At the edge of the 4* high-rise Salou, not far from the city of Tarragona and about 100 km from the Catalan capital Barcelona, is the Port Aventura theme park, founded by the English Tussauds Group, which has since been taken over by the parent company Blackstone and therefore operated under the Universal brand. Today the park is 100% owned by the Spanish bank La Caixa.
When you enter Port Aventura through the official park entrance you will find yourself in the Mediterranean themed area, which is beautifully situated by a lake. Over the lake, the newest roller coaster of the park, Furius Baco, makes its last turn and is looking pretty good. Also the winery, which serves as a station, fits very well into this area. But don’t look at the ride from the position of a passenger.
After you have overcome the queue full of litter, you are divided into a row, whereupon you ask yourself the quite justified question of the seating position, because whether right or left, inside or outside, all seats have their own “driving pleasure” to offer. Shortly afterwards the train starts moving and a pre-show is shown. At the right moment the wonderfully intense launch follows, which is all the more beautiful thanks to the slightly different seating position. After the ascending launch track follows a valley and therefore a lot of airtime on the top of the hill over which you are currently riding. What comes now is absolutely brilliant on the left inner seat in the first row, but on all other seats it is an ordeal of varying proportions. The curves up to the roller are e.g. on the right outer seat with enormous blows, which has nothing in common with the word vibration anymore. The roll is great on all seats and the final curve fortunately follows a large radius and is bearable for the outer seats.
After leaving the station, you arrive at a shop where you can buy wines in style. The ride itself is either absolute rubbish or really ingenious, in between there are basically no other possibilities. The inner left seat is highly recommended, preferably in the first row.
Apart from one station of the park railway and the Intamin Guided Boat Tour, there is not much else to find in this area. Similarly equipped is the highly praised Polynesia area, where you can ride the HUSS Kon-Tiki Wave swing boat and the Sea Odyssea simulator and the Intamin Spillwater Tutuki Splash. The area itself is reminiscent of a large part of the Isla Magica theme park in Seville, beautiful to the eye, but nothing more.
Tutuki Splash, a ride that is often described as very wet, unfortunately turned out to be dry and so the only place to get wet was the area where the water guns at the side of the path were located. Particularly worth mentioning in a negative sense is the chewing gum tunnel before the first drop, which not only looks disgusting but also perfectly reflects the visitors’ level, despite an entrance fee of more than 40€. Considering all points one of the weakest spillwater installations in Europe.
Formerly part of Polynesia, the Vekoma roller skater Tami Tami now belongs to the children’s area Sesamo Aventura. This area is basically well done and has a good number of suitable rides, which are accordingly well received. The roller coaster itself only makes one lap, which is due to its capacity.
Since Sesamo Aventura is a dead end, we will go through Polynesia and take the circular route to the most beautiful themed area of Port Aventura. Passing a Zierer mountain and valley railway in the proven dragon look, beautifully designed tea cups from Mack Rides and a, albeit somewhat hidden, Zamperla Baloon Race, the route continues up the slope to visit the dragon enthroned on the mountain. Dragon Khan is a colossus that cannot be overlooked and has a wonderful layout.
Maybe it was because of the high expectations I had since Parque Warner’s Superman, the really well thought out layout or the general opinion of the ride, but I didn’t think that such a roller coaster could be beaten by the Intamin Wing Rider of the same park.
The ride with its eight inversions could be so good, if the ride would not jerk uncomfortably without interruption. Here the ride comfort equals the driving pleasure. Next door, by the way, a Zierer wave swinger is doing his rounds and luckily it offered a good ride.
Walking down the mountain along the circular route, you will run directly towards the El Diablo Arrow Mine Train. The riding characteristics of this hybrid 0surpass those of the two big steel roller coasters by far and especially the first and the last part of the course is a lot of fun. The nickname “Lifthill the ride” is apt but not disturbing at all. Compared to other European mine trains El Diablo is surprisingly different.
The Giant Drop Hurakan Condor is often mentioned as another highlight of Port Aventura. The drop height of nearly 86m is quite impressive and the view from up there is quite nice, but the actual drop is disappointing. Where the smaller Giant Drops are still intense and Gyro Drop Towers automatically fall more intense due to their larger mass, the fall on Hurakan Condor was rather lax. Also at this ride the behaviour of the guests was again very negative, because they simply spat on the floor of the station.
Not far from the Musik Express Yucatan is the entrance to the Templo del Fuego, a special effects show with a clumsy archaeologist who triggers one curse after another, making the show visitors feel warm and comfortable. The effects are all good and some are quite surprising. In the main room the effects follow one after the other, so it is worth to see the show more often.
Shortly before leaving the area, a Schwarzkopf fan should watch out, because otherwise he will miss one of the last built rides of the manufacturer. The ride on a Schwarzkopf sombrero is like a mixture of HUSS Take Off and a polyp, unfortunately the ride is quickly monotonous. Nevertheless, the Serpiente Emplumada is the best ride in Port Aventura and should definitely be honoured with a ride.
In the western area opposite the HUSS Flipper VolPaiute, which obviously had an absolutely lame ride programme, is the wooden coaster Tomahawk. Unfortunately, the queue moves very slowly on this ride, which is partly due to the fact that only one adult per row fits into the PTC cars. So while you can listen to the wonderful sounds of Vultrix, the coolest animatronic figure ever built, you are defencelessly exposed to the sun. The ride itself is quite funny, offers enough speed and power. It is very well suited for the intended target group and a wonderful entry roller coaster for the amusement park fan of tomorrow.
Around Tomahawk, in places also above and below the ride, both tracks of the roller coaster Stampida are running. To get to the station you have to walk through a few metres of queueline, which luckily is very shady here before choosing a side. The waiting area of the blue side is better visible, so that the red side is emptier in the morning. After you have been directed to your seat you can start your journey in the quite comfortable KumbaK trains.
What follows is a wooden roller coaster as it should be and that twice next to each other. The track is long, the speed is high and the racing aspect is very successful. The red side is crawling around a bit before the helix with the encounter of the other train, which happens on the blue side only afterwards, but there with a much higher speed. The numerous gradients are a dream made of wood and the Out of Contol feeling is high. The one or other curve might be a little less brute, but this aspect doesn’t make the track worse than it is. Despite the often and completely trivial criticism of the KumbaK trains, it is damn good.
Silver River Flume
In addition to a carousel, a bumper car and a Break Dance, there are two water attractions in this area. The first ride you will come across is the Silver River Flume log flume offering a very strange course whose highlight is the last drop. The level of wetness is not more than mediocre and the handling is a bit slow, even though there were quite a lot of boats on the way and they tried to fill all the boats properly. Unfortunately also here some things are glued with chewing gum…
Grand Canyon Rapids
The second water attraction in this area is the Grand Canyon Rapids, an Intamin rapids ride with an artificial rock look. Unfortunately, the degree of wetness is only the European standard, i.e. it simply does not exist, which is why the ride was simply not convincing despite all the optics.
Pictures Port Aventura
Conclusion Port Aventura
Port Aventura unfortunately only leaves a picture that can neither make the park look bad nor outstandingly good. The rides themselves are not bad. The biggest point of criticism is that the park was the only dirty one in Spain. Nearly everything is scribbled here, something that shouldn’t be on roller coasters trains. Everything is covered with chewing gum in the most inappropriate places and the litter on the paths and in the queues just shouldn’t be there. Port Aventura also has a big problem with its visitors who often don’t know how to behave or couldn’t follow even the simplest instructions of the staff. Furthermore, Port Aventura is the only park that does not pay attention to the fact that the upper part of the body is covered at all rides and in the park itself, which leads to very unpleasant insights.
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