The sixth day of our trip was originally supposed to begin with half a day at Nigloland, but we decided to switch plans on the fly when I suddenly realised that it had become possible for me to hit my 3000th coaster before flying home to Ireland. Cutting a major park down to less than an hour was an exceptionally dumb thing to do, and as much as I’d love to claim otherwise there really are no mitigating circumstances here. Counting coasters is a stupid thing to do, take it from me.
Our visit began with the park’s newest attraction. Krampus Expédition (#2993) is the ninth worldwide installation of a Mack water coaster, and the sixth “custom” model. It takes a special kind of insanity to ride a water coaster without a poncho in 12.5ºC weather, but I’m glad to report that we mostly escaped unscathed. A large part of this was thanks to our decision to ride in the back of a car; those in the front seats were not quite as lucky. Wetness notwithstanding, though, my overriding impression of the experience was of its brevity; there was just twenty seconds of coaster between the top of the lift and splashdown. The best thing about the ride was its appearance: a large Krampus figure over the main drop was definitely eye-catching. (Apropos of nothing, I much prefer riding water coasters in tropical climates. I’m sure I’m not the only one.)
The other new tick today was Noisette Express (#2994), a 220m-long ART Engineering family coaster installed in 2020 as a replacement for the Chenille. I had no idea what to expect from this, and was very pleasantly surprised by a respectably large layout that perfectly blended a series of helices and airtime hills. (One of the very small number of coasters on my bucket list at the moment is Mine 1771, a highly themed family coaster from the same manufacturer located at Dreamwood in Crimea. Sadly I suspect it’ll be a long time before it’s sensible to travel there.)
Our rigid time limit meant that we didn’t have time to wait for a ride on Alpina Blitz, but neither of us was willing to leave without at least a token ride on Spatiale Expérience, the park’s indoor coaster. Twenty-four years after its debut the ride remains the last Mack design to use an enormous rotating barrel to drive several trains up the lift in parallel. The sound system in the show building was out of service today, which degraded the experience slightly, but the layout and random planet theming nevertheless combined to deliver a solid ride that made for a great end to the morning.
23rd April 2022
Grinyland is a small family park located just outside of Reims in north-eastern France. Readers searching on Google Maps should take care not to allow their favourite search engine to confuse it with Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark located roughly two thousand miles away with no known roller coaster installations (or indeed amusement rides of any kind).
For the last few years the park has played host to a Guven Rides Brucomela that I wasn’t open when I caught up with it at Bosworth Water Trust Leisure Park back in 2017. Online reports suggest that the ride was leased for the first few seasons in France, but has since been acquired outright as one of four mechanical attractions in what is otherwise predominantly a nature park. It burned a little to pay €16 to gain access to Family Roller Coaster (#2995), though on the plus side I got to enjoy my own private exclusive ride session.
Royaume des Enfants Jablines
23rd April 2022
The Royaume des Enfants chain consists of three ride concessions inside larger urban parks. I visited the first in Draveil back in 2014, and the second at Cergy in 2017. The third branch opened in Jablines that same year, though it wasn’t until 2018 that it received a coaster supplied by Turkish manufacturer Kiliç Lunapark. Shark Trip (#2996) is a double helix family coaster that is indistinguishable from similar products offered by competitors like SBF Rides et al. I didn’t think to count how many laps we were given, which is a shame really because I’m quite sure it would have stretched into the double figures. The experience wasn’t life changing, but it was fun – and at the end of the day that is all that matters.
Parking today was free, though access required driving through a gate with toll booths so it’s entirely possible that there are charges imposed at peak times. Readers should also be aware that the park doesn't like credit cards; they will take them, but only for transactions in excess of twenty euro. It was fortunate that I had some cash on me; the €8 spent on a pair of ride tickets marked my first use of a banknote for anything at all in roughly two years.
23rd April 2022
Loos Parc is a small family park located in the charming commune of Loos-en-Gohelle in northern France. Around a dozen attractions and an arcade have been shoehorned into a space of just 2800 square metres, and shoehorned is really the operative term; there’s absolutely no room for anything else. Rides and attractions are accessed using tokens, which are sold at the food truck in the center of the park. Today they were priced at €2 apiece, with six available for €10.
My immediate reaction on arrival was a sense of disbelief that the place had received approval from the local planning authorities. There’s no public transport in the vicinity, and those arriving by private car will have little choice but to parallel park on nearby streets or in the Intermarche supermarket a few hundred metres to the south. There are plenty of houses within walking distance, but it’s hard to see how local custom would be sufficient to support a business like this, especially since it operates throughout the year.
Hit number one was Family Ride, a triangular-shaped powered coaster with commutator requiring a single token. The ride looked very much like a DAL product, and sure enough it turned out to be a Dragon – one of eighteen known examples of the type in operation at parks as of this writing. I’ve ridden five of them over the years, a small number by my standards primarily because they are often reserved for children. This is a shame really, because the seats have plenty of space. Today’s cycle comprised six forward laps followed by a further three in reverse.
With that done we made our way over to Requin (#2997), our second Kiliç Lunapark Shark Trip in the space of three hours. This one required two tokens covering a four lap cycle. It was scarcely a surprise to discover 76 enthusiasts from six countries had ticked the ride on coaster-count ahead of me, though I take a certain perverse pleasure in being the first person to do so from Ireland!
Fête Foraine Senlis
23rd April 2022
A last minute review of our route revealed that we’d be passing a small fair on the route towards our overnight hotel, and given its proximity it would have been unconscionably rude not to make at least a brief stop. Parking in the vicinity of the Fête Foraine was more than a little challenging, not least because I accidentally went the wrong way around a one-way car park and ended up having to reverse around a corner for the first time since doing my driving test, but in the end I managed to claim a space within a short walk of the ground.
Dragon (Sorrel) was a standard Zamperla powered coaster with a single helix with an elaborate lighting package and a selection of fairground upgrades. I suspect it may have gotten a new motor in the very recent past, too; it was lively, enthusiastic, and forceful. A dry ice machine sprayed a cloud of cotton candy fumes at the train during the last of six laps.
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