Menhir Express

8

 

Log flume rides have gone through quite a revolution in the last 20 years. They used to be a simple affair, following a meandering route around an area of the park with a few basic drops along the way. Then came the compact 2 drop design that brought the flume to funfairs and amusement parks, then came the backwards drop, with some great new rides like Valhalla at Blackpool and Storm Force 10 at Drayton Manor. Next along came the roller coaster style drops, where a car would go over a bump before splashing into the water, used both as the basis for a splash boat ride or as is the case here incorporated into a larger layout.

I have noticed an issue though, a pattern I've noticed with log flumes that incorporate a roller coaster style drop in the layout. That is laziness with the theming. You might look at the photos and wonder what I'm on about, and to be fair the theming around the station and the big drop at the end is very good. Everything is made to look like it's old and constructed out of beams of wood, that's no problem.

The problem is that after the first hill lift, where you start a long route to the rides first drop there is very little in the way of theming. It's just a standard trip through a few trees, no water fountains, no models of Obelix and Co working in their menhir quarry or anything. Then there is the structure the coaster style drop is housed in, it's just a big metal box. Why go to all that effort with the station area if your happy with one of the rides hi-lights taking place in a big metal box.

Now to be fair it is still a good ride. Both the novelty coaster drop splash and the big final drop at the end are fun, and the unthemed area doesn't go on so long it ever outstays it's welcome. It's more of a case of missed potential than anything else. A ride with a good example of one of these drops and great theming has the potential to be one of the best flume rides ever, I know a ride like this did open in Phantasialand not to long ago, so that will be high on my priority list next time I visit that park. As for this one, if you've not tried one of these new types of drops before this is a must do just to try one for the first time. If you've done them though this ride isn't quite at the must do level, but unless the queue is terrible it is still worth a go.