The Pulsing Waters of Walibi Belgium


It is rare that a concept where you always ask yourself how it actually works is put into action. It is even rarer if this is done by a park, which has already gained quite negative experiences. Well the Doppelmayr cable car coaster Vertigo, which was put into Walibi Belgium 9 years ago, is said to be quite fun on the few open days back in May of 2008; This was nevertheless a disaster on both sides. This time, however, the ride comes from the traditional roller coaster company Mack Rides. Therefore, the chances for another debacle were rather low with Pulsar. The Power Splash can be roughly described as a shuttle coaster, i.e. a roller coaster without a closed circuit, with a watering towards the end of the journey. What should go wrong, especially when the park knows a lot about shuttle roller coasters? Nothing!


Thematically Pulsar represents a machine (in the form of a beating heart), whose destructive energy is derived via a roller coaster at regular intervals. The nice thing is that the visitors are the missing component to make all of that possible. The story plays in the same universe that was created to restructure Walibi Belgium in 2011; So no “F*ck Slow, #Hard Gaan”, as in the Dutch sister park. In general, the audience in Walibi Belgium is now very pleasant; but it may also be that unwanted crowds of visitors (I remember times when the cashier was regularly insulted as “fils de pute”) fail to comply with the additional security measures all around in Belgium.

After walking through the queue on the upper floor (or as a Single rider just a few meters till the turnstiles) you are already divided into one of the five rows. You store your luggage in the shelves on the right side of the station and wait for the next arriving boat. The boarding is done very quickly thanks to automatically closing lapbars, so that only a few moments pass before the 20-passenger boat – accompanied by the heartbeats of the machine – is rotated towards the actual track.

Once in position, the boat is immediately accelerated backwards over a hill. The initial scepticism about the (still) quite shallow acceleration is soon to be forgotten, as you fly over the hill. Now you pass the still unflooded water water basin and climb the vertical spike on the rear end of the ride about half of its height. At about the same speed, the return leads to the station, where you are now noticeably accelerated on the hill and neatly lifted from the seat. Now you climb the front spike of the ride up to its end. With noticeably fast speed, you cross the acceleration hill for a third time, which now tries to eject you from the ride. Back in the rear section of the ride, you climb the spike till its (slightly flattened) top. During this manoeuvre the water level in the basin is raised by 30 cm. In the meantime, the upcoming splash quickly moves back into the memory of the passengers, whereby the previously accumulated joy suddenly passes into a respectful panic. At 100 km/h, the boat now dives into the pool, which leads to a visually very impressive wave. However, this rewards the front rows of seats only with a little mist, while it can thoroughly soak the rear of the boat. Shortly thereafter you pass the hill for the last time and are slowed down to walking pace, whereupon you stop in the next valley. The turntable then turns you back to the station and the bar opens.

Pulsar is an all-round successful attraction, where you always like to get on again. The ride is just terrific and can absolutely convince just by its unusual acceleration phases over the hill. The watering is optically more impressive than it is while riding; However, it is definitely scary! Especially if you suddenly get soaked after the first rather dry ride. Hopefully more copies of this truly enhanced water ride will follow.


Closing Words

Due to the location within Walibi Belgium, the paths in the park are now slightly optimised so that you can commute on the fastest routes between the main attractions Flashback, Psyké Underground, Pulsar and Loup Garou. Interestingly, the probability to suddenly meet an old friend of yours in the park is reduced. However, whilst waiting for another round on Pulsar I suddenly got a call from my friend David. He was in a group waiting in the normal queue and I just got on as a Single Rider. After the ride, I finally realised him in the queue, so I took another round via the single rider to actually sit with him in the same row. My plans to leave Walibi for another visit of Plopsa Coo or Plopsa Indoor Hasselt were discarded. The times to leave Walibi Belgium early are now a thing of the past. Thanks Pulsar!


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What a flashback on Psyké Underground


Although I have described Walibi Belgium as a ghetto amusement park in my last report, I was always curious about new development of the park. Since my last visit in 2009 a lot has happened in Wavre. Starting with the Mise en état of the Intamin Rapid Ride Radja River and the associated reactivation of the long-forgotten water effects in 2010, the overhaul gradually moved through the rest of the park and the swimming pool Aqualibi. The whole park just got back to its former glory, a condition which only a few are likely to know. Accordingly, I’ve been wanting to revisit the park for over a year just to convince myself of the status quo, but a promising and long-awaited novelty kept me waiting until the end of this season: The roller coaster Psyké Underground.

Tour of the park


After redeeming our Fort Fun season ticket coupons in the service centre, we went straight through the newly designed entrance area and directly followed the paths to our right in the direction of the roller coaster Vampire. Now in black and red, the coaster lost its typical Six Flags colour scheme. Although I have no negative attitude towards Vekoma Suspended Looping Coasters, the last ride on Vampire was just way too slow and the incompetent staff made the experience even worse.

Even Jan and Julian were not particularly euphoric about the upcoming ride. Interestingly, our expectations were absolutely wrong. Compared to other rides of this type, the Vampire is not only a good ride, but an absolutely smooth one too. You can’t even imagine how bluffed we were, when we finally hit the brake run. There is simply no major contact with the restraints, which is quite surprising, especially with the rather sturdy Vekoma over the shoulder restraint construction. However without all the flaws of a typical SLC, the ride is rather boring despite the very good layout. Even through the ride was smooth, the desire for further confirmation of our freshly gained experience was rather limited. Nevertheless, what ever Walibi Belgium did with the ride, it was the right decision.

Cobra and Palais du Génie

Starting with a ride on the Boomerang Cobra –which typically runs much quieter than most other roller coasters out there –, we now followed the paths clockwise around the lake towards the Palais du Génie, a mad house by the Dutch manufacturer Vekoma. As the music was barely audible and all the other sounds made it seem as if the ride was about to collapse, my last experience on this ride was not that good. This time, however, I was very satisfied. The story of the djinn transforming the house into a merry-go-round is effectively told. Considering this background story Le Palais du Génie is one of the better representatives of this very beautiful attraction, at least if you understand Dutch or French.

Loup Garou

Driven off our intentional path, which was mainly due to the search of something edible for breakfast, we now entered the queue for the wooden roller coaster Loup Garou. As many rides within Walibi Belgium this roller coaster is made by Vekoma and as long as you are no idiotic roller coaster enthusiast, who believes that everything coming from Vekoma is bad, you will love this ride! Like the sister rides in Tusenfryd and Walibi Holland, Loup Garou can be considered as one of Europe’s best wooden roller coasters.

Where in the old days the sparks flew around the curvy sections of track and the track fluctuated visibly a few centimetres back and worth during braking, the Weerwolf seems rather tame these days. The ride which still uses its original Vekoma trains turns out to be a very pleasant experience. Due to the well designed layout, the ride offers a lot of fun and a very high re-rideability. Especially on an empty day, you could easily do 50 laps in a row.

Rokken Roll

One of the more interesting things for me was a visit to the 4D cinema next door, where Walibi Belgium now runs a self-produced movie. The story is based on the excellent Walibi comics by Morvan, L’Hermenier and Wuye – which can also be bought in the parks or could be read online – and carries on the events on Shimeria a little further. If you understand French or Dutch, you’ll have a blast of a time, as the movie and its animation are absolutely fantastic!

Calamity Mine

Past the second novelty of this year, the Fanta Play House and through one of the two children’s area, we headed towards the Calamity Mine Train, a solid Vekoma mine train roller coaster. The layout of this ride was unfortunately copied over and over again, as it serves as the default layout by the manufacturer. Calamity Mine Train however was the first of its kind. With all of the effects working, the ride offers some great family fun.

La Coccinelle

Along the unfortunately closed boat ride we headed towards the roller coaster with the guaranteed longest waiting time for adults, the tivoli coaster La Coccinelle. During my visit in 2008 I was very happy to have taken my cousin to the park, after all a strict rule only allowed adults to ride with their children. Nowadays, the train can run with up to two adults per ride. This is particularly annoying when only a small queue exists, as for children who can not ride without an attendant or childless adults, this creates a fairly long queue. In the mean time, they are constantly overhauled by older children.


As I watched Jan and Julian standing but not moving, I decided to take a ride on the Chance Wipeout Octopus (a variant of their old trabant rides, quite similar to a Hully Gully by the manufacturer Mack). Since this ride was always broken during my previous visits, I was very curious about a ride. This turned out to be quite fast in the early stages and was able to convince me with higher lateral forces than a Musik Express. With the inclination of the arm, the ride resembled more and more the well-known feeling of a Hully Gully.

Flashback and Psyké Underground

Although many adjustments were needed, Walibi Belgium was not right in every step of the reinterpretation. Where previously the color olive green outweighed the industrial looking theme area with its time travelling log flume Flashback and the magnificent shuttle loop Turbine, it is now drenched in colours. While the log flume currently adjust itself to the old state without giving up all the benefits of the overhaul, the sight of Psyké Underground is just uncommon and needs a lot of time to get used to.

The front on the covered shuttle loop Psyké Underground is the only negative aspect of the brillant renovation of this classic roller coaster. As soon as you enter the queue the positive impressions dominates. The queue now leads you to the ride’s former flywheel, which could not be removed due to construction-related reasons. By the music of the awesome soundtrack, the path unfortunately leads you outdoors, where you queue in a half enclosed waiting area. Back in 2008 you waited in this area for ages, as the ride was only operated every 5 minutes due to its ageing ride system.

In the station of Psyké Underground you are greeted by a new train built by Gerstlauer, the Münsterhausen based manufacturer and therefore true successor of Schwarzkopf. The comfort is very similar, but the trains offers additional supports which automatically bring you into the correct ride posture. Since the launch drive changed from a flywheel to a linear motor, the launch does not happen directly from a standstill.

When the ride spent its last season as the Turbine in 2008, the lights turned off the train was sent under the use of loud electronic music and strobe lights on the journey towards the looping. Nowaday a suitable and well-made video is played before the train leaves the station of Psyké Underground driven by friction wheels. In order to get the same velocity as the old system on a shorter launch distance, the ride now accelerates with a punch (which also explains the high power consumption of the ride). The adjacent looping pushes you mercilessly into the seat. Within the tubed spike you slowly lose your speed. With the gained potential energy, you now change direction. The looping is now approached backwards and turns you world once again upside down. But don’t be fooled after ¾ of the way, as the looping is not yet over. Surprised and thrilled, you enter the station once again. Slightly braked, we enter the rear peak about halfway up, before we come to a stop in the station.

Psyké Underground was a surprise beyond compare. Although the drive is now a new one, the ride lost nothing of its old glory and actually even got better. The higher number of launched per hour, the much more intense launch and the still surprisingly powerful looping ensure that this ride has found its way into my favorites once again. The overall theme of the ride is great and fits the Belgian roller coaster legend very well.


Closing Words

Walibi Belgium has indeed changed to good in recent years. The Compagnie des Alpes has done a fantastic job in all of the Walibi parks. Every change was done with the right intension, although it has certainly cost quite a lot of money. The park developed from a former ghetto like park with an anti-social audience, to one of the best family parks in Europe. Walibi, please don’t stop :-).


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A guest at Holly’s


13 years after my first visit and only 4 years after my second visit I went back to the Holiday Park in Haßloch to see their last novelty before the takeover by the Studio 100 Group and to have a look at the recent developments of the park.

One of the most significant changes since Plopsa is the relocation of the entrance area directly adjacent to the car park. This means that you no longer have to walk along the main road running through the park to find your way through the eye of the needle of cash registers, as was the case all those years ago. Thereby, the whole place got quite big and for the first time, one finally notices the position of the park in the international park landscape.

Holiday Park

Anubis Free Fall Tower

When you enter the park, the first attraction you will meet is the redesigned freefall tower of the park. After the Tower of Olymp, the Anubis Free Fall Tower is now the second version I’ve seen and so it’s nice to see bigger changes than just irrelevant video clips and a new banner. The building has now been repainted, foils decorate the outer walls, in the waiting area an episode of the TV series Das Haus Anubis is shown, ugly picture frames decorate the walls and unfortunately the second title song of the series is played. The ride itself can still convince, but doesn’t offer the samefeeling of falling of La Lanzadera from the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid.


At the edge of the Palatinate village is the entrance to the Donnerfluss (named after the first ride of its kind, the almighty Thunder River of Astroworld), the first rapids ride in Germany.  The trip through the artificially rocked canal features some rapids, a cave passage with a waterfall and a large wave pool towards the end of the ride. As it is the case in all rafting rides in Germany, the degree of wetness is limited, but there is at least the possibility to get out a little wetter than expected.

Burg Falkenstein

Behind a beautiful merry-go-round, in an old-looking building, is the dark ride at Burg Falkenstein. Once you have overcome the far too long queue and taken a seat in the wagon, the journey through the Middle Ages can begin. Here even an attempt was made to follow a storyline; the plundering is endless, but not without creating a lot of distraction. The best part of the ride, however, is aimed at the male passengers: an animatronic which is clearly very open-minded about sexuality. Even though the animatronic could be a bit nicer, it can still cause some surprised faces.

Hollys Wilde Autofahrt

The park’s newest roller coaster is found in Holly’s Cartoon Town and is a Wild Mouse by Maurer Söhne. As a used ride, Hollys Wilde Autofahrt was taken over by the Bemboom family, who operated it in two of their amusement parks at the time. Completely renovated and equipped with fancy new cars it now presents itself as the only real family roller coaster of the park and is very convincing. Typical for a ride built by Maurer Söhne is the ingenious handling in the hairpin curves, as they are not as shallow as Mack’s. The rest of the track is also ridden through at a constant high speed, even if the brakes are once again on a borderline level.


Due to the drizzle the roller coaster Superwirbel from Vekoma unfortunately didn’t run. In a way I was really looking forward to a ride, because the compact ride is the epitome of a well designed layout. Even though the Bayernkurve was quite borderline four years ago, the ride surprised me with its high speed. Since my friends Hauke and David could only report positively about the ride during their visits last year, it would have been nice to verify their opinions.

Lighthouse Tower

Due to a lack of passengers, the Lighthouse Tower, probably the most beautiful Star Flyer in the world, did not run either. The rear area at the lake is not worth the trip due to the few passengers, especially since I was almost kicked out of the park four years ago, because I raised my hands in the ship swing, which is completely normal elsewhere.

Balloon Race

Since the City Jet has been sent into well-deserved retirement, a quite central place has become available, which will soon be filled by the Balloon Race from Zamperla. On the one hand, it’s a pity about the torn down carousel, which I loved to ride as a child, but on the other hand it’s a much better place for the Balloon Race.

Bounty Tower

At the time of my first visit, the HUSS Condor Bounty Tower was unfortunately broken. Since I was very impressed by the aesthetics of the ride, I found it especially tragic. Even years later, I still find the construction and the ride of a condor simply beautiful from the outside, but in the Holiday Park, the design of the gondolas is simply outstanding. However, most of the times, the ride sequence is simply boring, strangely enough, the ride program in Haßloch is quite balanced, fast and does not only resemble a simple panorama ride.


The Teufelsfässer, together with Tripsdrills Badewannen-Fahrt zum Jungbrunnen, are the most modern log flumes in Germany. The special feature of the Teufelsfässer are the elaborately designed turntables during the ride, which initiate and terminate the reverse passage with drop. A smaller shot at the beginning of the ride and the double drop at the end round off the experience, but unfortunately do not ensure that the passenger gets out halfway soaked, as is the case with Flashback from Walibi Belgium.

Expedition GeForce

For almost 11 years the main reason to go to the Holiday Park is the Intamin roller coaster Expedition GeForce. Since then the ride, which was often in the media because of some incidents, is a guarantee for a good roller coaster ride, but also for an extremely slow dispatch. Funnily enough, even under the direction of Plopsa absolutely nothing has changed in this circumstance.

After you have completed this time-consuming ritual, the journey can already begin. Through the cable lift you will be released into the magnificent first-drop quite quickly, followed by airtime hills with an airtime similar to Colossos from Heide-Park Soltau, some nice turns and a missing first trimbreak. The experience in the following part is now outstanding and not as before slow and relatively dull as before. The turnaround is now genuinely ingenious due to the increased speed and therefore no longer the worst part of the course. The hills after the second reduction brake form a great finale, although the braking section is clumsily placed.

The Expedition GeForce is certainly one of the better roller coasters in Germany and a pretty good roller coaster in worldwide comparison, but it could be a lot better. If you look at the second mega coaster of Europe, Goliath from Walibi Holland, the Holiday Park clearly lacks the staff of this ride and the outstanding Stengel Dive to really call itself the best roller coaster in the world again.

Closing Words

Since the takeover by Studio 100, a lot has happened in the Palatinate, many things have changed for the better, but there are also some things that should be viewed critically. Due to the sale of the Dancing Pavilion to the Leipzig amusement park Belantis, another family rides is missing, which all the children’s rides in Majaland can not yet compensate for. In general, there is simply a lack of rides in Haßloch, nevertheless I like the park.

Specially worth mentioning is the possibility of the afternoon ticket, which we also used for our visit, as a whole day in the Holiday Park gets too long at some point. Surprisingly, it was even decided to have the cash desks staffed with people so that this offer could actually be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, this is rather seldom the case in the leisure parks that offer this offer, specially as the rush on the day of the visit was very low.


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