Trying to hit both Terra Mítica and Port Aventura in one day was a stupid thing to do. Both parks easily deserve a full day on their own, and that doesn't even take account of the fact that they are almost four hours apart by road. As per usual, however, the merest thought of two new adult coasters defeated all attempts at sanity. Rather than drop out one of the two we chose to split the day down the middle, allowing two and a half hours in each location.
13th April 2008
It seems very unlikely that we'd have bothered to return to Terra Mítica had they not installed Inferno (#1150). On a purely aesthetic level the bright green of the second Intamin ZacSpin coaster looks more than a little out of place in a park full of classical theming, Having said that, it is hard to see any way this could be avoided, and far be it from me to criticise a park for adding a new roller coaster. My comments on the original hold true for this installation too, namely that it is a good ride if a little on the short side. Fortunately there was no queue whatsoever this morning, allowing us to ride twice in the space of five minutes, once facing in each direction. On balance I preferred facing backwards for the first drop, though the ride was fun regardless.
Unfortunately the same was not true for the park wood coaster. Magnus Colossus wasn't a particularly impressive ride on my last visit, though at least it was rerideable that day. Nobody in their right mind would have boarded it a second time today, thanks to some particularly severe jack-hammering in the mid course helix. It seemed for a while like the train would run completely out of momentum, which would have made for an interesting evacuation scenario. Instead, however, we were forced to suffer the remainder of the circuit. The condition of this ride is a great pity; the layout would be quite a lot of fun if only the trains could handle it a little better.
There was time for one dark ride, and the one we ended up with was Laberinto del Minotauro, a target shooter with typically inaccurate guns. These ones had red light flashes making it very clear that we were hitting the targets, yet they still failed to register most of the time. After a while I gave up trying to aim, and just fired randomly in all directions. This allowed me to appreciate the animatronics properly, and as a bonus, it seems that I also managed to hit more targets that way!
We finished off our morning with the Infinito observation tower, which uniquely for this sort of ride actually had clean windows! The location within the park is particularly well suited for aerial photography, and we did our best. Interestingly enough there were signs indicating that a fee applies for this ride after ten at night, again a nod to the local clientele; by that stage of the evening I like to be back in my hotel!
13th April 2008
The latest attraction at Port Aventura is Furius Baco (#1151). The ride uses a hydraulic launch system to accelerate riders past eighty miles per hour in just three and a half seconds. Its signature feature, if you can call it that, is a new train design with seats hanging over the side of the rail, allowing all passengers a clear view of the ground rushing past beneath them. The sensation of speed is stunning, and indeed the overall experience is top notch, provided that you obey two important rules. First, one should not under any circumstances sit in an outside seat. Second, one should not sit in any row other than the front. Failure to observe both these precautions will result in you being bashed, thumped, and generally shaken to the point that you cannot wait for the experience to end. Therein lies the problem; a ride of this nature should have more than two comfortable seats per train. This ride simply doesn't.
We decided to try the Sea Odyssey attraction purely because neither of us could remember doing it before. By the time that we discovered it to be a simulator it was too late to reverse course, so we stuck it out. The ride safety video was a rather entertaining cartoon showing the various things one shouldn't do, and as one might expect the local patrons did several of them. Nobody seemed to be bothered about moving to the end of each row, or even taking remaining in the row they had been assigned, which resulted in several people having to climb over others to find somewhere to sit. Though I'm not a huge fan of simulator rides I'd still rate this as one of the better onces, even if I did spend much of the time watching the mechanism of the motion platforms in front of me rather than the screen!
Memories of past stapling left us unenthusiastic about reriding the park wooden coasters, but we did do a lap apiece on Dragon Kahn and Diablo. Both were much as we remembered them to be. Following those we decided to bow to fatigue and head back to the car an hour sooner than originally planned.
13th April 2008
As things turned out we would not have caught our respective flights without our early departure thanks to several unanticipated issues, which only goes to show that some deity was watching over us. The first problem became apparent on arriving back at the car. Several vehicles had been boxed in on all sides courtesy of locals parking in the roadway, and ours was one of them. Port Aventura has no shortage of parking spaces available, so there was no excuse for this; it seems that the inconsiderate locals just didn't want to walk a few extra minutes to the next car parking area. Some cursory attempts to push other vehicles out of the way proved fruitless; it seemed all of them had been left in gear. Staying at the park until close was not an option.
We could see only two options. One was to use our car to push another out of the way, at the risk of damaging the bumper on both vehicles. The other involved a ninety degree turn and an impossibly tight squeeze between two parked vehicles. The situation was made even more challenging by the fact that we were driving a manual car on a slope. As I'd been driving the car all weekend the task of actually steering through the gap fell to me, with George checking clearance both sides and giving instructions. The task took nearly twenty minutes, throughout which time I was grateful for practicing so many hill starts while learning to drive. Escaping would not have been possible for one person alone, as the clearance on each side was no more than a centimeter.
The only reason we were driving a manual in the first place was thanks the rental company Sixt, who allowed us to pre-book an automatic car but told us on arrival that they didn't have one. We were given a choice of paying more money for a larger vehicle or settling for a manual. Then, on attempting to return the vehicle, we discovered that the location we needed was a hotel five kilometers away from the airport, not a good thing to discover less than an hour before the close of check-in. The final straw on arrival at that hotel was being told in no uncertain terms that we had to move the car to the other side of the road before the bus could bring us back to the airport, despite the fact that we were obviously in a serious hurry. Next time we'll definitely use a different rental company.