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Coaster Hipster

Efteling + Plopsaland August 17' Trip Report

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Traveling and crossing borders in Mainland Europe isn't too bad, so I took the opportunity to visit again two parks in nearby countries north of France!

Part 1: Efteling

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As I moved on from simply visiting and credding to filming videos at parks. I started appreciating places that actually care about theming and landscaping a bit more. I had visited Efteling 2 years ago, and while I thoroughly enjoyed that trip, I felt I needed to go again sometime to fully enjoy the merits of the park. That's why to my surprise, I did not need a new coaster, as the addition of Symbolica and night opening were attractive enough to get me back there!

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I arrived shortly after the 10 am opening. The entrance must be one of the most distincive and majestic among theme parks.


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I went against my instincts by strolling along the lake to take some pictures. Efteling is a really large park, and the distance covered by the lake is only a fraction of it!


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I had surprisingly pleasant memories of Bob, one rare surviving iteration of the Intamin Swiss Bob model. My ride this time was not as enjoyable - the fun swinging and relatively steep drops couldn't make up for what was some noticable bouncing in the train. I waited 45 minutes, completely forgetting about the single rider line nearby. Oh well...

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Went for the second row on Baron 1898 and got right wing seat. It was a bit underwhelming. The drop didn't feel as floaty and impressive as I remembered, and I felt a couple of minor headbanging during the inversions. Nothing too serious of course, but still surprising. Hopefully I got a couple of rerides afterwards, but that's for a another paragraph ;)

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(Ugh, my camera sometimes fails to get a non-blurred picture. Frustrating!)

Joris ended that run of (slight) disappointment as it happily matched my expectations. Went for Vuur first, and it was running pretty well! Good pace and a lot of fun laterals.

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Ever since my Poland trip, I have the unreasonable curiosity in (re)riding any old Vekoma to put to the test my recent love for the Dutch manufacturer. Equipped with vest restraints, Python turned out only slightly uncomfortable. There was some notable rattle during the drop and vertical loops, but the ride as a whole felt more uneventful than really horrible.


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The Pagoda is the only ride (to my knowledge) which provides great overviews of the park and where you can bring your camera. It's really valuable since the views from up in the air are quite impressive!

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Symbolica was another eye-drawer from outside. Really like this type of architecture as I find it fitting for the carefree atmosphere of a theme park, and here it is implemented really well! This dark ride was the 2017 and it shows its infant age. Really sophisticated and enjoyable addition. The scenery is appealing except for the stairs leading down to the station which lack some details. Loved the atmosphere and wish I could have done it more if it weren't for the substantial queue wait...


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Wanting to give Baron another try, I was rewarded with a fun lap at the front! It eliminated the (minor) jolts issue and provided a much more impressive drop!


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At this point I went across all the park to take more pictures. I also wanted to buy some merch before the crowds flood the stores right before closure. Went back to Joris only to find it temporarily closed for some minor technical problem.

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The issue was quickly solved however, which meant I ended up waiting a little less for my lap on the Water side! That one is certainly my favourite of the two. Some really good hops in quick succession here :)

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(That picture was taken hours before)

Vliegende Hollander never impressed me in videos or on-ride. Not a single exciting layout element and the boat section is almost completely in the dark. Too bad for a ride with such a fab queueline and building :(


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Night ride on Baron was undoubtedly the best I've had. I even got a small pop of airtime of the final hill, which was really cool :)

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I then wasted too much time on taking (yet more) pictures, and it ended up costing me a final ride on Joris. Unfortunate, but Baron was still an excellent way to end the day on a high note!

Next in Part 2 will be Plopsaland with another night opening!

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Part 2: Plopsaland

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Plopsaland opened my 2017 season and I discovered the park last April not in the best circumstances. The weather was rainy then, and I happened to visit a certain place called Phantasialand the day after. With the park not being too far from Efteling I thought why not trying it again? Night opening was also a lure - although that did not end up according to my plans...
 


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The summer sky really improves the look of the entrance plaza! Love the cartoonish facade.


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The farm section of Plopsa is quite an odd fit for an amusement park, but I actually don't mind! I find it amusing more than anything else.


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The nearby Circus zone does feel tacky though - not up to the park's standards.

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After a lot of wandering and camera stuff, I entered the queue for Heidi the Ride. The wait time wasn't indicated, but I ended up riding the little GCI an hour after my first steps into the queue. I was now thinking I should have arrived earlier at the park and not rest so much from the tiring 12 hour Efteling day...

 

The actual ride was good fun. Not worth an hour wait, but delivering nice speed and a lot of little humps - although few of them actually deliver real airtime. Front row ride certainly helped a lot too!


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Vleermuis is the type of odd wonky ride that RCT3 made me discover. Finally rode it after it spited me last April. Painful braking and rattly trackwork downgrade an otherwise dull experience. Still, I can't help but feel the park should keep this fairly unique coaster (is it considered one or two credits anyway?) for the curiosity.


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Anubis was another hour queue. The layout started out so well, with a really good launch followed by a very fun airtime moment. It rattles at the start of the Top Hat, but the discomfort was negligible since I sat at the front. However it all went downhill from there. The Dive Loop was fine, but everything after that either was dull, uncomfortable or both! The girl sitting next to me added to my misery with her loud and very high-pitched screams :(


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The slow operations on Rox-Flyer, increased my frustrations even further. The employee, who was cheerful and decent tbf, significantly delayed each dispatch by walking across the platform to give us riding procedures in French, English and Dutch. I am usually very supportive for multilinguism, but that was a case where it felt really uneffective. This local Sky Flyer did delivered on its promise of great views and fresh wind however.


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Rollerstaker's theme is so weird, but it still like it for some reason. I guess I enjoy the eccentricity. Despite its old age, it holds up fairly well for a family coaster!


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De Grote Golf is your standard Zamperla Disk-O, but enhanced with cool theming! I can see the appeal to parks for this model, as it is supposedly cheap and it provides some spectacular near-misses at both ending spikes of the track. I wish I could tolerate the spinning and back-and-forth movements more though :(

 


My unconvincing previous experience on Anubis wasn't enough to deter me from a night ride. That lap in the dark amplified everything. The Launch and Top Hat were really exciting and the Dive Loop felt quite snappy, but everything else ended up more brutal and nauseating than before. The oddly-banked turnaround after the Dive Loop provided one of the worst moments of headbanging in my coaster experience - which does say a lot with both Goudurix and El Condor being in my coaster count. A nasty headache resulted from both laps, which only enticed me to leave, even with about an hour left before park closure.


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The whole day was frustrating. Some of it was definitely my fault - I wish I had planned this visit much better. Plopsaland is heading the right way. The theming is very appealing for the most part and Heidi is an excellent addition. Unfortunately external circumstances exacerbated their noticable flaws. But despite the negativity, I do not regret going there again. I am very grateful for the park allowing me to use my chest-attached GoPro. The inspiring scenery and fun woodie are worth the detour, and I wish that one day I can fully appreciate the parks of this park.

Edited by Coaster Hipster
Fixing text size
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Looks like a very decent park.

Even the Circus bit, whilst a bit tacky, still looks properly built.

Shame to hear Anubis is a bit uncomfortable...They seem like Vekoma in the 90s.

Im curious how difficult the trip from Efteling to Plopsa is... Did you drive or take public transport? How long did it take?

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My father drove from Efteling to Plopsa. It is mostly (like 90% of the time) highways and take roughly 2 hours and a half. The Belgian motorways are a little less well maintained than French ones, but they do have lighting most of the way - something unconceivable in Australia I suppose, but not too far stretched for Belgium, although expensive.

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