There are a number of things which, in my opinion, make a perfect roller coaster. For me, it’s not just about how many times you can flip the rider upside-down, or how high in the air you can throw them. A great roller coaster should have a story that draws you in, themeing that immerses you in that story, and it should all be capped off with a ride experience that leaves you wowed and breathless not just by the thrills it provides, but also by the attention to detail in the themeing, story and experience as a whole.
Baron 1898, therefore, is about as close to a perfect roller coaster as I’ve yet encountered.
From the moment you’re given your ride ticket, you feel like you’re part of the mining crew that’s subtly being led to its doom. The pre-show for this ride is awesome and uses some great special effects to not just tell the story but also get you interested and introduce you to the otherworldly forces at play here. The themeing is awesome and consistent throughout, to the point where you’re even dispatched by an old-fashioned giant lever, a touch which I loved. Then there’s a second pre-show while you’re actually in the ride itself, and this just helps to make the whole thing that much more dramatic.
Baron’s layout is compact, but every single inch of space has been used to the maximum. In the space of about a minute’s worth of ride you’re treated to an 87-degree drop, Immelman loop, zero-g roll, helix and airtime hill all before the final brake run. Every second is utilised well and is exciting, and despite being a comparatively small-looking coaster it makes for an awesome and extremely smooth ride experience. And let me tell you, that vertical drop does not look or feel small when you’re hanging at the top of it! One other thing that amazed me was the efficiency with which the whole thing runs, even with just 2 trains and a maximum capacity of 18 per train. You even get to choose which row you want to sit in, a welcome addition and something I often bemoan about another Dive Coaster I have a particular fondness for, as it allows you guaranteed front row seats for very little compromise (there’s only two more non-front rows than there are front, after all, so at worst you’re doubling your wait time from 15 to 30 minutes).
I suppose here I could nitpick and find tiny flaws – yes, maybe the outdoor section of the queue line could benefit from some more themeing, and yes, maybe the argument is there that they had the space available to make the coaster longer. But I really am looking for flaws where they aren’t really there with this stuff. The point is that Baron is a wonderfully-themed, exciting roller coaster that’s as thrilling to fairytale lovers as it is to coaster enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies. Definitely the best Dive Coaster I’ve been on to date and a stand-out addition to what is already a great line-up of thrill rides at Efteling.
See you around =] x x