So I was recently lucky enough to head across to Poland to visit Energylandia In Zator. The main reason to visit the park ofcourse was the hotly anticipated new for 2019 RMC Hybrid Zadra. So for this write up, I will be sharing my full thoughts on this well received in the coaster community coaster and where it matches up to my top coasters.
A brief history and background!!
Zadra is Rocky Mountain Constructions second “hyper hybrid" ibox track coaster with the first being my personal number one coaster Steel Vengeance. It is also the third RMC installation on the continent behind Wildfire at Kolmarden and Untamed at Walibi Holland. Zadra is also the very first RMC Ibox track coaster to be a ground up installation. Previously, RMC would use the “topper track” design that features on rides like Lightning Rod and Wildfire for their ground up designs whereas the “Ibox" track design would be used on conversions of pre-existing wooden coasters. So this was the first use of Ibox track for a ground up model. At opening, Zadra would break the records set by Steel Vengeance for the tallest and fastest Hybrid coaster by a whopping 1 FOOT and 1MPH. Zadra will lose the record for fastest when Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa opens (also by 1mph!!) and will see its height record matched by the new Florida hyper hybrid. It will also lose the record it shares with Steel Vengeance for steepest drop (90 degree) on a hybrid when Iron Gwazi opens by 1 degree!! Zadra initially was going to open at the park in 2020. However, as a result of it being completed ahead of schedule, the park was able to open it at the end of August 2019. This is even more impressive given a portion of the structure was blown over in a storm during its construction!!
Heading to Zadra/ Dragon Zone
Zadra is located at the very back of the park in the new expanded area the park has built into. So on entering Energylandia and walking through what could best be described as a glorified fun fair, you will find an underpass to take you to the other side of the road and into “Dragon zone" (or Dragon Castle) and you will find a new Medieval themed village with a few stores and eateries with Zadra towering above the lot of it on the right hand side. This area is charming enough with its audio (featuring an appearance from Hall Of The Mountain King!!) and the odd show going on. This area also features two family coasters and a kiddy flat ride. To get to the star attraction, you will walk through the entirety of this themed area where you will then find the entrance to Zadra on the right.
There has been a lot of enthusiasts who have visited the park and cried blue murder over the sheer length of Zadras physical queue line and I can now safely say, they are not unjustified in their comments!!. I have ridden many coasters in my time and not once have I found a coaster that has a queue of such a ridiculous length to walk through than what Zadra takes to navigate. Coupled with the fact there are NO short cuts whatsoever to cut off some of the queue, you WILL have to deal with this walk every single time you ride Zadra. This massively hurts the rides reliability unless you are as fit as a fiddle and just enjoy walking for a ridiculous amount of time. The queue takes 7-10 minutes to navigate and I kid you not, equates to half a mile worth of walking when you convert steps into mile. It also does not help when theres a fair few stairs to climb up and down to get to the ride aswell. So yes. I would advise getting fit before heading out to ride this thing However!! Whilst the queue is insanely long, it is relatively aesthetically pleasing on the eye with the medieval style walls in certain places and also allows for some wonderful views of the coaster. So this is a big positive for those who enjoy video taking and photography.
So after finally reaching the station buidling for Zadra, you will be faced with the locker area. Energylandia offers a fairly decent locker set up in where you pay around the same as £1 and you are given a wristband for all day lockers. You will scan your wristband and then you will be allocated a locker to store bags and loose belongings in. The lockers are double sided so you will collect your belongings from the other side of the wall on exiting the ride. No belongings are allowed to be left in the station.
On placing your items in your locker, you will climb the stairs and head to be batched. Zadra (as well as Hyperion) uses a pretty neat loading system where there are four screens which count down the amount of riders who can go through into the station. One screen is for the front row line. Another screen is for single riders and two more screens are for the rest of the train. Once the counter shows theres seats for you, you will go through to board the coaster. A tip if you want the back row. Try to make sure you get yourself in a position where you are in front of the door to the station and as soon as it opens, make a beeline for the back. You can NOT request a row from my experience whilst in the station. Depending on what mood Energylandia are in, they will run it on one or two trains. So if you are wanting the front row, be aware that you will be waiting a long time if they opt to run it on one given the length of the coaster.
Operations on Zadra was very bizarre on my visit. They opened on one train and then when the queue got longer it put a second on but then half an hour later, they took the second off when the queue went back down. Then the real “what the hell!!?” moment came later on where one hour before closing, they swapped trains around which wasted well over 15 minutes of my time. Its also worth noting that if the ride is walk on, they will wait until the train is near full until they send it. So abandon any hope of a “zen ride" on it before going to ride!! A part of me feels the train swap I mentioned earlier was a way of building the queue up a little.
So after all the effort it took to get to this point, it is now time to head into the nicely styled station of Zadra and board the train. Zadra ofcourse uses the standard RMC trains so you will be greeted with the usual policy of fasten your seatbelt but let the operator put the bar down. Although on my rides, the staff insisted on doing the seatbelt aswell. The trains feature the standard RMC restraints of a lapbar and a pair of shin guards. As I have mentioned previously with my reviews on the other RMC coasters, these restraints cause me personally no bother at all. However, if you are a larger rider or have larger legs then they can cause major discomfort. Its also worth noting that the shinguards on Zadra are slightly thicker than the ones on Untamed and Steel Vengeance. So be aware of this if you found the restraints on those two painful. The operators on my visit also seemed to be hell bent on causing me as much pain as possible. As in, literally slamming the restaint down on me and trying to put it as far down as possible. Compared to how I was treated on Steel Vengeance and Untamed, this left a very sour taste in my mouth. Hopefully in future visits, this wont be the case.
The coaster itself
After being given the clearance to dispatch, you are on your way!!. The train glides out of the station and dips down to the right before latching onto the loud (the mark of a Hyper Hybrid lift hill!!) 206 foot lift hill. Ascending this hill, you are greeted with some amazing views of the area around you. With the local countryside to the right and front of you and the new Dragon zone area to the left. You also will get some views of the all new Aqualantis area.
The train ascends this lift hill at a quick speed and sooner than you think, you reach the top and hit the 200 plus foot vertical drop!! This drop is a pure and utter stunner!! You are raised out of your seat the whole way down regardless of where you sit and as it drops into the wooden structure, it creates one hell of a head chopper moment. This drop feels exactly the same as that on Steel Vengeance in terms of the physical sensation but given the head chopper at the bottom, this rides drop just about edges that on big Steve!!
Speeding through the woodwork, you will turn slightly to the right over a small speed hill where the camera for your onride photo is to the right. This speed hill is then followed by the highlight of the coaster. At a massive 76mph, you will bank upwards aggressively to the left in a massive turn around before levelling up at the top before plummeting back down to ground level. This element is an amazing combo of intensity and airtime. As you bank upwards, you are right on your side feeling grey out level of force and when you hit the top and drop down you get a beautiful sustainted pop of ejector airtime. This is the absolute show stealer on Zadra. On exiting this element, the train will shoot up into the Zero G Stall and boy is this a cracker of an inversion. You enter and exit the element at a great speed and experience some stunning hangtime. The height of this element also adds to that hangtime sensation massively. The best inversion on the coaster.
Still travelling at a breakneck pace, the train then sharply turns left into its outwards airtime hill which sharply throws riders from right to left before navigating some turns before hitting the massive airtime hill. This airtime hill is utterly brilliant. Going through it offers a good mix of ejector and floater airtime and is a good solid intense moment.
Following this, the train shoots up into its second inversion which is a Zero G Roll in the middle of the wooden structure. It takes this element at a quick pace and coupled with the rider being surrounded with the structure, it is a real disorientating element and offers great headchoppers. Yet another great element.
Speeding out the structure, the train shoots through a double down element which offers two pops of solid ejector which feels like shades of the Untamed and Steel Vengeance airtime. The ride will then race through an S turn which throws the rider around even more before it enters a very fastly taken Zero G Roll before turning to the left and into the very aggressive breaks. Brace yourself for these breaks as you will be lunged right forward into your restraint. Let the speed it hits the breaks at tell you how fast this coaster navigates its 1316 metres of track!!. The ride then heads back into the station and you are free to exit and ride again!!....if you really want to make that walk again that is!!
Zadra is incredible. Absolutely incredible.
Whilst I do not think Energylandia is a particularly great park (for now!!) Thanks largely to its glorified fun fair feel, they have absolutely struck gold with Zadra. Zadra is a perfect mix of intensity,airtime,hangtime,speed and transitions. Loads of people have been dismissive of the airtime on Zadra by watching POV videos of it but let me tell you that the airtime on this should not be underestimated. It is not all about the airtime like what Untamed is but my lord it still has some strong moments of it.
What makes Zadra great to me is its use of speed throughout the whole course. It really does not lose any steam from drop to breaks and of anything, it could have gone on much longer if it wanted to with the speed it hits the breaks at. It really is paced wonderfully and has a flawless layout.
Surprisingly, I found the front row of this coaster to be the best row on it. With Untamed and Steel Vengeance, I go for the back but on Zadra, I found the front to be where its at. You still get a good drop there and you feel the speed and airtime very well in the front. The back row however gives one heck of a pull over the drop and over the massive turnaround element. So both rows definitely excel over the other in some regards.
The million pound question when Zadra came around was “is this going to be the Steel Vengeance killer?”. In my own personal opinion, the answer to that is no as Steel Vengeance has all of whats great about Zadra AND Untamed in one package. The extra 30 plus seconds on Steel Vengeance also makes a massive difference to me. It is not a Steel Vengeance killer AND I am even going to say it is not even an Untamed killer in my book. I personally am an airtime guy over intensity and whilst as I mentioned previously that Zadra has some has some real good airtime, it is nowhere near what you get on Steel Vengeance and Untamed. I also feel Untamed takes its inversions better than Zadra as well as having the better airtime. So I just give Untamed the edge over Zadra. If however you love intensity,speed and forces over tons of airtime then Zadra absolutely will be your favourite of the RMC coasters.
The other negative as I mentioned earlier is that the rerideabillity of Zadra is greatly harmed by the excessive length of the queue. Even if you love riding a coaster over and over, its just so hard to motivate yourself to walk all the way back round Zadra to do so.
That being said, Zadra is a stunning coaster and takes its place at number 3 on my top coaster list. It really is a great coaster from start to finish and once again showcases that RMC are the top dog in the coaster industry. Please get yourself out there to ride it whenever you can and you will not be disappointed in this absolute masterpiece.