The Ram-a-Lama Coaster


The last day of my rollercoaster trip through France was to start with a bang. The roller coaster 1066 – not to be confused with the refreshingly charming Lager Kronenbourg 1664 – caught my attention a long time ago, when I saw the first pictures completely by chance on the roller coaster database Rcdb. It was clear, I would have to visit this place sometime. In the meantime, one or the other novelty was added in Festyland, but I didn’t know much about the amusement park, which was founded in 1989, until my visit.

On the outskirts of the small town of Carpiquet near Caen is the access road to Festyland. You can park your car in the car park directly next to the national road 814; the park itself is on the other side of this road and can be reached via a wide tunnel, which however has a simple corrugated iron look instead of the discotheque of Gardaland. The entrance area itself is inviting and immediately transports you back to the time of the Belle Époque. After a pleasant chat with the cashiers and equipped with the latest edition of the Festy Telegraph – the park’s rather elaborate guide to the amusement park – it was time to go exploring.

National 13 and La Tour d’Esnambuc

Past numerous children’s rides – including the National 13, which is unfortunately not named after the Périphérique of Caen, but after the road that leads to it – and the park’s cafeteria, you will immediately head for the park’s larger rides. The first stop is the small family free-fall tower La Tour d’Esnambuc, built by Zamperla. The ride on the Sky Tower offers a great view and numerous mouth changing hops, which should encourage especially younger park guests to ride it continuously.

Drakkar Express

I personally prefer to get my hands on a Soquet rollercoaster. It’s a good thing that the Drakkar Express has been smiling at us for quite some time now. The entrance of the ride is located in the elaborately designed Viking theme area, home of the park mascot and figurehead of the theme park. For this we turn left from the main path at the Chevauchée de Guillaume horse riding track.

The ride on Festyland’s oldest roller coaster begins with a left turn, after which the lift hill is reached after a straight stretch of track. Following the gradient of the terrain, the ride goes straight up. Here we enjoy the view of the surrounding area a little before we plunge into the valley. With momentum we now pass through a valley parallel to the main path, which has been beautifully set in scene with a small waterfall and a pond. Following the bend to the left, we climb a hill and plunge down again rapidly towards the ground. In Close Call with the vegetation on the left side we now pass through another hollow, where we also change direction for the first time. In a 270° helix adapted to the terrain, we gain some altitude, whereupon we cross the just completed route and immediately throw ourselves on the ground in a left turn. Now we race over a small hill at the back of the station, followed by the final helix in a shallow curve leading up and down. After a short climb the station is reached and the train is braked. A second round follows.

The Drakkar Express is a very nice children’s roller coaster of French design, but a little tamer compared to other rides of the manufacturer. The ride is great and can convince by its adaptation to the existing terrain. Unfortunately, the exit of the ride leads back to the main Festyland track, so that you have to walk around the final helix of the ride for possible repeat rides.


The next attraction on our circuit is the Air Race Miolnyr. This rollover ride made of 30t steel offers an exciting, slightly monotonous and absolutely dizzying ride with rollovers in a continuous loop. A great deal, for which the investment of one million Euro was absolutely worthwhile.

Niorty and Troll Roll

Next door, the children’s area of Festyland captivates in all its splendour. In addition to a small teacup carousel and a jump around featuring a frog design, this area is particularly impressive with its covered ball pool and the two novelties for this season. With the Rockin’Tug Niorty and the Troll Roll children’s railway, a really beautiful rides symbiosis has been created, which can rarely be found in theme parks. A really nice area, which will certainly appeal to the little ones.

Pirat’Ak, Cap’tain Roc and Le Grand Tournoi

Meanwhile, we return to the main trail, where we continue down the hill. Here you will find the Pirat’Ak rubber dinghy slide and the Cap’tain Roc boat swing, two classics that no French amusement park can do without. A little wilder, however, is the Disk’O Le Grand Tournoi. Pressure-packed and extremely fast, the disc takes you over the U-shaped track.


One level further up we meet more rides from Italian production. Apart from the chain plane Tourny and the Valhalla mountain and valley railway, the Eretic swing is particularly eye-catching. Typical for Zamperla, it offers a swinging ride with all kinds of airtime moments. Unfortunately, the Discovery type ride turns monotonously in one direction, which makes the ride not very diversified, although we are not on a HUSS swing. A pity!


So for the right shoot we have to go to another ride. Luckily there is a hydro lift from Zamperla in Festyland. Those who know these rides know what to expect here – everyone else will be absolutely surprised by the wild slide of this rafting ride: There are simply no comparable installations that get the hang of it.

The journey on Kaskade begins comparatively harmlessly. After a short bend to the right, the vertical lift of the ride awaits you, which takes you up quickly. Once there, the lift cage tilts forward and we immediately roll onto the water slide. With momentum we are now thrown into the first helix, whereupon we start to rotate constantly in circles. After a wild S-curve manoeuvre along the tower, we spin around in circles at an abnormally high speed, which makes the subsequent splashdown look like a game of Russian Roulette: you never know in advance who might be caught. A fun for the whole family! Now the quieter part of the trip follows, where numerous elements of a classic rapid river await us. In contrast to the prototype from the Italian Leolandia, the return to the station is a little more compact. You pass through a course full of hairpin bends and several zigzag straights before you are allowed to get off at the station, if you want to. Repeat rides are guaranteed.


Let’s get on to the roller coaster 1066, because the short train with the ram head is a truly remarkable ride. Built directly at the slope, this coaster uses it absolutely skilfully for its wild ride. Furthermore, the ride looks simply great due to the half-sided medieval scenery at the lift of it.

The journey begins with a right-hand bend leading into a tunnel. The ride begins with a right turn into a tunnel and is immediately followed by the ride’s lift, which takes us up quickly. Once at the top, we immediately descend the 17m high descent. On a steady slope we now race through the valley in a wide right turn. With momentum we then climb a hill, where a long downward helix awaits us. With full power we go through the following valley before we shoot up another hill. With a little bit of airtime we start the next shot. In a steep turn we make the last manoeuvre of the ride and rush through the deepest part of the ride. With a lot of verve we climb up the slope to the plateau, whereupon the braking distance of the ride already awaits us. Shortly afterwards we reach the exit position of the ride.

1066 is a very short roller coaster, but one with a very grand ride. The track is crossed with a lot of pressure and vigour. The ride characteristics are excellent. Here I would have liked to get on more often. Unfortunately, at some point the ride went into the lunch break and I had another destination on my list.

Pictures Festyland

Conclusion Festyland

Festyland is an extremely beautiful and harmonious amusement park, which looks a bit like a Zamperla Wunderland due to its many rides made in Italy; but as is well known, this is not a bad choice. Coupled with some rides from Soquet, it is an excellent family amusement park that can entertain you for several hours.

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A night in Burago di Molgora

One of the biggest mistakes of the whole tour was not to use toll roads on the way to the nearby Hotel Brianteo, because this way we had the pleasure of almost countless roundabouts. As is well known, practice makes perfect and so I quickly adapted to the Italian driving style, which is astonishingly exemplary. After a while we arrived at the Hotel Brianteo in Burago di Molgora, well spun.

The room was comfortable and the bathroom was huge, also the breakfast buffet in the morning was able to satisfy all our needs, although the wedding hall looked a bit kitschy. The staff of the hotel was altogether very nice and so we were able to help the receptionists with their German homework on the day of departure.

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Italian Miniatures and Rollercoasters


The history of Leolandia starts 45 years ago, when the entrepreneur Guido Pendezzini presented his miniature park under construction, modelled on the Dutch miniature park Madurodam near The Hague, to the public. However, the park was not officially opened as Minitalia until three years later. The centrepiece of the park, which has also been a prominent feature of the park’s official name for a very long time, is the Italian-style miniature village Minitalia with its replicas of striking Italian buildings and towns. In addition, the country was presented with smaller regional stands and even back then some rides were offered.

In 1997 Pendezzini sold his park to the Triberti and Fabbri families, who, as showmen and manufacturers of amusement park equipment, had considerable experience in this field. They developed the park into an amusement park and operated it as Fantasy World Minitalia until 2007, when the Zamperla family, also an amusement ride manufacturer, took over the park. Since then Leolandia has been regularly expanded and supplemented with products from the company’s own catalogue.

Twister Mountain

A prominent example of this is the Twister Mountain spinning coaster, which is perfectly placed directly at the exit to the park, next to the already oversized park sign, to attract customers of the hypermarket opposite to Leolandia. However, this is only the small version of the well-known funfair model based on the layout of the French manufacturer Reverchon.

After leaving the station you climb the 10m high lift hill. At the top, you pass through two hairpin bends at a rapid pace, whereupon the first descent is already waiting. Above the station you pass through a block brake and shortly after that, halfway parallel to the lift hill, the second major shot of the ride. Without any strange bumps in the ascent you reach the other side of the roller coaster. In the next brake the rotation of the car is released, whereupon the next four hairpin bends are passed with surprisingly much momentum. Without a bump, the return to the other side of the ride follows and finally, after another hairpin bend, the brake track.

Although the Spinning Coaster variants by Zamperla are not considered to be very spin-friendly thanks to their optimised carriages and therefore usually miss their target, the Twister Mountain offered us a solid, albeit quite short, ride. The comfort in the gondola is unfortunately not quite as high as with Reverchon, but in theory the ride offers better restraint, especially for smaller children, thanks to the single bars.

Electro Spin and Donna Cannone

Just as solidly we were entertained by the Mega Disk’o Electro Spin and the Flash Tower Donna Cannone. While the Disk’o offered intensive spinning action, the pulley tower could convince with surprising airtime at the upper turning point. Unfortunately a launch from the cannon is not simulated.

Leo Coaster

The other attractions of the rather sparse Expo 1906 area are a cogs ride with a king kong look, a fire fighting carousel, a wave swinger and the small children’s roller coaster Leo Coaster. This roller coaster comes in the standard version of the manufacturer, i.e. oval-shaped with a helix in the middle, but has comparatively good riding characteristics.

Mondo di Peppa Pig

With the Mondo di Peppa Pig, an attempt was made last year to establish a toddler area in the park based on the English model. However, what in England ensures that Paultons Park is only known as Peppa Pig World and provides it with masses of visitors, seems a little unlovingly put up here. Although there is the possibility to look at the original house of the main protagonists of the series and to take a photo with the actors, the merchandising sales seem to be the only basis for this area.

Il Trenino

The whole thing continues with the Masha e Orso (Mascha and the Bear) show and the train ride Il Trenino by Thomas & Friends. Admittedly, a train ride with Thomas and his friends is always a good idea, as you can see at Drayton Manor in England, but outside of the shape of the train there is no reference to the series.


In the rear part of the Leolandia park, right next to the miniature village Minitalia, there are several animal enclosures, most of which show indigenous farm animal species. The enclosures are sufficiently large and resemble a farm. Unfortunately there are some smaller aviaries with parrots next to them, which is a great contrast to the newer looking farm area.

The Cowboy Town forms the western part of the Leolandia, where the combination of log flume and powered coaster, well-known from the Wunderland Kalkar, is presented. In addition, there are several round and high rides in this area, including the very uncomfortable kite flyer Wild Avvoltoi, as well as a larger show stage.

Gold River

After leaving the station of the log flume Gold River, the boat bobs a little through the channel and after a longer S-curve and a short left turn you reach the first steep lift hill, which takes you into the equally steep shoot. After a good moistening you are released into the channel again and cross a larger right-hand bend to climb the second lift hill at a 90° angle to the first shot. Typically Zamperla, the second downhill run is no less steep than the first one, so that one is led quite abruptly into the second run; here too, the wetness of the downhill run is within a pleasant range. The return journey to the station follows.

Mine Train

Above the log flume is the access to the Mine Train roller coaster, whose course runs mostly over the fairway of the Wild River. After a somewhat longer ascent with a slight left bend, which is climbed quite leisurely, a rather long right turn follows. The first increase in speed is in the downward helix to the left. Immediately afterwards, the waterway’s channel is crossed at a dizzy height in a right-hand bend. In a slightly larger downward helix you now circle the second shot of the log flume, followed by a rather wide right turn, which immediately closes the course. The train then races through the station and completes another, rather leisurely round.

Although the track of the roller coaster from the Wunderland Kalkar was built much more compact it is clearly the better roller coaster of this quite special combo. The Mine Train from the Leolandia, however, crosses the track a little bit too slowly and unfortunately also very jerky, so there is no fun to ride on.

Rapide di Leonardo

Opposite it is the round boat slide Rapide di Leonardo, an Italian interpretation of the popular River Splash rides by the manufacturer ABC Rides with a very special twist. After leaving the station, you immediately make a small right turn and enter the vertical lift, which brings the boat into position, holds it and lifts it up without any technical control frills. After you have been quickly transported upwards, the basket tilts forward and the boat rolls out of the lift. You are now thrown into the first helix at full pelt, whereupon the boat is immediately set in rotation. After a few meters you make an S-curve combination around the tower, which makes the boat turn at a breathtaking speed. This speed increases in the following downward helix and lets you play Russian Roulette during the following shot. After the soaking, the boat goes through a 180° turn, where a round and spinning cannon apparatus fires water at the passengers at regular intervals. The return to the station now features some elements of a rapid river, such as a waterfall that turns off and various rapids. It is the much quieter part of the ride, which allows you to put what you have just experienced into words and makes you wonder why Zamperla has not been able to sell another ride of this kind. The Hydro Lift at least is an unparalleled fun machine and wins every prize for the best dizz with ease.

Riva dei Pirati

The visually most convincing theme area at the Leolandia is the pirate area Riva dei Pirati, which consists mainly of children’s rides, but which is presented in a great design. Besides the good ship swing Galeone and the beautiful Splash Battle Mediterranea, you will find the prototype of the Stand-Up Disk’os Surf’s Up Scilla e Cariddi. Although the ride through the long gondola is a bit rough in parts, the Floating Airtime is worth an experience, so it is a pity to find only a small version of this ride. Unfortunately, the restraint system charges you a little bit statically, so you can get a little shock at the exit.

Pictures Leolandia

Conclusion Leolandia

Leolandia is a really nice theme park with a pretty good idea right from the beginning of its existence. The Minitalia is quite nicely realised and can keep you busy for a few hours, compared to the Legoland parks around the world. At the same time this miniature outdoor wonderland offers a wonderful view of the corners of this charming country, which you would like to see in real life. The quality of the theme park is, with the exception of the Expo 1906 area, very high and is further underlined by the matching workers’ uniforms, divided according to the theme areas of the park.

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