Attraction Review: Energylandia

Many Thanks to Energylandia for gifting us tickets to visit the park!

The Polish parks suddenly came on everybody's radar seemingly out of nowhere a few years ago, and every year they've seemed to go from strength to strength, with large investment after large investment until finally I bit the bullet and decided it was high time to pop over and see what all the fuss was about for myself.

I will say that on paper, Energylandia wasn't exactly a park I was majorly excited about, but the cred whore in me got the better on me with that tantalising +12. These brand new parks that pop up always feel a little cold in my opinion atmosphere-wise - it's like a park needs that history and heritage to really have an ambience about it and no amount of off-the-shelf coasters and bright, colourful theming is going to disguise that. But that said, Hyperion lives here and I'd be lying if I didn't say that was the main draw for me with the park, so cue early April when I was finally boarding my WizzAir flight to try it for myself.

So the park itself is absolutely huge. I mean massive. And flat, so flat in fact that you could stand in most areas and see to the other side of the huge park because theming-wise there's not a ton going on (more on that in a bit). It reminded me a lot of playing a basic RCT scenario where money is no object but you're not allowed to let your park rating fall below 700 otherwise your park closes so you just buy a lot of random shit to keep the peeps happy (y'all know the ones). The layout of the park is mega confusing - entrance signs are nowhere near the actual entrances of the rides and if we hadn't had the heads up from CoasterForce I'm sure we'd have ended up doing the huge walk around to Hyperion instead of slithering down the side alley the way we did (again, not signposted). It's actually quite overwhelming at the start of the day to take it all in!

Theming-wise it's strange. Some areas feel like a ton of effort has been put in to make everything feel cohesive and nice, but others you can really see where the budget has fallen short. It's things to me like carving an allusion to a door out of concrete as opposed to building an actual door - you get what I mean? Or the Wacky Worm, for example, which was literally a travelling model propped up on some concrete with a ton of fibreglass theming items strewn around to try and disguise the ugly metal supports. A lot of the areas of the park felt cheap and garish, which is saying a lot as the weather was freezing and bleak when we visited. Again, a lot of travelling fairground rides masquerading as permanent theme park attractions. I think it'd be entirely fair enough to describe Energylandia as the world's biggest permanent fairground because everything about it had that air of temporality and cheapness about it.

But then in another breath, there are areas of the park that feel like effort is being put into creating some kind of coherent lands, creating a 'proper' theme park. The area this felt most apparent to me was the Viking themed land - tons of really nicely themed buildings, eateries, little wagons strewn about complete with Viking costume characters interacting with guests. If more areas of the park felt like this then I think overall it would be a much more pleasant park. Given their trend of going back and adding more theming as time passes I'd daresay that's what they've got planned for the rest of the park, especially the areas that feel the least finished.

I understand that the park is taking things in phases, but it definitely feels that way and it seems an odd tactic to me to put rides in and operate them half/unthemed but I guess if Hansa Park can do it then why not Energylandia? It does seem strange to me though that the park have fully dived into creating a brand new land complete with a massive RMC when they have rides currently operating that are desperately in need of dressing/theming. What's even funnier is that the unthemed rides are drawn on the map as themed, so it took us a moment to figure out that the naked splash boats ride was actually the Mayan temple themed water ride the map was portraying! Very weird indeed.

Rides then. Honestly because there were soooo many creds I didn't actually end up riding anything other than the coasters and the dark ride. So I guess I'll start with the dark ride? It was...uh...unique? Essentially it was a big ol' shed with a ghost train style system, a low budget gun system, a ton of fibreglass models of Xenomorphs-but-not-for-copyright reasons and a narrative that made sense (and not because we didn't speak the language). So to sum up, I loved it. I honestly had a great time riding this because none of it made any bloody sense, we never knew what was coming around the corner but whatever it was was hilarious. We definitely came off smiling!

Coasters - look there's 12 of them with 3 more currently under construction. Energylandia's main marketing pull is that they're the biggest theme park in Poland and they're very intent on confirming that position by just pouring rides into this place. I'm not going to spend hours of my life writing a detailed description of every kiddie coaster the park has to offer but what I will do is talk you through my favs (leaving Hyperion for last, obv). I'll kick things off with Boomerang, an adorable little Vekoma Family Boomerang coaster themed to bats. It's kind of like Vampire's baby brother in theming and style - I absolutely loved it (obviously, it's themed to spooky things!) All of the VFBs I've ridden have been a fun ride and this was no exception - smooth, forceful, slightly gimmicky but in a fun way and an all round great family offering. It's also a great example of what I was talking about a second ago re theming as the park goes along - the coaster originally opened unthemed but the theming was added later, and now it looks great!

Formula was a coaster I'd been watching closely through its construction. I've long been a Vekoma fangirl and I've been itching to get on one of these next gen designs for the longest time. On paper and in POVs this thing looked great - snappy launch, whippy little inversions and a spattering of airtime to top it all off. But given Vekoma's record I wasn't entirely convinced by what I was seeing online so I waited with baited breath on board that train as it prepared to launch praying it would be as good as I'd dared to hope. And...yep it's pretty bloody great. Everything the POVs promised and more - plus it didn't make me feel nauseous at all which was new for a Vekoma in my world! This coaster is great and I very much look forward to more like it popping up in other parks around Europe, which I wholeheartedly believe they will.

Dragon Roller Coaster is the park's Suspended Family Coaster and man has it got a little bite to it. I've been on a fair few of these and this is by far the best I've ever ridden. So much more forceful and speedy than it'd have you believe, you feel almost lulled into a false sense of security as you traipse through the How-To-Train-Your-Dragon-Esque theming of the queueline. Then WHOOSH, whipped over the lift hill and down the dragon's gullet, chomp chomp. So much fun, gliding and flying across the water in and around the dragon centrepiece. A really cool attraction in the Viking themed land, I just wish the main sign was in a place that made more sense as it's a really cool one and really misleading where it's currently sat.

What about something I actively hated then? Oh Viking Roller Coaster, why do you exist? Not so long ago I wrote an article about how I secretly love spinning wild mouse coasters, ironic then that one turned out to be one of my least favourite coasters of all time. I've been on an SBF Visa spinning wild mouse before, and don't remember it being half as hateful as this one. It's slow, clunky, the transitions are painful, the spin is controlled and dull. And it has bloody over the shoulder restraints?! Why?? Burn it to the ground, awful awful ride! Or I mean, go and ride it for yourself to see how bad it actually is? It's kind of funny in that way...

The rest of the coasters in the park are fairly unremarkable +1 off-the-shelf affairs so I shan't go into much detail of those apart from saying there were all fine. Just fine, not good, not bad, just...fine.

So that leaves Hyperion, aka the saving grace of Energylandia in my opinion. Oh god how I loved this coaster, just soooo much fun! The theme is fairly random in the context of where it is in the park (nothing else vaguely space themed around?) but who cares, this coaster kicks arse. The queueline is really cool and a real effort has been made to convey a proper narrative that builds as you approach the station building. It feels similar to the likes of Helix or even Air/Galactica in it's styling - quite cold and brutalist with an edge of neon futurism. The station itself is great, a huge dramatic countdown before the coaster ascends the lifthill as plumes of smoke fill the platform before dispatch. And then you climb.

And my god is it high. It's so high. I'll admit I was pretty terrified on my first ascent but that soon gave way to pure adrenaline and euphoria as we plummeted down the first drop. Easily one of the best first drops I've ever experienced - absolutely excellent and gut-wrenching in every way before powering through to that first awesome airtime hill that takes your breath away. Snappy little inversion next before racing back on yourself over tons of bunny hills big and small before what is easily the best part of the ride - SIDEWAYS AIRTIME HILL GOODNESS! This thing is such a little bastard of an element and no matter how hard you try to stay put and anticipate it it always catches you off guard and flings you from your seat. Urgh, so GOOD! Final few bunny hills before slamming into the brake run and taking a moment to take it all in.

It really is an excellent coaster. Not top 10 material for me, but that's only because I've been on so many coasters (humble brag, but true). It's easily one of the best coasters in Europe - it kind of rides like an elongated SkyRush crossed with a B&M hyper coaster. Hyperion is so good it made travelling all the way to Poland and visiting Energylandia worthwhile just to experience it. What a coaster!

Energylandia isn't by any means the most beautiful or well themed park in the world, but nor does it claim to be. I'd argue that it's still very much finding its feet in the theme park industry and each investment seems to have improved in quality as time has gone on, with Hyperion being the best and most excellent example of what the park are capable of. Little things like starting the day off and seeing the day out with a huge show with all of the park's entertainment team show that the park are really dedicated to creating a truly immersive and enjoyable theme park day out. I'm very excited to see how Zadra and the new themed land turns out, and if recent years are anything to go by the park will onto continue to grow and go from strength to strength!

Talk later xoxo,