Fira del Ram

14th April 2018

The Fira del Ram is an annual funfair on the island of Mallorca that takes place over a six week period each spring. Our visit was timed for the last weekend of the event, which with the benefit of hindsight was probably a tactical error, as there were a number of empty spaces on the Son Fusteret site where attractions had been taken down early. There were still four countable coasters present, not including Mini Selva, an inverted powered non-tick that nobody over four feet high would have a chance of fitting in, and we'd likely have managed all of them if the weather had been on our side. Unfortunately heavy rain during the morning wrote off everything with a tyre drive, and even though the skies were clear by the time the fair opened the operators of Dragon, Star Disney, and Tortugas Ninja elected to remain closed.

Mini Selva

As such our sole tick for the day was Super Raton (Bañuls) (#2422), one of two spinning mice owned by local operator Vicente Bañuls. The two rides were manufactured by different companies but are painted in the same basic colour scheme and share the Super Raton name, something not calculated to please coaster counting enthusiasts, though fortunately there is an easy way to tell them apart; the Sartori version we rode today features a single level banner sign, while the Reverchon original currently set up in Seville has an enormous three-level sign that at some point in the past switched suffix from Con Queso Vacilon to El Más Vacilon. (As if things were not confusing enough already, a different branch of the same family operates Bañuls Atracciones, which owns a further three spinning mice of the same design. It is not unusual for more than one of them to be present at the same fair.)

From a passenger perspective Sartori's version of the ubiquitous design is essentially indistinguishable from a Reverchon build. The cars share the classic shared restraint bar rather than the individual lap bars introduced by Zamperla, and the tracking and spinning is every bit as good as the originals. The only novelty for visitors is a tunnel at the lowest level of the layout, which is coupled with a sound system that blasts out a slightly demented cartoon voice every time a car disappears into its depths.

There were a number of other interesting rides at the event, not least a stand-up pirate ship and a stand-up flying carpet that Megan and Anita made the most of. I was rather more taken with Mystery Hotel, a travelling copy of Disney's Tower of Terror presented by Seville-based Atracciones Valrom SL that is, to the best of my knowledge, unique. The hardware features two parallel cars that rise and fall inside a twenty-four metre high canvas-covered frame, complete with a empty window at the highest point that gives a superb view across the fairground. The ride is pretty good considering the obvious limitations necessitated by portable hardware, not least some high tension cables anchoring it to trucks on both sides to stop it falling over in high winds. It even has a detailed back story that may sound a little familiar:

Cuenta la historia, que el Gran Hotel abrió sus lujosas puertas en 1928 para satisfacer las extravagantes demandas de las glamurosas celebridades del entonces naciente séptimo arte El Hotel, de arquitectura y detalles Arte Decó, alojó a los directores, estrellas y productores de la meca del cine durante la década de los 30... Hasta que en 1939 el Hotel es cerrado debido a enigmático e inexplicado suceso. La leyenda, cuenta que en una cerrada noche de lluvia eléctrica, tres elegantes visitantes subian por el ascensor cuando al llegar al piso 13 un fuerte rayo cimbró el edificio y el elevador se preciptó al vacio...

We also tried out an unnamed three level Haunted House with a blue castle facade and hand-painted images on its walls. The hardware looked very old, with almost all of it being constructed from wood. The effects inside were sparse yet decent enough; blood-stained sheets hung behind ghouls and monsters that lit up as we passed. There was a lone costumed actor in an orange and black striped suit (prison garb?) that followed us around at a few points; my sense is that there might have been more than one on busier days. The final corner featured a loud foghorn blast, and though there was no corresponding physical theming it nevertheless made us jump.

Haunted House