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Seven-Country, Eight-Week Euro Jam (July, August '22)

OtherBen

Roller Poster
i went a month ago for the first time and got one ride on every major coaster + one on red force + 2 on shambhala...

...because me and my partner bought the one ride on each big coaster fast pass.

we were told it was really the only way and yeah, same experience as you, the line for baco reached two hours, sesame street: street mission was showing 20 minutes and it took an hour and forty minutes. i genuinely hated the park because of the same reasons you mentioned. it really soured the day. park was open until late and we were going to stay for night rides, etc, but left at about 1700.

also, beyond shambhala i thought all the rides were rough, stampida, baco, mine train one and dragon khan. not a good experience for me.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
i went a month ago for the first time and got one ride on every major coaster + one on red force + 2 on shambhala...

...because me and my partner bought the one ride on each big coaster fast pass.

we were told it was really the only way and yeah, same experience as you, the line for baco reached two hours, sesame street: street mission was showing 20 minutes and it took an hour and forty minutes. i genuinely hated the park because of the same reasons you mentioned. it really soured the day. park was open until late and we were going to stay for night rides, etc, but left at about 1700.

also, beyond shambhala i thought all the rides were rough, stampida, baco, mine train one and dragon khan. not a good experience for me.
In observing the two parks over two days, it seems clear to me that the long lines are deliberately created. If the park were operated reasonably, no lines would be longer than 20 minutes (possible exception for Furius Baco), even though it’s a popular park. Far more popular parks in Europe have good operations and happy normal-paying customers. Here it’s one-train ops, slow dispatches, and a huge numerical preference for fast pass guests that artificially create the need for fast passes. That result may make the short-term-thinking corporates happy, but they obviously don’t see or don’t care about the huge level of discontent I saw among the guests.
 
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Tonkso

Mega Poster
Such a shame, because when it's quiet, PA is a fantastic little park.
My advice for anyone else here, pick a midweek day in September or October. September 11th is weirdly a sweet spot with the park expected to be quiet, and the last day of operation for the water park before the seasonal shut-down.

Edit: Not sure why I said little park, that place is huge...
 

redheadedRobin

Roller Poster
September 11th is weirdly a sweet spot with the park expected to be quiet
Going on September 11th is a big gamble imho, since it's the National Day of Catalonia. When it falls on a weekday, the park's attendance grows because many kids and parents have an off day, but when it's on a weekend (this year it's on a Sunday) some schools do an extra day off and then more families visit that day, because the monday after kids can stay up until later or won't be too tired for school next day. But it can happen the opposite, and have everyone go to the celebrations and forget about the park. I've had both experiences when visiting that day...

(English is not my first language so I don't know if I explained myself well enor not lol)

PS: September 13th though? An amazing day. For what I've experienced, it seems people think "since everyone will go on the 11th and we are free on the 12th, let's go on the 12th"... and then on the 13th the park is empty 😂
 
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OtherBen

Roller Poster
In observing the two parks over two days, it seems clear to me that the long lines are deliberately created. If the park were operated reasonably, no lines would be longer than 20 minutes (possible exception for Furius Baco), even though it’s a popular park. Far more popular parks in Europe have good operations and happy normal-paying customers. Here it’s one-train ops, slow dispatches, and a huge numerical preference for fast pass guests that artificially creates the need for fast passes. That result may make the short-term-thinking corporates happy, but they obviously don’t see or don’t care about the huge level of discontent I saw among the guests.

100% agree.

i've not done as many parks as a lot of people but i've been to 6/7 and portaventura is the sole one that has pushed the fast pass idea to the limit - which as you say, artificially inflates those queue times. it's such a shame because if it was quote/unquote 'fair' i could see it being a great park if my wait times were 30/35 minutes for each ride.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
TIBIDABO

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Goes without saying that Barcelona is amazing, but today I took a bus and a funicular to the top of the hill overlooking the city where Tibidabo is. I expected two kiddie coasters and a spectacular view. I got that view in spades, but the park itself, though small, was better than expected.

The main coaster, Montanya Russa, was much better than expected. First, it’s not a kiddie coaster. It’s more on the thrilling end of the family coaster spectrum. It begins with a drop …
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… that looks to the riders far steeper than it appears in this photo, in part because from the riders’ perspective it seems as if the train is about to careen off the side of the mountain. Then the rest of the coaster is smooth as glass, consisting of whirling helices. It’s a very fun little coaster, inducing me to ride it twice, which was easy to do because — TAKE NOTE, PORTAVENTURA — this little coaster was running two trains.

The other coaster — Tibidabo Express — is a powered coaster and thus more of a true kiddie coaster, but it actually careens around its odd layout at quite a high speed, twice, through tunnels and with a nice view, giving all the riders quite a thrill.

I also went on a cute log ride, the Gold Mine, in which the undulating first drop was far more of a soaker than the second.

After doing the park, I explored the cathedral right next to it, and went to the top of the tower, which has a truly spectacular view of all of Barcelona.

I was just about to leave when I spotted a fanciful ride I hadn’t ridden. It’s sort of a hanging monorail-like ride, which looked to me like a flying sleigh, but I guess it’s meant to be a flying carpet. If you go to Tibidabo, don’t overlook this easily missed ride!!! First, the view is stunning, really special. Then you go in and out of tunnels with crazy effects, and there was even a scare actor lurking in the dark toward the very end. What a unique and charming ride.

After this, I spotted that there was about to be a marionette show, so I stopped in for this, and it was another real charmer. Old-school marionettes perform a series of musical vignettes, delighting the children and adults alike.

I’m so glad that I went back into the park as the last two things I did really made the park more memorable for me. And I’m glad I took half a day to head up the mountain and visit this cute place.
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
So for Port Aventura, I did the once per ride fast pass option as that and the main ticket price were relatively cheap. A two park ticket for one day, and that level of fast pass, turned out to be around 99 euros. And honestly, given the quality of the park itself and all the rides (adored Shambhala, everything else is quite good), I'm happy to spend that. It's comparable to what you'd pay for a park in Florida (in some cases cheaper), and PA is better than most of those parks.

I didn't find the operations bad at all. Even with the faff of dropping bags off in bins, trains were being dispatched at a reasonable rate. Multiple trains on all coasters. Were you there on a weekend or weekday? Wondering if they do one train ops during the week.

I did notice how much they favored the fast passers when loading. I was pretty tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing, as it made the cred run incredibly easy. Re rides were obviously tough though once the fast pass was used up... there's no reason why a B&M hyper should have an hour wait.

But that's my only issue with the park. Other than that, loved it. Top 3 park for me. Honestly, whenever I get back, I'll happily pay for the unlimited fast pass, but not bother with Ferrari Land to balance the price out a bit. If I have to pay a little extra to ensure I have the opportunity to marathon rides, so be it.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
So for Port Aventura, I did the once per ride fast pass option as that and the main ticket price were relatively cheap. A two park ticket for one day, and that level of fast pass, turned out to be around 99 euros. And honestly, given the quality of the park itself and all the rides (adored Shambhala, everything else is quite good), I'm happy to spend that. It's comparable to what you'd pay for a park in Florida (in some cases cheaper), and PA is better than most of those parks.

I didn't find the operations bad at all. Even with the faff of dropping bags off in bins, trains were being dispatched at a reasonable rate. Multiple trains on all coasters. Were you there on a weekend or weekday? Wondering if they do one train ops during the week.

I did notice how much they favored the fast passers when loading. I was pretty tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing, as it made the cred run incredibly easy. Re rides were obviously tough though once the fast pass was used up... there's no reason why a B&M hyper should have an hour wait.

But that's my only issue with the park. Other than that, loved it. Top 3 park for me. Honestly, whenever I get back, I'll happily pay for the unlimited fast pass, but not bother with Ferrari Land to balance the price out a bit. If I have to pay a little extra to ensure I have the opportunity to marathon rides, so be it.
I did go during weekdays (during which the park was so slammed that one-train ops should have been unthinkable), but I’ve heard people complain about the one-train ops and slow dispatches for many years before I witnessed it myself with disbelief. And no park that deliberately chooses ten plus fast passers for every one peon guest, artificially creating two-hour lines, could possibly be a park that I’d rate highly. And I even think the ride collection is meager and mediocre, with the obvious exception of Shambhala, which I loved so much that for me it balanced out how crappy the park was otherwise. (I’m thinking it may settle in as a top five coaster for me it was so great.)

What I saw was sheer corruption and disdain for customers, but obviously there are plenty of people like you that just pay the extra and think everything’s great. To each their own! I’m glad you had a great time there.
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
I did go during weekdays (during which the park was so slammed that one-train ops should have been unthinkable), but I’ve heard people complain about the one-train ops and slow dispatches for many years before I witnessed it myself with disbelief. And no park that deliberately chooses ten plus fast passers for every one peon guest, artificially creating two-hour lines, could possibly be a park that I’d rate highly. And I even think the ride collection is meager and mediocre, with the obvious exception of Shambhala, which I loved so much that for me it balanced out how crappy the park was otherwise. (I’m thinking it may settle in as a top five coaster for me it was so great.)

What I saw was sheer corruption and disdain for customers, but obviously there are plenty of people like you that just pay the extra and think everything’s great. To each their own! I’m glad you had a great time there.
I guess I never saw the negative staff/guest interactions that you speak of. But there definitely does need to be some changes with how they manage their queues. Would I rather have it so that I don't need the fast pass and handle 20 minutes queues all around? Absolutely. Maybe they could even bump up the entry ticket to compensate that. But in its current form, and this is something that I've heard from others, Port Aventura really does require you to purchase a fast pass if you want to make the most out of it. It is what it is I'm afraid.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
But in its current form, and this is something that I've heard from others, Port Aventura really does require you to purchase a fast pass if you want to make the most out of it.
I’ve certainly heard that many times, too. Maybe if I had been visiting only one day I would have felt forced to get a fast pass from the start and would have had a better impression of the park.

Still, I don’t think any park that forces the guest to get a fast pass in order not to be screwed is a park I can endorse.
 

TilenB

Strata Poster
Oh, Tibidabo is great fun! A bit on the expensive side for what it offers, but it's well worth it for the views and uniqueness of their attractions. Did you do Hotel Krueger as well? I feel that was one of the highlights of the park.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Oh, Tibidabo is great fun! A bit on the expensive side for what it offers, but it's well worth it for the views and uniqueness of their attractions. Did you do Hotel Krueger as well? I feel that was one of the highlights of the park.
I sought out Hotel Krueger when I saw it on the map, but it was not open and I couldn’t see any information as to if/when it would open. So I’m afraid that’s one I missed. Is it a walk-through?
 

redheadedRobin

Roller Poster
The other coaster — Tibidabo Express — is a powered coaster and thus more of a true kiddie coaster, but it actually careens around its odd layout at quite a high speed, twice, through tunnels and with a nice view, giving all the riders quite a thrill.

Tibidabo Express is quite fun, both with and without the VR option it has (or used to have ?). It was my first coaster, and it scared the s*** out of me when I was like 5. It's quite thrilling for kids, which is nice since they're the target of the park.

I was just about to leave when I spotted a fanciful ride I hadn’t ridden. It’s sort of a hanging monorail-like ride, which looked to me like a flying sleigh, but I guess it’s meant to be a flying carpet. If you go to Tibidabo, don’t overlook this easily missed ride!!! First, the view is stunning, really special. Then you go in and out of tunnels with crazy effects, and there was even a scare actor lurking in the dark toward the very end. What a unique and charming ride.
That guy. We call him "guri-guri" as it's the sound he makes to scare you. I've ridden that thing like a thousand times and evey single time the scared actor has chosen me to scare me. Every. single. time.

Glad to hear you enjoyed Tibidabo!! Hotel Krueger is a horror walk-through, it's quite intense and by far the most popular attraction in the park for people over 13.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Tibidabo Express is quite fun, both with and without the VR option it has (or used to have ?). It was my first coaster, and it scared the s*** out of me when I was like 5. It's quite thrilling for kids, which is nice since they're the target of the park.


That guy. We call him "guri-guri" as it's the sound he makes to scare you. I've ridden that thing like a thousand times and evey single time the scared actor has chosen me to scare me. Every. single. time.

Glad to hear you enjoyed Tibidabo!! Hotel Krueger is a horror walk-through, it's quite intense and by far the most popular attraction in the park for people over 13.
When I was on Tibidabo Express, I was thinking that I bet this is pretty scary for a lot of little kids.

And that scare actor singled out me, too — but after the initial jump scare was pretty friendly, hoping I was having a good day. 😆
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
PARC ASTÉRIX

This is a charming park with a lot of care in its theming. I didn’t grow up with the Astérix comic book world, but I enjoyed the park’s tongue-in-cheek, stylized versions of various lands of Antiquity.

The two headline coasters were better than expected. For the second time on this trip I encounter a B&M invert that feels unique. I especially enjoyed OzIris’s emphasis on rolling drops and trenches, making this possibly the B&M invert with the most sheer fun in it for me.

Maybe it’s because I got a lot of room with my restraint, but my front-row ride on Tonnerre 2 Zeus was filled with wild airtime, some of it standing airtime! And the new element that has come with this tracking — an airtime hill that you arc across sideways — was a hoot.

For many years, this has been my sense of the enthusiasts’ reception of Goudurix:
90% — it’s awful, with many saying it’s the worst ever
8% — it’s not so bad and/or it’s fine after the work done on it
2% — it’s not only not bad; it’s great!
Quickly found out I land in the majority category. Definitely not the worst coaster I’ve ridden, but it rides like a giant SLC and instantly had me riding defensively. But the GP were going crazy for it when I was there.

Vol D’Icare was an odd model I’d never ridden before, whereas Pegase Express immediately reminded me of Firechaser Express. And finally Trace du Hourra has a nicely themed queue, and it’s a fairly wild ride, but still not a better Mack Bobsled than the one at Heide.

And lastly, you get a great view of Toutatis from Hourra, and the work has come very far.

Just a quick run down of the coasters this time, as I don’t have much time.
 
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Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
PARC ASTÉRIX

This is a charming park with a lot of care in its theming. I didn’t grow up with the Astérix comic book world, but I enjoyed the park’s tongue-in-cheek, stylized versions of various lands of Antiquity.

The two headline coasters were better than expected. For the second time on this trip I encounter a B&M hyper that feels unique. I especially enjoyed OzIris’s emphasis on rolling drops and trenches, making this possibly the B&M invert with the most sheer fun in it for me.

Maybe it’s because I got a lot of room with my restraint, but my front-row ride on Tonnerre 2 Zeus was filled with wild airtime, some of it standing airtime! And the new element that has come with this tracking — an airtime hill that you arc across sideways — was a hoot.

For many years, this has been my sense of the enthusiasts’ reception of Goudurix:
90% — it’s awful, with many saying it’s the worst ever
8% — it’s not so bad and/or it’s fine after the work done on it
2% — it’s not only not bad; it’s great!
Quickly found out I land in the majority category. Definitely not the worst coaster I’ve ridden, but it rides like a giant SLC and instantly had me riding defensively. But the GP were going crazy for it when I was there.

Vol D’Icare was an odd model I’d never ridden before, whereas Pegase Express immediately reminded me of Firechaser Express. And finally Trace du Hourra has a nicely themed queue, and it’s a fairly wild ride, but still not a better Mack Bobsled than the one at Heide.

And lastly, you get a great view of Toutatis from Hourra, and the work has come very far.

Just a quick run down of the coasters this time, as I don’t have much time.
I like Goudrix. Does that make me edgy, in the minority :)

P.s only just catching up on this thread... You had to wear goggles on the front rows at EL??? That's mad, I've never had to wear goggles.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Just as Excalibur had to wait for an Arthur to come along and pull it from the stone, you were a Chosen One to enjoy Goudurix.
Haha nice one.

I also enjoyed Express: Platform 13 on my first visit, but have since had both good and bad rides... These older Vekoma rides seem a bit temperamental. Would be interesting to see what I thought of Goudrix after multiple visits and rides.

But I'll enjoy being in the 2% for now haha.
 

Tonkso

Mega Poster
I'm also part of the 2%. I do get why people don't like it, it is rough, but I also find that enthusiasts tend to overestimate how much the general public cares about roughness on a ride, in fact the only ride I've seen non-enthusiasts complaining about en masse is Hero, and that thing is beyond help.

It's a decent ride though, people generally seem to enjoy it and it's the most iconic ride in the park.
 
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