Location: Savio, Italy
Perhaps when you think of Italy, you think of pasta, gelato, the Grand Canals of Venice, ancient sites such as the Colosseum, or maybe works of art such as Michelangelo’s Sistene Chapel or DaVinci’s Mona Lisa. You might just want to think about theme parks. One such theme park to think about is Mirabilandia.
Opening in 1992, the park is located in Ravenna, Italy. Mirabilandia is Italian for “Wonderland” and a wonderland it is! The park is built on what was once a desolate quarry with no vegetation and now teems with beautiful gardens and three lakes, home to various species of bird, thus earning kudos from the Italian Ministry of Environment.
The park is divided into two areas; the theme park and a water park called Mirabeach, which debuted in 2003. When the park first opened, it did not enjoy much success even though it was billed as one of the best new tourist attractions in Italy. From 1994-1996, there was a steady decline in attendance until the park was taken over by Loeffelhardt-Casoli, who also owned Phantasialand in Germany. The new management invested in many new strategies to catch the public’s attention including installing new rides including the Eurowheel, one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world and a Bollinger and Mabillard inverted roller coaster, Katun. Katun is the longest inverted roller coaster in Europe. It is to some, one of B&M’s best. The coaster rises 164 feet tall, is 3937 feet long, and reaches speeds up to 65 mph. It takes riders through six exciting inversions.
These rides were added to their 1992 William Cobb designed wooden coaster, Sierra Tonante, a rarity for Europe at that time; it was the first and only woodie ever built in Italy and remained the highest in Europe until 2001. The park also boasted a Mack Rides electric powered coaster, Explorer (now known as Rexplorer) and a wild mouse coaster, Pakal, added in 1998. These added attractions helped Mirabilandia’s attendance numbers grow. Parques Reunidos took notice!
Once under their control, Parques Reunidos wasted no time in demolishing Sierra Tonante and announced they would replace it with iSpeed, an Intamin launch coaster that accelerates from 0 - 62.1 miles per hour in 2.2 seconds. If you feel the need for speed, this is your coaster. 2011 and 2012 brought additional innovation to the park when Master Thai, a non-traditional Mobius roller coaster was built, while another collaboration with Intamin enhanced the park with a world-record breaking water coaster called Divertical. This ride is a 45 degree, 197 foot high, 65 mile per hour powerboat racing themed ride combination of “shoot-the-chutes” flume and roller coaster track. That certainly makes for a thrill!
Set to open in Summer of 2014 is a dinosaur themed family area called Dinoland. The attractions there are sure to thrill young visitors and their families alike. As Mirabilandia continues to evolve, attendance continues to grow. It lives up to its name of Wonderland.
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