Coaster, Legoland Windsor
you know that in the time it took you to read to... here... four acres of
rainforest were destroyed? With the forests and jungles of earth in such
dire straits, it’s good to see that Legoland are working hard to bring a
bit of the jungle to a part of the planet which isn’t known for it’s
tropical horticulture; Windsor.
believe everything you see on television, though. The jungle is far more
than (and by Legoland’s definition, anything but...) tropical flora and
fauna. Lest we forget the other parts of the jungle that form our
planet’s delicate ecological balance such as shingle, bamboo walls and a
talking (and fairly short tempered) waterfall.
the bridesmaid, Legoland was the last of the Legoland parks to get the
coaster, which had opened as Project X Test Track, Technic Coaster and X-treme
Racers at Legoland Deutschland, California and Billand respectively.
all cases, Legoland’s weapon of choice has been German manufacturer
Mack’s park version of their Wild Mouse. Falling from a lofty height of
50ft, the four seater cars go down an uncharacteristically massive first
drop, through a series of hairpin turns before dropping down to a few
ground level turns and drops.
the ride is unmatched within Legoland in terms of stature with the forest
green track rearing up and plateauing somewhere above the tree line it
does strangely lack a ‘wow factor’ that should be associated with the
biggest ride in the park.
this respect, Jungle Coaster is either shown up by the fact you’re
looking down on the ride from the upper echelons of the park (where, from
such vantage points it blends in to the green of the surrounding trees) or
on your direct approach to the ride you really see it from the most
unflattering of angles with the first triangular turn off the lift quickly
flicking the cars around out of view.
ride boundary is marked with towering bamboo brought to life with a
colourful mural of what is almost an Aztec design. Frankly, the
barrier-like shield is fairly stand-offish from the outset, and the ride
is orientated in such a way that the hairpin bends are hidden away around
the back as if they’re
something to be embarrassed by. Considering Wild
Mouse coasters are staged in terms of presentation with regards to the
raked hairpin bends cascading down the front of the ride, Jungle Coaster
really seems ashamed of what it has to offer.
abashed is the talking waterfall, under which the first drop dives. A
tan-coloured archway supports a cascading wall of water with a stone
spherical head perched on top. Ignoring the booming voice suggesting
otherwise, curious kids are lured towards this waterfeature by the
colourful tentacles of a tropical plant, dipping in and out of the water
like some sea monster before climbing up and over the surrounding fence.
children can shout into the open buds of this plastic plant only for it to
answer back by repeating what they said. Alternatively, the feisty flora
will answer back by spraying a jet of water at you.
entrance to the ride is less original. The pathway takes you through a
parting between two 30ft walls of bamboo past a vertical banner with
Jungle Coaster in a Jurassic Park-style font on what looks like dark green
Legoland is home to some of the most innovative and detailed queuing areas
in the country, it seems a shame that Jungle Coaster follows the recent
trend of round-about zig-zags away from the main area of the ride. This
wood-panelled queue meanders around a small gravel area to the right of
the ride with the occasional rock decorated with a Lego lizard. Nice
touches, but pales into insignificance when compared to the beautiful
Dragon Coaster queue.
climb a set of scant metal steps into the station complete with sloping
wooden roof. Presumably due to the loading times (more on that later), the
cars stop in the station in pairs as opposed to slowly crawl like most
other Mack mice. Two unload as two load, which means the ride has fairly
efficient operation as you’re directed by a member of staff to a pair of
individual restraints, deep individual bucket seats and Mack’s wealth of
TÜV certified expertise, you’d think that with their excellent safety
record and the fact numerous versions of the ride run unchanged globally
would satisfy the notoriously high standards of the Health and Safety
Executive (HSE), but no, despite the entire restraint system being one of
the most secure on comparable rides, the HSE have mandated the
installation of airline style seatbelts.
even the fact that the ride has historically been proven to be safe, these
seatbelts are awkward, cumbersome and are a complete spanner in the works
when it comes to the running of what is already a low capacity ride.
the unnecessary baggage on the cars, you’re left with an excellent car
with well proportioned and comfortable seats, if let down by the fact
there is a padded grab rail that digs into the knees of all but the
beyond the practicalities of the car, it looks fantastic. Each car is
finished in a shade of either metallic olive-green or beige and fashioned
after a Lego Technic ‘racer’ with cogs, Lego ‘nodules’ and mock
riders have finished adjusting the seatbelt and have worked out which end
is which, you are advanced out the station, around a tight 180-degree bend
before you’re launched onto a swift skyward climb with the first drop
elegantly presented to your right.
tight triangular turn off the lift is amazingly effective and throws you
straight into a massive straight first drop. As the drop bottoms out, with
a flash of the ride camera you dive into the tight tunnel beneath the
waterfall before peeling back away from the ground up to a plateau about
40ft above the ground.
a quick kiss from some brakes, you go through the first hairpin bend,
orientated to take you back into the main body of the ride before the next
takes you around a 90-degree bend which throws you into the perpetual
zig-zagging synonymous with wild mice.
a mouse, these are amazingly smooth and lack the abrupt ferocity of Maurer
mice, although become faster and faster as you turn each corner. The last
two turns in particular are as peppy and exciting as you can expect from a
steel mouse before you break out of the hairpin bends and into a sweeping
unbanked turnaround that swoops downwards around the back of the course
and into a fairly small but sharp drop, climbing back up, whipping through
a tight hairpin turnaround before another similarly sharp drop into a
further set of brakes.
our all-terrain 4WD Technic racer concedes defeat at this point and slows
to a lowly gait as it heads around another hairpin bend, along a straight
before heading around a final unbanked turn and into the final brakes
which slow you smoothly before jolting violently to a stop.
almost every aspect, Jungle Coaster is extremely average. From looks to
ride experience, every positive thing about the ride can be answered back
with a negative point.
terms of looks, the ride looks very refined for a Wild Mouse. The slender
support columns branching out at the top look so much better than the
messy latticework structure used on travelling mice.
most of the ride is hidden by its orientation, layout and location, and
also by the ugly wall of bamboo around the entrance area of the ride.
regards to the actual ride experience, well again, it’s mixed. The first
drop is an absolutely brilliant way to start the ride, although the ride
drops the baton with respect to a good follow up. The upper hairpin turns
are pretty forceless, although the ride wakes up further along the top
level with far more feisty turns before ending with an absolutely shameful
finale where the ride just ambles around the last two turns.
finally, the presentation and theming of the ride: The fountain is
brilliantly detailed and bears Legoland’s signature in terms of
originality and quirky humour. But there is little else to suggest that
this is a Legoland ride. The delicate touches that abound most of their
major rides are absent, and the ride lacks, well, Lego. Other than a few
Lego lizards in the queue, you will find a pretty bare ride with little in
the way of originality.
Coaster would be better rated at many other parks, but there is the
inescapable fact that this is a very normal coaster at a park that frowns
upon the normal and goes that extra mile. Jungle Coaster simply does not
so, therefore, an average score for an average ride.
MS 12 June 2004
▪ Good, well themed cars
▪ Excellent first drop and some
good hairpin bends
▪ Nicely presented and well
▪ Low capacity, not
helped by the seatbelts
▪ Theming and level of
presentation not up to Legoland's usual standard
▪ Poor ending, and