The Movieland Park, founded in 2003, is the latest project of the Amicabile family, who already laid the foundation stone for today’s Canevaworld Resort in 1965 with a dance club. The resort now consists of the water park Caneva Aquapark, the Disko Night Festival, the dinner show Medieval Times and the Rock Star Restaurant, as well as the theme park.
After having bought the tickets at the central ticket offices at the water park, we follow the path along the high street in order to get to the actual forecourt of the film park. Until the previous season you entered the park through the big studio gate, now two buses serve as the new entrance portal of the Movieland Park.
As a result, there is now a separate entrance to the Tomb Raider Machine, a Windshear by Zamperla, which is generously staged with water, fire, fog effects and some drama. Basically five different ride programs can be driven here, which are randomly determined by a selection disk, as long as the Ride-Op does not brake the disk before and then adjusts it to a mission. Depending on the selected mission, the duration, intensity and effects vary. The show of the system is more exciting than the ride itself, which is a bit jerky.
By walking through the old entrance portal, you find yourself right on the Main Street of the park, in whose corner house there is something gloomy or better said in whose cellar there is something pitch dark hidden. Since its opening, the Horror House offers the park guests a year-round scare haunt, thus a non-temporary cabinet of horrors with actors, similar to the Krüeger Hotel in the Spanish theme park Parc d’atraccions Tibidabo in Barcelona. The queue line sets the mood of the attraction, which gains momentum in the completely bloodstained lift.
Released directly into the darkness you follow the red lights of the surveillance cameras through absolutely dark corridors until you slowly but surely get used to the darkness. From time to time we now pass through larger scenes, all of which have a reference to horror film classics and have been elaborately designed. I especially liked the cold room scene with the body bags, which first blocked the way through movement and then showed their full effect through the use of a stroboscope and Freddy Krüeger from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Fortunately a group of two people caught up with us in the last room in front of the stairs leading up. They took their way with the camera light of their smartphone and thus took away the atmosphere. At the end, Michael Myers from the Halloween movies waited with a chainsaw for us. Worried that it will continue as long up here as it did in the basement, we found the exit to the attraction.
The Horror House is a very atmospheric and beautifully designed haunt with an amazingly long lead time. The 600 seconds given by Movieland Park itself can only be reached if you are guided through the corridors with your hands on the shoulder of the person in front. It took two of us a little longer to find our way in the pitch dark corridors. The actors do their job very well, even though you can almost always guess what will happen right away. Compared to the similar Krüeger Hotel I like the staging and the story line in the Parc d’atraccions Tibidabo a little bit better, yet here you have a truly outstanding attraction that you definitely shouldn’t miss.
However, it should be clearly pointed out that a visit under the age of 14 is not permitted. But also that is not a problem, as there is at least another access down to the cellar in the Addams House. Here, you pass through some rooms and corridors of the big horror haunt and get brilliant entertainment by Zombie-Hitler. Alone this moment is so delightfully abstruse that you inevitably have to love the park. After a short time, but with a really wide grin on your face, you leave the attraction. Understandably, the access to the Horror House is closed during the Addams House playtime.
On the back of Studio 1 a live set is currently located, on which the film Overdrive, generously advertised in the park, is recorded. In principle, this is a small stunt show disguised as a film recording, in which some park visitors are also involved. Some stunts will be shown, then the footage will be cut and at the end the film will end up on YouTube or the park’s website. Two takes per day are recorded, but the times were not advertised, so we both missed them.
But we were able to watch the magic show The Illusionist, which is roughly based on the film Prestige. The show shows some well known magic tricks, which are accompanied by all kinds of effects. Unfortunately, I couldn’t follow the story very well, as we were a bit late for the show. Nevertheless, the staging is quite well done and the theatre itself is impressive.
Right next door you will find Terminator 2 – 5D, an Interactive Theatre, where you shoot with pistols at a screen, but also at plastic figures. The terminator animatronics are convincing, as well as the numerous additional effects. Unfortunately, you can’t see much of the screen from the side. The game is fun and certainly worth playing, even though the game is hard to beat and therefore ends with Game Over before you reach the end.
Passing the Fazenda di Zorro or the remaining entrances of the Rodeo Grill Restaurant (which was decoupled from the park in 2012 and was supposed to entertain visitors after the opening hours of the two parks (and during lunchtime in the Movieland Park), however after two years of operation it was sold and finally renamed to Ristoburger Zero21), our way heads towards the submarine simulator U-571.
In a submarine bunker we first wait for more recruits to be allowed to enter some time later by our commanding officer. He informs us, while a staggering sailor is joking with a bottle full of rum behind him. During this show the Allies suddenly attack and several bombs fall into the harbour basin. We have to flee, but all roads are blocked and so we approach the submarine of the model U-571 at a rapid pace, climb down, hurry through the underwater vessel and take a seat in a chamber while the boat is submerging.
Our drunken comrade now tries to save us both and the submarine and tells me to open and close some valves in it; meanwhile we dive further down, but something is leaking. Full of haste I now try to comply to the specifications and getting loaded with water every now and then, while the rest of the recruits are shaken a little during our dive. At one point, one of the valves is gone and the amount of water can hardly be stopped. However, like a miracle, we manage to surface without being discovered by the Allies.
The U-571 is a spectacular attraction with a breathtaking pre-show and outstanding actors who really put a lot of effort into staging this attraction. Unfortunately, there is not much to see of the replica of the submarine in scale 1:1, as you run through the boat rather quickly. The actual simulator is just an old movie rocket without a movie, shaky benches and a brilliant, yet extremely oppressive atmosphere. If you are sitting in the front left of the boat, you have absolutely no chance to avoid the water, so that you get drenched on a similar level as jumping into the neighbouring Lake Garda.
If your clothes are still dry, take a ride on the Troncosaurus log flume, which looked more like a multi-storey car park than a splashy tree trunk ride down two drops before the redesign of the dinosaur area at the bottom of the park. Nowadays, the ride looks just as good as the rest of the area, which is now an ideal children’s area with matching sound.
After leaving the station, you head towards the first lift hill in a wide right turn. When arriving at the top, the track turns around below a later section of the track, whereby the entrance and exit run almost next to each other. Thereafter, the first descent of the log flume follows, whereby the transition into the lower canal is quite abrupt and makes for very good splash. After that you find yourself in another long right-hand turn, which leads parallel to the first lift hill into the second ascent. At the top, you follow the same route as on the lower floor. Instead of taking the second drop, you head straight on to the other side of the lift, where you cross a left-hand bend and slowly but surely approach the second drop. The run-out section is not quite as wet as at the small slope earlier on. A further left turn is then taken before approaching the station.
Troncosaurus is a very special log flume made by L&T Systems, which not only accommodates as much water as possible in as little space as possible, but also makes good use of the applied technology and is as energy-saving as possible, e.g. by using only one water circuit. The ride itself is quite nice and the wetness level is quite respectable, especially since water is constantly dripping into the boat even beyond the two shooting runs.
Next door, the BC-10 Airlines boat swing is swinging upwards, though the original swing of the former Looping Starship Aerovarvet in the Swedish leisure park Liseberg was significantly higher. When the looping madness of the 80s started to subside, Liseberg rebuilt the Looping Starship by removing the counter weight and the shoulder harnesses. Later, it disappeared from the landscape for several years before Movieland Park took pity on it and bought and redesigned the ride. In its current form, the boat swing entertains passengers in three different cruising programmes, although there is no clear difference. Unfortunately, the ship always brakes a little as soon as it has reached the maximum swing. The tight lap bars and the ride circle are reducing the fun slightly.
Also rescued from disappearance was the Schwarzkopf City Jet Brontojet, which had previously entertained its passengers for several years in the English amusement park Lightwater Valley and was briefly operated by the Bemboom family in Loudoun Castle and then stored. In 2010, Brontojet was opened as the second roller coaster of Movieland Park.
After taking a seat in the comfortable train, a short track section leads us straight to the spiral lift of the ride, which supplies the driving motors of the two cars with power by a conductor rail and thus continuously transports us upwards. At the top, we can enjoy the view of Lake Garda for a short time before we head towards the ground. With full power we cross the first valley, where after we rise again. Just below the first descent, we now drive around the spiral lift in a gentle left turn, before we throw ourselves back into a steep turn towards the ground. Following a turn near the ground, the trail continues several metres upwards and descends as quickly as possible in an oval downhill helix, carried out in the finest Bavarian curve style. Right after a very abrupt transition from an inclined curve into a straight line, which is certainly not laid out according to the heart line, you immediately stop at the powerful brake of the course.
The Brontojet is a truly intense roller coaster with, aside from the transition to the brake, absolutely great ride characteristics. For me it was the second City Jet ride after Nigloland’s great Bobsleigh coaster. Here, the ride was also very convincing, even though the design of the ride is far more minimalistic. The Brontojet was my 400th roller coaster in Europe.
Not quite as spectacular is the Bront-o-Ring, a small powered children’s roller coaster with a triangular layout, whose train is supplied with power via a cable in the middle of the ride. Here you turn round after round for a longer time interval, until you are happy to get off again. Opposite is Octopus, a stylish polyp ride by Soriani & Moser, which offered a long and joyful ride.
With Back to the Back Stage you will find a rather unusual monorail where you can take a look behind the scenes of the amusement park. For this reason you should only visit the ride after visiting all the main attractions. The monorail stops at several stations with some displays, where Doc Brown gives some insights into the individual attractions in short movies, before he is shocked by the catastrophes of Magma 2.1 and wants to travel back into the future. As a result – at least from the story’s point of view – at the end of the ride, we actually travelled one day into the future.
From the monorail you get a good insight into the wild action of the Kitt Super Jet boat drivers. Inspired by the still popular series Knight Rider (Supercar in Italian), the Foundation for Law and Constitution has commissioned a manhunt. However, not in Kitt, as that would be a catastrophe in terms of capacity, but in Super Jet, the equivalent on water.
After Michael Knight has personally prepared us for the mission in perfect Italian, the boat is lowered and leaves its harbour in reverse. The 600 hp engines start soon after and the boat accelerates in an incredible way. With full throttle we now turn lap by lap over the basin area of the neighbouring stunt show while avoiding some targets that have been lowered in the meantime. Occasionally the driver brakes spontaneously, turns a pirouette and accelerates at the same rate. Then, the boat disappears into a shed, which turns out to be an ambush. Under fire we leave the building shortly before it collapses and speed over the water surface once more, triggering some additional water effects. Shortly afterwards, the boat returns to its parking bay in the safe harbour of the Foundation.
Kitt Super Jet is probably the most breathtaking water attraction in Europe and definitely one of the attractions you should have experienced in your life. The integration of the series Knight Rider fits somehow perfectly, which is further underlined by the appearance of the original German superhero David Hasselhoff as a somewhat aged Michael Knight in the short pre-show. The ride offers a lot of speed, action and adrenaline and yet something for everyone. Therefore, you inevitably have to take your hat off to Movieland Park, which proved with Kitt Super Jet that Canevaworld Resort is the better choice for a successful theme park day at Lake Garda.
Shortly after 5 pm the gates to the John Rambo Stunt Show opened and the remaining guests could fill about half of the huge show arena. Shortly afterwards an old comrade of John Rambo and some visitors were captured by terrorists. John Rambo hurries to free his colleague, but is discovered quite fast. It begins an action sequence with motorcycles and quads, at the end of which Rambo has to take a good beating. In the meantime his comrade has freed himself and together they establish some order. A female soldier working undercover joins him, only to be caught in an ambush shortly afterwards. Meanwhile the hostages (the captured visitors) are brought to the main stage and can experience the spectacle up close. As the only person not captured, Rambo tries to free everyone in a one-man army sequence. He first frees his colleague and opens the escape routes, whereupon an action-packed show on the water takes place, in which also the remaining visitors gets quite wet. After most of the enemy forces have been defeated and the hostages have been brought to the front stage by motorboat, there is a little love story between Rambo and the soldier, who is fatally wounded by the only remaining adversary. Rambo then pulls out his bow, fires an arrow at the oil barrels on the opposite side and triggers an explosion that sets the enemy on fire.
Even though the story is a bit lengthy at times, the John Rambo Stunt Show is a show absolutely worth seeing. The show is fortunately does not use any slapstick, like its boring car stunt show counterparts often found in amusement parks around the world. Beside the well choreographed fighting performances there are also some surprises, which are well staged. The big cast does its job very well, which is why you shouldn’t miss out on the show.
Another highlight follows with Magma 2.1, a ride similar to the Studio Tram Tour from the Walt Disney Studios Park near Paris, only with spectacular special effects, motivated drivers and lots of action.
After the car has left the station, a short turn follows at the rear end of the Hollywood Action Tower, then the truck mercilessly plunges down a steep embankment, lifting the passengers neatly out of their seats. Passing the back of the stunt show, we now enter an obstacle course with several delightful mechanical gimmicks. First, we cross a small water basin above which a tanker truck empties itself, which in theory can be very wet. After that, we cross an oversized seesaw and in the next moment we are dried a little by cold air blowers. With a decent speed we drive around a small building, into which we enter shortly afterwards. Inside there is a small laboratory, which is now destroyed due to some earthquakes. The truck is shaken and there are some fire and light effects. A siren sounds and we leave the building as soon as possible. Outside it is burning everywhere and the landscape is mostly destroyed, to all misfortune the road breaks under us and we land quite surprisingly in water. By forced measures, we drive through another water basin where there is a water effect directed at the passengers. Likewise, the truck drives a little in reverse until it can drive up the embankment in another attempt. Once again at full throttle we pass the same road along the stunt show as at the beginning of the ride and arrive shortly after at the station, where the driver is usually bid farewell with some applause.
Magma 2.1 is a genuinely funny and effect overloaded attraction that unfortunately cannot be found elsewhere in Europe, even though in the English Chessington World of Adventure on Zufari you can at least guess the potential behind such an attraction. The drivers on Magma are merciless and the built-in mechanical effects are totally amazing, which is why you have to get a ride or two when you are at Movieland Park.
You should also get a ride on the Hollywood Action Tower, a first generation free fall from Intamin. It was built in the 80s, before you could establish space-saving free fall towers with magnetic brake systems in amusement parks in the mid 90s. Before the system moved to Movieland Park in 2006, it stood until 2001 as Drop of Doom in the Galaxyland Amusement Park of the Canadian West Edmonton Mall, before it was replaced by a double shot of about the same height made by S&S.
After taking a seat in the car and closing the over-the-shoulder harness, the car sets itself in motion and first moves a few meters backwards into the elevator shaft. The nacelle couples into the shaft at the back and is immediately transported up the tower. When it reaches the top, the car is pushed forward a little to the sound of the Twilight Zone soundtrack and couples into the free fall shaft. Under a fog effect the letters of the Hollywood Tower logo break in and we fall into the depth. The first meters of it we approach the ground in a straight line, but then the falling distance bends in a quarter circle, consequently we find ourselves lying on our backs rather fast and continue to move before the mechanical brakes stops us noticeably. A dog grabs us and transports us over a turnout one level down, where we return to our starting position and are immediately brought to the station.
The Hollywood Action Tower is the only one of its kind in Europe and one of the few remaining rides of its kind in the world. For this reason alone, the trip to Movieland Park is worthwhile. The freefall experience is just an awesome experience – althrough, also a wacky one as well, which is why we joined the queue quite often.
As you could expect by the Police Academy, which has its own simulators for the driver training of the new recruits, also features a quite bizarre ride experience. The film shown here is quite good and, compared to other simulations, fortunately doesn’t use cheap computer generated animations instead of real film material.
Our driving doesn’t seem to be that great, which is why Lieutenant Harris interrupts the ride. Through a trick he is lured out of the room, whereby Mahoney and his clique take over the simulators and let us dance the duck dance first. After the return of Lieutenant Harris the original film is continued and brought to an end. All in all, this results in a really extraordinary ride that stands out from the crowd and thus offers a refreshingly different experience that you should not miss.
Past the small Monza track Route 66 our way leads through the entrance portal to the forecourt of the Movieland Park, from where two bridges lead us to our next destination, the Diabolik Invertigo by Vekoma, which previously was Two-Face: The flip side at Six Flags America from 1999 – 2007. Even though the dismantling was handled rather carelessly at that time, the ride looks like new today and has been given an onboard sound and a continuous storyline by the Italian cartoonists A.M. Ricci and M. Ricci, as well as the lyricist Mario Gomboli based on the original comic Diabolik by the sisters Angela and Luciana Guissani.
The course of the ride is similar to that of a boomerang built by the same manufacturer; i.e. after the lift, the station is passed through, whereupon, in a Cobra Roll, you are turned upside down twice before seeing the world upside down for a third time in a simple loop, before you are taken up to the second lift, in order to experience the whole game again in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, there are some minor differences between an Invertigo and the standard Boomerang, e.g. the train is located underneath the rail and has a completely different seating arrangement, where you can even face each other, and the used technology is a bit different.
Like the Tornado of the former Danish theme park Sommerland Syd – now Triops in the French theme park Bagatelle – the ride comfort of the Diabolik Invertigo is extremely good. The ride is smooth! Due to this, I enjoyed the ride very much and could have done it over and over again. Of course, the excellent comic design of the ride contributes to this and the onboard sound was also a welcome surprise.
But actually the whole Movieland Park was a big surprise, as such a park is hard to find. Beside its terrific main attractions and the rather negligible flat rides, the park offers a lot of entertainment at every corner, so you can spend a whole day at the park with only a few repetitions. As soon as you leave the Movieland Park, you are permitted to walk over the red carpet, applauded by all the actors that you had the chance to see during the day. Although it’s incredibly kitschy, it’s the kitsch that finally made Movieland Park my new favorite among all European theme parks.
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