Photo TR: Luna Park Tel Aviv - BLACK MAMBA opening

the difference between an american and israeli grand opening
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Photo TR: Luna Park Tel Aviv - BLACK MAMBA opening

Postby FLIPDUDE » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:18 am

Last weekend I went to Luna Park Tel Aviv, which is my home park, for the first time in about 2 years. I haven't gone there lately because I grew bored with it, having visited it countless times because despite being very small compared to international parks, it's one of israel's only two "magor" amsuement parks.

You can see the Anaconda rollercoaster(A boomerang) from my school, somewhere in the distance, and one day while I was trying to locate it, I noticed there was a large black tower blocking it from view. I didnt want to get too excited, because several times before I thought that one of the israeli parks might be building something cool, but ended up being disappointed. So I called the park to find out, turns our they really DID build a launched S&S freefall tower! I was super excited, not only would this be the first ride in Israel to have some proper ejector airtime, but I actually SUGGESTED exactly this sort of tower to the park manager in an email I sent him years ago, along with many other suggestions, a couple of which I later found out also happened!

It was really hard trying to find out from the park information center when the new drop tower was expected to open. Whenever I asked the secretary would go "Uuuuh... who are you asking as?" thinking I was some reporter or something wanting to write about it. Israel is such a small country with a less than impressive seleciton of amusement parks and rides, so the concept of an amusement park enthusiast was new to them. I was given several different dates and figured I'd try to go ont he earliest one they gave me.
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This is the sight that USUALLY welcomed guests - the anaconda rollercoaster. The tallest ride in the park (There is a flying island ride that's only taller when operating)
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But now, The Anaconda had company! BLACK MAMBA - The newest addition to the park skyline.
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The park entrance. The park is small, and right next to the main street. so a big entrance plaza is a luxury they get to pass on.

The sign is very old, and show's what's supposed to be the park's name-"Amusement city", but over time people just got to know it as "Luna Park Tel Aviv", so now that's what they advertise it as.
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At this point I still didn't know if the new ride would actually OPEN today, since I didn't feel the information center was praticularly reliable. They weren't even sure what the new ride DOES.

Anyhow - if in american parks there are lines for miles before a park opens, especially on a new ride's opening day - well, this is what the park's entrance looked like 10 minutes before opening. I was the only one there except for 1 other family. the cash registers didn't even open untill just alittle before the park.

The entrance price is very high for a park this small, in my opinion, but I had to make an exception for the new ride
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Practically none of the workers could tell me if the ride was going to open today. the seurity guards said it might only open next week. luckily this wasn't true, because if it was I would've had to walk 7 km back home, since israel doesn't have public transportation on saturdays.

eventually it was time to go in.
american parks tend to have a merry go round or some foliage welcome the guests. we have a giant clown, pirate, and astronaut.
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up untill about two years ago the park had a very "permenant carnival" feel to it, with rides randomly slapped down on pavement, with only a couple of things looking like they were built there to stay. but during the last couple of years the park has repainted the rides, added themes, and made overall improvments that made the park look alot better.
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Despite being one of the only people there, I made a dash towards the ride. I felt like a nerd, but at least I would be guarenteed to be first to ride it.
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The ride has the FUNKIEST ride op booth ever.

They tested the ride once, and then let me on.
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[ Play Quicktime file ]

Black Mamba POV from later in the day. Check out the amazing view of Tel Aviv's skyline! You can also see the big park that seperates it from the surrounding residental areas and therefore making sure people don't complain about noise or eyesores.

DSCN2542_mpeg4.mp4 [ 1.5 MiB | Viewed 7461 times ]

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The ride goes as follows - once second you're sitting on the ground, nice and safe, looking at everyone looking at you. Swinging your legs in the air, etc.
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The next you're shot up WAAY up in the air, and you find yoruself face to face with one of the most awesome ride views I've seen. Just as you shout "WOW!" The ride shoots you back down providing some AWESOME ejector air, which as I mentioned earlier, was something Israel was sorely lacking.

This tower is GREAT, it's located in a place in the park that provides great views no matter where you're sitting, and I think it's officialy my favorite attraction in the park.
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RCT shot! seriously, though, the tower is maybe the only place where you cang get a decent view of the Pinafari coaster. Since they added trees, fences, and walls with art on them all over the ride to make it pretty. I think this is one of the prettier Pinafaris out there(ignoring the fact that inside the ride the ground is still just dirt).
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Even Anaconda looks pretty from this angle, despite needing a fresh coat of paint and some theming.
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The ride doesnt launch you back down as hard as the one in Indiana Beach, but it still launches you down forcefully enough.
But restraints fit SHOCKINGLY well(which, I guess is a good thing), so I wasn't lifted out of my seat.
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during the day I tried to capture reaction shots several times...
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but given the strength of the launch(it was VERY sudden! I think maybe even better than ones in the US, I'm not sure), the angle of shooting, and people's reactions, I didn't have too many good shots.
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But I soon realized that the REAL reaction shots weren't in the people GETTING launched, they were in the people of Israel, watching for the first time in their life, a ride of this kind
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Every time the ride was launched, everyone within a 30ft distance would suddenly turn to the ride, drop their jaw and go "OHMYGOD!!!"

Before the ride launches you would hear scared teenage girls saying "Let's see how it runs first", and as soon as it launches they would go "There is NO WAY I'm going on that thing!"
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I still remember sitting on the ride with a girl, two of her friends were on the gorund watching because they were too scared. They were talking, when the ride launched I saw one of them turn to the ride, crouch down and grab her heart, letting out a scream. it seemed like she was having a heart attack.
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[ Play Quicktime file ]

Off ride video. Part 2 of the TR coming in a sec! (Feel free to post though)

DSCN2223_mpeg4.mp4 [ 1.22 MiB | Viewed 7461 times ]


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Postby RCFreak » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:36 am

Dude, Awesome TR! I love the reaction pictures the most.

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Postby Electerik » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:39 am

Thanks for this. Think of it this way: The park may be old and boring to you, but to most of us on here it's pretty exotic!

The new ride looks cool, but why on Earth would anyone name a drop tower after a snake?? :P
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Postby TriboElectric » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:08 am

Awesome! Thanks for sharing those pictures and your trip report!
Those pictures of the crowd reactions are truly awesome, that gave me a fantastic idea of trying to find a place near me that can generate some cool crowd reactions so I can photograph them! Fun!

Thanks Again!

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Postby FLIPDUDE » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:14 am

Well, I'd imagine that they named it after as nake because it sounds dangeorus and scary. Though the fact that it's located next to the Anaconda does make me suspect a theme starting to form here.


The park service quality leaves something to be desired. it's inhabited by people who couldn't find better jobs, and kids who are just working there for peanuts because it's an amusement park, and a result, while nobody is practicualrly not nice, you also don't get the warm fuzzy feeling you get at parks like Holiday World.


And it IS old and boring to me, but they HAVE been moving in the right direction lately, things such as making the park seem like an amsuement park instead of a carnival stand out.

anyhow, on to part two!
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Reason 1 why I always had a hard time recreating my home park in RCT - this is what the queue lines look like. Three lanes take up less than an RCT block.
Reason 2 - the angles on the pinafari coaster.
Thanks to the ride's high capacity the line was very short for the rest of the day. People were complaining about how long it takes between launches, but I pointed out that it's because the ride ops were checking to see everyone is locked in safely, and were otherwise dispatching as quick as they could. so kudos there!

However, the ride op DID ruin my fun of being first of the people to ride it by mentioning that I'm far from being first and that they tested it with epople millions of times including friends of people who work there. I was only the first of the General Public to ride it.
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The Ballerina ride got a nice makeover from pink to blue. Of course, this made some GP think this is a BRAND NEW ballerina ride...
Also, I'm not sure if it always ahd that cool scarf.
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Next it was time to ride the Anaconda. I was so excited when it was firs tbuilt, but since I've ridden it so many times that I grew bored of it.
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It has the New-but-not-NewEST train designs.
The theming is kind of silly, because it has a pretty awesome entrance sign(if you ignore the fact that the snake has a giant lightbublb growing out of it's head), but aside from that, and some awnings, it kind of lacks theming, in the sense that if you look on the right side of the previous pic, it has POTTED PLANT HOLDERS for theming! Which don't even have any potted plants in them, anymore!
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Climbing up up up...
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If it wasn't so blurry this would seriously be one of the awesomest pictures I've ever taken.

Also, check out the RCT-chic "Tent" themed station!
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Okay, even if you're not into rollercoasters, you ahve to admit this is a pretty sexy shot.
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You can't see since I resized, but I think at least one person on the train is doing that thing where you look up and see the other half of the train above you.
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Look at those curves!
(Lol, I'm gonna show this TR to my friend later, he's probably going to think I actually mean it like that)
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Anaconda... THROUGH THE EXOTIC PALM TREES!!!
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COASTER PORN!
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And with a quick KER-KLANK-Klank-klank-klank the ride goes up the 2nd hill, which left me just enough time to take a quick snapshot of balck mamba before falling back down in reverse.
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Overall the ride was good, I just don't get much of a kick out of it like I used to. I think it was riding Kingda Ka that ultimately made this ride more of a time-passer for me.
I only rode Anaconda once that day and I barely even noticed what was going on because I was busy taking pics the entire time.
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next was the turn of Rakevet Harim, which means Rollercoaster in hebrew. Which is the oh so original name of the oldest operating rollercoaster in Israel(to the best of my knowledge, anyway).
A Pinafari Z40 coaster.

Since the queue lines in the park are so narrow, they're often just climbed over. Most people(me included) just cut through them to get to where the line starts. the unwritten rule is that as long as you haven't gotten to the point where people are STANDING and WAITING, it's okay to cut. Of course, there are always the Chavs that just cut in line regardless. I hate those.
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This may sound weird, but honestly, if lines were this narrow at your home park you'd probably skip over them too.
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another effect of the line being so narrow is the fact that family memebers/friends who AREN'T riding tend to still have conversations with the people they're waiting for who are still in the line.
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Almost every other ride in the park was a walk-on. This was the longest line for Rakevet harim, which doesn't SEEM like much but they were running it at HORRIBLE capacity, with only one car running at a time, the other one loading in the station. I think that either the employees don't understand the block system, or they're just not paid enough to pay attention to it.

Probably no other ride in Israel has more horror stories about it than Rakevet Harim. Everybody has heard about some horrible accident that got people killed on it, thing is, even though I remember something like that myself, the fact that everyone knows a completley different story about what happened, and the fact it happened before the internet was a popular news source make it a hard story to verify.
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The Gin Genie says "Pull my finger"
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this area is usually a big mess with people trying to get to the end of the line the quickest.

Part 3 coming right up!
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Postby DBru » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:15 am

Very cool report! Thanks for sharing!

The program sounds a lot more intense than most here in the US...do you know what size tower Black Mamba is?
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Postby FLIPDUDE » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:20 am

I dont know the numbers, but from rough assesment by looking I'm assuming it's the tallest kind of SINGLE tower.
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this sign has a funny/sad story behind it. Growing up I couldn't WAIT for the day I'd finally be able to ride a rollercoaster for the first time. But there were two only coasters in Israel, one, at another park, you had to be 12 to ride, whereas this one, you had to be 8 to ride. So every time I'd come ot the park I'd jsut stare at it and ogle and wait for the day I can FINALLY ride it.
Well, the day finally came, and when I was 8 I looked at the rules sign agian and noticed that after it said that you have to be 8 or older to ride, it also said that you can be between 6-8 if accompanied by an adult... >____< Sigh...
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It's much prettier than it used to be, methinks. However, last time they repainted, they only reapinted the drops, or parts that were visible from the outside. which is kind of weird.
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every so often a car passes in the helix over the station and makes a very loud rattling noise. It's annoying and awesome at the same time.
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The cars used to be painted to look like cars(I think). Now they just figured "Whatever. let's just make them shiny". The station has a pretty nice, realtively new mural though(However I trust that it's to cover up the eyesore that is the dirt in the middle of the ride and the transfer track, but who cares, as long as it improves the coaster)
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That fence in the background is one I used to stand behind as a kid and watch cars go through the amazing concept that is a "banked turn", waiting for the day I could finally ride.

Now that area is closed off as the place where they repaint rides.
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This coaster used to have no restraints, no lap bars, no nothing. This made alot of people think the ride is unsafe. About 6 years ago they put in some seatbelts, and about two years ago they put in regular coaster lap bars instead.

I kinda liked the fact it used to be without nothing. added to the thrill.
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"When I grow up I want to be a fireman!"


Despite the fact the coaster has been upgraded SEVERAL times in the past few years, it still operates semi-manually. meaning the ride op Pushes the trains through/out of the station with his hands.
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I decided to do my homework in the park. Our photogrpahy homework was to take a portrait of someone. so during my rides on Black Mamba and Rakevet Harim I tried to take portrait pictures of the people I was riding with. these two were nice enough to model for a bunch. Though most of the pics came out kind of "eh".
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here you can see very well how the park only repaints the parts most visible or important. which, on one hand is lazy and cheap, on the other hand, it made it feel like I'm riding Zonga or something. so it evens out.
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If I don't manage to take a better picture at blackpool pleasure beach on my vacation, I'm most likely to use this picture as my homework assignment.
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Before the Anaconda was built, this would be the crowning moment for ANY trip to Luna Park Tel Aviv. The moment where the car climbs over the hill, and since the coaster is right at the edge of the park, you get to take a look at the entire street below you, and if you're lucky maybe even have some people look at you and wave.
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ARGH!!! couldn't she at least PRETEND to be scared?! That would've made this an "A" shot!
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another nice view of the colored areas.
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right before the end the coaster has a tiny, 2-second strech where it goes bananas and you have to hold on, then it turns and hits the brakes. But these are some WEIRD brakes, they look more like a lift hill than they look like any brake run I've seen.

Anyhow, I need to go study for a test and such, so the enxt part won't be up immediatly, but I'll try to have it be sometime soon. Stay tuned, you don't want to miss some of the park's unique, super rare rides!
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Postby dr.gumbo » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:35 am

Awesome trip report. I love quirky little parks like these.

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Postby DBru » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:40 am

That, indeed, looks like a very nice Pinfari...

Well, the foliage looks nice, anyway. ;)
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Postby Teacups Make Me Sick » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:20 am

Electerik wrote:
The new ride looks cool, but why on Earth would anyone name a drop tower after a snake?? :P


Freudian Slip? :lolr:

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