Nigloland (France) 4/29

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Sunday, May 6, 2007 5:12 PM
Nigloland, what kind of name is that? Well, their "characters" are a family of hedgehogs named the Niglo. So, its a funny choice! The park is located in France, a good 2 hours-2 hours and a half drive from Paris. Can't really get there by public transportation, so driving is the only way to go!

We got there a little after opening. Parking is free and we got a nice spot. Funny thing... the parking roads are not paved and you park on grass! We paid 18 euros (24.50$ US) for admission and we proceeded in. It felt weird not to get either our bags checked or have to be frisked like at the airport...

Park is divided in 3 sections: the canadian village, rock n roll village and magical village. The park is family owned and its pretty, being in a valley and in the middle of a forest. Let's go to the rides:

Le train de la mine d'or, which translates to "Gold Mine train", is a powered Mack coaster which has a nice layout, with a tunnel and the track goes over the Mack log flume, which is called "La Riviere Canadienne" (Canadian River). Lots of speed during most of the ride and a very nice building that house the waiting line and station makes this a great ride.

The flume is a very basic affair with one drop and good capacity. The Mack flumes use a conveyor belt in the station and each log sits 6 people, so the line goes pretty fast. Next to the mine train is the "Niglo Show". Imagine the Disney country bears with hedgehogs and you get a basic idea of the thing...

Past the log flume entrance is the path that leads to the King of Mississippi and the Grizzly. The King of Mississippi is a paddlewheel boat that goes around a lake. Want a cold drink while cruising around? No problems! The ride operator also double as the barman! The Grizzly was the new for 2006 ride and its a great Zamperla Disk'O coaster. Awesome ride with a long cycle and its also very popular with the guests. We rode it a few times and had a 20-25 minutes wait each time. The rest of the waits were 10 minutes max.

The canadian village also has a Mack spinning boat ride and a Zamperla galleon. We didn't ride them, as we're not really into spinning rides.

We went back to the main entrance and on the way to the rest of the park, we passed a few family rides. Instead of buying little spinning rides that only little ones can ride, the park instead bought about every example of powered rides you can thing of. Little horses that go around a track? Check. Trucks? Check. Antique cars? Check. Gas powered cars? Check. Monorail? Check. Hedgehogs? Check.

In a large manor is the "Manoir hante" (Haunted Mansion). You go through the front door, then a spinning staircase, in the dark, to the main waiting room. The room is so dark you almost need a flashlight! You then end up in the loading station and you see the vehicles... Benches on a spinning car! We started to laugh when we saw that. The ride in itself is a low budget version of the Disney Haunted Mansion, but the best part is when your bench start spinning like crazy in the attic. I liked it.

We continue, passing a low budget jungle cruise and arriving at the Rock n Roll Village. There's a few rides here: Zamperla Ballon Race, indoor bumper cars for kids and a Schwarzkopf monster, like the East River Crawler at SFGAm. This one is themed to a jukebox, with 50's cars. At the end of this section is a large grey building.

the ride is called Spatiale Experience (Space Experience) and the entrance is themed to a space travel agency. The line then gets out on a small ramp and into the building. The line is then straight out of DL Space Mountain and the station is impressive, with techno music blasting, blue lighting and the ride computers behind glass. It looks very good. The ride use 2 16 passengers trains and its a Mack ride. The trains are comfortable, with each car holding 2 riders in a single row and with nice L shaped bars. The train is dispatched, but only advance halfway out of the station. Breakdown? No. Its the amazing lift that is going to catch the train. See, Mack designed a spiral lift and a steel beam on it grabs a wheel on the first car. The train is smoothly and quickly taken to the top of the lift, with light and sound effects. At the top, you have a countdown, strobes and then you go down the first drop, with great music blasted in the building. The ride in itself is very agressive and compact. You're always turning or dropping, with nice scenery around. Painted galaxies, astronaut, asteroids and planets in the middle. Wow... great ride!

Past the rock n roll village is the magical village. It has a few kiddy rides, a wacky worm coaster (which don't require adults to ride with a kid) and the new for 2007 coaster, the Schlitt' Express. Its a portable Mack wild mouse. Its a mirror image of the Hersheypark one. It will also have magnetic brakes. Unfortunately, the ride was delayed and so wasn't open yet. Due to that, the park offered a coupon for 3 euros off anywhere in the park. Nice gesture.

Souvenirs were nothing too special.

Food, well, there's only 3 major restaurant: La Taverne (Tavern) in the magical village, Le bar canadien (canadian bar) and the Grill at the entrance. We had lunch at the grill. It was expensive, but the food was great. I had a large steak, fries, chilled crab and a large soda for 17.50 euros (24$), including the 3 euros off coupon. It was also served on a real plate, with real silverware.

Great park. If you go to France and rent a car, go there.

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Sunday, May 6, 2007 9:29 PM
I forgot one ride... La Course de Bobsleigh (Bobsled Race). Its a very rare Schwarzkopf City Jet in good shape, beside the need for some paint. They even built a tunnel and alpine shack in the middle of it. The 2 trains were modified with lap bars in 2006 and the ride's 2 drops are brutal! They're tight, twisting and due to the trains, definite ribcrackers... One ride is ok, but you're asking for trouble if you ride more.
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