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Coaster Red Force | Trip Reports

.Ac.

Member
Not really trip report but it was a fantastic weekend in Spain, who doesn't like walking onto shambhala or redforce ?

Credit where credit due, thank you to everyone who has attended and made input into live events this year.

It a thankless task at the best of times, but shout out to everyone has used up their free time and expense to run a free social event, especially @Serena who seems to of done majority of the work this year yet doesn't drive.

I was totally unsure what I was letting myself in for when I signed up to Thorpe live at start of the year, but I am so glad I did as it open up so many opportunities to go to some fantastic places around the world.

Also I have met some amazing people along the way, who are all a credit to the community that is CF
 
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Mysterious Sue

Well-Known Member
What a fantastic weekend!

Firstly, thanks to Serena for all your hard, hard work organising (not just this trip but all the trips throughout the year - I honestly think it's been the best year we've had for ages tripwise! So you should be very proud!)

Secondly, thanks to all the new CFers I've met (again, not just this weekend) I think .Ac.'s reply above is a case in point that we seem to be getting lots of new members now and you've all been utterly fabulous. Hope Taikavarpu has recovered from Saturday night's shenanigans!

Thirdly, thanks to Shambles for being an actual additional member to the Live. I'd heard rumours of it losing some its magic in recent years and I have to say I was a little nervous beforehand. This turned out to be utter nonsense as Shambles was ON FIRE yesterday. As well as having some stonking front and back rides that reminded me why this was my favourite B&M hyper, Witchfinder and I had some magnificent rides third from back row (of the outside seating) which offered just the right mix between floater and ejector. There's nothing better than seeing a group of goons smiling from ear to ear and getting off with the same one thought of running round again. Great memories guys, great memories.

Red Force was also much better than expected. On paper I expected the lower height/slower speed than some of its global rivals to make this a one and done but somehow, the slower/longer acceleration was just perfect to still give a kick while allowing you to enjoy the lovely view out across to the sea.

Shout outs also to:
Dragon Kahn - although it's getting a bit shaky these days, it still hauls through that layout
Stampida being slightly more tolerable since the reprofiling
Going backwards round the dodgems
I have never, cred edition
Drunk coaster telestrations
Hungover coaster queueline monikers
The echo tunnel and the man at the airport who wasn't Harry
FINGER!
Dan's vile shirts
Chilly Willie
7 counts of Feliz Navidad
Getting a huge wave of nostalgia on entering the park
Guess the CFer in the car on the way down
Getting lost trying to find petrol and lapping the airport three times on the way back
The return of Shambhala's drain
Metropolitan ice cream still being a thing (how many years now?)
Steroid horses
Spider Santas
Cacti with baubles
A vulture with a Santa hat
Elmo with a Santa hat
Not wanting to enter the Tami Tami queueline
Comparing childhood enforced religious song memories
Baco still being excellent and ridiculous
Seeing the Mediterranean area all lit up at night and having all the feels
Everyone gooning and having to take a photo of the splashdown every time we passed
Three lift hills, mwh, ha ha!
Being denied the kiddie whip
Christmas fireworks from a train track
Jet skiing Jesus
Howie's infectious enthusiasm for Shambhala (not that I needed encouragement) - those last few rides were magic.
Most of all though, just everything being really lovely and chilled and getting the chance to start to feel Christmassy.

Hopefully see you all next week for the annual tradition that it Peep's Christmas extravaganza in London!
If not...Feliz Navidad...Feliz Navidad..PortAventura, Feliz Navidad...
 

witchfinder

Member
Getting lost trying to find petrol and lapping the airport three times on the way back
That happened to us this morning too! We got fuel but then the route back into the airport brought us out beyond the car rental drop off lane so we had to do another lap. That airport is a right old mess at the moment.

I'll try and throw together a more detailed trip report later but just want to say I had an absolute blast this weekend so thanks to @Serena and everyone else involved with the organising :) Also a special shout out to the rest of the Friday Night Six - @Howie, @Taikavarpu, @Slamming Coastercore, @daviddoc and @MouseAT for their camaraderie and hospitality.

Lots of pics and thoughts to follow after a few days of recovery. I also need to give my Top Ten a bit of a revamp 🤣
 

Howie

Active Member
Have a few pictures then....

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All CF Lives are good, whether it be at Dollywood or Pleasurewood, but some CF Lives are really good.
This was one of the really good ones. :D
Hugely enjoyable weekend, thank you to literally everyone who was there. Y'all are amazing. Love you guys. Xx
 
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ATTACKHAMMER

Well-Known Member
Going to write a quick report.

I travelled up to Gatwick by train from Cambridge the night before. It was on the train that I found out that I had been sacked from the CF SM team, so I started my trip on a bit of a downer. Once at my hotel I got the bus into Crawley and braved a couple of local pubs for some fairly decent pints.

The next morning I woke up and headed for an overpriced Spoons breakfast. I then met with the others and we headed to Spain! It was a pretty standard flight and now here are my highlights:

Finger!
Shouting Harry in a tunnel with excellent echo
@Mysterious Sue thinking a police van was a builders van
My amazing shirts
Shambhala
Baco
The evening beers
Talking metal with @Serena on the mine train
CF tami tami takeover
More beers
Front row of Red Force
Seeing @Howie again!
Meeting new peeps!
Car karaoke

Lowlights:
Ferrari World
Crappy dark rides
Red Force only been good at the front
The food at PA

This trip was excellent and a massive thanks to @Serena for organising and @Mysterious Sue for driving! On a weekend where I had doubted my future in CF this trip reminded me that CF is more than just creds and parks, it is a community first and foremost. I hope that CF never looses sight of what makes it great, the members.

 

MouseAT

Active Member
Well, that was a great Live. Loads of rides, loads of creds, loads of great people, and loads of awesome, silly moments, both on park and in the bar afterwards. The end of season blues have now set in, and I'm missing people already. A big thank you to Serena for making it all happen, to David for sorting out the hire car, accommodation, and helping us apartment dwellers navigate around Salou, and to all of the wonderful people who make CF events so great - you're amazing.

The weather was great, the parks were quiet. Red Force was amazing, the rest of Ferrari Land was lacking, especially their shot tower that was more of a wet fart than an air powered launch. Shambhala gave some great rides when the ride ops didn't try to staple me, and Dragon Khan would probably be awesome if wasn't so rattly. The evening we spent in the El Paso bar was really laid back and amusing, and the Spanish clearly serve Vodka in larger measures that I'm used to. The Sesame Street dark ride had its charms, and the park's rapids caught pretty much everyone off guard with the completely unexpected water spray at the end.

Oh, and I've had the park's Christmas song stuck in my head for the last couple of days.

I've got photos, and am working my way through culling them down from almost 2000 photos to an actual, useful number. Hopefully I'll have them online at some point later this week.

Until then, thanks once again you fabulous people. Bring on 2020, and let's make all of the awesome times happen again!
 
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Thekingin64

Well-Known Member
Got back last night. Was a fantastic weekend followed by great few days in Barcelona. Although there is much that could be improved with PA, the rides make up for all the negatives. All rides were running fantastically and short queues definitely helped. Thanks again for everything this weekend, bring on next time!

Highlights:
Front Row Red Force
Shambhala in general (especially front row)
Everyone instantly welcoming Huw into the group without fuss.
Chilly Willy
Me falling through gate in Street Mission queue.

Similarly to my Netherlands trip, all photos can be viewed in the FB album here: https://www.facebook.com/Thekingin64/media_set?set=a.2941413849222916&type=3&uploaded=29
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Great trip! It was nice to get away from the cold for a bit and have some fun with everyone. Special thanks go to Serena for another well organised trip and also for Sue for driving for our car!

The first day started off with some "guess the CF'er" courtesy of Sue in the car. Think we added some extra additions to it for songs we didn't realise weren't part of it as well! After many a rotonda, including one specially decorated with rocks for Sue we finally found the confusingly signposted entrance to the resort hotel. The next challenge was a game of patience at the check-in desks but was non-negotiable because we needed to collect the tickets. Once free from the queue saga everyone collected together in Ferrari land outside of Red Force. It was important to make sure everyone rode together because some didn't have the cred and reactions had to be documented! Luckily everyone enjoyed it and we rerode it a few times agreeing that it's a good ride although rougher near the back.

The kiddie cred was obviously on the agenda before those who hadn't visited before (and people who wanted to reride) rode the simulator rides. I had done them before so took the decision to have a sit down because I rated that better than the ride experience! This wait turned into Red Force rerides which was obviously better than the aforementioned red car themed simulator rides. After laughing at people getting rejected for the kiddie whip we left the odd Ferrari Land park for the main park.

It was time for B&Ms and Shambhala didn't disappoint with Dragon Khan being it's usual almost-too-rough-to-enjoy state. We had a nice rest of the day in the park including Shambhala night rides before watching the Christmas firework show. Then everyone came back to the El Paso bar for drinks which included large amounts of beers in big steins and silly coaster related games.

The next day some looked a little worse for wear first thing! I had a nice spanish ham mini baggette thing for breakfast from the cafe by baco which I would recommend as a good breakfast option. The sesame street dark ride was better than I was expecting although I could have done without the queue being quite so long! The ride featured some questionably shaped shooting "wands" which shot in arcs so they required some practice to use but it turned out Serena was a pro! The ride was cute and worth doing if the queue isn't too big though.

Furious Baco is a weird one because on paper it should be good but it's just a bit too rough and I avoided reriding at first for fear of a headache with a view that if people came off wanting to reride i'd go because it wasn't too bad. A group decided to do so so off I went with witchfinder kindly sacrificing himself on the outside seat (thanks!). The launch still packs a punch and due to my preparedness for rattle I managed to avoid too much head bashing. I was pleased with that.

We split the group to ride Stampida which turned out to be hilarious as we tried to wave and sneer at each other as we rumbled around the track. I really like the interactions of dueling creds so this was fun with a big group! We mopped up other creds and risked the rapids which turned out the be pretty dry except for a very well placed couple of hoses on the last stretch of water. I jumped so hard mid conversation about how lucky we were to be dry that I got neck cramp! We then gleefully watched the boat of CFers behind get spited by not just one (which we had been hit by) but both of the fountains at the end! We questioned the food at the burger place and had a CF takeover of the kiddie cred (once we navigated the queueline). After more Shambhala time it was time to go and we made our way back to Barcelona via many rotondas whilst practising out best car karaoke!

Overall this was another great CF trip! (I'm sure I've forgotten some other funny things as well!)

Thanks all!
 
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Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
What a way to end a smashing year of CF Lives! A huge thank you to everyone who has spent the majority of 2019 sticking Post-it’s onto their foreheads with me. It’s been rad.

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There are a few physical symptoms of a good CF Live:

- Cheeks aching from smiling and laughing so often. CHECK.

- Face glowing from windburn of speedy coasters. CHECK.

- Legs aching from running back round for re-rides. CHECK.

- Eyes bleary after late night silly shenanigans. CHECK.

- Throat sore from talking non-stop about coasters. (and heavy metal this time, thanks @Slamming Coastercore and @ATTACKHAMMER !) CHECK.



Seriously, this was one of my favourite weekends. The loveliness of CF is that even the crappiest parks are enjoyable when you share them with good-natured, fellow goons.

But what park on earth could I be referring to there?!

Why it’s cheap, plasticky, bare, boring, small, mediocre Ferrari Land of course!

Oh my god. My expectations were pretty low and FL still managed to stoop below them. First, we have the two dark rides that feel like boring advertisements. How did they get them both so wrong?!

Second, we have Junior Red Force – which isn’t even red!

Then we have the deadness and complete lack of atmosphere. Not to mention a lack of rides!

Alas, redemption comes, in 367ft of Intamin goodness. Red Force isn’t even red either – the supports are. But I guess Red Supports Force doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

I was rather nervous about going on Red Force. Hadn’t ridden one of these huge phallic Intamin launchers since Kingda Ka in 2014. That loud grunting launch, the towering structure…it’s pretty intimidating from the ground. Managed to summon up the courage to ‘Challenge The Wind,’ plonked my bum in the seat and off we went at 111 m.p.h.

I liked it. It’s forceful and fun, even if the brakes try to kill you at the end. Immediately went back round for a re-ride, which is always a good sign. Did I mention that there was absolutely no queue?! That’s one good thing about Ferrari Land. Everyone knows it’s crap and doesn’t bother going there!

I was expecting FL to take up the majority of our afternoon, but we were done in a couple of hours – and that was with typical CF faff as well. A bad park. A bad park with a pretty neat coaster. How….ANNOYING.

Lovely PortAventura seemed even lovelier by contrast. It seems to go unmentioned, but some of the areas of this park are really nicely themed.

Like the cultural bunch we are, we opted for dinner and a show first (we were all starving as FL had very little food options open) We went to the Mexican restaurant where I had that classic traditional Mexican dish…chicken and chips. The dancers in the show were very bendy.

I met the Cookie Monster!
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#achievementunlocked



Then I guess it was time for FaffingAround Force to transform back into CoasterForce and actually get on some rides! Dragon Khan first. Khan it live up to my happy memories of being an excellent old school B+M…?

No. It’s pretty rough now. The Zero-G is still whippier than a Whippet though.

In direct contrast, Shambhala went above and beyond my expectations. When I visited in 2014, I concluded that it was very overhyped and lacked airtime. I must have caught it on a bad day, because, boy it was truly breathtaking last weekend. Every ride was utter joy from start to finish – especially the front row sunset ride, what a view! Just goes to show how much these things can vary.

But yeah. Shambhala is one of those coasters that makes me very happy.

Watched the firework finale which was really impressive, then headed back to the hotel bar. Such a fun evening! The drawing game made me cry with laughter! Those are the moments that CF is all about for me – giggling away over silly coaster nonsense! Ended up staying up past 3am, which meant a bleary-eyed start to our second day at PortAventura. (It was totally worth it though!)

Day Two:

A large part of my morning was concerned with finding a Cookie Monster donut. Fear not! I located one in the Sesame Street area (who would have guessed?!)

Queueline fun in the form of CF Monickers was hilarious as we waited an eternity for the Sesame Street dark ride. The puppets in this ride OMG. They’re so good! I really enjoyed this ride. It required adept skill at playing with a vibrating wand so obvs I got a high score…

I can’t remember the order of what else we rode things, but I know we were extremely relaxed about getting the creds, which was nice. A special thank you to all those who were new to the park for not putting on their bossy cred boots and demandingly marching us from coaster to coaster. It’s way more fun when we can all just go with the flow together!

On another note, those rapids can F-off.

Finished the day with some stunning sunset rides on Shambhala. I think it’s gonna have to go in the Top 10 guys. (Not that that means much when my Top 10 is full of all sorts of atrocities!) But yeah. It’s awesome.

A huge thank you to @Mysterious Sue for driving and providing some really fun games! And thank you to everyone who came – I had the best time with you all <3

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SEE YOU NEXT YEAR, YEAH?!
 

MouseAT

Active Member
I've finally finished culling and uploading my photos from the Live. I'm afraid it ended up taking a bit longer than expected due to the end of season blues setting in. I've discovered that it's surprisingly difficult to properly organise hundreds of images whilst really missing all the camaraderie and antics of the Live weekend, especially when every other picture was reminding me of what I'm missing out on now that the 2019 season is over.

For now, photos can be found at https://mouseat.co.uk/albums/november-2019-cf-live-port-aventura-coaster-red-force. They'll be coming to Facebook fairly soon as well, so those of you who want to can start tagging away.

The reports had brought up a few things I’d either forgotten about, or figured should be expanded upon:

Mysterious Sue said:
I have never, cred edition
A game that worked remarkably well, and would probably have worked better as a drinking game had I not found myself repeatedly drinking even on "winning" rounds, more by reflex than anything else.

Mysterious Sue said:
Feliz Navidad
I’ve had it stuck in my head for most of the last week. Now everyone else can too.


Serena said:
Cheap, plasticky, bare, boring, small, mediocre Ferrari Land!

Oh my god. My expectations were pretty low and FL still managed to stoop below them. First, we have the two dark rides that feel like boring advertisements. How did they get them both so wrong?!
Other than the fact that the Ferrari Land park really needs another flagship attraction or two, the lack of quality in the existing attractions really bugged me, especially given the effort that went into making some of them at least look halfway decent.

I’ve already mentioned the awful shot tower, and clearly I’m not the only one who felt that the dark rides felt like they were put together by an intern from Ferrari’s marketing team. It’s a shame, because I like the idea of what they were going for, but the implementations are just so awful. The flying theatre could potentially be improved by replacing the video with something a bit more exciting, with fewer disjointed jumps between locations, but the simulator is just fundamentally flawed. Even if they replace the horribly disjointed footage with something worthwhile, such as a lap of somewhere really iconic (e.g. Monaco), and create perfect ride motion to match it, it doesn’t help that people in the back row are left staring at the back of somebody’s head, nor does it fix the problem of having visible railings between the ride vehicle and the screen. What a let down.

Serena said:
Second, we have Junior Red Force – which isn’t even red!
But it does take after its larger sibling when it comes to bumpiness, especially with the drive tyres on the lift hill. Points for trying.

Serena said:
A special thank you to all those who were new to the park for not putting on their bossy cred boots and demandingly marching us from coaster to coaster. It’s way more fun when we can all just go with the flow together!
I have to say, I really enjoyed the laid back pace and CF spirit of the Live, and despite the steady pace and unanimous decision to prioritise Shambhala where possible, there was never any real cred anxiety on this end. We had already ridden just about everything except for the second side of Stampedia by late afternoon on day 2, and after the first car had departed, myself, James and Huw were able to sneak off and ride the second side of Stampedia just before the park closed, whilst the rest of the group rode Hurakan Condor. All creds obtained, mission accomplished.

I'm loving the group photos by the way - they've both captured the atmosphere of the Live and the group really well.
 

witchfinder

Member
Here’s a hopefully brief (by my standards) trip report of the whole weekend, but first a bit of context:

PortAventura was my first European theme park visit as an enthusiast, back in 2016. At that point I had ridden about 60 coasters, almost exclusively in UK parks, and I was wowed by the scale of the place, the great theming and some awesome rides. I was amazed by both Shambhala and Furius Baco and based on two rides of each actually rated Baco higher as I’d never experienced anything quite like that launch at that point! (caveat: we only rode front row)

So, returning three years later with 200 more creds and 35 more parks under my belt, how would the park stand up to my more experienced scrutiny and would Baco remain in my Top Ten above Shambhala? Read on to find out!

Friday
I headed to Birmingham airport and met up with @Howie for our flight to Barcelona, kicking off with the obligatory pre-flight pint.


A few hours later we arrived at the airport, breezed through security, met up with @Slamming Coastercore and @Taikavarpu, grabbed our hire car (SEAT Ateca SUV –nice) and hit the road for the drive to Salou. Excitement levels were high and the conversation flowed as we talked creds, Metal and gaming and before we knew it we were at our apartment, which was very decent for the £10 a night we were each paying. After a quick freshen up we drove up to Ferrari Land which was open for the evening to meet up with @daviddoc and @MouseAT who had arrived earlier. The park was absolutely dead so numerous night rides were in prospect!


First up was obviously Red Force, which would be my first cred to go over 300ft (way over!) and also my first to go faster than 100mph. Quite a step up from my existing record holder for height and speed, Hyperion.


I must say I was a little nervous as I boarded the train on the front row, donned the protective goggles and uncharacteristically held on for my first ride.


Wooosh! What a rush. The LSM acceleration seems to go on forever and then you zoom up the top hat, getting some airtime at the top and slowing down to what feels like a near stop before plummeting back down the other side and returning to the station via a neat little airtime hill. What an awesome ride! Watching the on-ride video was hilarious as it showed my reactions to that first ride, not to mention the effect of the G-forces on my open mouth.

Needless to say we went straight back around and rode again, and this time I was further back on the train. The overall ride experience was great again, though the train has a noticeable vibration the further back you sit, with the back row giving the worst ride where it feels like the train might derail before it reaches the end of the launch. Overall though a great ride and we would be back again later in the evening (and the next day)

After grabbing some food we tried some of the other rides in the park and, well, they were all a bit 💩 to be honest. From a bland and jolty kiddie cred, to a shot tower with no force, to flying theatre and simulator rides that lack immersion and any sense of thrill, everything in Ferrari Land seems to be a bit more crap than it looks like it would be! :(




That criticism can even be levelled at Red Force when you ride at the back, but it’s still a pretty amazing ride experience so that’s where we stayed for most of the evening, only taking a break to try out the Pit Stop Record experience which again was nowhere near as fun as it promised to be.


Despite the mediocre supporting rides, it was still well worth the 15EUR entry fee for those night rides on Red Force and we had a lot of fun as a group, which continued when we got back to the apartments as we bought some beers and played games until the early hours. Probably not the best preparation for the two days ahead but common sense rarely applies in these situations.



Saturday
Despite the late night we were up nice and early, excited to hit the main park, and we all headed there for opening time to get a head start on the rest of the group who wouldn’t be arriving till lunchtime. It was a lovely warm day already and both @Howie and myself had taken the opportunity to wear shorts and T-shirts, though clearly many locals thought it was chilly as they were wearing their winter jackets!


Due to the park’s annoying staggered opening policy the coaster selection at 10am was limited to Furius Baco or nothing, so with everyone else queuing for that we opted to make our way to the back of the park in time for the 10:30 opening of the two B&M big boys. First up was the obvious choice…


We lucked out on a back row ride straight away and it was awesome. My appreciation of airtime has come on leaps and bounds since my first visit to the park, as has my willingness to allow a bit more wiggle room in the restraints on a hyper coaster, so I was treated to many seconds of sublime floater, and with three first-time riders in our group there was plenty of excitement afterwards. Possibly too much excitement from @Howie! 😂

With the queue time under 15 minutes it would’ve been rude not to get a re-ride so we went for another and this time bagged the front row. What an amazing start to the day! Front row was also incredible with the added thrill of being hung over the top of the drop for a few seconds, while the airtime was perhaps not quite as strong as at the back but still plentiful.



I actually think we may have had a third ride that morning but I can’t remember for sure, but after riding Shambhala we headed over to Dragon Khan, which was walk-on. It’s showing its age a bit and is particularly clunky through the Zero-G roll, but it’s still a decent old-school B&M looper with that trademark roar.



We then did a full loop of the park with the intention of catching the Christmas show in the Wild West Saloon, hoping to see Howie’s fabled Donkey in a hat, but by the time we got there the show was full, so instead we made our way back to the front of the park for lunch, expecting that the rest of the group would be arriving soon. We grabbed food from the café under Baco’s brake run and were amused to see some stray cats that had made their homes there.



With the rest of the group delayed due to hotel faff, we had time for one more ride and with our closest coaster now only having a 10 minute wait, the obvious choice was…


So as I mentioned earlier, the first time I rode Baco it was front row and I enjoyed it so much it became (at the time) my number two coaster (above Shambhala!) and was still comfortably in my Top Ten at the time of this trip. I was now about to take a middle of the train ride on an outside seat at the insistence of @daviddoc to get the true Baco experience! Would it remain in my top ten?


Well, no. It’s a bit rough innit? I wouldn’t say painfully rough but the vibration on the outside seats is pretty bad and makes for an uncomfortable ride. Having now ridden a lot more launch coasters it’s also not as impressive a ride in general, though the launch is still fantastic, I do strangely enjoy that slooooow inversion and the final turn over the lake is lovely, if somewhat juddery on-ride. So it’s no way a top ten ride for me anymore but I still enjoyed it in places and would happily ride it again.

The rest of the group were now making their way to Ferrari Land so we did the same and the Live officially began with a ride on Red Force. Bizarrely the park was even quieter than it had been the previous evening so everything was walk-on. Those of us that had ridden the other rides on Friday skipped them this time, and it didn’t take long for the group’s newer arrivals to realise that everything else the park had to offer was a bit 💩. Obviously those that needed it grabbed the kiddie cred, and for some reason Mr “I don’t do kiddie creds” Howatson had another ride too.


After that we just focussed on more Red Force rides until everyone had their fill and we ditched Ferrari Land for the main park. I did get my last ride on Red Force on the front row with @Taikavarpu which was a great way to end our experience of the ride because it’s so much better at the front.



So back we went to PortAventura and what followed was what could best be described as an hour of faffing as we walked towards the back of the park via the Wild West area, stopping numerous times to take photos before stopping for a late lunch for the many new arrivals that needed to get food. I didn’t need to eat but it was still fun to relax with the group and have a chat after a hectic first half of the day. :)

After that break it was pushing 5pm so we headed for some rides, starting with Dragon Khan (more enjoyable for me than my earlier ride) before getting in the queue for Shambhala, which had grown to about 25 minutes. This gave the chance for some queue line games and my first experience of Cred Head, which I had really been looking forward to. Now with dark rides and theme parks added, it was a lot of fun and passed the time well until we neared the front of the queue with the sun beginning to set.


I managed to snag back row along with @Slamming Coastercore (I think) for a stunning sunset ride packed with airtime, and again with several more first time riders in the group everyone was buzzing when they got off, so we went around for another go which was a full-on night ride and a fabulous final ride of the night. After that we all headed down to the front of the park for the Christmas fireworks display, which was pretty straightforward but fun to watch.



The night was far from over though, as we then made our way out of the park and over to the El Paso hotel where much of the group was staying. Much alcohol was consumed, dodgy hot dogs were eaten due to the other alternative being an hour-long wait for the buffet, many games were played and much conversation was had before we staggered back to our apartment in the early hours (again). It was a fantastic evening with a wonderfully friendly group of people, though my hangover the next morning begged to differ! :oops:


Sunday
Sunday morning was rough, I must admit, and I was not feeling my best for the first few hours, to say the least! We managed to drag ourselves out of bed and up to the park before 11am, where we met up with the rest of the group at the entrance to the new Sesame Street dark ride, Street Mission.


This had an hour-long queue which was probably for the best as it gave us time to recover from the previous night’s indulgences, drink plenty of water and play some more cred-themed games which were again a lot of fun. Before we knew it we were through the queue and on the ride, which is a decent trackless system with some practical theming, big screens and shooting elements. The shooting is always fun to a point (and I got the best score on our cart) but it does detract from the story somewhat, but it was a nice relaxed way to start the day and by the time we came out, the sun was up again and basking in its rays definitely helped clear the hangover.



After that it was back to Shambhala for a couple more rides, including a sublime one on the third row from the back, left outer seat which might be one of those magic coaster seats that people talk about sometimes. It really was phenomenal!



It was then cred-run time as we progressed around the park picking up all the +1s, starting with El Diablo (boring and uncomfortable mine train) before progressing to Tomahawk (kids woodie that gave a bit of air on the back row!) and then Stampida, where the group split so we could race. I noticed something amongst the queue line graffiti that I thought might be of interest to the more adventurous CF members so I took a photo 🤣


Anyway, I was on the red side and we won. Screw you, blue side! The ride seemed a bit less rough than when I rode it in 2016 but the trains were still nasty. Never did get back to ride the other side on this trip, which affects my OCD badly but not my spine.


Next stop was lunch at a nearby Wild West buffet, which had the second-longest queue of the day after the dark ride, then afterwards we rode the dodgems and the rapids, with our boat missing any serious splashing all the way round – others weren’t so lucky.



Returning to the front of the park it was time for another ride on Baco (the first of the trip for some members of the group) and this time I got an inside seat and have to say it was totally fine, not rough at all. It was so enjoyable in fact that some hardy souls from the group went around for a second ride immediately as it was walk-on. I was hoping for a front row ride to compare to my last visit but the ride op was being a dick and only allowing 4 people into the front row queue :( So I ended up on the second row, outside seat and again it was pretty shaky, but still had its moments.


Two rides in a row was enough though so we moved on to the most shameful cred of the trip – Tami Tami in the kids area! Again there were a few people that needed the credit, but most of us didn’t and yet we still all joined the queue which resulted in a CF takeover.



It was after 5pm and although some of the group still needed the ‘other side of Stampida’ cred, everyone agreed that the best use of the next hour was some more lovely Shambhala rides, so we headed back to find a virtually walk-on queue and had a few more rides before much of the group had to depart to catch their flight. So we said our goodbyes and the remainder of the group split into two factions – those that needed the Stampida cred and those that wanted a night ride on Hurakan Condor. I was in the latter group. I’d not had a night ride on a drop tower before so this was a good ride to try it on, but actually the impact of such a huge drop is somewhat lost when all you can see is darkness, so it’s probably not something I’d bother doing again.


After that it was back to Shambhala for another three night rides, with our small group dashing round like 12 years olds after each ride to make it into the station for another. Ultimately this paid off handsomely for myself, @daviddoc and @Taikavarpu as we got off the third-to-last train of the day, ran all the way around and got back on it for the last train of the night… on the back row! :D

As if that wasn’t cool enough, the nightly firework show began just as we were returning to the station and we got the added bonus of disembarking the train on the brake run because the ops didn’t want to send the empty train in front of us round for another lap. Seemed an odd decision but we weren’t complaining as we got a rare manual release cred. It was quite simply the perfect way to end a fantastic weekend and also my final park visit of not only the year but also the decade.

(Excuse the finger!)

After leaving the park we met up with @MouseAT and headed into Salou for food , eventually finding a restaurant that was open and served pretty much every kind of food you could want, which in our case was either pizza, curry or tapas. Conversation flowed, as did some beer, and after the meal we returned to our apartments for a few more drinks and played a pretty hilarious rap battle game before heading to bed around midnight ready for the early start back to the airport the next day.

Views on the park three years after my first visit? The main park is still really nice with decent theming throughout and nice landscaping, and Shambhala is a stunning ride. Baco not so much but it was interesting to see how my opinions on rides had changed since 2016. Ferrari Land is pretty terrible though aside from Red Force, and the sooner they give up on it being a separate gate, the better. Overall though it’s still probably the best European park I’ve visited so far when considering the balance between thrill rides and theming.

So there you go, another trip report that I spectacularly failed to keep brief! This was without doubt my favourite CF live so far. Everything just fell into place perfectly: the great weather, the parks being quiet, the lack of cred anxiety because I’d visited before and having 2 days at the park with no driving in between. Add to that being with a lovely group of people that all got on well and had plenty of socialising time and this was the event where I truly felt part of this great community. So thanks again to everyone that made the weekend such a perfect end to my first decade as a coaster enthusiast! :)

I’ll finish with some highs and lows:

Best 3 things of the weekend
1. Night rides on Shambhala and Red Force
2. Shambhala’s ride ops barely checking the lap bars
3. Drinking beer and playing silly games every night

Worst 3 things of the weekend
1. Pathetic/non-functional hand driers in the PortAventura toilets
2. Ferrari Land’s crappy shot tower and simulator rides
3. Throwing up that nasty hot dog on Sunday morning and it tasting exactly the same on the way up as it did on the way down 🤢

Also a few more photos from the weekend that I really like...






Ice Cream on the last day of November!


Feliz Navidad! :D
 
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Here’s a hopefully brief (by my standards) trip report of the whole weekend, but first a bit of context:

PortAventura was my first European theme park visit as an enthusiast, back in 2016. At that point I had ridden about 60 coasters, almost exclusively in UK parks, and I was wowed by the scale of the place, the great theming and some awesome rides. I was amazed by both Shambhala and Furius Baco and based on two rides of each actually rated Baco higher as I’d never experienced anything quite like that launch at that point! (caveat: we only rode front row)

So, returning three years later with 200 more creds and 35 more parks under my belt, how would the park stand up to my more experienced scrutiny and would Baco remain in my Top Ten above Shambhala? Read on to find out!

Friday
I headed to Birmingham airport and met up with @Howie for our flight to Barcelona, kicking off with the obligatory pre-flight pint.


A few hours later we arrived at the airport, breezed through security, met up with @Slamming Coastercore and @Taikavarpu, grabbed our hire car (SEAT Ateca SUV –nice) and hit the road for the drive to Salou. Excitement levels were high and the conversation flowed as we talked creds, Metal and gaming and before we knew it we were at our apartment, which was very decent for the £10 a night we were each paying. After a quick freshen up we drove up to Ferrari Land which was open for the evening to meet up with @daviddoc and @MouseAT who had arrived earlier. The park was absolutely dead so numerous night rides were in prospect!


First up was obviously Red Force, which would be my first cred to go over 300ft (way over!) and also my first to go faster than 100mph. Quite a step up from my existing record holder for height and speed, Hyperion.


I must say I was a little nervous as I boarded the train on the front row, donned the protective goggles and uncharacteristically held on for my first ride.


Wooosh! What a rush. The LSM acceleration seems to go on forever and then you zoom up the top hat, getting some airtime at the top and slowing down to what feels like a near stop before plummeting back down the other side and returning to the station via a neat little airtime hill. What an awesome ride! Watching the on-ride video was hilarious as it showed my reactions to that first ride, not to mention the effect of the G-forces on my open mouth.

Needless to say we went straight back around and rode again, and this time I was further back on the train. The overall ride experience was great again, though the train has a noticeable vibration the further back you sit, with the back row giving the worst ride where it feels like the train might derail before it reaches the end of the launch. Overall though a great ride and we would be back again later in the evening (and the next day)

After grabbing some food we tried some of the other rides in the park and, well, they were all a bit 💩 to be honest. From a bland and jolty kiddie cred, to a shot tower with no force, to flying theatre and simulator rides that lack immersion and any sense of thrill, everything in Ferrari Land seems to be a bit more crap than it looks like it would be! :(




That criticism can even be levelled at Red Force when you ride at the back, but it’s still a pretty amazing ride experience so that’s where we stayed for most of the evening, only taking a break to try out the Pit Stop Record experience which again was nowhere near as fun as it promised to be.


Despite the mediocre supporting rides, it was still well worth the 15EUR entry fee for those night rides on Red Force and we had a lot of fun as a group, which continued when we got back to the apartments as we bought some beers and played games until the early hours. Probably not the best preparation for the two days ahead but common sense rarely applies in these situations.



Saturday
Despite the late night we were up nice and early, excited to hit the main park, and we all headed there for opening time to get a head start on the rest of the group who wouldn’t be arriving till lunchtime. It was a lovely warm day already and both @Howie and myself had taken the opportunity to wear shorts and T-shirts, though clearly many locals thought it was chilly as they were wearing their winter jackets!


Due to the park’s annoying staggered opening policy the coaster selection at 10am was limited to Furius Baco or nothing, so with everyone else queuing for that we opted to make our way to the back of the park in time for the 10:30 opening of the two B&M big boys. First up was the obvious choice…


We lucked out on a back row ride straight away and it was awesome. My appreciation of airtime has come on leaps and bounds since my first visit to the park, as has my willingness to allow a bit more wiggle room in the restraints on a hyper coaster, so I was treated to many seconds of sublime floater, and with three first-time riders in our group there was plenty of excitement afterwards. Possibly too much excitement from @Howie! 😂

With the queue time under 15 minutes it would’ve been rude not to get a re-ride so we went for another and this time bagged the front row. What an amazing start to the day! Front row was also incredible with the added thrill of being hung over the top of the drop for a few seconds, while the airtime was perhaps not quite as strong as at the back but still plentiful.



I actually think we may have had a third ride that morning but I can’t remember for sure, but after riding Shambhala we headed over to Dragon Khan, which was walk-on. It’s showing its age a bit and is particularly clunky through the Zero-G roll, but it’s still a decent old-school B&M looper with that trademark roar.



We then did a full loop of the park with the intention of catching the Christmas show in the Wild West Saloon, hoping to see Howie’s fabled Donkey in a hat, but by the time we got there the show was full, so instead we made our way back to the front of the park for lunch, expecting that the rest of the group would be arriving soon. We grabbed food from the café under Baco’s brake run and were amused to see some stray cats that had made their homes there.



With the rest of the group delayed due to hotel faff, we had time for one more ride and with our closest coaster now only having a 10 minute wait, the obvious choice was…


So as I mentioned earlier, the first time I rode Baco it was front row and I enjoyed it so much it became (at the time) my number two coaster (above Shambhala!) and was still comfortably in my Top Ten at the time of this trip. I was now about to take a middle of the train ride on an outside seat at the insistence of @daviddoc to get the true Baco experience! Would it remain in my top ten?


Well, no. It’s a bit rough innit? I wouldn’t say painfully rough but the vibration on the outside seats is pretty bad and makes for an uncomfortable ride. Having now ridden a lot more launch coasters it’s also not as impressive a ride in general, though the launch is still fantastic, I do strangely enjoy that slooooow inversion and the final turn over the lake is lovely, if somewhat juddery on-ride. So it’s no way a top ten ride for me anymore but I still enjoyed it in places and would happily ride it again.

The rest of the group were now making their way to Ferrari Land so we did the same and the Live officially began with a ride on Red Force. Bizarrely the park was even quieter than it had been the previous evening so everything was walk-on. Those of us that had ridden the other rides on Friday skipped them this time, and it didn’t take long for the group’s newer arrivals to realise that everything else the park had to offer was a bit 💩. Obviously those that needed it grabbed the kiddie cred, and for some reason Mr “I don’t do kiddie creds” Howatson had another ride too.


After that we just focussed on more Red Force rides until everyone had their fill and we ditched Ferrari Land for the main park. I did get my last ride on Red Force on the front row with @Taikavarpu which was a great way to end our experience of the ride because it’s so much better at the front.



So back we went to PortAventura and what followed was what could best be described as an hour of faffing as we walked towards the back of the park via the Wild West area, stopping numerous times to take photos before stopping for a late lunch for the many new arrivals that needed to get food. I didn’t need to eat but it was still fun to relax with the group and have a chat after a hectic first half of the day. :)

After that break it was pushing 5pm so we headed for some rides, starting with Dragon Khan (more enjoyable for me than my earlier ride) before getting in the queue for Shambhala, which had grown to about 25 minutes. This gave the chance for some queue line games and my first experience of Cred Head, which I had really been looking forward to. Now with dark rides and theme parks added, it was a lot of fun and passed the time well until we neared the front of the queue with the sun beginning to set.


I managed to snag back row along with @Slamming Coastercore (I think) for a stunning sunset ride packed with airtime, and again with several more first time riders in the group everyone was buzzing when they got off, so we went around for another go which was a full-on night ride and a fabulous final ride of the night. After that we all headed down to the front of the park for the Christmas fireworks display, which was pretty straightforward but fun to watch.



The night was far from over though, as we then made our way out of the park and over to the El Paso hotel where much of the group was staying. Much alcohol was consumed, dodgy hot dogs were eaten due to the other alternative being an hour-long wait for the buffet, many games were played and much conversation was had before we staggered back to our apartment in the early hours (again). It was a fantastic evening with a wonderfully friendly group of people, though my hangover the next morning begged to differ! :oops:


Sunday
Sunday morning was rough, I must admit, and I was not feeling my best for the first few hours, to say the least! We managed to drag ourselves out of bed and up to the park before 11am, where we met up with the rest of the group at the entrance to the new Sesame Street dark ride, Street Mission.


This had an hour-long queue which was probably for the best as it gave us time to recover from the previous night’s indulgences, drink plenty of water and play some more cred-themed games which were again a lot of fun. Before we knew it we were through the queue and on the ride, which is a decent trackless system with some practical theming, big screens and shooting elements. The shooting is always fun to a point (and I got the best score on our cart) but it does detract from the story somewhat, but it was a nice relaxed way to start the day and by the time we came out, the sun was up again and basking in its rays definitely helped clear the hangover.



After that it was back to Shambhala for a couple more rides, including a sublime one on the third row from the back, left outer seat which might be one of those magic coaster seats that people talk about sometimes. It really was phenomenal!



It was then cred-run time as we progressed around the park picking up all the +1s, starting with El Diablo (boring and uncomfortable mine train) before progressing to Tomahawk (kids woodie that gave a bit of air on the back row!) and then Stampida, where the group split so we could race. I noticed something amongst the queue line graffiti that I thought might be of interest to the more adventurous CF members so I took a photo 🤣


Anyway, I was on the red side and we won. Screw you, blue side! The ride seemed a bit less rough than when I rode it in 2016 but the trains were still nasty. Never did get back to ride the other side on this trip, which affects my OCD badly but not my spine.


Next stop was lunch at a nearby Wild West buffet, which had the second-longest queue of the day after the dark ride, then afterwards we rode the dodgems and the rapids, with our boat missing any serious splashing all the way round – others weren’t so lucky.



Returning to the front of the park it was time for another ride on Baco (the first of the trip for some members of the group) and this time I got an inside seat and have to say it was totally fine, not rough at all. It was so enjoyable in fact that some hardy souls from the group went around for a second ride immediately as it was walk-on. I was hoping for a front row ride to compare to my last visit but the ride op was being a dick and only allowing 4 people into the front row queue :( So I ended up on the second row, outside seat and again it was pretty shaky, but still had its moments.


Two rides in a row was enough though so we moved on to the most shameful cred of the trip – Tami Tami in the kids area! Again there were a few people that needed the credit, but most of us didn’t and yet we still all joined the queue which resulted in a CF takeover.



It was after 5pm and although some of the group still needed the ‘other side of Stampida’ cred, everyone agreed that the best use of the next hour was some more lovely Shambhala rides, so we headed back to find a virtually walk-on queue and had a few more rides before much of the group had to depart to catch their flight. So we said our goodbyes and the remainder of the group split into two factions – those that needed the Stampida cred and those that wanted a night ride on Hurakan Condor. I was in the latter group. I’d not had a night ride on a drop tower before so this was a good ride to try it on, but actually the impact of such a huge drop is somewhat lost when all you can see is darkness, so it’s probably not something I’d bother doing again.


After that it was back to Shambhala for another three night rides, with our small group dashing round like 12 years olds after each ride to make it into the station for another. Ultimately this paid off handsomely for myself, @daviddoc and @Taikavarpu as we got off the third-to-last train of the day, ran all the way around and got back on it for the last train of the night… on the back row! :D

As if that wasn’t cool enough, the nightly firework show began just as we were returning to the station and we got the added bonus of disembarking the train on the brake run because the ops didn’t want to send the empty train in front of us round for another lap. Seemed an odd decision but we weren’t complaining as we got a rare manual release cred. It was quite simply the perfect way to end a fantastic weekend and also my final park visit of not only the year but also the decade.

(Excuse the finger!)

After leaving the park we met up with @MouseAT and headed into Salou for food , eventually finding a restaurant that was open and served pretty much every kind of food you could want, which in our case was either pizza, curry or tapas. Conversation flowed, as did some beer, and after the meal we returned to our apartments for a few more drinks and played a pretty hilarious rap battle game before heading to bed around midnight ready for the early start back to the airport the next day.

Views on the park three years after my first visit? The main park is still really nice with decent theming throughout and nice landscaping, and Shambhala is a stunning ride. Baco not so much but it was interesting to see how my opinions on rides had changed since 2016. Ferrari Land is pretty terrible though aside from Red Force, and the sooner they give up on it being a separate gate, the better. Overall though it’s still probably the best European park I’ve visited so far when considering the balance between thrill rides and theming.

So there you go, another trip report that I spectacularly failed to keep brief! This was without doubt my favourite CF live so far. Everything just fell into place perfectly: the great weather, the parks being quiet, the lack of cred anxiety because I’d visited before and having 2 days at the park with no driving in between. Add to that being with a lovely group of people that all got on well and had plenty of socialising time and this was the event where I truly felt part of this great community. So thanks again to everyone that made the weekend such a perfect end to my first decade as a coaster enthusiast! :)

I’ll finish with some highs and lows:

Best 3 things of the weekend
1. Night rides on Shambhala and Red Force
2. Shambhala’s ride ops barely checking the lap bars
3. Drinking beer and playing silly games every night

Worst 3 things of the weekend
1. Pathetic/non-functional hand driers in the PortAventura toilets
2. Ferrari Land’s crappy shot tower and simulator rides
3. Throwing up that nasty hot dog on Sunday morning and it tasting exactly the same on the way up as it did on the way down 🤢

Also a few more photos from the weekend that I really like...






Ice Cream on the last day of November!


Feliz Navidad! :D
Awesome report! Loved reading that! It's really helped fill in those hungover gaps in the memory too 😅
 

daviddoc

Member
Great report Matt!

speaking of the rap battles, for anyone wondering, here's some of the more repeatable rhymes that dropped, sadly the best ones probably aren't family friendly enough for the forums!
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All in all, this was a fantastic trip though, great coasters and great company. Roll on the next live ASAP!
 

witchfinder

Member
Not quite sure how you remembered everything so well, all I got is foggy recollections of Red Force being shaky, Shambhala being awesome and beer being abundant!
I had lots of photos and actually started writing the trip report a couple of days after we got back. But your summary is basically the TLDR of my report :D
 
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