Mazaka Land

17th September 2018

At the end of last year our fearless leader asked me whether I knew of any notable smaller parks that were worth fitting into the club Turkey itinerary. My left field suggestion was Mazaka Land, a family park that satellite imagery showed to have a number of worthwhile rides. It wasn't exactly a convenient addition to the draft routing, being quite a long way east of the road from Antalya to Ankara and not all that far from the Syrian border, but it paired quite well with a few hours at Cappadocia in the morning, enabling a token tourist stop for those into such things. (Some were enthralled by the UNESCO site, while others were considerably less enthusiastic; at the Goreme Museum I overheard a member of our group lamenting the fact that the designers had blown their entire budget on theming, leaving nothing for rides.)

Mazaka Land

The park is a showcase for Italian manufacturer Eos Rides, who produced virtually all of the hardware. It is divided into four sections – Anatolia, Africa, the Far East, and the Roman Empire – and the various attractions have been given basic but effective theming to fit them into their respective areas. The place was virtually deserted for our visit, though we were there early; it is presumably far busier after the sun goes down. Despite the lack of guests however all attractions were open aside from the flume and rapids, and one suspects that neither would have been in much demand from our group with a four hour drive to our hotel.

Our first stop was at Cheetah Hunt (#2513), a coaster that is by some distance the largest ever produced by Eos Rides. It is broadly equivalent in scale to the Schwarzkopf Looping Star, though perhaps unsurprisingly it is a much less intense experience. The first drop uses a little over half the available height, and much of the gained momentum is burned off almost immediately by a pair of parabolic hills linked by a wide and high turnaround. The train then drops into a series of ground level helices, but again these feel somewhat flaccid, particularly in the front seats. The experience is better in the back despite some mild vibration, though still very much in family coaster territory; we enjoyed two laps in each location and that was ample.

The other coaster in the park is a monstrosity sent to this earth by a cruel deity in an entirely successful attempt to punish coaster counters. Spin Coaster (#2514) is as of this writing the only known installation of the Eos Super Twister, a design that is (in theory at least) an upgraded version of the manufacturer's successful Crazy Twister. Unfortunately this installation operates with heavy over-the-shoulder restraints rather than lap bars, and these turn the experience from a joy into an ordeal. A tyre drive lift hill and a slow set of mouse turns are handled without particular issue, but then a curved drop gives the train a bit of speed right before it hits several decidedly suspect track transitions. The ride wasn't the worst I've endured over the years, but it was certainly well down there; those who don't feel the need to credit whore can safely give it a miss. (Independent travellers should be aware that this ride is ordinarily reserved for children; it seems that we were "lucky".)

The Dolce Vita (sweet life) Ferris wheel gave us a birds-eye view of the park and nearby area. The cabins had perspex shielding to above head height, but fortunately there were gaps between segments large enough for our cameras. There were separate entrance and exit doors, albeit with a rather strange design; the entrance could be opened from the inside, and the exit had no safety catch at all, swinging loose when pushed. The signage indicated that children under the age of twelve were not allowed to ride without an accompanying adult, and this was probably why. (The signage also indicated a maximum permitted height of 200cm, an interesting rule on an attraction with no restraints; one wonders whether this limit is actually enforced in regular operations.)

Our next stop was at Colosseum, a two level tracked dark ride that can be summarised in four words as an ancient Roman haunted house. Portions of the experience were absolutely top notch, though other areas were decidedly haphazard, almost as if the budget ran low part way through construction. At one point we passed underneath a wire cable rack at ceiling height with a number of loose Cat-5 cables hanging from it, which we didn't find all that frightening (pro-tip to the designers; use IBM Type-1 UTP and/or AppleTalk cables if you really want to terrify IT people). On a similar level there were two points in the layout where we could clearly see electrical control boxes with numerous green and yellow lights blinking on and off; why these were not placed out of sight is anyone's guess.

Colosseum

The first scene featured a collection of Roman columns, one with a severed head on top, and this was backed by a twenty second loop of atmospheric music that I didn't recognise. Other group members did, however; it turns out that it was clipped from Army Strong, a theme produced by the United States Army, which isn't quite what one would expect to hear in a Turkish haunted house in the middle of nowhere. The same brief clip was played several times in the layout, and though it worked well enough I think I'd have preferred for the full track to be used from start to end, as the continuity would have made for a better overall experience. Other scenes included a phalanx of warriors charging towards the cars, an animatronic lion, gladiators in combat, swinging axes, sharp arrows dropping down from the ceiling, and mummified corpses.

The latest addition to the park is a multi-level go-kart track, and unlike many theme parks the engines are moderately powerful, if not quite to the level of those seen at PowerLand. We were given fifteen minutes on track for thirty lira (~€4.70), and that was about the right length of time. There were a mix of one and two seat karts on track, and I wound up on one of the latter. My kart was far better at turning left than right, forcing me to scrape off the wall on every right turn, but fortunately I had just enough lock to do that without getting wedged. (On a side note, I was quite pleased when the staff insisted I should wear a hair net inside my helmet. I've not been asked to do that in a long time.)

My only other hit was a Star Flyer clone located in the north-west corner of the park. The ride was ideally placed for an overhead view of Spin Coaster, giving me a few final photographs for my collection. With that done I joined the rest of the group at the park restaurant for a light meal.