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Tuesday, April 09, 2013 | This article is listed in the sections Amusement parks, Magazine and Interviews.

Parkscout introduces: Bloggercoaster

As we all know, there are, besides us, tons of other amusement park and roller coaster enthusiasts out there in the world-wide-web cosmos. Reason enough for us to interview Xavi Rodríguez from Barcelona. He travels, under the name Jivo, through about every amusement park of the world and extensively informs about these on his website Bloggercoaster.com. We value Xavi as an exceedingly interesting dialogue partner because hardly anyone else could have been in a position to speak about the current situation the Spanish amusement parks are facing right now.

"Bloggercoaster" Xavi Rodríguez at Wiener Prater
Parkscout: How and when did the concept of your website Bloggercoaster.com originate and when did your enthusiasm for amusement parks grow?

Xavi Rodríguez: I started the projekt of Bloggercoaster almost three years ago. I took notice of a few blogs where information and relevant news could be aquired, and that caught my attention (especially ParquePlaza), but none of these informed about the parks in a more personal and subjective way. Then I decided to publish the experience acquired in recent years on a blog where opinions are posted in a friendly and personal manner. My enthusiasm for parks grew after visiting Amsterdam in 2007, when I got the chance to visit Wallibi Holland and experience the quality of Goliath. As of that moment, I realised that there is more than 'just' PortAventura and I felt the need to search, investigate and visit parks that held plenty of pleasant surprises in store for me.

Parkscout: Your lovely designed cartoons and graphics, that refer to various themes introduced on your website, are particularly creative and one of your trademarks. Did you make them with your own two hands?

Xavi Rodríguez: Exactly, each and every one of them. Actually, I am a drawer and I use my blog as a platform to promote my work, although there isn't much demand for drawers in Spain right now – which is too bad :(. My graphics also leave a personal and sympathic touch and I think they're more appealing.

Xavis cartoons are quite some eye-catchers
Parkscout: You provide a counter on your website that informs your users about the parks you've already visited. What park is at the very top of your to-do-list?

Xavi Rodríguez: Well, right now I have 3 in mind and thankfully this year I'm going to visit them: Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, World Joyland in China and Happy Valley in Beijing and Shangai. I'd also very much like to spend a day at Six Flags Magic Mountain or Tokyo Disney Sea … but later, I hope.

Parkscout: What amuseumt park do you like most and why this one in particular?

Xavi Rodríguez: Sure thing: Europa Park. It's perfect. Its work, management, customer service, level of detail regarding the theming, amount of rides and coasters, quality philosophy and the perfect model of family-run business. Absolutely fantastic, and on top of that, it's only 2 hours away by plane, allowing me to visit it on many occasions. I remember the first time I left thinking: "The only thing missing in this park is a woodie". Years later, they built Wodan. They are authentic geniuses, they exceed the highest demands of the market.

Parkscout: What is your opinion on the actual situation in the Spanish leisure sector: Do the amusement parks suffer under the financial crisis in Spain?

Xavi Rodríguez: Yes, very much so. In the course of only 5 years, practically all amusement parks charge between 5 and 20% more for one single ticket. This reveals a poor expenditure management. They have put up the prices of food, merchandising and hotels, too. When visiting one park within two consecutive years, visitors suddenly pay way more for the same or even less number of attractions. The crisis also has led to mass redundancies, first in hidden sectors, such as maintenance, catering and outside services, and later in cleaning, show, security and ride supervisory staff. These circumstances have led to a loss of quality, maintenance, cleanness, security … all of that makes visitors think twice about coming back in the running season.

Posing in front of "Poseidon" at Europa-Park
Parkscout: Speaking of finances. If we are not mistaken you visited 19 amusement parks in your country and abroad last year. You seem to have lots of time and sufficient money. How can you finance this hobby?

Xavi Rodríguez: Simple but true: I have a rather peculiar working schedule. I work in a customer telephone service of a well-known bank at night, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. So I've got more or less 5 days off. I spent these visiting other countries, thanks to lowcost airlines, for 3 or 4 days (perfect time frame in view of amusement parks). Since I cannot go to parties on weekends (you know that bar-hopping and night-clubbing is some kind of a national sport here in Spain), I don't waste money in clubs, on drinks and eating out at restaurants. I don't smoke, I don't drink and I don't have a car either, so much of what I earn I spend for my living and the rest for travelling. My only vice: travelling in order to visit, at best, as many parks as possible. Saving money is the key.

© parkscout/AF

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