Europe 08/21 – Naturlandia, Lou Bac Mountain, Pirat’ Parc, Marseillan-Plage, Lunapark + Fabrikus World
From just 1 coaster in a day to almost unfathomable amounts, this one’s a bit of a marathon.
Day 7 – Naturlandia
It all began at the primary reason for visiting Andorra, the
park collection of equipment that includes the world’s longest (Alpine) coaster. Nice setting for it.
Immediately didn’t get on with the place as we essentially got ripped off. Due to the fast and loose nature of the trip as a whole, the pre-booking of the various necessary attractions was left as late as possible in most cases so that we could continually monitor each and every border situation.
We had tried to book the Alpine a few days prior but found that the time slots we wanted (any time in the morning) were unavailable. Turn up and wing it was the verdict. Surely with the capacity of a ride like that it can’t be completely sold out.
So on the day, queuing for tickets, a bloke walks up to us with a tablet and asks what we’re there for.
“Did you book online?”
“No, we couldn’t get the time what we wanted.”
“Ah… wait here.”
He ran off to the ticket window to conspire with the sales team and came hurrying back. We can do this for you but… you can’t buy tickets for the ride, you’ll have to get the adventure wristband.
Unfortunately for us, while an adult ticket for the ride is advertised as €15, a wristband is €35.
Upon reaching the window, “Tobotronc please.”
Same lame repeated speech.
“Fair enough, I’ll buy whatever gets us on Tobotronc please.”
The sales woman instantly flares up as if I’m trying to rip her off, not the other way round. “I TOLD YOU IT HAS TO BE THE WRISTBAND.”
Just… take the money already.
There was nothing remotely interesting about the other attractions available on the wristband, which comprised of jumping on a big bag of air, going on a nature trail while staring at a tablet or climbing some ropes. Nor did we have the time to mess around with it. Though our timeslot for Tobotronc was only 20 minutes away anyway we took a quick look at some big dune buggy things (everybody loves dune buggies) you could drive, expecting something insane to happen like launching off some jumps at 50Mph. Instead it’s a course of ‘skill’, meaning all you get to do is a single lap of pottering around some bumps at 1Mph while the instructor shouts at you to slow down.
Tobotronc had no queue, so that timeslot system was a load of gimmicks and lies.
Ah well, it’s why we came to this country. The bottom station is located at the 1600m part of the establishment, where you board and are told it’ll take about 20 minutes in total. That’s crazy.
90% of the experience is this view of course, and it’s sure to give you a bad back.
I occupied myself with some onboard photography, here’s someone being slowed down through one of the 6000 downhill turns.
Reverse POV lift hill shot.
You get the occasional glimpse of the amazing views beyond, though most of the ride is hidden within the forest.
Finally, the second station at the 2000m point of the mountain. It begins.
#1 Tobotronc is 17,388ft long which, to put into perspective, is over twice the length of Steel Dragon. It’s also not done at 95Mph at any point, so it drags on far longer. The ride is ridiculous, impressive and definitely worth experiencing, but it’s far from the best Alpine out there. It gets rather repetitive obviously, with a lot of the layout blurring into one and the same. Straight with a little bump, downhill turn, rinse and repeat, and the views don’t really change either.
Sadly this was also the first ever time I’ve run into the problem of catching up with the competition in front and this really isn’t the one on which you want that to happen, though it’s likely inevitable. The result is having to spend at least half the ride continuously easing off, then speeding up to compensate for the pace in front.
Worth the 35? Just about, if only for the immense scale of the thing and its legendary status. Shouldn’t have needed to be though.
It was time to get out of Andorra before they could do any more damage, though we swung past this scenic bridge on the way.
Back in the mountains of France, it was time for a better Alpine experience.
Lou Bac Mountain
Right off the bat, this thing is better, because it has such a cool system.
The vehicles sit on their little trolley and ride up in a cable car with you.
While the views are just about as impressive and a little less obstructed.
And yes, it’s another of those terrifying single rail versions, only insanely huge.
It’s also brand new, and one of only 5 Sunkid have made so far since acquiring the model from Brandauer.
The cars are wheeled off of the trolley and onto this amazing piece of kit that auto shunts them around and queues them up on different rows depending on the throughput.
The #2 Lou Bac Mountain Luge is legitimately one of the scariest rides I’ve ever done.
A thought suddenly dawned on me, as I plunged down into the first section, that there’s really not much keeping me on this piece of plastic. If you’re riding solo, you get a squidgy little booster seat that pushes you out from the back rest in order to reach the handle easier. Because it’s a central brake handle and not the relaxed ones at the side, you’re also continuously in the lean forward position. This makes it feel extremely open on either side, with nothing but a standard little seatbelt keeping you from plunging down a mountainside.
There’s some ridiculous claim on the website that the track achieves angles of 70° and I’m inclined to believe it. Certain drops are far more intense than you’d ever get on a Wiegand (including the incredible Speed Bob) and you can pick up some insane momentum very quickly which, combined with any lateral forces on the turns will do its best to try and kill you.
The ride was a gamechanger for me in that the level of fear on these things has now switched from ‘can the physical hardware take it if I don’t use the brakes?’ to ‘will I just fall out and die if I don’t use the brakes?’ It takes a lot for a ride to put me out of my comfort zone these days and this delivered that by the bucket load. I was screaming, laughing nervously and loving/hating it the whole way down. Incredible.
It was now time to swap the mountain air for some seaside parks, in the most ambitious run of 8pm – 2am summer fairs so far.
Proceedings began at Pirat’ Parc, where the sun was just setting and an atmosphere was starting to build.
After scouting out the number of tokens required, we climbed aboard the largest of the coasters here, #3 Gold Mine, a rare custom Reverchon that’s a standard sit down.
The operators here were in such a party mood, switching on their various amps for the first time and blaring out some tunes before laying down some killer moves in the walkways while waiting for customers to arrive for the night.
Oh, and the ride was really good for what it is too. Unusually smooth with a couple of good drops.
The wild mouse style #4 Mini Racer was the next in a long list of rides that tried to kill us. I half came out of the side in one of the many violent turns. An instant classic.
As was this amazing #5 Cars ride. I expected just a clone of that baby coaster at E-World in Korea, without the singing, but that shipping container at the back… things happen in there. Mind blowing things.
The train stops dead inside the shipping container on the final lap and the doors close at both ends. Smoke fills the room. To the right, a flap opens up and several police car headlights appear, blaring their horns. The whole track section suddenly then tilts you to the side, towards them!
Last up was #6 Big Apple with a good apple game, that inflatable caterpillar bouncing up and down out of the side was a right laugh.
And that’s the great thing about these parks. What RCDB would have you thinking was a +1 becomes an instant (and memorable) +4 with the extra travelling rides. Next?
Parc d’Attractions Marseillan-Plage
I can’t even remember these places by name any more, I think this checks out.
Pink Zyklon Galaxis appear to be all the rage these days, as demonstrated by #7 Roller Coaster.
Hang on. I recognise this layout. Tres turbulent?
Oh no! We’ve found Tornado from M&Ds in it’s new home. I’m hoping I can complete their entire lineup one day without even visiting the park.
#8 Gotham looks rather good with a fresh lick of paint on it, but will it kill?
I’ve done worse. Far worse, though I dread to think what the removed corkscrews would have been like. The most violent part ended up being the weird hill up in the air across the front edge, which has some horrible banking on entry. Silly Pinfari.
Sorry, previous Big Apple.
Your animated caterpillar game just got beaten by another #9 Big Apple.
We got impressively lost on the way to the next park, which further backs up that they all start to look the same.
Haven’t we just done this?
Well this is where I learnt for the first time that they’re not all the same. This particular #10 Roller-Coaster had different hills at the end and, interestingly, is the only operating coaster on RCDB made by Mondial, of flat ride fame.
They also have #11 Apocalypse, a Vekoma Corkscrew (with Bayerncurve). Not your average funfair ride. Not good either.
And for the third time tonight, a #12 Luna Pomme. This one was most notable for having a swinging ship that came insanely close to the top of the layout while it was in motion.
Got room for one more?
Oh look, a #13 Crazy Mouse to shake things up a bit. This one was on par with the best spins we’ve ever had. So fast and so hard that you can’t even see any more, then that final section with the speed bump just murders.
They also have #14 Euro Loop, a clone of Python from Efteling. Not your average funfair ride. Not good either.
We thought #15 Eurospeed was a stock model Mack Powered coaster, but it turned out to have an impressive, unique layout.
And, to finish the night on a high, one more #16 Pomme. This one was most notable for being the 16th coaster of the day, a new personal record that surpassed Energylandia 2020 for most creds.
I’m infinitely more happy that this was achieved across a ridiculous distance and six parks compared to a lazy stroll around just the one establishment. That’s how records are meant to be broken. Don’t you dare go and ruin it, Cedar Point.