Off to Jumanji

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.

Jumanji The Adventure

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. 

Pictures Gardaland

What do you think about Jumanji the Adventure and Kung Fu Panda Master? Just write it here under the review in the comment field or visit our social media channels:


How to Train Your Dragon

Merlin and DreamWorks

The studio DreamWorks, which is mainly characterised by animated films, is an important partner of the Merlin Entertainments Group. In addition to their own studios Tour Shrek’s Adventure in London’s County Hall, they license theme areas in the group’s theme parks. While this had already been the case for some time in the Africa section in Chessington – World of Adventures with Madagascar, until recently the focus in Heide Park and Gardaland was on a show for the third part of the series. With the Kung Fu Panda Academy for Gardaland and Drachenzähmen – Die Insel for Heide Park, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon have now also been given their own consistent theme area.

Both areas were placed in already existing areas of the park, whereby the old stock was sensibly integrated or replaced. In the case of Heide Park, the work for Drachenzähmen – Die Insel was concentrated on the corner around the two leisurely water rides Kanalfahrt and Märchenfahrt, which were mostly unnoticed by visitors. While the Kanalfahrt was being redesigned, the space freed up by the Märchenfahrt was used to place two rides. Opposite the monorail station, a Zamperla flight carousel was also built.

Drachenzähmen – Die Insel

The first impression of the, quite generously laid out, area Drachenzähmen – Die Insel is extremely positive, even if it looks partly very bare. With the redesigned Red Baron Grobians Wolkenspringer and the Flying Fish Raffnuss & Taffnuss Wasserflieger, two very nice rides are offered, which surely had more passengers in the first season at this place than the Märchenfahrt in all the time before. Hicks Himmelstürmer also enjoys great popularity, but besides the uncomfortable seating position, it has a limited view due to additional nets.


The presumed main attraction is the boat ride Drachengrotte, where you are first forced to take part in the obligatory photo shooting. A procedure that is well known from the other parks and attractions of the group, but which cannot be skipped here. Such a nonsense; Merlin you notice it yourself, right? It may be that your photo contractor instructs his staff in this respect, but that was rude! The whole thing was just a waste of paper, as you can imagine when someone is travelling alone, right?

Afterwards my mood was already bad, but at least it didn’t take too long until the next boat. With this one we first go through a miniature version of an abandoned and halfway destroyed Viking village before we enter the forbidden caves. Shortly before that you change back into a normal sized perspective, otherwise the signposts only make limited sense. Instead of the former collection of cultic ancient animatronics, the bend below the powered roller coaster Grottenblitz leads you past some sculptures and a video projection. The right side of the bend is hardly used in this respect anymore. Thereupon the ride ends again.

Well, some things were better back then. But hey, you’ve got a great license, with a third part to follow soon, so you’ll have plenty of time to make a decent dark ride out of it, and while you’re working at it you might as well include the Grottenblitz. This year virtual reality, abbreviated VR, was on everyone’s lips and unlike the competitor Six Flags you can do it better from the beginning. You have already gained experience at Galactica in Alton Towers, so why not on the roller coaster next door? A fast ride on the back of Toothless would be suitable, don’t you think? Especially since a little movie of your partner might be in a different league than the competition and a redesign of the ride is not necessary (in fact you only have to turn off the lights in the cave).

Pictures Heide Park


What is your opinion on the theme area Drachenzähmen – Die Insel based on the movies How to Train Your Dragon? Just write them in the comment field below the report or in our social media channels:



Under Shock in the Rainbow Magicland

Rainbow Magicland

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.

Isola Volante

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.

Planeta Winx

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.

Maison Houdini

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.

Huntik 5D

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.

Yucatan and Le Rapide

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.

L’Olandese Volante

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.

What are your thoughts about the theme park Rainbow Magicland? Just write it here below the report in the comment field or visit our social media channels:


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