This past week, I hit up a few European parks in search of some new creds, and to go back to some places I enjoyed last year. Just thought I'd throw in a few thoughts from my visits...
Plopsaland de Panne
Went here last year, and had a lot of fun. With Heidi originally planned to open July 1st, we decided to return for some wooden coaster goodness. Alas, it wasn't meant to be as
Heidi Spiti is too loud at the moment, and sound barriers are still being constructed.
Looks like a fab little coaster, and I'm sure when it opens - and is fully themed - it will be a great addition to the park!
Also new since my last visit was the gigantic castle housing a restaurant a teacups:
For what it houses, it's pretty insane. The level of detail and the sheer scale of this is completely unnecessary for a restaurant and teacups. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come in the future from the park, but one can't help but wonder if the investment would have been better placed elsewhere in the park.
I had hoped to try out a few more attractions we missed out on last due to closures (namely their starflyer, Disko and The Bat; their random suspended coasters). Unfortunately, both the starflyer and Bat were closed, despite being listed as open on the park's website. A bit disappointing, but nothing major. Their disko was open though and has a nice, lengthy cycle, and is nicely themed.
The true highlight of Plopsaland though is Anubis:
This Gerstlauer rolling launch had a lot to live up to after I ranked it so well last time. Fortunately it still delivered. The exit from the launch is a bit rougher than I remember, but otherwise this is a solid coaster, with a very punchy launch, pops of airtime and a nice bit of intensity blended it a brilliant 'older family' coaster.
Actually, I don't have much else to add (for longer review, see my trip last year: http://forum.maniahub.com/blogs/entry/693-belgerand-day-1-plopsaland-de-panne/
Walibi Belgium was a weird one last year. We visited on a very busy day (thanks school trips!) and arrived over an hour late to the park (thanks Brussels traffic!). We managed to get most things done, but it was all a bit of a rush. It wasn't a park I was dying to go back to, but it fit in nicely in the trip as a last day, was a chance to get the Boomerang cred I missed out, and also do their weird-looking new coaster, Pulsar.
Speaking of Pulsar, that's where I'll start. For those who don't know, it's a shuttle coaster featuring 3 launches (2 backwards, 1 forwards) gradually increasing to 62mph and a small airtime hill. On, and one Tidal Wave sized splash. It's one of those coasters where all sensible thought said it'd be naff, but I just felt like it could be great fun. And you know what? It's fun. The launches are both fun and a little bit punchy (and great with lap bars), the airtime is alright, and the splash gets you wet. How wet does depend on where you sit - the back leaves you rather soaked, the sides wet and the inside sprayed. Front row was blocked off due to loads of water spilling into those seats during the ride - hopefully that's an issue Mack can correct soon!
Geeky techy specs were about too
The turntable system for loading (meaning the coaster has 2 cars) is really clever, and it means that one car is ready to go before the other has even finished. No doubt this is thanks to Mack's brilliant engineering and clever way of locking and checking restraints. This meant the queue was really quick moving and it must get a really good throughput (I believe they're aiming for 800ish and I can see them reaching that easily!). The turntable was the cause of a couple of breakdowns during the day, but I imagine these issues will be ironed out with time.
The combination of the ride experience, theming, slight story and music means that Walibi are onto a real winner with this attraction. It feels different enough to their other shuttle coasters, and is a great family attraction. Hopefully we see more of these pop up across the world!
Another cred for the list was Cobra, a Vekoma boomerang:
It was rough, awkwardly intense and just not a fun ride. So glad I didn't waste 20 minutes of my life queueing for it last year.
I won't really bore you with the rest of my trip. The park was very quiet (longest we queued for anything was about 10 minutes for Psyke Underground), so we managed to get everything done, and some rerides of some stuff. My opinions haven't changed much from last year (see here - http://forum.maniahub.com/blogs/entry/699-belgerand-day-3-walibi-beglium/ ). Would like to add that I still enjoyed Werewolf, despite now having done other woodies, though naturally not as much as my first ride.
Something I'd just like to throw out there was the atmosphere of the park. With generic chart music everywhere (except Pulsar pretty much), a few rowdy guests who seemingly would never follow instructions (people standing up on their extremely rapid rapids rather dangerously) and the like, the atmosphere felt a bit dull and meh. A bit of a shame, especially since last year's visit was overall much nicer despite the large crowds.
I feel as though I've properly 'done' Walibi Belgium now. With Pulsar, Psyke and Werewolf, they've got 3 coasters I enjoy, and the likes of drop tower Dalton Terror and madhouse La Palais du Genie are fun rides, but there's just not enough to entice me back any time soon. Not a bad thing of course, it's a nice enough park, just nothing all that special.
Next time, a new-for-me park: Walibi Holland, featuring Lost Gravity and Goliath...