Dangling 118ft high in the air, with my legs hanging precariously beneath me I hear the bell sound. My heart starts to race. The bar comes down strapping me tightly into my seat and suddenly I am flung high in the air at 60 mph, spun round and round and upside down like a clean shirt in a tumble dryer. 20 seconds later it is all over.
If you wonder what on earth I am doing, I’m on a roller coaster in Paramount’s Terra Mítica.
I admit it, I am a theme park addict; Disney Land, Disney World, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, I’ve been there, done that. So of course since arriving in Spain I have had an urge to try out the Costa Blanca theme Park Terra Mítica.
Unfortunately over the past few months Terra Mítica has received its fair share of negative press. This seems to be part and parcel of any theme park, although it would be fair to say Terra Mítica has been saturated by it and now the mere mention will have residents of the Costa Blanca groaning.
Unfair maybe, but if like me you can’t resist trying out a park that claims to have Europe’s largest wooden roller coaster, then nothing is going to stop you.
Driving up to the park you wonder where on earth the 30 rides publicised in their promotional material could be. This however is part of its cunning disguise.
Terra Mítica has done its utmost to blend into its surroundings and uses the wonderful Spanish mountain backdrop to enhance its selected themes.
The five-euro parking fee came as a bit of a shock considering most theme parks include that within the entrance fee, but with a day ticket costing 32 euros you can’t really complain.
The first refreshing aspect had to be the lack of queues. Admittedly we were visiting the park during the depth of winter, but having read reports of tremendous stifling queues during the tourist season, I expected at least a small gathering of people.
The park seemed rather deserted at first, it was only later that small families began to arrive and mingle around the restaurants.
The rides lengthy and winding trails told tales of extreme hour-long waits, but during the off-season you are able to go straight to the front of the rides.
The theme park is split into five sections; Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iberia and The Islands. In each you will find numerous rides aimed at a variety of ages, a range of restaurants offering food and drink at very reasonable prices and shows to keep you visually entertained.
For many of us the appeal of a theme park is to see how many rides you can scare yourself silly on.
I have this problem you see. I worry about getting more cautious the older I get so I force myself to try new things as a preventative measure. But I have to come clean, I avoided the Flight of the Phoenix; a ride that hoists you high into the sky on a bench-style seat and then drops you to the floor, much like an elevator shaft breaking and crashing to the ground.
The reason for this is because I had a very bad experience involving a similar ride and lots of beer at a German beer festival, which I was loathe to repeat.
Fortunately it was a very warm day and the numerous water rides were calling. The Waterfalls of The Nile, the Fury of Triton and the Rapids of Argos all involve one thing….getting very wet. They’re all very similar, only to different extremes. You step into a boat, are taken on a relaxing tour of the area all very authentic, and then, clunk, the boat is hoisted up high and suddenly you find yourself being perched over a massive drop with a large water pool below.
The result is the same every time; a quickened heart beat, being soaked from head to food and laughing hysterically.
For those of you who are a bit more daring there is the Tizona and Magnus Colossus roller coasters.
The sound emanating from the rides is tremendous. It’s like being swamped with a plague of locusts. If this isn’t enough to scare you then perhaps the look on the faces of those brave enough to try might, but I can assure you they are not as terrifying as they seem.
If you are in search of the ultimate buzz, then the 20 seconds it takes to be flung around will definitely quench that thirst.
If however just the thought of it makes your stomach turn then head across to the Lost Temple Simulator. Here you enter into a dark temple and are told of a tale very similar to the Indiana Jones movie, then you become part of this movie adventure as you whiz through portholes and down rivers. I must admit that out of all the rides, this one strangely enough made me feel rather sick because the seat rotates and jolts forward.
For the younger generation there are the flying aeroplanes, small roller-coasters and water-rides and of course the large swings, which are popular with every age group.
On the main stage there are shows virtually every hour, from the Moroccan dancing to the Flamenco girls and the dancing Andalusian horse.
There is enough at Terra Mítica to keep you entertained for a full eight hours, and during the off-season I would advise against buying a two-day ticket.
OK, so if you compare Terra Mítica to the major theme parks across the world, it does stand in the shadows, but it isn’t bad.
It makes for a good day out and considering there are elderly people everywhere sitting around having a bite to eat, it is definitely something to be enjoyed by all ages.
For more information phone (34) 902 020 220.