Heide Park

5th May 2014

Today's visit to Heide Park was only ever going to be an abbreviated one, due to a mid-afternoon flight from Hannover. Given that, I left my hotel with what should have been enough time to get to the park thirty minutes prior to opening. Unfortunately, I'd not counted on a major stau on the A2 that took almost two hours to get through. I wasn't in a particularly good mood when I finally arrived at the park, but I cheered up considerably when it became apparent that the parking area was almost empty.

Heide Park

Flug der Dämonen (#2041) is the latest installation of the Wing Coaster concept from B&M, and it's a winner. The ride begins with an inversion off the top of the lift hill, as pioneered at Thorpe Park, and continues with some brilliant near-miss moments and a series of graceful and effortless inversions. The front seat had a slight edge over the back for me, largely due to the visual effect of racing towards relatively small gaps, but both ends of the train were excellent. Better yet, the ride length feels just right, a definite improvement over the half-coaster added to the park a few years ago.

The ride was a walk-on today, but only just, thanks to extremely slow loading procedures. Two trains were in use, but guests were only being allowed into the station after the previous train had been parked, and even then, the air gates were kept closed until an operator had checked that each row had precisely two people in it. While I didn't time the dispatch interval, it was of the order of one train every five minutes, which would have been poor for one train operation, let alone two. I can scarcely imagine how long the wait time could be if the enormous cattle grid area was full.

I caught a quick ride on the Schweizer Bobbahn, which was running well today, albeit with the same significant vibration that I wrote about in 2009. It's worth noting that the ride is over twenty years old now, however, so this is perhaps forgivable.

The theming on Krake has been enhanced somewhat since my last visit, with the vertical drop now partially enclosed by a large monster with vicious looking teeth. The result looks superb, but unfortunately doesn't solve the major issue with the ride, namely its length. Worse yet, the appallingly slow loading speed makes queueing for it an exercise in frustration; the two three-car trains were stacking on the brake run every single time. One might have hoped that the park would have learned how to operate a B&M efficiently after three years of operation, but apparently not.

My last coaster of the day was Colossos, which has been restored to its former glory, tracking smoothly with an abundance of airtime. The only catch was, again, the loading speed; the single functional train was dispatching every six minutes today, resulting in an entirely unnecessary half hour queue.