Location: Veneto, Italy
Among the great tasting wines, cheeses, and pasta dishes in Italy, you can find a different type of entertainment at Gardaland! Europe’s 8th most popular park has grown from a small local commodity to a thriving theme park filled with coasters, rides, and attractions that will aspire to any taste. The park is located on the Eastern side of Lake Garda in the city of Castelnuovo del Garda. The park is now owned and operated by Merlin Entertainment Group and is advertised as Italy’s first theme park. The park has been continuing to grow over the years and has an average attendance rate of over 3 million.
Gardaland opened in July 19, 1975 by a local businessman, Livio Furini. Furini wanted to build a theme park in the style of Disneyland, but money was going to be an issue for the park in the first few years. The park started off slow with only about 100,000 guests coming through the gates in the first year, but Furini believed in the park and continued to expand it every year. Many of the first attractions in the park were small and uneventful. In 1992, the park opened up what was its main attraction called I Corsari. This ride took over four years to build and is still considered to be one of the best dark rides in Europe. In the mid 1990s, the park struggled and the guest count became stagnant. Park administration decided that change was needed and they began a new marketing campaign which included changing the park’s mascot to a more cartoon look and also adding a new ride every year and taking out some of the old rides. In 1998, the park doubled in sixe and added in new rides and coasters. The attendance shot up and over the past decade has become one of the most popular destinations in Italy.
One of the major attractions that was built in 1998 was the Blue Tornado roller coaster. Built by Vekoma, the SLC quickly became a staple for all guests. Today the park boasts six roller coasters including two steel sit down coasters and the fairly new B&M winged coaster called Raptor. This is the chief attraction at the park today and has people all around Europe coming to ride. The park also has many thrill rides and water rides to complete the full theme park experience.
The next time you are enjoying your red wine and tomato pasta, dream about a chance to visit Gardaland in Italy. With the exceptional roller coasters and great scenery, it is sure to be a place that you do not want to pass up.
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