Posted in Holidays, Travel, Travel Tips

Holiday – A Week of Fun in Salou! Portaventura World (Part Two)

Back in part one; I shared where my friend Kara and I stayed; and a night out in Salou. Here in part two I’m sharing some more of what we got up to; our days at Portaventura World and more about dining; and local transport!

Travel

You can find part one here.

So for the second half of our week away, we had tickets for three days at Portaventura World, theme park in Salou. We did buy tickets online in advance, which was cheaper than anywhere else we saw while we were in Spain, and our tickets included one day in Ferrari Land.

Portaventura World coaster

There is also a water park at Portaventura World; Caribe Aquatic Park; but it was closed when we visited. So if you are looking to go, it’s worth checking your dates, as it is seasonal. Before that, (so skip down a little if you’re just here for the theme parks)…

Hotel Dining

In my last post I did say I would cover the dining at Hotel Estival Park, where we spent our week. For the first part of our holiday; we had three meals a day at the hotel; skipping lunch by the end of the week as we weren’t there. There are of course many restaurants around, if you wanted to get out for an evening. For example the seafront had lots of options.

The food at the hotel was buffet style for every meal, there was a lot of variety, though within the week we did notice some foods were available for more than one day.

Hotel Estival Park food
Breakfast –

A range of fresh fruits, pastries, yoghurt, cereals, rolls and bread, cold meats, cheeses and so on, and for the hot food; eggs either scrambled (most days) omelette, or freshly fried eggs. Sausages; hash browns; bacon; beans; tomatoes; spanish sausage and that sort of thing. There was also mashed potato that I swear was available for every meal! 

Hot drinks were available, at various positions in the dining room, as well as juices, water and milk. I did notice that at all meal times there was a microwave, for parents needing to warm formula or milk, and that high-chairs were available.

Hotel Estival Park
Lunch/Dinner –

Again, fresh fruit was available, as well as tinned fruits, such as pears and peaches. There were regularly two types of pasta, and usually three sauces, some basic vegetables; usually peas; green beans and broccoli; and two kinds of pizza. A large salad counter with a  great variety of ingredients. Cheeses, meats, breads etc. For the hot food; there were various meats, freshly griddled; and also in sauces or gravy; new potatoes, and some vegetables, often a rice dish, and at least one fish option.

There were always a good range of desserts; as well as a kids dessert counter with ice cream and sweets; and some more child-friendly treats. There were the usual soft drinks; beer or sangria available, and also bottled water, or wines; on the all-inclusive you could have a bottle of house red; white or rose wine with dinner.

Read more about the hotel here.

Some days fared better in terms of variety; but in general the food was good, I’m fairly picky and ate well the whole time we were there; and there was plenty of it.

Portaventura World!

Portaventura World - Kara and I meet Betty Boop and Woody Woodpecker
Meeting Betty and Woody in Mexico – You can meet them throughout the park!

Our last three days in Spain, were spent at Portaventura World; a theme park currently boasting the two tallest rollercoasters in Europe, one of which is the fastest! And a one time holder of coaster with the most inversions (but not anymore, it does have 8 though!)

Portaventura World is an interesting park; the rides are awesome, and in similar style to Disneyland it’s broken into different lands. Here we have Mediterrania, China, Mexico, Polynesia and the Far West (aka the old west…) and Sesame Street land… and for some reason I still don’t entirely understand as well as Sesame Street, Portaventura is home to Woody Woodpecker, his lady friend Winnie and er, Betty Boop.

For some more fun trips check out our vintage fairground day out – Somerset break here.

Now unlike the Sesame Street characters, who have a land, Woody, Winnie and Betty have no rides or bits of park devoted to them, I did see a Betty Boop shop, and they sell Betty and Woody and Winnie stuff in all of the park stores, but yeah, nothing. Random.

Salou 2018 Portaventura World Coasters

Anyway! Here you’ll see Shambhala; the second tallest coaster in Europe (for the time being, it’s going to be outdone by a new park in Poland I believe); which is the white (really tall) one. The red one is Dragon Khan, which used to have the most inversions; but I think Alton Towers beat it (I probably should research my blog posts more); Dragon Khan was my FAVOURITE ride, it was awesome! Such good fun, though the queues get long, and unlike our good friends in Paris, they don’t have a fast pass system! You can buy a wristband, but it will cost you more to get quick access.

Info-

There are boards throughout the park though, that tell you the approximate wait times of all the rides, which helps you plan as you’re wandering around and there is also free WIFI which is a win against Disneyland Paris in fairness!

Salou 2018 Portaventura World Train
Train Selfie!

So a quick run through of the park, I won’t include all the rides here, they of course have a website, with all of the info on rides, dining, drinks and that kind of thing…

Salou 2018 Portaventura Far West
Getting around the park –

There is a train! Which we caught from Sesame Street Land (all kids rides so didn’t stay long), to the Far West….Far west, has a few rides, my personal favourite was Stampeda, a wooden coaster, during the queue you’ll need to choose a side, RED or BLUE and two tracks run parallel (mostly) in a fun wagon race style twist to most coasters! Really good fun, and I won’t tell you who always wins.

Salou 2018 Portaventua World El Diablo Ride

This is the mine train ride, located in Mexico; called El Diablo, nicknamed by us as the “train of pain”; simply because on corners we got slammed into the side of the seats a little harder than we’d have liked! So yeah, painful, but generally good fun (and usually short lines!)

Salou 2018 Portaventura Mexico View

Nice shot of one of the restaurants in the Mexico area of the park… There are restaurants in all of the lands, and stands selling various drinks, including beers and soft drinks, as well as snacks, some waffle stands, ice creams etc, and shops for gifts, souvenirs and sweet treats.

Drinks tip alert!

We took our own water (free from the hotel or €1.70 in park…) and a snack, but did buy from the stands throughout the day. So I can’t tell you anything about the restaurants! All in all I think it was pretty regular theme park pricing! Beer was pretty good value – Small €3.50, large €4.50 or a “Yarda” which contains just over a pint €5.50 in a thicker plastic faux yard of ale with a bulb end, the bonus of one of these is that a refill is €3.85, and you get to keep the yarda as a souvenir.

Salou 2018 Portaventura Log Flume Splash

The mega splash at Tutuki Splash log flume! There are two log flume rides at Portaventura, this is the larger, there are also a couple of other water type rides, including some rides for smaller children, and a rapids dinghy ride which we went on loads, because short queues and it was a great way to cool down!

Entertainment

Salou 2018 Portaventura Polynesian Dancers

There are several shows throughout the day, this pic is from the Polynesian show, with male and female dancers and a chance for some audience participation!

Other shows include a parrot show, a dance show, which you can catch in Mexico or China, and the Cowboy show in Far west! I think there’s a Sesame Street show for the kids too. There is also a stage at the Far West, near the station, and we caught a couple of mini shows there as we were passing by! There is also a parade at the end of the day (around 6:30pm) near the entrance where you can see various characters and acts from the shows.

As well as this, there is plenty of opportunity to see Woody or Betty (or both) throughout the park for a photo! Betty seems to always be in her red sequin number, but Woody Woodpecker does dress for his surroundings!

Salou 2018 Portaventura Angkor Ride

This is Angkor, another one of our favourite rides to cool down! Such a laugh too, it’s a raft; equipped with water pistols. Essentially you have to soak the people in the boats before and after yours when your paths cross. You get drenched, you laugh more! Brilliant fun; as there were two of us; we shared with other people, and some of the funniest memories we have are of people we met on this ride! Beware of people paying to use the water guns outside the ride – but also beware if you are those people – the soaking distance is equal!

Also special kudos to the lady who crossed the bridge above Angkor and poured a bottle of water on us! Well played!

Salou 2018 Portaventura Mediterrania View

This is Furious Baco, one of the first rides you get to, in the Mediterrania part of the park as you go in, this is a high-speed coaster, that’s fairly short, but very fast! And takes you out over the water!

And I feel bad, so here is Elmo at the Sesame Street station….

Ferrari Land

So finally(!) I get to Ferrari Land. Part of Portaventura, but extra to get into the park, we didn’t stay long because seriously the main feature is this:

That’s Red Force – a 112 METRE high coaster, that fires you from 0-180km/h along and up, before gravity brings you back again… Nooo thank you. This is of course both the highest and fastest coaster in Europe! And very fun to watch even if we weren’t brave enough to have a go!

There are also a couple of rise and drop rides, the very fun Ferrari Dreams ride, and more. There is also a gallery for Ferrari enthusiasts, and some cars around the park.

Salou 2018 Ferrari Land Classic Cars
Entertainment

We did catch the Acrobatic Show, which was good fun; I was more impressed seeing Woody Woodpecker doing somersaults as he had the costume on; which can’t make it easy!

Salou 2018 Ferrari Land Entertainment

It was good fun though! The shop was ludicrous (€18 fridge magnet or €22 keyring anyone?) so yeah; no shopping happened! But it was cool to have a look around, and if you can get a good add-on deal, it’s at least a good half day before finishing up your time in Portaventura World, which is what we did.

Overall we did a pretty full 3 days, leaving a tad earlier than the parade on days 2/3 because we avoided the mass leaving, rushing and cramming on to a full bus. It was a LOT of walking, much like disney, wear comfy shoes, have sun-cream with you etc etc… I would say we could have done more in another day, but we didn’t rush around, honestly it was probably long enough, but you could spread it into 4 easily enough, especially if you were visiting Ferrari Land or Caribe Aquatic Park.

I know this post is running long, so I’m adding this in on the bottom –

Transport

The TUI reps said the bus was £1.50  – IT WAS NOT it was £2.85 (each, each way) from the seafront; by the hotel in La Pineda to the park.

BUT we got the travel card from the Bus Plana shop for €15.50(ish) and it was loaded with 10 trips – we paid the final afternoon to get back to the hotel. So a much better price to get the card; you can top these up, they have no expiry date if there’s money left you can just keep it til you’re next in spain, you can use them for multiple people, it’s SO easy, just get on and scan the card, so comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you’re travelling in spain.

For Portaventura World, the bus (1 or 74) took about 45 mins from the seafront near the hotel; and they pick you up where you get dropped off at the park so it’s totally easy.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these couple of posts! A smattering of advice, some pics and generally an excuse to talk about my holiday for a bit!!

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