Le Pal20th August 2006
As a seasoned trip planner, it is usually possible for me to determine in advance how much time I will need in a park. From time to time, however, I get it wrong, and sometimes spectacularly so. Le Pal looked from the web site like it could be completed in two hours, a gross underestimation that proved particularly frustrating as there was no opportunity to correct the blunder. Aer Lingus would not be waiting for me at Lyon airport, so the departure time was fixed.
The signature coaster in the park is possibly the best themed ride I've ever seen outside of a Disney park. The station for Azteca (#902) was in the mould of a temple, and the trains had theming on both front and rear. The course itself wound through landscaped jungle, following the terrain very closely. In short, it was a superb little coaster, marred only by a low capacity of eight passengers per train. On the other hand, Tigre de Sibérie (#903) was unremarkable to the extreme, and far too short to build up much excitement. Two drops do not a coaster make, especially when slow loading speed has resulted in an entirely unnecessary thirty minute wait.
We could happily have spent the rest of the day on the major coaster, but there wasn't enough time to ride it even once more thanks to large crowds. Instead, we decided to explore to see what else was on offer. The park covers quite a large area, with animal exhibits amidst the rides. Speaking of rides, quite a crowd had gathered to observe some pretty dramatic events in the chimpanzee enclosure, spoilt only by a staff member yelling at the (four) protagonists in French, presumably along the lines of chercher une salon!
The obligatory log flume and rapids rides were present, at least one of which, based on the evidence of other patrons, appeared to be drenching. There were also a handful of family spin and spew rides, many of which had been carefully themed to fit into the surrounding landscape.
All too soon it was time to head for the car, a two hour drive to the airport marking the end of a four day trip. It would be remiss of me to close without mentioning one minor fact, however; in four days, we covered a total of 2528km (or 28:16 in time!), quadrupling the clock on the rental car. The staff member who signed the vehicle in was not amused at the distance covered, even less so when I pointed out the unlimited clause in the rental conditions!