#HardGaan Near Amsterdam* - Walibi Holland August 2022 Trip Report

Shaggy_Dog_

TS Member
*actually 45 miles west of Amsterdam. Hard Gaan is the motto of the park and means “Go Fast”.


The original plan had actually been to spend the first day of our trip to the Netherlands visiting Drievliet Family Park and would have involved taking the train directly from Schipol Airport to The Hague from when we landed at 8am. However the weather forecast was for a baking hot few days so the night before my wife and I decided that we’d skip Drievliet and would stay in Amsterdam for the morning seeing a few sights and getting some breakfast and lunch.

It would have been great to have got the cred for Formule X but we knew we had a mammoth day ahead of us with the park hours for Walibi Holland being a whopping 10am until 11pm. We got the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Dronten and then a bus down to Biddinghuizen and a nice walk to our hotel situated on a golf course a few miles away from the park.


Walibi Holland Day 1

We began the day by making the 35 minute journey to Walibi Holland on the bicycles we had hired from our hotel. It was a lovely warm morning and pedalling along the flat cycle path to the park was a breeze. We parked our bikes in the racks, scanned our tickets, made our way through the plaza ready for the rope drop, and headed straight to the back of the park for the Wilderness area and Untamed, which would be my first ever RMC.

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We were one of the first in line and made our way up to the station which looks like an overgrown greenhouse and has a lovely woody citrusy scent (seriously, they should sell Untamed aftershave, it’s that good). We boarded the middle of dragonfly train and then set off. So how was it? It was good. I’d been expecting my first RMC to be an absolutely spectacular experience and to be honest, it wasn’t quite that. The first drop was great, the near misses through the structure were very well done, and the heartline roll at the end was fun, but it wasn’t quite the spectacular knockout experience I had been expecting, instead offering something more floaty with some little pops of airtime and hang time. After immediately getting off and going straight back on again I decided to head over to Goliath and let Untamed get a little more warmed up before revisiting it later in the day.

We walked through the Speed Zone and took a quick ride on the S&S shot tower Space Shot which was ok but was running rather like Ice Blast and wasn’t a patch on how Cliffhanger at Flamingo Land is riding this season (with it’s much more forceful launch and combo shot and drop mode).

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Goliath was pretty much walk on and would actually be my wife’s tallest coaster to date. The POVs I’d seen of it hadn’t made it seem like the most exciting of rides but its airtime hills certainly looked promising. And after riding it I had the impression that it was a good solid coaster with a fairly simple layout but with a nice final section consisting of some airtime hills that might well have a bit more to offer and come in to its own as the day progressed.

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Next up was Lost Gravity, a ride that I’d been very much looking forward to and one that I had anticipated might even make my top 5. I’m a big fan of the recent Macks I’d ridden and this looked like it might be an absolute banger. Interesting theming, some great cars with fantastic restraints, and some cool looking elements (and some impressive use of big flame blasts around the ride). But unfortunately for me the ride didn’t quite come together. I think the problem is that it feels like it’s Mack’s take on both a wing coaster and a Eurofighter (with maybe a little twist of an El Loco thrown) but it doesn’t quite nail it. It doesn’t have the scale, forces, or the near-miss elements of a wing coaster, nor the drama of a Eurofighter with their vertical lift hills and beyond vertical drops and it seems to be a little lacking in intensity as well. Not a terrible ride by any means (the first drop is great) but one that’s not quite as good as it could have been. It also has a little bit of a rattle as well but nothing too deal breaking.

Controversial opinion: I actually find Storm Chaser at Paulton’s to be a much more fun and forceful Mack than this one.

We then decided to get our cred on El Condor as the day was really starting to get hot and we thought we’d better get it in now before it got faster and rougher. It was only on a single train service so we made use of the single rider queue (which are fantastic at this park) and got on there within minutes therefore saving an hour long wait to ride what is sometimes described as the roughest of the Vekoma SLCs. And truth be told, it wasn’t too bad. I have a bit of a soft spot for both Infusion and Kumali and whilst this isn’t quite as good as them it wasn’t as bad as I imagined it might have been. The layout was fine, and perhaps due in part to the new to the new trains from last year with the vest restraints it wasn’t unbearably rough and was even somewhat fun. I’ve had much rougher rides this year on the likes of The Smiler, Colossus, and Saw and surprisingly enough Condor isn’t even the roughest ride at this park (but more on that shortly).

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Next up was Xpress: Platform 13 which was a ride that we must have walked past a couple of times before realising exactly where it was. I’d seen a ride entrance right at the start of park by the shop and food outlet but with the music hall of fame theming of the plaza I’d just assumed that it was for Speed Of Sound (which would have been much more appropriate). The sun was starting to get really hot and if I thought that an indoor queue line was going to offer some coolness I was wrong, the cattle pen in the mock underground station was hot, crowded and stuffy, just like a Northern Line station back home. The theming was great and got even better as we we were batched on to the next part, a very immersive walk through down in to the depths towards the train, complete with jump scares and smell pods. The atmosphere here was very reminiscent of old episodes of Doctor Who and was brilliantly done, culminating in a wait for the rattling black platform doors to slide open.

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The coaster train itself is a bit of an unusual design with it being very deep seated and having slightly awkward restraints make you wonder where to exactly to put your arms and if they are actually holding you in correctly given the big gap. You then roll through the station in to the tunnel, with blinking lights counting down to the moment of the LSM launch (which packs a fair punch) and then you are propelled from dark of a mysterious subterranean station… in to a lovely bright summer’s day and that’s the problem, it completely kills the creepy atmosphere that everything else has been so superb in building. The ride itself features a lot of elements and stuff happens, but it feels rather forceless and a little unmemorable which is strange. If only they could have encased the ride in some sort of enclosed dark structure (like its cousins Rock N’ Roller Coaster/Avengers: Flight Force at the Disney parks) then it would have been a truly spectacular ride rather than just a good one.

We then moved on to Speed Of Sound which I’ve heard described as the best of the Vekoma boomerangs. Well if that was the best then I’d hate to ride the worst as unfortunately it was an unbearably rough ride, worse than Condor. The on-board audio is fantastic, especially the way the music sloowwwly grinds to a halt during the hold at top of the reverse section and then starts again as you drop. But it’s not a pleasant ride at all and going backwards through the cobra roll was horrid shaky experience. Definitely a “one and done’.

We then decided to give a nicely warmed up Goliath another spin and we were not disappointed. The little pops of airtime before now became big bursts of ejector airtime and the coaster revealed itself to be a very good airtime machine with great pacing.
By now it was 6pm and the temperature was up to a sweltering 30 degrees and it was time to head back to The Wilderness for another go on Untamed.

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My wide decided to sit this one out (as she had a feeling it might be quite intense now) so I climbed the stairs of the Single Rider Queue up to the station and was immediately waved on to a back row ride, what a result. As the drum beat pounded the train rolled out of the station then down and around the overbanked curve. It climbed the lift hill and as the sizzling sun beat down on me I was expecting the first drop to be somewhat faster but.. Oh Sh**… That was very fast! The airtime was phenomenal, I spent most of the ride being lifted out of my seat, pulled this way and around the track by the train which felt, well, untamed careering along the track. The near misses seemed to be inches above my head as we raced through the structure and in to a crazy barrel roll that seemed to have me hanging in by my seatbelt. What an absolutely superb ride, it felt wild. I immediately went straight down the exit and back up the SRQ again for another go. What a difference a couple of hours had made, this is an awesome coaster.

We grabbed a bite to eat at the Cock-A-Doodle-Doo fast food chicken restaurant (which serves great vegan spiced ‘no-chicken’ burgers by The Vegetarian Butcher brand that originated in the Netherlands) which worked out at £8.65 for a burger, a large portion of fries, and a soft drink.


A journey around the El Rio Grande rapids was next and it was a nice fun ride with some good theming. Not too wild but definitely a splash above CRR and Rumba Rapids.

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That was followed by a relaxing turn on the La Grande Roue ferris wheel with some great views of Untamed.

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I then had a couple more rides on Lost Gravity using the SRQ. My feelings were still that it’s a good coaster but just lacking a little in something. Our original plan had been to stay until the end of the day to get some sunset rides and watch the fireworks at 10pm. However by the time it got to 9pm we felt that we had thoroughly had a great day and decided to cut it short and make the cycle journey back to our hotel. The park was getting busier as people had been turning up for the evening entertainments, such as a DJ banging out the tunes on the main stage (and the atmosphere was changing a little with a party crowd turning up) so we decided to skip the rave and get a good nights sleep before what would be another long baking hot day tomorrow.



Day 2 report to follow soon.
 
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John_P

TS Member
To be fair Speed Of Sound does warn you to "Buckle up its a thrill ride."

Sounds like you had a great day at the park. It really is a lovely park!

Would definitely recommend Drievliet and Duinrell, so close together you can easily do them both in a day.
 
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