Holly Park is a park on borrowed time. It has only a handful of attractions, and those are run on very limited hours; its Enterprise for example operates only in the afternoons, and even then just once every thirty minutes. Given that it was hardly surprising to see the classic Alpine Bobs (#1207) running with a single operator handling both load and unload stations. This gave a capacity of one car every five minutes, or for preference, about forty-eight passengers per hour. Larger parks would never get away with this, but here it seemed almost perfect, as the queue had only ballooned to eight people by the time we'd ridden twice. It was great to see this Jet Star still operating even as others are being retired. Having said that, the condition of this one suggested that it was in its twilight years, so Schwarzkopf enthusiasts should get here while they can!
29th June 2008
Do not try to visit Papéa Parc without a satnav unit. The park itself is not that difficult to find, being located on the outskirts of Le Mans. However, getting to the entrance involves a ridiculous number of turns to avoid a railway line and a multitude of one way streets. Do not be tempted to turn into what you think might be the car park; it in fact belongs to a youth hostel next door. The correct car park is down a narrow lane that is signed in a way that only those with bionic vision will spot first time.
Those who make the effort to visit will enjoy Papea Express (#1208), a typical Soquet design that breaks no records but which is remarkably fun for what it is. Its target audience is families, and it fits that bill perfectly.
Parc Saint Paul
29th June 2008
Parc Saint Paul was a late addition to this weekend trip, added to the itinerary only after we discovered that Charles de Gaulle Airport is the only airport in Northern France that has evening flights to both Dublin and Birmingham. The main item on the agenda was attempt number three to ride Formule 1 (#1209), the bloody stupid rather strange wild mouse design from the Pax Company. One can only assume that the Russian engineers who came up with this layout had overdosed on their Stolchayna. Why else would they choose to bank corners in the opposite direction of travel?
The coaster itself is an interesting mix, once you get over the curious engineering. The stupidly steep lift hill leads into a small drop, a turn, and an insane big drop that throws riders firmly into their lap bars. From there, however, it seems to peter out for a while, taking a slow trip through the incorrectly banked corners. This section is followed by another round of insane drops which remind passengers of what the first section was like. The overall experience was a positive one, but I'd have preferred it if the dead spot in the middle could have been made a bit more interesting.