Magic Park Land

18th August 2006

In a four day trip to France, we encountered a total of three parks with wild west theming. Both of us were at a loss to explain why this should be; after all, the French never had a wild west or cowboys, as far as we know. Answers on une carte postale, s'il vous plait.

The first thing one notices on arrival at Magic Park Land is the clown waiting to greet you as you enter the car park. As each car stops, he runs through an excited thirty seconds of French that was, I'm embarrassed to admit, utterly incomprehensible to us. It seems that this became obvious to him too, as he took particular pleasure in continuing his verbal tour-de-force, even to the point that it seemed like we were getting a special extended version. In the end, we were rescued by one of the few redeeming features of my rental car; the accelerator pedal.

Log Flume

As there was plenty of time in today's schedule we chose to make a leisurely stroll round the park, rather than our usual policy of hitting the coasters first. In a previous guise the park was known as El Dorado City, and the theming suits this name far better than the new identity, English words in wrong the order. The attention to detail across the park was on the whole good, with theming elements placed around even standard rides, such as a small boat in front of the log flume.

We managed to beat the crowd to the Chenille (#894), more by luck than judgment. There was no wait when we arrived, but by the time we had disembarked there was a queue of at least fifty schoolchildren singing loudly (and off key) in their native patois. We moved away from this cacophony as fast as possible, happening upon a particularly unique and unusual dark ride.

The first thing that struck us about this attraction was the eclectic collection of music being played in the queue line. At various stages we noted the music from Europa Park's Kassandra, the theme from Blade Runner, an a-capella version of Star Trek theme, and more. One cannot help but wonder where such a compilation came from, and whether the person compiling it was under the influence of something powerful. It was particularly odd to hear the angry voice of Kassandra rabbiting away in German as we entered a French haunted house.

As for the ride itself, it was distinctly average, with the occasional good effect buried among what could only be described as a fairground level attraction. It seems that the park is actually owned by travelling showmen, which is probably where this particular ride came from. Even given that I'm amazed they can use a soundtrack from another park without copyright issues.

One thing that we hadn't noticed during our walk was an unusual park policy. In order to allow staff a lunch break, all rides close for one hour promptly at twelve noon. Naturally our walk came to an end at about five past, with us ready to ride the remaining coaster and leave. Our bad timing on this however allowed for an impromptu period of relaxation, augmented by some particularly good ice cream. It was annoying to have to wait to ride Eden Rail (#895), but we did enjoy it nevertheless.

 

OK Corral

18th August 2006

Though we had been impressed by the standard of theming in Magic Park Land, it felt almost tacky when compared against OK Corral. Though on first appearance the parks seemed similar, the differences became apparent immediately inside the gate; this was a park which takes its appearance seriously, and it shows. Montagnes du Grand Canyon (#896) may have been an off the shelf Pinfari, formerly from the fair circuit in Germany, but the cars had been remoulded with horse heads on the front of them to fit into the theme of the park. It should be noted, too, that the first drop on this coaster was superb, assisted by a slightly faster lift hill than would be typical.

OK Corral

The off-the-shelf Tivoli coaster Serpent Hopi (#897) also featured a custom train design. As the name would suggest, this featured a snakes head on the front complete with venomous tongue sticking out the front. Loading speed was mediocre but acceptable, and we were on board reasonably quickly.

We also tried out a dark ride, Les Mysteres de L'Ouest. This featured high quality scenes throughout, though it would be no harm to warn oncoming riders ahead of time that the attraction makes generous use of water effects. The ride was marred only by the same blight which curses all other parks in this country, namely smoking. Having designated smoking areas is entirely reasonable and something I support. Allowing people to smoke in queue areas, however, is seriously objectionable, especially when you get stuck in front of someone making the most of a cigar. With so many children around the place you might expect a little more courtesy, but what do I know?

2006


Magic Park Land

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OK Corral

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