It’s brand new, never seen before and one of a kind. We are talking about Pulsar, the new Power Splash ride at Walibi Belgium. A drop of 45 meters, a top speed of 100 km/h (62 miles/h) and three launches in total forwards and backwards! Were we satisfied after riding the Mack ‘coaster’ for the first time? You’re about to find out!
Thanks to Brakesection Magazine and Pretparken.be we were able to experience the World Premiere Event of Pulsar at Walibi Belgium. The event in itself was first class, but we of course were most excited about the riding the ride. Before the event, we had access to the park and did some of the best rides. We started with Dalton Terror, the Intamin drop tower in the Western area. Next up was Challenge of Tutankhamon, most definitely the best dark ride in Belgium. Finally Psyké Underground, the reopened Schwarzkopf with an LIM launch. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for Loup-Garou, the woodie, but we’ll go back on another day for sure to let you read more details about all the rides.
We couldn’t stay too long as we were expected outside of the park to get our access for the event. We received a lanyard with poncho (hmmm, I wonder why they gave it…) and a special bracelet, which appeared to be a Fitbit like device. That way we could measure our pulse while being on the ride! How cool is that? It was the first indication that the event would be a hit.
While walking via the rapid river of the park, there was a nice view across the lake towards Pulsar. Here a photo point was installed for those who wanted a shot in front of it. We walked on until we reached the entrance of the event. Another photopoint in red carpet style and no escaping the picture this time! Foodtrucks are hot in Belgium, so they could not be missed here as well. The first one offered either orange juice, blue water or blue bubbles! Food was presented by Wim Ballieu, a well-known Belgian chef who’s famous for his delicious meatballs which he serves in his restaurant “Balls of Glory“.
After enjoying the delicious treats and drinks (Belgian beer included!) DJ Robert Abigail started playing a set. He’s most famous for the Mojito Song which I’m sure you’ve heard about. The stage? Why, the station of Pulsar! Since there are two boats, the station has a rotating disk to switch between the two. On top of the roof, some dancers went all out on the beats.
Belgian actor Christophe Stienlet did the presentation of the evening and he wasn’t the only Belgian celebrity. Quite a few were invited to attend this special event. He introduced a bit of atmosphere and excitment which was followed by the speech of park director Jean-Christophe Parent, who addressed the invitees in both French and Dutch. Also the mayor of Wavre was at his side.
Finally the first official ride was at hand and it had the expected fireworks. All along the track, the rockets were launched perfectly timed as soon as the boat passed by. The fireworks itself continued a bit afterwards in colorful blue. It was time, the queue opened and we went for our first ever Pulsar ride.
The building is a ripped industrial building where the pulses erupt. Basic but effective. The queue itself has some surprising elements in. The first ‘preshow’ is a projection in the first ‘darkroom’ of the queue. Pulses erupt from one of the walls and then disappear. A little teaser of what is to come. Here you are introduced to the score made by IMAscore, their first Belgian assignment. It won’t get stuck in your head, but it builds up the atmosphere of the ride.
The second part of the queue has the stone where it’s all about. It’s displayed as the heart of the ride and pulses are constantly emerging from it towards the station. In this room, decorations are put on the side of the walls. One holds several newspaper articles that refer to the mysterious stone that was found…
On the other side near the heart structure, a digital board of the ride is displayed. To get there, you need to walk by the side of the building which has a viewing area towards the attraction. It sure will get guests pumped to ride!
You pass by the station quite a few times. While doing so, it was interesting to see the rotating disk taking guests to the track. Above you, electric lines are running from the second part of the queue towards the ride. Light flashes pass by every so many minutes. As you finally go down the final stairs, you can store the bags in a two side storage, similar to the one recently installed at Lost Gravity. The boat in itself is sizewise very similar to a ‘Supersplash’ boat. They are better though, as the seats are more comfortable and more legroom. So imagine the seats of ‘Blue Fire’ in a ‘Atlantica’ boat (for those who are familiar with the Europa-Park rides). Positive element: lap bars!
The disk is turning and this in itself is a very cool experience. You can watch the guests that just rode all laughing and wet staring at you. And then it’s your turn. The boat starts with a medium launch backwards as you go up partly up the tower. Next a second launch and here the power increases. When standing on the side, you think: wow, these boats are huge. “How can you feel any thrill?” But rest assure, this second part already is fun. Just going up in the sky in this type of ride…
But the best is yet to come, you go over the bump for the final launch and here you feel the ‘pulse’! As you go up, it’s time for airtime in those lap bars. The most pleasant surprise of all.
Finally you dive into the water with the incredibly quick pumps. The system has about six seconds to fill up the basin after the boat passed up the tower! An incredible system! By the way, Sitting in the back = asking to be soaked. On the sides, you’ll feel the water running across you back. So the dry spots are in the middle. As I was on the side, I stepped out half soaked, smiling at the Walibi Belgium staff. I can only say: well done! I have to be honest; I was holding back to be enthusiastic towards the ride at first. I love thrill and didn’t want to be disappointed because launching this type of ride is unique. This evening however convinced me entirely. Pulsar is an excellent addition and will be loved by guests.
A second ride was a must but this time, the weather had already turned very grey. In general, there is a lot of rain in Belgium so is it smart to open a water ride? Well, no worries here. Even in the rain, this ride was a lot of fun. I mean, you’re going to get wet anyways so why bother not to go on? It’s the third water ride of the park, next to the indoor tropical swimming pool Aqualibi.
Walibi Belgium announces the ride as a family thrill ride. A smart move as it delivers the promise. There is a height restriction of 1m20 (3′ 11”), which allows a lot of guests that go to Walibi, as they attract a lot of teenagers. The park director said that it is the first step towards the new style of the park. We can only hope that this is true: continue to invest after thirteen years without major new ride. Walibi Belgium received the Diamond Theme Park award this year for best theme park of Belgium, with good reason. A new unique coaster would make the park truly a must do on your list in Europe, but Pulsar is already a firm reason.
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