Europe 09/16 – Walibi Belgium + Bobbejaanland
Day 3 – Efteling
This was a revisit to the park for me and a first time visit for Mega-Lite. Although I already adored the place, the most persuasive factor in my returning was their new coaster Baron 1898, of which you can find a review here. We had an amazing time and the park was as lovely as ever.
The next day didn’t go very well and I have only one picture to prove it ever happened. For some reason we decided to hit both of these parks in one day, to maximise our time and I assume because we thought neither lineup was particularly significant enough to warrant sticking around.
We crossed another easy border out of our centralised hub in the Netherlands and into Belgium for the day.
Day 4 – Walibi Belgium
We opted to head for the park’s new coaster to begin with, Pulsar, the first ever installation of a Mack powersplash. It’s a shuttle ride using their larger water coaster boats to power you both forwards and backwards up spikes of track before cleverly letting the water that surrounds the ride flood directly in front of the boat to produce a massive splashdown effect at the end. The queue was particularly interesting as we raced through it, with many of the actual walls having violently pulsing and vibrating sections to denote the theme.
It wasn’t the most thrilling of rides, the size of boat makes it all a rather lumbering experience, but it was rather fun to try and we got absolutely soaked for the privilege.
There’s another shuttle coaster nearby called Psyke Underground. This time it’s a Schwarzkopf shuttle loop, with the added features of being entirely indoors and having replacement Gerstlauer trains fitted. It consists of launch, loop, spike, backwards loop, spike, end and simply wasn’t very interesting.
Calamity Mine is a standard layout Vekoma mine train that was worryingly better than Colorado Adventure earlier in the trip. With more than one train running, the two lift hills side by side and interaction of track between the two halves of the layout makes for good entertainment.
Cocinelle is a great name for the British to say and a small Zierer Tivoli. +1.
We were now at the back of the park where the shooting dark ride, Challenge of Tutankhamon sits. Excitement had built for this one as it was meant to be rather good and it didn’t disappoint.
Navigating through various haunted Egyptian scenes, shooting as you go, the ride provides a number of either effective or amusing scares by use of animatronics. It also has the intelligence to split cars off and take them through different end sequences based on your score. Because of this, and how good it was, this was the only attraction here we did twice, though we failed to score too well both times and got the same ending.
The other dark ride is a Vekoma mad house. Le Palais du Génie had an interesting preshow, with guests gathering round a central area of the room and some trickery on the ceiling. The ride portion was par for the course on these attractions, the highlight often being other riders reactions to believing that you are genuinely going upside down.
Even though we still had a lot to cover for the day, we had been putting off the major coasters at the front of the park, the main reason being that one was a Vekoma SLC and another was a Vekoma boomerang, both prolific clones in the theme park world that I’m not sure anyone has ever enjoyed rather than endured.
Realising that time was now against us, and that they were all holding significant queues, we purchased a single fasttrack for each – a horrible thought to be paying extra for such rides.
Vampire is the SLC, where we were immediately let in through a secret back door into the station. It wasn’t the worst version I’ve ridden, but it wasn’t good either.
Cobra is the boomerang, where we stood in confusion at the exit for a while before being let on. It wasn’t the worst version I’ve ridden, but it wasn’t good either.
Finally it was time to try Loup-Garou, hoping for something better from the park’s Vekoma woodie. At least it was unique.
Unfortunately I didn’t get on with the positioning of the awkward lap bar restraints very well and spent the duration of the ride bracing myself against that rather than taking in any of the layout. I believe it had the potential to be quite good, it just wasn’t for me with those trains.
With that, the park was complete and we hurried out to the next destination.
Our master plan was relying on the advertised operating hours of this park, it was due to close at 18:00 but on our arrival at the ticket desk, even though the car park was heaving, we had struggled to even find a space and it was still the school holidays in Belgium, they bluntly told us they were shutting at 17:00. Being madmen, we reckoned we could still manage everything in the remaining time and bought tickets anyway – we’ve come this far.
We started at Typhoon, the biggest coaster in the park, an older Gerstlauer Eurofighter. It’s an unattractive ride, looking more like it belongs at a fairground than a theme park, but then Bobbejaanland had been unattractive thus far as well. It fits. The queue was unpleasant and barely moving, we lost our first half hour here.
The signature vertical lift and beyond vertical drop starts the ride, throwing you into a vertical loop where you immediately to notice that these trains are clunky and ride poorly. Some strangely high up turns and slow inversions go against the grain of what I have experienced previously on the ride type so it’s an unusual layout at least, but not really any good for it.
For some reason the only ride I have a picture of for this day is Dizz, perhaps in false hope that this Maurer spinner would be any good. It wasn’t. Another slow half hour queue for a ride that barely gained any speed throughout the uninspired layout and therefore didn’t really spin either.
With time slipping away from us, we had to get a bit tactical, bypassing the wild mouse which, if we did fail to ride everything, we would be the least bothered about missing. We also skipped past the indoor coaster which had a new Virtual Reality overlay advertised, knowing that the VR plague always destroys the throughput of any coaster it touches.
Which led us to the back of the park and Dream Catcher, a Vekoma suspended coaster. Like Dizz, it had a grim half hour queue and like Dizz, it barely gained any speed throughout the uninspired layout and therefore didn’t really swing either.
Oki Doki was, concerningly, the best ride in the park. I also declared it the best coaster in Belgium, which was ridiculous but also true at the time. The custom layout Vekoma junior had a fun first drop in the back and little else to offer.
We now decided to backtrack to the rides we had skipped earlier, starting with the indoor coaster. While walking through the queue, a ton of guests came pouring out of the ride towards us, having being kicked out, loudly shouting and making X symbols with their arms. It’s closed then… what’s the time? 16:30.
How about the wild mouse then? As we reached the entrance, the gate was being shut and a sign hung in front of it. Closed. As well as cutting short the opening hours for the day, they were also shutting half the park early while it was still really busy. Why?
Defeated, we aimlessly wandered onto something that was still open nearby, a King Kong flat ride. It’s an amusing ride, with a large angry ape picking you up in a bus, shouting and tipping you from side to side sedately, but it didn’t particularly raise our spirits at this time. Though we had played our part to the best of our ability, Bobbejaanland had let us down.
As a slight bonus, though we had written it off, the park’s powered coaster Bob Express was still open until 17:00, not 18:00, so we took our final and uneventful +1 for the day.
Having not liked the place anyway, the most annoying part was the thought that I would have to come back one day and finish it.
Day 5 – Walibi Holland
The final day consisted of another revisit for me, this time spurred on by the opening of Lost Gravity – review here. This really was a good year for new rides and they proved to be the driving force for a cracking trip overall.