Europe 07/19 – Walibi Holland
When I first visited Walibi Holland with Heartline in 2016 I had an amazing day and walked away very fond of the park. Lost Gravity and Goliath were top 20 coasters and I absolutely loved the way the park presented itself. It was edgy and out-there but in a charming kind of way. I’d always defend the park when a doubter said they didn’t like the park’s atmosphere and I’d regularly make jokes with Heartline about the stupid things we should do next time we visit the park. Such as powering through the entrance plaza blasting the Lost Gravity theme.
Sadly 3 years later and the park has completely lost it’s charm and the only atmosphere left is that of digust.
I’d been wanting to revisit Walibi Holland for some time but what finally brought me back was the park had just opened Europe’s second RMC, Untamed.
We made sure to get to the park 30 minutes before opening today because over the last few days I kept seeing online that Untamed either had stupidly long queues or was broken.
Until official park opening time, Walibi hold you at several sets of automatic doors inside of the park’s large entrance building. This was fine for about 5 minutes, but then suddenly several hundred school kids arrived behind us and Christ did things get disgusting. Spitting on the floor (we are inside remember), shop lifting, fighting, pushing and worst of all making insane amounts of noise. You couldn’t hear yourself think, let alone have a conversation. So I pulled out the park map and used my finger to show my brother the quickest route to Untamed.
Finally we were released, no fanfare like Heide, just sweaty doors slowly juddering open while kids push you out of the way… Credit to my brother, who hates kids more than I do, he was determined to not let these bastards beat us to Untamed. He seriously took off and I struggled to catch him for a while.
Not to brag but we were in the first batch of people to make it to the coaster. In the queue we went and IMMEDIATELY these kids were jumping fences, meaning that if went the correct way through the queue we’d lose everything we just ran for. So we did the same. Credit to the staff members just watching the kids do this by the way…
I see my brother wiping tears from his eye, I know this is a shambles but it’s not that that bad man. “I took a plant to the eye while ducking under that fence.”
In all that unpleasantness I had forgotten what the journey was for, but now I remembered, it was Untamed time. Straight into the back row we got and off we went into the wilderness.
I struggled so damn hard ranking Untamed, it almost broke me and I’ve decided to take you on the journey I was forced to go on. Before riding Untamed, my RMC ranking was as follows: Twisted Timbers > Wicked Cyclone > Lightning Rod > Twisted Cyclone > Wildfire
I massively enjoyed the outwards banked pre lift section, it didn’t really do anything but it was just so dumb it amused me. Then we hit the lift, which was an interesting experience. Every time the lift motor surged, which it kept doing, the entire lift structure swayed. No other RMC I’ve ridden does this, are we sure this has been signed off guys?
Thankfully the lift didn’t collapse and soon we were hauling around Untamed’s insane looking layout but there was a problem. For reasons I still can’t explain, on this first lap, nothing was riding how it should. The airtime moments were good but nowhere near as strong as other RMCs and the inversions felt sluggish and boring. I was willing it on to kick my ass, while faking a smile and making all the right noises, even though it wasn’t earning them.
We hit the brakes and I turned to my brother, “how was that for you?” “it’s good.” “it is but it should be a lot better than that.”
Twisted Timbers > Wicked Cyclone > Lightning Rod > Twisted Cyclone > Wildfire > Untamed
The queue had only gotten to around 20 minutes by this point, so we went straight back around for a second lap. This time in the 2nd car of the train, things were A LOT more impressive. The airtime was almost to the level I demanded, the inversions were throwing me around now and I was really starting to enjoy Untamed’s spread out layout.
Twisted Timbers > Wicked Cyclone > Untamed > Lightning Rod > Twisted Cyclone > Wildfire
I consider Twisted Timbers and Wicked Cyclone to be a tier above the rest, so was very happy with where Untamed was sitting now, I’d just have to come back later to confirm things, as the queue was now 90 minutes.
Next up we went to Lost Gravity and entered one of the worst queuing experiences of my life, 45 minutes of non stop school children being disgusting. Throwing things, smoking, screaming, shouting, spitting, fighting, it was deeply unpleasant and not once did the staff even attempt to sort it out either.
To add to that, the once great queue is now a shambles. No audio, no effects, full of litter and graffiti. I had told my brother how fun the queue for Lost Gravity was before the trip and now he was looking at me like I was crazy.
As for the actual coaster though, it’s still an outstanding piece of hardware and offers an experience that’s hard to find anywhere else. Airtime moments so violent it hurts coupled with those awesome winged cars, it’s just as good as I remembered from 3 years ago but now with experience I respect it even more.
Goliath was next and with it came another awful queuing experience. The school kids were up to their normal antics but had now added climbing ride area fences and blasting offensive music offensively loudly to their list of crimes. A man visiting with his young children asked the assholes why they were being assholes, to which they replied by being assholes. Did the staff do anything? I’ll let you guess…
2 F-16s were circling the park while we queued, if only they were there for target practice…
Goliath itself though was running far better than it was when I last visited. The airtime moments were much more powerful but this did help to highlight just how boring Goliath is between those moments.
I was hungry now, so I decided to grab something from the new food place near Untamed. The long queue followed the same format as Lost Gravity and Goliath and to rub salt in the wound, the woman serving was extremely rude to me. Oh, and then the food was unedible, so I threw it straight in a bin…
With Heartline, I got my entire lunch from the famous Dutch snack vending machines that they have on park. So I walked over there to find them all empty and several broken…
My brother needed the Tivoli cred, so that was next.
Then we finally found food in the form of tornado potatoes, which weren’t great but desperate times and all.
Untamed was listed as closed on the app, so we decided to pay it a visit and see what was happening, praying it wouldn’t be down all day.
When we got there a man was grinding the track on the prelift section, that’s ruined my plans for more re-rides I thought, but we stayed to watch anyway just in case. This was the right decision because about 20 minutes after we arrived, Untamed reopened. We entered the queue and walked straight onto the coaster, of course choosing to sit in the 2nd car.
This time, Untamed showed us what it was truly capable of, and Christ is it a fantastic coaster when it decides to be. The airtime moments were now so intense they’d instantly start me having a laughing fit. The inversions were insane and executed perfectly, with the final barrel roll being the highlight. I spent the entire ride laughing, making stupid noises and being violently thrown all over the place.
Then we hit the brakes hard and a sudden sick thought came to me, I think I like Untamed more than Twisted Timbers.
Untamed > Twisted Timbers > Wicked Cyclone > Lightning Rod > Twisted Cyclone > Wildfire
I NEED to be sure. Straight back in the queue (only 5 minutes at this point) and straight back on, in the golden 2nd car. Yeah, it is better than Twisted Timbers, for sure, but only just. When running properly, Untamed matches the strength of the airtime on TT, though it does have less airtime moments. It’s the inversions and more varied layout however that help slightly push Untamed above for me.
Still not quite believing what I was saying, I decided it was going to take 3 laps in a row, to which Untamed responded by giving me the best ride so far.
Content to leave Untamed alone for a while, we went back for another lap of Goliath, as the queue was now less than half of what we queued earlier.
Next up I went back to Lost Gravity and decided to use the single rider queue. Due to the 4 x 2 winged seating on Lost Gravity, the single rider queue was flying. This meant I was able to rack up 4 laps, while my brother went to get the cred on El Condor, the World’s worst SLC, which I wasn’t going to put my body through for no gains. I fell even more in love with Lost Gravity during this alone time, getting assigned a winged seat every time. My favourite lap was when I was put on a car full of 7 boring people, who didn’t react or even smile during the carnage, while I’m there screaming, flailing, laughing and they are looking at me like I’m the strange one.
Speed of Sound
I probably should have just stayed at Lost Gravity for more alone time but I decided to follow my brother to the park’s Boomerang coaster. The normally dreadful queue was made 10 times worse by the last of the school kids getting in 1 last ride.
Knowing the enclosed queue for Platform 13 would have been hell on Earth, we waited until we were fairly sure all of the school kids had left the park before attempting it.
There was certainly evidence of their presence, as the entire queue was full of litter that you needed to step over…
The scare zone walkthrough, AKA the best part of the ride, was awful compared to how it was last time. Litter everywhere, no effects working, too many lights on. Another instance of telling my brother, “this queue is really cool” for the park ruin it…
Platform 13, the coaster, wasn’t running very well either. It was rattling and smashing me about, which it didn’t 3 years ago.
While my brother was buying merch in the gift shop, I heard a bloke say that Untamed was down. It was now an hour from park close, so that’s exactly where we were heading, this doesn’t sound good.
As we got there the queue was being evacuated and so was a train that had come to a complete stop in the first set of block brakes at the end of the ride, yeah this isn’t looking very promising.
I went to speak to a lovely bloke who was positioned at the ride entrance, it turned out he was an enthusiast too. He told me that the coaster had come into the end brakes too fast (from my last few rides I completely believed that!), which had triggered the computers to shut down the ride. This is a common fault that happens on coasters all the time but the issue here was Untamed was brand new and onsite engineering were struggling to restart the ride from this position. RMC had left the park earlier today and were currently flying back to the US, so the park were struggling to get external help too.
I felt for the poor bloke, and the park too, this was an instance that was completely out of their hands, but everyone was kicking off, as if the park closed Untamed just to spite them, as opposed to it being an extremely complicated piece of equipment suffering teething problems.
Speaking of idiots like this, 2 UK based “enthusiasts” were refusing to leave the air gates, despite the rest of the queue having been fully evacuated. Thankfully security soon put an end to their stupidity…
Everyone waiting was offered a voucher to come back tomorrow for half price, a very good move from the park.
With that our day at Walibi Holland was over and I was conflicted. On 1 hand the park itself had been a series of awful experiences, which has absolutely soured my opinion of the park. On the other, I now had a new coaster in my top 10 and a new favourite RMC, so it was worth it.
Thanks for reading, click here for the final part of my report, where we visit the wonderful Toverland.