A decade ago my travels brought me to a small family entertainment centre located roughly forty kilometres south-east of Eindhoven that had recently put itself on the map with the installation of the first ever motorbike coaster. The ride in question wasn't particularly good, but I do remember being intrigued at its installation in what on the face of it appeared to be a facility geared primarily at small children. It was obvious that this was just one step in a long term plan.
Ten years later Toverland has tripled in size, morphing into a medium sized theme park with over thirty different rides geared at all ages, including the fastest, highest, and longest wooden coaster in the Benelux region. Despite the huge investment, however, the admission price remains reasonable, costing just €23.50 per person with a €4 charge for car parking.
We began our visit today with a walk through the elaborately landscaped Magische Vallei, a four acre expansion to the park completed in 2013. Much of the new area has been enclosed inside an artificial rock structure that doubles up as the trough for the Djengu River, a Hafema-built rapids ride that we decided to skip in the interest of not getting soaked before an evening flight. With hindsight this was overcaution on our part, as the on-ride video indicates. Perhaps we'll ride it next time.
The first credit of the day became Dwervelwind (#2145), a Mack spinning coaster originally designed for Le Pal in France. The version supplied to Toverland has the same layout as the original, but has been upgraded with a fully synchronised soundtrack that takes what was already a good ride all the way to bucket-list material. It is impossible to overstate just how much music adds to a coaster, especially when the song is a thoroughly memorable one. Megan suggested that we should do a second lap right away despite having three other credits to tick off, and we did just that.
The original entrance to Booster Bike was through a dedicated set of doors from the second indoor hall. This arrangement no longer made sense with the Magische Vallei expansion, and thus a new cattle grid and entrance was constructed outdoors. The ride experience is for the most part as it used to be, though it's worth noting that the train has developed a bit of a rattle which, if unchecked, might impact rerideability in a season or two.
My brief trip report from 2007 records a fairly unimpressive experience on Troy, which I'm sorry to say was repeated today. We rode twice, once in front and once in back, and to be honest there was nothing memorable about either ride. The only thing that stuck with me was the way the colour of the wood had faded from its original golden brown to a dull grey, an entirely normal change albeit one which I'd never seen before.
We decided to do the Villa Flasko fun house on a whim, mostly because there was no wait. The small interior had a standard set of effects, including turntables, moving stairways, car wash barrels, and a cakewalk.
We took a quick lap on Boomerang before heading to Maximus Blitz, a heavily themed bobkart that replaced the much-loved Woudracer earlier this year. The track length on the new ride is slightly shorter than the old one, omitting the indoor helix, but the experience is otherwise a significant upgrade. The queueing area now resembles an Austrian chalet, albeit one with a strange mechanical contrivance (possibly built from used pinball machine parts) attached to the ceiling. The new vehicles have detailed custom bodywork, rather than the undistinguished green fiberglass of old, and include an on-board sound system that pipes the ride song throughout. Additionally, the outdoor section of track now has a roof, which presumably is in place to allow operation during inclement weather.
Megan was insistent that we should do at least one water ride, so based on that we joined the half-hour queue for Backstroke, the flume ride whose sole point of interest was its turntable half way up the lift hill. The main drop provided a gentle spray but not a soaking.
Our day concluded with a repeat of Maximus Blitz followed by a spin on the best coaster in the park.