It comes to something when a roller coaster opened in 1981 is still going strong at a theme park, and also has more inversions than any other ride at said theme park. Python at Efteling is 35 years old this year, features four inversions and is still often used in park advertising as one of the most exciting rides at the park. The question is, does it deserve this reputation?
Debatable at best, in my opinion.
Let me start with the good stuff. Python has a great location at Efteling, nestled in the back corner within easy walking distance from other thrill rides like De Vliegende Hollander, Joris en de Draak and Halve Maen. It’s certainly fairly impressive to look at, and watching the train careen through those four inversions (two consecutive vertical loops and a double corkscrew) is a pretty awesome sight to behold. The main problem I have with Python is that that is literally it. You climb a very slow lift hill, go down a drop, do 2 loops and a u-turn, do 2 corkscrews and a bayern curve and you’re back in the station. It was definitely cutting edge in 1981, but today feels just a little lackluster.
The other issue I have with Python is that, due to its age, the trains are constantly needing to be replaced in a desperate attempt to keep the ride smooth. The most recent replacement uses an all-new restraint system devised by Vekoma and consisting of a large jacket not dissimilar to the ones found on B&M flying coasters, to which handrails are attached. This eliminates the headbanging but offers a whole new problem: the jacket is so tight that you’re essentially being compressed into your seat for the entire duration of the ride. This gets especially uncomfortable during the times you’re not enjoying being flipped upside-down, like during the pointlessly slow lift hill, or when waiting on the brake run. On the plus side the new trains are nice to look at, featuring a really quite sexy snake scale effect, but that doesn’t make the experience of riding in them any more comfortable.
If I’m being brutally honest, I really don’t know why Python is even still at Efteling. OK, so for a long time it was the biggest thrill coaster there (and the only one with inversions), but even that’s not true anymore with the addition of Baron which is a far superior ride in every aspect, including smoothness. They took the decision to replace Pegasus when that became obsolete, so it really raises the question as to why they still keep (and promote) Python as one of their star attractions. There are so many better rides at Efteling, and I really feel like this one is past its sell-by date and could do with being retired soon.
All that said, I would still encourage you to try Python if you have time and you don’t have to queue. You can’t beat a good old-fashioned vertical loop in my opinion, and it’s an iconic piece of roller coaster history that may not be around for much longer.
See you around =] x x