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Coaster Hipster

Coaster Hipster's Trip Reports

19 posts in this topic

Hello again!

 

This topic will comprise of my Trip Reports to parks in Europe. I really like to describe my experience on coasters and I hope you'll enjoy the reads :)

(The Phantasialand and Liseberg TRs are a copy paste of my reports originally posted at CoasterForce)

 

 

Part 1: Phantasialand (April 2017)

 

After missing out on Taron the previous year because I visited the park too early, I was determined to make it this time! The coaster has received rave reviews, almost unanimous, and my anticipation was sky high for a coaster that has a very unique and confusion layout...

A 3-hour drive from my friend Erdekraft's home meant we had to wake up at 5 am to ensure we would get to Phantasialand around opening times. We arrived at the Ling Bao (no pictures, whoops) hotel right before 10:00 am for check-in. We took our hotel ERT bracelets and headed straight to Winjas':

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The sight of Wuze Town's main hall and the double helix still amaze me. Even though it is my 3rd visit to the park, I was surprised by how fast the elevator lift was. It lasts for like, 10 seconds until you reach the main drop? The coasters themselves were fun as always. They didn't really duel during my visit but I did not mind given how immersive the theming is. Both layouts are varied, complete and have some little tricks that set them apart from other spinning coasters. I can't conclusively decide which one I prefer, even though both my friends heavily leaned towards Fear because of the bigger drop and overbanked turn.

 

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Our second ride of the day was Temple of the Night Hawk. Erdekraft nicknames it 'le coaster nul' ('the sucky coaster' in French). It isn't that bad to be honest. Just meandering a very long time in the dark. Would be more interesting lights on and with theming in my opinion. I guess even Phantasialand has room for improvement :P

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I was looking forward to riding Black Mamba which left me a positive impression last year. And my first ride was... fairly disappointing sadly :( :( I sat at the front right seat, and definitely felt some headbanging during a couple of transitions. The intensity was there though as I remembered, but those jolts meant I couln't fully enjoy that first ride. Funnily enough, Erdekraft sat in the middle front and had no trouble whatsoever, but heard me and my other friend (sitting at the left) say 'ouch' at the very same time! Thankfully, there was no such headbanging on my following laps later in the day or the next day, and as such I still rank this B&M Inverted highly for its extensive theming and narrow, forceful layout.

Our impatience then was too much, we couldn't resist the urge to go and see Klugheim...

 

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Taron was about an 1:30 hour wait. I was extremely intrigued by the hype and applause around the latest Intamin blitz that I feared ending underwhelmed. Therefore I was very excited when it was time to ride aboard the new trains complete with their Mack-inspired lap-bars. They felt a little bit bulky at first, but caused me no problem overall. Good job Intamin!

 

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My first impression was that the ride was worth its reputation, a Top 5 coaster full of intensity and snappy turns. The couple of airtime hills are good ejector but definitely not the most insane/powerful Intamin ever did (EGF and El Toro still fare better imo). But more on Taron later that day with the hotel ERT...

 

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Mystery Castle was a 5 minute wait. Aside from the great theming, this Space Shot-thingy dazzled me with its light effects which made me lost sense of height. At some points during the program I couldn't tell if I was towards the top or the bottom of the ride. I suppose the effects worked wonders on me!

 

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Chiapas and its earworm soundtrack... Still the best flume log I've ridden, great Mexican scenery all along and fast, efficient switch track tricks. The log reaches a fairly nice speed at the bottom of the main drop. Templo de Fiesta is still good funky :D

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Onto another best of its kind, this time Colorado Adventure. This Mine Train is only pure fun, no dead spots, a good speed throughout and fairly smooth even though a few oddly banked turns caught me off-guard when I raised my hands ^^ The final helix makes for a great picture location.

 

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The next ride was something much more agressive with Talocan. A good soundwork and fire effects really add to the atmosphere, especially during the queue. The ride itself was on the edge of too much intense spinning for me buy fortunately I still enjoyed it.

We then decided to eat a quick dinner with some Chinese noodles (no pics, yep again). For some reason our noodles contained a substantial amount of sweetpepper. Well, doesn't matter if you have bad breath when you still get an ERT on Taron later!

 

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Taron evening ERT. I will go straight to the point: this hour of exclusive ride time of Taron was the most fun I ever had in an amusement park. I really enjoyed my first lap on this coaster, but the 6+ rides with little to no wait after park closure took matters to an entirely new level. The second half was literally breathtaking, I couldn't even scream of joy even though I wanted so, because the twists were so snappy, and the turns so intense. The official POV doesn't do it justice really. While the first half might be some fast strolling around the rocks after the airtime hill, the second part is so relentless the overall experience feels overwhelmingly exhilarating. The Taron fanfare and the sweet Intamin LSM sound build my excitement even higher for a complete experience, ride and theming joining hands to deliver a fantastic moment!

 

I think EGF still ranks ahead on pure airtime joy, but Taron comes very, very close behind because of that magic ERT. As opposed to most coasters I've ridden before, Taron has an 'organic' feel that is hard to describe. I can't tell each element from another, as the elements are so intertwined. A truly wonderful engineering achievement to my eyes.

 

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(Picture courtesy of my friend Maxime)

 

We went back to our room still bewildered by the outstanding time we had. The experience was so fulfilling we couldn't help laughing for the next hour!

 

-Day 2-

 

After the insanity of evening ERT on Taron, this custom Vekoma family Boomerang might seem like a footnote, but there's still plenty to say about the other 2016 addition at Phanta.

 

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Raik, for that matter, is actually my very first Family Boomerang. I have to say I was pretty impressed by the speed the train goes through the station after the first backwards crest. For a family-oriented coaster this is still fairly scary :eek::o

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The scenery is very detailed and easy on the eyes. I didn't get the fog effects but I loved how the lights changed from red to green as the train switches from going backwards/forwards. The only downside of this charming coaster is its limited capacity because of its shuttle nature. I waited around 45 minutes in the morning (in the single rider line!) for my one ride. Thankfully the atmosphere is more than nice enough to cushion my impatience and I got rewarded with a nice interaction with Taron on my way through the backwards lift!

 

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Maus au Chocolat was our last major attraction to experience again. This 3D shooting dark-ride was a pleasant and fun one. I love the theme, it is refreshing and new for a ride of this type and still very fitting! The theming is well executed and the whole 3D-thingy well integrated.

 

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The rest of the day, which precise schedule I can't exactly remember mostly consisted of rerides on Black Mamba, Winjas Fear and Colorado, with the B&M getting the most laps overall despite (or because ?) of the unconfortable experience of my ride at the front the previous day. We also went around the lake for a welcome break from all the intensity and dense (but wonderful!) theming of Phantasialand.

Overall, Phanta stands out as my favourite park. It simply has the most balanced mix between intricate theming, excellent operations and of course, fantastic coasters. Taron and, to a lesser extent, Black Mamba might get most of the attention, but Winjas and Colorado Adventure are really quality rides for their type. I would only avoid going to the park during very busy days, because the dense scenery with many narrow pathways might become uneasy, but otherwise I have not a single minor complaint about the park. It truly is fab!


 

I hope that you'll like reading coasters reports in Europe. If so, I'll be posting my story of visiting Liseberg last month next ;)

Edited by joz
Topic title changed

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Fantastic (or maybe phantastic ;) ) trip report @Coaster Hipster, I'm lucky enough to be going there later this year, really looking forward to Taron, Black Mamba, Winjas, and possibly even Chiapas if it's not too cold. Taron really does look like an amazing coaster - it combines the thrills and intensity of a ride like Maverick, and the quality of theming Disney has. The whole Klugheim area looks absolutely incredible, it's quite unbelievable how the two coasters actually fit in within the rockwork and theming. Even the subtle things like the music of the area blows me away - Taron's dispatch music is possibly the best music on a coaster (note the word "coaster", Chiapas still beats Taron's soundtrack for me) I've heard - it gives me goosebumps whenever I listen to it. While the official front-seat POV of Taron looks great already, I think the back-seat nighttime POVs look even better, and apparently even that doesn't give justice to the ride experience.

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Great report! I became interested in Phantasialand way back when they were building river quest and tried to have that hinged drop element that turned out was capable of ejecting riders, so never actually used it:

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And then when they built Black Mamba I really wanted to visit, and now that they've built Taron I really really really really want to visit....And hence I'm planning to go next year. Hopefully Rookburgh will be open by then.

I'm surprised by the long queues during your visit. I would have thought that April would still be a bit cold for most people and the park would be quiet? It's pretty much April next year when I'll be over there.

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Thanks for the report. Riding Taron in the daytime is without a doubt a great coaster experience...but so is EGF for me, or a warmed up Wodan or even rides on Blue Fire (front seat). But: I was able to ride Taron in the dark for a few times...an holy cow...that was my best coaster experience ever. The lightning, the fog, the music, the theming, the screams of the riders and the amazing sound of the launches...these things together created an experience that really blew me away. Guys...try to catch Taron and Klugheim in the dark, if you can...maybe in autumn, maybe in the wintertime or on one of those saturdays when the park is open until 24:00...it`s soooo worth it :wub: Apart from that: PHL is such a well themed park with so many stand out attractions IMHO. I hope that many of you will get the chance to go there one day...and don`t forget: It`s not too far away from Europa Park :D Greeds...Gero

Edited by GeorgeT

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Thank you guys for the warm response :)

 

Part 2: Liseberg (April 2017)

 

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What an awesome view to get from the airport connection bus!



How can you get GP friends to an quality amusement park that is off their beaten track? As a French coasterfan, I was always frustrated to hear from the 'lambas' (French for 'General Public') inaccurate or cliché comments like 'roller coasters are too violent and unconfortable' and 'it isn't scary because it doesn't have looping lol'. My non-goon friends had the same preconcieved ideas about coasters, and I was commited to try and change their minds about my burning passion for Taron & co. So I bundled a journey to Gothenburg with a day at its famous park.

 

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The fortunate location of Liseberg within the city meant that there was no hassle reaching the park. Thus selling the idea of going to Sweden to ride coasters was much easier. The entrance stands proud and pretty a few footsteps away from a streetcar station, looking to me like a gateway to seemingly endless fun and thrills.

 

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Almost as soon as we crossed the gates, the main attraction was already unmissable and impressing guests such as me and both of my friends.

 

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The main street isn't particularly outstanding per theming, but it still looks nice and clean with its foliage and little buildings.

 

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I did not want to scare off my friends (at least, not right away!), so we chose to start things in a gentle manner with Lisebergbanan. I realize I did not take outside pictures of this brilliant Schwarzkopf ride, but wait! I was allowed to film an on-ride POV, thus recording our reactions on our very first ride of the trip. (Pardon the French comments ^^)

 

 

It was a very pleasant experience. It does shuffle a bit at the bottom of some turns and helixes, but this adds to the vintage and out-of-control feel of this fun terrain coaster. The Banan also has a few surprise direction changes that are swifter than I could imagine, and a couple of slight airtime humps. I did not get good interactions with Helix's trains but my first lap was still very satisfying:)

 

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Balder's looks on the internet were deceiving to my pals. Watching POVs one of them assumed it was a good, but mostly inoffensive coaster compared to its newer green multi-launched neighbor. Even a ride early in the day right after Banan proved them wrong! The drop definitely feels steeper and meaner in real life, and the small metal beams that were recently added above made it even scarier.
As most will know, the quantity of airtime this woodie delivers is fabulous. It is significantly stronger than GCI's small hops on Heidi or Joris, but Wicked Cyclone felt decidedly more brutal and sharp with its ejectors. There was a slight rattle throughout the day in some turnarounds, however I did not mind at all. It still rides very confortably. In fact, the light vibrations help making the coaster feel more wild and like a traditional wooden coaster.

 

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This was our view on our way to Helix!

 

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Liseberg mastered the art of path/coaster interactions and thus built up our expectations for Helix to a very high level! Needless to say we went aboard our first train, front row, with huge anticipation...

 

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The well-known drop out of the station isn't revolutionary, but very unusual and effective! It shows right from the beginning how the coaster never loses speed and energy. The coaster as a whole isn't going insane forceful like Taron's second half, but still packs a punch and offers a wide variety of sensations. It feels like a different, but equally subtle and refined design philosophy compared to Intamin. The corkscrews and other rolls aren't as swift as on some other coasters, nevertheless they still throw you around in all directions (including forward!) while giving the rider the sensation of weightlessness at the same time. The acclaimed Mack lap-bars and trackwork make the whole experience very comfortable despite the relative intensity and snappiness, and none of my friends complained about vibrations or disconfort.

In short, our first lap was excellent and we proceeded to ride once more!

 

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Afterwards one friend felt a little sick and we took a break. We rested a bit, took more pictures and went to Stjärnornas Krog for lunch. I had some decent BBQ Ribs (not pictured) while we pondered what would we go for next.

 

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The Ferris Wheel was our pick for its quiet ride and provision of nice overviews of the park and Gothenburg as well. Here are a couple of pictures I got from there:

 

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You can get some good overviews of Helix from here!

 

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It was then time to face the park's new for 2017 ride, Loke! I never rode a Gyro Swing before and I was curious to see if I could handle the intensity. Turns out I was able to, but 15 more second would probably have made me feel nauseous. There's good forces at both bottom and spikes on this one, and the flat ride provides excellent interactions with the surrounding Balder and river.

 

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That surge of intensity made us amicably (and temporarily) split: I went for a quick double ride on Balder, while my friends dared the cold weather on Kållerado. We rejoined for another ride on the Intamin woodie at the back, where we enjoyed getting sucked into the first drop at a surprising speed.

 

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We went back for something milder with Waltzer, a chairswing.

 

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Mechanica was the excuse for our second break-up. And to be honest, they were understandably right to sit out. This Zierer Starshape does provide some strong G+, but also nasty headbanging. Ugh. Feels more like a fairground attraction to me.

 

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The flat ride series continues with Hanghai. This shorter iteration of the Zamperla Disk-O has arguably inferior theming to its Plopsa and Astérix counterparts, but I enjoyed the no-hill version more. Gets straight to the point without a futile detour in my opinion.
 

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AeroSpin is quite noticable from most parts of Liseberg. It has a nice location on the main hill and the my ride greatly benefited from fairly strong winds due to the fairly high altitude.

 

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Our second lap on Lisebergbanan did felt more agressive, but that pales in comparison with AtmosFear's drop! Effective and thrilling as expected.

 

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I then went for a single rider lap on Helix. The wait had increased somewhat during the interval, growing from 10 to about 25 minutes. The longer queue gave me the opportunity to take the above picture showing some fences and concrete theming. It looks decent as it is, but I can't help but wonder how this contemporary scenery is going to age. At least the soundtrack is majestic :):D

 

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I was reckless enough to order some nachos before the repeated night rides that were about to come... How does it taste? Unmemorable I guess.

 

I took many more pictures this time around compared to Phanta. However there was none for evening Balder. Why? Well walk-on Intamin plug-n-play means no time for toying with the camera! The nonexistent wait meant I was able to chain 4 almost consecutive rides before 9pm ^^ Turns out my Express Pass wasn't necessary for that one! With hindsight, I'd rather recommend using Express Pass on Balder during the afternoon when the wait times are the highest, at least based on my one experience. The only downside of this sort-of-ERT was that the train wasn't fully loaded, and therefore Balder didn't feel any stronger or delivered better ejectors contrary to what I hoped. Oh well it's still a great coaster ;)

 

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We spent our last Express Pass on night Helix at around 9:10pm. Predictably, I went on to get some solo rerides. However, something amazing was going to happen...

 

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(Picture courtesy of Oligao)

 

So basically the wait times were getting shorter and shorter to the point my last ride was non-stop walk-on to my train seat. Not only that, but people were running across the queue maze in excitement to get their couple of laps! It was an awesome scene of collective coaster enjoyment. Passengers also clapped uninamously at the end on one ride. But the most heartwarming moment for me was that my friends, including the one that fell unwell at noon, joined me in this another practical ERT craze. And that one friend ended up shouting with delight the exact inversions' name as they went, as well as 'airtime!' on the hills. I am not the biggest fan of running commentary on coasters, but I was more than willing to make an exception that time!

 

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A week after my exilarating ERT on Taron, I was incredibly lucky to witness another personal moment of magic in an amusement park. Helix, even at night, wasn't as forceful or relentless as its German rival. But this experience with my GP friends was complete fun. The sequence of elements is so great, and well executed, that the relative lesser intensity didn't harm my (or other's) enjoyment at all.

 

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We left Liseberg with a big smile on our face, tired indeed, a little sick for one of us, but really satisfied! As I wrote before, the park doesn't have the most intricate scenery, however, its atmosphere is really lively and charming. Operations are pretty good, which means you have plenty of time to enjoy the magnificient duo of Helix and Balder. The interactions between so many different rides on the main hill sets Liseberg further apart from other parks. It's a truly specatular and peculiar landscape. This place is already amazing, and it will be even better with Valkyria coming in 2017!

 

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Note to moderators: Can you please edit the Thread title to just "Coaster Hipster's Trip Reports"? I wanted to change the title as I post new TRs but it seems I can't edit titles.

Part 3: Fraispertuis City

During several trips along with other French goons, Fraispertuis City regularly popped up in discussions about how charming the park is and how passionate its manager, Patrice Fleurent, can be about the coaster industry. Unfortunately the park is located deep into the Vosges valley and quite far away from Paris and any public transportation. However an opportunity to finally visit the place came up with a enthusiast meeting on June 10th! Some very efficient and dedicated organisation meant I was able to get a car sharing drive there. I was very excited indeed to join other fans and discover this acclaimed little park.
 
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We arrived at the entrance a little before opening. The whole park has a western/American theming which surprinigly fits very well into the thick and hilly forest of the Vosges.


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You can see both main thrill rides from the ticket booth line actually! Timber Drop held the steepest drop record for a short month (Takabisha took the distinction since) and is now joined by Golden Driller, an Intamin drop tower which I'll extensively cover later...

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Even if the pretends the be your typical French jerk on this pic, the middle fingers guy is actually a cool guy! One cannot hate a Taron fan anyway...

We went inside the pizzeria restaurant to eat a little snack. Mr Fleurant greeted us with a short speech and some good news: the four sides of Golden Driller would be operating that day! We thus were among the first to get a taste of the floorless and stand-up versions of the ride. Right from the start I enjoyed the openess and care Fraispertuis' manager demonstrated towards his park and their enthusiasts.

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Since an ERT on the drop tower were scheduled for us at the end of the day, we were in no rush to try the attraction. The group and I went for a tour of the park instead. The park is pretty with well integrated rides, some foliage all around the place and arguably very decent theming.

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The dark brown colour looks nice and original on a drop tower! Each side is operating separately, which means you can hear riders on another car screaming during their fall while your car is going upwards. That's actually a good way to build your excitement when you're climbing up the tower :o

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A pretty cool sign displaying all four ride positions. Note that the sitting sides are accessible for people over 1.2m (4ft) tall. This was a deliberate choice by the park to appeal to young but brave children!

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I started with the stand-up floorless position which grants a nice view of the little... Soquet coaster and its neat canyon theming. I like how the vertical lift speeds up midway through the ascent and the 20° tilt at the tops does spice up the experience a bit, especially with such a pretty sight. I hope you don't mind some French goons commenting over the footage :P

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Timber Drop stands out from other El Loco with its creative tree theming. It is well executed and the scenery textures feel genuine and fittingly rustic. A good example of how theming can enhance a cloned ride!

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I enjoyed my rides on this compact but smooth and wild little coaster :) The restraints are a little odd but they did not ended up uncomfortable, even with the slight laterals provided by some of the tight maneuvers after the drop. The beyond vertical feature itself lacks in duration but is nonetheless fun and impressive. It's obviously no El Toro, but certainly something that punches above its weight and provides varied, thrilling sensations. I hope more smaller French parks build more clever additions like this in the future.

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The pirate Splash Battle looks fun and inviting! Being quite intolerant to getting soaked, I still skipped it however.

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Sheriff Academy, a 3D shooter thingy, was an attractive choice to dodge the hot weather for a short while. Fun little ride even though I think the targets appear and disappear too quickly! Might be just me and by less than impressive aiming skills perhaps :P


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Le Cactus is a small Drop Tower-y with a sudden tilt before the final plunge. Despite its inoffensive looks, it is surprisingly fun and a good way to introduce kids to the world of thrills. Oh and the theming is really amusing too :D
 

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I took this picture while waiting for a re-ride on Timber Drop. Despite their limited revenue, the park really pays attention to little details with their scenery. All the little fake cogs and saws really add a welcome extra to the atmosphere. The front part of the station is more empty but still looks more than decent imo.
 

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Grand Canyon is a family coaster built by Soquet. Yes, the same manufacturer as the supremely awful King. This was wasn't really rough and the layout had an acceptable pace for a family ride. The good rockwork certainly helps making the experience somewhat enjoyable, though one lap was enough.
 

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The ride op gave in to cheering kids and granted us 4 non-stop laps on la Ronde des Rondins. I thought this super tiny Zierer would be a +1 for me, but instead I found out this is a relocation from Parc Astérix! Oh well...


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ERT on Golden Driller was our final rides of the day. Not only our group was allowed exclusive access to the tower, but the park emplyees were also able to test the ride for one hour! A really considerate gesture from the manager that you would not necessarily see at other parks.

Last but not least, I shared a car drive back to the nearest train tration with none other than Mr Fleurent himself! He was on his way to a private dinner and very generously offered to drive me to Epinal so I could get my train to Metz in time. Really kudos to him and Freddo, the meeting organizer who managed to get me this very special car sharing expericence! During my short trip from the park to Epinal, Mr Fleurent really showed he was deeply interested in the amusement industry and cared about his park's fans, asking me how I enjoyed the park and their new attraction. He doesn't refrain from giving insights into the hardships and reward of being a park manager, and told me how installing Golder Driller and working with Intamin felt. I can't stress out how lucky this moment was!

Fraispertuis City might not have the biggest thrills and coasters, but it achieves what matters most: providing guests a fun and enjoyable time. The care of the park's management and employees is truly heartwarming and in addition, they're really adding some clever rides over the years. Reaching the park was quite a hassle but I had no regrets making the effort!


Coming next in Part 4 is Walygator and its Raptor Inverted clone, Monster!

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Thanks for the report! That park looks fantastic, and given many of their rides have a clone or at least a counterpart over here, its somewhat saddening to see a small provincial park doing so much better at theming than what we have here.

I love the four different ride options on GD (works both ways!), and that el loco looks really nice. Even the battle boats are a step up.

Look forward to your next contribution - i'm sure @Gazza would encourage you to slip some of those photos into the Parkz database too. :)

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Thank you both for the warm response!

 

Thank you for the nice comments!


Part 4: Walygator

From the moment I booked my tickets to Fraispertuis I knew I was going to bundle the charming western-themed Park with its tempestuous neighbor. It boasts the tallest coaster in France - Monster which is only a measly 40m/131ft tall - and because a friend work there, I had a free ticket as well! The infamous Anaconda woodie spited me back in 2015 and I was oddly eager to ride it, even though I knew I was not going to like it x)


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Instead of commenting the (obviously) wonderful scenery, let me share with you some history about the place. The park first opened in 1989 as "Big Bang Schtroumpf" and was themed around the Smurfs comics. Interestingly Astérix opened the same year, in the late 80s era when a lot of amusement parks popped up in France. Many of them only had poor Vekoma loopers to show and ended up in bankrupcy, and Disneyland's storming of the market in 1992 stifled any prospect for another similar project.


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Big Bang Schtroumpf was among the most ambitious ventures but never matched its original attendance targets. It went through a long series of ownership changes, somehow being part of the Six Flags chain in the early 2000s (though it did not get the name change). I believe it is now owned by some Spanish business corporation.


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Anyway, back on topic with what was my first ride of the day. Yellow Submarine is a fairground-ish Zamperla crazy bus. The only reason I went off the beaten tracks to try this was because my friend was its designated operator that day.

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As you may know, The Monster was France's first B&M. When it was relocated from Japan in 2010, it ended a long and frustrating wait among French goons for a good and thrilling coaster. It might just be a coincidence, but since then my country has taken a really good dynamic, adding OzIris, Alpina Blitz, Timber and soon Yukon Quad in just under a decade.

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Even in the morning, the coaster was as forceful and snappy as I remembered. The MCBR were removed (unlike on Raptor CP which shares the same layout) and thus this Inverted delivers a really enjoyable second half. However, the ride has developed a slight yet noticable rattle at a few sections (bottom of the first drop and bottom of the Cobra Roll exit) when you sit towards the back of the train. It isn't very surprising given the age of the coaster and the fact it's a relocation, and it is moderate enough not to ruin the on-ride experience.

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Monster was almost a walk-on, so I chained 7 laps on it and still had time to take some pictures and off-ride videos. I really wish it gets a paint job someday, B&M curves can be so appealing when it gets properly showcased.

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Unfortunately, Comet was the one looping coaster who received a colour refurbishment a few years ago. To my surprise it did not provided too much headbanging, but not much intensity and excitement either.

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Along with Goudurix, Anaconda is the other national shame among French coasterfans which obviously made me very curious before riding it. My expectations were set ridiculously low, and perhaps as a result I did not disliked this woodie that much. It's sluggish and uninteresting, but the rattles weren't so bad except for the final turnaround. It's more very forgettable than outright garbage in my opinion, and the Wild One at SFA was way more brutal than this from what I remember.

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Space Shoot (yes, the park spells it that way!) felt a little disappointing compared to my last visit. The launch gives you a nice rush of adrenaline and there's a small pop of airtime when you reach the top, but after that the vehicle meanders too long up and down with no really significant forces. Still the second best ride at the park though.

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G-Lock is another good attraction for thrill seekers, but I'm more taken aback by the use of a plain billboard as theming in the background.


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I did not ride this Wacky Worm on my last visit and it was time to make up for that. Family Coaster (very imaginative name) was added when the park was owned by fairground workers and it shows. I hope that someday this out-of-place credit will make way for some decent ride like a Family Boomerang.

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One good thing about Monster's lack of theming is that you can see and stare at the naked mechanism of B&M Inverts, which I did not really bothered with too much since the coaster was, again, a no-wait. I ended up riding it 24 times for the day, my most whoring since my almost unthinkable 60 (or was it 80?) laps on Goliath WH more than a decade ago. Part of it is because there's nothing else to do, but there's much worse coasters to marathon than this fun and intense B&M classic!

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One of the nicer picture spots of the park.


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Even though my less enthusiastic storytelling can suggest otherwise, I actually spent a good time at Walygator. The ride ops were warm and efficient enough, and Monster remains the most intense coaster you can find in France. To be fair, the newest park owners retrived a very sketchy situation to make up for, and I'm curious to see how the place improves over the next few years. Of course RMC Anaconda will not happen any time soon (if it ever comes true), but maybe the park can join the good dynamic in France at the moment.


Part 5 will be a much bigger day as I returned to Holiday Park and got a lot of rerides on Expedition GeForce!

Edited by Coaster Hipster
Wrong part number

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Part 5: Holiday Park

There was a sense of anticipation and slight concern as I approached the park entry. Maybe I take coaster ranking too seriously, but the opportunity to ride again my #1 was certainly special and meant a lot to me. I was very curious to see how EGF was going to hold up against newer, acclaimed creations such as Helix and Taron.

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In my opinion, this picture shows acurately what is Holiday Park today. Some prominent thrill rides such as the very obvious Drop Tower, within a nicely refurbished park scenery.


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The employees let us enter a few minutes before official opening time. The costume workers were cheerful in greeting me, saying a warmful "hi!" to me and my friend and posing for the photo. I really appreciate that, especially since working in those thick costumes must be hard in warm weather. Kudos to them!


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Plopsaland Group really improved the looks of HoPa. It looks a bit cartoonish, but I like it and it blends well with the surrounding forest.


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We went aboard the first train of the day and got ourselves a nice front row!

Predictably, our early morning lap was a little underwhelming, but it was still fun with some good pops of airtime! I apologize if my on-ride "commentary" is a little obnoxious. I now realize how hard it is to "act" with a camera recording on something as intense and spontaneous as such a great coaster :eek:

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This first camelback is glorious!
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They might not be particularly memorable, but GeForce's overbanks are dealt with really decent speed.

We got another 4 laps on this marvel of a coaster before the lines got a somewhat longer. Operations are fairly slow because they have this policy of checking the seatbelts first, then going through the entire train again to check the lap bars. Those procedures seem a little dated after experiencing the seatbelt-free and very efficient Mack restraints, but since the park isn't very crowded anyway I did not bother that much.


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I stayed away from Wickie Splash being quite intolerant to getting wet, but my friend tried the flume and ended up quite soaked indeed. The Viking theming is colourful and quite cute actually.


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I did not get to spin at all of Sky Fly. One day I'll learn the technique! The new airplane zone looks pretty neat. Dare I say it has a lively and enjoyable atmosphere?


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You can't miss Sky Scream even if it's located at the back of the park. The queueline and build-up to your ride is really well done actually, and not something you would expect from a park primarily known for its star coaster. It's my only Premier Sky Rocket II and even though I've ridden it before, seeing the short train breezing though the station back and forth is still impressive!

However, a very unfortunate event with a Sky Scream employee spoiled my experience on the coaster. As I was recording some off-ride footage with my GoPro, the cabin ride op talked to me in German, presumably asking me to stop filming. I was temporarily using my GoPro outside my secured harness for the station off-ride and was planning to put it back into the safe spot for my ride. Something which I tried to explain in English to the employee, adding that I asked for permission to the park twice (on Facebook, and to the entrance employee) and got permission twice. I was talking quite loudly as to compensate for the noise the coaster was making, and as a result the guy told me to lower my voice in quite an unfriendly manner. Then, to my astonishment, he said (in German) something along the lines of "We're in Germany here, so you speak German". He did all of that without a smile or some sort of considerate gesture. I found the whole situation very confusing and my friend (who works at Walygator) said this kind of behaviour completely unacceptable.

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The coaster itself is more style than substance. The launches are forgettable, and the non-inverted loop is uneventful. The vertical twists are a little too sudden for me as well. There's a decent pop of airtime after the climb to the top if you sit at the front though. I think it's a decent coaster as such, but you are likely to end up underwhelmed because of all the exciting build-up beforehand.

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The new beach area looks nice, carrying a little of the fun cartoonish of Plopsa too.

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Lighthouse Tower gives you a nice view of the park and its photogenic coasters, as well as some welcome fresh wind! It goes pretty high for such a ride actually.

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There aren't many rides in the medieval section, but you have a nice sight of EGF's overbanks! The zone itself looks surprisingly pleasant and there's a lot of shade to avoid the heat.

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Picture taken with a chest mounted GoPro. Do NOT use loose cameras on rides!

Anubis shares the name with Plopsaland's Gerstlauer launch coaster, but it is in fact an Intamin Drop Tower. One side grants you with a pretty view of GeForce's whole layout, which makes me wish my old GoPro had better recording quality. The actual drop is pretty fun! Short, but exciting and the braking is fairly intense. The almost non-existing wait certainly helped me appreciate the ride more.

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We felt it was time to ride again Expedition GeForce and rightly so: the wait times have significantly decreased from over 30 min to about 10 minutes. And on top of that the coaster has also greatly warmed up! The airtime felt as glorious as I remembered on my past visit.

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Sadly EGF broke down again, so we went to the kiddie zone for some reason. It turned out the junior Drop Tower, Flower Tower, is hilariously fun! Really energic up and down pattern that surprises you. We ended up laughing uncontrollably and embarassingly in front of puzzled parents watching their kids riding the other seats.

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The rest of the day consisted of getting as many laps on EGF as possible after it reopened. I finished the day with a grand total of 15 rides! Not as much as my 17 rides on my 2015 visit, but certainly very enjoyable whoring nonetheless :P

I really like the dynamic going on at Holiday Park. There's some good additions built regularly, and the scenery is better than you would expect. There's of course the fantastic Intamin Mega, but the place as a whole is quite pleasant to visit! I think they need to add some quality family coaster (a SFC would be an excellent match) to balance their coaster lineup, but still, I very much enjoyed my day there. Except for the rude Sky Scream operator, the park employees were quite nice and I have to give a huge shoutout to their Facebook CM who was helpful and responsive.


That's it for my 3 day coaster trip in June! Next month I'll be at Parc Astérix for the CoasterForce Live meeting and am really looking forward to that :D

Edited by Coaster Hipster
Wrong part number, again! Oops.

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I like the fact Plopsa finally put a roof on the EGF station.

So if you are wanting to get a good ride on it, how long should you wait for it to warm up? After a couple of hours? Late afternoon? Just before closing?

I'll be interested to see what Plopsa does with the place going fowards. All of their other parks seem to be quite high quality...Perhaps a woodie like the one that just opened at Plopsaland De Panne?

I reckon you might have been a bit harsh on Sky Scream, though when I rode Superman at SFDK I thought it was going to have as much substance as a Maurer Skyloop, but I was pleasantly surprised that it felt just a bit more complete. They are not too bad, and probably one of the better compact shuttle-ish coasters that parks can get.

 

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@Gazza I'd say even an hour is enough to get EGF warmed up enough. Unfortunately the trims are activated a little bit more later in the day so my final rides were slightly less insane - but still amazing and very envoyable!

Actually the roof was already there during my 2015 visit :P


A small GCI woodie might be nice indeed, especially if they could use to their advantage the thick forest bordering the paths and coasters. You're probably right on me being harsh on Sky Scream. I feel that because it has such an outstanding neighbor, it is hard to compete ^^
 

Here's some extra footage of the magic rear left seat. The guy in front of me had fairly long hair which shows the incredible amount of airtime of this coaster :P

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Part 6: Parc Astérix (July 2nd 2017)

After being part of the forum for 5 years, I was really excited to finally join a CoasterForce meeting! Experiencing a park with so many other goons feels truly special and I was looking forward to see the faces behind so many forum users.

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I wanted to take some pictures and videos of Pégase in the morning. I managed to to that, but as you can see, the weather really made it tricky. The coaster looks nice even with the poo weather though.


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The Temple de la Méduse, which contains the backwards trick element, is left with some very obvious unfinished theming. That's a little disappointing, especially since Parc Astérix can really do fine theming when they want.


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Even though I arrived early at the park, taking all this footage meant I ended up late to the appointment of 10:15 am. The stress of not making it in time, the weather and being stuck at the entrance line with a bunch of noisy school people actually killed my mood for a while. Adding to that, the school pupils's adult accompanist would't let me though the security gates because I ended up in the middle of their group, despite there being clearly no sign of a specific "group" entrance thing and the school kids themselves line-jumping me. Very irritating and very French-y to do, but I managed to talk my way though anyway. Oh well...

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I quickly ran towards the new Pégase area where we would meet only to find no one there yet :eek: Since it was 10:35, I was worrying that the group actually left me behind x)

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Whilst I was alone, I took the opportunity to take some shots of the scenery. Some French jokes and context setting explaining for you guys! "Kiosque Journaux" means newspaper stand, and the Goudurix headline here is about the comic character that actually appeared before the namesake coaster, although the wink is obvious. Then you have the fake photo booth named "Pikasos", a pun on Pablo Picasso of course. I don't know how well-known Picasso is in Britain, but he lived in France for decades after fleeing the Spanish Civil War and is arguably among the more recognized artists here.

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Le Cheval de Troie was moved a little to make way for the new Pégase Plaza. The old flat ride makes a nice complement to the 2017 coaster! It's a shame that Astérix doesn't add more thrill rides to their line-up, but the Park is likely to improve on that in the next years.


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After a short wait, I met CFers at last! It was a cheerful moment despite the poor weather :) After some debate which included noticing that Goudurix already had an outrageous hour wait, we chose to start our credding adventure with la Trace du Hourra, which is themed around prehistoric cavemen.

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It opened in 2001 as the tallest and longest Mack Bobsleigh and still holds the record to this day. Despite this, the ride felt fairly short to me and a bit uneventful except for the significant amount of vibrations and side-shuffle the trains goes through.

 

Understandably, ticking off all the credits was the priority so we headed next to SOS Numérobis, the local Zierer Tivoli which was relocated to the Egypt section to provide something the kids could ride while the older uns could enjoy the B&M Invert nearby. In the rush of things I did not take a picture (what a miss!) but here's a an on-ride POV instead. I hope you don't mind me chatting a bit with Sandman during a third of the ride!


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Having recently ridden Black Mamba and The Monster, I was curious to see how would OzIris compare. My first ride, towards the back, was honestly underwhelming. It was mostly forceless and a little uneventful, even though the core layout is really good. The drop is nice and the elements order is fairly original for a B&M. I got another ride later which did the coaster more justice.


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Say hello to the camera guys!

The group proceeded to cash in the Pass Rapidus on the park's flume ride, Menhir Express. It's among the more soaky flumes so I sat out to take some pictures of the park instead.


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Kudos to all of those who also braved the not-so-warm weather and rode Le Grand Splatch (yes, the park spells it that way...) too!

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Walked around meanwhile. The middle of the park is actually the quietest part. It has a kiddy zone as well as the Village Gaulois, which is an imitation of the Astérix village prominently featured in the comics.

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Astérix's best buddy, Obélix was also there!

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The Carousel is among the more uniquely themed. How often do you get to ride the derrière of a fat Gallic guy in an amusement park flat?


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Joining back the group for the awaited ride on Pégase Express! I got to say Astérix put a fine effort with the station scenery. Lots of cool details including the fake train schedules board which contains a lot of jokes. Too bad the GP kept photobombing me when I tried to take a picture of it!

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I actually waited this meeting to ride Pégase Express for my first time. It's a fun family coaster with some really good moments, but also some noticable flaws. The ride ops make a loud and cheerful countdown right before the launch out of the station, which is in fact pretty fun to hear and really adds to the excitement. The layout begins in medias res with the aforementioned launch along with a couple of turns before entering the first lift hill - which really slowed down the pace for me. I would have loved to have another launch to keep the momentum going, especially since there's not much theming around that lift. After that, the train goes through a series of mostly uneventful twisted hills and one little camelback which provided no airtime at all. Decent speed though.

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Onto the second lift and then the infamous Temple that launches backwards. The medusahead animation is decent, yet I couldn't help but notice the metal sheets making up the ceiling of the building. That unfortunately was a big immersion-breaking shortcoming. Thankfully the launch out of there led to a backwards airtime hill, which despite the very slow speed seen off-ride, is actually decent fun! The rest of the layout kinda blurred to me, but it's a series of surprising fast twisted hills. The best part of the layout and one that makes me think Astérix + Gerstlauer could have produced an even better coaster if they dared to spice it up just a little more like on the final section. I still like Pégase Express though, and I think it's a successful addition to the park.


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Le Vol d'Icare received a completely new track and... it doesn't show. The old/new Zierer still feels outdated and mundane except for the few jolts throughout the layout, including the turn after the first drop. I've known much worse and more uncomfortable "family" rides nevertheless.

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I skipped Discobélix both because I'm not that fond of Disk-O rides and because I wanted to have more pictures of Tonnerre de Zeus. Turns out I wasn't able to get nice enough views of the woodie anyway, because it is mostly hidden in the woods. I should have known better about my home park -_-

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Tonnerre de Zeus was my first wooden coaster, and left a memorable impression when I discovered it as a kid back in the early 2000s. However it left me a sour taste on my last visit - I could only remember violent shaking, underwhelming pace and no airtime. This time it was noticably better as I went for the front row :) The drop is actually decently impressive even though I've been on much scarier woodies since (El Toro? Balder anyone?), and the following layout is particularly long and ridden with small humps, vintage laterals and banking and tons of headchoppers. It's not as intense as the modern RMC/Intamin coasters, but has a classic out-of-control appeal due to its significant shuffle. The vibrations did not get to the point it is unbearable however.

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Because it isn't included in the Pass Rapidus, Goudurix ended up being the longest wait of our day. That's pretty hilarious actually! That queue time is in fact unusual, because one train was in maintenance. I never got over a 20-minute long line over the last decade. But heh, at least I got to talk Chinese knock-off SLCs and Spinning Wild Mice (Mouse?) with the (un)lucky few CFers who tried them during the queue!

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And after what turned out to be a 50-minute wait in reality, I went aboard at the front. I guess you want to know my opinion of this legendary awful old Vekoma, so here it is: it is truly bad, but I think there's even worse coasters in the world. The headbanging is brutal in many places including any inversion minus the vertical loop, and the final helix provides some unpleasant laterals too. There was some distinct rattle at the bottom of the shallow first drop as well.

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I think the layout is in essence very good. Unfortunately, it was implemented by Vekoma in the late eighties, when no-one in the world (except perhaps Schwarzkopf) actually designed a good multi-inverting steel coaster. It's like a rookie gymnast in his first year trying some fancy somersaults, the end result gets very nasty!


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We uninamously decided it was needed to get back to a good and smooth coaster so OzIris was a natural destination. It was there that I had a chance encounter with Deanrell, who is the biggest coaster Youtuber in France! His commentary is more on the cringy, overacting style, but he's a really nice fellow and very knowledgeable about coasters too. I never met him before, however he gave me some good advice for this CF Live meeting and was happy to see him :) He posted a very insightful video comparing OzIris with nylon and polyurethane wheels:


Deanrell, with his partner AlpinaCoasters joined the group and we went inside the OzIris regular line together as we wanted to get front row. I ended up talking more with them rather than taking pictures and chatting with CFers which I feel a little guilty about :P I didn't want to be that guy who stays with his fellow Frenchmen but I guess the excitement to talk coasters with someone I follow on Youtube and just met was too much for me!


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We then rode OzIris at the front together. To my surprise, Deanrell did not indulge in his usually over-the-top screaming, perhaps knowing my more understated style of on-ride recording and commentating. I have to say this front row ride was miles better! I really felt the graceful, floaty side of this Invert. It's a totally different take on the Inverted coaster type that B&M went for, and I have to say it works very well when you seat in the front seats.

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After my morning ride I considered dropping OzIris below Batman: the Ride clones because it ran quite weak, but that later front ride did the complete opposite on me and I was tempted to rank it above The Monster considering how enjoyable that lap was. It shows how sometimes giving a second chance to a coaster is worth attempting.

So my current B&M Inverted ranking stays as follows:

1 - The Monster (Walygator)
2 - Black Mamba
3 - OzIris
4 - Batman: the Ride clones (SFGAdv + La Ronde)


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We grabbed another ride on Trace du Hourra since the ride ops forgot to tick our single use fast passes the first time. Boy this Bobsled gets rattly in the afternoon! The entire lap was shaky like a drill. Not like I did not expect it, but I think that could have been a decent and fun family coaster if it wasn't for this notorious discomfort.


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By this point it was already 6pm and I had to take my bus shuttle back to Paris. We said goodbyes at the end of the Mainstreet and I really appreciated the warm, cheerful atmosphere of my first CoasterForce meeting! The start of the day was a bit sketchy due to the rain, but the weather improved as the day went on and by late afternoon we enjoyed a regular warm sunny summer climate. Meeting many members of this forum made me really happy, and though I wish I could talk to some people a little more, it is a very good reason to meet them again

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That was a great and detailed report.

OzIris i think is strange how people say it is forceles...I always thought it looked the opposite, particularly with the steep drop sweeping into the dive loop. Looks can be deceiving.

What does SOS numberbois mean? Is it like "Emergency phone number tree”?

As for trace du hourra, ive always thought it looked cool because I've enjoyed the bobsleds at Blackpool and Kings Dominion... didn't think it was possible for this type of ride to get too rough.

Pegase express, again looks solid, but much like the Dollywood one the airtime isn't too strong or the course too intense overall by the sounds of it. For the temple why didn't they either group the columns and clad them to look like big solid rectangular ones.Either that or paint them in a go away color and add some extra cloud lkme mouldings to make it like a floating temple?

Goudurix....I thought they were getting the newer trains with vest restraints?

The park overall looks gorgeous...Im suprised that they have been able to flesh out a whole theme park based around a comic that isn't that big anymore.

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Thanks @Gazza! Merci également à Glubbo que j'ai oublié de mentionner :P

SOS Numérobis (without a second "o") means "Emergency phone number bis". Numérobis is also the name of the Egyptian architect in the Astérix comics ;)

I remember La Trace du Hourra being pretty smooth and fun when I was a child in the early 2000s. Then again, that was several years before my first Intamin and B&M...

I'm not sure the parc is finished with the theming to be honest. Since opening they kept adding some queueline details and a train "departure/arrival" fake sign in the station. I hope they'll hold on doing more improvements but from what I've read on French forums, that's unlikely.


I think part of the success of Parc Astérix lies in the spirit of the comics, which basically tells the story of a Gaul village resisting against invading Romans. Today, Astérix feels to some like the smaller French park trying to fight against a giant US corporation - Disney. Though the comics aren't that popular indeed since Uderzo (the cartoonist and co-creator) retiring, they're clearly part of the French landmark pop culture I'd say.


I will come back on August 5th to take more pictures - hopefully with a much better weather. In the meantime, there will be a Poland trip in between. I'm way too excited to ride Lech Coaster!

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