Walygator Grand Est : Is This Project Too Ambitious?

During a trip in the east of France, we thought: “Why not go back to Walygator to see if it is as bad as it used to be.” So we did! We went back in July of 2020 to the infamous Walygator (now Walygator Grand-Est) mostly to get some rides on the B&M Monster Invert and to check if the park has gotten worse or better. Is Walygator a failed project that was too ambitious at the beginning? Let’s take a look and try to answer this question!

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Walygator is located in Maizière-les-Metz near Metz in the east of France. This is important to know as the location is one of the reasons which caused the park’s downfall. Everything in this park is oversized, you can feel the project was aiming at drawing large crowds. The parking is huge, the alleys in the park as well; the walk time between the entry and Monster feels way longer than it should have been.

Once you’ve entered the park, you pass under a glassroof where there are a few shops and restaurants. Then you arrive at a plaza and you are welcomed by a swinging chairs ride. You have the choice to go right or left. Usually most of the people will go right as it is the shortest way to get to Monster. We chose that way as well. Before arriving on the Monster midway, you will encounter one of the world’s most infamous coasters: Anaconda !

Once you are recovered from this horrible experience, you will find yourself standing in front of the best coaster of the park: Family Coaster! It is your classic wacky worm coaster but this one has a croc theme, challenging Iron Gwazi for the best croc themed coaster !

After getting the credit on Family Coaster, we finally could make our way to the main event of the day, the one and only worst looking B&M coaster, Monster. It is a B&M inverted coaster built in 1996 as Orochi in Expoland, Japan and which has since been relocated to Walygator after Expoland closed. The park’s direction, lead by the Douarins brothers at the time, bought the coaster and just put in a field.

The coaster is a clone of the famous Raptor at Cedar Point but it has a twist, there are no brakes mid-ride ! Which means the ride provides an intensified experience in the 2nd half! As for the rest, the ride is very forceful and whippy, the cobra roll gives you a big punch in the head if you don’t pay attention to it. The helix is very forceful as you feel the blood coming down in your legs!

Now let’s talk about a very bad aspect of Walygator being part of the Aspro group. Aspro is a chain which possess mainly water parks like the Aqualand parks in the south of France. As a consequence of this, Walygator is managed like a water park. The park has low-quality food offerings with just a few restaurants and snack kiosks. The prices are steep (around 15 euros for a meal with a burger and fries) and the quality of the food is bland at best. We queued at the restaurant for about an entire hour before we could eat. Another downside is that the investments for the park are cheap. There are no new rides and the maintenance of the existing ones is poor. One example that illustrate this is the board announcing G-Lock, the Zamperla Air Race, in 2014 that to this day is still situated on the parking lot.

Speaking of G-Lock, it is a 2014 Air Race from Zamperla, located in the far left of the park in an area that was built at the same time. The area is themed on space and it looks like it is 15 years old already. G-Lock delivers a pretty standard ride with lots of rotations on both directions.

Next to it, you can find the S&S tower called Dark Tower, it is a basic model, the ride program is really short with only one shoot and the ride ends. The airtime at the top is quite good but the shortness of the program left us disappointed.

Finally, there was one last coaster to ride near the area, the infamous (everything in Walygator is) Comet. It is a Vekoma Hurricane, the only one remaining of the two ever built, the other one being Jester at Six Flags New Orleans. The ride is poorly maintained and looks abandoned whithin the area. One funny thing about it is that the only way to open the restraints is to push the pedal at the bottom of each car.

One good ride at Walygator apart from Monster is Dino Raft. The raft ride mostly built by Alstom, a train manufacturer, has some of the best theming in the park thanks to a recent refurbishment.

To wrap this up, we can say that Walygator was a project with a lot of potential but it was too ambitious for the time, much like Mirapolis was. The park is oversized for the attendance it gets, the investments are close to inexistent and it doesn’t look much brighter in the future for the park as long as Aspro is at the head of the management. Monster is the true saving grace for enthusiasts and is worth a trip to the park.

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