Sunday, 31 July 2011

Walygator Park

For this day we temporarily said Auf Wiedersehen to Germany and headed into France. It got off to a bad start when we were supposed to be staying in the city of Metz, but something had gone wrong with the booking and we ended up staying way outside the city. I had planned to visit Metz Cathedral here but all I got was a fleeting glimpse as the coach drove past it, not quite the same thing.  With longer drives than planned and shorter stays in the parks as a result, things were not going well at all. But hey ho, lessons learnt.

Anyway, onto France for 2 parks.

The first was Walygator Park, which through it's years has been a Smurf Park, two Wallaby Parks and now a Walygator Park.

It was fairly obvious early on that the park was not going to be busy and was in need of some TLC in places.

Still, some nice touches of theming did remain, such as this Andy Huckle unfriendly entrance to Anaconda, the park's wooden coaster. We'd be riding that in a bit.

First up was a kiddy apple coaster, which I'm not going to say too much about because to do so would be just sad. We rode it, that's all.

The actual reason to come to this park was to ride Monster, the park's new B&M inverted coaster. This had been purchased from Osaka Expoland in Japan, That park had to close following the derailing of it's stand up coaster which killed some folk. Japan's loss was now France's gain.

Our ERS here was short lived however as we were asked to leave the station after only a couple of goes. I think something had got lost in the translation to the ride operator, who was a really nice guy despite the confusion.

The coaster can't be photographed easily as it runs outside the main park but it's an excellent coaster and benefits from having no mid-course brake whatsoever making the second half of the ride intense and leaving my feet suffering from pins and needles every time I returned to the station. The forces were clearly pushing the blood down into my feet...and there aren't many coasters that are allowed to do that.

A cute variation of the hook the duck game.

Ananconda is the wooden coaster and whilst nowhere near as bad as Bandit it was still a bit rough. We'd been spoiled by El Toro earlier in the trip I think. There has been a clear step change in the latest generation of wooden coasters. Still this was enjoyable enough to ride over and over.

"Hey Monkey, Kiss My Ass"

Anaconda is a little easier to photograph than Monster but still suffers from the problem of it running at the edge of the park, so there are only a couple of places where you can photo the ride, none of which are the drops.
I liked the carved faces on the tables.

The park killed this animatronic moose that was found close to the park. They then had the head mounted here as a trophy.

Strange little clown ride.

Again some nice theming on this water ride. It immortalises the day a nearby village nearly almost their biggest soup in France trophy, a title they had held for 3 generations. Apparently the vessel fell off it's supports and if it hadn't been for 4 local villagers who sacrificed the skin on their backs to keep it upright the title would have gone to another village.

The yellow building is just theming for a drop tower ride, which was not running on the day we were there. In fact this part of the park had seen better days. The haunted castle building in the background is their haunted walkthrough.

It opened late, but did open and was average; certainly no Tibidabo beater, which still holds the title of "Malcolm's scariest walkthrough".

The park's big steel coaster was surprisingly not too bad despite it being made by Vekoma. It's called Waly Coaster, and you'd have to be a wally to ride it.

If you're visiting this park as part of a group then the shooting ride attraction is probably the best attraction for you all to have fun in. There are around 15 horses that you ride whilst shooting targets on a screen. The system keeps scores and should put the winners face up on screen. But that wasn't working, or perhaps they didn't want to put my face up given it was me who'd won.

Clearly bored, some of the group decide to kill time on the monorail.

Having whistle stop toured around the park and finding quite a bit of it down, we headed back to Monster for some more riding.

Heading out of the park now. If the drop tower wasn't open there would be little chance of the topple tower being open either, and I was right. This had been down for some time. In fact these rides must be one of the worst operating rides. I've only ever seen it working at one park that has it.

Excellent theming again on the carousel. I've never come across such a cool looking variant as this.

and the park even has a bit of blue for the dads (TM Peter Kay). For those into Anime there are sinister Hentai overtones with this poster too.

Like the carousel, I'd never seen this variation of the tea cup rides either. For fans of pink obviously.

Heading out I saw this poster which perhaps gives some clue as to why the park has become a pale shadow of it's former self. I'm going to guess that they're not getting the revenue from paying visitors and are dependant on the money being sourced from sponsors.

Something is clearly right though if they've been able to purchase a B&M, albeit at a considerable cheap rate. They've also bought Expoland's mouse coaster although that is yet to be erected in the park. Whilst I can't recommend the park as a stand-out one it is worth the visit to see how a B&M runs without the restricting mid-course brake. With that omissions Monster has become one of my favourite rides of this type. There's no theming like Nemesis or Black Mamba, but it it's forces offer a one-of-a-kind experience.

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