24-26th April 1998

Travel, Foire du Trone
Parc Astérix, Foire du Trone
Disneyland Paris, Travel

 

David Dowson
So, what is a delicate shade of green and could be seen flying up down and around in circles in Paris in late April? Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, but read on.

So the travellers for the second Tour de Force trip gathered in late April in Hillingdon, Victoria and Folkestone for the trip to Paris. An early evening arrival at the hotel after an uneventful trip gave a few minutes respite before the short walk from the hotel to the Foire du Trone for the evenings entertainment. On arrival there was a meal to refresh the parts that most coasters can’t reach before the first challenge of the weekend.

Justin decided that following the meal all the group should go around to try to ride Extreme. Luckily and perhaps wisely, I decided to chicken out of this most intense ride experience let alone directly after a meal. Several of the party decided to accept the challenge and the ride started and kept going and going and going. I lost track of the number of programs it ran, but soon the happy smiling faces changed and the green man syndrome made an appearance, sorry Justin. A few members even returned for a second session immediately after getting off the ride! I couldn’t even bear to watch.

A small group of survivors and spectators made our way to the Top Spin and during an equally long program witnessed Chris Penn doing his bungee jump from a crane adjacent to the Top Spin whilst being suspended upside down ourselves, really bizarre. The rest of the evening was spent on King, Infernal Toboggan, the Crazy Mouse the Reverchon spinning mouse, the Giant Slide and Jet with free riding all night. Eventually fatigue got the better of us, so it was back to the hotel to prepare for the following day at Asterix.

Arriving early at Parc Asterix gave plenty of time to make our way to Tonnerre de Zeus for the ERS and as the park were running two trains, the riding was literally non-stop, pausing only to swap seats. It was fantastic and ‘Zeus was flying. It was not long before the park opened and it was time to sample the other delights including Goudurix and the fantastic Log Flume before lunch in the restaurant. Time for a rest and to plan the afternoon which included a visit to the stunt show, which was superb and of course, more rides on ‘Zeus. By the end of the day ‘Zeus was unreal and flying, the back seat was unbelievable.

The trip back to the hotel took in a few of the sites of Paris including a lap of the Arc de Triomphe, the disappearing coach at the Trocadero and a trip through “The Underpass.” Soon it was back to the hotel and a short walk to the fair for a second evenings entertainment. After a shower of rain, King was really flying to the extent that you did start to question the fact that the train would make it around a circuit without derailing – it was that good. There were also vivid tales of projectile vomiting on Extreme witnessed by some of the group, but I’m glad to say I missed that one.

The following day was Disneyland Paris and having last visited the park in the summer I was expecting crowds, but I was very pleasantly surprised, the park was very quiet indeed and by lunchtime we had done all the major rides including Phantom Manor, Big Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain and all that was left to do after lunch was Star Tours and the Train ride around the park before shopping and making our way back to the coach for the return journey.

Despite a minor delay at the Tunnel, we arrived back at Victoria and Hillingdon with a group of very tired but very contented souls, making plans for the next trip.

Many thanks to Justin, Jean Marc, Liz and all the team for all the work that had gone into making the trip the success that it was. See you all again next year.

 

George Prout
It was a weekend of firsts. My first foreign coaster trip, my first time meeting other ECC members, my first ride on a “woodie,” my first time through the channel tunnel… the list goes on!

To say I was nervous on Friday morning as I met the coach would be an understatement. Would these people I was going to Paris with be “OK” or nerds wearing their anoraks? Thankfully, no fur lined hoods were evident, so it was onto the coach and off we went.

The hotel was “different.” It was somewhere near to the Foire du Trone to “crash” and that was fine by me, as the fair was open until 1am, and the busy itinerary meant some early starts. Good choice of room-mate too, Lee [Sullivan] seemed to want to ride just about everything there!

So there we were, having just eaten and standing outside “Extreme.” How do you explain this ride? I’d read the articles in First Drop, but it wasn’t until I came face-to-face with it that I realised WHY it was called that! What a fantastic ride! I’m not a spin ‘n spew fan, but this one was very smooth indeed. OK, so my leg kept going dead due to the high-Gs, but I loved it!

Many many many other rides followed, including the fantastic coasters Jet and King, and the “interesting” Banzai.

But one of the highlights must have been “Slalom” – a bouncy slide! If, like me, you love airtime, then you’d be in heaven! WA-HOO! (Until you crash into the bottom, but you have to keep smiling in case Justin’s camera is out again)

‘Zeus… My first woodie… I’m converted! Without a shadow of doubt, this is my instant number one coaster. Period. Countless rides on the ERS, full train, empty train, front, back, you name it. And as for later in the day when it was going quite a bit faster…!

Airtime is incredibly high and there is so much energy when you hit the brakes you can get quite thrown about – but there again, “one-click” might not have been a good idea! Sitting in the back on one ride my jacket flew over my head (the only time I brought my arms down all weekend) and gave me an idea of ‘Zeus would be like as a dark ride!

And then (after lunch & riding the other rides at the fair) back to the fair! It was there that I found a ride more spewy than Extreme! It was called “Playball” and the only way I can describe it is to say “Extreme, but changing the g-force direction.” In other words, Extreme holds you in the right hand side of your seat throughout the ride. Playball grabs your stomach and throws you left/right with each spin. Far more intense, but not a comfortable ride!

Big Thunder Mountain at Disney is without doubt the best mine train type ride I’ve ever experienced, which is most of the ones in the UK. Space Mountain is a Vekoma, but with a very good lift hill and dark effects. Dark rides tend to be rough (you can’t lean into the bends for obvious reasons) and being a Vekoma as well… but the theming of the ride and park as a whole shows the UK’s attempts up!

All in all, there were so many good rides, so little time. Add to that a brilliant gang of people (ie the ECC mob) and it made for an unforgettable weekend. Thanks to Justin, Jean-Marc, Liz (get well soon), Xavier and everyone else involved – more, more, more please!

I did say this was a weekend of firsts. The first of many more to come I hope! See you all in Germany!

 

Paul Brookes
After coming back from Paris, I would just like to say what a great trip it was. The highlight was of course Tonnerre de Zeus, which is now my favourite coaster of all.

The ERS was superb because the only time we got off the ride was to change seats! It’s a good ride in every seat, but even better in the back. Parc Asterix’s theming was a surprise, but the Disneyland Paris theming was out of this world.

Just as enjoyable as Parc Asterix and Disneyland Paris was the Foire du Trone. Extreme lives up to its name, and you get a good value ride for your money – with rides lasting about ten minutes!

 

Steve Coomber
Following the excellent Southport trip this year, I was really looking forward to the Tour De Force 2 trip and I wasn’t disappointed.

Wow, the fair was huge, especially compared to our fairs in the UK and it was bigger than some of our parks. The theming on the some of the rides was very good too. The atmosphere was excellent.

Extreme was to be the first ride of the day (and we had just eaten!). Watching Extreme almost put me off. It looked really intense, but I decided to queue up with ten or so other brave ECC members. As soon as the ride started up, my heart was pounding, there was no turning back. Initially, the ride seems all right, just a bit of throwing around, that is, until it speeded up. Arrgh, what a nightmare, the G’s are so intense, it felt like my legs were being ripped off, the repeated sudden swoops from upside-down to right-side up give my “meat and 2 veg” a real bashing. This rides looks bad, to ride it is ten times worse!

After Extreme, I thought it would be a good idea to cool off on a roller coaster and headed towards King, the largest coaster at the fair. It is a fine ride with some nice swooping drops. It amazes me how these coasters can be transported. Banzai was good considering it is home made! The train is lifted up a very steep incline and the train is dropped and allowed to rock back and forth on its “U” shaped track. Jet was a good coaster too, with some very tight bends and no restraints! There was also a Crazy Mouse with spinning cars. That was good fun, especially with four in a car and there was a large Pinfari coaster called Toboggan. This is more coasters than most parks in the UK and they are all transportable!!

There was another “bad” ride called Play Ball that was even worse than Extreme. I didn’t ride that one, but a few daring ECC members did! The ride must have been bad, as we never saw more than five riding it at a time!

The only complaint I have about the fair was the lack of dustbins (I think I only saw one) and the toilet facilities were terrible. Apart from that, the fair was superb.

Tonnerre de Zeus at Parc Asterix was awesome, better than the excellent Megafobia. Just imagine a bigger ‘fobia but with lots of long airtime spots and much more lateral forces. You got a really good ride in any seat. It’s now my favourite coaster.

Goudurix was OK, better than I had imagined. I experienced a bit of head banging (probably due to the awful restraints) but apart from that it was OK. I wouldn’t ride it too often, as it is probably not very good for your back. It was my wife Trish’s first coaster that went upside down! I know that Goudurix is known for its head banging, but I can safely say it is not the worst. The worst has to be Megablitz at Coney Beach (Porthcawl, Wales).

Parc Asterix also had some good water rides (especially the Log Flume) and a couple of other smaller coasters that were fun. The food provided by the park was very good too.

Disneyland Paris is very well themed. I know the rides are not white knuckle, but they are still fun. I was very impressed with the Pirates of the Caribbean water ride and the Haunted House. Thunder Mountain was fun and Space Mountain was good, although it did have a bit of Vekoma head banging!

Thanks go to Justin, Liz and Jean-Marc for organising an excellent trip and I’ll be looking forward to the German trip.

 

Nigel Peters
Thanks for organising a great trip to Paris, this was my first coaster trip abroad and I enjoyed every single moment. Even the hotel, whilst not exactly the Ritz, did lead to a lot of laughter!

The highlight of the trip for me was the ERS on Tonnerre de Zeus. To have two trains available to us was the icing on the cake. I thought things could not get better until it rained, those last few rides of the day were unbelievable. For those who rave about Megafobia and have not ridden ‘Zeus, they can only imagine how much better it is. In fact, the whole day at Asterix was really enjoyable, including the ride on the deceptive Log Flume, certainly one of the best I’ve been on. Thanks to Jean-Marc for his part in organising the day, even the meal they gave us was probably the best I ate all weekend.

Disneyland Paris was every bit as good as I expected it to be, even the queues were not too long, except for Indiana Jones which I failed to get on. Space Mountain was not as good as I had expected – I’m glad I was told there were inversions, because I did not realise I had done any! However, the launch was great. Big Thunder Mountain is probably the best Mine Train I’ve been on and the effects inside are very well done.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the Foire du Trone. I’ve been to several UK fairs, including the Goose Fair, but I have never seen rides like these there! What surprised me most was the lack of crowds, if we had fairs like this in the UK they would be packed. I must admit that I bottled out of Extreme and when I saw the faces of those who rode it, I felt glad I did. So many proper rides on a fair, and a slide that gives you airtime – unbelievable.

Thanks to everyone involved, and thanks to Dave the coach driver for managing to get us on earlier trains!

 

Justin Garvanovic
I think it would be fair (sorry about the pun) to say that everyone had a great time.

Again, thanks go to: Jean-Marc and Liz. Andy Spence and Mark Cook who handle the T-shirts. As before, Xavier Lapere deserves a huge pat on the back for generally being a “diamond geezer.” The other ride owners at the fair also deserve a pat on the back, apart from the Extreme operator, who was a sadistic #£%&$*@ and I hope he rots in hell for what he did!!!!

I would love to finish by saying that I look forward to seeing everyone again next year, but there will not be a trip to Paris of this nature next year. This is due to the fact that the Foire du Trone has been cancelled – it was very close to being cancelled this year. We will keep an eye on the situation, but it does not look good. We do have a few surprises up our sleeve though…

 

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