PORT AVENTURA '18
We decided to visit Barcelona in Spain when travelling up to do Sonar in the city centre, and squeeze in trip to one of my favourite parks, Port Aventura. The park’s really easy to get to from the city centre with a single train that takes you right outside the entrance. We only had a short amount of time to do the park, so this isn’t a long report (especially as it was pretty busy too) so just rating the coasters we rode this time.
Straight out of the station your greeted immediately by the tallest rollercoaster in Europe, Red Force as it towers over the adjacent mini-park Ferrari Land. Although still part of Port Aventura, it does require an additional ticket and access through separate gates which are inside the main park. It’s a little odd at the moment as the area feels like just an extra themed land rather than a completely new park. Think of it as a park DLC…
This thing is a beast, it’s always nerve wracking riding something so imposing for the first time, especially as the path to enter the queue line runs right under the fastest part of the ride. The trains roar through the LSM launch with one the sexiest rollercoaster sounds out there, I first thought it was an audio track to give the launch more impact off ride, but no, the sound is real (defo try find a video of this launch on youtube to hear it).
We opted to get some queue jump passes available at the entrance to the ride, mainly because either of us didn’t want to think to much about riding. I’ve never been a massive fan of launches, so the less I thought about the power and height of this thing the better. Ferrari Land tends to get quieter towards the end of the day though, so if you’d rather avoid the queues it’s best to go then.
The operations were pretty slick when we went, with staff batching guests and a 2 train operation. With our fast pass were berely had time to register what we were getting into before getting seated. The seats and restraints are great, probably on the same level as Mack’s restraints and the same as Taron’s, you berely notice them once you’re moving. We managed to bag the front on our first ride, which meant we have to wear goggles, just incase of.. birds?
This ride has a rolling launch which I never realised, so there’s no hanging around like it’s hydraulic couterparts, you’re berely out the station before your flung into the launch. It’s a great launch, nicely powerful and doesn’t knnock your breath out too much. The tower’s what I expected, a taller Stealth, but the comfy restraints and view of the ocean give you a great fist bump moment before the drop into the brakes (with the weird bunny hop, which I strangely love). One thing I did notice though is not all my rides were perfectly smooth, I think Intamin have a tendancy to design rides that beat the wheels up sometimes that can make it feel like it’s going to fall apart at the end of the launch I’ve experienced inconsistent roughness on a few of their coasters.
VERDICT: It’s a great feeling to conquer such an intimidating ride, and the buzz of the launch is worth the ride. It’s a short ride, but head over heels better than Stealth at Thorpe Park. It’s also such a beautiful ride to watch.
After moving into the main park and seeing Furius Baco was down we headed to the two B&Ms at the back, Shambhala and Dragon Khan. Ahhh this is the most perfect coaster skyline in the whole world, that beautiful white and teal track towering in the background with the punchy red of Dragon Khan in the foreground, it’s just so stunning. When I first turned the corner onto the great wall section it really took my breath away.
Being the second highest roller coaster in Europe (only beaten by it’s neighbour Red Force) it’s quite intimidating for it’s sheer height, but also by the fact it’s a chain lift, which gives you plenty of time to appreciate your surroundings. The B&M clamshells too, which you barely notice are there once you’ve left the station leave you COMPLETELY exposed. Ultimately with the staggered seating and raised seats give you the most incredible feeling of flight during the floater air, it never failed to get me bit nervous.
The first drop is definitely better towards the back of the train as the long train really whips you down it towards the tunnel with a crazy amount of air. The rest of the layout however I think I preferred the front due to how open the whole experience is. It all comes far closer to a feeling of flight than any flying coasters out there. I won’t break down the hills as they’re all brilliant and best ridden hands in the air. In fact I could list almost every element before the mid course brake run as a highlight, it does kinda petter off on the last hill, but it’s one of those rare rides that left me unbritishly clapping at the end.
VERDICT: An iconic coaster that delivers on it’s promise. It’s smooth and exhilarating without bashing your body about. It even has enough air-time to remove your t-shirt if you’re lucky. It’s flaws are minor, the theme is a little lost when on-ride and it looses it’s umph on it’s final hill.
Over time I’ve become less of a fan of multi looping rollercoasters, especially the ones where the inversions are it’s main focus. Don’t get me wrong it’s a beautiful example of early B&M layout design with an incredible skyline. as a riding experience it kinda of gave me a headache and felt pretty cramped and outdated.
I remember seeing this coaster ever since I was into rides and always thought it was Spain’s Nemesis. But I think over time it’s been completely overshadowed and it’s not aged too well. I can understand how people would like it though, it’s just not my cup of tea.
VERDICT: One of the best examples of old-school B&M design before they went softer, with super snappy inversions and a great length. It’s just not aged as well and looks pretty outdated compared to the other new signature rides in the park.
I didn’t take many pictures from here on out. As I said before, this trip was sandwiched between two festivals so tiredness and sanity suffered slightly, and Dragon Khan gave me a bad coaster headache. I’ve ridden Furius Baco and Stampedia before but with a short amount of time and the park being pretty busy, we decided to leave them out and go ride some of the smaller rides and attractions. I hope to do a more detailed report next time I go.