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Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 12:52 pm
by DBru
The Great Zo wrote:Oh, and I think you might have liked Duinrell even more if you didn't almost miss the bus because you couldn't find the exit. :lmao:


Um...I was under the impression we had all completely erased this from our memories?

At least I got in some solid cardio. And Barry didn’t die.

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:43 pm
by SharkTums
^I didn't even mention it!

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:21 pm
by DBru
^See, Andy? Glad to see someone here has class. ;)

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:32 pm
by Nrthwnd
^ But very few do, here. Have class, I mean. ;)


Great TR of Duinrell! Several of us enjoyed it (via bus, ha!)
as a personal add-on, after the 2010 TPR Europe Tour.

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:01 pm
by The Great Zo
DBru wrote:^See, Andy? Glad to see someone here has class. ;)

I am going to lose that battle more times than not. :lmao:

Day 12: Energylandia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:10 pm
by The Great Zo
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Day 12: Energylandia

"There's just something kind of /off/ about the whole place."

A quote from a tweet I sent the day after our visit to Energylandia in 2019. Looking back a year later, those words still resonate, well, fairly accurately.

If you've read the other TRs from last year's trip, you know the basics -- a few top-tier coasters, an enormous collection of family/kiddie coasters, and a complete mish-mash of theming. I want to get into more of the details. For one, Energylandia is large. The park was about 50 acres even before the recent expansions, and will be closer to 80-90 acres when that's all complete in a year or two. As a comparison, Europa Park (not including hotels) is about 90-100 acres, and Efteling is about 130 acres. For two, Energylandia is new. The park opened in 2014 -- just six years ago. In that time, they've built 15 roller coasters, with at least three more scheduled to open in the next 12-18 months. Putting the issue of coaster quality aside for a moment, that's an amount of growth that is unprecedented amongst any theme parks I've ever been acquainted with. When I did my report on Toverland, I spent some time talking about how that park was built gradually, in an organic and well thought-out manner. You can even look at the larger regional US parks, such as Cedar Point and SFMM, and see that they aren't putting up large capital expendatures every single year. Energylandia is, obviously, doing things differently. I don't intend to use this space to discuss anything about the means by which this park is funded, but suffice to say, their pace of expansion does not even remotely conform to the ideas in my head about reasonable/sustainable growth at this type of amusement property.

Suffice to say, Energylandia's collection of rides is massive -- rivaling Cedar Point in number. The coasters, of course, are an extremely top-heavy collection. Outside of the outstanding large coasters, the rest are a collection of decent-but-redundant family and kiddie credits, none of which are worth more than a single ride. The two coasters that doesn't fit neatly into either category are the Vekoma SLC (which forces me to confront the fact that in 2015 a theme park built a brand new Vekoma SLC) and the water coaster (which doubles as a bathtub). As for the park's flat rides, there are so many of them that it's hard to even get a handle on what's there. Like with the kiddie coasters, many are redundant -- there are two splash battles and two log flumes for example. Per Wikipedia, the vast majority of the flats are SBF Visa models. There's quite a bit of variety, but nothing really stands out. A frisbee might be the best of the batch. The shooting dark ride might be the worst.

So, we've got some ingredients to work with here. But how did they execute the recipe? To be frank, it's an incoherent cacophany. There are so many things that just felt off about this park that it's hard to describe, but I'll do my best. You've got operational issues. Wait time sign boards that never update. Queues with random umbrellas blocking the middle of the path. Poor English translations all over the place. Incredibly oversized queues park-wide. A queue-metering system on Hyperion that only led to greater confusion. A general feeling of malaise from the apathetic staff -- the excitable crews on a couple coasters aside. You've got maintenance issues. Hyperion, a fairly new Intamin hypercoaster, rattling. Speed, a fairly new Intamin water coaster, filling with water on the run back to the station. A dark ride with no station and no ride op that honestly could probably injure somebody just trying to load in.

And then you've got the theming. Above all else, the park's theming is the visual reminder that sticks with you long after you've visited. Here's the best way I can think to describe it -- it's like a movie set version of a theme park. It has all the elements you'd expect to find at a theme park, but stripped down to their most generic, tacky, soul-less possible form. It feels like a front -- as if entire park is a knock-off of a series of other properties they're halfway-trying to not get sued by. It's like if whoever built the place did a world tour of other theme parks for inspiration, but the only parks they actually visited were Happy Valley Wuhan and Beech Bend. It's all plastic and no charm.

We all know that sometimes, less is more. Energylandia has decided, instead, to be everything. I enjoy that I can steal from those who wrote TRs before me, so in their own words, Energylandia is:
Erik and Smisty: "a game show shopping spree"
Chuck: "the greatest mini golf course ever"
Larry: "a surplus of fiberglass"

To be a bit more descriptive, Energylandia is an undersea mayan medieval western martian egyptian flower viking dragon race car volcano monster circus. It is all of those things. I don't think they've covered ninjas yet, but there's still time!

Look, I don't want this to be all negative, so I'm going to dedicate a part of this TR to earnestly saying good things about Energylandia.

* The top coasters are really, really good. Hyperion is fantastic. Formula is very fun. We missed Zadra by only a couple weeks, but it looks amazing. Abyssus will likely continue the trend. I'm having a hard time thinking of more than a couple parks on the planet that could match Energylandia's top four, once Abyssus opens.
* Food was way better than expected. I should be careful to draw a distinction to food service, which was often lacking, but everyone was really happy with everything we had to eat at the park. No shortage of variety, either. For whatever reason, that's one area they're doing quite well in.
* A fantastic park for photography. This park has top-tier coasters, a wide assortment of flat rides, and a ton of good places from which to photograph them. The park also has several elevated terraces and platforms in different places, providing aerial views any photographer can enjoy. It's disappointing that we visited on a day with gloomy weather, and my pictures all have that same whitewashed-looking sky, but nothing we can do about that.
* A few areas with nice theming. The dragon zone is, largely, quite nice. I like the Swiss village. I like Hyperion's surroundings, aside from the size of the queue. There are spots around the park that are aesthetically enjoyable.
* Currently has more volcanoes than Kings Dominion. Sorry, too soon?

Energylandia is clearly able to do some things right, and at least put out an entertaining product to their core group of visitors. They clearly have somebody who knows the coaster world enough to make good choices on their larger projects -- the big coasters are all top-tier. They clearly don't have any issues regarding finances. They've got some of the elements you need to be successful, but it's not being put together in a way that makes sense, and they're so far down that road that I don't know if there's any reasonable way to turn back. I've heard others mention that Energylandia is a park in search of an identity. But even with how much they're spending and how quickly they're building, there's just no feasible way to rip everything out and start over again with a plan or a layout that is more cohesive, more sensible, more professional. Energylandia is what it is. It's a stream of consciousness, minus the consciousness. This is not a park in search of an identity. This is its identity, and its identity is everything.

---

Alright, a quick review of our day -- the first-ever visit to a park in Poland on a TPR trip:

We got to the park at 8:30 AM, though we didn't get into the park for another half hour. We had pre-opening filming sessions on Hyperion, Formula, and Speed. I'm OK with parks having loose article policies. I don't understand enforcing them during a pre-arranged filming session in a coaster station with cubbies for loose articles. But I digress.

After filming, my group went and started a credit run on the rest of the coasters in the park. All of them were one-and-done. We had pierogies for lunch, though we had to walk halfway across the park to find somewhere with enough room for all of us to sit down. After lunch, we finished the credits, saw a show, and then split up for a mix of other activities. Some people went to more shows, some people rode some flat rides, and I mainly took some pictures. We re-united for another ride on Hyperion just before it was time to leave, ending up slightly trapped in the disorganized mess of the queue's final room during what we assumed was a brief ride stoppage. We left the park at about 7PM.

Last bit before the pictures -- a review of the coasters...

Hyperion: Hyperion is really, really good. A top-tier coaster by almost any standard, which is not surprising given that it's a >250ft Intamin. It's a nice combination of so many things that Intamin does well -- a huge drop, big elements and big airtime to start, and some quirkier, twistier elements in the second half of the ride. It's also got a really interesting turnaround at the end of the outbound leg. It's a type of coaster I love -- large and intense, with varied elements, and a nice long ride. There's one problem I have to mention -- Hyperion rattles. It feels like there's some kind of issue with the trains, which is concerning. This was not a huge problem on my rides, as I never felt anything worse than, say, the B&Ms at Kings Island. Others on the trip had a rougher experience, so I understand why they adjusted their assessments accordingly.

Formula: It's funny to see just how similar Formula (Energylandia) and Formule X (Drievliet) are in concept. Both are small-ish red launched coasters, themed to Formula 1 race cars, with an emphasis on inversions, quick transitions, and little pops of air. Both are really good rides, but as a larger and more complete attraction, Formula at Energylandia is the better of the two. One of my regrets on our day was getting just two rides during filming, and never going back to ride again. It's worth more than two rides for sure, and it's further proof that Vekoma suddenly knows what they're doing! Robb has a video of this one here.

Zadra: No, we didn't ride Zadra. I just wanted to note that if it weren't for that wind storm that knocked down a bunch of Zadra's structure in March 2019, it probably would have been opened by the time we were there. Stupid weather.

Speed: OK, you've probably all seen the video that Robb appropriately titled "wettest roller coaster in the world." It's equal parts hilarious and concerning. I, uh, don't think ride vehicles are supposed to just fill with water like that. But even aside from that, Speed is not a great ride. The drop is boring, and the coaster layout doesn't do anything interesting. I suppose I'd only recommend this ride if you didn't have time for a shower/bath before you left home for the park.

Roller Coaster Mayan: It's still remarkable to me that a park built a brand new SLC in 2015. Did somebody go to Walibi Holland, ride El Condor, and say "wow, we need to get one of these!"? With that said, this is the best SLC I've been on, and I wonder if Vekoma used their newer design/construction techniques to un-coathanger some of the elements. With that said, it's still an SLC, the layout is still a cluster, and it's a one-and-done.

Dragon Roller Coaster: A Vekoma family hang-and-bang, same model as Orkanen and Dragonflier. I actually don't have anything negative to say about this one. It's a good family coaster, and you get eaten by a dragon, Krake-style!

Boomerang: A Vekoma family boomerang coaster, and I can't say anything bad about this one either. A fun ride.

Viking Roller Coaster: If you didn't know that SBF Visa makes spinning mice, you do now. Uncomfortable restraints and a tired layout. Not a good ride.

Energus Roller Coaster: Now we're getting into the dregs of Energylandia's coaster collection. Energus is a completely generic Vekoma roller skater, themed to the park's mascot, Energus.

Mars: Quite possibly the tackiest theming of any coaster I've ever come across. It's an SBF Visa kiddie coaster, and fiberglass aliens aside, it's otherwise completely forgettable.

Happy Loops: It's an SBF Visa spinner, the kind you see cloned at FECs everywhere. What on earth is a huge property like Energylandia doing with one of these?

Frida: Frida is one of two new coasters in the Dragon Zone (near Zadra) that opened only a couple days before our visit. We were among the first coaster enthusiasts in the world to get the credits. Frida's not bad, but it's just another Vekoma roller skater in a park that already has one.

Draken: Draken is the other new coaster in the Dragon Zone. It's a tiny Preston & Barbieri kiddie credit.

Frutti Loop Coaster: A wacky worm with an identity crisis. The ride entrance says "Owocowy Ogrod" (Fruit Garden) but the park calls it "Frutti Loop Coaster" elsewhere. A wacky worm by any other name is still a wacky worm.

Circus Coaster: A powered credit. It goes around in an oval. It's the smallest coaster I've ever seen in my life. That's about it.

And now, a whole bunch of photos...

Day 12: Energylandia (continued)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:11 pm
by The Great Zo
After lunch, we decided to check out a show...

Day 12: Energylandia (continued some more)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:11 pm
by The Great Zo
(pics, continued!)

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:52 pm
by Nrthwnd
Great tour of Energylandia! It looks like quite the park.

But..... Spit Cake? :?r Glad you had Chuck's suggestion, instead.

And that "Viking Show"..... yeah....well.....whatever. :roll:

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2019 European Adventure with TPR

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:04 pm
by Electerik
I also really enjoyed Hyperion, despite the rattling.

We rode big rapids ride, which was incredibly dull. We didn't even see the smaller one, but were told by someone (Gearhart? Goldballs?) that it was better.

Had a good time at the park, but it is weird.

Speed: The Ride was stupid and bad and it should feel bad.

While I wish it had been open for everyone else's sake, I was kind of glad that Zardoz wasn't ready yet, because I'm sure I would've ended up having to ride it once. :p