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Photo TR: Chuck Looks Back at TPR's Europe Trip 2008


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Awesome as always Chuck except I was hoping to see a little blood in the cage match!


There is something seriously wrong with that.


Chuck only was able to capture about 1/5 of the carnage as there were some particularly violent altercations walking back from Disney to the resort.

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Chapter 15: Final Thoughts--The Good, Not So Good, and Just Plain Strange


I've had more than a month to reflect on TPR's 2008 Europe Tour, and I've really enjoyed sorting through the photos, sifting through the memories, and digesting random bits of leftover, well, randomness. (Sorry, that's the best I could come up with.) So, I decided to make a few lists--top and bottom 5s, as it were.


First, if you've never taken a TPR trip before, do it! Save your change, sell your blood, sell your car, mortgage your family, join an international evil organization and blackmail the world . . . well, maybe not that. (Please note that Theme Park Review is on no way affilitated with SPECTRE, COBRA, or the Legion of Doom--although our application is still pending with the last one.)


Anyway, if you can swing it, take a TPR trip sometime. It's definitely worth it, and not just for the ERT.


Here's my best, worst, and weirdest from the Europe Trip.


Top 5 Steel Coasters

5. Black Mamba (Phantasialand)--OK, I agree that this inverted isn't as forceful as, say, Nemesis. But its superb themeing brings it up a notch in my book--it's as much fun to watch as it is to ride.

4. Euro-Mir (Europa Park)--This was my favorite coaster at Europa. The bizarre spiral lifthill and combo space-station/disco themeing are a hoot, and the ride's a lot of fun.

3. Winjas: Fear and Force (Phantasialand)--Definitely one of the oddest coasters of the trip, as it winds and spins around inside a huge building, and offers a few cool tricks in the bargain.

2. Goliath (Walibi World)--Intamin hyperness at its near best, until you ride . . .

1. Expedition GeForce (Holiday Park)-- Yes, this bad boy topped them all--one insane airtime machine! Everybody needs to ride this one sometime.


Top 3 Wooden Coasters: The woodies were a fairly average bunch, with three big exceptions.

3. Tonnerre de Zeus (Parc Asterix)--This wild stack of wood really got the trip off to a good start.

2. TROY! (Toverland)--I thought it would be hard to top Zeus, but the tricky, twisty TROY left the Father of the Greek Gods in the dust.

1. Colossos (Heide Park)--Intamin strikes again with another insane airtime machine. I don't know if it was the rain or the work of mischevous leprechauns (if Germany has leprechauns), but this ride was running beautifully that day.


Best 5 Coasters Overall (Steel and Wood)

5. Winjas

4. Goliath

3. TROY!

2. Colossos

1. Expedition GeForce


Honorable Mentions: Crush's Coaster (Walt Disney Studios), Formule X (Driveliet), and Tgentse Sau (Tripsdrill)


Worst 5 Coasters (Steel and Wood)

5. El Condor (Walibi World)--Yes, the SLC that started it all deserves a special place on any worst-coasters list.

4. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril (Paris Disneyland)--Intamin and Disney, how could you? Why would you install such a wretched, painful ride, then replicate it in Tokyo? Still, it beats riding . . .

3. Space Mountain: Mission 2 (Paris Disneyland)--You know, it's tough to appreciate the background music and special effects while you're being beaten senseless. Again, why, why, why?

2. Bandit (Movie Park)--You know, I didn't think a wooden coaster could be any worse until I rode . . .

1. Anaconda (Walygator)--Like I said earlier, this nasty, bumpy, lurching woodie does everything wrong. And think of all that perfectly good kindling just going to waste.


Best 5 Water Rides

5. Bathtub flume (Tripsdrill)--Sorry, but I can't remember this ride's name (something in German, as I recall). How can you not like a flume ride with bathtub boats and boobs?

4. Wildwasserbahn (Heide Park)--Bizarre random themeing (a mine to a torture chamber to a tavern) abounds on this ride. It's also quite a soaker.

3. Poseidon (Europa Park)--Beautiful themeing based on Greek mythology makes this ride stand out.

2. River Quest (Phantasialand)--My favorite (sort of) rapids ride of the trip. I really liked the castle setting, and the whirlpool element and elevator lift were firsts for me.

1. Alien Encounter(Movie Park)--This was a very pleasant surprise. A big "splashdown" boat with a a cool dark-ride element, too.


Best 5 Dark Rides

5. Challenge of Tutankahmen (Walibi Belgium)--This trackless Sally dark ride was the best shooter of the trip. And it has fire!

4. Ghost Castle (Europa Park)--This gets my vote for "Best Haunted Mansion Knockoff." Yes, they do ripoff the stretching room and Omnimover from the Disney classic, but they up the ante on gore and pure weirdness.

3. Pirates in Batavia (Europa Park)--And this gets my vote for "Best Pirates of the Caribbean Knockoff" (right down to having its own restaurant).

2. Pirates of the Caribbean (Paris Disneyland)--This is the best version of the Disney classic, even without Johnny Depp.

1. Phantom Manor (Paris Disneyland)-- And here's Disney's best take on the Haunted Mansion. They did a great job modifying the classic ride's storyline to fit it into Frontierland--and they upped the creepiness, too.


Best 5 Parks

5. Efteling--A beautiful place with lots of good stuff (they just need a first-class coaster)--the hotel is excellent.

4. Heidi Park--Another beautiful park with one world-class coaster (Colossus) and a very good indeed coater (Desert Race) . Now they need a great dark ride.

3. Phantasialand--Beautifully themed, and a good mix of rides.

2. Paris Disneyland--This park just needs to improve its service a bit. It is the most beautiful of the "Magic Kingdom" parks (but, please, do something about Space Mountain).

1. Europa Park--Mack has a right to be proud of its showplace park. It's beautiful and has a great eccentric mix of dark rides and coasters. It was the best resort of the trip, too.


Top 5 Guilty Pleasures (that is, things your shouldn't oughtta like, but do anyway)

5. El Paso Special (Bobbejaanland)--Yeehaw! No need to keep score, hombre! Just whip out your six-shooter and blast any woman, Mexican, or Confederate soldier that moves! It's like riding through a cartoon spaghetti western.

4. Evloution (Bobbejaanland)--Again, another bizarre coaster with a spiral lift and the longest freakin' train I've ever seen. It makes no sense at all, but I loved it.

3. Temple of the Night Hawk (Phantasialand)--Yet another weird indoor coaster with multiple lifts. Themeing consists of vector graphics of a, well, night hawk, I guess. It made me shrug and smile.

2. Silbermine (Phantasialand)--OK, it's a dark ride on a train through a mine, which rips off POTC, but with Mexicans. And there's a cockfight!

1. Hollywood Tour (Phantasialand)--I'm thinking that Phantasialand should change its name to "WTF Land." It certainly topped the Guilty Pleasures category, and this ripoff of The Great Movie Ride is the guiltiest one of all. Cheesy, moth-eaten, and absolutely hilarious. This ride must live forever!


Most Pleasant Surprise of the Europe Trip: Walt Disney Studios Park (much better than anticipated)


Best 5 TPR Moments of the Trip

5. Riding the "party train" during the Euro-Mir takeover.

4. Riding Euro-Sat with the lights on and off.

3. Cruising up the spiral lift of Evolution during the TPR takeover in that enormous train, while everybody "got down" (after a fashion) to the techno music.

2. Enjoying free beer, as well as awesome "extra extra ERT" on GeForce.

1. Having TROY ERT , as well as an open bar, at Toverland (now that was a party).


And I think I'm done now. Thanks for reading, if you've lasted this long. And, once again, my thanks to Robb and Elissa for being who they are and doing what they do.



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^Although it makes me a little sad, that nice little summary sheet of the trip jogged my memory a bit. I especially enjoyed being reminded about Phantom Manor, which is my favorite dark ride ever. It's worth the trip to Disney Paris for just that one ride alone. Everything else is gravy.


Damn, I need to actually work on my TR. I haven't even gotten out of Paris yet.

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