Thursday, August 29, 2013
In the first part of my Port Aventura article we’ve been around four of the five lands of the park : Meditterranea, Polynesia, China, and Mexico. The last land of the park is the “Far-West” , i.e their “Frontierland” and we're going to have closer look at it as i like it a lot.
To read the part one of this article, click HERE.
The artists who originally created Port Aventura had the good idea to don’t make a simple “copy” of Disneyland’s original Frontierland and they created a totally different “ Far West”. In fact, on a certain point of view they’ve built a town!
No river, here, no Tom Sawyer island, too, but a real town - probably even more “real” than in Disneyland 's Frontierland. I What i mean is that the original towns in the Far-West probably looked more like this town in Port Aventura than Frontierland. But, at the end, that’s not the point. The point is that you have the delicious feeling to be in the “old west”, and not to see another “copy”.
Before i go further, i have to tell you something that will probably amaze those of you who didn’t knew about it. Could you believe that Spain is full of old “Far West” towns? And even of “ghost towns”? No kidding. And specially the region of Almeria, in Andalucia, south of Spain. Why? Because the wonderful desert of the province of Almeria was looking so much like the vast lands of America’s original Far West that in the 1960’s most of the Italian western movies of Sergio Leone were filmed here. And the towns remain since then. If you go one day in this area, you’ll find lot of them which are now small “Far West” theme parks... In fact, in the sixties, a lot of movies were filmed in Spain : Doctor Zhivago from David Lean was filmed entirely near Madrid! as well as “El Cid” with Charlton Heston, or “55 days of Beijing” also with Heston and Ava Gardner, and even David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia was filmed partly near Almeria...
So, you see, Spain has a long history in movie sets, specially “Far West” towns, and it’s probably partly why this one is so well done...
So, when you exit the “Mexico” land, and enter the far west town, you enter the land by what is supposed to be the other end of the town. And what do you see first? The cemetery!...which, as we know, were built at the exit of the towns. Right after, some yards away, here is the school! a real school, just like in the ol’ times. If you turn left, you’ll get into the main street of the town. But if you turn right, you’ll find one of my favorite attraction here , called “Stampede”. Stampede is a wooden roller coaster. Well, i should say “two” roller coasters, as the great idea here is that two trains depart together and race to arrive the first! So, sometime, the two tracks are side to side, sometime they separate, then join again, up to the arrival line. It looks pretty simple but you don’t have any idea how much fun this “race” is! It’s even strange that Disney never thought about it! Don’t miss this one if you’re there one day!
So, now, let’s enter the main street. You’ll find here all what you could find in these kind of streets, restaurants, shops, all perfectly well themed. In one of the building , there is even a medium, which will tell you everything about your future - quite good medium, by the way, as well as a very nice girl!
And, yes! there is a train station! “ Penitence station” as it is called, where you can embark in the train which goes all around the park...
Not so far, you’ll find a really good “wild wild west stunt show “ The show decor, stunts and explosions are as good as the one you can find in the states.
And when you’ll exit the show, just go to the saloon at the corner of the street. Folks, this one is a real saloon, a great one, really, with a show, a good show, and lovely girls, everything is perfectly themed - including the girls!
Not that far from the saloon, here is the hotel of the town. You won’t sleep in it, but you can dine here , in the restaurant.
When you approach the other end of the town, you’ll find a lot of attractions : a mine train
- like “big thunder”, but with no mine, and a log-flume ride housed in a huge and greatly themed wooden building, with a bridge nearby which lead to the entrance of the land.
Finally, right at the exit of the land, here is the inevitable “raft ride” called “silver river flume”, and all set in a kind of colorado canyon theming.
So, as you might have noticed, this is a quite different “frontierland” they've built here, and honestly, Port Aventura “imagineers” or whatever they call them have done a damn' good work!
Spain in the summer can be hot, really. So, when Universal bought the park some years ago, they had the good idea to create, next to Port Aventura’s entrance a “water park” called “ Costa Caribe” , where guests can refresh and have fun.
Don’t expect a “typhoon lagoon” or a “blizzard beach” here, but you’ll find some elements of good theming, like this giant plane floating over the heads in the “in door” section.
When Universal owned the park they built too two very good hotels, one with a “meditteranean” theming and one on a “mexican” theming, and both are big, and good - my favorite is the meditteranean as it is one built like a Meditterranean village.
Hope this little flight to spain was pleasant to you, and that you'll be able to visit soon Port Aventura!
All photos : copyright Alain Littaye or Port Aventura