A Sik ride experience

Since my first visit to Flamingo Land in early 2013, a lot of rides have been added to the line-up. Two of the major additions (Hero and Twistosaurus) covered in this review were actually in construction back then. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the 10 inversion coaster Sik was being installed. With restrictions being now a thing of the past, the ride was finally able to open for the 2022 season. 


Twistosaurus is an off-the-shelf junior twister coaster from Zamperla and comes without much theming. However, it fits in well with the Dino Stone Park theme area. The ride itself is a nice little family coaster with some hairpin turns and a helix that makes the cars spin. The whole experience is relatively stomach-friendly and great fun for the whole family.


For all friends of Colossus at Thorpe Park living in the North of the country, there is finally a very similar experience available in Yorkshire. Although it is the first installation of the roller coaster, Sik is actually a rather old ride. The ride was set to open at the Brazilian theme park Hopi Hari in 2012, but never installed due to  financial situation of the park and a rather strange leasing deal. The ride moved basically from parking lot to parking lot and after a short stay at the Movie Animation Park Studios in Malaysia the ride was finally being bought by the Gibb family.

What makes the experience rather unique is the ride’s history and the extended degree of freedom due to the restraint system in use. Compared to Colossus, the layout features a different first drop, yet the remaining course consisting of a loop, a nice airtime bump into a tunnel, a cobra roll, two corkscrews and a total of five heartline rolls (four of them are straight in a row) is pretty much the same. 

Although it is a new ride in Flamingo Land, you get quite a shake on this roller coaster. Compared to Colossus, which offers a good ride apart from the first three inversions, or Altair at Cinecittà World in Rome, which has the same layout and train design, Sik is not the smooth experience you might expect. The ride is still fun, but it could also be much better if it ran a little smoother. 


Another coaster model which is infamous for its ride experience is the Zamperla Volare. This small scale flying coaster puts you into a cage and squeezes you like the filling of sandwich before sending you through a multilevel layout on a very tight footprint. While doing that, the ride offers a bunch of very cool heartline rolls and some seriously tight hairpin curves. It is no big news, that most roller coaster enthusiasts actually dislike this coaster model. Personally, I think a Zamperla Volare is actually lot of fun and a surprisingly smooth ride experience. There is nothing wrong with this model and especially not with Hero. It’s a good ride. 

Pictures Flamingo Land

Conclusion Flamingo Land

The Flamingo Land still is a rather unique animal and theme park. With the recent changes, the park now appears a lot more coherent. The 2022 addition Sik fits in nicely and has a nice style to it. Especially Sik’s station has a great flair and the train with the dark coloured Union Jack has something very special.


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The legacy of Dinocittà

The History of Cinecittà World

The history of Rome as a film location dates back to 1937, when the film city Cinecittà was founded. Equipped with what were then the most modern studios in Europe, a backlot and a copy studio, around 300 films were produced by 1943. Bombed by the Allies and looted by the Nazis, the film production was moved to Venice. After the end of the war, Cinecittà served as a DP camp for two years before the film production site was returned to its original purpose. In the 1950s the Cinecittà Studios experienced a golden age, probably also due to the film funding of the Italian state, and served as the film location for important Hollywood films such as Ben-Hur.

Due to constantly increasing demand and limited studio capacities, the producer Dino de Laurentiis founded Dinocittà, at that time the largest film studio in the world, also in the south of the Italian capital. The studio mainly produced historic and monumental films such as Barabbas (Italy 1961, Richard Fleischer), Waterloo (Italy/USSR 1969, Sergei Bondarchuk) and John Huston’s mammoth work La Bibbia (Italy 1966). However, due to the reduction of subsidies at the beginning of the 1970s, the film studio was not able to survive for long, and so in 1973 the land was sold to the Italian state. From then on Dino de Laurentiis produced in the United States and the Dinocittà remained unused; although not forgotten. Plans in the early 2000s to run the studios under the name Roma Studios were quickly discarded and Cinecittà Holding took over the site.

Originally planned for 2012, the movie park Cinecittà World opened its doors for the first time in the summer of 2014. Unpaid bills and a lack of visitors, despite the surprisingly low target of 1.5 million visitors, quickly left the park in a negative light. Short-notice cancellations of seasonal events and the planned winter opening quickly gave rise to doubts as to whether the park would ever open again. However, after restructuring over the winter months, the park opened punctually at Easter.

Tour of the park

Through an elaborately designed entrance portal, one enters the park directly into Cinecittà Street, the park’s main street, inspired by New York of the 1920s. Although the set is only of generic design, i.e. not based on any film, this area has a lot of charm as long as it does not look like a ghost town due to a lack of visitors. The design is generally of a very high quality and equipped with all kinds of details, so that the first and last impression of the park is inevitably a positive one.


To the left of Main Street the set extends around Aktium, an elaborately designed Super Splash from Mack Rides. It is supposed to depict the naval battle at Actium, in which Octavian, the later Emperor Augustus, asserted himself against Marcus Antonius and the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII, thus securing sole rule in the Roman Empire. As violent as the battle was, the area around the ride is just as impressive and once again you can see that the Cinecittà World is a place where quality is the name of the game.

After you have left the spacious queue behind you, the journey can start right away. Without much foreplay, you go directly up the first lift hill, where you approach the first slope in a rough curve. Similar to various larger Spillwateranter installations, this runs directly down into the water without any great gimmicks. One turn later, the boat climbs up again and also makes a rough left turn. Where the ride showed itself to be quite untypical for this type of roller coaster the true character is revealed in the second shot. With a lot of momentum you pass a valley and take off on the adjacent hill before you get in contact with the water. After a little sailing through the canal you soon reach the station and are bid farewell by the staff to thunderous applause.

Aktium is a nice spillwater replacement, but it shows the limits of this roller coaster and reveals the reason why almost all other rides of this type use turntables instead of curves for the turning manoeuvres. Apart from the angular curves the ride runs without any other problems, although the level of wetness could have been a bit higher.

Studio 1

Across the Piazza Dino de Laurentiis with all its fountains and fountains we now enter Studio 1, where a magic show took place. Except for the time-consuming mind-reading number (which was only presented in Italian), the show was very professionally staged, but unfortunately not as worth seeing as the comparable show at Movieland Park.

Altair CCW-0204

Directly behind it is Altair CCW-0204, a roller coaster that many people are probably already familiar with from the English amusement park Thorpe Park near London. Unlike the former record-breaker, however, the ride takes passengers up to the starting height of 33m a little faster and without a failure-prone chain lift. After an exciting start, the passengers are then thrown through the rollover elements in trains without shoulder restraints. A massive spaceship serves as an oversized station building, in which mankind returns to earth after more than four millennia and has to ask the question who is the alien, the creatures that developed here, or we who left them in the 22nd century?

While the background story of Altair offers plenty of room for philosophical discussions, the train, whose restraint system is very similar to that of the Divertical water rollercoaster at Mirabilandia, ascends the lift hill directly. At the top, you pass the top of the hill quite leisurely and immediately drop down to the ground. With a high speed and a high pressure you go through a steep left turn before you shoot up the first inversion, a loop. This is traversed with the usual intensity, followed by a small hill with some airtime. In the valley below, the Cobra Roll is initiated, which is crossed just as confidently. After three rollovers, the half time of the ride is rung in with two corkscrews.  After another left turn above the first downhill run, the quadruple heartline roll in the back of the ride is initiated. Because of the freer sitting position, you can complete this with a slight lateral overhang and thus the feeling of always being able to fall out. The train then passes through a last left turn and then the final inversion, a right leading heartline roll towards the brakes. In contrast to Colossus in Thorpe Park, this roll is a bit disappointing, as it is identical to the previous rolls and therefore offers no more surprises.

Altair is a great roller coaster with excellent ride characteristics and a significantly improved seating position compared to the original. However, Colossus also has its strengths, which are mainly reflected in the grandiose final roll and the better integration into the terrain; it is simply more photogenic, although Altair is by no means photo-shy either. The modified first drop is a great experience and the lack of vibrations in looping and the subsequent cobra roll, as well as the absence of a queue to our visit point, make the ride a guarantee for repeat rides.


Through the pretty western town of Ennio’s Creek, named after Ennio Morricone, the composer of numerous Italo western scores, where a scary walkthrough is to educate during the season, and past Studios 3,4 and 5 (with a 4D cinema in Studio 4 and a children’s playground in Studio 3), we head towards the most impressive ride in Cinecittà World, the Erawan Freefall Tower. This visual treat includes four lanes, two of which offer pure falling pleasure while standing, while the other two lanes entertain their passengers while seated. All gondolas are tilted forward before the fall, which generally ensures a great and outstanding ride experience. But even apart from the special features Erawan is a magnificent tower. The pure fall reaches similar qualities as Apocalypse from the English amusement park Drayton Manor, which is in my opinion the best freefall tower in Europe. The only difference is that you are one experience poorer due to the absence of the hilarious standing gondola with corridor. Erawan is undoubtedly the best designed giant drop far and wide and also offers a great ride that you should not miss.


Just a few metres from Erawan is the entrance to Darkmare, the family rollercoaster of Cinecittà World featuring a very dark story. Thematically one takes up Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, which was to be filmed in the 50s in Studio Hall 2. However, there were numerous strange accidents and finally a fire, whereupon the shooting was stopped and nothing happened afterwards.

After years of standstill we venture into the hall and experience a wild ride through hell, which begins with a short descent in a right turn, into the lift hill of the lift. You pass a mirror, which is admittedly a really great effect. Passing numerous, artistically valuable projections, all of which make Van Helsing’s Factory from Movie Park Germany look old, you quickly reach the ceiling of the hall, whereupon the train immediately plunges to the ground in a steep left-hand bend. Regardless of losses, the first valley is crossed with outstanding intensity, whereupon the train soon gains altitude. After a curve change, the train passes through a narrow downward helix and winds its way to the other end of the hall in a zigzag curve combination. After a short ascent you reach the freefall segment, where a demon now shows itself and puts its wings around us. Shortly afterwards we are already one level lower and leave the segment very quickly. Now follows a narrow left turn, which is immediately joined by the final turn to the right. Shortly afterwards we reach the station and are once again bid an enthusiastic farewell.

Darkmare is really, really, really damn good! In contrast to the prototype Th13teen of the English amusement park Alton Towers, the ride has no funny backward part after the drop segment, but the rest of the track is much better. In addition, the general design of the ride in its dark comic style is really outstanding and the projections are just perfect. The large and demonically well darkened hall makes the compact ride look three times as big as it actually is and extends the ride in equal measure. The free fall is also quite ok, but can be a bit too much for first-time riders, after all the ride is not lacking in power anyways. But you shouldn’t take such a gloomy view, because Darkmare is definitely the best roller coaster of the park and one of the best roller coasters in the country; so it’s a great ride with a very high repetition urge.

Aquila IV

Opposite Teatro 2 is the submarine Aquila IV, which was used in a German submarine film and a music video by the band Bon Jovi. Of course it is not Das Boot, because it is still located in the Bavaria Filmstadt not far from Munich, but the U-900 from the film of the same name with Atze Schröder in the leading role. Admittedly, the scenery builders did a good job, but we couldn’t explain to ourselves what the meaningless tour was supposed to be in Italian. Without language skills you should avoid Aquila IV and even with language skills you really shouldn’t expect too much, especially since the waiting time is very long. On the other hand, a visit in a real submarine is really recommendable; we at least wished to return to the U-571 of Movieland Studios.


In addition to the SpacExpress, an immersive tunnel of Simworx, which however was not yet in operation at the time of our visit, the children’s kart track Velocità Luce and the entrance to the children’s land Sognolabio are also located in this area. This area is very colourful and offers some nice rides for children made in Italy, as well as a very annoying soundtrack and a nice splash battle.

Pictures Cinecittà World

Conclusion Cinecittà World

Cinecittà World is a good amusement park that has made quality its top priority; here neither the design nor the rides are of inferior quality. Unfortunately, sometimes the quantity is still missing, because you can only manage a whole day in the park if you actually watch every single show, eat comfortably in one of the restaurants and take multiple rides. The Movieland Park shows how it’s done, but at the Cinecittà World their own professionalism still stands in the way. In no other Italian park you could meet as much staff as here, neither in the shows nor in the attractions. Although this creates a good image, it is known to be somewhat more expensive than the one-person operation of the Mirabilandia. In addition, Cinecittà World is based on something you know and which is also used in numerous film parks or film studios with guided tours, but it is questionable whether they are on the right track; because sometimes they only show larger generic sets without any actual film reference with suitably embedded attractions. A larger reference to own productions would therefore be advisable, but one does not necessarily have to give up the intended concept. I’m curious how the Cinecittà World will develop in the next few years, because the park has potential and already offers a lot of quality; a condition that one would wish for other parks around Rome.

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Click here for the next report of the Il Viaggio dei due Runner Tour

Slammer and other devices


Somehow everything went wrong that day, in the night there were two fire alarms, one at 2 am, the other at 5 am, the trip to London Victoria had a delay of 20 minutes due to the traffic situation and then I also bought the wrong ticket at the vending machine and in Thorpe Park there was nothing going as usual. In fact, this statement might sound negative, but in the case of Thorpe Park it is to be understood positively. Except for X, which is supposed to open sometime during spring, everything – even Slammer – was running, although thanks to the temperatures most of the rides didn’t start until noon. The rush that day, although the weather was better than it had been for weeks, was kept within limits.

Thorpe Park

The real reason to go in the park was not to ride The Swarm backwards, or to finally ride something after a long time, but of a different nature. It was rather a meeting with two people, who had their start for a small England tour in the park. While Jan knew the park from his previous stays in Great Britain, Patrick visited a new park and therefore it was refreshing to get his impressions of the park.


Because of the long coach ride, the following train ride and the short night, I had to take something to wake up, therefore the launch coaster Stealth, which was in test runs at the moment, was the perfect choice. Shortly after, people were already riding and the initially long queue became shorter and shorter, so that even the first row was taken along, despite the one train in service. It’s quite something. when you have a free view of the top hat, which is erected in front of you.

The launch dragged off quite neatly and the top of the main element of the layout let you glide out of your seat before heading for the bottom. The braking on the hill is a lot softer than in the back rows and even this element, which could have been a straight line, is not really disturbing anymore. If you sit in the back of the train, the airtime during the top hat is completely missing, but the drop from the quite airy height is a bit more intense.


While there is a chance of about 75% for Stealth, there is only a chance of 2:4 for Slammer. These numbers are not verifiable at all, but they are covered by our experience. Slammer, as we know, is not a ride that runs absolutely reliable when it is running and so it can happen that the whole soundtrack – which by the way is the same as the Colossus roller coaster – has been played once, so a time span of 10 minutes has been reached. Since Slammer has a huge capacity anyway, you will never have to wait too long on empty days. There is no question that one should wait for a ride on the meanwhile unique ride.

What S&S Power, now S&S Worldwide, had in mind for the Sky Swat Slammer can hardly be described because of the megalomania. But the fact that the Slammer was advertised as a family ride contradicts all logic – just like the classic funfair ride Devil Rock. The ride is insane, especially since you accelerate upside down to the high speed of the ride and also brake later on in the same manner. The ride over the top is much more fun than the ride down, which is also true for The Swarm.

The Swarm

The Bollinger and Mabillard Wing Coaster has received two significant changes this year, both of which have an impact on the ride. The first novelty you will encounter, should there be no train on the track, is the new billboard, which will benefit the weaker left side of the train. The second novelty you will encounter at the entrance, where the cue for the first row has now given way to the cue for the last two rows, which have been going backwards since the start of the season.

These changes have a reason, of course, because compared to individual opinions, The Swarm has not been the success Merlin had hoped for. Furthermore, without the changes to X:\ No Way Out, there would be no novelty to offer in a park which has been able to present a novelty every year.

Without the newly installed billboard, one notices very little or even nothing of the alleged close calls. The ride itself creeps partly through the elements, but towards the end of the ride it can still feel stronger centrifugal forces and thus be enjoyed. While the already solid ride on the right side is only caught once by the new design element, the left side is also positively affected by a broken corner of the right side before the last turn. In fact, the ride on both sides has become more even, whereas the ride over the top in the first inversion is still much stronger.

Experiencing this element backwards is one of the strangest experiences on a roller coaster and is also the prelude to a funny ride. In fact, it’s hard to classify the experience somehow, which is why the ride forward should be preferred, because you don’t really experience any of the theme and the supposedly existing close calls. When you get on the last row you can clearly see the track, but the second last row is also fine, as the view is not that important. The last two inversions surprise you in a positive way, the rest is just fun. It is therefore a significantly different riding experience and can hardly be compared to the original ride on The Swarm. Whether this change is needed is written in the stars, but it is something different and for me it is the highlight of Thorpe Park at the moment.

Tidal Wave

A ride on the probably most beautiful Shoot the Chutes of the company O.D.Hopkins, which meanwhile belongs to WhiteWaterWest, can be one of the probably most idiotic actions you can do during a park visit in the rather cold spring temperatures of this year. Of course, this train of thought only came to mind during the ascent of the lift to Tidal Wave. Unfortunately, the following visit to the Pizza Hut Buffet was not enough to dry us again.


After this break, Colossus was running with manned cars, which is why there was a longer queue at the ride and you had to walk through the extended queue area. The ride in the front row is still very much fun on Colossus and leaves you halfway untouched in the first three inversions. The four Heartlinerolls were run through at a remarkable speed and the last roll is still a lot of pleasure.

Interestingly enough, the station finally gave a live demonstration of how cue jumpers are handled. As known, the pushing forward in all explanations belongs to something that is only very unwillingly seen in the United Kingdom, that is why the penalties are quite high; thus, at Thorpe Park, one is thrown out of the park without any chance of a refund of the entrance fee. This was explained afterwards also again by the staff of the ride, whereupon this got applause.

Saw – the Ride

Where Saw – the Ride could show a long queue in the first hours, this was hardly present towards the end of the opening hours. The first part of the ride offers the well-known riding fun, but the second part of the ride turns out to be much more positive than in the last years. Luckily, we further race down the track and are torn out of our seats during the camelback, before we rush towards the Dive Loop after the block brake. The smoothness of the ride, which had been constantly smashing against the stirrups before, has been improved to such an extent that this no longer happens. There is a strange jerking in the vertical direction, but it’s not that bad.

Closing Words

With a few rides on Nemesis Inferno, which had transported the blood into our legs in a wonderful way, the visiting day came to an end. Traditionally, there was no crowd in the last hour before closing time. However, if you arrive by the Thorpe Park Express Bus from Staines, you should not leave the park before closing time. By the time the bus finally got going, half an hour had been passed so that some possible train connections and the coach back to Portsmouth were missed. Well, the rides on Slammer were worth it!


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