Located near the dunes of the North Sea in Belgium is Plopsaland De Panne, a theme park resort that’s home to an indoor water park, a resort hotel, a theme park, and as of 2021: one of the World’s most notable coasters. Let’s take a closer look at all that this resort has to offer!
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Plopsaqua, the resort’s indoor water park, has a quite a unique story. The municipality of De Panne was looking to reinvest in public swimming pools for the region at the same time Plopsaland De Panne was planning on expanding into an all-weather resort. The two joined forces and created Plopsaqua, which is accessible to locals as their regional swimming pool, and to tourists and resort guests as an indoor water park experience.
Let’s head into Plopsaland itself! Upon arrival you will find yourself in a gorgeous square where the theme park, indoor park (Mayaland, which is included with admission) and the hotel courtyard meet. This plaza is home to several restaurants, venues and water features. You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Heidi The Ride is Plopsaland De Panne’s GCI wooden coaster, a slightly altered all-wood clone of Fun Spot Orlando’s White Lightning. Since the park is owned and operated by Studio 100, a major local media and television company supporting many popular IPs we see around the World, Heidi is an actual property they own! I personally prefer Heidi The Ride for it is smoother and nicely landscaped around the ride. Those familiar with Gold Striker at California’s Great America will get a kick out of the sound-dampening strategies used on Heidi. Heidi’s queue is themed after a Swiss chalet, and the ride’s finale is actually a show scene.
Right next to Heidi the Ride are Draak (a MACK Rides Powered Coaster with three helices) and Dino Splash. Dino Splash is a reimagined log flume with a variety of dinosaurs and impressive theming. We’re always down for a good log flume and we particularly liked the aesthetic of this one. The flume’s finale is a double-down through the volcano, which is just as fun off-ride as it is on-ride. You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Continuing our loop around the park’s central lagoon, we hit the Vekoma Junior Coaster next. Appropriately named K3 Roller Skater, this coaster is themed to a popular Benelux children’s pop group: K3. Fun fact, I was raised with K3 and had all their merch and music, so seeing this was awfully cute and exciting to me. – Also on that side of the park is their Starflyer, themed to another show: Nachtwacht. Lastly, the park is also home to perhaps the most elaborate spinning tea cup ride on earth, housed in a massive castle that shares a restaurant! You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Wickie de Viking is another Studio 100 IP that really lends itself well to a whole area. At Plopsaland De Panne the area is lush with beautiful landscaping. Beyond theming the area is also home to some rides including a Zamperal Disk’O named De Grote Golf (The Big Wave in English). You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
The next area revolves around Samson en Marie, well sort of… There’s a fairground themed area with some family flatrides, but also major Kabouter Plop (another popular IP I grew up with) dark ride named Het Bos van Plop and antique cars that run through an open zoo area (definitely something you wouldn’t see in the US). The dark ride itself is absolutely adorable and is filled with hundreds of small animatronic kabouters (gnomes). Don’t miss that ride! You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Studio 100’s IPs stretch all over the World. House of Anubis (original: Het Huis Anubis produced for Dutch and Belgian Television) even had an English version that ran in the United Kingdom and the United States for 3 seasons starting in 2011. For a theme park heavily focused on younger audiences, this teen-targeted franchise also brought the park’s first thrill ride: Anubis: The Ride, an incredibly forceful launched Gerstlauer Eurofighter that opened in 2009. The ride’s highlight elements include the 90 km/h launch, a Top Hat, Dive Loop, Barrel Roll and some great airtime moments! You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Oh, and here’s a picture of us thoroughly enjoying our ride on the feisty Gerstlauer. The ride features an on-ride picture that you can email to yourself at the exit for just a few euros. Wish more parks did that!
Another attraction we really enjoyed is the MACK Super Splash named… Super Splash! Loosely themed after the Studio 100 franchise Piet Piraat, this unique round-table elevator Super Splash utilizes the central lagoon, which as of this year offers spectacular views of Ride to Happiness by Tomorrowland! You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Ready for one of the best coasters in the World? Plopsaland De Panne’s newest addition: The Ride to Happiness by Tomorrowland can’t be missed. Click to continue to on page 2 for a detailed look!