What's new

France & Germany - Post Covid-19 Lockdown

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
Ok, so this will be a very brief report, not because I can’t compose decent reports, I mean, I can’t, but that’s besides the point. The reason is that most of you have visited these parks multiple times, and there’s nothing new I can tell you, except how things are post covid, the new normal so to speak. So this will be a brief report, sharing how I’ve got along on a mini road trip from the UK to Germany, taking in 3 parks.

Day 1:

Ferry from Dover to Calais

completely faff free, no problems whatsoever. French border guard asked for nothing more than my passport, no mention of quarantine France side from him or anywhere / anyone else.

UK guard asked a few questions, (where you headed, business or pleasure) told him we were eventually destined for Europa Park, he seemed excited to hear it was open. Reminded me about quarantine on return, and wished us a fun trip!

Ferry was half empty, and everyone wore masks. And that was it, we’re in France... Drive down to Paris was bliss, hardly any traffic, and onto the first park.

Parc Asterix

My first visit to any of the parks on this trip, but first the covid stuff... Park was quiet, very quiet. All of the usual measures in place and plentiful, but not so much as to spoil the park. Space markers everywhere, plenty of sanni points and again, everyone wearing masks, a small portion of teenagers wearing them around chins at times, but staff constantly reminding them. Staff are also forcing everyone to use sanni before and after riding, and because of this and the masks, no distancing on coasters and no need to stop and sanitise them either.

As predicted by some in the covid thread, mask wearing is absolutely fine on coasters, no sign of any coming off. They’re not selling many photos though 🙈

The park was very quiet, which is kind of sad, very little atmosphere, and plenty of closed food places. But coupled with the lack of a need for distancing on coasters and the fact they were still running multiple trains on everything, meant we got everything done, multiple times.

I’ll keep my thoughts on the park and coasters brief as you’ve all been there and done that...

Pegase Express is a wonderful layout, that walks a fine line between family coaster and thrill coaster. We enjoyed it, but what is with the Thi3teen room? Even having seen from off ride that it’s a switch and goes backwards, you can’t help but sit there expecting the drop, such are the similarities.

zeus looks a LOT better than it rides... Meh.

Trace Du Hourra is not one of the stronger ones of these... Much prefer avalanche for it’s speed and whippy turns. This does have more variation, but it’s boring in comparison.

Goudurix was a surprise, went in expecting Corkscrew, Python or any other MK1200, and was pleasantly surprised by the forces on offer. The butterfly was a grey out moment. The whole thing is fairly smooth... for a classic vekoma.

And finally... Probably controversial here (although I’ve not seen many other opinions on OzIris...) Black Mamba is NOT the best African themed B&M invert in Europe.

All in all I enjoyed Parc Asterix, a nice park with some really nicely themed areas, and some half decent rides... Some areas need some love though... Come to think of it, reminds me of home!

Hotel

Tonight we’re stopping in an Ibis Budget at Reims, before making the early trek over to Europa. No problems. Check in smooth, all surrounding restaurants open (masks compulsory.)
I’ll leave you with some pics, only a handful, and only quick phone jobbies, park photography is pretty much banned when I’ve got the family with me.


BD7641EB-5CD9-4003-AC9D-E0CEEEE33CF1.jpeg

AD1462FD-24E6-4589-9576-7CC0FDDE6566.jpeg
52BED34F-4600-45EC-A9CA-F4FC0286D310.jpeg
217F4966-B6A1-45AD-96E9-83AA9D6E396F.jpeg
 

Attachments

witchfinder

Member
Yeah, good to hear things are running smoothly under the circumstances. The big question really though is whether you return from your trip without contracting the virus. That will give everyone a lot more confidence that some level of normality can resume! ;)

And I agree with @Howie - OzIris is poor compared to Mamba. Goudurix is far from smooth but also nowhere near as bad as most people say - those people are wusses.
 

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
Good work, Borrill! Some very encouraging reading there, hope things continue to go smoothly for you.
Happy to see Goudurix not getting hated on - I quite liked it, me!
You're wrong about OzIris though.
C'est merde. ;)
We all enjoyed it, a lot!!! Really surprised us...

Oz does have a slight pacing issue toward the end, but that starting combination is second only to Nemesis for me. Each to their own, if helix after helix is your thing that’s fair enough ;)


Yeah, good to hear things are running smoothly under the circumstances. The big question really though is whether you return from your trip without contracting the virus. That will give everyone a lot more confidence that some level of normality can resume! ;)

And I agree with @Howie - OzIris is poor compared to Mamba. Goudurix is far from smooth but also nowhere near as bad as most people say - those people are wusses.
I almost expect to bang my head between the restraints of any Vekoma, so when this doesn’t happen, might as well call the thing buttery smooth!!! As for Mamba, see above, never really been that much of a fan, too many helices and not enough variation, Ox felt quite different to most ICs. The pacing issues do ruin that last inversion a little though.

As for catching covid... Anybody put off travelling by that risk should probably just stay put, lock the windows and doors and go off grid until there’s a vaccine...
 

emoo

Member
I'd agree Oxiris is a better ride, and it does have cool theming (where you can actually see the station). However Black Mamba has the wow factor in spades.

Really good to see a report not based on the standard responses, and that this trip has started so well.
 

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
Day 2

Europa Park Camp Resort.

So we set off at 4am this morning, with the aim of arriving by 8:30 to check in and collect park tickets. Took us just 3:45 to drive down here... European roads are amazing, even better with covid reduced traffic.

No problems with checking in. However after this, I realised I’d made a huge mistake... We’re stopping in the camp resort... Which I naively booked after my experiences at Western Camp. It looks the same, so I’d assumed it was the same. How wrong was I? No bedding, no power. So we upgraded to a cabin to get power, and paid £45 for bedding 😮😲😩 Unlike Western camp though, even the cabins have no bathroom!!!

ALL of this was my fault for being too hasty and not reading through properly, assuming it was just like Western Camp. Had I done my research I’d have booked a room in one of the hotels for very little more. Anyway, no harm done, cabin is fit for purpose and very spacious for 3 of us (6 berth) and the youngsters (Got to stop saying kids now apparently, they’re 16 and 17) have that all important charging power.

Europa Park

First impressions were along the lines of gob smacked. I knew this place was highly rated, so expectations were high, but those expectations weren’t nearly high enough!!!

covid stuff first... To put it bluntly... If you’re nervous about covid and / or don’t have much faith in masks, don’t visit Europa Park. Almost the entire risk management strategy here is mask centred. Distancing is also requested, but not generally followed, and no enforcement. Very few hand sanni points. No spacing on coasters. But they are VERY strict with masks. They must be worn almost everywhere except on the open midways.

Restaurants and bars are open, indoor too. No mask required once sat. But masks are required at all times until sat down.

They seem to be much more nervous about shops however, with queueing systems, one way systems, distancing, 1 person per basket, and masks all enforced.

I genuinely felt less exposed to risk of contagion at Parc Asterix. Doesn’t bother me, but I mention this as I know it may bother some.

At around 1pm the heavens opened up, hard, we basically stuck it out for an hour then gave up and headed back to the cabin. I said yesterday that masks on coasters works well. I’m now wondering if masks on coasters in the rain would be what it feels like to be waterboarded? 🙈😂 It wasn’t bad to be fair, the mask actually helped keep my face warm and dry, but my mask wasn’t soaked, wouldn’t like to try it too many times with a soaking mask.

On to a brief review of the the coasters...

Silver Star... Pants*, to think I’ve heard people say this is better than Shambhala is beyond laughable, the trims kill any air time even in the back, so bad that all I got were brief moments of floater.

Can-Can is great fun, Smiling all the way around.

Euro-Mir is awesome, cracking, almost iconic, sound track, and quite forceful when it gets going. Preferred the go on which we spent most of the lower layout facing backwards.

Blue Fire, We only had one go on this, as it broke down (Mack Launchers 🙈😩) Seems solid, kind of expected more, this is definitely closer to Icon the Helix.

Wodan stole the show for, an absolute GCI masterclass, lots of airtime, lots of speed, lots of insanity... Lovely.

Also, I know it’s not a coaster, but the flying theatre, Voletarium, is ace, we all enjoyed it a lot!

All in all very impressed with Europa Park... More to come tomorrow

Not many pictures I’m afraid, rain got in the way of any photography plans, though I did enjoy taking some in the gardens... So here they are, as well as a few others :)

71BE6D34-1607-44AD-A9D5-B3964CDBA836.jpeg18D442F1-03C0-4F5D-AF44-BA80DFDDC3B4.jpeg01FF3570-722C-4E46-9622-6284826B5DDE.jpegF2B84583-FC5F-4DC1-9F5D-690BA2DB72D1.jpeg2ECF6FA8-6851-494D-A1DD-7A1C34EC1872.jpeg3C84BA08-1FCC-416F-B2F1-14397CCDF0F1.jpeg94A3E872-A72D-4734-BC7C-0386F644A4EB.jpeg53247CDE-4207-4742-95E8-E7CC3C54B815.jpegE3DDAEC4-9E09-4483-8F9C-6AD86F14177D.jpeg3D3DF88A-4E19-487C-974F-126C2045394A.jpeg98E1189C-B554-4EA6-86C8-591E7467F04A.jpeg79FE4D1A-B6F5-4FB3-82A0-490209CE4007.jpeg15DC9906-BC7C-47A1-BC9A-36F3665CA2D7.jpeg08988C0F-133A-4B8D-AB8D-ECF5F382042A.jpeg5E19C6CB-0264-4F48-B5E1-2AE9AEB5E951.jpegE1969384-91CE-4782-8391-3B5BCD05D7A8.jpeg4D5C8BF1-9E88-495C-8964-A8CB0409F6AA.jpeg622086E6-7BAC-4A5C-B783-E1F416316ABC.jpegB709E9AA-20B4-4341-9CA0-68711FBECB8D.jpeg7DDF8E93-62A0-4744-9395-4FFEC0994C79.jpegA766C30E-9BDD-4637-AADD-97E0A10E6325.jpeg0D948D37-5B6C-4266-823B-6CBB84CA23EB.jpeg7FA4918B-E549-4CF8-9A26-085C19546466.jpegDF288DDC-4379-4730-AD3F-4717D870430C.jpegAACFED0F-90AE-44CB-B67D-D1A4A4CCF342.jpeg
*In comparison to other hyper coasters I’ve done... On it’s own it’s still a great ride, but comparatively, not a great hyper.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
Also to add, the park was quite busy, pictures don’t tell the full story, everyone went into hiding when the rain came.

Some queues were up to 20 mins (Blue Fire and Can Can)

Could tell it was much quieter than usual, but it was also busier than I expected, and busier by far than Parc Asterix.
 

BlueSonicHD

Member
Good to read you are having a fun time.

IMO EP is very overrated, but thats just me. :oops:

Although last I went it was the atmosphere around park that helped, this is one of my concerns about visiting parks currently and the lack of it will just
have a negative impact on my day

I guess visiting with friends and family helps
 

CSLKennyNI

Active Member
^I imagine catching Coronavirus would have a greater negative impact on your day though than the temporary safety measures maybe slightly impacting the atmosphere. ;)

Good to see you enjoyed EP. Its a great park.
 

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
Day 3

Europa Park

The weather was much better today, and as such, the park was MUCH busier. The youngsters decided to have a lie in until midday, so I managed to get a few more photos whilst the park was still filling up, this became impossible later though as it got too busy.

With the added guest numbers the park very obviously stepped up the safety measures. Every few cycles the coasters were being disinfected completely, I guess this is why there’s no hand sanitiser anywhere. This didn’t impact as badly on queue times as I’d feared, it effectively takes just one entire ride cycle to clean every vehicle, as they do it whilst running the ride, in the time usually used to load each vehicle, then they send that vehicle empty... As soon as empty vehicles return, they’re once again loaded with passengers. It works very well, and went some way to reassure me on why they didn’t feel the need for entry and exit sanitiser stations. They have basically assumed the responsibility themselves for preventing contact infections, rather than placing the responsibility on the customer.

We did the water rides yesterday. The 2 water coasters were good fun, a nice light sprinkling on each. The rapids got my daughter good with a mega wave. Then the log flume soaked us all, on the first tiny drop. Good laughs and a welcome cooling breakon a very warm day.

Changed my opinion on Silver star slightly, the first brake was not biting as hard, and the floater felt more sustained. I also think it’s better in the front. Still not as good as Shambhalla or Hyperion, but a good solid ride.

Also got my first front row ride on Blue Fire. I love that coaster in the front. It is definitely closer to Icon than Helix, but what it doeshave in it’s favour is a very balanced blend of forces and elements, from strong Positives to deccent air time...

Second day has not changed my opinion on Wodan at all... It is still OUTSTANDING.

The show stopper today though was Arthur! That is without a doubt, the best family coaster, actually the best family ride, I have ever been on, and the best I’m likely to ever go on! What an incredible ride system. The movie was a favourite of ours when the kids were small, it brought back a lot of happy memories for them and myself, recalling each scene as we passed through. Honestly I cannot put down in words how happy we all came off this coaster feeling. THIS is what Alton Towers should have saved for instead of the small investments on the dungeons and world of David. It’s the kind of whole family magical experience they’ve been missing since Toyland Tours went. Of everything, I cannot wait to get back on it today, our final day here.

We’ve had a changed of plan, instrumented by the kids, they’re sick of me banging on about Untamed and RMC’s so I think we’re headed North tomorrow ;) Means I can give you a covid perspective on a 3rd country :)

Anyweay, few photos for ya :)

Amongst these photos you’ll find a picture of EP’s solution for cattle pens, plus a huge amount of my favourite area... Damn France is beautiful!

455FAC30-87CD-4711-9E88-EF7BA3420C18.jpegD815236E-CB3D-4349-9CE2-B84C69EC3EC8.jpeg29EEEA6A-91DB-444D-A407-659FCD9AB1C4.jpeg4BBCD9CF-04BF-46D9-AB0E-2EF975B057B4.jpeg62AED534-89EE-4B77-A442-BD1D7D95BE5A.jpeg4920D887-E3B9-420D-9C9E-5EF613A2858D.jpeg8C335477-8684-4F49-AEDA-B139BA950D6D.jpeg60AAEA99-2D77-421E-A833-030413140ED9.jpeg7C8D1099-C786-4906-A20C-FBA7CEC7EAF2.jpeg3D246753-5212-4566-AAAE-6A88AC850E77.jpeg392B6298-87AF-4883-B363-C4D1CA9B65E5.jpeg1E1527AA-B85A-4DDB-A731-20599DA098C6.jpeg660D82FB-4FF2-4C02-AE6D-5D1A597B7C9C.jpegEC89BC62-BC68-4D1D-AEF4-A470DE2C2FDD.jpegFB0F4FB6-5488-4305-8DB2-5D464D95B41A.jpegA53F4AFC-943A-40CB-84EF-EB4293B6182C.jpegEC8B8230-F90F-45A6-B6E1-007CFE3F3A51.jpeg878FBD12-13EA-4C40-8057-B14D4A77E834.jpeg662B9E3A-6C1B-4D87-9E76-4BA9B16CE0F9.jpegCDE6813D-7E5B-4D3C-8D7E-64C8BD8F5569.jpeg0851EFFC-7A60-48AF-BA6B-99041A5EF18F.jpeg723221CE-E888-43AE-AF8A-F2FF83BDE7F6.jpegB6E6913B-6826-4417-A833-BE43C9DEC834.jpeg03CD9957-D034-4FF9-952C-AF417E4F4F90.jpeg3D3ED189-5411-4771-89D0-88CB3BB3DE65.jpeg85D6416A-6529-4A6A-A264-85815154016E.jpegBEE28AD0-E1A8-47B0-8D71-E2B9F7BA5B43.jpeg1F1F0E98-F752-4587-A10F-0F81F0999E91.jpeg94424E9A-4901-4A3D-AC41-26C0D8DB86DB.jpeg3F26C8E8-5A00-4EF9-AD60-ABE4D12F356F.jpeg
 

JammyH

Member
Wow, must be a reasonably long drive from Europa Park up to Walibi Holland. Nevertheless, I'm sure it's worth it!

How are you finding the food situation on route/in the parks. I'm guessing its not so easy just to go to a walk in type service station with restaurants etc anymore, although I imagine drive throughs are open. In the parks what has the food availability been like and are there longer waits to be served or is it all ok?

Also, are the games stalls open in Europa Park or are they shut? Just out of interest
 

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
Wow, must be a reasonably long drive from Europa Park up to Walibi Holland. Nevertheless, I'm sure it's worth it!

How are you finding the food situation on route/in the parks. I'm guessing its not so easy just to go to a walk in type service station with restaurants etc anymore, although I imagine drive throughs are open. In the parks what has the food availability been like and are there longer waits to be served or is it all ok?

Also, are the games stalls open in Europa Park or are they shut? Just out of interest
It’s coming in at around 4.5 hours (early hours no traffic) 6 hours now... So I’m confident I can do it in around 5... but to be honest, the amount I’ve driven lately I’m not worried, will just get plenty of sleep tonight and allow plenty of time... Kids always sleep in the car no matter when or for how long we travel 🙈😂

also Reims to Europa was coming in at 4.5 no traffic and managed that in 3.75 😮

Food is as normal, I always struggle with the German culture of no food before midday in parks, as I generally don't eat breakfast first thing and prefer to grab a late morning snack. But everything is open now the park is busy.

Game stalls are also open... I think everything is open 👍
 

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
Took me about 5.5 hours... Bloody loads of roadworks on the motorway... Got an infamous blinding red flash too, so think I got a speeding fine... On the autobahn 🙈😂

No problems at borders again, didn’t even realise I’d crossed it...

Walibi is looking quite busy, considering... Every visit last year it was a ghost town.

Not spotted a single mask... Looks like it’s still distancing, even on coasters 🙈😩
 

JammyH

Member
Took me about 5.5 hours... Bloody loads of roadworks on the motorway... Got an infamous blinding red flash too, so think I got a speeding fine... On the autobahn 🙈😂

No problems at borders again, didn’t even realise I’d crossed it...

Walibi is looking quite busy, considering... Every visit last year it was a ghost town.

Not spotted a single mask... Looks like it’s still distancing, even on coasters 🙈😩
Guess it's a Saturday though.. so everywhere is busier. I know Walibi has a virtual queueing system, so at least you can do some of the smaller attractions while lining up for the major ones.

I don't think you are actually allowed to wear masks at Walibi Holland on the rides, I believe its prohibited, as with most dutch parks. I know at Efteling though you are allowed to wear a face mask on the rides, but most people choose not to.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I find it quite odd that you found Walibi busier this year than it was pre-COVID; maybe lockdown has driven more people to visit?
 

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
I find it quite odd that you found Walibi busier this year than it was pre-COVID; maybe lockdown has driven more people to visit?
The weather will be a factor, the only Saturday I visited last year, it was an on / off rainy day for the live... All my other visits were Monday (The pub closes early on a Sunday night, and isn’t open on a Monday, makes it perfect for nipping to Holland on P&O’s £100 ish motoring mini cruises... When they’re on offer)

But it was shockingly busy considering it was meant to be ‘reduced capacity’

social distancing was impossible. Walibi have gone to all lengths, the measures they have in place ‘should’ be ‘over the top,’ honestly I was extremely impressed with the their effort, and their persistent attempts to enforce the rules. But as soon as there isn’t a staff member nagging them the public just don’t give a crap... And staff WERE trying their best to enforce it.

Honestly, I cannot over state this, Walibi’s efforts should make it the safest place on earth, if the general public weren’t so f**king stupid!

It was the same in Germany, nobody respected distance, which was also supposed to be observed, but at least there the staff were able to enforce masks, and people did obey, as masks are also part of every day life all over Germany. Not so in Holland, nowhere in Holland did we see a single mask!
 

JammyH

Member
Thanks for the update. I’ll take walibi off the list of potential places to visit now. From all the measures I’d seen them put in, it looked like it would be a really safe day out, but with the chaos you have described to be honest I would rather stay away.

It’s a really weird one, in deciding where to go I’ve watch a LOT of videos from efteling, and looking at people lining up there the majority of people actually seem to stick to the distancing markers in the queueline, which obviously makes for a safer day out.

I can only think at the end of the day it comes down to the target market the park attracts. Parks like walibi holland attract a lot of young adults/ teenagers who won’t bother with social distancing, whereas parks life efteling attract more families who will probably try and be more respectful than others. Of course this is probably a generalisation, but from what I’ve seen so far more family orientated parks seem to be a safer day out than the “thrill” parks, not due to difference in measures implemented by the parks, but rather due to the attitudes of the people visiting the parks and whether they stick to the rules or not.

It’s good to see europa park are being strict on the mask policy. I guess at the end of the day visiting any park in the current situation is a risk, but personally I’d be more comfortable in visiting the parks where the risks are less and more people obey the rules rather than ones where people literally don’t give a s***
 
Top