Attraction Review - Plopsaland de Panne

Top of the list of European theme parks you can easily visit in a day - Plopsaland de Panne! The largest of the Plopsa parks, Plopsaland de Panne is located just 35 mins North of Calais and super easy to get to using the ferry and driving. I'll write a detailed plan of how to get there in a future post!

So yh, visited here loads of times before and it's actually incredible how far this park has come! When I first visited back in 2009 the park was just your standard European family park. Anubis, a family launched Gerstlauer coaster (it's fab) was brand new that year and it was my first experience of a Plopsa park. Since then I've actually now visited every single one of their parks and can easily say that Plopsaland de Panne is the best by a long way - clearly the flagship park!

Why were we back? To ride Heidi the Ride of course! After much faff and planning woe and god knows what else, this family GCI wooden coaster finally opened properly this year so was the perfect excuse to take a trip across the channel. Well, that and I was secretly gagging to see the new Princessia castle because you know I love that fantasy shit.

We pulled up at the car park at around 10AM local time after a ferry from Dover at gross-o-clock including some drunk Scousers which was entertaining! Obviously the biggest change now is that when you pull into the car park you're immediately met with what is easily the best view of Heidi as it snakes its way around the edge of the park. Because of how close the park is to the local community the coaster is sadly panelled all the way along. This is annoying for two reasons. Firstly, it's ugly af. Secondly, it makes it really hard to get good pics of!

We slithered through the giant door, took a selfie (as is compulsory) and wandered over to the Batflyer coasters to meet up with the rest of the group joining us for the CoasterForce Live meet up! I'll be honest, because I've visited this park so many times I didn't ride tons on this day, I think I actually spent more time taking pics and wandering around. The Batflyers are cool in that they're an unusual kind of cred but honestly the throughput is dire and the ride isn't amazing so I was quite content taking some snaps whilst I waited for the others to ride.

You can tell that there's been a load of TLC in the park recently. Despite having opened in 1935, everything feels so bright and colourful and new! Everything from the morning staff uniforms with their pastel colour palette to the spruced up theming all around you. It's so vibrant and wonderful, a really pleasant park to just be in.

We then wandered around to the Dragon coaster which is one of my favourite themed areas in any theme park (weird I know). I literally have no idea why, I just absolutely adore the castle theming and think it feels really immersive. I love how the rides all interact and now with the addition of Heidi in the background cornering off the car park this area feels beautiful and enclosed. LOVE!

Despite it being a Saturday in July, the park was actually really tolerable as far as crowds go. We never queues for than 20 mins for anything which is a testament to how well Plopsa operate!

Next up it was time to tick off the kiddie creds for those who hadn't ridden. The first is a Vekoma Rollerskater that goes THROUGH A GIANT WASHING MACHINE. Because, why not? Europe is so unashamedly weird sometimes and I absolutely live for it. As far as the coaster goes, it's your standard Rollerskater affair, nothing really to report on there!

We also rode Viktor's Race which did a Hulk a few years ago and replaced pretty much all of the track. And because I'm a credit whore, this is obviously a new cred. Yay!

Yaaay finally it was time to get an up close look at the Princessia castle! Lord knows why I'm so obsessed with it but omg it's SO PRETTY! It houses a character dining experience with the Princessia TV Show characters (one of the many Studio 100 IPs represented at the Plopsa properties) as well as a beautifully themed teacups ride in the conservatory area. Despite being slightly on the miniature side, I fell in love. It's like if the Disneyland Paris castle and Mystic Manor had a baby. Everything about the design is stunning and honestly I could have spent the whole day running around staring at it. Fab!

Finally it was time to reride Anubis! Back in the day when I was basic and uncultured, this coaster was in my Top Ten. And whilst since then I've ridden loads that would put it to shame, it's still a really great little coaster. The rolling launch packs an exhilarating punch and the airtime on the tophat is like a scaled back Dodonpa. Mix this in with an interesting layout weaving through the trees and you're definitely onto a winner.

It was at this point we realised it was only midday and we'd absolutely smashed all of the main rides! We inhaled some lunch (European sausage rolls and donuts ftw!) over at Vickiland, which is an excellently themed viking area based on the Studio 100 show Vicki the Viking including an extended Disko coaster. This is another example of Plopsa really bringing their A-game when it comes to their recent additions - an easy contender with the big boy theme parks in Europe!

No trip to Plopsaland is complete without a ride on the Forest of Plop (yes that's actually what it's called lol). This is a classic boat-in-the-dark style ride that throws back to Plopsaland's pre-Studio 100 days. It's cute, has a few surprises here and there but when you've been to places like Efteling it's hard to really be impressed with something like this.

Next up we played with some cute fluffies on the farm! Here's something else I love about Europe - they had a tractor ride surrounded by real goats who have the freedom to just roam where they like. Kind of mad considering that'd be an absolutely H&S no-no here in the UK. And any park that lets me hug baby goats as part of my ticket entry is fine by me.

The rest of the group took a ride on the SuperSplash whilst I grabbed a few more shots of fabulous Anubis and then it was time for some re-rides. And for us that meant finally taking a ride on Heidi! Everyone had been going on and on about how fab the area is but I'm sad to say I don't agree. It's fine. The thing I don't really love about it is the use of random fibreglass figures of characters around the show plonked around. Realistically it's some nice looking wooden buildings and that's kind of it? It's not horrible or anything, it's just nothing to write home about.

So, the coaster then. Well if you've ridden White Lightning you'll have a pretty good idea of how this rides because it's pretty much exactly the same. I'd go as far to say that I actually prefer White Lightning? I don't know why but my memory of that is that it's faster and there's more airtime. I only got to ride Heidi a couple of times but it didn't fill me with joy. The complete opposite is of course true for the park's intended audience! The families were absolutely LOVING this coaster and with good cause. Like Anubis, it's the perfect 'bridging-the-gap' coaster to give older children the chance to take a step up thrill-wise. Plopsaland have their audience absolutely nailed and ride choices like this make that very apparent!

Finally we took a mooch around Maya Land before heading out. I absolutely LOVE Maya Land! It's a giant indoor area themed to bugs and woodland creatures with giant plants and log theming, slides and play areas and a few attractions too. Despite it being warm outside the place was absolutely swarming with families. We could 100% use something of this scale in the UK, it's absolutely stunning and families clearly love it!

And that was it for our day at Plopsaland de Panne! I'm so happy I've revisited and managed to ride Heidi, but the highlight for me was definitely the Princessia castle! I'm so excited to see how the park and its other properties continue to develop as Europe's premier theme park for families.

Talk later xoxo,