Ride Review – Lost Gravity
Walibi Holland are slightly off the rails, in a good way. Let’s just say the park themselves know how to have a good time. I can’t think of a better investment to represent that than this. Hard Gaan.
Lost Gravity was the first ever installation of a Mack big dipper. I’m a massive fan of Mack rides, not least because they made my favourite coaster on the planet. Their restraint and seating system revolutionised the modern inverting coaster giving an unparalleled sense of freedom and comfort even against the most extreme of forces, teaching the world once again that you don’t need these poxy shoulder restraints everywhere.
These same seats made it onto this new model of ride, on which the easiest comparison to draw for the cars would be to a Gerstlauer Eurofighter. In a head to head, they fix absolutely everything about them, from the awkward restraints to the clunkiness with which they rattle around.
On top of this, the outside 4 positions can be described as wing seats, as they stick out over both the edge of the car floor and the actual track, letting your feet dangle. Wing seats like this can be a powerful ally to a ride, effectively doubling any lateral forces in a snappy transition as physics has to move you, the rider, further to keep up.
The advantage of single 8-seater cars on a coaster such as this, as opposed to full trains is that tighter (and snappier) manouevres can be attempted without (less) serious engineering issues.
The theme for the ride is in the name. Gravity has been lost and the scenery throughout the queue and the ride area is a random assortment of objects, vehicles and containers that are upside down and strewn all over the place. The entertainment highlight as you move through the queue is an escalator that no longer moves. Instead, if you happen to be standing on it while waiting, the floor intermittently vibrates underneath you, in a hilarious fashion.
There’s always some intense dance music playing throughout the area, fitting perfectly with the vibe of the park and I believe there was a dedicated DJ situated near the ride entrance at some point.
The ride does have a song written for it and it’s one that I have a great attachment to, though sadly I’ve never heard this played in situ.
The other highlights in theming are a couple of flamethrowers that go off viciously every so often, enough to give people in the queue a good fright. You can’t beat a bit of fire.
On to the actual ride then, it begins with a wickedly steep and twisted first drop that just disappears from underneath you, throwing you particularly hard if you’re in the correct wing seat. Before you’ve had time to recover from that there’s a silly little hill, no more than the size of a speed bump, which produces a very amusing and odd sensation of airtime.
Nobody should know what this element is supposed to be. Some semblance of a top hat, but the shape is just so warped and again produces some rather unique forces, although slower this time, before you hit another big violent hill of pure ejector.
The train then enters a flat turnaround up high, ending in a mid course brake run which tugs at the pace a little into the dive drop that marks the second half of the ride.
The ride gets more twisty now, navigating a series of tight corners, another well placed inversion and a final punch of airtime before the end.
I was very happy with the final product. I like a mixed bag of forces on a ride and I always implore designers to try new things, be different and unique. It did everything I could have asked for really and instantly became my favourite attraction in the park. Although Goliath was an old friend of mine it just can’t compete with the simplicity of what it delivers in comparison to a ride like Lost Gravity.
What holds it back from the elite though? Because it isn’t up there with the best of the best for me. That’s a question I find hard to answer.
I believe it comes back to the Eurofighter comparison from earlier. Though Mack fixed everything I thought they could about it, there’s something more inherent about these rides with single cars instead of trains. What you gain in manoeuvrability you lose in grace, they just don’t… flow as nicely. The momentum and rhythm is different, much more stop-start and, for want of a better word, it feels gimmicky.
Still loved it anyway, bought the T-shirt to prove it. Not the one that says ‘Ask me about Lost Gravity’, but please do.