My last visit to Gardaland was a few years ago. At that time, the Kung Fu Panda Academy themed area was still under construction. Apart from numerous smaller changes, the opening of the Legoland Water Park, which was built in the middle of Gardaland for whatever reason, and the Peppa Pig World toddler area right at the entrance to the amusement park, the Jumanji the Adventure dark ride is the most important innovation of the past few years.
Kung Fu Panda Academy
In the small themed area Kung Fu Panda Academy, everything revolves around the popular Dreamworks IP about the dragon warrior Po. As the area is very limited, apart from some gastronomy and a redesigned tea cup carousel, you will only find the small spinning coaster Kung Fu Panda Master, which takes up most of the space.
Kung Fu Panda Master
The Kung Fu Panda Master is a power mouse from the Italian manufacturer Fabbri. The small roller coaster offers several tight curves that put the car into a rather leisurely spin. In between, this is loosened up a little by smaller drops. But all in all, that’s about it. The ultra-compact installation fits perfectly into the available space, but not at all into the amusement park. Apart from the design of the gondolas, which looks more like a fun fair than an amusement park, the ride lacks capacity. Those who like to queue for up to two hours at an attraction, while the crowds at the large attractions in the park are rather small, are welcome to take a ride. The rest either queue up right at the opening of the ride or forego a ride.
The Jumanji The Adventure dark ride replaces Ramses: Il risveglio. The large façade of the ride still reminds us in parts of the old Pinfari classic, but inside everything is new. The ride is based on the new Jumanji trilogy and thus not on the book and the associated board game. After a short pre-show, it becomes clear: we have to save Jumanji by putting the heart of Jumanji in its rightful place.
Accompanied by Nigel Billingsley, we set off on a dangerous mission. After we have taken a seat in the 6-person jeep, the journey begins. A mandrill immediately steals the jewel from us, so we follow the animal. Nigel, however, loses his first life in the action. On our chase we come across a hippo and a snake, whereupon we almost have a crash. Shortly afterwards we meet Nigel again. At the gorge with the hanging bridges the mandrill awakens a stone giant and loses the jewel. Of course we jump right after it, secure the jewel and lose our first life. Our path then leads us through a stone cave where we meet the stone giant once more. But we lose our second life in a huge spider’s web. Finally arriving at the temple we manage to give the jewel to Nigel. Despite the attack of the stone giant, he manages to put it in its rightful place, whereupon the spell is broken and our journey ends.
Jumanji The Adventure is an extremely solid dark ride. The large sets and the skilful integration of the media content speak for themselves. The ride is extremely dynamic and has a few successful surprises. However, the clearly visible ceiling of the hall is slightly annoying, as is the seemingly reduced capacity at the moment, which always results in long waiting times.
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