Walibi Rhône-Alpes

2nd June 2019

A mid-afternoon flight out of Lyon Airport meant that I had an absolute maximum of three hours to play with at Walibi Rhône-Alpes, and it was with that hard cut-off in mind that I arrived at the park almost thirty minutes before the advertised opening time. The gate was already unlocked, though it wasn't possible to get far; staff members were manning rope barriers at strategic locations. I picked the one closest to the new coaster and positioned myself to get ahead of the throng at the appropriate time. This worked as planned; ninety seconds of power walking ensured that I was the first guest of the morning at my target.

Mystic

It looked for a while like my efforts might be for naught, as the ride was experiencing a technical problem. After perhaps twenty minutes of standing around an operator said something to the multitudes that resulted in the queue thinning out, but I was one of a hardy few that decided to stay put. There were no other must-do attractions on my shopping list today, and as such there was no reason to give up my prized position at the front of the line. My patience was eventually rewarded when an empty test train was dispatched, followed soon after by a second and a third.

Mystic (#2679) is nominally the ninth global installation of a Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster, though it is a very different attraction to earlier members of the family. The twelve seat train leaves the station to the sound of an maniacal laugh and engages a thirty-one metre high vertical lift. The twisting drop that follows isn't quite vertical, but that matters to nobody as passengers hit an airtime hill, a zero-gravity roll, a dive loop, and a series of turns that culminate in an inverted stall at the heights with deformed track, a visual trick borrowed from Expedition Everest. The vehicle then rolls back the way it came, stalls again, and eventually comes to a halt on a turntable, which rotates to point it back into the station. I enjoyed three laps, two in the front and one in the back, and all three were excellent; the tracking was smooth, and the thrilling layout worked very well indeed.

Considerable effort has been expended in making the installation look as good as possible. The exterior of the station building and surrounding environs have been covered in what is probably best described as occult graffiti. The area also features animal skulls on spikes, a gnarled tree, themed garbage bins, and a series of posters advertising "les produits du Doctor Mystic", including a variety of pepper sauce that the park should seriously consider adding to its gift shop. The interior of the station (pictured above) continues the general theme; I particularly enjoyed an English-language poster that said "I like my coffee like I like my magic".

The only other attraction I had time for today was Timber, where once again I completed three laps. The front row was respectable, though I felt that it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi when compared to the magnificent Wood Express. Unfortunately as I moved further back in the train the comfort level rapidly went downhill; row five was not good, and the back seat was actively unpleasant, especially at the end of the course when the trim brake delivered a punch to my stomach. My trip report from 2016 predicted that the ride wasn't going to age well, and I'm sorry to say that that observation seems to have been more than a little prescient.

Timber