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Walibi Holland - Fright nights (21/10/23)


Mega Poster
We went to Walibi for the evening on the 21st of October, which we didn't know would be on a bank holiday weekend during a massive festival, meaning the park would be at effectively 100% capacity. Also, a torrential rainstorm with 25 mph winds was expected in the area, so we'd be cycling in this then queueing for 2 hours in the rain for a ride that might close down anyway... Oh, and two of the big three were down at the start of our day.

Despite all of these odds stacking against us, everything weirdly came into place! The storm cleared up the evening before, so our cycle ride ended up being a stunning trip through the countryside with only a couple of showers dotting the evening. Lost Gravity and Untamed both came back to life just as we finished eating, and we managed to get all of the major rides except for Speed of Sound (my streak of missing boomerangs continues!).

(Apologies in advance for the quality of both my grammar, it's been a very tiring week and I'm a bit out of it; and the spottiness of some of the photos, my phone camera isn't nearly as good as my mates and the smashed lens is impossible to clean!)

As for the trip stuff, we stayed at the NH Hotel in Nunspeet. As a casual cyclist, it was a 40-50 minute ride that was flat but windy. I couldn't have recommended it enough if you're willing to cycle it. The hotel was wonderful, great value, and conveniently close to Nunspeet Station & its nearby shops. The journey was gorgeous in the daytime and perfectly manageable in the middle of the night as long as you have a bike light. Most of the roads were lit up, there were plenty of nice places to stop along the way, and the bike racks are closer to the main entrance than any of the car parks.

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Secondly, Walibi's Halloween event was fantastic! We didn't do any of the mazes as they were paid, but everyone seemed to be having a great time with them! The few scare zones on the main pathways looker excellent, the actor's makeup looked AMAZING, and they were all clearly having a lot of fun with picking people out for scares. One vampire demon guy caught me looking at the scenery and waited for me to turn back around before scaring the life out of me, so props to him! The other half of the evening's offerings were the DJ stages, with a main stage located in the central plaza in front of the ferris wheel, and a side stage near El Condor. The main stage in particular would make some dedicated festivals look a bit amateurish considering its placement and their lighting package extending out towards the main street fountain. Both stages were playing a mix of 2010s club pop and Euro pop gold, which was everything I'd have hoped for considering the Dutch's reputation for partying. The constant crowd at the main stage seemed to be telling as well, as lots of locals seemed to have come to the park just for the music and stayed through to the very end of the night.

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Lastly, I could not recommend the single rider queues enough. The wait times were consistently exceeding 2 hours throughout the evening, but our times were consistently halved by opting for the single riders where it was available. There was no way we would've managed even just the big 3 without this. Instead, we could take our time and enjoy the park atmosphere.

Going through each ride in the order we rode them:
#103 Lost Gravity - 8WhatsApp Image 2023-11-01 at 00.15.37_4ad9aceb.jpg
I'm surprised how these aren't more prevalent than they are considering how relatively cheap this was and how good the ride is! The first half of this ride was a perfect blend of seemingly every type of ejector airtime possible, each one being such a highlight in themselves while flowing together so well that the whole section plateaus at a 10/10 for me. I was fortunate enough to get a left-side wing seat which amplified the airtime on the top-hat while still getting a surprising amount of airtime on the first drop despite being on the positive-side on the twist.

The ride definitely slows down a bit from the turn into the move onwards, with the pre-corkscrew turnaround being the one part that I would call a lull in the ride. Though it still has a wonderful flow to it and ends with a great double bunny hill finale. This with the typical comfort of modern Mack rides (the cars have great seats, great restrains, and track wonderfully) would have seemingly made this endlessly re-ridable. Also the theming is novel and quite well done, so I have no complaints there!

#104 Untamed - 7
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This was probably my most anticipated ride with it being my first RMC. By the time I got through the single-rider queue, it was pitch black and I was in the 2nd to back row, just to add extra layers of chaos to whatever I was about to experience. However, given the hype that RMCs have always had, I think I was a tad underwhelmed by it?

As for the positives, the ride had one of the best first drops I've ever experienced, with a some of the strongest ejector I've felt on a ride as we tumbled into darkness. The following set of elements on the outward journey were variations of absolutely brutal ejector airtime interspersed with some butter-smooth zero-g rolls. The 270° outward stall thing seemed like such a mutated element in pictures, but felt almost effortless during my effectively blind ride. These were also helped by the trains tracking more smoothly than any ride I have ever been on.

However, while I found a lot of it to be intense to the rides benefit. The return leg of the ride ended up more frustrating than fun for me. Its always seemed to be a trend of RMC that a minimum negative g force is required for their rides, so smaller stronger airtime hills are picked over longer sustained ones (arieforce one's ending being the perfect example with four smaller hills being chosen over two potentially weaker ones). While this definitely adds to the intensity, I found that the thousand small pops of airtime to just be uncomfortable by the end instead of fun. Each one felt essentially the same, with each valley shuffling the car to a slightly different angle in order to line the next bunny hill up with the structure. The shortness of each airtime pop made it hard to enjoy them, and the lack of any kind of transition between peak and valley made the ride just feel janky, for the sake of an extra millisecond of airtime? Most of the transitions between elements felt pretty nasty, which is a shame considering how smoothly the train tracks them and how smooth certain elements are. I have no doubt that these were done deliberately for intensity's sake considering the overall quality of the ride, but combined with the endless random ejector pops just killed the flow of the ride for me.

Having said that, there is still so much quality here, even if its sore points stick out quite badly for me. The hipster-bar "reclaimed industrial" works really nicely for the ride. Its aesthetically pleasant, fits in with the surroundings, and is fitting for a ride conversion that essentially involved the opposite process. The first drop is fantastic, some of the elements were golden, and the disorienting level of intensity without being too uncomfortable to linger after getting off is a pretty special experience. I will hopefully make a chance to come back on a quieter day to try this one properly as I was spited from a re-ride after they closed the queues early, so I'm not sure I got the full picture from it. I really think that being able to see and brace for some of the transitions would make a world of difference, as it was so dark that I was anticipating based on half-remembered POVs. But my first impression was pretty jarring overall.

#105 Goliath - 9
Now for the OTHER bucket list topper, the one with 10 years of hype, then 10 years of seemingly lukewarm re-evaluation. I was the most apprehensively excited for this out of all the rides, hoping it would be a top ten but bracing for disappointment. This was the only coaster I snagged 2 rides on: a middle row seat after Untamed, then after Untamed's early closing, we managed to snag a second ride to end off our night in the front row.

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It turns out, this is an absolute belter of a ride that deserves the praise it gets. I was hoping for the couple of hills to have some mild floater, maybe something stronger like shambhala. Instead, they all sent me to space and back with how strong the ejector was while feeling so graceful with each valley (the transitions here were the opposite to how I felt about untamed!), the first one completely caught me off guard and hooked me in, while the final 3 were immensely satisfying. The twisting hills were much less forceful, but still had some decent airtime and provided a bit of respite from the constant positive force of the swooping turns. Each of these carried so much speed, accentuated by how close to the ground/ water they are, and feeling like a lite version of Millennium Force's lightning fast banking. This also goes for the final turn before slamming into the brake, which made for a pretty simple but effective finale to an incredibly long ride. The sense of speed naturally made the front row a much better experience, but the middle-row ride was still a top-tier experience with an abundance of airtime. Overall, it was a long, smooth, forceful, graceful experience with a tremendously open and comfortable train. Easily my favourite ride here in hindsight and exceeded my quietly high expectations from the RCT days

#106 El Condor - 2
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Well this was absolutely terrible, the new trains on this work to stop the headbanging that infusion gives. But the transitions between inversions is so shockingly bad that I felt winded by the seat thumping on my back by the end of the ride. The only positives of this ride is its nice aesthetics and the dive down & up into the brake run is quite a fun element. This is enough for it to be a point above abominations like Soarin' Eagle and Mean Streak for me, but it was still dismal.
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#107 Xpress Platform 13 - 7
Such a well done build up to a ride, especially considering how weird its location is in the park's main atrium (is there a reason why they put it here?). How it is initially presented as just a fun train theme that descends into progressively creepy territory is a great tone setter. After a 40 minute wait (that was posted as 75, woohoo!) And the excellent walkthrough section and batching zone, we boarded!
The coaster itself was surprisingly smooth. Having just come off of one horrifying vekoma, I was expecting a pretty nasty time, but didn't feel much jankiness at all! The launch is just as well presented as the queueline and was surprisingly forceful considering this was one of the first of its kind. The opening sea serpent roll and turns were pretty excellent, but other than the corkscrew, the ride does little more than meander which, while fun, could have used the setting better (the consequences of being an outdoor clone of an indoor coaster). It was still a great adrenaline rush of a ride with the theming really setting it apart and bumping the overall experience up.

General park atmosphere
Overall, I think the park was absolutely brilliant. Considering its size, it has a very strong lineup of rides that isWhatsApp Image 2023-11-01 at 00.15.37_031c632e.jpg seemingly only being further improved with every small investment. The remnants of Six flags ownership is still noticeable, particularly in the entrance areas which give off quite a tacky first impression. However, the variation and quality of the newer areas' aesthetics is a very telling sign of the positive direction the park is going.
Walibi Belgium's expansion efforts seem to be taking a lot of the development funds from Holland given the comparative rate of investment, so it might take some time for the whole park to be refreshed. But what is has at the moment was more than worth the visit and I would easily go back in a heartbeat... though I'd probably go when the queues are a bit quieter or I can afford a fastpass!
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