Day 5 -- Selva MágicaThursday, March 26, 2015Scorecard:
-- Lunch --
Heading northbound from downtown Guadalajara, we found our way to the next theme park on our agenda -- Selva Mágica. Translating roughly to "magic jungle" or "magic forest," the park is one of several underneath the Ventura Entertainment umbrella, which also includes La Feria in Mexico City. The two parks have some similarities -- both are relatively small, and both have an assortment of oddball flats and relocated coasters. As we'd find, however, Selva Mágica's better operations and relaxed feel were much more to our liking.
We started the day with film sessions on the park's three operating coasters, beginning with a lengthy run on Bullet. When TPR visited Selva Mágica in 2013, Bullet's track and trains had just arrived -- presumably from its former home in the UK. In 2015, the one-of-a-kind ride was up and running!
From there, we headed to another relocated coaster -- the one teased very heavily in the preceding Boblo Island post. Formerly known as Sky Streak, the coaster now known as Titan provided some rather interesting rides. We finished the coaster run on Tornado, another Schwarzkopf with an interesting history. I'll get into that a bit more in the ride reviews below.
After riding the three coasters -- and noting that the park's other two coasters were not going to be operating -- we made our way to our group lunch. Once that was finished, we had a date with Alicia
! Perhaps the most famous theme park attraction in all of Mexico, Alicia opened herself up to us, and we headed in. How was the experience? Read on to find out!
We checked out a few more attractions along the way, including Cataratas (giant bouncy slide) and Los Troncos (log flume). Finishing off with a few more rides on Bullet and Titan, we left the park in the mid-afternoon.
If I'd had another hour or two, I would have loved to check out the adjacent Guadalajara Zoo, which looks like a really nice zoo by any standard! The zoo was much busier than Selva Mágica -- we didn't really run into any waits throughout our day.
After we left the park, we did some more exploring around downtown, which was covered in the last full trip report segment. That ended our time in Guadalajara!Overall Impressions:
It's always a huge plus when a park just seems to have their stuff together, especially with regards to the details surrounding a visit by a group like ours. Selva Mágica did great, which was a huge contrast to La Feria, which was a bit of a cluster. We had plenty of time for filming and other activities in a well-structured day, and even got a private group tour through the innards of Alicia!
Selva Mágica has an interesting assortment of attractions, though there certainly isn't one huge star attraction to drive a visit to the park by itself. Bullet's the best, and it's more than just a curiosity -- it's a legitimately good coaster. Overall, though, the coaster collection is more remarkable for its quirkiness than for its aptitude. There's some odd flats, much like at La Feria and Six Flags Mexico -- a Nao de China looping boat, a magic carpet, a log flume, and the nigh-impossible bouncy slide. There's also some of the other Mexican park staples -- a dolphin show, a wacky shack, and a year-round haunt. Since our visit, Selva Mágica has added a ropes course (which looks really nice) and VR on Titan (which, well, yeah). I have to preface my one complaint about our visit by noting that we were there during what was obviously not the peak season for the park. With that said, there were several attractions that weren't operating, in various states of repair. Certainly more than you'd like to see.
In a non-TPR-group setting, this is probably a fun half-day park. Unlike the stressful environment at La Feria, though, you'd actually enjoy that half day quite a bit! What do you do with the other half of the day? If I'm ever back there, I'm hopping over to the zoo. That's a pretty impressive one-two punch of major attractions on the north end of Guadalajara.The Attractions:Bullet:
Selva Mágica's star attraction is a coaster that's way more fun than it deserves to be. Bullet's a strange little thing -- sort of like if a standard Schwarzkopf shuttle loop got twisted up into a knot. You've got the banked track through the station, the intense vertical loop around
the station, and two drive-tire spikes at either end of the circuit. What simply doesn't make sense to me is this -- why is there only one version of Bullet, when there are literally dozens of vastly inferior
Vekoma boomerangs? I will never understand. Bullet's one issue is the rather uncomfortable accordion-style shoulder restraints, but that didn't stop me from riding 14 times. Click here
for Robb's video from our filming session.
Bullet has had a storied history. Built in the early 80s, it started out at Wiener Prater in Austria, then went to Boardwalk and Baseball in Florida, then into the European fair circuit. It found a home at Flamingo Land in the UK from 1991 to 2005, and was finally installed in its new home at Selva Mágica in 2013.Titan:
Finally, that whole Boblo Island post should make sense to everybody! I saw this coaster with my own eyes when I visited Boblo in the late 80s, but was much too young to ride. Crazy to think that over 25 years later, I'd finally get to try it out, and I'd have to go to Mexico to do it. This coaster was built at Boblo Island in 1973, and re-installed at Selva Mágica in 1994, shortly after Boblo's closing. The ride was made by Sansei Yusoki, a company who is now more well-known as majority owner of S&S (and now Vekoma as well). Yep, they built a coaster well before those alliances were formed!
As for the ride, Titan uses an almost laughably simple out-and-back layout, but it's the hills that make the experience. I really don't know how else to describe it, but it's like the contours of the hills weren't designed with any sort of mathematical principles in mind. Depending on where you're sitting in the train, it makes for some very
uneven and unexpected airtime. It's like it's good for the wrong reasons! Oh, and we all enjoyed the epic "straight bit" near the end of the ride, which has seemingly no reason to exist. My Boblo pictures prove that this wasn't part of a themed tunnel or anything. It was just as baffling in Canada as it is in Mexico.Tornado:
Yet another Schwarzkopf that's been around the block. It'd take a coaster veteran to have seen this one in its original home at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, where it opened in 1975 as Glissade. When it moved south, it actually opened first at La Feria, before heading west to Selva Mágica in 2002. It's one of only three Schwarzkopf spiral lift rides still operating in North America, along with Whizzer (SFGAm) and Jet Star 2 (Lagoon). It can't compare to Whizzer, which is much longer, but it's still a pretty fun ride (with a pretty awkward seating arrangement).Cataratas:
These bouncy slides are evil. They are not as easy as they look, and they don't even look particularly easy. Good luck getting down without embarrassing yourself. The good news (or bad news) was that unlike the one at La Feria, adults were allowed here!Los Troncos:
This is actually a decent little log flume! Just ... be very, very careful with how you sit in the boats, especially on the big drop. I'll share the story of my mishap in the captions. Robb, do you have pictures of this? Alicia En Sus Años De Juventud:
Oh my, how do you describe a walk-through attraction that explores the insides of a young pregnant woman?
Well, I guess that'll do. Anyone who isn't familiar with Alicia should go watch TPR's video from 2013
, like, yesterday. I will say that Alicia was in somewhat a state of disrepair during our visit -- some signs of wear (poor girl) and a few effects not working properly. Looked like she could use to have the cobwebs cleaned out. Still didn't keep it from being one of the most bizarre theme park attractions I've ever seen. I guess it's supposed to be educational, but to my eyes and immature sensibilities, it's just too weird to accept at face value!