My best birthday present ever. Since I turned the big 3-0- this year, the other half decided to surprise me with a trip to Spain. We were planning to go to Oktoberfest (which we did, trip report to follow) but Barcelona was a surprise and much welcomed side trip.
Barcelona is a really nice city, reminds me very much of San Francisco. The architecture is amazing, some of the best since my visit to Chicago. I'll post some pictures on my facebook page whenever I get a chance. But anyway, the night before I was so excited I couldn't sleep. We stayed in Le Meridien in Calafell, which was about 34km from the park. Luckily we had a rental car, so we were able to make our own schedule. The little Seat (Say-at) Ibiza had kick. I wonder why these Spanish made cars don't make it stateside.
Driving on the Spanish highways were a trip too. The roads are impeccable, but the signage is confusing. Plus whats the deal with the round-abouts at every intersection. Not that having our stop lights here is any better, but we found ourselves going around loops 2-3 times when we missed our turns. We are idiots :-) thank heavens I loaded Spain and Germany roads into my TomTom GPS. I swear by these little gadgets. They are the best thing since Reagan (j/k..hehehe)
So we pulled into Salou about 10:30. The area surrounding Port Aventura....GORGEOUS! Puts Orlando to shame. the hotels were beautiful and the landscaping was well done. The parkling lot had all of 50 cars when we arrived. We rushed to the entrance, paid the hefty extortion fee of 44 euro and headed inside. The landscaping and theming of this park was well done. I loved the whole Spanish vineyard motif in the front.
Which leads me to our first ride, Furius Bacon bits. I'm not entirely sure of the story behind this ride. And I guess I could look it up if I weren't so lazy, but the theming was cool. They were running one train but the line moved surpsingly fast. We waited for the front, even though Port Aventura seem to love assigning seats. We had to be the unruly Americans...hehehe. The preshow was a little silly. I guess the Baco guy is a winery owner and some contraption he engineered went hay-wire. We sat on the right side (ride facing forward) and slowly climped up the relatively steep launch section. Whooosh......HOLY CRAP. The only other launch that had me nearly wet myself was Kingda Ka. We plummeted into a canyon and banked right. I think there was another turn, it was going so fast I wasn't really sure. All of a sudden we were going through an inline twist, a verrrrrrry drawn out inline twist. I loved it. We dipped towards the lake and then hit the brake run. Cool ride. And I loved the X-like seating. Get this...In the onride photo booth they showed full length recordings of your entire ride that could buy on DVD. People were just eating that up, and I have never seen it done before. 8.75/10
Or next ride was Dragon Khan. Ever since I picked up coastering this ride has been on my hit list. The layout is 87% Kumba, which is a good
thing. The China section of the park was very nicely decorated. I
loved how the walkway up to Khan was designed to look like the great
wall of China. They were only running one train, but there wasn't much
of a line. The only thing I hated was there were flies everywhere, the
only insect I hate more are cockroaches. Shudder! Anyhow, We were rebels again and waited for the front seat. The ride up gave us
a nasty look….pfft...too bad sister! We flew 5000 miles and paid a kidney's worth to get in here. The ride itself was OK. It was no where as forceful as Kumba. It was smooth, for being one of the older B&M’s but I just didn’t get that “man, that was such a rush” feeling. 7.5/10
We then decided to have lunch at one of the Chinese restaurants. The food was really good, only it was a little interesting that since the servers didn’t speak English and the Catalan dialect threw me off. We ended up pointing to everything we wanted and that seemed to work. After we ate we stopped for a little show at the Dragon Khan Plaza. It was pretty cool, this little kid, probably 80lbs wet, was doing some contortions and flips. Then they brought out some traditional Chinese dancers…very impressive.
Our next ride was Hurakan Condor, an Intamin (2nd gen) drop ride. LOVED the theming! The stations is designed such that the last ¼ of the drop is enclosed. Nice touch. It was like you were falling into a hole. The line moved pretty fast since they were running all sides of the tower. Soon, were on the top of the tower facing the Mediterranean. Awesome view! The drop, Fantasmic! I think it is now my second best drop ride after Drop Zone at Kings Island. 9/10
We took some time to take some pictures of the Mexico section of the park, the best themed area in my opinion. WE took some vidoes of this singing buzzard, which is kinda like IOA's talking fountain. Pretty funny! After that we raced to Stampida. I was most excited to ride this, since I have never ridden a CCI racing coaster. The trains were weird. I know they aren’t GCI trains, but they sure looked like it. Anyone knows if this was an inside job? The ride was OK, there were some rough areas and the there was a slow spot when the trains parted ways. I loved the head on collision part….something I have never experienced on Gwazi because they don’t bother to race it any more. My favorite part (which is also where the photo is taken) is where the other train pulls alongside, almost stealthily and resumes racing. That took me by surprise, and it was shown on my on-ride photo. 7/10
So now we did all the big dogs, it was time for shows and the other smaller attractions. We hoped on Tomahawk, a junior woody nestled inside Stampida. Yikes, I feel for the kids riding this. There were pot holes on the lift hill even. The train shuffled during the entire course, and I could hear screams of terror from the poor kids. It had some pretty decent drops though, the best one being the last one before the brake run. 6/10 for the ride, 7/10 for the location.
After this ride we decided to check out a show, Bubblebou, a show with a guy doing tricks with bubbles. Sounds corny, but it was pretty good. He made bubbles so big, he could stand in it. He also did this need trick where he puffed smoke into the bubbles and then had lighting effects. I must say this entertained me much more than Blue man group, which I think is a waste of $70. But I digress….
After this show it started drizzling, but then in minutes was a massive deluge that left all the walkways flooded. We sought refuge in a gift shop which started flooding because the midways became roaring rivers. It was fascinating. I thought only Florida got these torrential downpours. After about half hour, the rains stopped. Most of the park visitors already fled so the park was empty.
We went on Sea Odyssey, some kind of underwater simulator ride. I fell asleep though half of it. It wasn’t bad, I am spoiled by the Sim rides in Orlando. We did re-rides of Dragon Khan, Condor, Stampida and Furius Baco. The last ride on Baco was painful. We were on the left side and we are rammed and pounded throughout the whole course. It reminded me of my rides on X, where one side is smooth and the other is downright unbearable.
Overall, a very good trip! By the time the day ended, the sun was back out and we took some more pictures. I may download them to facebook whenever I get a chance. Danke Schoen!Last edited by delan, Sunday, September 28, 2008 4:42 PM
Sweet TR - love the detailed reports on parks I hope to get to someday!
delan said:thank heavens I loaded Spain and Germany roads into my TomTom GPS. I swear by these little gadgets. They are the best thing since Reagan (j/k..hehehe)
The notion of deregulated interstates scares me for some reason (although no more than that which we've suffered for the last 28 years).
. The landscaping and theming of this park was well done. I loved the whole Spanish vineyard motif in the front.
Makes the admission seem less pricy. of course, if your paycheck is in euros it might not seem so steep. ;)
Whooosh......HOLY CRAP. The only other launch that had me nearly wet myself was Kingda Ka. We plummeted into a canyon and banked right. I think there was another turn, it was going so fast I wasn't really sure. All of a sudden we were going through an inline twist, a verrrrrrry drawn out inline twist. I loved it. We dipped towards the lake and then hit the brake run. Cool ride. And I loved the X-like seating. Get this...In the onride photo booth they showed full length recordings of your entire ride that could buy on DVD. People were just eating that up, and I have never seen it done before.
SheiKra's been doing that entire onride video thing since...since opening? Really sweet, can't wait to see your pics. Oh, and BTW, you can get them to duel Gwazi - but you do have to ask. I do. :)
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