Alexander: ¡Buenos Dias!
Welcome back to CCCK’s ACE South of the Border coverage!
Today things kick into high-gear with one of Mexico’s most sought-after roller coaster destinations: Guadalajara’s Selva Mágica!
– Over the years, many of our images have popped up on other sites and forums, awesome that our coverage spreads, not so awesome that not everyone mentioned where they got the images from. We are totally fine with our audience using our images, BUT ONLY IF credit is given to cabincrewcoasterkings.com. Thank you! –
The pièce de résistance at Selva Mágica is Bullet, which greets guests as they enter the park.
Selva Mágica is the amusement park component of a larger complex that also features the Guadalajara Zoo.
Mexican parks have jumped on the VR bandwagon about as swiftly as U.S. parks. I’ve done about 5 or 6 VR experiences and frankly I’m burned out on the concept.
Selva Mágica held a wonderful reception and exclusive ride time for us!
Here’s a gander at the lay of the land.
A quick plaque dedication before we commence ERT on Titan.
Since Titan is the park’s VR coaster, we were grateful to have it as our ERT ride. Everyone got to enjoy the ride au naturel for an hr before the general public arrived to clog up operations with VR.
Titan is a very unique ride. It is the oldest operating roller coaster by Japanese roller coaster firm Sansei Yusoki Co. (Now S&S Sansei).
Titan began its life in 1973 as Sky Streak at Canada’s Boblo Island Amusement Park. It entertained locals of southern Ontario and the greater Detroit area until the park’s closure in 1993.
Selva Mágica quickly purchased the large out-and-back steelie and opened in in 1994.
Titan features numerous airtime hills along its perfectly symmetrical, paperclip-shaped layout. Its trains and overall execution are remarkably wooden-coaster-like.
There’s this extended straightaway towards the end. It’s long enough that you can really take the time to sit and think why it is they added such a long piece of nothing.
Here’s a picture of two cool rides! Sadly neither of them will open for us.
Tornado is Selva Mágica’s Jet Star II. It began its life as Glissade at Busch Gardens Williamsburg before coming to Mexico, where it ran at La Féria Chapultepec Mágico before coming to Selva Mágica. Unfortunately the park is having some operational problems with the ride and its future is unknown.
Between Tornado and Titan is Jubilé, Selva’s Pinfair Zyklon.
If you’ve ever been to Morey’s Piers, you may recognize this as a clone of Rollie’s Coaster.
ACErs found what joy they could in Jubilé despite its shoulder harnesses and cramped trains.
Rounding out the coaster collection is a Zierer Tivoli coaster called Catarina, which is Spanish for “ladybug”.
As the name would imply, the signature Tivoli ladybug trains are present.
Rounding out the major rides at Selva Mágica is their beautiful and very old-looking log flume. It provides a scenic drift below a canopy of pink, flowering trees before taking riders on an incline to the flume’s only drop.
After riding the flume I got word that Bullet (which was scheduled to open later that day) had valleyed! However we were assured that this happens every so often and that it shouldn’t effect the ride’s opening.
Sacré bleu! It’s true! Bullet is saddled between the loop and the far spike! How do you suppose they fix it?? They said this isn’t an uncommon thing so I guess we’ll just come back later and see what’s up.
Before Bullet came to town, easily the most unique feature of Selva Mágica was Alicia.
Who is Alicia, you ask?
Well, apparently, Alicia is some kind of walk-thru attraction!
An entry anchored in Alicia’s golden locks reveals a mouth! and teeth! and a big, squishy tongue!
Through Alicia’s mouth we find the uvula, the esophagus, and the rib cage! Here heart and lungs are on the left.
As you make your way down to Alicia’s abdomen, a very important discovery is made!
Just like a sugary breakfast cereal or a box of Cracker Jack, Alicia has a prize inside! It begs the question where the male walk-thru attraction is that knocked her up!
Explorers exit Alicia through the most natural means possible: between her legs!
Exiting Alicia deposits you in the kiddie area of the park. Kinda makes sense, seeing as Alicia basically just gave birth to you. You’re now a kid again.
You can tell Alicia is from a bygone era. Her outfit looks like a 1969 Sears ad.
Alright! Let’s see what the prognosis is on Bullet.
As you can see, the far spike on Bullet has a catch car that can be lowered to assist a stalled train.
The catch car slowly approaches the train and is then manually clamped onto the chassis.
Thanks to this simple electric winch system, the train has now begun its (extremely) gradual ascent to the top of the rear spike.
The process is slow enough that it’s hard to tell if the train is moving unless you stare for a moment.
As Bullet slowly made its way up, I learned that the stall-out was due to the drive tires struggling to push the train up the spike far enough to provide the momentum necessary to clear the loop.
ACErs and other parkgoers took notice of the peculiar display. Frequenters of Selva Mágica were no doubt aware this was not an ordinary occurrence.
Other rides enticed visitors from nearby, but I was glued to Bullet’s winch saga. The Mondial Supernova ride seen here will have to wait!
As the train began its steeper stretch of incline I wondered just how far it would climb before the catch car released.
About where the train straightens out on the spike is how far the train goes under normal circumstances.
Today the winch pulls the train to the very top; the topmost track of the spike is used only for this exact scenario.
Not much further now!
I see you shiver with antici…
The catch car releases the train and it hurtles down the spike, blasting through the drive tires with a smelly, black cloud of burnt rubber.
The train clears the loop and returns to the station! A test run is initiated; the drive tires cooperate and the ride completes its circuit. A second test is also successful! The ride then opens to the public!
I was one of 4 ACErs camped out under Bullet watching the events of its stalling unfold. Once the catch car released, the roar of Bullet‘s train clearing the loop had ACErs running to the scene like cats answering the call of a can opener.
I rode Bullet 7 times. Three times in the front row, plus a ride in the other four cars. The ride is ferocious in a way that rides on a traditional Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop cannot prepare you for.
It is a beautiful, beautiful piece of machinery. It’s not the most reliable at this point, but it’s definitely beautiful.
After its first 4 successful dispatches, Bullet spent another half hour or so closed for a technical reset.
Rendell and our fearless leader Alex in the front row!
The clearances on this thing are unbelievable. The shoulder restraints do double-duty of keeping you upright amidst Bullet’s barrage of lateral forces and keeping your arms out of harm’s way. A hands-up ride on Bullet with no harness could probably nip your hand off at the wrist as you dive under the station.
To provide the necessary banking for take-off, Bullet’s station is remarkably twisty. The front two cars lean to the right, the back cars to the left.
Bullet was originally built to run a 7-car train. Based on our rides today, it’s plain to see that a 7 car train would probably give a ride more aggressive than desirable.
In fact, only a fraction of Bullet‘s life was spent with a 7 car train. Prior to its late 2013 debut in Guadalajara, Bullet ran a 5 car train from 1991 to 2005 — its years at Flamingoland in England.
Flamingoland and Selva Mágica are Bullet’s third and fourth homes (and countries of residence), respectively. The one-of-a-kind Schwarzkopf was built specifically for the famous Wiener Prater in Vienna, Austria, where it was called Wiener Looping (Vienna Looping). The ride’s peculiar shape comes from the boxy plot of land available for Schwarzkopf to work with, and while the ride was ultimately a success, its noise level kept it from opening at its namesake location.
The ride then spent an unspecified amount of time at Florida’s defunct Boardwalk and Baseball amusement park in the mid-80’s (where it ran under the Wiener Looping title despite no general understanding of the ride’s name on a local level) before moving to Flamingoland.
Selva Mágica’s diligence with keeping this exquisite gem operational is a monumental feat of roller coaster preservation, hence ACE’s great desire to visit and showcase this wonderful park.
After a rocky start and years of uncertainty, Bullet‘s future in Guadalajara looks bright!
If you love any of Anton Schwarzkopf’s creations, put Selva Mágica on your bucket list. (For you SoCal fans of Montezooma’s Revenge and Revolution, it’s not even that far away! It’s your next closest Schwarzkopf looper geographically, so get on it!)
Adios, Selva Mágica! Auf Wiedersehen, Wiener Looping! You were truly magical!
And so ends our Guadalajara adventure! Join us next time as we take on the major (and miniature) regional parks of Mexico City! More Schwarzkopfs and more surprises await!
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