Let’s talk about the Ride to Happiness by Tomorrowland! Plopsaland De Panne’s spectacular new MACK Rides Xtreme Spinning Coaster themed to the popular music festivals of Tomorrowland. The approach to the ride is quite pleasant as while the ride navigates around the park, the entrance to the ride is confined to a small new area with a store, a food outlet, a place to relax, restrooms (underneath the coaster’s station) and landscaping. The immediate area around the coaster feels very appropriate for theme yet not over the top. – The cottagecore meets steampunk vibes from Tomorrowland can be found all around the attraction, including the entrance area, queue, station, and trains.
The queue and station for the Ride to Happiness are fun. There are some cool visual effects being used throughout the queue, but overall the queue is an aesthetic. When partnering with a major brand like Tomorrowland, creating an atmosphere is part of the experience and they did just that. The station to the ride has a giant LED screen with some steampunky robotic person hyping you up for the ride experience, including the infamous “Live Today. Love Tomorrow. Unite Forever.” slogan.
Let’s also dive into the ride experience! The coaster starts with a unique jojo-roll out of the station on the way to the first launch. The element provides amazing hangtime with the added fun of spinning while going thru it. The trains briefly pause and then launch at a speed of 90 km/h into a 90 degree steep incline that brings the train to the highest point of the attraction at 33m in the air. The element following is a slow outerbanked turn before diving straight down at 90 degrees. In the front car there is some incredible air entering the element, in the back the whippiness of the drop is best enjoyed. – The steampunk trains then navigate through a Banana Roll and a Vertical Loop before rushing through a Zero-G-Roll. This is followed up by an airtime-filled S-turned into the next launch. All of this occurs while spinning of course! You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
The second half of the coaster starts with a spectacular bunny-hop launch that creates great airtime while accelerating in speed. The train is then thrusted into a Step-Up Under Flip that continues into a rolling Dive Loop. The first half of the coaster is quite forceful, but the second half is even more intense! After this great element, the train passes over the entrance to the area with a nice sustained airtime hill before making a sharp low-to-the-ground turn into a double camel hill towards the final brakes. The airtime on the last two hills is so intense, it may just be the most intense airtime we’ve ever experienced on a MACK Rides coaster! And spoiler alert: a coaster themed to a music festival needs onboard music, which the soundtrack of this coaster makes the ride even more special. You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
The overall experience on Ride to Happiness FAR succeeded our expectations. The entire ride is non-stop action and not a moment seems wasted. Some of our favorite elements of Silver Dollar City’s Time Traveler found their way into this layout while spectacular new elements were added just for this installation. It’s probably Belgium’s best coaster, and depending on who you ask, it may very well be Europe’s best. This is definitely a must-ride on your next trip to Europe. – While summer evenings in Belgium mean it doesn’t get dark out until closer to 10:30PM, on Wednesdays this summer Plopsaland De Panne has stayed open until 10:30PM, great to appreciate the amazing light package on the trains and get some night rides in. Below see a collection of long exposure shots to finish up the article! You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Thank you for joining us to Plopsaland de Panne! The park’s newest coaster is a can’t-miss experience for any coaster enthusiasts, so make sure to add this park to your next Europe itinerary! Stay tuned for an article comparing both MACK Rides Xtreme Spinning Coasters!