Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:24 pm

I didn't notice a weight limit so I figured we were fine no matter how terrifying it may have seemed.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:05 am

Skyline Park

Going into Skyline Park on the trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect. While they appeared to have a pretty unique ride collection, pretty much everyone on the trip who had previously been there wanted to forego it in favor of more time at Europa. We ultimately decided to stop in for three hours. I’m glad we stopped in so I could experience the park, but I can definitely understand why several wanted to skip it in favor of more Europa time.

Are you ready to count how many times the word "sky" is used in this report?

The park was odd. There’s no other way to describe it. Some of the individual rides are well-themed; others were portable carnival rides with absolutely no theming. The front side of the park is extremely well-shaded and feels like a cute family park, but then you reach the other 75% of the park and it’s a big desolate field. No trees. Just grass, grass, and more grass. The only thing breaking up the grass was a random cornfield smack dab in the center of the park.

The waterfall looks cool, but note the wide open fields between rides.

One of the park's "midways". On the bright side, they have plenty of room to add new attractions.

I'm thinking the new for 2017 log flume is really for 2018.

They also have this big geyser here. Why? Because they can.

But the weirdest and most frustrating thing were their ride operating schedules. I’ve been to parks with delayed ride openings; we all have. I’ve been to parks where certain rides close early. Skyline did the first and we left before the second could occur, but what made them truly special was how they’d operate their rides on half hour shifts. For example, the Wildcat would run for a half hour and then the Maurer spinner would run for a half hour. We were given a schedule so we could at least try and plan how to efficiently ride things.

There was one curveball though. It wasn’t actually a half hour the rides operated. Technically it was only 25 minutes so the operators had 5 minutes to walk to their next ride. We could plan for that. The tricky part was that the operators would cut off the line 5-10 minutes before the posted ride closing time. So basically you had to be in a ride line by X:15 or X:45 or else you couldn’t guarantee a ride. That made racking up all the credits pretty tricky in just three hours.

When a park's operating schedule looks like a game of red light, green light, that's never a good sign.

When we arrived, almost everything was closed. Most of the group went to the slingshot, which was amazingly included with park admission. I had been on the one at Kings Island and I thought the ride was solid, but just ok. I decided to explore the rest of the park in search of some rarer rides.

Including this with park admission is pretty cool though.

I thought the self-operated stuff seemed like a safe bet to be open. Nope. The Nautic Jet (boat jump) was closed. The Butterfly was closed. Even the park’s slide was closed. Eventually we did find two operational rides- the self-operated swinging ship and the self-propelled rocking ship. The self-operated swinging ship was identical to the one at Bayern Park, right down to the name as well (Komet). I still can’t believe just how much air these little swings provide. The other attraction we tried was a funky ship were riders manually bounce and rock the ship. I could see that ride being awesome in a large group, but for just two people it was meh.

Some of the self-operated stuff was still closed. I'd come back to this one though.

Go figure, even the slides were closed.

Finally an open ride! This is that weird manual rocking ship. Would be fun with a larger group.

They also had one of my pipe dream rides- bumper car go karts!

As we passed through the rest of the shaded section of the park, we found some super well-themed rides (closed of course). My favorite was the kid’s car ride themed to a junkyard (or was it really the park’s junkyard?). The theming was beyond the theming Six Flags typically uses for an apocalypse, which is honestly a big compliment. Then there was also what appeared to be an indoor rotor/spinning ride with a highly detailed facade. Compare that to the world’s worst splash battle that was literally plopped down into a field with zero theming.

Junkyard theming or a real junkyard? You decide.

Suddenly Six Flags theming doesn't look so bad.

Eventually we got a group message that some of the coasters had opened! So we began with Sky Rider. I should also note that like half the rides in the park have “sky” in them and that’s not an exaggeration. I wish it was since it was nearly impossible to keep track of everything’s name. Sky Rider is a rare Caipro batflyer and this one is even more unique by the fact that it has spinning cars. The cars don’t spin too much, but I did really like the open seating arrangement that the vehicles provided. Because of this, one of the highlights was the elevator lift at the start of the ride.

There were no drops, so the beginning was extremely tame. By the end it built up enough speed to induce some solid swinging on the final turns. It definitely could have been more thrilling had it spun the whole way through, but as it stands it’s just ok. The ride was unique, but one ride was more than enough. 6 out of 10

Up they go.

Most of the ride was a slightly faster monorail, but the final turns at least did swing a bit.

Up next was my most anticipated ride at the park, Sky Wheel. A rare Maurer sky loop (and a name I’m honestly shocked Skyline hasn’t used yet), the ride looked intriguing. People who had been on sky loops were less than enthused by the prospect of riding one again, so that probably should have been my first sign. It’s by far the tallest coaster in the park. You can either choose to follow the pathways to the ride or take the more direct route to the ride by passing through the huge grassy field in front of it. After riding Freischutz, I was worried this could be an uncomfortable experience. Thankfully it didn’t rattle.

The issue here was the restraints. As the ride progressed, the restraints got tighter and tighter. Unlike Skyrush where you get your thighs crushed, Sky Wheel’s restraints dig deeper and deeper into your stomach, which is not somewhere I typically picture a lap bar resting. I enjoyed the first lap for the glorious hang-time through that zero-G roll, but the descent is where the lap bar tightened.

The next ascent back up essentially had a holding break in the form of the catch car, which is where I received a nice gut punch from the restraints. The rest of the second lap was enjoyable, but the ride gave me another gut punch when the catch car caught us at the conclusion of the ride. With more comfortable restraints, this would be a far more enjoyable attraction. As it sits, it’s a mix of really good (the zero-G roll and descent) and really bad (the catch car/holding break). 6 out of 10

Do you take the path or walk across the open field?

If it weren't for that holding brake, I would have really liked this odd ride.

Kids Spin was right next door so we guiltily grabbed the credit. As far as junior coasters go, the little SBF spinners are a cut above. This one is one of the extended models so you think it’d be better, but much like the version at Santa’s Village, this one simply didn’t seem to spin as much as the more compact ones. I just spent way too much time analyzing this kids coaster. Moving on. 3 out of 10

This is actually a respectable kids coaster I can enjoy.

For some reason, the bonus helix version seems to spin less than the standard layout.

We took a coaster break with another one of those weird river rapids/water slide hybrids. Called Wet n Wild, it wasn’t really wet and it wasn’t really wild. The coolest and funkiest thing about the ride is the elevator lift. But this is no ordinary elevator lift. This is a rotating elevator lift. The downhill bit spun considerably more than the one at Bayern Park, but the turns weren’t nearly as wild. 7 out of 10

It was at this point the rotating elevator lift drew us in.

I was expecting a much bigger splash, but this was about all it did.

It was now 10:20, so we decided to make our way over to Achterbahn, the Schwarzkopf Wildcat, before it closed. But right as we got there, we heard the operator shout “no, no, no” and she closed off the queue line. Aw fooey. Guess we had to wait until 11 for our last chance to ride it. We used that time to beat the rush (and when I say rush, I mean the rest of our group) to the Maurer spinner, Sky Spin.

Right after I took this photo, the line was shut down. Time to consult the schedule...

Right on the dot, the ride opened at 10:30 and we were on one of the first cars. I really enjoy these Maurer spinners (particularly in reverse), but there was something different about this one. As we approached the first drop, I prepared for that great backwards drop, but then saw the track ahead of me as we decided. “What the…?” For some odd reason, the spinning on this one begins immediately after the lift rather than the first turnaround like every other installation.

The rest of the ride seemed a tad jerkier than the others I’ve been on, but it was mostly unbraked. Unlike on Laff Trak where you crawl through the second half, you are traveling at a pretty good clip on this one and spin non-stop. 7 out of 10

Note how they are spinning on the first drop. That doesn't happen on the others I've been on.

This was probably the park's best coaster.

Sky Dragster was one of the rare coasters that operated non-stop. We hit that one next. The prototype Maurer (this place seems like their showground) spike coaster, Sky Dragster is an interesting concept. The premise is that you can control the speed to go as fast or as slow as you wanted. Naturally all the coaster enthusiasts were going to push these things to the extreme and see just how fast they could go.

The seats were unique and more like a motorcycle than the motorbike coasters I’ve ridden. The initial launch was surprisingly forceful, so I was actually pretty optimistic. But then the ride started to lag a bit. Oddly the ride would seemingly decelerate on the drops only to then speed up again on the inclines. I did like the final helix/turnaround thing which had the ride’s steepest drop (even if it was taken slower than I’d like) and some really tight turns.

The ride clocks your speed and keeps track of the fastest runs per day, but I’m not really sure if there was anything we could have done to go faster. Were we supposed to strategically use the throttle instead of going full tilt the whole way? Does it go faster with more or less weight? We didn’t really have the time to explore. I’ll say it was an interesting concept and pretty fun, but I just wish it could keep the intensity of the initial launch the whole way through. 7 out of 10

The "launch" was so promising, but then the ride seemed to lose a ton of speed.

It was fun, but nothing spectacular and worth going out of the way for.

Ryan made it look really fun.

I have to admit, the seating arrangement was cool and felt more like a motorcycle than the other motorbike coasters I've been on.

And they clock your time. No clue how you can change it though since we all ran it YOLOcoaster.

The park also has one of those skyscraper/speed rides included with admission as well. Since those are one of my favorite flats and this one was both a walk-on and free, I had to ride it. As I waited for my seat, the ride seemed to come to an abrupt halt. Oh poop, did it break down? No, the operator thought one of the restraints came undone but after a quick visual check he shrugged it off and kept going.

I’m not quite sure who the manufacturer for this version was, but the restraints and overall size of the ride were different. The OSTRs were pretty bulky on this one and the arm was noticeably smaller than the others I’ve been on. Still despite the smaller size, the ride had some really strong forces on the downswings. Unfortunately the cars didn’t flip as much as I would have thought, but unlike Cyber Space at Oktoberfest, these cars did rock back and forth so the forces were comfortable. 8 out of 10

Also included with admission.

Not wanting to risk missing Achterbahn, we immediately made our way over there. It was about 11:15 at this point and seconds after we got in line, the operator cut the queue off. I know it’s a standard model, but I had never been on one of the Schwarzkopf Wildcats before so I was interested to see how it would compare to all the galaxi/zyklon coasters I’ve ridden. This one was noticeably taller, but the drops weren’t that steep. But it was a smooth, enjoyable coaster. 6 out of 10

The jumbo galaxi was a case where bigger was better.

We missed out on the bobkart at Bayern Park due to time, so we decided to try the one at Skyline Park. I had never been on one of these rides before, so I was intrigued. Offride it looked like an electric powered alpine slide. It ended up being a pretty long ride. However, it wasn’t really fast. For that reason, it was more of a relaxing ride than thrilling. I honestly thought it felt like Kennywood’s Auto Race for a majority of the ride. 5 out of 10

That guy was ready for the photo.

With only 20 minutes left, we only had time for one final ride. We could have been complete whores and ridden the Butterfly or we could look God in the eyes on Nautic Jet. We went with the latter since it was a far more unique experience, especially considering the two butterflies we rode at Bayern. Going up that incline in reverse and staring at that jump at the bottom of the ramp is pretty terrifying. As coaster enthusiasts, we’ve all experienced airtime. But you can’t help but feel uneasy about a vehicle physically leaving the track like this.

The descent began and it had some punch to it. However, the real thrill began when the boat left the track. As gravity shoved the boat down towards the water, I got a solid stomach dropping sensation. After what seemed like an eternity, we the boat splashed down. The ride looks surprisingly wet off-ride, but it’s actually quite dry as long as you lean forward since the boat dips back a bit on the landing. It’s short and simple, but it’s one heck of a thrill. 9 out of 10

Nautic Jet was a pretty freaky experience. I thought of all the times I designed rides in Roller Coaster Tycoon where I intentionally ended the track early. Except this one ended with a splash instead of an explosion.

I wonder if that's really a pond or the pee from terrified riders?

All in all, Skyline was probably the weakest park on the trip. Saying Skyline was a bad park would be an unfair statement. I'd more go with disappointing. While the entrance area seems promising, the majority of the park felt lifeless. From a ride perspective, it does have some fairly unique attractions, but the thing that stands out most is the crazy operating schedule for the rides.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:50 am

Europa Park

While called the Oktoberfest tour, the real highlight of the trip for me was Europa Park. What else can be said about this amazing park? Everyone who has been there sings the park’s praises and I will happily join that bandwagon. The park is spectacular. It has some fantastic coasters, great rip-offs of every Disney dark ride, immersive theming, and mouthwatering food around every corner.

I think the most striking thing about the park is just how attraction dense it is. Usually parks this big really spread out the rides. Europa spreads out the major attractions, but in between each of these are a ton of random boat rides, dark rides, walkthroughs, flats, etc. Thankfully we crossed the park several times since I missed quite a few of them on my first pass. That’s partially because of how many there are and also because of how well-themed the entrances are.

We had 1 full day, 1 half day, and 1 preview day at the park. I was able to get on all the major rides, but I very well could have spent a few additional days as well reriding my favorites and exploring all the things I didn’t get to (primarily the shows). To top off the amazing park, Europa is a true resort with 4-5 beautiful hotels. Each hotel has theming on par with the park and several restaurants. We stayed at Hotel Colosseo and it was easily one of my favorite hotels.

Hotel 1.jpg
Hotel Colosseo was beautiful.

Hotel 2.jpg
Though I was a fan of the theming at the other hotel.

Our first day was the “preview” day after we left Skyline Park. We had an hour before ERT on Blue Fire, so we decided to knock off a few rides. Atlantic SuperSplash was near the entrance, so we decided that if we were going to get soaked, it would be better to do it on a partial day at the park. I rode an identical version a few months back at SeaWorld San Antonio and this was almost the same experience. The backwards bit seems like a gimmick, but I do really enjoy the backwards drop and of course the large forwards one is even better.

But I did say almost. While the splash itself didn’t get us too wet, the mischievous dolphins at the bottom sure did. Those creatures looked so cute, but then they all blew their loads at the same time like 40 year old virgins. So needless to say we got pretty wet, but that was expected. I would have ridden this again, but there’s a better one across the park (more on that later). 7 out of 10

Atlantica 1.jpg
I cut out the dolphins out of spite.

I said the park rips off Disney dark rides, but I kind of feel bad saying that. Yes the park basically has a copy of all their major dark rides, but they’re actually very well done. Take for example Piraten in Batavia. I didn’t need my translator to realize this was their take on Pirates of the Caribbean. Once it began, I could tell they were inspired by the Florida one specifically.

There was a short little drop at the beginning and it dropped us right into the midst of two ships battling. Sound familiar? The rest of the ride is just as politically incorrect as a pirate ride should be. This was easily the best of the park’s dark rides and just a notch behind Disney’s Pirates. 10 out of 10

Pirates 1.jpg
Pirates of the Not Caribbean

Pirates 2.jpg
It's every bit as non-politically correct as the original.

We followed one great dark ride up with one that wasn’t quite as great. I believe Europa saw the future. They predicted Disney would create Frozen, infest all our radios with Let it Go, and when its popularity peaked, create a theme park ride based on it. Sure enough, Epcot opened Frozen Ever After. But years before Europa already had something called the Snowflake Snow Ride.

I have absolutely no clue what was going on during the ride (something that I could say about quite a few of their dark rides), but the cheap animatronics alternated between cute and creepy. Some of them had innocent, little doll faces that would be perfect at a younger sister’s tea party. Others had faces that would make Chucky proud. Oh and the ride was in the Russia section which automatically made it better. The ride was probably the shortest of their dark rides, but still decently enjoyable. 6 out of 10

Snow Ride 1.jpg
Creepy or cute? You decide.

We had a few minutes before we wanted to get over to Blue Fire for ERT. Euro-Mir was right there and had a 5 minute wait posted, so we couldn’t resist. At most major parks, we wouldn’t have risked missing part of ERT, but Europa’s throughput on rides is up there with Disney. They don’t offer a line skipping program, but I didn’t see a wait longer than a half hour over the three days there. And most things were less than 5 minutes. They pumped trains out like Barry Bonds pumped roids into his body.

Euro-Mir was no different. We boarded the very back and I was treated to the weirdest spinning coaster I had ever experienced. All I knew about Euro-Mir going in was that the lift hill was a dance party. It’s weird to take time to praise a lift hill, but it’s a 4-5 minutes of Russian techno music as the car slowly spins. Eventually you exit the building and navigate some wild mouse style turns. The spinning felt much more controlled on Euro-Mir than the other spinners I’ve been on and that was apparent in a bit.

I was facing forwards on the drop. While I would have preferred to go backwards, it was still a really large drop for a spinner. The next hill spun me into reverse and then the car locked into place. That was odd, but it allowed me to experience the rest of the ride in reverse. The helixes had some good Gs and there were a few surprise drops.

After a reride later on the trip in the same seat, I realized the spinning is in fact controlled as I believe I had the exact same ride. I loved the smaller Mack spinners I have been on (Turbulence & Sierra Sidewinder), so I was interested to try a far larger version. The spinning wasn’t quite what I expected. In some ways, I wish it spun randomly, but it was still a very fun and unique coaster. 8 out of 10

Euromir 1.jpg
One part techno dance party, one part coaster.

Blue Fire is often considered the park’s best coaster (no small feat in a park with a hyper), but after riding it, I can see why. The entire attraction looks fantastic with the vibrant blue track and detailed rock work. And that theming extends to the launch area. Blue fire is some type of energy source and the launch occurs after some sort of explosion. Having just ridden Helix a few days ago, I was actually shocked that Blue Fire’s launch had some strength to it. I loved Helix, but was still puzzled how forceless its launches were. Blue Fire amended that.

It’s not uncommon for a launched coaster to begin with a top hat, but Blue Fire’s take on the popular element is different. It’s some sort of funky overbank/top hat hybrid that mixes some air and laterals. The subsequent vertical loop has some solid hang-time amplified by the lap bar only trains. The Mack launch coaster trains are among the most comfortable trains out there.

The first half is short, but has some great air entering and exiting the mid-course brake run. But the real highlight is the second half. There are two zero-G rolls with some fantastic hang-time. There’s a nice little floater S-hill that threads the vertical loop before approaching the last inversion. To this point, Blue Fire lured me in to expect another graceful twist. Except the final inversion is a ferociously wild inline twist combining delicious hang-time with powerful laterals. It felt like the old-school B&M zero-G rolls, except I only had a lap bar holding me in here.

It’s no secret I prefer floaty/hang-time inversions over positive-G heavy inversions. For that reason, Blue Fire was right up my alley. The ride is a mishmash of all my favorite elements- a great launch, airtime, and hang-time. I got 7-8 rides during the ERT session and added another 7-8 over the next two days as well. I can definitely see why parks have cloned this layout since it’s a great, well-rounded ride. 9.5 out of 10

Blue Fire has a little of everything and it does everything well.

I'm not sure if that's a top hat or an overbank, but whatever it is, it's great.

I love floaty, hang-time filled inversions and that's Blue Fire's specialty.

And it has great theming to boot.

BF Blue Screen.jpg
Looks like Blue Fire didn't like waking up early.

We had early entry, so on Day 2 we began with the powered Alpenexpress Enzian. The coaster has an upcharge VR option. While we all opted for the standard ride, I do applaud the park for how well they implement the VR. Rather than slowing the entire line like Six Flags or SeaWorld, Europa has a few designated rows with VR. The result is the non-VR riders still have a speedy line. VR did appear to have somewhat of a wait, but the upcharge fee kept the line manageable.

I rode my fair share of powered coasters in Europe, but this one was probably the best. The layout was much longer than it appeared and it passed through a well-themed mine (which turned out to be a walkthrough attraction) a few times during the ride. The ride wasn’t forceful and had no drops, but it was an enjoyable little coaster. 5 out of 10

AlpEn 2.jpg
Why would I pick VR and miss out on this beautiful mine?

We then made our way across the park to one of the world’s most maligned hyper coasters, Silver Star. I am a big fan of the B&M hypers, but I guess not every enthusiast can appreciate copious amounts of floater air. While the station has a sleek, futuristic vibe to it, the coaster is basically plopped down in a parking lot. It was very much apparent during the lift, but I was having too much fun on the rest of the coaster to notice.

The first four drops are the standard B&M hyper fare, so needless to say my butt wasn’t anywhere close to the seat. There was an uncharacteristically strong rattle at the bottom of the first two drops, but it was brief and the coaster is glass smooth. The return leg is particularly noteworthy on Silver Star. The drop off the brake run and the subsequent hill give some surprising ejector air. I wasn’t expecting that for all the disdain this ride receives! The final hill is back to the typical B&M air before speeding through a cool, little slalom section back to the station.

Silver Star wasn’t anywhere near the bottom of my B&M hyper list and I honestly preferred it to some of the more popular ones like Diamondback and Nitro. I got 7-8 rides on Silver Star during my visit since the line was never more than 10 minutes. As per usual, my favorite seat on this B&M hyper was the back row. I refused to wait an extra half hour for the front, but my ride in the second row had really good air as well. I slightly preferred Blue Fire, but Silver Star gives the park a formidable 1-2 punch. 9 out of 10

Silver Star 2.jpg
Hate the ride all you want, but it basically says you don't like floater air.

Silver Star 3.jpg
The ending bit had these cool slalom turns to differentiate it.

Since we had lights-on ERT later that night on Eurosat, I made sure to get my lights off ride during normal park operating hours. We were fortunate enough to visit the park just before Eurosat 1.0 was slated for removal. The futuristic Epcot dome was transformed into a giant Jack-o-lantern for Halloween, and that is of course accompanied by a song sure to get stuck in your head. I grabbed the back for my first ride.

I was fully prepared for a long lift on Euro-Mir, but I wasn’t expecting it on Eurosat. It was another 4-5 minute spiral lift, so there was ample time for that song to stick. Once the coaster bit began, it was apparent to me why the coaster was being replaced/removed. The ride was pretty jerky. If it had been outdoors or illuminated, the jerkiness wouldn’t have been an issue, but in total darkness I couldn’t brace myself for the upcoming turns.

I formed a much more favorable opinion during the lights on ERT session. Surprisingly it wasn’t because of the lights; it was the seat that made all the difference. After a few rides during ERT, I realized the front was the only smooth seat on this ride. Riding up front, I was able to appreciate the progressively faster turns that were reminiscent of Disneyland’s Space Mountain. During one of my last rides, the lights went out right as I crested the lift which was a very cool experience. Up front, it was a 7 out of 10

Eurosat 1.jpg
I'm shocked Disney hasn't tried this yet.

Eurosat 2.jpg
The space theme was replaced by Halloween for our visit.

Europa didn’t rip off the Matterhorn ride, but of course they had to name something after the famous Swedish mountain. Matterhorn Blitz is almost a clone of one of the large Mack wild mice. I say almost since this one begins with a funky, tilting elevator lift. After that, the layout should be pretty familiar.

As the large version, this one has a sizable drop at the start. Despite that drop, I typically prefer the standard versions since the hairpin turns and ending bunny hops are considerably wilder. While Matterhorn Blitz has the same pitfall, Europa mitigates this issue by adding a series of tunnels and trees along the ride’s course. 6 out of 10

Matterhorn 1.jpg
Elevator lifts make everything better.

Matterhorn 2.jpg
It's a standard layout, but you wouldn't be able to tell with all the trees and tunnels.

The bobsled was the rare ride at Europa that was a disappointment. The ride looks fantastic as it weaves through some trees and tunnels in the Switzerland area. However, the ride was less than fantastic. The large drop at the beginning is a rarity for a bobsled coaster. But immediately the ride’s flaw reared its ugly head. I noticed Blackpool’s Mack bobsled vibrated quite a bit. Europa’s is far more pronounced. Anyone who complains of a B&M rattle really needs to ride this thing. 3 out of 10

Bobsled 1.jpg
It looks so good!

Bobsled 2.jpg
But it feels like riding over an unpaved, gravel road.

We were warned before visiting the park that Arthur could have one of the park’s longer lines, so we went there next. The ride is a weird suspended, powered, spinning coaster system. In many ways, it feels more like a high-speed dark ride, and fittingly, a majority of the ride takes place indoors. Europa went all-out on the indoor themed area as it looks amazing. My phone was incapable of capturing the beauty of the area (it hates darkened rooms and lights), but it just needs to be seen.

While I didn’t have any loose articles myself, a few in my group did. Usually fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo are a complete cluster of riders boarding and unloading. Europa has a new system on Arthur and it was so unbelievably well-organized that I want to know why more parks haven’t implemented something similar. You insert your loose articles on the side of the entrance, but you remove them on the side of the exit. It seems like a simple idea, but it reduced many of the headaches associated with fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo.

I’ve always been a fan of ET and Peter Pan for the unique vehicles and Arthur feels pretty similar. I loved the indoor scenes, particularly the Las Vegas ripoff bit. But what separates this from your average dark ride is the outdoor bit. We were traveling backwards, so there were some little drops and turns with more force to them than you’d expect. As for the ride, it was excellent by dark ride standards and still good by coaster standards. 7 out of 10

Arthur 1.jpg
I wasn't going to even try getting some indoor photos of Arthur. My camera can't handle lights or darkness. Those two things pretty much describe the indoor area.

One of the other rides we heard generated a bad wait was Wodan. On our way there, we stopped to ride the log flume. I was expecting a ho-hum log flume, but I should have known Europa would be better. Remember the mine that Alpen Expressen travels through? The flume travels through this bit too, except here you are traveling at a much more leisurely pace so you can enjoy the technicolored gemstones. The drops themselves were pretty typical for flumes and thankfully the ride didn’t get us too wet. 9 out of 10

Log Flume 1.jpg
It looks like an average log flume.

Log Flume 2.jpg
But then it has this awesome bit where it passes through the mine.

Wodan ended up having the longest wait of our visit at 40 minutes, but the queue was a well-themed cave so the wait felt much shorter. We decided to go all-in and wait a few extra trains for the front and definitely made a good decision. Several others on the trip had less than favorable opinions of Wodan. They said it was bumpy, but they all rode further back in the train.

The layout is pretty typical for GCI, which means it’s impossible to recount what exactly happens. The first drop on this one is surprisingly tall for a wooden coaster and also straight, which is an oddity for GCI. Wodan maintained its speed from start to finish, which resulted in some strong pops of air on most hills. Riding up front, I found the ride quite smooth and no trouble at all.

I rerode Wodan the following day further in the back. Oddly enough, the coaster had a single rider line so I was able to bypass a half hour wait and board in less than 5 minutes. I believe I was seated 2-3 rows from the back. It was definitely bumpier, but I still found it comfortable. It was probably on par with Thunderhead in terms of bumpiness. The first drop was excellent in the back, but the rest of the ride was better up front, both in terms of air and smoothness. It’s not a top 15-20 wooden coaster (or whatever the Golden Ticket awards has it at), but it’s a fun coaster. 8 out of 10

Wodan 1.jpg
Wodan had a typical GCI layout, which means there's almost no straight track.

Wodan 2.jpg
Though Wodan had a mostly straight drop with some great air in the back.

Wodan 3.jpg
I really liked it. It was mostly smooth (up front) with good air and relentless pacing.

At this time we decided to be credit whores and make our way to Ireland for the park’s newest coaster, Ba-a-a Express. On the way, I noticed a play structure with some very tall (50ft at least) and twisted slides. They looked like more of those awesome, metal European slides. I was eager to try them, but turns out they were for kids only. Aw man.

Yet we were allowed on the kid’s coaster that wasn’t more than 10 feet tall. What should have been a pretty ba-a-ad (see what I did there) ride was actually mildly enjoyable because of how overengineered and overthemed it was. Tell me what other kiddie coaster has individual retracting lap bars the size of Blue Fire’s, a retracting platform like a floorless coaster, and triggered animatronics. That’s combined with the rockwork the coaster passes.

Since it was so overengineered, the ride was smooth. It was tame and one ride was enough, but if I were a kid I would have been blown away by just how much effort went into this coaster. 3 out of 10

Ireland Slide.jpg
Those slides look too awesome not to let adults ride.

But at least we could ride the kiddie coaster in all its glory.

The two coasters we had left were both conveniently located in Greece. We intended to hit Poseidon, the second water coaster, first but it was down for maintenance. They appeared to be working on the final splashdown area.

To pass the time, we went on Pegasus. I was expecting something like a roller skater, but Pegasus was surprisingly good. The first drop came close to giving airtime in the back seat, but one of the smaller drops midway through the ride actually delivered air. The rest of the ride was a series of smooth turns and overbanks. Sure it’s overshadowed the rest of the park, but this would be a solid coaster for a smaller park. 6 out of 10

Poseidon Maintenance.jpg
Thankfully they got this up and running shortly.

Pegasus 2.jpg
This was a surprisingly good junior coaster.

Poseidon was still down, so we rode Greece’s two other rides, Fluch der Kassandra and Abenteuer Atlantis. Kassandra was a tiny madhouse. There wasn’t too much in terms of effects, but the movement of the room was excellent and on-par with the Vekoma models. 7 out of 10

Fittingly downstairs (yes it was built below ground) was Atlantis. A shooting dark ride, I was a big fan of this one for a few reasons. One, there were hundreds of different targets. Two, the guns had locators on them so I could clearly tell what I was shooting. Three, the targets had different point values so there was some strategy in selecting targets to shoot. All three of these things were combined with some nice theming to make a strong dark ride. 8 out of 10

Poseidon had reopened, so I made sure to board it next. The station and slow bit before the first lift looked exceptional and had some very nice theming. The first coaster considered of some large twisting drops, but it was a bit jerky like San Diego’s Journey to Atlantis.

But the ride’s finale delivered. The final plunge was awkwardly profiled which resulted in a nice pop of air, and that was followed by a little speed bump that gave a tiny pop as well. Like Atlantica, the splash gave us the perfect amount of wetness. But unlike Atlantica, there were no dolphins from hell to soak us to the bone. 7 out of 10

Poseidon 2.0.jpg
The final drop was easily the best part of the ride.

One of the perks of the visit was a guided tour of the park’s newest attraction, Voletarium. Their version of Soarin’, Europa was nice enough to give us a ride prior to the tour. The ride system was identical to what I had ridden at Ferrari Land the previous week, but thankfully I didn’t have to stand through a half hour of pre-shows and holding rooms.

I was less familiar with the landmarks used on Voletarium than the other flying theaters I’ve been on, so it was interesting expanding my horizons. One of the biggest differences with the film on Voletarium was how short the scenes were. It’s definitely a tradeoff that I’m not sure was a positive or negative. On one hand, we got to see more sights. On the other hand, I seemed to just run out of time to fully take in the scene before it switched over. And of course, the ride ended with a flyover of Europa. 8 out of 10

The rest of the tour was filled was perfect for a theme park geek. We saw how the ride system worked, the control room, and were also allowed to take some great photos from the roof of the building. I really appreciated just how detailed the tour was, so major thumbs up to Europa.

Not Soarin' but close.

As great as the views from Voletarium’s roof were, the best views of Europa could be had from their observation tower. The views of Silver Star in particular were great since it’s nearly impossible to take photos of inside the park. The only other place to get photos of it is the parking lot and as hotel guests, we were never afforded those views. I love observation towers and would love it if every park had one. 9 out of 10

EuroTower 1.jpg
The views atop the observation tower are amazing.

EuroTower View 1.jpg
I wasn't kidding.

Universe of Energy is everything bad about the Epcot ride, except without Ellen. Honestly I almost fell asleep on this ride and frankly didn’t think it was very good. There were a bunch of dinosaurs, which should be exciting, yet somehow it had less excitement than Living with the Land. When I say I’d rather look at plants and pumpkins over dinosaurs, you know something is wrong. 1 out of 10

Universe of Energy.jpg
No Ellen here. Just boring dinosaurs.

Ghost Castle is actually a good Disney ripoff, but there were some variations. For example, the stretching room had a shaking floor (a very nice touch) and a hanging man (another nice touch until he retracted before we exited the room). The rest of the ride was basically the Haunted Mansion minus the hitchhiking ghosts. And that was perfectly fine by me since I love the Haunted Mansion. 9 out of 10

Haunted Mansion 1.jpg
95% Haunted Mansion.

Haunted Mansion 2.jpg
The 5% is the creative differences like putting a dude inside the crystal ball instead of a woman.

Those fluent in Italian know what Piccolo Mundo means. For those too lazy to go to Google Translate, it means Small World. So yes, Europa has a Small World. Instead of creepy dolls, this one has dancing pizza and Italian food. I honestly felt like I was on an acid trip, but it was a good trip. And it was of course accompanied by an infectious tune as well. 8 out of 10

Piccolo Mondo 2.jpg
Now this is a good trip.

Completing the Disney dark ride ripoffs was Europa Park Historium. The ride system was identical to the Carousel of Progress. If I understood German, the ride would have been a whole lot better. As an English spreaker, I was only able to take in the photos and videos. It was definitely cool seeing how Europa expanded from a smaller park into the full-scale resort that it is today, but I’m not sure if I’d ride it again at the expense of the park’s other rides. 5 out of 10

Europa Historium.jpg
The Carousel of (Europa) Progress in German.

The park also had a nice river rapids ride, Fjord-Rafting. We were hopeful the ride wouldn’t drench us considering the cooler temperatures. Most of us were lucky, but we did have one unfortunate rider who seemingly got hit by every single rapid and waterfall. The layout was much longer than your average river rapids and there were some hidden sprayers along the course.

The one element I really appreciated that you don’t see on other rapids was the rough water bit. About halfway through the ride, the raft enters into a wide open stretch with some pretty strong waves reminiscent of a wave pool. SeaWorld San Antonio’s river rapids had a rough water segment like this too and it was a nice alternative to the tamer waters of the Hopkins ones I can ride in New England. 8 out of 10

Fjord Rafting 1.jpg
Believe it or not, most people don't get wet on this.

Another noteworthy ride at the park were the bumper cars. Are they classic Lusse scooters? No. Then why am I talking about them? It’s because you play soccer during the ride. I kid you not. There’s a giant inflatable ball (it looks like an exercise ball) and the cars are colored to separate everyone into two teams. The goal is to bump the ball into the goal at the farside of the arena. This sounds simple, but it’s extremely difficult with all of the pile-ups that occur. Still it’s a fun and quirky touch that makes the ride stand out. 8 out of 10

Football 1.jpg
American football is something that would more fittingly describe bumper cars.

Football 2.jpg
Just try to score in the middle of this mess. It's hard, but oh so fun to try.

Remember how I said Europa had all sorts of random rides wedged in between their coasters? We made sure to indulge in all of them no matter how ridiculous they looked. There was a spinning boat themed to marionettes, a boat ride themed to elves and magic mushrooms, a Jungle Cruise/Tom Sawyer boat ripoff, a suspended monorail with erotic sex statues, and a miniature train themed to decapitated clowns and circus mice.

The latter was my personal favorite and a guilty pleasure. The latter seemed more geared for kids. On the first turn, we passed a restaurant and two grown adults looked us in the eye, tried to withhold all judgment and avoid laughing, but they couldn’t. They started laughing and we couldn’t stop either with the absurdity of what we were riding.

Marionette Boat.jpg
This park has a thing for creepy clowns.

Elf Boat.jpg
It's called the Elf Boat, but I really think it was about magic mushrooms.

Jungle Cruise Ripoff.jpg
This was their attempt to somewhat clone the Jungle Cruise.

Flying Monorail....jpg
So there's the monorail, but I know that's not what anyone is looking at. Does anyone know what position that is?

Circus Parade 1.jpg
Circus Parade was so stupid it was amazing.

Circus Parade 2.jpg
A creepy decapitated clown.

Creepy Clowns.jpg
Ok these are the really creepy clowns.

I also feel it’s criminal that I haven’t started discussing the food yet. I tried a ton of random things at the park- a fish sandwich, a gyro, donuts, poffertjes (mini pancakes), and so much more. It was all delicious and reasonably priced too. The hotels also had some great food. My personal favorite were the meat skewers at the Don Quixote restaurant.

Food 1.jpg
Usually I don't like cold fish, but here it worked.

Food 2.jpg
I'm not a sugar fan so I got them plain (sacrilegious I know) but as pancakes, they were delicious.

Food 3.jpg
One of the best gyros I've ever had.

Food 4.jpg
Even the donuts were great.

Don Q.jpg
Seeing those meat skewers again is making my mouth water.

Europa Park is simply astounding. It has everything a theme park enthusiast could want. Major thrill rides, water rides, dark rides, immersive theming, delicious food, and I could keep going. Despite having part/all of 3 days at the resort, we could have easily spent more time. As many things as I experienced, I know there is a ton that I missed out on as a first-timer. If you’re on the fence about going to Europa, just go already and you won’t be disappointed. Well you may that it isn’t your home park, but that’s an entirely different issue.

Mr. Corn 2.jpg
And here's a picture of angry Mr. Corn because why not.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby coasterbill » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:08 am

Awesome report! Europa is definitely a bucket list park us.

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby SharkTums » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:16 am

Fun fact - The "new for 2017" log flume that wasn't at Skyline was the one you loved at Oktoberfest!!!! They put it there to make more money! I think they had another ride at Oktoberfest from Skyline as well.

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby Canobie Coaster » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:27 am

coasterbill wrote:Awesome report! Europa is definitely a bucket list park us.

It was for me and it was even better than anticipated.

SharkTums wrote:Fun fact - The "new for 2017" log flume that wasn't at Skyline was the one you loved at Oktoberfest!!!! They put it there to make more money! I think they had another ride at Oktoberfest from Skyline as well.

That's cool! In some ways I'm glad it was at Oktoberfest for the novelty of seeing a flume that big on the midway, but on the other hand it would have easily been Skyline's best ride and I would have saved some cash too.
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby Philrad71 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:06 pm

Another great report, Michael!

I am still very happy that we rented a car one day out of Munich and made the drive to Europa. Yeah, it was a long day, but sooooo worth it - my only wish is that we would have had as much time to explore as you guys did!

We got to the park around noon and if I recall correctly, only got about five or six hours in before closing. But it was still enough time to hit up most of the major rides as well as just soak in the atmosphere while sipping on a few cold German beers. Everything that you said about amazing ride operations, food, theming, selection...all true!

The one thing that my Michael pointed out on Silver Star was that no one was checking the clam-shell restraints. That was when I told him that this wasn't the USA and people here actually realize that they're supposed to quickly go into their seats and pull down their restraint - dispatching was a breeze because of this!

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby alejon » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:28 pm

Lovely report from some parks I visit regularly, some of my favourites, and some I really want to visit in the future! Can't wait for the day I'm able to get back to Europa Park.

Just one thing.

Europa didn’t rip off the Matterhorn ride, but of course they had to name something after the famous Swedish mountain.

You mean the Swiss mountain, right? ;)

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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby Nrthwnd » Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:28 pm

:lol: That is one very angry cob of corn!
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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2017 Foreign Adventures

Postby SharkTums » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:21 pm

Nrthwnd wrote::lol: That is one very angry cob of corn!

Many of us found all of the angry corns (there were a ton of them!) to be the best of the very amazing and expansive halloween decorations.


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