Parque Warner Madrid
San Martín de la Vega, Spain
“Fantastic theme park, but poor operations”
Welcome to Parque Warner Madrid, a park with elaborately themed lands and a skyline full of world-class coasters. The park was designed for tens of thousand of visitors per day and it was meant to become one of Europe’s ultimate theme parks. Unfortunately, the park has had some rough years right after its inauguration. Locals didn’t seem too fond of Warner Bros and attendance levels were extremely low. But times have changed and nowadays, Parque Warner counts as one of the most visited parks in Europe. The park attracted nearly 2.2 million visitors in 2018, which is more than Parc Astérix, Alton Towers and Phantasialand. That’s quite impressive.
Parque Warner’s epicentre of coaster thrills is DC Super Heroes World. This area contains two impressive B&M roller coasters and Superman – la Atracción de Acero is the most famous one. Just like you’d expect from a B&M coaster, the ride has a great layout with seven inversions and some powerful curves. It’s also incredibly smooth, so it should be ranked among Europe’s best roller coasters. Yet, the ride doesn’t get the love it deserves. The paint has faded and the station could use a thorough cleaning. Besides, Superman’s capacity is terrible. The ride is in a 1-train-operation all day long and the staff works at a Spanish pace, which results in a waiting time of approximately 40 minutes. That may not seem unbearable, but it’s way too long during an uncrowded day. Another downside is the ride’s location: Superman has been placed completely outside the park and it’s almost impossible to see the ride from the pathways. There used to be a viewpoint to admire the coaster from up close, but it has been closed down. What a shame.
Unfortunately, the operations at Batman – Arkham Asylum are similar. That means that lines are considerable and the queue moves rather slowly. Nevertheless, the slow pace is mainly due to a virtual reality system which has been implemented in 2017. And as you may know, such VR goggles almost always cause drastically slower operations. I am not a fan of it (and we are skipping the VR version today) but I have to admit that they did a fine job with virtual reality. The middle rows are reserved for VR and they’re filled with a separate queue, while rows 1, 2, 6 and 7 are used for regular rides. That means that we’re still able to enjoy the sublime frontseat view and this B&M’s brutal backseat power. Batman may be a standard coaster, but I think it’s brilliant. It’s got a strong layout with decent g-forces and the smoothness is remarkable. Parque Warner also created a magnificent queue, which makes Arkham Asylum’s atmosphere considerably better than Superman’s.
Coaster Express is the highlight at Parque Warner’s Old West Territory. This wooden coasters draws the attention, but in a very painful way. No really, I’m serious: if you’ve ever thought that Wodan is a bit shaky or that Tonnerre De Zeus has become rough, Coaster Express will prove you’re wrong. Everything suddenly seems relative if you’ve ridden this torture machine. I have to admit that we are assigned to the back row, where wooden coasters usually are at their roughest. But the pain this coaster delivers is simply unbearable. In short… don’t be fooled by its great looks or hold on very tight. A ride on Coaster Express is downright horrible.
Cartoon Village is the park’s colourful children’s area. And it’s huge! Kids are able to enjoy lots of carousels and other rides at Cartoon Village, but I’m mostly here for my coaster bingo. The area offers two family coasters: Tom y Jerry (Zierer Tivoli Large with an original picnic theme) and Correcaminos Bip Bip. This Mack YoungStar Coaster was opened in 2009 and it’s nearly identical to Pegasus at Europa-Park (this Spanish version features an extra helix, though). Let’s start with the good news: Correcaminos Bip Bip is just as smooth, powerful and fun as its German counterpart. Unfortunately, theming is very limited. The ride was decorated with cheap rocks and plastic cactuses, so it’s easy to notice that the theming was created on a budget. Too bad… my childhood heroes Roadrunner and Coyote deserve better than this.
And last but not least, there’s Stunt Fall. Vekoma Boomerangs usually don’t get much attention, but Giant Inverted Boomerangs are adored by the coaster community. Luckily, Parque Warner opted for the latter. This ride is 60 metres tall, it features six inversions and it reaches a top speed of over 100 km/h. The best parts are undoubtedly the vertical drops. The inversions seem less intense than expected, which may be due to the ride’s overall smoothness. Stunt Fall is certainly not the nauseating machine that I imagined it to be. No, this is just an excellent thrill coaster that provides a lot of fun on a limited surface. Too bad that Parque Warner hasn’t done any effort to add theming. In its current form, Stunt Fall actually looks like a Six Flags ride.
Madrid is probably one of Europe’s hottest cities, so water rides are more than welcome. The park offers a rather ugly splash battle, a hilariously themed rafting adventure called Rápidos ACME, a classic shoot-the-chute ride and Rio Bravo. This flume ride was integrated in a huge mountain range and it looks amazing at first glance. However, theming levels drop dramatically (pun intended) during the ride. If I had to clarify the meaning of ‘faded glory’ with an attraction, Rio Bravo would be the perfect example. The boats look old, paint has faded and special effects don’t seem to work properly. This is a huge difference compared to the similar Wild West Falls Adventure Ride at Warner Bros Movie World in Australia. Everything that makes the Down Under version so awesome has completely disappeared here in Madrid. Very sad.
Flat ride lovers should head to Super Heroes World. The area is home to a top spin, a wave swinger and a triple S&S tower with a height of over 100 metres. Mad house enthusiasts should put Hotel Embrujado on their to do lists. This attraction seems to be a fusion of Tower of Terror and Phantom Manor. The story line includes a dusty hotel and a creepy-looking bride. Nice theme, but unfortunately the overall experience is quite bland. The pre-show offers little action and the main show features minimal decoration. The park’s other dark ride (La Aventura de Scooby-Doo) doesn’t perform much better. This is an interactive shooter dark ride, but the decoration seems a bit too simple and 2-dimensional.
WORTH A VISIT?
If I’m being honest, Parque Warner didn’t amaze me. That came unexpectedly, since Parque Warner offers one of the most complete ride collections of any European park. It’s quite unique to find two B&Ms, a Giant Inverted Boomerang, four water rides, a gigantic children’s area and some elaborately themed areas in one single park. Still, Parque Warner seems to suffer from bad management. As a result, paint is fading, operations are poor and the quality of recent expansions isn’t on par with the original lineup. These things may not bother an average Spanish visitor, but I’m rather disappointed today. The current Parque Warner performs remarkably weaker than the version I encountered in 2006.
Parque Warner Madrid
Photo Gallery 2019
MOVIE WORLD STUDIOS
SUPER HEROES WORLD
OLD WEST TERRITORY
What’s your favourite roller coaster at Parque Warner? Do you agree that the park has lost some of its glory? Does the world need more Vekoma Giant Inverted Boomerangs? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.