A wild and untamed beast


Up to now, Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC for short) has usually created new life for older wooden coasters with a bad reputation, but that it would also affect very solid and absolutely great wooden coasters, was new. Robin Hood has been one of my favorite coasters since my first ride in 2009, at times due to the uncertain future of the wooden roller coaster Colossos from Heide Park in Soltau, it was even on the first place of my wooden roller coaster favorites – so why rebuild it? Don’t get me wrong, I am on your side. For the park, the modification has advantages that shouldn’t be denied, be it the lower maintenance effort or the great advertising effect of such a roller coaster. Untamed is on everyone’s lips and that has its reasons.

With the arrival of Untamed, the theme area Sherwood Forest has also undergone fundamental changes and has thus adapted to previous adjustments in this area. The theme area Wilderness picks up the festival theme of the amusement park and complements it with new, hip planting and colourful painted rides. The slick top Spin Excalibur has become Blast, and the formerly discreet looking castle of Merlin’s Magic Castle now looks like it’s out of a drug trip due to its wall art. Apart from these adjustments there are no other changes, which is a little bit strange, especially when riding on the Vekoma Mad House. 

Nevertheless, let us now come to a ride on the new roller coaster. After you have left the now beautifully designed queue behind you, or after you have waited a little bit on the stairs in front of the station as a single rider, you are assigned a seat. Shortly after that, the employees expertly close your bar, whereupon the ride starts effectively. After the station there is a turn tilted to the wrong side, whereupon the lift hill of the roller coaster is reached. This takes you up to the starting height of 36,5m and thus 4m higher than it was before.

With a maximum inclination of 80° we immediately fall to the ground. Here we race over a very tiny speed bump before we skilfully screw ourselves up into the air. Very similar to a banana roll we experience the 270° Double Inverting Stall, in which we roll away first in one direction and then in the other direction and in between we also experience some lateral airtime. Back on the ground we immediately witness a double-up element rich in airtime, whereby we merge into a left turn. Two more hills later we turn upside down once more as we approach the turning point of the ride, which is the front turning point from the visitor’s point of view. After a pressure-packed turning manoeuvre, we dedicate ourselves to the way back, whereby we now go over numerous hills with a good pinch of ejector airtime. Here we hit the bar again and again, which efficiently prevents us from falling out of the train. Over a twisted hill the final part of the ride is initiated. Now, the ride goes over hill and dale in an ever faster and faster pace, before another roll (just above the ground) is introduced. After this fulminant orgy the train drops down again quite suddenly, before the braking section of the layout is reached.

Untamed is a dignified successor of the wooden roller coaster Robin Hood. The ride is simply breathtaking and has many unique elements, which are just wicked and absolutely great. Accordingly, Untamed did everything right. I would have liked to ride it more often than just two laps, but I’m sure this will come true, if the first rush will have settled down sometime. Until then I remain curious about my next ride and, as always, I am looking forward to another visit to Walibi Holland. 

Parc Astérix (2018)

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. 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!