I loved Drievliet. Was it objectively the best park on the trip? No, of course not. But it was a lot of fun, and I would be very happy to spend more time there. Small? Sure, but that didn't bother me because there was lots to do.
A few other random thoughts from the Esty and Smirik camp:
We're all over that first section of your trip report, which is weird because we tend to be where everyone else isn't.
Speaking of which, we're also in that overview photo of the tractor ride at the beginning of the second section!
I might very well have been the biggest fan of Kopermijn in our group. Which just serves to to once again demonstrate how unpredictable my tastes can be. But I don't mind getting LoCoSuMo-ed, as long as I'm not overly restrained (and remember that a lot of restraints fit me oddly) and I'm not being hit in the head.
That was a good theory on why Twistrix is themed to owls, and one could do worse than repeatedly listening to Fly By Night, but I was thinking of an even simpler explanation: Owls swivel their heads, and the cars are meant to look like owl heads.
I kept the Andrews straight by calling one Goldballs and then just being confused the rest of the time.
Hilltopper39 wrote:These are the kind of parks I wish America had more of, if there was one of these close to my city I'd probably go there 20 times a year. Great pictures as always, really enjoyed following along with this so far.
Thanks for reading, appreciate it!
larrygator wrote:I was actually smiling because Drievliet is possibly my favorite micro park. But thanks for continuing to promote NeuroGen.
Let's keep promoting it until someone builds one in the US!
cfc wrote:It did my heart good to know that the bizarre "singing barn" show still existed.
It's really a one-of-a-kind, and in my opinion would make a fantastic addition to the petting zoo at Cedar Point.
SharkTums wrote:I feel like this park really improved since our last visit in 2008. Sure it's not really meant for a group like ours but it was nice to see such a great family park with some fun rides. Formule X is underrated and a really great ride. Awesome photos as always!
We always find ways to have a good time at places that aren't exactly built for us. And thanks!
Electerik wrote:We're all over that first section of your trip report, which is weird because we tend to be where everyone else isn't.
Speaking of which, we're also in that overview photo of the tractor ride at the beginning of the second section!
I didn't even notice you two were in the tractor ride photo! I see it now. That's really funny.
And that's why I loved the first part of this trip report. It's really the only chance I had on the entire trip to get pics of everybody in the group together. Like we're all one big happy slightly-dysfunctional family.
Blue Turbo wrote:
The Great Zo wrote:(we had two Ryans, but at that's not as bad as having four Andrews)
It's funny how this happens, especially with small groups. In undergrad, my upper level major classes (which had like 15-20 people) had 3 Jakes and I've been to aerial conditioning classes where half of the class is named Rachel
The first office I worked at, with a staff of 20, had four Davids. I don't know how that happens.
The Great Zo wrote:(we had two Ryans, but at that's not as bad as having four Andrews)
Andy, A.J., Andrew, and... Goldberg.
Electerik wrote:I kept the Andrews straight by calling one Goldballs and then just being confused the rest of the time.
I like Erik's idea better. Goldballs is now TPR canon.
Hate on The Method all you want; we're starting a movement, and it's gonna be HUGE! It took Formule X from a solid 7...to a 7.5!
Drievliet was a blast. 3 of the quickest hours on the trip, and so much fun basically having the park to ourselves for the first two of them. Despite being small, that park was PACKED with fun rides! It felt like something new and surprising was tucked into every corner. Also, I can't believe I'm just noticing this, but was the mini-breakdance themed to SHARKNADO?!
And why would I be offended that Drievliet's farm show features an animatronic clone of my Uncle Steve?
After a quick three hours at Drievliet, we got back on the bus and headed north to our second small park of the day: Duinrell.
Duinrell, named for the adjacent sand dunes, is located in Wassenar -- not far from the shore of the North Sea. Duinrell sits on an estate that has history dating back to the 1600s, and it is owned by the noble Van Zuylen van Nijevelt family. The park's mascot is a frog named Rick (Rick de Kikker), who you'll find stationed at trash cans around the park.
Duinrell is definitely sort of a unique property -- it's one part theme park, water park, playground, and campground. Though there's a vast array of cabins surrounding the park, there were also spots for tent camping inside the park -- just steps from the rides and restaurants. I definitely got the idea that the water park -- a big indoor/outdoor setup -- was one of the main draws during the warm summer season. On our visit, the dry park was quite crowded as well.
I definitely think that Duinrell is a park that I could have an enjoyable time at, under different circumstances. Unfortunately, our visit was marked by heavy crowds full of energetic kids and teenagers with no qualms about line jumping. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that there are really only a handful of full-size attractions, and operations on the rides were not particularly great. I know some of us were wondering if Duinrell might be sort of a Dutch Knoebels-lite, which is sort of a laughable notion in retrospect. Typically, comparing anything to Knoebels is going to result in disappointment. Duinrell doesn't have a standout attraction to really sell an enthusiast on a visit, and there are better parks in the Netherlands to credit whore at -- including Drievliet. On the other hand, I enjoyed Duinrell's setting, which is quite nice overall. You have water, you have dunes, and on a trees-per-square-inch measurement it might be the most forested park I've ever been to. Yep, even more than Knoebels or Efteling.
Honestly, I probably would have enjoyed Duinrell quite a bit if it weren't for the crowds, and if I could have taken the park at a calmer pace. Instead, with just three and a half hours, we all had to make some decisions about what to do and what to skip. I only got on three rides -- two coasters and a Gerstlauer Sky Fly -- and waited about a half hour for each. I actually skipped the third credit (a kiddie coaster) just because I didn't feel like being crowded in a queue with a bunch of loud kids for 20-30 minutes. That might be the first time I've just flat-out skipped a coaster out of disinterest. Should I turn in my Club TPR card? I also skipped the alpine slide, though the others who rode gave it only so-so reviews. I did get to one attraction (perhaps my favorite at the park) that I'm almost certain no other TPR person visited. It's the sort of too-obvious thing you'd expect to find in one of my trip reports, and it might have saved the visit.
In fact, with time running short, I never even got to take any pictures of -- or even see -- a few of the park's attractions. I missed the top spin. I missed the covered/uncovered splash boat, though Robb has it on video. I missed the poffertjes that Chuck mentioned in his TR, and this was the last chance on the trip to get any! I didn't even get to go through the park's walkthrough fairy tale forest / European landmark area. With that in mind, I sort of feel like this TR isn't quite a comprehensive report on the park. There are definitely some gaps to fill if I ever return to the place, which isn't a certainty to occur.
So, I hope you don't mind, but to make up for the lack of pictures of other rides, I'm just going to dump almost everything I have from the Nautic Jets. Want to see a bunch of TPR people doing boat jumping and looking funny? This trip report has you covered.
Duinrell's rather understated main entrance. There are a couple of restaurants, and a /ton/ of cabins and campsites, surrounding the park.
They've got one of those magic faucet things that somehow levitates in mid-air. Amazing.
Oh, and they've got a raft. Our third raft of the trip.
I don't have any pictures of my group's attempt to use the raft to cross the water, but it did not go well. We got eight people on Walibi Holland's raft and paid for it with some wet feet. This one, even smaller, was worse. We didn't quite sink the thing, but it looked like we were trying.
This is sort of a weird little dead-end of the park where the raft across the water is the only way across, outside of walking several minutes around the pond.
Just across the pond, however, is a pair of Nautic Jets.
This is a staple of the TPR Euro-trip experience. Every trip has to visit a small park with boat jumping, because it's just one of those things you can't find in North America.
It's only small parks in Europe that have these, though. I like visiting some of these smaller parks, even if Duinrell wasn't the very best of them.
Last picture of a couple random people before we get into the fun.
Also, notice the green slime in the pond. Sure, why not.
I went over and did my boat jump first, then set up on the raft and on the opposite side to get photos of the rest of the group.
So, here's the Theme Park Review Duinrell Double-Barrel Green-Slime Boat Jumping Extravaganza of 2019.
We'll let Barry demonstrate how it works. You put a coin in the slot, you load in the boat, and pull a string to start the lift.
The boat is pulled backwards up the slope...
...and then released!
The boat flies as far as it's gonna fly, and splashes down freely in the water.
Most of the time you won't get too wet, though an odd splash or two can sometimes change that.
Also, you're locked in fairly well, so there's no chance of flying out.
Thanks for demonstrating, Barry!
Elissa makes the jump with pretty much all of TPR watcing.
She managed to do this while filming!
There's the splash, hopefully captured on video.
On the other side, Daniel has just landed.
The one problem with the "dueling" approach is that it makes it tough for photos! Since everybody was racing, I sort of had to go back and forth on which side I was taking pictures of.
On the left boat, Kristen.
On the right boat, Steve, and his phone.
Do I sense some fear?
A family portrait for the ages.
Love that green slime.
Kristen's boat comes to a rest.
Steve gets the shot he was looking for.
A wider view of the twin Katapult boats as our next participants climb to the top.
Chris heads down.
Chris jumps, as TPR watches.
Excitement as the boat hits the water.
Droplets in the air.
Kicking up a wave.
A good run, Chris.
AJ relaxes after his jump.
Next up, we've got Larry...
Surf's up, John.
It's not that scary, Larry.
John kicks up some water.
Oh, and in this picture, you can see the tow line that brings the boat back up to the loading station.
Colin straps in for the jump.
Hitting the brakes.
David has conquered the slime.
One more jump for Kristen.
I think this was the last one.
Reflections off the water on the boat.
Are Nautic Jets terrifying?
Oh, it's just a little bit of water.
That ends the boat jumping. Instead of crossing the raft again to meet up with the rest of the group, I took the long way around the pond.
They've got a wet-dry slide, though it's not as cutely themed as Drievliet's.
Some kid on the slide, who looks to be having fun-ish.
There's a frog-themed monorail thing.
It might have offered up some views, but I did not have time to ride it.
This is near the entrance to Duinrell's walkthrough forest. What little I saw of it looked like it wouldn't even be fair to discuss it alongside Efteling, but this is obviously a park on a much smaller scale.
I did see this one little thing, though.
It's their own version of Belgium's famous Manneken Pis!
Hey, watch where you're pointing that thing.
There's a Ferris wheel, but it's almost completely surrounded by trees, as are most of the rest of the park's major attractions.
The big barrel, which houses a spiral-cut potato stand, is very RCT.
Here's one of the park's main restaurants, which also doubles as a home for the carousel.
They serve pannenkoeken in here, with a few examples set out on the counter. My group almost went here for lunch, but ultimately we opted to go to...
La Place. It's a Dutch fast-casual restaurant chain, but it was actually pretty good for a random chain in a small park.
First thought: this is a Pepsi park.
Second thought: there are a million different varieties of orange soda in Europe.
From the dry side, there are some views into the water park, which is pretty heavy on enclosed slides.
Probably just as many people laying around as there were actually on the slides or in the pool.
Some of the slides start indoors, and maybe finish indoors also.
Another distinguishing feature of Duinrell: tent camping in the park
Honestly, this was kind of weird.
Oh, and lots and lots of kids, all over the place. They were hard to avoid.
I mentioned I didn't get any pictures of Splash, the big covered/uncovered boat ride. Well, at least I have a picture of the coin-op dryer near the ride's exit.
Dragon Fly, a Gerstlauer family coaster, would be my first ride at Duinrell.
The emblem on the ride's station.
A detailed examination of the various species of dragonflies ... I guess there's always something new to learn.
It's a perfectly OK little family coaster.
Falcon is the park's biggest coaster -- a small, old-school Eurofighter.
Falcon's vertical lift is practically hidden in the trees.
Ah, there it is.
A Falcon car at the bottom of the first drop.
One thing that is kind of neat about Falcon is that all the supports are painted to look like faux-wood. It looks nice.
Falcon's queue was almost unbearably slow, but it does provide a view of the brake run.
Excited Falcon riders!
More excited Falcon riders!
So much excitement.
This is about the best I can do with regards to coaster photos in this TR, so yeah.
A few more happy riders on Falcon.
Finally, we made it up to the station, rode the thing, got jostled around a bit, and moved on.
This one won't be my favorite Eurofighter.
The ventilation system coming out of the Falcon station is ... interesting.
Hey, why weren't we invited to the Party Zone?
This is the only picture I have of the park's third coaster, and the coaster isn't even in the shot -- just the lengthy queue. This is Kikkerachtbaan, a Zierer Tivoli model, and a kiddie coaster I really just didn't feel like riding.
There are very few of these outside of Europe, which is a shame, because they're quite good. I got on the one at Holiday Park in 2016. I've also been on the similar Sky Roller at Liseberg, both in 2016 and later on this trip.
For those who haven't been on one, the big arm rotates around, close to the ground near the station and up in the air on the opposite side.
Individual riders can control the wings...
...opting for either a calm flight...
...or a dizzying spin cycle.
Each of the vehicles on this one is themed to a country.
You could fly like Brazil.
Perhaps the UK or EU are more your style.
Andrew went with ... Cuba?
Chris also rode in the cycle before mine.
This is where I'd put pictures of the splash boat or the top spin, if I had any.
I do not.
So instead, some pictures of the Rodelbanan -- the alpine slide.
It's a two-track alpine slide that climbs the dune, and then slides back down.
Yet another attraction with a long queue, which kept me from riding, though many other people in the group did.
This is the start of the lift hill, as the slide heads up the dune.
I would also be heading up the dune, but for a different reason.
The sign pointing to the left says "Uitkijktoren" -- literally, "out look tower." You can figure out the rest.
The paved trail to the tower is closed off to bikes and scooters.
It goes right alongside the alpine slide.
Nearing the top, and also nearing the top of the alpine slide.
Here's the starting line for the slide -- this is where each rider pauses and waits for a green light, signifying that the next rider is far enough down.
You're asked to keep a distance of 25 meters apart, but with all the trees and curves, it might not be easy to see that far ahead.
Given that there's no restraint system, these alpine slides do come with a small amount of danger.
However, it sounded like this one was fairly tame.
From the top of the dune, you can watch the riders on their way up the lift hill.
Top-of-the-lift artistic shot ... but we've got a guest.
Enjoy your ride.
I timed out my visit to the top of the hill to catch most of the TPR group on their way up.
So we've got Andrew...
As for me, I couldn't hop a ride down, so I headed over to the top of the dune.
This is the Uitkijktoren -- the lookout tower built near the dune's highest point.
Many parks have observation towers that function as rides, but this may be the first I've visited with an actual lookout tower at the top of a hill.
Before I climbed the tower, though, I had one more thing to do.
There are several trails that lead away from the tower, further into the natural landscape of the dunes.
On this trail, just west of the tower, is the highest point on the dune.
In earlier trip reports, I visited: * Vaalserberg, the highest point in the Limburg province. * Groot Valkenisse, the highest point in the Zeeland province. * Urk, the highest point in the Flevoland province.
...and also Vlaggeduin, the /second/ highest point in South Holland.
Well, this clump of grass next to the trail is the highest point in South Holland.
...or, actually, it might be this sandy, grassy area closer to the tower. Either way, that's four Dutch provincial high points completed in the span of a week and a half. There are 12 Dutch provinces, so that leaves 8 more to go some time in the future.
I like visiting high points, and I like visiting theme parks, but never before have I done both at the same time.
So, anyway, let's climb the tower.
A look down at the top of the alpine slide lift.
Some binoculars to check out the distant views. I'd be fine with my zoom lens.
The view down into the park isn't much to speak of.
It's so covered in trees that you can't even see any of the rides.
The tallest slide complex at the water park is visible.
This ornamental thing is on top of one of the big dry slide towers in the playground area.
Otherwise, much of the view consists of a whole bunch of trees.
Close by, you can see the buildings in in the town of Wassenar.
Further way, the taller buildings in the bigger city of Leiden.
Leiden was a city I visited earlier in the trip, and some of the buildings looked familiar from way up here.
Red and brown Dutch roofs.
One of many churches in the area.
A double-decker train scurries past a wind farm in the distance.
A big indoor ski facility in Zoetermeer called SnowWorld.
Way in the distance, the skyline of Rotterdam.
A little closer, the skyline of The Hague.
Some tall buildings in the background...
...and a dune-set golf course in the foreground.
Resort buildings and highrises in nearby Scheveningen...
...including the big observation wheel on the water. Some day I'll get there.
Looking west, a distant view of the North Sea.
Dunes along the coast...
...and ships out on the water.
If you look really closely in this picture, you can see the blue-and-white bunker on top of Vlaggeduin, the second highest point in the province. It's about three and a half miles away.
Some of these fields in the distance are probably used for growing tulips when in season.
The only hotel on the first part of my trip that I didn't get a picture of was the Hilton Garden Inn in Leiden. Well, here's a picture of it. It's the red building just to the right of the blue building, which, yes, has a giant human figure outside of it. It's a museum called CORPUS. Google describes it as a "giant medically accurate model of the human body with walk-through audio tour from knee to brain." So, like a high-tech Dutch version of Alicia. Maybe we should have gone there.
Finally, a look back /down/ at the natural high point.
It's somewhere down there.
This is as close to a selfie as you're getting in this TR.
Down from the tower, with all of 10-15 minutes to catch the bus, so I had time for just a few more quick pictures on the way out.
Here's a swing ride.
Here's a mini-train ride, with some interesting theming.
The "main street" area has some shops with candy...
...and other random souvenirs.
Trampolines, if you need more ways to injure yourself.
Very large slides...
And ridiculous, potentially dangerous slides!
On a day with less kids around, we might have had too much fun on these, but this was not that day.
Say goodbye to Rick the Frog, and goodbye to Duinrell.
Monday, July 22, 2019 Day 11 Part 3: Rhymes With Schiphol
With Duinrell complete, our theme park adventures in the Netherlands (and Belgium) had come to a close. Here's a map to wrap it all up.
That brought us back to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, where we had a flight to catch to our next destination.
It was not a great experience. Schiphol was very crowded. The wait to check in was insane. The security lines weren't quite as bad. The restaurants inside were very busy. It all just seemed very hectic.
If you take some liberties with the English pronunciation, you can come up with something that rhymes with Schiphol that more closely approximates our opinion of the place.
(and somehow, days later, it'd get worse...)
So, to continue the travelogue, a short photo set on our departure from the Netherlands.
Barry and Daniel are ready to travel*
*after waiting for a half hour in the check-in line
Behind security at Schiphol, in one of the main "lounge" areas.
The airport was quite busy.
Several TPR people tried to get dinner at this place, but I'm not sure if they ever succeeded. Sounds like service was a disaster.
I wanted to do some photography so I split from the group, and found a decent burger place in the quieter area near the "Airport Park" on the second level.
Schiphol's well known for its pre-security outdoor terrace, but it was closed due to renovation work. I did find this smaller outdoor area post-security.
Not an expansive view, but you can see one of the piers that serves international flights.
Whole bunch of big wide-body airplanes out there, from Turkish, Etihad, Air Mauritius, and of course KLM.
I will certainly give the airport credit for having some spots with nice views of the airfield.
I got to catch a few interesting planes, like this KLM 747.
An Aeroflot A321.
An ABC Pharma 747 -- I bet this plane is in heavy demand right now.
And a view with some nice buildings in the background.
As is so often the case at these European airports, we had ... a bus gate.
So here's a POV from the bus.
We passed a whole bunch of other small KLM planes...
...and arrived to ours.
It was not the first time I'd seen this airplane.
This KLM E190 (PH-EZZ) is the exact same plane I flew on when traveling from Gothenburg to Amsterdam at the end of my 2016 Europe trip. Pretty sure it's the first time I've ever been on the same plane twice!
And so, we departed Schiphol...
...high above the Dutch freeways.
With a view of the reflection from the setting sun on the North Sea.
Schiphol Airport's multitude of runways...
...it looks so small from up here.
Planes taxiing to take off behind us.
A view of Amsterdam on the way out.
The city center, the central station, and NEMO are all visible from up here.
A wider view over the city.
The port area closer to the sea.
A flashback to the early part of the trip -- that's the Lelystad Airport and the Aviodrome museum, with the 747 on display at the left side.
I know this picture is terrible, but that's Walibi Holland in the middle. You can kind of make out the Ferris wheel.
And then, we arrived. Or, we have pryzloty'd.
Welcome to Krakow for the first-ever TPR excursion to Poland!
I know everyone hated Duinrell, but I really think we are all just spoiled. We're not used to going to crowded parks with no skip the line programs or special filming. The choice was to go here for a bit, or spend some more time at the horrid Schipol airport!
The park does have a lot of potential and had great poffertjes!
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