Raging through the Helices

Preface

It’s the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic and things are getting a bit back to normal as the numbers are currently dropping in Germany and more and more people are getting their vaccinations. Previously excisting restrictions are dropped and a visit to a theme park feels great once more – even though we are all wearing masks once we cannot avoid getting too close to people and of course on the rides.

Serengeti-Park and its Serengeti Safari

Since my last year’s visit was not the best, as Serengeti Park was crowded and the capacity of the rides was restricted to a minimum, I took a day off and visited the park on a very quiet Friday. This of course had the advantage of experiencing the awesome Serengeti Safari – one of the few drive-through safaris you can experience in an animal park – at my own pace and without being too restricted by the other cars. I was also right in time for the feeding of the lions, which led to some awesome pictures.

Splash Safari and the Black Mamba

After driving through the Serengeti Safari it was time to experience the theme park. Here, I mainly focused on the other “safari” experiences, which are mainly rather unique attractions and for the most part don’t feature any animals. I especially enjoyed the Splash Safari and Black Mamba Jetboat experiences, as both of them were extraordinary good in keeping you cool on a very hot summers day. While the Splash Safari offers a nice RIB speedboat ride on the park’s central lake, the Black Mamba jetboat safari just got you drenched the second the ride started – not to any surprise: It was the most popular ride on the day of visit.

Batukai Racer

The most recent addition to Serengeti Park is the roller coaster Batukai Racer by Technical Park which replaced the aging Chura Racer – a large Tivoli coaster made by Zierer. The layout of the 13m high family coaster basically only consists of a steep drop followed by three helices one after the other. The first of them is of special interest, as its curvature gets smaller when approaching the ground, which results in some very high G-forces and a rather awkward inclination. The second one acts like a small break in between as you get some more altitude before the final helix hits the ground. The ride itself is a bit jerky, yet not uncomfortable and a rather thrilling experience.

A story of a lost phone

So thrilling, that shortly after my first round, I wanted to do a second. I was a bit distracted taking photos with my camera so that I did not realised that I let my phone on one of the benches nearby before queuing up for the second ride. After the ride, my phone was gone and I started to panic a bit. I asked the ride operator if he saw anything, but that did not help. He gave me the information that it might end up at the service centre nearby the park’s main ticket booths at the end of the day. I waited some time and decided to give it a try and walked all the way to service centre, but they did not yet got anything. They asked me to come back shortly before their closure or write an email after my visit. So I went back around 5pm and to my own surprise they actually found it!

Even though I had to worry a bit about the phone, I had an extraordinary day at the park and enjoyed it quite a lot. The drive through the empty Serengeti Safari, the rides on the park’s roller coaster Safari Blitz and Batukai Racer, as well as the refreshing and drenching boat experiences on the Splash Safari and Black Mamba made my day.

Pictures Serengeti-Park

 

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Having a blast on Dynamite

Preface

The last time, I have visited Freizeitpark Plohn, I was not at all impressed by its missing professionalism in some points. I had never issues paying with my Girocard (a German Debit Card) before and since there was not an ATM nearby, I had to drive to the nearby town of Lengenfeld just to get some cash and stand one more time in the queue before finally being able to pay my entrance ticket. This time, I tried to pay online and due to the system in use, it was not at all easy to do so on the phone. It took me several attempts – yet at the end, it worked.

Freizeitpark Plohn

With a good mood, I started my day at the new entrance area to the park, which is now situated right next to the water ride Fluch des Teutates. The Rafting by abc rides gets a good crowd during the first hours of operation, while the area close to the original entrance stays deserted for the most part of the day.

Drachenwirbel

Here we find the small SBF Visa spinning coaster Drachenwirbel. Like most of the installations in Germany, this also comes in the three-loop design, whereby upwards leading righthand curves always change into a downwards leading lefthand curve. Due to the change of direction, the cars quickly get into a rotation. After several laps the ride on the Drachenwirbel comes to an stop and we can exit the ride.

Dynamite

The second and largest addition to the park Freizeitpark Plohn in recent years is the Mack Rides Big Dipper Coaster Dynamite. The ride is situated for most part on the land of the former Silver Mine roller coaster and reuses parts of the queue. The coaster itself is a lot bigger and offers an interesting layout.

After climbing the ride’s lift, the coaster starts with a Dive Drop, whereby the car is slowly rotated around its own axis before it plunges to the ground. At full speed we now pass through a building which gives a great near miss and race over a bunny hop shortly thereafter. A steep curve now leads us upwards. After a more conventional drop, we then enter a righthand curve close to the ground. On a small hill we rapidly change direction before entering Dynamite’s loop. We then pass the ride’s entrance in a Zero-G Roll. Finally, we now circle around the HUSS Break Dance Westernrodeo before hitting the brakes.

Dynamite is a nice addition to the park. The Big Dipper offers a great, albeit short layout which offers a well-defined play of forces. There is only one issue: It does not have a good capacity. With a total of just two cars for up to eight people, the queue can get quite long. Especially, when only one of them is in operation and can only be loaded by a maximum of 4 people due to the Covid-19 regulations. Therefore, I only rode this Mack product once.

Pictures Freizeitpark Plohn

Closing Words

As the Saxonians did not really care about Covid and only a few respected the rules, I left the park early. Overall, I had a good visit to Freizeitpark Plohn. Yet, I was not overly impressed on how El Toro developed in recent years. This coaster is by far one of the roughest wooden coasters, I have been on and to my luck, I had to ride it twice in a row as the ride operation gave an encore. Apart of that, the park’s operations were good, and I am willing to come back once everything is back to normal.

 

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Parque Warner (2020)

A visit of Parque Warner during the Covid-19 pandemic

I haven’t been to Parque Warner in a long time. The park belonging to Parques Reunidos is known to have a great selection of breathtaking roller coasters and water rides soaking through to your underwear. However, 2020 is now the year of Covid-19 and the Spanish are known to have taken it a little harder, so I was very curious to see how the amusement parks are run in this country. Due to my experiences concerning the protection measures in Germany, I expected very long waiting times from the beginning and therefore bought the Pase Correcaminos Platinum in advance; a quite expensive ticket for pushing the queue with theoretically unlimited access to the attractions.

As I had made a little mistake in the bus schedule, I reached the park much later than originally planned. As the entrance was narrowed to two access points, there were already two very long queues at my arrival. On the day of my visit, there were no day tickets; unfortunately, shortly before my visit, the park offered 50% reduced tickets, thus the park was relatively full. As I could not find the office for the Pase Correcaminos right away, I also lost some time; who could have guessed that the man at the lockers would take care of it.

Equipped with my wristband it could go through the park. Basically, masks are obligatory everywhere – the correct way of wearing them is meticulously observed. The staff is perfectly trained for all Covid-19 measures and at all shows and attractions they take care of the hygiene measures, e.g. you have to disinfect your hands every time in front of the watchful eye of an employee, at the shows you are accompanied to your seat (even after the show you are only allowed to leave the theatre in groups) to guarantee the safety distance. The attractions are additionally disinfected after each use, before the next passengers are allowed to board. All this of course reduces the capacity, but the Spanish staff is surprisingly fast. The only thing I honestly should have saved was the visit of the mad house Hotel Embrujado.

Pictures Parque Warner

Closing Words

At the end of the day I could ride all the attractions at least once. Thanks to the Pase Correcaminos, the waiting time at the roller coasters was a maximum of 30 minutes, without of course much more. At the water rides and all other attractions I had a little more luck. Of course, a visit outside of Corona would have been much more fruitful, but nevertheless I am impressed by the professionalism of the park and therefore recommend a visit to Parque Warner this year.

A visit to the theme park could hardly be safer!

 

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