Europe 09/21 – Duinrell, Avonturenpark Hellendoorn + De Waarbeek
Today saw us jumping over the border from Germany in order to attempt the Dutch triple, which is totally something I haven’t invented just now because it makes me laugh…
We started with a park that we’d been putting off since 2016, Duinrell, AKA, the frog park.
There he is, and what a pretty park he calls home.
The reason we’d put off visiting for so long was the park’s coaster line up consists of only clone attractions. I won’t rant about clones here because it upsets people, I’ll just leave it with the statement that when time is tight I’m much less likely to visit a park that’s full of coasters I have already ridden or can ride elsewhere as opposed to trying something new.
With that being said Duinrell’s coaster line up isn’t bad and thankfully all 3 of them are well presented.
Starting with the frog coaster, a Zierer Tivoli Large with the aforementioned frog leading the way.
Next up was Dragon Fly, a Gerstlauer Family Coaster that was pretty fantastic honestly.
I love the paint scheme of this coaster and the way it perfectly compliments the wonderful scenery, I told you it’s a pretty park.
Also carrying the exact same paint scheme was the final coaster of the park, the much less fantastic Gerstlauer Eurofighter, Falcon. At least it looks great.
With that we were done and we had managed to complete the park so quickly that with seconds to spare we didn’t need to pay for parking.
What a lovely, relaxing and friendly visit that had been, which made our visit to Hellendoorn seem 10 times worse than it already was, and it was already disgusting.
Full disclosure, after emailing the park with the issues you’ll soon hear about, they have apologised, promised it will never happen again and sorted us out for a return visit in the future.
Was it bad? It was bad.
As first everything seemed fine, we parked up, walked to the admissions area and were let in by a friendly member of staff. Almost as soon as we stepped foot in the park though it became apparent that the park was full of school trips. Not the teens that ruined my last trip to Walibi Holland, but young children, hundreds of them, can’t be that bad can it? Oh, it was…
The first test of endurance was the queue for Donderstenen, the park’s Zierer Force Two.
It was here that it became clear that this visit was going to be horrible as we queued surrounded by a sea of school children who were screaming, shouting, pushing and queue jumping non stop.
It appeared that the children had 1 member of school staff per every 100 of them. It also appeared that these school staff members didn’t care at all in trying to control the awful behaviour of the children.
It once again appeared that the park both didn’t have the staff to deal with all the children and that the ones that they did have didn’t care about controlling them either.
Therefore it fell to paying visitors to try their best to control the situation in order to rescue their day out at the park. This duty fell to a wonderful man we named “Dutch Jesus” in the queue for Donderstenen, who repeatedly stopped queue jumping, while the school and park staff actively ignored it.
The park’s only dark ride, Discovery Club, was next and it’s here that the situation changed from deeply unpleasant to potentially dangerous.
We were forced to queue in the dark, on stairs, with several hundred school children shouting, screaming, pushing and repeatedly punching the walls.
Unbearable doesn’t quite cover standing there unable to even speak to your friends over the extreme noise.
Did the park have any staff trying to control the situation? No.
Did the school staff try to control the situation? No, they encouraged it…
How was the dark ride? Amazing, because it meant the queue was over…
Can’t get much worse than that right? You’d be wrong…
At Rioolrat, the park’s mostly enclosed Vekoma Junior Coaster, the situation changed from potentially dangerous to actually dangerous.
The entire outdoor awful switchback queue for Rioolrat had poorly constructed (literally driftwood covered in chewing gum) Covid barriers between every row of people. Cue 40 solid minutes of hundreds of school kids violently shaking and trying to push these barriers over onto people.
People in the queue were actively afraid that these barriers were going to fall and injure them, which led to paying visitors having to once again intervene, this time a man we named “The Tall Man”.
Did the park try to stop it? No.
Did the school staff try? No, they were playing on their phones…
How was the coaster? Better than the queueline…
With that we were completely done with the park, our plan was get the final coaster and leave this hell, but the park had other ideas. The park’s Vekoma looper, Balagos, was closed, with no sign of any work being done to it…
Right, that’s it, let’s get out of here.
On the drive to the next park we all came to the conclusion that we’d just experienced one of the worst park visits of our lives and that whatever the outcome we needed to let the park know our disappointment.
I really hope the park keep to their word in their email response and that nothing like we experienced happens again to anyone else because that was awful.
It turned out though that all we needed to calm down and put our faith back in the Dutch park scene was a visit to the joint 2nd oldest park in the country, the brilliant Waarbeek.
After purchasing tickets in what is more a gift shop than an admissions area, we were personally led into this charming little park.
We headed straight to the park’s star attraction, the oldest operating fully steel coaster in the World, Rodelbaan.
At first the ride station was chained off with no members of staff in sight, but soon, after being alerted by another visitor, a friendly member of staff came over and opened the ride for us with a smile.
She gave us a little speech about how important and special this coaster was, and then we were off, quite literally riding a piece of history, and it rode well.
No seriously, despite being 91 years old, Rodelbaan was awesome and I couldn’t shut off the part of my brain that kept saying “this is special man, savour it.”
After a few laps of roller coaster history, we made our way over to Goldmine Express, which is a travelling coaster that the park were borrowing for the 2021 season.
Before leaving De Waarbeek, it felt right to go for a walk around the whole park, leading to the discovery of views such as this…
All I can ask now is what happened at Hellendoorn? Two peaceful, beautiful, friendly parks either side of an absolute car wreck of a park, it doesn’t make much sense to me. Regardless De Waarbeek was great and it’s a must visit park for any true coaster fans.
Thank you for reading, please click here for day 19 of my trip report, where I ride the newly crowned second greatest coaster on Earth, The Ride to Happiness, and unbelievably become a fan of Plopsaland De Panne.