A quick trip report from the Netherlands! We were back at Walibi Holland and this time for the Diamond Theme Park awards! After that, we discovered the park where we could easily ride the big rides all afternoon. Almost no queues and warm, dry weather. That’s the way we like it!
First of, a big thanks to the Belgian fansite Pretparken.be thanks to which I could attend the award ceremony. This theme park website written in Dutch is the place to be for local news about theme parks in Belgium and beyond. Discuss along in the forum or check out all the different parks and rides in Europe due to their excellent ‘Parkgids’ or Park Guide. With a little effort, no matter what language you speak, you should be able to find a full overview of the rides of the park you’re interested. So be sure to check them out!
The Diamond Theme Park Awards is an initiative by Patrick Joossens (of website Parkworld.be) and Vincent De Vriendt (of website pretparkbeest.be). The sixth edition had over 45,000 voters that cast their opinion about categories linked to theme parks in the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg). Included as well are some general European categories. How did they vote? Here a quick overview of the most important categories!
Best theme park for the whole of Benelux is Efteling, which isn’t much of a surprise. In Belgium however, the best park selected by the fans is Walibi Belgium.
Best rollercoaster in the Benelux and also best new ride for 2015 is Baron 1898. A deserving title and I’m sure many would love to ride it, right?
Most beautiful park in the region is not Efteling (which was selected for best in the Netherlands) but Pairi Daizi. A themed zoo in the French part of Belgium which attracted 1.8 million visitors last year. The award for Best European Park was reserved for Europa-Park and the best European coaster can be found in Phantasialand: Black Mamba.
There were also two general awards worth mentioning. A Life Time Achievement award was dedicated to Tom Van De Ven, the man who created the style and spirit of Efteling in the Netherlands. Every year, also a Spotlight award is given to a certain park or person. In general this is given to say thank you for excellent achieved work. This year, Steve Van De Kerckhof, head of the Plopsa group received it because of his approach and vision of investments for the parks within the group. (Plopsaland De Panne, Holiday Park…) For the list of all the winners, just click here (currently only available in Dutch)!
After a little chat with some of the park’s managers, it was time to go the park and enjoy some coasters! It didn’t start very well as we were standing in line for Xpress – Platform 13 and there was a technical problem…
First ride after was Lost Gravity! Twice in a row as there was less than a 10 minute wait. They installed a new flamethrower element after the first inversion since last time we were there. A great addition!
As it was pretty warm out, even without the sun, it was time for a water ride: El Rio Grande. It doesn’t have a lot of special elements or theming along the track, but was fun nevertheless.
Up next then was the almighty Goliath, still the tallest coaster in the Benelux! We rode it four times in a row and man love those airtime hills! Last time up front was a bit disturbed by bugs though.
Robin Hood, the woodie of the park was just painful. A front seat ride was bad, but in the back was even worse… Ever considered RMC, Walibi Holland?
We returned to Lost Gravity to experience a more fun coaster and this time I was sitting in the floorless seats. They really are the best ones, and wow for that back left seat. Especially in the late afternoon! Only two trains on the track, but since there was almost no queue, this totally made sense.
Close to Lost Gravity, there is still a Western area that will be rethemed to match with the coaster. The Old 5D Theatre will be used for a new ride next year with working title: ‘Brain Trip’.
When passing by the children’s area, the large flamethrower of Lost Gravity matches perfectly with this little character from the park! The small new one always goes of first and then the large one pops and fires away.
Last time, Spinning Vibe was closed, but this time I could finally ride this. Never really rode this type before and it’s a nice ‘inbetweener’. Just not very good for the stomach.
One of the best Vekoma Boomerangs was then our next to last stop: Speed of Sound. Unfortunately the lighting didn’t work in the top tower. But the on-ride music is pretty sweet.
Our final ride was a double ride on Xpress – Platform 13 that had luckily reopened. It always feels awkward at one point as it has one brake section less than Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. The first one is missing, so you dive in the final inversion!
Definitely a day full of coasters!
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