Less than 3 weeks after our epic 3 week Europe trip (which you can read about here) it was once again time to get up too early and make our way to the Chunnel.
The main goal of the trip was to visit Walibi Belgium and ride Kondaa, a goal that was not possible during our mega trip due to the park being closed for months after severe flooding in July.
The park was set to reopen this weekend and we figured why not add a couple of other parks on and really make something out of it.
Call it Kondaa excitement, but for some reason I was barely able to sleep the night before the trip, meaning our already early start was even more unwelcome. This did have the advantage of putting me in a dream like state during the first day of the trip though, which I think may have been a good thing.
The first park of the day and trip was Bellewaerde, a park that me and Heartline had previously visited in 2017 and not thought very highly of.
I don’t want to get too carried away this early in the report but it appears not only Plopsaland De Panne has improved since our last visit but instead the entire country’s park scene. Whenever I’d exclaim “when did Belgium get good man?” to Heartline he’d always reply the same, “1st July 2021”, the day Ride to Happiness opened.
Bengal Rapid River
So it turned out during our 2017 visit that we missed a few attractions that are apparently Bellewaerde staples, so in order to keep the World happy we checked out some of these attractions today.
The first of which was Bengal Rapid River, a Vekoma rapids ride, and fair play to the critics, it was good fun, aided massively by the funky segmented boats.
Next up however was the real reason for our visit, the park’s brand new Gerstlauer Family Coaster, Wakala.
As you’d expect from a Gerst Family Coaster, it was great, but I think the park deserve a lot of praise for just how impressive the ride as a whole is presented.
The soundtrack is fun, the theming looks great, as do the station, trains and queueline, the spike over the water looks fantastic, the location amongst the trees is a treat, hell, I even like the colour choices for the track and supports.
It was about now that I asked aloud, “when did this park get good?”, oh yeah, 1st July 2021.
Het Magische Huis van Houdini
After a leisurely stroll around the admittedly very pretty park we came upon a ride that had been eluding us for a while now, Houdini’s Madhouse.
We missed it last time we visited, we missed it a couple of times in the US, but now it was finally time.
Despite not understanding the plot at all (90% language barrier, 10% no really what the hell is happening?) I thought it was alright, a mid tier Madhouse maybe, that’s still a good compliment.
Finally, on the new to us list, was another ride that people were upset we missed in 2017, Jungle Mission.
Jungle Mission is like a combination of Disney’s Jungle Cruise (without the skipper) and a river safari, and it was great fun. Live animals, special effects and animatronics, what’s not to like?
The final attraction we chose to experience would be our only re-ride of the day, Huracan, the park’s custom Zierer Force.
Me and Heartline both knew we enjoyed it in 2017 but were unsure if we’d got the best out of it due to rushing and being upset with the park at the time.
It turned out we were right, because Huracan is in fact great fun and is a coin flip away from being the best coaster at the park versus Wakala.
With that we were done with Bellewaerde and what a massive improvement today’s visit had been against our 2017 one. Operations were great, staff were friendly, the park looked fantastic, Wakala exceeded my expectations, the rides we missed before were great and it was awesome to experience Huracan as it was intended.
This time I filled out all the forms we needed to come home tomorrow on the drive from Bellewaerde to Plopsa Coo, I’m so glad this is a thing of the past, but it did make the drive fly by.
We had planned to visit Plopsa Coo on our mega trip 3 weeks ago, but thanks to the park changing the day we wanted to visit to a private event while we were on the trip, we were unable to.
Now I’m not quite sure what I was expecting the park to be like, but small, mostly empty and located in a stunning location wasn’t it.
The park had also been a victim of flooding in July, thankfully though they were not as badly affected as Walibi. It comes as no suprise really when this beautiful sight was on the park’s doorstep.
Vicky The Ride
After flashing our passes to a friendly lady at admissions, we entered the park and immediately made our way to the park’s Gerstlauer spinner, Vicky The Ride.
I’ve yet to ride one of these (Gekion Live excluded) that is better than “fine”, and Vicky was no exception. I do really like the design of the station building however.
Heartline, in a stroke of genius, decided it would be funny to try out the insane looking blue slide (see below) of DinoSplash. Neither of us understood the complicated weight restrictions displayed so just decided to wing it and ride together, leading to an honestly terrifying but extremely fun ride.
Next it was time to check out the park’s star attraction and my second ever (out of the 4 in the World) Vekoma MK-700, Halvar.
While it’s no Megablitz (Wiener Prater), Halvar was great fun and a nice sit down as you speed around amongst the trees single file on this terrain coaster.
Well, looks like we’ve completed the park already, do you fancy a ride on the Bobsleigh? Sure.
This was even more intense than the water slide…
Too much responsibility was put in the hands of the rider, which in my case is never the right decision.
So you pick up your collapsible Bobsleigh at the bottom of the hill, I swear I picked up the kids sized one. Then you sit on it, which I’m certain I was doing wrong. Before you’re pulled up the hill by some sketchy cable system, all while my Bobsleigh keeps trying to fold in half again and is repeatedly bouncing off the sides of the trough. It was the perfect combination of so funny I couldn’t breathe but also “oh God I’m going to die.”
Thankfully on the race down the hill the situation had slightly improved, which of course led me to going full speed, which almost led to me dying several times.
All in all, a fantastic experience from start to finish.
And the perfect ending to a very enjoyable visit to Plopsa Coo, “damn man, when did Belgium get good?” “1st July 2021.”
Thank you for reading, click here for day 2 of my trip report, where we ride the incredible Kondaa and Walibi Belgium becomes one of my favourite parks in Europe.