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Gazza last won the day on August 15 2022

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  1. SeaWorld Orlando https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/seaworld-orlando I bookended my time in Orlando at SeaWorld, with an night time visit on the day I arrived (Due to late trading for their Christmas event) as well as a visit in the daytime before I caught my afternoon flight on the last day. The last time I was at SeaWorld Manta was fairly new, and they had just announced the construction of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. The latter was a ride I had been interested in, but 2020 saw it's closure, so it was a case of seeing the full lifecycle of a ride without ever getting to ride it. That all said I finally got to ride another trackless ride using the same system, Ice Age at Genting Skyworlds so it was all good in the end. So what's new. Pipeline: The Surf Coaster Obviously was going to start off here! New for 2022, this is a really fun take on the stand up coaster. Aside from the gimmick of the launch it features open style surfboard themed trains, with a new harness system B&M has patented. Normally on standups you slide the backrest/harness up and down, and it is locked in at that height before dispatch. If you have it too high, you can knackerate yourself. However on pipeline, the seat is still able to move +/- 10cm after locking, allowing for extra movement during the ride. It's not too loose though, it's kind of similar in resistance to a Smiths machine at the gym. And it is this movement which makes the ride loads of fun. Anytime there is airtime, or even a quick transition, your seat lifts up wether you like it or not, which really emphasises the movements. You can even try to squat a bit before the hills and get bonus lift off. The ride is mostly fast banked turns, with a couple of hills and a big corkscrew thrown in for good measure, so its perhaps the most stereotypically B&M looking layout ever, but the turns are forceful, and there is one twist right at the end that really catches you off guard and lifts you up. Wouldn't mind seeing more of these built. Ice Breaker The other (currently) launch coaster is Ice Breaker, sort of a spicy compact version of a Mega Lite style ride, with a few small airtime hills, twists, couple of stengel dives. Could even draw comparisons with Maverick, though no inversions. Feels like an enthusiasts no limits project, and thats no bad thing! It's not about raw stats its about interesting forces and elements. The launch is a multi pass much like Steel Taipan, though it's 4 launches since it starts off backwards. In addition, the inclines at each end are double ups, so on each pass you get a pop of airtime, before the floater on the spike. Overall, a fun zippy ride, especially if you like compact coasters with quick twists. Mako Orlando finally gets a hypercoaster. This is one of the better B&M hypers, with sustained floating airtime on every hill, and I mean sustained, as in a few seconds worth. And I guess it comes down to what you prefer. B&M does longer lasting airtime that is less strong. Intamins/Macks is more powerful but over quicker, as is the reality of the physics. A decent first drop leads into a flat section over the water which fakes you out a bit (instinctively you expect to immediately start climbing again) before a huge overbank, huge floater hill (best one on the ride), hammerhead turn, another floater hill (where the trims hit), followed by a bunch of smaller hills, some of which near miss with the main supports. The last bit of the ride is inside the main park boundary, with a nice panoramic turn by the main lake and an s bend up into the brakes. Visually it's mixed. The station has an interesting shipwreck theme, and the front bit of the coaster that goes around the ride entry plaza has had the columns themed with coral growing on it. The back half of the ride is around an artificial lake, so not necessarily the most visually stimulating environment, and it doesnt help the station looks right out onto the park boneyard. Night time is probably the best ride experience, nothing like soaring through the cool night air. Infinity Falls So in 2018 SW put in some rapids (Orlando has plenty of them), with a drop (yep seen that too), and a vertical lift (Legoland and Phantasialand say hi), and whenever I saw photos of it, I always thought they had gone a bit tooooo abstract with this metal structure next to a drop, certainly looked very SeaWorld. Just another rapids? But the marketing gimmicks are a distraction, holy shit is legitimately the worlds best rapids ride, purely because of how well it does the rapids part. The video below from Intamin sums it up, there are literally sections with 1m high bunny hops of water you go over....waayyy bigger than those waves you get on other rapids where there are logs under the water creating a bit of a wave. The ride would be brutally wet with a fully loaded raft. Meanwhile I rode solo at 9pm at night, so managed to miss every wave. Would love to try it again on proper stinking hot day. There's also a great bit of trickery where the the water goes down a small drop and then flows uphill. Again just watch the video. The theming looked nice, it was all your usual jungle and artificial rockwork, but there were accents of fluro colours and modern materials, reminiscent of gear you get from Kathmandu/BCF/Anaconda. Another nice touch was the soundtrack, with drums etc reaching a crecendo on the intense bits as you approached drops and waves, really building the tension. I made sure I did Manta again, never ridden it at night. Kraken was closed for maintenance, and I was happy to skip over Journey to Atlantis. I should give a shout out to the Sesame Street land they built to replace Shamu's Happy Harbour, beautifully themed! SeaWorld is really doubling down on being about coasters rather than Shamu, and the park actually has one of the 'highest average' coaster collections anywhere, looking forward to seeing how Penguin Trek turns out.
  2. Volcano Bay https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/volcano-bay A couple of weeks ago I finally got to visit Volcano Bay in Orlando. Got a pretty good run at the place, the weather was rainy, but it was also warm and humid, and the water is kept at a perfect temperature, which was fine for this South East Queenslander. The net result was a dead park, and walk ons for almost everything. I was in and out in about 4 hours, and that was with re-rides, a lap to take some photos and mucking around to have lunch. Entry to the park is a bit of a pain in the arse if park hopping. You have to walk right to the back of the car park, where they have built a bus station, for shuttles to the park. Nothing screams tropical getaway like this? IDK maybe they could have built a shutte train from Citywalk itself and called it the Pineapple Express or something? But they make up for it when you arrive because its legitimately one of the nicest park entries anywhere. Overall impressions, has one of the most impressive slide line ups anywhere, and I guess what sets them apart is they are typically much longer than other installs. This means much longer climbs to the top, but it also means you get quite a lengthy ride every time. Theming is nice and has been beautifully styled, but for me it's still fundamentally a water park, just with all the signs and handrails etc better themed than usual. None of the slides really had any additional theming or SFX on them. There were lots of nice details to spot if you keep your eyes peeled. Most of the technical wizardly is reserved for the various interative Tapu Tapu things you can activate with your RFID wristband. This ranged from interactive fountains to underwater features, right through to light shows in a cool little walkthrough hidden inside the volcano. This wristband is also used to make ride reservations, though given the non existent crowds it went unnoticed, though you still tap in on each ride, so i guess they get super accurate guest flow statistics! The Punga Racers Body Slides and the 'normal' lazy river Kopiko Wai were closed for annual maintenance but I didn't really care, and of course the Runamukka Reef (get it? run amok) is just for the kids. Onto the slides. Ohno and Ohya drop slides Drop slides that finish a few meters above the pool, with some nice waterfalls. Fun to watch and quite attractive. The nicest feature was the interative kids pool next door with big spinning fountains that would throw water in a giant spiral pattern. Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides I'll get my one moan out of the way early. Yes there are a couple of attractions with catchy sounding names, and I can see they were trying to keep to the theme with these tribal sounding words, but for most of the rides the names they have are just not memorable. Which of these slides was Maku and which was Puihi? I dunno? It's not like something such as "Perfect Storm" or "Mammoth Falls" or "Summit Plummet" where at least its kind of fun and catchy and gives you an idea of what the ride might be like. I guess thats why they have given them captions like "Round Raft Rides", anhow, whinge over. The one that is the big saucer type slide is actually pretty good, even if the saucer is a visual gimmick, since this was quite a fast slide and you rode up on the walls a fair bit on the turns. The double tornado slide is the 36ft model, so its Smaller than the 45ft Tornado at Adventure Park Geelong, but bigger than the 24ft Tantrum Alley at at Raging Waters Sydney. Despite this, it might as well been as rough as the 24ft ones, but didn't really have all the extra turns and helices that come with it, so it felt quite short, but also lacked the signature tornado airtime. ehhh. Te Awa - The Fearless River This is a high speed lazy river, so fast in fact you have to wear a life jacket, which you'd never see in Aus lol. This was great, its fun to power swim along, and there are some big waves, including a huge surge of water that gets released periodically, and happened to go off right as i was in front of the inlet. Woosh! Waturi Beach Bit of a miss. Looks great, but the waves are definitely underpowered. Typhoon Lagoon reigns supreme as the best wave pool in Orlando. I did like how they had a spinning dial on a tower that would rotate to show a wave icon when the waves came on. Taniwah Tubes Take the Temple of Huey from WWW and make it 3x higher and this is what you get. What is also nice is the way rafts have a conveyor, which land on a mezzanine below the start deck. So you only have to carry your raft one flight of stairs, and there is none of that muck around with queuing separately at the bottom for a raft. Another minor grumble, all 4 slides were running and had water going down them, but they only had 2 of 4 open, and yeah they are pretty similar, but one had this intense looking double helix I wanted to try and of course that was the one that was not available and they weren't rotating. The green one was standard raft slide stuff, but the blue ones had a bit more kick, with Proslides Explosion Curves, which are like their take on the constrictor, so you got a little head spin on each helix. Krakatau Aqua Coaster Again, like Supertubes at WWW if you made it several times longer. Im not normally that big on water coaster type slides, because to be honest straight gentle drops in a raft just aren't all that thrilling (though the uphill slighty bumpy LIM launches are fun). I guess i just prefer slides that wash you around a bit and feel out of control. Give me a tornado or a wave any day. These slides just repeat the same trick over and over. Somehow, my head was just at the right height to get hit by every single sprayer that wets the surface, so the whole time I'm squinting trying to avoid chlorinated mist in my eyes. The one big thumbs up I'll give this is the completely over the top theming of the station and the beautiful landscaping around the first couple of drops. Why did they do such massive safety fences? They almost treat it like a real roller coaster in terms of safety. Ko'okiri Body Plunge The biggest and baddest, it's a straight trapdoor drop from the very top of the volcano. This has the fun gimmick of transparent sections a the top, and again at the bottom where the slide passes through a swimming pool, so people can swim right up and apparently watch as you shoot past. Aaaand of course you get water in your face the whole time so can't really see much, and half the drop is in darkness so perhaps you lose the sense of speed a bit. Gave it a couple of goes because that intial trap door release is still pretty cool. The bit passing through the pool is nice on paper, but doesn't really work in practice because physics. If you keep your head above water and try to look at the tube the refraction of light means you end up seeing shimmering instead, though if you put your head underwater and open your eyes then yeah you can see a split second splatter when the rider goes past. Kala & Ta Nui Serpentine Body Slides Also from the top of the Volcano are a couple of turbo tunnel slides with trapdoors (again only 1 was open). This was the only ride where I was given a return time (The whole of 10 mins). The climb up the Volcano is very cool, with the staircase zig zagging through the tangle of slides and supports. The ride down has a bit less water in your face and consists of several very fast turns, so you cover a lot of slide in short space of time. Only did this one once. Honu ika Moana - Turtle & Whale A couple more decent family raft slides. Again with the naming, the blue slide is apparently the Turtle and the green one is Whale, so try and figure that one out. The Green one is mammoth type slide, without any gimmicks, and you know what it was legitmatley one of the best slides the park, it was long, it was fast, you got good wall time, and the straights in between actually work well because they give the rafts a chance to wash around. The double tornado wave is really good too. These rides are heaps of fun to begin with, but having the 2nd drop following from the first is a bit of genius because you get this scary moment where it feels like you could go airborne. Of course its all highly calculated and you get two big airtime moments. Worth a couple rides, especially if you can get a fully loaded raft. Overall, yes I'd recommend the place, especially if you have a multi day ticket to Universal since if you get bored you can go sit on Hagrids or Velocicoaster for the rest of the day. The slides are all mostly better versions of your favourites.
  3. You say that, but when the Helensvale extension opened, total system usage went up by a long way, from memory the Helensvale tram leg gets double the passenger numbers as the bus routes it replaced, so clearly people are voting with their feet, even if it involves having to change. If the service was objectively worse, you would see Patronage going downwards In terms of the tram extension to Oxenford, I think you would want more of a entertainment, precinct and longer trading hours at the parks, or else the extension would be dead after 6pm. Either that or do some rezoning around the eastern bits of Studio Village and entertainment road to get more housing in the catchment.
  4. And heres the balance. Jardin D'Acclimation https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/jardin-dacclimatation Right in the middle of Paris, it's part of a large public park, part of which historically has been used for amusement rides. A very attractive park, and reminded me in spirit of Tivoli Gardens, just a lot more spread out and less emphasis on concerts and restaurants. Lots of nice old buildings, lakes and manicured gardens. Loved speed rockets, one of the best family coasters out there, with a fun zippy layout. Their family spinner is good too. Nigloland https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/nigloland I've heard this described as a mini Europa Park and its true, not just because most of the rides are Mack, but just because of how nice the park looks, how spotless it is and how good operations are. Their mega lite type coaster Alpina Blitz is the sort of thing you can ride all arvo, and their water coaster actually gets the coaster part right with a decent level of force. The African boat ride with the "spraying' hippo was a laugh. Their indoor rides are good...Spatiale experience has quite a long track, and their ghost train has none of that small park tackiness. Must do park imo. By the way, a few behind the scenes pics of Alpina Blitz in the gallery too. Walygator Parc https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/walygator-parc The city of Metz is gorgeous, but the park was meh and a mixed bag. Their 2nd hand B&M invert is good, and a couple of bits of the park have been recently rethemed, but large bits of it are run down. OK Corral https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/ok-corral A cheesy wild west park near Marseille, with a couple of interesting coasters. Pioneer has half the train straddling horses and the back half riding in normal seats in a chuck wagon. Their family shuttle coaster is not a dead end shuttle but a full loop. So instead of going backwards forward backwards, you actually go backwards forwards forwards backwards. Huge range of flats, some look tacky, others like the bear themed Disko thing look 10/10. Parc Saint Paul https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/parc-saint-paul Actually a pleasant surprise. An amusement park with a couple of parts with good theming. Like OK corral a few of the flats look tacky, but on the whole the park is nice. Their compact Timber Express coaster is great fun and worth many rides. Also got to ride the Russian built Wild Train coaster, which is pretty wild for a family coaster and looks like it was designed by a NoLimits rookie. Le Pal https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/le-pal Superb. The rides area in itself would be a solid park in its own right, with good themed zones, but the zoo is really high quality, up there with Dubbo western plains zoo imo. Has a Mack spinner, a very intense family launch coaster named Yukon quad. They actually had to reduce the launch speed after it first opened but it's still more full on than Jet rescue, and 1km long! Finally got to ride a huss king kong, it was about as intense as a lift in an office building. The mushroom themed shooting dark ride was bizzare. Check the pics if you want to see behind the scenes of Yukon Quad Naturlandia https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/naturlandia Adventure park in the mountains of the principality of Andorra. Has ziplines and ropes courses but the draw is Tobotronc, the worlds longest alpine coaster 5400m long, 400m elevation change, 15 mins to the top via 4 lift hills, 5 mins to the bottom. And those 5 mins are a workout, simultaneously hunkering down pushing on the levers and leaning into the turns. Once was enough!
  5. Here are a few more galleries from my visit to France earlier in the year. I’m heading away again on Friday so I’ll have a bit of time in transit to write some trip reports to go with all these. Walibi Belgium https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/walibi-belgium Went here last minute towards the end of my trip as a day trip via high speed train from Paris to Brussels. Actually a good park. Konda is 10/10 and feels like a spiritual successor to DC rivals. The Mack powersplash Pulsar is legitimately good. And their bobsled Tiki Waka had great theming that reminded me of crash bandicoots style. Walibi Rhone Alpes https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/walibi-rhone-alpes Biggest little park in the world, and a really attractive place. Has a good variety of attractions, the difference is everything is scaled down a bit, but still a lot of fun, particularly Mystic and Timber. Remains to be seen if their new Intamin hot racer is smoother than Big Dipper Parc Spirou https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/parc-spirou-provence Not a big park, and lacking in shade. Main thing I wanted to ride is their rollerball coaster, which is like a non flipping version of a zac spin. It broke down after I rode it, so the visit wasn’t wasted. Also had a few simulators, which did have quite funny films. The level of finish didn’t quite match other parks, it felt like a lot of it was slapped together from bunnings (or whatever the French equivalent is) Vulcania https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/vulcania Science museum with a roller coaster really. The quad bike coaster Namazu is quite good, maybe slightly less intense than Jet Rescue, and nicely integrated into the hilly landscape, plus a well themed drop track. Got to go behind the scenes The rest of the park has doco films on big screens, simulators of varying quality, plus a decent trackless dark ride about cultures that worship volcanoes. Wave Island https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/wave-island A quick hit here since it was across the road from Parc Spirou. Has a lot of stuff from Polin. Enormous freefall slides, an 8 lane racer, and a few raft slides (3 of which used master blaster sections) The feel was kind of this beach shack feel, and in this case the ‘slapped together’ style kinda worked and made it feel really laid back. Futuroscope https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/futuroscope Frances answer to Epcot, but the pavilions look cooler from the outside. The park opened with a number of screen based attractions in a quantity that would make Universal blush. Many of these have been switched out over the years, so many buildings are empty. The Intamin spinner Objectif mars looked visually sharp, but the ride experience was middle of the road and the dark ride section didn’t gel for me. On the other hand, Chasseurs du Tornades is the best simulator ive done, with a huge rotating platform in the eye of the storm, with heaps of wind and fog. The rabbids dark ride was LOL worthy, other things like the Robocoaster and flying theatre were solid too. More to come…..
  6. Hagrids has a 122cm limit, New Vekoma family coasters (Eg Big Bear Mountain) have a 100cm height limit, so they are different markets.
  7. You'd be mad to sell Knotts. It's the ultimate piggyback attraction to Disneyland and makes good money. Don't know why it matters if you have two parks under the same ownership nearby...How is it different to WBMW & SW, or Thorpe & Chessington, or Busch Tampa and SW Orlando.
  8. With Sliding Sleighs is that yeah its a kiddy coaster, but because the theming is better and it's part enclosed that naturally will draw interest from older visitors who perhaps wouldn't have considered it. I totally skipped Barnstormer at MK because you can see the whole thing and it's just a regular kiddy coaster, but certainly adult visitors could be fooled into thinking Sliding Sleighs is another Grizzy Mountain type ride and might perceive it to be a D ticket or better. I think in the long term it may end up being oversubscribed. And yeah it's a bit short, it's like 25 seconds from top of lift to brakes, versus almost a minute and a half on Slinky Dog Dash. I feel they could have done a 2nd lift, same intensity level but padded the ride out a bit.
  9. Parc Asterix Featuring Toutatis - 2/6/23 https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/parc-asterix Aside from Disney, if you’re a theme park fan in France you’ll probably want to visit Parc Asterix, about 60km north of Paris. This year seemed like a good time to visit with the debut of Toutatis, which was being massively promoted on billboards throughout the Metro system in Paris. It’s a great, but very busy part, that does a fine job of combining impressive rides (and there are heaps) with good theming. If you only have a day you can use their Filotomatix express pass option, and they also sell 1 shot passes too. The website suggests you need to download an app to use Filotomatix, which becomes an embuggerance because the app isnt available to non French Google/Apple accounts, however in the end you dont need to worry because you can use the system through a browser. The throughput on rides is good, but because the park is so popular it can get long lines. I did get a fair bit done from 10am till 7pm. Onto the rides. Tonnere 2 Zeus This ride feels like a distant relative to Ghostrider, fast paced and wild, though this one was revamped by Gravity Group rather than GCI. It also has a backwards row like on Leviathan, no charge and no real extra wait but I skipped over since they can be a bit much on a bumpy ride. The layout is good, first drop into a tunnel, a few hills and a double down with plenty of air. Highlights included a 90 degree banked hill (essentially half of a high 5 element) and a helix towards the end of the ride. OzIris Really good, with a layout that is more interesting than your average invert. Seemed to climb and dive much more steeply, so good variation between near misses at ground level/sense of speed, and flying high. Starts with a steep first drop that nests into the terrain a little, before whipping up into a dive loop, then an overbanked turn and a loop. After the loop it did something unusual where the track kept going downhill (imagine the first inversion on Viper SFMM in reverse), picking up speed through a tunnel, before an immelmann. Then comes another overbank turn and steep drop into a tunnel that goes ‘underwater’. The ride finishes in double, with a zero g roll, and an elevated helix, then a drop, another zero g roll behind the station (with a cool near miss with the edge of the building), and finally a forceful ground hugging helix. Overall, a dynamic ride! Goudurix Gout du Risque, the ‘taste of danger’. A bit of worry going into this one, since it's often regarded as one of the worlds worst coasters, but I found it on par with other Vekoma loopers (Like Blue Hawk at SFOG) and SLCs of the same age. Does have some real bumps at the bottoms of loops however. Features an interesting Butterfly element which is like a really disorientating pair of inverted top hats, a butterfly loop, and a classic double corkscrew (RIP Sea Viper) Menhir Express Mack log flume with a cool coaster style drop partway through. The station and splashdown area is really well themed, but most of the course is industrial style troughs and a couple of ‘sheds’ , so a mixed bag. Trace du Hourra Awesome fun. I love bobsleds, and this one is enormous, with quite long drops, and helices, including a few that get tighter as you go downhill, increasing the force. Bobsleds are thrilling in their own way because they do feel pretty out of control, so when you pick up speed you get this sense of nervousness…Is it going too fast for this turn coming up? Capacity is great too, they had multiple trains running and could get them loaded in under 30 seconds. Romus Et Rapidus Ok rapids ride. The station is well themed, but it mostly seems quite open and surrounded by grass and the huge holding pond, so felt a bit underwhelming thematically compared to the rest of the park. Managed to stay dry until a damn rouge wave came in through the side and got me right at the end. Pegase Express Cool concept. Mixed execution. The ride is a lot like Firechaser Express at Dollywood, with forwards and backwards portions. The ride is themed like an ancient greek rail network, where you ride through the sky on a pegasus. The station has hilarious station theming, with a departure board showing some strange destinations for trains. Starts with a gentle launch out of the elevated station, helix, drop, and finally the main lift hill. The main coaster has a series of rolling hills and turns, over the top of the rapids, its like a family version of ‘hyper coaster’ in terms of style. Its a bit plain and open like the rapids ride, especially since you are running along the edge of the car park. There’s a good diving drop through a billboard, and you come around into an enclosed dead end show building themed like a temple. Good idea for a theme, but it looks weird sitting up on unthemed stilts. The door closes behind you, and a projection mapped head of medusa comes to life and in a fit of rage, blows you out the temple backwards. From there, more hill and turns back to the station (quite a long backward section) till you reach the track switch at the end and return to the station. Oxygenarium This is a family raft slide, but with a fully sealed boat so you can ride it fully clothed. You wont get wet at all. The theming is fun, with huge oversized air pipes coiling around, and the sound of droning air blowers in the station. The lift conveyor has plenty of theming, with whirling gizmos, and enclosed tunnels with electrical arc effects and giant cables. The slide down is fairly short, felt shorter than mammoth falls, but foam pads on the slide cause the bottom of the raft to grip on one side, causing a bit of spinning. It all concludes with a helix, which you get a nice view of in the queue. The final splashdown leads to a slow, gentle drift back to the station. SOS Numerobis Run of the mill Zierer kiddy coaster. Le Carousel du Cesar Went on here intending to get in the giant Obelix, other passengers beat me to it, so I had to settle for a horse. Epidemaïs Croisière Quite a long tow boat ride through various static scenes from Asterix. I think this would have been one of the earlier rides at the park, and I guess you'd have to have a real appreciation for the comics to 'get' it. Vol D’Icare This is good. Design wise, it reminded me of a cross between a standard family coaster, and one of those Gerstlauer bobsled coasters, so lots of quick turns, sharp drops and so on. The vehicles are nicely themed as winged baskets, truly representing the flight of Icarus, and the ride itself is well themed too, surrounded by Greek ruins. Discobelix I was told this had a good effect of a flaming cauldron at one end, but sadly this was switched off first thing the morning. The station looks good, with the disko seemingly ripping through and knocking out columns. Le Defi De Cesar Oh boy, a madhouse, I love these. I think operations were pared back 'due to covid' and never fully reinstated, since it had several preshows, but on my ride they just took us in through the exit, did the ride, and out the same way. Either that or they plan to close it in the near future. Was a walk on compared to many other busier attractions. The story is that you have been recruited to Cesar's army, and are being sent out on a warship. The ride chamber is elaborately themed to represent this, with windows containing screens so you can see whats going on outside. You set off from the port, encouter Asterix and Obelix, and your ship is sunk, and this is where the ride starts tumbling around. I liked it, it was a creative way of doing a madhouse beyond the usual "the room is magic and turning upside down" type storyline. La Rivière d'Elis Pleasant little onion boat ride through some gardens, with quite an elaborate stone mountain as the centerpiece. Always amazes me to see minor rides like this in Europe with theming budgets bigger than some of our local major rides. Main basse sur la Joconde (Hands off the Mona Lisa) TIL That the Mona Lisa is called Joconde. An awesome, big stunt show. Some villains steal the mona lisa whilst it is being shipped in a high security van at a port. Four bumbling policeman fail to stop the theft, and spend the show chasing the villains. A witness to it all, a tradie painter tries to help out too. So the whole show is about the painting changing hands between the three, with cartoon style fighting and action, for example one of the villains escapes down a sewer, a giant round style cartoon bomb is tossed down a manhole behind them, boom, and then the painting pops with a "whooop" sound effect, up out of the hole and is caught by one of the good guys. Well choreographed, and some good practical effects like entire buildings being blown apart too. L'Aérolaf It’s best described as a floorless observation tower, inside a fancy looking steel frame. It's technically not an upcharge, but before you board you buy a drink/snack to take on the ride, and these are priced much higher than the rest of the park. I did it anyway since you get good views of the coasters at this end of the park, and quite a generous amount of time at the top, a good 5-10 mins. Attention Menhir ! I dont speak French but this was a good show. The preshow is at a campsite where Romans are plotting an assault on the Gauls village, you can see the shadows of the characters in the tents plotting. You then move into the main 4d show, which is a hilarious cartoony battle between the Romans and the Gauls, with plenty of giant rocks and arrows flying about in 3D. The show used a technique i have never seen before where actual lasers are projected onto the screen, so they could do stuff like stars flying when characters fight, or hypnotic rings around eyes when they were angry / ‘powering up’. L'Aventure Astérix Short walkthrough with some sculpts of the Asterix characters and some history about the creators. A highlight was a model of the park, with pointer showing which comics each attraction was based upon. Toutatis Top 10 ride here! The well themed station building sits under an earthy mound, decorated with carved standing stones. Inside the building, things look even cooler, with load area sitting in a dome shaped chamber, with light pulsating between the gaps between stones. At the front is a carved face of Toutatis, with eyes that glow with energy each time a train dispatches. The trains are very open and comfortable, with elevated seating and an overhead lap bar offering a great feeling of freedom. A short drop leads out of the station into the first launch in a well themed trench evoking memories of Taron , which offers a good kick of speed. Numerous overhead walkways provide great views for bystanders, as well as a few head choppers. All those coasters that have below ground sections in concrete trenches that resemble a dirty motorway underpass, take note! A turn to the right out of the launch leads into a unique take on a Zero G Stall. This one is more like a barrel roll that switches directions halfway through, providing a bit of hangtime. A wide turn and a dip down leads into a bunny hop that has been tilted to the left, a miniature version of the outward banked turn. It’s all very unique and sets the tone for the ride ahead. The train effortlessly turns onto the launch track, and it is here where things become wild. Normally multi pass swing launch coasters cop a bit of flak. After all, you are taking what was a 2-3 second period of extreme acceleration and dragging it out over a longer period and distance. Not necessarily that satisfying for those who want to be pinned against the backrest. Toutatis changes all this, with 2 short banks of LSMs in valleys, with an extended speed hill in between. Quick punches of acceleration and positive g’s alternate with negative g’s on the hill. It transforms the launch into something else akin to a bucking bronco, becoming wilder on each pass. This launch is also well themed, with giant logs forming head choppers The high speed track switch means there is no pause in the pacing, so on the backwards trip you are sent up a straight reverse spike, offering great views of the layout ahead and floating airtime. With the 3rd launch you are sent up over a top hat, cruise over the apex, before descending into a beyond vertical drop. Again, more airtime. A high speed turn leads into my personal favourite element, a Zero g stall. The sensation of travelling upside down, floating in your seat for close to 3 seconds will never get old. A long ground hugging u-turn has a “speed hump” halfway through the turn lifting you out of your seat. From here there is a bit of classic Intamin, with an ejector airtime hill, and a snappy S curve. Next comes a wave turn, with floating ‘sideways’ airtime combined with the sense of being pushed outwards off the track. Diving down of the wave turn is another low to the ground high speed turn that passes around the queue area, transitioning directly into a barrel roll that tries to dunk you out of the train with a statue underneath as a near miss, immediately leading into an overbanked turn. The ride finishes off with a double up. That last sequence is pretty rapid fire, so its quite an unhinged feeling finale. Operations on the ride are solid. A countdown screen in the station helps operators keep an eye on the time, and it was not uncommon to see trains loaded and checked in 30 seconds flat. Overall, it’s an incredible package of the ride. It offers all the sensations a coaster fan would love, it’s full of variety with not a single repeated element, it’s got the theming, it’s got the comfort and it’s got the operational efficiency. Closing thoughts, it's worth a whole day, and maybe even half more if you want to take in more of the park and do re-rides. Would highly recommend doing it with an express pass. The French really do have a great sense of humour, and it shows through here. And some of the in between themed areas are incredible actually. Would have liked more time to explore them, and perhaps eat at the giant fruit restaurant, or the circus restaurant... And a lot of the smaller attractions I'd totally come back and do since they seemed to have a bit of love in the theming department too, rather than merely being filler. More pics here https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/parc-asterix
  10. The wave swinger at Phantasialand had stainless steel mesh floor underneath it to accommodate the fountain system FWIW. If that is what we are getting, yeehaw because the fountains are actually perfectly synced to the rotation of the ride and the tilt, so you constantly have fountains almost touching your feet.
  11. I went in December, it’ll be like Hobart/Melbourne in winter, crowds aren’t too bad. For Fuji Q, you can get a bus from Shinjuku up to the park. The bus is faster than train because it’s more or less motorway the whole way versus a train that winds through the mountains. I got a Q pack ticket from here. At Fuji Q. I didn’t mind the place, and you can purchase fast track tickets from vending machines in front of each ride. https://highway-buses.jp/ticket/q-pack.php As for rides in Tokyo…Thunder Dolphin / Panic Coaster at Tokyo Dome are both very centralised and easy to access. When I was in Tokyo I spotted them for the first time by chance on my way to something else. You can make the trek out to Yokohama for Diving Coaster: Vanish but the coaster sucks and doesn’t run in rain. Good for pics and that’s about it. I quite liked Yomiuriland, has a couple of indoor Gerstlauer coasters, and Bandit, the Togo Hypercoaster, plus a rapids ride themed to instant noodles, and a thing at the exit where could make and seal your own custom flavour of cup noodles. Tobu Zoo has an Intamin Mega Lite (Kawasemi) and a decent GCI (Regina) Joypolis is great if you want a bit of that Japanese youth/electronic culture, and its launched spinning coaster is pretty fun too. Head here on an evening ticket. In terms of other activities, Skytree or the old Tokyo Tower would be on my list too.
  12. Dreamworld Express - Brave it backwards.
  13. If they want to do another spinning ride, get a NebulaZ.
  14. https://www.gingerfactory.com.au/rides-and-tours/ride/overboard-ride/
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