Parque de Atracciones de Madrid

Parque de Atracciones de Madrid

Madrid, Spain

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

“No-frills amusement park near the city centre”

Our weekend trip to Madrid is coming to an end. After discovering a surprisingly nice city and the rather disappointing Parque Warner, Brussels Airlines will fly us back to Belgium tonight. To end in style, we spend this last day at Casa de Campo. This huge park is located west of Madrid and it’s a beloved day trip for both locals and tourists. It’s a place for hiking and sunbathing, but Casa de Campo is also home to the Madrid Zoo and Parque de Atracciones. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that visiting Parque de Atracciones is today’s main goal.


ROLLER COASTERS

Our first stop is Abismo, a brightly coloured roller coaster that can be seen from afar. Abismo is a SkyLoop built by Maurer Rides and, because of its layout, it can only run one train. As a result, capacity is limited and queues move rather slowly. The ride itself is unusual, to say the least. Its biggest eye-catcher is the vertical lift hill, but this is also the least fun part of the ride. It’s uncomfortable and the first inversion, which is actually integrated into the lift hill, lasts too long to be considered pleasant. Still, as soon as the train starts gaining speed, Abismo becomes an awesome experience. It’s a smooth coaster with powerful curves and two amazing airtime moments. If I just try to forget the first 30 seconds, it’s actually a very solid roller coaster. Short, but to the point.

Abismo can be found at Zona del Maquinismo, the home of the park’s most sensational roller coasters. This area also features Tarántula, a spinning roller coaster manufactured by Maurer. Decoration is very limited, but Tarántula is a great ride anyway. It isn’t filled with special effects like Winja’s Fear & Force at Phantasialand and there’s no brilliant onboard soundtrack like there is at Toverland, but damn… what a powerful ride. Tarántula is full of surprisingly deep drops and it’s incredibly fast. There was a 30-minute wait, but this Maurer creation was worth every second of it. Great roller coaster.

The third and last coaster in this area is Tornado. This inverted coaster used to be green from head to toe, but it’s a totally black affair nowadays. Due to this monotonous colour scheme and the very simple station, Tornado looks cheerless. Yet, it’s mainly the ride experience that counts and I’m moderately positive about that. This Intamin is not as smooth as a B&M, but it still runs a lot better than Vekoma’s classic SLCs. Tornado also offers a varied layout with three inversions and it’s placed in a dense forest. Not the best ride in the world (or in Spain…) but it isn’t bad either.

Nickelodeon Land is located in a quiet corner of the park and it looks fantastic. In fact, thanks to its natural environment, I like this Nickelodeon Land much better than its namesake at Movie Park Germany. This area is themed to SpongeBob, Dora The Explorer and The Ninja Turtles and it’s ideal for the youngest visitors. Besides, it’s also an interesting place for roller coaster enthusiasts aiming for a coaster bingo. That includes me: I’m also riding the Paw Patrol roller coaster and the hilarious suspended coaster Padrinos Voladores.

I love coaster credits, but I wouldn’t do anything to get a coaster bingo. So if there’s a 90-minute wait for the wild mouse, I don’t mind skipping it. Besides, I’ve already ridden Vértigo at the time it could be found 1,500 kilometres closer to my front door. This was the left half of Bobbejaanland’s Speedy Bob, which used to be a duelling roller coaster. And although it can be found in a nicer climate nowadays, the actual experience remains identical.

Parques Reunidos doesn’t only exchange roller coasters between its parks. Occasionally, they also buy brand-new rides. In 2012, Parque de Atracciones opened TNT Tren de la Mina. It’s obvious that this family-style roller coaster was themed to a mine train, but don’t expect too much from it. The huge (and beautiful) entrance gate was already there, the loading station isn’t special and theming is rather limited. TNT is a great ride, nevertheless. Gerstlauer delivered a remarkably smooth coaster with powerful curves. Unfortunately, I mainly remember the ride’s poor operations. Today’s restraint checks are the slowest I’ve ever witnessed and TNT’s staff make absolutely no effort to fill in empty seats. This results in a long, slowly moving queue.

WATER RIDES

A water ride a day, keeps overheating away. Parque de Atracciones has two great water rides in its Zona de la Naturaleza. These are Los Fiordos and Los Rápidos, a beautifully themed shoot-the-chute and a rapid river that winds through a forest. A third water attraction is El Aserradero at the opposite side of the park. This log flume provides the ideal way to cool down on a hot day and it’s nicely integrated between three spectacular roller coasters, but there are definitely better water rides in Europe.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Zona del Maquinismo is the park’s thrill area. It’s home to Abismo and Tarántula, but it also features some classic flat rides. In desperate need of dizzying theme park fun? Then take a ride on the Frisbee, the Top Spin or the Disk’o. One of the area’s only attractions that isn’t aimed at thrill seekers is Cueva de las Tarántulas. This interactive dark ride is a bit tucked away, but it seems quite amusing. Unfortunately we aren’t able to ride it today: this attraction is closed for maintenance.

As a monorail enthusiast, I am pleasantly surprised by Parque de Atracciones. Their Zeppelin ride is unique, it traverses a large part of the park and it offers some unexpected views. These attractions always make my day more complete, so it’s nice to conclude our afternoon at Casa del Campo with this. Afterwards, we say goodbye to Parque de Atracciones. Although we still have time to get a second ride on Abismo (or to defy that crazy queue for the wild mouse), we actually prefer a cocktail in the city centre of Madrid. Cheers.

WORTH A VISIT?

Some readers may realise that this report sounded more positive than the one about Parque Warner Madrid. That’s true and it’s easy to explain why: Warner Bros once created one of Europe’s best theme parks, but unfortunately it didn’t maintain that high theming level in recent years. As a result, Parque Warner feels somewhat dated nowadays. Parque de Atracciones, on the other hand, promises an amusement park with no frills and that’s exactly what we get here. The park has a good range of rides, the atmosphere is great and just about every age group can enjoy themselves. Don’t get me wrong: I definitely don’t think that Parque de Atracciones is the best theme park in Madrid. But all in all, this park provides more value for money than Warner Bros.

ZONA TRANQUILIDAD

ZONA DEL MAQUINISMO

ZONA DE LA NATURALEZA

NICKELODEONLAND

Would you wait 90 minutes for a standard wild mouse? Do you hate Abismo’s vertical lift hill as well? What’s the best water ride at Parque de Atracciones? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

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