Let’s begin with our expedition to the Himalayas! Fortunately we didn’t have to travel that far to test the new masterpiece from Bolliger & Mabillard. On the search for the legendary kingdom of Shambhala the new Hypercoaster at PortAventura (Salou, Spain) tackles dizzy heights and steep drops.
The Tibetan themed area is located directly adjacent to the Chinese area where since 1995 Dragon Khan, another coaster from B&M, roars around its course. The freshly repainted bright red colored track together with dark blue supports forms a massive eye catcher. It serves as a good foreground for Shambhala which with its bright white and turquoise track and grey supports draws fine and elegant lines into the clear blue sky.
The station building themed as a Tibetan temple and a square in front of it are located in the center of the new themed area. Right at the square is a small lake where the trains of Shambhala splash through. Tents and countless tools for the expedition, powdered in (artificial) snow, are placed on both sides of the uphill path to China where a large gate splits the two areas apart. Going downhill from the splash lake the path leads through a tunnel and ends at another square, decorated with a large prayer mill and a temple column. From here visitors can choose to go to the lower part of the Chinese area or to the left directly into the rather new Sesame Street land.
We enter the temple and can choose between the regular queue line and a separate entrance for single riders. Holders of an express pass can take a path to the right that takes them directly to the station. Unlike the ten years older Silver Star (Europa-Park, Rust) Shambhala has the new V-shaped trains that are smaller but therefore longer, too. The two middle seats of each car are directly besides each other while the two outer seats are placed further in the back, creating a V-shape. That way there is a nearly unobstructed view from every seat to the front or to the side. The gold- and turquoise-colored trains look very classy and the seats are as comfortable as usual. Bags and other loose belongings can be left in the station on separate shelves for each train. Once everything is stored the expedition can begin.
The train floats through a right turn out of the station and silently and forceful climbs the steep towering lifthill. We leave Dragon Khan under us – the ride now looks astonishingly small – and blink towards the snow-white top of the lift. The front of our train has quickly reached the upper end and pushes itself first slowly then faster and faster into the first drop. While riders in the front cars still have a few seconds to enjoy the view riders in the back are forcefully pulled down to earth. The massive train thunders down the first drop accompanied by the riders’ shrill screaming. The drop is getting steeper and steeper until just before the ground when our train is swallowed by a tunnel. There is darkness for just a blink of an eye as the train already shoots out again up into the sky. We lose contact to our seats and float seemingly endlessly over the first hill. The airtime continues almost up to the next valley. Only then we are pushed into our seats again. The train works its way through a steep rising right turn and plunges down again while still taking the turn, thus completing the “Awesome Curve”-element. A very flat hill follows which ejects us from our seats again and a larger hill with another dose of magnificent long-lasting floating airtime before plunging directly into the lake in front of the station building. Fountains spray water high up into the air as our train flies through the splashdown lake. We continue to fly over the next two hills with rich amounts of airtime and past the station building directly into the block brake that thankfully lets our train speed through with almost no braking at all. We are thrown to the left into a valley and take another small hill before finally slowing down in the final brakes. We made it through - our expedition has ended.
|Manufacturer:||Bolliger & Mabillard|
|Max. G-Forces:||max. 3,8 G|
|Special:||Awesome Curve, Splash|
|Investment:||25 Mio. Euro|