Imagine watching Titanic 10 times in a row. That’s 10 iceberg collisions, 10 naked drawings and you’ll notice just as many times that Rose could have shared her floating door with poor Jack. But watching that movie 10 times also means that you’ll need approximately 30 hours. That’s a lot of time; actually it’s even enough to travel between Belgium and Australia. Honestly… I prefer Down Under heat over icebergs and I’d rather fly in Singapore Airlines’ economy class than sailing the Atlantic in White Star Line’s third class. So I’ve made my choice: I’m not watching Titanic 10 times in a row, but I’m going to Brisbane instead.
What’s the best way to cure a huge jet lag? The right answer is searching for coaster thrills, if you ask me. That’s why we’re starting our trip in Gold Coast, a city which is within a one hour driving distance from Brisbane. Gold Coast could easily be described as Australia’s theme park capital. Think of it as some kind of Orlando, but in a considerably smaller size. Gold Coast is home to 2 water parks and 3 classic theme parks. Although you will not find any Disney or Universal here, there is a film-based park since 1991: Warner Bros Movie World. This park should be your top priority if you’re searching for coaster credits Down Under. Especially the park’s latest addition, a huge hyper coaster built by Mack Rides, is a big draw for thrill seekers. There is some bad news, though: DC Rivals HyperCoaster is undergoing maintenance during our day at Movie World. That’s why we purchase a 7-day pass, which will allow us to visit again after the refurbishment has been finished.
Warner Bros Movie World Gold Coast looks a lot like Movie-Park Germany. That’s no coincidence: Movie-Park was called Warner Bros Movie World Germany until 2005 and the park was directly based on its Australian sibling. That’s why you will definitely recognize the gate at the main entrance, the circular square and the Main Street which is located on your right-hand side. Even the buildings and facades look a lot like those we know from the German park. There is, however, one big difference: this Australian Main Street is mostly covered. The roof is visually rather unappealing, but I’m actually glad that it’s there. It’s quite rainy today, so Main Street and the park’s central square are ideal to escape those unfavourable weather conditions.
At Movie-Park Germany, two attractions have been built in direct proximity to the park entrance. In Australia, you’ll find considerably more rides in this section. Movie World created a DC Comics area right here and it involves not less than 4 rollercoasters. One of the most famous coasters is Superman Escape, an Intamin Accelerator which was opened in 2005. Superman’s top hat towers over the entry plaza and the ride looks quite spectacular. After securing our backpacks in a free locker, we enter the empty queue and we get to board the next train. Superman Escape is themed to a subway ride which doesn’t exactly goes as planned. An earthquake strikes during our train journey (which is convincingly simulated in a dark ride section) and we suddenly find ourselves in a collapsing tunnel. Luckily, Superman is there to save us and he manages to get us back into daylight. Although you shouldn’t expect any Disney level theming, this background story gives a nice extra touch to the ride. The actual coaster part is pretty good as well: Superman Escape contains a spectacular launch and some forceful curves. The ride may be a little short and there’s hardly any airtime on the top hat, but I actually enjoyed this rollercoaster a lot. I would love to ride it again this afternoon, which is perfectly possible thanks to non-existing queues.
From Intamin quality to Vekoma rubbish… it only takes a few steps here at Movie World. Please don’t get me wrong: I really don’t hate Vekoma and I know that they have built quite a few awesome rides over the past decades. However, the Dutch company also designed some horrible coasters and Superman’s neighbour Arkham Asylum is one of the best (or should I say worst?) examples. This suspended looping coaster was inspired by The Joker and it represents some kind of torture device. So yes, if torture is the ride’s main theme, Warner Bros did a great job. No seriously… Arkham Asylum makes me feel as if I’m thrown off a staircase. This is one of the most painful theme park attractions I’ve ever experienced and I really don’t understand how some other people seem to enjoy it. So dear Movie World management, if you read this… please sell this ride to a third world theme park (Bobbejaanland, anyone?) and buy a B&M inverted coaster instead. Australian coaster fans would be grateful.
I still don’t like S&S tower rides, so I’m really not interested in riding the 60-metre tall Batwing Spaceshot. However, the dark ride adjacent to it looks more interesting. Besides, Justice League – Alien Invasion 3D is the ideal attraction to take shelter from a sudden rain shower. Unfortunately, the ride’s name is actually more impressive than the experience itself. It’s a slow, uninteresting tour with mostly static scenes and some simple 3D screens. Justice League’s interactive part (shooting monsters with laser guns, yay!) may keep children’s eyes away from the poor theming, but it’s just not working for me. Variable speeds and more elaborate decoration would make this ride considerably better.
Some rides look like they’ve been designed by drunk engineers during a staff party. And it seems as if S&S Worldwide is the company which throws the most alcoholic parties. This American manufacturer already created some of the world’s most wicked rollercoasters including Tranan, Eejanaika and Sequoia Adventure. Another coaster which belongs in this list, is Green Lantern Coaster. This El Loco type ride measures 500 metres of track and it contains some bizarre elements. The ride starts with a very steep lifthill and a 120° first drop, followed by a curve which was banked in the wrong direction and a downward inline twist. Due to this array of strange elements, Green Lantern doesn’t feel comfortable. This has nothing to do with the ride’s smoothness (which is surprisingly okay) but it’s just a very unnatural experience. That’s why I answer ‘No thank you’ to the staff member who invites us for a second ride.
I had seriously hoped that DC Rivals HyperCoaster’s refurbishment would be finished one day earlier than planned, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. We won’t be riding any Mack mega coasters today, but most of the other rides and shows are open. That’s why we move further into the park via the Main Street, which is home to 2 different shows. The first one is a short 3D film with characters from The Lego Movie. The film is set within a fictional theme park and I like that, but it’s actually just another 3D movie full of predictable, lame special effects. Unfortunately, the park’s other show – which is called Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 – isn’t any better. Although they call it a stunt show, those race cars just make a few slow laps on the track. No really, I estimate the average speed at approximately 20 km/h… Whoever thought that Moteurs Action at Walt Disney Studios in Paris was disappointing, should definitely see this performance. Most boring stunt show ever, if you ask me.
If you turn to the right at the end of Main Street, you will enter a Looney Tunes themed section. And although this area is mostly designed for kids, I enjoy the atmosphere a lot. I grew up with Looney Tunes cartoons, so it’s all very recognizable to me. Besides, this Kid’s WB Fun Zone is themed and landscaped a lot more convincingly than the ugly Nickland at Movie-Park Germany. However, you will hardly find any experiences for adults here. Unlike Nickland, where a lot of rides are suited for the entire family, most attractions at Movie World’s Fun Zone are children-only. We visit a standard Vekoma family coaster themed to Road Runner and Coyote for Nick’s coaster-counter, but that’s it.
In most trip reports about theme parks, people only write about rollercoasters and attractions. However, there is a lot more to talk about. In this case, I really want to say that staff at Warner Bros Movie World are exceptionally friendly. You won’t see any unkind people or fake smiles here, but you’ll encounter many staff members who clearly enjoy what they’re doing. This is the laid-back atmosphere you’d expect in Australia. I would also like to make a compliment for the excellent food and beverage offerings in the park. We have lunch at Dirty Harry’s Bar & Grill, just like I did during my previous visit. This place serves delicious meat and freshly made nachos, burritos and salads. I really think this stall belongs in my top-3 of world-wide theme park food.
Food and coasters… this is everything I need during a day at Warner Bros. Maybe that’s why the park built a rollercoaster opposite to Dirty Harry’s. This indoor coaster is called Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster and the entrance is themed to a haunted castle. During my previous visit in 2016, this indoor coaster turned out to be the park’s most surprising attraction. It’s a standard wild mouse built by Mack Rides, but Movie World enhanced the experience with a cool dark ride part, a vertical lift hill and a backward drop. That’s why Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster suddenly became my favourite wild mouse coaster on Earth. Unfortunately, our experience today is totally different. I don’t know why, but Movie World recently removed most of the decorations, which makes the dark ride part seem rather useless nowadays. Warner Bros… why did this happen? Either way, I really can’t imagine the park being proud of the attraction’s current state, so I hope they will bring back those decorations soon. The ride will stay closed for 3 weeks at the end of 2018, so maybe that’s the ideal time to restore the ride in its old form. Until then, Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster is just a regular wild mouse in the dark.
Warner Bros Movie World seems to be in a love-hate relationship with theming and styling. Green Lantern, for example, was just built next to the parking lot without any decoration, while a flat ride like Doomsday Destroyer received its own themed section including some great photo opportunities. Although I’m definitely not interested in riding this nauseating thrill ride, I am impressed by its decoration. If you ever wonder how to theme a flat ride properly, just take a look at this beauty. Or at Phantasialand’s Talocan, of course.
Another beautiful attraction is Wild West Falls Adventure Ride. Movie World spared no expense theming this log flume with a far west street, a huge mountain range and exotic vegetation. It’s simply stunning, but unfortunately it’s also simply closed. This ride just had a 6-months’ refurbishment and it’s currently under technical rehearsal. In this case, it means that test dummies are the only passengers who get to ride. It’s a shame that Wild West Falls remains closed. We could use a water ride in Gold Coast’s tropical climate and I remember it as a great experience anyway. Luckily, there’s an almost similar attraction in Parque Warner Madrid, so I’d better start planning a trip to Spain.
Don’t expect Warner Bros Movie World to be a huge theme park. In fact, this place is so small that we definitely don’t need a full day for our visit. That’s why we leave the park after our second ride on Superman Escape and we head to our hotel in Brisbane. But we’ll be back soon, so let’s fast-foward to our next visit on Saturday afternoon. Weather conditions have changed dramatically (clear blue skies instead of rain clouds) and while arriving at the park, we see a black Mack train diving down a nearly vertical drop. This is the moment my coaster-loving heart was waiting for.
DC Rivals HyperCoaster was inaugurated on 22 September 2017 and it’s officially known as the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest, fastest and longest rollercoaster. That sounds sensational, but there really aren’t that many big coasters this side of the equator. That’s why DC Rivals isn’t that unique compared to European or North-American standards: the highest point is at 61 meters, the track measures approximately 1.400 metres and the train reaches a top speed of 115 km/h. However, the ride looks very impressive. Especially the stunning first drop (which can be found underneath a colossal image of The Joker) makes me believe that I’m about to experience a world-class rollercoaster.
While entering Movie World, we can notice that the park is busy today. The sun and the Easter weekend clearly brought in a big crowd, but the queue for DC Rivals HyperCoaster actually isn’t too bad. Despite slow operations, we only need 30 minutes to get to the ride’s station. And we’re in luck, because those friendly staff members assign the front seats to us.
Let’s get straight to the point: DC Rivals HyperCoaster is one of the best rollercoasters I’ve ever ridden. This coaster delivered pure awesomeness from the moment we plunged down that first drop until the final brake run. The first descent is just as good as Expedition GeForce’s legendary first drop, the non-inverting loop is amazing and those curves feel more powerful than you’d expect from a Mack ride. DC Rivals also creates some great airtime moments and the coaster is remarkably smooth. However, during our second and third round, we notice that the ride is a little rougher when you’re seated towards the back of the train. I don’t consider this roughness as troublesome, but I do prefer the front row for the very best experience.
Have you ever dreamed of a backward ride on a hyper coaster? Then come to Movie World and pay 10 Australian dollars to get in DC Rivals HyperCoaster’s back row, which is reversed. Although it seems like a one-of-a-kind experience, I’m afraid this would be a little too extreme for me. That’s why we keep riding it forward, which is awesome anyway. I’m actually very happy that we returned to Warner Bros Movie World especially for this coaster. Thanks to this addition, the park confirmed its status as Australia’s rollercoaster paradise. They already had a wonderful Intamin Accelerator, but nowadays Movie World really boasts a world-class ride. Furthermore, the park is blessed with motivated staff, beautiful landscaping and most of the theming looks pretty nice. That’s why Warner Bros Movie World is a fine amusement park and you should visit this place during a trip to Australia. The park and that pink piece of German steel are definitely worth it.
To be continued. See you soon at Dreamworld Australia!