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Photo TR - European theme park tour. Summer 06


WildMouse
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At the end of July/beginning of August, several of us took a trip to the mainland to sample some of Europe's finest theme parks/roller coasters. The parks Walibi Belgium, Walibi World, Efteling, Phantasialand, Tripsdrill, Holiday Park, Europa Park and Parc Asterix.

 

Park reviews part 1

 

Walibi Belgium

Walibi Belgium provided me my first taste of mainland European theme parks back in 2004 and it was nice to return once again. All the rides are dotted around a huge lake. We didn’t have much time here so hit all the coasters (and Challenge of Tutankhamon) first before cramming in as many of the other rides as possible and doing the odd repeat ride. Was a shame about Vertigo being delayed until 2007 (it looks amazing), but it just gives me an excuse to return in the future.

 

Walibi World

If you are looking for a park with amazingly hospitable staff, then Walibi World is the place to be. They were all smiling, helpful, had fun with guests and genuinely seemed as though they were enjoying their jobs. The landscaping here is also second to none.

 

 

Efteling

Set within fairly tail lands full of magic, Efteling is one of those parks where you really can escape reality. Theming is top of the agenda at thus place.

The park has four realms:

Fairy Realm, where the attractions are based on story book characters

Alternative Realm, where visitors will find things a bit out of the ordinary

Adventure Realm, where you'll find most of the coasters and white knuckle rides

Travel Realm, attractions based on journeys and travels around the world.

 

Phantasialand

Phantasialand is a park that oozes sheer quality. I goes without question that this is my favourite European theme park experience what with its highly themed rides/ride areas, the immersive atmosphere, brilliant staff, fab food etc (I could go on for longer!), it all goes part in parcel for one of the best theme park experiences you could ever have. Black Mamba is just the icing on the parks ultra tasty cake! One thing I wI ill say is be wary of fast pass holders if queuing for Mamba front seat. They get priority, which could mean an ultra long wait for those queueing in the normal front seat line.

 

Tripsdrill

The order of the day at this Vineyard themed park was fun over thrills (and for us relaxation after the previous day of intense riding!). A park like this doesn’t need to rely on the latest G machine to keep folk happy. The weird and wonderful rides (including the fantastic spinning tub ride) and side stalls do all that. Tripsdrill is surrounded by rolling countryside covered in Vineyards which provide beautiful views from within the park. We spent about 6 hours here which was more than enough.

 

Photo highlights part 1:

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There is a rather funky walkthrough section in the queue-line before entering the station area. The ride itself is good fun. And is a perfect example of a ‘family’ coaster. It zips around the track and a good speed with the helix’s pulling some strong G’s

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The wild mouse and helix sections of the ride are intertwined with the parks bath tube themed flume ride whilst the airtime hills dive through a terrain of vivid flower beds.

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G’sente Sau was the worlds first Gerstlauer Bobsled. And it’s a ride that I’ve wanted to ride for a number of years. The first thing that gets you attention is the rides setting.

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Geoff doesn't seem to think so though.

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So hot!

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Jungbrunnen aka The Bathtub ride

is a cool ride with a disturbing (but highly amusing) dark ride section. I won’t spoil it for those that haven’t been there yet, but the ‘sexy’ lady in the next photo will give you an idea of what to expect.

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This spinning tub ride was certainly weird and wonderful.

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On this ride you get the opportunity to spray passers by. Great way to cool down.

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My oh my, what fun this was. Another ride of the ‘biggest isn’t always best variety’. The seats are hoisted up to the top of the tree house before tilting (takes you by surprise even after witnessing it in action) before going into a drop and shot cycle.

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Next it was time to take a chill pill at Tripsdrill

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Goodbye Black Mamba :(

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Loop action.

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First drop.

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Foot choppers aplenty including this rock work and a waterfall.

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The station theming is out of this world.

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The ride provides relentless, fast paced and intense journey through valleys which head straight towards rock faces, under bridges, over mountains (Jr Immelmann), and if you like your strong G’s just you wait until the rides finale.

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Now, I knew the ride was going to ‘look’ good, but kept an open mind in regards to the ride experience. Obviously I knew it was going to be ‘good’, but what I experienced was a whole lot more than good, it was simply stunning.

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The Africa/Black Mamba landscaping is simply divine. Detail, detail and more detail. Mud buildings, Moroccan style architecture, tribal artefacts, waterfalls, rock faces, greenery, catchy music score complete with dramatic station music.

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Well, what can I say? Talk about feeling like I was really in Africa (to a certain extent anyway). Talk about an immersive experience.

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And saving the best till last. Yes, its Black Mamba!

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n the walk though section I encountered several costumed characters who were doing a great job at scaring and interacting with the crowds.

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Mystery Castle is a highly themed shot and drop set in the confines of a castle tower. Shame the ride cycle is so short, but it is fun whilst it lasts.

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River Quest is without a doubt one of the best rapids rides in the world. This ride is full of suprises, which I won't ruin for those yet to experience it. All I'm going to say is that its fun, thrilling and definitely aint yer typical rapids

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I have a preference for Winja’s Force. Those that have ridden it will probably know why. But together both Winja’s make for a world class ride. Its surroundings (Wuze town) really add to the immersive atmosphere.

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Winja’s Fear and Force are duelling Maurer Söhne Spinners. Both rides are fast, furious and full of ‘surprises’. That’s about as much as I’m going to say so as not to spoil it for those who haven’t ridden it yet.

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This ride is certainly thrilling to say the least. What with its multiple lift hills and extensive layout, you know that you will certainly be going on an epic adventure. This ride has all the ingredients that all good mine trains need and then some.

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Phantasialand was the next park on the tour. Here you can see Colorado Adventure AKA The Michael Jackson Thrill Ride.

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Bobbaan is an Intamin bobsled coaster. The trains on this coaster have been upgraded to two across (rather than the traditional singular ones which were I experienced during my last visit), which is no doubt a blessing in terms of capacity.

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Their Flying Island provides some stunning views.

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Villa Volta (built in 1997) was the first of the next generation haunted swings to be built by Vekoma.

This is certainly the most ‘ornate’ one that I’ve ridden. But far from the best I’m afraid.

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Dreamflight is a superb suspended dark ride (Vekoma transit system) takes travellers through some spectacular, highly themed set pieces which include castles in the sky and fairy/elf/goblin filled forests. ‘Detail’ is the keyword here.

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Vogel Rok is an indoor Vekoma MK900 coaster based on the travels of Sinbad and the Vogel bird. It lacked the soothing lighting which it had two years ago, but still provided a fantastic ride experience.

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Pegusus is their junior Intamin woodie

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As you know, their water coaster (Vliegende Hollander) won't be opening until next year. The theming looks stunning though. Will head back in a couple of years.

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Helix

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first drop

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It has had new trains installed since my last visit. I didn’t find them particularly comfortable.

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Python is a Vekoma double looping corkscrew coaster.

The lift hill takes forever. Ride itself is pretty average, and is in between the realms of smooth and rough. Its doing well for its age

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On to Efteling

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Goliath at Dusk.

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El Condor from above.

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Robin Hood is another of the 3 Vekoma Woodies in existance. Not as good as Loup Garou in my opinion, but still a barrel of fun. This one has more of an out and back layout unlike its twisted counterpart.

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Express is a launched looping Vekoma. It’s basically Rock n Rollercoaster but outdoors and without the music! The launch is great but the ride runs out of steam nearer to the end.

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Airtime central!

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It's up there!

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Our first siting of the amazing ride that is Goliath, the parks Intamin Mega Coaster. Overall, I prefer this ride over the much hyped Expedition Ge Force.

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El Condor is the parks Vekoma SLC. Its darn smooth considering it’s a prototype!

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Next up is Walibi World.

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A view of Turbine from the big wheel.

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Loup Garou is the parks fantastic Vekoma (yes, a fantastic Vekoma) woodie. It has a suprising amount of airtime and some nice laterals.

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Turbine is the Schwarzkopf shuttle loop. The launch into the enclosed loop is fantastic! And going backwards is just as much fun.

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Their 'OK' SLC, Vampire.

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Entrance to Walibi Belgium

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Park reviews/summaries part 2

 

Holiday Park

I'd been wanting to visit this park since the birth of Expedition Ge Force. Tis medium sized park has a good selection of rides and shows spread about its wooded confines. I expected to get everything done within hours, but found out that this a certainly a day park. Especially for folk like myself who have never been before. Oh if you ever go, you have out check out their amazing log flume.

 

Europa Park

Walking through the gates of this park was yet another dream come true. I’d wanted to visit this theme park for many years, even more so after the introduction of Sliver Star (which can be seen for miles outside the park). The first thing you notice when walking through the gates is the attention to detail. Like Phantasia, themeing is high on the agenda (some of it is quite simply stunning). For those that don’t know, the park has a European theme with each area representing a different European country. We spent two days here and I’m glad we did. It meant that we could experience all the attractions (dont miss out their Mad House) and shows at a leisurely pace. For those that don’t know, the park is owned my ride manufacturers Mack, and acts as a showcase for their rides. Oh, and the word 'downtime' isnt in their vocubulary it seems

 

Parc Asterix

First visited the place last year and have been one of its biggest fans ever since. Its well themed and has a fantastic selection of rides and attractions including one of the best woodies on the planet!

 

Photo highlights part 2:

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Gets my vote for being the best bobsled coaster out there.

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Its extensive circuit races through trees and around rocks.

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This is the parks well themed Mack bobsled ride.

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La Trace Du Hourra

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Oxygenarium. Lots of fun.

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Vol D'Icare. A Zierer Hornet

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Goudurix first drop

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Insane magic carpet

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Zeus complete with spotty knickers

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TDZ station

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The first drop into the tunnel is simply fantastic, and what follows is a relentless tour de force of speed (its main emphasis), laterals and good old airtime.

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The ride was so insane that I had to hold on at various points.

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It seemed to have been given an adrenaline injection since last year because it was running better than ever, especially by the end of the day.

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I love wooden rollercoaster’s. And TDZ is no exception. In fact it currently stands as my number 2 woodie.

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There is a slight jolt during the butterfly element, but that was the only noticeable ‘bit’ of roughness that I felt.

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It’s certainly not the rough brain rattler that some enthusiasts go on about.

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Goudurix is the infamous multi-looper (seven inversions) from Vekoma.

Talk about a ride being given an unfair reputation. I personally loved it.

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This way to Goudurix!

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Final stop of the tour. Parc Asterix.

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Goodbye Europa

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Europa's 'main street'. Look at the detail.

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Mainland European parks really know how to keep their guests cool.

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The themeing turns nasty!

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Alpen Express is the parks mine train ride that has a funky but brief dark ride section. You can also walk through this.

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Pegasus is the new for 2006 Mack YoungSTAR junior coaster. Fun whilst it lasts.

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This spinning ride is based around the Mir space station. Cool spiral lift hill. Disorientating circuit. Good ride

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Super 'Splash'

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Atlantica Supersplash bored me somewhat.

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The themeing makes up for what is an otherwise ok ride experience.

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It had two Splash sections. Neither getting you that wet (Atlantica gets you soaked though).

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First thing I must say is that the coaster section is rough (a running theme on Mack’s rides) but it wasn’t a nasty roughness. Just rough enough to make me hold on.

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This would be my first ‘proper’ water coaster experience. Super Splash at Tusenfryd and Atlantica SuperSplash are just glorified ‘shoot the shoot’ type rides.

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Schweizer Bobbahn is an average bobsled

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Matterhorn Blitz AKA glrofied wild mouse with funky lift hill

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The ride circuit is littered with weird and wonderful scenery, colours and noises, as well as the ace sound track. Best ride at the park by far in my opinion.

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Never mind the funky escalators, it’s the techno filled lift hill and crazily relentless laterals of the ride circuit that really do it for me.

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Euro Sat is the coaster that is housed inside the giant golf ball (temporary football).

Some of you may call me mad, but I LOVE this ride.

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Kleiner Horror Laden is one for all those that loved Phantom Phantasia/Wicked Witches Haunt (myself included). It uses exactly the same ride system. A true classic as far as dark rides go.

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It gets slightly better nearer to the end but it still left me feeling rather disappointed. I certainly don’t consider it a high speed thrill ride, more of a sedate family coaster that just happens to be 239 feet high!

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But once it hits the trims, it goes downhill from there on in. It just turns into an average ride.

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The first drop is fantastic with its floater airtime, as is the first hill.

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Whilst it looks awesome, I found the ride experience rather underwhelming.

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Silver Star was another one of those rides that I’d wanted to ride since it opened, yet at the same time keeping an open mind after hearing stories about its infamous trim brakes.

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Hello Europa. Our view of Sliver Star from the car park

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The ride itself wasn’t thrilling (it’s not supposed to be) but was a lot of fun. It’s basically a glorified observation tower.

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And you could tell because workmen were still working the paving and bits of queue line when we were there! The ride was closed first things, but we came back later in the day to find the ride operating and the workmen gone with the job at hand complete!

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New for 2006 is a Funtime StarFlyer called Light House Tower. The ride was introduced mid season, not long before our visit.

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Super Wirbel is just another bog standard (and surprisingly smooth) Corkscrew. One ride was more than enough for me.

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Punishment for criticizing Expedition Ge Force!

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But German efficiency meant all rides were up and running as soon as the thunder and lightning dispersed.

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The calm before the storm. it literally chucked it down at one point.

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A couple of banners proudly state that Expedition Ge Force is ‘the best roller coaster in the world’ (according to the Mitch Hawker poll). Not in my world I’m afraid.

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No doubt I’m going to face the wrath of Ge Force diehards, but I’m afraid that not everyone has the same gilded view of this ride.

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The first trims are fine. The second lot just ruin what could have been the perfect ending. They cause the train to crawl over the final airtime hills before coming to rest in the station.

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The train then dives through the woods, twisting and turning every which way including the infamous Stengel Dive before going through some trim brakes which cause a lacklustre finale.

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The first section of the ride is ace, with its twisting first drop and fantastic airtime hill which follows (not as powerful as Goliaths second hill though in my opinion).

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Onto Ge Force. I’m afraid to say that I was ‘slightly’ disappointed. Even so, there’s no denying that this is a great ride, especially in the back seats.

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Welcome to Holiday Park

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Thanks for the kind words folks. More pics of the tour can be found on my Fotopic site.

 

Whats up with the random blue car on the red train on TDZ???

 

Maybe the only spare car they have is a blue one. Doesn't explain why there is a random light blue car on the blue train!

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Nice Trip Report! I also noticed the blue & lightblue cars on the trains on TDZ, its kind of funny but it looks a bit ugly to. Apparently you have a strong tolerance for rough Vekoma's, i can believe Super Wirbel being smooth becouse it doesnt go as fast, but Goudurix kicked me in the head several times starting from the first drop till the corkscrews, beautiful coaster though.

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nice report with great pic's

 

With the "Stengel Dive" on Goliath, you seem to be upside down for ages.

 

It's the best Junior Hyper I have been on, shame it's 5 hours drive away from the UK.

 

Destroy "PMBO" Blackpool and have this ride instead, your get more people coming to the park if you do.

 

Goliath was running perfectly last Wed (it felt quicker, the Woodie Robin Hood gained 5 sec's per lap after the rain) when I visited Walibi World.

 

Thorpe Park should of cloned this ride with 2 x "Stengel Dive" instead of building the "always down" Stealth.

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