TR - My European Coaster Odyssey Part 3 - France, etc. (long)

TR - My European Coaster Odyssey Part 3 - France, etc. (long)

Post by Willards Whizz » Wed, 15 Oct 2003 11:23:22


TR - My Own European Coaster Odyssey

Part 3 - France, Belgium, and Holland

Following the German parks, my next stop was Paris.  Another somewhat long day
of travel.  While I took many trains that were incredibly fast, and had
incredibly smooth rides, the travel to Paris would not prove to be the case.
The train from Strasbourg through the French countryside was like an out of
control ride.  I felt like I was on the Silver Streak.  Passengers were
continually pummeled and jostled by the swaying train.  I swear I felt like
that thing was going to just the tracks a couple of times.  Arrived in Paris
just in the nick of time before full sea-sickness set in.  Instantly loved the
city, even though it was a little cold and overcast and I had to pull out the
coat for the first time in the trip.  Their Metro and rail systems make it so
easy to get around.

Parc Asterix -- Probably the biggest disappointment of the trip, which is sad
because I started out liking the park.  Fortunately once again, the train and
bus combination was fairly easy to reach the park.  There were Asterix helmet
signs guiding the way, although the bus wasn't where their transit center maps
showed it should be.  It was a cold fall day at the park.  You could see your
breath!  Initially it was a quiet day too, but what impressed me was how very
well-themed the park was.  I rode a few rides, working my way back to Tonnerre
de Zeus.  Unfortunately the ride on Zeus quickly changed my attitude for the
day and the park.  The coaster is dangerously close to being a POS!  Okay,
maybe that's an exaggeration.  I'm probably being too harsh on it.  Sometimes I
let disappointments color my attitude too much, but it was disappointing
because I could see what a great coaster it was.  My front row seat ride was
enjoyable.  I LOVED the layout (especially that sideways/quick change of
direction airtime moment as it starts the last phase of the ride).  But my back
seat and middle of train rides were painful and sad after the first drop and
tunnel.  It chattered, jack-hammered, and shuffled.  Definitely not the holy
trinity as far as wooden coaster enthusiasts are concerned.  The look on my
face in the onride photo said it all.  :-(  Unfortunately I let that turn an
otherwise good day at the park into a so-so one.  I was so saddened that a
coaster with an incredible layout like that could be such a horrible ride.
When I went back in the afternoon after crowds had picked up, I was still able
to walk on for a front seat ride despite one-car operation.  There was not much
of a wait all day because I think people feel the same.  (Maybe the park feels
the same way about it that it's not important and that's why they don't seem to
maintain it.)

Other examples followed.  Overall operations my day were a mixed bag.  Trace du
Hourra was a fun bobsled with lots of speed, a gorgeous setting and paintjob,
yet it was only running two cars and had the longest wait of the day for
seemingly no reason.  Their only a few-months old dark ride (Transdemonium) was
a similar experience in that it already had problems too with theming not being
maintained and some effects not working.  Very strange and sad, though I must
say it *did* surprise me as cars sped significantly and slowed down in mostly
dark (kind of like DL's Indiana Jones ride).  I don't even have to mention
Goudurix either I would guess.  Lived up to its reputation.  Roughest coaster I
have ever been on.  I couldn't keep my head in the extra padding.  So bad that
I started to mockingly laugh at it half-way through the ride.  Actually
Goudurix made me laugh so much at its "badness" while riding, I wish I had
another ride on it.  In my mind though, it was a mirror-image of TdZ.  Those
two become the park's defining rides.  They basically have two full-sized
coasters at the park, neither of which they seem to maintain.  So they both
ride horribly.  Not quite sure what the deal is.  They seem to maintain some
stuff well and others not.  If it had a strong anchor like TdZ, it would be a
great park.  I guess the bottom line is if I was over there again and someone
wanted to go, I would willingly go.  But there is no way I would head over
there (new ride or not) just for the park.

Disneyland Paris -- My last day in Paris it was off to the house that
Euro-Mickey built.  The day started out real well.  I took the train from Paris
to the park.  Very easy as the station is just outside the gates.  Beautiful
park in the Disney style with a great entrance.  They had already begun
decorating the park for Halloween and had some very interesting scenes on Main
Street with lots of "spilled" orange paint all over the street.  I immediately
headed for the Frontierland/Adventureland side of the park, partly figuring
that the only draw on the other side of the park was Space Mountain.  First
ride was Big Thunder Mountain.  While I liked it, I didn't like it as much as
DL's.  I didn't feel that the effects were as good, though the dark tunnel to
and from the island is cool.  Phantom Manor was next.  It's probably going to
sound strange for me to say this, but it was too dark.  I didn't feel like I
could see all the effects.  (The same would hold true later in Pirates of the
Caribbean and Peter Pan).  The Ghost Town portion of the ride was a neat change
from the one I am used to, but overall the ride seemed shorter, and thus once
again not quite as good.  Unfortunately the Indiana Jones coaster was down for
rehab (possibly for a Halloween re-theming?) so it would be my first missed
credit during the trip.  Fantasyland's dark rides were pretty much identical to
the ones at DL, except for the different language and the fact that they were
missing a few.  (Thank goodness the French have appreciation for my personal
fave, Peter Pan.  It was actually one of only 5 rides in the park with
FastPass!  But that may actually be testament somewhat again to the lack of
"E-Ticket" rides.)  Finally making it over to Discoveryland (i.e.,
Tomorrowland), I had more disappointment.  Though it had a gorgeous ride
building, Space Mountain was a banger.

Like Parc Asterix, my review is probably coming across harsher than it should.
I entered the park smiling ear to ear.  Reminded me how much I love Disney
parks.  Most things were nice.  But you have to remember that I grew up with
the original "Happiest Place on Earth."  It will be hard for any place to match
it.  I had heard from some that BTM, Mansion, and Pirates was possibly better
at Paris than other parks.  I didn't see that.  Several signature, "E-ticket"
and otherwise rides also are missing -- Jungle Cruise, Country Bear/Pooh,
Splash Mountain, Tiki Room, Mr. Toad, Alice in Wonderland, Matterhorn, and
Monorail, not to mention Toon Town.  The park was fun, just a bit small and WAY
overpriced at 39 Euros, especially considering I paid 10 Euros less for Europa
or almost 20 Euros less for Gardaland.  In fact, it was the most expensive park
of the trip.  They charged the same amount for a VERY small MGM, which I didn't
go to.  Their only "offer" when I was there was for the 39 Euros you could go
to MGM and then go to the Disney park three hours before closing.  Otherwise
there was no hopping.  MGM did not seem at all worth that high price.  Much
worse than the DL/DCA price vs. rides discrepancy.

Saturday morning it was a fast train trip (Thalys) on to my next destination --
Brussels.  Of all the places I visited, this is the one place that I have no
desire to return to.  Cannot think of a single part of the city or visit that I
liked.  But the city was my jumping-off point for the next two park
destinations.  First was an immediate transfer of luggage to a hotel and then
hopping on another train to:

S.F. Belgium -- Still not quite sure how I feel about this one.  I knew going
in that it could potentially be the worst day of the trip.  Was the only
Saturday park visit I had.  After traveling from Paris to Brussels that
morning, I only would have 6 hours at the park given my train ride to the park.
 Once again though, it was very easy to access via train.  (Am I sounding like
a broken record yet?  Would be nice if even some of the U.S. parks were
similar.)  This time the station was only a pedestrian overpass away from the
park.  Once inside the park, all coasters that day were an hour wait.  Crowds,
while not overwhelming, were still pretty substantial.  When you add to that a
visit during the peak part of the day, you should expect what you get.  I
started out with the woodie of course -- Loup Garou/Weerwolf.  It became the
best wooden coaster of the trip (which unfortunately only included 3).  Had
some nice moments of airtime.  I followed that up with rides on Calamity Mine,
Turbine, and Vampire (man, another SLC I actually liked).  The Calamity Mine
ride was a surprise as park signage indicated that the coaster was down for the
day.  I didn't get the kiddie coaster credit.  Also they had taken out another
of their coasters this year (the Tornado corkscrew).  In the end, I never made
it to my final credit either, the boomerang Cobra.  Down to just over an hour
left, the decision was another credit or another ride on Weerwolf.  Needless to
say, I chose the woodie.  So Cobra would be my second (and thankfully last)
missed credit of the trip.  There was so much more I wanted to do like the new
Sally dark ride (Challenge of Tutankhamon), the log ride, or the drop tower,
but there just wasn't enough time.  And before anyone thinks I chose an SLC
over a brand-new Sally dark ride, let me just say that the lines were of
significantly different lengths.  I must say that despite my lukewarm response
to the park (and the whole Brussels experience) I started my love of Belgian
waffles here!  The two I had at the stand near the wooden coaster were great.
Ended up having four of them inside and outside the park in the next day and a
half.  Loved the pieces where the sugar would caramelize a little.  Mmm, yumm.
...

read more »

 
 
 

TR - My European Coaster Odyssey Part 3 - France, etc. (long)

Post by XCALIBRMI » Thu, 16 Oct 2003 07:41:44

Great TR's, Jerry.  I just wish you hadn't encountered those lines so you could
do everything.

Mike

 
 
 

TR - My European Coaster Odyssey Part 3 - France, etc. (long)

Post by Janna Rasmusse » Thu, 16 Oct 2003 11:12:23



Quote:
>Still one more trip to go (IAAPA), so I will save my end of year shout-outs and
>thank you's for that time.  However, I *do* want to say thanks now though to
>all those who have hung in there and read all of this TR.

Thanks for writing them--I enjoyed all of them.

-Janna

 
 
 

TR - My European Coaster Odyssey Part 3 - France, etc. (long)

Post by Tim Melag » Thu, 16 Oct 2003 11:04:18


Quote:
> Great TR's, Jerry.  I just wish you hadn't encountered those lines so you
could
> do everything.

Yes, three great TRs. Three more reasons to keep sifting through RRC to find
some really good posts. I'm so happy that you did get a couple rides on
GeForce. It's absolutely incredible. I think you're thoughts overall are
very much in line with the opinions of many (but not all) ECO participants.
Many people loved Europa Park. I liked it but I thought Heide and Efteling
were more amazing. Dream Flight (dark ride) at Efteling is incredible. It's
not what I typically look for in a dark ride but it was so incredible I'd
have to rate it as one of the best. I did like Asterix to some extent but it
wasn't as unique and didn't offer as much of a European feel that the other
"continent" parks did. It was the most American style park IMHO although we
definitely hit it on the wrong day at the end of the ECO trip. I thought TdZ
was awful. I do believe it was and could be a great ride but like some other
CCIs it has its problems.

--

http://users.stargate.net/~rollocst/rc.html

 
 
 

TR - My European Coaster Odyssey Part 3 - France, etc. (long)

Post by Marcus Sheen [UK » Fri, 17 Oct 2003 06:15:55

Quote:
> Unfortunately the ride on Zeus quickly changed
> my attitude for the day and the park.  The coaster
> is dangerously close to being a POS!

The ECC went on the coaster at the beginning of the year and seemed to think
it had improved - sad to hear that it is still a poor ride. I hope to
re-visit the park soon to try out the new dark ride, but to also try
Tonnerre De Zeus myself. It was one my favourite coaster by aeons :(

Quote:
> Trace du Hourra was a fun bobsled with lots of speed,
> a gorgeous setting and paintjob,
> yet it was only running two cars and had the longest wait
> of the day for seemingly no reason.

Two trains really is a dissapointment considering it can run six. It's a
great family coaster though.

Quote:
> They had already begun decorating the park [DLP] for Halloween
> and had some very interesting scenes on Main
> Street with lots of "spilled" orange paint all over the street.

My site will have coverage of Disney's Halloween in the next week or so, but
the story is that the Pumpkin Men tried decorating Main Street by painting
it orange and were frozen in time. It looks fairly tasteless, but is very
substantial.

Quote:
> First ride was Big Thunder Mountain.  While I liked it,
> I didn't like it as much as DL's

Really? I absolutely ADORE Disneyland Paris' version, way, WAY over the
American ones. It is just the epitome of a great family coaster as far as
I'm concerned, and has an absolutely incredible finale.

Quote:
> Finally making it over to Discoveryland (i.e.,
> Tomorrowland), I had more disappointment.  Though
> it had a gorgeous ride
> building, Space Mountain was a banger.

Space Mountain is a rough ride, but trains 1 and 5 are absolutely
diabolical. It really has become a piece of crap.

Quote:
> After these first couple of rides, I think my enthusiasm
> for the park started to wane.  Chalk it up to high/unrealistic
> expectations.

I think Efteling is a very over-rated park. The entrance, Fanta Morgana,
Dream Flight and Villa Volta are all EXCELLENT, but there really seems to be
no consistency. The park isn't a very rounded experience and has some
absolute stinkers including the two coasters (not Vogel Rok).

Vogel Rok I think is a fairly decent coaster. I assume you missed the laser
show in the queue as there was no wait? The ride is a nice fun family
coaster (how many times have I said those words in this report?!), but not
as memorable as it perhaps aught to be.

Thanks,

Regards,
Marcus

?,??,?o`o?,?? COASTER KINGDOM ??,?o`o?,??,?
          http://www.ukrollercoasters.co.uk

             HELP SAVE DREAMLAND MARGATE
      http://www.joylandbooks.com/scenicrailway/

 
 
 

TR - My European Coaster Odyssey Part 3 - France, etc. (long)

Post by Willards Whizz » Sun, 19 Oct 2003 14:40:20

Thanks everyone for the great comments and feedback.  Always appreciate it when
people enjoy the effort.  Helps make writing them worthwhile.

Thanks again.

Jerry

"C'mon and take a Free Ride." -- Edgar Winter Group