Photo TR: Isla Mágica

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Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby oriolat » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:49 pm

So, today I am going to do a Photo TR about Isla Mágica, the smallest of the four Spanish theme parks (PortAventura, Terra Mítica, Parque Warner and Isla Mágica). For those not familiar with the place, the park is located in Seville in La Isla de la Cartuja, which happened to be the place where the 1992 Universal Exhibition was held. After that year, the place was left untouched, so the local government launched a project to build a theme park in the former Exhibition area. In 1995, PortAventura opened its doors and the concept was such a huge hit that Isla Mágica was built following its steps. Eight different themed areas, excellent themeing and a similar layout to PA's although in a scaled-down version.

The park only has two credits: a SLC (mind you, this one has a BONUS HELIXXX!!!) and a kiddie coaster manufactured by C&S (never hear of it), so if you are looking for a credit run, this might not be your park. But since it was the last park I had left to visit in Spain and we (Xavi, owner of Bloggercoaster; Ivan, Jaume and Luis, coworkers at Tibidabo) found really cheap airfare, we headed down to Seville.
Review of the bigger rides:

El Jaguar (4/10):
When you know a park has an SLC as their signature ride, things are not looking great. And it didn't disappoint: it rode as bad as it looked. According to RCBD, this was the second SLC to feature the extended layout with a 'BOOOOOOOOONUS HELIX'. Yeah! That was the trend of the day: Every time we would go into any helix we would say that. Back to the ride, the ride is pretty well landscaped and it received new generation trains this season. I was hoping those trains could make a SLC better... oh well, they didn't. Out of the five SLCs I have been on, this is the worst. Upon boarding the trains, I was hoping that the new foam vests would avoid head-banging. But for some odd reason, there was no head-banging, but the whole train ran as it was about to derail, jolting all the way. Rode the coaster twice: once in the very back seat, and then I gave it another shot towards the front with similar bad luck...
One thing I noticed is that, with the new trains, the station floor is not lowered. Is it because of the seating configuration or because Isla Mágica can't be bothered to lower it?

Tren de Potosí (6/10):
Small coaster built by an Italian manufacturer called C&S. At first, I thought this would be a Zamperla, but RCDB says it is not. The ride has a basic layout but there is a part with hilarious random triangular little hills with no airtime that add nothing to the experience. Of course, the ride features a 'boooooonus helix'. The best part of the ride is the queue area, which is very well themed and provides some shade. Rode it once.

El Desafío (7,5/10):
Themed after Seville's Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold), this is a beautiful but rare drop tower, manufactured by Maurer Söhne. Since the ride opened in 2001 I wanted to try it, not because of the ride's height (68 meters [223 feet] and 55 meters [180 feet] of actual drop) but because of its different settings. The tower runs up to 6 different programmes with different levels of intensity at different times that can be checked at the ride entrance. Even the most intense settings were not as intense as I would have thought, but they offered a lenghty ride with some good moments of airtime. Overall very rerideable and fun. Rode that four times.
The ride seats 32 people at a time, but the crew working the ride took forever to load it (I won't go deep into operations because I will comment on them later on).

CiKlón (7/10):
A very well themed Disk'O. I had experienced a similar model that sat 40 people and this one (smaller, 24 people) seemed to give a more intense ride. It span both ways so it was quite entertaining. Rode that twice.

Anaconda (10/10):
The park's Mack flume. This one has to be one of the best in Spain. It had three drops: two moderate and a third one that seemed to go on forever. The layout was not as long as other flumes, but that's no problem: I don't like water rides that go round S-bends forever inbetween drops, and this one was just the opposite. Simple yet effective. One thing I noticed is that they were loading only 3 people per boat. I know that these boats can take 6 riders so I suspect that the conveyor belts were having issues with the boats' weight and the park took the easiest and cheapest way to solve the problem by letting less people on each boat. Rode that twice.

Rápidos del Orinoco (9/10):
Intamin rapids. These were very integrated in the area and you couldn't tell the layout because they were hidden between lots of greenery and scenery. The waterfall at the end of the ride was quite a surprise and almost got as drenched. Despite not being hit by that element, there's no way you can get off the ride dry since there are water jets and water curtains in the caves. Special mention to a 'boooooonus helix' that goes around Vuelo del Halcón (wave swinger)!

Iguazú (7/10):
Intamin Shoot-the-Chutes. This model has a circular layout found in most parks. Despite being a clone, this one had a nice setting and most of the structure was hidden by rockwork and greenery. The ride itself is not that soaking but it does have a splash zone for those waiting outside.

Capitán Balas (8/10):
Mack dark ride located inside the old Spanish Pavillion from the Exhibition that shares location with the park's 4D/Imax-esque attractions. The ride itself is quite small but it uses the available space very well. Despite not having top-notch themeing, it was neat and the effects and targets were working perfectly. Rode twice.

Cinemoción (6/10):
Simulator with an Imax screen (it was actually a dome). It was alternating two films. Both were quite generic (skating and racing) but the illusion of being inside the film was quite impressive. Rode twice.

Dimensión4 (5/10):
I give it a 5 not because of the attraction itself, but because of the film we saw: "The Little Prince". I know this ride can be really good if you hit a film that can make the most of the 4D effects, but this was not the case. Boring film with a couple of good bits. I almost fell asleep. Rode once.

Operations:
Employees seemed quite friendly (we even spoke to a couple of them) but they were dead slow. There's no excuse for taking almost 5 minutes to load a 20-seat SLC train with two attendants. The thing is that they were being lazy and sluggish: when the train reached the station, they would always start talking, have a sip of water, etc. not caring about the 20 people already preloaded. I don't care if operators talk as long as they do their job, but that attitude was downright rude and disrespectful. On top of that, at one point the operator thought it was safe to just leave the panel totally unattended (and I mean, just walk away) when the train was in the circuit to go chat with some random colleague that showed up.

One of the worst cases of bad operations was El Desafío. After each cycle, the attendant would go inside the booth to have a chat with his colleague and not go out for like 5 minutes. Then she would preload everyone in a small corridor and leave riders waiting there for another 5 minutes. When riders were let in, she would take another another 5 minutes to (barely) check restraints. I would have loved to ride the tower more but thanks to the sluggish operations I just didn't have time.
On the other hand, Anaconda, the rapids, CiKlón, Capitán Balas and Los Bucaneros (splash battle) had friendly and more efficient staff.

--

Despite the lack of amazing rides, the place is worth a visit if you are in Seville. We all agreed that the park needed another coaster desperately. I know that they had a projected Vekoma Mine Train, but I don't think that the park's financial situation allows construction right now. Nevertheless, I really appreciate the effort to invest in new rides or shows every year: this year alone, they have invested in two new generation SLC trains, a splash battle, a horror-walkthrough, a go-karts track and have redone some of the shows.

Now, onto the pictures:
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Jaume, Ivan and Luis on the plane.
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Me and Xavi on the plane. Bless Ryanair for € 15 return tickets!
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OMG! Kansas City? Really? I think we got on the wrong plane!
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... or maybe not. I can see the park in the distance. In fact, the park is locater right next to the city center. You just need to catch a quick bus ride.
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Love the sign against the sky. We had a hot day (temperatures between 24 and 27ºC [75 and 80ºF]). What a change: when we left Barcelona, it was raining pretty hard, but Seville's weather was lovely.
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I can see you testing, El Desafío. We'll get to you later :)
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Park map? Check! Free entrance ticket? Check! I think we are ready to start our visit!
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Ivan (right) and I (left) waiting for the rope drop.
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We first hit the 2011 new ride "Los Bucaneros", a SBF Visa Group splash battle. We felt that the ride lacked some targets to shoot at and its themeing was not on par with the rest of the park.
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Geeky photo of the control panel. For those who don't know, I am a panel enthusiast (does it get any nerdier than that?)
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Look what we found: El Toro! (if only!). This was one of the elements featured in the 1992 Exhibition parade.
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This is where you end up if you refuse to ride the SLC.
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The park had these really quiet and well themed areas to just sit and relax...
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Lake and fountains. Right behind the fountains is the WORST pirate ship ever. It was built last year and it didn't go past 40-45º... it looked tacky and out of place!
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Being in southern Spain, the weather can get really hot (up to 40º C [104 ºF] in summer) so they have fountains to play with, canopies with water sprays and shade to cool down.
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Next up: El Desafío
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The tower had like a million different programmes. We tried four of them (Pojo, Doble Yo-yó, Panoramic and Olé).
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The tower itself is quite tall and looks very cool.
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Detail of the pedal the attendant has to push to dispatch the ride.
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We then did CiKlón. A Mayan-themed Zamperla Disk'O.
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Mandatory panel shot.
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It is embeded in a pyramid and it loooks pretty cool.
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Also new for this year was the "Templo del Terror". They basically took the awful Quetzal ride down and placed a generic horror walk-through. Since it was an upcharge, we didn't do it.
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Anaconda was teasing us, so we hit it.
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In the queue line there were these signs to encourage people not to jump as "courtesy". WTF? Isn't this supposed to be common sense and not courtesy?
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Flume panel shot. Sorry for the quality, but I had to zoom in quite a bit.
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Us waiting in line and not queue-jumping as "courtesy" LOL
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Jaume, Luis and Xavi waiting to be loaded.
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This one goes for you, conveyor belt enthusiasts. Question is: are all lifthill enthusiasts also conveyor belt enthusiasts?
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Ivan and I on the flume. So far, so good!
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OMG! Dueling splashes!
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The flume from the other group in the final drop.
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Final drop. I think it's 17 m tall.
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Boat themeing
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Some index love :)
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Xavi all excited to get his first IM credit!
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Panel picture. I got some filthy looks by the ride op for taking that picutre :P Can't say I was hiding my camera...
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Here you can see the 'WTF non-airtime triangular hills' and of course... the booooonus helix!
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Random midway game! Funny thing is that the sign reads: "There's a mode for men and a mode for women". I found this rather shocking.
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Going to the next area we found this rather disturbing Saw display. Literally, we thought this could well be one of Jigsaw's traps, but it was another exhibit from the 1992 event... :( Can someone tell me what does this mean?
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We entered Amazonia, home to some of the bigger rides. One of them, Iguazú.
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Definitely not a Dan-friendly ride...
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The other big ride in Amazonia was Jaguar. The SLC with new trains.
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The new trains looked rather stylish and were actually comfortable, while in the station...
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It looks innocent, doesn't it?
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Don't worry guys! It will only beat the crap out of you! :P
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Evil...
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And now, what you have been waiting for... the reason we flew over 2,000 kms in one day:
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The Bonus Helix! OMG, that was an experience. Since it had wooden fence, it was quite hard to get pictures, but that's one I snapped.
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Squeezed brain after riding SLC or random flying fountains? You decide.
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The second trains sat there all day :(
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More random pirate themeing. In fact, everything was well themed but it felt so generic that you couldn't really tell when you were entering a new area...
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One of the few spots where you could see the rapids...
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The beautiful wave swing "El Vuelo del Halcón" wrapped by the rapids river.
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The themeing around El Dorado area was quite reminiscent of PA's Mexico.
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This is a pic I took of this flying dude. He's the Cruzcampo man (a Spanish beer), that also sponsors the park.
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Then we got on El Desafío again. This time in Panoramic mode. In this programme, the car went up to the top of the tower very slowly, stopped for a while and then came back down very slowly, allowing me to take aerial pics.
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*shudders*
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We went to La Fuente de la Juventud, the park's kids area. I must say I was not impressed with the themeing. WTF are these bunnies in a pirate/colonial-themed park?
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More index love.
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The entrance to the 4D ride and the simulator. The place used to be the Spanish pavillion. However, nowadays it looks a bit out of place all white and plain among themed rides...
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Unfortunately my camera ran out of battery so I couldn't take any more pictures. Stay tuned: more pics to come from my friends! Thanks for reading!
Last edited by oriolat on Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:08 am.

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Re: Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby robbalvey » Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:48 pm

Very nice park! I wish they had at least one more coaster that was "decent", but for what they have it's a nice place. I agree, the flume is fantastic! Also love that they still post the "schedule" for the drop tower. Was there any sign at all of that Vekoma mine train they were planning to build a few years ago?

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Re: Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby SharkTums » Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:58 pm

Consider yourselves lucky...if you thought the SLC was bad now with the new restraints, imagine how we felt riding it with the old ones!!! :vekoma:

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Re: Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby larrygator » Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:17 pm

Thanks for updates on changes to the park since TPR was last there. Like Robb, I'm also interested in the mine train.
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Re: Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby oriolat » Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:19 am

robbalvey wrote:Was there any sign at all of that Vekoma mine train they were planning to build a few years ago?


There was no sign or clue about the mine train and I don't know if it's ever going to be built. In fact, the site where the coaster was planned is now occupied by the Go-Karts track.

SharkTums wrote:Consider yourselves lucky...if you thought the SLC was bad now with the new restraints, imagine how we felt riding it with the old ones!!! :vekoma:


We all thought this when we got off. I wished that the new generation trains could redeem a bad coaster. Turns out they couldn't. How did those track on Great Nor'Easter?

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Re: Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby SharkTums » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:55 am

The new restraints seem to turn the old 'headbanging' into 'whole body banging'. I prefer the new trains cause I'd rather be thrown around than have my head smacked over and over again by a restraint but I agree they don't 'fix' a ride by any means.

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Re: Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby simon8899 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:18 am

Taking a plane to ride a SLC......you should get your priorities straightened..... ;)

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Re: Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby Six Flags Enthuseast » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:03 am

I was talking with a friend about Isla Magic today in math class; what a coincidence that a TR of it is on TPR now! :lol:

Nice report! I like how the park is well balanced overall, but I agree that it could use one more good coaster. That's too bad that the Vekoma mine train never made it, I think it would've fit well in the park... While not 'extravagant', I think the theming of the park is actually pretty nice.
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Re: Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby davisal771 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:17 pm

Nice report. Although they didn't have any decent coasters the themeing looks niec enough to provide a good atmosphere. Plus the drop tower with multiple modes, that looked pretty cool!
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Re: Photo TR: Isla Mágica

Postby RaptorBoyASU » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:48 pm

Nice report. We were there on one of those 40 Celsius days, and those fountains were a requirement for staying cool. I remember enjoying the park, but not being impressed either. Sad to see that not much is changed, and very sad to see Quetzal gone :(
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