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Backstage Untamed + Interview CEO Walbi



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It’s finally here! The official start of the Themeparkseason 2019. Most themeparks in The Netherlands close during the wintertime because of colder weather and preparations for the new season, so when it’s finally springtime again it’s time for the parks to present their novelties! On the 6th of April it was time for the press and the regular guests to come to the opening of Walibi Holland and see their biggest new thrill for The Netherlands and Europe this year. Please join us on this awesome day!


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At 9 o’clock in the morning we had to be at the entrance square of the park. After we were friendly welcomed and signed in it was time to get some refreshments, our helmets and press cards and slowly move to the entrance of the park. After opening the park, it was time for us to go to the new themed area called Wilderness. The old area Sherwood Forest will be completely refurbished to the new concept. The idea of Wilderness is that nature completely took over the place and made it look very overgrown.
You can see this in every aspect of the area. For example, the pathways are filled with sand and a little dirt to make it look unpolished, the trees and bushes will not be pruned regularly, and all of the buildings and attractions will have a chill, abandoned and rustic vibe. It is also a very peaceful place where you can relax and enjoy the nature. Walibi invested 200.000 euro’s just at landscaping alone. In the future, the area will look even better, because when the plants grow and really take over the place the look and feel of Wilderness will be even better displayed.


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Untamed will be, of course, the biggest attraction of this new themed area. The existing rides, buildings, shops and restaurants are refurbished to fit the theme. For example, Topspin Excalibur is refurbished to Blast, a ride that turns you around at such high speeds that it made the new Pizza shed look like it was blown away by it. Madhouse Merlin’s Magic Castle is covered in artistic gravity and even the toilets are themed like they were taken over by nature..
Manager of the park Mascha van Till-Taminiau opened Wilderness by thanking all the employees for their hard work and creative mindsets. They worked very hard until the last minute and they used the budget they got as good as possible. After music and confetti, we were welcomed in Wilderness and experienced the very nice and thought-through theme.


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When we reached Untamed, everyone was thrilled to see how big and tall the structure is and how nice the inversions look. In front of the station, with the new Untamed sign in the background, they officially presented the coaster’s trains to the press. The new trains are not yet on the building site, but the train was presented through a concept art. The 2 trains that Untamed will get will have the same look and feel as Wilderness. They look original, a bit steam punk-ish and very streamlined with a front that looks a bit like a wing of a dragonfly.
After the official moments it was time to enter the construction site. You could not make us happier of course! Between RMC construction workers we got to see the track up close and we got to take the best pictures. We also got to see the new waiting line from up close including recycled details from the old Robin Hood coaster. After a photoshoot of the coaster, a photoshoot of ourselves on, under and between the tracks (we couldn’t resist it) it was time to leave the RMC workers and the amazing construction site to go to the Walibi BizNiz Centre.




Stats
Length:
1085 meter
Speed:
92 km/h
Height:
36,5 meter
Vertical Angle:
80 degrees
Inversions:
5
Capacity: 900 persons per hour
Duration: 106 seconds
Trains: 2 trains of 24 riders
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Walibi is also working to improve the food and drinks in the park. Yesterday we tried the chorizo wrap and a chicken sandwich, which were quite tasteful. We can also confirm that the one and only Cinnabon is on its way to the park! The American cinnamon buns will be sold in Walibi in the near future.



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Interview Walibi CEO: Mascha van Till-Taminiau



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Goodmorning Mascha, thank you for having us today.

First general question: Why did Walibi choose to built a RMC?


I tested some roller coasters in the United States with a colleague. They were fun, but not for the goal we had in mind for them. Because we had some spare time left, we visited Six Flags Fiesta Texas and rode Iron Rattler, and that coaster was just amazing, especially the combination of smoothness and power. We wanted to know who was responsible for this roller coaster, which turned out to be RMC. We visited their office and we immediately felt a connection. RMC is a company with great people, and they are so proud of their work. The company and their people are great to work with! 


What will Untamed mean for Walibi?

It was, most of all, important to thankfully make use of Robin Hood. The coaster served us really well for the last 18 years. Furthermore, we wanted to add an attraction which is new for us, new in Europe and complementary to what we already have. We never want something that’s there already. We’ve pushed everything we can out of the budget, the coaster and the layout, so that it will have the “wow-effect” we want to create. 


How does the process work to get to the final layout of Untamed?

We give a briefing and explain what we want. Then RMC goes to work. Most of all, we wanted the coaster to have the same footprint as Robin Hood. We looked into the option of shortening a turn in the layout a bit to save money for other projects, but that turned out to be more expensive. So in the end, the footprint of Robin Hood was the requirement. With that and other requirements RMC makes a proposal. During that process the layout is sent back and forth between us to RMC, to make improvements and implement changes. In that aspect, it is similar to the cooperation with Mack, during the process of building Lost Gravity. You also have manufacturers who say: “no, that is not possible, this is what it is.” Then we pull out. Within CDA we have Julien Simon, a big fan, who has ridden, like, all the roller coasters in the world. He made challenges during the process and we also know at a certain point: if we add this as well, than it will be too much. 


Will Untamed receive a single riders line?

Yes, it will! Just as Speed of Sound and Condor, opened since today.


What will be the height requirements for Untamed?

When the Tuv visits Untamed we know the final height restriction, but at the moment we don't know yet. Our goal is 1.20 meters, but the future will tell us.



Walibi is also gonna focus again on families. Are we gonna see a shift in the product experience?

We notice when we talk with families who haven’t been to Walibi, they often think it is mainly for adults and thrill seekers, but when they actually visited the park and we ask their opinion they are really positive. So we are who we are: teenagers and young adults are and will remain our main target audience. But it would be crazy if we don’t let the families know that the park can be appealing to them as well. We never advertise with Walibi Playland or the 20 attractions we have for the smaller kids, because in the commercials you only see our 11 thrill rides. We want to attract the families, but at the same time won’t push the teenagers and young adults away. We will create a mix and our main focus is: “Tough” (in Dutch: Stoer), so no matter if you are 6, 12, 18 or 25, if you want cool, tough rides? Come to Walibi! If you want a spectacular and sensational day, come to us! 


One final question.
How are you going to reach the families and younger children?


We work closely with new partners who focus more on families and we invest quite a lot in new commercials, while  we also use last year’s commercial, since it was well-received. There will also be a commercial with children, which will be broadcast on national television. 

Thank you for your time Mascha, and good luck the next 3 months with Untamed!



After the interview it was time to get our goodiebag and enjoy the rest of the park. The goodiebag was filled with some food and beverages, Walibi Merch and the official concept of the train of Untamed. The funniest part of the goodiebag was a giant shovel with the Untamed logo on it to ‘’help’’ the RMC workers building it. A very original and funny souvenir of this awesome day.
We’d like to thank Walibi Holland again for inviting us and giving us a great day! We can’t wait for Untamed to be opened to the public so that we can finally experience some RMC goodness near home! We also hoped you enjoyed this blog and we hope to see you this summer to ride Untamed with us! Stay tuned!

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