No man alive could have pried my fingers off that safety bar. Zero to 180km in 5 seconds, I couldn’t even imagine what that would feel like and what did G Force factor of 1.3 actually mean anyway!!
When my invitation to visit Ferrari Land arrived to my inbox I had mixed emotions. I was genuinely delighted to be invited, but absolutely terrified at the same time. Rollercoasters are not really my thing, but how do you turn down an invitation from Ferrari? One of the world’s most iconic luxury brands combining with Port Aventura, Europe’s largest theme park, in a €100 million development! There was no way I could accept without actually going on Red Force, the tallest (112 meters) and fastest (180km) rollercoaster in Europe, that would be pointless and unfair to whomever could have gone instead of me. I had no option, I had to do it…
I stood in line for the third time. The first two times there was a ‘malfunction’ somewhere and we were told to come back! I began to wonder was somebody trying to tell me not to do it… There were six of us who travelled together from Ireland for the official ‘Grand Opening’ of Ferrari Land in Spain. I appeared to be the only one who was remotely scared of Red Force. At one point the others actually discussed waving their hands in the air – seriously!!
The best part of the whole experience for me, is that it was over in 24 seconds! Actually to be fair, if you are into rollercoasters, it is amazing. It is the tallest and fastest in Europe and the feeling of reaching that height and speed is something I thought I would never experience. My colleagues thought it was incredible, all of them wanted to go on it again and for brief minute, I thought I did too. My eyes were closed the whole time and listening to the others discuss the view from the top, I suddenly had this feeling that I didn’t experience it properly, and I SHOULD really do it again. Then I spotted a sign that said that the Red Force has a 30% chance of rolling backwards from the crest, depending on the weather, and that it might not make it to the top! That was the end of Red Force for me, but for thrill seekers it adds a whole new level of excitement…
While Red Force is the main attraction in the park and is a ‘must do’ for serious adrenaline junkies, there are other rides there too. There are two Thrill Towers, one a free fall and the other a bounce back tower. They are relatively tame compared to Red Force. Children will enjoy the Maranello race track where families can compete against each other and race around a track. There is also a Junior Championship for younger kids.
The Ferrari Experience is housed in a vibrant Ferrari Red building, a must visit for Ferrari enthusiasts. Learn all about the legendary Italian Scuderia and try the two simulator rides, The Flying Dreams and Racing Legends. Petrol heads will love the Pole Piston Challenge. You get to feel what it is like to ride in a Formula 1 car in the on site simulators, these are similar to the simulators that the F1 drivers practice on. There are only 8 simulators though (6 for adults and 2 for children) and they were booked very quickly so unfortunately we didn’t get to ride them. Similarly with the Pit Stop Record. Two teams compete against each other to change four wheels on a full size F1 car as quickly as possible. TOP TIP: Make sure you go to both of these rides as soon as you enter the park to book your place. You can wander around the park and come back at your allotted time. There is an additional charge of €20 for both of these rides.
While the iconic red Ferrari colour is visible throughout the park, the designers also managed to create an authentic Italian environment too. Walking around the park amidst the Colosseum and Venice’s St Mark’s Campanile, you might forget you are actually in Spain. There are some excellent Italian restaurants to choose from as well as famous Italian ice cream parlours. An acrobatic show with dancers, acrobats and BMX performers is scheduled three times per day during the week and four times at weekends. There is also a fancy souvenir shop with Ferrari merchandise at the exit – bring your credit card! Overall the park feels upmarket and classy and you can see how they spent a whooping €100 million creating it.
Ferrari Land will be open from 10am to 5pm, and in high season there will also be an evening session from 6pm to 1am. It is a small park so a half day is probably enough time to see it and I would recommend visiting it as part of a trip to Port Aventura World, Europe’s largest theme park. TOPTIP: You must pre book tickets, the entry is limited to 5,000 people per day so if you have not pre-booked your ticket you may be turned away!
How to get there:
Reus is the closest airport to Ferrari Land, only 15 minutes drive away and there are numerous charter flights available with Sunway and Falcon Holidays and scheduled flights with Ryanair. Combine with a holiday in Salou and Port Aventura World. Port Aventura is a world class family resort, now with three theme parks, five hotels, three golf courses and a beach club! Read my blog on reasons to visit Port Aventura World this year. Barcelona airport is another option, only an hours drive or train ride and there are daily flights with Aer Lingus and Ryanair.
How much does it cost?
Unless you are staying in one of Port Aventura’s hotels, the only way to buy a ticket to Ferrari Land is if you buy a two park ticket combining it with Port Aventura. At the time of issue a 1 day 2 park ticket is €60 per adult and €52 per child and a 3 day 3 park ticket is €95 per adult and €77 per child. Visit PortAventuraWorld for more details:
For more information on attractions, height requirements and prices, click here.