Sven: Yesterday we went to a theme park that you probably never heard about: Parc Saint Paul. It is one of the parks in Europe that opened a decent coaster this year so we had to test it out. Let’s talk about Wood Express, the newest Gravitykraft coaster of Europe!
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Before we get into Wood Express, we need to discuss this cozy park in France. Well, maybe cozy isn’t the best word because the atmosphere isn’t all that great. The park feels more as a permanent fair than an amusement park. Nevertheless, we saw some interesting developments.
The park invested in new theming at several rides. For example the Wave Swinger got a whole “scary” themed stone wall around it, as its close to the parks haunted house. The Dino Splash Flume got new theming in the queue and everywhere you look, you’ll see good maintenance. Plus the latest coaster addition shows that the park invests in its future.
It’s also a very green park but it should use it more. There are some swamp areas where you maybe could walk through in the past but not anymore. Hopefully they will use their green more again.
Before Wood Express, there were two other reasons to visit the park: PAX coasters. Only 21 coasters of the Russian manufacturer still operate at the moment with most of them in Eastern Europe. Parc Saint-Paul has two, but with only one operating… Wild Train is SBNO and it doesn’t look good as the train is off the tracks… A bummer to miss out on it, but that’s life!
Luckily, the other PAX coaster still runs! Formula 1 seems to be a compact Bobsled coaster but once you ride, you’ll realize that the ride surprises you quite a bit.
Due to its compact layout and probably weird calculations, this thing provides very unusual ejector airtime. You fly out of your seat in an unnatural way, for example in the first big drop. But obviously as a coaster enthousiast you’ll LOVE it. And as you reride during the day, it’s even more! Hopefully, this ride will still be around for longer because it’s worth visiting the park for.
Alright, so also worth mentioning is that this park has 7 operating coasters in total! That’s immediately a decent addition to your coaster counter. So what’s more? Well the other coasters aren’t that spectacular but everything counts of course. There’s a Zamperla Spinning Wild Mouse for example that’s well maintained.
There’s also a Vekoma Family coaster that used to be in a mall in Portugal. Nothing too special but it goes two laps.
Two kiddie coasters stand in the park as well. A Zamperla Mini Wild Mouse called Mini Mouse Cartoon (Why…) and a DAL Kiddie similar to the Wacky Worm/Big Apple: Pomme. And guess what? That’s French for apple…
Finally, there’s a “coaster” up for discussion. A do-it-yourself single rail ride built by Parc Saint Paul itself: Téléphérique. You take up your seat and decide if you want to sit down or stand up. Mind you that it spins, so you can get pretty dizzy by standing up (Yes, I write from experience…). Personally I don’t count it, some people do, up to you.
Now, it’s woodie time!
As you can see, it’s not an average woodie. This Gravitykraft Cooperation coaster is clearly a hybrid like Twister at Gröna Lund or Mine Blower at Fun Spot .
With a max speed of 38 mph (61 km/h), a max height of 50 feet (15.25 m) and a length of 1,572 ft (479.1 m), it is not that impressive stats wise. That doesn’t mean however that it can’t deliver a fun ride.
The ride is all about little airtime hills but you can experience them best front seat. It’s definitly floater time with a decently maintained pace. My first ride was almost back seat and it slightly disappointed. (Maybe because I just rode the Formula 1 coaster with it’s sick ejector time). The second ride however was better cause the floater time was better.
You can’t really say if the first or second part is best because it’s a continuous experience from drop till brake. There’s only one train which has a little station right next to the small turn after the station. When passing through the switch track, it doesn’t sound very normal though… It was my first time experiencing these type of trains and they’re alright. Not too bad looking either!
But one thing is sure, this is the perfect investment that Parc Saint Paul needed. Basically only locals visit this park that rarely visit other parks. So for them, it’s something they’ve never experienced before and they’re wild about it. For an enthusiast, I’d say it’s good fun but average compared to other wooden coasters. It might be just in my mind, but I felt less the experience of a real wooden coaster due to the steel supports. It doesn’t bend in the same way so it rattles more for me. On the long term, it’s best for this park to have those though, maintenance wise.
All in all, I’m glad to have visited this park but I’m waiting for the big major investment to go again. Wood Express puts this small park on the map compared to other local amusement and I’m sure they will attract a lot of new guests because of it. Other small theme parks should have a look because this is the way to invest in your future. Parc Saint Paul, well done and hope to see you grow more!
Thank you for checking out this Wood Express review!
As we merge European Coaster Kings with California Coaster Kings, stay tuned for lots more European content in the near future! Our latest:
– Excalibur at Movie Park Germany
– Fenix and more at Toverland
– Marvel Summer of Heroes at Disneyland Paris
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