Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to Germany to meet up with friends of mine over there. These trips, of course included theme parks!
Heide park is South of Hamburg and North of Hannover near the town of Soltau. The park is owned by Merlin but could have been made by Rollercoaster tycoon. The combination of flat rides, various uncommon water rides as well as a few great roller coasters.
Before I talk about those great rollercoasters, the park also has some not so great coasters. Not meaning to put a downer on Vekoma but they have an SLC, which in my opinion are a fantastic layout but just too uncomfortable, they also have an old Vekoma corkscrew rollercoaster which to be fair wasn't as shaky as I expected.
So let's skip to the good bit: Desert race, an intamin rocket coaster with almost the same layout as RITA at alton towers but with actual themeing unlike RITA. The control box, for example is perched inside a helicopter cockpit. To those unfamiliar with the layout of RITA, it is basically a launch into a figure 8 with one extra loop where every time the tracks cross in the middle there is an airtime hill. The launch is good but not brutal, the positive G's through the turns are fun and the airtime is proper out of your seat negative G's. The one thing the ride misses is any real height, at its highest point it is less than 100ft and with a 60mph launch this means there is not much variation in speed, it needs the top hat element, that would give the ride pace and breathing space, I wish that they had added RITA to the end of Stealth at Thorpe park, that would have made a ride greater than the sum of its parts.
Schweizer Bobbahn was one of the surprises of the trip. A bobsleigh rollercoaster with the station in a typical Swiss building, so far so normal. The ride goes on forever! Three lift hills, tunnels, hills, multiple helices an absolutely insane ride that uses the best of its topography situated on the top of a hill to give a long ride in an unexpected order. My favourite bobsleigh rollercoaster and I don't know that another could beat it.
I like Oblivion at alton towers, it's a short one trick pony that does its trick well with good themeing and extensive landscaping. I liked Krake at Heide Park more. As dive coasters from B&M go, this is a small one, 6 across seating and 3 rows. The layout is pretty standard faire, holding brake, vertical drop, Immelmann, bunny hop. However it is the moments in between these elements that add to much to the ride. The vertical drop plunges through the mouth is a sea monster whilst it is in the midst of devouring a ship. You then burst out of the ship skidding over water throwing out rooster tails pluming 50ft in the air behind you. Having the Immelmann straight after this means you look up and see the plume of water chasing the train as you loop over and above it.
The newest addition to Heide Parks coaster line up is Flug der Dämonen (demon flight) a gothic themed wing rider.
My only wing rider to compare this rollercoaster to is The Swarm at thorpe park. It begins with the diving loop drop similar to Swarms but with a faster transition, missing out on the hangtime at 100ft up. Following is a bunny hop sadly missing any great airtime. The layout that follows besides one Immelmann is mainly zero g rolls interspersed with fan turns. It stays close to the ground so the sense of speed is amplified however in terms of a dynamic layout with the scenery interaction that wing riders are famous for, it sorely loses out. Don't get me wrong, it is a good ride, well paced and smooth as silk, it just doesn't match up visually or physically to its big brother at Thorpe Park.
The Jewel in Heide Parks crown is Colossus.
Unfortunately in the UK we lack new wooden rollercoasters being built, so to sample the prototype Intamin prefab was a big deal.
it is currently the tallest sodden rollercoaster in the world, standing over 180ft tall and is an imposing sight of huge airtime hills going off into the distance.
Colossus gives floater airtime on the drops, smooth positive G's at the bottom of the hills and huge ejector air over the crests of the hill. The turnaround is a downward curve with great lateral G forces. The ride finishes up with a helix followed by ever diminishing bunny hops.
It is a great ride, far and away the best wooden rollercoaster I have been on, I would love to sample some of the later Intamin woodies which explore more of the twister type of wooden rollercoaster as opposed to the straight out and back Colossus.
I would highly recommend a trip to Heide park, a great selection of rollercoasters, large amount of flat rides and water rides, I would recommend looking for discounts, when I went we managed to get a buy one get one free entry offer the day before just by searching online.