpeed, I thought it was a great park.

Back in 2010. Sorry to read it's not doing well, lately. Hope things improve for it.


And congratulations on your 100th Coaster!

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I had completely forgotten Gardaland built a B&M mini Dive Machine. Nice reports though, Katun is one of my like top 5 or so "bucket list" coasters. Raptor is my favorite B&M invert and Katun is basically a taller faster version of the first half of Raptor with themeing.

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I freaking love Katun. It is just so impressive, and such a perfect ride from start to finish. But I haven't been for six years either. Thanks for the update, sorry to hear the park is perhaps going downhill!


If you ask anyone within the Italian coaster community, they'll probably say that every park in Italy other than Leolandia is going downhill. Italy in general is going downhill now that I'm thinking about it.

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