As the return journey from the coastal town of Marina di Castagneto to Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg, was definitely too far to leave it all in one go, we spent another night near Lake Garda, but this time at the Hotel Montemezzi near Verona. After a good night’s sleep and a large breakfast buffet, we headed home again with a slight delay, due to the duration of the check-out, via the nearby Brenner motorway. In contrast to the outward journey, there was no snow in Austria this time, so we were able to drive through the Fernpass a little faster; the first time we were really stuck in a traffic jam, we were of course back in Germany, which made the overall relaxing holiday a little more nerve-racking, at least on the return journey.
After staying in Rainbow Magicland near the Italian capital for almost too long, we reached the Tuscan amusement park Cavallino Matto at 4 pm on time. To my own surprise, the visit was a little cheaper thanks to the afternoon ticket and free parking.
In a good mood we went straight to the park of the Manfredi family, who have owned the Crazy Horse, Cavallino Matto, since 2006. However, the park was founded as Parco Gulliver as early as 1967, and was more a playground with pony rides and mini-golf than a leisure park. In the 1990s, more and more larger rides, such as the Colorado Boats log flume, moved into the park. However, the park didn’t gain in attraction until the Manfredi family took over and expanded it.
I did not become aware of Cavallino Matto until 2012, and thus certainly earlier than most amusement park fans, when the Swedish amusement park Liseberg had its old Rock ‘n’ Roll monster from Schwarzkopf replaced by a brand new one from Gerstlauer, which in turn moved the old one to Tuscany. Here it was given a new environment, whereby the old theme is still used musically. In contrast to the comparable ride in the French Nigloland, the ride here is also very easy to turn thanks to the lack of partitions between the seats, which in combination with the general duration of the ride made for an all-round successful ride.
Opposite it is the children’s roller coaster Topo Zorro, a rather rare variation of the Italian long runner Brucomela with a helix instead of a straight downhill run. In contrast to the C&S-built ride Tren de Potosi from the Spanish Isla Magica near Sevilla, the waves in the upper part of the ride are quite round, which unfortunately makes the ride a bit less exciting.
Just a few metres further on, the first end of the Cavallino Matto amusement park is reached, where two rides venture beyond the ever-present treetops in a larger square. While the 55m high Shocking Tower from Soriani & Moser easily manages this, the gondola carrier of the Technical Park Typhoon Yukatan only reaches beyond the treetops in full swing. This makes the otherwise rather tame ride a very exciting experience.
Passing a children’s driving school, as well as the Baia dei Bucanieri – a splash battle of SBF Visa – in whose courtyard the ship swing Nave Pirata is located, we went to the formerly largest roller coaster of the park: the L&T Systems ride Project 1. Here we also came across the exemplary handling of the park for the first time, according to which the train is sent onto the track immediately with enough passengers or after a certain time interval with only a few willing passengers. Especially on empty days this ensures sufficient rides on all relevant rides without having to pay attention to eventual closing and opening times.
The ride begins with a right turn towards the lift hill, which takes you up to the maximum height of 16m at a fairly leisurely pace. In a shallow right turn above the tree tops, you slowly but surely head towards the ground. Here you immediately pass through a long valley, after which you make your way to the sky with a similar gradient as you did on the descent. This also happens in a right turn, but the tree tops can only be seen from below. A smaller slope takes you to the other side of the ride, but there is now an uphill bend to the left. Parallel to the lift hill there is now another drop, whereupon the station is crossed in another left turn. This is followed by the last descent and a final bend, until the nice, but not necessarily exciting, ride in Cavallino Matto ends.
Also from here it is only a few steps to the next bigger attraction, which for us was not the nicely designed dark ride Safari Adventures, but the wild mouse Wild Mine, also from L&T Systems. The ride is similar to its counterpart from Mirabilandia, but a bit smaller and has two hairpin bends less. Thus, the upper part of the ride goes through only five serpentine curves just before the funny interplay between steeper gradients and further hairpin bends starts one level below. Due to lack of space, the two successive gradients are slightly smaller, but this doesn’t hurt the funny mouse, especially since we didn’t have to wait an hour or rather a second for the ride this time.
Directly next door is the small roller coaster Speedy Gonzales, which we also knew from Mirabilandia. However, it seemed to be bigger there. Instead of just one lap through the layout of a simple figure of eight, the train set made its guided way over the track twice.
In addition to an electric horse-riding track and a 4D cinema, this area of Cavallino Matto also features the large, apparently home-made, Colorado Boats log flume. After leaving the station, you can take a little boat ride through the canal before you reach the first conveyor belt which takes you up to the top. Shortly after that the first shot is taken, whereupon the contact with the cool water is immediately established. Although the run-out area is very short, the boat glides very smoothly into the next curve whereby the speed is somewhat slow. No wonder that it is forbidden to change the natural speed of the boat. Of course we followed this advice written in German with pleasure and so we bobbed with the boat through the further course of the channel. A short time later we reached the second lift and thus the second and also biggest shot of the ride. Now the return to the station could be done properly moistened, but since no photo of the ride has been taken yet and this should best be taken during a descent, we climbed a hill a third time, but this time a remarkably small one. Fortunately, this hill is quite harmless and the boat trip through the forest ends shortly afterwards with a sufficiently pronounced degree of wetness.
On a brand new site, separated by a small public road, the newest and largest roller coaster of the Cavallino Matto amusement park rises to the sky. Although the Freestyle roller coaster is considerably older than any other ride in the park, the former Sky Rider from Canada’s Wonderland has attracted the park’s attention in all the forums. Almost like in 1985, the construction of the Stand-Up Coaster was eagerly awaited, which is the second ride of this type in Europe next to the Shockwave of the English amusement park Drayton Manor. Moreover, it is the only larger roller coaster of the Japanese manufacturer Togo in Europe, which is all the more reason to make a pilgrimage to the small, friendly amusement park in Tuscany.
While on most roller coasters the experience starts with the ascent of the lift hill, the access to Freestyle is already quite adventurous. Admittedly I didn’t understand the whole procedure at the first run, especially as the shoulder bar waistcoat couldn’t be opened completely, but this improved steadily from ride to ride. And actually it’s quite simple, because you only have to pull the nipple through the flap and turn the small crank to the top, then you see an arrow and press on it and it opens or closes. Actually you only have to push the loose harness forwards. But hopefully the person to your right doesn’t do the same at the same moment (which is very likely). When the harness is opened, place yourself onto the seat, close the harness and adjust the height of your seat. The seat is then locked in position and if necessary readjusted by the staff. The staff must be praised for their quick reactions and for allowing even a mentally handicapped and partially paralysed boy to ride in the course of the day.
As soon as the train has been cleared, you can take the lift up to a height of 27m at a leisurely pace. Up there, you take a turn above the green of the forest. In a curve you pick up more and more speed before you plunge down to the ground without hesitation. With extraordinary strong pressure you pass the first valley and immediately afterwards in a similar manic way the loop of the ride. After that you pass the following valley without any regard to losses before the train rushes up a camelback. Here you take off the floor in the front part of the train. However, with the best will in the world, the madness is not over, because the train now pushes through a narrow downhill helix, which is equipped with immensely high pressure. The now compressed legs are brought back into shape on the following hill by the negative forces; but the madness still continues. On a supposed straight line the train is now tilted to the left before it uses a right turn as a turning manoeuvre. Two and a half small hills, which get bigger and bigger towards their end, are the finale of this exciting ride. With the last hilltop the braking distance is reached and after another curve also the station, where you immediately feel the urge for another round.
The Stand-Up Coaster Freestyle is certainly one of the most intense roller coasters in Italy and also in Europe. The way the roller coaster stresses you in the helix is insane and almost uncomfortable, but in combination with the airtime moments during the ride it is extremely worth experiencing. If you can thankfully do without taking off on the first drop, then a ride in the front part of the train is recommended. Unfortunately, the ride characteristics are not the best, but the safety bars are almost negligible because they hardly touch your body; that’s why Dominik, who was rather displeased with the excellent Invertigo from Movieland Park, wanted to take one lap after the other, while one or two laps less would have been enough for me. But one can also be infected by such a passion.
Pictures Cavallino Matto
Conclusion Cavallino Matto
Cavallino Matto was the most sympathetic amusement park on the tour, so despite only two hours in the park we really had a lot of fun here. All in all, we had quite a few repeat rides on Freestyle and were able to ride everything without any problems due to the good waiting time management; only the strict approach to the Yucatan swing prevented a final ride on the stand-up coaster, which we had grown to love until then. So the ride just above the tree tops was the crowning glory of the tour through beautiful Italy.
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The Rainbow Magicland is once again one of those theme parks designed on the drawing board, where the initially expected visitor numbers cannot be linked to reality and will probably never come together in the future. The operating company Alfa Park probably had similar experiences with Miragica, which opened two years earlier, so that some projects were probably saved from realisation. In 2011 the theme park, which is based on children’s series by the Italian animation studio Rainbow, opened and what looked very promising from the vastness of the Internet already turned out to be untenable by visitor reviews in the second year of operation of the park.
I don’t like to hide the fact that Rainbow Magicland lives up to its bad reputation; after all, we expected nothing less. As soon as we enter the car park, the previously consolidated picture is confirmed, as a large part of it has been taken over by nature in the meantime. But that doesn’t matter, because you can’t expect visitors here anyway, so without hesitation we went into the park to let the playful, meanwhile very run-down decoration take effect on us. While the Cinecittà World has been built with quality in mind right from the start and the park looks as if it had only opened yesterday, Rainbow Magicland looks like a fairytale park opened in 1970; only with the one, but very fundamental difference that in an old fairytale park there is often a very high level of attention to detail.
But what the park hardly lacks is an extensive range of rides and so we headed straight for the launch coaster Shock, built by Maurer. With its unparalleled forest of pillars and the very present location directly at the central lake of the Rainbow Magicland, the ride is an extraordinary eye-catcher, which in combination with the very impressive water spectacle forms a harmonious ensemble.
The trip begins with a short dip out of the station. This is followed by several ascents and descents in a slight serpentine movement, which are all interrupted by a short block brake section in between, probably simulating the darkride part of the ride. After having passed this unharmonious curve, the car falls down another slope and is accelerated in the following launch section. The car then goes over a hill in which it takes off quite well before it hits the ground for the first time from a lofty height. Very powerful and with a breakneck speed you cross the following valley. The main element of the ride is the non-inverted loop, where you shoot up a loop, but without standing upside down. On the top of the hill you experience another airtime moment of the very first order, just before the car bends to the left again and plunges into the depths. At the lowest point of the ride you experience once again an exemplary power play, which is soon topped by a brilliant steep curve. After a curvy ascent you reach a block brake and lose some energy, so that the next curvy shot is quite comfortable. In a light Bayernkurve a long corkscrew is introduced, where you are allowed to hang in the bar a little bit before the braking distance is reached.
Shock surprised! Especially in comparison with the other X-Car Coasters the ride is convincing all along the line. Here, the bar does not pull on the body unpleasantly during the ride and exceptionally allows a very free ride without the urge to leave the ride on the fastest way. The curve radii are also very wide, so that the massive car hardly feels the need to bump over the track. The strong forces and distinct airtime make this ride the best roller coaster of Rainbow Magicland and one of the better ones of the country.
In the immediate vicinity, the Vekoma Sky Shuttle Isola Volante transports its passengers towards the sky, while the view of the park, car park and the nearby designer outlet Valmontone is not very exciting; however, the technology itself is worth experiencing, above all because of the easier implementation compared to the competing product.
Rainbow’s most famous children’s series is probably by far the Winx Club, which was primarily designed for little girls and even has its own magazine on the magazine shelves here in Germany. Although the Castello du Alfea, a large building complex with a 4D cinema, is dedicated to the series, halfway to the artificial castle is the dark ride Planeta Winx. Similar to the Disneyland classic Peter Pan, you fly through the series’ sceneries. The ride itself is nicely designed and from time to time you will meet the main actors of the series, who always introduce the scenes from their element.
Directly opposite is the roller skater Bombo, part of the series Monster Allergy, a co-production with ZDF, which runs on the Kinderkanal and has no special drawing style; accordingly, the standard model from Vekoma fits in quite well. After a short bend and the following lift hill, you immediately take a steep bend with a subsequent upward helix to the left, complete a short valley and then go through a wide right bend near the station. Over a hill you cross the course of the track that has just been cleared, whereupon you descend a little in another helix. A left turn follows, whereupon the braking section is waiting for you. After one lap the ride is already over. Despite the modern train, the driving characteristics are not the best.
If you follow the tour, after a few metres you will come across the Maison Houdini, a modern witches’ swing from Vekoma, which, for whatever reason, was built underground. The main building, as it appears, contains only the preshows of the ride and the lift that takes passengers downstairs. A few meters further on, there is a second building in a similar style, which contains the lift, which transports the passengers back up. In between there is a square with skylights and ventilation shafts, under which the actual ride is located. Since the ride opened quite late we could not test the Mad House; the idea of the underground attraction is great, but the implementation is space consuming and probably also quite cost-intensive, the gained space also defies any logic and aesthetics.
Adjacent to this is the children’s area of Rainbow Magicland, which belongs to the second type of modern children’s paradise in amusement parks. Compared to the nicely designed areas in Gardaland or Port Aventura, everything here stands quite naked on a concrete slab. In doing so, an attractive overall design as well as any vegetation was avoided. Unfortunately, the local Big Apple Amerigo was not supposed to open until late afternoon, so that we had to do without a ride in order not to throw the rest of the day overboard. I don’t really know why this simple children’s roller coaster is the only ride in the park that opens so late.
Past the Battaglia Navale, the nicely designed Splash Battle by Preston & Barbieri we went to the freefall tower Mystika by SBF Visa. This Italian manufacturer is known for its toddler roller coasters and lots of junk, which is mostly ordered by park managers without any experience; the best example is the Ankapark (Wonderland Eurasia) currently under construction near the Turkish capital Ankara. Also in Rainbow Magicland they probably wanted to offer a big freefall tower, but at the same moment it was not allowed to cost anything. Otherwise the tower with a total height of 70m, of which at least 50m already serve as braking distance, cannot be explained. The drop itself is bad, in addition there is a very unpleasant restraint system installed.
With the right seat you have at least a view of the two neighbouring roller coasters, whereby the entrance to the spinning coaster Cagliostro is closer. Admittedly, you can’t see much from the spinning coaster outside the abstractly designed hall. Inside, too, you’re really only looking at darkness, although all efforts in this respect were ruined by the outside turn.
After the lift hill and the already mentioned detour out into the daylight there is a steep curve towards the hall floor after a gently descending straight section. Hereupon the car shoots up an Immelmann turn, whereupon the following valley and the ascent to the block brake is made in a wonderfully sweeping S-curve. After the block area, however, not much happens. Over wide curves you cross the whole hall and then approach the ground. In pure zigzag manner a straight section is taken, whereupon you are again at the front end of the hall. After another short curve you reach the second and larger lift hill of the ride, which brings you back to the station level.
Cagliostro is a nice spinning coaster, at least in the first part of the ride, but then it loses all inspiration and comes crawling towards the end of the ride like no other coaster of this type. Probably a more elaborate design with larger scenes was intended here, because there is still enough space in the hall, but without all this the ride with this layout is quite senseless and not very exciting.
Right next to the Gran Teatro, where the musical Romeo & Juliet by Gérard Presgurvic is shown in a 35-minute performance, is the dark ride Huntik 5D, based on the series of the same name. As seekers, we join the team around Dante, Lok, Sophie and Zhalia to fight against the organisation. For this we use guns to shoot our way through elaborately designed scenes with successful animatronics and well embedded screens through hordes of titans. What is confusing, however, is that our team also uses titans and these appear on the screens at the end. If you are not familiar with this series, this is rather unnecessary, as it spoils the otherwise perfect impression. The series reference is very well done, but you don’t have to know the series to enjoy this great shooting darkride from Alterface. Huntik is definitely the best ride of the Rainbow Magicland and one of the best dark rides of this kind in Europe.
At least from the outer facade, the Spillwater Yucatan presents itself to its passengers on an equal level. With its two shots, the water ride is one of the driest rides of its kind in Europe; however, there is something for the eyes, especially during the second turn. If you want to get wet, however, you are in good hands at the neighbouring Rapid River Le Rapide. Here too, the design is impressive, which is why the ride is one of the best of its kind in Europe.
The last remaining roller coaster is the L’Olandese Volante, i.e. the Flying Dutchman; appropriately built by the Dutch roller coaster specialists Vekoma. The ghost ship flies noticeably and now even with VR glasses over the track of the standard model based on the prototype Calamity Mine of the Belgian amusement park Walibi Belgium.
The ride begins with a right turn and the following lift hill, which unfortunately takes you up in a very straight line, just like in Gardaland; nothing remains of the accentuated cross slopes of the original in this version. At the top, the train immediately throws itself into a left helix and alternately into three 180° curves before reaching the first intermediate brake and the second lift hill. This hill is also passed just as trivially as the first one. At the highest point of the track you cross a short hill and immediately approach the ground again in a wide right helix. In a left-hand helix you build up again in metres of altitude before you take it down again in another downhill helix. After a further left turn, you immediately reach the braking distance and shortly after that the station.
When Rainbow Magicland and Vekoma were looking for a way to square the circle on this ride, they succeeded. There is simply no other way to explain this bumpiness – unusual even for the manufacturer – which the train reproduces to its passengers over the entire track length. Well, even Mammut in Gardaland was not really smooth, but L’Olandese Volante simply tops everything in this respect. I have rarely ridden such an unpleasant roller coaster, which is why I really have to advise against a ride on this coaster.
Pictures Rainbow Magicland
Conclusion Rainbow Magicland
The Rainbow Magicland blinds like no other park with its opulent, but already quite disintegrating facades, but it can also show some rays of hope. Apart from the dark ride Huntik 5D and the roller coaster Shock, Rainbow Magicland lacks some highlights that encourage you to take more than one ride. With the extremely ugly children’s land and the Big Apple, which was closed until late afternoon, the park also offered a low light par excellence. It is no wonder that the park is the way it is.
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