Attraction Review: Legendia

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

Naturally the second park of our little Polish jaunt was Legendia. And I say naturally because there are pretty much no other significant parks in Poland and it just so happens that the two most substantial parks in the country are conveniently close to each other making for a neatly packaged little double-whammy of a trip. Legendia is another one of those weird parks that's sprung up out of nowhere in recent years and I'm not mad at it! The park has four creds but obviously Lech Coaster, the park's new Vekoma Bermuda Blitz and essentially what put the park firmly on the European coaster enthusiast map, was our main reason for wanting to visit.

Legendia opened in 1956 and was originally named Śląskie Wesołe Miasteczko (Polish for Silesian Amusement Park). I had no idea this park was a city park but then that's not surprising given I did pretty much zero research on the place past Lech Coaster and how to get there. As such, I guess I didn't really have any preconceptions of what to expect from that park, so it's hard for me to say that the park wasn't what I expected when I didn't really expect anything because I hadn't given it any thought if you get what I mean? But yh, this park really wasn't what I expected! The entrance is brand new and you can really tell, it's stunning and magical and reeks of classic European theme park but done on a slight budget. There's definite notes of Efteling, Europa Park and Phantasialand from the moment you set foot in the place and you can tell those responsible for the refurb of the place are heavily inspired by these European heavyweights.

Extending the classic style of the park, once inside Legendia it's very reminiscent of a typical RollerCoaster Tycoon scenario of rides-around-a-lake (why are all the Polish theme parks like RCT scenarios?!). It's here that you start to get a glimpse of what the park once was until recent years but also simultaneously where the improvements have taken place. The park is...sparse, to put it lightly. Lech sticks out like a sore thumb, not only because it looks fucking SWEET sat there all intimidatingly across the lake, but because it's the only attraction in the park that appears fully purpose built and complete with a fully thought out and realised theme. Most of the other attractions look like they already existed in the park and then a butt load of money came in from new investors and they all got tarted up.

It's by no means a bad thing. In fact, quite the opposite. The rides all look absolutely great (and are super photogenic!) but you can really tell that the park hasn't evolved naturally and it feels kind of forced in places. I'm having trouble explaining this, because you'd think I didn't like the park and I really did, it was really lovely, but there was something a little...false feeling about the place. As we wandered around I kept noting that I'd love to see what the place looks like in ten years when everything feels more finished. And they're definitely on the right path to becoming an excellent park and a contender for one of Europe's best! So yes, theming wise certain things are really fab which I'll go into more detail of in a sec but you can very much tell it's a work in progress and things are getting there slowly. It's actually really nice to see a park with fresh investors taking the time to look after the basics eg installing really nicely themed bins and benches, making sure the pathways are all freshly laid and looking tidy, giving older rides a fresh lick of paint and brightening them up. It was very refreshing to walk around and take it all in.

One thing I would say is that, despite the awesomeness of the new theming and updated ride additions etc, it was a bit of a shame that there was not much legacy of the place on display. The park has been open since the 50s and some of the rides in the park are still operating from way back then. I might have missed it, but I really think the park would benefit from something like a heritage centre or museum or something displaying photography or drawings or something from how the park has looked over the decades. It's clearly a place with a lot of history and relevance to the local culture, but the new investments and improvements have removed any trace of that classic charm which I guess I was expecting from a park that opened over 60 years ago!

But onto the rides - kicking things off with the park's dark ride Bazyliszek. I knew this park has some kind of obscene dark ride that kind of had no business existing in such a strange, small city park, and Bazyliszek delivered on that promise in every sense of the word. The ride is a trackless shooting dark ride themed to Polish folklore. It's very classic fairytale in its styling but apparently took inspiration from Polish architectural styles in its set design. The ride is very clever in the way it blends the screens with the physical sets and has some of the most seamless dark ride I've ever experienced outside of the Universal and Disney parks. It's an extremely impressive ride, I think we rode the thing three times in the end because we just couldn't get enough. Classic yet modern, it's the perfect dark ride to appeal to all tastes - you've got the narrative based fun for those who enjoy an old school passing-by-set-pieces style ride and the high tech shooty scenes and trackless stuff for those who prefer a bit of modern tech. Honestly this thing wouldn't be out of place in Efteling or Europa Park so it's crazy that it's here. Fantastic attraction.

Those behind the development of the park have openly said they've taken inspiration from Efteling so these similarities are no accident and honestly being a fan of that European fairtytale stuff I have zero objections to this!I wrote a whole post a couple of weeks back about my lifelong obsession with fairytales and Legendia satisfied that craving in a big way for me on our trip - especially as we made our way over to the log flume Diamond River, which is essentially a fairytale stylised log flume boat ride themed to a diamond mine. Honestly, it's stunning. The entrance building is so intricate and gorgeous, with delicate Celtic/Norse style patterns carved into the wood and jewels in the walls and decorations as you weave your way through the queue towards your boat. I would love to see this ride once the trees have filled out slightly more and the area surrounding it feels like more built up as it did feel a little exposed in places, but other than that I couldn't fault it for aesthetics. To ride it was a little clunky and harsh on the brakes so definitely more a ride to enjoy off-ride than on, but a really fabulous take on the classic log flume attraction. Again, Legendia aren't look to reinvent the wheel here. They're not looking to deliver world firsts or never-before-seens, they just want to bring beloved classic theme park rides to life in a great way and they're absolutely smashing it so far!

Aside from Bazyliszek and Diamond Mine (and Lech, which I promise I will get to next), I won't lie there wasn't a ton of other rides at the park I was crazy about. I'm not much of a flat ride gal and this park was FULL of them. Again, all really well kept, nicely themed and clearly well looked after and presented. The other two operational coasters aside from the SBNO double looping Soquet coaster which is closed whilst they add more theming to it to bring it in line with the other attractions nearby, the only other coasters in the park are Zyklon things, which is where I think the strangeness I mentioned above comes into play. When you've been to as many parks as I have, you're used to seeing these things propped up on grass or tarmac in cheapo funfairs or seaside parks. I appreciate the park's effort to try and theme them and for the most part they've done an excellent job, but it does very much reek of trying to roll a turd in glitter. The coasters themselves, I mean the actual hardware of the things, are really ugly so it feels a little grotesque to try and dress it up like a magical fairy dream coaster. The only way I could see a Zyklon being well themed is if you were to fully build a mountain around the thing Everest style, and let's face it if you have the cash to do something as extravagant as that you wouldn't be buying a Zyklon in the first place. Very odd.

Lech Coaster then. Oh. My. GOD. OK, so after riding Formula at Energylandia the day before I was feeling fairly confident that Lech was going to be good, but nothing prepared me for the awesomeness. It's kind of the perfect coaster in that I cannot fault it. There's nothing about Lech Coaster that I would change or that I think could be improved. It's not a top ten coaster for me because it didn't blow me away completely, but I really, really enjoyed this coaster! From its snappy lift-hill to that terrifying mini-Big One style snappy first drop, from the awesome floaty way it sails through its first inversion to the seamless transition from helix into the next inversion, from the near misses and station fly-bys to the frankly obscene for a Vekoma coaster amount of airtime on this thing. To the glass-fucking-smooth-from-start-to-finish-ness of it all. Who are you and what have you done with Vekoma? If there's a coaster that will redefine what it means to be a Vekoma coaster, Lech Coaster is it and given Formula was really great too it's clear that this isn't just a one-off fluke great ride. Vekoma have stepped their game up in the most exciting way and it's incredible to see just how far they've come with their designs and what this means we'll be seeing in the future. It's SO MUCH FUN.

I think we rode the coaster something like 13 or 14 times during our day there? We simply could not get enough. It's forceful yet rerideable, which is the perfect balance and something most coasters fail to achieve. But not Lech Coaster. The theme of the ride is also really great - again sticking with a fantasy style theme, it actually reminded me quite a lot of Viking Voyage at Tayto Park in it's styling - using a lot of wood and stone in the surrounding areas but with large set pieces to set of the fantasy elements. The trains are awesome too - metal-as-fuck eagle design on the front and the super comfortable chest harnesses that allow you just enough freedom to fully experience all of the fab airtime moments without feeling too exposed. Urgh, it's just SO GOOD! I want every park in Europe to get one of these because they're just fab! I liked Lech can you tell?

And apart from that, there's not much else to say about Legendia. It's a fairly small park but given the leaps and bounds they've taken in just a few short years it's definitely a park to keep an eye on as they continue to invest and develop the park into a true European gem, which I sincerely hope is a direction they continue to move in.

Talk later xoxo,