So Adam has once again beaten me to starting up the massive Trip Report, but hey, you know what they say, first the worst, second the best...
Once again, we went for a nice 8 day long road trip, hitting up some new parks and some old parks with new stuff. Day 1 was the wonderful French park Parc Bagatelle...
Bagatelle is about an hour away from Calais (which is where we were conveniently staying after arriving by ferry at 2am), and a reasonably straightforward drive. The set up to get into the park is weird, with the car park being one side of a road, and then you have to go through a bland tunnel and security check to get to the main turnstiles and entrance of the park. It's all very dull and you basically just stumble into the park.
Pretty much our main reason for visiting the park was to try out Triops - a Vekoma inverted boomerang, which also happens to be the first one made (though it's moved about a few times). So once the park opened, we headed over there, only to find a flimsy chain and a small A4 sign saying that area of the park didn't open till 11am. Whoops.
After meandering around for a bit, we headed to Gaz Express, a Soquet (nope, no idea either) mine train which looks very Vekoma. It's partially set around a pond, featuring waterfalls and splash-down-esque features, has 2 random fire effects and a random indoor section (with a very cool fountain!). The lap bar restraints were also very concerning to look at, as they featured a large divider right where a gentlemen's groin area should go - any airtime would stop me from having children to say the least.. Fortunately, there was no airtime, and the ride itself was enjoyable enough!
With it still being before 11, we opted to do the park's dodgems, Trafic Jam. Thee are by far the craziest dodgems I've done; the cards skid and drift, go fast, anything goes, and you got a really long cycle (felt like a good few minutes). Couple that along with the French just don't seem to car who they ram, it made a great ride!
11am came, and Triops wasn't open. So we joined the queue for the park's nearby spinning wild mouse (also scheduled to open at 11), Famous Jack, but, somewhat unsurprisingly that wasn't open either. After 15 minutes in the queue, we gave up, and saw Triops testing and got over to it just as it opened. Yay. It wasn't as awful as I was expecting, in fact the cobra roll was surprisingly smooth, yet intense whilst going forward. The vertical loop was horrid though, and the whole ride going backwards wasn't great. So in other words, it wasn't awful, but it's far from great.
Some more meandering around the park's boundary eventually took us to the pirate ship, the 'Bag Pearl'. Unlike all other pirate ships I've done, the tire only drove the ride one way, meaning the ride took twice as long, leaving my stomach feeling a bit lost. It had a nice setting though, next to a lake, and nice enough theming.
After doing their water slide and having some lunch at a canteen-style restaurant (which was alright bar the fact the glass pot my custard came for dessert was chipped), we did some of the water rides. The park has 2 log flumes, one really random one at the park's edge, giving a lovely view of a basketball court, and another decent one that gets you nicely wet. Neither were memorable enough for me to waste space on my phone to take a photo though.. We also did the park's rapids, which featuring a fun whirlpool element, and some good spots of theming...but not a lot else.
After doing the park's car driving ride and some other general rubbish, it was back to the creds, doing Kidz Coaster (a Wacky Worm) and Spirale Express (another Soquel coaster, but a more junior variety, featuring a random sideways turn of fun). Spirale was a bit of surprise, and the Wacky Worm was a Wacky Worm. We did some more general junk that the park offers, including a monorail that shows you less than Safari Skyway did, and then headed to the back of the park again to do what we missed out on earlier...
Famous Jack ended up being my first spinning wild mouse. And to be honest, it was great fun. I literally got tossed, turned and spun in every direction and it was just a bit mad. Sure, it was uncomfortable at parts and I wanted it to be over sooner rather than later, but I can't deny I didn't enjoy it.
We then did the neighbouring Eccentric Bikes, a side attraction where you can ride bikes with off-centre wheels, flat tyres and more around a circuit. It was a good laugh, and also nice to finally experience what the Broncho Bikes at Thorpe might have been like all those years ago...
The last major ride to do was Silver Wings, the park's new thing for 2017, a Zamperla Air Race. It suits the park well, has some nice theming, and adds nicely to the line up. Hopefully the park can continue to add investments like this.
Each arm is named SW1, SW2,...,SW6. The geeks in us all enjoyed this.
The neighbouring restaurant.
After some re-rides, we ended the day at Cine Dynamik, which was a simulator. We knew nothing of the story, and once we got in the building, we were greeted by a giant clown face, florescent paint and a general wacky atmosphere. This seemed good. We then walked past a pre-show area (which a building layout saw suggested was once used to hand out 3D glasses), and entered the simulator. The story ended up being about you being shrunk to small size, and entering the human body as part a vaccine. Oh. Then the simulator ended up being HORRID, very jerky and generally just awful, and made us all feel dreadful. I guess the film has been changed recently, but it is genuinely the worst thing at the park and should be burnt down.
So yeah, all in all, Bagatelle was as I expected really. It's a small park that has the odd flash and good things, the odd general wacky European feel and a lot of generic rubbish. But it was a nice enough day out, got a few coasters for the count, and was a nice easy day for the road trip.
We headed back to Calais and had a nose around the local area. We ended up finding a nice little place which did pub grub and had fab service. After that, we then went back to our dingy hotel (it genuinely looked like a prison on the outside, but was fine on the inside), played some pool, then had a reasonably early night to prepare us for Day 2, featuring Plopsaland de Panne...