Hero - 2013 Zamperla Volare located at Flamingo Land, North Yorkshire UK.
Hero definitely has to be the one coaster which has been hailed by many enthusiasts over the years since it first opened back in 2013 as one of the worst coasters here in the UK.
This superhero themed ride which I can only best liken to being put in a toast rack and thrown around a track has quickly earned the title as one of the most painful rides in the UK as well as the worst.
The reason we say this is for the experience you receive when riding it!
You would very likely find it less painful to get in a washing machine, strap yourself in and run it on full than you would do to ride this ride!
Too harsh? Well not really and as sad as we are to admit it we don’t really feel that this ride has much of a long term future at the park as we know very well we’re not the only ones out there who feel this way.
Hero replaced the old wild mouse coaster and was set to give riders a thrilling and unique experience (definitely met the unique part) when it opened.
The ride’s manufacturer Zamperla had previously opened 8 other rides of it’s kind across the world making the Volare an already well established ride type, however when it came to the flying aspect it was clear that B&M’s Flying Coasters (aka. Manta and Air – Now Galactica) were far superior in every way offering a much more comfortable ride experience overall.
Unique Rotating Lift Hill
The Volare (a more budget version of the flying coaster concept) features a very distinctive and unique rotating lift hill mechanism catching the ride vehicle with a rotating paddle and then hoisting the vehicle upwards in a circular spiral before reaching the top and descending into a very tight and compact layout on it’s way back to the station.
The ride usually occupies a small footprint, features extremely tight banked turns (Ouch!!!) and includes 2 heart line rolls (again OUCH!!!) as it heads back to the station.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the concept definitely had potential and as a rule this ride type is a very good idea when it comes to providing the same Galactica style experience at a far more affordable price tag to smaller more independent parks, however the main fault for us lies in the design of the car in which you are placed.
It’s clear that the cage design isn’t the most comfortable ride car concept as it features next to no room for freedom whilst enjoying (using that term loosely) the experience.
For those who have yet to ride this coaster type you basically have to step up into the car whilst it moves along the station concourse.
After doing so the back of the car (cage) closes securing you with no real amount of movement room being left.
The other issue also lies in the fact that when you move through the ‘inversions’ you also have to hold on for dear life! This is due to the fact you feel as though you will fall onto the back of the cage behind you!
This alone is usually enough to put us off (even though there is no way you’re going to fall out of the car believe us!) however the rest of the experience is definitely not the most pleasant of sorts either.
Now let’s talk about the themeing (or lack of) and the overall idea behind the ride.
This is really the only thing the coaster has going for it.
Let’s be honest here! The idea of flying is something we have all imagined ourselves doing at some point in our lives!
This therefore remains the main draw for new riders wanting to experience that feeling, however what you actually get is by far the complete opposite (Toast rack track)!
The only ‘themeing’ the ride really has is a collection of metal building silhouettes in the queue line and an interesting soundtrack (although we really wouldn’t call it that as it’s more like sound effects playing in a loop).
Overall there is really no supportive material that makes it clear that the ride has a theme other than the name and logo which is reminiscent of a comic book logo therefore pointing towards the ‘Hero’ theme.
According to RCDB the coaster reaches a top height of 50 ft, a top speed of 26 mph and has a total length of 1,282 ft whilst reaching total G’s of up to 3.3 G’s throughout the ride.
As mentioned previously the ride concept clearly had potential, however given the fact we have ridden this numerous times over the years (and it never gets any better believe us!) it just doesn’t really give for an authentic flying experience!
We can definitely see the ride eventually leaving the park in favour of another compact replacement in the years to ahead (although whether that would be another coaster or flat ride we’re unsure.)
"Flying Toast rack!!"
There are those however that would argue the complete opposite to us when it comes to their experience of the ride!
It is probably fair to say that this particular ride is the coaster equivalent to Marmite!
You will either love it or hate it! There really is no in between!
Overall we definitely encourage anyone who hasn’t experienced this ride yet to give it a try at least once!
Please bear in mind that these are our opinions only and do not reflect the general consensus, however that being said there is also the every chance you will come off this ride feeling like you have just stepped out of a tumble dryer!!
Therefore hop on board and try Hero for yourself!! Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.