France 07/17 – Bellewaerde + Plopsaland De Panne

Day 2

During the night I’m certain our hotel room reached 40 degrees but other than that it was quite nice.

Thanks to the location of the hotel we took back roads all the way to Belgium, it was a lovely drive and quite beautiful in places, that was until we took a right and came face to face with 15 heavily armed soldiers! Of course they were fine but it wasn’t what I was expecting to see at 9am on a quiet Belgium back road.

Speaking of Belgium, me and Heartline have a bit of a history with it, in 2016 we visited Walibi and Bobbejaanland and let’s just say the country treated us less than fairly, shall we see if we do better this time? Spoilers, we don’t…

Bellewaerde

As we were rushing and everything was out to annoy us I don’t have much to say about the park itself, it has lots of trees…? Operations weren’t great…? Staff were alright…?

Our plan was to arrive for opening, knock off the coasters in an hour and then launch over to Plopsa, one of those things happened.

We got to the park 20 minutes before opening and that’s when it started to go wrong, some angry car park bloke lead us and half of Belgium down some sketchy road into a massive grassy overflow car park, good start!

We stood with several thousand heavily smoking Belgians at the turnstyles before running into the park to try to get the jump on them.

Huracan – We got to Huracan and there was only a few people outside, fantastic we thought, maybe we can still do this, then it opened late… Huracan is a partially enclosed Zierer Force coaster and it’s pretty great actually, with some nice theming inside.

Next we ran to the park’s tivoli coaster to find that they were were increasing the rows used every few cycles and that they were currently only allowing 4 people on the ride. As the queue was massive we decided to come back later.

Boomerang – We rode the park’s boomerang coaster while we waited, it wasn’t too rough.

They were now loading about quarter of the tivoli, not yet then!

Dawson Duel – So we went to check out the park’s brand new dueling alpine coasters. They were quite fun, something a little different at least but not worth the 30 minute queue.

Keverbaan – Even with them now loading the whole train we still queued far too long for the tivoli.

Now running majorly late we grabbed food to go and then made a serious scene leaving the car park, not on purpose I promise.

Plopsaland De Panne

We arrived at Plopsa at 2 and had to leave at 5:40 at the latest to make sure we got to the tunnel on time. That would be difficult at most parks but was going to impossible here.

Viktor’s Race – We got bored looking for the entrance to Anubis so we just opted to ride the park’s tivoli large, they were running it even slower than Bellewaerde…

Rollerskater – Then we ended up wasting even more precious time queueing for the park’s Vekoma junior coaster, the operator did notice we were cred running though, did we look that desperate?

Anubis: The Ride – FINALLY! The first proper coaster of the day. Anubis is one of only 2 Gertslauer launch coasters, the other being Lynet and both are really good. The coaster features a strong launch, crazy airtime on the top hat and then an intense and well paced layout.

SuperSplash – Is it a cred? Who knows. Was it a massive waste of time with awful operations? Yes, yes it was.

It was now 4 and we hadn’t yet experienced the park’s brand new GCI woodie, so assuming we’d want a few rides and almost certain there would be a queue, we decided to hell with the park’s other coasters, let’s cut our losses and go ride something decent.

When we got to the coaster we noticed it was closed with a member of staff at entrance, so we sat down and camped it out for a bit. 10 minutes later and the queue was opened and a bunch of us powered in, only to be told to leave by security, right…

We spent the next hour waiting and watching about 40 different staff members show up, do nothing, then leave. At 1 point a security bloke showed up and mocked those waiting and pretty much told us that the ride closes at 6:30, it’s almost 4:30, so what would be the point now, amazing…

Draak – We decided to ride the park’s powered coaster to get away from standing like idiots outside the closed woodie, this was a mistake… The worst operations of the day combined with the locals being as loud as humanly possible in an enclosed station only helped to sour the park experience even more.

Following this awful mistake we returned to waiting outside Heidi and stayed there right until the very last moment before we had to leave, this was pointless because nothing came of it.

Now very disappointed with the park we just wanted to pay for parking and leave, so course this had to be a mission too.

The parking machines were broken, so we had to go to guest services to get a ticket.

Guest services was manned by one very grumpy old lady who would not be rushed. Sell a car park ticket to this man, slowly answer the phone, print this man’s annual pass, go back to the phone, sell another ticket, go back on the phone, oh look we are next, no wait she’s on the phone again. When you’re already late and all faith in the park has already been lost, then the best thing to do now is just start laughing at this farce.

As we got half way back to the car Heidi went down the drop with guests on. It took less than a second and one nod to know what had to be done.

We sprinted across the car park, begged the turnstyle lady we just refused a hand stamp from to let us back in, sprinted across the park including through a restaurant and head first into a parade and finally got to Heidi.

Heidi – Thankfully I really enjoyed Heidi, sadly that about as much a review as I can give after only 1 lap but it’s certainly a positive one.

If you want a straight pros and cons review of Plopsa then I’ll try my best.

Pros – Some parts of the park are quite well themed (Heidi + Anubis areas)

Cons – Literally everything else.

Thanks to some violent driving we only missed our booked check in time by 3 minutes, sadly this meant we got put onto the next free train, which meant a 2 hour wait at the tunnel. Thankfully with the right company that’s no big deal.

Thank you so much for reading.

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