The following morning we had a great time getting more acquainted with our favourite rides from the previous day at Europa, but our minds kept wandering back to the earlier misfortune at Holiday Park. What if the ride is open again now and we’re missing out?
By lunchtime we couldn’t take it any more and decided to phone the park for confirmation. The answer was positive, so by early afternoon we were back on the road for a revenge trip.
Day 4 – Holiday Park
We arrived in the car park and sat in the same position as before, remaining skeptical, watching and waiting for some further proof that Expedition GeForce was indeed active. 10 nervous minutes passed before we saw the train climbing the lift through the trees. The dashboard was punched and the car doors were flung wide open. “It’s running!”
With a mere 2 hours remaining of their operating schedule, the park may have thought us mad for turning up so late and paying full entry price, but it seems we weren’t the only ones. A minivan full of hockey players had also arrived at the same time for a quick stint, clearly the world famous ride has a bit of a cult following among the locals.
It was potentially better value for money than our first visit though. We racked up a total of 11 laps in that time and it was definitely worth coming back for.
The twisted first drop is particularly brutal, taken at such a steep angle. With the momentum carrying over from the faster than usual cable lift hill, a strong moment of multi-directional ejection starts the layout as it means to go on.
Every single hill on this ride is designed to provide an almost unrivalled amount of airtime and it really is quite ridiculous to experience. The reactions from other riders is almost as entertaining, a particular standout being a man in a Silver Star shirt seemingly leaping into each of them with his whole upper body and doing windmills with his arms.
Where the ride falls short for me is the extended section of turns in the middle where nothing much happens, when the ride is delivering so well at other times it feels like some wasted potential within the layout.
The finish is as strong as the start, with a hill through the structure that threatens to cut your hands off, followed by the final series of consecutive hills that try to remove clothing, leaving our shirts half up and jackets wrapped across the back of the seat by the time it hits the brake run.
I can see why this Intamin mega is so highly regarded. If airtime is your sole jam, then there really is nothing to complain about and back when Expedition GeForce opened there was likely very little that wouldn’t pale in comparison. Personally I find it a tiny bit too one-dimensional and predictable to be considered the best of the best. I’m more a fan of variety in a layout as well as rides that provide a more out of control feeling – you can see all the airtime coming a mile away here and anticipation can be a killer. The element of surprise is often under utilised.
We simply couldn’t get enough of the ride though, running and/or staggering around through the queue each time until they eventually closed down for the evening. When the stars align, coaster marathons like this are always a fantastic way to end the day.