Staff at the park were given exclusive rides last Wednesday, before The Ride to Happiness by Tomorrowland began a three-week ‘trial’ on 1 July. Everyone that samples the spinning coaster between now and 21 July will be presented with a ‘Certificate of Happiness’ as proof they were one of the first passengers.
Built at a cost of €17.5 million, the attraction is the first Extreme Spinning Coaster in Europe from Mack Rides, and only the second worldwide. The original can be found at Silver Dollar City in the United States.
Over an action-packed layout of almost 1km in length, Plopsaland guests will experience two launch sequences. They will reach a maximum height of 35m and hit a top speed of 90km/h as they race through five inversions. The 4-seater cars (four per train) rotate freely, giving riders a different experience every time. The experience is heightened by an exclusive soundtrack.
In keeping with the event it is inspired by, The Ride to Happiness by Tomorrowland features some fantastical theming. The attraction anchors a wider Tomorrowland zone at Plopsaland De Panne, which also features a pond, food outlets and a shop.
The world-famous celebration of dance music traditionally takes place each July in Boom near Antwerp, about two hours from De Panne. Due to the pandemic, the festival has not happened since 2019, making The Ride To Happiness an even more special experience for Tomorrowland fans.
Also new for 2021 at Plopsaland is the world’s first Plopsa Hotel, which opened at the start of the season in May. As the images here show, it is highly themed.
This is proving to be a vintage year for the nation’s theme park thrill-seekers since Walibi Belgium recently opened the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the Benelux. Kondaa, by Intamin, was built at a total cost of €25 million.
As the Plopsa Group pushes ahead with new joint ventures in Poland and the Czech Republic, it also recently opened a second waterpark in Belgium.
Plopsaqua Landen-Hannuit represents an investment of €25 million and was built in collaboration with the Walloon city of Hannut and the Flemish city of Landen. It was officially opened in June in the presence of mayors from both cities alongside the Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon, Walloon Minister President Elio Di Rupo, and Plopsa CEO Steve Van den Kerkhof.
Like the original Plopsaqua in De Panne, the indoor/outdoor waterpark includes a 25m swimming pool intended for use by the local community. The recreational area features such fun attractions as a 19-metre Sky Drop slide, Wild River, wave pool, indoor and outdoor playhouses, an outdoor pool, a kids pool, hot tubs, outdoor pool, sunbathing area and sauna.
The park is themed on Plopsa/Studio 100 characters Maya the Bee and Bumba the clown, with scenic lighting changing the atmosphere at different times of the day. Van den Kerkhof says he is hoping for an annual attendance of around 400,000.
Images courtesy of Plopsa Group and Maxime Van Kerckhoven