General Information Bobbejaanland

Theme Park:Bobbejaanland (since 1961)
2460 Lichtaart
Operated by:Parques Reunidos

Bobbejaanland in Lichtaart nearby Antwerp is one of the biggest Belgian theme parks. The park was founded in 1961 by the Flemish singer and entertainer Bobbejaan Schoepen and is currently being run by the Spanish Group Parques Reunidos. The park features some interesting and rare rides, e.g. the only Vekoma illusion coaster in operation, where the ride hardware is enhanced by a large video projection onto the ceiling. 

Fun Fact #1: Till some years ago, the park had a wind turbine on its properties. Although it never seemed to be active, there was a running gag that it could generate all the energy needed for park operations.

Fun Fact #2: The Hafema Raft Ride Rio Dorado is one of just two raft rides ever build with a giant wheel like lift. None of these are in operation.

Feel the Dizz at Bobbejaanland

David and I went to Easter to the funny country of Belgium to test the novelty Dizz. As the experience always predict, new rides get fairly crowded within the first year of operation. Therefore, we headed straight to the new roller coaster. Unluckily, the ride itself would open sometime later. So we headed to (R)evolution for our first ride of the day.

(R)evolution is the wet dream of all left-hand curve fetishists and of course many roller coaster fans. This Dutch-made masterpiece not only boasts the longest roller coaster train in the world, but also offers a special visual experience during the lift hill climb. In addition, the ride enjoys a certain cult which is of course absolutely justified.

Shortly after the ride, we queued up a few minutes before the opening at the roller coaster Dizz. It was not very long and a small crowd already formed right behind us. After a few test rides it was ready to go. The coaster has a clear potential, but it does not exploit it at the moment. Reducing the speed in the brake segments to nearly a standstill annoys tremendously and the takes away any pace. The spin during the ride is barely noticeable, as well as the theme of the ride. The queue line and the station are nicely done, the rest of the ride looks like it had to be placed somewhere. 

After work, we dedicated ourselves to the pleasure of Bobbejaanland. Unfortunately, we got a bad day on El Rio as the inglorious wave after the whirlpool section of the ride, was not there anymore. Since we left the ride surprisingly dry, we now headed to the indoor log flume Indiana River.

We rode everything that came in our way, like the one-sided wild mouse Speedy Bob, which unfortunately was no longer wild – even the brakes were no longer as extreme as during my last visit in 2008 – , to the Desperado pedal monotail, to one of the most ingenious family roller coasters ever build: Oki Doki. Even the music express of the park did not remain untested, only the Vekoma Suspended Coaster had to wait a bit, after all, the waiting times for this ride was slightly too long for us.

Indiana River was able to live up to its reputation as a very, very, very wet log flume. The ride is just consistently soaking its passengers, even through the declines are not very steep nor high. The theme of the ride is also very impressive, especially when you consider the tight budget the park had back in the days. 

In contrast to Indiana River there is the park’s outdoor log flume. The ride is very suitable for everybode, who wants to ride a water ride and get off the ride even drier than entering. The ride somehow interacts with the powered coaster Bob Express, which was somehow planlessly build onto the lake. The powered coaster offers a great ride with a small prise of airtime in the back of the train.

Don’t miss out the comfy chairs of the park’s 4D cinema. During this year they are showing a well animated movie with well used additional effects. The storyline of the movie is the only downfall of this overall great experience. 

The big surprise of the day then hit us on Typhoon. I do not know what the Belgians did with this layout and how far Gerstlauer was involved, but the result is fantastic. The coaster now runs absolutely smooth, whether in the back or in the front row. It only jerks a little bit in the two helices at the end of the ride, but that’s negligible. The newly installed reduction brakes on the 97 ° drop are not noticeable and thus the valley and the loop are still a very intense experience – just as it should be.

Now to the small HUSS corner of the park, where the Fly Away – which is often referred by amusement park enthusiasts as a torture machine and waffle iron – and the Giant Frisbee are located. The Fly Away is still just awesome! The Giant Frisbee Sledgehammer unfortunately isn’t. I don’t know why HUSS is using such a boring and monotone ride cycle on their Giant Frisbee rides, whereas their Italian competitor Zamperla offers a ride cycle which focuses on negativ G-Forces and even spins you anticlockwise on their version of this ride. HUSS, you did some of the most awesome rides in the past. Please do it again. 

A great way to start is not to produce anything like the following ride again. Next to the roller coaster (R)evolution you can find one of the latest HUSS creations, the almighty King Kong. A ride that looks like a B-movie and rides like a bad docu-soap on TV. I don’t know what the Bremen-based manufacturer had thought about when engineering this ride, but it couldn’t be anything great. The only highlight of the ride was a Dutch boy who complained about the bad breath of the giant monkey. 

Below the (R)evolution you can find the probably sickest of all Splash Battle ever built. As in the Lüneburg Heath you have to turn the effects on (instead of off) to get wet. In addition, the pumps have a very wide range which is why you can often reward the other passengers with the cool wet. In this Splash Battle you only need a single lap to get completely soaked and that’s a great achievement.

As the last ride in this park I would like to write about the dream catcher, who unfortunately belongs to a dying roller coaster type. Suspended Coasters are fantastic family coasters, although the Vekoma build ride can not convince me as much as the Arrow version from the Chessington World of Adventures nearby London. The theme of the ride is very nice and even features a water fountain which turns itself off when the train is approaching.