One of the amusement parks which I have wanted to visit again for quite some time is the Attractiepark Slagharen. During my first visit in 2009, and still under the patronage of the Bemboom family, I was completely thrilled by the park’s 70s and 80s rides, which had long been decommissioned elsewhere. The cable car that leads across Mainstreet with all kinds of food stalls and connects the two parts of the park remains in your memory just as positively as the good old Looping Star roller coaster, the dark ride Ocean of Darkness or the flying swing Apollo, where simply everything was allowed.
In 2012, after almost 50 years of family ownership, the park was sold to the Spanish group Parques Reunidos and an untypically rapid change in the park took place. The iconic Ocean of Darkness dark ride was the first to be demolished to make room for the queue for the children’s driving school The Passepartout Explorer. The surrounding area has been redesigned to form the Jules Verne Adventureland theme area with a number of Italian-made children’s rides, the still magnificent Schwarzkopf Enterprise and the Twist ‘n’ Splash Expedition Nautilus. The dream boat of the Weber company was therefore moved and is now, as is the Flying Carpet from the same company, no longer in the park.
Since this year, the Apollo has only half of its gondolas, which makes the touch-down a bit smoother, but consequently reduces the fun of flying to almost nothing. The long seat chains, the mutual pushing off, the turning in before the ride, all this is now no longer tolerated and accepted, there have even been occasional warnings. The once most ingenious chain carousel of all times is now only a shadow of its former self.
The Octopus is another classic. The Monster II from Schwarzkopf is a very special ride, where you can spin like crazy inside the gondola without any great weight shift. This happens as soon as the gondola brakes are released and can be held for the entire duration of the ride with very little practice. And the ride does not have to hide behind the ride on the younger successor model, which is still widely represented at local fairs today.
Since this year it is no longer possible to take the monorail to the other side of the park, after all the main station near the swimming pool has been abandoned, so you can either take the monorail on foot or the standard route by the cable car. The number of rides on this side of the park has not been reduced as drastically, but the small swimming pool with iceberg theme has been modernised and supplemented with a handful of slides of a newer design. As Aqua Mexicana, the pool now stands out with its significantly increased surface area and slide tower, although I wonder why of all things the portfolio of the actual amusement park had to be reduced even further by taking over the dinghy slides.
Pictures Attractiepark Slagharen
As great as Attractiepark Slagharen continues to be, the quality of the park has been massively reduced in recent years under Parques Reunidos. Obviously something new has to be created from time to time, but not at the cost of a massive reduction of the existing portfolio, which was secretly the key to the success of the theme park. Nowhere else was the choice of rides as large or the number of roller coasters as negligible for a successful visiting day as here.
For decades, all the laws of the economy have been contradicted and it has been shown that with good rides alone, despite the perceived standstill, you can attract more visitors than most other parks of this size will ever have. Of course a lot of the success of the amusement park was due to the free tickets that were thrown in masses in supermarkets near the border and the focus on the holiday park as the main source of income, but all this has not changed much since the takeover. Besides, the ADAC discount is still highly recommended.
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