UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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Danny
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PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:35 pm

So I'm off to PortAventura this Saturday for a week, 7 nights. We are staying all inclusive in the El Paso, one of PA's hotels. We are only spending maybe 3 days in the theme park, but as it's open until midnight each night that should be enough. This is my first time and could really do with any advice anyone can give me. We'd be interested in fast passes if anyone knows about hotel discounts, what rides are best to do when, and any preparation I may need before I go. Also if anyone has any recommendations or any opinions they wish to share on the rides (as long as it doesn't spoil anything) I'd love to hear.

When I'm back I'll be sure to write a trip report here. Any replies would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)
 
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Re: PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:46 am

It's about £45 to buy unlimited fast pass for your whole stay I think, so that is definitely worth it.
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Mark-Cal
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Re: PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:26 am

Yes, whatever you do buy the fast passes !
And buy them from the hotel, you get a week's use for the same price of a day pass bought in the park.
You'll be amazed at how well the fast track works compared with Alton's system.
Oh and it's probably worth buying the 5euro add on that allows one front row ride on Shambhala, Baco and Khan, when we were there last month the ride ops were very reluctant to allow fast pass holders front row seats without it.

Sad to say, you'll probably hate Baco... :no:

Don't miss Tomahawk, it may be a kiddie's ride but it's better than Stampeda in my opinion, and if you're a credit whore you'll find Tami Tami well hidden in Sesamo Land, instantly forgettable kiddie coaster but a credit is a credit...

You'll probably find 3 days is the minimum you'll need, we stayed in the PA hotel and went to the park every day.

It's walking distance or a cheap (less than 10euro) taxi into Salou but it's a horrible chavy "English" resort, good for getting cheap supplies but not much else.
 
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Danny
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Re: PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:24 pm

Thank for your replies guys, it's incredibly appreciated!

I was looking at finding out the hotel discount of unlimited fast pass, but can't find any prices or conformation that this is definitely possible. I just wondered if anyone knows where this is confirmed?
Thanks :)
 
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Re: PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:18 pm

It's 46 euros for sure, i would presume it isnt advertised as they won't want everyone trying to buy express passes in the hotels as they would lose money on sales.
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Danny
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Re: PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:32 am

Alex wrote:
It's 46 euros for sure, i would presume it isnt advertised as they won't want everyone trying to buy express passes in the hotels as they would lose money on sales.


Does that €46 cover my whole week or just one day? Will I be able to use that on the three/four days I go to park?

Thanks :)
 
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Re: PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:42 am

The hotel one is for a week, if you buy it on park it only lasts the day.
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Re: PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:24 pm

That's brilliant news. Thanks for all your help :)
 
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Re: PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:58 pm

Hey everyone!

I have just returned from an incredible trip at PortAventura! I'm now going to review my whole week! :)

So we arrived at our hotel, El Paso at midnight. Now PA was having its American White Night party where the theme park stayed open until 4am, so we dropped our bags in our room before dashing in to the park.
We done furious and Stampida both sides, as well as some smaller rides.

Then we spent a few hours/ half a day for the rest of the week doing all other attractions and some shows.

Hotel El Paso:
So we had heard many reviews online severely slagging this hotel off for its cleanliness, rooms, food etc; so we were a bit anxious with how it would turn out. It was a four star hotel which we were worried might be too expensive considering all the complaints. However it's the only one that offering all inclusive, so we done it. First impressions, the reception area is lovely and were greeted by staff that all spoke incredibly good English. Lots moan that checking in takes an hour, but as we arrived at midnight, we had no issues there. although we did notice that during the day check in queues are huge.

The all inclusive was great. There was food on offer all day with a restaurant, 4 bars and an a la carte restaurant. The food was typical all inclusive, but there was such a wide range of options, that you could have a different meal every day. I especially liked when they have themed nights, they cook a mean Indian! :)
Another great perk is you are entitled to one meal a day in three restaurants at the theme park, and another two in the waterpark. It gave you a started, main, desert and drink. Also included was two meals in the a la carte restaurant. Drinks and ice cream galore round the pool all day too, as well as a range of hot and cold food- sandwiches, burgers etc;

One small, tiny downside was our room. For a four star hotel it had no tea and coffee making facilities, no fridge, and the balcony was tiny, like two people could stand on it. Also only two double beds in a single room. However we didn't spend much time in there, and what was there was all very good, clean condition.

ID JUST LIKE TO MAKE A POINT THAT I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE STAY AT THE CARIBE. It's around a 20 minute walk to the park, so you almost have no choice but to get the train, which builds up a queue from 9:30am. It also looked the most run down and the one I would not have given 4 stars. Although I never saw the rooms so can't comment there. The El Paso is the cheapest and would highly recommend. If you can afford PA or Gold River, they both look very nice to.

Cost Caribe Waterpark:
We done won't done at The Costa Caribe Aquatic Park which we found brilliant. Perk of being a hotel guest is 30% discount on tickets which was a nice benefit! however we would of been happy to pay full prices. Wide ranges of thrilling and family slides which the whole family can enjoy. A faint wave pool runs every 10 minutes which is great fun. Didn't do King Khahuna- queue was an hour :/ but all others were half hour or less which we thought was fine. It was lovely and hot, and we had a nice meal in their restaurant. Lots for small children as well.
ONE QUICK PIECE IF ADVICE! Get there early to get he best sun beds, and also to get a locker. They ran out in the first 45 minutes on our day.
Overall a brilliant day which can be as relaxing or thrilling as you choose.

PortAventura

Right, now the fun begins :)
Firstly, this theme park is like Alton Towers meets Disney. The theming is incredibly and consistent in the whole park, really adding to the experience. Getting the train from the hotel made it feel very disney magical, and the entrance is very pretty. Walking in and seeing Shambhala tower over the park is a great sight, builds the excitement even more. We brought unlimited express passes as hotel guests for £46 each, which las test us the whole 8 days, incredibly good value.
So we first head to Furius Baco. I've told some of you already, but this ride was awful. I rode with an open mind having seen others reviews thinking 'it can't be THAT bad' well I tell you, it is! It's severely uncomfortable on the head, with strong vibrations throughout the whole ride. It has an exhilarating launch, but after that it's pure terror. I think if it was made 20mph it would be an enjoyable ride, but as it is, I feel it's a ride that should have never passed the planning stages.

Stampida

So our next large coaster was Stampida. The only other wooden coaster I've ridden is Gwazi, which although fun,I didn't like it that much. We rode red first, which although rough, we actually really enjoyed! The racing aspect adds to the thrill, and it's random every time. Get some great views whether it's day or night. However, we then rode the blue, which was absolutely awful. Very uncomfortable, lots of sudden and painful jots resulted in all of my group coming of with bruises. We rode the red one about 10-15 times, but the blue one- once was enough :)

Flat Rides
Hurakan Condor is a brilliant ride. Very exhilarating and comfortable, offering great views for the few seconds your almost 300 feet high. :) the queue rarely gets below an hour and a half, on our first trim. Bailed in the queue as it was going so slow. While watching it off ride, a Spanish boy approached me, asked if I wanted to ride in 3 minutes. Now I thought, what's the catch… turns out his older brother had a disability pass that entitle him and two others to ride, so I got in the queue with them, got to know them and they became very nice friends of mine for the day, they then asked if I wanted to ride again! I couldn't believe my luck!

24 crazy Barrels, serpent spin and another white spinning ride I can't remember the name of were all very fun, although the workers are all so slow! Like painfully slow! It took 7 minutes to get riders off, new ones on and set us off.

Shows

Now, we didn't do many shows while we was here as our preference was rides but the ones we did watch we're brilliant. Bang Bang West ( Wild West stunt show) was so funny it was hurting to laugh, I couldn't breathe at one point. Lots of stunts, and one very funny, very camp actor made for an incredible show! Highly recommend!

Not really a show, but in China they have foam parties every hour from midnight, which is a lot of fun to mess around at. Everyone gets in to the party spirit with bubbles and foam flying everywhere!

Temple Del Fuego- a very fun attraction that opens at 4pm everyday. Very Indiana Jones type, with great acting and some even translate in English which is great, something an English park would never bother doing.

FiestAventura. This show was really spectacular. It's a fireworks, water and light show display which runs in Mediterania during July and August. Never have I been so impressed. Fire, lights, fountains and some very impressive fireworks. Some sections involved stuntmen on jet bikes, and lots of large floats, some very similar to Fantasmic at Disney, but in my opinion, more enjoyable!

Dragon Khan
Rode this before Shambhala, came of first time with a smile from ear to ear. I couldn't believe it's 19 years old! It has an intense, enjoyable layout, and long ride time. I though John Wardley must of got one coaster wrong, but so far all of his I've rode are near perfection, this follows the trend and is a real credit to him. Ride this about 20 times during my stay.

Shambhala
Now you will have heard this a lot on here recently, but this is the most amazing, incredible ride I have ever rode! I can't exaggerate enough how brilliant this ride is. My first time I was a little scared, only being a lap bar and European highest, but I still had my hands up the whole way. All I can say it wow, the feeling on the first drop is like no other, and it never wears off. On my 30th ride it still felt as great as the first. The layout is also brilliant. Lots and lots of airtime, a fun figure 8 element with two great near misses, the tunnel and large supports. The splashdown is very fun, encouraging screaming as the train passes through, but also a lot of fun to watch off ride. It is my favourite in the world, on par with Cheetah Hunt. It really is amazing, with the most comfortable seating and ride I've ever rode. There really needs to be more of these, and in the UK!

Water rides
Tutuki Splash- a very fun water ride with two awesome drops, you WILL come off soaked, there's no escape!
Angkor- just a million times better Battle Galleons, properly themed in a hot country, makes it so fun. You target someone around you in the queue, and have no mercy going round. You can also get people off ride around the area, but they can get you increasing the fun even more. Very well themed ride. Done it twice.
Grand Canyon River Rapids- a very fun ride, with the fastest river flow I've known on a rapids ride. You can escape getting wet if you try hard, but it's all the more fun on a hot day getting Soaked :)

Smaller Rides
El Diablo- this was the mine train, slightly uncomfortable, but very fun and long layout, with a great photo opportunity. Although if there were some of the block brakes it could be an awful ride :lol
Seasamo Street- done some of the rides here, all very fun but very young children is the target there. Extensively themed making for a great experience.

General points:
Head for Furius first thing, as it's next to the entrance the queue gets huge.
Do Hurakan either at 12pm when it opens or at 11pm just before it shuts.
Prepare for some very rude Spanish people trying to push in with no apparent manners.
If you can, get Express Pass, it's a god send!
The ride operators are no where near as fun as English ones, prepare for some miserable ones, and make sure you double check your own safety harness, as they just seem to give it a tickle :sus: I blame it on relaxed Spanish H&S :roll:

We spent some days round the pool and the beach, the hotel offers a free coach service in to town and the beach. Town is very typical tat shops, but enjoyed walking and browsing.

Overall, a fantastic holiday with so much to do you could easily spend two weeks there. We will be returning in 2016 for Ferrari Land. I've probably missed bits out, but will add to it where necessary. Hope this helps and is interesting :)
 
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Re: PortAventura trip 9/08/2014

Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:36 pm

Mark-Cal wrote:
It's walking distance or a cheap (less than 10euro) taxi into Salou but it's a horrible chavy "English" resort, good for getting cheap supplies but not much else.


I thought Salou was alright! Although we went out of season, so it wasn't full of tourists and looky-looky men like it may be during the summer...

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