Floods in Europe: Damage to dark rides

A flooded Walibi Belgium (© Walibi Belgium on Facebook)

In mid July, West-Europe was surprised by severe rain storms that caused flash floods, landslides and river overfloats. It resulted in over 200 deaths and €2,5 billion in property damage. Among this tragedy, three theme parks across Belgium and The Netherlands were also damaged by the floods: Walibi Belgium, Plopsa Coo and De Valkenier. Two weeks after the initial flood, more news is known about the fate of these parks and their rides.

Walibi Belgium (Wavre, Belgium) was flooded by severe rain and the overflowing Dyle river, that streams along the North side of the park. Walibi evacuated guests in the middle of the day on July 15th. Aerial images show that the park is almost completely flooded. Walibi Belgium has stated that their electrical infrastructure is heavily damaged and that the park can’t reopen any time soon. Walibi Belgium is home to two interactive trackless dark rides, Popcorn Revenge and Challenge of Tutankhamon, Madhouse Palais du Génie and W.A.B. Cinema 4D. The exact damages to these rides remain unknown for the time being.

On the 28th of July, the park announced the expected re-opening of the park in October, just in time to celebrate the Halloween-season. “Our team has been working non-stop for days to repair the damage that the floods have left. Now that the extent of the damage gets clear, we know that it is impossible to re-open the park before October,” states Jean-Christophe Parent, general director of Walibi Belgium-Aqualibi. “But, we accept the challenge to get the park up and running before the Halloween-season. We’ll celebrate that re-opening with the biggest Halloween event we ever had in our park. It’s a huge challenge for our team, but we’ll go for it!”

Walibi Belgium’s most recent dark ride: Popcorn Revenge (© Freddo)

De Valkenier (Valkenburg a/d Geul, The Netherlands) was flooded by a overflow of the river Geul. Employees worked hard to clean up the park, but it turned out the electrical infrastructure of De Valkenier was heavily damaged also. They announced that they won’t be reopening for the remainder of the season. Expansion problems of the park has caused the owners to look into selling the ground to a real estate developer. The owners have stated that it is almost certain that the park will not reopen in the future. The park contained a ghost train: Spookkasteel.

Spookkasteel in De Valkenier (© Dark Ride Database)

Another theme park where a flood was reported was Plopsa Coo (Coo Belgium). The park (that does not contain any DRdb noted rides), next to the Coo waterfalls was heavily damaged when the Amblève river overloaded. However, with the teams of sister parks Plopsaland De Panne and Holiday Park, they managed to clean up and repair most of the damage quickly. The park was able to reopen on July 24th.