Walibi Rhône-Alpes

19th August 2006

In my diary for Thursday, I commented that Walibi Sud-Ouest was overpriced. The tickets, though expensive, were nevertheless cheaper than Walibi Rhône-Alpes, where a single day admission costs twenty five euro. This money clearly hasn't been used on staff efficiency, but more on that later.

The operation of Boomerangs follows a standard pattern all around the world, with one exception, and that exception can be found at Walibi Rhône-Alpes. At the end of Boomerang (#898), when the train should be stopping in the station, it doesn't. Rather, it is slowed just enough to prevent it re-entering the boomerang element for a second time. Riders in the front of the train almost enjoy an additional inversion, while those in the back an additional large drop. Amazingly, just as with Walibi Sud-Ouest, this particular installation was actually comfortable. Maybe the Walibi engineers know something that everyone else doesn't!

Zig Zag (#899) had a twenty minute wait, but given its capacity this was hardly surprising, and not the parks fault. However, the operator on Coccinelle des Andes (#900) was entirely to blame for the thirty five minute wait, during which an amazing seven trains were dispatched. After the third cycle I decided to time the events with a stopwatch, so here they are for posterity:

  • 0:00: Train arrives in station.
  • 0:10: Lap bars released. Riders begin to unload.
  • 0:56: Unload complete. Operator begins walking back to entrance.
  • 1:14: Operator allows first people through entrance.
  • 2:52: Gate is shut. Three cars are empty.
  • 3:15: Operator begins checking lap bars.
  • 3:38: Train dispatched.
  • 4:48: Train arrives in station.

What makes this so ridiculous was the fact that the station was equipped with air gates, making it entirely reasonable to get two people standing at each of these while the train was out on course. Given the above this could probably have doubled throughput, if not more.

 

Fraispertuis City

19th August 2006

One has to question the sanity of attempting to drive from Walibi Rhône-Alpes all the way north to Fraispertuis City in the middle of the day. The journey basically requires five hours, and while we managed to cover it in a little less it was still a very tedious way to spend an afternoon. In the planning stages of this trip the aim was to finish with this park before flying out of the nearest airport, which happened to be in Germany. Unfortunately, this would have meant an additional five hundred euro charge on the car rental. To avoid that, it was necessary to rearrange the trip to finish in Lyon.

Fraispertuis City

Fortunately, the extra drive proved to be well worth the trip, as Grand Canyon (#901) turned out to be an excellent coaster. The latter section of the ride, which was added three years after opening, traverses a mountain like structure, which appears not altogether dissimilar from a certain well known attraction in Marne-la-Vallée. Unusually, however, this structure is shared with two other rides; a children's attraction and the Mine D'Or dark ride.

The dark ride was rather unusual, it must be said. It began with a slow outdoor monorail section, with no theming whatsoever. This is followed by an animatronic reading a copy of Le Monde in the bathroom while making the expected scatological noises. It was only once the cars moved indoors that things became worthwhile, with some high quality animatronics showing excellent attention to detail.

One final point of note was the service in the restaurant, where patrons were handed a pager type device that would light up and buzz when your meal was ready for collection. This was an altogether excellent idea, and far better than yelling out numbers (in French, of course) across a crowded and noisy restaurant.

2006


Walibi Rhône-Alpes

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Fraispertuis City

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