Vekoma has built over 400 roller coasters. No other ride manufacturer has more coasters to their name than Vekoma and anyone who has visited a theme park has probably ridden one of them.
Vekoma was founded in 1926 as a manufacturer of agricultural and mining machinery. In 1967, the Dutch company started manufacturing amusement rides such as Ferris Wheels and has specialized in manufacturing thrill rides since the mid-1970s.
It’s hard to name another manufacturer that has taken better advantage of modern technology to improve their coaster designs than Vekoma, starting with their Family Suspended Coaster in 2006 (see below). With more than a dozen new models released since then, the company has regained their early dominance in the industry.
Vekoma’s First Coaster
The Corkscrew was the first ride type that made Vekoma coasters desirable. Easy to construct in a relatively small area, the Corkscrew model offered riders the inversion after which it’s named. There are slight variations of the Corkscrew model, such as an added curve or an extra corkscrew but the general layout remains the same. The ride type debuted in 1979 with Tornado at Walibi Belgium and Super Wirbel at Holiday Park in Germany and was the first coaster type ambitiously developed by Vekoma. The Corkscrew model is no longer manufactured, but several examples still operate today.
See also: Corkscrew Coasters
Vekoma’s Product Range
The Boomerang coaster is one of Vekoma’s most popular models; over 50 of them have been built since 1984. Riders are winched backwards out of the station up a spike-like lift hill. The train is then released and hurtles through the station, around cobra roll and vertical loop inversions before coming to a rest up another spike. The train is then released from the second spike where it travels the track in reverse. There are various Boomerang models such as the Giant Inverted Boomerang (aka GIB) and Invertigo where the trains are suspended below the track.
See also: Boomerang Coasters
As the name suggests, the Family Boomerang (sometimes referred to as a Junior Boomerang) is a variation of the Boomerang model. The Family Boomerang doesn’t invert, instead of a cobra roll and loop, it had a spiraling helix. This coaster type made is debut in 2011 in Europe with Ben 10: Ultimate Mission at Drayton Manor in the UK and slight variations have been made to some of the dozens that have been built since then.
See also: Boomerang Coasters
SUSPENDED LOOPING COASTER (SLC)
There are over 30 SLCs in the world and the first one, El Condor at Walibi Holland, opened in 1994. As the name suggests, trains are suspended below the track and it features several inversions. Although Vekoma makes customized SLCs, the vast majority of them are off-the-self models that come in one of five sizes. The earlier SLCs are renowned amongst enthusiasts as having an uncomfortable ride experience.
See also: Inverted Coasters
SUSPENDED FAMILY COASTER
Vekoma developed a smaller version of their SLC for families to enjoy together. The first models opened at Canada’s Wonderland and Kings Island in Ohio, USA, in 2001. The company went on to perfect the coaster by making the ride smoother and removing the over-the-shoulder restraints in 2006 when Kvasten opened at Gröna Lund in Sweden.
See also: Suspended Coasters
Vekoma came up with an alternative to the popular B&M Flying Coasters in 2000. Riders board a Flying Dutchman seated in a horizontal position. The trains are then reclined in the station and flipped upside down on the lift hill. The track layout is full of swooping turns and several inversions to create the illusion of flight. There are only three of these coasters operating in the world, all of which are in the USA. There’s also a variation of this coaster type called Stingray which has a compact design with a vertical lift hill. Only one was ever built that operated from 2009-2018 at Ferris Wheel Park in China.
The Flying Dutchman underwent a design change in 2020 with F.L.Y. at Phantasialand in Germany, the first installation of Vekoma’s upgraded Flying Coaster. F.L.Y. stands for Flying Launch Coaster, inplying the coaster uses LSM (Linear Synchronous Motor) launches, rather than a lift hill.
In addition to being much smoother, the other major change is at the beginning of the ride. Riders still start in a sit-down position, but are then transported sideways to a dark ride section. Once the coaster is prepared to launch, the track and seats turns 90° creating a seamless transformation from dark ride to coaster.
See also: Flying Coaster
Vekoma turned the thrills up a notch in 2017 when Lech Coaster opened at Legendia in Poland. The high-speed looping coaster features a twisting vertical drop, many twists and turns, airtime hills and inversions. It’s a true adrenaline junkie’s coaster that’s not for the faint of heart. Even experienced coaster enthusiasts need a break before taking re-rides on this one.
See also: Multi-Looping Coasters
Although identical to Vekoma’s Bermuda Blitz in size and speed, the company’s Wildcat coaster isn’t as intense and has a vertical drop that doesn’t twist. Featuring the world’s first stall loop that combines a vertical loop with an inverted camelback, followed by double vertical twists and a corkscrew fly-through over the station, there are plenty of unique elements to keep riders’ blood pumping. The first installation, Fønix at Fårup Sommerland in Denmark, opened in 2022.
See also: Multi-Looping Coasters
LSM LAUNCH COASTER
There are two Vekoma LSM Launch coaster models – the standard 3,268 foot (996 m) track length version and the Disney variation. The Disney variation is customized and is used for the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster attraction found at their parks in France and Florida, USA. The American one opened in 1999 and the French clone in 2002. Both are dark indoor coasters, so you will need to ride Xpress: Platform 13 at Walibi Holland in the Netherlands to see the track layout.
Xpress: Platform 13 at Walibi Holland, Netherlands
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Walt Disney Studios Park, France
See also: LSM Launch Coasters
These compact launch coasters are loaded with thrills and surprises in spite of their smaller size. With a 50 mph (80 km/h) LSM (Linear Synchronous Motor) launch, sharp turns, airtime hills, corkscrews and a sidewinder, the ride packs quite a punch. Formula at Energylandia was the first Space Warp coaster to open in 2016. The company’s Hyper Space Warp variation is mid-sized and features a lift hill instead of the launch.
See also: LSM Launch Coasters
These double LSM launch coasters reach top speeds up to 62 mph (100 km/h) and opened in 2021 with two installations – Abyssus at Energylandia in Poland and Dragon in the Jungle at Dragon Valley Theme Park in China. Their variable lay-out with high pacing and forceful twists and turns feature multiple inversions up to nearly 126.5 feet (38.5 m) high. Although the launches and type of inversions – loops, corkscrews and batwings – are identical, the number of inversions and track layout are park specified.
See also: LSM Launch Coasters
Family Launch Coaster
Don’t let its impressive scale, LIM (Linear Induction Motor) launches, panoramic helix, high-speed gravity sections, and low-to-the-ground U-turn with rapid twists fool you. With its mere 39 inch (1 m) height requirement, this coaster is one the entire family can enjoy together. The onboard audio option adds to the thrills, that won’t scare the little ones yet satisfy teens and adults alike. The company’s first family launch coaster, Big Bear Mountain at Dollywood in Tennessee, USA, opened in 2023.
See also: LIM Launch Coasters
Vekoma has well over 100 Junior Coaster installations of varying size and shapes. Designed specifically with youngsters in mind, they’re perfect for that first step up from Big Apple/Wacky Worm, Dragon, or other kiddie coasters. It all started with Roller Skater at Plopsaland De Panne in Belgium, which opened in 1991. Featuring booster wheel lifts, due to the smaller size, there’s no chain noise or launch to spook anyone.
The Motorbike coaster is named after it’s innovative rider seating position (trains are themed to motorcycles) and it’s launch. There are two standard off-the-shelf models available and the ride can be customized. Motorbike coasters do not invert and have a low minimum rider height limit, so they are ideal for family parks who want an adventurous, thrilling coaster. The first one, Booster Bike at Toverland in the Netherlands, opened in 2004. Zamperla also produce a similar type coaster.
See also: Hydraulic Launch Coasters
Vekoma manufacturers the classic Mine Train coaster most people associate with the original construction – Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland Paris. There are about a dozen of these coasters operating, including Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars at Hong Kong Disneyland. They offer a compact layout that features many turns and drops. These coasters lend themselves to themeing, especially where the train travels near enclosed spaces. Two different sized Mine Train models are available from the company, although customized versions are possible.
Vekoma also developed Disney’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a new model that features the world’s first swaying cars.
See also: Mine Train Coasters
Only three Vekoma wooden coasters have been built, all in 2000-2001, and the company discontinued the type soon thereafter. There are several manufacturers dedicated to creating wooden coaster of greater intensity and variety, therefore Vekoma Wooden coasters never became popular.
In addition to the above mentioned coasters at Disneyland parks, Vekoma has manufactured other custom coasters for Mikey & Co, as well as three Junior Coasters – Barnstormer at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Florida and the Gadget’s Go Coasters at the Tokyo and California Disneyland parks. There’s also the Space Mountain coasters at the Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland parks, as well as Expedition Everest at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. Equally as well know as those are the TRON Lightcycle coasters at Shanghai Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Florida. Of special note is Casey Jr. Le Petit Train du Cirque at Disneyland Paris, as it’s Vekoma’s one and only powered coaster.
Expedition Everest at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, USA
TRON Lightcycle/Run at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, USA
Space Mountain: Mission 2 at Disneyland Paris, France
Casey Jr., Le Petit Train du Cirque at Disneyland Paris, France
There are plenty of other Vekoma coaster models that are operating at parks the world over. Many are one-off, only have one still operating (in the case of defunct models), or one with another under construction (in the case of new models). For example, the company’s only Wild Mouse originally opened at the Wiener Prater in 1985 before moving to Alton Towers in England ( to ) and remains operating at Idlewild in Pennsylvania since 1993.
Battlestar Galactica at Universal Studios Singapore remains Vekoma’s only Launch Dueling Coaster; Big Air at E-DA Theme Park in Taiwan is the company’s only U Shuttle spinning coaster; Wrath Of Zeus at VinWonders in Vietnam is the only Firestorm LSM launch multi-looping coaster; Invincible Warriors at Fantawild Land in China remains the only Renegade coaster; Comet (aka Waly Coaster) at Walygator Grand Est in France is the only Hurricane coaster ever built; Revolution at Bobbejaanland in Belgium is the only Illusion coaster still operating; Bandit Bomber at Yas Waterworld in the UAE remains the only Splash Party water coaster; X – No Way Out (aka The Walking Dead – The Ride) at Thorpe Park in England is one of two Enigma coasters ever built; and Gravity Max at Discovery World in Taiwan is the company’s only Tilt Coaster, but two others are finally under construction after over 20 years since the original opened.
The exemption to the one- or two-offs are Vekoma’s defunct line of MK coaster models like Hornet at Wonderland Amusement Park in Texas is one of the four MK-700 coasters operating and Vogel Rok at Eftling in the Netherlands is also one of the four MK-900 coasters operating, along with Crazy Bats (aka Temple of the Night Hawk) at Phantasialand in Germany.
Vekoma also manufactured water rides and other thrills rides. The most popular being the Madhouse, which is a flat ride built inside of a building where a gondola swings back and forth to a maximum of 15° at a controlled speed while the large circular room rotates in the opposite direction. As the ride progresses, the two rotations creates the illusion that the room has flipped upside down.
The company also offers suspended dark rides as well as over a half dozen media based attractions.
The name Vekoma comes from a combination of the founder’s name and factory; Veld Koning Machinefabriek.
Manufacturer Contact Details
Vekoma Rides Manufacturing B.V.
6063 BA Vlodrop
Tel: +31 475 409 222