Movieland Park / Gardaland
Europe 2017 Blog Day 14
(Adrian) Our final day was back in Italy and, with Gardaland extending their summer hours to 11pm, we decided to schedule 2 parks for the final day starting at Movieland Park in the morning, then moving down the road to Gardaland for the afternoon and evening. We knew Movieland Park only had a couple of coasters, but thought it would be worth a visit for the other attractions. It was scheduled to open at 10am, so we arrived in good time and, with hindsight, the warning signs were there with only a couple of dozen people waiting. 10am arrived and a single person checked our tickets and we were all in. We headed for the coaster at the far end of the park, only to be told it wouldn’t be ready for a while, so looked for other attractions to do. None were open. Indeed, there were very few park employees to be seen.
Now, for coaster enthusiasts, a deserted park is usually a good thing, but not this one. Back up the front of the park and the headline coaster, an inverted boomerang, was open. We took our seats only to be told, due to low attendance, the coaster would only be cycled every 10 minutes and, true to their word, we waited in our seats a full 10 minutes.
Back into the park and rides were starting to open. We headed over to the pirate ship as we could see signs of life there only to have the operator great us with sincere apologies that it had been set to a “child cycle” setting and would not be very intense. It wasn’t. Then to a headline dark attraction which was a very poor rip-off of T2 / Spiderman with poor quality projection.
Finally, the second coaster opened and we got some rides in before cutting our losses and leaving.
My hunch is they knew they would be quiet but it’s no excuse for not being ready at opening to accept paying guests. Easily one of the worst parks I have visited, with a poor attraction selection and lack of empathy for their guests. By the lack of guests while we were there it wasn’t a one off and (as we found out later that day) unable to compete with the competition 2 miles down the road. Ah well.
(Ian) So with a disappointing morning we decided to take a short break for a bite to eat before heading off a few minutes down the road to the second offering of the day – Gardaland. We were a little apprehensive as we entered the park as it was the last day of our of trip and really didn’t want to end on a low. However, we needn’t have worried.
We had completely underestimated how big this park was going to be ... it’s huge! We hadn’t been given a park map on entering the park, so decided to just take a walk around to see where all the coasters and attractions were whilst taking some photos and video, before dumping our camera’s and hitting the rides for the rest of the day.
It was clear to see why Movieland Park was so deserted, everyone was here and the atmosphere was buzzing. There is a fantastic selection of rides and we were a little worried we may not get it all done in time and really wished we had just spent the whole day here, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. By around 8pm the park had started to quieten down as all the school trippers had been taken home leaving the enthusiasts with the pick of the rides, and the longest we had to queue for a ride was 25 minutes.
By 10pm we had ridden everything that we had planned to do (with some unexpected additions) and decided to spend the last hour of the day on our favourite coaster in the park: Oblivion - The Black Hole (a B&M Dive Coaster) on which we found that the back row offered an incredible amount of airtime, probably the most we have found on a coaster. This is a truly great park and we were really impressed with the staff, the rides, and the fun atmosphere and we will definitely be coming back here again without a doubt. At 11pm we took our the last ride of the day and our trip had sadly come to an end.
We’ve had a fantastic 2 weeks of sightseeing (Adrian – for those not negotiating blind hair-pin bends or Italian drivers), theme parks, and Bungy jumping and the weather couldn’t have been better for us. The trip exceeded our expectations and was worth the long wait and all the many months of planning. I must thank Adrian for all his hard work in organising the itinerary and for doing all the driving. We really hope that you’ve enjoyed following us on our journey and had a few smiles with us along the way.
Until next time ... cheers from us both!