Holiday Park: EGF and beyond

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Sunday, September 5, 2004 11:12 AM
Hi, I finally ,managed to get to Holiday park in Germany yesterday after having lived within the 50 km range of it for over 6 months.
We arrived at the park at 10:00 to find it pretty busy already.
The park in general reminded me a lot of my childhood experiences of Europa Park - there seems to be a lot of "classic" themeing elements, and a refreshing absence of Warner Brother's or other major cartoon characters, apart maybe of Asterix + Obelix (anyone know those guys in the U.S. at all?)
The park is surprisingly lighweight - all the houses and shops seem to be tent-based for easy removal and relocation, something that makes the park look much less monstrous than other theme parks I have been to - there is much less of a "corporate" surface to this one.
The first thing we did was of course Expedition GeForce, the ride that won the "Best coaster in the world" Internet coaster poll in 2003.
We had about 45 minutes wait. It seems like everyone entering the park immediately rushed to EGF to get as many rides on it as possible.
I hate the queueing aspect of theme park visits. Luckily, our company managed to keep the wit up most of the time so we managed to entertain ourselves while waiting there.
The themeing is that of an expedition base camp and all of the staff people were wearing a beige kind of "expedition" outfit.
Luckily, the themeing is not so heavy so it doesn't distract from the beauty that is EGF all too much.
When we finally climbed the loading station, there is this tape loop spoken by "Dr. Mike Sanders" introducing the riders to the measures that had to be obeyed in order to have a safe ride.
I noticed that some seats were roped off, and thought to myself that these might be the seats reserved for Richard Rodriguez to make a follow-up 2004 record. But I was wrong - as I discovered during the course of the day, they roped off seats where the seatbelts had supposedly become weary.
All the four of us managed to get into car 3 of the train, and without much delay, the train quickly climbs up the lift.
Unlike Goliath at SFH, the train doesn't seem to speed up toward the top, at least I didn't notice that. There is a good view of the surrounding landscape - a surprisingly uninhabited spot of SW Germany, I must say... but before you can think much, EGF goes over the top and into the first drop.
This drop is really wickedly twisted - it really feels pretty much like the train has derailed and is dropping straight down - you're just going over the cliff, free-falling there. The only drop that came anywhere close to that in my memory was the first drop on the former portable 4-inversion coaster "thriller". It's just turning and free-falling... with your stomach tied to the coaster car.
But then, more or less in the last moment, the track catches you softly and turns you back into a proper 90 degree-angle to the lift hill and up you go onto the first airtime-hill.
The airtime there is not as intense as e.g. the airtime on the first hill of Goliath at SFH, but it's still absolutely great. The next element is a high-elevation overbank that somewhat reminds of MF - the funny thing is that you don't even notice the overbanking, it just feels completely natural. Comparing it to the Stengel Dive thing on SFH, the Stengel Dive is a much cooler element, but EGF is not stopping there ... after this overbanked turnaround, there is another airtime hill followed by a sequence of high strongly banked turns and screwy hills that you very quickly loose track of. The track layout is the best I have ever seen, it works like a little movie every time: The track is beatifully winding through a small forest making it rather hard to imagine what the ride's layout might look like from above. There are no real helixes, all elements are variations of high banked curves and airtime-hills, but they are sequenced and varied so that every single one is a unique event keeping up an unrelenting chain of experiences that keep your jaws dropped, lungs screaming or arms up until you hit the brakes in the very end. The best moment is when the train is thrown from left to right on the tip of an airtime hill.
Though the sound of the coaster is a little rough sometimes, riding it is an absolutely smooth experience - there are now beatings or sudden laterals that are unpleasant at all.
The coaster really feels like it does to fly in your dreams - or to sit on the back seat on a motorcycle with a very good motorcyclist. I've never seen so many smiling people coming out of the exit of a coaster, this thing really works + delivers.
I'm also a lover of smooth B&M loops, and Riddlers Revenge at SFMM (one of the middle seats in the middle of the train) is my favourite ride experience, but EGF is a close second now or even my new favorite (need to ride RR again to verify).
It's really surprising how such a strong experience can be constructed simply from twisted airtime-hills and high banked turns - but it works 100%, I couldn't think of anything to make this coaster better. We went on it for a second time right after that - another 45 minutes wait. Then our heads were spinning a little. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this, but after riding coasters with lots of forces, I sometimes get a little headache, and it was the same there yesterday.

Next we came past the Freefall Tower, which we did. It was quite a wait also, like 25 minutes. We got to see that video tape loop over and over in which a famous German TV guy (can't remember his name) was explaining to a group of girls how they had to behave when riding the tower.
The rest of the day we made fun of how this guy welcomed the guests ("Wilkommen in der Xszszxszszzzone") and how he tells the girls to leave loose items on the floor of the tower ("aber zuerst heißt es: Auspacken! - ??hä? auspacken?" "but before we can proceed we need to unpack"-"??unpack??").
The tower itself is one of those get pulled up - drop down - rides. I like drop towers better that have some kind of program to them. This one is short and a little boring, and I find the unexpected drop situation not particularly enjoyable. Terror itself is not really fun yet - EGF is pure fun, but the Free Fall definitely lacks some of that.

We had some lunch (food is surprisingly cheap at Holiday Park, we payed around 7-9 Euros for a meal).
After lunch, we took a walk around to see what else Holiday Park had to offer. We found an actually disturbing ghost-train themed like an old castle. This ghost train is one of those endlessly revolving trains that have infinite capacity, so.. no queue. The scenes displayed were scenes from supposed medieval times when prisoners were mistreated in the dungeons of the castle - there were depictions of people being tortured, chased after by dogs, starved to death, and all kinds of other bad bad things that might just have been inspired by images of current events happening in Iraq.
There was also a scene were a woman was pulled over by a laughing fat guy - obviously to have non-consensual sex. And then there were some loose depictions of the 7 deadly sins -
somehow, even though this was supposed to be a ghost train terrifying for kids, it's absolutely sickening atmosphere actually scratched the border of being terrifying or adults, too, even without any artificial blood on display: The distorted figures and faces of the tortured and the torturers with all the hopelesness and darkness around them still lurk in my mind.
Next, we went on Donnerfluß, the first river rapid ride to open in Germany sometimes in the 80ies - it had a 45 minute wait. The ride itself is rather short. It has a nice slope at the end where the floats gain some speed, and a fun thing is that the water splashes all happen in places where you wouldn't expect them, but in general, I have been to better whitewater rapids-type rides than this one.

Next we did "Super Wirbel", the classic Vekoma coaster that used to be one of the largest coasters in Germany at all until not too long ago. I was warning everybody that it could be a rough experience, which it indeed turned out to be. I really wonder given the fact that Richard Rodriguez was establishing a first coaster record on this one back in the 80ies, how on earth he managed to keep his spine healthy. I mean, I almost had a whiplash from riding it only once.
The layout is not too bad. It has some airtimy hills before the classic double corcscrew hits, followed by some helixing. EGF is not visible from SuperWirbel, maybe a good thing as this coaster would look really dwarfed in comparison. Nevertheless, I had thought about SuperWirble for most of my childhood, so I needed to go on it - no matter how rough it might have been.

Next on the list was "Teufelsfässer" another whitewater ride, this time the type where you sit in a treetrunk like float.
This had the longest wait of the day, but it turned out to be a real suprise success because of it's "mystery" middlesection that took us by surprise.
I'm not going to reveal much here. The last drop of this ride is the tallest I have ever seen on a ride of this type, and we got so soaked from it that it took the rest of the day to dry.
After riding this, I suddenly understood why the park is selling raincoats everywhere - you may ACTUALLY NEED ONE on this ride :) This ride is the insider tip if you're going to Holiday Park and looking beyond EGF.

Then we did the Pirate Ship swing ride, which is so innocently funny - just great - people enjoyed that so much.
One of these rides must be in paradise.

We then turned back to the queue of EGF.
This time, the queue was much shorter. It seems like once the first wave of visitors has brushed by EGF and has gotten lost in the rest of the park, the queue on EGF becomes much shorter during lunchtime and the afternoon.
This time, we decided to go for the front row. Right before we were getting on the loading platform, loading stopped, and people were ropeing off more seats - Obviously because the seatbelts had become weary- This was somewhat scary, as they sent emtpy trains around and did load one train, but before they launched it, made everyone get out again and roped off more seats.
They made us wait for about 30 minutes for that procedure, and the line had grown again all the way to the entrance.
Anyway, I got to ride EGF in the front seat after that, and it's a very fun feeling how the first car slowly crawls down the fist drop and then being pushed down the slope at full force all of a sudden. Great airtime on the first seat going up the hills. You really feel like conquering the whole thing all by yourself.

After two more laps on EGF, in a crazy mood we went on "Anno Tobak" a silent boat ride that takes you on a virtual tour though Bavaria and Austria back to Germany along some of the weirdest theme-park themeing I have ever seen - it was partly like the strange ghost train, partly really grotesque - maybe small kids don't mind as much? Someone must have had all those phantasies - really weird - and yet, also "German Classic".

Next we tried to catch a performance of the "Mega Effect Show Fiasco Barocco", in a theater with a stage filled with water.
There was laser projection on a curtain of falling water - a nice effect, but the sound was not very audible against the noise of the falling water.
After a while, it became apparent that the main character was obviously missing - either one of the projectors or lasers must have been broken, the actor have become sick, or well... the performance itself turned into "fiasco" of another kind like I hadn't seen one in a long time - people were booeing as they left the theater in dismay.

Somehow, I must say that the creative art/design department of Holiday Park could use some more care. Some of the themeing of the ghost train, the "Anno Tobak" boat ride and this theatre production seemed a little odd.
But in the end, this had no chance of ruining our otherwise great day - and EGF can get a smile on my face anytime!

So, if you go to Holiday park, ride EGF as much as you can handle, go on the "Teufelsfässer" ride and do the rest as you wish - but take people with you to keep the wit in the queues!
My day was much better than this report probably makes it seem. I have a "Twicket" to prove it!
I had a great day, and a very special one because EGF made me fall in love with it just the way that I expect it would - (like many other people I guess who's screams of joy resonated throughout the park)

jo

*** Edited 9/5/2004 3:25:56 PM UTC by superman***

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