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Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 4:30 am
by 805Andrew
I love the all the weird buildings in Amsterdam and the mix of historic and modern infused throughout the city. I did that swing at the ADAM Lookout the evening before the official trip meetup and it was fun to try out and only a 5 Euro upcharge. I caught the sunset up there which was really nice. I also had a really funny canal boat guide on one of those "hop on hop off" canal boats that was included with my Stromma City Pass that made fun of all the touristy things in the city and kind of gave a Drunk History story of the city's history and pointed out at that cool looking science museum building and said it's a great place to visit if you like being around a bunch of children running around. :lmao: I missed out on the Foodhallen but I'll have to check it out next time I'm in Amsterdam, it looks like my type of food place.

Great TR so far and looking forward to see it continue.

Day 10: Walibi Holland

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 12:50 am
by The Great Zo
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Day 10: Walibi Holland

Out with the old, in with the RMC.

Walibi Holland was another return visit from the 2016 trip. We enjoyed the park and its sort-of-corporate, yet sort-of-offbeat theming. I was curious to see how they'd continue down that road. I was also curious to see what became of that lousy old Vekoma woodie, Robin Hood.

But first, let's back up a bit, because Walibi Holland is very different from the other parks in the Netherlands. It originally opened as an educational theme park in the 1970s, and went through some stops and starts before re-inventing itself as an amusement park in the 1990s. It also spent some time in the early 2000s as a Six Flags-branded property, under the ownership of Premier Parks. As might make sense, this was a park without the kind of well-defined identity that you'd see across the country at Efteling, for example. But as Elissa pointed out in Chuck's TR, when Efteling, Toverland, and some of the smaller parks in the Netherlands have the family demographic all wrapped up, why not go in a different direction? So, Walibi Holland has focused both their marketing and their ride selection on the thrill demographic -- young adults and teenagers.

That might explain why Walibi Holland sort of feels like the most Cedar Fair / Six Flags type of park on the trip, and perhaps the closest thing to a typical coaster park. That doesn't tell the whole story, though, because Walibi Holland has really leaned into the offbeat theming. The whole park isn't quite there yet, but the areas they've focused on over the past 5 years or so have really been a refreshing look at how you can get creative with this type of park. Don't expect the immersiveness of Efteling or Phantasialand, but that's not what they're going for -- Walibi Holland is fun, quirky, and just plain different.

None of this would matter if Walibi Holland didn't have the coasters to back it up, but they do. Goliath, a hold-over from the Six Flags days, is a really good Intamin mega coaster. Lost Gravity, one of the strangest things Mack has ever built, is criminally underrated. Finally, that old Vekoma woodie? It's now one of the best RMCs on the planet. That's a top 3 that I would put up against any other park in Europe, and quite honestly is better than all but a handful of US parks as well.

What would I like to see for Walibi Holland's future? It might be time to add a couple of high-end flats, with the coaster collection in such good (if top-heavy) shape. Perhaps a giant frisbee to replace the old Tomahawk? I do find it interesting that they've got fantastic coasters by Intamin, Mack, RMC, and of course the local Vekoma, but not a single B&M as of yet. Also, while I don't mind the park layout as much as some others have said, the Goliath dead-end is kind of a chore. Would love to see them find a way to sneak a path from the Goliath plaza to somewhere near the exit of the rapids ride. Regardless of this, a quick look at the map would indicate they should have plenty of room to expand, and you know whatever they do next is going to be interesting.

How was our day? Fantastic. We met up with Walibi Holland's Scott Bravenboer and Marco Wensveen, who'd be spending quite a bit of time with us during the visit. We started right off with filming/ERT sessions on Goliath, Untamed, and Lost Gravity -- multiple rides on the best coasters in the park before it had even opened for business for the day. Before turning us loose for the morning, we all received personalized gift packages and postcards, which are among the most unique and thoughtful things I've ever received on a TPR trip. We had a group lunch in the early afternoon, followed by a lengthy backstage photo tour of Xpress, Goliath, and Untamed. We then went back to Untamed for another ERT session after the park closed.

All of that said, AJ put it best when describing the day's real highlight...
A.J. wrote:Honestly, the best part of the whole day was Larry's completely serious recounting of the [NeuroGen] experience to all of us while we were waiting for the park to close. I'm still not sure if anyone actually believed what he was saying at the time.


If you don't know what NeuroGen is, well ... ask Larry, because I still don't know either.

But I do know that Walibi Holland is pretty great, and we had a fantastic day.

Ride reviews!

Untamed: It's not as grandiose as Steel Vengeance, and it's not as scenic as Wildfire, but this is probably RMC's best-paced coaster. The arrangement of elements is just about perfect, and avoids the repetition that keeps Storm Chaser and Twisted Timbers a little lower on my rankings. The ride's brand-new element, the 270-degree double inverting stall, is epic RMC weirdness at its best. With how much I love Outlaw Run, I'm glad to see they borrowed a ride-ending barrel roll for this one too. There's lots of airtime, lots of quick turns, and lots of sideways / overbanked weirdness. The theming is pretty wild, as well -- it's like nature taking over, if nature was informed by younger-Millennial / Gen-Z social media culture. Really hard to describe, but it mostly works, and it's almost as fun as the coaster. Check out Robb's lengthy, multi-angle video to see some of the fun we were having!

Lost Gravity: Mack's first "Big Dipper" coaster, it's a remarkably unique attraction with virtually no fitting comparison to any other coaster on the planet. There are other coaster types that try to do weird things with small coasters and small ride vehicles, such as the S&S El Loco and Gerstlauer Eurofighter models. Mack seems to have taken that idea and made it better and weirder in just about every way. Lost Gravity is smoother, more creative, and more re-ridable. It's a crazy mix of airtime, hangtime, intensity, and crazy twists and inversions. Throw in Walibi Holland's masterfully-bizarre theming (which I'll cover in the pictures) and you've got an awesome ride.

Goliath: Somewhere between a hyper and a mega-lite, Goliath is a very nice Intamin. Built in that same era as Millennium Force, Superman (SFNE), and Expedition GeForce, it's got many of Intamin's classic elements -- airtime hills, curvy bits, an emphasis on speed, and a Stengel dive. Whether painted green or blue, this coaster is a lot of fun. The middle segment is more good than great, and perhaps it's just me, but I felt like it kept its speed up better in 2016 than it did in 2019. Those are just minor issues, though. Intamin made a good one.

Xpress: Platform 13: Xpress has sort of been shunted down the list as Walibi Holland's fourth-best coaster, but it's a pretty good ride. It's also one just about everyone should be familiar with -- it's a mostly-outdoor clone of Disney World's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. The launch and the first few elements are a lot of fun, though it kind of meanders later on, and the ride's second half isn't as exciting without Steven Tyler and a miniaturized Hollywood sign. The queue and the indoor portion are really well themed, and the little surprise after the brake run might just be the best part.

Speed of Sound: I'm pretty comfortable calling this the world's best Vekoma boomerang, but that still means it's a Vekoma boomerang. Walibi Holland has done everything they can to improve the experience, though, including a massive re-theme in 2011 as an electronic-music-themed ride with fun visuals and on-board audio. It's got the newer vest restraints, and as far as boomerangs go, it's on the younger side (originally opened in 2000). It's a vastly superior ride to...

El Condor: This is a piece of coaster history -- the first-ever Vekoma SLC. It would probably be better for everyone involved if it were left to the history books. I rode it in 2016, and saw no need to ride it again. It's bad. However, that didn't stop Joey Schadenberg from riding El Condor over and over again to raise money for charity. I think he ended up with over 200 rides. Robb filmed a POV alongside Joey and it's quite entertaining.

Crazy River: Yet another fun log flume at a European park, and yet another one with a reversing segment and two drops. The double-down on the big drop is a nice touch.

Tomahawk: An inward-facing SBF frisbee installed in 2000. It's pretty small, it takes a while to really get swinging, and it doesn't swing very high even when it does. It's no match for the newer Huss and Zamperla frisbees.

Merlin's Magic Castle: It's a Vekoma Mad House. It was formerly housed in a castle-type building painted like a castle. Now it's housed in a castle-type building painted in graffiti. The magic theme works well for a ride system built on illusion.

Walibi Express: The park's train ride -- it's unfortunately kind of short, and doesn't offer many views that you can't get from the walkways. Still, it's better to have a train than to not have a train.

Vlot: It's a raft! We had a thing with rafts on this trip. Not the first, and won't be the last. Stay tuned.

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Pictures are below. As with the last few reports, I'll mix in a few from the 2016 trip along the way.

Day 10: Walibi Holland (pt 2)

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 12:50 am
by The Great Zo
Down from the wheel, and continuing our morning tour of the park...

Day 10: Walibi Holland (pt 3)

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 12:50 am
by The Great Zo
Before we continue on with the photo tour, we have to take one more step back in time.

Day 10: Walibi Holland (pt 4)

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 12:50 am
by The Great Zo
From the best coaster in the park to...

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 5:24 am
by Blue Turbo
Great report Andy! (I really enjoyed the log flume commentary) It's interesting to see a park embrace such weird/quirky theming that you don't normally see in a theme park. That and the coaster lineup puts this park pretty high on my must get to at some point list.

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 5:37 am
by cfc
Untamed was my favorite coaster of the whole trip--beautifully paced and very re-rideable (and the quirky theming was a plus, too).

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 12:03 pm
by SharkTums
Great report and great park. Really missing Europe and traveling right now. Oh, and that Pofertjes stand was amazing and the workers were so friendly.

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 5:38 pm
by CenturyFlyer
Your pictures are amazing! They are way better at capturing the feeling of the ride experience than any distant picture of a support structure, no matter how nice those may be. I even recognize one group of riders on Untamed from the April ACE coaster calendar picture (not the place, I know...). :)

Two thumbs up on the report!

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 6:25 pm
by A.J.
I thought really hard about it but I'm pretty sure I made the correct decision to skip Condor.

Untamed is my number one steel coaster now, it is INCREDIBLE. Walibi Holland was one of the more hospitable parks on the trip for the group for sure.