Merlin Entertainments Group
Park News - (11/28/13) Gardaland Magic Winter will run at the park from December 7th to January 6th, 2014 featuring the sights and sounds of the Christmas season, including a 30 meter tall Christmas tree, holiday food and more. The park is also offering a special treat to anyone who comes on opening day (Dec. 7) dressed up as Santa Claus will be allowed to buy a ticket into the park for just 10 Euro.
omething new at the park’s Colorado Boat ride. Right next to the regular queue entrance which has a very long line, Gardaland set up a woman with a credit card machine on a small podium with a big sign behind her announcing a special Gardaland Express upcharge service fee to enter a special single rider line. The sign was in Italian and English and offers guests a way to “Save Time! Speed up your access to the rides”. For 3 Euros a person, on an extremely hot day in the park, they were blatantly upcharging guests to gain almost immediate access to the ride.
The park, while only partially open, will have a few new surprises, such as a new go-kart track designed to be the first dedicated track in a theme park that will offer a special slick driving surface that will simulates driving on snow for the electric karts. The park will also feature an ice rink, kids riding down the Baby Gommoni snow hill and more.
Gardalana Sea Life Aquarium will also join into the holiday fun and feature a special underwater Santa Claus who, surrounded by fish, will decorate an underwater Christmas tree on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and Jan. 6th at 5pm.
(8/8/13) Readers out there know my basic disdain for the trend over the last decade at theme parks around the world for creating different tiers of guests by offering premium upcharge perks for better parking spots or access to a virtual queue system so you can cut to the front of the line.
Get ready for the next disgusting development. Gardaland’s masters at Merlin are very quietly testing s
While Virtual Queue and other cut to the front of the line systems have almost become a necessary evil in today’s theme park environment, typically the steep fee to use these systems serves as a deterrent to keep the number of users low enough to minimize the impact on the regular park guests. With a system like this place instead, you lose a lot of that deterrent, because the guests can just opt to pay a little extra to cut to the front of the line on just the key attractions they want, rather than pay for the whole system.
In short this is nothing less than cutting your way to the front of a long line and bribing the bouncer (with a big credit card swiper no less) to let you in past the velvet rope ahead of everyone else. I’m not going to lie, I don’t like this one bit, especially not when it is so easy to see what a day in the park would be like if this was fully expanded throughout the entire park in the future.
(8/7/13) Gardaland has launched something called PREMIAPP, a new SmartPhone App that will generate rewards for the user based on the amount of time spent in the ride queues. Wait in line for 60 minutes, and you earn 60 points which can be redeemed for a cut to the front of the line pass for another major attraction. For 120 points you can get two Ride Passes, or a discount coupon for a heavily discounted return visit to the park.
I’m told that the system is current running on three attractions: Flight of Atlantis, Jungle Rapids and Colorado) but should be expanded in the future. The app uses GPS and Facebook data to help locate you inside the ride queues. For those who can read Italian (or use an online translatior) you can read more about the system over at TheParks.IT.
2014 - Nothing is known at this point in time...
2015 - New Coaster - Rumor - (12/9/13) An interesting set of drawings showing off a new but very short Dive Machine style coaster layout for Gardaland have been found on Facebook. It shows a lift hill dropping a short 2-row train down a vertical drop into an underground tunnel that appears to go under a small lake. The train will rise up and into a sharp banked 180º U-turn before diving back down for what seems to be a splash-down into the lake before hitting a brake run.
(11/5/13) I haven’t heard any of these rumors myself, so I’m just repeating what I’m told here, but according to a new source the Gardaland 2015 coaster may not be a B&M product after all. Just something to think about as 2015 is still far away.
(11/4/13) According to TheParks.it a new Dive Machine style coaster is on the way to Gardaland in 2015. They expect it to be around 42 meters (138 feet) tall. Since Gardaland is owned by Merlin, who just built Krake at Heide Park in 2011, I would expect that the two rides might share some similarities in terms of size and layout. For example Krake stands apoximately 41 meters tall (134.5 feet) tall and was the first “D6” Dive Machine layout, featuring narrower 6-across seat trains which allows B&M to use the cheaper standard sized B&M track scale instead of the more beefy Dive Machine track used for Oblivion, SheiKra and Griffon which offer trains that seat 8 or even 10 riders wide. If I had to guess, I’d expect to see another D6 Dive Machine format here as well.
Future Projects - Confirmed - (3/8/07) Blackstone / Merlin Entertainment confirmed that in addition to future growth plans that include building a second hotel at the park, they also are looking at building a small indoor Legoland themed attraction.