Originally we hadn't intended on doing both Italy parks in one day, but when we realized that Gardaland was open until Midnight, we thought this might be possible.
Mirabilandia was a nice park, although nothing spectacular, but nice. Katun is obviously the main draw as the rest of the park has your typical "amusement park" offerings: A mediocre woodie, a wild mouse, a Vekoma roller skater, a kiddie coaster, a log flume, a rapids ride, etc, etc.
The other thing to note about both Mirabilandia and Gardaland is that they used this 'wacky turnstile counter' system. There is a red light and a green light on the turnstile and when the light turns green, you go through. The turnstile counts how many people should be in the station to fill one train, and then the light turns red. Sounds simple? Yes. Does it work? NO!!!
Because of this system, just about every train of Katun had 4 or 5 empty seats. Because larger parties didn't want to split up, because people weren't paying attention to the lights, whatever.
Luckily, it seemed to be acceptable to 'line jump' your way to the front if the light was still green, no one was going through, and there were empty rows in the station.
For example on Katun, we would be like 10 people away from the turnstile, see a green light, see like 10 empty seats in the station, but for whatever reason people weren't going (they all wanted the back row, etc) feel free to push through!
Overall, Katun was very good. It's right up there with the 'old school' bigger B&M inverts like Raptor, Pyrenees, Montu, etc. It's got a LOT of forces, it's a great layout, and it's a hell of a lot of fun.
I just don't understand why they don't make them like this anymore, and instead we get tamer 'family' rides like Silver Bullet and Talon. While it's no Nemesis or Dragons, it's one of the better B&M inverts, and the Italians are lucky to have it!
On a side note, we were told an interesting story about the park's S&S towers. They were originally called the "Twin Towers" and had an air force theme to them. After 9/11 they remaned the ride since it was called "Twin Towers" and had airplanes around them! :shock: So what did they re-theme them to? Space Shuttles Discovery and Columbia!!! And then the Columbia crashed! :shock: :shock: It's a good thing they never renamed them again, because this ride is obviously doomed!
Anyway, on to some photos from today!
Here is the entrance to the park. It looks nice from the outside, looks nice on the inside, but it's got very 'common' offerings.
Here is Katun, an 'old school' B&M. Lots of forces, a great layout, and a lot of fun!
I loved this helix so close to the ground. It reminded me a LOT of PGA's Top Gun helix. Very fast and very intense!
It's got one of those narrower style cobra rolls which someone told me they only started building those recently. Well, here's one from 2000!
This gives you a pretty good idea of the layout for the 1st part of the ride. This is right up there with Raptor, Pyranees, and Montu.
Group photo with some friends from http://www.theparks.it/
We found the "Drum Game" at Mirabilandia!!! We couldn't believe it! We haven't seen one of these machines since Japan! This is our new video game addiction. See ya, DDR, and hello Taiko No Tatsujin!
Elissa and Marko go for a ride on the Roller Skater.
The park's woodie "Sierra Tonante" didn't leave us too impressed. BTW, who makes those trains?!?!?
Hang on, this is NOT going to be smooth!
Dan loves Vekoma Roller Skaters SOOOO much, he just had to touch it!
The shot towers used to be called the "Twin Towers." For obvious reason they changed the name....
And it wound up being themed to yet another recent disaster!!!
^ There weren't any. Although they were only running one train on everything, it was about a 2 train wait on average. I figure that if they didn't have the wacky red light/green light turnstile system, and people actually filled the station, it would be a one train wait at the most.
And again Robb, great update. I really like your Katun pictures! All in all it looks like you have had a nice day at Mirabilandia!
Is the "Twin Towers" story really true?! That sounds so awesome! :shock: In a view of that I agree 100% with you! I hope they never change the name, again!
robbalvey wrote:^ There weren't any. Although they were only running one train on everything, it was about a 2 train wait on average. I figure that if they didn't have the wacky red light/green light turnstile system, and people actually filled the station, it would be a one train wait at the most.
Glad to hear it Robb, Sounds like the queues were pretty much the same as when we went.
The park was almost empty when we where there last September.
We got caught out by those odd turnstiles too, some how all 4 of us managed to get past the turnstile for Sierra Tonate and when we got on to the platform. There were no free seats in the train, so we had to go out through the exit and go back to the enterance one more.
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 ass 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?" Very fitting!!!
Onto some photos.....
The Gardaland Hotel. Looks GREAT! It really wasn't. At least it had air conditioning! =)
The entrance to Gardaland. We should have known that no matter how good a park looks, when they greet you with a Vekoma SLC, that's NOT a good sign!
They tried really hard to make thier Vekoma Corkscrew as pretty as possible...
...but the damn thing is called "Magic Mountain" so you know it's gotta suck! And it did!
Sequoia Adventure - the most pointless ride...EVER!!!
You hang upside down most of the time. Why is this fun? It's not.
The cars are very similar to something you'd see on a Wild Mouse, and if the upside down bit was an element added to a traditional wild mouse, it might be fun.
Most of the faces looked like this when the ride was over. This is pretty much the same face I make when I have to go get my taxes done.
Joey found some...um..."interesting" stuff in the gift shop. And I thought this was supposed to be a 'family' park! =)
In the rain we decided to ride the Carousel and Dan was determined NOT to get wet...AT ALL!!!!
It's sad to hear, that Gardaland was such a letdown.
My last visit (actually also my second, the first one being in 1984) was in 2000 and I was very surprised and pleased about the park then. It was clean, the Rapid was good,also the darkrides (I liked the Tarzen Style ride). The SLC ran pretty smooth, and the night time rides on it were aboslutely great. I actually liked it much better than Mirabilandia, which we also visited then.
But we didn't "get involved" with any guest service stuff. So maybe we would have been disappointed too.
Hope you will have more fun on your few remaining parks.
Europe Trip Day Fifteen: Movie Studios Park @ Canevaworld, Italy
WOW!!! What a total suprise this park was!!!! Originally, we thought we would go here just because it was right down the street from Gardaland. We didn't know too much about it, other than it looked lke a knock-off Universal Park that opened a couple of years ago.
This place was GREAT! And if they add a few more attractions in the next
few years, this could be the best park in Italy!
We started out in the walk-through haunted house, which easily beat out anything Knott's Haunt had to offer, and was on par with stuff you'd see at Holloween Horror Nights at Universal. No crappy "shaker cans" in this maze, this was the real 'movie studio' like effects and sets. We all walked out of there with a :shock: look on our face!
Then we went on "Magma" which was kind of like thier version of the backlot tour, but it was more like "Catastrophe Canyon" but had three different scenes: A water tanker, an earthquake, and a big fire and water area. The best effect of the whole thing was at the end after the big fire and water part where the truck starts up the hill toward the end, but then stalls out, goes BACKWARDS down the hill and SPLASHES back into the water area. It really took us by surprise and we all got off the ride with a :shock: look on our face!
Next up was Terminator 2. Now this isn't the 3D movie you are used to at Universal, this is a live show, very similar to Backdraft or Twister. Where you go through a couple of pre-shows, then into this huge Cyberdine Systems Factory (or something like that) and you watch the final effects show from three rows just like Backdraft.
The fire and special effects were incredible! There was also live action actors in the mix and the stunts were great! We were seriously more impressed with this than we were with either Backdraft or T2-3D! :shock:
We went and had lunch with Zorro, and the photos below will do that justice, then we moved onto the Rambo stunt show. Rambo is just so fitting for Italy. A stunt show based on a film with the Italian Stallion filled with lots of explosions? Sure! And the show was also great! Just as good as Waterworld, Indy, or any of the other big stunt shows.
After taking a quick spin on the park's powered coaster, we decided to head out and start our long drive back to France. Originally we thought about going back to Gardaland, but knowing the long drive ahead of us, and being so dissapointed with Gardaland we decided to bag the SLC and kiddie credit and get to our hotel early.
Onto today's pics!
Movie Studios Park - a total surprise for us, and a really great park!
Our group photo hanging out with some friends from http://www.parksmania.it/
Magma was kind of like a backlot tour and Catastrophe Canyon...but better!
This park LOVES fire and water!
The best park of Magma! The truck goes roller backwards down that hill and SPLASHES back into the water!
We never found out what the "Specialties" were.
We ate at Zorro's restaurant. Elissa prefer's her Zorro's to be more of the 'real men' style...
...NOT Zorro The Gay Blade style!!! =)
The powered coaster may not be a 'credit' but it was still fun!
The Rambo show had lots of fire!
And then it had even MORE fire!!!
Here we are driving through Italy on our way to France...
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