Ferrari Land, PortAventura
Graham Clark, Features Writer
The theme park PortAventura has been established just outside Salou for many years. As time has gone on they have added a water park and several hotels on site.
In May 2017 they opened the first Ferrari Land in Europe with a rollercoaster entitled Red Force. If you like your adrenaline rush then this is the ride for you.
Red Force is the highest, fastest accelerator in Europe. What this means is that you accelerate from 0 to 180km in just 5 seconds to a height of 112 metres. Looking at the ride it makes the Pepsi Max rollercoaster ride at Blackpool look small.
Yes, it is fast, very very fast. It does take your breath away, even more so when the ride decides to stop unexpectedly at the top when I tried out the ride.
I asked my fellow rider who had travelled all the way from California if it did this before when he went on the ride. He didn't seem to be too bothered and seemed more interested in recording the experience on his Google watch!
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It turned out that the computer programme stops the ride if the tracks get too hot, but after waiting 5 minutes we were off again.
Thankfully the ride was ok and over in seconds. It is a sensation that will take your breath away. I have never experienced anything like it.
You can have your photo taken as a memento with you either looking terrified or with your hands in the air depending on how you view the ride.
The Red Force was the main attraction for me in Ferrari Land, though there are other attractions such as two Thrill Towers, which rise and drop you down at high speed, the Maranello Grand Race circuit - this seems rather tame after Red Force; basically this ride is more for the children as it is hard for adults to get their legs inside the cars which go around a race track and are automatically controlled.
You can have a go at changing a wheel on a Ferrari racing car in Pit Stop Record which was a good experience.
There are two simulators:
Flying Dreams was very popular, you might queue for 30 minutes for a 5 minute ride. You are taken through Tuscany, Monaco, China, New York, London etc as if driving a Ferrari GT car. Surprisingly there was no Barcelona which is only an hour away from the park.
Racing Legends, the other simulator takes you on a journey through time, but I thought Flying Legends was the better of the two.
They have created a mini Italy area with reconstructions of the Colosseum in Rome, the Statue of David from Florence and the campanile from Venice in Piazza Italia.
The hotels at Port Aventura are 4 and 5 star.
The Callaghan is an authentic inn located in the heart of the far west. The 78 rooms are spacious with additional benefits for staying in Deluxe Callaghan rooms such as PortAventura Express Premium which gives unlimited access to the main attractions in Port Aventura.
They know that families will be staying in the rooms- the vases of flowers are glued to the tables so that youngsters do not knock them off.
The rooms all come with big wardrobes and very comfortable beds as well as a good bathroom and excellent air conditioning.
Breakfast is taken in the Old Wild Buffet which is exclusively for Callaghan guests. A superb selection of food is provided which ranged from full English to continental - all served buffet style.
Evening meal is in the adjacent Gold River Hotel. They know their market well. Expect burgers, pizza, hot dogs for younger guests but also fish, steaks and huge salad buffets for adults. With Show cooking too it all added up to exciting meal times.
Ferrari Land will hopefully become well established and they have the space to add extra rides too. To do the park and Port Aventura as well you really need to stay on site for a few days.
The hotels may have an American influence but the parks themselves are very European.
Captivating, thrilling, enjoyable and unforgettable.
Ferrari Land, PortAventura, 22nd July 2017, 21:30 PM