"How much airtime do you want?"

Walibi Holland: "Yes."

I want to start by saying I had SUCH an incredible time at Walibi Holland and it exceeded my expectations by miles with every corner I turned and every coaster I rode. It was one of the most soul-filled, characterful and buzzing atmospheres I’ve had the pleasure of being in, and I can only imagine what it’s like at night over their Halloween event. 

Why did I go?

After visiting Phantasialand and Europa Park earlier this year, I’ve become obsessed with European theme park travelling and desperately wanted to squeeze in one more trip before the end of the year. Whilst Untamed, the RMC coaster at Walibi Holland probably swayed me in that direction just to see what the fuss was about (it’s bloody good, more on that later), I’m sure I would have had just as fab of a time were it not there. Most people flock there for Untamed, but I found myself having the time of my life just as much on Lost Gravity, Goliath and even the log flume!

The Park

The park is green and beautiful, the staff are friendly and helpful, not a slither of queue jumping, the music, the merch, the operations – there was nothing to complain about during my experience.

Walibi Holland just felt like it had its act together. Well-integrated systems such as the alternating back row for fast passers on Untamed and Goliath made everything seem fair and organised (they basically keep the back row closed on every other train for fast passers, meaning you can still wait for back row if you want to), your own choice of where to sit and a photo pass for 3 on-ride photos.

A grand front entrance that treats you to a view of Goliath just standing there looking fierce.

Travel and accommodation

Travel to the park from the UK was easy and enjoyable. I flew from Manchester to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (which is a lovely airport), took a train to Harderwijk Station (with a short changeover at Amersfoort Station), and then it’s a 20 minute ride on the 247 bus to the park gates (that’s bus number 247, it is not 24 hours 7 days a week). Be aware that the 247 bus is the only bus that takes you to the park and only operates on days when the park is open. We went down on a Friday in September when the park is only open weekends, so had to take a taxi. It was pricey (€55) but the service was professional, friendly and it was our only option!

We stayed in a house in Walibi Village, a really cute accommodation village right next to the park entrance. While more expensive than it probably would have been to stay in a hostel or elsewhere, it was definitely the most convenient option as the park isn’t particularly close to any central destination. Staying there allowed me to really get a feel for the whole place and not leave the immersion of the trip (and I just love waking up to the sight of coasters!), something which I absolutely recommend stretching for at Europa Park, as their on-site hotels are utterly fantastic and really kept the magic going during the whole trip.

Express Platform 13

I’ll say it. This is the best queue line I have ever seen. It blew Wodan’s, Arthur’s and Mystery Castle’s queue line experiences out of the water. It was more of a walkthrough attraction itself than a queue line, with parts that were literally like a scaremaze and had us, people ahead of us and people behind us screaming and it was so fab. Walking through corridors of trick flooring and jump scare effects in almost pitch black was the perfect way to start my morning. You then stop at a corridor of doors, lightning flashes and thundering train sounds, where each door opens to reveal the train in front of you, sitting empty and ready for your embarkation.

I found the coaster itself to be fun. It may be just a Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster clone outside and have a lot of ‘dead spots’, but I found the launch still packs a punch in that tunnel and is a great way to break the coaster seal and start your day at the park, as this is the only ride you can access at the start of the day before the doors in the lobby open to the rest of the park.

Favourite seat: front row.

Speed of Sound

I’d never actually been on a Vekoma Boomerang before. Often being a bit of a cred on concrete, this one was really well dressed up to take it beyond that. And it was really fun. Initially I thought the vest restraints were terribly uncomfortable, however going up the backwards lift hill I discovered that if I leant forward I was actually able to comfortably lean on the vest and dangle my legs, creating a pretty thrilling and almost-Oblivion-style first drop (it felt steeper than it looks I swear!) The rest was an intense blur of inversions, but a fun one. I only went on this once in the middle of the train so I didn’t get to sample the difference in front or back, but I imagine the back to give an even more thrilling first drop.

Lost Gravity

Not going to lie, I went onto Lost Gravity expecting to love it. Airtime and hangtime are my favourite things and I knew it was packed with both of those. What I didn’t know it had was such a brilliant queue line, atmosphere, special effects that make you crap yourself and the most ridiculous first drop I’ve ever experienced. My first ride was on the left edge seat and my goodness does your breath get stolen from you as you whip 180 degrees down that vertical drop in an instant.

This coaster roars around the track, creating airtime out of nothing and hangtime that actually scared even me (and I sat upside down on Blast for 25 seconds, more on THAT later). It’s violent. Intense. Relentless. It’s everything I love in a coaster and more. One of my particular favourite moments is not only the unapologetically intense bunny hill at the bottom of the first drop, or the floaty tilting top hat that makes you not know which way you’re going to fall, but is floating through the zero G roll over an explosion of water. Anyone that knows me knows I’m a sucker for water/mist/smoke effects combined with coasters (hello Icon), and nothing quite says Joy Sequence to me like hanging upside down with water splashing at you. My only complaint is that the water wasn’t enough! I managed to get a slight sprinkle to the forehead when sitting on the right edge front row seat, however I am told on hotter days they pump up the power. I personally wish it splashed every rider every time no matter the temperature for maximum shock factor! Although I’m aware it’s probably just me who wants that.

The atmosphere around the ride and in the queue is fantastic. Pumping drum and bass music really gets your adrenaline going and works perfectly for the ride, walking through various tunnels displaying theming of gravity having been lost, dramatic bursts of fire from towers around you that had people in the queue screaming every time. It was all done so well. The fantastic train designs also make this ride, the freedom of your legs dangling on the edge seats makes for a really intense experience that actually had me scared at several moments throughout this fantastic layout of a coaster.

Favourite seat: front left edge.

Goliath

An Intamin beast, a coaster type I hadn’t ridden before, and it didn’t disappoint. Standing like a modest Millennium Force’s smaller sibling, this confident coaster packs a punch. The trains are nice and open, making you feel every bit of speed and ejector hill. The first drop on the back row with hands up offers some serious thrill, leading straight up into a massive ejector airtime hill before an awesome stengel dive that tips you to the side more than we expected. The two helixes were a lot more bearable than I feared G-force-wise (as I don’t enjoy sustained positive G’s particularly much), and soaring over the water is an exhilarating experience before flying out of your seat on three punchy ejector airtime hills.

Favourite seat: back row.

Untamed

Having seen a lot of RMCs through screens and hearing endless praise about them, I was extremely curious to experience one. I had my first ride early in the morning, front row, I distinctly remember it being so smooth and silent it was almost weird, it made butter seem rough, the train floated and bounced through the elements as if it were a simulation. It was extremely graceful, reserved, teasing a nice bit of floater over each hill, and I could immediately tell it was going to be insane once it had warmed up an hour or so later. 

A couple of hours later I went for my second ride and sat towards the back. It was a completely different experience from the early morning ride. Every single twist, turn and hump was ejector, ejector, ejector. Being pulled down that first drop at the back row, my stomach left my body, launched out of the seat, screaming for my life and feeling like I’m about to faceplant the track below before being whipped back up and out of my seat again (you really don’t spend much time in your seat on this) over a micro bunny hill. It’s pretty impossible to ride this without laughing maniacally all the way around and WOO’ing on every single airtime hill. They just keep coming. Hell, even the seemingly tiny dip down and up into the break run manages to absolutely throw you up from the seat twice.

I adored the queue line. The longer queues I did for it were approaching an hour and it went by like nothing. The area is ridiculously serene and well done, creating a bizarre contrast between jazzy-chillstep music in the queue with a wild coaster screaming around you, and it worked perfectly. I was also pretty obsessed with the station audio and synchronised lighting, the blend of tweeting birds with dramatic drums of doom creates a fantastic contrast and really gets you excited and on edge. I was seriously impressed with the art direction and attention to detail with the atmosphere and stylisation of this ride.

My only gripe with this one (and it’s a general RMC thing) is the trains/restraints. I understand why they are the way they are, but I’d love them to come up with a revised train design that doesn’t require the shin guard. I found it SLIGHTLY took away from the enjoyment as I found myself aware of it and its discomfort a lot throughout the ride (my smaller-legged friend didn’t have this complaint so it might also be a taller people thing, although I am only 5’11”-6ft), but I am also a big fan of leg room on a coaster and find restraint comfort makes quite a difference to my enjoyment, hence why Silver Star (the comfiest thing I think I’ve ever sat on) still sits at my number 1 with this at number 2 (shock horror?)

Favourite seat: back row.

Blast

Hoping to get some Ripsaw nostalgia, I was very unfortunate to ride this thing with an employee of the park I met up with who decided to tell the operator NOT to do “the bad sequence that makes people throw up” (out of a possible 8 different sequences), so of course the op chose that one. I would liken my experience on this ride to being tortured. It could have legitimately been used as a torture device. The sequence ends with a stalled hang upside down for about 25 seconds (I think I’m not exaggerating, but time did stand still), before lifting half way up at 0.2mph to go back down at 0.2mph, all whilst still being held upside down. It took a good while for me to feel like some blood had returned to the rest of my body. Nearly cried but still slightly loved it deep deep DEEP down somewhere dark.

Favourite seat: the viewing bench.

Other rides

Not only is one of the coasters worth going for alone, but the park is fully padded out with lots of flat rides and water rides, even after 2 full days in the park I didn’t do everything (albeit I was prioritising Untamed/Goliath/Lost Graity re-rides over the S&S Shot Tower).

Log flume – Surprisingly fun for a hidden flume, this flume has a backwards drop and surprisingly intense double down end drop that had me smashing into the person in front who was luckily my friend (and you don’t get too wet at the back of the log).

Rapids – Nicely themed queue line and an organised on-load off-load system, a pleasant journey through the woods with the odd splash here and there.

Tomahawk – I usually hate big swinging things (I nearly cried on that Claw thing at Lightwater Valley), but this wasn’t that bad. A bit nauseating and dizzying but if you like spinning things you’ll be reet.

Condor – The infamous pain machine by some, the 2nd oldest Vekoma SLC in the world. Being a replica of Infusion at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and me not being friends with her anymore, I decided to give this one a miss for the sake of the conch and rook piercings in my ears.

Merlin’s Magic Castle – A wonderfully themed and atmospheric Vekoma Madhouse with cute owl animatronics. I’d say it was a little bit more spinny than Hex at Alton Towers (the only other one I’ve been on) and the sequence was done well to make you feel heavy and light at times where the room didn’t look to be moving. Spookyness.

Have you visited Walibi Holland?