Freizeitpark Lochmühle24th July 2010
Freizeitpark Lochmühle is a pleasant family park located a little north of Frankfurt. Those without small children in tow should probably go elsewhere unless they are serious coaster counters, as even the Eichhörnchenbahn (#1536) and the pair of Butterfly (#1537) rides don't exactly hold the interest for long.
Didiland24th July 2010
One of the most successful coaster designs of all time is the spinning mouse by Reverchon, with a slight variant of it still available from Zamperla. Examples of this ride from both manufacturers are a staple of travelling fairs worldwide, and more than twenty permanent installations can be found in parks. Rather than go with the successful design however, Didiland has elected to install a particularly poor copy of this attraction built by SBF Visa that can only be described in the local patois as a load of merde.
There are simply no good things that can be said about the Magic Mouse (#1538). The worst problem is the design of the cars, which feature cumbersome over the shoulder restraints and seatbelts that completely prevent riders looking any direction other than straight ahead. Smaller riders are unlikely to be able to do even that, as the front part of the car features an (unreachable) grab bar that only serves to block some of the little view that remains. When the train is pushed out of the station it engages the lift hill with an incredible thump that feels like it must break something. Out on the course itself, the car shudders and creaks, slamming into corners and losing so much energy in the process that it needs a set of kicker wheels at the ride midpoint to reduce the chances of the car getting stuck. Nobody in their right mind would ride this more than once, and indeed the ride had no queue at all today in what was otherwise a moderately busy park.
Fortunately the park has two fairly worthwhile coasters to make up for the junk; the recently repainted Pomme and the Soquet-built Drakkar. The latter was running particularly well today, and marked the highlight of our visit.
Walygator Parc24th July 2010
Many things have changed in Walygator Parc in the last few years. The park formerly known as Walibi Lorraine is now owned by two brothers from the french fair circuit, and they have been quietly transforming the park into what may soon be the biggest amusement park in France. Having not ridden it before I quickly picked up my credit on Family Coaster (#1539) before heading across to the main attraction for the day.
New for this year, Monster is the largest inverted coaster in Europe and the first B&M in France. It was rescued from the ashes of the now defunct Expoland in Japan, and still carries the original paint scheme. The manager told us that the plan is to repaint it in a mixture of black and yellow, but that there wasn't enough time to do so for this season. The construction team have done a superb job in assembly, to the point that it feels just as smooth as it did in its original home. I'd go as far as to say that this is now the best steel roller coaster in France by a fair margin, and well up there with the best in Europe. Enthusiasts travelling anywhere nearby should make the effort; it's well worth it.