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The Great Zo

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Everything posted by The Great Zo

  1. Thanks Chuck. I agree, the Napoleon cake ranks pretty high on the best things about Energylandia (the pierogies, too!) But can you do it while not being a viking? It was such a perfect cap on the day. Like, we'd seen so much "WTF" already, and then the Viking Show is cherry on top. It's kind of emblematic of the park as a whole, because it's such an incredible mishmash of theme and a failure to deliver on expectations. And yet, not a single one of us could deny ... there was plenty to look at. (ugh, Helix) But yeah, on Hyperion ... you've got it ranked slightly higher than I do, but I agree with the assessment. Those first few elements are just that good.
  2. It is so, so weird. And they have enough dragons at that park already, so a Zardoz-themed coaster would be kinda cool, except they'd have to use a knockoff Sean Connery. "Cohesive" is a great word ... for what Energylandia isn't. Thank you! (and also Garet!) Their autographed photo is probably already hanging up at the front gate.
  3. (pics, continued!) The RMF Dragon is laying eggs ... before it attacks the Swiss village. A two-coaster shot (Speed / RMF Dragon) ... with a cameo by Formula. "RMF" makes me think of that song by "EMF" because just about everything in Energylandia is unbelievable. RMF Dragon does a turn past the backdrop of the stunt car show. Oh, and they've got a whole water park, too! Not too many people over there on this ugly, cool day, though. Looking to the west, you can see the construction continuing near Dragon Zone. Just south of the Dragon Zone is the area where the new expansion is going -- Aqualantis. Aqualantis will be the home to Abyssus, another big new Vekoma coaster. Another really exciting photograph of the construction on Aqualantis. Energylandia has a drop tower. I didn't ride it. It looked okay-ish. Clearly-terrified drop tower riders. Energylandia also has a frisbee. It looked good. Frisbee / splash boat / Zadra. I mentioned in the TR that Energylandia is a great park for photography. It's honestly just about on Cedar Point's level of being able to get multiple rides in every shot. Riders on the frisbee. Got the frisbee, the splash boat, and the SLC all going. Get it together, Zadra. Off in the distance, Hyperion looms. Last coaster for the photos is Viking Roller Coaster. It's themed to vikings. And also dragons. I didn't even know that SBF Visa made spinning mice, but they do. They probably shouldn't. Not the worst coaster I've ever been on, but it wasn't good. There's a splash battle, with bright colored theming that meshes with absolutely nothing else in the entire park. It's actually very hard to even keep track of all the rides this park has, but there are several I don't have pictures of, including multiple log flumes, and a /second/ splash battle! I'm not even sure what to call this area other than "under the sea but with lots of concrete." Beware the giant pink sea creature. There's a gentle boat ride, which is nice, and it's always better for parks to have them than to not have them. But the execution on this one is, well, not up to Bobbejaanland or Efteling quality. The building behind the boat ride is Monster Attack. There's also ... a kiddie rapids ride? And also a separate, larger rapids ride that I missed seeing entirely? There's also a big fish guy. Riding a dragon. I think this park has a thing for dragons. This little seating/fountain area is nice. I like it. No snark. I also really like the Swiss village area. It doesn't seem to serve any functional purpose, but it's pleasant. I went around looking for a snack near the end of the day. I passed on the "knuckle without a bone" and the mutton sausages. I actually really wanted to get one of these rolled-up cake things, but there was a line, and literally only one employee in the restaurant. Instead, I went to the Scandinavian restaurant, and picked up this Napoleon cake at Chuck's suggestion. Chuck will not steer you wrong. This was very good. When I finished my cake, the rest of my group had gathered at the Viking Show. That sounded interesting! I decided to head over that way and catch the show myself. Here we are, at the ... Viking Show? Wait, what? Where are the vikings? Am I at the wrong venue? Let's check in with the rest of the group. Daniel's expression ... is it pained bewilderment and resignation? The Viking Show has dancing and acrobatics and no shortage of eye candy. You know what the Viking Show did not have? It did not have vikings. The, er, view from the upper level. Look, I really don't know /what/ I was expecting from the Viking Show. But this was definitely not it. Are we gazing up at the sky in hopes that vikings are going to fall out of it? To note, I arrived after the show began, so I found myself a photo spot off to the side rather than going into the main seating area. We're still dancing. We still have no vikings. And ta-da, that's the Viking Show. I'm still kind of amazed. What did the audience think? It's ... a range of emotions. With just about an hour left in our day, we headed back up front to Hyperion, hoping to get in one more ride before we left. Scenes from the Hyperion gift shop! A look over Hyperion and the parking lot. Sorry for the lack of a train in the shot, but Hyperion was running one train, and it was cycling very slowly. I do really like the theming in Hyperion's queue. Very space age. Lots of bright whites and blues against dark backgrounds. There's even this cool globe thing in one of the early queue rooms. But oh, we have to talk about the Hyperion queue, because it's not fair to just say it's gigantic. It's the longest queue I've ever seen in my life, and there are /no shortcuts/. See this room? It's a five-story spiral ramp that you have to go up. When you get to the top, you go outside, and then you have to go /down/ to get back to ground level. There is no apparent functional reason for having to go up and down, let alone five stories. Finally, you enter this disaster of a room, in which the intent is that you split into one of three queue groups -- front row, single rider, or rest-of-train. In concept, it's an interesting idea. In practice, it only made things more confusing. There are no park employees stationed at the front of these three queues. Rather, once every few minutes, the turnstiles unlock themselves to allow a set number of people through -- a number that is counted down on the monitor. It's ... kind of dystopian. It doesn't help that we were completely stopped for 10-15 minutes in this windowless room, with no signs of life at the front of the queue, due to a brief outage on the ride. We were even texting the rest of the group, "hey, can any of you see what's going on with Hyperion? We're kinda stuck in here and don't want to miss the bus." Thankfully, Hyperion got going again, and we all got on before it was time to go. This turnaround, after the big hills on the outbound leg, is really funky. Lots of classic Intamin airtime! A weird sideways airtime bit. I think I got all of these pictures from the entrance to the nearby Vienna Cafe. Yes, there's an Austrian-themed cafe directly across from the entrance to the space-themed hypercoaster. Big front-row hairtime. Hyperion has a splashdown, but it can be turned off, and it was wisely disabled on the day of our visit. More Hyperion hairtime. A whole range of fun reactions on this train. Let's end on a good note. Hyperion is awesome. I have it in my top 15. Well, that was quite the day. See you later, Energylandia. I really do hope I get back here some day, because if I stick to eating things, photographing things, and just riding the 4 or 5 best coasters, I could probably have a pretty enjoyable outing. That's it from our first day in Poland!
  4. After lunch, we decided to check out a show... What's on the schedule today? The Prince of Magic? The Western Show? The Fire Show? That one sounds interesting. The Viking Rock Show? Put a note on that one for later. I think we went with the generically-named "It's Show Time." Here's our host, telling jokes to the crowd before the show began. The theater was actually pretty much full. I don't know what all of this stuff is called so we'll go with "guy with yo-yo thing in front of glowing bald head." He sure yo-yo'd the heck out of that yo-yo. Feel free to correct me in the comments if you know what this routine is actually called. Then, we got "dudes with spinny LED sticks." They were later joined by a lady with smaller spinny LED sticks. The whole point was to use the LED sticks to create images caused by the delayed effects of how their quick motion is perceived by the human eye. It was pretty effective, and kind of entertaining, though difficult to photograph. So, next, we have to talk about Monster Attack, the park's dark ride. This is the outer facade for Monster Attack. It's a bunch of large alien robot giant characters that have absolutely no relation to anything that goes on inside the ride building. Monster Attack -- in the Angry Birds font. Here's the only picture I have from inside, but it's enough to get an idea of what's going on. It's a giant, mostly-empty building, themed with skulls and fog and prop creatures to shoot at, and no semblance of a plot whatsoever. There isn't really a station. You walk up to the track, a car pulls up, you try to get in, it starts moving again, you go to get in again, it starts moving while you've got one foot inside, almost dragging you along, and then you jump in as quick as you can so you don't lose a toe. If there was a ride op or a park employee of any kind in the vicinity, I didn't see them. Here's my score at the end of the ride. Well, one of them is my score, but I couldn't tell you which one. Frankly, I hope I lost. Without question, the worst shooting dark ride I've ever been on. Maybe the worst dark ride I've ever been on. Let's look around at some of the rest of the park's theming. This tent is, of course, very "western." These stilt walkers were waltzing slowly around the park. Are they the King and Queen of Energylandia? I really don't know, because nothing at this place makes sense. See, for example, this Cars knockoff. Is this even an actual Cars character? And why are the tires cartoonishly flattened? And why is it parked in between a dragon volcano and a viking village? Alright, let's get some pics of the SLC out of the way. "On this attraction the opportunity purchase photos from the ride." So, yes, Mayan is a good SLC, if such a thing exists. It's un-coathangered, and the restraints are comfy. Roughness and pain are only two reasons I dislike SLCs, though -- the other is the awkward layout. The element sequence just doesn't sit right with me. An SLC inversion, and a cameo from the drop tower. I have a few pictures of Speed, the giant Intamin watercoaster bathtub. Sadly, I neglected to get any pictures of the splashdown at the end. I can only imagine the kind of reaction shots you could get from there. The elevator lift is cool. The tower is very tall. The drop, however, is shallow and boring. The coaster portion is just kind of there. A couple hills, and a couple turns. Not sure that these folks -- especially the ones in the front row -- know what they are in for. The first drop -- the big drop -- is just a spritzing. It's the final splashdown that sends a wall of water over and into the boat. I was not on the Speed ride vehicle that Robb filmed -- I rode with another group. My row didn't get quite as dunked in the water as Robb's did, but it was still extremely wet. I was at least up to my ankles in water in the boat. Extremely thankful I remembered to bring sandals for the ride! Somewhere between the giant water coaster and the dragon volcano is the race car terrace. It's actually a triple-level building near the Formula roller coaster, with a restaurant and gift shop and other amenities. There's also a pedal-powered slot car race track on the lowest level, which is kind of cool. This slot car track brought to you by Porsche. This miniature seating area brought to you by Red Energy. Did they really name an entire theme park after a brand of energy drinks? There's also a video game racing simulator thing inside the Formula gift shop. Here's the view from the outdoor terrace -- the largest of several elevated viewing areas around the park. As a photographer, I appreciate this. The big red inversion on the right is from Formula, this area's most prominent coaster. Formula is really good. Yeah, like the rest of the park, the theming is a little tacky. But that matters so much less when you're on a genuinely enjoyable ride. Formula launches straight into this inversion, so there's some intensity right off the starting line. That inversion is followed by a series of low elements, quick transitions, little hops and twists, and a couple more inversions. A train exits the launch tunnel. Launching! Launching again! Launching some more! Formula's launch hits 49 mph. It's great that Vekoma is making good rides now. They have a long history of SLCs and boomerangs to make up for. Formula's bright red track looks nice, even against a drab sky. A twist out of the first inversion. I will say that Formula had by far the best ops of any coaster in the park -- the crews were enthusiastic and /fast/. They were pumping out the trains at Cedar Point speed. There's some airtime mixed in here and there. Also, inversions. More airtime. It's a short ride -- not even 2,000 feet long -- but it's a good one. I won't say how many trains it took me to finally time out this shot perfectly. The seating area behind the coaster is for the park's car/stunt show. Formula and its theming. Hey, I even caught Brad, Chuck, Larry, and Ryan! Between Formula and the SLC is a double-drop splash boat ride, which I think is called Anaconda. Something to note in this picture -- the row of bunnies on either side of the entry/exit platform. Deposit your stuff on the way in, pick it up on the way out. That's an efficient way to do things, and I like that Energylandia installed it that way for this ride. Sadly, they /didn't/ install it that way on all of the other attractions in the park, resulting in some long walks after getting off of rides. To be fair, the SLC had decent ops too, which meant it was pretty easy to get SLC / splash boat combo pics like this one. Or, like this one. From another angle, the splash boat appears to pass just in front of Zadra. A group of riders expects to get wet... ...but to be fair, this ride isn't nearly as soaking as Speed. More splash boat pics, just because. If you want to get soaked, you can stand on the platform above the splash. In my opinion, this was definitely not the kind of weather for a "get soaked" kind of experience. As such, this ride was running half-empty boats all day. Another splashdown picture. Happy people at Energylandia! A wall of water. Alright, last one from the splash boat. Somewhere behind the Mayan temple and the Swiss hut is the bat-themed family boomerang. What's in your belfry? I like these rides, I really do. But is it true that Energylandia is going to be building a /second/ family boomerang in one of their upcoming expansions? Because that would be a very strange thing to do. Anyway, this ride is cute, and I was not ashamed to enjoy riding it. A few midway games, with Hyperion and Speed in the background. In this picture: the tail of a dragon, a race car flag, a pyramid, a space-themed Kamikaze, and an Intamin hypercoaster. Hyperion and Space Gun! Yet another "this park has everything" view.
  5. Tuesday, July 23, 2019 Day 12: Energylandia "There's just something kind of /off/ about the whole place." A quote from a tweet I sent the day after our visit to Energylandia in 2019. Looking back a year later, those words still resonate, well, fairly accurately. If you've read the other TRs from last year's trip, you know the basics -- a few top-tier coasters, an enormous collection of family/kiddie coasters, and a complete mish-mash of theming. I want to get into more of the details. For one, Energylandia is large. The park was about 50 acres even before the recent expansions, and will be closer to 80-90 acres when that's all complete in a year or two. As a comparison, Europa Park (not including hotels) is about 90-100 acres, and Efteling is about 130 acres. For two, Energylandia is new. The park opened in 2014 -- just six years ago. In that time, they've built 15 roller coasters, with at least three more scheduled to open in the next 12-18 months. Putting the issue of coaster quality aside for a moment, that's an amount of growth that is unprecedented amongst any theme parks I've ever been acquainted with. When I did my report on Toverland, I spent some time talking about how that park was built gradually, in an organic and well thought-out manner. You can even look at the larger regional US parks, such as Cedar Point and SFMM, and see that they aren't putting up large capital expendatures every single year. Energylandia is, obviously, doing things differently. I don't intend to use this space to discuss anything about the means by which this park is funded, but suffice to say, their pace of expansion does not even remotely conform to the ideas in my head about reasonable/sustainable growth at this type of amusement property. Suffice to say, Energylandia's collection of rides is massive -- rivaling Cedar Point in number. The coasters, of course, are an extremely top-heavy collection. Outside of the outstanding large coasters, the rest are a collection of decent-but-redundant family and kiddie credits, none of which are worth more than a single ride. The two coasters that doesn't fit neatly into either category are the Vekoma SLC (which forces me to confront the fact that in 2015 a theme park built a brand new Vekoma SLC) and the water coaster (which doubles as a bathtub). As for the park's flat rides, there are so many of them that it's hard to even get a handle on what's there. Like with the kiddie coasters, many are redundant -- there are two splash battles and two log flumes for example. Per Wikipedia, the vast majority of the flats are SBF Visa models. There's quite a bit of variety, but nothing really stands out. A frisbee might be the best of the batch. The shooting dark ride might be the worst. So, we've got some ingredients to work with here. But how did they execute the recipe? To be frank, it's an incoherent cacophany. There are so many things that just felt off about this park that it's hard to describe, but I'll do my best. You've got operational issues. Wait time sign boards that never update. Queues with random umbrellas blocking the middle of the path. Poor English translations all over the place. Incredibly oversized queues park-wide. A queue-metering system on Hyperion that only led to greater confusion. A general feeling of malaise from the apathetic staff -- the excitable crews on a couple coasters aside. You've got maintenance issues. Hyperion, a fairly new Intamin hypercoaster, rattling. Speed, a fairly new Intamin water coaster, filling with water on the run back to the station. A dark ride with no station and no ride op that honestly could probably injure somebody just trying to load in. And then you've got the theming. Above all else, the park's theming is the visual reminder that sticks with you long after you've visited. Here's the best way I can think to describe it -- it's like a movie set version of a theme park. It has all the elements you'd expect to find at a theme park, but stripped down to their most generic, tacky, soul-less possible form. It feels like a front -- as if entire park is a knock-off of a series of other properties they're halfway-trying to not get sued by. It's like if whoever built the place did a world tour of other theme parks for inspiration, but the only parks they actually visited were Happy Valley Wuhan and Beech Bend. It's all plastic and no charm. We all know that sometimes, less is more. Energylandia has decided, instead, to be everything. I enjoy that I can steal from those who wrote TRs before me, so in their own words, Energylandia is: Erik and Smisty: "a game show shopping spree" Chuck: "the greatest mini golf course ever" Larry: "a surplus of fiberglass" To be a bit more descriptive, Energylandia is an undersea mayan medieval western martian egyptian flower viking dragon race car volcano monster circus. It is all of those things. I don't think they've covered ninjas yet, but there's still time! Look, I don't want this to be all negative, so I'm going to dedicate a part of this TR to earnestly saying good things about Energylandia. * The top coasters are really, really good. Hyperion is fantastic. Formula is very fun. We missed Zadra by only a couple weeks, but it looks amazing. Abyssus will likely continue the trend. I'm having a hard time thinking of more than a couple parks on the planet that could match Energylandia's top four, once Abyssus opens. * Food was way better than expected. I should be careful to draw a distinction to food service, which was often lacking, but everyone was really happy with everything we had to eat at the park. No shortage of variety, either. For whatever reason, that's one area they're doing quite well in. * A fantastic park for photography. This park has top-tier coasters, a wide assortment of flat rides, and a ton of good places from which to photograph them. The park also has several elevated terraces and platforms in different places, providing aerial views any photographer can enjoy. It's disappointing that we visited on a day with gloomy weather, and my pictures all have that same whitewashed-looking sky, but nothing we can do about that. * A few areas with nice theming. The dragon zone is, largely, quite nice. I like the Swiss village. I like Hyperion's surroundings, aside from the size of the queue. There are spots around the park that are aesthetically enjoyable. * Currently has more volcanoes than Kings Dominion. Sorry, too soon? Energylandia is clearly able to do some things right, and at least put out an entertaining product to their core group of visitors. They clearly have somebody who knows the coaster world enough to make good choices on their larger projects -- the big coasters are all top-tier. They clearly don't have any issues regarding finances. They've got some of the elements you need to be successful, but it's not being put together in a way that makes sense, and they're so far down that road that I don't know if there's any reasonable way to turn back. I've heard others mention that Energylandia is a park in search of an identity. But even with how much they're spending and how quickly they're building, there's just no feasible way to rip everything out and start over again with a plan or a layout that is more cohesive, more sensible, more professional. Energylandia is what it is. It's a stream of consciousness, minus the consciousness. This is not a park in search of an identity. This is its identity, and its identity is everything. --- Alright, a quick review of our day -- the first-ever visit to a park in Poland on a TPR trip: We got to the park at 8:30 AM, though we didn't get into the park for another half hour. We had pre-opening filming sessions on Hyperion, Formula, and Speed. I'm OK with parks having loose article policies. I don't understand enforcing them during a pre-arranged filming session in a coaster station with cubbies for loose articles. But I digress. After filming, my group went and started a credit run on the rest of the coasters in the park. All of them were one-and-done. We had pierogies for lunch, though we had to walk halfway across the park to find somewhere with enough room for all of us to sit down. After lunch, we finished the credits, saw a show, and then split up for a mix of other activities. Some people went to more shows, some people rode some flat rides, and I mainly took some pictures. We re-united for another ride on Hyperion just before it was time to leave, ending up slightly trapped in the disorganized mess of the queue's final room during what we assumed was a brief ride stoppage. We left the park at about 7PM. Last bit before the pictures -- a review of the coasters... Hyperion: Hyperion is really, really good. A top-tier coaster by almost any standard, which is not surprising given that it's a >250ft Intamin. It's a nice combination of so many things that Intamin does well -- a huge drop, big elements and big airtime to start, and some quirkier, twistier elements in the second half of the ride. It's also got a really interesting turnaround at the end of the outbound leg. It's a type of coaster I love -- large and intense, with varied elements, and a nice long ride. There's one problem I have to mention -- Hyperion rattles. It feels like there's some kind of issue with the trains, which is concerning. This was not a huge problem on my rides, as I never felt anything worse than, say, the B&Ms at Kings Island. Others on the trip had a rougher experience, so I understand why they adjusted their assessments accordingly. Formula: It's funny to see just how similar Formula (Energylandia) and Formule X (Drievliet) are in concept. Both are small-ish red launched coasters, themed to Formula 1 race cars, with an emphasis on inversions, quick transitions, and little pops of air. Both are really good rides, but as a larger and more complete attraction, Formula at Energylandia is the better of the two. One of my regrets on our day was getting just two rides during filming, and never going back to ride again. It's worth more than two rides for sure, and it's further proof that Vekoma suddenly knows what they're doing! Robb has a video of this one . Zadra: No, we didn't ride Zadra. I just wanted to note that if it weren't for that wind storm that knocked down a bunch of Zadra's structure in March 2019, it probably would have been opened by the time we were there. Stupid weather. Speed: OK, you've probably all seen that Robb appropriately titled "wettest roller coaster in the world." It's equal parts hilarious and concerning. I, uh, don't think ride vehicles are supposed to just fill with water like that. But even aside from that, Speed is not a great ride. The drop is boring, and the coaster layout doesn't do anything interesting. I suppose I'd only recommend this ride if you didn't have time for a shower/bath before you left home for the park. Roller Coaster Mayan: It's still remarkable to me that a park built a brand new SLC in 2015. Did somebody go to Walibi Holland, ride El Condor, and say "wow, we need to get one of these!"? With that said, this is the best SLC I've been on, and I wonder if Vekoma used their newer design/construction techniques to un-coathanger some of the elements. With that said, it's still an SLC, the layout is still a cluster, and it's a one-and-done. Dragon Roller Coaster: A Vekoma family hang-and-bang, same model as Orkanen and Dragonflier. I actually don't have anything negative to say about this one. It's a good family coaster, and you get eaten by a dragon, Krake-style! Boomerang: A Vekoma family boomerang coaster, and I can't say anything bad about this one either. A fun ride. Viking Roller Coaster: If you didn't know that SBF Visa makes spinning mice, you do now. Uncomfortable restraints and a tired layout. Not a good ride. Energus Roller Coaster: Now we're getting into the dregs of Energylandia's coaster collection. Energus is a completely generic Vekoma roller skater, themed to the park's mascot, Energus. Mars: Quite possibly the tackiest theming of any coaster I've ever come across. It's an SBF Visa kiddie coaster, and fiberglass aliens aside, it's otherwise completely forgettable. Happy Loops: It's an SBF Visa spinner, the kind you see cloned at FECs everywhere. What on earth is a huge property like Energylandia doing with one of these? Frida: Frida is one of two new coasters in the Dragon Zone (near Zadra) that opened only a couple days before our visit. We were among the first coaster enthusiasts in the world to get the credits. Frida's not bad, but it's just another Vekoma roller skater in a park that already has one. Draken: Draken is the other new coaster in the Dragon Zone. It's a tiny Preston & Barbieri kiddie credit. Frutti Loop Coaster: A wacky worm with an identity crisis. The ride entrance says "Owocowy Ogrod" (Fruit Garden) but the park calls it "Frutti Loop Coaster" elsewhere. A wacky worm by any other name is still a wacky worm. Circus Coaster: A powered credit. It goes around in an oval. It's the smallest coaster I've ever seen in my life. That's about it. And now, a whole bunch of photos... Welcome to Energylandia! Please enjoy our architecturally-inconsistent castle. Hyperion's lift hill towers over the park's main entrance. The majority of Hyperion's layout lines the north side of the parking lot. Some good photo spots out that way, though I never made it there to get any pictures when the coaster was running. We arrived well before the park opened, so the front gate was not yet open. I think this was the park ticket. It's possible it was the meal voucher? Either way, it's a space-age dragon thing on a roller coaster rocket ship. The park also gave us each a CD featuring music from Energylandia, but I haven't listened to it, because I haven't needed to listen to it, because I still have the played-on-repeat front gate theme song stuck in my head /a year later/. Every castle needs a throne, but only the best castles have theirs supplied by Vekoma. Inside the entry to the park, there's a huge array of signed portraits from famous performers who have been at Energylandia, such as ... D-Bomb? And ... Warface? I admit, I had to look them up, but they are real musicians! We started out morning with filming/ERT on Hyperion. I'm not sure the park had ever actually done a professional filming session before. We had to pay for bunnies. It was kind of strange. I loved the coaster, though! After that, we did filming on Formula (which was awesome) and Speed (which was submersed). With filming complete, let's head to the back of the park to see the newest section, and a big RMC that was just barely not quite ready to open yet. Welcome to the Dragon Zone! This was advertised as a soft opening, which is fine. To get to the Dragon Zone, you have to walk through this concrete underpass, which goes beneath a road that completely separates the Dragon Zone from the rest of the park. Kind of an odd arrangement. This insignia is on the gate at the main entrance to the Dragon Zone. Does it, uh, remind you of anything? Zadra was closed. Zadra's gift shop, however, was open. Zadra really, really looks like Goliath from this angle. That road I mentioned is in the foreground of this shot. Construction was continuing on Zadra, though it looked to mainly be check-up work, as the track and structure appeared to be complete. Flags at the top of the lift hill. Within a few weeks of our visit, trains would be cresting the first drop. A little more work on the lift hill. The gradient in the gloomy sky kind of works for this shot. Awesome RMC twistyness. Workers high in Zadra's structure. Checking the structure on another inversion. I'll probably ride you some day, Zadra. Probably. Let's take a look around the rest of the Dragon Zone. Most of it actually looks pretty nice, with a sort of "medieval town" theme, with some nice rock work and wood carving. Perhaps stop for a refreshment at ... King's Arthur? Yep. There's a little play area, though it seemed kind of sparse. A dragon monorail thing was running, though we didn't give it a ride. That's Hyperion in the distance. The two new kiddie credits were open. We'll start with Draken. The NASA shirt + cowboy hat look is something. Draken is just a little tiny kiddie coaster and it does its thing just fine, I guess. Draken was sporting a wait time of 0 minutes! Which is good, except that literally every ride in the park was sporting a wait time of 0 minutes or 10 minutes, all day long, without changing, and without regard for the actual length of the wait. A centralized system for ride wait times is a good idea, unless its incorrect, and then it's not a good idea. We also ran into a few ride queues that had approximate wait times painted on the ground in the queue. That's fine, until you change the queue layout without changing the paint. We were in one queue in which we passed a "10 minute" wait time, then passed a "30 minute" wait time, all the while taking about 20 minutes to get on the coaster. It's the little things like that... Back to the Dragon Zone, here's the entrance for Frida. Frida is apparently an owl with a large key. Frida is also a Vekoma junior coaster, dwarfed by its larger neighbor. Frida's fine, maybe even kind of fun, but it doesn't add anything new to Energylandia's ride collection. These may be the first enthusiast-acquired ride photos of Frida in action, though that awesomeness is kind of blunted by the fact that this trip report is going up almost a year late. Frida is very purple, which is an uncommon coaster color, and yet it's still Energylandia's second purple coaster. Here's Frida's station, or at least the best picture I could get of it before the ride ops shooed us all away. I did get this picture before I departed, just to add to my totally unofficial "local landscape as seen from theme parks" photo series. Back on the "mainland" side of Energylandia, here's the other purple coaster -- Boomerang. It's got a cute "bats in the house" kind of theme, and yet they still gave it the ultra-generic "Boomerang" name. Before you can even ride Boomerang, you have to navigate a slalom course of concrete-based umbrellas that are literally just placed randomly in the middle of the queue walkway. Here's a volcano. Sorry, Kings Dominion fans. The volcano is home to the RMF Dragon Rollercoaster. The figure on the ride sign appears not to be a dragon, but some kind of flaming pterodactyl. RMF, the ride's sponsor, is a radio station in Poland. Anyway, I actually like these last two coasters. Vekoma family boomerangs and family hang-and-bangs are actually pretty decent. Circus Coaster, however, is not decent. It is a tiny powered coaster with no hills that just goes in an oval. In the first car, you'll see the target audience for the ride. In the rest of the train is a collection of coaster enthusiasts sinking to the lowest of all possible lows, whoring themselves for a powered coaster credit that doesn't even actually count. And they're gonna have the time of their lives doing it. "It's so intense!" --Barry, probably. This coaster is called "Circus Coaster" and yet there is no circus theming. It's just a colorful dragon on an oval. I'm kind of identifying with Colin in this picture. Now we're having a good time. I previously photographed Colin falling asleep on Walibi Holland's kiddie coaster, so I guess he's got his bit, and he's pretty sold to it. Daniel is always the best actor. The key element to this picture isn't Barry saying "onward" or Ryan looking like he's about to cry. It's the completely random 20-foot-tall shirted dragon figure ... in front of a giant Egyptian pyramid. None of this makes sense. This is Mars. Presumably, Energylandia's interpretation of what the surface of Mars actually looks like. The coaster itself is an inoffensive, if forgettable kiddie credit. The theming, however, is really something. How would you even begin to describe this to somebody? How, in particular, would you describe this? A fiberglass alien cucumber? Oh, the depths we'll go to. Here's the park's wacky worm, because a park with 400 kiddie credits also needs a wacky worm. It's called Owocowy Ogrod... ...or is it called Frutti Loop Coaster? Either way, there is no fruit anywhere on the ride -- it's themed to flowers. It's definitely the most nicely-themed wacky worm I've ever been on, but then, nobody really themes wacky worms. Caroline has learned to harness the power of Wacky Worms into philosophical musings. This last turn kicks up the intensity a bit. These are the good on-ride photos that make it all worth it! Rector, Gearhart, and Goldballs are all hanging on tight. Sorry Erik, but I said I was gonna steal Goldballs, and I am. The kiddie credit circuit continues on Energus! I think Energus is the park's mascot. It's ... another Vekoma junior coaster. You know what, these people are having a good time, and good for them. Another credit! It's an SBF Visa spinner. Despite the name, it has no loops. For lunch, we went to the place with pierogies. It's called Pierogarnia. They have a pierogi with meat. It does not specify what kind of meat. I think I went with the cheese and potatoes. Another entry into my fascination with Europe having 500 different varieties of orange soda.
  6. 1) Millennium Force 2) Steel Vengeance 3) Top Thrill Dragster 4) Maverick 5) Raptor 6) Wicked Twister 7) Rougarou 8) Gemini 9) Blue Streak 10) Magnum 11) Pipe Scream 12) Valravn 13) Gatekeeper 14) Mine Ride 15) Iron Dragon 16) Corkscrew
  7. Meerkats, giraffes, and ... pig-cats? Europe really does has a bit of everything. You've got me missing Symbolica, Lech Coaster, and Untamed. Here's hoping we all get back there soon!
  8. I've been to Animal Kingdom 3 or 4 times since Primeval Whirl opened, and never got the credits. Always thought "eh, maybe next time, there are better things to do here."
  9. Great review of your day at KI, Daniel. I think you've kinda nailed my own priors on Orion. It looks fun, it's similar to Diamondback, etc. None of these things are bad! But to spend $30M on "very good" and then make up your own definition of "giga-coaster" for the sake of your PR department? It's always kinda confused me, but hey, I'm just an outsider who hasn't even been on it yet. Banshee in the last row is definitely an experience. Was it running smooth back there? I drove past the park tonight at about 10PM, and Orion's laser beam lift hill looks amazing. Congrats on 500! I hope you spent an appropriate amount of time reminiscing on all the SLCs and sketchy kiddie credits that brought you to that amazing numeric accomplishment.
  10. I'm very glad that there is photographic evidence of me on Insane so that I never have to ride it again. That was a great trip. I miss Chiapas.
  11. It is! Excellent, excellent. My TR is really ride-thin and I'm looking forward to seeing more of what I missed. I think I had to barter for a window seat, but to whoever I bartered with, I'm not sure I ever paid up. UGH!!! Why you have to be so violent, Daniel? I'm glad you got to do the boat thing! And I agree with your overall feelings on Duinrell, as with everyone else who's posted here about it. If i was maybe a little bit too harsh on the place, that's fair, I'll accept that, and maybe most of it was just the crowds. Definitely some good things to like about this park. I hope no one minds that, well, the park on the next segment of this TR isn't exactly going to get a glowing review ... though it'll definitely be funny! And then nothing but good from that point forward! Oh, and I think you might have liked Duinrell even more if you didn't almost miss the bus because you couldn't find the exit.
  12. OK, I had to look that one up, and wow. Speaking of things you'd never see in the US! That's honestly pretty terrifying, but I'm not a fan of holding my breath at all. Yeah, this is a good point -- I can see this place as more of a weekend retreat, where you spend some time in the dry park, some time in the water park, and some time just relaxing. That's probably what they're going for and it obviously works really well for them. The whole story of Lelystad Airport is really interesting. Like, perhaps it could one day serve as the Dutch focus for the low-cost carriers like Ryanair, freeing up space at Schiphol? Who knows if they'll ever actually build the place up for it though.
  13. I really did miss the best part, didn't I? Poffertjes should be an automatic! And we definitely made the right choice to go here -- pretty much any park is worth a few hours instead of just getting to the airport super early. Like I said in the TR, I think it's neat to get a chance to visit some of the quirky smaller parks -- for boat jumping(!) and other reasons -- even if Duinrell might not be my favorite of them.
  14. Monday, July 22, 2019 Day 11 Part 3: Rhymes With Schiphol With Duinrell complete, our theme park adventures in the Netherlands (and Belgium) had come to a close. Here's a map to wrap it all up. That brought us back to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, where we had a flight to catch to our next destination. It was not a great experience. Schiphol was very crowded. The wait to check in was insane. The security lines weren't quite as bad. The restaurants inside were very busy. It all just seemed very hectic. If you take some liberties with the English pronunciation, you can come up with something that rhymes with Schiphol that more closely approximates our opinion of the place. (and somehow, days later, it'd get worse...) So, to continue the travelogue, a short photo set on our departure from the Netherlands. Barry and Daniel are ready to travel* *after waiting for a half hour in the check-in line Behind security at Schiphol, in one of the main "lounge" areas. The airport was quite busy. Several TPR people tried to get dinner at this place, but I'm not sure if they ever succeeded. Sounds like service was a disaster. I wanted to do some photography so I split from the group, and found a decent burger place in the quieter area near the "Airport Park" on the second level. Schiphol's well known for its pre-security outdoor terrace, but it was closed due to renovation work. I did find this smaller outdoor area post-security. Not an expansive view, but you can see one of the piers that serves international flights. Whole bunch of big wide-body airplanes out there, from Turkish, Etihad, Air Mauritius, and of course KLM. I will certainly give the airport credit for having some spots with nice views of the airfield. I got to catch a few interesting planes, like this KLM 747. An Aeroflot A321. An ABC Pharma 747 -- I bet this plane is in heavy demand right now. And a view with some nice buildings in the background. As is so often the case at these European airports, we had ... a bus gate. So here's a POV from the bus. We passed a whole bunch of other small KLM planes... ...and arrived to ours. It was not the first time I'd seen this airplane. This KLM E190 (PH-EZZ) is the exact same plane I flew on when traveling from Gothenburg to Amsterdam at the end of my 2016 Europe trip. Pretty sure it's the first time I've ever been on the same plane twice! And so, we departed Schiphol... ...high above the Dutch freeways. With a view of the reflection from the setting sun on the North Sea. Schiphol Airport's multitude of runways... ...it looks so small from up here. Planes taxiing to take off behind us. A view of Amsterdam on the way out. The city center, the central station, and NEMO are all visible from up here. A wider view over the city. The port area closer to the sea. A flashback to the early part of the trip -- that's the Lelystad Airport and the Aviodrome museum, with the 747 on display at the left side. I know this picture is terrible, but that's Walibi Holland in the middle. You can kind of make out the Ferris wheel. And then, we arrived. Or, we have pryzloty'd. Welcome to Krakow for the first-ever TPR excursion to Poland!
  15. I did have one ride left to get on... This is Wild Wings, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly. There are very few of these outside of Europe, which is a shame, because they're quite good. I got on the one at Holiday Park in 2016. I've also been on the similar Sky Roller at Liseberg, both in 2016 and later on this trip. For those who haven't been on one, the big arm rotates around, close to the ground near the station and up in the air on the opposite side. Individual riders can control the wings... ...opting for either a calm flight... ...or a dizzying spin cycle. Each of the vehicles on this one is themed to a country. You could fly like Brazil. Perhaps the UK or EU are more your style. Andrew went with ... Cuba? Chris also rode in the cycle before mine. This is where I'd put pictures of the splash boat or the top spin, if I had any. I do not. So instead, some pictures of the Rodelbanan -- the alpine slide. It's a two-track alpine slide that climbs the dune, and then slides back down. Yet another attraction with a long queue, which kept me from riding, though many other people in the group did. This is the start of the lift hill, as the slide heads up the dune. I would also be heading up the dune, but for a different reason. The sign pointing to the left says "Uitkijktoren" -- literally, "out look tower." You can figure out the rest. The paved trail to the tower is closed off to bikes and scooters. It goes right alongside the alpine slide. Nearing the top, and also nearing the top of the alpine slide. Here's the starting line for the slide -- this is where each rider pauses and waits for a green light, signifying that the next rider is far enough down. You're asked to keep a distance of 25 meters apart, but with all the trees and curves, it might not be easy to see that far ahead. Given that there's no restraint system, these alpine slides do come with a small amount of danger. However, it sounded like this one was fairly tame. From the top of the dune, you can watch the riders on their way up the lift hill. Top-of-the-lift artistic shot ... but we've got a guest. Hi, Daniel. Enjoy your ride. I timed out my visit to the top of the hill to catch most of the TPR group on their way up. So we've got Andrew... ...and Barry... ...and Chris... ...and Colin... ...and Ryan... ...and Caroline! As for me, I couldn't hop a ride down, so I headed over to the top of the dune. This is the Uitkijktoren -- the lookout tower built near the dune's highest point. Many parks have observation towers that function as rides, but this may be the first I've visited with an actual lookout tower at the top of a hill. Before I climbed the tower, though, I had one more thing to do. There are several trails that lead away from the tower, further into the natural landscape of the dunes. On this trail, just west of the tower, is the highest point on the dune. In earlier trip reports, I visited: * Vaalserberg, the highest point in the Limburg province. * Groot Valkenisse, the highest point in the Zeeland province. * Urk, the highest point in the Flevoland province. ...and also Vlaggeduin, the /second/ highest point in South Holland. Well, this clump of grass next to the trail is the highest point in South Holland. ...or, actually, it might be this sandy, grassy area closer to the tower. Either way, that's four Dutch provincial high points completed in the span of a week and a half. There are 12 Dutch provinces, so that leaves 8 more to go some time in the future. I like visiting high points, and I like visiting theme parks, but never before have I done both at the same time. So, anyway, let's climb the tower. A look down at the top of the alpine slide lift. Some binoculars to check out the distant views. I'd be fine with my zoom lens. The view down into the park isn't much to speak of. It's so covered in trees that you can't even see any of the rides. The tallest slide complex at the water park is visible. This ornamental thing is on top of one of the big dry slide towers in the playground area. Otherwise, much of the view consists of a whole bunch of trees. Close by, you can see the buildings in in the town of Wassenar. Further way, the taller buildings in the bigger city of Leiden. Leiden was a city I visited earlier in the trip, and some of the buildings looked familiar from way up here. Red and brown Dutch roofs. One of many churches in the area. A double-decker train scurries past a wind farm in the distance. A big indoor ski facility in Zoetermeer called SnowWorld. Way in the distance, the skyline of Rotterdam. A little closer, the skyline of The Hague. Some tall buildings in the background... ...and a dune-set golf course in the foreground. Resort buildings and highrises in nearby Scheveningen... ...including the big observation wheel on the water. Some day I'll get there. Looking west, a distant view of the North Sea. Dunes along the coast... ...and ships out on the water. If you look really closely in this picture, you can see the blue-and-white bunker on top of Vlaggeduin, the second highest point in the province. It's about three and a half miles away. Some of these fields in the distance are probably used for growing tulips when in season. The only hotel on the first part of my trip that I didn't get a picture of was the Hilton Garden Inn in Leiden. Well, here's a picture of it. It's the red building just to the right of the blue building, which, yes, has a giant human figure outside of it. It's a museum called CORPUS. Google describes it as a "giant medically accurate model of the human body with walk-through audio tour from knee to brain." So, like a high-tech Dutch version of Alicia. Maybe we should have gone there. Finally, a look back /down/ at the natural high point. It's somewhere down there. This is as close to a selfie as you're getting in this TR. Down from the tower, with all of 10-15 minutes to catch the bus, so I had time for just a few more quick pictures on the way out. Here's a swing ride. Here's a mini-train ride, with some interesting theming. The "main street" area has some shops with candy... ...and clothing... ...and other random souvenirs. Trampolines, if you need more ways to injure yourself. Regular-size slides... Very large slides... And ridiculous, potentially dangerous slides! On a day with less kids around, we might have had too much fun on these, but this was not that day. Say goodbye to Rick the Frog, and goodbye to Duinrell.
  16. Welcome to Duinrell. Here's Rick the Frog. He's busy collecting trash. Duinrell's rather understated main entrance. There are a couple of restaurants, and a /ton/ of cabins and campsites, surrounding the park. They've got one of those magic faucet things that somehow levitates in mid-air. Amazing. Oh, and they've got a raft. Our third raft of the trip. I don't have any pictures of my group's attempt to use the raft to cross the water, but it did not go well. We got eight people on Walibi Holland's raft and paid for it with some wet feet. This one, even smaller, was worse. We didn't quite sink the thing, but it looked like we were trying. This is sort of a weird little dead-end of the park where the raft across the water is the only way across, outside of walking several minutes around the pond. Just across the pond, however, is a pair of Nautic Jets. This is a staple of the TPR Euro-trip experience. Every trip has to visit a small park with boat jumping, because it's just one of those things you can't find in North America. It's only small parks in Europe that have these, though. I like visiting some of these smaller parks, even if Duinrell wasn't the very best of them. Last picture of a couple random people before we get into the fun. Also, notice the green slime in the pond. Sure, why not. I went over and did my boat jump first, then set up on the raft and on the opposite side to get photos of the rest of the group. So, here's the Theme Park Review Duinrell Double-Barrel Green-Slime Boat Jumping Extravaganza of 2019. We'll let Barry demonstrate how it works. You put a coin in the slot, you load in the boat, and pull a string to start the lift. The boat is pulled backwards up the slope... ...and then released! The boat flies as far as it's gonna fly, and splashes down freely in the water. Most of the time you won't get too wet, though an odd splash or two can sometimes change that. Also, you're locked in fairly well, so there's no chance of flying out. Thanks for demonstrating, Barry! Elissa makes the jump with pretty much all of TPR watcing. She managed to do this while filming! There's the splash, hopefully captured on video. On the other side, Daniel has just landed. The one problem with the "dueling" approach is that it makes it tough for photos! Since everybody was racing, I sort of had to go back and forth on which side I was taking pictures of. On the left boat, Kristen. On the right boat, Steve, and his phone. Do I sense some fear? A family portrait for the ages. Splash. Love that green slime. Kristen's boat comes to a rest. Steve gets the shot he was looking for. A wider view of the twin Katapult boats as our next participants climb to the top. Chris heads down. Chris jumps, as TPR watches. Excitement as the boat hits the water. Droplets in the air. Kicking up a wave. A good run, Chris. AJ relaxes after his jump. Next up, we've got Larry... ...and John. Surf's up, John. It's not that scary, Larry. Hands up. Splashed down. John kicks up some water. Oh, and in this picture, you can see the tow line that brings the boat back up to the loading station. Colin straps in for the jump. Airtime! Hitting the brakes. David has conquered the slime. One more jump for Kristen. I think this was the last one. Reflections off the water on the boat. Are Nautic Jets terrifying? Oh, it's just a little bit of water. That ends the boat jumping. Instead of crossing the raft again to meet up with the rest of the group, I took the long way around the pond. They've got a wet-dry slide, though it's not as cutely themed as Drievliet's. Some kid on the slide, who looks to be having fun-ish. There's a frog-themed monorail thing. It might have offered up some views, but I did not have time to ride it. This is near the entrance to Duinrell's walkthrough forest. What little I saw of it looked like it wouldn't even be fair to discuss it alongside Efteling, but this is obviously a park on a much smaller scale. I did see this one little thing, though. It's their own version of Belgium's famous Manneken Pis! Hey, watch where you're pointing that thing. There's a Ferris wheel, but it's almost completely surrounded by trees, as are most of the rest of the park's major attractions. The big barrel, which houses a spiral-cut potato stand, is very RCT. Here's one of the park's main restaurants, which also doubles as a home for the carousel. They serve pannenkoeken in here, with a few examples set out on the counter. My group almost went here for lunch, but ultimately we opted to go to... La Place. It's a Dutch fast-casual restaurant chain, but it was actually pretty good for a random chain in a small park. First thought: this is a Pepsi park. Second thought: there are a million different varieties of orange soda in Europe. From the dry side, there are some views into the water park, which is pretty heavy on enclosed slides. Probably just as many people laying around as there were actually on the slides or in the pool. Some of the slides start indoors, and maybe finish indoors also. Another distinguishing feature of Duinrell: tent camping in the park Honestly, this was kind of weird. Oh, and lots and lots of kids, all over the place. They were hard to avoid. I mentioned I didn't get any pictures of Splash, the big covered/uncovered boat ride. Well, at least I have a picture of the coin-op dryer near the ride's exit. Dragon Fly, a Gerstlauer family coaster, would be my first ride at Duinrell. The emblem on the ride's station. A detailed examination of the various species of dragonflies ... I guess there's always something new to learn. It's a perfectly OK little family coaster. Falcon is the park's biggest coaster -- a small, old-school Eurofighter. Falcon's vertical lift is practically hidden in the trees. Ah, there it is. A Falcon car at the bottom of the first drop. One thing that is kind of neat about Falcon is that all the supports are painted to look like faux-wood. It looks nice. Falcon's queue was almost unbearably slow, but it does provide a view of the brake run. Excited Falcon riders! More excited Falcon riders! So much excitement. This is about the best I can do with regards to coaster photos in this TR, so yeah. A few more happy riders on Falcon. Finally, we made it up to the station, rode the thing, got jostled around a bit, and moved on. This one won't be my favorite Eurofighter. The ventilation system coming out of the Falcon station is ... interesting. Hey, why weren't we invited to the Party Zone? This is the only picture I have of the park's third coaster, and the coaster isn't even in the shot -- just the lengthy queue. This is Kikkerachtbaan, a Zierer Tivoli model, and a kiddie coaster I really just didn't feel like riding.
  17. Monday, July 22, 2019 Day 11 Part 2: Duinrell After a quick three hours at Drievliet, we got back on the bus and headed north to our second small park of the day: Duinrell. Duinrell, named for the adjacent sand dunes, is located in Wassenar -- not far from the shore of the North Sea. Duinrell sits on an estate that has history dating back to the 1600s, and it is owned by the noble Van Zuylen van Nijevelt family. The park's mascot is a frog named Rick (Rick de Kikker), who you'll find stationed at trash cans around the park. Duinrell is definitely sort of a unique property -- it's one part theme park, water park, playground, and campground. Though there's a vast array of cabins surrounding the park, there were also spots for tent camping inside the park -- just steps from the rides and restaurants. I definitely got the idea that the water park -- a big indoor/outdoor setup -- was one of the main draws during the warm summer season. On our visit, the dry park was quite crowded as well. I definitely think that Duinrell is a park that I could have an enjoyable time at, under different circumstances. Unfortunately, our visit was marked by heavy crowds full of energetic kids and teenagers with no qualms about line jumping. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that there are really only a handful of full-size attractions, and operations on the rides were not particularly great. I know some of us were wondering if Duinrell might be sort of a Dutch Knoebels-lite, which is sort of a laughable notion in retrospect. Typically, comparing anything to Knoebels is going to result in disappointment. Duinrell doesn't have a standout attraction to really sell an enthusiast on a visit, and there are better parks in the Netherlands to credit whore at -- including Drievliet. On the other hand, I enjoyed Duinrell's setting, which is quite nice overall. You have water, you have dunes, and on a trees-per-square-inch measurement it might be the most forested park I've ever been to. Yep, even more than Knoebels or Efteling. Honestly, I probably would have enjoyed Duinrell quite a bit if it weren't for the crowds, and if I could have taken the park at a calmer pace. Instead, with just three and a half hours, we all had to make some decisions about what to do and what to skip. I only got on three rides -- two coasters and a Gerstlauer Sky Fly -- and waited about a half hour for each. I actually skipped the third credit (a kiddie coaster) just because I didn't feel like being crowded in a queue with a bunch of loud kids for 20-30 minutes. That might be the first time I've just flat-out skipped a coaster out of disinterest. Should I turn in my Club TPR card? I also skipped the alpine slide, though the others who rode gave it only so-so reviews. I did get to one attraction (perhaps my favorite at the park) that I'm almost certain no other TPR person visited. It's the sort of too-obvious thing you'd expect to find in one of my trip reports, and it might have saved the visit. In fact, with time running short, I never even got to take any pictures of -- or even see -- a few of the park's attractions. I missed the top spin. I missed the covered/uncovered splash boat, though . I missed the poffertjes that Chuck mentioned in his TR, and this was the last chance on the trip to get any! I didn't even get to go through the park's walkthrough fairy tale forest / European landmark area. With that in mind, I sort of feel like this TR isn't quite a comprehensive report on the park. There are definitely some gaps to fill if I ever return to the place, which isn't a certainty to occur. So, I hope you don't mind, but to make up for the lack of pictures of other rides, I'm just going to dump almost everything I have from the Nautic Jets. Want to see a bunch of TPR people doing boat jumping and looking funny? This trip report has you covered.
  18. Good times on the Coney-to-Coney tour, my second with TPR. The first half of that trip was exhausting. But at least Owensboro KY rolled out the red carpet for us. Last rides on Python in Cincinnati for most of us, since that park has now closed down its dry side. Two parks with Fascination in the span of a few days? That's as good as it gets, especially if you need a new crock pot. If you skipped Ghost Hole, you made the right call.
  19. Wow indeed. Suing the state's very popular health director is ... a look.
  20. As of today, Ohio amusement parks have not yet been cleared to re-open. The press releases from the Cedar Fair parks today were a bit out of the ordinary, because you don't frequently see amusement parks directly advocate a position on a political process. I won't go any further on that, because it would get into the politics of it.
  21. Another great update Chuck. I love the backdrops to some of the Japanese parks. Big city skyscrapers, Mt Fuji, or ... well, everything at TDS. Eight years with TPR and I still haven't been over there, but maybe soon! We need to keep both Dan and you alive, because I'm scared about who might be third on the list...
  22. ...it was, wasn't it? Or at least a kid-friendly version of Sharknado with less Tara Reid. Look, just tell your Brother Steve his banjo's out of tune.
  23. Thanks for reading, appreciate it! Let's keep promoting it until someone builds one in the US! It's really a one-of-a-kind, and in my opinion would make a fantastic addition to the petting zoo at Cedar Point. We always find ways to have a good time at places that aren't exactly built for us. And thanks! I didn't even notice you two were in the tractor ride photo! I see it now. That's really funny. And that's why I loved the first part of this trip report. It's really the only chance I had on the entire trip to get pics of everybody in the group together. Like we're all one big happy slightly-dysfunctional family. It's funny how this happens, especially with small groups. In undergrad, my upper level major classes (which had like 15-20 people) had 3 Jakes and I've been to aerial conditioning classes where half of the class is named Rachel The first office I worked at, with a staff of 20, had four Davids. I don't know how that happens. Andy, A.J., Andrew, and... Goldberg. I like Erik's idea better. Goldballs is now TPR canon.
  24. Down from the wheel for a closer look at the flume. This is Jungle River. It's like a river ... in the jungle. Two lift hills, and two drops -- one larger than the other. Also, splash deflectors, for whatever purpose those serve. No shortage of boats -- Duinrell's operations on the flume, and really on everything, were quite good. I have more flume pictures than ideas for captions, but I'll do my best. Yep, they have an on-ride photo option on the log flume! A boat at the top. A boat at the bottom. Kicking up a splash. A hilarious reaction. Drievliet is fun for all ages! This kid has the coolest grandparents. Playing it up for the camera. I did not ride the flume, but that was more for time purposes than a fear of getting soaked -- it did not seem to be unacceptably wet. Not sure if this is the safest way to ride, but have at it. Hide from the water! "Disgust" isn't usually the expression I get in log flume pictures, but hey, why not. This kid was on his 47th lap, and he wasn't done yet. Another splashdown. Yep, it's water. Really only including this photo because of the weird patterns the water is making coming off of the log. With all that theming, you really feel like you're in the jungle... ...and the jungle is a very scary place. OK, time to finish the tour of the rest of the back of the park. There is a carousel. It has a cat who has gone fishing. Here's some kind of scrambler-type ride. There's a play area themed to pirates, though it wasn't getting as much use as the play areas near the front of the park. There are several things at Drievliet that I somehow missed, and only saw from other trip reports. There's a park museum, a 5D theater, and ... a donkey that poops out a coin or something. Yep, kind of like the one at Efteling. How did I miss the Drievliet Pooping Donkey? This is a great disappointment. Should TPR ever return to this park, we'll have to make it a priority. I don't know much about the creepy-looking Griezelbus, but apparently it's from a horror film in which a school trip visits a demonic version of Drievliet. I kind of want to find this film now. Kopermijn was open for business, giving its herky-jerky rides to Drievliet guests. Not many good spots for photos on Kopermijn, but I found a couple. I guess it's not too rough for the younger crowd. It's not the only Maurer mouse themed to a mine -- the truly awful Crazy Mine at Hansa Park is also a Maurer. A side view of the run into the brakes. Finally, I have arrived to the powered coaster, Dynamite Express. Dynamite Express is a Mack powered coaster, so you know it'll be a good one. Obviously it's a non-thrilling family attraction, but it's a nicely-designed fun ride. A two-train shot with the monorail and Dynamite Express. Heading back to the front of the park, and checking in one more time on Formule X. This picture is shiny. I saw lots of young kids riding Formule X. It's clearly not too intense for the family atmosphere. Old McDonald's Tractor Ride! Ee-i-e-i-o. As far as farm-themed rides go, this is remarkably cute. On the other hand, there's also De Zingende Stal -- The Singing Stable. I think this guy is Old McDonald, but I didn't ask him how old. De Zingende Stal is definitely one of Drievliet's most distinctive attractions. Not every day you're at a theme park and run across a barn full of animatronic farm animals. Here's how it works. Old McDonald sings his song, playing his banjo from his perch atop his rusted-out tractor. The animals in the farm all have buttons in front of them. When you press the button, that animal starts singing the song along with Old McDonald. So, if you've ever wanted to hear a horse sing, now you know where to go. The chickens offered a particularly spirited rendition of the song. Being from Kentucky, Daniel must have felt right at home. (that's probably offensive) (sorry, Daniel) A final view of Twistrix, and all its spinny insanity. Yep, still spinning. Hey, they've even got one of those climbing hat things like at Toverland. This one was overrun with children, so I wasn't about to give it a try. There is also a pendulum ride near the front of the park. It's a smaller model like you might find at a fair. The octopus-themed Enterprise looked really nice. I am not a fan of these, but I think some people from our group gave it a ride. The front part of Drievliet had an outer space theme in the past, but it was re-made into an ocean theme several years ago. The whole section is really brightly colored and cute -- though maybe a little sparse on shade. Several flying fish -- and one flying bird. Saying a farewell to Formule X... ...and to The Hague's skyline, which towers behind it. A final view of the skyline on our way out. That was a quick 3 hours. I definitely like this park, especially for the target demographic. "A day out at Drievliet, who wouldn't want that?" Thanks for reading. We've got one more small park coming up in the next update!
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