Zobori Élménypark is an adventure park located in Zalaszabar, a small village close to the western edge of Lake Balaton in Hungary. The area attracts a lot of tourists during the summer months, which is almost certainly how the park survives as there isn’t much of a local population – the nearest city of any size is Maribor, located across an international border almost 150km away. The road up to the park feels like it something only a GPS would recommend, and indeed I’d have stopped to look for a more sensible alternative if there hadn’t been regular signposts along the way.
The park has a somewhat unusual approach to ticketing. All-inclusive admission tickets are available for 18,990 HUF (~€47), but there’s a catch; each attraction can only be used once. Most guests will be better off with an 3,990 HUF (~€9.95) admission ticket and the pay-per-ride option, which uses a RFID wristband. Unusually there is no need to charge this up ahead of time; it comes pre-loaded with 25,000 HUF (~€62.33) of credit; you pay for what you actually spent on exit.
It might be possible to hit this total in a day if you want to try the various slides and VR attractions, though I suspect it’d be challenging. There are only two mechanical rides, and these run hourly; as of this writing the coaster runs at the top of the hour, and the drop tower on the half hour. I decided to skip the latter, though those without time constraints should definitely consider it; it’s at the top of a hill, and the view even from ground level is spectacular.
Balatoni Hullámvasút (#3023) was the second installation of a Zierer Force 281, premiering a little over a year after the design made its debut at Legoland Billund. It is loaded using a Gardaland-style countdown system, allowing exactly 20 guests through the turnstile at a time. The ride experience was fine, though it felt somewhat less refined than the other three models as there is no landscaping whatsoever. I’d expected to only get one ride, but managed to get a second one in by the skin of my teeth as there were nineteen people in line. I’d have loved to have had a third, but the operator locked the control panel moments after I disembarked and disappeared into the distance.
Sobri Jóska Élménypark
26th June 2022
Sobri Jóska Élménypark is also located close to Lake Balaton, albeit on the more populated eastern side; the city of Székesfehérvár (if you can pronounce that) is an hour away, and the Hungarian capital is only thirty minutes beyond. The park covers a wide area, and rides represent only a small portion of what’s on offer. Of particular note is an extreme swing over a lake, perhaps described as a poor man's Skycoaster. I'd have loved to have tried this, but sadly it was out of service today due to a technical problem. I also spotted a non-functional Kuka robot arm with two seats and a programming system.
A wristband is required for roughly half of the attractions in the park, including Hullámvasút (#3024), a standard model Double Coaster from SBF Rides. The most popular seats today were at the back of the train where the station was partially shaded, and for good reason – I took a seat towards the front and narrowly avoided a third degree burn from the lap bar. The ride was exactly as expected, running for way too many laps.
At the far side of the park is Bob Pálya, a first generation Wiegand alpine coaster. This was a 700 HUF (~€1.74) up-charge that could be paid with coins only. As I didn’t have any at all I made my way back to the entrance where I was able to pick one up with credit card. The ride was perfectly respectable, not least because I got a clean run from top to bottom.
26th June 2022
Balatonibob Szabadidőpark (or Balatonibob Leisure Park) is a small facility centred around two Wiegand alpine coasters that have been installed side by side. The lifts are parallel, as is a considerable portion of the layout, but there’s more than enough of a difference in route to justify describing them as separate attractions.
My first lap was on Tunnel Track, named because the route passes through a brief tunnel underneath the two lift hills. This was the first ride to be installed, premiering in 2001. I noticed an automatic brake on the last thirty metres or so, which I presume to be a retrofit given that the technology wouldn’t have been available with the ride was first built. I did this twice because I completely forgot to take a picture on my first lap and didn’t have a distinguishing one for my collection. I then completed a single lap on Panorama Track, installed in 2013. This ride is about 400 feet shorter than its older brother, but this is compensated for by a respectable view of Lake Balaton from the start point.
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