Terra Mitica11th September 2003
Terra Mítica is located in the resort town of Benidorm, in the south-eastern corner of Spain. The name translates literally as mythical land, and as such it was no surprise to see that it is largely themed after ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, with sprinklings from other parts of the world. The theming was of a very high standard throughout, making this one of the most picturesque parks I've visited to date.
Our morning began with an ERS on Magnus Colossus (#210), one of only a handful of wooden coasters built by the Roller Coaster Corporation of America. We had been forewarned that this ride wasn't one of their outsanding achievements, and with that in mind I decided to queue for a front seat ride to start with; the idea of missing part of the exclusive session didn't worry me much. Much to my surprise the ride turned out to be fairly decent, if a little bit on the jarring side. The park staff were extremely accomodating and allowed us to use cameras during our session, so I was able to take some excellent on-ride photographs. As an aside, this ride makes a very odd noise when it is out on course, that is quite different to what one would expect from a typical wooden coaster. Does anyone know why this is?
We caught a quick lap on the Alucinakis (#211) junior coaster on the way to Triton's Fury, a giant splash ride featuring two drops just like the one at Port Aventura. This marked the first truly funny moment of the trip; after one circuit, the ride operator asked if we'd like to stay on, so we went around again. Most people got out after three rounds, but I and two others stayed on for a fourth go. By the end of four circuits on a giant splash ride with two drops, we were, not surprisingly, completely drenched. Nevertheless the baking Spanish heat ensured we didn't stay that way for long.
Some simulator rides are too aggressive to be fun, and The Lost Temple falls into that category. Riders are thrown from side to side with considerable force, and the result is far from comfortable. The resultant bruising, coupled with utterly incomprehensible rapid fire Spanish, made this one of two attractions here that I frankly didn't enjoy at all. The other was the shiny new suspended looping coaster, Tizona (#212), which left me with my first Vekoma headache of the trip. It was telling that I enjoyed the Tren Bravo powered coaster considerably more than the apparent star attraction!
We shared a boat on the Rapids of Argos with a local family, and quite possibly prevented a nasty accident by doing so. A small child who decided to stand up mid way round the course just as the boat entered a particularly rough area of water. Both George and I yelled at him to sit down; his parents, also in the boat, were completely oblivious to the danger. Never stand up on an amusement park ride, folks.
Icaros was a contender for the slowest wave swinger in the known universe. The experience was quite frankly boring, though it could easily have been fixed by doubling the speed of the motor. Rather better was the Laberinto del Minotauro, a Sally Corp target shooting dark ride. For some reason this model did not feature any scoring, though it wouldn't have made any difference since more than half the targets were not working properly. The scenes themselves were well done though; this ride could be very good with a bit of work.
After enduring The Lost Temple this morning I was not enthused about riding another simulator, but The Mystery of Keops was so unique that we had to give it a try. The mechanics for this attraction have been built into a Pyramid which really looks the part, even down to the magnificent frescoes on the wall of the queue line. Passengers board a single large gondola which moves up and down very slowly betweeen different scenes. This was clearly one of the first rides to go into the park; though the technology is a bit dated now it is still an interesting ride.
We finished the day with a highly enjoyable show called Barbarosa (Red Beard).
Feria de Albacete11th September 2003
We had an enjoyable evening meal in Albacete and were just returning to the hotel for an early night when we ran into Justin. He told us that the brand new inverted coaster by Reverchon was operating at a funfair only a few miles down the road. The prospect of riding something so unique won out over reason for me, and after a bit of persuasion, for Chris too. The hotel staff advised us to take the free shuttle buses, running from 10:30pm to 4:00am (!), which gives one an idea of the hours of the fair.
The coaster in question was Ala Delta (#213). Five seconds on board was enough to see why only one such ride currently exists; it is a far cry from the classic spinning mouse design that made Reverchon famous. The single car inverted trains are not capable of taking the corners without throwing riders around, and to be frank, it hurts. Better yet, there is a water splash effect mid way through the course which gives all on board wet feet. Apparently this design is a prototype, so with luck it will be refined before any further models are sold.
The real gem at the fair however was not a roller coaster. Clipper was nominally a swinging ship ride, but it had been retrofitted with a cage at each end of the boat for passengers to stand up in. This cage had no restraints whatsoever, allowing all within to enjoy the weightlessness at the apex of each swing to the full. It took three or four swings to get the timing right, but with practice I was able to lift completely off the bottom of the cage and float about a foot above it, before gently landing again as the ship swung the other way. The experience was absolutely fantastic, and one that I'd love to see appear elsewhere in the future.