On the road with the Loopinggrufti

Preface

One day I received an e-mail from Michael Singer – better known as Loopinggrufti in the amusement park scene – with reference to the Vertigo carousel, which makes its rounds at Tivoli Gardens. Since he was already standing in front of the ride a few years ago, it was very important for him to finally get into the ride. We talked and after some time it came like it had to come and we drove together to Copenhagen.

We have booked the Tivoli All-Inclusive Package of the Tivoli Hotel. Even if the name suggests it, the hotel is not located at the park, but some streets away from the park. We travelled with the Flixbus from Hamburg, which (if the route goes over the ferry connection Puttgarten – Rødby) is a quite inexpensive and pleasant connection. But we went back over the Storebælt bridge, which made the trip more like a torture without a break. Arriving at the hotel we immediately went to the amusement park.

Tivoli Gardens

In no time at all, the object of desire was selected. A short time later Michael was completely enthusiastic. Although the Tivoli has meanwhile abandoned the backward ride program on its crazy propeller, the ride was still able to convince with its versatile ride. Over the course of the day, more laps followed. At the end of the day we even snuck into the queue, which was noticed. Shortly afterwards the queue was opened again, so that we were able to legally wait in line.

Kamelen

Directly next door the roller coaster Kamelen was built this year on the place of the roller coaster Karavanen. Thus Kamelen is already the second iteration of the roller coaster Mariehønen here in the park, which shaped this roller coaster type from Zierer in 1974. The model is no longer called Tivoli Coaster, but the layout passed the test of the time with flying colours.

Fata Morgana

Something you might not have been able to say about the HUSS Condor, as over time many rides of this classic 80s ride have disappeared from the scene. But suddenly in 2014 a new model appeared in a Chinese amusement park. A few years later, the Tivoli also decided to follow up with Fata Morgana. This makes the ride the first of its kind in Europe. In addition to the classic gondola design, the model also has two rigid gondola rings – very similar to the Intamin Spinning Star at Cosmo’s World Theme Park in Kuala Lumpur – with an outward-facing driving style. These gondolas were then equipped with a new lifting technology this year, which initates an additional rocking movement.

The ride is simply terrific. The view of the city of Copenhagen is ingenious and the rocking of the gondola makes the ride a successful mixture of thrill and relaxation. However, the praise refers only to this version of the ride, as the other version lags behind the original. The ride is rather jerky and you bang permanently into the upper and lower stop of the now mechanically (instead of hydraulically) controlled swing track. This is a pity, because otherwise a second generation HUSS Condor with the mixed gondolas would definitely be a recommendation for many other amusement parks, but this only leaves the advice to chose the more “thrill-heavy” gondola type.

Tik Tak

I wonder if we can say the same thing about the Mondial Shake Tik Tak. This rides replaced the old, but very stylish, HUSS Break Dance Snurretoppen this year. While the old ride was quite open, the shake got a roof, with a huge clockwork, which is a nice eye-catcher. The gondolas are quite detailed and represent small time machines. The ride itself is fast, although without many rollovers.

VR on Dæmonen

Another novelty for me was the VR movie on the B&M roller coaster Dæmonen. The film is exclusively made for Tivoli and shows in a very artistic way the fight of a Chinese dragon with a demon. The whole thing peaks in a fireworks display, whereupon you find yourself at a Chinese New Year celebration. Unfortunately, Dæmonen is a very intense roller coaster, which makes the headset press quite hard on you. Otherwise, Dæmonen in the VR version is definitely worth an experience, especially as the graphics of the film are of high quality and don’t resemble a 20-year-old computer game. The experience is definitely a recommendation, even if it can be uncomfortable.

Pictures Tivoli Gardens

Closing Words

In general, a visit to the Tivoli is always a recommendation. On 06.12.2019 the new roller coaster Mælkevejen will open. This replaces the roller coaster Odinexpressen, which entertained the visitors in Tivoli Gardens for 33 years. However, nothing was to be seen at our visit yet, but the pictures on Rcdb promise an as funny ride as the old Powered Coaster did before.

 

What is your opinion about the Technical Park Flying Fury Vertigo and the VR movie on the roller coaster Daemonen?  Just write them in the comment field below the report or visit our social media channels:

 

          


Astérix est là!

Parc Astérix

Parc Astérix is available either in full or closed. Up to now I could always fully sign this statement, because every time I went for a roller coaster ride near Paris, the park was closed. It is in the nature of things that there are many other conditions besides this logical expression. However, it is also a fact that the amusement park, which opened in 1989, is one of the most famous European amusement parks and is therefore quite well visited. Astérix is also a very successful brand.

As a collector of the French hardcover books, I was very much looking forward to the visit to the Parc Astérix. After the second night in Champagne, I left for Paris after a short chat with the owner of the holiday home. But as the motorways were all overloaded, I reached the theme park via numerous national roads much later than originally planned. Actually, I had already wanted to buy the pass Saison Découverte online (reduced-price annual ticket with exclusion days), as it is cheaper than a two-day ticket, but thanks to shipping, the ticket would probably have arrived after my visit at home. So I had to pay the parking fee of 10€ at least once. As the queue at the annual ticket office was too slow for me, I bought a normal day ticket, which I later converted in Parc Astérix. Thanks to the data already entered online, this was also done in no time.

Le Défi de César

The first part of my three-day tour of the park is the Le Défi de César mad house. As candidates for the Roman intelligence service, we are to infiltrate the stubborn Gaul. All of Gaul? No, actually only the village of Astérix and Obélix. In order to prepare ourselves for this mission, Julius Caesar has set us several tasks.

In three pre-show rooms we are now guided through the attraction before the actual Mad House awaits us. In the first challenge we learn how important it is to wear the future work clothes – beards and Gallic braids – with dignity. The second challenge focuses on Gallic humour, before we turn to the magic of Gallic women and the musical arts of the bard Troubadix in the third challenge. This is exactly what happens in a Roman bath, which, to the song of Troubadix, no longer has control of its water masses and almost collapses. The final challenge is the crossing to Gaul. During this crossing we meet Astérix and Obélix in person, who noticeably enjoy turning the ship around its horizontal axis for a few laps. Shortly afterwards the ship sinks and an octopus attacks. We barely escape the beast and then give up.

The Mad House of the manufacturer Mack Rides scores above all by the inclusion of the well-known characters and by the inclusion of the future secret agents. Unfortunately, the experience gets very long, especially towards the end, so that repeat rides are not really recommended. As a unique happening, Le Défi de César should not be missed.

Romus et Rapidus

Only a few metres further on is the entrance to the Romus et Rapidus Intamin Rapids Ride. Once known as Descente du Styx, the rapid river has been entertaining park visitors since the opening year of the theme park. After an incident in 2006, when a boy fell out of a boat, the safety features were massively extended, giving it its current appearance. Since then, the boats have been much less free-flowing, but this is by no means a renunciation of the wild river ride. Romus et Rapidus offers a wild rafting trip with a large number of rapids and other obstacles, where water is always sloshing into the boat. A very splashing adventure.

Théâtre de Poséidon

The same could be said of the Parc Astérix dolphin show at the great Théâtre de Poséidon. But instead of Gaulish humour, a dull dolphin and sea lion show awaits us here, where the relationship between trainer and animal, as well as education about the animals, takes centre stage. If you are honest, the whole spectacle is like a journey to a time long gone and that’s exactly where we leave it.

Cheval de Troie

We experience a far more positive journey through time on Cheval de Troie, a flying carpet from Zierer. Although the ride on the Cheval de Troie is extremely short, it’s a real thrill – after all, the gondola has to accelerate accordingly to reach the peak of the ride in the shortest possible time. It’ s like a special kind of quickie.

Pégase Express

The queue at the Pégase Express turns out to be much longer. After a few steps in the station building of the Gare Montparnassos (hihihi), you can quickly get out into the fresh air again and walk over the dike of the Romus et Rapidus rapid river, from where you can catch a great view of the soon to follow trip, before returning into the building. Here you have to climb a lot more steps before you reach the station of the roller coaster. Theoretically, you will be let into an area in front of the roller coaster, where you can deposit your belongings – but if there is not much traffic, this step is not necessary and you have to take them with you on the ride.

From the station, we start with a small friction wheel lunch. The speed built up by this is, however, already reduced to a minimum on the following hill before it goes rapidly towards the first lift hill in a downhill leading Bayernkurve and a strongly inclined left curve. Quickly we reach the top of the first lift hill. In a curve we enjoy the view for a short time before the train plunges to the ground. With a bit of airtime we now whiz over a camelback and a total of three turns, before we approach the highlight of the ride via a kind of double-up. With a lot of speed we break through an advertisement in a beautiful steep turn, before we make another series of turns towards the second lift hill. Once arrived, we are quickly transported up the hill and then pushed into a raised temple hut.

The show programme for setting the course seems a little unimaginative and not very threatening; fortunately, however, we are quickly released from it by a friction wheel launch. Once again a short hill follows, which uses up all the momentum before we fall to the ground in a long curve. Backwards we go over hill and dale, or rather a rather wild ride with all sorts of hills close to the ground, small S-curves and tiny turns past the rapid river, back to the station building. Parallel to the first lift hill of the ride we reach the braking track after a short time. Here you roll back far enough before another switch can be set, which will let you go back to the station for the last few metres.

The Pégase Express is an extremely dynamic family roller coaster with some truly amazing ride manoeuvres and moments. The ride in Parc Astérix has a lot of momentum and in some parts is not very gentle with its passengers. Nevertheless, the ride remains family-friendly at its core, which is why Maman et Papa shouldn’t be completely overwhelmed, while the children are cheering with joy for the whole ride. Nevertheless, I left it at only a few rides – when there is no rush, the queue here is simply far too long.

Vol d’Icare

Before the Pégase Express was built, the largest family roller coaster in the Parc Astérix was the Vol d’Icare. Based on the layout of the (former) roller coaster Comets from the Danish amusement park Tivoli Gardens, the roller coaster impresses with a variety of enjoyable curve manoeuvres. But instead of a theoretical capacity of 1200 people per hour, the ride usually has a much lower passenger flow due to a modified train design. Here, instead of two people next to each other, a maximum of two people can sit behind each other per row. Although the staff visibly tries to fill up the trains quickly and send them on their way, you should always expect a longer waiting time.

If you could get a seat in the train after some waiting time, you just pull the bar – which can be adjusted by a rail in the centre console – towards you before you can start your journey.  After a short right-hand bend, the lift of the ride is already reached, which takes you up to a height of 10,7m. But there is no time to enjoy the view and so we soon fall down a steep curve. Due to the extremely compact construction of the ride, a very narrow and therefore very pressure-laden valley awaits us before we climb up the hill and down the valley in an equally narrow Bayernkurve. Immediately the first block brake is crossed.

In a rather wide right turn we now increase our speed constantly before we make our way to the second block brake after a rapid left turn. We then leave the second block brake in a left-hand bend, followed by a wide right-hand bend. With a good momentum we slam into another block brake and are slowed down almost to a standstill. Especially on the first ride this brake comes as a surprise, especially since we still haven’t reached the end of the ride. Very slowly we make another combination of right and left turn, whereupon another block brake is waiting for us. We reach the actual braking section of the ride after a short dip on this one. After a turn-around we reach the station building of the roller coaster.

Even if the Vol d’Icare sounds like a collection of block brakes with little track in between, the roller coaster is extremely entertaining, especially because of the first two sections. The ride is fun and encourages you to repeat rides if there are not many people queuing for it. It is a pity that there are so few examples of this type of roller coaster.

Hydre de Lerne

With the Hydre de Lerne another classic flat ride awaits us that should not be missed. This nicely designed monster, produced in Münsterhausen, offers an extremely fast and by no means short ride. Furthermore, the Polyp is one of the first rides made by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides.

Rivière d’Elis and Discobélix

Past the leisurely boat trip Rivière d’Elis we are now drawn to Discobélix, a Disk’o Coaster from Zamperla. Larded with fire and water effects, the ride convinces especially from the outside. For the passengers themselves, it is unfortunately a little monotonous. Admittedly, the ride is certainly chic and the ride across the water is an extremely nice feature.

Tonnerre de Zeus

Now we come to the wooden roller coaster Tonnerre de Zeus. The camera-shy Woody, who is remembered by many fans mainly because of his entrance gimmick, has made it to the top of my list of favourites without much effort. How? Let’s take a closer look right now.

The journey begins with a short right turn out of the station. We immediately reach the lift hill and a little later the starting height of 30m. After another bend at a lofty height the train rushes over a CCI typical and much too narrow hilltop towards its fate. Exposed to light airtime we do the same and race mercilessly towards a tunnel that is much too narrow. With a lot of pressure and shake, rattle and roll we cross the first valley. Thereupon we shoot up a hill, which at the same time initiates a change in the layout. We quickly sink down before we are torn out of our seats again and get closer to the ground. Over a camelback we then cross the lift structure of the wooden roller coaster and approach the main element of the roller coaster, a 572° helix.

Here we will spend some time together over hill and dale. There is a constant up and down, sometimes the track is very steep and runs through its own structure. An awesome part! It suits quite well that a number of small hills are waiting for the passengers, which of course transport them out of their seats. Once again a turn follows with an included dip, which once again skillfully pushes us into the side of the car. With momentum we also leave this curve manoeuvre over a brisk Airtime hill, which is also followed by others. Inside the helix we now cross another turning curve before we slowly make our way back to the station. Over a right turn the track slowly nestles up the lift hill. But shortly before reaching the station the train roars over a hill and disappears into a forest after a left turn. Here we make a lap in a 256° helix, whereupon the braking section is reached and soon the wild ride ends.

Tonnerre de Zeus is awesome! The ride offers a great pacing, peppered with some really great airtime moments, which are not as crazy as with the sibling Megafobia in the Welsh Oakwood Theme Park, yet they appear more often. Furthermore the ride is hardly lacking in lateral forces, which especially in the insanely constructed helix in the middle part of the ride cause a broad grin on the passengers’ faces. The great first drop into the narrow tunnel, as well as the extremely long ride duration are further points why you simply have to love this ride. A terrific thing and a must-do for every roller coaster lover.

Goudurix

We will now find out if this statement can be applied to the looping roller coaster Goudurix. The former inversion record holder has been smiling at us from far away for quite a while. The ride built by Vekoma is indeed quite an ordeal for many people – especially for those who are a bit taller – and they experience it as an unparalleled torture. Parc Astérix is well aware of this, which is why the ride has already been redesigned. However, that was several years ago and you didn’t read many opinions during this time, so I was very excited about the trip.

After a short dip out of the station we soon reach the lift hill, which takes us up to a worrying 36m. At the top we quickly cross a hilltop, followed by a wide left turn. With increasing speed we approach the actual first drop and fall directly towards the ground without any mercy. With full force we are pressed into the car in the following valley before we shoot up the first inversion figure. In the Butterfly we see the world upside down twice, while we have to endure quite strange rail inclinations. In between, the element is also amazingly powerful, offering the passenger an interesting interplay of forces. Also in the following valley the G-forces do not get weaker, just good that we are already on the ramp to the next inversion figure.

Quite quickly we turn to the right and find ourselves once again upside down. Without compassion we once again rush towards the ground and continue to be under pressure. What we have just experienced follows in reverse order and after the fourth headstand we find ourselves on a ramp leading downhill. With momentum we approach the only real loop of the ride, which is a bit shallower than expected. On the following hill we can now take a deep breath for the first time. In a long curve we take another turn, only to experience the world in a corkscrew two more times overhead. In the flow of the corkscrew a classic Bayernkurve is added, whereupon we soon reach the braking section of the ride. Interestingly enough, there is a small gradient, followed by a longer straight line past the storage track of the ride. A small gradient later we find ourselves in the brake track which is parallel to the station. A short turning curve later the ride is over again.

Wow, what a ride! Goudurix is certainly not gentle with his passengers, but unfortunately I didn’t get to experience the much-vaunted blows and strong vibrations. Even after several rides in a row the enthusiasm about the powerful inversion slingshot from Vekoma prevailed. I am well aware that Goudurix is not to everyone’s taste, but just for the butterfly element right at the beginning of the ride it is worth to experience the roller coaster at least once.

La Galére and Transdemonium

We end our tour of the lake with a ride on the La Galére boat swing, which is typically French and very atmospheric, before turning to the medieval theme area of the Parc Astérix. Here, we are immediately greeted by the eerily beautiful dark ride Transdemonium, whose entrance, in contrast to the dominant exit portal, is somewhat inconspicuous.

The morbid puppet theatre should not be omitted in any case, because the atmospheric mixture of surreal scenes, appropriate sound system and variable ride dynamics is convincing all along the line. It is a beautiful ride that is able to capture the spirit of historical ghost trains. That alone is a great art. Combined with some great scenes, above all the horse skeleton carousel, the Transdemonium has quite a high show value. The end of the ride reminds me of the former and also great ghost train Over the Hill from the English amusement park Adventure Island and therefore did not really come as a surprise to me. Nevertheless, a great ghost train, which you should not miss.

Les Cheveaux de Roi

Passing a burger stand and a small café, we are now drawn into the courtyard of the castle, where we take a ride on the horse carousel Les Cheveaux de Roi before changing to the French themed area. In another hall, two dioramas reflecting life in Paris in the 17th and 18th centuries will be performed. During my visit, I was unable to understand why there is an unused queue in the middle of the hall. In general, the area looked neglected, which could also be due to the fact that the large show arena next door is not used during the low season. As I was able to research, the aforementioned queue is, however, even then only used for the Maison de la Peur during the Halloween season.

Oxygénarium

Back in the daylight, we immediately devote ourselves to the air cure on the Oxygénarium round boat slide. This Spinning Rapids Ride from Whitewater West has been providing a good spin and an occasional shower since 1999. If you know Störtebekers Kaperfahrt in Hansa Park, you will also enjoy Oxygénarium, although the track has far fewer curves. The design of the ride is just as convincing as its integration into the surroundings, as even from the queue it is hardly possible to see the track. Above that the queue offers an excellent view of the roller coaster OzIris, which we will get to later. Accordingly, an absolute must-do for every amusement park fan at Parc Astérix.

Chaises Volantes and Nationale 7 

After a ride on the Attraction à Sensation in this area – the wave swinger Chaises Volantes – we dedicate ourselves to the French national road. The vintage car ride Nationale 7 takes us on a rather long stretch of road past several lovingly and humorously designed scenes. Thanks to its location, it is quite possible to overlook the ride.

Menhir Express

Far more dominant in this respect is the log flume Menhir Express. Passing the tea cup ride Les Chaudrons and the cog ride La petite Tempête, the route takes us once around the entire ride before we reach the entrance of this ride from O.D. Hopkins. As a fan of the manufacturer’s Shoot the Chutes rides, I have been looking forward to experiencing a log flume from this company in Europe for some time. But it almost never came to that. In the report on Walibi Rhône-Alpes I already explained the single rider policy of the Compagnie des Alpes, but this was the first time that they wanted to deny me a ride completely. Especially in the Parc Astérix – where I was always put in the boat with other people – I was very surprised. There was no sign at the entrance of the attraction. In the end I was able to join the following family, but unfortunately also only after further inquiry. As I said, at all other water attractions of the CdA the whole thing went much less problematic.

After all the unnecessary stress, the cooling down came at just the right time. After the menhir has left the station, you bump a little in an S-curve towards the first lift. At the top there is a faster passage consisting of several right and left turns, before you slow down a bit and rush through real white water. After several bends you reach a tunnel, where the first shot of the ride is hidden. With momentum you go down immediately and up again just as fast. After a camelback you reach the exit section, whereupon a larger amount of water pours over the passengers. On the way to the next lift the rapids predominate and water is constantly splashing into the boat, before a cave is reached at some point. This leads one through a seemingly switched off revolving tunnel, as well as a water fountain tunnel similar to the one of the Gruffalo River Ride Adventures in the English amusement park Chessington World of Adventures.  Back in the fresh air, the second lift hill of the ride awaits us. In lofty heights, we will now dawdle through the canal for a few more metres before the second ride awaits us. Although the smaller downhill run is usually the wetter one, you will also have a good shower on the big one. Completely soaked, we return to the station.

The Menhir Express is a log flume that really lives up to its type designation. The ride is fast, very lively and absolutely wild due to the rapids. The two shots are almost superfluous if they weren’t also absolutely brilliant. The degree of wetness is, as is typical of O.D. Hopkins, extremely high and yet I would have loved to go on one lap after the other. It is a real pity that there are so few log flumes of this character in Europe. Whitewater West would certainly be happy about new orders.

While we just had a view onto the menhirs, we can also slowly take a look at the home village of our favourite Gauls. It is situated in the middle of Parc Astérix and offers the ideal opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the area. There is also a small show arena around the Troubadix tree house, which serves as a stage for a pet show in summer. The animals themselves live in the village and are even more likely to excite the children than the eerie Meet & Greet characters. In this respect there is really room for improvement, because frightened children can be found on every corner.

Épidemaïs Croisière

Directly adjacent to the Théâtre du Barde is the dark ride section of the Épidemaïs Croisière boat trip. This leisurely cruise takes us on a journey through the famous comic strips. In the individual scenes we meet a variety of characters, as well as a Roman garrison, which is of course reduced to rubble.

Through the really stylish children’s area La Fôret d’Idéfix, with its beautiful selection of children’s rides, we now move on to the Théatre du Panoramix, which was used for the show of the magician Crypto on at least one of my visiting days. This was unfortunately mystical nonsense and not very entertaining, but it is interesting to see what a variety of shows and a multitude of performances Parc Astérix puts on depending on the crowd. It is also impressive that Parc Astérix has its park plans reprinted every day. Not only are the daily shows and performance times in the plan, but also information about the weather and other information. Such a service is really not often found.

Gaulois-Romains: Le Match

Past the famous carousel Le Carroussel de César, where you can take a seat in the middle of Obélix, we are now drawn to the Roman arena, where Gauls and Romans compete in Gaulois-Romains: Le Match a more or less fair competition. In three rounds of competition, the show is about nothing less than the future of the Gaulish village, and the whole of Rome resorts to unfair means, which can even give the audience a nasty surprise. For example, I was allowed to give an interview to a recorded soundtrack, how wonderful! The whole show is of black humour and the performances of the dancers and acrobats are really breathtaking. In the meantime, there is also a brilliant halftime show with advertising sports, which you will certainly not see anywhere else. But for our Gauls it doesn’t look good at all, only good that towards the end Idéfix gets into the arena with the magic potion and the Romans get a good beating as a result. A great and above all entertaining show that should not be missed.

Also not to be missed is the gastronomy of Parc Astérix. It is really damn good. In addition to the typical theme park dishes, Parc Astérix offers a wide range of wild boar dishes and other delicacies. Personally, I’m really fond of Burger Italy with rocket and pesto, which is why I scheduled the third day in the park only for lunch. The alternative would have been a visit to the nearby amusement park Mer de Sable, but I decided not to do so. But at least the annual ticket was worth a little bit more and the Zierer waltz ride will not run away from me that fast.

Le Grand Splatch

The next attraction on our park tour is the park’s Intamin Spillwater. The entrance to Le Grand Splatch is located below the track of the elevated railway Les Espions de César, which offers a good view of the Gallic village and the children’s area of the Parc Astérix, and is sometimes quite interesting. In fact I walked too far the first time, because I thought the entrance was not at the Astérix rock but rather near the station. So I quickly marched back and through the quite spacious queue to take a seat in the next boat.

The lift takes us quickly up to the top, where we accelerate in a tight curve, which then immediately turns into the first shot of the ride. Slightly moistened, we now bob through a canal for a few minutes and are constantly surprised and entertained by small to large water effects. At some point the second shot of the ride appears in the form of a double drop. Depending on where you sit and how the weight is distributed in the boat you can leave the trip halfway dry or completely soaked. I won’t become a fan of the double drop ride at Intamin Spillwaters – in this respect the single drops are somehow more impressive – but I will always be a fan of Le Grand Splatch. The ride is very unique and entertaining.

La Trace du Hourra

If the layout of a roller coaster gets its own backstory, then Trace du Hourra is the place to be. The story takes place at a time when man has not yet walked on two legs. One day a caveman learns that very thing and screams Hourra loudly to tell his friends about the discovery. The path he took between the mountains is the route of La Trace du Hourra. But before we can have the pleasure of a ride on this bobsleigh run made by the manufacturer Mack Rides, we first have to stand in line for quite a while.

At some point the time has come and the journey can begin. In a left-hand bend we leave the station immediately and soon climb the only lift hill of the ride. After a short straight line at a height of 31m, we immediately descend steeply, whereby the swing of the bobsleigh in the first 270° helix is already very pronounced. Now we make the first change of turn and immediately take a wonderful left curve. This is followed seamlessly by a downward helix to the right. With a shallow rumble we tackle a gradient and then cross the first block brake of the ride. After a narrow left-hand bend, we now swing upwards in an ever-tightening right-hand downward helix. With momentum, we climb another ascending slope. After the second block brake, we now circle a little above the heads of the waiting people in a left-hand bend, before we pass them directly in a 270° helix. After a left-hand bend close to the ground we reach a long ramp, which then leads us into the braking section of the ride. This is followed by the return to the station via several stopping positions.

La Trace du Hourra is a decent bobsleigh run with a beautiful start and an extremely impressive height. The ride is enjoyable, although I personally prefer other bobsleigh runs. However, I have only ridden the ride twice, as the waiting time at the ride was always too long. At Trace du Hourra, a visit is recommended especially in the early hours of the morning, as you can still walk straight through to the station.

S.O.S Numérobis

The smallest roller coaster of the Parc Astérix theme park is located in the Egyptian themed area. On S.O.S Numérobis the smallest park guests are offered an exciting ride through a layout in the shape of an eight. Depending on the rush, two or three laps are ridden on this medium-sized Tivoli coaster.

OzIris

By Osiris and by Apis, look at me…

Iris – the hypnotist from the movie The Twelve Tasks of Astérix – invites you to group therapy in Parc Astérix and we are there live on OzIris. Once you have taken your seat, the happening can start immediately. “Par Osiris et par Apis, vous êtes maintenant des oiseaux. Oui, des oiseaux!” sounds from the loudspeakers as we leave the station bird-free and climb up the 35m high lift.

As soon as we reach the top we fall like a bird that has just left its nest, unstoppably and unbelievably steeply towards the ground. With momentum we rush through the first valley before we turn right and climb a dive loop. Once overhead we descend skillfully into a rather narrow valley. With full speed we climb up again to take the path towards the loop in an over-banked turn. Once more our feet stretch towards the sky before we fall into a deeper lying valley and feel a short airtime moment. In a professional way we now turn our direction in an Immelmann. After a second Overbanked Turn we plunge into a fog-flooded underwater tunnel in front of the impressive domicile of our trustworthy hypnotist.

Back in daylight we are immediately rotated once around our axis in a zero-G, whereupon a 270° helix awaits us. After a short moment of catching our breath we fall to the ground once more. Directly behind the temple complex the second Zero-G Roll of the ride awaits us, which this time spins us clockwise. This is followed by an upward helix close to the ground, which pumps the blood into our legs one last time. Below the lift hill we will now once again see the direction of travel, whereupon, after a quick dip and a short ascent, we already face the braking distance of the ride. After another bend we reach the station, whereupon the next passengers are already invited to the session with a spirited “Au suivant”.

OzIris is without doubt a magnificent roller coaster. The choice of ride elements is as successful as the staging of the ride and the associated theme area. Everything is just right at first glance. One could take a deduction for the location directly at the motorway, but on the other hand this is also an ideal advertisement for the Parc Astérix, which will soon be allowed to have a much higher ride. Nevertheless, OzIris remains a really great ride, which you will quickly learn to appreciate thanks to the single rider entrance on the left side of the temple.

Pictures Parc Astérix

Conclusion Parc Astérix

In addition to all kinds of comic references, lots of black humour and a really chic design, the theme park of the indomitable Gauls offers above all a magnificent portfolio of rides, which is rarely found in such abundance. The roller coasters of Parc Astérix are good to very good because of the bank and the water rides are the crème de la crème in European comparison. The offer is supported by a variety of shows worth seeing, which are shown depending on the rush. I at least felt very well entertained on all three visiting days, even though I had originally planned only two. Thanks to the low crowd, a visit during the Easter holidays is highly recommended.


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Nagashima-Mania

The history of Nagashima Spa Land

Nagashima Spa Land came into being as an addition to the resort near the city of Nagashima, which was developed in 1964. Located directly on Ise Bay, Otani Natural Gas Co, Ltd hoped to find a natural gas deposit in 1963 when they came across a hot spring while exploring for natural gas. The temporary bath that was then built quickly proved extremely popular, and Nagashimakankokaihatsu Co, Ltd was established in the same year with the aim of developing the spring, now known as Nagashima Onsen, for tourism. In November 1964, the bath was opened to visitors, followed a month later by the Nagashima Hotel. In 1966, the resort was further expanded with the opening of the second hotel and the Nagashima Spa Land, including a jet coaster.

The Nagashima Resort quickly became more popular, which is why the third hotel followed as early as 1970. The resort now consists of three hotels, the Nagashima Spa Land amusement park, the Nagano-no-Sato gardens, the Anpanman Children’s Museum, the large Mitsui Outlet Jazz Dream Nagashima outlet centre and the Yuami-no-Shima hot spring. Every year, around 5.8 million visitors come to Nagashima Resort.

Tour of the park

If you arrive by bus, you land at the side entrance of Nagashima Spa Land, located between the hotels and the outlet centre. From here, a path leads directly to the spacious children’s area, including a covered playground. In addition to a large number of child-friendly round rides and two small log flumes, there are two children’s roller coasters.

Children Coaster

The oldest of the two children’s roller coasters at Nagashima Spa Land is the very inconspicuously placed, medium-sized ladybird ride by the manufacturer Zierer called Children Coaster. As usual, you ride two laps through the figure-8 layout and enjoy the manual braking towards the end of the ride.

Oh, it’s beautiful here. In addition to the tried and tested fun of the time-honoured children’s roller coaster legend, characters from the classic English children’s book “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” have also found a home here. Peter Rabbit has been the mascot of Nagashima Spa Land for ages, but it was only in 2012 that a roller coaster was dedicated to him.

Peter Rabbit Coaster

The ride on the Peter Rabbit Coaster from Hoei Sangyo begins with a wide left-hand curve in which you gain a few metres in altitude, which you immediately lose again in a somewhat narrower right-hand helix. Once you reach the ground level, you go full steam ahead after a change of direction through a curve that is just as wide as the one at the beginning of the ride. At this point the track leads straight into the station and through it. After another lap through the track course, the very nice ride ends.

Viking

Before we get too far away from Kinderland and its park mascot Peter Rabbit, we are immediately drawn to the double monorail with its two tracks running in opposite directions. Actually, on the way there, we are drawn to a completely different, extremely imposing set of rides, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else on this planet: the Viking boat swing conglomerate.

When I first came across Nagashima Spa Land, I was immensely impressed by the Japanese people’s love of swings. Whereas in some European amusement parks there are two, at most three, boat-swing-like rides, here there is the full programme in its maximum range, including three boat swings, two rotating swings and an overhead boat swing. From that moment on, one thing was clear to me: I have to go there! And more importantly: I have to ride them all!

Because let’s be honest, who cares about the longest roller coaster in the world when there are two gigantic boat swings far above a third, normal-sized boat swing? That is insane and, above all, simply terrific.

After the success of the small boat swing in 1980 and the success of the large HUSS double ride in the Toshimaen amusement park, Nagashima decided to go one better and built an equally large boat swing in 1986, also in a double ride. Now, it is somewhat difficult to trace how far the three existing large rides in Nagashima Spa Land, Toshimaen and Samsung Everland are related to each other, because although the boats are all built in the same way and are each located above various facilities, two of these rides are considered to be double rides of the HUSS Traumschiff. This is understandable, as the ride looks at first glance as if two somewhat larger ship swings of the Pirate model have been placed directly next to each other and connected to form a boat. However, the double Viking is called Twin Flying Bounty in Intamin’s reference list. The reason for this is probably the bankruptcy of the Arrow-HUSS company towards the end of 1984, after which the company reorganised itself in 1986 as HUSS Maschinenfabrik. In the intervening years, planned rides were built by other manufacturers (e.g. Ninja at Six Flags St. Louis).

But what is a Traumschiff/Twin Flying Bounty like to ride? It’s nice; the ride is actually not earth-shattering, as the basic construction itself is already incredibly inert, but seen as a whole it’s pretty nice. It’s a huge attraction of unbelievable proportions that is accessible to all park guests and doesn’t let anyone get off dissatisfied – a crowd pleaser of the highest order, so to speak. Taken together, the ship’s swing collection has a total capacity of 380 people (160 people per boat in the large swing plus 60 people in the normal-sized ship’s swing) per synchronised ride cycle. All in all, this means an hourly capacity of up to 5,000 people, which is certainly still necessary during the Golden Week and many other days. On emptier days, one of the Flying Bountys sets sail at least every 15 minutes.

Jet Coaster

In the meantime, you can take a nice panoramic ride on the aforementioned double-track monorail that runs in opposite directions. Here you have a wonderful view of the lake and the small forest that you are circling. The park railway, a go-kart track and the oldest roller coaster in Nagashima Spa Land, the Jet Coaster, are located in the forest.

Secured only by a belt, we immediately climb the lift hill of the time-honoured lady. Now far below the treetops, we pass through a long right-hand bend, where we immediately plunge steeply to the ground in a completely untypical manner for a classic jet coaster. We climb the following hill in the same way before we take another right turn. This is followed by a somewhat flatter gradient with an even flatter ascent diagonally through the ride. The ascent then leads into a left-hand bend one level below the first bend, which is consequently ridden at a somewhat more leisurely pace. This is followed by a last exceedingly brisk descent that leads into a slightly longer straight above the lake. A final hop leads us to the station level, whereupon we also reach it after a left turn and the obligatory braking section.

The Jet Coaster is an extremely charming roller coaster that is particularly visually appealing with its framework structure. The ride through the forest is extremely fast and knows how to thrill its passengers with ease. So much so, in fact, that the longest queue was here on the second day of the visit, thanks to the unfortunately existing one-train operation. Apart from that, however, it’s a beautiful old and extremely ride-worthy treasure from the house of Togo.

Space Shot and Flying Carpet

On the other side of the forest, a somewhat rare sight awaits visitors, right next to a more common one. While the S&S free fall tower triumvirate called Space Shot is still a very rare sight, a ride on a suspended flying carpet is the only one outside the Danish amusement park Tivoli Gardens. Both rides are quite convincing.

Shuttle Loop

Just like the ride of the next roller coaster, whose layout can be perfectly described with the words launch, loop and reverse. You’ve probably already guessed, it’s a Shuttle Loop from Schwarzkopf. As with every roller coaster from Münsterhausen, it doesn’t take much to create an all-round satisfying ride experience, and so the ride is unusually puristic compared to the (so far) only European ride (Psyké Underground in Walibi Belgium). That’s enough, because the ride is absolutely perfect as it is, which is why you’ll want to get on again and again, and more than once in a row.

Looping Star

The same applies to the sister ride, which is only three years younger. The Shuttle Loop was apparently a great success, so that another Looping Star was ordered in Münsterhausen and the roller coaster was interestingly placed right next door.

The ride in this classic of German engineering begins quite confidently with the ascent of the lift hill. From a height of around 24m, you immediately plunge towards the ground in a steep curve to approach the only inversion figure, a loop, at full speed. With a lot of power, you then pass the element that gives the ride its name, after which you shoot upwards again to make a turn at a lofty height. But the peace and quiet doesn’t last long, because immediately the wagon group throws itself towards the ground again, which can lead to unexpected airtime, especially in the rear part of the train. In the opposite direction to the first gradient, you gain a little height again and then reduce it efficiently parallel to the lift hill. Since a straight line with a constant lateral inclination is a bit strange to ride, you are straightened out in between, but without taking into account the principle of turning around the heart line; but there are other roller coasters in Nagashima Spa Land for that (like the Ultra Twister). Leaning to the left again, you ride through another curve before you enter a hill and approach the ground again. This is followed by a fast-paced right turn, which then takes you into the braking section of the ride.

Corkscrew

Interestingly, the rival product from Arrow has been situated directly opposite the Looping Star since the year 2012. In 1979, the Corkscrew coaster in Nagashima turned its passengers upside down twice. Interestingly, it is one of four identical rides that started operation in Japan that year – all probably inspired by the first inversion coaster in Asia, the Corkscrew at Yatsu Yuenchi.

The layout is quickly reproduced. After leaving the station via a small incline, you ride through a tight turning curve, which then transfers you to the ride’s lift. Having reached a height of about 21m, you leave the lift in a short dip, whereby the necessary lateral inclination for the following turn is already generated in the same move. Once the turn is completed, the train plunges towards the ground, which leads to a pronounced airtime, especially in the rear part of the train. Now the train roars powerfully through the first valley and shortly afterwards shoots up a hill. This then quickly turns into a longer downhill curve, in whose transverse valley the train enters the corkscrew. Absolutely skilfully, the train now turns over twice. The exit of the second corkscrew then leads into the final turning curve, whereupon the brakes are already waiting.

The ride on the Corkscrew is great. Nowadays the ride is nothing earth-shattering, but in 1979 it was enough to make the masses stand on their heads. Unfortunately, the ride characteristics were below the manufacturer’s average – but that hardly matters. All in all, the ride fits perfectly into its very strong field of competitors, which is why you should definitely take a ride or two; where else would you find so many idols of the late 70s in the same corner of a park?

Past a typical Japanese scary house and an excellent Star Flyer, the path now leads us to the other side of a gigantic steel structure, which we save for later. Here we turn left and follow the wide main path into a dead end, where the Flying Coaster Acrobat is waiting for us.

Acrobat

Attracted by the appearance, we quickly find ourselves in the spacious waiting area below the station and decide to go to one of the two sides of the station. After climbing the stairs, we are immediately assigned to a row, whereupon we stow our personal belongings and valuables in lockers belonging to the rows. Nothing unusual as far as that goes, but at the end a security scan including a metal detector awaits us. After we have proved that all our bags are empty, we are let through to the gates and can immediately board our preferred aircraft.

As soon as the starting position is reached, the ride can begin. We reach the ride’s lift via a switch, which takes us up to a height of 43m. Once at the top, we plunge into a steep curve to the right towards the abyss. In a wide radius we now float through the following valley and immediately climb a hill, which turns out to be the starting position for the now following Pretzel Loop. Without mercy we now plunge down, stand overhead for a short time and then watch the spectacle lying on our backs in reverse order, almost being killed by the G-Forces. Once again at high altitude, there is enough time to take a short breath, because now we cross the element we have just completed in a tame left turn. But before we know it, we are spinning around our own axis in an inline twist and hurtling towards the ground in a right turn. In a corkscrew we cross the Prezel Loop once more and soon have a look at the station of the roller coaster from behind. After a short ascent, we reach the middle block brake section of the ride, which, however, releases us into the second part of this without any major slowdown.

In a right-hand bend, accompanied by synchronised water fountains, we shoot across a lake. Similar to a Bavarian curve, hill follows dale and at the end of the curve there is even another inline twist waiting for the passengers. Still in this great flow, we find ourselves in a left turn, which unfortunately leads us straight into the final brake.

Acrobat is the tamer of the two Japanese flying coasters, but that doesn’t mean that the ride doesn’t try to beat you to death with the forces at its disposal. It just does it a little more subtly. While Universal’s Flying Dinosaur has one element after the other, Acrobat still has enough time to devote itself entirely to flying. This has its advantages and the ride itself seems a little more harmonious. Especially the part after the block brake is quite impressive and offers wonderful insights for the rest of the park guests. In general, the ride is wonderfully open and can be seen from all sides, so that even more guests from the nearby outlet centre will switch to the Nagashima Spa Land amusement park. It’s worth it, at least, because Acrobat is a really ingenious flying coaster in Nagashima.

Bobkart

Right next to it, the Wiegand Bobkart double track has been in place since 2004. On a length of 822 and 797m, both lanes theoretically duel each other. For the time being, the track runs parallel through a very bumpy left-hand bend. The driving comfort increases significantly with the steadily increasing speed, the fun in turn through the numerous waves on the now following straight. After another left-hand bend and just as many waves, the two lanes now separate from each other.

While the right lane now turns into a short right-hand bend, the left lane continues straight ahead. In a wide left-hand bend, the right-hand lane now steadily builds up height, whereupon the left-hand lane is crossed on another undulating straight. The competing lane meanwhile devotes itself to a right-leading upward helix, whereupon both lanes run parallel again for a short moment. This quickly changes and so both tracks separate at an sharp angle. There is a reason for this, because in the following downward helix of the right lane, the left lane comes towards you. The left lane circles the helix, but then runs parallel to the track you have just completed in the right lane. After a wide right-hand bend and a short straight, the left-hand lane meets the right-hand lane again, which in the meantime has only passed through a longer straight, and both enter an upward helix in parallel.

On an elevated part of the track, both tracks now cross the just completed and future track before entering a left turn along the station. Following a downward helix to the right, both tracks then continue on the ground. After a left turn and a 180° turn, both tracks reach their destination.

The double bobsleigh track is quite impressive, but the ride itself is only okay. Admittedly, you get a bit distracted by the rides surrounding you, but the ride over the numerous bumps is unfortunately also a bit repetitive. Although you could also look over them if the bobs ran parallel. Of the total of 28 bobsleds per side, unfortunately only about 5 were running on the first day of the visit – which was perfectly adequate in view of the crowds – and these were sent on their way one after the other per side. Whereas at the beginning both sides were served, shortly afterwards only the right lane was running. That was a pity, but also understandable, after all you can vary the capacity of the rides according to the rush in no time at all. Overall, the left lane was a little better than the right lane, but all in all, both lanes offered a good ride.

Ultra Twister

Directly behind the ride is the station of the Ultra Twister roller coaster. The standard model of the manufacturer Togo also awaits us in Nagashima, but here in a somewhat less colourful paint scheme than in the Greenland amusement park, but with ingenious lighting effects. Since we had already ridden 12 laps of the ride in Greenland, we knew what to expect and got on with pleasure.

After the car has been checked, you approach the transfer element at the rear end of the track. This is then turned by 90° degrees, which is promptly followed by the ascent in the vertical lift. Having reached a height of 30m, the car crosses a very narrow crest and plunges rapidly down a steep 85° gradient. There is intense airtime in every seat, but especially in the last row. The following and quite narrow valley is driven through with extreme pressure, while the following airtime hill skillfully tries to throw you off. With strikingly high speed, you now race through a heartline roll that couldn’t be more beautiful. Shortly afterwards, you climb a small incline, at the end of which you reach the first braking section of the ride.

In a second transfer element you are now brought to the lower lane, which you follow backwards from then on. On a short descent you then steadily increase speed before the car is turned upside down a second time. As soon as the station level is reached, the third and last roll of the ride follows. Shortly afterwards, the second braking section is reached and the ride on the Ultra Twister draws to a close.

Also in Nagashima, the tube roller coaster is completely convincing. The interplay of vertical acceleration is just wonderfully brutal and always worth experiencing. Especially since the end stops are not quite as hard as in Greenland, which makes the ride all the more inviting for repeat rides. Unless you don’t burn your shoulders on a visit to the Joyful Waterpark, which you should definitely plan to do so, and torture yourself accordingly on a night ride through the ride. Nonetheless, this is also totally worth it, because the illuminated ring elements enhance the visually very appealing ride even more.

Steel Dragon 2000

Equally appealing is Steel Dragon 2000. Built at the turn of the millennium, Steel Dragon 2000 is Japan’s largest roller coaster, with a height of 97 m. Even more impressive, however, is its length of about 2.5 km, which still makes it the longest roller coaster in the world. There are rumours that the roller coaster The Ultimate from the English amusement park Lightwater Valley will be extended, but until then there will probably not be a longer roller coaster.

The ride on the Steel Dragon begins with a small dip out of the station, followed by a short right turn. The first lift chain is then waiting to take us up to a height of about 50 m, where we change to the second lift chain, which in turn takes us up to an impressive 97 m. Once there, we descend very quickly. We pass through the first valley at 152.9 km/h, and the train starts to vibrate. Unfortunately, this vibration is transmitted to the passenger, which is why you can only be happy to shoot up a 76.8 m high hill shortly afterwards. After a moment of shallow airtime, another valley of terror awaits you.

The ride through the second valley is also no fun at all and so I was happy to find myself on the third hill of the ride. This hill is only 64 m high and leads the train into a special combination of curves. In a wide steep curve, one approaches the bottom and immediately shoots up an inclined clockwise helix. On the way into the following valley, a change of direction takes place and a second, now counterclockwise, huge helix follows. With steady pressure, the smile on your face slowly comes back and you may slowly forget the crappy start of the ride. In the process, you race through a ground-hugging and bloody long left turn along the large shopping centre. However, you don’t notice much of that, after all, you’re still going at a breakneck pace. It’s just a shame that after a long bend and two small curve swings, the ascent into the block brake awaits.

On the block brake, which is placed very low in relation to the overall height of the ride, the speed of the train is reduced considerably before it descends into a series of continuous camelbacks. Here the train passes two tunnels and six crests, each with valleys at different heights. On each hill you take off in a wonderful floating airtime. Shortly afterwards, however, the braking section is reached and the ride comes to an end.

The Steel Dragon 2000 is not a bad roller coaster, but it doesn’t meet my personal taste. I really enjoy the ride from the entry into the long curves, but the vibrations in the first two valleys are so nasty to my stomach that I only did one more repeat ride during the two days of my visit. I’m interested to know what the ride would have been like in the original trains, as the trains built by Morgan were much more solidly built and therefore shouldn’t have started vibrating so quickly. The trains built by B&M, which were added in the tenth year of operation of the ride, are by no means bad and allow a much freer ride, but they do not correspond to the original.

They must have had their reasons – I don’t have a comparison with the previous state of the ride anyway – so it’s not that bad. It doesn’t stop anyone from doing a marathon on the ride, and if the start of the ride wasn’t so messed up, I would do it too.

Arashi

The Free Spin coaster Arashi on the other hand is simply no fun. The ride is inharmonious and absolutely hard. The rollovers are all generated only by the forced rotation of the gondola carrier, otherwise the ride here would be a leisurely scenic ride very similar to the new concept by the Swiss engineering firm Ride Engineers Switzerland, which will soon be realised at Schwaben Park. Unfortunately, the whole thing is no comparison to the competing product from Intamin, which is less squeamish even in the smallest version and fortunately dispenses entirely with technical aids for rollover – interestingly, although the ride on a Zac Spin is hard on the edge, the harmoniously superimposed movements make it much more pleasant and interesting.

Rock ‘n’ Roll

In fact, the Rock ‘n’ Roll ride shows that even forced somersaults can be ridden in a reasonably harmonious way. A friction wheel causes the individual gondolas to rotate, whereupon the passengers (depending on the load of the gondola) do one somersault after another.

Paratrooper and Telecombat

The Paratrooper next to it is similarly interesting, with its wheel rim tilting horizontally during the ride. Otherwise, the ride is typical for a Twister-like round ride, so it goes up and down in free-swinging gondolas, over and over again. This one was built by Technical Park, as was the Telecombat next door.

Wild Mouse

The ride portfolio in this corner is then complemented by the water ride Jet Rescue of German production. This is fitting, as the Wild Mouse is located right next to it in a double version, just as it could have been at a German funfair. Of course, it’s only real with the matching ticket booth and Schuko sockets. The attraction resembles one of the many Wild Mice from Mack Rides and therefore invites you to take a ride or two; after all, you can ride the ride in a mirror image – at least if both rides are running on the same day. We were lucky and were able to ride one of the two tracks on each of the two days we visited.

Free Fall and Frisbee

Unfortunately, we had no luck with the Free Fall, a first-generation free-fall tower, and therefore had to forego a ride. Fortunately, there is a park version of the HUSS Frisbee directly opposite, which is always a guarantee for a successful ride. In Nagashima, however, things were a bit different – the fast spins were missing – and so the ride was a trivial swing, which not even the showman Robrahn from Bremen could undercut. A pity, because the little Frisbees are usually always a big deal.

Shoot the Chute

When one of your favourite rides bitterly disappoints you, it takes another favourite ride to put you back in a good mood. It’s a good thing that the Shoot the Chute of the Nagashima Spa Land amusement park, designed by O.D. Hopkins, is next door. As one of the first rides in the manufacturer’s Figure-8 design, the 30-metre-high ride is impressive, especially with its merciless wetness. Normally, in a spillwater, you are usually wet, but not soaked, by the time you reach the bridge over the run-out section, but this changes abruptly when you pass under the bridge. Here, however, it is the case that the boat creates such a high wave when it dives into the pool that it absorbs all the energy of the boat and thus decelerates the boat considerably so that the water has enough time to splash down on the passengers. You don’t get out this wet even from Valhalla of the English amusement park Blackpool Pleasure Beach and even there the degree of wetness is known to be like jumping into the Irish Sea. So everything is just right here and the name of the ride really lives up to its type – only why the first rows have to wear life jackets is beyond me, but luckily we were sitting a bit further back.

Something that has never been clear to me personally is the success of the Looping Starships from Intamin. In the looping fever at the beginning of the 1980s, the Bremen company HUSS developed an overhead boat swing in which the axle of the ride was driven, making a large number of rollovers and other rides possible. Only a short time later, the Weber company, also based in Bremen, followed suit with a similar ride. Intamin, on the other hand, planned an overhead boat swing that lives up to its name and uses a classic friction wheel drive to keep the ship moving until at some point it manages to roll over very narrowly.

Space Shuttle

It’s interesting when you realise on your own body during the ride that this is exactly what makes the Looping Starship the best representative of its kind. It’s as if a normal boat swing just keeps accelerating, so you suddenly find yourself at angles you wouldn’t otherwise experience. At some point you manage to do a headstand and are afraid of getting stuck upside down. Shortly afterwards, the next, somewhat quicker somersault follows. A moment later, the long deceleration phase begins and you change direction again in all possible angles of inclination. Wonderful! I am absolutely thrilled with the ride. The design of the Space Shuttle also speaks for itself. It’s just a shame that none of them have survived the test of time in Europe; at least not in their original version. So dear Movieland Park team, please buy a suitable counterweight and the corresponding shoulder restraints. It’s worth it, I promise!

Giant Frisbee

The rest of the ride portfolio consists of a wave swinger, an Italian-made swing up with far too narrow gondolas, and a giant frisbee from HUSS. The latter just does its thing – like every other Giant Frisbee from the same manufacturer. It’s okay.

White Cyclone

A glance at the clock on the 90-metre-high Aurora Wheel tells us: it’s time for wood. We are happy to comply and accordingly head for the entrance to the large white-painted wooden wall with the charismatic name White Cyclone.

The ride in the PTC trains begins with a wide left turn around the waiting area of the ride. We constantly lose height to gain enough momentum to enter the lift hill. This then takes us to a height of 42 m, where we then have a moment to enjoy the magnificent view of Nagashima Spa Land and Ise Bay. After a left turn, however, we rapidly descend to the ground. With the finest shake, rattle and roll we cross the first valley and then climb a high airtime hill. The exit then leads into a gigantic, constantly tapering helix far above ground level. Here you ride a little over hill and dale until you leave it at some point after a rapid dip over a hill.

The hill in question seems to be almost as high as the entrance to the helix, but based on the existing speed, it shouldn’t actually be the case. Visually an interesting trick in any case and so we plunge down again in a wonderful play of forces. Another airtime hill follows, as it is written in the book, before we disappear in the forest of pillars. In a very wide upward spiral, we now steadily increase in altitude metres before we reach the same kind of helix we already experienced a few moments ago. But instead of diving down briefly and then gaining height, we climb metre by metre up the wooden structure before then reaching the block brake of the ride.

After the fast-paced first part of the ride, the train plunges to the ground again. With gusto we pass under the valley of the first descent, conquer another airtime hill and dive into the wooden structure one more time. Inside the first helix we now go through a wide left turn before we are surrounded by wooden beams again. We then cross the ride over two hills and make our way along the outer edge of the roller coaster. Below the lift hill, the train disappears under the wooden construction for the last time in a wide left turn. Shortly afterwards, we reach the braking section of the ride and soon the station.

White Cyclone was a great wooden roller coaster with great pacing, lots of airtime moments and a well-tuned acceleration curve. In addition, the roller coaster lived on the shake, rattle and roll like hardly any other wooden roller coaster in the country, let alone any other wooden roller coaster I have already ridden. While I can understand that the roller coaster is now undergoing a makeover by the company RMC – because the layout offers many possibilities that have not yet been exhausted – on the other hand it is a pity that one of only four wooden roller coasters in Japan will disappear as a result. At least the basic structure of what was once the best roller coaster in Nagashima Spa Land remains and will be used in the future best roller coaster in the park. So we can be curious!

Pictures Nagashima Spa Land

Conclusion Nagashima Spa Land

Nagashima Spa Land is a great amusement park that offers so much in such a large area that you can’t help but be happy. This park simply offers everything possible, which means that every target group is covered – with the exception of dark ride fetishists, of course, because there are simply none of those in the park (outside of the scary walkthrough and a Pokémon attraction). I, at least, was completely thrilled by Nagashima Spa Land, which is why I would gladly return. There are many reasons for this, and the renovation of White Cyclone is yet another. So we’ll see you again sometime, but then with the full programme of onsen, water park, hotel visit and a detour to the nearby gardens.

 


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