2 years. A lot can happen in that time, and for me that has involved a baby. So that has also meant 2 years without theme park trips (unfortunately a 2021/22 New Years Trip to Europa Park got spited by Covid rules changing) and it's been a interesting time.
So behold a trip report to Chessie. My first theme park many a year ago, felt only right to continue such a rite of passage to my own spawn who will be forced to endure terrible football (already done) and varying quality theme pa
Back again with more definitive decisions on whatever I've visited over this year. And it's been a VERY busy year, with trips far and wide (as far as the Netherlands at least), as once again Europe called to me on a much more regular basis than anywhere in the UK. Indeed, I only visited Towers once, and only because I would've been upset with that red dot on my Coaster-Count profile. Perhaps next year I'll look to complete the leftovers of the UK.
How does one define 60 odd park visits into one
The most important* awards are here! It’s been one hell of a year for me, and as a result rather than review things on a whole (it would take a very, very long time to go through each park) I’d prefer to just give out awards to the best and worst rides and parks I’ve experienced this year. So let’s get cracking:
Best Park – Efteling (Honourable Mentions – Phantasialand, Europa Park)
I fell completely in love with Efteling this year, everything that I want parks to do oozes from the place. It s
Day 13 – Return of the Macks Part 1
A bright and early morning led us down to a nice breakfast before the 8:30 ERT on Blue Fire.
Afterwards we decided to hang around and wait for Arthur to open, however when we did get to the entrance it was having issues and was playing the closed game. As a result we went back to Austria and did Alpenexpress and the Wildwasserbahn for the Cave of fantastic smells before a quick whirl on the Chairswings
Heading back and Arthur was o
Another park that’s changed a bit since my previous visit, what with Plopsa getting their hands on it recently, Holiday Park would serve as our penultimate park purely because it was easier to head down to Europa Park afterwards. We turned up to find it rather empty and a sign stating that the Spinning Barrels and Holly’s Autofahrt would both be spiting us. Was only when I returned I realised what had actually happened with the Barrel ride, grim.
We dossed around in the Museum for a bit looki
To celebrate my birthday there was only one park out of all the ones we visited that made sense to visit in the area we were in, and that was of course, Legoland Germany. With German MAP in hand, we headed in, though their gate organisation is a bit burdenous, as you have to use certain gates if you have a MAP, but this is a lottery when you’ve never visited before and you can’t see the signs to direct you when the main gate is down.
The opening ceremony was cute though, with the Ollie the Dr
Our start to the day did not go well. On our way to Tripsdrill, there was bountiful traffic on our motorway exit, which delayed us by an hour, arriving at the park just after 10 when the thrill rides opened instead of the 9am arrival time hoped for.
As a result, the first ride of the day was Karacho, Smiler’s German lapbar wearing cousin who’s actually still not finished at all (and won’t be fully completed till at least next year). So this was to be an interesting one anyway, as people are
Another day, another park, but this park was more of a stop-over to break up the monotony of driving all the way to Stuttgart. The original plan was to actually hit up the Nurburgring, however once Ring Racer was confirmed as spited, Klotten was chosen as the park of cred run.
Whilst it is in the middle of nowhere, it cannot be argued that the location on the mountainside with valleys all around is pretty amazing.
The first port of call was Heisse Fahrt, the Gerstlauer Bobsled. I’ve alwa
The second day at Phantasialand started similarly to the first, parking in the China car park and straight off to Black Mamba. A front row ride was in order since it was unlikely another chance would raise its head, front rows are very useful wake-up calls.
Over to Wuze Town, and as Fear was having the morning off, Winjas Force was ridden, followed by another go on Tittle Tattle Tree. We then rode lots of the new Wuze Town stuff that has been added over the years, starting with the Monora
Day 7 – Phantastic Part 1
My last visit to Phantasialand was 6 years ago, which in some cases doesn’t tend to mean a whole lot has changed. However, here, pretty much every single area had something different about it, be it from an addition of some flat rides in Wuze Town, to replacing some tatty old Flumes, or in several cases, the rides simply don’t exist anymore. Lots of change, but would I still like the park?
We parked in the China car park (due to limited space, there are several car pa
Movie Park Germany was the park of the day, having been a stone’s throw from it the day before, so it was a bit weird to drive to it for a second day in a row.
Upon arrival I grew frustrated by the park not opening up the turnstiles prior to the official opening, mostly due to the lack of space available to the large crowd building up outside and the low number of actual turnstiles available. Does annoy me greatly when they could instead let people into the park, get some early sales from a c
We were done with Hamburg, so today was a day of driving as we headed to our next base of operations in Dortmund. We decided that because there wasn’t much option of things to do in Dortmund as we were staying in a soulless industrial estate and Dortmund isn’t known for having much in the way of touristy stuff (Football stadium aside, but it had a game on that if I’d known about I would’ve gone to), we would visit Schloss Beck instead to pass a few hours.
Schloss Beck is a tiny little park a st
Another day and this time it was off to the first random small park of the trip in Serengeti Park, which is Germany’s version of West Midlands Safari Park. But this one had two fantastic attractions which were worth the entrance fee alone.
Unlike everyone else visiting, we weren’t doing the safari portion of the park, as a hire car and an animal safari would probably not combine well in my mind, so we walked into the ride area to find absolutely nothing open. Presumably because they assume th
Ah Heide, the weird red-headed step-child of the Merlin machine from my last visit, with its strange mixture of music and atmosphere seemingly stolen from other parks. It lured me back with the prospect of completing the European B&M collection (of course, until Garda and Efteling’s ones open next year), and an attempt to ride Colossos again to see if I can actually like it.
First thing was first though, and that was to collect our German MAPs. The reasons for this were for the free entry
The first day proper of the trip led us to Hansa Park, a place which I really enjoyed on my previous visit 3 years ago. Unfortunately, not much has really changed to the park overall since my last visit aside from the entrance area being tarted up. But when you have one of the best Eurofighters around (potential damning with faint praise comments here), that sits in my top 10, of course a revisit was in order.
Upon arrival a group of enthusiasts were spotted, evidenced by their gooniforms a
I’m already regretting this decision for a massive 2 week holiday featuring 12 parks, mainly because this is gonna be a long as hell TR, and I don’t want to spend ALL my time at work typing it up either. But, the show must go on, so here we go, Germany.
A pleasant flight in with Germanwings (budget Lufthansa) led us to Hamburg and our Volkswagen Polo for the fortnight, and we drove off to the hotel. Quickly it was discovered that roadworks would be the bane of the holiday, as the Sat-Nav’s path
Helix, Liseberg and Mack’s 2014 project has been at the forefront of many an enthusiast’s mind during the past year or so. With Blue Fire being reasonably rated by the community, hopes were high for Helix when it was announced. Two launches, multiple inversions, a terrain based layout and the odd airtime hill meant that this ride was ticking all the right boxes for enthusiasts around the world.
The real proof though, was in the pudding of actually riding it. And this is a more detailed review o
Day 2 – Parque Warner
Here was a park I was rather excited about, with 2 B&Ms, a Vekoma GIB and some gorgeously themed areas, how could I not be?
The journey to the park was slightly longer than the other, purely because it’s seemingly in the middle of absolutely nowhere, so first step was get the Metro:
Then the RENFE train to Pinto:
Then a bus straight to the park entrance:
Rather simple in the end, who needs to spend lots on hire cars?
My excitement also truly got the better o
Day 1 – Parque de Attractiones
After a late evening flight and a taxi to a hotel, Madrid’s parks beckoned. This trip was mainly done as a “Benin wants to get all open European B&Ms this year” trip, and it also combined with a birthday. So it happened.
After a morning of searching for a McDonalds that became sadly fruitless (and McMuffin-less), we hopped upon the Metro (of which a 3 day unlimited pass on all transit options costs €35) towards Batan station, where Parque de Attractiones live
Day 3 – Walygator Parc
So the final day led us to Walygator, more known for its financial issues and random 2nd hand B&M than for being any good, and we were heading there for their first operational day of the season!
However, the day certainly started poorly as the tickets you pre-book online through the website CANNOT be picked up on park.
You have two options, pick it up at random shops dotted about the country (none near where we were though), or delivered to home. But NOT at the p
Day 2 – Nigloland
To say that Nigloland is in the middle of nowhere would be quite the understatement, with the signs telling you the park is Xkm away, and no visible sign of it until you are literally on the local village’s doorstep. The village itself is on the park’s doorstep itself, with some front gardens literally a road and hill away from the actual entrance building.
The way the park is accessed feels slightly Towers like, with country roads, a small village and a descent into a giant
Day 1 – Parc Saint Paul
A rather early morning of 3am was the choice made to venture to a selection of rather un-known French parks, and after a McDonald’s service station breakfast and a quick jaunt on the Eurotunnel we were firing down the French motorway with not a care in the world.
Unfortunately, disaster would strike us. We began to hear noises from the car, and decided to pull over on the hard shoulder to investigate. After some initial checks, we agreed to move the car forward slightly
The final day on park started with a character breakfast, as Pardoes did lots of interaction at an extremely peaceful level never seen at Disney. Once again our first port of call was Vogel Rok with 2 straight goes on the front before having to move back. Burdenous people!
And again like the day before, Joris was our next venture. We got there slightly before it was due to open, so I watched the engineers play around with the sensors on Flying Dutchman. Upon opening we got 4 goes, in
The day started with turning on the TV and watching the Making of Documentary Efteling did for Joris, because it’s never too early to be a goon. After some breakfast it was time to join the queue of people waiting for ERT on the poorly laid-out paving slabs.
You had one job!
Eventually let in, we headed straight to Vogel Rok for some back row times, and since it was completely empty, hopped on again further up the train because we could.
We quickly moved on as it was nearly ope
What better way to spend the UK closed season than by visiting a park that doesn’t close? Goodbye depressing Merlin situations and hello Efteling, who certainly are the opposite end of the ownership scale, what with being owned by a non-for-profit organisation who happily throw €42 million on a show.
So a blustery Saturday morning greeted us, with a flight to remember as the winds took hold of our plane throughout, providing an intense experience I never wish to repeat again in my life.