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EuroAmusement Professional 4-2017

Seite 20 EuroAmusement Professional 4-2017Parks
EAP: When and why did you decide to part ways with
"Thunder Loop", the good old Looping Star model from
Schwarzkopf?
Wouter Dekkers (WD): We had originally planned to stick
with Thunder Loop until 2018 at the latest. Then we discovered
in early 2016 that to keep it running we would incur costs
of around 700,000 Euros for things like a new chain, the
train and inspection of the welding seams. Since even these
measures wouldn't guarantee that we would still get TÜV
certification and we also wouldn't have a highly marketable
new attraction to present to our guests, we decided to go ahead
and build a new signature ride for our park early.

concrete and that small holes filled with water had formed
inside them. The pocket foundations were overhauled in the
days that followed and we were able to get Gold Rush up and
running again in only one week. At the same time we also
used the overhaul days for the standard practice of checking
the torques on the screws along the track, which would have
been necessary on a regular basis anyway.
EAP: What were the consequences of the closure for you and
your guests?

EAP: What were your requirements for the new rollercoaster
and which manufacturers were you looking at?
WD: The new coaster needed to go up on the old Thunder
Loop site of 60 by 60 meters, it had to run underneath the
monorail that passes over the site and it needed a number of
features such as a triple-launch that was still not existing in
the Netherlands. For Gold Rush we contacted a few potential
manufacturers. In the end two were still in the running with
similar concepts. It was fitting that both manufacturers had
experience in the field of launch coasters. Aside from my own
positive experience working with Gerstlauer on "Van Helsing's
Factory" when I was at Movie Park Germany, the main thing
that ultimately tipped the scales in favor of Gerstlauer was
their pledge to complete construction quickly by April of 2017.

WD: We regretted more than anyone else not being able to
offer our guests the fun of Gold Rush for a few days so shortly
after the opening, despite having announced it in such grand
style and running ad campaigns to promote it. We also had to
cancel a planned one-day event at short notice with numerous
rollercoaster and amusement park fan clubs because of Gold
Rush. As for the rest, naturally we announced the temporary
closing in various media and at the park entrance. During the
few days that Gold Rush was down, we gave all of our guests
a free ticket for another visit to the park in 2017 and we look
forward to seeing them again when they return.
EAP: You've also invested a lot of money into your
accommodation facilities in recent years. Can you give us
some more details on the current situation?

EAP: What were the biggest challenges during the
construction and planning phase?
WD: The biggest challenge was the short period of time from the
planning to the opening of the attraction. Throughout this time
right up to the end many decisions had to be made quickly to
keep the project moving forward and to coordinate the work and
issues related to the numerous workers and companies involved.
EAP: Why did Gold Rush have to shut down again after only a
week in operation?
WD: In the week following the opening we discovered that
the track supports only moved minimally when the coaster
was in operation. While this didn't represent any danger for
the passengers and was also not the fault of the manufacturer,
we wanted to fix this right at the start, so we decided to close
down the ride to conduct a comprehensive inspection of the
causes and eliminate them. Our analysis revealed that the
cast pocket foundations were not filled up completely with

WD: In my opinion not nearly enough people realize that we
offer a variety of overnight accommodation options to more
than 4,000 guests at a time. These facilities are divided into
over 850 different units, of which there are 623 different kinds
of vacation houses including 168 wigwam bungalow tents
along with 230 camping facilities for people visiting with their
own tents or RVs. Since I started here at Slagharen we have
invested around three million Euros into renovation work. This
year we expanded the facilities in our new eleven hectare
`Raccoon Village' by 63 new bungalows for up to six persons
each. By autumn this number will increase to a total of 91
Raccoon Lodges. Combined with additional improvements in
the infrastructure, the investment volume for these measures
alone amounts to approximately a further nine million Euros.
As part of this plan, following the end of the 2017 season
we will remove our 61 oldest vacation houses and build an
attractive, new entrance area featuring ticket booths and
turnstiles. This will free up a site of several hectares around the
front of the park area underneath Main Street. In the mediumterm we will use this newly available space to expand the
amusement park, which remains our most important growth
engine.
Many thanks for the informative discussion.

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20 EuroAmusement Professional 4/2017

Interview conducted by Volker Kukuk.

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