The last time I visited the Gélis family theme park, the Sky Fly Air Meeting was just one day old and caused quite a stir and enthusiasm among the park visitors. I also remember the huge bruises on my shoulders – but that’s nothing compared to the experiences of the User Bends on onride.de. Well, Jan and I were going wild on the ride at the time; my record was 96 rollovers at one time. In the meantime, many sister installations have been set up, some of them are even heavily throttled. The market seems to be saturated, but should one still look forward to a ride at the Air Meeting? Hell yeah, you should! And with that I welcome you to the fourth day of the Tron-Tron-Trône Tour. Once again we are in Nigloland and we have some novelties in front of us. The most striking and probably best known of these is the roller coaster Alpina-Blitz. Furthermore we drop down from a height of 100m on the freefall tower Donjon de l’Extrême and have a look at the construction sites of Les Zabeilles and Eden Palais, as well as the remains of the roller coaster Bobsleigh. Sounds good, n’est-ce pas?
But before we look at something new, let’s first take a look at something old. Everybody who has visited Nigloland knows that the park has some very charming dark rides, and the numerous wonderfully presented rides also come to mind – but have any of you ever seen the Niglo Show? Well, I thought so.
Since 1992, the fifth season of the amusement park, this elaborate animatronics show exists in Nigloland. Based on the Country Bear Jamboree of selected Disney Parks, the park mascot Niglo presents a kind of hit parade. The show drifts quite quickly into a very comical and slightly strange direction with the appearance of Hans and Frieda from Bavaria. Marvellous! After about 15 minutes the show is over again. Combined with the cult status in Nigloland and the fact that it is the only show of this kind in France, it is really worth seeing.
Also worth seeing is the western area where the theatre is located. But you already know that. So, after a lap on the Gold Mine Train, as well as the log flume Rivière Canadienne and the Disk’o Coaster Grizzli, it’ s time to move on. After a few metres we reach a castle complex, in whose courtyard are the two free fall towers Donjon de l’Extrême and Tour des Petits Fantômes.
Donjon de l’Extrême
The entrances to the queues of both attractions are located on one side of the castle gates. So come in, be amazed, turn around and then line up accordingly. The queues then follow the course of the castle walls before they end at a turnstile. Theoretically, you are now let into an area where you can store your bags; always in groups, of course. This way both rides can have a very high capacity. On the day of the visit only one employee had the pleasure of operating both rides alternately and when there was a sufficient number of people waiting. Therefore the waiting time was quite long. Understandably, of course, as the Ride-Op in question also has to supervise the rides. So it took me almost 10 minutes until I sat in the gondola of the big freefall tower for the first time. The really well made film with safety instructions and storyline could shorten the waiting time a little.
The almost 100m high tower Dongon de l’Extrême offers its passengers a drop pleasure from 92m height. This makes it higher than the Gyro Drop Tower Scream from the Heide Park near Soltau, which also causes me a slight vertigo of height. Somehow it’s funny, if at a certain point you can say that the tower is now higher than the tower in the Lueneburg Heath. But most probably it is only the power of habit that makes you sit up and take notice as soon as things change. So far this has only happened to me with three towers, but this is not an indication of the quality of the subsequent fall. After all, and you have to admit this to the new restraint system of the Funtime towers, the feeling is enhanced by the freedom of your shoulders.
The free fall on Donjon de l’Extrême fits in perfectly with that of other rides from the manufacturer. That makes for a good mood. The fairly free seating position supports the ride overall, but is not a must-have compared to conventional restraint systems. What bothers me personally is that you let the gondola carrier rotate too fast, so you can see the whole of Nigloland for two laps in total. Somehow I miss the suspense. All in all, the Donjon de l’Extrême is an excellent freefall tower in a beautiful setting with a really good fall experience that you always enjoy getting back into.
All in all, everything has been done right. In principle, a review of the Tour de Petits Fantômes, the Zierer family freefall tower right next door, would now also take place. However, the waiting time was too long for me, especially since at a later point in time there was much more traffic than before at the Donjon de l’Extrême and the waiting time was much longer. But I was standing in line. At some point, however, the waiting time became too long for me, so I preferred to queue at the nearby Manoir Hanté, the magnificent self-built ghost train with carousel feeling. Huiiiiii!
Now we come to the biggest roller coaster of Nigloland, the Mack Rides Mega Coaster Alpina Blitz. When in 2009 the current manager Rudolphe Gélis took a ride on the at that time still new Ferris wheel with his uncle and his father, they noticed a very large green area, on which ideally a large roller coaster could be placed. In the idea finding phase everything was still open. A water coaster was still as conceivable as a spinning coaster or a wooden roller coaster similar to Tripsdrill’s Mammut. But then came Piraten. The layout of the compact Mega Lite Coaster from Djurs Sommerland convinced the Gélis family right away, but the train did not suit the family. They rather wanted seats like the Bluefire roller coaster instead of camping chair-like seats with lap bars. Intamin was convinced of their generation of trains, and as a consequence they contacted the manufacturer Mack Rides.
Once you have taken a place in the comfortable seats, you are ready to go. Via chain lift you are now quickly transported to a height of 33m. As soon as you reach the top, you’ll be thrown into the valley, where you’ll be loaded with 4.3G for several seconds in a curve close to the ground. At the same time the bar is pushed down very far. As a result, the passenger is now pressed between the bar and the seat, which unfortunately does not benefit the following elements at all.
With pleasure you shoot up a hill, on the top of which you immediately change direction. At great speed you pass another valley before a classic Airtime hill follows. Normally it is a moment of complete joy, but on the Alpina Blitz you experience an unparalleled torture. After all, the train tries to throw you off quite powerfully – but it’s no fun without a little bit of space between you and the restraint. In the following curve close to the ground you can take a short break before a series of turns follows. Compared to the Mega Lite roller coasters these are a bit more moderate, which is very much in line with the general ride comfort (due to the closed position of the bars). After another curve close to the ground three classic bunny hops follow each other. At least in theory, these are also very funny. The end of the Alpina Blitz is a beautiful left turn with a Bayernkurve-style upward swing before reaching the braking distance.
The obligatory comparison of the two Mega Coaster variations is easy for me: Intamin wins. In this respect there is actually no room for great discussions, Kawasemi and the later Pirate are the better roller coasters. Of course it would be wrong to talk the Alpina Blitz smaller than it is. The ride can do a lot, but the restraint should be able to withstand the load of the first turn. I also don’t think that this is the norm for this ride, but at the start of this year’s season it was the same on every seat. So I left the ride after just a few laps and preferred to sit in the Spatiale Experience, the park’s magnificent indoor roller coaster, for continuous riding.
The Nigloland can continue to convince. The park is pleasant and offers an extraordinarily well coordinated portfolio. Even if I cannot enthuse about the roller coaster Alpina Blitz, the park offers enough other attractions where I like to do this without having to exaggerate. I’ll take a closer look at this year’s new attractions on my next visit, until then I’ll be curious to see what else Nigloland has to offer.
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