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Everything posted by Satchboogie3

  1. This will be a bit lengthy of a post. I spur of the moment decided to head back to Germany last weekend to kill two birds with one stone: Get back to Phantasialand to get some night rides (the park is open until 8pm for the Wintertraum!) and checkout the Christmas markets in Köln and Düsseldorf. With the temperature around 5C and cloudy, I wasn't too surprised to find Taron and FLY running a little sluggish. They both seemed to be running faster after night fall, but that could just be the dark messing with me . Rookburgh looked great with a lot of steam/fog. Minimally placed Christmas stuff was a smart choice I think to keep with the theming. There are number of cute little areas with snow scenes around the park. It was around 5C and cloudy so the snow wasn't melting much. One of few Wintertraum chalets - flame grilled salmon. It was actually pretty good, very juicy and cooked just long enough. There's nothing worse than overcooked salmon Upside tree is a nice touch outside Hotel Tartuff Gluhwein! A few visits to chalet helped keep me warm throughout the day Hard to see in the photo, but there is a santa with a sack and gifts up in the little tower in front of Black Mamba. I thought it might not be a bad idea to go on Chiapas Die Wasserbahn. It's maybe my all-time favorite flume and a water ride in the middle of a cold December day seemed adventurous... yeah, I got soaked... maybe not the best decision. But nothing more Gluhweinn can't fix! Taron looked wild at night back on Halloween and was even better this night! Oh foggy night 20211218_173855.mp4 Berlin was basically a Christmas market! Last time at the park after sunset, Rookburgh didn't have much for lighting besides the normal lanterns and white lights. This time there were a lot of red, green, and blue lights, with some alternating from the tunnels. The two night rides I got were easily the best experience I've had yet on FLY. Killer night ride. The park really came to life at night. I'm tempted to take the train back out there in January before the Wintertraum ends. And for Bonus content. The Phantasialand bus departs from Bruhl station, just outside the center of town. I had a bit of time to kill before the first bus so wandered a bit. If you are taking the bus, it isn't a bad idea to take a look around. The Augustusburg Palace is right across from the bus stop and is a UNESCO site (I didn't take photos because of construction and poor lighting, but it's a site to walk around) and the center of town is pretty. The Christmas market was small but very charming as well. Heading into the center of Bruhl Bruhl Christmas market On to Koln: A stay in Koln wouldn't be complete without visiting a few Kolsch breweries! (After all my Kolsch experiences, Reissdorf is still best!) There are a number of Christmas markets spread throughout the city. I visited 3 of them over the coarse of the weekend (I think that means I need to go back to check out the rest... ) First up is the Koln Cathedral Market: Pretty good backdrop! Maybe my favorite thing of the markets: Raclette! Stellar board of cheese from the Swiss Alps Wood fire BBQ pork and chicken! Good food was abundant. Koln Harbour market: The harbour market was pretty unique and looked fantastic (plus the place to go for seafood), though my favorite was hands-down the Heinzel's WinterMarchen in Altstadt: Buble Alpe was a great spot to stop for a half litre of lager and enjoy watching the skaters. The mini ski lift of gnomes was adorable (and it moved and everything)! Mühlen bear with a tray of Kölsch Delicious Apfelkrapfen Brass section performing Lastly I stopped in Düsseldorf Sunday afternoon for some Altbier and more Christmas markets. First stop Schumacher brewery, the first brewery to use the name Altbier for the unique local beer back in 1838. Fuchschen hosted most of the markets in Dusseldorf. It's good too! More Gluhwein in a mug I had to have. Glass blowing Uerige Brewery. Claimed to use the most 'bittering constituents' of any beer in Germany. I'm not sure if it is the most bitter, but it is certainly bitter and absolutely delicious. My favorite Altbier in Dusseldorf. A magical weekend trip. I would highly recommend anyone that can to experience Koln and Phantasialand in December!
  2. Just got back from the park today, my first time at a park during the Christmas season. The park was gorgeous. I also much enjoyed FLY and Rookburgh after dark this time. Early this year, the lighting seemed very basic with the old bronze light theming. Today there was a ton of red and blue lighting, plus great fog/steam coming from the tunnels. Really made for an amazing night ride. I'll post a TR when I'm back in Belgie, with some bonus German Christmas market content
  3. I finally made it back out to the park on Halloween! I was excited to check out F.L.Y and the rides I had missed on my previous trip a few years ago. The weather turned out great (mild fall temps and the rain held off until the evening). I was impressed by F.L.Y. Based on reviews, I was expecting a very mild ride, but it was pleasantly forceful (there were a lot of dives where you really feel pulled down and a few good pops of airtime) and a ton of fun. The interaction with the area is really awesome. It is a great ride. If you are a steam-punk fan, it will blow your mind. I will say that I'm not, so I do still prefer Taron, ride and theming wise. I also preferred Taron at night, lit up with cool colors, where as FLY was just white-light, but I it did stay true to the theming. The park didn't seem too busy. The longest I waited was ~45 minutes for Taron around 11am. The lines completely cleared up after 12 (This seems to be a thing in Germany? Everyone seemed to queue up for lunch while Taron went from 50 minutes to literally 10 minutes from 12:30-1:30ish!). I took advantage of this and got a solid 7 or 8 rides on Taron between 12:30 and 2ish. Black Mamba was practically a walk-on all day and most other rides where at most 20 minutes. I think FLY was 30-45 minutes all day (I got 2 rides, 1 at the start of the day in the front row and another later afternoon with ~45 minute wait. I know the advertised capacity is more than Taron, but the line felt way slower. Taron was killing it with quick 4-train op). After around 12 rides on Taron, I would say front left seat is where it's at. The trims before the last airtime hill were on (I can't recall if this was the case when I was there a few years ago), it's really a shame as it completely kills that last hill (you still get floater air). Kind of like Konda, I feel the last 10-20 seconds of Taron leave a lot to be desired, and I just wish there was more airtime. I do other wise love the ride though. This was my first time at the park after dark and Taron absolutely was amazing at night! The dark and lighting really add the experience. I also got a ride on Black Mamba on the way out and it felt completely out of control in the dark! I tried to upload a video of FLY, but it won't load for some reason. On to some pictures: FLY as you enter from the main park entrance View from an open-air section of the queue On to Taron, my favorite part of the park Andech's Hell's break before heading back to FLY Back to Taron as the sun started to go down. I LOVE the red lit second launch! Anyone know how to flip this image? It inverted on uploading!
  4. I made it down to Walibi Saturday night for the start of their Fright Night. I got to say I was pretty impressed by the Halloween theming! I didn't do any of the paid things, but they look good, especially wicked woods. I went in the evening primarily to get night rides on Konda. The park usually closes at 6pm during the summer, but these two weekends the park is open until 10! So on to Konda. It was definitely a fun experience at night, as I almost always love night rides. It was chilly and raining most of the night though, so it wasn't running particularly fast. I was happy that the singles line was finally open! Ride ops did a great job of filling the trains and running an efficient two-train op. I got probably close to 10 rides in just a few hours before 9ish PM. As much fun as Konda is, when it hits the break run, I always feel disappointed that it missed out on the opportunity to be really special. Such great moments and an interesting layout on the 2nd half, but the second half just feels slugish and a bit tame, and I still find the non-inverting cobra roll pointless. I might head back next weekend for the last of the Halloween Fright nights (trying to convince my friends out here to go, but none of them are really into amusement parks or Halloween...). Konda at night! Queue entrance Mine train Rebellion land, a rave kind of outdoor party. It was actually pretty cool! 20211030_211817.mp4 Haunted Circus setup
  5. How are crowds in DE/Europe this time of year? I'm thinking of heading back to Phantasialand maybe next weekend, but don't really want to go if it'll be packed.
  6. I visited the park this morning and got 6 rides in on Kondaa. My initial reaction a month ago, Kondaa was the first coaster I had ridden in almost 2 years due to covid. Now having ridden Untamed, Goliath, and revisiting Kondaa, it was a little underwhelming. Granted, it's morning and I expect it will warm up a bit (it was a warm morning though). Pretty much my breakdown is the same, I love the first drop and two hills, the non-inverting cobra roll doesn't do anything for me (its just going too slow through the transitions at the top to give any good forces), and the last 3rd isn't very forceful. I think it losses too much speed and the elements aren't tight/extreme enough. It definitely pales in comparison to Untamed. And upon reflection, Expedition GeForce is still my #1/2 with Untamed. I don't think the first drop or first two airtime hills are as extreme as on Expedition GeForce either. It's still a really fun coaster and still maybe top 5 for me, probably my 3rd favorite in Europe so far. It's better than Taron for sure The ride ops at Kondaa are rock stars. They luckily are loading all rows, but consistently now with my visits, they have the train headed up the lift by as soon as the other train hits the breaks. Very smooth and fast . If your visiting Walibi, definitely get there as early as possible. I arrived at 8:31 from the train and the line grew pretty quickly. They set up a really long queue path at the entrance due to covid. It literally takes 10 minutes just to walk it! I managed to be 2nd in line for Untamed and got 6 rides in by 11:05.
  7. The restraints do suck! There is a bit of rattle and squeeking that's developed. I do miss the pre-incident days with the old restraints. As a side, the newer restraints, like on Kondaa, are amazing. You no longer get sore thighs from a lot of re rides with them. Very comfy!
  8. Not idea, I've been taking the train down . I'll check, I may try to get down Saturday morning...
  9. Day 2: I headed down to Helenaveen to stay at Hotel Eetcafé In d'Ouwe Peel for the night. 6 minutes from Toverland, this little Inn was very charming! Small rooms with shared bathrooms, but everything was very 'homey' and clean and the staff was very welcoming. Local Belgian ale just across the border. They also serve all of the La Trappe beers! Solid stoofvlees. The upstairs rooms have a shared terrace and there's a terrace for the restaurant on the other side of the building. I can't recommend this place enough if you need a place to stay around Toverland. You aren't going to find a better price or better service! Did I just go through a teleport? On to Toverland! At the park, I saw QR codes for the Toverland app. Of course, my account is still linked to the US, so I was unable to download it. I did find a work around: there's an app (APKcombo) you can download that gets around the regional locks Once the gates opened I headed back to Fenix. Due to covid, the actual queue through the building was closed, instead you went up the emergency exit at the back right of the station. I got into the station and was very confused when there was no one there! The ride gates were open, the lights were off and there literally were no employees. I waited until a few minutes past 10 before deciding to just head over to Troy. It was really odd. Luckily the line for Troy was still pretty short still. I got two quick rides in, front row 2nd car and one in the middle train. I didn't go in with much expectation as I'm generally not the biggest GCI fan. I found the pacing to be pretty good, but otherwise not very memorable (I didn't really get any airtime or strong forces). The line started to grow after the second ride so I headed over to Booster Bike! At this point most of the lines were at about 30 minutes and for the most part the lines varied between 20 and 45 minutes for most rides throughout the day. Booster Bike was quite a unique ride and pretty fun! Next up, Fenix! Surprisingly the line for Fenix was probably the shortest for any ride at the park. It was only a 5 minute wait when I got over and I think the longest I waited all day was 15 minutes. They were running two trains, filling all rows, and the ops were dispatching trains very quickly, but it was still strange to see such a short line! (Troy was only filling every other row, but also running 2 trains) I really love this themed area! Fenix really takes the center piece and fits in beautifully to the landscape. This was my first B&M Wing coaster. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, I'm not the biggest fan of Dive Machines and a lot of B&M's shorter layouts on new coaster concepts. Fenix delivered though! The drop into the (dive loop?) was pretty awesome on the back left side and I thought it was decently forceful. The airtime hill had solid sustained floater airtime and overall I thought the layout was fun. Still on the short side, but way better than a dive machine . Plus the ride just looks gorgeous! I didn't expect much from Dwervelwind, but it was actually a lot of fun and a lot more forceful than I was expecting! If the line hadn't quickly gotten long I would have grabbed a few more rides. I think it also looks pretty awesome (a theme here!) The difference between Toverland and Walibi was stark. This park is beautiful. It was pretty hot and sunny, a water ride seemed just what was needed. To nitpick, I do wish the track for flume was submerged in the water or rock formation (kinda like the flume at Phantasialand). It just sticks out in an otherwise nicely themed area. Unfortunately the two indoor areas were closed due to covid (besides the flume). I'll have to come back to drink in the biergarten! Back over to Troy for some more rides. I managed to snag a front row and back row ride. I'm not sure if it just needed to warm up, but my impression completely changed after a few more ride. The back was riding very fast, great pacing, pretty intense, and I was getting a good bit of floater airtime. The front was also pretty good, but the back was a bit better. This is definitely my favorite layout of all the GCI's I've ridden (not a whole lot of the newer ones though, besides Wodan). You definitely get that of out-of-control rumble I so like in a good wooden coaster! There were quite some good options for food (I forgot to take photos, but I got a delicious crepe near Fenix and Chili fries. Next time I'll have to spend sometime relaxing at the restaurant across from Fenix. The food looked pretty good and what a great area to relax! (the line to get in was a bit too long for me) I stopped at Van Moll Cafe in Eindhoven on the way home (my first time here). Very solid tap list and bottle list. I went with this Caol Ila Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (I'm a big peat fan) and it was sublime! I definitely would recommend a stop here if you are passing by Eindhoven. It was a fun weekend exploring the Netherlands and getting some sun! Untamed blew me away, Goliath was fun, and Toverland was overall an excellent park. I look forward to going back again! Maybe I can get up to Efteling this weekend
  10. I was really looking forward to the raft crossing! I'll just have to come back once covid is in a better state. The park was pretty packed and they were skipping every other row for the rides, so I wasn't to surprised by the long lines. While I was initially frustrated by the virtual queue, it did seem to work more smoothly for others as the day progressed. They did just reopen so they need some time to work out the kinks. I will say, virtual queue could be really useful for busy rides at other parks. I like the idea of sitting in a cafe or biergarten while waiting in 'line'. The staff did do a great job getting the rides back up quickly and were pretty quick with loading and not stacking trains. The entire Untamed section is really nice. Having the out-n-back layout surrounding the queue is awesome and all the vegetation is pretty.
  11. I had been itching to travel outside Belgium and Netherlands has recently reopened outdoor venues including theme parks, so with a good forecast for the weekend (finally, it's been a brutal May here!) I grabbed a car and headed up to NL. I arrived to Harderwijk quite early, so I took some time to wander around town. It was clear and sunny on the drive up until I got to Harderwijk. Cute little bakery I stopped at to get some breakfast. I've heard of the traditional wooden clogs that are famous in NL... but I never thought anyone actually wore them until I saw someone walk out of the bakery clanking along the cobblestone! Adorable! I pulled into Walibi just after 9. I've seen this photo a million times of the years and seeing this beauty in person got me very excited! I've always found Intamin to be visually appealing compared to other coasters. Oh yeah, I feel like I'm at a Six Flags I was in Belgium two years ago, but Untamed didn't open until I had to fly back. I've been looking forward to finally getting to ride this every since (and those Teddy bear videos!). I headed here as soon as the park opened. Walibi is using a virtual queue for most of the rides due to covid, you get emailed a link that you can then access on the day of your reservation. The wifi in the park actually worked pretty well, albeit there were a few areas where the signal was weak/dropping out. A line had already formed outside the queue before 10:00 and then we waited for the ride to become available on the virtual queue app. For what ever reason, it didn't go online until about 7 or 8 past 10am and then it was basically a mad dash of people clicking reserve. Funny enough, everyone standing in line had 7+ minutes until they could enter (A countdown clock pops up and once ready it goes to a QR code to be scanned at the queue entrance). Needless to say, everyone was confused as to how to use the app, when they could enter, etc. So basically we all just stood there for 15 minutes while the park was open... very efficient. My first ride was mid-train and I was impressed, but not completely blown away. But being a cool morning and middle train, I wasn't surprised. After I got off, the virtual queue was already showing about 35 minutes to be able to enter again, so I selected Lost Gravity instead, with a 20 min wait time. This is when things got very frustrating . While walking over to the ride, my queue time went up a few minutes, but then dropped down to ~16 minutes and then jumped all the way down to 7 and then 3 minutes as I was just at the queue entrance. Great I thought! Except all of a sudden my queue time started jumping up, at one point reaching 50+ minutes. After about 10 minutes of seeing it bounce between 30 and 50 minutes, I just started walking over to Goliath. About half way there, my queue time dropped back to ~3 minutes. I'm thinking 'WTF is going on' as I turned around and rushed back to Lost Gravity (of course at the time I didn't realize you had 30 minutes after the QR code comes up to use it). As for Lost Gravity, I enjoyed it, but it didn't really stand out at all. I only ended up going back for one more ride later on. I did really like the theming though. After Lost Gravity, it was time to finally go tick another Intamin I've been dreaming of riding for years. The queue length was sitting around an hour on the app, but with not much else to do, I just took a seat outside the station as my virtual queue ticked down. One of the big downsides of the park is the lack of good food/beverage or well themed areas to really sit and just relax. My wait time got down to about 16 minutes before the dreaded announcement... Goliath is experiencing technical difficulties . I waited for about 20 minutes before deciding to cut my losses and head back toward Untamed. The park was massively busy, the queue for Untamed was beyond an hour already (~11:30am). Xpress: platform 13 wasn't operating and Conder had just gone down (what a loss ). I really like what they did with incorporating parts of Robin Hood in the theming! My second ride on Untamed was already an improvement over the first (I forget where I was sitting). After the ride, I noticed that the queue times for Untamed and Lost Gravity were over 2 hours and even Speed of Sound and Condor (which was now open) were over an hour. When I saw that Xpress: Platform 13 had opened (and with a line already 1 hour +), I decided to bite the bullet and buy the unlimited rides pass. I think this is the first time I ever purchased a fast lane kind of thing, but it was definitely a good choice. I had heard that Walibi did a good job with the queue/station theming for this ride, but it really impressed me nonetheless. It definitely felt a little out of place compared to the rest of the park! My first pass I didn't see any interaction with the fountain, but my second time through was quite entertaining Next I headed to Speed of Sound, which, while it's just a typical boring boomerang, it did have probably the best theming of any I've yet ridden. I was a bit annoyed at still having to wait in the actual queue far longer than I ever want to wait for a boomerang I headed back to Untamed, but as soon as I got in the queue, I saw that Goliath had reopened! I was starting to go through my love-hate relationship with Intamin, fearing I'd miss the chance to ride Goliath, so taking no chances, I left the Untamed line and rushed over to Goliath. Since it had just reopened, I managed to get 3 quick rides in before the queue built back up. The first was dead center of the train, which was quite disappointing, but I snagged the last row, right seat on the 3rd ride and it delivered. Classic intamin ejector air and all three bunny hops on the finish were strong. I will say, this was probably the roughest Intamin I've ever ridden. Tons of rattle and squeaking. Since the line was building back up, I decided to head back to Untamed and take full advantage of the unlimited skip the queue. The pull-your-self-across platform was closed due to covid. I got 3 or 4 rides in, including a front and back row ride. The front was fun and pretty forceful, but that back row ride, that cemented this as my new #1 roller coaster in the world, without doubt. I'm not sure I will call it my favorite per say, as I love Expedition GeForce and think it's just about perfect for what it is.... but Untamed does more. The unrelenting pacing, crazy fast transitions, ejector air everywhere, it's pretty close to a masterpiece. The only criticism could be it's small stature and lack of strong positive g's, which is where I might still slightly prefer GeForce as my favorite. It might seem weird, but I think I have different #1 and favorite . I then headed back to Goliath for a few more laps. I snagged a front row ride (great forceful helicies from the front) and another back row ride (I wonder if the trains are running quite different, this lap feel nearly as forceful as the previous in the back row). I headed back to Untamed to finish out the night. I got another 2 or 3 laps in before I was standing next in line for the front row just past 6:00pm (with another lap queued up the app). And then the dreaded breakdown. This was now the 3rd time Untamed broke down while I was in queue and unfortunately it was a night ender (they had to evac both the train in the station and brake run). I give the park a lot props, they spent up until about 6:35 trying to get it running before calling it quits. Walibi had a rough day overall with breakdowns. While in line for Untamed at the end of the day, I had noticed that Goliath also had broken down. As I was leaving the park, I saw the train on Goliath stuck at the top of the lift hill (and it looked like some people were still being evacuated down the lift)! Not sure I've seen the top to coasters at a park both need to get evacuated to close out the day! I overall enjoyed my time at the park. I was annoyed with the virtual queue, but I understand them trying to adapt with covid and the staff was very nice in general. Goliath is classic Intamin, even though it might not be aging very gracefully and of course Untamed is absolutely insane. I can't say there is much else that would draw me to the park though. I'll update with Toverland tomorrow or in the coming days. Toverland was pretty fun! Beautiful park!
  12. I think this is a pretty solid list overall, but nit-picking, Goliath ahead of SROS @ SFNE makes no sense. I snagged a bunch of rides late 2019 (it was my 'home park', so I've ridden it lots of the years since it opened) and just recently got a bunch of rides on Goliath @ Walibi Holland. While I really enjoyed the back and to some extent the front (the middle is very meh), it was not SROS. I like the layout, but SROS just had it best across the board. Intensity, airtime moments, length, height, speed, and smoothness. Both trains of Goliath are running pretty much the roughest of any Intamin I've ever ridden. All that said... I really like Goliath. It just isn't better than SROS
  13. Where did you ride on Goliath? I found it's a backseat ride. The middle did nothing for me. The back was classic intamin ejector air. I will say the front was the most forceful on the two helicies. I wasn't a big fan of Lost Gravity, but I'm not sure I'd call it overrated. If people are putting it in the 30-50 range of steel coasters... that is probably where it belongs. I'm sure some individuals love it, but the concensis is on point. Untamed, I kind of wanted to find it overrated... but my Intamin fanboy self couldn't deny that Untamed was the best overall roller coaster I've ever ridden, and multiple rides made that pretty clear. I'll habe a trip report up soon, it was an interesting day. Toverland tomorrow!
  14. Untamed this evening. It hurts to admit this, but it is absolutely the best coaster I've ever riden. I still might prefer Expedition Gforce, maybe, but Untamed I think is clearly the better overall coaster. Kondaa is really good, really really good, but overall... Untamed is just wild. The pacing is absolutely perfect. Honestly it really feels to get faster, more intense, and just more twisted crazy as the ride goes on. Only critique is it isn't my favorite first drop and it does lack strong +g forces.
  15. Agreed. I give Intamin a ton of leeway, I just couldn't help but laugh considering the reputation (compared to B&M) and my own experience with new intamin. Big credit to Walibi and the Intamin crew for getting it back running very quickly each time.
  16. This Saturday marked the day when Belgium finally started to open back up - Bars/Restaurants for outdoor seating, theme parks, etc. I met up with a friend in Brussels to his favorite bar Dynamo and one of my favorite bars - Moeder Lambic. It started a little rainy, but ended up being a great day to finally enjoy beer in terraces! Moeder lambic original in Saint-Gilles Brussels. First draft Cantillon Kriek I've had in brussels in almost two years! Can't go to Moeder lambic without getting a vintage bottle of Cantillon. Cantillon Gueuze with 7+ years is always beautiful. Alright, on to Walibi! Sunday morning I hopped on the train down to my new home park From where I'm living in Leuven, it's a whopping 20 minute ride! After processing my season pass, I headed straight to the back of the park to Kondaa. It was a bit cloudy early, with a little rain in the afternoon, but the sun came out for bits later. Entrance plaza. They did a pretty good job with the theming. It's no Taron, but it's more than good enough. The coaster definitely 'pops' visually. The outer banked turn delivers. I have only ridden a few RMC, but the airtime I would associate with this kind of element is more lateral airtime (with respect to seat position), where as this turn, the airtime is still perpendicular to the seat, while going through the banked turn. And it's straight ejector air the entire turn. It's killer. Of course the first drop reminded me a lot of Expedition GeForce, however I think this is slightly more forceful, especially in the back, as the train hauls up the lift hill. The first airtime hill is classic Intamin, a good 3-4 seconds of sustained ejector air. This hill did have a decent pop of airtime These final three mini-hops left me wanting more. They definitely delivered floater airtime. I just would rather one or two classic ejector bunny hops. Theming was plentiful. The station was pretty intricate with a lot of stuff hanging from the ceilings and there was intense tribal drum music being played. It was a good atmosphere. My Thoughts: I still don't completely have my head wrapped around the non-inverting cobra roll, I feel like it acts a bit differently depending on where in the train you are. The transitions are really smooth and I think there's a little floater airtime as you hit the peaks. Interesting element, but I'm not sure I'm completely sold, however it definitely is better than a regular cobra roll, and I'm probably just nitpicking.The following turns and airtime hills are really really good. In general, all the valleys and turns pull pretty strong positive g's. I was slightly underwhelmed by the finish. Basically from the double-down kinda of thing until the break run, there are all these quick little elements. The train is still flying through here, however none of the transitions are as sharp and forceful as Taron, nor is there really any ejector air from here out, it's mostly floater air. It could also just be it still isn't running as fast as it will once the weather warms up, I imagine just a slight increase could dramatically increase the airtime. I guess my issue is I prefer the 'basic' ejector bunny hops you get on Expedition Geforce to the quick-punch elements in general. Kondaa absolutely blows Taron out of the water though. The claim was also '15 moments of airtime', which I guess isn't inaccurate. However, I'd count it closer to 11 or 12 moments, but that's in my 'ejector air fanboy' opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. There were a few moments I thought might be a tiny bit of floater air, but like hall of fame voting, if I have to think and don't immediately go 'Holy Sh*t! Airtime', I don't consider it airtime . I got maybe 7 or 8 rides in, a few in the back, middle, and 2 in the 2nd row. Hard to say yet if I prefer front or back, the first drop is insane on the back, but I think maybe the finale is better in the front. I was also really REALLY impressed with just how good the middle-of-the-train rides are. My first ride I got stuck like dead center and was pleasantly surprised that the thing was still really intense, that usually isn't my experience. All in all, I think it challenges Expedition GeForce as my favorite steel coaster (and maybe overall). GeForce was my favorite coaster in Europe I'll need to wait to get to ride Untamed (hopefully) later this summer, but I think Kondaa makes a very strong case. And GeForce is a hard one to unseat as it's exactly my ideal kind of coaster and I finally got to ride it two years ago, after almost a 2 decade wait, so it isn't entire objective. I think I'll just need to make another trip out to Holiday Park to compare again. But then we do have the issue of reliability with Intamin.... I spent about half the day at Kondaa and the ride went down 3 separate times, each time requiring evacing a train from the brake run and walking up the lift (manual override?). It appeared there was a sensor issue that was causing the train to sometimes stop before clearing the first break run (at least I think). I get it's opening weekend of a new ride, but 3 times is a bit much... I thought ops did a pretty solid job. Two trains with very little stacking. More often than not, the train was heading up the lift as soon as the other hit the break run. There is also a single rider line, however they had it closed today. After a few hours at Kondaa, I headed to checkout the rest of the park and get the 'credits' Next up was Tiki-Waka, just on the other side of Kondaa. Kinda fun Gerstlauer, but nothing too exciting. Theming in the section was alright. Definitely a 'premium' Six Flags kinda vibe, without the stupid marvel branding and adverts. Then I headed to Calamity Mine, which was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting much, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable mine train. Again, not at the level of the mine train at Phatasialand, but still pretty good theming. You actually can get a little wet here! Don't think I've seen this on a mine train before. Great view of Kondaa's non-inverting Cobra roll from the station and viewing platform above. Then it was time to actually get wet on Pulsar! (I didn't actually get very wet, I got the lucky seat ) This was my first water coaster like this, I found the launch and forward/backward idea pretty cool and unique, though I probably would prefer a more traditional style with more theming. The next three credits were all about getting them over with and surviving . Vekoma woodie, SLC, and boomerang. Worst trio ever? I don't think there are any real good ways to get photos of Loop-Garou. I must say, I was actually a bit pleasantly surprised by Loup-Garou. I was expecting a suffer fest with a boring layout, but it actually ended up being not 'that' rough (of course it had it's Vekoma moments...) and the layout was much more interesting. I would actually ride this again, something I usually wouldn't ever say about a Vekoma woodie. That said, this would be a perfect RMC project.... .... .... Next is arguably my least favorite roller coaster of all time - the dreaded SLC! Vampire at least had some theming and very nice gardening and flowers, it looked way better than the typical parking-lot theming SLCs get. As I was approaching, I was praying it had the vest style harnesses.... nope, the old sh*tty restraints. Oh well. I found the first half actually not too rough, the second half was typical jerky though. Needless to say, I have no desire to ride this again. Last of the crappy credit trio Cobra. Another problem with boomerangs, they almost always have similar crappy theming. I forgot to take any photos of Psyké Underground, but I thought the theming was OK. I hadn't ridden a Schwarzkopf shuttle looper in maybe over 2 decades and I think this was the first with any real theming. I look forward to venturing down to Walibi on a semi-regular basis and see how Kondaa continues to grow on me. Not having ridden a decent coaster in over two years prior to yesterday makes it hard to judge Kondaa without recent reference points. I would say the rest of the park isn't really trip worthy, but Kondaa alone lives up to the hype and make Walibi Belgium a must visit.
  17. I haven't ridden Untamed yet, but I'd easily put this above Wildfire. It's challenging Expedition GeForce for my top spot.
  18. I've gotten in 2 rides so far today on Kondaa and can confirm that Intamin nailed it! I'll post a full report on my first visit to Walibi later
  19. I think I lucked out on the crowds (it was a Wednesday) and the app really helped pick lines when they were short. I pretty much power-walked everywhere and if I wasn't on a ride, I was in a line. That said, if I had 2 days, I would have taken at least an hour out of the day for food/snacks/beer, but I was on a mission to get to Switzerland!!! I shouldn't go overboard about Silver Star, it's still not an Intamin Mega , but it was far better than what I was expecting and really enjoyable. I'm definitely being harsh on Wodan. It was pretty out-of-control fun, I just am obsessed with airtime. As for Kronasar, as mentioned above, I loved it, but Colosseo was really impressive to. If you have already stayed in Colosseo, definitely book the Kronasar. If you haven't, flip a coin or go with the cheaper option. You can't go wrong either way. Wodan was wild, I shouldn't say it wasn't intense. It's just the lack of air is all. Yes, Expedition GeForce is out of this world.
  20. It's definitely a trade off. As you mentioned, it's not inconvenient as the shuttles run often and until midnight and it's only a few minutes down the road. But you don't have quite the same immersion as the other hotels being next to each other/the park. That said, the fake harbor is REALLY nice at night and I'm sure it will only improve as the water park is finished. But if I did it again, I might opt for the Colosseo hotel. (The Bellrock was really cool, but being from New England... ) So I guess my feedback would be: if you like the Scandinavian vibe/food, stay there. Personally it was the cheapest of the hotels when I booked and having stayed there, I made the right choice I think.
  21. I found Switzerland to be about on par with Scandinavia when it comes to pricing. Hostels were pretty cheap, hotels looked reasonable, and the food reasonable considering these places are pretty touristy now. What got me was all the transportation prices: 3 day travel pass + all the add on's for different trams/gondolas added up really fast. I definitely think you can do a hiking trip in Switzerland without spending too much money if you plan it right.
  22. To be fair, I did at least have dinner, drinks, and breakfast at the park hotels. Plus I pretty much spent the prior week and a half eating and drinking the best of Belgium/France. And knowing Id probably eat my body weight in alpkase the following days (maybe a slight exaggeration), skipping park food was probably for the best. Next time I'll definitely try some of it though!
  23. I haven't been much of the coaster/theme park enthusiast the last decade, with the exception of last summer visiting a few parks that fit my Eurotrip (Grona Lund, Kolmarden, Liseberg, and Tivoli Copenhagen). Literally 3 weeks before I was to leave on this summers Eurotrip, found myself back looking at coasters when it dawned on me: A whole bunch of awesome parks are within driving distance. My original desire was to squeeze in 5 parks: Walibi Holland, Toverland, Phantasialand, Holiday Park, and Europa Park. I realized once I landed in Brussels that there was no way I was going to fit in 5 so I cut out Toverland in favor of hanging with friends in Brussels instead. It was going to be over a week until the theme park blitz, beer and lambic in belgium, North coast of France, and a few beer festivals between Gent and Oostvleteren. My number one mission on the trip though, to finally get to the alps, specifically in Switzerland. As my theme park part of the trip neared, the weather window for the following days in Switzerland looked worse and worse. I decided then to cut out Walibi and move up my Switzerland trip a day, so now 3 parks into 2 days! Doing this side-trip solo, I figured I could get pretty crazy. Day 1: Phantasialand. Tuesday July 9th I arrived at the park around 9:30 and after a lengthy line to get a ticket, I was in the park right at 10:00. Taron was running empty trains with a huge growing line, so I got a quick ride on Raik (single rider line was a walk on). Interesting family coaster which I had no idea was a 'boomerang' style!! After that I head for Black Mamba. After getting turned around a number of times I made it to the ride. Lines were already a bit longer than I anticipated, but I managed to get a front row ride in before 10:30am. Black Mamba was as good as I had anticipated. I had always wanted to ride this as a kid, as I'm a fan of good B&M inverts and the theming was just amazing. Not the most forceful ride ever, but still really fun. I made my back over to Taron and at this time it was running with people. The line had died down (60 minutes was the noted wait, though it was more like 45). I got in a front row ride which impressed me quite a bit! A really good mix of elements, though of course I could use more airtime, bust still really awesome. I noticed that they were occasionally letting in single riders, so I jumped over into that line, which may have been a mistake! I'm pretty sure I waiting even longer in the single rider line for another ride. Oh well, can't win them all. With Taron out of the way, I headed over to Colorado Adventure. To my luck the line, which was immense at open, had died down to maybe a 20 minute way. I was really impressed by the scale of the ride (3 lift hills!) and the interaction with the log flume. It might just be my new favorite mine train!!! Next up was Chiapas - ADIE Wasserbahn. This was hands down the best flume I've ever ridden. Very unique, long, the theming was unreal. Not the most intense or biggest, but definitely the most fun! I ended up leaving the park around 2:30pm. I definitely wish I had a full day to enjoy the park as there were a number of things I skipped and I definitely was in 'rush' mode. That said, 4+ hours was better than skipping the park! I was real impressed by the theming, the use of building down instead of up, and really awesome and fast ride ops. The autobahn drive down to Holiday World was pretty exhilarating. It was my first time driving on the autobahn and I went for broke renting a brand new Audi A5. Limits were tested, new top-speeds achieved My completely unreasonable ride for the week I got to Holiday Park about 3:45pm and was on my way to Expedition Gforce by 4pm. My mission was simple: get in as many quality rides on Gforce as humanly possible before 6pm. No other rides, no food, no breaks. As an intamin airtime junky, EG had been near the very top of my bucklist coasters for well over a decade. There were very few people in the station and I managed to get in 15 rides over the coarse of the 2 hours. A few front, a few middle, and whole lot in/near the back. My personal favorite is back left. Insane first drop, unbelievable airtime, great layout. The onride POVs absolutely do not do this ride justice. Easily catapulted in my top 3 coasters. Just amazing! I went in with extremely high expectations and it still blew me away!!! I have zero regrets about skipping Sky Scream. I already know I"m not a fan of those kind of coasters and considering I may never end up getting back to Holiday Park, I had to get every drop of EG I could get!!! First glimpse!!!! Goosebumps! Airtime bunny hop!! More Best drop ever???? Seriously, straight up airtime machine I then boogied down to Rust and spent the night outside the park in town. I had dinner at Gasthaus zum Oschen. The food and local beer was fantastic and the locals were so nice! The place was absolutely packed, so a local couple who were waiting for a table ahead of me insisted I join them for dinner. Seriously good Pork Schnitzel. Known for their meat (opened years ago a butcher shop), steaks delivered and plated table side. Also the local Pilsner is REALLY good. Day 2: Europa Park. Wednesday July 10th I got up early to make my way over to hotel Kronasar, where I would be staying for the night, got checked in, and then headed into the park. I missed 8:00am shuttle though, so I ended up taking the 8:30am and getting into the park about 8:40am. BlueFire was one of two rides with the early open for hotel patrons, so I headed first there. I waited for the front on the first ride and managed to get it in just before 9am. I decided to hop back on using the single-rider line, which yet again, turned out to be a longer wait than anticipated. BlueFire was a lot of fun, though I think I slightly preferred Taron. At this point, Wodan, which was running empty trains initially, was supporting riders, so I made the short walk over. Again I employed the single-rider line. Yet again, I also think I may have waited longer than the regular line. My first ride was in the 3rd row and left me completely disappointed. While the speed, pacing, and moderate rumble (I like a wooden coaster that has some shake, but not jackhamering pain) were awesome, I was really disappointed by the complete lack of airtime. The POVs made it seem like there would be a lot of little pops, but they were non-existent for me. To make a long TR short, I used the app with wait-times to try to optimize line-waiting and distance between rides. I loved the app!!! Displayed times varied from on point to longer than reality. For instance, my wait time for Silver Star was usually 10-15 minutes where as the displayed times where usually 20-30 minutes. I ended up spending just 1 day in the park: ~8:45am to 7:40pm and fit everything in that I wanted. Granted, I didn't stop to eat or dilly dally (Got some water here and there of course), so it was a 'long' day, but I sometimes enjoy the hustling. All in all I got in all the coasters except the kiddie coasters and Pegasus. I was originally in line for Pegasus, but it broke down and I decided to bail. I would have gone back if the wait dropped below 20 minutes, but it didn't, so I skipped it. I did manage a number of re-rides to (6 total on Silver Star, 4 Blue Fire, 2 Wodan). Volatarium was pretty fun and worth doing, probably the best of that type of ride I've done. First ride of the day. Solid fun! Wodan does look impressive! I wasn't sure what to expect from Euro Mir, but boy was it awesome!!! Unique, quirky, unexpected, great music, interesting theming, surprisingly finish. What more could you want!!! The Mir replica is definitely worth taking a few minutes to walk through and explore. Most photogenic park in the world? I just couldn't believe how beautiful the park was. Station of Poseidon. Just when I thought the theming couldn't get any more impressive... it did! My favorite ride at the park. Not the best themed by any stretch, but I really love the airtime, layout, and overall ride. Layout. I like it. Could be longer, but still great. Mercedes World theme was pretty cool though Station theming was unbelievable (barn animals/etc) and I had no idea how cool the lift was!!!! The rest of the ride was a meh, but completely worth it for the station/lift alone! Switzerland was a very small, tight section, but very cool theming nonetheless! Great views from atop the Euro Tower Arthur. Probably the single greatest themed coaster/ride ever. I thought it looked pretty cool from the outside... But walking into to the building... mind blown. Just unreal. I'm not sure which section I like better, this Atlantis Supersplash area or the Poseidon section. Both are just gorgeous. Back to BlueFire!!! 12-player foosball table!!!! First time seeing this in person. I'd love to setup a match!!! My impressions of the park: The ride ops are the most insane I've ever seen. This park should definitely be the model for fast, efficient, and professional operations. Arthur was unreal with how quick they were! And the theming! It's been a long time since I was at Disney World, but the theming here is the best I remember ever experiencing. Complete immersion throughout the park. Very clean to. My favorite ride at the park was definitely Silver Star. I'm an airtime junky so it's no surprise, but as someone who usually pokes fun at B&M hyper 'floater air' and prefers Intamin, I was really impressed. I managed 6 total rides, all in the last row! Blue Fire was probably my 2nd favorite, followed by Euro Mir (sooooo fun and unique!). Wodan was definitely a huge disappointment, though that isn't to say it isn't good, just my priorities for wooden coasters is like 95% airtime, 5% everything else. OK, maybe a bit of an exaggeration (The Beast is still an alltime favorite of mine), but the point remains. I did only get 2 rides on it, but with 1 in the back towards the end of the day, I feel like it was optimal for best ride conditions. The hotels there were also stunning. After the park closed I grabbed dinner at Sala Santa Isabel, which was pretty good, though not outstanding. I then wandered around the other hotels in the area. The Colosseo was absolutely stunning. Hotel Bell Rock was surreal! Being from MA and living in NH (and a frequenter to ME), it was unbelievable the detail (like seagull noises over the fake harbor). I had nice surprise exclusive bourbon at the Spirit of St. Louis bar there before making my way back to the Kronasar. Hotel Colosseo Lobby This would get my vote as the coolest hotel patio ever. Hotel Bell Rock Did I just teleport back to NE... what the... More impressive than the team this year.... Pretty solid Oak-stave selection and a neat surprise My hotel for the night, the new Kronasar. Impressive at night. Yeah, nothing impressive with that. Nothing at all... From the 2nd to top floor (couldn't figure out how to get to the top, it was a bit confusing with the elevators/stairs). Coolest balcony/lobby ever? Pretty cool and colorful at night. I just wish they didn't turn off the 'wave machine' after close, as the water splashing would have been real nice to fall asleep to with my window open. Really does look a lot like Denmark!!!! Just massive! Europa Park was pretty magical, even with being solo on the day. I would absolutely love to go back and spend a few days with friends there. So if doing these parks during the week, it's totally possible to cram them in and still enjoy it. I'd 100% go back to all 3 parks. In fact, I'm going to try to convince my friends from Brussels to make a trip out to Phantasialand with me sometime, maybe Europa park, though that would be a more difficult sell considering the distance!!!! Expedition GeForce was without a doubt the best coaster on the trip, and a top 3 overall, but considering there isn't much else at the park and it's kinda a pain to get to, I doubt I'll get there again. Switzerland is pretty awesome to 2 days at Europa would have been great, but zero regrets... Lauterbrunnen, my first two nights in the Jungfrau region of Berner Oberlin. Like a painting My reason for skipping day 2 of Europa, trying to beat the clouds moving into the region. Jungfraujoch. Bachalpsee lake. Not as spectacular as with a clear sky, but still pretty stunning Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau Lauterbrunnen valley from Lauberhorn Brienzersee Views from Schilthorn
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