Baron Hooghmoed, Prime comes before the fall!


No other amusement park made it so easy this year to visit the park as easy as Efteling. In order to promote his new roller coaster Baron 1898, the park gave me, as many other people, a free ticket out of the blue. Therefore, in the middle of October – shortly before the ticket expired – on a very rainy day, I took a trip to the Dutch village of Kaatsheuvel.


The Efteling amusement park originated as a fairytale forest in 1952, but originally as a nature park in the 1930s, where a total of 10 fairy tales were told. Under the direction of the artist Anton Pieck, after whom the central square with a few smaller carousels in the Marerijk area is named, the fairy tale forest grew steadily and – unlike most other theme parks – never lost its importance. Beside the talking tree Sprookjesboom, which tells the children the fairy tales of Sprookjesbos in Dutch, you will find some bizarre and very interesting things, such as the Indian water lilies or the flying fakir. Especially with smaller children you can easily spend most of the time in the park in this area.


However, the most popular and most visited attraction in the Efteling since 1993 has been the Droomvlucht dark ride, which takes you past larger scenes of fairies, elves, trolls and other fairy-tale creatures in suspended gondolas. Although the dream flight, as the English name suggests, could hardly be more cheesy and superimposed, the ride through the dream scenes is definitely fun and the descent taking place in a 1080° helix is truly unusual.

Villa Volta

Next to the Ravelijn show, for which translations are available, there is the prototype of all modern Mad House attractions, the Villa Volta. The story of the Bokkenrijders, a band of robbers from the 18th century, is presented. Hugo van den Loosche Duynen is the aged landlord of the villa, who robbed a deserted, but richly stocked abbey with his gang and was cursed by a suddenly appearing woman and since then cannot find his peace anywhere. Only a person with a clear conscience can release his spell, which is why Hugo invited volunteers to his house.

A Mad House is a ride in which a gondola, with two rows opposite each other, in a rotating drum is swivelled about 30° to both sides. The rotating, highly decorated drum gives the impression of turning upside down in a room, the pivoting of the passenger carrier underlines this by the generated accelerations. The event is accompanied by suitable music and lighting, and if necessary by various other effects. The Villa Volta is not only the pioneer of this type of attraction, but also one of its best examples.

Volk van Laaf

In the village of the people of Laaf you can watch the Laaf during their daily life or take a monorail tour through the colonnades of the houses. The people of Laaf are reminiscent of Holle Bolle Gijs, who can be found throughout the park. These are talking garbage cans that say “paper here!” and encourage the little guests of the park to throw their garbage into the gullets of the never-full inhabitants of the park.

Monsieur Cannibale

Monsieur Cannibale also likes to eat one with pleasure, although it is only a teacup ride in which you sit in some bigger cooking pots instead of cups. The ride is not so interesting because of the heavy to turn gondolas, but the catchy tune of the song of the same name by Sacha Distel certainly contributes to it.

Carnaval Festival

The best you can do in the Reizenrijk is to travel, therefore a ride in the cars of the Carnaval Festival dark ride should not be missed. Accompanied by a merciless catchy tune, you accompany the jester Jokie on his always cheerful journey around the world, whereby the clichés of the corresponding countries were excellently staged. Carnaval Festival does not need to shy from the comparison with Disneyland Parks’ role model It’s a small World, as the ride offers everything a good dark ride needs to offer and in my opinion is even a bit better, as it is much less annoying.

Vogel Rok

Located next door is the dark roller coaster Vogel Rok, which immerses you in the world of the stories of 1001 Nights, at least in the stories of Sindbad the Seafarer. After the train has left the station it passes a short gradient within a right turn, whereupon the lifthill of the ride follows. Accompanied by laser effects we climb to the top of the lift and then immediately enter the main drop of the ride. With a slope of 55°, the train now races towards the ground in a left-hand bend. The height difference of 21m results in a speed of 67 km/h, which is kept constant in a very wide left turn close to the ground. Shortly thereafter the train shoots up and approaches the ground again in a slightly smaller radius. In the following valley we change direction. A curvy hill, past one of the name-giving birds, later we pass through an uphill helix, at the end of which we are eaten by a snake. Then, we pass a block brake before racing towards the ground in a left turn. The track then increases in height before the radius of the curve narrows down into a downward helix. The train now moves off the ground one last time and dives into a tunnel of lights. After that the brakes are reached and immediately after another right turn there is the station, which is usually approached with the loud music of the onboard sound system.

Vogel Rok is a great roller coaster of the type MK-900 by the Dutch manufacturer Vekoma, which delivers a short but thoroughly thrilling yet always harmonious ride. It is amazing how fast you can accumulate your laps on this coaster, if you stay a while when the park is less busy.

Gondoletta and Pagode

For those who like it a little more relaxed, the boat trip Gondoletta is the perfect choice. For 20 minutes the extra long Tow-Boat Ride of the company Intamin takes you across the entire lake and it is quite big. Since this year, in addition to the obligatory feeding of birds and the resulting siege of countless water birds, you have a really great view of the roller coaster Baron 1898. A similarly interesting view is guaranteed from the observation ride Pagode, a Flying Island also from the manufacturer Intamin, which brings you to a height of 45m without any tower structure. This happens basically by an oversized lever at whose end the passenger gondola is suspended and at whose other end the oversized counterweight is located.

Halve Maen, D’Oude Tuffer and Polka Marina

The swinging ship Halve Maen, which is currently the highest ship swing in Europe, can also be classified as a relaxing ride. Next to it you will find the vintage car ride D’oude Tuffer, which allows its cars to travel the long distance with rapid pace. Equally interesting, although only due to the outwardly inclined curves, is the Polka Marina ride by Vekoma, which always makes me smile.


However, the things you are interested in in the Ruigrijk area are certainly not flat rides of the area, rather the roller coasters that reign this corner of the park. The first one was the Python steel roller coaster in 1981, which carried its passengers not only through one loop, but two consecutive loops. In fact Python was the highest steel roller coaster in Europe at that time and with its four inversions the most exciting roller coaster on the continent. Just as exciting as the coaster Carolina Cyclone of the American amusement park Carowinds, which was the first roller coaster worldwide to entertain its passengers with four turn-overs a year before. Efteling was therefore thinking big even back then!

The train leaves the station on a small gradient, followed by a left turn. Shortly after the train enters the lift chain, which brings it to 29m. A small slope and another 180° left turn follow before the train races down the main shot. Then the train passes through a powerful valley and enters the first loop, whereupon the game repeats itself in a second loop. On a straight incline the train gains some height and immediately throws itself into a curve. This leads the train to the starting position of the corkscrews, into which one enters at a remarkable angle. While the carriages screw their way through the corkscrews, the world is upside down two more times. After a small hill an upward spiral follows. Immediately afterwards the braking track is reached.

Python is a great roller coaster of an older design, which doesn’t have to hide itself due to its truly intense performance, especially in the evening. After the original Arrow trains, as well as the second train generation of the manufacturer Vekoma and trains of the manufacturer KumbaK had been used on the track, modern trains of the fourth train generation by Vekoma now enrich the the ride. Unfortunately I could not test them during the current visit, but the KumbaK trains gave a solid impression during a past visit.

Joris en de Draak

Wooden roller coasters have a long tradition in Efteling, dating back to 1991 when Pegasus, an absolutely boring and slowed down roller coaster for children, was built in the park. It was the first wooden roller coaster in the Netherlands. A year after its removal, Efteling build Joris en de Draak. This ride introduced two more wooden roller coasters of the popular manufacturer Great Coaster International (GCI) to the park. The background story is dedicated to the patron saint of the English, the dragon slaughterer Georg. The layout is divided into two tracks, Vuur and Water, both of which are duelling each other whilst showing different but somewhat balanced riding characteristics.

Both sides start parallel to each other, but a few meters apart, with a small gradient out of the station to which the lift hill is immediately added. Once at the top, both sides make an S-curve and a turn mirror-inverted to each other, so that the sides meet in the middle and thus deliver a race during the first drop. The trains then shoot through the first valley, which is immediately followed by a triple up, i.e. a triple combination of hills that always leads upwards. In the following right turn the sides lose each other.

With a double down, Water is showing its wild side right at the beginning of its independence. In a bumpy curve you fight your way to the right side of the course to cross more hills along the lake. In the same manner the train now makes a turn to the left.

Meanwhile Vuur also passes under its opponent in a double-down. In a flattened right bend you cross the truss of the lift hill whereupon a drop takes place immediately above the sidewalk. With a short look at the Vliegende Hollander a left turn is initiated. Over several hills one makes one’s way over the lake, whereby these are not so frequently present as on Water. A smooth right curve, which serves as a turn, follows. Thereupon both sides run next to each other again.

After a short straigth section, a smaller slope follows, to which a rather wild combination of right-left curves is attached, whereby both sides can show track sections inclined to the wrong direction. Soon the finish is reached and the winner of the race will be announced at the brake track. Afterwards you pass through the maintenance house and two left turns to the respective station, where you enter under fanfare or loud booing.

Joris en de Draak offers two good wooden roller coasters, but the rides are quite different and therefore not quite the same. Water offers the apparently wilder ride, because it is going over smaller hills and also the curves seem a little more daring, while Vuur is more careful with its gradients and therefore a little more efficient to tear his passengers back and forth. I can hardly explain why I preferred Water during my last visit in Efteling, as it was Vuur who convinced me more this time.

Vliegende Hollander

On the other side of the lake there is the Vliegende Hollander, a water roller coaster with a moving history. By this I don’t mean the problematic manufacturing process of the installation, where even another company was called in to solve the initial problems, but the story of Willem van der Decken, the captain of the Dutchman, a ship of the United East India Company. Due to his greed, the captain is more and more subject to piracy and even storms and holidays, when it was forbidden to set sail, didn’t stop him. “I will sail, storm or not, Easter or not. I will sail, even until Judgement Day,” said Willem, drawing a curse on him. Damned for eternity to sail the seven seas of the world, the Flying Dutchman races across the sea as a ghost ship with his black hull and burning sails.

The journey begins in a 17th century seaport. After leaving the station you can see in the first scene how your own boat sets sail. Fog is coming up and is getting denser, only a lamp at the bow gives some light. A storm comes up and with it the Flying Dutchman shows itself to the passengers. Through the hull one enters the interior of the ghost ship. A surprising drop follows and thereupon a rise, in which one is held immediately by a brake. Here Willem van der Decken shows his true face, whereupon the lift chain grabs and brings the boat to a height of about 22m. Immediately a steep turn follows out of the building towards the ground and through a fog-flooded building. A camelback is attached and shortly afterwards a horseshoe, i.e. an elevated turn, which you pass through with a considerable cross slope.  A short ascent leads to a block brake. This is followed by a small drop and a long bend, which then turns into a shot into the water basin. After the watering, the boat is transported back to the station by circulating chains.

The Vliegende Hollander offers an almost perfect mix of a dark ride and a water roller coaster, which was skillfully staged. The part in front of the lift hill is so atmospheric that you could almost skip the ending. But this one also does a good job, even if the finish could be wetter.

Baron 1898

On a highly atmospheric path, which also provides some nice insights into the roller coaster part of the water coaster, you can walk to this year’s novelty, the Dive Coaster Baron 1898. Even from far away, the appearance is convincing by its industrial charm and the framework structure, which carries the lift, as well as the first drop. The Rijksmijn winding tower transports the miners down into the shaft, where they are to mine as much gold as possible on behalf of Baron Hooghmoed. But the Witte Wieven, white women in Dutch folklore, who watch over the gold, want to prevent this. Gustave Hooghmoed doesn’t listen to the warning, so he urges the miners to climb into the mine. With a fearless “Glück Auf!” he says goodbye to his workers.

After boarding the train and lowering of the floor, the train starts moving towards the next room. In a musical way the Witte Wieven reappears. This time, it is not just a simple warning and they announce the sabotage of the descent, as pride comes before the fall. At a fast pace we climb the steep lift, which brings us to the starting height of 30m. Arrived at the top, a small section continues straight ahead whereupon we are pushed over the edge. Now we are held in this position for a few seconds until a bell rings and releases the train. From here we descend the vertical drop into a fog-flooded tunnel. The 37.5m difference in altitude produce a speed of about 90 km/h. At top speed we now enter the first inversion, an Immelmann with a relatively late rotation around its own axis. With a lot of power we pass through the following valley before we turn upside down in a Zero-G Roll. A short straight section later the train increases in height in a helix and immediately decreases in a small drop, whereby the transition takes place a little rough. After another hill we take a right turn, which releases us into the braking track. This is followed by the return to the station.

The exit from the station is via a gallery, which leads into a narrow corridor and, after a long staircase, releases the miner from the building. Funnily enough, an employee handed a CD with the Baron 1898 remix by DJ Hardwell as a personal souvenir. On the way back home the CD was heard almost continuously, although the connection to the Baron 1898 was not really clear. It’s just a nice song, which serves ideally as background music and an even nicer little gift from the amusement park.

The Baron 1898 is without exaggeration the best designed dive coaster in the world. Although it is only a compact version of this type of roller coaster, the ride in combination with the lush design and the worth seeing implementation of the storyline is a truly first-class roller coaster. The used baggage system, in connection with the tickets for the two shafts and the corresponding rows, works very well, so that from my point of view there is hardly any potential for improvement.


One of the first major attractions of the amusement park is the Rapid River Piraña, opened in 1983, which was also the first of its kind in Europe. The ride in the round-boats along the concrete canal, which has some rapids and other elements, is good and can easily get you wet. There is also a possibility to get the passangers wet from the outside of the ride that can be used free of charge, but which can soak you with a bit of bad luck.


The Spookslot is one of the most famous and oldest attractions of the Efteling amusement park, although you should not expect a classic ghost train when you enter the haunted castle, although the outward appearance and the design of the queue make you expect a dark ride. Instead, you will find yourself in a larger room with several standing rows and watch a show worth seeing with countless mechanical figures.

Panda Droom

The ancient 3D film Panda Vision at the 4D cinema Panda Droom in the immediate vicinity is not quite as worth seeing. Anyhow, the special effects are rather special and should not be missed. In contrast to the many other venues in which this film was shown, the film was created especially for the Efteling in cooperation with the WWF, which is why animal welfare is far more important here through a preshow and further information options in the exit area.


In 1984 a truly new roller coaster concept from Intamin opened in the USA and, as so often the case, found its way to the Efteling a year later. The idea of a roller coaster with gondolas running free in a canal instead of on rails is not new since the flying turns of the 30’s, but the gondolas of the Swiss Bobsleigh pass through steep ascents and descents.

The ride in the Bobbaan, better known as Bob, begins on a straight out of the station. After a left turn you reach the lifthill, which brings you to a height of 20m. A steep left turn takes you downhill. The following valley is driven through with an absurd force, with the first change of direction taking place immediately. A swinging S-curve combination leads you up into the first block brake. Once again we descend in a steep left turn and get stoked by the high forces in the next valley. After a right turn, a left turn leads into the next block brake and also here the change of direction takes place in a powerful way. Also this block brake is left in the usual way. As we already have experienced before, the next valley is passed with a lot of momentum before a simple right helix leads us upwards. The car now crosses the last block brake and crashes towards the ground one last time, however this time in a right turn. A last change of direction, but not so brute, follows. After this turn the brakes follow and shortly after we reach the station.

Bob is a unique roller coaster, at least in Europe, although the American models now also have an exotic status. In comparison to the bobsleigh runs of the manufacturer Mack, which are better known in this country, the Swiss Bob can distinguish itself above all through its smooth running and the more adventurous course with its brilliant dynamics. The ride is simply fun and produces a permanent grin in my face which is why I always like getting on Bob again and again.

Fata Morgana

In a similar way I am very satisfied with the dark ride Fata Morgana, which convinces or better said overwhelms me with its oriental design. Although the ride was put into operation in 1986, it seems very modern and timeless with its human-like mechanical figures. The individual scenes are well equipped and very detailed, whereby the journey does not become boring even after several times. In addition, there is a continuous storyline with single moments of tension.


Every evening Aquanura, one of the biggest water shows in the world, takes place directly at the lake. It picks up the songs and rides that were experienced during the day and processes them with water, light and fire effects. During the day this is quite impressive, but at night it is definitely better.

Pictures Efteling

Conclusion Efteling

Efteling has always been a great amusement park, but it’s funny how often I forget about it, otherwise I would have visited the park more often. The park has so much to offer and with Baron 1898 and Aquanura even more, which is why I would like to call Efteling the best amusement park in Europe and not just because the park gave me the admission and a CD out of the blue. Despite the terrible weather, the park managed to entertain us very well, although our ride in the first row of Baron 1898 was by no means pleasant. With this year’s novelty everything has been done right, so I am looking forward to future projects from the park.


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A lot of TNT for small (joy) explosions

Parque de Atracciones de Madrid

Not far from the Batán metro station, the Puerta Batán is a side entrance to the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid, the Spanish capital’s inner-city theme park. In contrast to other urban theme parks, such as the Copenhagen amusement park Tivoli Gardens or the Parque de Atracciones de Zaragoza, the Tivoli principle, where you only pay a small entrance fee and pay for the rides in addition, is not applied, so that the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid functions as a theme park in the classical sense.

Nickelodeon Land

If you enter the park via the side entrance you will find yourself at the top of the Nickelodeon Land, a theme area that can be found in a similar form in the English Pleasure Beach Blackpool or the German sister park Movie Park Germany. Here too, existing rides were redesigned using licences from the well-known Viacom children’s channel Nickelodeon, and supplemented with a children’s driving school and additional artwork. What previously seemed to be a bit too much of a jumbled up children’s land now shows a consistently colourful mix, which is also very well done.

Padrinos Voladores

Especially the small roller coaster Turbulencia shows its full potential as Padrinos Voladores designed after the children’s series Fairly Oddparents. The layout features a few hairpin bends without any major difference in height; however, this makes the swing of the vehicles during the ride much more pronounced and thus also the riding pleasure. The Padrinos Voladores therefore offer a really great ride for smaller children, but can also be enjoyed by adults.

Vagones Locos

The Vagones Locos, on the other hand, are in the Naturaleza themed area, although the squeaky-coloured design makes the ride should be part of the Nickelodeon Land. This is the standard model of the Family Gravity Coaster of the Italian manufacturer Zamperla. Using a chain lift, you can reach the starting point for the winding descent relatively quickly. This is followed by a short ascent, whereupon a downward right helix and the return to the station takes place in a slightly Bavarian style.


Telesaurio and Tiovivo

The Naturaleza theme area is by far the most beautiful area in the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid and, in addition to the larger attractions, is home to Telesaurio, a fully functional telecombat by Zamperla with lateral rotation, and Tiovivo, an old horse carousel as well as a 4D cinema.

TNT Tren de la Mina

However, the actual main attraction of the area is likely to be the family roller coaster TNT Tren de la Mina, which opened in 2012. As I had not followed the construction I did not know where exactly the German interpretation of a mine train should be located within the park and was therefore very surprised to find it perfectly integrated between the children’s area Nickelodeon Land and the Spillwater Los Fiordos. I was all the more surprised to find that a large part of the ride uses a large portion of the water ride’s queue, which had hardly been used previously.

As soon as the train is finally cleared, it leaves the station and immediately goes through a left turn on the way to the lift hill. In the beginning it is still moving up quite fast and loses speed very quickly and crawls slowly over the top of the lift. After a short curvy ride the train picks up speed again before it heads towards the abyss just below the hilltop of the lift. Still far away from the ground the train shoots up again and turns in a horseshoe element, similar to the Youngstar Coaster of Mack Rides, whereupon an upward-moving swivel adds up. In a steep curve below the first helix the train seeks contact with the ground level for the first time, but the stay is only short, because an upward helix leading to the left is entered immediately. This is followed by a small drop with a subsequent camelback through a grotesquely shaped environment. In a right-hand bend, contact with the ground level is re-established, followed by some increasingly tighter curve changes, whereupon the brake section is reached immediately and shortly thereafter the station.

Gerstlauer has created a very neat family roller coaster with TNT Tren de la Mina, which gets a little lost in the fast-moving part of the layout. The strength of the roller coaster lies in its beginning and middle part, which is surprisingly close to the competing product from Mack Rides, only the end spoils the general ride pleasure, as well as the general handling of the ride – which is why TNT Tren de la Mina is not the kind of roller coaster I would go for if I had to wait longer. But for in between, this ride is more than perfect.

Los Fiordos

Formerly passing lush greenery that covered an entire show stage, the boat of the Spillwaters Los Fiordos chugged through the canal until the lift was climbed parallel to the park’s border. The aforementioned stage of the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid fell victim to the construction of the family roller coaster TNT Tren de la Mina, as well as the vegetation, which is why you can now ride below the roller coaster through a rather bare landscape, but with good views. After climbing up the rocky mountain, after a short bend to the right, the only downhill run of the ride follows. Once you reach the bottom, you will immediately come into contact with the water, whereupon, after a short 180° turn and a wide left turn, you will start your return journey towards the station. To my own surprise, the degree of wetness did not correspond to that of a normal log flume, as I had experienced on my last trip four years ago, but to that of the passage through a wall of water, which resulted from the direct reflection of the water at the bridge. Soaking wet and quite satisfied we left the ride, which I would like to describe as the wettest ride of this kind in Spain.


The dispatch of the Wild Mouse Vértigo is an outrage! Actually, there would be nothing, absolutely nothing to complain about with this stylish mouse featuring the well-known layout and absolutely great handling characteristics, if only instead of 10-15 minutes you wouldn’t have to invest a good hour of your valuable time for a ride. Due to the lack of separation between the boarding and deboarding areas, all cars are loaded simultaneously and then sent on their way one by one. The new passengers are only allowed into the station after all the cars have returned and been unloaded – a total of 16 people. This procedure reduces the capacity of the ride immensely, so that one always longs for a normally operated Wild Mouse, such as the other half of this former double ride, which is still located in the Belgian amusement park Bobbejaanland.

Los Rápidos

Los Rápidos is a truly special rafting ride in the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid, as it is the only ride of its kind in Europe by O.D. Hopkins. With it the Naturaleza area was founded in 1996, which can be seen in the consistent and beautiful design of the ride. The level of wetness is still elevated due to the rather wild end of the ride, unfortunately during our visit we did not see the metre-high fountain, which regularly rained down on the passing boats.


Top Spin, La Maquina and La Lanzadera

In the Maquinismo themed area, three cream cakes are waiting to be taken right in the entrance area, because here the crème de la crème of the Spanish flat rides are gathered together, all of them of course beautifully designed. We start off with the Top Spin from HUSS, which has a similar ride programme as the Aqua Spin ride from the German amusement park Heide Park, but which turns into a totally wild swing at the end of the ride. Right next door, the Frisbee La Maquina, also from HUSS, is making its rounds. Thanks to the great ride programme, you should take a ride or two on this outstanding attraction. Last but not least, the Intamin Freefall La Lanzadera offers a great view over the Casa de Campo and Madrid and a quite intense fall with good airtime at a comparably low altitude.


The access to the roller coaster Abismo – so far the only XT 450 ride by the manufacturer Maurer – is slightly elevated. The roller coaster can be described relatively simply as a 300 meter extended Sky Wheel ride from the German amusement park Skyline Park. The start of the layout is identical, as well as the length of the cars, so even with a manageable crowd there are always long waiting times. However, this is always the case even on empty days, because the roller coaster only runs as soon as the train is fully loaded.

After the unfortunately somewhat time-consuming clearance, the train starts moving and is immediately transported upwards in a vertical position. A special feature of the Humpty Bump Lift is that the train is turned upside down at the top of the lift, creating an extremely queasy feeling at a height of about 46m, which is briefly interrupted by the subsequent roll at a lofty height. Now, one races towards the abyss in the true sense of the name of the ride. With a little more than 100km/h the train shoots past the station and passes a valley full of pressure before the lift is surrounded in a steep curve. The following drop is initiated with a strong cross slope, which leads you far above the waiting area. This is followed by a classic camelback, which, at least in theory, lifts the passengers out of their seats. Still far above the heads of the passers-by, another valley follows before a 127° steep Immelmann Turn introduces another turn in the layout. On a straight line the speed for the following finale is adjusted, because instead of the classic transition to the brakes, you now shoot through the station and up the vertical tower once more. Relatively high up and thus without great energy loss the train is stopped and hooked into the chain, whereupon it is quickly driven back to the station.

I do not like Abismo. Actually, this should be enough to sum it up, because I simply don’t enjoy riding this roller coaster very much. The ride characteristics are profound, it rattles like crazy. During my last visit, I’ve searched for the airtime of the ride and now I’ll give it up for good. The ride could be very good, as Daniel, who was sitting to my left, had experienced during the same ride, but for that the restraint system would have to be upgraded a lot.


Practically speaking, the entrance of the Tarántula spinning coaster is located directly opposite the exit of the Abismo Sky Loop. Despite single cars, the ride offers the highest capacity of the whole park, probably because of the separate entrance and exit areas. At least the queue is moving pleasantly fast, which makes the waiting time fly by compared to all the other rides at Parque de Atracciones de Madrid.

Shortly after you have taken a seat in one of the four seated chaises, the ride starts with a left turn towards the rather large lift hill. At a height of more than 25m, the gondola begins to rotate, so that the first slightly twisty descent can be made with a slight turning motion. This is followed by a generously designed turn, which slightly resembles an Immelmann Turn. Now the rotation of the gondola can hardly be stopped, which is also due to the rather steep and winding ascent into the first block brake. You pass this brake quite fast, whereupon you are torn into the depth by another curve. This leads into a generously designed bend with up and down movements until the second block brake is reached at an airy height. This releases you into an incline, which immediately leads into an Immelmann Turn, similar to the one from Dragons Fury at the English amusement park Chessington World of Adventures. A steep curve follows, which after a change of direction leads into the third block brake. A rapid zigzag course determines the course to the next block brake.This is followed by a left and a right turn before reaching the end of the ride.

Tarántula is a really good spinning coaster with a fantastic layout, although unfortunately the track is not as outstanding as the two English representatives of this type. However, the spin on the ride in the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid is pronounced and therefore almost automatically provides a great overall experience. Furthermore, the design of the ride is excellent, even if it is only very minimalistic, especially as it forms a unit with the dark ride La Cueva de las Tarántulas below the roller coaster. Unfortunately, this interactive dark ride is only a shadow of its former self, because apart from darkness you can hardly see anything.

El Aserradero, Tifon, Rotor and Sillas Voladores

Besides the rather long log flume El Aserradero by the manufacturer Zamperla featuring two shots and a tunnel at the end of which a waterfall awaits you that only switches off at the right moment from time to time, the Maquinismo themed area also features a Disk’o called Tifon, the wave swinger Sillas Voladores and the HUSS Condor Rotor, from which you have a wonderful view on the roller coaster Tornado below.


Since 1999 the Intamin Suspended Looping Coaster Tornado is located in a dead-end street without equal. The ride, which used to be painted in lemon yellow and lemon green, has been completely painted in black for several years now. The layout of the ride is generally quite wide and free of any special features, but these can be found in the supporting structure of the ride, especially the supports of the two loops.

After climbing up the access ramp to the station and clearing the station, the long train can finally be loaded. After the employees have checked it off, it leaves the station in a slight right turn and shortly after climbs up the lift hill. After reaching the starting height of 30m, the train goes over a small straight line for a few meters and then turns left with full effort. With 80 km/h the train shoots through the valley into the first loop, which is passed quite forcefully. In a wide upright right turn the train takes momentum again to pass the second loop. This is also followed by a right-hand bend in the valley, but this time a classic corkscrew is waiting for you, which you pass through with a lot of momentum. In the following left-hand bend you take up some altitude again, which is immediately reduced in a downward helix after a change of direction. Below the lift the last change of direction into the bend before the brakes follows.

Tornado lives up to its SLC name, although the manufacturer is different from the often spurned Vekoma rides. The layout of Tornado is simply boring and doesn’t offer much on too much space except for the three inversions. Although the contact with the restraint is minimal, the vibrations of this ride can be felt up to the last meter, which is partly due to the too bulky trains. In addition there is a relatively lengthy dispatching process, where one wonders how the Spaniards intend to operate the ride with two trains at all, and whether the second train is even available. Especially if you want to take pictures from outside you should take a lot of time into account, especially on quieter days when hardly any guests enters this cul-de-sac.


Zeppelin, La Jungla and The Walking Dead Experience

Almost as quiet as the area around Tornado is the theme area Tranquilidad, although admittedly the bear tends to tap-dance over here. This area is mainly home to quieter rides such as the Zeppelin monorail or the raft ride La Jungla, which is particularly impressive because of its old charm. But also a simulator or the Star Flyer can be found here. Friends of good horror mazes got their money’s worth with El Viejo Caserón, which was replaced this year by The Walking Dead Experience, whereby the jumbled up scenes fell victim to a consistent leitmotif and thus the charm of the building, which has existed since 1989, was somewhat affected.


With Fantasia, however, this theme area offers a really nicely designed dark ride based on the model of Disney’s It’s a small World. The boat trip through our oh so happy and small world starts here in space, because it shows the view of extraterrestrials on this planet. Past small scenes, which are equipped with really cute puppets, you will go through the different countries of our world, accompanied by a kitschy soundtrack, which you will hardly notice. This is also the biggest criticism of the otherwise very popular ride, because apart from the rather low capacity, the ride is simply not kitschy enough. You only have to adjust the music and the lighting of the scenes a little bit and you would have one of the best dark rides ever. In its current state, however, the ravages of time seem to have taken their toll on the ride.

Pictures Parque de Atracciones de Madrid

Conclusion Parque de Atracciones de Madrid

The Parque de Atracciones de Madrid is a good park with a charm all of its own, which was certainly much more pronounced in the days of the Tivoli principle, i.e. until 2011. The park offers many beautiful corners, but also unfortunately many unattractive and unused areas, especially in the theme area Tranquilidad. Despite this, the park seems to be following the right strategy, as the Nickelodeon Land and Naturaleza themed areas are truly impressive since the last update. The Parque de Atracciones de Madrid itself offers a nice portfolio of rides, but it doesn’t invite me to stay there for long. At least I would not say no to another visit in the late afternoon until the evening hours during the next visit of the city of Madrid.


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Casey Jr. – Le petit Train du Cirque

Disneyland Park

Some years have passed since my last visit to Disneyland Park. During Easter 2010 we could do a lot of runs on all rides but the smallest roller coaster Casey Jr. – Le petit Train du Cirque was not available. This time in February, the roller coaster was open, but the biggest roller coaster of the park was not. When we arrived at Disneyland Park, we went down the fully renovated Main Street which was not quite as busy this time and then turned to the right at the Central Plaza towards the future. Unfortunately, the most beautiful area of the park is currently almost half closed off, which resulted not only in a lot of scaffolding, but also in the closure of the indoor roller coaster Space Mountain.

While the visionary car ride Autopia was dominated by a rather long queue, the waiting time in the remaining area was almost zero. Thus one could quickly travel to Endor using the airline Star Tours or prevent the villain Zorg from stealing the valuable energy sources with the help of Buzz Lightyear.

Captain EO

New to me was the legendary – but quite antigue – Michael Jackson 3D film Captain EO, which is being shown since the 2010 season in recognition of the artist’s death in June 2009. It replaced the only marginally younger film Honey – I Shrunk the Audience, on which the design of the theatre was based. Although the film was one of the most expensive productions at that time, it did not aged well. The story of a clumsy gang of losers in space who, with a little music and dance, liberated a whole planet from a borg-like society is just as trashy as the spongy 3D effects of that time. Even if Honey – I shrunk the audience didn’t look any better regarding the image quality of the film, it did entertain me a little bit more.

It is interesting to note that in the now 23-year-old history of Disneyland Park, only two 3D films have been shown in alternation, although Disney always attracts attention with successful short films.

It’s a Small World

In the themed area next door, the happiest cruise through our world was waiting to be completed with a catchy tune. In this sense: “It’s a small world after all, It’s a small world after all, It’s a small world after all, It’s a small, small world”.

The small, always peaceful, world trip It’s a Small World shows an ideal world from the children’s perspective. Especially in relation to Paris – which was still under the highest warning level at the time of the visit – a state of affairs that one quickly wishes for, even if this is very unlikely.

Le Pays des Contes de Fées

In the immediate proximity, but clearly belonging to Fantasyland, there is another boat trip with Le Pays des Contes de Fées. Here, one passes some fairy tale scenes, but their miniatures do not really stand out and/or their respective fairy tales are sometimes not so common in order to clearly recognize them.

Casey Jr. – Le petit Train du Cirque

A little bit above this attraction runs the track of the small circus train Casey Jr., known from the Disney movie Dumbo, which in contrast to the original version from Anaheim functions here as a roller coaster. At the beginning Casey Jr. breathes “I think I can”, but shows his true strength relatively fast and accelerates over the flat track. Especially in the back of the train, the inconspicuous track layout of Casey Jr. – Le petit Train du Cirque comes as a big surprise, especially if you do it backwards, while sitting in the back row.

With Casey Jr. – Le petit Train du Cirque the only Vekoma Powered Coaster can convince all along and not only because of the airtime that is rarely seen on this type of coaster. The possibility to ride a roller coaster both forwards and backwards is always a big plus and should be available more often, even if it’s only the last row.

Alice in Wonderland

Not quite as psychedelic as in Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the influence of Alice in Wonderland in Disneyland Park. With the extremely clumsy Mad Hatters Tea Cups and the stylish Labyrinth, it’s not so easy to resist a drug trip par excellence and the cuckoo waltz.

Disney Dreams

The rest of Fantasyland is based on classic Disney movies with three smaller dark rides, a compressed air carousel and a classic horse carousel, and can score points for the Disneyland Park’s landmark, especially at night. During the 20-minute long show Disney Dreams, this serves as a projection screen for the sequences, which are accompanied by fireworks, music, laser and fire effects. The only disturbing factor during the show are the children who are always taken onto the shoulders of the parents without consideration for other people. It’s amazing how timed this play takes place and how few alternatives you have. Camera-loving children are certainly an advantage if you want to take good pictures of the show.

Indiana Jones et Le Temple du Péril

In Adventureland, little has changed since my last visit – at least visually. At first sight, you simply cannot spot a difference in the completely renovated Temple of Fear. Also the ride itself hadn’t changed at Indiana Jones et Le Temple du Péril, although the loop was completely replaced.  Just the train seems to be much more comfortable than before.

Since we could not afford a binge with the Pirates of the Caribbean anyway, we looked for cheaper alternatives. Since the pizza in Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost seemed to be too small, we looked for something edible in Frontierland and found it in the Cowboy Cookout Barbeque not far from Big Thunder Mountain.

Big Thunder Mountain

Before the coaster closes for more than a year, we had to spend some time at this coaster as Big Thunder Mountain is without doubt one of the best of its kind, although with the newly acquired constitution of the Colorado Adventure mine train roller coaster from Phantasialand it has gotten much harder to keep on the throne.

Phantom Manor

The old abandoned manor house on the edge of Frontierland will not lose its morbid character so quickly. Welcomed by extremely elegant ladies, we descend one floor into the realm of the dead. Seated in the doom buggies, accompanied by eerily beautiful music, we set off on a journey of discovery through the cursed estate of Phantom Manor and its history.

Pictures Disneyland Park

Closing Words

In contrast to previous visits – which I always made at Easter – February proved to be the ideal time for a visit to Disney, as the waiting times at most rides were less than 20 minutes at Disneyland Park, only Big Thunder Mountain, Casey Jr., Autopia and Peter Pan had longer waiting times, but even these were always within reasonable limits. Of course, some rides were closed due to refurbishment. A few laps on Space Mountain would have made the visit purely awesome.


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