So to celebrate my 30th birthday, my boyfriend and his family surprised me with a last minute trip to the Netherland to visit Toverland for the first time. I’ve been aware of the park from the moment they built Booster Bike, but I never really felt the need to go until they decided to add a massive B&M Wing Rider (Fenix) to their line-up last year.
Getting there was pretty easy, a quick flight to Eindhoven and a taxi across to where we were staying. A Center Parcs just up the road. If you’ve been to a Center Parcs before you’ll know what to expect with this, a few lodges in the woods, it’s pretty peaceful and we were able to rent some bikes to get to Toverland in the morning. It was about 6km but in the morning sun and with the Netherlands being so incredibly equipped for cycling (sooo flat), it was a really pleasant journey. I also love seeing the sillouette of a coaster on the horizon whenever I approach a park, so it was nice to have time to soak that in.
Once we arrived and parked up the bikes we headed past the beast of a woodie Troy before getting our group photo and headed inside. I loved this entrance area, it felt clean and pleasant and looked great in the sunshine. The area had a port-like feel, abit like Port Aventura’s entrance but with abit more fantasy, I also loved how you can see all the major attractions on the skyline, I can’t even image what the old entrance would’ve been like without this view.
Being birthday boy, I got first choice of ride. And that massive GCI woodie was just begging to be ridden.
I’ve ridden two GCIs (Wickerman & Joris) so was fairly familiar to their design style, but I’ve been told numerous times that they are nothing compared to this monster. My first impression of the ride and the surrounding area is just how pretty and serene the area is. The queue entrance is by a massive trojan horse statue surrounded by ponds and beautiful greenery, nothing huge so that the view of the coaster is completely unobstructed.
This is where I came across my first gripe with the park.. ONE TRAIN OPS. I’ll admit for a sunny weekend day the park’s crowds were very light and we only had station waits. But when you have to wait for an entire cycle everytime, it got tedious. And with our group being fairly big and wanting to get rides together, it became abit of a lottery when loading into the bays and most the time we would have to wait an extra turn. I really really hope that as the park expands Toverland introduces bayloading staff and two train ops. Rant over.
As for Troy, jeez this thing steps up a notch! The speed is relentless, I swear GCI magic pacing out of nowhere. The whole ride is definitely more focused on lats than airtime, but still manages to cram in pops of it round every turn. I love the station flyby, and also how it manages to keep some of the most intense moments for right at the end. It’s one of those rides that leaves you breathless.
As I was warned, this is a fantastic woodie. It shows off how you can twist a traditional woodie into a coaster with intensity that virals some of the best out there. I did ride it later towards the front later on and found it a little headache inducting, but that may just be my age showing.
After a 40 minute bike ride and being pummelled by Troy we all decided it was probably best to go eat. We went into the oldest part of the park which is all enclosed in big green sheds. This is the Toverland I remember seeing in reports from back in the 00s, I was reminded just how much this park has expanded recently. It was also a great opportunity to try out all the crazy playgrounds and splash areas that are literally everywhere around the park. I kinda wish I had more time to piss about on these.
Next we went to ride the coaster I remember so vividly being built in a big empty field. It looks alot different now surrounded by the rest of the park, albeit a little bit out of place. The ride pokes out from beside the main indoor sections and goes up and around the new entrance plaza. The thin layout of the ride is in an area of limbo that seperates the Magic Valley and Ithaka, but I didn’t find it intrusive to either area.
The station is in dire need of “magic-ing up” to fit in with the rest of the area, but the ride itself is perfectly pleasant. I was worried that the riding position would be uncomfortable, but it actually felt nice and open, and the track was smooth. I honestly don’t have an awful lot to say about this ride. It’s not groundbreaking (well maybe it was as it was the first Vekoma bike coaster) and it feels a little pushed aside, but it’s fun, cute and enjoyable.
A decent fun ride that pushed Toverland in the direction it’s heading now. I think a small revamp to have the ride fit better into the area would do it wonders, but as it stands now it’s got enough personality and fun factor to keep going for now.
After mincing around the magic valley area of the park I convinced everyone it was time to head over to the new area, Avalon, and get a ride on their brand new shiny B&M that’s been teasing me all day, Fenix.
When you arrive in the area, it opens up in a beautiful view of the main attraction and a replica of excalibur in a stone. It’s such a fantastic introduction to the theme of the area. Merlin Quest a family boat ride gently moves beneath the coaster and the stunning IMAScore music is softly playing in the background. All-in-all it creates a really relaxing and magical atmosphere which I came to realise is Toverland’s brand, even with a hug B&M coaster towering over the area.
I followed the construction of this ride very closely last year as it stood out as one of the years most interesting projects. It’s unusual for a small park to invest in a large B&M coaster, esspecially a park that has focused a lot on family attractions, we saw it up the road at Efteling a few years back, but they had an established park behind them. Fenix feels like Toverland is shouting out to be recognised on the world stage.
They got the best in the industry together for this, with B&M’s impeccable rollercoaster design, Universal Rocks breathing the life into every detail of the theming and IMAScore creating a soundtrack that chances and moves with you and you explore Avalon. It all adds up to something that feels magic, I was utterly impressed with the detail here. I look forward to a few years down the line when the foliage grows in and the newish gleam wares off.
The new for 2019 aspect of the ride is a few small theming elements before the lift hill. I can’t say I was too impressed with this room. The glowing eyed monks looked awkward in a metal shed (you can clearly see it’s a shed) and didn’t really make sense. The ice dragon was cool though, hopefully they will keep on working on this room, as it has potential.
I managed a front row ride and another towards the middle, I would’ve liked to get on more, but this ride was the worst victim of the no-bayloaders and one train ops scenario (one ride took 20 minutes to get on and the queue was bays only.. due to a family faffing and re-riding.. urgh). As for the coaster, first off, it’s pretty high. In fact the whole experience is deceptively intense. It really whips down the wingover drop and gives a very different experience from The Swarm’s slow twist, next up is that air-time hill. That hill is a clear highlight, the combination of low lying fast air-time and a head/foot chopper is a great start. The next three elements are taken as a real pace, the positive Gs are high and the zero-g spins out some laterals which is unusual on a B&M.
After that the ride fizzles out a bit into the final brakes. It feels a bit short and maybe could’ve done with extending the final turns a bit or an inversion, but it still left me satisfied. There’s also something about wing coasters I find a bit awkward, the forces pull you in strange directions and I think these may be my least favourite B&M coaster model.
It’s got it’s flaws, I had very high expectations. The level of immersion and magic created here is outstanding and although I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite B&M, this whole project makes me excited to see Toverland’s future.
Next it was time to tackle the park’s MACK spinning coaster, D’wervelwind located over by Booster Bike. I’ve ridden the Spiderman coaster in IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai, which became an unexpected gem of my trip, so was happy to see another one of these.
You can tell that this ride is a perfect stepping stone between old Toverland where the park is heading now. It has a lovely magical feel to it and a fantastic soundtrack (that even plays on-ride). The station is lovely foliage covering the roof but also elements of fantasy laced in it all with glowing twirling plants and shimmer with every dispatch. The only complaint I have about how the ride is presented is that the actual bulk of the track is pretty much over an empty field, it would’ve suits some paths underneath maybe to get some non-rider interaction.
The ride itself is, again, deceptively intense, the first drop is pretty huge for a family coaster and it really flies through the layout and the first corner into the horseshoe-type element is nice a powerful. The rest of the layout is pretty family coastery. It’s buttery smooth, and easily the most comfortable ride in the park, I just think it could’ve done a little more, as you really slam into the final brakes at some speed.
This is a lovely little coaster that doesn’t get as much love with the other three coasters stealing the limelight, but it’s a perfect ride for familys and packs a nice bit of punch. I just wish the main ride area had some more detail to bring it more inline with the rest of the magic valley.
I was so impressed with this park, but not in a way I was expecting. Toverland has managed to create a park that balances between thrill and relaxation really well with enough to do for most tastes. I think the new areas are a massive step forward and will guide the park into the worldwide destination it clearly aims to be, and the older areas just need a little bit of attention to bring everything to that level. I don’t think they’re there yet, but I’m certain there’s more than enough skill and passion to get them there.