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"Pass the Duchy" Trip Reports


Giga Poster
Riiight, so, even though I'm pretty certain nobody wants to hear what I've got to say about anything, I'll give my account of things anyway! :)
Firstly though, I'd like to thank Mark for being my taxi for the trip, organising the park discounts and for his organisation in general. I'd also like to thank Gavin for sorting out the hotels and for putting up with me being his roommate!

So, after arriving at Stansted for a 7:30am flight to Dusseldorf, I quickly found the group flying to some other airport and had a quick chat with them to say hello and things. After sitting around for a while, I decided to go to my gate and walked to a gate to "Dusseldorf" and spent the next 5 minutes wondering why this was a Ryanair flight instead of an Air Berlin flight, before working out that Ryanair were going to Dusseldorf-Wheeze, and my actual gate was about a mile away on the train thing! :roll: After eventually finding my gate and getting on about a half-full flight, an hour later I was in Germany!

After meeting with Mark, Owain and Gavin we found our hire car and set off for Phantasialand, hoping it wouldn't be too busy as it was a Friday. We quickly worked out that this wouldn't be the case and we may struggle to get all the rides done with limited time available as we set off on the trek from our parking space to the park’s gate. The first thing I should say about Phantasialand is that the theming is sublime, and almost at BGE-levels. The hotels are the best I’ve ever seen at a park, and everything looks fantastic. Very impressive!

After entering the park, we found out that we had a bit of a wait until the group that I met up at Stansted would arrive, so we decided to ride Black Mamba. After snaking around the queue for around 45 minutes, the other group had just turned up as we were, thinking we’d be on the ride within 10 minutes as we were just about to enter the station building. Half an hour later, and we were FINALLY. Slowest operating speeds I think I’ve ever encountered in a park, and even though we were only around 3 trains from getting on, it still took forever! Owain mentioned that it might be because they have to let the soundtrack loop back round to when the train is supposed to go, but this just results in A LOT of standing around by the ride ops with nobody moving anywhere! Utterly ridiculous. Thankfully, the wait ended up being well worth it, as Black Mamba turned out to be an excellent coaster. The way that you can’t see what’s coming up at all, the smoothness of the ride and the way how it wasn’t TOO forceful made it tick all the right boxes for me. In my opinion, not as good as Alpengeist, but very close and better than most B&M inverts!

After eventually getting off the ride and joining the rest of the group bar Richard’s car, we all decided to head over to Winja’s, only to be met with a huge queue spilling out from the main queuing area. After what seemed forever, we got on Winja’s Force. Very impressive ride with the little surprises every now and then, although maybe not worth the hype that everyone seems to give it. It’s good, but not THAT good. As the queue was still huge, we decided to come back for Fear later in the day, when the queues would hopefully have died down. This is also the time that we noticed that closing time had been put back by a couple of hours; Definitely not something you’d see happening in the UK! I think this made a lot of us quite relieved and more relaxed about getting in all of the coasters as well as now having the ability to do some of the other rides as well.

Some point throughout the day, I think just after Winja’s, we rode the indoor coaster, which I described as “epilepsy in a box”, as this was exactly what it was. Lots of flashing lights, the coaster having the same thing about 4 times in a row which went on forever (someone said it was the “longest indoor coaster in the world” I think for this ride, and I can see what they were going on about!), very warm inside the ride. Not that great.

Not too sure what came next, but I think we grabbed a bite to eat, met up with Richard, Will, Nic and John and went on the highly talked about Rapids. During the queue line, after waiting about 40 minutes, some old lady and her child decided that then would be the time to join the queue line with their family who had just got to the front of the queue! Obviously, Richard wasn’t having any of this and kicked up a bit of a fuss which was entirely acceptable. Queue jumpers piss me off, especially those trying to get right to the front, and a fuss should be made out of them! All parks seem to have policies for the jumpers, but never enforce them! Back to the ride, and I ended up not getting too wet at all, which was a positive! :p The ride was alright I suppose, although, maybe I just missed something, I don’t think it was as good as everyone else is saying it was. Despite being a totally different type of rapids, I definitely prefer the Bilge-Rat Barges at Islands of Adventure. I feel the drops on the ride could have done with being longer and could have done with more drops like the one after the whirlpool rather than the straight ones. Overall, a decent ride, but I have lower opinions than most others about the ride.

Next ride of the day was Mysterious Castle. I DESPISE drop towers, and was really **** myself all throughout the queue for this. I wasn’t even going to queue for it before Sue convinced me to ride it! Thank **** she did, as WHAT A RIDE it is! After a comparatively short wait, we were sitting on the ride and STRAIGHT after the ops checked my restraint, without any warning whatsoever, we were zooming to the top! Absolutely incredible ride, and I haven’t shat myself on a ride like I did then since probably the wait for the drop on Cliffhanger a few years back! By far my favourite shot tower I’ve ever done, and probably my favourite ride in the entire park!

After Mysterious Castle, the group split up again to get the remaining coasters. The group I was with rode Colorado Adventure: The Michael Jackson Thrill coaster. For a mine train and family coaster, this was excellent, and almost threw Sue out the train! Although not as good as Thunderation for me, it is still a very good little ride.

After this, we rode Black Mamba again for those who hadn’t ridden it earlier. The queue was thankfully only about a quarter of the length of before, and if anything, the ride had gotten a lot better from a few hours earlier! Still excellent an ride after my second go on it.

As it was now getting scarily close to the end of the day, we quickly walked over to Winja’s, only to be met with a “This queue line is now closed” sign and a ride attendant hovering around. The gate was still open, however, and we quickly went through! Within about 5 minutes we were riding on Fear! :) After riding both sides, I can say that I definitely prefer the Force side. Fear was still alright, but Force’s trick tracks were better in my opinion.
Now it was right at the end of the day and we found that the “world’s longest underground ghost train” (or some bollocks like that) was still open, so we quickly dashed to it and got on straight away. ‘Some of the most **** up things I’ve ever seen’ would probably be the best way I’d describe this ride. Seriously, how high were the designers when they were coming up with that stuff???

After this, we made our way over to Mystery Castle for a sneaky last ride of the day, but unfortunately we found the gate closed and no other rides were still open either.

So, to sum up the day, it was a fantastic start to the trip with some incredibly theming throughout the park. However, despite how decent most of the rides were, there are definitely better examples of all of them throughout the world. This isn’t to say that any of the rides were bad, just not top. Saying that, however, Black Mamba will probably come out well within the top 20 of my list I think, although the ridiculous operations annoyed the hell out of me! Still, an excellent park, and one that I would definitely like to return to in the future, if for nothing else then just for Mysterious Castle! :)

Day one complete, and the other parks to be written about some point when I’m bored in the future! :)

Looks fun etc etc, but Mike why do you have to be a downer? "I'm pretty sure nobody cares to read what I have to say".. It's just annoying :p . Why would anyone not care what you have to say compared to what anyone else has to say?


East Coast(er) General
Staff member
Taylor's right Mike. I've said it before & I'll say it one more time. We like you, so cut it out.

Like Ian, I'm totally bummed that I couldn't be there to join in on all the fun times. Reading the reports is so hard because all I can think is "I wish I could have gone", but I'm glad everyone had such a great time (of course). Can't wait until I retire & join in whenever I feel like it.
Unlike Ian, I don't care as much about the rides (or opinions thereof) & really like reading about all the inside stuff & everything you all got to do. All the photos are great too, especially:

And here's the other one that wouldn't post for Rach:

Keep the reports coming. I'll gladly 'suffer' through some more. :wink:


Giga Poster
I will get round to writing a report once i have mon photos up and a bit more time, but i'm working on getting the photos up now, so then i'll start on the report!


CF Legend
I'll be writing up my reports sooner or later, need to upload the photos first. So for now, ladies and gentleman may I present to you, a CF Live video....


It kinda dies about half way through but still, enjoy :D


From CoasterForce
Staff member
Social Media Team
Great video! I tweeted it from the CF account. I'll add it to the CF FB page as well. Hope you don't mind. I can easily remove.

Even more jealous now.

There's nothing better than going to a new park with CFers. It's a shame that we've whored the UK ones to death really.


CF Legend
Thanks Ian for the posting of the video on the CF accounts :D

I've uploaded one batch of photos to Facebook but I won't be uploading the other half and writing the first part of the trip report till tomorrow night.


Giga Poster
Ian said:
Ok, I am truly 100% jealous. Gutted that I couldn't make it. I don't want to read any more reports because it'll make me cry.
I kept hoping you'd pop out somewhere.
You didn't.
Why Ian, why? :'(

Ian said:
I LOVE AJ's Wills & Kate flag. That's awesome! Inspired! Always great to see the Union Flag flying, even if it around AJ and it's in jest. Brilliant!

Will and Kate were mine! I went to WHSmith to pick them up and EVERYTHING.

Also, my reports will be up next week after I finish this stupid assignment I have. Though I may try and do Phantasialand tonight, because this assignment needs to be given the face... D:


CF Legend
Great video Peep, more people than rides which is always good :) PMSL at the trampoline part though :)


Strata Poster
Day 3: Efteling

Warning: I hardly took any photos. I'm hoping other people did better.

We got there stupidly early. The empty car park boded well for a good day.



We'd intended to stop for food on the way, but didn't find anything. We were starving and in desperate need of coffee, but couldn't go into the park until Slayed arrived to sort out the group discount. Richard somehow persuaded the awesome guy at Guest Services to let him go in, buy breakfast, then come back out again. Never before has a cup of coffee been so welcome.

The entrance is HUGE and, as Jordan pointed out the other night, contains a vadge. Totally didn't notice while we were there.


Everyone turned up and we went in. The group discount was fab. Thanks to the park, and well done to Slayed for organising it. First stop, actual breakfast in the Octopus Cafe. This gave us all a first taste of just how amazing some of the theming at this park really is.



After food faff, we decided that it'd be a good idea to get all the CREDZ done. First stop was "coaster of (near) death", Python. Eugh is about all I can say, +1 and I never have to ride it again.

From here we decided to do the Flying Dutchman. The theming in the queue line is absolutely stunning. Actual Disney levels of detail. It also goes on for miles. The dark section of the ride is also fantastic. Really really well done. When you get outside into the coaster section, it's a bit less impressive. The banked turn is so slow it gives you crazy sideways hang time. The drop into the water is so small you don't realise that it's the actual final drop. Oh well, the inside makes up for it.

Next up was Joris en de Draak. I was in the group that did Water first followed by Fire (why the two sides aren't just called "Joris" and "Draak" is beyond me?!). Unfortunately, my entire body ached like a bitch from the epic ropes course at Toverland the day before. Therefore, I found it quite difficult to really enjoy them because the G Force just made every single muscle in my body HURT. It's not the rides' fault though, it's my fault for actually doing exercise (I always knew it was bad for you!). It's also slightly unfair due to the amount of sheer fun I'd had on Troy (TROY!) the day before, my opinion is probably slightly skewed. I thought that the 'duelling' aspect of the ride was lost a little bit, as I don't think there's enough interaction - although again, this could be because I was somewhat distracted. The flags and signs in the station for the 'winning' side are a great touch. For what its worth, I thought that Water had more airtime, and was therefore my favourite. Mind you, I did one at the front and one at the back, so who knows. Its a shame we didn't get to re-ride. I'd love to go back when my muscles don't hate me and see if I enjoy it more.

The next ride we went on was Fraggle (Vogel) Rok. The speakers on our train weren't working, so there was nothing special about it at all. Meh. Another cred.


I then convinced everyone that we should go on the scary clown ride. Hahaha, I thought the Xenophobia ride at Madame Tussauds was bad... until I went on this! lol! Its also worth mentioning that this this must be a throughput monster (in a good way). The ride never stops, there's a continuous stream of hundreds of cars, and it goes through the station really quickly.

We then went and did one of the many many many carousels. It's a proper old skool steam driven one (well, I suspect its been converted to electric, but the original steam engine is still in place) with a punch card music organ. It went really pretty fast, was on a long cycle, and was generally fab. Next door there was this crazy model village/train set thing. It is huge and unbelievably detailed. It took us ages to actually spot a train, and we got rather excited when we finally did. The thunder and lightening in the night time scene is also fab.

From here, we went round to the scary castle thingy. I got a few yards through the door, and bloused out. Whilst sat outside, I made friends with an overly cheerful ice cream seller on a bike. He was slightly scary.

On the way into the castle, we'd seen a sign for an attraction called PandaDroom (AKA Panda of DOOM!). Turns out its a 4D cinema. There's a stupidly long 2D pre-show video that's basically a massive advert for the WWF (for nature, not the wrestlers). The 4D show itself is ok. Again, it's environmentalist propaganda which is a bit odd. The surprise at the end is... surprising. I like it, even though its a bit weird and utterly pointless. Be warned though, this video contains no actual pandas, animated or otherwise. When you leave the 4D cinema, there's a sort of walkthrough thing featuring characters from the film, which brings you back out into the Octopus Cafe.





After lunch, we headed over to the last CRED which is the bonkers flying turns thing. OMFG! I actually thought I was going to die. Any coaster cars with roll-bars are not a good sign. It's a lot of fun, but there's too many MCBRs, each more painful than the last. It was ok, but has potential to be so much better.

I think it was after this that we went on Fat Mamma, or whatever the **** its called. We really didn't know what to expect, although kinda suspected that it would be "their answer to It's a Small World". This is true in so much as its a slow dark boat ride. From there on, the similarities end. It's a spectacularly intricately themed ride with huge scenes, and goes on for miles. It clearly cost them a FORTUNE. It's just a shame then, that the subject matter is, well, a bit odd. Its basically a journey through some kind of Arab town. There's market scenes and suchlike which are pleasant enough. Then you get taken through what it clearly a whore house. It then all goes a bit Team America, and you start getting shot at by terrorists (Turns out this was a little prescient, considering what was to happen in Pakistan just a few hours later...!) Basically, the theming is breathtaking, but overall its just a bit too "WTF?!"

I think we went and faffed in the fairytale bit next. There's tons of scenes and stuff set in the middle of the forest. Most of them are looking a bit tired now though, and are not up to the standard of the rest of the park. It also doesn't help that, due to the language barrier, its impossible to tell what the hell is going on.




You eventually come to a square, where there's a donkey that **** gold coins! Yes, that is what I said. They come shooting out of his arse. Literally.



One of the guys at work had told me in the past about how, when he used to visit Efteling as a kid in the 70's (his Mum is Dutch), there were multi-coloured doves everywhere. He also said that it got banned because they used to pretty much die every day, and they'd just ship in a fresh set and get the spray paint out. We were pretty surprised then, when a pink, a yellow, a blue and a green dove flew overhead from nowhere! The green one was the only one that hung about for photos though. (Again, this was also a bit of a hint to the future, considering the dying pigeon in the evening... anyway, more of that later)


We eventually found the fairy dark ride thing. All I have to say is that it's SUCH A CRED!!!!1!!!111!!!1! Have a photo of the lights in the entrance...


This was next door to Villa Volta, or Goat Riders: The Ride. Again, it's a shame I don't speak the language, so had no idea what all the pre-show rooms were on about. The music in the final room is fab, but the lack of effects let it down. The room feels really spinny, much more so than Hex, but it needs more flashing lights and stuff, and more 'hidden' things on the ceiling to look at. also, however good the music is, you'll never beat Hex <3

This meant we were in perfect time to catch the last performance of their new arena spectacular 'Raveleijn'. The entrance arch to this has been in place for well over a year with effects and music to promote the show. As you walk in, the sheer scale and detail of the set are the first thing that hit you. It's amazing.




They also give you these awesome hats to wear <3


Then the actual show starts, and it all goes horribly downhill. Horribly. Like, REALLY bad. Its got all the ingredients for a good show: Live animals, great music, lots of actors, costumes, effects, fight scenes, MASSIVE props etc etc. They just don't put them to good enough use. At all. The horses just ride round in circles. Surely it wouldn't hurt them to put in a few acrobatic stunts here and there? The fight scenes are totally lame. Someone points a stick in the air, and the baddie dies. Barely any action at all. When the knight people first arrive, everyone is just walking around chatting to eachother. I'm sure it isn't, but it looks really un-choreographed and messy. The way the "5-headed Steampunk Duck" (as Slayed described it) is introduced is RUBBISH. It's hidden under a tarp which is gradually pulled back by two poor blokes who have to stand on stage like lemons for 20 minutes. The Steampunk duck is pretty impressive, and I love the way it rises up out of the floor, but they just don't do it justice.


As Richard said, "I can't believe the amount of money they pissed down the drain on THIS!"

Afterwards, we found more play park stuff, then ran over for a last ride of the day on the Flying Dutchman.


We wanted on last go on Joris, but the queue was closed, so we minced about by the dragon for a bit before returning to the entrance.


My overall impression of the park is fantastic. It was relatively quiet which helped. It meant we could ride pretty much everything, including all the quirky stuff, despite the fact that the park is massive. The main thing that sets this place apart from anywhere else is how utterly beautiful the landscaping is. There's immaculately kept flowers and trees everywhere. There's ponds all over the place, and you lose track of where you're going because its all just so vast. Most of the themeing around the park, and on the rides in particular, is also amazing... if a little misguided at times. I loved it there and would definitely recommend a visit to anyone.

In the evening, we pulled up outside our hotel - the Etap next to the train station in Antwerp. What a **** hole! I'm sure there is such a thing as lovely parts of Antwerp, but we sure as hell didn't see them. As we were unpacking the car, a man appeared from a door next to us in only his pants. I assumed he was popping out for a ciggie so thought nothing of it, and carried on unpacking. When I looked back up, he'd gone back indoors, leaving a badly injured pigeon in the middle of the pavement. WTF?! By the time we came back out, the pigeon had gone, so I can only assume someone else came and picked it up. However, this summed up just how lovely an area we were staying in.

Right, I probably can't be arsed to do a Bobbiejobbie PTR. It wasn't part of the live, not everyone went, and the park is a bit crap. (Dizz is a bit ****, by the way). You'll find the photos of it (along with all my others from this trip) on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set= ... 0869921fdc

Massive thanks to Slayed for organising the whole weekend, and convincing 2 of the parks to give us a discount. Huge thanks also to Stone Cold for being my chauffeur for the weekend and to Peep and Will for keeping me sane in the Car of Rah. Huge thanks to everyone else who came, and truly made it a CF-Live to remember <3

I'll leave you with this beautiful vision from the ferry on the way home... ;)



Strata Poster
After doing 3 proper sensible PTRs, I'm going to reward myself with some pointless in-jokes that I just remembered...

The awkward moment when you can't find the crazy golf course on the sat nav because you're looking in the wrong country.

The awkward moment when you can't find reverse gear.
The really awkward moment when you STILL can't find reverse gear.
The moment of stupidity when you finally do find it, then follow Richard through a hedge.


Giga Poster
The awkward moment when Sue, Jordan and Maddie (I think they all went in, anyway) are in the men's bathroom looking at 2 toilets in one cubicle when door unlocks in the other cubicle. :p


Giga Poster
I don't remember going in the mens...
Anyway, the awkward moment when Mike tells you a jokes getting old, and that just makes it even better.
No but seriously


Giga Poster
I never said it was getting old, I said it was never funny in the first place and moreso not funny when you say it for the BILLIONTH time in a day. :roll:


CF Legend
TURD! I just wrote a hugely long second day TR and it didn't post and now it's gone. Fuxake.