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I trekked, Utrecht, We trekked to Walibi

Rob Coasters

Hyper Poster
After just one overnight coach trip to Belgium I'm now very comfortable with doing the same thing again but longer, so that's exactly what I did. Next target: Untamed.
I don't really have as much to say as what I did with Plopsaland, but I'll run through the basics: I booked a 9:30pm FlixBus departure from Victoria Coach Station to Utrecht (which passed through two stops, Brugge and Gent). I booked a direct(?) train from Utrecht Centraal to Harderwijk, and from there it was the 247 Walibi Express bendy bus to the park. Easy as all hell.

Two hours before my departure I read through the fine print of the train tickets and realised that it said in Dutch "these train tickets will not be accepted electronically, they must be physically printed" which sent me into a panic but thankfully this was a day that the printer would decide to work. So two hours later, we were on our way.
I still stand by wishing there was a closer underground station to Victoria Coach Station but soon enough we were there, with an announcement that our FlixBus would be delayed, and that the FlixBus dude "has no idea where it is". Fantastic start, we're probably losing an hour of our day. Ten minutes later it arrived.

Sleeping on the coach is incredibly difficult as it manouevres throughout Central London, but it all becomes easy as pie as you get on the motorway and within a few minutes I was out before being woken up for the passport check for the ferry. After that, we were on. Today we're doing DFDS both ways, no Eurotunnel, no Irish Ferries. We leave the vehicle deck, take note of our colour & floor, and walk up to the sofas after the driver tells us to "come back at 5". We fell asleep again, and at 4am (seriously) we were woken up to return to the vehicle decks. Driver guy was wrong. Then it was back to sleep.
And twenty minutes before our scheduled arrival... "Utrecht".

I must say, the Netherlands is a really nice little place. The unusual flatness of the country allows for excellent biking infrastructure that I really wish we had more of back in the UK; my bike's been sitting in the garage for a little too long now. All of the people are kind & happy to help, and thankfully understanding of how little our way around the Dutch language was.

We made our way up some stairs, which had escalators built into them, and past frequently-used bike lanes to Utrecht Centraal where we quickly ran into a minor issue: the train websites had lied to us about the existence of a direct link to Harderwijk. After a level of confusion we consulted a guy over an information speaker who kindly informed us that we need to get a train and change at Amersfoort Centraal, and from there our journey to Harderwijk was as easy as seeing through an open door.

And at Harderwijk it was a short wait for the 247 Walibi Express bendy bus which was unmissable as it had a giant Walibi mascot on both sides of it, something that UK shuttles lack. The bus driver let's us on for free (!!!), and we're on our way.

One scenic route later, we scanned our tickets and I bought unlimited fastrack because of course I did, and with queues being no object as a direct result I started the day off on #182 Xpress: Platform 13 which everyone mercilessly dunked on as being an utterly worthless ride that had nothing going for it. They were correct in saying that the queue was fantastic and really well themed, they were correct in saying all of that theming is immediately thrown out the window past the launch (which is good, not great).

The spaghetti bowl section (aka the entire ride) wasn't half as bad as everyone said. It sits at around the halfway point of thrill coasters I've done. I do know that the layout could've done better, but I do also know that this ride is pretty overhated. The flamethrower on the brake run wad a nice surprise too.

I continued the day on #183 Condor which everyone mercilessly dunked on as being an utterly worthless ride that had nothing going for it.

They were correct in saying that it had incredibly flawed trackwork with random uncomfortable jolts (a very prominent one being in the transition out of the rollover) but surprisingly I didn't take offense with the vest restraints at all.They were honestly fine. My one back row ride on this thing had me coming off thinking "that's definitely not the worst roller coaster in the world". It's far from perfect but I didn't come off crying & screaming. Do I just enjoy most rides? Avalanche was genuinely worse.

With that done it was time to deal with more irritating dead ends within the park as we strolled towards #184 Eat My Dust, which is a fine family coaster with quick brakes

before taking note of this very funny detail.

So far I've been loving this park. It just does whatever the hell it wants. Big shoutout to the unicorn-run-over-by-the-train-thats-spilling-rainbow-blood one but one major flaw is that it's just very difficult to get good angles of most coasters from offride, with the premier examples being Xpress and #185 Goliath, which I entered the queue for. A third example of this will come later. Me in the back right there.

I head for the back row of the first of three eagerly anticipated rides of the day, and (I think) my first primarily airtime-focused steel coaster, something that I'm chuckling to myself as I think that. It's taken me THIS long, the UK really is that bad for airtime rides.

The first drop & first hill are excellent, but the Stengel dive wasn't really all that. It looked awesome from the POVs but didn't hold up to that same high standard in real life. Great, but not fantastic. The middle twister section is where it tones down a bit and prioritises a sense of speed over forceful hills. The twister hill was also not as notable as I wanted it to be, but happily the ride ends on a squad of powerful ejector hills.

Goliath was certainly a little weaker than I expected but I still found it to be a great ride and still earns a spot in my top ten. I know I'm making it out to be like I dislike it, but that's a common misconception. I'd happily ride again.

That done it was time for #186 Untamed, the next ride in my loop of the park and also the aforementioned third ride that has fairly limited photo opportunities. We were *finally* done with stupid dead ends that the left half of the park has been very bad with, something that I was very grateful for (but kind of wish those dead ends were never there in the first place). Doesn’t seem awfully difficult to connect Condor and Goliath…?

Untamed was listed as closed on the app which automatically blocked me from booking a slot from my unlimited fastrack for it, but at least it had a single rider queue (which provided an extra couple trains’ wait). I ended up finding a way around this problem by booking on the website rather than the app but I wished I figured this out sooner as I easily would’ve gotten far more rides on it and perhaps beaten my current rides-on-one-attraction-in-a-day record of 12 on Stealth at Thorpe Park.

So how was my first RMC? As I'm sure you all could have guessed... I haven't been able to stop talking about it. It. Is. Fantastic. We are unreasonably devoid of airtime-focused thrill coasters in the UK and rides like these leave me begging for more to be built.

It's a ride that simply does not ever let up. Not a single inch of wasted track with the most powerful airtime I've ever experienced in my life multiple times, with perfectly executed inversions. The double-inverting corner stall, also known as the expertly named 'Lagoon Wave', has you just floating out of your seat throughout the entire element. After that it's a relentless punch punch punch of countless sharp ejector hills as the ride seriously throws you as hard as it can into the top of the lap bar and I love it. One epic straight ejector hill later before a quick outerbank later we hit our third inversion, a beautifully done underflip into the turnaround.

From there an awesome flip to the side brings us to the second half of the ride, and you thought the ejector was good enough, but my word it's only just begun. These hills are seriously the best airtime hills I've ever experienced, and there's about eight of them. A quick sideflip and turn to the right (in opposite directions) separates them and then they somehow get MORE intense (as I start to run out of words on how to describe them). Look at that hairtime, literally perpendicular to the track.

Right after the onride photo is by far the pointiest ejector hill of them all; one that straight-up tries harder than anywhere else to make sure that the seat you're in returns empty to the station. This is my favourite ejector hill personally but it may prove too much for some. A great & smoothly done barrel roll before two final ejector hills rounds off my new favourite roller coaster.

So why does Untamed beat Ride to Happiness? Quite simply, it might've been because how astronomically the latter overtook Cu Chulainn which was my #1 at the time of the Plopsaland trip. This made me think nothing would ever beat it, and that it would stay #1 forever. Obviously yes, it ran slow on my visit. But it was still incredible.
Until I rode this, which stood as a genuine competitor to the spinner for most with majority divided opinions over which ride is better. And I just so happen to fall in the camp where I prefer Untamed. Yes, Ride to Happiness does & has everything, but Untamed focuses on only a couple things and perfects it to the maximum. Some parts of Ride to Happiness are better only when you take the element facing a specific direction, leading some rides to feel slightly weaker than others but still amounting to a fantastic ride. But Untamed is the same thing over and over again, only getting better as the day progresses. If Ride to Happiness was the best ride I ever got on it all the time, it would absolutely still potentially be above Untamed, but that isn't the thing that happened.

Over my eight rides on Untamed I ended up preferring the front row over the back row by a fair margin and after four rides I didn't want to part ways but I had to.

We got an ice cream, bought Untamed socks and came up to Blast, a clone of one of my favourite flat rides of all time - the now defunct Rameses Revenge at Chessington. I absolutely would have ridden this had the fountains gone high enough to soak its riders wet, but unfortunately they did not. I would love to return to this park on a day where the fountains are in their little 'drench mode' and ride this thing to bring back great memories of what we once had on our silly little island.

Up next was Crazy River which was a great log flume with a surprise backwards sections and three soaking wet drops, with the big final one being a real wet one. The bottles on the netting from kids attempting to throw them off from the top was extremely funny because it proves that none of them had a good enough arm to get them any further.

The final (good) new-to-me coaster of the day was #187 Lost Gravity which I anticipated to be just slightly better than Icon but worse than Goliath. I'm proud to announce that I was horribly wrong and Lost Gravity is an absolute banger of a ride that I seriously slept on.

I ended up being a huge fan of this ride, even if I only rode it once. The elements hit significantly more than what I thought they would be, it really was a powerful little thing that completely defied what I thought. Big fan of it, and would like to see more pop up.

By the end of it the quantity of rides was causing me to get a little dizzy, it had shocked me when I realised we had only been here for about two hours, and immediately realised why I was starting to feel what I'd been doing. I easily would've gone round for a second lap of Lost but I had to decline as I was taking things immensely quickly.

A ride on #188 Drako proved this, as I was ready to get off after one lap.

A quick plate of delicious nachos with cheese sauce fuelled me back up though, but we decided to leave the area in search of the final coaster. But instead when we strolled past Splash Battle, we elected to do that instead. My first ride of this type, we impulsively entered having no clue what was about to happen. Seeing a girl get off in a liquid state, we acknowledged how wet she was but continued onwards.

We got used to the water guns and how they worked, but none of us could have predicted what would've happened next. Dutch kid #1 with a water gun from offride took aim, and blasted us senseless like he was out for blood. Within seconds it was like we'd just gotten off StormForce 10 back home and instantly realised what we'd just gotten ourselves into. We tried to fight back through dripping wet glasses and probably missed horribly. Dutch kid #2 takes aim and pelts us merciless. An experience already wetter than swimming in the ocean, we'd barely taken the first corner. Water fountain effects that didn't turn off as we passed under them brought us to a level of soaking that even significantly surpassed the likes of Valhalla. Combined with the efforts of now countless locals blasting us like their lives depended on it left us shouting for our lives in pure joy & water-filled fury as we tried to aim our own guns, most likely failing to hit anyone. Blinded by the liquid element, we passed under another fountain of death from the ride itself. It was minutes of pure, unfiltered, raw calamity that none of us saw coming.
As we turned back towards the station, we thought it was finally over until we passed under one last fountain that waterlogged us one final time before returning back to the station in disbelief of what just happened, with a queue of laughter staring directly at us as we disembark.
To say that I wasn't expecting that would be an understatement. I always wrote off splash battles as looking like "not much" rides, I was wrong. I absolutely loved it.

Now drenched in hydro from head to toe it was time for the final new-to-me coaster of the trip, #189 Speed of Sound. Unfortunately this was my least favourite major coaster of the trip with the onboard audio broken, as in not working at all, and the vest restraints really not doing much to mitigate the ride's prominent rattle through the cobra roll. The backwards cobra roll was as uncomfortable as ever, as is with Wipeout, and am seriously unsure of whether this really is "the best Vekoma Boomerang in the world", as I don't think that it even clears the unthemed stock that is Wipeout. I appreciate the theming, just not the ride.

Coasters done, it was time for a second lap of the park. I originally intended on getting second opinions on the major coasters but I declined in favour of as many rides on Untamed as possible.
But not before a round of La Grande Roue to get some photos from up top.

Then I sat on Untamed to take the trip for the rest of the day, which had significantly warmed up and was punching even harder as a result. Yep, it's definitely #1.

And slightly before park close (as I don't like getting the last bus of the day because if I miss that then I have very limited options to get back to the station) we got a hot dog, some merch, and then caught my bus back highly satisfied with the day. New favourite park.

From there we got a train back from Harderwijk to Utrecht with a change at Amersfoort Centraal (with enough time at the transfer to grab a tasty cappuccino), then stayed parked in Utrecht until 22:00 where we made our way back to the same FlixBus stop for our way back home. Sitting down it still felt like I was twisting in every sense of the word on Untamed, something that I didn't get on Ride to Happiness. We had a nice look at the shops in Utrecht Centraal, even bought a few things, and had a great-tasting kebab. No sightseeing through Utrecht today, we're chilling.

On the coach home we saw a perfectly timed fireworks show from Titanium Festival

and stood in the freezing cold of the ferry's sun deck on our way from Calais to Dover, something I haven't done before, with a tasty full English to compliment it.

And then we returned to London where we grabbed a coffee and a shortbread, once again familiarising ourselves with the excruciating prices back home before heading off straight into the shower after a short journey back through the Underground and TfL bus services.

I must also mention - the park has some great value for money in this day and age, something that the UK parks could seriously learn from.


Hyper Poster
Nice report Rob, you articulate your joy and excitement so well. My number 1 and 2 are Untamed and RTH too. What's your plans for the rest of the year, will you be hitting 200 soon?

Rob Coasters

Hyper Poster
Nice report Rob, you articulate your joy and excitement so well. My number 1 and 2 are Untamed and RTH too. What's your plans for the rest of the year, will you be hitting 200 soon?
Thank you! 200 *should* come next week if all goes to plan...

Plans for the rest of the year will be pretty much [insert Western European country here] but Eastern Europe & Asia intrigue me massively and will hopefully be on the cards in the future!