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Photo TR: GeForce and Olympia Looping Weekend 2011!


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Hello!

 

Last weekend, Hans (hansrubens) and I met up in Germany! On Saturday we met up with Peter (Peejay) at Holiday Park! On Sunday we travelled up to Movie Park Germany to check out the new 'Van Helsing's Factory' ride, before heading down to the Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes, this year home to Olympia Looping, Alpina Bahn, Spinning Racer, and much much more! It was a great weekend and we have lots and lots of photos for you! Although I'll be posting them all, they were taken by both Hans and me (Many thanks to Anth for helping us out with this!).

 

It may take some time to get everything up here, so I thought I'd start off with a quick preview of what is to come! Please do keep checking back for the next instalments!

 

Part 1 : Arriving in Neustadt an der Weinstraße (directly below)

Part 2 : Holiday Park / Expedition GeForce

Part 3 : Movie Park Germany / Van Helsing's Factory

Part 4 : Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes : Alpina Bahn

Part 5 : Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes : Olympia Looping

Part 6 : Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes : Spinning Racer

Part 7 : Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes : Everything Else!

Part 8 : Leaving via Köln / Cologne

Part 9 : Mark's Postcard Paradise BONUS Update!

Part 10 : BONUS Liège Update!

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Coming Up : Expedition GeForce!

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Coming Up : Olympia Looping!

Edited by robinschroder
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Part 1 : Arriving in Neustadt an der Weinstraße

 

I'm taking a risk here, because I'm only going to get as far as Part 1 today - and there aren't any theme parks or rollercoasters involved... But there is a pizza restaurant with 310 different pizzas on its menu. Ja.

 

 

Ja, ja.

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An early start for me as I first travel by train from Sussex in England to London.

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Now I've made it as far as London St Pancras station - complete with Olympia Looping theming! They must know I'm heading to Düsseldorf on Sunday!

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On the Eurostar now... I can't get enough of these 'Happy Cat' / Owl Pylons they have in France - plenty of opportunities to look at them out the Eurostar's window...

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...and also here on Theme Park Review...

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...Ja...

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...Ja, ja...

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Ahhh! 'Happy Cat' Pylon + Friend!

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OK - time to prepare to arrive in Paris.

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Not too long to go now...

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I've arrived! Paris Gare du Nord

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And after a short walk, I'm at Paris Gare de l'Est.

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Time to sit and eat some lunch before it's time to catch the...

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...Deutsche Bahn ICE train to Kaiserslautern. Interestingly, this train broke down immediately after I got off at Kaiserslautern, although I promise I had nothing to do with that!

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Not sure what's going on here... but these trains are very comfortable! In the mean-time, Hans has now left Wervershoof in the Netherlands. Just the small matter of a 6 hour drive before he arrives at...

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...the Panorama Hotel in Neustadt an der Weinstraße where I have also now arrived! We're a matter of Kilometres away from Expedition GeForce now!

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But before we get to GeForce : a history lesson. Robert Stolz was a Viennese composer, songwriter and conductor. Born 1880 in Austria, Died 1975 in Berlin, Germany.

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I think we took this photo because of Gimmeldingen.

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Dinner time! Here is Hans in Pizzeria Falcone, Neustadt!

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And here I am in Pizzeria Falcone, Neustadt...

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... special because it has 310 different Pizzas on the menu!

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READERS : "Oh no - they're surely not going to show us photos of every page from the menu now...!!!"

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"Das kann nicht sein!"

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"Das geht nicht!"

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"Warum machen sie das???"

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"Keine Ahnung..."

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"...Ich bin ein Brot!"

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OK - it's the final page now! Have you made your choice from the 310 pizzas? Er... why does it only go up to 290? Anyway...

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Part 1 comes to a close - sorry this is a bit blurred, I started laughing half-way through the long exposure! Please check back for Part 2 soon, when we'll report on Expedition GeForce! Tschüß!

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Part 2 - Holiday Park / Expedition GeForce

 

OK - Part 2 now! There are 2 very important things that I need to tell you straight away:

 

1 : Expedition GeForce is running the best it has ever run! In fact, we struggle to see how it could run any better!!

 

At the risk of 'over-hyping' GeForce this year (I'm sorry!), all I can do is tell the truth and say that our very first ride at park-opening-time picked up exactly from how the ride was running for our final ride last September - which you may recall we said was the best we had ever experienced GeForce running at the time. If you have ridden it before, you'll know that the second airtime hill delivers some of the most prolonged and forceful ejector airtime available on any rollercoaster anywhere. Now imagine what the ride would be like if you had more extreme airtime than that on every single hill on the ride... and you end up with how GeForce was running by the time it got to the mid/late afternoon. Can you imagine? Crazy crazy crazy! We couldn't imagine any way that any other rollercoaster could offer more extreme airtime - not Balder (confirmed from earlier this year - and Balder was running well!), not Bizarro (Hans can confirm this very soon), not El Toro (Hans can also confirm this very soon)... You have to get out to Germany and ride this coaster NOW - preferably whilst the weather is still hot!! Amazing layout + Overhauled trains + No mid-course trim break + A hot sunny day = Surely the best coaster in the world!

 

2 : They're gradually killing off Holly!

 

With Studio 100 / Plopsa having taken over the park, Holly is being phased out! Die Biene Maja (Maya the Bee), Flip der Grashüpfer (Flip / Philip the Grasshopper), Wickie the Viking, Tabaluga the dragon, and the Wervershoof Maus* are being ushered in to replace him. Poor Holly!!! We also saw some other changes, but I'll talk about those later...

 

 

So, anyway, here are our pictures! It was great to see you, Peter!

 

 

* NB: The Wervershoof Maus is not a trademark of Studio 100 and may, in fact, be completely made up

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The first thing we noticed is that you no longer pay for parking as you enter the park (more on that later...). And then the stark realisation came...

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...Who are these characters? Oh no! They've killed off Holly!!! Whilst we're paying, I should also tell you that as a result of ownership by Studio 100, the season passes now cover the Plopsa parks.

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Holly aside, this is why we're really here! When we visited in September last year, and GeForce was running so well, we pledged that we must return when the weather is hot to see just how extreme the ride can get now that the trains have been overhauled and the trim is gone...

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...and the answer is: more extreme than we could possibly ever have imagined!!! And that's the truth!

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Gemeinsam die Bügel schliessen, bitte!

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LET'S DO IT!!!

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We had been hoping for 40 degrees C... but 26 / 27 will do just fine! This temperature reading comes courtesy of...

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Superwirbel! There are rumours that Superwirbel will be ripped down soon... so maybe this was our last ever ride? As this was my first ever rollercoaster (and the same for Peter) it's a bit sad - although not too sad if that means they're putting something better in! :-) It actually didn't seem too bad this year at all.

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And we respected die Rote Linie 100%.

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Given the new ownership and characters, we wondered what would have happened to the theming of Holly's Wilde Autofahrt (new last year) - but Holly's Cartoon Town is still there! (For now...!)

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This meant that we still have HOLLY POWER!!! YEAAAAAHHHHHHH! :-)

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This driving area for children is new, though. Hans said this is "very Plopsa".

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It's Holly!!!

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Don't worry Holly...

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...we still like you!!! :-)

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Lighthouse Tower Starflyer time!

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Although, because the Lighthouse Keeper is very strict, we all had to ride separately.

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Oh my goodness - there MUST be a mirror!! Which one is the REAL captain?

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The answer is - this one!

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More photos outside the lighthouse tower?

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Just time for one very unflattering picture of me before...

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Lunch Time! Now, we are all aware how important it is to document all of the food we ate. So, here goes...

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Peter's lunch

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Hans' lunch

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Robin's lunch

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Now back to GeForce! Which now also has its own 'Claw' game!

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I had to run in order to capture this photo as I was on the train before - but here are Hans and Peter maximising their airtime opportunities by riding GeForce at its absolute best! :-)

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I'm not sure we were so impressed by this new Richard Rodriguez / Expedition GeForce T-Shirt...

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Time for a meet and greet with Maja and Flip! There was a lot of Maja theming everywhere in the park - bees and (mostly) wasps kept coming at us from all angles; particularly in the queue for Expedition GeForce! I had an idea for how they could update the theming of Expedition GeForce to tie in with the new characters...

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...Call it 'Maja's Bieneflug' - paint black stripes across the yellow trains (to look like Bees), attach flowers next to some of the airtime hills, and invent a back-story about Maja having to leave the Beehive to go and collect pollen. The station could also be themed to be more like a Beehive. The queue doesn't need any new theming - there are already plenty of Maja's friends there!

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Anth - this one's for you!!! Thanks for your help in us getting these photos together. There's another picture especially for you coming later on! :-)

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Oops - noticed an error! I have now corrected this for TPR's Dutch readers! :-)

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Whilst most children flocked to meet and greet the new characters (like Wickie, here), you can see that some of them still realise that Holly is best!

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Where's Holly's cake photo opportunity???

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Holly toys were available at (nearly) rock-bottom prices! (7,50 Euro)

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Too many Majas!

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Finally - some 'behind the scenes' looks at Mark's Postcard Paradise...

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...This one's already on its way to you, Mark! :-)

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Time to leave now... Thanks Hans and Peter for an unbelievably great day riding an amazing Expedition GeForce! :-)

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Ah... Remember that we said you don't pay for parking as you enter anymore? Here's the resulting queue of traffic as everyone waits at the barrier to put in their parking token. It took quite some time for us to leave. Then, a 2 hour drive up to Ober-Lahnstein near Koblenz where we will pick up Part 3... check back soon! :-)

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I rode GeForce today I was really impressed by the forces, although it rattled a little bit in the back The airtime was still amazing!! I want to see your "Van Helsing-Report" !!! Pleeease fast fast fast guys !!!!

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Hairtime !! Oh look at the hot girl in the front!! Beautiful!

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I haven't been on Geforce yet, But i did ride Bizarro back in april an it was running very well-even in the cold mid-april weather. I havent been able to make it to Germany yet to ride the amazing Expedition Geforce, but Bizarro was awesome. The Forces were insane and the ride rode smooth as glass.

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Thanks for all of the comments, everyone! I promise Part 3 is coming very very soon - in a matter of hours, hopefully!

 

although it rattled a little bit in the back

 

Perhaps you mostly rode what we called the 'Orange' train (Orange Holiday Park logo at the very back of the train) rather than the 'Yellow' train (Yellow Holiday Park logo at the very back)? We noticed ever so slightly more rattle with the 'Orange' train - but glad you enjoyed all the airtime!

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Part 3 : Movie Park Germany / Van Helsing's Factory

 

The location of our hotel for our overnight stay on Saturday night was strategic. We chose to stay just outside Koblenz, high up in Ober-Lahnstein at the Best Western Grand City Hotel which gave amazing views out over the Rhein valley and was a great place to stay. This way if RingRacer at the Nürburgring had have been up and running on Sunday morning, we could have headed over there without too long a drive. However (for the third year!) that wasn't to be - I wonder if it will ever open! But, the equally good backup plan for Sunday morning was to head up to Movie Park Germany to check out the brand new Van Helsing's Factory ride with about the same distance to drive. So, this is what we did!

 

The weather in the early morning was not great - lots of grey cloud and rain, but we weren't too worried as Van Helsing is an indoor ride and also the forecast said that it would clear up later on - which it did pretty quickly!

 

After a couple of hours' drive, we arrived at Movie Park Germany, obtained our Club TPR discounts, and headed straight for Van Helsing's Factory, the brand new, highly-themed, indoor Gerstlauer Bobsled coaster.

 

I tried to avoid as much information about the ride beforehand - and don't worry, there won't be any spoilers here! I had read concerns about a potentially basic layout and also the lack of height of the ride. However, after riding, we both agreed that the ride was really good, with lots of theming to see both in the queue area and on the ride itself, some really fun surprises, and some fairly strong forces in places! Movie Park Germany have done a good job!

 

Whilst at Movie Park, we also rode Crazy Surfer (a Zamperla Disco Coaster - with added bump!), Backyardigans: Mission To Mars (a Vekoma Junior Coaster), Ghost Chasers (a Mack Wild Mouse) and Jimmy Neutron's Atomic Flyer (a Vekoma Suspended Family Coaster) but due to our plan to visit Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes in the mid-afternoon, there was absolutely no possible way* that we could have ridden Bandit (voted the 5th worst wooden coaster in the world in the most recent Mitch Hawker poll) or MP-Xpress (a Vekoma SLC) - but they always say 'leave something to go back for' don't they?

 

So, on to the photos - once again taken by both Hans and me. Larry, we've taken care of you for the TPR Park Index! Part 4 from the Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes is coming soon! Enjoy!

 

 

* Not strictly accurate! Ha ha

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Guten Morgen diese Morgen! It's a bit grey and rainy outside - but that will soon clear up!

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After a 2 hour drive north, we arrived at Movie Park Germany! Apparently there really are some film studios nearby.

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Movie Park seems (at least to me) to have a slightly different feel than the other European parks. Wie sage ich daß jetzt?

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I can't drive, but here I am next to a car!

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Hans has been here at Halloween and says that it was really good!

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Here is Hans taking a picture of...

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Van Helsing's Factory!

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This building used to be home to a Gremlins dark ride. They've done really well to fit a coaster inside the building!

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Larry - here's the ride sign!

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Time to go inside. This is where you pay for your repairs - and, like every workshop, there are ALWAYS hidden charges!

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A closer look.

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Take a seat...

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...whilst Van Helsing puts the finishing touches to your car.

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No-Smoking theming

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Deeper inside the building, now. Here is an overflow queue area. Fortunately crowds were light when we visited, so we didn't wait more than 30 minutes for the ride.

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This is Van Helsing's car.

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Ah! Van Helsing himself, doing some work on his car.

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This was cleverly done and kept everyone in the queue entertained...

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...in both German and English...

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...and with Dutch subtitles for the many Dutch visitors, since the border with the Netherlands is very close by. (In the same way Europa Park has lots of French and Swiss visitors) [NL: "that more and more vampire attacks have been reported in Germany"]

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Er - hang on! Just what sort of workshop is this??! Uh oh...

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The queue is very dark, except for the occasional blue / ultraviolet flash...

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...which reveals messages on the wall warning us all to TURN BACK NOW!

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But we're not turning back, so here are some more images from the walls of the queue.

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Who is this stranger???

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Time to board! Here are the ride vehicles!

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And time to exit! It's next to impossible to take pictures of the ride itself - but that means much of it can stay a surprise!

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Here's a final look at the ride's logo - up on the wall in the gift shop.

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And here is Van Helsing's Club right next door (not sure what this is...)

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A visit to Movie Park would be incomplete without seeing the Shark!

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Or the Silver Pigeon! There'll be one more pigeon still to come - stay tuned!

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For busy days, you can now get a Q-Bot - hold on, Katun is here??? Let's go and ride it! It's my favourite B&M inverted coaster!

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Are you sure this is Katun? Something doesn't seem quite right... Check back soon for Part 4, the start of our in-depth Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes photos!

Edited by robinschroder
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Part 4 - Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes - Alpina Bahn

 

Once we were done at Movie Park Germany, we drove down to Düsseldorf - this took just over half an hour and we parked in the large, custom-built car parking area which is usually used for Düsseldorf's exhibition centre and sports stadium. From there, we caught a shuttle bus down to Germany's 3rd largest fair. Why? Because this year was Olympia Looping's debut at the Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes! And not only that - Alpina Bahn, Spinning Racer, a Wild Mouse, Power Tower 2, and a Star Flyer were all located there too, in addition to many many other excellent travelling rides!

 

This time, I'll focus on Alpina Bahn!

 

It debuted at the 1983 Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes as 'Himalaya Bahn'. With many of the travelling rides at the time focussing on loops, its owners Bruch wanted something a little different and something that would be more likely to appeal to families (who may otherwise be put off by inversions). Several years later, the ride was renamed 'Achter Bahn' (literally - Roller Coaster) before being repainted and renamed 'Alpina Bahn' in 1998. It pulls between 0 and 4.8g and the 5 trains have a top speed of 80 km per hour.

 

Sorry about the lack of funny captions - I don't have much time today! Check back soon for an Olympia Looping update!

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Photos courtesy of me...

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...and Hans!

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They loved it!!

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Part 5 - Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes - Olympia Looping

 

OK - time for another star attraction from this weekend! Making its debut at the Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes this year, arguably the finest travelling rollercoaster ever constructed - Stengel and Schwarzkopf's masterpiece, Olympia Looping!

 

Here are some Olympia Looping facts:

 

Olympia Looping's world premiere was at Oktoberfest in München / Munich in 1989.

 

The International Olympic Committee are notoriously protective of the Olympic brand and therefore challenged the design and name of the coaster. However, since the loops do not interlock in the same way as the Olympic logo, and 'Olympia' is a place in Greece, the ride was allowed to keep its design and name!

 

The ride was designed with maximum throughput in mind, so the 5 trains operate with 7 carriages at Oktoberfest in München / Munich, but only 5 carriages at the other German fairs. The track runs to 1.25 km in length (!), the maximum G force is 5.2g and the top speed reached is 100 km per hour. It seems incredible that this ride is transportable...!! And, of course, it is amazing!

 

This year it will be at Germany's 2nd largest fair, Cranger Kirmes, in August and, of course, at Germany's largest fair, Oktoberfest, in September / October!

 

On to the pictures from Hans and me! Check back for Spinning Racer pictures next, and then there'll be many more pictures from the Rheinkirmes coming up after that!

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Here I am in front of Olympia Looping!

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Ja. Ja, ja.

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And here is Hans in front of Olympia Looping!

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Ja. Ja, ja.

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The sun came out later in the afternoon! Sadly the weather wasn't great all week at the Düsseldorf REGENkirmes, so we were very lucky!

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And another sunny picture!

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What just happened???!

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OK:

 

That might be some of the finest Schwarzporn out there- I mean that. Those are some -outstanding- pictures of His greater works- Alpina is one I'd love to build a retirement home for here in the states, and Olympia, well, outside of the West Edmonton MIndbender, is one of His finest works!

 

OUTSTANDING!

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There's another topic of which coaster to do if there would be only one - and Olympia Looping qualifies for me! When it's in Hamburg for a month I normally spend over €100 on it....

 

Alpina Bahn is also nice and you can get quite some little airtime in the last seats.

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