The second major new coaster in Belgium soft-opened last week: The Ride to Happiness by Tomorrowland. This Xtreme Spinning coaster by Mack now accepts riders for the first time in Europe. What can you expect from this Tomorrowland coaster?
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On a sunny day in De Panne, we stood at the front gates at 9 am. The park officially opened only one hour later but at 9h30, the gates opened and immediately you could go to the new Tomorrowland area at Plopsaland. There, a brand new ride awaited us. Would it really be a hype or just a new coaster with inversions for this family oriented park? For those that don’t know Tomorrowland, no we’re not talking about a themed area at a Disney park. It refers to one of the best musical festivals in the world all about dance music. But it’s much more than that. Imagine a fairytale and mysterious kind of vibe with very high theming so almost like a theme park really.
When stepping into the queue, it immediately became clear that this was not Plopsa like we’re used to. Sure, they do have quite some theming, but this is a different level. The queue takes you through a walk of the four elements: air, fire, earth and water. Although they haven’t finished it, already it know it looks really good. There’s two indoor areas (underneath the maintenance building and the station) and the outdoor queue really feels secluded from the park, except for the SuperSplash tower.
Once you arrive in the station, you’re greeted by one of the two trains that look stunning, just like the ones at Silver Dollar City. These ones however have onboard audio. Once seated, you can look up (only on one side however) to a small preshow announcing that “… you are now about a few steps away from happiness”.
Of course, the voice ends with the slogan of Tomorrowland: “Live Today, Love Tomorrow, Unite Forever”. With those words, you leave the station for a ride like you’ve never experienced before. You start of right away with the first inversion: a Heartline Roll. Obviously an eye-catcher for those waiting on the sides, not brave (or tall) enough to ride.
Just like Time Traveler, you stop on the first launch before actually getting a boost up to 90 km/h. Already here, you start to spin freely and if you are only three, expect quite some twisting! Especially front seat, you really feel the forces going up to that Outside Banked Turn. You can spot the North Sea, but probably not on your first ride.
Then you can brace yourself for the first drop from a height of 33 m. It might not seem tall, but you don’t have time to think about, especially back seat. The shape really triggers quite the ejector, especially if your seat spins in a certain way.
Once you can breathe again, you go through the Banana Roll, which during my several rides, this felt as the least exciting element. But from the ground, quite a sight to behold!
For those of you who have ridden Blue Fire (or a clone), you know how slow you go through the Looping? Well, here’s that not the case but I love how the view turns Belgium upside down, even if you can’t always see it due to the spinning. Side note here, it’s not the kind of spinning that will make you sick in my opinion.
Before you go to the second launch, there’s still the Zero-G Roll and a Twisted Airtime hill to entertain you. On top of that, if you’re lucky, you can feel the water of the SuperSplash passing by!
If you thought the first launch packed a punch, the second one feels just as powerful, if not more. For those of you who have ridden a PowerSplash, imagine it as the third launch (and potentially also backwards). That takes you up the Double Inverting Dive Loop which you can hit perfectly timed with the music. Not a heavy dance track but a tune inspired by the Hans Zimmer composed Tomorrowland Hymn.
The second part of the ride still maintains the pace well and the Double Dive might be my favorite element, especially in some ways of spinning. Plus it looks delicious!
What follows then? Lots of airtime! There’s three hills in total, with a small Dive turn after the first one. Also here, depending on how you spin, it really can feel like ejector! The last Air Time hills can be quite special with sideways airtime too.
That’s when you hit the brakes and wonder: wow, what just happened and where am I? I will be surprised if the first ride doesn’t dazzle you. Set your expectations curious like I did and you will not know what happened. What’s even more amazing is that every ride can be totally different, but you should have at least one killer moment each time. I mentioned it before, it’s hard to believe you are in Plopsaland when in that area. Especially now with limited capacity allowed. So everything considered, one of my favorite coasters ever ridden!
There’s more than just a coaster however! You can also enjoy a cocktail or tacos at the new Aperto food corner. Really enjoyed those last ones and there’s three choices: Korean Chicken, Pulled Pork or Mushrooms. Not cheap but quite delicious!
Overall, I feel very lucky to have this coaster so close to home. After Kondaa opening at Walibi Belgium and now The Ride To Happiness by Tomorrowland, Belgium finally has some world class coasters to offer! Plopsa will have to work a bit on bringing up the level up of all rides to match this incredible coaster. If you still doubt to visit the park, wait no longer as you don’t want to miss this!