An unusually rapid escape from Amsterdam Schiphol had us driving into Duinrell almost an hour before park opening time. Despite this the ticket booths were already manned, though it wasn't entirely clear why, as we were told politely that tickets could not be sold until park opening time. One might have questioned why staff members were present at all, but the answer would likely have been Double Dutch (pun intended). Having said that, as with my last visit there were a remarkably large number of people speaking English both inside and outside the park. We spoke to one person who was on a two week holiday at Duinrell. Personally I've never understood the attraction of spending more than a few hours in a holiday camp of any description; my parents brought me to a Butlins resort more than twenty years ago and I've still got the bad memories. But I digress.
Once inside the park we headed directly for the roller coasters. We caught a quick lap on the Kikker-8-Baan before heading for the brand new Falcon (#1400). The new ride is a clone of one that opened two years ago, albeit with a much more attractive setting. It also lacks the roughness that I remembered from its brother, with a particular highlight being the second or so of hang time as the train traverses the vertical loop. Three laps was my limit this morning, though this was mainly due to nausea from me not waiting long enough between rides. From there we went for a single lap on the Rodelbanen, which opened a few minutes before our planned departure time. The experience was just as manic as I'd remembered, leaving it as my favourite attraction in the park.
25th July 2009
Three years ago Drievliet replaced Xtreme with the first (and to date only) launched coaster from Maurer Sohne. Formule X (#1401) features a small drop out of the ride station into a bank of Linear Synchronous Motors which accelerate the six seat car to top speed over a period of just two seconds. The seats feature a snug lap bar that the operators secure extremely firmly, but somehow the bar was more comfortable than what is nominally the same design on G-Force. As a side note, the ride is built on a base frame making me wonder whether a portable version might be possible. The passenger capacity of this version (one train operation) would prevent it doing larger fairs, but that could no doubt be improved.
We also managed a lap on the Dynamite Express, a powered coaster that was under construction during my last visit four years ago. This ride was pretty good on the whole, though the end of the second lap was very anticlimactic thanks to the train slowing down well before the station.
25th July 2009
George decided to insert Mega Speelstad into today's itinerary without telling me, in the full knowledge that it's not somewhere I'd ever have gone to on my own. There is no charge for adult admission to this family entertainment centre, which reflects its target audience better than any trite trip report ever could. Our very presence in the ride queues would have trebled the average age were it not for the presence of two middle-aged gentlemen in Port Aventura shirts who looked at least as out of place as we did. We ran into them again a few hours later at DippieDoe Familiepark, suggesting that they were on a similar mission to our own!
The main reason for any coaster enthusiast to visit here is the presence of a rather unique powered coaster called Disco Twister. The fully enclosed ride consists of a figure eight track with a single car that spins rapidly to the accompaniment of dance music and multicoloured lighting effects. The experience was more than a little surreal, though oddly fun at the same time. With that cleared we caught one quick ride on the Skydive (#1402) before making a quick exit.
25th July 2009
Two years ago DippieDoe Familiepark made the enthusiast headlines thanks to pieces of the rather hideous Cool & Fresh fairground coaster showing up in the car park. As it turned out the ride was never installed, making even the most hardened coaster counters breathe a deep sigh of relief. I've never had the displeasure of riding the aforementioned coaster, but if the reviews are anything to go by it doesn't seem like I've missed much.
As it is the park is home to a medium sized Tivoli as its star attraction. Achtbaan (#1403) is set on a grass area with only minimal theming, but even still the ride really looks well with what must have been a new coat of paint this year. The park also has a water-ski attraction towed via zip line that we didn't try today, but it certainly looked like fun for those with a change of clothes available!
25th July 2009
The sheer quantity of bicycles in the Netherlands never ceases to amaze me. Having said that, nothing could have prepared us for the sight of the bicycle park at Efteling, less than a fifth of which is captured in the photograph below. I'd conservatively estimate that there were five thousand bicycles in the parking area this evening, making me feel just a tiny bit guilty for our rental Mercedes.
Three days before our trip the park announced Joris en de Draak, a new wood roller coaster scheduled to open next June. Parks rarely announce new rides in the middle of a season, as to do so may lead to some guests postponing their visit. In this case however it seems that the announcement was brought forward due the abrupt closure of Pegasus, which operated for the last time on June 19th. There has been a considerable amount of speculation as to why the park closed down a major attraction in the height of the summer season; most commentators believe that something fairly major failed, and park management elected not to spend the money on a repair that would only be needed for a few months at most.
The only major addition to the park since my last visit was the Vliegende Hollander (#1404), a combination dark ride and water coaster. The new attraction opens with a view of the prow of the famous ship shown only briefly before the boat eases forward into complete blackness. Within that blackness come some pretty good effects that I'm not about to spoil, leading to a small lift hill. From there the boat moves at considerable speed onto a small section of coaster track leading to a dramatic splashdown which thankfully deflects almost all the water way from passengers. My overall impression of the attraction was of a pretty good ride, albeit one that felt very short when compared to the other dark rides in the park.
The rest of the evening consisted of a relaxed tour of the other major attractions in the park, in particular one of the restaurants. The one we ended up at, next to Vogel Rok, did not have an English menu available. Fortunately there was a version in French, which proved considerably easier to deal with than the one in Dutch!