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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.

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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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    • By Gazza
      Belantis is located about 10km south of Leipzig in Germany.
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    • By Coaster Hipster
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      Toilet humour.

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    • By Coaster Hipster
      For whatever reasons, I never visited English amusement parks until this year, even though coasters across the Channel - especially Alton's - had my interest ever since I became an enthusiast back in 2005. But with the additions of both Icon and Wicker Man and the opportunity to join fellow French/Belgian goons on a road trip meant I finally got the chance to experience creds in England!
       
      Day 1 - Blackpool





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      Highlights: The first hill, the twisted hill and the Immelmann (back seat)
      Lowlights: The first launch is kinda weak, the meandering turns around Stepplechase
       


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      Nickelodeon Streak - Apart from the flash colour scheme, it was kinda forgettable really. Not too rattly, nor too exciting either.


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      Stepplechase (yellow side) - Hmm... ouch?! The seating position was really awkward and almost every turn entrance or exit was jolty. Really unique ride for sure and I wouldn't want it to be torn down, but it's really unfortunate that the ride experience is not so comfortable.
       



      Big One - I have to say this Arrow hyper looks really photogenic and mighty. Aboard, it provides nice views of Blackpool and the coast as well. Otherwise, this is arguably one of the shakiest coaster I've ever ridden! Definitely had to hang on to the bar in front of me. For some reason though I couldn't help laughing during the whole experience - despite the rattle, the coaster carries some good speed throughout the whole layout making for an 'entertaining' experience. Actually wished I could get a second ride on it but the train valleyed in the final turns so... nope.




      Revolution - The whole thing looks really weird - first climbing some stairs as if you were about to do some water slides, then entering this 'station' without a ceiling and with no doors between the platform and the train. But for all the weirdness, Revolution is quite a fun ride actually. Fairly intense loop and some little pops of airtime on the drops.
       


      Avalanche - Was surprised by the second half. I ended up being crushed by the bar with the ending helixes being unexpectedly intense and twisty! The lack of MCBR arguably helps the momentum of this Bobleigh, and it feels smoother than Trace du Hourra back home.
       
      Didn't get to ride Infusion as it closed right when I was about to enter the Q. Not that I care much about that.
       
       
      I am quite happy with my first day at Blackpool. Some areas feel quite tacky, but the whole place is lively and I appreciate its unique selection of dated vintage rides (RIP Wild Mouse though). Icon adds a much-needed quality ride experience to compliment well the heritage coasters. I wouldn't return soon unless they add anything big, but BPB was a pleasant start to our trip!
       
      Next part: Alton Towers
      For whatever reasons, I never visited English amusement parks until this year, even though coasters across the Channel - especially Alton's - had my interest ever since I became an enthusiast back in 2005. But with the additions of both Icon and Wicker Man and the opportunity to join fellow French/Belgian goons on a road trip meant I finally got the chance to experience creds in England!   Day 1 - Blackpool     Icon - I was actually quite worried about the Qs after seeing quite a packed entrance, but in reality the wait times were fine throughout the whole day - 30 minutes at most on the new coaster. Rode it 6/7 times and while Icon doesn't reach the graceful bliss of Helix or the insanity of Taron, it remains a pretty solid ride experience. Some weak spots here and there, but also a couple of strong highlight elements as well! It is a grower for sure. Definitely preferred the back seat for the nice mix of airtime and laterals exiting the Immelmann.   Highlights: The first hill, the twisted hill and the Immelmann (back seat) Lowlights: The first launch is kinda weak, the meandering turns around Stepplechase       After starting the day on a high, our group decided to tick off the classic woodies one after another.   Big Dipper - Was quite worried to ride this, fearing a really unconfortable experience. In the end it was pretty harmless, and even delivered some fun little pops of air! Re-rode later in the day with a bulky guy, which meant I had a lot of space between me and my lap bar. Flying over those small hills was quite exciting actually     Grand National - Only got to try the left side. It was quite bouncy, but not to the point it became too rough. There are some definite moments of sudden airtime only old woodies (and maybe some wonky Pax coasters) deliver. The racing element also made the experience quite enjoyable.       Nickelodeon Streak - Apart from the flash colour scheme, it was kinda forgettable really. Not too rattly, nor too exciting either.     Blue Flyer - Couldn't help mispronounce this kiddie "Blue Fire" instead. Kinda cute coaster actually, and I would have loved to have this sort of ride at my home park when I was a child.   With the woodies done, we went for a lunch break before getting on the Arrows...     Stepplechase (yellow side) - Hmm... ouch?! The seating position was really awkward and almost every turn entrance or exit was jolty. Really unique ride for sure and I wouldn't want it to be torn down, but it's really unfortunate that the ride experience is not so comfortable     Big One - I have to say this Arrow hyper looks really photogenic and mighty. Aboard, it provides nice views of Blackpool and the coast as well. Otherwise, this is arguably one of the shakiest coaster I've ever ridden! Definitely had to hang on to the bar in front of me. For some reason though I couldn't help laughing during the whole experience - despite the rattle, the coaster carries some good speed throughout the whole layout making for an 'entertaining' experience. Actually wished I could get a second ride on it but the train valleyed in the final turns so... nope.     Revolution - The whole thing looks really weird - first climbing some stairs as if you were about to do some water slides, then entering this 'station' without a ceiling and with no doors between the platform and the train. But for all the weirdness, Revolution is quite a fun ride actually. Fairly intense loop and some little pops of airtime on the drops.     Avalanche - Was surprised by the second half. I ended up being crushed by the bar with the ending helixes being unexpectedly intense and twisty! The lack of MCBR arguably helps the momentum of this Bobleigh, and it feels smoother than Trace du Hourra back home.   Didn't get to ride Infusion as it closed right when I was about to enter the Q. Not that I care much about that.     I am quite happy with my first day at Blackpool. Some areas feel quite tacky, but the whole place is lively and I appreciate its unique selection of dated vintage rides (RIP Wild Mouse though). Icon adds a much-needed quality ride experience to compliment well the heritage coasters. I wouldn't return soon unless they add anything big, but BPB was a pleasant start to our trip!   Next part: Alton Towers
    • By Coaster Hipster
      I've had a nice and cheerful experience with the guys at CoasterForce at Parc Astérix, so I decided to join them for another, bigger trip! This time I would also discover 3 new parks in Germany, in addition to a return to Phantasialand...


      Summary

      Part 0: Phantasialand - Return of Taron
      Part 1: Movie Park Germany - Star Trek is actually underrated!
      Part 2: Heide Park - My first Wing Coaster
      Part 3: Hansa Park - Lovely management and stunning Kärnan

      Part 0: Phantasialand
      Although not an official part of GhosterForce, many people from CF added a stop to Phanta before the main event. The temptation to return there and get more night Taron craze was too much!


      One of my car-mates was Rachel, who was visiting the park for her first time, and her excitement was infectious! It's always a special feeling for me to return there and enjoy unique creative theming and rides, but to share the experience with someone who's never visited before added to my joy and certainly made me proud of my favourite park We also met CSLKennyNI, which was a real pleasure. Really cool guy with great insights on the park and the German coasters in general




      Starting with Maus au Chocolat allowed us to avoid long lines there, and therefore the high-pitch mice noises didn't get too annoying. I find this shooter dark-ride to be a lot of fun, despite the shoulder pain it indulges and despite my actually terrible aiming skills!
       



      The walk to Wuze Town includes a stopover near the much-discussed F.L.Y. sign. Winjas was good family fun as usual. It has a lot of gimmicks, but it truly adds to the experience instead of being a marketing overhype. Only complaint is that the cars are really narrow, even for a skinny dude like me :eek:


      We cleared off this side of the park with two of its more dated rides: Temple of the Night Hawk and Hollywood Tour. I suppose that, along the Berlin entrance, Phantasialand will work on refurbishing this zone to bring it to the standards of the park. Temple is actually fairly smooth and has some decent pace, but its family-ish layout calls for much more theming than a ride in the complete dark with no effects whatsoever.



      Chiapas is for me what a flume ride should be. Gorgeous, immersive theming and music that keeps you entertaining throughout. The disco part never ceases to keep me excited!


      After that, I split a while from the group to take more pictures and off-ride videos, we rejoined for Mystery Castle. The launch took me by surprise as I was expecting some more wait before the boost kicks off. I know it's part of the theming, but I wish it weren't so dark during the actual ride experience, so you could see the others as you drop and launch up again during the short program. Still a creative and exciting take on the usual drop tower/space shot type of attraction!
       


      We walked through the Klugheim zone but did not ride the gem Intamin yet. Not exactly sure how we resisted the temptation with so many breathtaking interactions with the ride, but I also remember Rachel really really wanted to make Taron her #300!



      Colorado Adventure was I believe her final stepping stone before reaching 300. I still like this Mine Train very much, the long layout provides a enjoyable ride. However, Big Thunder Mountain in Paris did have more of a wild out-of-control feel since its rehab. The banking on Colorado is funky at times. You have some wonky laterals which gets really fun during the dark section. Not having hard OTSR on an old Vekoma (and no inversions either) really helps I suppose!




      Can we ride Taron now then? Yessss!!!

      After that exhilarating Night ERT last April, I was curious to ride again the much-praised Intamin Blitz. Predictably, it wasn't as intense at noon, but Taron still surprises me, notably with the wicked change of direction right after the first airtime hill! Really snappy twist coming after a dive under some building so you can't really see it coming if you're not familiar with the layout.



      I split again from the group for the launch break. I was planning to shoot more videos of Taron, but a 5 minutes wait for single riders decided otherwise... Not gonna refuse such a treat! Did 3 more solo rides then, and also grabbed a front row ride on Raik, which does have a twisty bit of its own. It's a cool extra really




      Black Mamba at the front was still remarkably forceful. The layout is kinda generic, but very enjoyable nonetheless. The drum beat playing as the train exits the station always makes me more excited! Did a couple more re-rides later in the day which confirmed my positive thoughts about the Invert.


      I somehow forgot to take a picture of Talocan on fire. Such a spectacular thrill ride and once again, the scenery and atmosphere really enhance the experience there!


      Onto the final "new" attraction of the day: I never did Hotel Tartuff in 7 previous visits to Phantasialand. :eek: It's very easy to miss it and mistake it for yet another merch store in the Main Street. The CF lively atmosphere made the Fun House quite fun actually!
      The rest of the day was re-rides so let's skip to the most exciting part...



      Exclusive rides on Taron for the hotel guests, yay! I have to say, while the coaster does feel less borderline insane than before, I still get the adrenaline rush that makes me run in excitement from the station exit to the ride's gates all across the empty line again and again. The epic fanfare, the magnetic roars, and a twisty fast-paced layout really kept me excited during the whole hour. I ended up riding Taron 10 times during that session, and 15 times the day overall. Phantasialand really had a superb idea to make this hotel ERT, that's a brilliant piece of marketing there!
       
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