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France - The only way is Up! - April 2014

peep

Well-Known Member
Wednesday 16th April

Benin, Nicky, Peter and I awoke at silly o'clock (3am?) to begin our trek over to France. We arrived at the Euro Tunnel in good time for our train over. The journey went by quickly and was fairly uneventful. After an hour on the French motorway Benin's little blue car started making odd noises, we thought it was a flat tyre. We pulled over, Nicky got out to see if it was the tyres. When Benin tried to get the car to roll forward a bit it made more scary noises before refusing to turn on. Benin's car had committed suicide in France. We put out the little warning triangle and stood on the huge grass verge while Benin called RAC (insurance) to see what to do in such a situation. He had to call the French police to arrange for a tow truck to take us off the road. Peter and I found it all rather exciting, I can't imagine Benin and Nicky were feeling quite the same way as us.






Benin having deep conversation to find out what to do


French man arrived to look at the car/tow us.

The French man arrived with his tow truck and got Benin to show him the problem despite a huge language barrier (to say all of us knew 0% French in regards to cars would be very correct). The French man made the typical mechanic gasp of air when the problem is expensive/unfixable. He then got Benin's dead car on to his truck and he drove us to a local garage to do further inspections etc.




Benin, Nicky and Peter trying to see the funny side of things

At the car garage Peter and I stood in the lovely sun being a little amused by the situation while Benin tried to google translate his way with the car peeps and Nicky called to update home. Turns out the gearbox had completely gone and would have cost €2,000 to fix. Considering this was more than his car was worth the decision to dump the car was made. We then had to pull everything out of the car while a cab came to collect us to take us to a local Europcar.



5-10 minutes later we had arrived at the local Europcar where the man working there looked rather confused at our situation. He probably spent about 30 minutes trying his hardest to make sure we could take a car he had in his lot. Lots of phone calls were made but in the end it was all ok. It was then a further 10-15 minutes sorting out the paperwork and whatnot.



We'd finally been given the keys and we went over to inspect our new VW Up! It was a decent car, quite spacious inside and it had some nice features.





We were finally back on track and on the road to creds. We were only delayed by around 2 hours in the end which considering the situation wasn't very long. We stopped off at a very new looking service station which had awesome looking drink machines...



We grabbed some lunch before heading onwards to Parc Saint Paul. When we arrived the car park at the front was rather full so we had to make our way around to the side car park which was nearly empty. The weather was beautiful and despite the fear of it being busy all queues were very short waits (bar the spinny mouse, but more on that in a bit).



All of us had very low expectations for this park and the entrance didn't help matters. After not long in the park though our opinions began to change. To the right of the entrance is their new Vekoma (relocated from Portugal). It wasn't open yet (despite RCDB thinking it opened the previous Saturday) as ground work around the ride wasn't complete. Not a massive loss as I didn't believe it was ready yet before we set off.





Despite the park looking like the typical random parks in Europe with rides just plonked here and there the park seemed to put in some effort theming their attractions which looks like a recent decision but one that really helps the park look much better than some others we've visited.





We went over to Family coaster. Otherwise known as a typical big apple coaster. However they'd added loads of theming to it and it looked great.







This was the first time I'd seen the big apple placed in the middle of the ride where it crosses over like that. It looks great and it rode just like every single cred like it.

In the middle of the park is this large river/pond area which is just really nice to have in the park, takes away a lot of the tackyness from the rest of the park.



The next ride on our route was Wild Train 15, a PAX coaster. It is crazy bizarre. Loved it. From the sort of launch to try and get up on the main (and very steep) tyre lift hill to the ridiculous sharp drops and smooth transitions. It really throws you about, but in a good way.




Each ride has a small info board on the history of the ride type which is goony-licious.







It really is a wild train. The park had loads of benches (take note Chessington) and some had these great little character statues, I'm guessing they're new.



We were going to do the spinning mouse next but it had a long queue so we decided to move on to Formule 1 instead. Another PAX coaster, this time themed to F1 cars. Was like a ridiculous version of a Mack bobsled. So much air time and crazy "I'm going to die" moments. Once again we all loved it.




Awesome banking





The park had loads of these really nice picnic tables which had their own cover...



Despite the character looking happy about the situation, the crazy house wasn't open, which made Benin and I sad as we love them.



Mini Mouse Cartoon it was then!





It was nothing exciting but was a mere +1 on the cred list. Next was Telepherique. After watching it for a bit we were all a little scared about going on it. I was the last to go on, it was terrifying. I span round so much that I was too dizzy to get off without looking drunk.





Benin has better pictures of the ride in action for those unsure of what it is/does. Lets just say there are no restraints/harnesses and you have to cling on as much as you can.

We went back to the spinning mouse by this point which still had a grotesque queue but we later discovered it was down to it being manned by one guy (covering both onload and offload looked like hard work but it was also faffy and caused the long wait). The trains looked nice and it didn't spin too much (with much joy from me after already having too many spins on Telepherique).



It was nearly time for the Tiger show to begin so we decided to go watch the angry Tigers. I found it a little upsetting. Two of the Tigers were proper pissed off at the guy running the show and I was rooting for them to turn around and hurt him. For those that saw the show in Bagatelle, it was the exact same set up sans Lions.







We then went on their large slide, simple things are sometimes the best.



They randomly have a really well Dinosaur themed log flume. It looked cool but we decided not to ride.









Peter and I went in the haunted house walk through next. Proceeding us were two mums carrying their kids. It was quite jumpy at times due to loud noises. Quite a few things didn't work and overall it was quite cheap but I was impressed by the length of it and the sheer effort put into it.



We all then did the 3D walkthrough, Multivisions. The 3D was pretty good and was quite fun to walkthrough. There was some scary clowns though for those who don't like them.









We grabbed some ice creams and relaxed a bit before moving on to re-ride Formule 1 and Wild Train. Benin and I also rode the drop tower. We made a friend on it, she was petrified but loved it. So much that she re-rode instantly.



I forgot to mention the awesome barbeque area. You can literally rock up and cook your own food on park in this large area with like 4 or 5 cookers.



We ended our time at the park by meeting the park's character and seeing a giant.




Notice the guy sitting down

We then got in the car and headed to our hotel. It was in the middle of nowhere but was a really lovely hotel (& spa). For the first time in forever I didn't take any pictures of the hotel or rooms though (I was uber tired by this point).

I really liked Parc Saint Paul, maybe it was because the sun was shining and their were enough crowds to give it an atmosphere but not too many to give all the rides a burdenous queue? Either way I enjoyed the rollercoasters and their attempt at theming is clearly becoming more of a priority which I approve of. Maybe we'll see bigger and better things from this park in the future?

Part 2 will be up at some point in the next few days.
 

Jordanovichy

Credit Whore 2016
Looks like a pretty fab park. Why is everyone wearing a hi-vis jacket on the side of the rode? Is that some daft french law? I love the little triangle :p

Why didn't you ride the flume? Looks fabulous.

Looking forward to part 2.
 

Darren B

Active Member
Jordanovichy said:
Why is everyone wearing a hi-vis jacket on the side of the rode? Is that some daft french law?
It's called common sense, Jordan ;) although, yes - the vest, triangle and fire extinguisher are law in France.


Good report, John. I take it you turned down the +1 due to queues?
 

Nicky

Member
Yep its a French rule. You need to wear a hi-vis if you have to get out of your car on the motorway as well as having many other things in the car at the same time i.e. two breathlysers (did mean that when we had the hire car we had double of everything which was a bit ridiculous).

Stupid little warning triangle kept blowing over when we had got to the top of the verge but we couldn't be arsed to go down and set it upright.

The only way to cope was to see the hilarity of it rather than break down into tears.
 

Mysterious Sue

Well-Known Member
Parc St Paul looks great in the sun. I enjoyed it when I went (but I think more than most and that's mainly for the Pax creds) but it looked a much more ropey park in the rain. I think some of that theming is new though.

Yeah you should have gone on the log flume. It was fab
 

peep

Well-Known Member
Darren, missing what +1?

Thursday 17th April

Day 2 was all about Nigloland. It turned out that the project manager had tried to get in touch via email but my phone was acting up so we hadn't arranged a meet point or time. Not that mattered for the time being. We had arrived early (thinking it was a 10am opening, not 10:30) so we awaited the gates to open eagerly like the goons that we are. French goons were also waiting for opening, complete with Alpina Blitz t-shirts. Gates opened a little early which allowed us to grab some breakfast, admire the beauty of the park entrance area and get a photo with Niglo (the park mascot).




It's Easter!









Once the rope had dropped we headed to the top left of the park for the Mack powered coaster. It hides at the back of their Canada themed area. The lush forest of the park (and beyond) gave the area a sense of authenticity which I really loved.







The theming for the mine train coaster was great, so much effort had been put into it. The layout of the coaster is also different and exciting, if a little short. It speeds up so much just before you re-enter the station ready for your second lap. I really enjoyed it and it's integration with the forest area and the log flume. It also had a tunnel and tunnels on rollercoasters are always very welcome.





We decided to go on the log flume next. The huge old motor in the middle of the cattlepen queue was impressive, as were the huge array of tools and that hanging around, quite reminiscent of Big Thunder Mountain at the Disney parks.





The log flume while a very short ride is still enjoyable, didn't get too wet which was good. The mine train was running while we were in that area, waving to the peeps riding was fun, especially the guy at the front who did a weird scream :p





We then went back on ourselves a bit to then get to Grizzli, the park's Disko-coaster. I quite liked the theme of it, the bear on the ride looks hilarious as it spins around and goes over the hump.







As with all the others of this ride type (this was my 4th one), it's fun when it bounces either side of the hump but overall it's not as exciting as it looks. Still this one had nice surroundings and the little huts in the queueline are nice and fit in really well with the area.



On our way over to the big rides area (and to gawp at Alpina Blitz before it's 1pm opening) we found a Mack boat ride like Seastorm at Chessington (sans rotating boats). It had animatronics in the middle of it which made us instantly love it and ride it.







We were quite surprised by the speed this one picks up, it's definitely a lot faster than most I've ridden.


The park is just looks fantastic - blue sky helps

It was then time for Air Meeting which is a ride type I've wanted to ride for some years now. The ride area's theming is simple but quite affective (mannequins as fake commentators in a booth is a nice touch). I managed to pull off spinning my seat quite quickly which was awesome, it did get a bit much after a while though so I tried to stop and then start again but once I had lost the momentum I couldn't get it going again. I really enjoyed it though and would love to see more smaller parks getting them.











Next to the ride is the park's 50's America area. The jukebox spinny ride I'd seen before and knew it'd make me ill, still it fitted the area really well. Inside the building was some games and a dodgems.







Then we entered the very subtle entrance for Spatiale Experience, the parks indoor Mack rollercoaster themed to space. The queueline was awesome, they had this very 90s techno music going on which really built up the ride and the lighting was simple and effective.





I sat at the front with Peter while Benin and Nicky grabbed the back row. The ride begins with a spiral lift hill with a bunch of announcements going off and some flashing lights. Once at the top a strobe light goes off and you go down the first drop into space. There's a lot of things floating about and the music style changes from techno to classical which I approved of. There's some great near misses and the coaster really whips you about, reminded me a bit of the PAX creds at Parc Saint Paul. It was really good fun.


Day 2 continued a few posts below....
 

Darren B

Active Member
The spinning mouse. I missed the sentence in which you were pleased about the lack of spin ;) so, yes, you rode.
 

Nemesis Inferno

Well-Known Member
Day 1 – Parc Saint Paul

A rather early morning of 3am was the choice made to venture to a selection of rather un-known French parks, and after a McDonald’s service station breakfast and a quick jaunt on the Eurotunnel we were firing down the French motorway with not a care in the world.

Unfortunately, disaster would strike us. We began to hear noises from the car, and decided to pull over on the hard shoulder to investigate. After some initial checks, we agreed to move the car forward slightly to see if there was truly something wrong, and it refused to start up.

Many calls were made and eventually a mechanic (who of course, spoke no English) turned up, and made that classic intake of breath noise that all mechanics do that tend to signify that the car/vehicle is completely buggered.

We were taken to a nearby garage, and made the decision that €2000 for a new gearbox was not worth the money at all, so we would leave the car forever in France, grab a hire car and continue with our adventure post-haste. The garage were very helpful to us especially given the language barrier, however Demi Lovato’s version of “Let It Go” was not particularly appreciated by myself.

We got a taxi to a hire car place and after many a hasty phone call from the guy working there we were eventually given a Volkswagen UP! So after a delay of about two hours we continued on our adventure to Parc Saint Paul.









Upon arrival, our expectations of the place were not high, especially as their new Vekoma Junior coaster was being spiteful and not open. Nevertheless we headed to our first coaster of the trip, a Wacky Worm. Joyous! This one however was very well themed, with lots of statues, a very giant apple and even astroturf. Of course, it was still a Wacky Worm.







Next up in the actual coaster department was the Wild Train, my first Pax coaster (who aren’t exactly known for being good). And the slight launch out the station worried us greatly as to how awful this ride might be, so to say it exceeded all possible expectations would be rather accurate. It was certainly wild, with a fair amount of airtime and reasonable Gs about, with a hint of re-rideability, which is always a bonus in my book.








We meandered further into the park, and decided the spinny mouse could be done later because it had an awful queue (which didn’t get any better unfortunately) and went onto the next Pax coaster, Formule 1. Unsurprisingly, it’s themed to Formula 1, with the different cars based off different manufacturers, and a scary statue of Schumacher at the entrance. It’s also a slight rip-off of the Gerstlauer Bobsleds, with a much steeper lift and a more insane experience, with over-banked turns being the main culprit of this. Again it was rather enjoyable ride, if slightly terrifying.











We wandered a bit further into the park, discovering that it wasn’t all quite run-down as we expected it to look within. There was a fair amount of woodland, lakes and even some buildings taken straight out of Lightwater Valley. It’s very family set with more for the kids, but we saw tonnes of BBQ sets for people to come and cook their own food, and it did have a rather lovely atmosphere.







Back to the rides, Mini Mouse Cartoon was next, which is a Zamperla Mini Mouse or something. It makes a Wacky Worm look interesting that’s all I know. +1





Next door to that was Telepherique, which was by far the most amazing thing ever created by a French person. It’s a platform led zip line, only in (such a) cred format. It involves a lot of spinning, swinging and swearing (and even crashing in some cases, like with me). Part of that old “Never in the UK” ideal, I thought it was brilliant, but the others not so much.













We headed back to the Souris Verte Spinning Wild Mouse of boredom, having endured the queue of burdenous times. I’m so bored of these now it’s not true. Again, +1



We then decided to go and see the Tiger show, to which those who visited Bagatelle and seen their Lion show had “I have seen things” moments as a result. However only two of the tigers looked like they wanted to eat the fat French man who was flicking them with a whip. Fortunately there was no maiming of the fat French man (or unfortunately, dependant on opinion of such animal shows), so we were able to continue on our journey via a Giant Slide.









As John and Peter did the horror house thingy, we meandered around the House of Mirrors, which wasn’t very entertaining. After they returned, we went into the 3D Walkthrough, which was actually quite epic and looked tonnes better than Hocus Pocus Hall even did. We then marvelled at the themed bins and doors as we had some ice cream.









We had another go on the Formula 1 coaster, before me and John did the Drop Tower of Forever – Extreme Edition, which decided it would go from slow to fast to slow again during the trip up the tower, which was equally hilarious and burdenous. I don’t think my laughter was appreciated by the randomer next to us though who was unsure about the whole thing. When it did get to the top, the drop was instantaneous, so it was all a bit weird. Good though. We finished this with another go on the Wild Train before heading off for a long drive down to our hotel, but not before a quick character photo!

Overall, the park exceeded our (admittedly lower than low) expectations of it. It’s very much like Lightwater (but tinier), and whilst it had a fair amount of rides dumped in places, they did make an attempt to make them look really nice. Hopefully the park can continue on a positive trajectory in the future, because we certainly enjoyed ourselves.

 

marc

Well-Known Member
It's actually a nice little park with a good selection of family rides.

The pax coasters were good fun and we re rode them a few times when we all went.

Not somewhere id rush back to but well worth a visit.
 

peep

Well-Known Member
Day 2 continued....

After a quick loo break we went to gawp at Alpina Blitz (which is currently closed till 1pm daily due to ongoing groundwork in the area). Waiting for us was Rodolphe Gelis, the park's project manager and the main man behind Alpina Blitz. We all introduced ourselves before we moved over to an outdoor fast food place to grab some drinks. We then sat down and had a really long chat. As most of the rides are closed either between 12-1 or 1-2 we decided to take time to relax and talk park stuff including a whole bunch of rumours and stories of meeting other park managers.





After we finished our drinks Rodolphe took us over to the engineering area for a tour. It was all rather quiet as most staff were on their lunch break but that didn't stop him showing us every nook and cranny, including but not limited to the head engineer's office complete with cleaner, staff lunch room complete with staff eating food and the store room for all the merch and food.


You may easily spot the Silver Star banner, but there's also an Intamin and Gerstlauer calander






Wheels!


Peter was happy to be in the engineers building

The tour was amusing, mainly because Rodolphe was taking the mick in regards to goons and their backstage tours. Any interaction with confused staff was amusing and jokes were possibly made at our expense :p

We walked around a corner and all of a sudden we were back in the Canada area, there was a lack of gate, he joked at how they've been meaning to add one for years. We were then treated to a traditional local dish for lunch which was like a pork based bolognese, it was rather tasty.

It had gone 1pm now so Alpina Blitz was open, we all headed back over to it where we then got to go up the exit and wait on the exit platform and just fill empty seats when they became available.



The first thing I want to point out is that the station building is beautiful. Not 100% finished yet but the pure craftsmanship that has gone into carving real wood for everything just added a really nice touch. Whereas in most parks you'd get a fake wood finish it really was great to see proper materials used.





The ride itself is excellent. All of us had ridden an Intamin mega-lite before so were comparing it from the off. The Mack trains are so much more comfortable, you feel safe and secure but still quite free and open. The train silently glides around the track at a decent speed throughout, it looks a little slow off-ride but on ride it feels fast and the air time provided is top notch. It was pretty unanimous that the best bit of the ride is the snappy little hill before the banked turn into the final bunny hops. It was forceful in parts (especially the first banked turn after the drop) but not so forceful you couldn't re-ride loads.











I stupidly didn't take a photo of it in use but at the front of the train in the station the park created their own bridge mechanism so staff can cross the platform easily and quickly. It was genius.


Rodolphe on ride

We had all ridden the new coaster quite a few times (back and front row included) to get a good rounded opinion of the ride, also because it's awesome.

Rodolphe then asked us if we wanted to check out the hotel so we said yes. Very glad we did. The hotel is small but awesome, the attention to detail throughout is great and it's themed to pirates. The bar in the lobby was a large ship and the restaurant theming was top notch. Each bedroom has a unique painting on the wall which we thought was awesome. We were shown several rooms, each were a decent size and some have a view of the park which is great. We were also shown all the staff areas like the kitchen and that.








Show/conference room


The parrot on the right is a large animatronic which goes off when someone walks past


The bar





I then filmed a small interview with Rodolphe outside of the hotel on behalf of CoasterForce (still in edit, will appear in this topic when online). We then headed back inside the park where we rode the remaining coasters in the park. First up was the big apple which we were informed may be leaving at the end of the year ;)



It was then time for Le Schitt' Express, a Mack wild mouse. It was very smooth and the supports were painted to look like wood!

We then rode the Bobsleigh rollercoaster, a rather feisty Schwarzkopf. I sat in the back row and it really threw me around, it's also a lot longer than it looks from the outside.


More tunnels <3

Upon exiting Rodolphe was quite excited to show us something. We stood next to a small shack where there were some themed mine carts heading towards it. He unlocked the doors of the shack to reveal it was just theming to hide the chairswings hydraulics. Obviously we loved the sheer effort gone to hiding it.









We then went back to Spatiale Expérience where Rodolphe tried to turn on all the lights for us. I tried to film it but I haven't even looked at the footage yet. Most of the lights were turned on apart from the middle section, still the whole situation of Rodolphe going out of his way to make our day even more epic was great.

We wanted another go on the Gertslauer skyflyer, Rodolphe didn't approve, I don't think he's the biggest fan of inversions :p I had another good go at spinning and managed to spin myself quite a bit, nearly to the point of too much.

He then really wanted to show us Africa Cruise which was probably a good choice after all the spinning. They'd started a refurb on the entire ride, adding some new scenes and generally trying to improve the whole attraction. We were informed that all the rockwork was done in-house which is surprising as it's really good.












Rodolphe joked that he wanted to add fake blood to this scene





While lots of room for improvement, it was definitely one of the better ones of this ride type we'd been on. Next we headed for the creepy dark ride (read as: Haunted/Phantom Mansion/Manor inspired dark ride). The exterior looks great. The ride was a little dated, it had an unusual ride system though and it did a lot of spinning.



Rodolphe wanted to show off the Mississippi river boat next. Before the boat returned to pick us up he had to shoot off and do work-based things. We thanked him and arranged to meet him at the hotel after park closing. The boat ride was relaxing and actually had to animatronic musicians and a bar on board.



We decided to end our time in the park riding Alpina Blitz some more. It's still awesome, we got to be on the last train of the day, when the train got back to the station the ride op asked if we all wanted to go round again (silly question), so we got one more final ride. Peter got in the most rides in our group (over 10).

While buying some park merchandise we discovered that Peter wasn't feeling too good at all. By the time we got to the hotel to meet back up with Rodolphe we worked out it could have been a result of too many rides on Alpina Blitz or suntroke. Either way he wasn't in a good state and we wanted to get him back to our hotel for rest. After a drink at their bar we apologised to Rodolphe for having to shoot off and we made our way back. It's a shame the day had to end on such a note but these things can't be foreseen/prevented sometimes.

I'd like to thank Rodolphe for everything, he was an excellent host and provided much amusement throughout the day.

For those thinking that our reviews of the park are glowing purely due to meeting Rodolphe I can honestly say our opinions were the exact same on park, even before we met up. The park really did excel any expectations we had, just a very pleasant place to be with a great line up of attractions for the whole family. I can't wait to go back!
 

Nemesis Inferno

Well-Known Member
Day 2 – Nigloland

To say that Nigloland is in the middle of nowhere would be quite the understatement, with the signs telling you the park is Xkm away, and no visible sign of it until you are literally on the local village’s doorstep. The village itself is on the park’s doorstep itself, with some front gardens literally a road and hill away from the actual entrance building.

The way the park is accessed feels slightly Towers like, with country roads, a small village and a descent into a giant valley with a forest backdrop providing an interesting opener to the day.




A busy day awaited us









As part of the EU “Parks should open rides after the park has actually opened” law, we had 30 minutes to spend having breakfast on park. Eventually the rides opened and we headed towards the dead end of the park (themed to Canada), where the Gold Mine Train lives.

As we were to discover, Nigloland has a ridiculously healthy relationship with Mack, as half their rides are built by them. This is powered Mine Train that kind of sits between that gap of Chessie’s and Towers’, in that it goes off on a little adventure (with a decent drop into a tunnel) but isn’t too long a ride time. However since it actually goes off into the woodland and interacts with the Log Flume next door, it gets a lot of points on that front.









Next door was the aforementioned Log Flume that interacts with the Mine Train. With just a singular drop it was rather short, a basic figure of 8 layout I think actually, however with an extended amount of interaction with the Mine Train it improves the meander around somewhat. Certainly a sign of a ride built from a park slowly building its reputation, and as the park’s only real water ride it’s one of the flaws the park has. Hopefully they plan to rectify this soon.





Next up was our first non-Mack ride, Grizzli, a Zamperla Disko Coaster, which was as standard as the rest of them are. However it was cool to finally ride the one that appears in practically all of Zamperla’s advertising of the ride, and it was also rather well themed (apart from the clash of shed).







We started to head further into the park, and chanced upon The Travels of Jacques Cartier, which was a non-spinning boat variant of Seastorm. It made up for this by having decent animatronics in the middle of the ride and being surprisingly intense.





Further in and we found a ride many of us were anticipating, Air Meeting, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly. These are essentially an intense version of the old Flying Scooters, and are fantastic if you want a solid work-out, lots of confined spinning, and enjoying physics. The seats rotate based on the position of the wings and your own momentum, it’s a rather difficult method to describe and there certainly is a knack to doing it, just got to get it right, because once you lose the momentum mid-ride, you never get it back.

I wouldn’t mind seeing one in the UK, but the throughput would be an immense issue.




Themed staff and stadium announcers







Next up was the Space Experience, located in the 50s area of the park. So naturally, it was some good old fashioned cheesy space times, essentially it was EuroSat light. It was rather good fun, especially in the back row which promoted the tight turns and decent near misses with the scenery, although the change from pounding techno music in the queue and exit to classical was a bit curious to say the least.











After this there was a toilet break, which I took the time to watch the construction taking place around Alpina Blitz. Again that EU Law of “Rides cannot be completed on time, but can run later in the day”.









As I was watching, a man came up to me and asked if I was John. This was a result of John getting in contact with the park prior to our arrival and asking if he could chat to anyone about Alpina Blitz and the park in general. He had received an email the night before asking if we were still visiting and Rodolphe had clearly developed a goon sense having worked at the park (and Madame Tussauds and Pleasurewood Hills), having noticed people talking not only in English but in possession of a Walibi hoodie. Needless to say John’s reaction when he vacated the toilet was quite amusing.

Rodolphe explained he’d had a busy morning doing stuff for a kids TV show, so needed a drink, promptly treating us all to something as well. We had a good natter amongst ourselves over our drinks before he suggested he take us on a mini backstage tour of the park. What kind of goons would we be to turn down such a chance? So off we went.








Even their engineers are goons

Having seen the entirety of the backstage (including the bakery, locker room and a very teasing Alpina Blitz sign they didn’t need anymore and would obviously resulted in a fight to the death over if my Peugeot had been alive), we decided that as most of the rides were closed for lunch (a system they use for very dead days, like this day was), we would also do that. And once again we were treated to a local delicacy which can be described as pork bolognaise, which was rather good and certainly in the upper limits of theme park food.



After more tales of Rodolphe’s exploits at IAAPA and EAS, we decided that it was time for Alpina Blitz. After finding out the various reasonings as to why Nigloland went with Mack over Intamin (cheaper to build (ride alone costs €4.5m), great working relationship, better trains/restraints and many more), we were all pretty excited to ride it, if only to compare it to the Intamin version.







Of course, as we were Rodolphe’s guests in the park, we went via the exit and stood on the offload platform as the ride was going around. Eventually the back two rows were held off and we were on.

The first drop and turn are a fantastic start to this ride, and any qualms people had of it losing speed throughout due to the high second hill can be discarded as rather unfounded. I was greying out everytime on the first turn, which arguably makes it more intense than Piraten, and the second hill when sitting in the front involves a rather special bit of ejector due to the transition. The rest of the ride is filled with airtime of both the floater and tonnes more ejector variety, and I can but hope our reactions as we returned to the station made Rodolphe very happy indeed.







We were allowed to fill up some empty seats (the park really was empty), before being allowed to use the bridge of randomness to access the front row. It’s just as good if not slightly better than the back purely for the second hill turn.

Later on that night we found that the Mitch Hawker polls had come out, with Kawasemi 7th and Piraten 12th. If these are relatively accurate depictions (though why the Mega-Lite clones are separate I have no idea), then Alpina Blitz is quite clearly superior then Piraten at least. The Mack trains take a rather good layout (with some changes it must be said, it’s as much of a clone as Cinecitta World’s 10 looper is a clone of Colossus) and make it something even better. This ride alone makes me believe that Helix could easily be Europe’s best coaster, and hopefully with lots of parks visiting Nigloland to ride Alpina, we’ll be seeing plenty of these in the near future. Which can only be a good thing.







After that, Peter enquired if we could have a nosey at the park’s hotel, a small 32 room affair but with 4 stars. So off we went. It looks rather unassuming (or bland) from the outside, however inside is a different matter. Beautifully themed from the bar to the restaurant, and the rooms are pretty decent as well, we all liked it so much that when we inevitably return to the park we’ll be booking a stay in the hotel for certain.



It kinda shows the difference that a good family run park can provide compared to a corporation run park, as the attention to detail not just in the hotel but also throughout the park (themed staff uniforms, etc) with a focus on providing a great experience with a long term plan over monetary gain in the short term. Nigloland really does tick all the boxes brilliantly.

Back in the park, we decided it would be a good time to grab the rest of the coasters as they were all nearby. Starting with La Chenille, another Wacky Worm, before Schlitt Express, a Mack Wild Mouse which was a lot better than Bakken’s equivalent (probably because it wasn’t at Bakken), and finally Bobsleigh, a smaller version of Black Hole which was quite heavily themed it must be said. The two major coasters were both very enjoyable and themed to a very good standard, with the Bobsleigh standing out as looking rather brand new for something rather old, upkeep eh?









After Bobsleigh, Rodolphe showed us the hydraulic room for the Chairswings. Which on the inside are nothing out of the ordinary, however the theming effort put into the outside is something I’ve only really seen at Europa Park in the pump rooms for Atlantica. The fact that the piping linking the shed and ride together is buried under themed rail and mining cars is that next level set of detailing that sets great parks apart from good parks. To quote Rodolphe “Theming, theming, theming”, and he’s damn right.







After another drink we headed back onto Space Experience, where Rodolphe went off and got the lights turned on for us. It was quite cool to see the level of detail hidden amongst the theming that is dotted around the building. We then had another quick go on Air Meeting, where I did a couple of spins and thought better of it.







Rodolphe then urged us to do “their Zufari”, in Africa Cruise, which is basically Jungle Cruise on a budget. However the home-made rocks looked really good, and the commentary of such issues on the ride like “we need more greenery to hide the mechanics” and “I was told we wouldn’t be able to see the concrete” showed a real honesty and enthusiasm about the park, which seemed to flow through the entire place. Very refreshing indeed.











After this we ventured into the Haunted Mansion, which was practically Disney-light. You do have to love a good old-fashioned Disney knock-off, although the independent spinning car and the lighting of the load vehicle was pretty awesome it must be said. Give this ride an upgrade with brand new effects/animatronics and it’d be even better!





After this we headed over to the King of Mississippi riverboat, where Rodolphe had to leave us to do some real work (rather than show some dodgy English folk the park), so we went around without him. It was quite nice really; nothing too special around it, but one of those rides filed under “for a long sit-down”.









With the rides closing shortly we decided it was time to whore Alpina Blitz a bit, with various rows experienced and the last ride of the day. It truly is a fantastic ride and hopefully we’ll see a lot more of them in the future, especially for a base price of €4.5 million, it’s SUCH a bargain! We met up with Rodolphe at the hotel for a quick drink but unfortunately dinner in the hotel (which he invited us to) had to be cut off as Peter had clearly ridden Alpina Blitz too many times in the heat of the day (turns out you CAN have too much of a good thing). So we bid farewell and promised that we would return to the park in the future.













And that we shall, because even without Rodolphe’s tour of the place we would have loved it anyway. The park itself is presented well, with lots of rides dotted about with some immense theming (I fell in love with the Tractor ride as an example), and just an overall look and atmosphere to the place that few parks can achieve. Alpina Blitz is a brilliant landmark coaster for them to be put on the map in the wider world of the industry, and hopefully that will kick-start them into pushing for a lot more guests not only this year but in the years to come.

I send a lot of thanks to Rodolphe as well for giving us an even more fantastic day and really going above and beyond the levels of park hospitality for us, the sort of stuff that in my experience is only reserved for those huge groups who pay for it, rather than 4 random people. His tales and honest opinions on the industry, the park and his own experiences and future were both fascinating and insightful throughout the day. And his enthusiasm about the park (and his career in general) certainly rubbed off on us.


Party on Rodolphe!

In summary, it’s a fantastic park that everyone should visit. I don’t say that about many parks, but for Nigloland, it’s a clear exception to that rule.

 

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Great reports! Alpina Blitz sounds fab, and those apple chair swings look so cute <3
 

DelPiero

Well-Known Member
Brilliant reports guys! I've really enjoyed reading these. Alpina looks awesome and sounds like you had a great afternoon with Rodolphe.
 

Mysterious Sue

Well-Known Member
Glad you guys had a great time in the end and have only good things to say about Alpina Blitz. Poor Benin! Rodolphe sounds such an amazing guy.
 

Nemesis Inferno

Well-Known Member
Day 3 – Walygator Parc

So the final day led us to Walygator, more known for its financial issues and random 2nd hand B&M than for being any good, and we were heading there for their first operational day of the season!



However, the day certainly started poorly as the tickets you pre-book online through the website CANNOT be picked up on park.

You have two options, pick it up at random shops dotted about the country (none near where we were though), or delivered to home. But NOT at the park? Not wanting to waste time having already turned up attempting to find some random place in Metz ended up paying for tickets on the day as well as in advance. Needless to say I was very unimpressed by this situation, not helped by the fact that they have turnstiles they don’t use and a generally bad entrance procedure (let’s have the park gates open into the ticket booth queues!)







Eventually in, we headed straight to Monster, the B&M Invert. We waited for people to turn up to reach the minimum amount of riders and after about 20 minutes into our already limited day we were finally on the front row (first ride of the season though).

I didn’t really like Raptor at Cedar Point, so I wasn’t particularly excited for this one. However it was quite decent, with a good bit of force about itself. It’s certainly not at the top of the Invert pile but it’s not at the bottom either. The RCT plonked nature of it does demean itself somewhat though, especially as the ride just exists off in the distance with no interaction with the rest of the park at all.











We hopped on the Disney themed Chenille (the 3rd Wacky Worm of the trip) before heading towards Anaconda, their (Morgan apparently) Wooden coaster, which had just this year had some retracking done by GCI. As we were in the queue, we noticed that the PLC on the brakes was behaving rather erratically, with the trains stopping at excessively random and unknown times; nevertheless we were on the back row of the half loaded train (we discovered the entire park was in this queue because of the front rows being sand-bagged).







Rides can be awful for many reasons, violent, juddery, rough, but the sole worst reason for a ride to be considered awful to me is for it to be boring. This is what Anaconda is, incredibly dull, forceless and slow. It bounced along the track at a lull, struggling to climb over every hill and not doing anything remotely interesting with the layout. So imagine how surprised we were that the brakes decided to become the most interesting part of the ride and partially fail, causing us to stop half-way down the station, and me breaking out into a fit of hysterical laughter at just how pathetic the situation was.







Eventually the engineer sorted it by opening and closing the gates to reset the rather confused ride system, and we got another go around. It was still dull, even with me laughing my head off.

We were hungry, so giant waffles were had because they were out of pancakes. Fail. We went to see the new Dive Show, with a slight (read – minimal) Wild West theme, and pre-show entertainment by clowns who did EPIC balloon animals and a FBI agent. Confusing times.

Either way, the show was a pretty standard High Dive affair really. The guy who did it whilst on fire was good though, but these shows aren’t THAT interesting enough unless they have a story going on behind it. At least it was better than ITV’s SPLASH!



We wandered into their recently rethemed Space area with the new Air Race which wasn’t open yet (mainly as it had actually arrived EARLIER than planned), however it does look very awesome, and even has a viewing platform which was also unfortunately closed. The 4th and final coaster of the trip was Waly Coaster, a Vekoma ‘Hurricane’, or ‘Loop and 2 Screws’. Again 1st day syndrome hit us, as the ride op sent the train out having missed an open restraint on his side twice on an empty seat, which resulted in an E-Stop (personally, I would’ve either ignored it or pushed it down as it went out). We were sat in the station once again waiting for an engineer.

Unsurprisingly, the ride was not worth the wait, short but smooth, but didn’t really do anything interesting, feeling like a lesser version of their old Bayerncurve Corkscrews really. Meh.





















We walked past the abandoned Haunted House towards the Rapids. These have an ingenious design of which the boats are too big to fit inside the station, so have to be manually pulled in by the staff to park up in a group of 4 for loading. Holy bad ride designs!

Again, the ride itself was a mixed bag, with some good bits but an excessively boring ending. Methinks half the park would be better demolishing half their rides and starting over from scratch; which is what they’re doing with their Huss Topple Tower in fact, poor boring things that they are.













After some faff and decision making we elected to go on Waly Boat, which had been slightly revamped for the season. The Tow Boat ride system is incredibly popular in Europe, and I’ve been on a few, but none as slow as this one. It was 25 minutes long and half of that was slowly floating towards the next nice looking but rather uninteresting after seeing it for 5 minutes scenes. It was just completely unnecessary for it to be so damn slow.


















Cave of nothing



Once our insomnia had been cured, we had a few minutes to kill before the Dancing with Waly show, so promptly rode the Mistrel Chairswings next door, which completed the collection of dull and slowly run rides. The show itself was rather decent, with pop songs through the ages being played and kids allowed to interact completely with the WalyGator family, rather than sit down and watch. I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing a dancing giant alligator doing Gangam Style too.











And that was really it. We had to head up to Calais for our ferry back to the UK since the hire car couldn’t really be taken all the way home, but I wasn’t particularly fussed about leaving early as we’d done the major rides and I don’t think the park had anything much else to offer. It has SOME potential, but for the most part it’s really tatty and the rides there are just DULL, which is probably worse than the rides just being rough and awful. I had no desperation to ride anything again, and I even gave Baco the honour of a second ride.

However the new area theme and the brand image both look very good, especially the new branding which is very solid (and the plushies are just so adorable). There is plenty of potential in the park but it’s a long way to go to reach the likes of Nigloland, and hopefully the new management (only their second year of new ownership it must be said, so it looks slightly long term) will learn from the park’s past mistakes and look elsewhere to see how to improve things, such as a station building for Monster, and some actual good rides to support it.





The journey back up to Calais was at least, uneventful, and being a foot passenger on the ferry means you get first dibs on seating. Overall it was a good trip, if a bit mental for all the wrong reasons on the first day, and it was certainly worth it for Nigloland and Alpina Blitz.

 

peep

Well-Known Member
Friday 18th April

Our last day of the trip saw us travel to Walygator Parc. Having been the only member of our trip to have already visited the park (2010) I was intrigued to see how much had changed and if it improved the park at all. My memory of the ride experiences could totally differ now that I've been on so much more since so it was going to be interesting to return.

As we drove up to the entrance some guys were standing in the road clearing it of leaves and the like. Trying to get everything in order for the first day of the season!



There weren't that many people in the car park but once again we'd turned up early for a 10am start only to find out it was another 10:30 opening! We queued around to collect our tickets that Benin had purchased through their website. After a long wait we discover that Benin's email means nothing and we would have to collect the tickets from a nearby town, to which they weren't being very helpful about (no directions etc). It seems like a bizarre policy, but then I would have found it odd to not have received an e-ticket in the email itself.

After paying for more tickets from the park we were given what resembles a shop receipt rather than a ticket which I found odd as loads of people around us had nicely printed tickets and I have no idea why there would be a difference? Rather than worrying about anything I just admired the new look to the entrance, they've really tarted it up. The bright colours are slightly garish but I think it works.





There was some faff amongst the staff on when and how to open the park gates without chaos happening, it was a little bit of a mess. They had lined up three of the park characters for photo opportunities and all the park management started to appear inside the park. After lots of trying our hardest to make the queue to get in stay rather British (families trying to push in with buggies left right and centre) we were finally in.





The management posed for a photo with the mascots. It was tempting to try and speak to them on behalf of CF but I don't think I would have got very far :p



We made haste over to Monster for our first ride in the park. I remember absolutely loving it despite its stupid queueline. We managed to get on the first ride of the day (and season) in the front row. It was good, the first drop is excellent (not as awesome as Katun's or OzIris though) and it has some good moments throughout. However overall I didn't find it to be that great, it was good and enjoyable but I've just been on so many rides that are better now.





We then jumped on the kiddie cred for the +1.



This end of the park feels weird, like, everything is rather plonked down without much thought behind it, it is a park designed in RCT. So far the park had felt really empty too. We then joined the queue for Anaconda and found all the other guests.



When I last rode it the thing was violent and evil. Watching it attempt to brake before getting back into the station wasn't a great sign of things to come but knowing the past two seasons it has had most of the track (and supports) completely replaced meant it could possibly be a better ride. The queue was also taking forever as it's quite a long ride and there's only one train.


The unused original queueline for the cred.


Queueline selfie


The weird s-bend out of the station


Only the back half of the train was being loaded, the front half was filled with sandbags.

So was the ride better? By miles. It was a lot less violent but it still managed to make climbing every hill a chore and like we might roll back at any second. When it did finally reach the top of a hill there was a surprising amount of air time on the drop down. It doesn't mean it's a great ride, it's still awful at life but at least it stopped doing an 'Ultimate' where it tries to kill you. However when we came to return to the station the brakes gave up on life, we must have caught it off-guard while it took a nap. We managed to stop half way through the station in a rather aggressive manner. The two staff members looked clueless as to how to help so we were sat there for ages while an engineer arrived. Some girls in front wanted off so once he managed to fix it he let them out and let some other [strike]victims[/strike] riders on. We were then sent round again. Yay?

We were getting a bit peckish so we grabbed some huge waffles, they were quite nice. On our way to the creds we walked past a ride that looked like the awesome pterodactyl ride in Madrid. Unfortunately when we got back there we realised it wasn't as awesome as they don't spin around. Boring!

On our way over to the new space themed area we walked past the new dive show area. A show was about to start so we decided to sit down and watch it. The clown entertainers before the show were pretty good. The one making items out of balloons was amazing. I think he had most of the audience watching him while he made a fish "ah awesome" we all went, he then proceeded to do more, "wtf is he doing now?". Turns out he then made a fishing rod and added a line with the fish at the end. I think we were all gob-smacked at how awesome that was.

The show then started and the presenter's microphone didn't work, cue a techie running from the sound booth all the way round the back and into the tent to give him a better mic. Once he had a working microphone the show began and he introduced us to the 4 divers. They all then proceeded to dive into the water, funny that.



I have never watched a dive show at a park though so I thought it was actually pretty cool. The fire dive was pretty awesome because fire makes everything better.





While walking around it's weird to see such a difference in some areas of the park, a lot of it is rather plain and open and then some areas look like the following...



It's rather nice. We heading over to the new Space area which has the new Zamperla air race, G-Lock, which looks absolutely fantastic in this area. The backdrop shouldn't work but it really completes the area. We knew it wouldn't be open but when we were first looking into the trip it wasn't even meant to be at this stage of construction (literally days before testing started, it's now open. Original opening date was in May).




Inside that building is the queue which looks fab

Sad it wasn't open we went over to ride WalyCoaster. The restraints didn't sit well on my shoulders but it was actually a very smooth ride, felt a little forceless but it was ok.



We then went on the rapids where they have to physically push the boats through the station due to poor planning. The ride was good fun, lots of splashes and fear of getting drenched. Then in a weird state of affairs it becomes a gentle boat ride at the end, like, for ages. It was a bit sad that it just dies towards the end, would have been better if it stayed choppy all the way to the end.

It was then time to stare at the death of the topple tower. The ride has been such a burden for the park, I'm surprised it took them this long to take it down. Whether they replace it with anything is another matter entirely.






No idea why they have a model of a crazy cat lady. It looked like they'd recently touched it up too. Weird.

We then found ourselves back at the entrance of the park. We decided to ride Waly Boat, the newly themed boat ride on their lake. It took a whole 25 minutes to get round the lake, at times it felt like we were barely moving. Still, the new models were nicely done and it was great to hear a song from Lilo and Stitch. #CasualCopyrightInfringement
















The Lion looks like he's on drugs






Nicky and Benin were very bored by the time we got back to the station

We decided to ride the slow chairswing before the Dance with Waly show started.



To be fair to the park, they're doing a good job at pushing their new characters and getting kids to interact with them. They could be found quite often in the park and they look great. The merchandise is also pretty good quality. The show reminded me of my childhood years spent at Pontin holiday resorts. They play a bunch of catchy dance songs and they force the kids to dance on the little stage with the characters. It drew a decent sized crowd though so must be a good move by the park.



We browsed the merchandise store before grabbing some chips and leaving early. I would have liked to have maybe ridden Monster again to see if the ride got better during the day but that wasn't popular opinion. We then did the long drive to Calais to catch a ferry (as foot passengers!). For the first time the sailing made me feel a little ill but we made it back to Dover ok which is where we were met by Benin's Dad.


And that was the end of our short but very interesting holiday to France. Thanks to everyone for reading and making comments. The video interview is on it's way! Thanks to Benin for driving us around and arranging everything and not totally breaking down like the car. Also thanks to Benin's Dad for driving us back home from Dover.
 
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