Specific Type: Inverted
Walibi Holland is a large amusement park opened in 1971. Located in the Netherlands, the park is known most for its Intamin mini-hyper Goliath but also has a nice selection of other roller coasters built by Vekoma, including the launched coaster Xpress, Robin Hood, a wooden coaster and Speed of Sound, a boomerang coaster. This article however will look at El Condor, a roller coaster that not only kickstarted Walibi Holland, it was the first ever Suspended Looping Coaster, a popular Vekoma product. Operating at over 30 amusement parks across the world today, the SLC provides a more affordable alternative to the Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coaster.
When it opened in 1971, Walibi Holland (then called Flevohof) was an educational attraction. After closing in 1991, the park was bought by Walibi Group, who reopened it as an amusement park with one major roller coaster: El Condor. Named after the vulture, there is a statue of a condor located in the center of the ride area.
The train leaves the station and slowly climbs the chain lift hill. After cresting the hill the track drops down to the right. Upon reaching the ground, riders enter the “roll over”, a heart shaped double inversion. The train then travels through a large banked turn to the other end of the ride before inverting riders with a sidewinder (the first half of a loop then exited at 90 degrees). The track takes a 270 degree turn to the right before sending riders through two barrel rolls. A 180 degree right turn follows and the track dips down, and up into the brake run. Riders are brought to an abrupt stop then travel through a quarter turn, where the train waits for the station to clear.
While El Condor has remained an intense, fast-paced ride, it has become rougher over time - a problem common amongst Suspended Looping Coasters. Work was carried out before the 2013 season in an attempt to rectify this. Although it has a mixed reputation among enthusiasts, there is no doubt El Condor and the Suspended Looping Coaster line have changed amusement park history, allowing many smaller parks to offer bigger thrills previously not financially possible.
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