Monday, May 09, 2005

Holland Report

The weekend was great and whilst we weren't fortunate with the weather we were extremely lucky with the queues with just about every ride being a walk on. In fact the longest queue I recall was 10 minutes for Goliath.

Toverland was a nice surprise. It's one of those parks where kids and adults-who-act-like-kids can just muck about. Our first impressions were that we wouldn't be allowed to take part on the majority of it but we were. So we climbed to the top of everything, rode the longest metal slides I've ever seen (even better that they consisted of rollers all the way down from some great speed-sliding opportunity) . The other observation I had was that the UK HSE would have a fit if they saw some of the stuff this place had; 10 kids on the same trampoline, 5 year olds walking along an enclosed rope bridge a good 20 feet off the floor and a highrope assault course with no way of getting to anyone who got stuck along it. The kids were loving all of it and it just shows how much of a nanny state we've become here in the UK. The park has been so successful that it is due to get it's third extension soon. As well as the ERS on the booster bike we were also given a mini-ERS on the powered bob and access to a free bar. The bike ERS was going on for so long I think we could have easily tried having another 24 hour challenged on the ride. The ride itself is really nice but it does get a little uncomfortable in a certain area.

Day 2 took us to Efteling, and this park is huge and it is really easy to get lost in it, even with a paid for map so a big thanks to Bart, Peter and Co. for playing the role of park guide and taking a small group of us around the park. My favourite ride was the Bob, much more reckless than the bobsleigh ride I'm used to riding. Vogel Rock was really cool too as was "Dream Flight", however I was disappointed with Villa Volta which I'd been told was the best Madhouse ride anywhere. I don't think it was as good as Hex, although the music is impressive.
The majority of the group went out in the evening to enjoy Amsterdam, I chose to remain at the hotel but did get to hear stories involving string, men dressed as monkeys and bananas. I shall say no more!

Day 3 was the former Six Flags park now Walibi World Holland park. There were no signs of any Six Flags operations at this park, in fact those that had been to the park in it's former guise praised the park for the way it was being run now, so soon since the change of management. Personally I really liked the way the park was being run; we were given a really nice welcome and the 15 minute ERS on Goliath was extended to a good hour. The highlight for me was riding Goliath in the hailstones, definitely a nice way to exfoliate the skin, if perhaps a little too painful. If you review the overall ride experience then Goliath is far superior to Expedition G-Force even if it's not quite as good a ride. Their new water ride is a lot of fun, extremely wet though and ponchos were given out free to protect everyone taking part (would Six Flags have done that?). Superman is now called Express and is running really well, the SLC was a little rough but still OK, the bad egg is the Boomerang but you know what you're getting with one of those; concussion through the loop in both directions. Robin Hood is perhaps the most comfortable car I've ever ridden in, it's just like sitting on a sofa. This park also had the craziest park mascot I've ever seen. He seemed to be a drunken blue elephant, at least he appeared to be drunk the way he'd stumble towards crowds of people without falling over.

That evening a small group of us went to visit Euromast which had been the tallest structure in Rotterdam but when the local hospital went taller the owners wanted the record back so they stuck another tower on top of the existing one. The structure now looks a little odd but it offers amazing views over the city (to the musical accompaniment of David Bowie singing "Ground control to major Tom"). We also came across a small fair which was on it's final night in the city so we rode a few of the rides there. A booster with 5G loops and strobe lights made this the best spin ride of the trip for me. We were very confused by the public transport system however, perhaps someone can explain why we needed to buy 3 strips for a 2-zone journey.

The final morning saw us visiting a small family run park called Drievliet which contained 4 coasters, 1 of which wasn't open as the finishing touches to it's construction were being made. They had a spinning coaster that was a little rough but still fun, a StarWorld type spinning coaster which had plenty of spinning going on and a mouse coaster. This was the best arranged ERS of the trip in that we were given the entire park for an hour before the public were let in. We only had a couple of hours at the park but it was still more than enough. The only bad point was that the bouncy castle was under inflated so those of us who ran into it promptly fell flat on our faces.
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