Zatorland

Klik hier voor de Nederlandstalige versie van dit tripverslag.

Let’s play a little guessing game. I’m searching for a resort destination with 4 different theme parks. In one of those parks, you can meet dinosaurs. In the second park, nature and education are the main components. There’s also a place where you can turn the world upside-down and you’ll be able to fly on the back of a colourful elephant. Still need an extra hint? Good: there’s another famous theme park destination just around the corner of this resort. Let’s be clear… I’m definitely not talking about the Walt Disney World Resort. I wasn’t searching for Dinoland USA, Epcot or Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster and those flying elephants don’t belong to the Dumbo carrousel at Magic Kingdom. I’m actually talking about Zatorland, a leisure destination within a 5-minute drive from the well-known Energylandia. While rollercoaster enthusiasts from all over the world find their way to Energylandia, the nearby Zatorland is often forgotten. That’s about to change today.

After spending the night at Hotel Galicja in Oświęcim, we travel to Zator on Monday morning. The drive takes about 20 minutes and we even get an Energylandia sneak-preview. While going to Zatorland, we drive past Energylandia and its impressive skyline full of coasters. It feels strange to watch Hyperion and not being able to ride it, but hey… we’ll be back this afternoon.

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Our destination this morning is Zatorland, where we purchase the Premium Ticket. This ticket costs 59,00 zloty (approximately 14,00 euros) and it includes access to all of the 4 theme parks. Sounds like a real bargain, right? A Walt Disney World Hopper-pass is considerably more expensive, if you ask me.

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There is indeed a huge price difference between Zatorland and Walt Disney World. But well… there’s a quite big quality difference as well. This, for example, is the entrance to park number 1. Looks a little different than Main Street Station or that giant sphere at Epcot, right?

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Park Owadów translates to Park of Insects. Imagine some of the most hated and annoying insects you know. Next, imagine them a lot bigger and more frightning. Well, that’s exactly what the Park of Insects is all about.

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I don’t like these guys in their small versions. Needless to say… these enlarged creatures aren’t exactly my best friends either. However, this giant wasp did let me finish my bottle of Coke without interrupting. That’s a first.

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Have you ever seen The Good Place on Netflix? This huge ladybug somewhat reminds me of that series…

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I don’t know why they did it, but Zatorland put an upside-down house in the Park of Insects. That doesn’t seem logical at all, but let’s have a look anyway.

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I’m not sure what’s the strangest thing about this house. The fact that it’s turned upside-down or the fact that this family parks their car in the living room.

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Park Owadów didn’t turn out to bee extraordinary, but we mite find more joy in the other 3 theme parks. Let’s head over to the Luna Park, where all of the classic amusement park rides are located. We immediately see a rather small ferris wheel and we notice that Dumbo’s Polish cousins fly surprisingly high.

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Fish are friends, not food. One of the Luna Park’s main attractions is this interactive carrousel with water guns. I guess its theming was based on Finding Nemo, but it doesn’t look bad.

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Look at that… the main reason why we came to Zatorland today. Steven is a credit hunter and he definitely needed the Dinocoaster. The fact that this dinosaur-themed coaster train actually looks like a dragon doesn’t bother him.

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Pimp my ride… uhm, dragon… or dino?

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One single lap would be enough to add this ride to our coaster-counter. Zatorland, however, treats us with 6 laps. Best rollercoaster ever? I didn’t think so and I sincerely hope that the coasters at Energylandia are more spectacular.

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As if 3 or 4 dimensions weren’t enough, Zatorland added a 5th dimension to its dinosaur-themed cinema experience. Unfortunately, that fifth dimension was not as awesome as the one in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Just skip this show, unless you’re interested in low-quality images and loud wind machines.

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You may already have noticed this, but dinosaurs play an important role at Zatorland…

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In fact, they’re so important that they received their own theme park. So let’s move over to the Park of Dinosaurs, shall we?

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In order to fully enjoy the next few photo’s, you should be listening to John Williams’ music for Jurassic Park right now. So open Spotify, play that well-known soundtrack and imagine Isla Nublar became a forest in Southern Poland.

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The Park of Dinosaurs consists of more than 100 dinosaur audio-animatronics. Some of them are pretty realistic, others are simply hilarious.

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Fun fact: dinos love to play hide-and-seek once in a while, but they’re not very good at it. The dino behind that tree was immediately found by Steven.

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Steven is the next one to hide himself between a bunch of bloodthirsty predators. I’ve never seen him again since that moment, so I guess that T-rex eventually found him.

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Oh yes, that T-rex definitely found him…

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The Park of Dinosaurs offers a museum full of fossils. It looks a bit outdated, but dinosaurs are outdated as well. So I guess it’s fine?

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My last few captions weren’t that useful, I admit. But I have to say that the dinosaur theme park is pretty nice. The place is surprisingly large, well-kept and you get a ton of fun selfie-opportunities. If you’re visiting with young (dino-loving) children, you will probably spend quite some time within the park.

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The 4th and last theme park lies a bit further and it’s called the Park of Mythology. This place is dedicated to Greek gods and legends and it’s set at the shores of a beautiful lake. Sounds promising.

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Most of the scenes at the Park of Mythology float on the water. You can either watch them from the shore or hop on a boat tour. Since we didn’t want to waste valuable Energylandia-time, we skipped the boat ride.

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Most scenes are old-fashioned and look worn. But overall, this place is beautiful.

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I’m not sure where Steven is pointing at, but I guess he’s comparing some stuff. This savage giant is the park’s novelty for the 2018 season, by the way. And yes, I’m talking about the one on the left.

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Always dreamed of riding a centaur or the Trojan Horse? Just pay a visit to Zatorland’s Park of Mythology, bring 5 zloty and that dream might come true.

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I was thinking about a way to get into Zatorland for free. Maybe we should build a wooden horse, hide inside and put it in front of the park’s entrance. But clearly, someone already had a similar idea in the past…

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The Park of Mythology isn’t the most… well… mythical place on Earth. It’s some kind of Fairtytale Forest like the one at Efteling, but it didn’t get as much care. The result is a rather tacky place which doesn’t feel like it belongs in 2018. That’s why the park’s most popular feature is the children’s playground and a rope course, which both have nothing to do with Greek mythology.

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This was my first ever visit to Zatorland and it will probably be the last. Unless they decide to add an enormous rollercoaster, there’s not a single reason to come back. At the moment, I guess Zatorland isn’t considering a B&M flyer or Mack Mega Coaster, so I’m saying farewell to the oddest theme park resort I’ve visited in 2018. Despite the fact that Zatorland was everything but amazing, Zator is still the place to be if you’re looking for thrills. Just a few kilometres further, Energylandia is trying to become Europe’s premier rollercoaster destination. How smooth is that launched Vekoma coaster? How soaked will I be after a ride on Intamin’s super-tall water coaster? And how sensational is the brand-new Hyperion? We’re about to find out this afternoon.

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