23rd August 2009

Mirabilandia was once home to Italy's only wood coaster. Though it's a shame to see any ride meet the wrecking ball the demolition of Sierra Tonante was no great loss. My thoughts on the old ride can be found in my last trip report, but to summarise in a sentence, I'm not about to mourn its passing. Its replacement has taken my vote for the best steel coaster in Italy, albeit only just thanks to its slightly suspect name. iSpeed (#1432) is a launched design from Intamin featuring two inversions and a tangle of track that is smoothly negotiated by three twelve-seater trains, two of which were in use today. Though I'm not a fan of over the shoulder restraints they didn't seem an issue here, with none of the horrid neck-bashing that afflicts similar rides. The sensation of speed was truly impressive, particularly in the front seat.


The only downside was the passenger throughput, which today was running at about a third of that seen on the excellent Katun. Mirabilandia draws huge crowds, to the point that the observed capacity of around seven hundred per hour is really not acceptable for a signature attraction.

Before this trip I'd forgotten quite how hot it can be in Italy in August (duh!), so attractions in the shade were very much my preference today. As with my last visit I watched the incredible Scuola di Polizia stunt show twice, and I'd have watched it a third time were it not for my evening flight. I was particularly impressed by the drivers' ability to do a parallel park with a handbrake turn, something I'd love to try - albeit not in my own car!

There was also time to try the two dark rides. Ghostville would have been top notch were it for an odd design feature which allowed riders to see upcoming special effects well before their cars got close, neatly ruining any surprise or sense of mystery. The Reset target shooter on the other hand would have made an excellent dark ride were it not for the multitude of blue and yellow LEDs (and red laser targets) which detracted completely from the experience. The theming outside the ride was also top notch, featuring several wrecked buildings and a collapsed statue of liberty.

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