Electerik wrote:Efteling is not ugly. In fact, it's kind of like if Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Disneyland had a baby, but then Disney refused to acknowledge being the father, and then Busch Gardens was like, "I don't want your money, I just want our child to know his father," and then the child grew up and decided to spend a gap year in Europe and never came home. And his parents were both bitter in their own ways, but the child lived a happy life and never held any grudges.
I'm dying over here, help. Too hilarious.
The indoor/outdoor log flume. We skipped it, as it seemed to be having quite a few mechanical problems this day. (Why, this log just went down backwards!)
It seemed like it was dealing with pileups, I always saw two or three logs in line for that second lift. I honestly thought that I had "camera of doom"ed it the first time but then I saw it went down again later and felt better about my own existence.
Standing up to avoid water features on rapids rides is standard operating procedure in Europe. Lost Gravity is, indeed, one of the hidden gems of Walibi. I remember local enthusiasts complaining and apologizing for it a few years ago, which puzzled our group to no end.
I agree that Efteling's GCI was a a very pleasant surprise--much better than I had anticipated. Symbolica was great, too (more rides like this in the U.S., please).
I'm really enjoying this report, and I'm kicking myself for not having any Bitterballen.
cfc wrote: Symbolica was great, too (more rides like this in the U.S., please).
What I liked about Symbolica was that it seemed like the park was very much following its own muse. I mean, they could have made it shooting or 3-D or something for marketing reasons, but they were just like, "No, this is what we want."
Or, at least, that's the impression that I got out of it.
The most intense day of the trip saw us visiting two smaller Dutch parks before boarding a plane for Poland.
I knew almost nothing about Drievliet, but came away having really enjoyed our short visit there. It was small, but clearly loved by whomever owns it--and also by me.
There's probably a lot of fun to be had at Duinrell, on the right day--but this was not the right day. It's probably better than I'm about to treat it, but it was still my least favorite park of the trip.
Most of the really weird stuff happened in Poland.
Energylandia feels like it's growing fast, but less in a thought-through way, and more in a game show shopping spree way. It was rainy and overcast the whole day we were there, so most of my photos will be super awesome if you're into the color gray. All of the park's rides had electronic wait signs that were (apparently) tied into a central system, so that you could see every ride's wait time from electronic boards throughout the park. Which sounds great, except that every ride was set to either zero or 10 minutes and never changed (either at the board or at the rides themselves) no matter what the actual wait times were. So, yeah. Still, we had a fun day here--though I feel like we maybe enjoyed the park more than most of our fellow coaster trippers did.
Legendia might not have been the best park on the trip, objectively--but it's the park I've thought about the most since the trip, and the park I'd most like to go back to right now. I just want to pick it up and kiss it on its little nose and call it George. But make no mistake: this mixed metaphor has claws!
The front part of Drievliet is aimed mostly at children, with a couple of full sized rides, and a distinct sea life theme.
Yes, a grown up ride!
[Photo by Elissa (and not Robb) because I'm pretty sure I owe her one.]
The track of Twistrix didn't do much, but the cars spun like crazy, sometimes for no apparent reason. Smisty was in heaven. I rode twice, in the sense that one ride is two full circuits. Plus, I alone cracked the code on why it's owl themed. (If you think you know, keep it to yourself. It's mine.)
Just a little walk through of Old MacDonald's Farm. Well, more just his barn, I guess. But the song is about his farm. Look, you're overthinking this. There are animals and you push buttons and they make animal noises. It's not that complicated.
The park's newest, and biggest, coaster, the not terribly large Formule X. I rode it, and it was okay. (This matters. But there will be a couple more parks before it really pays off.)
The US is still on 4D. I feel shame for my country.
The Spookmuseum dark ride was very classic, and in really good shape. Also, there is a hedge maze, and this park is really nice..
Just a simple, model log flume. The building to the right houses its on-ride photo shop, some fun house mirrors, and a small arcade.
Wet and misshapen.
Kopermijn was wild in the very best way. Usually, I feel like the wuss of the group, but we loved this one, and almost everyone else seemed to think it was a bit too much.
Drievliet has a little museum about itself. Not enough parks have something like this, and it's even cooler to see it in a really small park.
You can't be considered a proper theme park in Holland without a pooping donkey.
Duinerell is less a theme park, and more a campground with some rides. Maybe you're a fan of, say, Knoebels, and you're thinking that doesn't sound so bad. But in this case it was. Big trash. Bad bad beans.
Okay, this looked pretty cool, though.
Ever wanted to camp in an amusement park? And, I mean, IN an amusement park? Okay, sure, maybe so. And that's great for you. But what about me?
Surprisingly, not Tennessee.
I did like the way their three coasters were all painted the same woodsy color scheme and all intertwined with each other. Of course, I didn't ride any of the them because the park was extremely crowded and had no idea how to handle those crowds, but still.
Note the splashdown boat and compare to the one in the next photo.
Covered and non-covered options available.
A lot of the trip participants just bit the bullet and waited in long lines for the credits. But that's not my style. My style is complaining.
Fun story. I wanted to get a photo of this ride, but the cycle had just ended. So I got to watch the one ride op stationed at this ride let everyone out, go get a squeegee, slowly squeegee the water off of every single inch of the sloped concrete platform, almost fall in (twice), stand around for a few minutes, let the next group of riders in, and then slowly start checking their seats. The whole process took about 15 minutes, and I'm not even sure that it was entirely that guy's fault. The best part is that the fountains don't really even get the riders wet, just the platform.
Happily, most of the campers were more interested in the thrill rides than the fairy tale / self-operated craziness section of the park.
I thought about it. I even climbed into a boat. But when the little lapbar didn't come close to being far enough down to latch over my big fat belly and just sort of pointed towards the sky like a sharp pointy stick of impalement, and I started to consider what the green stuff in the water would do to my open wound as I sunk slowly to the bottom of the lake, I decided to give it a miss.
I'm not holding this one against the park. They get full credit for having the balls to even have this. I'm just too full of self-preservation.
I went all the way to Wassenaar and all I did was not die!
Duinrell is what I call...a cut rate park. (Yeeeeaaaahhhh!)
Flying out of Amsterdam...
...and driving through Poland.
Energylandia is like that friend you have who's always bragging about having 14 roller coasters, but then you go over to his house and 10 of them are rollerskaters.
Hyperion was good, though. Really good. The restraints weren't the best for me, but it was still probably my second favorite coaster of the trip.
When is free not free? When it costs 25 zoltars.
This queue goes up a five story ramp for no apparent reason, does not cross the track, then goes down five flights of stairs to the station--either to save space, or to weed out Americans, I'm not sure which.
A lot of our group found the outer seats to be rougher, but I didn't really notice that. Great layout, great ride, weird operations.
Hey, it's me.
"Speed" was even stupider than its name. The coaster part was slow and boring, and then I was sitting in water up to my waist.
Well, since we're already soaked, we might as well ride the world's most boring rapids ride.
Similar to, but legally distinct from, because it's a box truck or something, not a tractor.
Also, like, if there are no humans, why do they have steering wheels? It's weird.
The bottom floor of this building housed a gift shop and an interesting-looking game in which you had to peddle in order to power your slot car around a track.
The second floor was an Italian quick service restaurant that was pretty not bad.
The third floor was additional seating and essentially an observation deck. Here we observe Formula, which is basically a bigger, better version of Formule X (covered earlier in this post!)
The park's newest section was in soft opening and over there. Note the currently under construction Zardoz.
The new area looks pretty nice--but, then again, it's new.
Smisty had been looking forward to meeting Energylandia's weird characters for months. It was very emotional.
Water Cups are very popular in Europe and unjustly uncommon in the US.
7D??? Holland is still on 5D!!!
This is Energylandia's "big" log flume ride. Yes, there is a smaller one.
Highly enjoyable super-lame shooting dark ride. Like, seriously garage level.
The smaller Splash Battle. This park has Cedar Point levels of redundancy. Also, lots of water rides.
A big bucket of all the different ways you can fry chicken.
I didn't actually ride it, but this ride caught my eye. The person on the inside seat has a steering wheel, which controls the back wheels, and the person on the outside seat has a gun they use to try to shoot a target on the back of the swerving car in front of them. Genius!
The idea of a "Lights Motors Action" type show in Poland seemed too good to pass up, but was ultimately pretty disappointing. There was no story, but I had fun imagining that it was about escaping Alcatraz by car.
The crowd's reaction.
Damned dirty credit whores.
Bitchin' souvenir, bro.
In other news, this was Gearhart's 600th roller coaster.
Wait, I said that at Walibi. Well, whatever. This is why you shouldn't count.
I could've started with a photo of Legendia's entrance gate, which is lovely. Or of the cracky train station next door that I first worried was the entrance to the park. But it's me, so instead I'm going to show you a photo of this little dragon, which is listed on the map behind it as a thing--and yet, the map itself is not listed on...itself.
What was I talking about again?
Legendia is a city park that encircles a fairly large lake.
This building houses an eatery, gift shop, children's play area, and the park's dark ride, Bazyliszka!
Two of those things I said. Bazyliszek!
Also, this park has Fast Pass. Or at least Fast Pass entrances. I didn't see machines for them, or points of sale anywhere. Or anyone using it. Maybe the signs were just theming. (I'd prefer that actually.)
Grab your guns! Except they're mirror guns! Or something! It's all in Polish! And trackless! Bazkilishikas!
So, a few days before this, if you'd asked me, I would've said that I might just skip this one. I mean, a weird-looking multi-looping Vekoma? Yeah.... But then I rode Formule X, which was okay, and Formula, which was good. And then Elissa mentioned that someone she knew at Vekoma had said something to the effect that if we'd liked Formula, we'd love Lech. So...yeah...
Coaster of the trip.
Imagine what I look like when I'm not enjoying a ride.
Okay, so, if you can stop imagining that I'm pooping in this photo for a second, let's talk restraints. These were good, because the over the shoulder straps were soft and retractable/adjustable--which means that my hunched forward shoulders were secure but still comfortable. (I know, I know, I look pretty comfortable.)
As for the ride itself: It was nuts. Good nuts. Also, my nuts were good. As in, not squished.
I mean, now that you've seen this picture of me, I feel like there's nothing we can't talk about.
[Photo by Satan.]
This shirt makes me think I'm say Lech wrong.
I understand, Golderg. I understand.
Right after this photo was taken, he called his wife to tell her he'd found somebody.
Diamond River is clealry an older ride, based on its air-hose activated restraint system and not-so-much-rolling-as-right-angle lifthill-to-level-to-dropping transitions. But the park has given it a nice new entrance, station, and gift shop.
Apparently, a ski resort company bought this park a couple of years ago, and has been fixing it up and adding strategic new rides to it. And while it seems unlikely that we will be returning to Poland any time soon, I'm very interested in seeing where they go with it.
This caption really has nothing to do with this photo, sorry.
I guess what I'm saying is: Don't go to Poland for Energylandia. Go to Poland for Legendia.
Giant Water Pump might be my favorite ride name ever (and the name of my new band!)
Dreamflight Airlines or some such. Reminiscent of one of those old Schwarzkopf rides, but built in-house. The oldest ride in the park, and maybe the longest! It takes forever to get up to speed, and just as long to power down, but it's super fun!
The penultimate seat of the coaster in the background faces backwards, because why not. Some people rode it, and gave it such glowing reviews as, "It wasn't terrible," and, "It didn't hurt that much."
Our per-arranged park lunch.
Erik Elness Beef Cake
Have you guys ever heard of object sexuality? If you haven't, don't look it up.
The "Legendia" sundae. Quite good, but be prepared for maximum mango.
Wait, I'd like to change my band name.
Goldballs surprises a ride operator by opening this unlocked control booth door.
Although, in his defense....
This car ride is called, "Magical Postal Service." Which still makes more sense than Speed Dating.
Lengendia's "Main Street."
Part of Legendia's "Main Street" is a mountain climbing museum for some reason and I couldn't be happier.
I just love this park so much. I wish we'd spent more time in it. Or that it was my home park except that I don't have to live in Poland.
About two-thirds of our group left Legendia early to go on an Elissa-organized sub-trip to Auschwitz, but we opted to skip the depression tour and headed for Krakow's well-preserved medieval city center.
This is the train station. THE TRAIN STATION. Sigh.
There were lots of things we wanted to see in the Krakow area, but we only had a few hours for sightseeing, so we went with "walking around and looking at old stuff."
Wawel Royal Castle
Oddly flavored candies in a Polish grocery store in a mall across from an American Embassy.
Sure, I don't see why anyone would have a problem with this.
Forced perspective! Take that, Disney!
Literally the only thing that stopped us from going in here was the 100% certainty that we would be murdered.
A nice area of town if you're looking for a good time with somebody's sister in exchange for money.
More our speed.
Yes, it's a Polish board game cafe in a medieval basement!
Pierogi and a board game.
(Technically, this photo was taken the next day at the airport, and it's my board game we brought with us, but it fits well here and as long as I don't say anything you probably won't notice.)
(((Do people still say, "D'oh"? Like, from The Simpsons?" They don't, do they?)))
Well, kiss my grits.
This is a "Teatr" and a nice photo and a good place to end.
Awesome! Glad you got to see a lot of Krakow, or Krakova, or yeah. I never got the hang of Polish either. Did you get to go on the castle tour? The inside is incredible, especially the cathedral.
I get not wanting to go to Auschwitz. That stuff stays with you forever, especially the feeling of the place. Everyone knows its history, but when you're there where it happened and you can feel the just...factory vibe to the place, it hits you hard. Good on Elissa for putting the side trip together.
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