At long last! The theme park portion of this trip report has begun.
This was my second time at Bobbejaanland, having also visited with TPR in 2016. As would be the case with a lot of parks that I'd be making repeat visits to, the second time ended up being more enjoyable than the first. The weather was fantastic, and I took the day fairly easily -- skipping some of the coasters that I'd already been on in 2016, and instead spending time doing photography and riding the monorail and Ferris wheel. Our first time visitors had a rougher day trying to get through their credit runs -- the park was fairly crowded and several queues were moving very slowly, particularly for the coasters with VR. Nonetheless, everyone had a good time, and the park treated us well. They served us breakfast when we got in, and hooked us up with filming / ERT on Typhoon and Fury after the park closed.
Fury, new for 2019, was a coaster that might have slipped a little under the radar if not for TPR's coverage of it after our visit. If you haven't watched the incredibly fun video yet, do it! And bask in the power of being able to choose if you're going to launch through the course forwards or backwards!
OK, here are reviews of the rides, but since I didn't ride much this time, I'll caution that some of this is gonna be as best-as-I-can-recall from 2016.
Fury: Bobbejaanland's best ride by a very comfortable margin. Really, it's an outstanding example of how to pack a thrilling and fun ride into a small footprint -- for a very reasonable cost. Perfect fit for a smaller park like Bobbejaanland. Some of the elements are just weird, and there's a good mix of hangtime, airtime, and intensity. Oh, and you might get to go backwards!
Typhoon: Fluch von Novgorod is my favorite Eurofighter, but you know what ... depending on how I'm feeling about Mystery Mine on whichever day you ask me, Typhoon might be my second favorite. It's smooth, it's got some intense moments, and the inversions are fun. A solid ride that was the best in the park before Fury came along.
Dream Catcher: Sort of an endearingly weird swinging kiddie invert that's now been bogged down by VR.
Revolution / Mount Mara: Worth riding just for how bizarre it is -- a giant spiral up, a giant spiral down, and a 400-car long coaster train. Also bogged down by VR, though the VR was actually kind of fun from what I remember from 2016.
Oki Doki: A perfectly decent family coaster with a nice setting along the lake.
Speedy Bob: A perfectly decent wild mouse.
Bob Express: A perfectly decent powered coaster over the lake.
Naga Bay: Previously known as Dizz. A not-all-that-great Maurer spinner. Block brakes every 5 seconds. Wasn't upset to skip it this time around.
Sledgehammer: A big huge frisbee. Good ride, as most of these are.
Indiana River: A really wet but mostly fun indoor log flume.
Wildwaterbaan: A pretty typical outdoor flume, with some good interactions with the powered coaster.
The Forbidden Caves: An "immersion tunnel" simulator -- interesting idea, but thoroughly unconvincing.
The El Paso Special: Good lord, where do you begin with this. I guess I could try to review it objectively as a shooter, in which case I'd say it's an older attraction with some interestingly campy aesthetic detail and a below-average shooting/scoring system. But that really misses the boat on this ride, which is easily the most unseemly, irreverent take on the old west that I've ever seen in a theme park. This is one you just have to experience for yourself to really understand. I ain't gonna endorse it, but I did photograph it, and I'll try to keep the photo captions PG-13 as best I can. No promises.
Belgium's very own wild west cowboy -- Bobbejaan Schoepen. He was an entertainer, a musician, and a "professional whistler."
He was also an amusement park operator, opening Bobbejaanland in 1961.
Near the park's front entrance is the Lake House, one of the main restaurants.
They know how to get on our good side.
Donuts and pie and juice for breakfast!
Bobbejaanland made a pretty significant investment in 2019, heavily re-theming a section of the park as the Land of Legends. This themed area incorporated two old attractions (Typhoon and Sledgehammer) and two new attractions (Fury and Naiads Waters).
Fury's the star of the show -- by far the biggest part of the new area.
Fury is a custom Gerstlauer Infinity coaster with a few new tricks.
The bright orange track looks nice against the blue sky.
The queue is also nicely designed -- sort of a non-specific mythological theme.
A view of the Fury vehicle. It's just one car, with 12 riders in 3 rows.
Fury has lots of great photo spots -- especially in the queue and on the exit platform.
There's some mist/smoke during the launch segment.
Launching on Fury.
Beware the generic red-eyed dragon.
Fury is the fastest coaster in the Benelux. It has a height of 141 feet.
Fury's big claim to fame is that the riders get to vote on whether the vehicle launches forward or backward. The voting is done via two buttons on the restraint. Seriously, watch the TPR video if you haven't already.
The car pulls out of the station forward, then hits a turntable on the launch track. You won't know which direction you're launching until the turntable begins to spin.
Voting is done by majority -- whichever direction gets the most votes in the ride vehicle wins out. I think it selects at random if there's a tie.
The vast majority of public riders were voting to go forward -- probably only 1 or 2 out of every 10 rides went backward.
The brake run doesn't lead directly into the station -- rather, the car stops on a turntable, and then rotates to move in to unload.
OK, how about some pics of the TPR crew on the ride?
Airtime at the top!
Picking up speed.
An enjoyable ride!
A wider overview of the main plaza in the Land of Legends area.
I don't know who this guy is, but he's apparently legendary.
I didn't ride Sledgehammer this time, so this is the only picture I got of it. It's one of the rides that was re-incorporated into Land of Legends.
Typhoon was also re-incorporated into Land of Legends, which unfortunately required moving its queue entrance rather far away from the ride station.
Typhoon is powered by griffons.
No, not that Griffon. This one's a Gerstlauer.
Typhoon's a Eurofighter with a vertical lift and beyond-vertical drop.
97 degrees of steepness.
Rider reactions at the top.
A very circular, almost Schwarzkopf-esque vertical loop.
Typhoon has been around since 2004, but received what I'd call a "gentle" re-theme for the Land of Legends opening.
Framed by Fury.
Riders on the storm.
It's really not as painful as it looks.
Brake run shot!
The final new attraction in Land of Legends is Naiads Waters - it's basically just a water play area.
Naiads Waters was pretty busy during the operating day, so I got a couple pictures after the Fury ERT.
Moving on to one of the older coasters -- here's Naga Bay, a Maurer Söhne spinner formerly known as Dizz.
Naga Bay is very ... okay-ish.
As far as spinning coasters go, it's not one of my favorites.
It's good to see a few people enjoying it, though.
These people are having a good time also.
Naga Bay opened in 2011.
It's 1411 feet long and contains 16 block brakes. At least that's what it seems like.
Honestly, the yawning kid pretty much tells the story on this coaster.
Even the TPR riders don't seem thrilled.
At least there are a few good photo spots near the back half of the ride.
Like any spinner, if you can get it spinning a bit, it can be fun.
That's hard to do with all the block brakes.
As spinners go, we'd ride a far superior one a few days later at Toverland.
There's Daniel, trying to make the most of it.
Next up on the photo tour -- Bob Express.
Bob Express is a Mack family powered coaster.
It was opened in 2000.
I like Bob Express. Cute trains, a nice setting, and interactions with the nearby log flume.
Powered coasters are definitely way more of a thing in Europe than in the US.
A big helix over the lake.
Respect the "B".
The little engine that could.
Bob and his friends.
A final Bob Express view with a great big wheel behind it.
Oki Doki is a cute little Vekoma junior coaster.
It's got a nice setting too, as you can see from this view across the lake.
The Oki Doki trains are themed after a clown. Apparently, a very long clown.
No, this isn't Universal.
King Kong is on the loose. Is he terrifying the guests of Bobbejaanland?
A Bobbejaanland oddity: an indoor splash battle.
It's housed in the same building as Revolution / Mount Mara, the weird indoor spiral-up spiral-down Vekoma illusion coaster.
Because it's such a weird coaster, I really did want to ride it again this time. Sadly, this is as far as I made it before bailing -- the queue was horrendously long and barely moving. Curses to the VR.
So, rather than hang out in a cramped indoor queue all day, I went way up high.
I did not get to the Ferris wheel in 2016, so I made sure to enjoy the view this time!
A view across the lake -- the indoor flume (Indiana River) and Oki Doki are visible.
The kiddie area is off to the east.
The western-themed village and Dreamcatcher coaster are nearby. There's also a wet-dry slide just below the wheel.
To the southeast -- Speedy Bob, the wild mouse, and farmland not far away.
Here's the building that houses Revolution / Mount Mara. It's very green colored. And rust colored.
A view inside the wheel. The center insignia: a big red heart.
This is Dream Catcher.
It's a weird Vekoma swinging inverted coaster ... with VR ... and a ton of inoperable seats.
Down from the Ferris wheel, and hopping on board the monorail for a spin around the park.
Kind of an interesting mix of theming here, but you have to appreciate the cowboy hat canopy over the horse-themed pedal monorail vehicles.
Oki Doki from the monorail.
An indoor kids area at the east end of the park.
The Oki Doki station -- and the one shot I have with a good view of the clown on the lead car.
I don't know off-hand what language this is in, but "DANGER DE MORT" is pretty easily translatable.
Oh yes, the El Paso Special. We'll come back to this.
The arch at the entrance to Bob Express.
A view over the flume.
How much do you /love/ this Ferris wheel?
Here is a random obelisk near the Land of Legends. Is it a monument? A gravestone? I do not know.
Like many European parks, Bobbejaanland has a nice, gentle boat ride.
It is well-landscaped and very relaxing.
Typhoon is not as relaxing.
There are some nice views of Typhoon from the monorail.
Typhoon heads up the second hill after the vertical loop.
The Typhoon station, which isn't accessible from this side, which is a little bit awkward.
Typhoon and Fury from a distance.
The monorail goes a little ways outside the park, through the rather busy parking lot.
The monorail also goes right past King Kong.
King Kong is fun to take pictures of, which is at least something, since it's not fun to ride.
Hello, Kong victims!
The monorail station's exit platform contains a small museum of old park memorabilia -- and models of several rides. Here's a model of Oki Doki.
Bob Express and the log flume.
Speedy Bob -- which was once a pair of mirror-image mice, before one was removed.
Mount Mara, with a view inside that big building.
Back on the ground and continuing the lap around the park. This is the lift hill for the pedal monorail.
The big clown on the roof of the kids area is ... unsettling.
He just kind of looms over that end of the park.
Did you know that Bobbejaanland has a beach?
It also has an Indiana river. Sadly, I have been to Indiana. It is not very exciting. Its rivers are especially not very exciting.
Alright, let's get this out of the way. The El Paso Special.
Some ride details on the El Paso Special. I didn't realize it was built all the way back in 1988.
The name of the game: ride 'n' shoot.
Brad and Chuck are ready to ride 'n' shoot their way through the old west.
On your bench-like chariot, you'll journey through many southwestern scenes...
There are people playing the guitar.
Figures in masks...
...and dancing ladies in colorful garb.
And I think you're supposed to shoot all of them.
Now we have entered the den of sin and iniquity ... the local bar and gambling hall. Care for some Panther Piss Malt Liquor?
There is abject inebriation. There are paintings of unclothed ladies on the wall.
There's a pianist who is tipped only in swill, and a gentleman in the corner booth who probably didn't pay too much for whatever service he is about to receive.
There are dancing skeletons and bank robbers.
Fighting dogs, angry condors, and ... a guy in a noose.
And I think you're supposed to shoot all of them.
Folks in dire straits in the old missions...
...a native on the roof...
...and a minstrel band to wrap things up at the end.
And I think you're supposed to shoot all of them.
The El Paso Special is a ride that defies all explanation. It is a glorious window into days and mindframes of yore, and a cultural WTF on a degree that my feeble little mind is powerless to process.
There's my score in the top left corner -- the 4,750. I lost to Stacy. I think losing at the El Paso Special is actually winning. At least that's my story.
Let's continue the cultural appropriation tour of Bobbejaanland with a look at Dream Catcher!
Here is the Dream Catcher station.
Here is the train. Late in the day, they pulled off the VR, and the line finally started moving a little quicker.
Dream Catcher is a Vekoma Swinging Turns. There are only two other coasters of this type operating -- one in Japan and one in Thailand.
I remember it being kind of fun, and the swinging was interesting, but I wasn't going to wait in a long line to ride again.
Dream Catcher swings over the station.
Up the lift!
Around the curve.
And now, after waiting for what probably seemed like hours, our TPR group takes a spin.
Get excited! There are only three of these on the planet, and they didn't even make you wear VR goggles!
Hitting the brakes!
Two thumbs up from Daniel!
(a more lukewarm reaction from Ryan)
This is not my first TPR trip report with the Aztec sun stone. I saw the real thing in Mexico in 2015.
This version is not the real thing. It is a rapids ride.
It's got tunnels and one of those big whirlpool spiral things, but it doesn't look like a particularly wet rapids ride.
I didn't ride on either visit. Maybe next time.
This is Speedy Bob. He's inviting you to ride his coaster. Will you take the invitation?
Speedy Bob is your basic Mack mouse -- more notable, perhaps, when it was twinned.
Hairtime on the curves!
Speedy Bob is encircled by an elevated walkway, but it's covered in a mesh fence that makes photography hard. If you line up straight on with the coaster track, though, you can shoot through the holes in the fence.
Speedy Bob was built in 1998.
Speedy Bob's twin was also built in 1998, but removed in 2008.
Forget the coaster -- this guy's got his eyes on something else.
TPR enjoys Speedy Bob!
Wave hi to Barry!
And now, a peaceful, quiet interlude.
This is such a European park thing -- perfectly manicured gardens and cute little circular boats. For a moment, you'll forget you're in an amusement park.
But, yeah, Typhoon is basically right there.
Hope you're enjoying your ride on Bootvaart at Bobbejaanland.
I give my eternal thanks to all parks that run their log flumes at high capacity.
Bobbejaanland was sending boats out almost non-stop. It's a photographer's dream.
Walls of water!
I did ride the flume in 2016, and probably would have gone on again this year if there was a little more time.
It's not a very big drop ... but it gets the job done.
The best challenge when photographing log flumes is trying to perfectly time out the start of the splash, so that you get the water coming up off the flume, but not blocking the view of the riders. Nailed it with this shot.
This picture's a little on the wetter side.
Everyone always looks so surprised on these rides.
This post brought to you by Ben & Jerry's.
At the end of the flume!
And now -- closing the night off with some TPR Filming and ERT.
Starting off on Typhoon with a few great takes.
Flying on into the brake run.
We had a lot of fun on this ride!
We had even more fun on Fury!
An entire Fury car of TPR riders.
Rushing into the brakes at the end of the ERT. Great ride! One of my favorite coasters on the Europe trip, and this was just Park #1!
That's it from Bobbejaanland, and that's it from Belgium. Hope you enjoyed the report.
Bobbejaanland was a perfect way to “ease into” the trip. A fun collection of coasters, including a genuinely good one, AND one in a box!!! Plus, a log flume in a box!!! Belgium just...gets me.
Glad you got to take pics from the Ferris wheel. I’m jealous I didn’t get to see those views in person, but they’re really gorgeous. I love how it’s nothing but forrest and farmland in the distance. Reminds me of home.
Next time we’re there we’ll have to try some shots of Panther Piss! (Don’t worry, I’ll take yours for you.)
Gonna add to this report, because as promised, I've got some 2016 pics I'm gonna be sharing along the way with this TR. I don't have much from Bobbejaanland in 2016, since it was a busy day and the weather wasn't great, but here are a few.
I was sad to learn that Bobbejaanland removed their wind turbine some time between 2016 and 2019. It lined up nicely with Typhoon. (photo from 2016)
Ah well. There are plenty more wind turbines in the Benelux. (photo from 2016)
Typhoon was one of our big ERT/filming sessions in 2016! We also rode/filmed on Dizz (now Naga Bay) and Revolution. (photo from 2016)
Rode Sledeghammer in 2016. It was quite good. And since I only had one picture of it from 2019, here's two more. (photo from 2016)
Frisbees are great. (photo from 2016)
A look at the train on Revolution / Mount Mara, which is ... insanely long. (photo from 2016)
Oh yeah, we braved King Kong in 2016! Stacy is afraid for her life! (photo from 2016)
And I rode Oki Doki in 2016 also, so I got a better view of the front of the clown... (photo from 2016)
...and the rear of the clown. (photo from 2016)
Ah, best for last -- the 2016 day at Bobbejaanland (also the first official park on that trip) was my first experience with FEBO! Sadly I think the thing was empty when we walked by on this trip! (photo from 2016)
Canobie Coaster wrote:As for the rapids ride, did it still have the Ferris Wheel lift and drop in your first visit? I was fascinated to learn it used to have those elements before being removed.
So, best I can tell from my pictures, the wheel/drop were still physically there in 2016, but they had been bypassed with the current course that simply went under the drop hill. In 2019, the structure had been removed entirely.
cfc wrote:it's good that El Paso Special still exists (and was upgraded a bit).
I don't think I caught the upgrades, aside from maybe the flat-screen TV with the scores at the end, but I'm at least glad they are keeping this thing going. It's quite the ... artifact, I guess.
DBru wrote:Next time we’re there we’ll have to try some shots of Panther Piss! (Don’t worry, I’ll take yours for you.)
Oh it's all yours!
ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Great pictures of a beautiful park! Fury looks especially fantastic.
Thanks! And yes, it was. Real gem of a ride, and hope it's caught the notice of some smaller parks over here.
A.J. wrote:Forbidden Caves was silly. I'm not afraid to say it.
Oh, absolutely. And I do like the theme of the whole thing -- the queue is pretty nice, too. I skipped it this time, though, so I don't recall all the specifics.
bert425 wrote:as usual, fantastic pics, and it looks like y'all had absolutely perfect weather on this day.
My gift to the group after dealing with 5 days of junky weather on my own.
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