The park is nice & I do love the theming but my first day was a complete
bollocks, as the signature ride, Tonnerre De Zeus, was down for the day with no
one even bothering to look at it. Instead, I took one ride on the hideously
rough, seven inversion Goudurix, one ride on the family orientated Le Vol
D'Icare, & then went & got a make up ticket for two days later.
Just about everywhere you went around Paris there was someone on strike - the
baggage handlers were on strike at the airport, as were all the museum workers,
although this didn't stop them selling us day pass tickets for said attractions
& then refusing us a refund when we noticed the doors shut!!!!!! - & in the
parks case, the lack of interest in getting their no.1 ride up just grated me.
Oh yeah, we got out just before the Metro workers all went on strike. (The only
people who didn't look like going on strike were the chain-smokers & those with
cell phones permanently glued to their right ear.) I'm sorry to any decent
French folks out there but you can stick your capital right up your collective
arse passages as far as me & the missus are concerned!!!
So back I went on the Saturday, a few short hours before flying out to
Barcelona, determined to get my moneys worth. I was informed that, this being
weekend, they were sure to have TDZ up & running (which annoyed me further
because it carried the implication that they could just have easily had it
going two days previous), but finally, finally, finally a great wide grin was
returned to my face as I took my first ride on Tonnerre De Zeus. Oh what a joy
of a coaster it is. Never in all my years of coasting (I started at 7, I'm now
35) have I seen such a complete & uniform set of delighted & exhilarated faces
returning to the loading station after each ride. I think that speaks volumes.
The airtime might be slightly shade by Megafobia but the laterals are even
better - although note that both coasters are utterly top notch in both
So I took as many rides around it as I could squeeze in before dashing back to
the airport (I had to take my luggage with me to the park & check it into the
lockers - for which there was NO charge, unlike every park I've visited in
the....ahem.....land of the, did someone say "free"?) where I met back up with
the missus & hopped on board our flight, pronto.
Oh yeah, they did manage to lose our luggage as we found out at the airport in
Disneyland Paris, Fri 28th May.
Okay, I don't know why but for some reason this park stood out as being
clearly my favourite Disney park. Maybe it was just a tad less cheesy (strictly
IMO, of course) than the other two in it's theming, or maybe just that the
crowds were more bearable. One person I did see at the park, though, was David
Batty. I was tempted to mention that pathetic penalty he took against the
Argies in last years World Cup, but as he looks a bit hard I thought I'd give
it a miss.
Space Mountain was good but not quite the great ride I'd been hyped into
believing. Unless you sat at the front, the luminous seatbacks gave away the
surprise elements. Still, inversions in the dark is a new coaster experience on
me, can't complain about that although the Columbiad Cannon launch was a little
Big Thunder was without a doubt my favourite of this name. Excellent beginning
& ends made all the difference.
On the other hand, Indiana Jones et le Temple du Peril was nondescript for the
most part & earbashing for sudden bursts. A single vertical looper like this
doesn't need over the shoulder restraint, IMO. With just a simple lapbar this
ride would improve immeasurably.
Other than the coasters, I just did the Pirates of the Carribean, & much
wandering around, esp. in Adventureland & Discoveryland.
Universals' Port Aventura, Mon 31st May.
Before I tell you about the park, may I just recommend to anyone with a love
of not only coasters but beautiful cities & great history that they seriously
consider a week or so in Barelona & nearby Tarragona (the latter a few short
miles from this park).
I loved them both. The old world in Tarragona, beyond the Cathedral & the
ruins of the Roman Ampitheatre were just one of the greatest experiences of my
life, & the food, drink & sights of Barca are equally wonderful (Los Caracoles
is one of the greatest restaurants at which I've ever had the privelage to
Nevertheless, I'm sidetracking myself here as I drift off into wistful
nostalgia; back to the park. Well, unlike the two cities I just mentioned, the
road to Salou seems to be through a giant industrial estate. Nevertheless, by
the time you reach the park it has all cleared out.
PA itself is a flat out beautiful park; without a doubt my new favourite theme
park (although I'll be at BGW later this month, so it could all change). Of the
five areas only the Wild West left me cold - not because it wasn't nicely doine
but because I'd seen this same theming time & time again at various other
parks. On the other hand, the Mexico, Polynesia, China & Med areas were a sheer
joy. In particular, the bird sanctuary in the polynesia section was amizing
Dragon Khan provided my first & last few of rides of the day; anyone who likes
Kumba is bound to love this improved version thereof. The similarities, both
for good & bad, are obvious. The super-silky-smooth tracking representing the
former point, the earbashing representing the latter. Nevertheless, DK has a
better first drop - straight instead of swooping - an extra inversion & a
definite feel of extra intensity throughout.
Whilst in the area I took a ride on Tami-Tami, the Vekoma rollerskater.
Funnily enough this ride doesn't get the parks official junior status whilst
the taller, faster, IMO better wooden Tomahawk does. Anyhow, that's all pretty
by the by; my next stop was the rather tame, three lift hill, mine train ride
going by the name of El Diablo. Enough said of that, too much dead track for my
liking. Stampida was what I was aiming towards all along. What a marvellously
inventive racing wooden twister it was as well. Consider that it has a parallel
tracing track, opposite racing track, a third (Tomahawk) track suddenly come
into the helix mix, a double up, a double down, airtime aplenty & a
disorientating mid-track tunnel. Whilst each of these elements alone may not
count for much, all slung together on the very same coaster......WOW!!! Many
times did I repeat ride this gem. Not quite the A+ coaster that I had found in
West Wales & Paris but nonetheless a great time was had.
Anyhow, I really would have loved to stay all week but the lure of Sangria &
Tapas dragged me back to my pre-arranged meeting place with the missus.
What an utterly top holiday area the Catalunya region is though.
Next up, third & final part, USA