I wasn’t originally planning to write anything about this, but then creds happened. And that’s always worth documenting.
Plopsaland De Panne
This park have gone out of their way to stay open year-round in some form or another (Weekdays and Wednesdays), during recent times. Combined with our current annual pass ownership and the fact that it’s really ridiculously close to home, faffy ferries aside, it made the perfect excuse to break up the standard British off-season blues.
Oh and have I mentioned how much I love this ride yet?
It was an anxious start to proceedings. Upon arrival at the gates, various monitors above the turnstiles were listing several of the major attractions as being closed for ‘meteorological reasons’, something I hadn’t really stopped to consider at any point in the planning process, proving how out of touch I am with actually doing anything in winter any more.
Heidi The Ride doesn’t mind the cold at all and was being the work horse for the morning. It was running rather well in fact, blew off the cobwebs rather nicely.
Both of the bigger beasts were still warming up though, not that I cared much about this one.
Signs here were positive at least. Although nothing was running, the lights were on, the station audio was playing and, most importantly, our new robot friend was already animatedly teasing us through the trees.
Eventually things got a little geeky and we were treated to being witness to a full block test of the ride as part of their morning check, complete with cheeky rollbacks.
I thought the way the ride restarts itself from the second launch is rather cool too.
Once that was all done and dusted, our patience paid off. We ended up matching our ridiculous lap count on Ride to Happiness from the previous visit throughout the course of the day, a dizzying 16 in total.
Main observations are that it just really is that good. The ride was running noticeably slower in the cold weather, sometimes barely making it through the top hat or the twisted hill before the second launch. It didn’t matter in the slightest however, as I found it to be an equally exceptional ride in this state. In fact it managed to bring even more sensations to the table.
Elements like the vertical loop provided more fun ‘flop-time’ that reminded me of stateside cousin Copperhead Strike and if anything, the anticipation while crawling and spinning over the oddly shaped top hat only added to the dread of that evil first drop.
With so many rides amongst my favourites that come with a very specific set of conditions in which you need to experience them for that ‘top ten feeling’, it’s refreshing to find another that’s always top of the game, all of the time.
The main downside to the weather was how poorly it paired up with being required to wear a mask all day. With temperatures that would usually fill the air with misty breath, this was instantly condensating on the inside of the material and, unsurprisingly, wearing the equivalent of a soggy rag over your nose and mouth for 8 hours on a freezing winter’s day is a recipe for feeling a little out of sorts. It wasn’t the ride’s fault at all, but we were noticably struggling towards the end of our intense marathon.
Not that that can stop us from our main mission though, the first creds of the year are to be had nearby.
Highly conveniently, almost like it was planned, they were chilling in Calais. A mere five minutes from the ferry.
Tastefully glamming up the town hall.
French Wacky Worms at night. Though I wished it weren’t true, I thought these days were behind us. #1 1001 Pattes (La Pomme) was up first because it wasn’t cash only.
And then, one cashpoint later, the #2 Dragon followed suit. The restraint latch tried to bite my hand off and inject grease into my veins – the dirtiest of creds are often the most dangerous.
I’m thinking this is a promising start.