Portaventura World-October 2019

Discussion in 'Your Trip Reports and Plans' started by SirDossa, 9th Oct 2019.

  1. SirDossa

    SirDossa TowersStreet Member

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    Hi all, I’ve just got back from my second ever visit to PA and thought I’d give a rundown of my trip. Having visited just over 2 years ago, I was looking forward to getting back on some of my favourite rides although I was slightly anxious given the recent negative reviews but was optimistic that a great time would be had regardless. I have done my best to summarise my trip by highlighting the positives and negatives. Let’s start with the positives;

    Location/value for money- There’s no denying that the park is very easy to get to and the deal we got was fantastic; 3 nights stay at the on-site El Paso hotel with unlimited access to the park turned out to be an absolute bargain. It’s also a real bonus having the beach and a whole strip of shops/bars/restaurants within walking distance from the resort. We were also blessed with glorious weather every day and being able to escape to the nearby beach which is home to lots of different restaurants and bars every evening definitely gave the trip more of a “holiday” vibe to it.

    Park presentation/atmosphere -PA had well and truly immersed itself in the Halloween season and the park was decked out with lots of Halloween theming and set pieces. There was also a fair amount of scare actors roaming about doing a good job of keeping folk entertained/scared! We didn’t sample any of the scare mazes/attractions as my partner isn’t keen on them at all and I wasn’t particularly fussed either. It’s worth noting that they all come as an extra cost as well. The park is also very well maintained and you can easily lose an hour or so by just wandering around the various different themed areas. There were also lots of shows and a daily Halloween parade although we didn’t choose to watch any of these as we aren’t really in to shows.

    Coaster lineup-Shambhala was* (more on that later) my number one coaster going in to this trip and it is still an excellent coaster. I had my first ever night time ride on it as well and it was exhilarating BUT due to reasons I’ll go into later, it wasn’t quite as good as I remembered it to be. Red force however surpassed my expectations along with my memories of it. What a great ride this is, the launch blew me away and I found myself pretty much standing up the whole way down its huge spiral drop. Although controversial, I also find Furious Baco to be a really enjoyable coaster packed full of intensity (especially after 5 or 6 pints of Estrella!).Yes, it’s rough but it’s a roller coaster and not a merry go round and the launch remains the most intense launch that I’ve ever experienced. Dragon Khan is a legendary coaster as well and I’m surprised how smooth it rides for its age. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Stampida which really is a leg basher which unfortunately offers very little air-time for a Wooden coaster.

    Water rides-Given the climate in sunny Spain, the park does boast some much needed water rides and I couldn’t believe what a soaker the Log Flume is! I don’t recall it being as wet on my previous visit but we came off completely drenched. The rapids are good fun as well and Tutuki Splash is a decent enough boat ride although it could really do with some theming/audio around the ride layout.

    Food/Drink- You won’t go hungry at PA as each themed area has its fair share of sit-down food options and grab a bite food outlets. The beer is also fairly well priced too (for a theme park anyway!)

    Now, on to the negatives;

    Operations- Having read a fair few negative reports from recent people who had been to PA, I was a little bit worried about what we would be met with. Ultimately, if you go on a weekend or during peak periods, you will be faced with long queues which are made even longer by coasters sometimes operating on 1 (2 at a push) train services. We soon realised this when we entered the Park on the Saturday evening as pretty much everything appeared to be on 1-2 hour long queues and this remained the case for the duration of the evening. The Sunday was a similar story but given the fact we had already been on everything before, we adopted a fairly chilled out approach to getting on lots of rides as we knew we had a full day on park on Monday where sure enough the place was very quiet indeed and multiple rides and re-rides were had. However, even on the Monday, 20 minute queues were slow moving and some of the ride dispatch times were pretty shocking. We used the single rider queue a couple of times for Shambhala but trains were still being regularly dispatched with empty seats! This was pretty frustrating and there’s no doubt someone visiting for one day during a weekend/peak period would be required to get the wallet out and purchase speedy passes. One positive though was the ride availability as pretty much every ride was operating and we didn’t experience any ride down-time. I really do like Portaventura but they really do need to address the operations across the park.

    Queue jumpers- Again, this was sadly to be expected and I lost count of how many people felt the need to queue jump on the Saturday night. We did our best to stop them in their tracks and I had words with a gentleman who was adamant that he had to push his whole way through the queue because his wife was at the front. However, these words ultimately fell on deaf ears with everyone else in the queue looking at me like I was in the wrong! It’s definitely not a culture I understand one bit but unfortunately queue jumping does seem to be accepted out in Spain. I know this has been touched upon from previous trip reports but it’s also worth mentioning that these people simply try and barge their way through the queue. Not that queue jumping is ever right but at least try and apply some decorum/etiquette when doing it! Thankfully, we didn’t experience any of this on Monday when the park was much quieter.

    Shambhala- …has been de-throned as my number one Coaster! Although still a great ride, I couldn’t help but feel the restraints this time round really put a dampener on the whole experience. Sure, I’ve put on a few pounds since my first visit here just over two years ago, but they really had to slam the restraints down each time I rode it. The highlight of the ride for me originally was the ridiculous amount of air time throughout the ride which was helped by loose restraints. I guess being 6 foot 2 also plays a part in this but I really don’t remember them having to force the restraints down on any of my previous rides. As a result of this, a couple of my rides were bordering being uncomfortable and I can therefore say that Mako is my new number one coaster!

    Lack of dark/flat rides- The Sesame Street Mission dark ride is definitely a welcome and enjoyable addition to the park’s line-up of rides. However, they could really do with a couple more dark rides. Hurricane Condor is a really good drop tower and the views at the top really are immense. However, this is pretty much it for decent flat rides so a couple more really would add to their current line-up of rides. The same applies to Ferrari Land where we only went on Red Force a couple of times and Flying Dreams which was an enjoyable flying theatre attraction. However, we were done and dusted here within an hour and a half.

    The graffiti in Stampida’s station!- Graffiti pretty much covers every wooden panel in the queue for Stampida. Given how clean and well maintained the rest of the park looked, it’s pretty poor that the park hasn’t addressed the Stampida graffiti. Some of it is even tagged as ‘05’ which says it all really!

    All in all, I had a really enjoyable few days at Portaventura World and Salou. It’s by no means the perfect park at all and I’d advise visiting during week days/off peak if you can as the crowds/queues really aren’t much fun during peak periods. Thanks for reading!
     
    Rick, GeorgeT, Matt N and 2 others like this.
    Posted 9th Oct 2019
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  2. RicketyCricket

    RicketyCricket TowersStreet Member

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    Shambhala's restraints are indeed very unforgiving on those of us with big thighs. For some reason it needs an extra click more than the other B&M Hypers.
     
    SirDossa and skyscraper like this.
    Posted 9th Oct 2019
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  3. SirDossa

    SirDossa TowersStreet Member

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    Ha yes they really are..I did see a couple of people get turned away because they couldn't get the restraints down :(
     
    Posted 10th Oct 2019
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  4. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I think Silver Star is the same.

    However Silver Star has big boy seats in row 5. Does Shambhala?

    Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
     
    Posted 14th Oct 2019
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  5. RicketyCricket

    RicketyCricket TowersStreet Member

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    I've always been fine on Silver Star, with plenty of wiggle room. Shambhala needs a bit of a shove and it's a tight fit.

    If there is a big boy seat on Shambhala I've never seen it used.
     
    Posted 14th Oct 2019
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  6. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Think I was there the same time as you old boy. We had a good time.

    With regards to the Shambhala seats... The ops seemed to know if the restraint wasn't sitting right and needed a push, but I was unsure how? There didn't seem to be any LED indicator, nor a painted line on the ratchet?
     
    SirDossa likes this.
    Posted 14th Oct 2019
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  7. SirDossa

    SirDossa TowersStreet Member

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    I've only been EP once and it wasn't all that longer after my first trip to PA so who knows..maybe I should cut down on the Beers and Burgers ;)
     
    RicketyCricket likes this.
    Posted 15th Oct 2019
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  8. SirDossa

    SirDossa TowersStreet Member

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    Ah yeah probs pal, did you venture there over the weekend at all? The Saturday was very busy but we still had a good time. I thought the exact same about the Shambhala seats, to be fair I thought I was in each time but nah they felt the need to slam them right down..ouch!
     
    Posted 15th Oct 2019
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