Europe Trip Day Fourteen Part Two: Gardaland
Gardaland was a big dissapointment for us. And I think this might be the first time on this trip we have really felt that way.
First off, we get to the Gardaland Hotel, and from the outside, this place looks FANTASTIC! It's like a smaller scale version of the Grand Floridian, and for being one of the more expensive hotels on the trip, we were really hoping this would be great.
For the most part, it was, but the customer service seemed VERY lacking, which would end up being a theme for most of our time spent at Gardaland.
It just seemed that the people there weren't really 'with it.' We would ask them stuff like "do you have wi-fi internet access?" and they would respond "I think we might have it in the main lobby...but we're not sure." Or "Our phone doesn't seem to be turned on, can you fix it?" "Oh, I'm sorry, but I don't know anything about how the phone system works, call back tomorrow morning." WTF?!? For $200 per night, this wasn't really living up to the price. The Europa hotels were MUCH better at customer service.
Now onto the park.....
Sequoia Adventure is one of the dumbest rides I've ever been on. Good, I got that out of my system!
OMG, what a total let down. I was really looking forward to this S&S contraption after being so impressed with Powder Keg.
But this ride is completely 'pointless.'
You're in a Wild-Mouse type car. You go up a lift, you slowly go over the edge and hang upside down for a couple of seconds...rinse, repeat....rinse, repeat....rinse, repeat. What the hell???
There was actually nothing fun about this ride at all. And on top of it, no one else seemed to really care about it either. It was very interesting watching the faces of the riders. They got off the ride with this look of total 'indifference.' And that's exactly how we felt.
The ride seemed like it was a floor model prototype for a element that might actually be cool in another coaster. For example, a Wild Mouse that had an upside down bit to mix up the layout a bit. But when this is ALL THE RIDE DOES, it was totally and completely pointless.
I'm not even 100% sure I can count it as a coaster. It's so controlled that it felt more like a flat ride than a coaster.
I really, really hope that S&S can put this system to better use.
Anyway, so that was dissapointing, but what about the rest of the park?
Overall, there was just nothing that interesting here. The park LOOKED great! But it had no substance. A Vekoma corkscrew, a kiddie coaster, a Vekoma SLC, a couple of dark rides (one of them was actually very good), and a lot of your standard fair kiddie rides that you see in pretty much every other park.
This place lacked anything really unique or really interesting. The only thing that looked remotely interesting was the Intamin drop tower.
Then came a HUGE rain storm! Complete with massive winds and tons of lightning! It looked like a good, kick A$$ Florida storm!
Almost immediatly, everything in the park closed "Knott's Style" but the park did remain open. (If this was Knott's the park would have been shut down and people kicked out left and right!) So we decided to stick it out a bit, have dinner, do a couple more dark rides, and then get the rest of the credits (we only needed the kiddie and the SLC)
After about another two hours, when it became clear they weren't going to re-open any rides. At this point, we headed to guest services to see if there was anything they can do. Since we had only been in the park about 3 1/2 hours, we were at least hoping they would allow us to upgrade our one day ticket to a two day ticket. "No. You must purchase your two day ticket at the booth when you enter, there are no upgrades."
While I can apprecaite that the policy is the policy, it really did kind of suck that between everyone in our group, we had basically spent about $1000 at the resort (we stayed at the hotel for two nights) and only got in 3 1/2 hours of the park, and they told us that, no matter what, we would have to buy another full price admission for the next day.
Wow, that sucks. Combined with the fact that the park removed trains on coasters to go from two train operation to one train, even when the queue was full, there was a 'no more ordering drinks or food at the restaurant after your initial order' rule in order to get people in and out of the restaurants quicker, and they weren't going to re-open rides after it was clear that the storm was passing, we all felt they just didn't give two shits about their customers once they got their money at the gate.
It's too bad really, because this park LOOKED like it should have been AWESOME!
What do you expect from a park that calls it's Vekoma Corkscrew "Magic Mountain?"
Onto some photos.....