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European Spooktacular - Trip report

Satanspropaganda

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And we're off! Our slightly misjudged and entirely a bit too ambitious two parter trip to get spooky in Europe (and the UK) has now begun

Day One
5:35pm - We departed Manchester on a very crowded flight to Barcelona.
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Sadly the trip got off to a bad start as an entirely too drunk British older gentleman took it upon himself to corner me and abuse me about the way I look. He then racially abused another passenger and ended up holding the flight up by over half an hour as the Spanish authorities took his passport and arrested him.

We did however find a lovely late night burger bar that did delicious vegan food and good craft beer, so I tried to soothe myself with indulgence and try to ignore the fact a man laid into me.

Thankfully we ended up at our hotel safely and got in at a reasonable enough time. After an estrella or two got some good rest in prep for the following days

For those wondering about Spain's entry procedure, they checked our passports and then had a separate checkpoint to check our health forms, which included our vaccination/recovery/test proof on them. It was incredibly efficient and well organised

Day two

We awoke in a lovely air conditioned hotel room in the centre of Barcelona, got a delicious vegan breakfast in (actually a coincidence) a fully vegan organic place by our hotel and headed to Tibidabo!

Our journey was a little hectic, marred by a combination of slightly messy Google directions and a few closed routes, we arrived 45 mins later than planned. But that didn't seem to be a massive issue, we arrived at the delightful Funicular and ascended the mountain with a mostly empty carriage for company.

Obviously our first stop was Muntanya Russa! We weren't here only for cred reasons, but also... We were excited for the first of the trip!
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This coaster really surprised us, it wasn't insanely fast and although it was high up (like my god, those views from the lift hill), it wasn't tall. However it pulled some good g-forces for the entire ride, straight after the drop until the large airtime hill, we had a lovely combination of gs that left us grinning all the way through. The final helix was also great fun. I'm not the best at annotating coasters as this is my first TR and Muntanya Russa is not going to be in my top ten by any means, but it was a lot of fun and worth a few rides for sure.

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After that we decided we'd tackle a few of the other attractions. Although Tibidabo has some rather old and unique attractions, our favourite was definitely the chair swings. I know they're a bit plain, but being swung out against the backdrop of the entirity of Barcelona was just a real treat. This isn't to say we didn't love the views from the ferris wheel and other panoramic attractions by any means, but the park doesn't have many hugely exciting attractions so the chair swings ticked all our boxes!

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Since Tibidabo was a late addition to the trip I had not done my due research and sadly was not aware of Krüeger Hotel ahead of time. Thankfully the facade piqued our interest... Roughly 5 mins after they closed it for the early afternoon! However being day one of our Halloween Spooktacular, we couldn't miss a chance to get our horror on. We posted up with a few drinks and waited for the next showtime

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Thankfully our patience more than paid off as they announced a 5pm opening for the Halloween edition of Krüeger Hotel! We hopped in line and what followed was by no means intensely scary, but one of the best themed and most intricately costumed scare experiences of our lives.

I don't want to give too many spoilers for those who may go, but as a massive horror movie lover, I was grinning from ear to ear (behind my mask). The attention to detail was incredible and the actors (although we had no clue what they were saying) were menacing and wholly into their roles. A few of the scares got us quite well (for some reason they targeted us over the two families with kids, what gives? 😜) and we had an absolute blast!

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After finishing up, we took the funicular back down the mountain and headed into town. We ended the day with some sightseeing. There was so much incredible architecture I kind of regret only having a few hours to see as much as we could, however the gothic quarter really blew me away. So did the Sagrada Familia which I never really grasped the scale of from photos!
We then got lovely food, followed it with a few too many cocktails in a rock bar and now we're holed up in the hotel getting ready for our early morning journey to Portaventura 😄

Tomorrow I finally get to cross some long awaited coasters off my list and get to do it in 25° weather. I absolutely cannot wait!

Thanks for reading and please let me know if I'm not putting enough detail/enough photos or just any thoughts on this. We have another 13 parks to go and I obviously want to share it in a way CF can enjoy along too 😊
 

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Satanspropaganda

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Day three
So day three started on a bit of a back foot, our train to portaventura was delayed and then ultimately cancelled at Terragona with little communication, so we had to transfer over to rail replacement coaches for the final leg of the journey. Then upon arrival, Hotel Gold River was not signposted anywhere and after a 15 minute walk with luggage, we were sent back to the park to wait for a minivan to take us to the hotel. Although our day would go to on to be much better than this start would have us believing, we found lack of communication seemed to be the biggest problem with PortAventura

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After getting our room keys/park passes we headed in and made a beeline straight to the big boys of the park. As I jokingly remarked "B&Ms for breakfast" (we hadn't managed to source any vegan grub just yet) we entered the very short queue for Shambhala. 25 minutes later...

My god what a coaster! Not quite as intensely airtime filled as the likes of Hyperion, but just a stunning experience all around. We were both a bit stunned when we stepped off, on some of the airtime hills it felt a bit like when you pick up a sim with a giant hand, just being pulled from our seats from above

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Our second course of B&Ms for breakfast was of course Dragon Khan. With a ten minute queue we were ecstatic to get this checked off early!
The actual layout is quite insane, with inversion after inversion packing the second half of the course. However it really is struggling from some rattle nowadays and it took some force on our part to keep our head from smacking into the all too hard restraints. That being said, once we got the right position for our necks it was a forceful and really enjoyable coaster. The corkscrew really pulled some great Gs and we can't wait for rerides on this!

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Finally some good f*#*#ng food! The vegan options aren't rampant, but there's now enough that each themed land has two or three options. The standard vegan burger was delicious though and getting to sit with food and a beer watching the Shambhala splashdown was lovely

We then went on a bit of a ride sweep, starting with Tutiki Splash (it was rather warm), we got absolutely drenched and it may be the wettest I've been from a ride with the exception of Valhalla. We then continued our way round through the lands. This included our first and definitely our only furious headache, god damn you guys were not wrong, Baco is rough! As a side note for anyone going PA, unless you're desperate for the cred, it really isn't worth the headache and neck pain.

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As a side note, the park is so well decorated for Halloween, we keep marvelling at the sheer quantity of pumpkins and skeletons!

We then headed round to the Far West to finish off the creds for the day. Stampida was fantastic fun, the red side definitely smoother and a better layout than the blue side. Tomahawk was short and sweet, but very smooth for an older woodie and has definitely aged better than Stampida. Then we rode el diablo, which was a really smooth older arrow coaster with a strange layout! It had three lift hills, but didn't really do anything after each of them, it was by no means bad and the younger folk on the ride seemed to enjoy it, however it was definitely a one and done!

Since we were in the area we then did Hurakan Condor, drop towers always make me anxious, however this one was really fun! The view out over the park really puts the scale of Shambhala and Red Force into perspective. The drop is exhilarating as well and they wait till the last second before braking

Of course we weren't just here for the ride lineup, it's Halloween season and we wanted to celebrate properly!

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We decided to start the festivities with Horror in Texas, a really fun horror maze with tenuous ties to it's theming bar the occasional sombrero and a saloon themed room. However some of the scares got us and it was worth doing! The sets were excellent inside too

However we did hit another communication snag with our "Halloween passport" and sadly due to it were not able to do Apocalypse Maya or REC. We were not informed our passes needed exchanging for wristbands and we actually missed the exchange time. Thankfully we found a member of staff who after a bit of a conversation agreed to exchange our passes, however it meant we missed the opening times for AM and REC.

After some Horror in Texas, we grabbed some rerides on Shambhala.

We sadly then struggled to get food as apparently most the food outlets closed at 4pm. This wasn't really signposted or on the app, so we ended up throwing away around half an hour trying to source something to eat! Thankfully the hot dog stall over by Far West were still serving and we refuelled for the evening with vegan hotdogs.

We ended the full park day by riding Angkor and declaring water gun war with a lovely Spanish family and left quite soaked on account of the father's great aim

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The park closing didn't mean the day was over though, as something sinister was brewing at the Caribe water park. La Isla Maldita is a sprawling horror maze that takes over a good portion of the water park for the Halloween season and we were so excited to experience it.

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The water park was filled with atmospheric lighting, while smoke billowed out of the maze and a man dressed as a skeleton DJed, playing party tunes for us all as we queued. They had a few scare actors interacting with us in the queue, they definitely seemed to take a liking to myself and Khloe and we had some very interesting conversations with a Hamnibal Lecter.

It came to our turn and we ended up paired with the Spanish couple we did Horror in Texas with! They were fellow members of the alternative community and loved horror mazes. They also kept telling the actors we needed a quick catch up in English, which really enhanced our experiences. The four of us headed into the fifteen minute experience giddy with excitement!

The actual maze was fantastic, utilising pyrotechnics, lots of loud noise and plenty of sets. We went through a pirate cove, a padded cell, a zombie rave and more! One of the scariest moment included a terrifying person out in the pool soaked in blood. Some of the scares were a little predictable at first, but they kept coming thick and fast and by the end we were being consistently got by everything. We were also just so impressed by how many actors were involved, there must have been a minimum of 70, but most likely more!

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We were then allowed to walk back to the hotel through the park at night, which was a very cool and somewhat eerie experience. The Halloween decorations looked great in the dark

We headed to the restaurant at the hotel and then had a few cocktails to round out the day. The staff here are all so lovely, we ended up chatting to the head bartender for so long he gave us free shots! It was a perfect end to a great but long day

Roll on today... Red force has been in the distance teasing us since we arrived and we're very ready for it
 

Satanspropaganda

Roller Poster
Day Four

Last nights drinks left us a little shaky this morning, so it took a bit longer to get ready than planned. However we made our breakfast reservation on time and got some form of edible food? Their vegan selection is very much slim pickings in the resort! We were actually served a slab of cold uncooked tofu sliced up, vegetable sticks, bread, jam and some fruit. We made do and tried to eat enough to power ourselves before heading into the park!

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As a side note, the resort is incredible. So much to see and the theming really blew us both away. We were in the Callaghans and the whole building was intricately decorated!

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We started the day with a few laps on Shambhala to blast away the last of the previous night's excesses and followed it with a quick go on Dragon Khan. All that I said above still stands... For now...

Then we thought around midday was the perfect time to head to Ferrari land and finally rewrite our highest and fastest coaster records!

Ferrari Land absolutely makes no sense as a separate park. Red Force aside, the rest of the park leaves a lot to be desired, especially when the shows aren't running and most the restaurants are shut! It's 1 major attraction and a few side quests at best.

However we were there with one thing in mind and it was almost a walk on.

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Red Force - man what an exhilarating 25s or so! However it's a bit too rough, we loved the incredible sensation of being catapulted up 360ft at 111mph, but the ensuing headache meant lapping it was totally off the cards. I also don't quite understand why they didn't try and lengthen the ground section a little bit and utilise the speed for a proper airtime hill? But anyway, that's just me nitpicking, overall we really enjoyed it, just could have done with it being a tiny bit less rattly.

The rest of the attractions were not great. The double drop towers were fun enough, but the Flying Theatre was by far the worst we've done and the other attractions weren't much to write home about. We did them so we could break up our laps on Red Force, however after two hours we decided we missed the dreamlike Shambhala and headed back to the main park.

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After a quick pitstop for a vegan hotdog we decided to do the rapids as they were a complete walk on! The landscaping for around the ride was fantastic and the water proved to be very choppy, we both left appropriately soggy.

We then intended to head over to Shambhala, but jumped on a strange spinning flat ride that had caught Khloe's attention. I can't say it was much to write home about, but it was a strange setup. Like a teacups that also has the hinge on one side like an enterprise.

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Then on our journey we got quite heavily sidetracked by a rather strange zombie Queen performance? It appeared out of nowhere and included a zombie Freddy and some very athletic builders, dancing and miming to Spanish covers of Queen. Utterly bizarre and somehow completely captivating! We also later on caught another random show where Woody (the shows mascot), danced around in a poncho to Mexican music and interacted with the audience, it was once again another unscheduled and random little thing that we couldn't stop watching

We then grabbed a quick ride on Hurakan Condor as we're both head over heels for it before actually making our way to Shambhala.
It was a complete walk on!

What we had intended to be a quick pick me up ride turned into Khloe and I lapping our favourite ride in the park. For some reason on these laps, the trim brakes were much weaker than the earlier rides, leading to an absolutely crazy amount of airtime, especially on the floater hill! For our ride on back row, I reckon we spent a good 30% of the duration out of our seats! It really was fantastic and such a surprise to be able to just keep running round for more

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We then grabbed some drinks and made a beeline to the Bang Bang Halloween show at 4:30pm. Our best guess is this is an adapted version of their wild west stunt show? However it was just insane. Obviously we didn't get the story or much context on account of our non existent Spanish knowledge, however the comedy, stunts and production were all top notch.

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The lead character was Beetlejuice and from what we gather he wanted a cursed book that some villagers had locked away. Somehow from that premise we had a straight 30mins of stunts, comedy and pyrotechnics that left us laughing to near the point of tears!

We followed this with the only horror maze running today, La Muerta Vida, which was a day of the dead themed maze, new for 2021. Obviously it has nothing on La Isla Muldita, however it's miles ahead of Horror in Texas and may be one of the only ways to give someone a crippling fear of mariachi bands! Once again the costumes, makeup and sets were fantastic and it was impossible to tell we were in a restaurant building

Finally we decided to round the day out with a quick drop on Hurakan Condor and a few final laps of Shambhala to finish it all perfectly

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For those who may have wondered about the queue times and whatnot, this was pretty much the situation all day. We got very lucky with the timing of our trip

Sadly we'd then hoped to head to hotel El Paso for the vegan Fajitas, but it turns out that hotel and as we were then informed, all other hotels, were closed! Something I wish they'd popped on the website and app as it would have saved us a long trek. We then struggled to source any vegan food on the resort and ultimately had to order pizza from a local place

We've just come back from the bar where Fabio (the lovely bartender from yesterday) made us some great cocktails and have now packed up ready to go to Paris tomorrow!

Enjoyed these mate, look forward to seeing how you get on with Red Force!
Thank you! See above for my thoughts, we loved it to a point, but just wish it was a little less rough

I have a thought - I reckon you can safely ignore the opinion of the old ****er on the plane. You both look fabulous!
Thank you so much! It was a bummer, but yes, we're happy in ourselves and he's evidently a miserable old git.
 

Satanspropaganda

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Long awaited update! Sorry for the delay, but the indulgence in Paris on Day Five and the Disney bubble craziness on day six left me quite exhausted

Day Five
The travel day arrived...
Trust me when I say leaving PortAventura was the last of my wants when 9am rolled round. All I wanted to do was head straight back in for another day of, Shambhala, horror mazes and yards of estrella! However we had places to be and that place was Barcelona Airport at 12:05pm.

We set off to find out the train was still not running between PortAventura and Tarragona! However we were assured it was no problem and that the rail replacement bus would have us there in good time to get our train from Tarragona onwards. Sadly this did not turn out to be the case and a 50 minute wait was what we got when we got off the bus as our train had already been and gone. Sadly this ate up our entire leeway window thanks to how late the trains start running from PA and from then on every second counted. Long story short that train broke down, we had to get a taxi the rest of the way and whatnot... But we made it in time and hopped the flight to Paris

Thankfully upon arrival everything else went quite smoothly and it wasn't too long before we had fancy vegan burgers and world class cocktails in hand.

Day six
Disney time had arrived! Now I know it isn't exactly a rollercoaster filled park (especially with RNRC/Iron Man coaster shut), but I'm a huge Disney fan and so is Khloe. We hopped the train from our hotel to Chessy and headed to hotel Cheyanne to get our magic passes and drop off our luggage. Thankfully all went very smoothly and next thing we knew we were headed the parks

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We started at Walt Disney Studios to get the usual run of attractions. With wait times hovering at 10 mins for everything except Crush's coaster, we made short work of the park. Ratatouille was, as always, one of the most perfect dark rides that's ever been produced. A great example of Disney imagineering really hitting it out the park. It was Khloe's first time riding it too and they were enamoured

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Tower Of Terror having three storylines now is a whole load of fun and I forgot just how great the drop is! Even if its a small drop, the stomach flying feeling is unbeaten for me. Crush's coaster was another nice reride for me and a first for Khloe, it's surprisingly forceful for a family spinner and I always love the intro section

RC Racer was somehow the only ride at DLP I hadn't gotten on yet, so we did that and quite enjoyed it. There's a wonderful feeling of hangtime and weightlessness when it stalls near vertically. Nothing too fantastic, but basically the launched coaster take on a swinging ship

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We even had chance to hop on the brand new cars road trip! It was quite fun and did have a fantastic rethemed version of disaster canyon, however it really needed one more scene to make it feel like a full ride as right now it's two static sets sandwiching the canyon scene. However it was sweet and the audio commentary by Cruz and Sally was really funny and sweet.

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We even bumped into Jessie and Woody on our way out!

With WDS done, we headed straight into Parc Disneyland for the remaining 7 hours of the day. I'm sure enough people here have done DLP, or know a lot about it, so I shan't delve too deep into ride by ride breakdowns. However on day one we had over 20 rides in the seven hours, with time for a few nice character meets throughout the day.

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For context, Disneyland was the middle of our trip as my gift to Khloe as they lost their birthday trip to DLP to lockdown two last November! So although I've been around five times, Khloe's last visit was when they were ten, so it was all very new for them

Our highlights were obviously Big Thunder Mountain, which although a little forceless when compared to the coasters we'd ridden in previous days, it has this wonderful feeling of actually being on an out of control mine train and we loved each of our rides on it. It's definitely a little more whippy at the back than the front though

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Phantom Manor post refurbishment is such a joy, the animatronics look incredible and the whole thing is such a blast. It actually has a fairly sinister air to it nowadays, especially with the husband animatronic (if you've been on you know what I mean), which although I do adore Haunted Mansion in WDW, it does lack that more sinister edge.

Of course hyperspace mountain was great as always, I noticed the projections looked a bit better than they did in 2019, which may just be my excitement to be back in the park. However if not and they have improved it (they have also added themed Premier access scanners), then I sadly doubt we're getting the OG theme back in time for the 30th celebration next spring

Khloe also wanted to do Indie, no matter how awful I warned them it'd be. So I suffered through that for the second time ever. I really don't get how something can be so forceless and so awful in one go? At least I got to see all the pretty theming again I guess...

Thankfully we redeemed it with a ride on Pirates, which as always was fantastic! Having done Piraten in Batavia since the last time I did POTC I wasn't sure how it'd hold up, however I still found the truly immense scale of the ride to be awe inspiring and the little details perfect

Apart from that, we basically rode everything else in the park and had a hugely successful day. The character meets were wonderful too. I'm a huge fan of Disney characters and they really went out of their way with these "selfie spots" to make them magical in their own way.

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This included plenty of opportunities to meet the characters in their 2021 Halloween costumes all over the park.

Food wise DLP has got their act together for us vegans finally, we enjoyed a delicious vegan chilli for lunch and it was perfect fuel on a mildly cold Parisian day to keep us going for ride after ride on Star Tours (Khloe's favourite ride) and BTM.

After the park day ended and we waved goodbye to Mickey and Minnie at the Main Street Railroad Station, we went to Vapiano to grab some food and cocktails before retiring to the ranch for day two of Disney!

Day Six
We set out to spend day six reriding the few star attractions and then collecting every Villain meet we could. Fellow Disney fans will understand how rare some of the Villain meets can be and we wanted to get our Halloween on with the spookiest of the bunch!

We grabbed a sandwich from Earl of Sandwich on our way in for EMH and then hit up Big Thunder, Phantom Manor, Buzz Lightyear and Hyperspace mountain, all within 30 mins! It was a hugely successful start to the day

We then set out to get as many characters as we could. Starting with Chewie (he responds and it's amazing) and some Death troopers (villains of sorts?). We then were lucky to meet the Queen of Hearts followed swiftly by Jafar. Then we got to meet the star couple themselves in their full seasonal attire

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As usual the meet was adorable and really fun. It also came with once again the added bonus of watching parents kick off when they and their children can't cut the line then staring with disgust at us two ahead of them 😅 a very common occurrence these few days. We had one dad try and barge me to the ground to beat us in a queue, one try to goad Khloe into an argument, children mask less hissing at us?? It was a strange set of occurrences and not anything I experienced at WDW!

We caught a few "character cavalcdes" too, including Remy on his custom car dancing along to music, the harvest float and the Princess float. These little sprinkles of magic really did a lot to bring the feeling back to the park (especially with the castle half covered in scaffolding)

We had a few more great meets, Cinderella was a lovely meet, especially for Khloe as the two had a lovely chat. Whereas for me I had the most fun with Jack Skellington!

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He was the same Jack I had the pleasure of meeting in 2019 and it was a hilarious conversation from start to finish. Such a great time 😄

Following this we tried the new vegan burrito from Fuento Del Oro, which was very filling. The chilli seemed to be the chilli from the day before, however when added to a hearty serving of rice, pico de gallo and guacamole, it was even better than before.

We then popped to the studios for a few more rides on TOT before hopping into line for the villains meet.

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The Villains meet was incredible, they loaded 30mins worth of guests into the hall and then had a dance number prepped for each Villain as they arrived. My absolute favourite meet of all time is the Evil Queen and she popped out first, so I was over the moon. All four were fantastic though, they paired a face character with a mask character so each pairing could interact properly. We had such a blast! The evil Stepmother and Jafar were a hoot too

Sadly we missed Malificent and Hook as they left the meet as we arrived! However upon re-entering the main park, we then saw them enter the castle stage, which was also decked out for meets and we lucky just caught them!

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We headed to dinner at Captain Jack's and after a lovely conversation with the man himself, who was hanging around above the doorway we had a great three course meal! The actual feeling of dining in there is quite surreal as it genuinely loses the feeling of being a theme park restaurant very quickly and if it weren't for the boats popping through, it'd be very easy to believe I was actually in a dark secluded area on a Carribean island enjoying a meal. The new three course vegan option is fantastic though and left us full for hours.

We followed the meal with a ride on pirates and then rounded out the day with rerides on Star Tours, Phantom Manor and Big Thunder Mountain. It was pretty much a perfect day, still a load of rides done alongside meeting 16 characters and doing a lot of relaxing as my fibromyalgia is getting extremely bad on this trip and thus I can't stay on my feet as much as I'd like to

Report from day seven to follow soon with more details and photos 😄 It's fair to say this has been a great trip so far bar the one or two issues with the travel and food options.
 

Satanspropaganda

Roller Poster
Day Seven
Somehow we luckily arrived the same week Disney debuted a vegan breakfast, so we started our day all you can eat style and rolled out to the parks appropriately stuffed

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We headed in for a few hours to grab a few final rerides. Starting with Big Thunder, quickly meeting Stitch and then heading over to Discoveryland for a final Hyperspace mountain and Star Tours ride.

We also ran into this fancy fella...
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Who was absolutely intimidating in every way. This meet was incredible, it's a shame we had to keep masks on for it as it was inside, but Darth Vader talked and it surprised the hell out of us. Such a fun meet and an amazing way to end our stay at Disney

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We then grabbed our bags from the resort and hopped the first train back to Paris to grab another few creds at a nice little park we'd only just become aware of...

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J'ardin D'Acclimatation! What an odd little spot. A beautiful garden setting for a +3 and most the rides have the curious habit of trying to break you in the last moment!

We arrived at the lunch break for the main few coasters and had a bit of a wait to get Speedy Rockets. However the wild mouse and powered coaster were up. So we climbed on into a very disgruntled looking mouse and gave the wild mouse a go

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The first half was a little forceless, but then the spinning was unlocked and we had some quite forceful turns, ended up giggling throughout the remainder of the ride. Nothing stellar, but good fun!

The powered mine train was next and once again, the first half was a bit forceless, then all of a sudden it thrashed us around the last portion of the track. I think I bruised my shoulder! Really wild end

We then managed to get on Speedy Rockets after a little break for a drink. We'd only done one gerstlauer bobsled before, so getting on a brand new one was quite exciting. Our first few rides on it were a little lacklustre, but after half an hour or so it was flying through the course quite nicely and turned out to be a lot of fun!

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Finally we had the Chinese dragon coaster, which we mainly did just to complete the four. However it turned out to be wayy too much fun as the final portion of the ride speeds up and gets really violent for a few seconds. We were giggling relentlessly as we pulled into the station

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The rest of the park was lovely and very picturesque! We were surprised by a peacock popping up behind us and a few other lovely little animals passing us by. However we sadly couldn't get Kinetorium as it wasn't running when we were there. But we had a lovely few hours of rerides and sightseeing in the glorious sunshine

We then popped by a vegan Pâtisserie for some train supplies and headed off to Brussels. Our friend met us in a small town on the border and picked us up from the train so we could catch up and save some cash on the train side!

We ended the night in a lovely gothic bar enjoying cheap cocktails listening to 90s industrial. A pretty perfect day!

Next up... Kondaa...
 

Satanspropaganda

Roller Poster
Day eight
The first of the Belgian pair was up today and we were more than ready. Up at 7 and on the first connection we could get to Walibi Belgium. It was quite the atmosphere on the train as large groups of very excitable teenagers yelled and played music en route, while Khloe and I plotted out our day plan

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We arrived in good time, went past the security/ticket checks and joined the slowly growing crowd at the park gates with fifteen minutes to spare. Khloe and I studied the park map intensely to try and work out the best route to Kondaa and scheming how to beat the younger, faster and not-8-days-into-a-roadtrip crowd to the gates of Kondaa. Well the time arrived, we moved as fast as we could and made it in the first major group to the gates...

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But alas, Kondaa was not running! Sadly the fog meant they were not even testing yet and were going to possibly open it around lunchtime. We felt a bit deflated and after a quick moment, decided to nip to Tiki-Waka before the crowds got similar news at Kondaa and also made the same decision

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Our second Gerstlauer bobsled in two days and easily the better of the pair! It wasn't hugely forceful but had some really fun banked turns and the helix at the end was good. Overall we liked the coaster and it was perfect for families! But it doesn't stack up to G'sengte Sau still.

As we exited Tiki Waka I noticed a test car going up Kondaa's hill. We dashed over, past the now 35 minute queue for Tiki Waka, just in time to be let into the queue line for Kondaa! Within under a minute we were sat on back row.

Let me tell you, they weren't kidding on the 15 points of airtime... Even on our early runs we were experiencing intense pops and extended floater airtime. The overbanked airtime hill absolutely flings you out your seat, it reminded us both of Taron but with a little more force! The only thing is the non inverting cobra roll doesn't actually feel like much, in the middle of quite an intense layout it doesn't feel worth the hype. We lapped it a few times till the queue became a bit of a bore and then headed to the park to clear a few more rides

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I know the general consensus on boomerangs is not fantastic, but I personally love them, so we headed to Cobra next. It was the standard layout, just the same as Speed of Sound at their sister park, but it's been maintained better and rides a lot smoother. A lot of fun and not too much of a headbanger

We then did the shuttle coaster Psyké Underground, which I did 0 research into and the loop took me by fantastic surprise. The ride was short, but quite fun and as it all plays out in the dark it, so feels a lot faster than it actually is! Plus has its own theme tune which always wins points with us

After this we headed over and did the minetrain Calamity Mine, which rides smoothly with a rough layout. We got appropriately thrashed about for a fair amount of the layout and the landscaping was pretty well done. The queue also offered us some great views of Kondaa navigating the non inverting cobra roll.

Then we rode the final open roller coaster, Pulsar was damaged during the flood and the SLC was down (thankfully?), Werewolf, a ride in which we both got the truly learned the definition of being stapled. With a rubber lap bar pressed deeply into our abs and hips we navigated our first Vekoma woodie in pain from the start! The actual layout was fantastic and a bit chaotic, but all the forces were sapped out of it by the lap bar slowly crushing deeper into each of us. We felt a bit cheated as it was a well designed and maintained wooden coaster, completely trashed by the restraints.

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We had a quick break for lunch, where we found a decent enough vegan burger to eat. We then decided to start our second set of Kondaa laps off while it sat at a nice 20 minute wait. The queues all seemed to be over estimated, so 15 minutes later we took our seats and the marathonning was about to begin.

Sadly, our time had come. Khloe this morning joked to me "We're really due a breakdown on a coaster sometime, we ride so many!" and I nodded and agreed...
Off we went up the lifthill when all of a sudden it stopped. To their credit, Walibi were very fast on the issue, maintenance were on site within ten minutes and they had evacuated the brake run train within that time. However since we'd hit the lift hill, we couldn't be released. Poor Khloe had needed the loo since we started queuing and next thing we know, we're stapled in for an indeterminate amount of time! From what we could gather from the mechanics broken English explanation, the brake run train had triggered a sensor abnormally and it shut down the lift immediately. They kept restarting the chain and letting us creep a little further up before stopping it. Anyway, long story short we ended up finally going over the top of the lift after around 25 minutes of confusion and waiting. It was quite the euphoric feeling to crash into the first airtime hill at 70mph after the whole ordeal.
To their credit, Walibi kept us updated throughout and even gave us speedy passes for the ride as an apology.

After the ordeal Khloe was a bit shaken up, so we went and did a few non lift hill rides. We did the popcorn shooting game which was absolutely fantastic fun. They really went to the nines on the theming and the interactivity was great. Especially the little CRT televisions in the centre room playing a SAW parody, they were actually interactive and worked with the blasters

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We then had a quick go on the top spin, which sadly had none of the effects running, but was on a very sequence and was a nice stop gap before we returned to Kondaa to end the day.

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Our Speedy passes had us on within 4 minutes, Khloe was mildly nervous getting back on after the near miss with the bathroom situation earlier. But we soldiered on and had the absolute best ride yet! It was running a good bit faster than in the morning and the bunny hops had us thrown around left, right and centre with no remorse. It was fantastic, we stepped straight out the shop back into the queue and kept lapping it till the park closed. Definitely a new top ten coaster for sure and a bit above Shambhala for me in airtime terms

We then joined the meandering crowd back to the train station and headed back to Brussels for the night. We found a good vegan takeaway and I'm now sipping my way a few local beers in bed

Bring on Ride to Happiness tomorrow!
 
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HeartlineCoaster

Giga Poster
Just catching up on all this, love the ambitious itinerary and some really nice photo work in there. I'm jealous and missing the Belgian pair already.

Can't help but notice a distinct lack of Tutankhamon love at Walibi - have they broken it already? or did you forget they have two shooting dark rides? 😁
 

Satanspropaganda

Roller Poster
Just catching up on all this, love the ambitious itinerary and some really nice photo work in there. I'm jealous and missing the Belgian pair already.

Can't help but notice a distinct lack of Tutankhamon love at Walibi - have they broken it already? or did you forget they have two shooting dark rides? 😁
Thank you so much for reading along! Glad you liked the photos, I've been trying my best with them 😄

Now that one is a funny story! I actually wasn't aware of what it was till 5:30pm when we googled it and then we had a difficult choice, final two rerides on Kondaa, or Tutankhamon 😅 we will be back though and definitely going to ride it
 
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Howie

Strata Poster
Just been binge-reading this whole report, really enjoying it, great effort, Sir. Very jealous of the Shambhala marathons and the Kondaa marathons. Good work!
I also second what Farley' said - you both look pretty darn cool to me (well... your hair's a bit dodg', but otherwise 👌).
😉
 

Satanspropaganda

Roller Poster
Midway through the day at plopsa update: Ride to happiness is absolutely amazing in every sense. However we feel very uncomfortable at this park, everyone keeps staring at us very intensely and it's getting very weird. I know we dress a bit uniquely, but it's groups of like 20 people all staring us down for minutes at a time in queues and making comments that really sucks. I know enough French/Dutch to get snippets and basically everyone is saying nasty stuff about us? Really weird feeling to feel so out of place.

Just gonna keep marathonning RTH and try to not think about it, but it is an unwelcoming feeling
 

Satanspropaganda

Roller Poster
Day nine
Finally the day arrived for us to experience Ride to Happiness. I cannot explain how I felt on that train this morning, just complete jitters as our train approached De Panne. Obviously it took a bit to perk up as the 6am start was a bit hefty, but we made it to the park in good time and headed straight to Ride to Happiness.

Now I'm going to preface the rest of this report with an update from my earlier post. Today we genuinely felt quite unwelcome thanks to a lot of very rude parents and younger teenagers. It was a bit of a bum note for our final day of our trip! However we just pushed through as we did want to ride Anubis and Heidi, however it did deter us from venturing too much through the park as my pain levels were high and the limping only worsened the negative attention

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All that said, we did it, we found ourselves standing in front of Ride to Happiness. We tried to take in the view, but giddy excitement got the better of us and since it was a station wait, dashed right on for our first of the day.

I'm going to try and avoid too many superlatives in this ride review, but my god it's very good. So very good. Starting with the themeing, the area is beautiful! The fences, plants and bins have all been custom made to suit the tomorrowland area and styling. The queue utilises a load of nice animatronic components to give life to the "machinery" and a few "holograms" help bring an other worldliness to the entire experience.

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The station itself is stunning, with a very light and open feeling to it. The actual exit of the station for the trains is ordained with this steampunkish set of cogs and a huge screen, which adds some movement to the static cogs, alongside displaying the Tomorrowland avatar person who introduces the ride.

As for the ride itself? It feels like it shouldn't work, I can't describe how, but when watching it, you don't quite get why it works. However from the moment you inch out into the slow and drawn out inversion before the launch track, it feels very freeing and kind of serene. Then of course the launch kicks in, the magnetic spin system kicks it to the nines and you begin flying over an airtime hill spinning in a random direction at any possible speed. The fact that the on board soundtrack kicks in with a heavy beat just as you hit the bottom of the airtime hill is so perfectly timed and just serves to intensify the experience.

I'm not sure running through Element by element is needed, as every single ride we had had different highlights thanks to the random nature of the ride. However the double dive loop when spinning heavily is one of the most confusing and wonderful feelings, you haven't a clue which way is up, down, left or right, just that you feel weightless and amazing.

Over our 13 or so rides we kept finding more and more we loved about the ride. Little details that stood out, the way different elements felt when spinning in a particular direction vs the other and so on...

I always joked that my top ten was unlikely to change until my (now upsettingly cancelled) US roadtrip next year, but that no longer stands. This is easily a top 5.

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We grabbed a ride on Anubis around 11am and after a fairly hefty queue, enjoyed the ride quite a bit. Especially as an older Gerstslauer it runs quite smoothly and bar a jolt or two we enjoyed it thoroughly. However the restraints and seat seemed to want to meet around the groin area and caused the pair of us discomfort in a variety of ways!

We had intended to ride the two kiddy creds after Anubis as they looked like a fair bit of fun, especially K3 Rollerskater. Sadly after an unpleasant queue for Anubis and looking out at the absolutely huge queues for the pair, decided it wasn't going to be worth the possible hour plus queue for each.

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We then popped over to Heidi the ride, the queue once again proved to be hugely deceiving and after a wholly uncomfortable 40+ minute queue we took our seats on the back row.
Thankfully we both had a little more room on this than we did on Werewolf yesterday and thanks to that, had a fantastic run on it. Heidi has been maintained very well and has very little rattle, there isn't much in the way of strong forces or heavy airtime, however it speeds through the layout at a nice pace! The bunnyhops got us out our seat nicely and we had hoped for a reride, but as explained above never did get one

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We also had a quick run on supersplash as it looked like a walk on. However looks can be deceiving when the queue is filled with screaming toddlers and after 30 minutes we finally got on. We primarily rode out of intrigue for the lift inside and thankfully it was worth it for that, the strange rotating lift mechanism with the shutter door at the top was plenty of fun! Sadly the actual ride basically only consists of that, followed by a drop into a bunny hop, then a splashdown and a meandering boat ride back to the station. We're glad we did it to see the lift, but it wasn't worth the children smacking into us and the angry stares we had for existing.

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Then the rest of the day was spent on Ride to Happiness until we had to leave for a train back to Brussels. It was so hard to tear ourselves away from RTH, but we will definitely be returning for more soon!

With that, we headed back and got another takeaway in the hotel room. The trip has been once again absolutely incredible, but I cannot wait to see our lil dog Lucifer again tomorrow and begin to heal up from all the extra Fibro pain this trip has put me in. This was my first big trip since my health problems lead to Fibro last year and I'm proud of what I've achieved, however it's definitely given me some considerations to make when planning for further trips. Thankfully we did get some accessibility help at PA and Disney (although didn't need it due to everything being a walk on at both), so I need to possibly research that further for our next trips. I also may have to sadly consider some more rest days, or shorter trips, but I'll see how I do.

Thank you for anyone who has read along with this TR and hopefully my tone of voice came across well. If we've met, you'll know I'm quite a chipper person and I'm trying to write in an exciting manner! Let me know your thoughts, or if you have any questions also let me know
 
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Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Just catching up on all this, love the ambitious itinerary and some really nice photo work in there. I'm jealous and missing the Belgian pair already.

Can't help but notice a distinct lack of Tutankhamon love at Walibi - have they broken it already? or did you forget they have two shooting dark rides? 😁

Fear not! @Slamming Coastercore and I rode Tutankhamon twice today! And all the fire effects were working. It was excellent :)
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Awesome stuff, enjoyed reading through this one! It sounds like you both had a great time overall.

Give us the rundown then - what was the best of the new Belgian coasters in your opinion? :D
 

Satanspropaganda

Roller Poster
Awesome stuff, enjoyed reading through this one! It sounds like you both had a great time overall.

Give us the rundown then - what was the best of the new Belgian coasters in your opinion? :D
I was going to do a little trip part one postmortem tonight! However for us it was Ride to Happiness 😄 Not to take anything away from how brilliant Kondaa is, but the uniqueness of every single ride on RTH + the insane feelings it creates just blew us away. Spinning through an inversion, followed by sideways into backwards airtime is very hard to top 😅
 

Nicky Borrill

Giga Poster
Great to catch up and read this B, Even though I was following your trip on SM... Hope your friend enjoyed Spanish Jail whilst you had to make do with Shammi B!!! 🙈 🤣


Can't wait to ride RTH soon after what you said on Messenger... You twisted my arm to find a way!!!!
 

Satanspropaganda

Roller Poster
Great to catch up and read this B, Even though I was following your trip on SM... Hope your friend enjoyed Spanish Jail whilst you had to make do with Shammi B!!! 🙈 🤣


Can't wait to ride RTH soon after what you said on Messenger... You twisted my arm to find a way!!!!
Thank you 😄 Glad you liked the writeup! Can't wait to head out for pt 2 next week

Oh you are going to have a blast. Kondaa is right up your street too, straight up ejector machine
 
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