|HOME ARTICLES GALLERIES ABOUT US FORUM LINKS CONTACT JOYLAND BOOKS|
ONE WEEK AT UM
by Gary Radice
Article: Added October 2004
In October 2004, themagiceye took a trip to Spain's magnificent PortAventura (or Universal Mediterranea as it was known back then). Halloween would never be the same again.
Mexico, Polynesia, Far West, China and Mediterrania
On first impressions in the height of the Sunday sun you wouldn't think that the five themed areas of this park at Halloween had any edge at all.
The water glistened in the 'Mediterrania Bay' as the hoards headed towards the attractions. Woody Woodpecker stood there greeting visitors but I reckon inside he must have been chuckling to himself. He knew exactly what was in store for the unsuspecting...
Universal Mediterranea (UM) at Halloween CERTAINLY does have edge.
Sit back take heed and first up these words of advice:
Forget Disney's sanitised version of Halloween with smiling, dancing, singing witches. Think Freddie...That's Freddie Krueger to you and me chasing screaming kids (and adults...ahem!) around the park.
Think also mummies running amok and all this BEFORE you have set foot in any of the attractions!
Pasaje Del Terror? Haunted House?...Forget them!...Step forward and run through (forget walk through!) PSYCHO CIRCUS...
It's fair to say that the word "Dead" on the forehead of a very large clown outside the attraction unnerved me a little. I was the only one in my group. In fact I reckon I had the whole attraction to myself. So how come I could hear a distant female voice screaming as I entered that darkened tent situated under Stampida?
How come I could hear chain saws and a zombie like cry coming from somewhere in the distance?
The atmosphere was as menacing as it was eerie. I had chosen to purchase the 3D glasses for 50p but they were hurting my eyes so I took them off. I won't give too much away but the live actors earned their money.
I felt sick walking through a whole section of strobe lighting (lasted at least 3 long minutes), pictures jumped out at me, some Witch Doctor type ghost from a Scooby Doo cartoon crept up behind me and evil orange faces beamed at me from the walls.
The whole attraction was unsettling but great fun and in my mind belongs in a travelling carnival from a Hammer Horror movie.
El Diablo-Tren de la Mina
First mistake was buying a large popcorn...The park was only selling the salted kind during themagiceye's stay as far as I could make out...
Next mistake was taking my 7 year old daughter on this ride. To be fair the Arrow mine train coaster is tame compared to the walkthrough that precedes it...You read that right...In the week themagiceye was there everyone had to experience the wonderful sights and sounds of a walkthrough that made Psycho Circus look tame before getting on this coaster!
The walkthrough section was very creepy and should have definitely carried a public health warning. Think walking through a garden in Resident Evil land and knowing at some time that someone or something is about going to jump out at you.
It/they did! They shocked alright! People screamed! Chainsaws again! Bits of meat hanging up in a room...
Now I know Madrid was home to one of the earliest Pasajes on the planet so it makes sense the Spanish have almost cornered the market in these attractions...But MY GOD!...This WAS scary, particularly for my daughter... (OK...and me!)
Almost a relief then to reach the coaster station ten minutes later. We had to choose whether or not to ride backwards...We decided to travel forwards...Besides, having not looked behind for the full duration of the walkthrough beforehand I thought why break the habit?
Ride lasted a good 3 mins plus over 3000ft plus of track...Good fun but tame by the standards of what had preceded it.
I checked to see if my daughter was OK and blamed my dry mouth on the popcorn!