2012 could easily be called the year of the B+M wing rider (although it's the Chinese it's the year of the Dragon) what with The Swarm at Thorpe Park, and several others either opening or under construction around the world. That would make Gardaland's world first in 2011 a preview of forthcoming attractions.

Given the name of this site I've got to say how this compares to The Swarm. Having ridden both only a few weeks apart I'm in a good position to do this. To put it simply Raptor comes close to wiping the floor with The Swarm. It wasn't any struggle to conclude this, as this is easily the better ride.

To start with it embraces the wing rider seats gimmick, where you sit on wings sticking out the edge of the track instead of over it, a lot more than The Swarm. After this I realized there are parts of The Swarm where the gimmick is redundant, it could be a normal coaster. Here though the whole ride consists of near misses with the scenery, and even a few collisions with some of the water features.

Even as just a strait up coaster comparison this one still wins out, as it felt a lot faster and more thrilling, feeling a lot more out of control as it tore around the track. Whether this is because it's had more time to break in, or it's just designed to run faster I can't say yet, but even if The Swarm picked up speed the superior track design means Raptor will always be the better coaster.

While most of Gardaland's rides are good, but on a level I could take or leave, this one shines out as a world class attraction. Unless they get another major ride this will always be my main reason to visit Gardaland.