Slaphead's JUNKET Report.

Discussion in 'Your Trip Reports and Plans' started by DiogoJ42, 1st May 2014.

  1. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    As usual with my TRs, if you are looking for pretty pictures to drool over, you may as well stop reading now. There may be one or two (mostly pilfered from the missus), but I prefer to view the world through my eyes. What you will get, is a long and rambling diatribe.


    Still here? Good.

    It all began what feels like years ago now, when Balsdon turned up at my gaff the night before we set off. We went out for a feast at MEATliquor, which for those who don't know, is an eatery in London that sells meat and liquor. The clue really is in the name. ;) Upon returning home, I forced Noonoo to watch Ghostbusters, because I'd be damned if I was going to spend the best part of two weeks trapped in a car with someone who hadn't seen one of the greatest films of all time!

    Mike turned up the following morning, and we set off, with my darling Kelpie at the wheel, to Folkstone!

    … And then the problems started. Unfortunately there were 5 hour delays to le Shuttle due to a broken down train in the chunnel.

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    Even the infantile stuffed toys that certain members of our car insisted on bringing were not having fun.

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    This was all very unfortunate, since Hils, being brought up in a seafaring family with close connections to cross channel ferries, was sceptical of this mode of transport to begin with! Unfortunately her first impressions did not live up to my hype of how swift and easy it is.

    We eventually we made it to France, but this meant that Hils' first ever experience of driving abroad would be in the dark. She did a very good job though, and eventually we arrived at the Ibis in Reim at some ungodly hour in the morning without incident.

    [hr]

    Day Two: Walygator Parc

    Ride count:
    Anaconda x 1
    Monster x 5
    Krinoline x 1
    Generic Big Apple x 1
    Waly Coaster x 1
    Rafting x 1

    I had heard many bad things about this park, ranging from “it's utter crud” through to “it's very utter crud”. But this did not match what I found at all. It was obvious that the place has had a lot of Euros ploughed in to it recently, virtually everything was freshly painted and looked almost new.

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    Freshly painted, if slightly “early 90's children's TV” coloured entrance. (Photo credit to Kelpie)

    We started off with Anaconda, a very forgettable woody, since it had a large queue due to half a train operation. Seemed to be having a few issues with the brakes, as the train usually either stopped short of the station or overshot it! We also got our first reminder of France's chronic graffiti problem. What is it about woodies that makes chavs want to write on them? We witnessed a teenager scrawling something on the planks right in front of us, making no effort to hide his evil deeds. At that point a very angry man barged through the queue from behind us to give him an almighty bollocking, that sadly, we were unable to understand. :D

    Monster was the real reason we came here. A massive B&M invert that conveniently “lost” it's trim brakes when it was shipped from Japan. It goes without saying that it is a stonkingly good ride. Though I found the infamous helix to nowhere near as intense as it was hyped up to be.
    Single train operation, and a batching procedure that makes Vampire look like Europa Park also let this ride down. It never had a chance to warm up because the train was sent round once every ten minutes at best. :(

    Waly Coaster is a rather cute little Vekoma. Front row was surprisingly smooth. It was also unsurprisingly dull.

    The rapids are unique to say the least. The station looks like something out of RCT, with a straight water trough running through it. They wait until the station is full of boats before loading them all at once. Nope, no throughput here. The boats are a mixture of 6 and 8 seaters, and best of all, children have to wear life vests. What a way to fill your guests with confidence!
    The ride itself is OK, if nothing special. This is clearly one of the rides that has yet to receive the TLC shown to the rest of the park, though, as a lot of the theming is rather tatty and crumbling in places.

    Overall, the park was perfectly acceptable, but I doubt we will be returning any time soon. We made our excuses to the place and made haste towards Europa Park!

    [hr]

    The journey was straightforward, save for a horrific thunder and hail storm that reduced road visibility to almost nil. You don't realise how much cat's eyes help you see lanes in wet conditions until you don't have them any more! We dropped Mike and Jon at their guest house and checked in to Bell Rock.

    Somehow, between leaving the car and getting to our room, my watch broke. I feel naked without one, and spend the rest of the day constantly looking at my wrist before cursing myself. Thankfully, Mike had a spare with him that he was able to loan me for the rest of the trip. Cheers dude!

    I'd not stayed in there before, though I had visited the bars on several occasions. I still say Colosseo is the better themed hotel, by my god, for pure luxury, there's no beating the rooms in Bell Rock!

    Here is a shot of our king size bed (annoyingly with two separate duvets. What is it with Germans? Do they not like to cuddle their other halves in bed?)

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    (Photo credit to Kelpie)

    You can clearly see the glass wall that separates the shower from the bedroom. It made for an entertaining stay. ;)

    We made use of the glorious shower to freshen up before meeting the others at Silver Lake Saloon, for the traditional “first night at EP **** up”! :p

    Our table got in first and ordered the only 5ltr beer keg they have, so everyone else had to make do with the 3ltr towers. :D We had a second one before the night was through. Daymn, I love German beer!

    As usual, our lot became the focus of all the evening's entertainment, helped by the wonderful Steven Bailey on stage, who we first met at New Year. Easily the best entertainer I've ever seen at EP, and that's saying something!

    We retired to the hotel bars for many, many cocktails, and eventually crawled to bed in a state of merriment.

    [hr]

    Days three, four and six: Europa Park

    Since we have been here many times before, I won't dwell, as there is not much to say that I have not said already.

    Ride count (we were treating this as the “holiday” portion of the trip, and thus took it easy with many lie ins and little to no ride whoring):
    Eurosat x 4
    Silver Star x 1
    Alpen Express x 2
    Pirates in Batavia x 1
    Piccolo Mondo x 1
    Giester Schloss x 3
    Blue fire x 4
    Wodan x 3
    Windjammer x 1
    Abentur Atlantis x 1
    BENCH! X 1
    Planes x 1 (I still have no idea what this ride is called after all these years!)
    Dinofhart x 1
    Euro Mir x 2
    ASS x 1
    Pegasus x 1

    It's hard to believe Wodan is the same coaster we rode two years ago when it opened. It was running well at Horror Nights last year, but now? It's shockingly good. I take back everything I said about it when it opened, it now gives Troy a run for it's money!

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    On our last run on it, at the end of the last day, I somehow managed to get away with having my restraint on the very first click. Wasn't even intentional (being a fat smegger probably helps). The air time was downright scary at times! :D :D

    The only show we saw was the Spanish arena show. While not the most exciting one I've seen there in terms of action, it made up for this by actually hanging a guy. Hands tied behind his back, no safety wire, noose round the neck and hoist him off the floor! I sure wouldn't want to do that twice a day.

    [​IMG]
    (Photo credit to Kelpie)

    They then threatened to do the same with two members of the audience. Can you imagine the risk assessment in the UK for standing two members of the public in the middle of an arena, with nooses round their necks, while a pitched battle rages all around them involving swords, gunfire, and charging horses?! :eek:

    [hr]

    It goes without saying that EP was the highlight of the trip. How could it not be? Especially with so many first time visitors in our group. Watching them walk round open mouthed is always a joy. It was only a few years ago that was me. ;)

    [hr]

    Day five: Tripsdrill.

    Ride count:
    Generic Zierer Tivoli (large) x 1
    Flume with gratuitous nudity x 1
    Unpronounceable Gerst Bobsleigh x 2
    Mammut x 2
    Karacho x 2
    Rapids of Death x 1

    The day began with waking up at an unholy hour of the morning, to make the drive through gorgeous German countryside to a park that is literally in the middle of nowhere. For the last hour of the journey, we seemed to be heading towards an ominously large mushroom cloud:

    [​IMG]

    Tripsdrill is a small, yet wonderfully themed park, and the hospitality of the staff is amazing. They welcomed us with open arms, and the behind the scenes tour was a geek's heaven. Much thanks to Dan for organising it!

    This is a park that clearly embraces what I believe the locals call “FKK” (or inescapable full frontal nudity everywhere you turn, to the layman). I will refrain from adding photo examples, given the wide age ranges that read this forum.

    The tour's highlight has to be entering the live ride area of Mammut, and crossing the track only seconds before a train passed through, only to then be told at the last minute that if I stood where I was, a large metal lever would smack me in the head in ten seconds. There was a close call, which is probably best not dwelled upon as we wouldn't want to get the park in trouble, but the main thing is that everyone survived unharmed! ;)

    Mammut is a very odd coaster. Given that Gerst have only ever built one other woody, Son Of Beast, we were prepared for pain. Yet it could not be further from our expectations. It rode so smoothly it was hard to believe it was wood, never mind a Gerstlauer Woody!
    The ride itself is very family friendly. That is to say, it's not intense at all. Fun, but nothing amazing. It would be perfect for Chessington, be we all know that will never happen.

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    Mammut train take over via the exit, as part of our tour. :)

    Karacho, the other “Infinity Coaster” was rather good. Hard to believe it's the little brother of The Smiler. The turn out of the station and first drop reminded me of a slightly tamer Saw. And the hang time on the roll that follows was frankly terrifying with only a lap restraint (that I quickly realised was not tight enough, and pulled it down as hard as I could as soon as we levelled out.) The rolling launch was good fun and packed a nice punch, while the rest of the layout felt slightly too slow. There are some nice elements though, including a twist and dive in to a mist filled hole, like a mini upside down Oblivion. :D

    It's a shame the theming is still under construction, but what they have built so far, and the high standard of the rest of the park, shows a lot of promise.

    If only those restraints were on The Smiler...

    The Bobsleigh is far better than it's cousin at Paulton's, and very good fun. As is the flume with many naked ladies. The Hafema rapids was great. Nowhere near as insane as River Quest at Phantasialand, but still a very fast and wet thrill ride.

    [hr]

    After this entertaining day, we returned to EP for one last night, before departing at ride close for an Ibis somewhere on a French motorway. Upon arrival we discovered that the whole service area was swarming with 2 inch long beetles. They looked harmless enough as far as invertebrates go, but it freaked us all out nonetheless. We kept the window closed that night.

    [hr]

    Day seven: Nigloland

    Ride count:
    Spacial Experience x 1
    Alpina Blitz x 5
    Juke Box x 1
    Manoir Haunte x 1
    Africa Cruise x 1
    Air Meeting x 1
    Bobsleigh x 1
    Schlitt Express x 1
    Generic Big Apple x 1
    Gold Mine train x 1

    Another lovely little park with some good rides... and one amazing one. Let's not beat about the bush, Alpina Blitz is amazing. It currently stands as my third favourite coaster. While I do not have the pleasure of counting an Intamin Megalite on my credit list to compare it to, it matters not, for this baby is made of win.
    It also has an interesting baggage store system, clearly based on Blue Fire's, but the bag shelves are behind the airgates, rather than on the far side of the platform. Upon exiting, you cross a bridge and pick up your stuff on the opposite side of them. Sounds complicated, but it works really well and speeds up boarding, as by the time the air gates open, your stuff is already stashed.

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    New pants please. (Photo credit to Kelpie)

    Budget Eurosat is an OK ride. I'm told it was running better later in the day, but I was only interested in whoring 'Blitz by that point. No regrets. ;)

    Manoir Haunte is a very odd little dark ride with free spinning cars. Rather good fun for what it is.

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    Spooky Spinning BENCH! (Photo credit to Kelpie)

    Air Meeting was something I was looking forward to. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts (and a sound comprehension of aerodynamics) I was unable to get a good spin going. I did, however spend most of the ride upside down, which is better than nothing.

    Most other things in the park, while mostly very nice (they even had the best presented Big Apple I've seen) pale in to insignificance next to Alpina Blitz. We got the last ride of the day, and upon returning to the station, burst in to a round of applause. The ride staff then sent us round again. :D

    [hr]

    After all this excitement, we had to drag ourselves reluctantly away from the epic Mack goodness, and drive to... shudders... Disney.

    The Kyriad hotel was acceptable accommodation, one very small step up from an Ibis. The only real complaint I have is the woefully inadequate wifi. The chances of connecting were slim unless it was the middle of the day or 3am.

    [hr]

    A quick freshen up before we entered the waking nightmare that is Disney Village. To paraphrase the late great Hunter S. Thompson,
    The place is the diametric opposite of the EP resort. While Europa's evening entertainment oozes class and luxury gently from it's every pore, Disney Village ejaculates it's vulgarity into your face from every direction. The harsh neon signs were lessened only because most of them were broken. Loud, obnoxious pop music assaulted our ears with no escape, drowned out only by the thuggish howls of crowds drunkenly yelling at large LED screens showing football. I cannot think of a less welcoming place for the so called “family resort” to make a first impression with.

    The food offerings consisted of approximately nineteen assorted burger bars, and (thankfully) one lone place that served a passable toasted sandwich.

    Luckily we found a rather plain but acceptable bar laughably called “King Ludwig's Castle” that served proper German beer by the stein. Were it not for this haven of alcohol, I'm certain I would have gone on a killing spree the likes of which the world has not seen since Genghis Khan.

    [hr]

    Day eight: Parc Asterix

    Ride Count:
    Trace du Horre x 1
    OzIris x 8
    Transdemonium x 1
    Goudurix x 1
    Tonnere de Zeus x 1
    Vole de Icare x 1
    Generic Zierer Tivoli (medium) x 1

    We started the day with the Mack bobsleigh coaster Trace du Horre. A surprisingly tall ride, that unfortunately never seems to build up the speed you would expect from such height. It is by no means bad, but it is hardly anything to write home about.

    This was swiftly followed by The B&M invert, OzIris. There's no easy way to say this, so I'll just come out with it.

    This ride is better than Nemesis.

    I was as shocked as you are, but it's true. It now stands firmly in my number one spot. The first drop is truly breathtaking, and some of the inversions it pulls are highly unusual. Sure, it may not quite match Nemy for positive Gs, but it came very close. By the end of the day, my feet were tingling from all the blood that had pooled in my legs.
    The layout is longer and feels more satisfying. The final zero G roll is interesting. It seems that after 20 odd years, B&M have finally worked out how to profile this element to give inverted floater air time.

    The station and queue line are amazingly well themed. For example,

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    Escher-style ceiling. (Photo credit to Kelpie)

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    Giant ugly dude. (Photo credit to Kelpie)

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    Starry night sky in the station. (Photo credit to Kelpie)

    Words cannot express how amazing this ride is. I would return for this alone, and yet there is so much more goodness at Asterix...

    Transdemonium is a dark ride I was looking forward to. It is bizarre, yet quirky and kind of cute. The queue has some very well themed rooms that seemed to be freaking out some of the younger kids. >:D The ride itself is odd, yet atmospheric, with an eerie yet irritatingly catchy tune. I would recommend it. While it may not be scary, it is certainly unique.

    Now on to the legend that is Goudurix. We had prepared ourselves for pain. I figured, if I'm only going to do it once, I may as well head for the back of the train and see just how bad it can be.
    Imagine our surprise when it turned out to be a perfectly acceptable ride? I mean, it's forceful, sure, but I've been on plenty of Vekomas worse than this. Dare I say it, I rather enjoyed it! It certainly ranks bellow the likes of SMM2, Infusion, Colossus and the dreaded Baco in the painlympics. I've had worse pain from Saw and The Smiler, even my beloved Dragon Kahn. I would gladly ride it again.

    Zeus was a woody that I had heard good things about. It was clearly running well when we visited, but unfortunately it left me feeling cold. The ride is a 50/50 mix of absolutely insane air time, but also horrific corners that reminded me of Stampida. I'm sure that with a bit of padding on the sides of the cars, this would be much more acceptable.

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    Zeus has interesting taste in underwear. (Photo credit to Kelpie)

    Overall, Asterix is a great park, with a surprisingly good concept of throughput, and I would return without hesitation. There is however, one slight problem. Queue jumpers. The issue reminded me of Thorpe on a bad day. We spent the afternoon whoring OzIris on single rider, and one group in particular (there were others) kept pushing through everyone. Some of our number almost got into a fight with them. The staff were no help, as despite their best efforts to stop them from riding, they were outnumbered. Eventually a security guard turned up to man the SR gate. Unfortunately they did not throw them out of the park, so they kept returning.

    But French chavs aside, my impressions of the place are very positive. Second best park on the trip, behind EP, of course. :)

    [hr]

    Can we just end it here? It would be a much nicer place to finish than how the trip actually ended...
     
    Posted 1st May 2014
    #1
  2. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Location:
    Under your bed...
    Favourite Ride:
    The Metropolitan Line
    Days nine and ten: Disneyland Paris

    Ride count:
    PotC x 2
    SM:M2 x 1
    Autopia x 1
    Buzz Lightyear x 1
    Casey Jnr x 1
    Phantom Manor x 3
    Rock n Roller x 2
    RC Racer x 1
    It's a Racist World x 1
    Bouncey Box of boredom (Star Tours) x 1
    Crush's Coaster x 1
    Big Chunder Boredom Railroad x 1

    We had a lie in on the first Disney day. We were in no rush to enter the park. Frankly, it would have been no great loss had we stayed in bed all day.

    Sigh.

    OK, I know I hate the place anyway, but even putting my personal prejudice aside, the park is a disgrace.

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    Casey Jnr's amazing paint job. How can a ride that's never open get so worn? (Photo credit to Kelpie)

    There are multiple photos posted by all of us on facebook that show the dilapidated state of the park, but none sums it up better for me than Astrodan's shot of the Starbucks in Disney Village (which I hope he doesn't mind me using to prove a point).

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    No comment. (Photo credit to Astrodan)

    In fact, you know what? I'm not even going to mention the rides, or the park, at all any more. I shall instead, focus on the one positive experience I had at Disney... Getting drunk.

    A few of us decided to dine at Buffalo Bill's after our first day. Hils and I had been there before and recommended it. Most people refused given the high price, but a few agreed to give it a shot (once they realised that unlimited beer was included in the price).

    I left the park slightly early due to a crippling medical need for real beer. (The child size glasses served on park being woefully inadequate to silence the voices telling me to kill).

    I made haste to Ludwig's and promptly downed two steins...

    [​IMG]
    ahhhhhhhhh

    … before meeting Hils, Dan, Matt, Mike and Jon for the evening's entertainment.

    If you've never seen it, I would say you should. You get a good four courses of grub, all the beer (or cola) you can drink, and an entertaining show. There's a certain perverted pleasure to be had from eating cows, while watching cows wander past you. You also get a free hat.

    For a few hours, I was able to forget where I was and have a nice evening out getting merry with friends. We had a couple of drinks in one or the bars afterwards, before the criminally early last bus back to the hotel forced us to leave, just as the night was getting fun.

    [hr]

    A second day at Disney took place, at the end of which, many goodbyes were said. Moving on...

    [hr]

    Day 11: the journey home.

    A long drive later, we found ourself at the Eurotunnel terminal, where guess what? There were delays again. This time, it was the train some of our lot were on that was stuck in the northbound tunnel! A three and a half our hold up provided a nice circular end to the trip, even the car mascots got to repeat their roles.

    [​IMG]
    (Photo credit to Kelpie)

    At least this time there was some traditional British child friendly domestic violence to keep us entertained while we waited.

    [​IMG]

    Eventually we returned to Blighty, and stopped of at Kelpie's folks for a much needed cup of tea, as they live only ten minutes from the Chunnel.

    [hr]

    … And that's it. We got home. The trip ended on a bit of a downer, which is a real shame, because travel delays and Disney aside, it's been one of the best trips I've ever been on.

    On the plus side, I have a new number one and number three coaster. I also have this...

    [​IMG]
    Is it an Intamin? Is it a Vekoma? No, it's... Super Wirble! (We think.)

    ...Which Joelio kindly picked up for me at Holiday Park. It will make a fine ashtray! :p

    [hr]

    There seems little point in listing high / low lights after such an in depth TR. They should be self evident.

    A massive thank you to Kelpie for driving the whole thing having never driven abroad before, and to Astro for organising everything. Also to everyone who I had a drink with. ;)

    Here's to the next time!
     
    Posted 1st May 2014
    #2
  3. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Great trip report! I obviously wasn't at Asterix but it is great to hear the Oz'Iris is running so well. I rode it the weekend it opened and it was outstanding (hence I also rank it higher than Nemesis). When the others went later in 2012 it seemed like they'd slowed it down but if it's back it its best then that's fantastic.

    :)
     
    Posted 1st May 2014
    #3
  4. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    I rode Oz'iris same time as rob and it fell 2nd after Nemesis but before Mamba in my invert rating. Wasn't quite as punchy for me as Nemesis but the last inversion is all sorts of epicness.

    Shame about Disney as I loved it in 2011 but the group consensus seemed to be it had fallen on hard times... Stupid really as it could be so much more.
     
    Posted 1st May 2014
    #4
  5. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Good report.

    Oz'Iris has indeed improved, although I still rank a few inverted coasters ahead of it. It's still a little too sedate for me in places.

    Disneyland Paris has indeed gone downhill in the last 3-4 years...
     
    Posted 1st May 2014
    #5
  6. Joelio

    Joelio TowersStreet Member

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    Good summary of an enjoyable trip! :)
     
    Posted 1st May 2014
    #6
  7. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Ah, but don't forget, I've not been on as many inverts as some of you ;)
    OzIris > Nemy > Monster > Mamba > Inferno is all I have for reference.
     
    Posted 1st May 2014
    #7
  8. Nick

    Nick TowersStreet Member

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    OzIris is incredible. Wonderful combination of your standard B&M inverted coaster intensity with unique floater inversions and even significant air-time. A lovely queue and station as well. Its not quite as good as Nemesis though- you can't beat old-school B&M for intensity, and I prefer the lack of MCBR and Nemesis' relentless pacing as well. I would rank the one's I've been on like so:

    Nemesis>OzIris>Black Mamba>Montu>Chinese Fireball>Hungarian Horntail>Inferior

    Great TP as well. :)
     
    Posted 1st May 2014
    #8
  9. josht

    josht TowersStreet Member

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    Really do respect the amount of effort in these trip reports

    Cheers for a good read :)
     
    Posted 1st May 2014
    #9

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