20-23rd September 2007

Travel, Toverland
Efteling
Drievliet, Amsterdam Dungeon
Plopsaland, Travel

 

David Ellis
Just a few words on the Trip…Super, Troy, Marvellous, Troy, Fun, Troy, etc

Actually, although Troy was definitely the wooden coaster highlight, Formule X, the launched X-Car coaster at Drievliet was fantastic too, and the quietest coaster you will find anywhere.

Highlights:

Day 1 – Toverland – Troy was superb, amazing twisty bits after the station fly-through. Great to see Chris from GCII again, and meet Clair too – he had a few tales to tell, especially how he survived near-death after falling from a coaster-build back in 1994. The park were superb to us, great meal, super fun. The only slight negative was not allowing cameras on the Troy ERS, but otherwise a perfect start to the trip. Booster Bike was fun – the first of these we had done.

Day 2 – Efteling – Magical. This was my third trip here but Susan’s first visit. Dream Flight is beautiful, Villa Volta amazingly themed, all the ride music irritatingly catchy (as Troy‘s music was the day before). The park took us behind the scenes in the (closed) Flying Dutchman (Vliegende Hollander)  coaster, and put all the effects on just for us! Superb. I really love Efteling, the coasters are actually the weakest link in what is otherwise just a perfect park.

Theming is superb. Lunch included too.

Many of us explored Amsterdam in the evening, and ate well!

Day 3 – Drievliet – Lovely park, with an amazing new coaster in Formule X.

You literally cannot hear it running, as the track is filled with sand, but it is FUN, and doesn’t suffer with the ever-tightening lap bars its cousin at Drayton Manor does. Also, the trains drop out of the station and go straight into the launch…no stopping at all, which caught a few of us off-guard. We had a burger meal here before leaving for Amsterdam Dungeon.

We split into two groups and toured the Dungeons (great as a club group – unfortunately for the first group they had to share their tour with some of the locals, so many bits were only spoken in Dutch, and not English as with our group). Afterwards we rode the coaster with the lights on, had a drink and biscuits, enjoyed a short fun quiz to win some goodies (including devil duck, whip, handcuffs, etc). They gave us all a goodie bag too, then one of the staff took us for a 1-hour tour of the red light district, followed by a stop off to a bar for a drink. Some of us went on to have a meal nearby.

Day 4 – Plopsaland – Arrived slghtly late due to bad traffic leaving the motorway. Had a short presentation by park management then rode the coasters and other attractions for 4 hours before leaving. Park was busy, and oddly the longest queue (40 minutes) was for the Rollerskater coaster, as they were sending it round twice. The park is nice and I am sure we will be back there at some point. Susan and I rode the Tivoli (Ladybird) coaster together…a landmark as it was Susan’s 500th coaster and my 600th coaster!

The Starflyer was great, and the park had no problems with cameras on rides too, even the starflyer!.

Huge thanks to John, Ozzie and all those who made the last 4 days so much fun.

 

Malcolm Marr 
Additional thanks to those who DIDN’T come on the trip.  Not doing so made hotel check ins very easy, breakfasts comfortable and most importantly made it possible for us to enjoy the Troy ERS without having to leave the train. 😀

Speaking of which Troy was “troymendous”, “a troyumph”, “a troy to behold” and “a ride I’d want to troy and troy again”. Even the park had picked up on the puns by having a “Troy Shop” at the exit, although it didn’t sell merchandise from Troy Story or Troy Story 2; maybe they’d disappeared into the Bermuda Troyangle. (this is just a short selection of the puns made on the day)

It’s very strange for Troy to be considered a children’s ride (it has a minimum height of 1.2m); it’s easily one of the best 5 coasters in the world IMO. Parks that think wooden coasters aren’t suitable for their park really ought to visit Toverland and be proved wrong.

In a similar manner parks that can’t/won’t build coasters for fear of it making too much noise ought to visit Drievliet. You can be standing next to the ride as it passes by and you won’t notice it, it’s that quiet. Quite ironic that the park had to compensate for a lack of noise by adding their own sound effects and thumping Dutch trance track, which I didn’t mind.

Speaking of Dutch dance music, the most bizarre sight of the trip for me took place in Efteling where a small band that would normally play park band tunes had changed their catalogue to include Jumpstyle music (its a form of raving, popular in Holland) for the kids who were loving it. Villa Volta is starting to show its age although the music is still great, as is the music from the Lilypad fairies (sing along everyone 😀 )

Amsterdam dungeon was well put together and being in the second group, we got the full English tour. Highlights, aside from the coaster, would be Darren’s reaction to a presenter screaming in his face; unfortunate that he got chosen to be screamed at but hilarious to the rest of us. I also need to take offence to being found guilty of “crimes against fashion”, thanks for nominating us Costin!! Of course we were only there for the coaster really, which is short and punchy and it’s nice to see how the structure looks with the light on. A big thanks to Misha (sic) who did a superb job hosting the event, giving us a little quiz and then in his own time giving some of us a tour around the city.

Plopsaland is a great park and even though the characters aren’t known in the UK, they should still target British families (which they are starting to do). The park is in an ideal position for any family coming over on a beer run. The park has a nice selection of rides with an excellent water coaster taking centre-stage in the middle of the lake (just don’t sit at the ends). As if calling their eaterie Plops Burger wasn’t funny enough, you have the option of a chocolate mousse for dessert. This park also has the most inspired name for an Italian Restaurant, “Mr Spaghetti”. So obvious it’s brilliant!

In a year where there hasn’t been much new happening to British parks, all of those we visited had made significant investment in their’s. Another sign that its better to go to the mainland at the moment.

Once again, thanks to those who organised the trip, and yet again never came along to enjoy it themselves! Sort it out!!!

 

Chris Hull
An awesome trip. Many highlights:

Toverland: Really impressed by my first visit to this park. A really nicely presented park and so different from what I expected – It sure isn’t a bunch of kiddie rides in a couple of tin sheds!  As for Troy: the “kiddie” Woodie.

Absolutely Fantastic!! We SO need one of those in the UK!  Great ERS – Just sit and ride 🙂 Great for Chris Gray (Engineer Support) and Clair Hain Jr (President) from GCII to be in attendance – Great to meet the guys (Chris again as he was on the Scandi 2007 tour) behind such great coasters and for Clair to give his own very personal story of courage. Huge admiration for both these guys. Keep up the great work!

Efteling gave us a warm welcome and a tour of their “Non” Flying Dutchman.

Really impressive queue/station areas. So much attention to detail but then that’s Efteling to a tee – They THEME their rides and park areas so well.

Maybe not great on the coaster count but as a theme park – one of the best in the world in my opinion. A great day but a lot of walking which tested out my “Scandi Foot” for sure. For those on the Scandi Trip – It’s not fully mended/healed but it’s a hell of a lot better!

Drievliet was also another surprise. Yeah OK, so I don’t always do too much preparation or research for these trips but I like it that way! 😉 This park again sure exceeded my expectations.  Formule X is a great ride – smooth, amazingly quiet and with some fun elements to it. The launch is straight after the drop from the station and goes impressively into the first element.  As for the debate about it having 3 inversions…I’ll still settle for one definite 360 degree loop and a couple of highly overbanked turns 😛 (Blue touch paper well and truly lit on that one – I’ll retire to a safe area quickly!)  If Drayton ever see this ride I can see them shooting themselves in the foot!

Our visit to the Amsterdam Dungeon was also a surprise – getting the format here? 😉  I didn’t expect to get the whole attraction so that was really cool! I was in the second group – Yes I was the one who the poor ship’s surgeon couldn’t cure as I live in Gloucester but she was so right about Richard Foster’s ears. 😛 However I did feel for Darren when he was shouted out – poor guy!  Big thanks for Mischa (sp?) and Tonny (nice to see you again mate) for doing their bit to allow us to have this attraction to ourselves. Night time followed with a bit of a tour by Mischa in his own time and then the group kinda split a little to see the rest of the sights… 😉

Plopsaland – Hey, Guess what?  Another surprise for me.  Great little park. Kinda wacky but really nicely done. Arrived a little later than planned but given a really warm welcome. The staff had planned a ‘tour’ around the park which we had to miss as we had limited time there. Fun rides and a bit of a “fun time” for me on the Starflyer at the end of the day. That’s to follow – those of a nervous disposition may choose not to read it. lol. Great park though with a fun selection of rides and a lot of thought and planning behind each themed area and their investment in the park.

The “Starflyer Experience”

The ride op asked me to sit in Seat 5 next to a ‘broken/taped off seat’. Our last ride of the day and my group was then as a threesome. Made sense.

As he was doing the pre-ride checking he had a chat with me saying that there was nothing wrong with the seat. It was just that kids had been taking the buckles from the seat-belts. 15 so far and they had no spares. He knew I was from the Coasterclub (I guess we kinda stick out a bit!) and was happy to explain why the seat next to me was ‘broken’.  So the ride starts, no problem… then at full spin that’s a certain whip and my seat does a graceful 540 degree turn. Now I’m used to some swinging on a chairswinger but on a skyflyer – that’s kinda freaky 😉  So I’m sat there looking back at Steve & Dale who are laughing and I can’t get to facing forward.  I then continued to do fairly random 360 turns all in the same direction for another 6 or 7 times! To be honest I lost count!  Each time the chains got tighter and had the effect of me getting higher.  Sure made for an interesting ride I have to say. I looked up once (perhaps at turn number 4) and decided not to look up again! the chains sure looked a mess! lol!  The chains actually only settled down only when the ride came to a complete stop and started lowering to the ground. There was no ‘whip’ effect on the final untangle turn which was surprising 🙂  So for those who think those chains may look a little flimsy – take it from me – they’re just fine if they can put up with that sort of abuse 🙂

To sum up the trip – Huge thanks to all concerned as always and again to those trip monkeys who seem to repeatedly put blood, sweat and tears in to planning these events and actually rarely get to attend them.  Good to see some old friends again and to make some new acquaintances – even a couple from Gloucester who I didn’t know but only met briefly back at Hatton Cross!

 

Chris Scott
Just a quick thanks from Lisa and myself to all on the trip, and everyone behind it. We had a great time and will be looking forward to future club outings.

As for getting back to Gloucester, I perhaps was getting a little bit stressed about missing our train home, but after a quick dash on the tube and then on the heathrow express, we made it to Paddington with a few minutes to spare!

 

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