Park News - (9/17/2023) According to a few news articles from Spain, the two investment companies behind the PortAventura theme park resort (KKR and Investindustrial) are now looking to sell off the popular attraction. According to the article the sale of the PortAventura resort could generate a price around 1 billion Euros. PortAventura has had a long history of shared ownership, starting off as a shared attraction between the Tussauds Group (40.01%), La Caixa (33.19%) and Anheuser-Busch (19.9%) and FECSA (6.7%) when it first opened in 1995. In 1998 the Tussauds group sold their shares to Universal, and the attraction was rebranded for a time as Universal’s Port Aventura, and adopted Woody Woodpecker as the official mascot.
Over the years the park’s group ownership has essentially be a non-stop revolving door of owners, with Anheuser-Busch and Universal having dropped out long ago. Through a series of mergers and buy-outs it sounds like the park has narrowed the ownership down to just two investment companies: Investindustrial (50.1%) and KKR (49.9%), both of which appear to be in agreement that the time is right to sell the attraction now that it is turning a profit and expected to end the 2023 season with higher attendance than it had in 2019 (5.2 million). To these efforts the groups are already working with JP Morgan to work out the details of a possible sale.
So the real question is who might be interested in the opportunity to buy the entire property once and for all? The site itself is home to several hotels, a waterpark, the PortAventura theme park as well as a second gate micro-park experience, Ferrari Land. Disney had their chance once with this property, as the site was actually in the running in the 90’s to become home to “EuroDisney” before the Paris location won out.
Universal comes to mind as a possible bidder, as they once had parietal ownership and managed the park for many years under the eyes of a previous owner of Universal. Comcast is calling the shots these days, and they’ve been very gung-ho with investing in the Universal parks brand, having finalized buyout to completely own the Universal park in Japan, build a brand new park in China, and are currently building a 3rd major theme park in Florida. Being able to take advantage of the option for a 100% buyout of PortAventura for complete control of the resort, and the bragging rights for being able to plant the Universal flag firmly in Europe once and for all may be a temptation Comcast just won't be able to resist.
Keep in mind that cash may not be an issue for Comcast either, as Comcast still owns 33% of HULU and under the 2019 agreement where Disney absorbed FOX’s 33% to mix with their own 33% ownership, Comcast was said to be able to trigger a buyout offer from Disney as early as January 2024 for a minimum of $27.5 billion. However a press release from Comcast on Sept. 6th mentions that Comcast and Disney have agreed to moved up the date for the HULU deal to Sept. 30th, and that they expect to settle for more than the minimum price as the value of HULU has “increased dramatically” since that 2019 agreement was drafted. So with Comcast soon to be flush with cash, the chance to add PortAventura to their attractions portfolio is something of a no-brainer in my opinion.
(8/13/2023) PortAventura has announced that they will open a new VR experience on September 18th, 2023. Unlike some other VR experiences you may have seen elsewhere, this one will be free of wires and be a true free roaming VR experience, making use of the hardwire from Zero Latency and appears to be set to use their entire game/experience catalog and will be located just outside the entrance to the theme park.
(7/8/2023) PortAventura is creating a massive new solar energy farm outside the theme park resort. The plot, roughly the size of 9 football fields, combined with green spaces with newly planted trees around it. The project is expected to generate 10 Gwh/year, which is equal to about 33% of the energy needed to run the entire PortAventura World resort.
(5/29/22) PortAventura has now expanded beyond the park/resorts traditional border with the purchase of the Mercure Atenea Aventurea hotel in Vila-seca, said to be just under two kilometers outside the attraction. According to the report, PortAventura is also said to be in purchase discussions with other hotels in the area to add onto the resort’s offerings.
2023 - Uncharted: The Enigma of Penitence - (6/20/2023) Congratulations to PortAventura on the launch of their new Uncharted dark ride/ roller coaster, developed along with Sally Dark Rides. According to a write-up, Uncharted is the first roller coaster in Europe to offer a “lateral drop”. “Highlights include a 15-meter-high inverted free fall with a 70-degree incline, an inverted launch and a sideways drop.” Based on videos I’ve seen, the cars are also capable of rotating to point the riders at various scenes along the way.
Below you’ll also find a video showing off the themed queue experience as well as a full ride POV video. It’s a bit dark in there, but you can also get a good idea of some of Uncharted’s biggest tricks as well, so check it out.
(5/17/2023) PortAventura has released a few preview videos for their new Uncharted dark ride / roller coaster adventure opening June 17th. The first video below is a promotional ad showcasing the ride and naming it, Uncharted: The Enigma of Penitence. Below that you’ll see a construction diary video that actually shows off the inside of the attraction building with the coaster system even making a brief appearance taking a test run. (Note: This second video is in Spanish, but there are English subtitles available.)
For the most part, we’re seeing a whole lot of roller coaster track woven tightly inside a dark enclosed building, and not a lot of scenery. While I’m sure part of the ride will be themed, it looks like for the most part, a large section of the coaster will include a wild ride in the dark, not unlike Universal’s Revenge of the Mummy attraction. The coaster itself, from Intamin, will feature launches and a large single-car train, able to hold 12 riders in three rows of 4-seats.
And one more video below the rest is a previous construction diary video that shows off more views of the coaster layout inside the building and how the themed exterior is being attached to the outside of the attraction.
(12/4/2022) PortAventura has confirmed that their new 2023 attraction will be themed to the Sony film and video game series, Uncharted. The indoor attraction has been described as a dark ride / roller coaster that will allow guests to step into the world of Uncharted and “go on their own white-knuckle, treasure-hunting race”.
The coaster has been described as being 39 feet tall and feature a 700m (2298ft) track length with 5 launches, inside a massive 51,000 sqft enclosed space. The new attraction will be provided by Intamin and Sally Dark Rides and feature a themed pre-show to set up the experience.
(11/15/22) Is the new PortAventura an indoor roller coaster? It just might be, as a reader spotted what looks like some roller coaster style supports and a few jet black track pieces in a fenced off parking lot behind the new building in the Far West section of the park.
(10/6/22) PortAventura has confirmed that they are working on a brand new ride to open for the 2023 season, to be located in the ‘Far West’ section of the park. While they aren’t ready to reveal any details just yet, Screamscape has been sent pictures of a large new building currently under construction at the park. While it is really hard to tell much at this point, it does seem that this will be some kind of indoor attraction.
Anyone know more?
???? - LaLiga Theme Park - (9/15/20) PortAventura has announced plans to spend €150 million to build a new mini theme park at the Resort that will be themed around the Futbol team league, LaLiga. The first phase will see a themed restaurant added along with shops and an experienced tied to a mobile app. Phase 2 will add a Laliga themed attraction, and the final third phase will be to open a LaLiga theme park within the PortAventura resort. I’m guessing that the addition of another mini-park experience will be similar in concept to the addition of Ferrari Land mini park in 2017.
They hope to have the first phase complete in time for the 2021/2022 season. You can find some concept art for the projects posted over at The Coaster Kings.