Cinecittà World

22nd August 2015

Cinecittà World was first announced in 2009 as a €500 million park and resort that was intended to attract up to four million guests per year. There was a certain amount of scepticism in the enthusiast community at these figures, given that they were broadly equivalent to the annual numbers for the Colosseum. It seemed to many, including this writer, that the plans were not dissimilar to those of the failed Hard Rock Park. The backers were not to be deterred, however; though construction was delayed several times and scaled back somewhat, the finished park eventually premiered to great fanfare on July 24th, 2014.

The club bus arrived at the main entrance on a gloriously sunny Saturday morning some thirteen months after the grand opening to find a completely empty parking area. My first reaction was that our tour planners had gotten their hours wrong again, but my cynicism was misplaced; the park was open, but there was nobody there. Other guests did turn up during the four hours we spent on site, but I'd estimate the total number through the gate to be in the low end of three figures, well below what would have been necessary for a profitable day.

Car Park

That being said, the non-existent queues made for a very pleasant morning, which began with Darkmare (#2148), an enclosed family coaster from Intamin. The ride layout starts with a twenty metre high lift hill followed by a series of smooth turns that are negotiated quickly but not so fast as to terrify younger riders. After about fifteen seconds the train is brought to a halt in front of a video screen showing splashes of lava rising from the depths. An evil looking face materialises, glares at riders briefly, then disappears upwards suddenly as the track and train drops five metres onto a connecting track segment below. From there a tyre drive accelerates the train into a few more smooth turns leading back to the station. Though short, the ride is absolutely superb, and well up there with the very best indoor coasters I've ridden in my travels. We managed to get in four rides over the course of our visit, and it'd have been nice to do more. It'd be wonderful if variants on this design became a staple of amusement parks around the world.

Sadly the signature coaster wasn't up to the same high standard. Altair CCW-0204 (#2149) is a slightly stretched version of the ten inversion coaster layout found in Chimelong Paradise and Thorpe Park, and the first of the type to operate with lap bar restraints rather than the more traditional overhead harnesses. These represent a definite upgrade over the earlier models, but cannot compensate for the severe and continuous rattle as the train negotiates the track that quickly goes from being mildly annoying to actively uncomfortable. We rode a second time a few hours later to give the wheels a chance to warm up, but there was no perceptible difference in ride quality.

The park has a third credit in the guise of Aktium (#2150), a substantial Mack SuperSplash with two lifts and two large drops, each of which features a small airtime hill with a head-chopper effect. The ride is honestly a bit dull, but the parallel splashes make it a perfect fit for the hot Italian summer. It's worth noting that this coaster is not listed in RCDB; when asked why, Duane told me that he will only list water attractions "if they have hills that are not part of the drop sequence". It seems unlikely that enthusiasts will ever agree on what constitutes a credit, so as I'm fond of saying, it's your list; count what you like!

Our group leader had asked us to all meet back at guest services for a special tour that the park had arranged for us. However, after some discussion it became apparent that this would not involve anything that we wouldn't be able to see for ourselves, and thus the plans were cancelled. Instead, a few of us decided to explore the heavily themed Sognolabio area, otherwise known as the little factory of dreams, featuring seven colourful family rides dotted around the outside of Spruzzaincubi, an ornate Splash Battle from Preston & Barbieri themed as the battle between dreams and nightmares. We were about ten twenty years too old for most of these, and thus we wandered back towards the adult attractions.

Spruzzaincubi

There was about a twenty minute queue for the Aquila IV walkthrough, a fairly dull tour of a model submarine memorable only for the sailor porn on the walls (in a family park no less!). There was a token attempt at interactivity in the guise of a dry ice generator in the engine room, but all this really served to do was make the air smell bad. A grasp of Italian might have aided enjoyment somewhat but I'd still describe the overall experience as a valuable portion of my life that I'll never get back. The CineciTram ride was no better, being a 3D movie with battery powered glasses and an impossible-to-follow story that involved rockets, space, decontamination, and not a lot else. The edges of the projection screens were clearly visible, rendering the attraction largely pointless.

We decided to finish up our morning with Erawan, an Intamin drop tower protruding from the back of an enormous elephant. Sit-down and stand-up options were available, and we decided to go for the latter, which tilted forward as it began to lift providing a spectacular and terrifying view. The drop delivered an incredible rush as expected, though I'd have preferred a slightly more gentle landing!

 

Zoomarine Italy

22nd August 2015

Four years ago I made three quarter hour visit to Zoomarine, staying just long enough to tick off the two coasters. The hit-and-run nature of the stop was necessitated by my desire to maximise time at the then brand new Rainbow MagicLand, and the plan worked out intended, but I did subsequently wonder whether I'd missed anything worthwhile while being an insufferable credit whore.

The club itinerary gave me two and a half hours to find out, but before investigations could commence, it was necessary to get Megan her ticks. We thus joined the queue for Squalotto with almost forty other enthusiasts, and fifteen minutes later experienced a solitary lap on an entirely undistinguished Wacky Worm interesting only for the shark figurehead on the train.

The next ride we came to was Laguna del Pirati, a miniaturised Splash Battle added to the park for the 2012 season. The designers managed to fit their attraction into a footprint of just nine hundred square metres, roughly one fifth of the area occupied by the model at Cinecittà World, and in so doing built one of the smallest attractions of the type anywhere in the world. The sultry weather made a lengthy queue inevitable, and sure enough there was one, populated almost entirely by corpulent Italians in ill-fitting swimwear. We decided to keep our distance.

In due course we arrived at Vertigo, the Schwarzkopf Looping Star that once operated in Ireland. The classic coaster was given a new colour scheme for the 2014 season, with black track and supports brightened slightly by a dark green trim on the loop supports and surrounding fences. However, it has also been hobbled somewhat by the removal of two of its seven cars, and while the five car train runs smoothly enough the forces are noticeably diminished over what they used to be. The ride has since been offered for sale, suggesting rather strongly that its days in its present location are numbered.

Megan prefixed her description of the L'isola dei Delfini show by saying "this ain't no SeaWorld", and to be honest that covers things in a nutshell. The performance moved very slowly, with lengthy periods during which there was absolutely nothing to see. Worse yet, there was no story or plot whatsoever; it was simply a few widely spaced out dolphin tricks interspersed by long pauses. We made it to the end, but aborted the Baia dei Pinnipedi seal show when it became apparent that it would be more of the same. Instead, we took some photographs of the flume and carousel before using our remaining time for extra laps on Vertigo.

Delfini

 

Fantasiland

22nd August 2015

Fantasiland Luna Park was introduced to the enthusiast community four years ago by a two sentence trip report within these pages. Our visit was unplanned; we'd simply noticed a Galaxi-style coaster on the horizon while driving out of Zoomarine and had gone to investigate. The ride that we had seen was in an advanced state of non-functionality, but we did at least score a bonus tick on a kiddie coaster.

Today our group showed up to learn that the ride in question was once again out of action. However, the prospect of selling individual ride tickets to a large number of people resulted in a miraculous, instantaneous, and entirely invisible repair that somehow brought Roller Coaster (#2151) to life. An Interpark Cyclon was never going to be stunning, but we enjoyed a pleasant enough lap, augmented (if that's the right word) by four enthusiasts croaking out different theme park songs in parallel. It's probably fair to say that the soundtracks of Cavallino Matto, Toverland, Zoomarine, and Disney's It's a small world do not blend particularly well, especially when sung out of key, but the result was at least entertaining.

Further fun was to follow on Bassotto, a Wacky Worm equivalent of indeterminate manufacture with a custom support structure, sliding doors in the station, and no restraints whatsoever on the train. The ride's braking system had apparently not been designed with a train load of adults in mind, and as we watched the front car containing two of our group members completely overshot the station. They were thus condemned to a second ride, and indeed would have ended up with a third had they not chosen to climb over the other cars.

We had three quarters of an hour left to kill, and passed a chunk of it with two tracked rides. West Train was a train journey past some stereotypical western scenes with a few basic animatronics, with a ride consisting of two laps of the short course. Treno Fantasma was a thoroughly bizarre multi-level haunted house whose main memorable scene was a man laughing maniacally while sitting on a toilet.

Delfini

2015


Cinecittà World

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Zoomarine Italy

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Fantasiland

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