Attraction Review: Wiener Prater- Part One


When you've been to as many European parks as I have (that came off way more braggy than I intended...sorry), planning inexpensive trips soon becomes a bit of a pain in the arse. I want new creds, but also I don't want to spend tons but also I want to go somewhere good. And I'd finally visited pretty much every other major park in Europe apart from the burdenous Wiener Prater, taunting me with its 13 creds. Every damn year I'd tell myself this will finally be the year for Prater, then all of a sudden I'd find myself standing on the lawn in front of the Towers watching the fireworks and cursing myself for letting another season pass without visiting.

So, 2017 was the year! We booked a short city break through Last Minute and were soon boarding our hideously cramped EuroWings flight to Vienna (seriously, would not recommend. I'm five foot nothing and there wasn't enough legroom for me - I'd hate to think what it was like for any non vertically challenged people!)




Wiener Prater, for those who don't know, is an old amusement park in Vienna dating back to 1766. The park is probably most famous for its ferris wheel, the Wiener Riesenrad, which opened in 1897 and is, I believe, the world's oldest operating ferris wheel.

So, some context. I'd always wanted to go here because, well, the creds weren't getting themselves and there's a shit load of them to get in one go. Pretty much everyone I know who has been kind of wrote the place off as a bit of a dump and I had it in my head that this was going to be a kind of less nice Winter Wonderland, only permanent and with more Austrians.

And this presumption was probably the reason I put it off for so long, but my god, what the heck is everyone smoking? This place was absolutely wonderful! The gorgeous green painted iron and turn-of-the-century style buildings. So classic and elegant. The way the rides completely consume you and somehow don't come across as trashy fairground. The food! Everything about Wiener Prater was stunning in my eyes and I genuinely couldn't imagine how anybody could label this place as the hole I'd built it up to be in my head. So, here's what we got up to. I'll try to not bang on and on because there's kind of LOADS to get through, but we'll see what happens.





Let's take this cred-by-cred. First up was Hochschaubahn, a 67 year old side friction scenic railway affair. I love these things, whilst they're not exactly the most thrilling of attractions they more than make up for it in charm - and this one was no exception. It's full of little surprises around every corner that had us laughing all the way around the track. Sounds sentimental but I am glad that in this modern world of taller-faster-scarier there's still a place for the classics.


Next we turned the corner onto the first street-of-rides. By this I mean imagine a high street, but instead of Topshop on your left and Superdrug on your right it's a Ghost Train on your left and a Fun House on your right. You get the idea. Everything is kind of higgledy-piggledy because every attraction is independently operated (hence the lack of fun card) but it just kind of works. Even at this time of 2PM on a Saturday, the place was heaving and the atmosphere was friendly and fun.

We decided it was high time for another cred, so found ourselves entering the queue for Maskerade - an indoor Gerstlauer Spinner. One of the more thoroughly themed coasters, this thing wouldn't look out of place at a 'proper' theme park and we were all intrigued to see what would happen inside.



Turns out, apart from a fun start with a jaunt through a burlesque dancer's dressing room (with a few extra quirks along the way), it's definitely got cred-in-a-shed syndrome. We rode this in the daytime and I can't help but feel this would work way better at night, but you could see everything so that took away some of the magic. But it was fun and we did make a few noises when forces happened so not all bad!

Lacklustre coasters were soon to become a theme as we shortly found ourselves reluctantly coughing up €4/5 for a bloody wild mouse. Urgh, Prater is a little bit cruel like that if you're cred-minded like I am. You'll often find yourself begrudingly paying for the pleasure of riding something you know you're going to hate. This wasn't a case of the totally forgettable though! Wilde Maus has the honour of taking place in my mind as the single most painful mouse I've ever been on - it literally made me yelp more than once, and I was bracing myself. Take a bow, you piece of shit.


Pieces of shit seemed to be plentiful on the Prater menu, as next up we hopped on board Der Zug Des Manitu, a powered mine train by a manufacturer I've never heard of called CAM Baby Kart. This reminded me of when I used to make mini-theatres of of shoe boxes. The coaster is under cover but kind of on display, with a bit of theming and a tunnel with a strobe light which we dubbed the tunnel of epilepsy. Oh, and it did a surprise backwards bit before really getting going on the 7 or so laps of shame we had to endure. Can't say you don't get what you pay for!



We could see it taunting us from through the trees, so we decided we'd better get the Boomerang over and done with. I'd actually heard good things about this coaster, and was intrigued to try the infamous restraints. No idea what the sadists who actually enjoy this contraption are thinking, but jesus I think you all need therapy. The restraint is a cold bare steel affair that wouldn't be out of place in a Cronenberg movie. For those that don't get that reference, the restraint doesn't look unlike gynaecological stirrups and, honestly, I think I actually find those more comfortable. Who the bloody hell designed this torture trap? Yes, the headbanging is gone, but at what cost? Stupid ride.



I think after the smorgasbord of crap the pint we sat down for was well deserved. Luckily, up next was the awesome Megablitz, a fabulous Vekoma Custom MK-700 long forgotten in a dark and dusty corner of the park. Shame really, because this was easily the best coaster in the park - comfy restraints, forceful in all the right places and smooth as butter. If I wasn't already being bled dry by all of the various spinning rubbish I'd have ridden it again.




We then made our way around the slight rougher outer edges of the park. For some reason, the further away from the centre of the park you get the ropier the park becomes. And by that I mean there was a Ghost Train whose gags were literally operated by ropes. We made our way past the Helter Skelter operated by a fabulous man in a leopard print jacket and top hat and over to the next dose of shame in the form of Racer - an SBF Visa F1 coaster not afraid of a little thing like copyright infringement (it was plastered with Cars characters and couldn't give a fuck about it).


The operator seemed half confused/half bemused that we wanted to ride her kiddie coaster, but happily accepted the tenner or so we collectively paid for the cred. The coaster is actually super fun and comfy, wish there were more of these and less Big Apples in the world! She also gave us sweets as we exited so she gets extra points for that.


Time for another coaster-in-a-box, this time the imaginatively named Insider coaster - dubbed thus because it's a coaster that's inside. Genius marketing. Anyway, it's one of the newer coasters at Prater and as such feels a bit more substantial. The theme is kind of foreboding - a booming robotic voice keeps warning you to get out (never explains why though, presumably if you don't get out in time they'll force you to ride the Boomerang for the rest of the day). It's got some fun stuff in the queue too like a mirror labyrinth and a laser run. It actually reminded me a bit of X:\No Way Out's queue at Thorpe back in the good ol' days! As we exited Dave informed me that this actually used to live at Tokyo Dome City until it spited someone. Fun facts!




I think at this point we decided we needed some Hollenblitz in our faces. Well, everyone else did. I sat outside and said a silent prayer for all the Euros I'd spent on absolute crap (bar one or two) in the past few hours. Hollenblitz is best experienced from the outside anyway - it's incredibly impressive looking and it's the law that you have to mill about outside it proclaiming how amazing it is that this is a travelling coaster. Which is what we did whilst those without the cred rode. Honestly, if it were a few Euros cheaper I'd have hopped on, but it was cheekily €7 which I just couldn't justify for something I know just isn't that amazing ride-wise.

Urgh, just remembering now the Volare happened. I always convince myself, whilst clambering up the clunky steps and into the George-Forman-esque trains that these aren't as bad as I remember them being. Then we went past a sign that proclaimed 'shit happens' and I remembered that, oh shit, shit actually DOES happen on Volares. Urgh. Just so unnecessarily clunky. Also, very glad the train behind us was empty as I was very aware that my whole dress had blown up under my armpits during the ride and was now giving the world a full frontal view of my arse. You're welcome.


Two coasters left! I think we rode the HUGE Pinfari FC80, Super 8er Bahn, first. Just reading now that it's the only one of its kind - fab! Going up the lifthill I was getting flashbacks of the similar looking Tornado at M&Ds. Luckily this rode nowhere near as brutally as that beast, and whilst it wasn't exactly smooth it wasn't violent either, so was just kind of a pleasant rumble around the track. Fine.

How did we leave a bloody Spinning Wild Mouse til last? Talk about ending on a low! To be fair, we did get an obscene spin on this, perhaps the spinniest spin I've ever had on a spinning mouse, so there's that. Still shit though aren't they, let's face it.




With all of the coasters under our belts we took a well deserved strudel-and-beer break and waited for night to fall because, according to so many who had visited before us that's where the place really comes to life. Honestly, the atmosphere throughout the day was really buzzing and great so I personally didn't notice a HUGE change there once the sun went down, but I do love me a neon ride sign so I enjoyed all of those turning on!

I'm going to leave you here for part one. Just writing this now makes me realise just how much we crammed into the 7 hours we were in the park for an I'm a little exhausted just writing this so I can only imagine how you feel reading it!

Talk later xoxo,


CONVERSATION

4 comments:

  1. It looks so, so purdy!

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    Replies
    1. It's actually stunning! Little rough around the edges, but that's what Photoshop is for!

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  2. That was a great read, I look forward to part 2 and also look forward going myself in July.

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Ian! You're going to have a great time it's a wonderful place!

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