Belgium 10/21 – Walibi Belgium
After waking up from one of the deepest sleeps of my life, it was finally Kondaa time.
As we got in the car and started to make our way to the park though things weren’t looking fantastic. It was raining heavily and the internet told me it wasn’t going to stop raining heavy until about 2pm.
“It’s their grand re-opening weekend, surely they aren’t going to want to close or open with no rides.” “Yes, but, then again, they recently flooded and maybe heavy rain makes them nervous now.” Statements to that effect were exchanged on the rather nervous and slippery drive to the park, until we finally arrived in the mostly empty car park we last visited in 2016.
Let me briefly interrupt the flow of this report to recount our rather underwhelming visit from that year.
The park as a whole was fine, probably the nicest in Belgium at the time, Challenge of Tutankhamon was amazing, the rest of the park was not, end recount. Yeah, in 2016 the park didn’t have 1 decent coaster, now however they very much do and we could see it from the slightly flooded car park.
We equipped our waterproofs, prepared our bodies, then jumped out of the car (straight into puddles…) before making our way to the park entrance.
Due to Covid restrictions we had to walk through an uncountable number of flooded cattlepens, while there was no queue…
I’m not sure why, when there was no queue, we couldn’t just bypass this, but either way my shoes were now breached and we were at the park entrance.
There were no signs announcing ride closures due to the weather, only slightly damp but still friendly staff members welcoming us into the park.
Rain still pounding down, waterproof blocking 70% of my vision, rain on his glasses blocking 95% of Heartline’s vision, we blindly stumbled across the entire park using Kondaa’s seductive lifthill as our only waypoint.
When we got to the coaster itself though it was clearly not operating, as evidenced by the 10 or so Walibi staff members standing outside getting soaked.
It wasn’t quite 10am yet, it might not be the weather stopping Kondaa…
As we were thinking this we saw Tiki-Waka going up the lifthill with people on, move!
Tiki-Waka is the park’s new (to us) Gerstlauer Bobsled.
Note, all pictures in this report were taken later in the day, when the rain had calmed down.
On our last Europe mega trip we had a running joke that every new (to us) Gerst Bob we rode was the best ever, the streak would sadly end today with Tiki-Waka.
It’s good fun don’t get me wrong, it’s just much less intense than the likes of Heiße Fahrt, Van Helsing and Prater’s Gesengte Sau and as evidenced by my short review left far less of an impression, even after several rides in the wet and dry.
Upon leaving Tiki-Waka, we noticed Kondaa was running, and with people! Walibi you absolute lunatics, not only are you unphased by heavy rain despite being flooded a few months ago, you’re also happy to run an Intamin Mega in it, when did Belgium get this good? 1st July 2021.
So Kondaa then, yeah, it’s amazing and I love almost everything about the experience. This Intamin Mega Coaster has transformed the park and with the help of Ride to Happiness put Belgium on the map as one of the best coaster countries in Europe.
Thanks to the park being almost empty today, I ended up riding Kondaa 21 times, so hopefully that means I’ll be able to give a pretty solid review.
Let’s start with the theme. I love it.
It’s one of my favourite themes for a coaster actually, theme the coaster itself as some form of creature (good or evil), we get caught up in it’s business and get taken on the ride of our lives.
As best I understand (and want to believe), Kondaa is a mythical creature living in its kick ass Aztecy, jungley temple home. We bastard humans go in, create issues, steal baby Kondaalas. This angers Kondaa and we’ve done it now lads, we’re going on the ride of our lives.
The theming in this new area is amazing, I love Kondaa’s temple, the design of the creature (and its babies), the coaster station, the train design, even the design of the shop. Everything is great and far more than was expecting from Walibi after the terrible design choices they used for Untamed.
Now for the coaster itself. Oh it’s good.
It’s worth noting now though that for better or worse Kondaa’s ride experience differs depending on where in the train you are sitting.
For example, in the back row, Kondaa’s 160ish foot twisting drop at 80 degrees is incredible and never stops being terrifying.
But the following massive airtime hill provides the strongest ejector airtime when you sitting towards the front of the train, it is really good in any seat though.
Next up is an element that’s rather unique, and very RMC, an outwards banked airtime hill. At first I wasn’t all that impressed with it, instead wishing they had done 2 back to back standard airtime hills. As the day went on though (and the rerides counted up) I started to really enjoy the strange and unique forces it provided. I’d advise letting your body go limp as best you can to really get the most out of this element.
Following the outwards banked airtime hill is the World’s only non inverting cobra roll and I have very similar feelings about both elements. At first I thought the non inverting cobra roll looked great but was pretty lacklustre to experience, but I came round to enjoy the airtime and whip the element provided towards the end of the day.
Unique(ish) elements out of the way, it’s now time for Kondaa to become the airtime machine we all wanted it to be.
Straight after the non inverting cobra roll is another standard airtime hill that provides strong ejector, followed by some fun twisty stuff. Then it’s yet another standard airtime hill before you rise back up into possibly my favourite element of Kondaa, the twisted double down, which provides silly sideways ejector airtime and is impossible to prepare for.
The final standard airtime hill of the coaster is next, once again providing strong ejector airtime. Then, after a whippy turn around, it’s time for Kondaa’s extremely fun ending sequence. 4 tiny bunny hills in a row, with the first and last twisted to the left, all 4 providing a sudden and hilarious jolt of ejector that’s certain to make even the most hardcore enthusiasts smile.
21 laps in a day and I would have happily done more, I think that alone speaks of the quality of Kondaa, what a great coaster and investment for the park.
Challenge of Tutankhamon
To take a break during our seemingly never ending laps of Kondaa, we visited one of my favourite dark rides in the World, Challenge of Tutankhamon, and my God, they have made it even better.
Now I don’t know when they did it, but the park have refurbed the entire ride and it looks brand new in there. All the scenes look and sound fantastic and effects I didn’t know existed are now back in operation, it made me so happy to see that this wonderful trackless dark ride has been given the love it deserves.
Speaking of very impressive dark rides…
It was time to experience Popcorn Revenge for the first time.
Heartline had been saying the name to me for months but for whatever reason I never did the research into what exactly it was. I think this was the right decision because not knowing what I was about to experience really added to the suprise of this fantastic interactive dark ride.
Popcorn Revenge is cute, it’s funny, it’s shocking, but most of all it’s just really good fun.
As the rain began to calm down a bit we next went to add Fun Pilot to our count.
Credit where it’s due the park clearly made an effort when they added this family Zierer in 2019, it’s really well presented, for what it is at least.
Le Palais du Genie
With the park mostly empty, Kondaa laps already in double digits, all the new creds ticked off and Popcorn and Tutankhamon already ridden 3 times each, we next decided to go revisit some of the better stuff from our last visit, starting with Le Palais du Genie, the park’s Madhouse.
This almost seems unfair, but it appears the park have also refurbed the Genie’s Palais since our last visit because the attraction we were presented with was far better than we both remembered.
Next we went for a lap of Loup Garou, the park’s Vekoma woodie, one of only two in the World.
I didn’t think much of it last time, but somehow it’s even less impressive now…
The thought of Kondaa sharing the spotlight with an RMC on a similar scale to Twisted Timbers or Untamed is too strong for me to ignore.
Give us Twisted Garou please Walibi.
The last ride on our revisit list was Calamity Mine, not because it’s any good, but because you can get some great pictures of Kondaa from its queueline.
Speaking of Kondaa, we ended our day at the park with a queue less marathon with the beast, taking me to 21 laps in a day and Heartline to 22, there may have been an emergency toilet visit at some point.
And that was Walibi Belgium, and the master class in how you go from underwhelming to one of my favourite parks in Europe.
Add a World class coaster, add a great family coaster, add an amazing trackless dark ride, refurb your incredible trackless dark ride and refurb your not as incredible not trackless dark ride. Ok, so that may be a bit specific and a rather expensive tactic but the results speak for themselves.
I had a fantastic day at Walibi Belgium today and I’m very excited for the future of the park.
We had been soaked to the skin for almost the entire day, so spent the whole drive to the Chunnel drying off, feeling ruined, but victorious.
Thank you so much for reading.