What's new

Benenen's Halloween Horror Bonanza 2021 - Part 3: Walibi Belgium Halloween

Benenen

Hyper Poster
Hello everyone and welcome to my delayed trip report where I discuss the road trip I took round Europe at the start of November. I don't think I have the commitment to write about all 18 days so this report will focus entirely on the Halloween events and horror mazes I discovered. There will be the odd coaster pic thrown in but I won't be discussing the likes of Fly, RTH, Kondaa, etc. However if you'd like to hear all about the mazes at Plopsaland, Bellewearde, Bobbejaanland, Walibi Belgium, Movie Park Germany and Europa Park please read on! Let's get into it.

The excitement started at home getting the headlight adjuster stickers out the packet, slapping the UK sticker on the back of my car then off I went to the chunnel. First time using it and I was impressed by the efficiency. Queued 45 minutes to get through passport checks but even then it was a quicker door to door journey to get to Belgium than a flight would have been. Rocked up to Plopsaland at 5PM and was guided to the back of the overflow car park for the overflow car park. Foolishly I had chosen day 1 of the trip to be Halloween so obviously the park was rammed but open until 10PM and was buzzing with the expected Halloween-ey atmosphere.

Plopsa1.jpeg

Plopsa5.jpeg

The plan was to nab RTH first but the queue was fully external and spilling all the way down the bridge so I switched gears and decided to focus on the mazes. This was the final night of the Halloween event and I had two full days at Plopsa later in the holiday to whore the rides. Arrived at The Tunnel which was due to open at 6PM at around 5:30 so I waited in the line of people outside for it to open. At 6:10 having not moved into the main queue I rechecked the website and realised The Tunnel wasn't due to open until 7PM, it was the other maze that opened at 6. Defeated and disappointed in myself for the blunder I decided leave the queue to spend some time walking round the park looking at the rides and taking in the atmosphere. The park was lit up beautifully and bizarrely had the Squid Game music played round the castle to a sequence of lights flashing from green to red. 100% they did not have the license to do that payed for which was odd for a park of Plopsas size but I thought it was a cool effect. Had a night ride on Ride to Happiness (waited an hour) then wandered back over to The Tunnel to give it a whirl now it had actually opened.

Plopsa2.jpeg

Plopsa3.jpeg

The queue took place in the Heidi queue line but instead of going into the station you exit out a fire exit the opposite side, down some steel evacuation steps and then meander along a temporary fenced in queue to the start of the maze at the back of the Dino Splash building. It moved painfully slow and took 1 hour 45 minutes, most of which was with this view slowly trundling forwards.

Plopsa6.jpeg

Once at the batching point it was made clear why the queue had taken so long. One group was sent in at a time regardless of size every minute or so. I was by myself this trip so off I went into the maze alone. Straight away I could tell it was going to be awful, just black walls with no theming and no soundtrack. The actors had cool costumes featuring neon masks like in one of the Purge films but unfortunately they stood still not interacting with me as I walked by. Even the inevitable chainsaw man just stood still in a corner, didn't even swing it around or chase me! I jumped at one point when an actor smacked a barrel with a pole right next to my ear (this barrel being one of the only pieces of theming) but other than that nothing scary happened and it was just a series of dark empty corridors. I'd go as far to say it's the worst maze I've done after Vulcan Peak. I felt robbed that I spent nearly two hours in the queue when RTH was next door churning out night rides.

By the time I was out the park had closed so I didn't have time for the other maze which I believe was circus themed so I can't comment on the quality of that one. I noticed later in the trip Holiday Park (run by the same chain) also had a maze called The Tunnel for Halloween so clearly it was thought by the park that The Tunnel was a maze worth cloning but man it was so bad. On my way out the DJ by RTH was still in full swing and creating a wonderful ambience round the ride plaza.

Plopsa4.jpeg

Overall a weird day but I was so excited to finally be abroad again with a huge trip lined up ahead of me. In the five hours on park I managed two attractions but this was mainly due to silly faff on my end and wanting to wander round and soak up the Halloween event vibes which wouldn't be present at subsequent Plopsa days on the trip. I spent the next day fully at Plopsaland which was great but no Halloween stuff so I'll jump into the following day at Bellewaerde.

Bel1.jpeg

I really liked what Bellewaerde had done for Halloween. The park had big theming set pieces littered around and it was nice to see it not limited to just one small area. Smoke machines were everywhere. All round the paths and most rides had temporary ones in the station or around the layout. There wasn't a moment in the day I wasn't smelling that distinct horror maze smell from the artificial smoke.

Bel11.jpeg

Bel2.jpeg

Bel3.jpeg

Bel4.jpeg

Four mazes up for grabs so I started with Fantasylum. I assumed the name was something horror related in Flemish but no, it was literally just an asylum maze with heavy sponsorship from Fanta. Looked cool from the outside but the short indoor section of queue featured way too much Fanta. Thankfully once the maze started there wasn't a Fanta bottle in sight!

Bel5.jpeg

Bel6.jpeg

Once again I was batched alone and this time as it was an actually scary maze I didn't like it so ran through the first few scenes to catch up with the group ahead. Unfortunately this became a theme of the trip, I enjoy horror mazes a huge amount but when experienced by myself it takes a lot of the enjoyment out. If you can't laugh about the frights in the comfort of a big group as they happen there's no release, it's all just tension if you're alone. For me the fun of a maze is the switch between tension and relief after a big jump has happened but for a lot of mazes this trip that didn't happen due to the batching. It was just me getting more and more stressed and worked up with each scene and only breathing and relaxing once I got to the end. Which is an interesting experience but not particularly fun.

Fantasylum then, a solid maze. Lots of tight claustrophobic scenes featuring all the classic hallmarks of an asylum maze. You've got an actor behind bars banging on them before escaping out the side towards you, there's a brutally loud electric chair animatronic, there's someone lying on a table being tortured by a man in a lab coat. It's all bog standard stuff but nicely themed and acted out by a lively cast who throw themselves around the maze. An actor with a chainsaw roaming the queue and surrounding area rounds off the experience nicely.

Bel7.jpeg

Next up was Voodoo Villians. I assumed this would be a cartooney, bright maze featuring just UV lighted scenes but it was actually a dark and frightening traipse round swamps and huts. My favourite scene involved a room featuring several life sized voodoo dolls with one being an actor in a costume that leapt out while I was trying to figure out which ones were real. I went in alone and it was so dead I didn't bother trying to catch up with the group ahead. Unfortunately I caught a few actors out who were just chatting to each other before leaping into action, I think it must have been 5 or so minutes since the last group had gone through ahead of me.

Bel10.jpeg

The last two mazes took place in a separate area located behind the splash boat ride. For a small park I was surprised by how much effort had gone into the mazes. They were low budget compared to ones I did later in the trip but full of actors and even had nice facades. It was half term and the park was busy with long queues for the rides but the mazes were deserted. On 3 out of the 4 I walked straight to the front of the queue and into the maze alone without seeing another guest. Each maze was an upcharge but can't have been making much money. The park demographic that day was almost all families, I didn't see many groups of teenagers or young adults or couples without kids so it seems strange such a family park has these four intense scare mazes. Hopefully they do well enough and the park can keep providing this event in the future as its clear a lot of love is poured into the mazes.

Bel8.jpeg

Bel9.jpeg

The next maze was Camping Corpse. I assumed this would be an outdoor maze which I'm not a fan of but was pleasantly surprised to see half of it was indoor scenes. You wander through a caravan site absolutely stuffed with props and theming before going through a washblock filled with all sorts of nasty surprises. It's the weakest of the four mazes as I don't think being outside lends itself to intensity but a had a lot of fun in this one.

Finally I went through Mortal Mine. I was relieved to see two people in the queue in front of me and I was batched in with them. Inside the maze it was dark, claustrophobic and full of smoke. It was a series of shipping containers so each scene was more of a tight corridor rather than large themed rooms, much like the old My Bloody Valentine maze at Thorpe. There was one really cool effect I hadn't seen before. One of the group was pulled away, sent through a door alone which then shut and was locked by a magnet only the actors could control. Her partner desperately tried to get through the door to her but obviously couldn't which was quite funny. The actors had fun riffing with this before the door unlocked itself. The costumes were great, boiler suits masks and pickaxes which made the whole thing feel ominous and threatening.

Next up, Bobbejaanland.
 

Attachments

  • Bel8.jpeg
    Bel8.jpeg
    111.7 KB · Views: 7

Benenen

Hyper Poster
Day 4 - Bobbejaanland

Woke up in the guest room of a farmhouse halfway between Bellewaerde and Bobbejaanland. In the absence of travel during the pandemic I'd forgotten the joy of plotting out a road trip, working out the shortest driving routes while also finding nice places to stay along the way. I love that travelling between theme parks forces you to stay at accommodation off the beaten track and explore small towns in the middle of nowhere and the view out the bedroom window as the sun rose was a prime example of this little joy.

Bob13.jpeg

Today was to be spent at Bobbejaanland, a park I knew nothing about the scare mazes other than a quick look at their website and somewhere that has had nothing more than lukewarm reception on this forum. Expectations were non existent so I was excited to jump inside and see for myself what kind of place it was.

Bob14.jpeg

Five mazes on offer here. You have the usual butcher/clown/submarine mazes but Yummy and Corp don't give much away by their name. All mazes are an extra cost, I plumped for the ticket that gives you one fast track entry to each maze which came with a nicely presented card the maze hosts hole punched away as the night progressed.

Bob1.jpeg

Bob2.jpeg

My first maze of the evening was Bizarre Bazaar. Upon being given 3D glasses I was disappointed it would be a tame stroll past some UV painted walls but it was actually super lively. We were greeted in the pre show room by an enormous but flamboyant clown who got us with a big jump involving a tarantula in a box then it was straight into a dark mirror maze with genuine dead ends that was so confusing it split the group up. There's two long mirror maze sections and both feel like genuine mazes with actors going for big impact scares throughout. Between the mirror mazes there's the usual jack in the box scares, slanted rooms, etc. It's standard clown maze stuff but the tone is more scares and horror than trying to just be weird and disorientating. There were also lots of scenes where you enter a room with several fake clowns and mannequins and inevitably get jump scared by an actual actor which always get me. All in all a great clown maze and one I was relieved to finally get to the exit of.

Bob3.jpeg

Next door was Texas Butcher which strangely had no queue despite all the other mazes being busy so I was batched inside in a small group of 4 which ramped up the intensity from the off. After my run of solo maze runs at Plopsa and Bellewaerde it was nice to be back to being batched for mazes in groups of 10 or so like back in the UK. Texas Butcher took it one step further and was an old school hands on shoulders maze, a cute throwback to something I hadn't seen done for a few years. The reason for this I assumed was the large amount of touching and grabbing that took place by the actors. The butchers forcibly grabbed shoulders and arms at several points in the maze and there was a scene where a victim crawling along the floor grabbed me ankle and held on very tight as I tried to escape the room. I have a lot of love for how this maze was cast, the butchers are played by enormous middle aged men who have a naturally intimidating presence. It's not like say Thorpe where all the scare actors are young nippers straight out of college. It's a shorter maze compared to the others and there were a few sections of black walls in-between scenes but the theming was so good, the maze felt dark, dirty and very real. One of the most intense mazes I've ever done.

Night fell and the park began to look beautiful. The lake in particular gave great views across as the lights came on.

Bob4.jpeg

Bob5.jpeg

Corp was next and this was a maze I had no idea what even the theme was. I was batched into an outdoor area but instead of entering the maze we were all put in the back of a minivan with blacked out windows and driven to a mystery location. When the van stopped and we got out we were inside a building and marched around by military looking actors. What followed was a weird mix between Nemesis Sub Terra and Disney's Alien Encounter. The group was split up and locked into separate cages round the outside of the room. In my cage it was just myself and a random stranger. It goes pitch black and effects go off to simulate a monster in the room with you. Water jets, shaking floors, huge bassy roars, that kind of stuff. The theme I later looked up was that Corp was a group of rich elites who enter an auction to bid on exotic beasts but it all goes wrong, the beast escapes and the military for some reason gets involved. After we're released from the cages it turns into more of a standard maze as the army point guns and shout us around different corridors to escape from the beast. It's loud and intense and I haven't got a clue what's going on and to be honest I was still reeling from being kidnapped in an actual van at the start of the maze. Very very unique attraction Bobbejaanland have got here. Due to the van drive you exit the maze on a different side of the park than you entered to further add to the confusion of Corp.

By now it's getting late in the evening so as is standard at a European Halloween event the DJ cranks out his kit and plays a set next to Fury. As it was a busy day this attracted a huge crowd and it's a great party with the bar next door.

Bob12.jpeg

Bob10.jpeg

Bob11.jpeg

Sonar was the next maze and was themed to a submarine overrun with mutants. Like Texas Butcher the characters look incredible. All the mutants have full masks and suits, some of the costumes are quite horrifying. Again it's a loud, claustrophobic maze full of tight corridors, smoke and constant sirens and noise. Even though I was batched in the middle of two large groups I felt very much in the action. The whole maze was an adrenaline rush and one of my favourites of the whole trip.

Bob6.jpeg

Bob7.jpeg

Bob9.jpeg

The final maze was Yummy which is based on a Belgian zombie horror comedy of the same name. It's set in a hospital, there were lots of crawl spaces but I honestly can't remember much about this maze six weeks on. I think I quite enjoyed it but it felt bland and unmemorable compared to the other mazes at this park hence why I haven't got much to write about it.

Bob8.jpeg

So that's Bobbejaanland Halloween 2021. Overall a very solid event with Texas Butcher and Sonar as the stand outs and Corp was an incredibly unique experience

Next up, Walibi Belgium.
 

UP87

Mega Poster
Loved that driving part. It's been there for several years, as well. When we did Bobbejaanland Halloween it was the back of a truck for the maze Welp.
 

Benenen

Hyper Poster
Just googled the Welp maze, that army truck at the start looks insane. Is the driving section of these mazes mainly for spectacle or is it practically the only way to get from the queue to the show building? It's such a cool start to a maze. On Corp I assumed the minibus would be a fake effect like a theme park lift so I was surprised when I heard the handbrake release and we started actually moving.
 

UP87

Mega Poster
The way they set it up it moves you around half of the park. I'd assume you could setup the queue somewhere else but with the given layout it's basically the only way to get you from the queue to the maze.

If I remember it correctly from Welp it should be somewhat like this. Red is the queue and yellow is the truck route. (queue line for sure makes more turns and goes under the station of El Rio)
corp.jpg
 

Benenen

Hyper Poster
Right, I'm back. Completely lost the momentum on this report but I'm now self isolating with Covid so will be bashing out the rest as I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands and I really enjoy writing these. My memory of the trip may be hazy as it was two and a half months ago now but I've watched some of the maze POVs on Youtube to refresh myself and today I will be discussing my night at Walibi. Let's begin.

Day 5 - Walibi Belgium

This was an insanely crowded day. The first week of the trip was during Belgian half term so I knew it would be busy but the moderate crowds of the past few days lulled me into a false sense of comfort. However walking up to the gates this morning and seeing the endless streams of people being cattled through zig zags of temporary barriers to the turnstiles was like nothing I've seen before. I worked for many seasons at the woefully overcrowded Legoland Windsor but this day at Walibi was the most overcrowded I've ever seen a park. Here's what rope drop looked like.

Walibi2.jpeg

I'd bought Fasttrack so didn't spend much time queueing but it made for a tense and stressful day as the park was not coping. I sensed most guests were not having a good time and also the staff seemed stressed and agitated. A lot of fasttrack had been sold so the distribution at most rides was a constant 50/50, one train main queue followed by a whole train of fasttrack. Queues for rides like Kondaa, Vampire and Psyche Underground were not only external but the queue extended a few hundred metres down the path too. Given the halved throughputs for main queue I reckon that huge line for Psyche was moving at around 250PPH. It's really poor operations and led to a miserable feeling day but I did partake in the fasttrack so I'm part of the problem and have no right to complain! Here's what the queues looked like for most of the day.

Walibi1.jpeg

Halloween wise there's 3 indoor mazes (Mine Blast, Nagulai, Curse of Amun), one outdoor walkthrough (Lost Forest), 2 main scarezones and a DJ/rave area. One thing I noticed was each maze fit the themed area it was in which I liked. Amun shares a building with the Egyptian shooting dark ride, Mine Blast is in the Western area and Nagulai is in the same building as Popcorn Revenge so you exit into the Indian themed area. A nice touch when a lot of Halloween events have temporary looking mazes in random areas of the park.

First maze of the afternoon was Mine Blast. It's a solid, 6/10 kinda maze. Nothing wrong but nothing outstanding. Batching was back to single groups being admitted at a time regardless of size but thankfully in the queue an anxious mum with young kids noticed I was by myself and struck up conversation to ask if I would lead their group as neither her or her boys fancied it. For the other two mazes I went in alone and soon caught up with the group in front which I don't particularly like doing as that first minute or so is way too intense.

Walibi11.jpeg

I enjoyed Mine Blast and there's plenty of jumps due to the narrow corridors and tight corners. I think it's a permanent building but it has the same feel as a shipping container maze. There's no huge lavish sets or detailed theming however the maze is well decorated and it felt tense walking through. The actors were in boiler suits and most scares involved them slamming their hands or an axe loudly against the metal walls. It's well put together and was a fun jumpy run through but it wasn't as detailed as the Alton Towers mine maze or as intense as the Bellewaerde mine maze a few days before.

Walking round the park I saw a lot of Halloween decoration including a military style scare zone and a circus scare zone full of tents and stalls. The most impressive area was a huge arena for the DJ set, all themed as Rebellion Land with a scare zone style path leading up to the main dance area. I kept returning here as the night progressed and it's stunning, I've never seen anything of this scale done at a theme park.

Walibi9.jpeg

Walibi8.jpeg

Once night fell this area was kicking off. On stage there's several DJs and dancers and it's a full on performance with flamethrowers and fire effects. All the performers wear boiler suits and masks, it's clear from the atmosphere that it's heavily inspired by Slipknot and Rammstein gigs and it works perfectly for a Halloween event. The music was great all night, a mix of dance, hip hop and foreign (to me!) language trance. There's two bars and a pop up shop where you can buy cans of beer from a fridge. Due to the pandemic I hadn't been to a gig or clubbing in ages so it felt amazing to have a beer and join the scrum of dancing. There were even mosh pits opening up, Walibi completely nailed the atmosphere and created a full on live event within their event.

Walibi14.jpeg

Walibi13.jpeg

The next maze I tackled was Lost Forest. I'm not a fan of outdoor walkthroughs like this and Lost Forest was a particularly naff one. There's some good lighting but all you do is walk through a wide open forest, maybe there were some tents as theming like there often are, maybe not. It's so forgettable I can't remember much. The groups around me were having normal conversations with each other for most of the duration which says a lot.

Walibi12.jpeg

Curse of Amun was a beautiful maze. You start in an office (I presume for a dig but maybe an office in a university?) and it's themed with so much detail. It doesn't feel like a set or something in a warehouse where you look up and see the tin roof, the whole maze felt real. It progresses and you end up in Egyptian tombs and again everything looks stunning. The finale room is a large open space where you're walking on sand and an actor on stilts lunges at you. There was possibly a fire effect too but my memory is foggy. I liked this maze a lot, there weren't many scares and it was more of a look around and take it in type of maze. I also liked how tight and small the scenes in the office and bathroom felt at the start compared to the vast open rooms towards the end.

Nagulai was similar in tone and style to Amun but Indian themed. Think temples, courtyards with fountains, etc. Again this is a highly detailed but less intense maze that favours atmosphere over jumpy scares. What I found disappointing is the actors don't interact much with you, it's more they walk round the maze looking mysterious occasionally staring at you from afar. The maze felt more like the indoor queue of a ride at say Universal (the theming really is that standard) rather than a horror attraction.

Next I'll throw in an assortment of night pics from around the park. The place looked amazing lit up and there was an atmosphere and buzz walking round (although this may be a reflection on how crowded the day was rather than of the quality of the Halloween event).

Walibi3.jpeg

Walibi6.jpeg

Walibi7.jpeg

Walibi5.jpeg

Walibi4.jpeg

The final thing I did that night was Bar Hell. You're batched into a fake corner shop and a little scene plays out with a shopkeeper that ends with the coke fridge coming off the wall revealing a secret passage. Through the passage is a sleazy strip bar where you legit buy drinks at a bar and sit at a table while girls dance seductively. I bought a beer and sat down thinking there might be a show or a narrative with the actors inside but it was just a bar you'd have a drink with your mates. I did this trip alone so after ten minutes of sitting there by myself sipping my pint trying not to make eye contact with the alluring dancers it was way too intense so I left and finished the drink sat on a bench outside. I suddenly felt very aware of how I may look like a creepy suspicious man even though I was just trying to savour a themed attraction. I probably had nothing to worry about and was being paranoid but it suddenly didn't feel right sitting there watching the girls. Interesting experience though.

Overall this is a good event but it misses that one killer maze. 3 indoor mazes for an event of this size isn't enough and reading about previous years there used to be 5 or 6 so I imagine a lot of stuff was cut due to Covid and the other issues the park have faced. Nagulai and Amun are immersive experiences but neither are that scary. I feel they'd make amazing attractions within a larger maze line up but as headline mazes alongside the average Mine Blast they don't quite stack up. The DJ area was incredible though and the best example of that I saw at any park on the holiday.

Next post will be Movie Park Germany's Halloween Horror Festival.
 
Last edited:
Top