Review: Krake at Heide-ParkBy Jurnan Schilder, Wednesday, April 27, 2011 21:39
In 2010, Heide-Park opened its themed area "Bucht der Piraten" (Pirate Bay). Its major ride was a Splash Battle from Mack Rides. However, in the summer of 2010, work had already started on a 10,000 square metre construction site to install the first Bolliger & Mabillard Diving Machine rollercoaster ever built on the European mainland. In a period of only 9 months, 2,000 cubic metres of solid concrete, 150,000 kilos of reinforced steel and 700 tonnes of black track had got its shape. Krake – a €12 million addition to Heide-Park – opened its gates to the public on April 16, 2011.
Located on the left-hand-side of the park, near the station of the Vekoma classic Big Loop, Krake takes a prominent position in the skyline of Heide-Park. Not only does this location offer a spectacular view of the ride from many points in the park, it also makes the park feel more “balanced” in some way, since the two other main rollercoasters, Colossos and Desert Race, are located on the right hand side. Although Heide-Park had a fairly complete arsenal of rides to offer before the opening of Krake, the addition of the Diving Machine makes the theme park in fact feel more mature than it has ever been.
The monster awaits
Once past the point of no return – a giant Krake sign at the entrance gate – the queue line of Krake is the first thing to overcome. The line is rather simplistic and does not contain any large thematic features. For the most of the time waiting riders' view consists of the final brake run and the back side of the souvenir shop.
The first waiting area, although not used on quiet days, makes guests wait on gravel instead of a nice pathway, which makes the wait on busy days a bit unpleasant - particularly on hot summer days when temperatures can escalate easily. The second waiting area is a path heading for the station building. Once across the final brake run guests pass the luggage storage area, where they can leave all of their loose belongings in exchange for a numbered key cord. After riding Krake, they can pick up all of their stuff again, making the system very attractive.
The station building itself is themed to a pirate fortress. With luggage safely left in storage, riders enter the station on the first floor, where they get a sneak peak at the boarding platform and the trains. In the next room, a kind of dark tower, they take the stairs to the ground floor where you they choose where to sit. With three air gates for 6 persons per ride each, the line moves pretty rapidly at this point. Except from some wall paintings and random pirate-like objects, there is no real thematic story to tell. Once seated, 4 ride attendants carry out the restraint check while the ride operator stands in the office above the track. We're good to go!
Time to hit the tracks
With each of the 18 shoulder restraints checked, the floor underneath the train slides to the side smoothly and the ride takes off with a 41-metre climb in the direction of the lake. At the top level, the trains take a turn to the left and are halted for a few seconds, before they drop towards the lake below. In contrast to other Diving Machines, Krake’s splash element is directly after the drop and just before running into an Immelmann loop. Next, the passengers encounter a hill that provides a feeling of weightlessness ("airtime" and a banked curve to the right, before heading for the final brakes.
With 476 metres of track, Krake is shorter than America's Diving Machines, SheiKra (at Busch Gardens Tampa) and Griffon (at Busch Gardens Williamsburg). However, the rollercoaster should definitely not be underestimated! All of its elements are made with such perfection that the ride is a pure rush. The drop delivers a massive portion of airtime that can compete with its larger brothers and sisters elsewhere, especially when seated in the back row. The same holds true for the airtime hill. The Immelmann is very intense and the twist to upright position is very swift. The right curve is well-placed too and causes some serious g-forces just at the end of the ride. The trains are very comfortable as one can always expect from a B&M.
Krake can operate with three trains simultaneously, but the ride did not seem to run at its full capacity throughout our visit. The second train was sent up the lift hill when the first train had already arrived at the final brake run, leaving the third train waiting in front of the station almost all of the time. This is probably due to the fact that the ride operatives are not very familiar with the rollercoaster yet. In the interest of the line making sufficient progress, trains should be dispatched much faster, causing the third train to no longer be redundant.
Exciting water surroundings
The main eye-catcher of Krake is the enormous splash. Because the splash element is located just after the first drop, water is shot very high into the air. Large pathways are located around the Immelmann, which offers very exciting opportunities to watch the train passing though the first few elements. At the rear side of the Immelmann, water hits the path, soaking all nearby guests, but not only those that are watching! When you are seated at the back row of the train, you are guaranteed to get a wet back of your shirt, and this comes as a real surprise. Travelling over the lake, you don’t notice anything about the splash, until you hear a loud explosion and your back is wet instantaneously.
Krake’s lake is filled with all sorts of ship wreckage theming. Just to the side of the drop, Krake’s mouth is visible above the water level. Heide-Park is planning on placing the mouth in such a way that it encloses the first drop, but the construction of this "tunnel" did not seem to be feasible enough. The park’s spokesperson pointed out that they are still keen on installing the mouth next winter.
Without a doubt, Krake is a fantastic addition to Heide-Park’s roller coaster line up that could make some people forget about Colossos or Desert Race. The location of the ride is chosen very well and it fits excellently in the pirate area. When walking from the park entrance to Krake you see the back of the drop, which points in the direction of Big Loop. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to mirror-image the entire layout, making the trains run towards you when you’re closing in on Krake.
The queue line is very simplistic, which is a shame. Because the ambience inside the station building is good, it would have been much better if at least half of the line was located indoors. It can be compared with Thirteen at Alton Towers, where only the final part really includes any theming. The story the ride has to tell, could have been developed more fully to improve the waiting experience and to make the rollercoaster make a little more "sense".
The ride itself is excellent and without flaws. One could argue that it is too short, but in our opinion a longer ride would take away the "wow factor" - Krake is an extreme rush for just 20 seconds. Some additional curves or even a mid-course brake run would not add much to the overall experience, but only take away from sensational speed. The powerful adrenaline rush Krake has to offer makes you want to ride it over and over.
Krake's course and the pathways surrounding the lake are awesome. The lack of storytelling makes us rate Heide-Park's brand new rollercoaster at 4 stars out of 5, but once they’ve placed the tunnel at the bottom of the first drop, it may just earn its final star...
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