Cinecittà World was first announced in 2009 as a €500 million park and resort that was intended to attract up to four million guests per year. There was a certain amount of scepticism in the enthusiast community at these figures, given that they were broadly equivalent to the annual numbers for the Colosseum. It seemed to many, including this writer, that the plans were not dissimilar to those of the failed Hard Rock Park. The backers were not to be deterred, however; though construction was delayed several times and scaled back somewhat, the finished park eventually premiered to great fanfare on July 24th, 2014.
The club bus arrived at the main entrance on a gloriously sunny Saturday morning some thirteen months after the grand opening to find a completely empty parking area. My first reaction was that our tour planners had gotten their hours wrong again, but my cynicism was misplaced; the park was open, but there was nobody there. Other guests did turn up during the four hours we spent on site, but I'd estimate the total number through the gate to be in the low end of three figures, well below what would have been necessary for a profitable day.
That being said, the non-existent queues made for a very pleasant morning, which began with Darkmare (#2148), an enclosed family coaster from Intamin. The ride layout starts with a twenty metre high lift hill followed by a series of smooth turns that are negotiated quickly but not so fast as to terrify younger riders. After about fifteen seconds the train is brought to a halt in front of a video screen showing splashes of lava rising from the depths. An evil looking face materialises, glares at riders briefly, then disappears upwards suddenly as the track and train drops five metres onto a connecting track segment below. From there a tyre drive accelerates the train into a few more smooth turns leading back to the station. Though short, the ride is absolutely superb, and well up there with the very best indoor coasters I've ridden in my travels. We managed to get in four rides over the course of our visit, and it'd have been nice to do more. It'd be wonderful if variants on this design became a staple of amusement parks around the world.
Sadly the signature coaster wasn't up to the same high standard. Altair CCW-0204 (#2149) is a slightly stretched version of the ten inversion coaster layout found in Chimelong Paradise and Thorpe Park, and the first of the type to operate with lap bar restraints rather than the more traditional overhead harnesses. These represent a definite upgrade over the earlier models, but cannot compensate for the severe and continuous rattle as the train negotiates the track that quickly goes from being mildly annoying to actively uncomfortable. We rode a second time a few hours later to give the wheels a chance to warm up, but there was no perceptible difference in ride quality.
The park has a third credit in the guise of Aktium (#2150), a substantial Mack SuperSplash with two lifts and two large drops, each of which features a small airtime hill with a head-chopper effect. The ride is honestly a bit dull, but the parallel splashes make it a perfect fit for the hot Italian summer. It's worth noting that this coaster is not listed in RCDB; when asked why, Duane told me that he will only list water attractions "if they have hills that are not part of the drop sequence". It seems unlikely that enthusiasts will ever agree on what constitutes a credit, so as I'm fond of saying, it's your list; count what you like!
Our group leader had asked us to all meet back at guest services for a special tour that the park had arranged for us. However, after some discussion it became apparent that this would not involve anything that we wouldn't be able to see for ourselves, and thus the plans were cancelled. Instead, a few of us decided to explore the heavily themed Sognolabio area, otherwise known as the little factory of dreams, featuring seven colourful family rides dotted around the outside of Spruzzaincubi, an ornate Splash Battle from Preston & Barbieri themed as the battle between dreams and nightmares. We were about ten twenty years too old for most of these, and thus we wandered back towards the adult attractions.
There was about a twenty minute queue for the Aquila IV walkthrough, a fairly dull tour of a model submarine memorable only for the sailor porn on the walls (in a family park no less!). There was a token attempt at interactivity in the guise of a dry ice generator in the engine room, but all this really served to do was make the air smell bad. A grasp of Italian might have aided enjoyment somewhat but I'd still describe the overall experience as a valuable portion of my life that I'll never get back. The CineciTram ride was no better, being a 3D movie with battery powered glasses and an impossible-to-follow story that involved rockets, space, decontamination, and not a lot else. The edges of the projection screens were clearly visible, rendering the attraction largely pointless.
We decided to finish up our morning with Erawan, an Intamin drop tower protruding from the back of an enormous elephant. Sit-down and stand-up options were available, and we decided to go for the latter, which tilted forward as it began to lift providing a spectacular and terrifying view. The drop delivered an incredible rush as expected, though I'd have preferred a slightly more gentle landing!