This hybrid animal and amusement park surprised me. I wasn't expecting the park to look as nice as it did going into my visit. The park was very green and shady. Plus several rides were themed and incorporated animals into the experience.
The park was also much busier than I anticipated. Many attractions had hour long waits just 2 hours after opening. I was fortunate I arrived at opening to knock out the major rides. I had to skip two credits for this reason. But it wasn't just the coasters that got busy, several of the water rides and safari rides did too.
From a ride perspective, I was most surprised to see the park still had an operating Huss topple tower in El Volador. And it was the prototype no less! The ride did have a delayed opening due to mechanical issues (surprise surprise), but I was glad to get back on one even if the ride experience isn't too great. This ride really is a lot more impressive to watch than it is to ride. And Bellewaerde placed this ride perfectly on this elevated structure and added fountains.
Wakala was my favorite coaster there. This Gerstlauer creation offers a dynamic ride experience with some fun twists and turns plus a short backwards bit at the end. It rides like Firechaser Express if you take away the little pops of airtime, which still makes it an above average family coaster.
Huracan was a hybrid dark ride and roller coaster. The indoor sets in the main dark ride bit were larger than expected and pretty cool. The coaster bit had a few moderately forceful drops and helixes, but there wasn't too much theming during this part.
The park has one of the older Boomerangs and it was riding pretty smoothly all things considered. That allowed me to appreciate the forceful ride without getting my neck chopped.
The most puzzling coaster is Dawson Duel. Take your average mountain coaster. Now remove the mountain and make guests walk to the top instead of riding up. The descent also removes the levers, so everyone goes the same speed. This ride was a big disappointment. Not only does it have a dreadful throughput, but the downhill course was quite weak between the lack of good elements and odd placement.
Bellewaerde is an excellent family park combining a unique mix of rides and animals.