Choose your own fury

My last visit to Bobbejaanland was ages ago. During that time, many things changed. Some of them were small things, like the name change of the roller coaster Dizz to Naga Bay in 2017 to better fit the theme of the immersive tunnel Forbidden Caves next door. An interesting choice when considering that Forbidden Caves already became obsolete shortly after its opening in 2015 – with this years novelty Fury and its theme area Land of Legends, Naga Bay serves as a connection between the two areas, which is just fine. In the meantime Bobbejaanland sold their HUSS Fly Away to a small french theme park, teamed up with Samsung VR to offer with Mount Mara a new and exiting ride on the roller coaster Revolution – which apart of the low resolution does a fantastic job to the old ride – and the wind energy turbine next to the park was removed.

The Land of Legends truly sounds more legendary as it is. The theme area consist of an unappealing long queue line for the roller coaster Typhoon – which got a new paint job –, a new queue line for the HUSS Giant Frisbee Slegdehammer – whose ride has been significantly enhanced by the sight of a novelty suddenly appearing underneath –, a water playground and the roller coaster Fury. Apart of Fury, which has a never seen before feature on a roller coaster, nothing stands out. In my opinion, the Land of Legends looks cheap and plastic. Of course we have the obligatory music by IMAsore, like all the other European theme parks.

Fury itself is a reasonably large ride with some exiting and interesting elements, which can be ridden forwards or backwards. The ride gives you a choice if you want so. If you really need to ride Fury forwards, you also have the choice to wait slightly longer in line and use the queue to the left in the station. If you want to be surprised by the choice of all the other people in the train and want to take part in a small poll, keep to the right. After boarding feel free to push whichever button you like and enjoy the turntable of destiny shortly after leaving the station.

Turned into position, the ride starts with its first launch in direction of the Top Hat. It then passes the same launch track in reverse, whereupon the Scorpion Tail Jr. element follows. This is basically a slightly overbanked vertical slope, where the train loses momentum whilst the riders hang upside down for a moment. After the third launch the train passes over the Top Hat with a very small pinch of airtime and suddenly drops down in a twisty motion. At full speed, the train climbs up a giant corkscrew, where the exit of the element ressembles a Banana Roll. You basically leave the element with a change in direction. Over a hill, the train then plunges down into the entrance of a very forceful loop. After the looping, the train enters the final valley. Similar to the beginning of the ride, the train changes speed in three stages. In the first one, we climb the second Scorpion Tail Jr. element and change direction. With reduced speed we now travel across the braking track and climb the exit of the loop for some meters. When entering the braking track for the third time, the train stops on the adjacent turntable. Back in position, the train enters the station and the ride comes to a finish.

Fury is definitely a nice Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster. It fits well into the ride portfolio of Bobbejaanland and complements it. The ride itself is very family-friendly, although it features a rather intense loop at the end of the ride. The backwards option is well received and offers an exiting ride for the thrill seekers out there. For everybody else, the forward option is a permanently available one, which is a good thing for all those who are not sure (or willing) to ride a roller coaster backwards. Although Fury is not the most exiting coaster in Europe, it is a nice one to give it a try when nearby.

Bobbejaanland (2019)

Eight years after my last visit I finally went to the Belgian amusement park Bobbejaanland. There were a lot of new things to discover, even if some rides unfortunately left the park in the meantime. The biggest and most important novelty is the Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster Fury, which is the first roller coaster worldwide that allows the passengers to ride either forward or backwards. In addition, a new themed area was created with Land of Legends, which integrates the existing attractions Sledgehammer and Typhoon and thus partly enhances them a bit.

The Pulsing Waters of Walibi

It is rare that a concept where you always ask yourself how it actually works is put into action. It is even rarer if this is done by a park, which has already gained quite negative experiences. Well the Doppelmayr cable car coaster Vertigo, which was put into the park 9 years ago, is said to be quite fun on the few open days back in May of 2008; This was nevertheless a disaster on both sides. This time, however, the ride comes from the traditional roller coaster company Mack Rides. Therefore, the chances for another debacle were rather low with Pulsar. The Power Splash can be roughly described as a shuttle coaster, i.e. a roller coaster without a closed circuit, with a watering towards the end of the journey. What should go wrong, especially when the park knows a lot about shuttle roller coasters? Nothing!

Thematically Pulsar represents a machine (in the form of a beating heart), whose destructive energy is derived via a roller coaster at regular intervals. The nice thing is that the visitors are the missing component to make all of that possible. The story plays in the same universe that was created to restructure the park in 2011; So no “F*ck Slow, #Hard Gaan”, as in the Dutch sister park. In general, the audience in the park is now very pleasant; but it may also be that unwanted crowds of visitors (I remember times when the cashier was regularly insulted as “fils de pute”) fail to comply with the additional security measures all around in Belgium.

After walking through the queue on the upper floor (or as a Single rider just a few meters till the turnstiles) you are already divided into one of the five rows. You store your luggage in the shelves on the right side of the station and wait for the next arriving boat. The boarding is done very quickly thanks to automatically closing lapbars, so that only a few moments pass before the 20-passenger boat – accompanied by the heartbeats of the machine – is rotated towards the actual track.

Once in position, the boat is immediately accelerated backwards over a hill. The initial scepticism about the (still) quite shallow acceleration is soon to be forgotten, as you fly over the hill. Now you pass the still unflooded water water basin and climb the vertical spike on the rear end of the ride about half of its height. At about the same speed, the return leads to the station, where you are now noticeably accelerated on the hill and neatly lifted from the seat. Now you climb the front spike of the ride up to its end. With noticeably fast speed, you cross the acceleration hill for a third time, which now tries to eject you from the ride. Back in the rear section of the ride, you climb the spike till its (slightly flattened) top. During this manoeuvre the water level in the basin is raised by 30 cm. In the meantime, the upcoming splash quickly moves back into the memory of the passengers, whereby the previously accumulated joy suddenly passes into a respectful panic. At 100 km/h, the boat now dives into the pool, which leads to a visually very impressive wave. However, this rewards the front rows of seats only with a little mist, while it can thoroughly soak the rear of the boat. Shortly thereafter you pass the hill for the last time and are slowed down to walking pace, whereupon you stop in the next valley. The turntable then turns you back to the station and the bar opens.

Pulsar is an all-round successful attraction, where you always like to get on again. The ride is just terrific and can absolutely convince just by its unusual acceleration phases over the hill. The watering is optically more impressive than it is while riding; However, it is definitely scary! Especially if you suddenly get soaked after the first rather dry ride. Hopefully more copies of this truly enhanced water ride will follow.

Due to the location of the park, the paths in the park are now slightly optimised so that you can commute on the fastest routes between the main attractions Flashback, Psyké Underground, Pulsar and Loup Garou. Interestingly, the probability to suddenly meet an old friend of yours in the park is reduced. However, whilst waiting for another round on Pulsar I suddenly got a call from my friend David. He was in a group waiting in the normal queue and I just got on as a Single Rider. After the ride, I finally realised him in the queue, so I took another round via the single rider to actually sit with him in the same row. My plans to leave Walibi for another visit of Plopsa Coo or Plopsa Indoor Hasselt were discarded. The times to leave the park early are now a thing of the past. Thanks Pulsar!