I haven't been much of the coaster/theme park enthusiast the last decade, with the exception of last summer visiting a few parks that fit my Eurotrip (Grona Lund, Kolmarden, Liseberg, and Tivoli Copenhagen). Literally 3 weeks before I was to leave on this summers Eurotrip, found myself back looking at coasters when it dawned on me: A whole bunch of awesome parks are within driving distance.
My original desire was to squeeze in 5 parks: Walibi Holland, Toverland, Phantasialand, Holiday Park, and Europa Park. I realized once I landed in Brussels that there was no way I was going to fit in 5 so I cut out Toverland in favor of hanging with friends in Brussels instead. It was going to be over a week until the theme park blitz, beer and lambic in belgium, North coast of France, and a few beer festivals between Gent and Oostvleteren. My number one mission on the trip though, to finally get to the alps, specifically in Switzerland. As my theme park part of the trip neared, the weather window for the following days in Switzerland looked worse and worse. I decided then to cut out Walibi and move up my Switzerland trip a day, so now 3 parks into 2 days! Doing this side-trip solo, I figured I could get pretty crazy.
Day 1: Phantasialand. Tuesday July 9th
I arrived at the park around 9:30 and after a lengthy line to get a ticket, I was in the park right at 10:00. Taron was running empty trains with a huge growing line, so I got a quick ride on Raik (single rider line was a walk on). Interesting family coaster which I had no idea was a 'boomerang' style!! After that I head for Black Mamba. After getting turned around a number of times I made it to the ride. Lines were already a bit longer than I anticipated, but I managed to get a front row ride in before 10:30am. Black Mamba was as good as I had anticipated. I had always wanted to ride this as a kid, as I'm a fan of good B&M inverts and the theming was just amazing. Not the most forceful ride ever, but still really fun.
I made my back over to Taron and at this time it was running with people. The line had died down (60 minutes was the noted wait, though it was more like 45). I got in a front row ride which impressed me quite a bit! A really good mix of elements, though of course I could use more airtime, bust still really awesome. I noticed that they were occasionally letting in single riders, so I jumped over into that line, which may have been a mistake! I'm pretty sure I waiting even longer in the single rider line for another ride. Oh well, can't win them all.
With Taron out of the way, I headed over to Colorado Adventure. To my luck the line, which was immense at open, had died down to maybe a 20 minute way. I was really impressed by the scale of the ride (3 lift hills!) and the interaction with the log flume. It might just be my new favorite mine train!!! Next up was Chiapas - ADIE Wasserbahn. This was hands down the best flume I've ever ridden. Very unique, long, the theming was unreal. Not the most intense or biggest, but definitely the most fun!
I ended up leaving the park around 2:30pm. I definitely wish I had a full day to enjoy the park as there were a number of things I skipped and I definitely was in 'rush' mode. That said, 4+ hours was better than skipping the park! I was real impressed by the theming, the use of building down instead of up, and really awesome and fast ride ops.
The autobahn drive down to Holiday World was pretty exhilarating. It was my first time driving on the autobahn and I went for broke renting a brand new Audi A5. Limits were tested, new top-speeds achieved
My completely unreasonable ride for the week
I got to Holiday Park about 3:45pm and was on my way to Expedition Gforce by 4pm. My mission was simple: get in as many quality rides on Gforce as humanly possible before 6pm. No other rides, no food, no breaks. As an intamin airtime junky, EG had been near the very top of my bucklist coasters for well over a decade. There were very few people in the station and I managed to get in 15 rides over the coarse of the 2 hours. A few front, a few middle, and whole lot in/near the back. My personal favorite is back left. Insane first drop, unbelievable airtime, great layout. The onride POVs absolutely do not do this ride justice. Easily catapulted in my top 3 coasters. Just amazing! I went in with extremely high expectations and it still blew me away!!! I have zero regrets about skipping Sky Scream. I already know I"m not a fan of those kind of coasters and considering I may never end up getting back to Holiday Park, I had to get every drop of EG I could get!!!
First glimpse!!!! Goosebumps!
Airtime bunny hop!!
Best drop ever????
Seriously, straight up airtime machine
I then boogied down to Rust and spent the night outside the park in town. I had dinner at Gasthaus zum Oschen. The food and local beer was fantastic and the locals were so nice! The place was absolutely packed, so a local couple who were waiting for a table ahead of me insisted I join them for dinner.
Seriously good Pork Schnitzel. Known for their meat (opened years ago a butcher shop), steaks delivered and plated table side. Also the local Pilsner is REALLY good.
Day 2: Europa Park. Wednesday July 10th
I got up early to make my way over to hotel Kronasar, where I would be staying for the night, got checked in, and then headed into the park. I missed 8:00am shuttle though, so I ended up taking the 8:30am and getting into the park about 8:40am. BlueFire was one of two rides with the early open for hotel patrons, so I headed first there. I waited for the front on the first ride and managed to get it in just before 9am. I decided to hop back on using the single-rider line, which yet again, turned out to be a longer wait than anticipated. BlueFire was a lot of fun, though I think I slightly preferred Taron.
At this point, Wodan, which was running empty trains initially, was supporting riders, so I made the short walk over. Again I employed the single-rider line. Yet again, I also think I may have waited longer than the regular line. My first ride was in the 3rd row and left me completely disappointed. While the speed, pacing, and moderate rumble (I like a wooden coaster that has some shake, but not jackhamering pain) were awesome, I was really disappointed by the complete lack of airtime. The POVs made it seem like there would be a lot of little pops, but they were non-existent for me.
To make a long TR short, I used the app with wait-times to try to optimize line-waiting and distance between rides. I loved the app!!! Displayed times varied from on point to longer than reality. For instance, my wait time for Silver Star was usually 10-15 minutes where as the displayed times where usually 20-30 minutes. I ended up spending just 1 day in the park: ~8:45am to 7:40pm and fit everything in that I wanted. Granted, I didn't stop to eat or dilly dally (Got some water here and there of course), so it was a 'long' day, but I sometimes enjoy the hustling. All in all I got in all the coasters except the kiddie coasters and Pegasus. I was originally in line for Pegasus, but it broke down and I decided to bail. I would have gone back if the wait dropped below 20 minutes, but it didn't, so I skipped it. I did manage a number of re-rides to (6 total on Silver Star, 4 Blue Fire, 2 Wodan). Volatarium was pretty fun and worth doing, probably the best of that type of ride I've done.
First ride of the day. Solid fun!
Wodan does look impressive!
I wasn't sure what to expect from Euro Mir, but boy was it awesome!!! Unique, quirky, unexpected, great music, interesting theming, surprisingly finish. What more could you want!!!
The Mir replica is definitely worth taking a few minutes to walk through and explore.
Most photogenic park in the world? I just couldn't believe how beautiful the park was.
Station of Poseidon. Just when I thought the theming couldn't get any more impressive... it did!
My favorite ride at the park. Not the best themed by any stretch, but I really love the airtime, layout, and overall ride.
Layout. I like it. Could be longer, but still great.
Mercedes World theme was pretty cool though
Station theming was unbelievable (barn animals/etc) and I had no idea how cool the lift was!!!! The rest of the ride was a meh, but completely worth it for the station/lift alone!
Switzerland was a very small, tight section, but very cool theming nonetheless!
Great views from atop the Euro Tower
Arthur. Probably the single greatest themed coaster/ride ever. I thought it looked pretty cool from the outside...
But walking into to the building... mind blown. Just unreal.
I'm not sure which section I like better, this Atlantis Supersplash area or the Poseidon section. Both are just gorgeous.
Back to BlueFire!!!
12-player foosball table!!!! First time seeing this in person. I'd love to setup a match!!!
My impressions of the park: The ride ops are the most insane I've ever seen. This park should definitely be the model for fast, efficient, and professional operations. Arthur was unreal with how quick they were! And the theming! It's been a long time since I was at Disney World, but the theming here is the best I remember ever experiencing. Complete immersion throughout the park. Very clean to. My favorite ride at the park was definitely Silver Star. I'm an airtime junky so it's no surprise, but as someone who usually pokes fun at B&M hyper 'floater air' and prefers Intamin, I was really impressed. I managed 6 total rides, all in the last row! Blue Fire was probably my 2nd favorite, followed by Euro Mir (sooooo fun and unique!). Wodan was definitely a huge disappointment, though that isn't to say it isn't good, just my priorities for wooden coasters is like 95% airtime, 5% everything else. OK, maybe a bit of an exaggeration (The Beast is still an alltime favorite of mine), but the point remains. I did only get 2 rides on it, but with 1 in the back towards the end of the day, I feel like it was optimal for best ride conditions.
The hotels there were also stunning. After the park closed I grabbed dinner at Sala Santa Isabel, which was pretty good, though not outstanding. I then wandered around the other hotels in the area. The Colosseo was absolutely stunning. Hotel Bell Rock was surreal! Being from MA and living in NH (and a frequenter to ME), it was unbelievable the detail (like seagull noises over the fake harbor). I had nice surprise exclusive bourbon at the Spirit of St. Louis bar there before making my way back to the Kronasar.
Hotel Colosseo Lobby
This would get my vote as the coolest hotel patio ever.
Hotel Bell Rock
Did I just teleport back to NE... what the...
More impressive than the team this year....
Pretty solid Oak-stave selection and a neat surprise
My hotel for the night, the new Kronasar. Impressive at night.
Yeah, nothing impressive with that. Nothing at all...
From the 2nd to top floor (couldn't figure out how to get to the top, it was a bit confusing with the elevators/stairs). Coolest balcony/lobby ever?
Pretty cool and colorful at night. I just wish they didn't turn off the 'wave machine' after close, as the water splashing would have been real nice to fall asleep to with my window open.
Really does look a lot like Denmark!!!!
Europa Park was pretty magical, even with being solo on the day. I would absolutely love to go back and spend a few days with friends there.
So if doing these parks during the week, it's totally possible to cram them in and still enjoy it. I'd 100% go back to all 3 parks. In fact, I'm going to try to convince my friends from Brussels to make a trip out to Phantasialand with me sometime, maybe Europa park, though that would be a more difficult sell considering the distance!!!! Expedition GeForce was without a doubt the best coaster on the trip, and a top 3 overall, but considering there isn't much else at the park and it's kinda a pain to get to, I doubt I'll get there again.
Switzerland is pretty awesome to
2 days at Europa would have been great, but zero regrets...
Lauterbrunnen, my first two nights in the Jungfrau region of Berner Oberlin. Like a painting
My reason for skipping day 2 of Europa, trying to beat the clouds moving into the region. Jungfraujoch.
Bachalpsee lake. Not as spectacular as with a clear sky, but still pretty stunning
Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau
Lauterbrunnen valley from Lauberhorn
Views from Schilthorn