Parc du Petit Prince

29th September 2019

My first trip to Parc du Petit Prince took place in mid-2017, and while I very much enjoyed the park it's fair to say that there wasn't anything likely to draw me back in a hurry. The announcement of a new family coaster put the place back on my extended to-do list, but it definitely wasn't a priority and would not have happened this year were it not for the fact that it had the only half decent new credit within driving range of Tatzmania Löffingen. I'd budgeted an hour for a quick visit, and that was just about right; the only slight challenge was that the gift shop (and exit) was still locked when I was ready to depart, forcing me to head back through the entrance turnstiles.

Pierre de Tonnerre

The weather for my arrival was pleasant, but windy, and as expected both balloon rides were closed for the day. The Aerobar du Buveur was also in an advanced state of non-functionality, which was more of a surprise given that the support structure is explicitly designed to allow safe operation in virtually all conditions. The web site for the hardware quotes a maximum wind speed of 70km/h, and while judging velocity from the ground is not easy I'm fairly sure that I'd have noticed if I was standing in the middle of a force eight gale.

Pierre de Tonnerre (#2835) is the third global installation of a Reverchon Junior Spinning Coaster, coming three seasons after the second version premiered on the other side of France. The ride theme is based around the Thunder Rock, a famous (and genuine) asteroid that crashed to earth at the end of the fifteenth century in the area now occupied by the park. The coaster didn't spin all that much, but it tracked well, and I enjoyed the way that it routed through a replica of its namesake to the accompaniment of a thunderclap sound effect. I did two laps, followed in short order by a courtesy cycle on Serpent. I also decided to do a lap on Tyrolienne, which was far more fun than it deserved to be; it'd be great to see an adult-sized version of this design (with a safety net, just in case).

 

Tatzmania Löffingen

29th September 2019

Tatzmania Löffingen is a relatively new family park that opened in 2018 in the Black Forest region of Germany. It was built on the site of the former Schwarzwald Park, though virtually all of the original attractions were stripped out during the rebranding including a Bobkart (due to reopen next year at Churpfalzpark), a custom log flume with two drops, and a Mini Mouse. Though my visit came at the end of the park's second season there was a definite sense that the place was still a work in progress; I suspect it will look quite different in a few years time.

The park made a huge but entirely unintentional splash in international media a month before my visit when a Reddit user pointed out that one of its attractions resembled a pair of giant spinning swastikas. The ride in question, officially Adlerflug but unofficially The Holocauster, 2 Fast 2 Führerious, The Third Ride, and a wide variety of other creative monikers was closed today with half of its seats disconnected. Rumour has it that it will be modified over the next few months in deference to local sensibilities. (Park management will have had no choice on this, as German law makes it illegal to knowingly display Nazi symbols. It would be very hard for anyone to plead ignorance at this point given how much publicity there has been.)

Adlerflug

My first hit was African Spin (#2836), a three "loop" version of the ubiquitous compact spinning design. There was a twenty minute wait today, mostly due to demand; though the operator was in no particular hurry the load/unload cycle was completed in an average of around ninety seconds, which wasn't as bad as it might have been. The ride experience was exactly what I expected it to be, a one-and-done tick marking my ninth encounter with the type. Sixteen versions exist as of this writing, a fact I mention only because I expect that number to be much higher when I next read this report.

The main reason for my visit today was Gold Rusher (#2837), a Gerstlauer 390/4 machine better known to most readers as a copy of Green Hornet. The layout was fun, the tracking was flawless, and the orange and brown colour scheme looked great. Unfortunately the experience was ruined by the operator, who applied considerable weight to each lap bar to make sure that it was locked as tightly as it could possibly be. The result was, to be blunt, miserable; the lack of any brace points in the car meant that the various drops were painful, and a floating airtime hill towards the end of the layout was acutely uncomfortable. For my second lap I leaned forward a little before the bar was closed, but it made no difference; I was once again stapled.

The park also has a tower ride from SBF with two separate queues. My first cycle was in "panorama mode": a slow ascent, a few rotations at the top, and a slow descent. This was scarcely less thrilling than the so-called "free fall" mode, which consisted of three exceptionally gentle full height drops and a fourth broken into three stages. There was no airtime to be had despite a tiny upward movement at the start of each descent; it's fair to say that this machine isn't one of SBF's finer efforts.

 

Minidorf

29th September 2019

Minidorf is a collection of twenty hand-built model houses built on a 1:10 scale by Albrecht Koch, the founder of the adjacent Waldschenke restaurant. The site also includes a miniature train, bumper cars, a petting zoo, and a Butterfly (#2838). I'd expected my visit to be a ten minute hit-and-run, but I actually ended up spending the better part of an hour exploring the site. Readers should bear in mind that the ride is not coin-operated, despite what it looks like; you will need to buy tokens from a vending machine before joining the queue.

Minidorf