Europe 08/21 – Parc Ange Michel, L’Île aux Géants + Futuroscope
Today began by righting the wrong that was forgetting Ange Michel’s existence on the second day of the trip. This would come in the form of driving a considerable way off-piste. This upset the car enough to kickstart oil issues that would plague us for the rest of the trip.
Parc Ange Michel
Let’s hope this place is worth the emergency oil change we performed in a supermarket car park.
It wasn’t looking promising at first, as we joined a rabble of people getting sunburnt in an attempt to buy tickets.
Once in though we were able to run between shade until we stumbled upon Tourbillon.
This would be the second of these stupid Gosetto spinning coasters that I’ve ridden, and the worst, but only because it was a whirlwind of large bugs and blinding sun.
Tacot en Folie
Tacot en Folie sucked and stains the great legacy of Soquet.
This coaster bored me enough to start contemplating if it was worth driving hours out of our way and breaking the car to visit Ange Michel. The worrying thing is I still think it was.
Thankfully we were able to find something to cheer us up and it’s name was Flash Tower.
We figured we might as well as we wandered past the park’s Zamperla tower ride and it turned out to be a fantastic decision. This ride doesn’t work like a conventional drop tower, instead it pulls you up and down the tower repeatedly throughout the cycle. That doesn’t sound that impressive but you need to understand that every time it pulls you down it delivers absolutely outrageous ejector airtime. At least 8 times during the cycle you are thrown up into the restraint so hard that it almost feels wrong. By the fouth time I was sure I was used to it, but no, it kicked my ass every time and I loved every second of it.
For once I am legitimately upset that I forgot to take a photo of the ride.
We ended our visit to Ange Michel with a ride on Tornado, another spinning mouse, this one tame enough that it’s suitable for people who hate spinning and going backwards.
With wrongs now righted we could finally put Ange Michel behind us and move onto bigger and better things.
L’Île aux Géants
Like a park exclusively for children…
On one hand L’Île aux Géants is located a short distance from Futuroscope and it felt almost rude not to pay it a visit. On the other hand we weren’t sure we’d get in and it would cut into our Futuroscope time. Decisions…
In the end we took the plunge and I’m glad we did because it was certainly an experience.
From the very second we arrived everything was screaming that there was no way we were going to get in without children. The place couldn’t have looked anymore children only if it tried and the pricing structure implied adults couldn’t enter alone.
It was therefore rather tense as we approached what you could loosely call a ticket counter and asked for “2 adults please”. To our surprise and without a strange look or single question from the staff member we were granted our request and made our way into the park.
Avengers Roller Coaster
And straight to Avengers Roller Coaster, yet another Zyklon Galaxi. What this one lacked in immense theming, it more than made up for in copyright infringement.
Being a very small park, with a small team behind it, attractions operate on a rotational basis. Because of that the second and final coaster of the park was currently closed and would remain that way for another 15 minutes, this is where the true genius of L’Île aux Géants shines through.
The park is littered with plastic lawn chairs that are free to use and free to be taken anywhere you please.
In the future, when I look back at my life in this hobby, I pray that I never forget the time I sat on plastic lawn furniture in a children’s park waiting for a Wacky Worm to open.
At exactly the scheduled time of reopening the operator of the Zyklon walked over and we swapped our lawn furniture for seats on the back of the Brocomela, if only it was always this convenient.
Well that went far better than it had any right to, let’s head over to Futuroscope now.
I’m going to be completely honest, until recently I had never heard of Futuroscope. Heartline tried his best to get me up to speed though, informing me that the place is extremely popular and focused on learning, that probably wasn’t the best way to sell it to me.
The park, if you could call it that, feels like what would happen if you combined Epcot, a World’s fair and a museum. Many massive impressive buildings everywhere with one or two attractions in each. In my opinion this led to a serious lack of atmosphere while bouncing between attractions but we will get back to that.
Because first we need to talk about Objectif Mars, the only reason I’d heard of the park and the sole reason for our visit.
Objectif Mars is an Intamin family spinning coaster and it opened at the park in mid 2020. I’d been wanting to ride the coaster ever since it was first announced, with promises of the project costing insane amounts of money and the indoor sections being spectacular.
I’m disappointed to announce though that the experience as a whole was quite the let down and I rate it as a whole experience because if you were to judge it on the coaster alone you’d be even more disappointed.
The queueline was no where near as impressive as I was expecting, in fact it was one of the least exciting queuelines in the park, which isn’t great when you consider the coaster is pretty much brand new. I was getting serious Smiler but not as crap vibes throughout the tedious “warehouse but with some optical effects” themed queueline.
Now onto the coaster itself, or lack thereof. You start with an indoor section which to me at least just played out like a series of unlinked special effect demonstrations. Here’s some Telsa coils and here’s some fire effects, don’t get me wrong I love to see this kind of stuff but it was hardly presented in a spectacular way. The indoor section ends with an admittedly great effect though as you are tilted onto your back via a trick track, while looking up at screens mimicking sitting in a space shuttle engaing warp speed.
Then you very slowly and awkwardly come off the trick track and turn a corner in silence to go outside and start the main coaster section.
Next up you engage a launch that barely gets things moving, go over an airtime hill that doesn’t have airtime and then float around a couple of corners barely moving before you hit the second launch.
This section of Objectif Mars is a lot better. The launch is quite punchy, the cars start spinning properly, the twisted airtime hill provides actual airtime and the following couple of corners provide some nice forces. It’s just a shame this section lasts about 14 seconds from entering the second launch to hitting the final brakes.
Objectif Mars does end on a high though, with probably the best drop track in the World. I feel it would have worked so much better to have this section at the start though. It feels very disjointed and like another showing off of effects to have the drop track at the end of the coaster.
I think disjointed is great way to sum up the entire experience actually. From the mediocre queueline promising you a trip to Mars, to the unlinked special effects show inside, to the snail pace boring first half, to the pretty great second half and finally to the intense drop track section, nothing really flows properly in my opinion. It’s such a shame really, I really wanted to love Objectif Mars but sadly it wasn’t to be. Don’t worry though, there are 2 more very similar Intamin coasters on this trip that I loved.
Arthur, l’Aventure 4D
Next we headed to the Arthur 4D cinema, which was located in its own huge building.
Coming from someone who doesn’t like the Arthur film series or normally enjoy 4D cinemas, this thing was fantastic!
The theming inside was amazing and the 4D film itself was insane. I couldn’t stop laughing from the combination of comedy on screen and the relentless aggression from the 4D ride system. Arthur was awesome, but wouldn’t be the best 4D cinema at the park…
As we passed the park’s observation tower we noticed that it closed earlier than the rest of the park, so with it being quiet at the time we figured it was now or never.
La Vienne dynamique
That crown of best 4D cinema in the park? In Europe? In the World? Ever? Belongs to La Vienne dynamique, which from the second we passed through its beautiful waterfall facade escalated comedy to heights previously unknown to me.
Heartline had convinced himself and me that this was a leaning on a bar simulator experience about nature that we only need to experience for the sake of the Dark Ride Database, how wrong he was…
At first we were ushered into what looked like a dank and dark cinema from the 90s, but the screen wasn’t a screen at all, it was a solid sheet of high pressure water. Wait what is this ride again?
Then as best I can remember, an advert played on the water screen, nothing else happened and the house lights came back on. Was that it?
Doors to the left of the water cinema then opened and we were ushered into an even bigger cinema, this one clearly the main event, with a massive screen and what looked like at least a hundred 2 seater simulator pods. What actually is this man? I’m getting nervous now.
I cannot explain even a second of what happens next and do it justice, you wouldn’t even believe me if I did. All I can say is that the ride film was hands down one of the greatest motion pictures ever etched onto film and that physical comedy was redefined 6 times over, all while the simulator pod tried to murder me several times.
I couldn’t tell you how long the ride film lasted, all I know is that I couldn’t breathe for more than half of it and I haven’t cried that much from laughter in my life. What a find this ride was, I can’t believe we almost didn’t experience it, the best ride in the park without a second thought.
La Machine à Voyager dans le Temps
Still trying to regain our composure we next headed to La Machine à Voyager dans le Temps, a tracked screen based dark ride themed to time travel and those annoying Rabbid characters no one likes from the Rayman universe.
Futuroscope goes 2-0 in creating rides from franchises I don’t like and making them enjoyable.
The interior queueline for this ride was pretty special and incredibly detailed, further throwing shade on the half arsed job over at Objectif Mars.
I was quite sceptical on what I’d make of the ride itself, Rabbids and screens aren’t high on my list of dark ride preferences but to my surprise I really enjoyed it. The ride goes a lot harder than I was expecting and little surprises here and there really helped make it a memorable experience.
Talk about ending on a low…
While we were always of the understanding that L’Extraordinaire Voyage was a flying theatre, which I’m not really interested in, the park more than once led us to believe that it was going to be much more than the usual flying over the blurry landscapes of the World…
The exterior of the ride takes your past illustrations based on creations from the fantastic mind of Mr Jules Verne.
The beautiful interior queue has you waiting in a room inspired by M.C. Escher, with all the various extraordinary voyages we could possibly go on today.
Then it all goes wrong…
Next you get led into a generic preshow room to watch a generic preshow about how we are about to go on a generic blurry flight around the World…
But it gets better. We need to board a shuttle thing to take us to our aircraft. Cue a hundred people in a cramped room that simulates us crudely making our way over to it. Note that the room doesn’t have any motion or vibration effects, so it’s just a hundred people crushed together while screens pretend we are moving.
Wait we are having too much fun now, so let’s stop here for 5 minutes after that ends before we make our way to the flying theatre itself.
Oh you thought that killed the ever fading momentum of the experience? You’ve seen nothing yet.
Take your seat on the flying theatre but please don’t expect to move for another 5 minutes because this is the slowest loading simulator in the World.
Then, as expected, it is finally time to go on our blurry flight around the World, what a rip off…
To pick our spirits up we were thrilled to see we had time for 2 more laps on Objectif Mars, it ain’t great but it’s better than what that just was.
On the first of our 2 laps the legend of the medical mask struck again.
A ride host came over to an already restrained Heartline to inform him that he wasn’t wearing a mask, when he was wearing a mask, the same mask he has worn all trip so far and all day at Futuroscope.
When Heartline asked what he was meant to do about it while he was already strapped in and ready to go, the host shrugged and walked off in a huff, right OK then.
It was tonight that we started to slowly come to the conclusion that certain people only consider you as wearing a mask when you are wearing the blue medical masks. None of our current masks were this spec, in fact they were proven as better than that. We had a pack of medical masks in the car though and we would of course wear them if requested at the park entrance. To get to this point in the day though and be told by one man that your mask isn’t suitable is an insult and really frustrating, and it wasn’t even me being told off, don’t worry though, that day will come…
After finding something to eat in the very lacklustre “food court”, we opted to watch the evening show from the footpath as opposed to the designated seating area just incase someone else decided to find fault in Heartline’s mask at the end of a 6 hour visit.
The show was fine but not even close to what I was expecting from the park if I’m honest.
I think Heartline said it best with a statement about the park that has now bled into my everyday life, “it wasn’t without its issues”.
The park itself did little for me atmosphere wise. Like I said earlier there is very little going on between rides, thanks almost entirely to most of them being hidden away in big buildings.
Then the rides. Objectif Mars let me down, Arthur and the Rabbid time machine were great, La Vienne dynamique changed my life and the flying theatre was awful.
The evening show was meh and that one bloke from Objectif Mars sadly ruined my opinion of the staff there.
I’ll say this, I’m so glad we were able to get stupidly cheap evening tickets. I feel like if I paid full price I’d be even more bitter but as it stands I’m happy to think of Futuroscope as a good time but not without its issues.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 5 of the trip, where we visit Jacquou Parc, Parc Fenestre and the much better than Futuroscope, Vulcania.