PORTAVENTURA — Day One
I’m at this park for nearly three days, so I wasn’t going to make a report after each night, but I can’t resist a quick summary of Day One.
I managed to get all the coaster creds in the main park, got a few other rides, had some nice meals (one Mexican, one American in their culinary theming). But I think I can distill the day into two big stories, one negative, one positive.
Let’s get the negative out of the way first. Operations. Incompetence? Apathy? Corruption (to sell more fast passes)? I am new to this park and can only guess from observation, but I’d go with a combination of all three with a heavy emphasis on the third. I’ll use Stampida as an example. Very busy day. ONE train ops. SLOW dispatches. Each train allowed to fill up 2/3 of the way with fast pass people. Just let the combination of those factors sink in and picture the reality. The line just didn’t move (except from fed up people leaving it). Baking heat and humidity. I waited for one side for two hours. For a fairly rickety and small CCI. Later I waited an hour for the other side (wanted both creds). At one point I thought there was going to be a rebellion in the station when people could see how much the fast passes were being favored. There kind of was a rebellion for a few minutes, as the suddenly emerging Che Guevara figure encouraged the proletarian regular line people to feed in and take more gates. Really, the ops I saw all day long were insulting.
The good. Shambhala. Sublime. Just sublime. As good as I’d hoped, if not better. The one loophole to the day’s operations was a slow but manageable single rider line for this one coaster. Got one ride during the day. Two more at night just before the park closed the rides at 11 pm. The night rides — in the back rows — were especially a dream. This one ride makes up for all the crappiness of this park in other aspects. Just a divine experience. It is now my number one B&M hyper. Yes, easily. Sorry Behemoth and Mako and all the rest. In fact, I can say with confidence that this is a top ten coaster for me. Where, exactly, I’ll have to figure out when the trip is done. But it has oodles of what I love in a coaster: big drops and massive airtime. It seemed to me that every single drop has wonderful air all the way down, and sometimes over the entire arc. I love Shambhala. It’s love, I tell you, and I don’t care who knows it.
In the next two days I will, yes, get Ferrari Land done, but also concentrate on marathoning Shambhala as much as possible.
Another last-minute positive: the fireworks and water craft/light display at the end of the night in the lake area was rather excellent. It worked on me, as it left me leaving the park in a good mood (although Shambhala had a hand in that as well).
Another last-minute negative. I know some people think Furius Baco is great. Most think it’s a shaky headache inducer. Seems I’m in the majority. I’d heard the only smooth row is the front one. I managed to get the front, and still, after a great little launch, my seat started shaking like crazy, causing pain in parts of my body I didn’t expect to be feeling pain, and then the coaster was over very quickly. My only gratitude is to the friend who told me to hit FB right away, as it gets a massive line.
Oh, and Dragon Khan. Fairly fun, but shaky and nothing particularly outstanding about it.