Last year, ACE NorCal’s annual California’s Great America preseason tour hit a record attendance of nearly 60 members and guests, all eager to get a glimpse at what was new...
ACE NorCal Assistant Regional Representative went on the ACE Spain tour and the European Coaster Club Italy tour this summer. Below are his notes on the Italy tour.
Sequoia Adventure and Magic Mountain roller coasters at Gardaland — photo: Matthew Pearce
The first stop was Movieland Studios, which is to Universal Studios what Japan’s Nara Dreamland was to Disneyland. Movieland featured X-Smile a powered dragon coaster. Movieland also had one of the last-remaining old-style free-fall rides (think of the Edge at Great America) in Europe. The park also had a double-drop flume ride, a number of good simulators, and a back lot monorail tour.
The next day, we visited the Ski Center, Latemar, and Meran 2000. Each offered good alpine coasters far up in the hills, providing long, scenic rides on the cable lifts. The second stop of the day had a much longer cable ride than the first. We changed cars in the middle of the ride. The second alpine coaster was similar to Kennywood’s Thunderbolt in that you dropped right out of the station and the lift hill was at the end.
Next on the itinerary was Gardaland. Even though a traffic jam caused us to be 1.5 hours late, the park went out of their way to honor ERT and make the group feel special. Gardaland’s Magic Mountain is a smooth Vekoma double-loop, corkscrew coaster with a new shoulder harness design. The bars are several inches from your head, providing a more comfortable ride.
Matthew (on right) on the Magic Mountain roller coaster roller coaster at Gardaland — photo courtesy of Matthew Pearce
Gardaland’s Ortobruco Tour is a long Wacky Worm coaster. This extended version of the roller coaster contains seven lift hills.
The Sequoia Adventure is an S&S screaming squirrel coaster. Four-rider trains go out a log arm with a 180-degree hill at the end of the arm. The train travels inverted to the beginning of the arm, then goes through another 180-degree hill to repeat the trip on two more arms. You will love the airtime.
Mammut is a good Vekoma mine train that combined the themes of Big Thunder Mountain and the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
Then it was on to Mirabilandia. Katun is a B&M inverted with some great ground-hugging elements. Katun is located in the Mayan section of the park. The ride passes through two discs, apparently representing the Mayan calendar. iSpeed is a good Intamin rocket coaster. It includes an inline twist, visible from the queue, and a full-length track. Per rcdb.com, iSpeed’s track is longer than Storm Runner’s at Hersheypark.
— Matthew Pearce