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Shambhala (roller coaster)

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Shambhala logo.jpg
Shambala & Dragon Khan2.jpg
Shambhala (white) and Dragon Khan (red)
PortAventura Park
Park sectionChina
Coordinates41°05′05″N 1°09′23″E / 41.08472°N 1.15639°E / 41.08472; 1.15639Coordinates: 41°05′05″N 1°09′23″E / 41.08472°N 1.15639°E / 41.08472; 1.15639
Opening date12 May 2012 (2012-05-12)
General statistics
ManufacturerBolliger & Mabillard
ModelHyper Coaster
Lift/launch systemChain lift hill
Height76 m (249 ft)
Drop78 m (256 ft)
Length1,564 m (5,131 ft)
Speed134 km/h (83 mph)
Max vertical angle77.4°
Capacity1,680 riders per hour
Height restriction55 in (140 cm)
Trains3 trains with 8 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 32 riders per train.
Shambhala at RCDB
Pictures of Shambhala at RCDB

Shambhala: Expedición al Himalaya is a steel hypercoaster roller coaster located at PortAventura Park in Salou and Vilaseca, Spain.[1] Manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, it was the tallest (78 metres (256 ft)) and fastest hypercoaster (134 kilometres per hour (83 mph)) in Europe until Hyperion opened at Energylandia in Poland on 14 July 2018. It also has the second longest drop of any roller coaster in the continent (78 metres (256 ft)). The height record was beaten in April 2017 by Red Force, which was also opened in PortAventura World's new theme park Ferrari Land, this coaster reaches a height of 112 metres (367 ft).[2] Shambhala is named and themed after the inaccessible land in the Himalayas: Shambhala. It was announced to the public on 24 October 2011, and opened to the public on 12 May 2012.


Rumors that PortAventura World would be investing in a new Bolliger & Mabillard Flying Coaster or Dive Coaster roller coaster emerged in late 2010.[3] In May 2011, speculation that the park was planning to build a hypercoaster that would pass over Dragon Khan arose. Land clearing also began in the summer of 2011.[3] Shambhala was announced to the public on 24 October 2011; the layout of the roller coaster was leaked 2 days earlier.[4][5] The last piece of track was installed in mid-April 2012 following a signing event and the placement of the several country flags on the track.[6] Testing of the ride began in the same month.[7] Following the completion of testing, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on 12 May 2012 before opening to the public the same day.[1][8] Over 300 workers from countries such as Germany, France, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and United States of America took part in the construction of Shambhala.[6]

At the time of opening, the roller coaster held records for tallest, longest drop, and fastest hypercoaster in Europe, though all three records have since been surpassed by Hyperion at Energylandia. These records were held by Silver Star at Europa-Park prior to Shambhala's opening.[4][9][10][11][12]

Ride experience[edit]

Shambhala's splashdown

After departing from the station, the train makes a 90 degree turn to the right, then begins to climb the 76-metre (249 ft) tall chain lift hill. Once the train reaches the top of the lift, the train drops back down to the ground at a 77.4 degree angle reaching speeds of up to 134 kilometres per hour (83 mph) as it passes through a tunnel and races past the drop off Dragon Khan's midcourse brakes. Following the first drop, the train then makes a slight left turn into the first of five camelback hills before dropping again and entering a figure-8-like helix. On the return trip, the train goes over a small hill; at the same time, passing through a trim brake. Immediately after, the train enters the second camelback hill, followed by a slight left turn, then crossing under Dragon Khan's first drop to enter a splashdown element. The splashdown is followed by another set of camelback hills, one of which crosses over Dragon Khan's lift hill. Following these hills, the train passes through the mid-course brake run. Finally, after making a banked downward left turn, the train passes over the final camelback hill before entering the final brake run leading directly back to the station where the next riders board.[13] One cycle of the ride lasts about three minutes.[1]


Video of Shambhala's first drop


Shambhala operates with three steel and fiberglass trains. Each train has eight cars with two rows that seat two riders each for a total of 32 riders per train; each seat has its own individual lap-bar restraint. This configuration allows the ride to achieve a theoretical hourly capacity of 1,680 riders per hour. Riders also experience up to 3.8 times the force of gravity.[1] The structure of the trains are colored gold and cyan, the lap bar restraints are cyan, and the seats are black.[14]


The steel track of Shambhala is approximately 1,564 metres (5,131 ft) long, the height of the lift is 76 metres (249 ft), and covers an area of about 14,000 m2.[1][8] The roller coaster has no inversions though it does feature five camelback hills, each at least 20 metres (66 ft) tall, a splashdown, and inclined figure eight element.[4][13][14]

Including the supports, the total weight of the roller coaster is approximately 1,600 tonnes (1,600 long tons; 1,800 short tons).[8] 4,000 m3 of cement was used for the foundations that hold up the supports and some are as deep as 18 metres (59 ft).[8] The track is white with cyan rails while the supports are grey.[14]


Shambhala's station

Inspired by both Nicholas Roerich stories and the Kingdom of Bhutan, Shambhala is named and themed around the story that within the Himalayas there is a lost world (Shambhala) that is impossible to access and is the source of happiness. As guests walk through the themed queue and board the train, they go on an expedition to find this land.[7][8]

The roller coaster is located in the China section of PortAventura Park.[15]


Following the opening of Shambhala, Kirmes & Parks magazine named the roller coaster as the best European attraction introduced in 2012.[9] Patrick Purcell from Mirror said that the roller coaster lived up to its hype and that, "It is also one of the smoothest roller coasters I've encountered."[16] Sophie Castle from Travel Channel UK praised the height of Shambhala and said that, "Shambhala is definitely an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed."[17] Ethan Williams from the Daily Mail gave the roller coaster a five out of five for its speed, surprise factor, and fear factor. He also liked the amount of airtime the roller coaster gave.[18] In 2013, Shambhala was featured on Travel Channel's television series Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.[19]

The ride appeared in Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards for the first time in 2018 placing 45th in the top 50 steel roller coasters category.[20]

Golden Ticket Awards: Top steel Roller Coasters
Year 2018
Ranking 45[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Marden, Duane. "Shambhala  (Port Aventura)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  2. ^ Marden, Duane. "Red Force  (Ferrari Land (Salou, Tarragona, Spain))". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Screamscape (PortAventura)". Archived from the original on 23 January 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  4. ^ a b c MacDonald, Brady (25 October 2011). "PortAventura to debut Europe's tallest coaster in 2012". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Photo Shambhala - 2012 Port Aventura Attraction". Parks & Attractions Community. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Spain already has Europe's highest roller coaster" (PDF). PortAventura. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Shambhala Ride". PortAventura. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Shambhala, the highest roller coaster in Europe, opens in PortAventura" (PDF). PortAventura. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  9. ^ a b "The EAS recognizes the success of the PortAventura's model in Europe" (PDF). PortAventura. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  10. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roller Coaster Drop Records In Europe". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  11. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roller Coaster Speed Records In Europe". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  12. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roller Coaster Height Records In Europe". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Shambhala POV PortAventura 2012 B&M Roller Coaster OnRide". themeparkreviewTPR (YouTube). 12 May 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  14. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "Shambhala: Expedición al Himalaya  (PortAventura)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  15. ^ "PortAventura China". PortAventura. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  16. ^ Purcell, Patrick (27 June 2012). "Strap yourself in for a video of PortAventura's new Shambhala roller coaster". Mirror. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  17. ^ Castle, Sophie (July 2012). "The Highest Roller Coaster in Europe Opens in PortAventura". Travel Channel UK. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  18. ^ Williams, Ethan (5 April 2013). "Don't look down! Europe's best rip-roaring rollercoasters, by Ethan the expert, aged ten". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  19. ^ MacDonald, Brady (5 June 2013). "'Insane Coaster Wars' takes thrill riders on a virtual world tour". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Amusement Today – Golden Ticket Awards 2018" (PDF). Amusement Today. 22 (6.2): 10. September 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  21. ^ "2018 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 22 (6.2): 45. September 2018. Retrieved 22 September 2018.