On a mountain near the town of Penafiel is Magikland, the country’s northernmost theme park. The calendar of the park indicated an opening time of 10-17 o’clock on the days I could visit, but with the addition of “mediante marcação previa”, which means “by appointment” according to the Google translator. Said and done, and I wrote to the park in English. Shortly afterwards I received the answer that the park was closed on that Monday. A change in my plans and another e-mail later I at least had the certainty of being able to visit the park the following Friday.
After I picked up my rental car at Porto Airport, I immediately went to Magikland, which is barely 40km away, but even this distance was enough to make the underbody of the rented Fiat Panda come loose and start swinging, necessary screws are simply overrated, as well as additional insurance. So my mood was not very good when I reached the park.
While the park management spoke quite good English, the language skills of the other employees turned out to be non-existent. It doesn’t matter, because one is used to it from many other European countries; especially compared to the rest of Portugal, where only the old people didn’t know the language, this is a rather weak performance. There is also a considerable lack of attractions, which had probably only recently been reduced further.
In return, however, there were plenty of school children who actually enjoyed themselves in the park. Especially when queuing for the rides and hence also for the roller coaster Montanha Mágica. The waiting area was very manageable in itself, but it took about half an hour to get past the two short zigzags and stand in front of the station’s turnstile. Apart from the children jumping the queue, this was also due to the very slow speed of the lift.
When you finally get on the train, the train heads towards the lift hill, where you spend some time. In the shape of an eight you now complete the first drop and a subsequent turn, before approaching a longer straight in another right-hand bend. The transition is surprisingly rough, but the straight itself is quite nice due to the increased speed. Another right turn later a camelback is indicated, but it doesn’t ride particularly well. After another bend you reach the braking track of the ride, whereupon you slowly approach the station.
For a park like Magikland, such a ride from L&T Systems is certainly the right choice, especially since it was taken over from the former Bracalândia. However, I don’t really understand how one can let the ride deteriorate like this – despite the existing rush of visitors. The ride is a bit jerky due to the condition of the train, but basically not bad. Due to the long waiting time, however, I didn’t have another ride, be it on the roller coaster or the other sparsely seeded attractions of Magikland.
Magikland itself is by no means a small amusement park with a rock-solid design. Unfortunately, many corners of the park are simply not maintained or even accessible. Why they tore down their log flume and simply did not operate a small children’s log flume in a closed-off area remains a mystery to me. The remaining attractions of the park are a ghost train, a Ferris wheel, a trabant, a western railway on elevated tracks and a few smaller children’s rides and thus basically nothing that justifies the somewhat higher admission price.
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