ACE Europe Trip

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Re: ACE Europe Trip

Post by illinois » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:25 pm

Day 12 - Phantasialand

We arrived at Phantasialand after another bit of rain. Upon walking in we discovered an amazing asian-themed hotel and gardens, which was actually part of park as I figured out a bit later. The room layout and elevator locations were a bit confusing, but then you would stumble onto a neat area of the building as you wandered back to your room.

The gardens were beatiful, with water and bridges and lots of asian theming. A walk through what was actually a park gate led into part of the closed park where there were restaurants and occasionally a show going on just for hotel guests. After taking a bunch of photos I headed back into the lobby and bar area to use the free wifi. An arched bridge led into part of the bar, where I sat with a beer and worked on email. Later on we hung out in the lobby relaxing before turning in.

In the morning ERT was great, first on Black Mamba, a fantastic B&M invert that seemed to spend more time below ground and buildings than above. The ride concludes in near pitch blackness, waiting captive in your seat until the doors open and you glide into the light of the station. It proved challenging to photograph later in the day, since it was hard to catch the train above ground!

Next was Winjas. This was the most fun spinning coaster I have tried. There two tracks, called Fear and Force, and both were quite fun. Both featured tilting portions of track in a pause in the middle of the ride, followed by a "spring" track that bounced after dropping about 1-foot as you rolled over it! Both tracks traveled through an interior atrium that had other rides and lots of public space. It proved difficult to photograph due to low light and fast cars going by. After ~4 rides on each side, we had had a lot of fun, and headed for the nearby indoor coaster.

The Thunderhawk indoor coaster had 3 lifts and was VERY long in duration, all inside in darkness and cool air. I couldn't resist staying on for a couple of extra rides while the station was empty. People sometimes used their phone flashlights to light the track, and we found we were in a huge room passing very near a couple of other coaster trains.

The mine train kicked ass. Somehow it used Michael Jackson's name, but it didn't need that to make it a great ride. With three lifts, the back seat had some airtime and was wild and crazy.

The Mystery Castle ride was an unexpected treat. Kind of like Tower of Terror without the themed cars, it was very loud and powered by compressed air. The entrance featured live actors scaring people as they walked by, so I let some female trip members go first and they got them good. The ride itself was not too long, but fun with both upward and downward pieces in near darkness and strobe lighting.

The nearby raft ride was fun with crazy drops that threw me against someone (sorry Ron), so hold on! The line became very long after opening, so we were not to disappointed with our ~25 minute wait just before lunch. At lunch they ran out of desserts before a number of us go them. Better get to the ACE buffet line early, or there might not be anything left.....

The Top spin was running a good program with ~10 inversions, and I enjoyed it after taking a while to find the entrance. The rickshaw ride was boring, silver mine was more of a wild west stereotype. The Hollywood ride was quite boring after a fun early spashdown, and Atlantis is not up to current standards and was extremely loud.

I spent the last part of my time there taking photos of Black Mamba, especially under the first drop in some nice lighting. Then it was back on the bus, but only after grabbing some chinese take-out and sneaking it onto the bus.


Day 13 - Efteling

As we walked up the VERY long path to the frnot gate, it quickly became apparent that Efteling has the best front gate ever, with huge, towering, pointed roofs like something out of a science fiction movie. I'm not sure it's some asian style, but it reminded me of something like that, but possibly with an alien influence! This was a huge, beautifully-themed park, in contrast to the very compact, and even more densely themed Phantasialand the day before.

After some confusion on how to get there, ERT on the GCI racing coaster Joris en de Draak was very good, and I liked both tracks. Both get water spray depending on the wind, and on one ride we even got to fly through a refreshing curtain of water that helped cool us off.

The Flying Dutchman water coaster was next, and was very well themed. The best opportunity to get wet was inside, where water was dripping in one spot in the themed interior. A lift leads to multiple drops in the outdoor section, culminating in a nice spashdown that doesn't get you wet at all.

Nearby is the Python, a Vekoma looper with new trains with the softer rubber vest-type restraint. These were OK, but the ride itself was that of a typical looper made by Vekoma. It was a decent ride with a forceful helix at the end. One ride was enough, though. (This was the ride that was being evacuated at the top of the lift when it started moving again, and luckily people on the train pulled their harnesses down before the first drop.)

Their indoor dark coaster Vogel Rok was about 1/2 to 1/3 as long as Phantasialand, and also one of the smoothest Vekomas ever. Inside was nice and cool, and this was a good break from the heat.

After lunch I walked around a bit with Mace, Kevin, and Ray, and they recommended another indoor ride. It was a dark ride on suspended track and was probably a coaster, actually, as it had a fairly speedy downhill spiral. It had the best detail and sets that I have seen, and was unexpectedly good.

The suspended cars made you feel like you were hanging in the scene, and floating through it, rather than just looking at it from the side. This was a very nice effect when combined with the detailed scenes, especially the scene with floating towns.

There was also a Haunted House which was really a mad house, and was OK except that the pre-show was in unintelligible German. The clown ride was horribly stereotypical and quite racist in its portrayal of asians and africans, and it would have been shut down immediately were it in the US.

Pagode (observation tower on an arm) was a neat observation platform that had excellent views of the park. I decided to walk through the fairly tale land portion of the park, and used my map to help avoid getting lost. It was quite amazing, and very long. Of course I was stupid and went through it backwards, against the people walking through the right way, but I got through in 30 minutes or so, enjoying some of the attractions along the way.

After a final ride on Joris en de Draak, I took some photos of it and made my way to the front of the park. Two of our bus passengers were very late, and apparently went to the wrong parking lot (even though the buses had not moved all day). They were unapologetic. -Mike
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Re: ACE Europe Trip

Post by Greg » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:10 pm

Mike, Seems you enjoyed the trip. I've enjoyed your posts and look forwards to hearing about the trip when next we meet.
Greg

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Re: ACE Europe Trip

Post by illinois » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:40 am

Greg wrote:Mike, Seems you enjoyed the trip. I've enjoyed your posts and look forwards to hearing about the trip when next we meet.
It was an intense, but great, trip. I have far too many photos to post here, plan to share those over some beers the weekend of DD. I am only part way through processing them.

I'll post my final installment of the TR very soon, and maybe a few photo highlights, but there are so many, it's difficult to pick them. -Mike
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Re: ACE Europe Trip

Post by illinois » Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:17 pm

Day 14 - Toverland and Cranger Kirmes

It was another hot day at Toverland. We headed in for ERT on Troy, a large GCI that was running very well. It had large turns mixed with great moments of airtime where the tracked crossed over and under itself closer to the center of the structure. I liked it better than Wodan, and re-rode and photographed it again later in the day.

The park consists of outdoor areas and two large buildings that house indoor attractions and a log flume with indoor and outdoor parts.

I stayed outdoors, and found the spinning coaster to be a LOT of fun, smooth and unpredictable. I re-rode it many times later in the day. The Motorbike launch coaster (Vekoma) was OK, and I enjoyed a few rides on it before lunch. The raft ride fun, but not very wet. Standing by the man-made waterfalls near its exit got you much wetter and much cooler.

Heading indoors, the indoor kiddie coaster was interesting but loud due to indoor echoes. The log flume had reversing features so that you went down one indoor drop in reverse. After that, you turned around and headed up and outdoors facing forward, to enjoy a larger drop in the heat. The powered alpine slide, the first I had tried, was fun, but cut out in a few places. It was not nearly as good as gravity powered slide, though I did decide to ride it again later on. The tunnel leading out of the building to the outside was quite dark, and was a fun feature.

We had a pizza lunch, and it was a good thing I was nearly first in line because it took a long time to make all the pizzas in the varieties we had requested earlier that day.

After getting myself wet on purpose in the outdoor play area with "jumping" fountains (which shot a stream of water through the air over your head), I headed inside to ride the wave swinger and cool off. Soon it was back on the bus on this day of record head to go to an outdoor fair. Yeah, that makes lots of sense, but that's how the schedule worked out.

At Cranger Kirmes, I rode Olympia Looping in 2nd row - the ride was fun with good G-forces, but not worth an expensive re-ride for me. Also rode a mouse coaster and a very tall Skycoaster-like ride powered by large fans that had groups of seats that could spin to the left or right as well as forward or backward, which made for an unpredictable ride. It was very fun to see the city upside down from very high up on a ride cycle that was longer than anything in the US, but a bit shorter than I expected from a German fair.

Extreme heat was not fun, but we survived. Luckily the bus driver was selling water and beer.


Day 15 - Movie Park Germany

Wow, I have survived the trip mostly unscathed, and it's the last day.

The day began with ERT on dark mouse coaster. This was a fairly forceful ride in places in the dark, which was good to see. However, after a few rides it kind of lost its charm. Then they turned the lights on, so I had to ride it once more.

As the park opened, we headed to a reasonably smooth SLC. In the back seat it wasn't too painful, but I did not go around for a second lap. The wooden coaster was closed for something major, so we headed over to the other side of the park to catch the other three coasters. On the way I couldn't resiste trying the Acrophobia-like drop tower with tilting seats because it had no line. I rode it a couple more times later on because it had no line, but that was about all my body could take from that style of seat, if you know what I mean.

The Top Spin was running an excellent program that faked the end of the cycle twice before continuing. It probably had 10-11 flips or more in a LONG program! I re-rode it before lunch with almost no wait.

Wrapping it up, the mouse, kiddie, and Vekoma junior suspended coasters were all as fun as could be expected, and the trip was complete.

Lunch was a buffet. They told us "We are here for two hours - you can eat as much as you want. You can have beer and soda, too." I enjoyed a variety of food and a nice dark dunkel beer to close out my trip.

I said goodbye to many of the trip participants and headed out to the parking lot. The bus driver was there, and I grabbed my luggaged and thanked him for a good trip.

I walked down the road about 5-10 minutes to the train station, deciphered the route, and caught the train to the central Koln station, where I met a friend and began the next part of my adventure. A few hours later we were drinking beer on the banks of the Rhine, and two weeks of parks were but a memory.

Thanks to the trip organizers, and to AL Mike for putting up with me for two weeks. -Mike
Do you feel lucky, line jumper?
Well do ya, PUNK?!
-Click for links to ALL of my trip reports-

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Re: ACE Europe Trip

Post by mikeau98 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:55 pm

Had a great time Mike. I did most of what Mike did with some subtractions/additions. If you want to see my photo trip reports, head over to Facebook. I recently uploaded the 2 days at Europa, and hope to start the second week this evening.

BTW, I think you mean Troy at Toverland. And it was a great ride. I can only imagine what it would ride like later in the day/evening.

I got a little more wet than everyone else on the rapids ride, but I loved the man-made waterfalls and the jumping fountains. They helped with the heat as there wasn't much if any shade in the park, not counting the indoor portions of course.

I have just a couple quick additions that Mike didn't do for the last 2 days.

After the time at Cranger Kirmes, the buses took us back to the hotel. After checking in and relaxing for a few minutes, a group of about 10 or so made our way back to the fair for the evening. Public transportation was about 40 minutes but worth it. This was the first day of the fair and let me tell you, the crowd showed while we were away. It was literally wall to wall people. Our first goal was to find something too eat (which I believe was some kind of pork sandwich) and a beer. Just as we finished, we were treated to a nice fireworks show. Next we took in a couple night rides on Olympia Looping and a 3D funhouse. The funhouse was nuts. As if they aren't dangerous enough, add a pair of 3D glasses, and water obstacles. I did my best to make it through using the glasses but with all the lights it was almost impossible. It was after midnight, so my group decided to return to the hotel. The others stayed until 2am.

After lunch at Movie Park, we had an hour to kill. A group of us made the short 15 minute walk to the next door Schloß Beck Freizeitpark for one last credit. This small family park is home to Familienachterbahn, a Tivoli themed to lady bugs. This was a fun little ride with a covered lift hill. We had just enough time for one more ride, so we headed to the Nautic Jet (a manual controlled boat jump). Then we walked back to meet the buses and rode back to Frankfurt. Would love to had more time at this park to explore.
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