Thanks to Jo and the Benelux Division for arranging for the ECC to take part in the Heide Park Fandays event last weekend, and also to Richard who was the Club's man on the ground. The event itself was laid on by the Heide Park Fan Club, and attracted a huge number of people from all over Europe: there were over 200 taking part in the ERS on Flug der Dämonen.
Over the weekend we were treated to a backstage tour of Flug, a walk around the park with an expert Heide park historian, a tour of one of their Halloween scare mazes, lunch and a marketing presentation (in German, but there were pretty pictures ... in fact this was the only time the Merlin corporate machine reared its head, so I guess we can allow them half an hour of our time), dinner and an overnight stay in Hotel Port Royal and, after the first was curtailed due to a massive thunderstorm, two ERSes on Flug der Dämonen ... which unhelpfully promptly broke down on the second session.
I found Flug der Dämonen to be inferior to The Swarm - it runs too slowly and only really speeds up in the rain, there's a lack of near-misses after the initial dive under the ride shop, and there's a very rough patch at the back half of the ride. Of course, that's B&M rough, which I've invented "bouncy rough" to describe, rather than anything uncomfortable like SLC rough (although talk to Malcolm Marr about that). On the positives, the station looks great, and the ride has a proper ending, successfully making it back into the station the correct way around without the "erm ... guys, it's facing the wrong way ... oh just click autocomplete on RCT" style ending of The Swarm.
It was my first visit to Heide Park and I thought the rest of the park looked very scenic. My ride highlight was Krake, the B&M Dive Coaster. Some people moan about it being to short, etc, etc, but in general dive coasters are. I thought it did its thing better than Oblivion and the dive into the ship was brilliantly themed, giving a much better effect than Oblivion's concrete hole.
The surprise of the trip was Krake Live, the park's year-round scare maze. I'd assumed it would be a bit rubbish like Thorpe's Saw maze, or worse that they'd just recycled the old Curse maze from Fright Nights. Instead, it was much more impressive with some nice theming and attention to detail. OK, so there weren't hundreds of actors, but the smattering of them they did have were good value - I didn't realise you could make quite so much noise with a simple kitchen pan.
Overall, a fun weekend. It was a pity not more people from the ECC came along - I'd definitely recommend it if we do another fan day tie up next year!
Here's my video from the event:
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