I've had very little desire to visit Poland over the duration of my lifespan thus far. Whilst there's certainly no shortage of things to do across the country, there has never been a particular draw on a certain level to attract me there. This is also a heightened statement when it comes to the theme park perspective, because Poland has never had any form of serious offering for us enthusiasts. Until now. Silesian Amusement Park opened in Chorzow back in 1959; plenty of time therefore to develop a history and make a mark on Poland's amusement/theme park game. Yet despite its timely existence, I'd never heard of this particular park and I'm also willing to bet there will be many other users on this forum in the same boat. You may however come to recognise it by the modern name of 'Legendia Śląskie Wesołe Miasteczko, AKA "Legendia". Nestled in the location of a central park, Legendia follows the typical layout of a circular theme park surrounding a lake. Getting lost here is a virtually impossible task and makes navigating by landmark attractions incredibly easily. The first notable aspect to Legendia is the free parking, situated round to the side of the park on a small slither of land. Upon first impression the size and capacity of the car park doesn't appear to be overly large. This however wasn't to be an issue for our visit due to noticeable lack of cars using it.... Having landed at the beginning of the afternoon, we arrived at Legendia at around 13:00pm with the park open until 20:00pm that evening, a ten-hour operational day which for us had been shortened to seven. Between us were no expectations of what we were set to face off against regarding queue times, operations and the usual aspects we tend to brace for in uncharted theme park territory on the continent. The entirety of the park can be observed from the end of the entrance area, stretching out and around the lake. Once at the end of the charming entrance however, the majority of Legendia's theme park-esque grandeur runs out of steam. Legendia’s ride portfolio consists mainly of attractions dressed in fairground attire, inflicting a dampener on its image which bears somewhat of a resemblance to Toverland before the latter went in pursuit of Efteling down a cooperate alleyway. In between the clusters of fairy lights and warped fairground cartoon panelled walls are large, open green spaces. Well-tended gardens that attempt to impose a sense of charm against the lake backdrop are separated by the occasional ride which has been subjected to a greater scope of theming, including the likes of Diamond River, Dragon Riders and to some form of extent, Scary Toy Factory. The recent themed efforts that Legendia have made are certainly not to turn one’s nose up at. Their new for 2018 dark ride ‘Bazyliszek’ is still bathed in a new smell, with the polished queue line floor still glistening. The queue line theming has been well presented to demonstrate a sense of age, particularly the giant padlocks on the doors and some more intricate relic items. There’s almost a whiff of some basic Efteling touches inside, whilst the ride itself has also been carried out to a similar standard. A basic cable-guided shoot ‘em up that is far from offensive as you pass from screen to screen through some well attempted efforts at themed scenery. It’s certainly not the best dark on the planet, however given the relatively low scale of dark rides in Poland, it’s sets a great standard for future dark rides in the country. One rather bizarre attempt from the park is ‘Dream Flight Airlines’. Imagine Blackpool’s Flying Machines concept taken by a child, chewed up then vomited back out in a colourful fashion. Oh, and don’t forget the vehement propellers attached to the front of each aircraft either. The build quality of this attraction feels very in-house compared to the other rides throughout the park, particularly with the number of uneven wall panels, missing rivets and the bog-standard car seatbelt arrangement. Yes against all odds, this ride runs circles (in a clockwise direction mind you) around Flying Machines due to its much lengthier ride cycle and far more intense swing out. The only issue with the ride is due to having side mounted guide wheels as opposed to just simply scraping along the platform, it does take quite a significant amount of time to stop… We opted to miss out on Dragon Riders having seen the damage it caused the previous week to @Hils. In fact it also transpired we weren’t the only ones electing to avoid it all costs, as over the duration of our visit we only saw the ride cycle once. For anyone who hasn’t seen this ridiculous flat ride, just picture yourself as a hamster running in a wheel, then stopping and allowing your shoulders to scrape along against the momentum. Hideous. One of the most anticipated aspects of Legendia for me was the chance to ride Tornado; a ride from my youthful visits to American Adventure that I had sadly missed out on due to my shear hatred of roller coasters back in the day. Sadly, it was not to be as the ride looked more than just closed, but perhaps condemned. Clearly when it was installed at Legendia it held a place as the park’s premier thrill roller coaster. Dependant on the level of investment over the next few years however, its future could possibly be unclear due to the fact a much more recent addition has significantly kicked it down and out for the count (more on that later….) Two of the other roller coasters the park had to offer on the other hand certainly weren’t intending on spiting us this trip. Not only were they very much open, but they also had next to no queues for them either. Perhaps a blessing, as queuing for the following experiences would have been a miserable condition to riding them. We first rode Scary Toys Factory, a cartoonish themed façade hiding a bog-standard Zyklon layout. Further pieces of cartoonish toy theming are scattered in any available pocket of ride area that isn’t shrouded in the plentiful pink support structure, perhaps to actually put off its desire target audience from the forthcoming horrific encounter. For the most part, Scary Toys Factory is relatively inoffensive. Slow, uneventful turns accompanied by mediocre drops are lulling senses of false security, as the ride’s finale includes a ridiculously harsh and unannounced brake which will damage some part of your body regardless of how hard you attempt to brace. Then there’s the smaller distorted twin in the form of Dream Hunter’s Society. Once again, a standard layout hidden behind a whacky and colourful façade. This ride on the other hand whilst appearing to be the smaller and tamer version of the two is actually the complete opposite. The drops are far more intense, catching you by surprise with their tight entry transitions. Despite the better ride however, Dream Hunter’s Society suffers the same finale as its twin, attempting to break some part of your body on its final brake run before returning the remaining pieces of you back to the station. One ride the four of us found ourselves enjoying more than we anticipated is ‘Giant Water Pump’. A contradictory name as the ride is in fact a tiny swinging ride that packs a much larger punch. The extended ride duration was also a welcome factor, and once again made all the better by the fact we were able to walk straight onto it. Also in this neck of the woods of Legendia is the park’s main water attraction, Diamond River. We left this until the peak of temperature in the day to ensure we dried off quickly, having no idea on the levels of wetness that the ride would throw at us. Wetness however is the least of the worries for this ride. I concluded that Diamond River is the non-launched, water equivalent of Furious Baco. Whilst the majority of the layout consists of trundling around, the two drops are jarred by discomforting back smashing; the first significantly worse than the second. Something just doesn’t seem to sit right, either the profiling of the drops or indeed the boats themselves. Irrespective of the cause, the result is a ride that delivers acceptable levels of wetness, but by no means any acceptable levels of enjoyment. With Legendia being so quiet on the whole, our day which we believed was a little on the short side was beginning to become tedious when it came to time. Several leisurely rest stops were had throughout the day, including a return trip to the car to deposit some belongings which turned out to be the biggest faff of the day. Normally when leaving a theme park, you either expect to retain your admission ticket or get a hand stamp from the entrance host and are able to return at any time you want. Legendia on the other hand don’t appear to believe in convenience when it comes to exiting and re-entering the park and insist on making their method as stupid as possible. Before leaving the park, you must go to guest services to request a permission slip in order to leave and come back; similar to wanting to go the toilet in secondary school. Waiting for said permission slip turned out to be the longest we had to wait for anything in the park across the entire day, and even when you are able to claim the permission slip, the time you spend outside the park is limited. To 15 minutes. Should 15 minutes pass and you haven’t returned to the park, I suspect you are faced with the prospect of having to buy another ticket. We therefore didn’t take any chances of exploring the surrounding area of the park, hot footed it to the car and back and re-entered the park. Upon re-entering, our long wait began in order for daylight to turn to night in order to pick up some night rides. We opted to have a go on the ‘Magical Lake Taxi’, a rent-a-row boat on the main lake. 30 minutes for free, and a small charge for anytime after that. Frustratingly the process to gain access to these boats appeared to be more difficult than passing through border control as we had done earlier, as a passport had to be present in order to rent one. With our passports obviously in the car, and our expired permission slip meaning we were unable to go and retrieve them, we were almost forced to give up on this front. Thankfully Al had a copy of his passport on his phone, which the host seemed to reluctantly accept. A 100,000 word disclaimer later lead to perhaps the most hilarious and nerve wracking experience of the entire trip. We opted to row straight over to the opposite side of the lake, snap some photos and leisurely sail back rather than attempt to row a complete lap. The return journey saw the sky beginning to turn gold, signalling the beginning of sunset and the inevitable turn to dusk and night time. On the face of it, we actually missed over half the rides and attractions Legendia had to offer throughout our stay. Queue times were of course irrelevant as there simply weren’t any. Our stop for food and a beer or two in Obreza Lecha hardly ate into any of our time, and we even spent a good chunk designing..ahem.. artwork…. In the sandpit. The truth is on the most part, Legendia’s ride portfolio isn’t really tempting or attractive. It lacks any form of major headlining rides to make you desperately want to soak up time repeating them. The atmosphere was seemingly dull, with little to no energy or vibes emitting from anywhere, heightened by the apparent ride graveyard of fairground rides of the past which can be seen from Dream Flight Airlines. The musical scores throughout the park are simply ripped from major film franchises, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite the fact the park clearly has the look and feel they should be either composing it themselves or getting IMAscore in to sort something out for them. The intentions and foundations for Legendia to be a great theme park are there, yet in its current state there’s almost a Lightwater Valley-esque feel to the place. The infrastructure has been accounted for, and the park are openly advertising what’s to come over the next two years. Despite all this, there isn’t really anything to give Legenda the benefit of the doubt to return for. The guest numbers from our visit were concerning, and as we had our final ride at 7:55pm, looking out across the lake revealed there were simply no guests left. As soon as I stepped through the gates at around 8:10pm, they simply closed behind me. I really do want Legendia to succeed. It benefits from a beautiful location and easy to navigate layout. The location is easily accessible from all major surrounding cities, with trams frequently passing by the entrance. There’s also another reason I want Legendia to succeed. In the seven hours we were there, I discovered my new second favourite roller coaster on the planet. For the cost of Nemesis Sub Terra and all its failings, Legendia have managed to build Lech Coaster, a Bermuda Blitz model from Vekoma. Lech was easily the most anticipated roller coaster of the park and is also only just over a year old. In the weeks leading up to visiting Legendia, I begged myself not to fall into the same trap as I had done with Os’Iris the previous month; expecting what appeared to be a great coaster on paper fail to live up to expectations. I proactively avoided reading any reviews of Lech on the internet, whilst also avoiding catching a glimpse of what any of the group who had visited the previous weekend had to say about it. I buried the POV I had watched from weeks before to ensure I rode Lech with a totally open mind. Lech is one of the more deeply themed attractions at Legendia. The entirety of its queue line is kept within the boundaries of its layout, offering a great view regardless of where you are standing. Needless to say, we spent very little time queuing for Lech at any point of the day, which also meant bypassing the themed pre-show at the bottom of the station building. We did attempt to stop and watch it on one of our later goes, but the lack of queue line simply tore us away before we could become too invested. Upon arriving on the station platform for the first time, the train was already ¼ loaded and the airgates still open. Scrapping any concept of waiting for select rows, we leaped at the chance to walk straight on and get sat down. Lech ran one train for the duration of our visit, but that’s all it needed. Throughout the entire day, Lech only dispatched 94 trains. Even if you were to fill each train which was simply not the case, that meant that Lech would have only cycled through 1880 individual guests. So, what about the ride itself? Well… Lech is one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying on a roller coaster. It’s the pinnacle statement from Vekoma that their new track and trains are leagues ahead of their previous efforts. Lech makes The Swarm feel like a cheap, Pinfari rattle trap. The entire ride is smoother than silk, traversing its layout like an ice skater gliding across black ice with a degree of courage, ferocity but also a dash of grace as well. It pulls you down its first drop with a great deal of airtime, especially towards the back, before blitzing straight into the sidewinder. I’m yet to ride Intimidator 305, but Lech attempts to pull a serious punch in the grey out competition after exiting its first inversion, elegantly turning over the lake before pulling you through a roll directly over the station roof. The transition is so smooth you simply can’t feel it occurring, almost as if being inverted by magic. The following sections right up to the on-ride photo are carried out addictive speed and demonstrates no signs of stopping, effortlessly tumbling you through the final corkscrew with a delightful decorum. Even after this, Lech still refuses to lose any steam, traversing an outward banked dive and a series of sweeping turns back to the brake run. Even the ending is done with such smoothness that it’s difficult to comprehend it just happened. Lech is everything a great roller coaster should be. The pacing is consistent and continuous, keeping you hooked high on its ecstasy as it shows you what Vekoma’s modern engineering is capable of. An airtime machine combined with inversions that have been seemingly crafted by mythical gods of the roller coaster world, all whilst doing so in a quiet and humble manner. It doesn’t look intimidating, nor does it look timid. Lech strikes the finest palette taste for roller coasters; a catalyst for some of the best things you could ask for on a coaster. The trains are comfortable and well built. Whilst there is room for improvement in perhaps the unnecessary need for the vests, they’re hardly offensive when compared to those of B&M’s wing coasters, and the theming shows that Legendia have the ability to leave their fairground heritage in the past and continue to craft well designed experiences. It is truly staggering to think that the cost of such a grand piece of design is so little, and it excitedly gives you a glimpse into what parks like Drayton, Lightwater, Flamingo Land and heck, even Paulton’s Park could pull off by investing in this hardware. Of the two headlining coasters for the trip, Lech romps ahead by a country mile, and then some. It restores faith that Legendia have the potential to go in the direction they not only need to but deserve to. It demonstrates that Vekoma aren’t just capable of pulling off great projects for Disney either, but also for the smaller parks that dare to dream. I may not have been completely bowled over by Legendia, but one thing is for sure. Lech Coaster alone is enough a reason to return or even simply visit for the first time.