Parc Asterix was neck and neck with Disneyland Paris for the most anticipated park on my trip. Few parks can match a Disney for me, but there’s one archetype that can- a well-themed park with top-end thrill rides (ex. Silver Dollar City, Busch Gardens, etc). And boy did Parc Asterix deliver.
I had zero familiarity with the Asterix comics going into my visit. And in no way did that negatively impact my visit. After my visit, I found that Asterix is to ancient history as Veggie Tales is to religion. The cartoonish twist on history presented a very unique and cheery atmosphere.
I started with Vol D’Icare on the way to Zeus and it took my breath away…just not in the good way. This coaster’s restraints are bizarre; it’s a sliding t-bar like a bobsled coaster. MCBR 1 did nothing. MCBR 2 did nothing. MCBR 3 tried to give me a vasectomy. Calling the stop abrupt is an understatement. The stop on a Schwarzkopf Wildcat is abrupt. This was just brutal. The t-bar delivered a direct shot to my nuts.
Outside of that, Vol D’Icare is your average family coaster. Just be careful it doesn’t prevent you from having a family. 4 out of 10
No more messing around, it was time for the panty-wearing Zeus. And I have to be honest, I was both nervous and excited to ride Tonnerre de Zeus. On one hand, I knew Zeus in peak form was a world-class coaster, as evidenced by multiple first place finishes in the Mitch Hawker poll. On the other hand, I’ve heard Zeus is temperamental and can run like absolute doggy doo doo.
The verdict? It definitely wasn’t running in peak form. Some of it may have been attributed to it being a cooler day, but the ride sounded like death. The screeching was so bad I can still hear it all the way back in Boston. 2019 POVs are coming in about 10 seconds slower than older POVs. Yikes! But even a hobbled Zeus is still a great wooden coaster.
The first drop is arguably the best of any traditional wooden coaster. This one runs a rare 7-car PTC train. The yank combined with the drop’s steepness provides some insane ejector air. There's also another drop after the big helix with airtime rivaling Raven's 5th drop. Zeus didn't have as many airtime moments as expected, but those present were awesome.
Where Zeus truly shined was the laterals. I know Zeus is the God of Thunder, but you could convince me he’s the God of Laterals too. The sustained lats in the 540 degree helix aren’t far behind the Legend’s famous double helix. You also have great lats on several turnarounds and there are a few sneaky hills with kinks on the drop.
Zeus was bleeding speed and screeching quite loudly after the big helix. Those bunny hills in the middle of the ride looked ripe for airtime, but there was none to be had. Fortunately the drops off the turnarounds and on-ride photo drop still provided nice pops of ejector air simply because of how steep they were.
I also want to note that I didn’t find the coaster rough at all. That included multiple rides in wheel seats. I’ve noticed a lot of wooden coasters with aggressive, lateral-heavy layouts often are misclassified as rough. Zeus is one of those woodies. Sure it’s bouncy at points, but there was a time before RMCs.
As I experienced it, Tonnerre de Zeus was a great coaster capable of so much more. Zeus at its best is right up there with the best of the best. This ride has some serious laterals and ejector air. I just wish it was able to maintain its speed all the way through. 8.5 out of 10
Normal disk’os are enjoyable flats, but not must rides for me. I always make a point to ride disk’o coasters. No I’m not a credit whore. Well I am, but you know what I mean. I don’t count disk’o coasters
And Parc Asterix has one of the best in Discobelix.
These rides all seem to have the same cycle and forces. What differentiates this one is the location on the pond and two neat effects- a synchronized splashdown effect and a flamethrower. Just be sure to ride this one early since it gets one of the longest queues in the park. 8 out of 10
The park’s newest coaster is Pegase Express, an out-and-back version of Firechaser Express. And this may just be one of the snappiest family coasters out there. This coaster is loaded with quick changes of direction. There’s no airtime on these, but they can keep even a seasoned enthusiast on their toes. This is particularly true during the wild backwards segment.
The highlight is undoubtedly the finale. I don’t want to spoil the show scene, but I will say it would make Universal proud. Gerstlauer needs to make more of these family coasters. They have super low height requirements and do a little bit of everything. 7 out of 10
Goudurix. It’s the name that shall not be said among coaster enthusiasts. Rumor has it, just saying the name causes coaster enthusiast to crap worse than a patient during colonoscopy prep. I felt like I was walking into my own funeral as I boarded the train in the back row no less.
I also want to note that Goudurix’s Rapidus entrance is a royal pain to find. On all the other rides, it was located adjacent to the main entrance. For Goudurix, you need to loop around the kiddie plane ride and head down this nondescript, dirt path for the hotel. Maybe it’s Asterix saying you don’t want to ride this.
The first drop was enjoyable. It delivered a nice pop of air. The airtime felt like the last meal of a patient on death row. Then came the butterfly. I closed my eyes in fear, but something was amiss. There was no headbanging. Instead I was blown away by a ridiculously forceful element.
Then came the batwing. Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it? By Zeus it did! Yes there was a rough jolt exiting the element, but that was the only rough spot on the entire ride. By this point, I relaxed my guard and fully enjoyed the forceful vertical loop and snappy corkscrews, which were also fairly smooth.
I actually liked Goudurix. WTF? And my ride wasn’t a fluke either, I rode it multiple times! I came to the conclusion this cannot be the same Goudruix everyone else has ridden. I have no clue what they did- retracking, new trains, sold their soul to the devil- but whatever they did, it worked. 7 out of 10
B&M’s best and worst inverts are usually pretty consistent. Best- Nemesis, Montu, or Pyrenees. Worst- Silver Bullet, Patriot, or OzIris. The latter always surprised me because of the insane level of theming. It looked like a next level Montu. So I figured the ride itself must be really bland.
OzIris simply wasn’t good…it was exceptional.
It all began with the first drop. And what a first drop it was! It started with bonafide ejector air (on an invert!) and then transitioned to some wicked laterals. This drop felt wildly out-of-place on an invert and it immediately showed me that OzIris had balls.
The entry into the dive loop provided another surprise pop of air before dishing out the heavy Gs trademark of an old-school invert. That’s followed by a snappy overbank and a powerful vertical loop. I thought all the new B&Ms were supposed to be forceless? Even the Immelmann had some force and the final helix was reminiscent of Silver Bullet.
But what separated OzIris was the airtime. I already mentioned the first drop, but there were 2 other sizable drops and 2 bunny hills with air. The drop before the zero-G was even ejector air for good measure. If you prefer hangtime, you get that in the traditional zero-G roll and this overstretched corkscrew.
Call me crazy, but OzIris is my new favorite invert. Epic drop, forceful loops, leg-numbing helices, floaty zero-G rolls, airtime, and immersive theming. It really is the complete package. I’m not sure what Parc Asterix has been feeding OzIris, but it was running like a bat-out-of-hell. 10 out of 10
SOS Numerobis was one of the rare attractions that was a walk-on. Needless to say I hopped aboard for the credit. It’s one of those small Zierer coasters with the comically long train. It gave not one, not two, but three laps and was heavily wooded. Otherwise it was nothing special. 3 out of 10
Trace du Hourra is a bizarre bobsled coaster. Most bobsleds are themed to…you know…bobsledding. Instead, Trace du Hourra is themed to a caveman that learns to walk and excitedly runs down a hill screaming “hooray”
I swear I’m not making that up; that’s seriously the theme.
It’s also shockingly tall. The lift can accommodate multiple trains at once. Now I really wanted to like this ride. It was long, beautifully landscaped, and had some nice helices. But it had an Achilles heel, the same Achilles heel as all Mack bobsleds- vibrations. 5 out of 10
One of the biggest benefits of TPR is knowing the can’t miss non-coasters at each park. For Asterix, one of those rides was the Defi de Cesar. I never thought there’d be a mad house with a more elaborate pre-show than Hex at Alton Towers, but Defi de Cesar matches it.
It was a neat twist to have the main ride themed to a ship on rough waters. I guess conventional themes are too mainstream for Asterix. The inverting effect was top-notch on this version. I believe the ride system is identical to SFNE’s, as you get some serious sliding throughout the ride. 8 out of 10
I felt obligated to use my Rapidus Pass on all available rides, so against my better judgment I rode Grand Splatch. I figured it’d be your garden variety shoot-the-chute ride, but it had a far more expansive layout. I think the entire ride was 5-6 minutes in length.
But as the fellows with small feet will tell you, it’s more important what you do with the length. Most of the ride is spent slowly meandering through a themeless forest. It felt markedly out-of-place at a park with Asterix theming out the wazoo. There were drops to break up the monotony at least. The first one was puny, but the second one was a decent double-down. 6 out of 10
By comparison, Epidemais Croisiere was far more enjoyable. The ride traded drops for cute little scenes from the Asterix comics. 7 out of 10
The park’s best water ride was the log flume, Menhir Express. Like Grand Splatch, it mostly themeless. Except on Menhir Express, the boats actually navigate the trough faster than a snail dragging a barbell.
Plus the drops are great too. I don’t know which drop I prefer. Both give surprise pops of air. The second is considerably larger; however, the first has an uphill segment much like Splash Mountain or Ripsaw Falls. 9 out of 10
Oxygenarium may be the park’s most unique water ride. This is one of those spinning raft slides for the dry park. SFNE used to have one in Joker’s current spot. As a water ride, it fails spectacularly. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten wet from this type of attraction.
But as a spinning ride, it thrives. The descent spins faster than a tea cup. The one at SFNE only turned right, which allowed the spinning to be maintained the whole way down. Oxygenarium changes direction a few times, which provided a momentary reprieve from the spinning. Some may appreciate the reprieve, but I wanted to go balls to the wall the whole way down. 6 out of 10
For food, I went with the Restaurant du Lac. It was a full-service sit-down restaurant with quite the atmosphere. I went with the hamburger and it was probably the best meal I had during my time in France. That sounds sad, but it was actually a fantastic hamburger.
It’s also worth noting that the park has one of those innovative aerial bars. I strongly considered riding just to get some off-ride pictures of Zeus (it’s dang near impossible to photograph from ground level), but on-ride photography wasn’t allowed. Makes sense considering booze and coordination do not mix.
Oh and they had dolphins. Because one of the dolphins had just given birth, they turned the show into more of an informational session, but it was better than outright cancelling it like many parks would.
I did miss out on Transdemonium though. The ride was quietly closed for the 2019 season. All of the ride’s signage is still intact, but the park scrubbed all mentions of it from the park maps and website.
I was hell-bent on maximizing my chances of a world-class ride on Zeus, so I finished the day with an hour marathon. Most woodies heat up as the day progresses, but something didn’t seem quite right. If anything, Zeus was running slower and it was definitely screeching even more loudly.
After my second ride, the park called maintenance and had them grease the pre-lift. This caused the screeching to subside considerably and maybe it started getting faster. But it was too little too late. The next time I visit Asterix, I’m going to intentionally visit on a rainy day so the Zeus is all nice and lubricated.
I honestly don’t know if I preferred Disneyland Paris or Parc Asterix. Disney is Disney, but Parc Asterix shined in every single area. The park was gorgeous. The landscaping was top-notch like so many European parks. The park had great theming and operations were fast.
From a ride perspective, Asterix is only going to get better. OzIris is an incredible invert and I have no doubt Tonnerre de Zeus is still capable of being a world-class ride. But most importantly, there’s that shiny new Intamin on the horizon in 2021. God that ride looks incredible.