What's new

Hamburg Dom, Hansa & Heide Park (Including Kärnan review)

CookieCoasters

Active Member
I'm not going to do a massively detailed report about absolutely everything I did at these parks/fairs as I don't think I'll have time, but instead I thought I would focus my report around doing a review of Kärnan and then just touch on my thoughts of other main rides.

Hamburg Sommerdom

Coincidentally, the day we were flying out to stay in Hamburg, was also the last day of the Hamburg Sommerdom, so we made our way out there for the first evening. There was 2 new creds to be had, plus a chance to ride Höllenblitz again <3.

The first one I did was the shark-themed wacky worm, with spray effects. I think it was here when we visited the Dom two years ago, but I missed it.



The second new cred for me was Teststrecke, which I believe used to be Laser at Dorney. It was okay; more enjoyable than Alpina Bahn and Olympia Looping, probably because of the snazzy trains. My sister was quite impressed because she'd never ridden a travelling coaster of that size before and we both commented on how smooth it was.

That weird, suspended wild mouse thing that goes to Winter Wonderland was also here, but I already had the cred, so didn't bother with it.





Probably the most impressive travelling ride I have ever seen/ridden is Höllenblitz. The effort they've made to theme what could just be another tacky-looking fairground ride should be heavily praised. The coaster itself is also really good; I think it might be my favourite spinner actually. All the flashing lights make it quite disorientating and I like that you can't always see what's coming. Maybe if I rode it more the novelty would wear off a bit (like with the Winjas), but currently, I think it's really fab!



We went on a couple of flats too, including an amazing breakdance and my third Zierer Starshape (or "Bling") of the year, which I was quite surprised about being that they're still fairly rare.

The Dom was a lot busier than it was two years ago, but that was probably because it was the last night, whereas last time we came in the middle of its run and mid-week. I still don't like it as much as the Düsseldorf Rheinkermis, but it is a pretty good fair.

Hansa Park



I went to Hansa Park for the first time two years ago, when we were travelling up to Denmark. Apart from Fluch Von Novgorod, nothing about the park or rides impressed me at all and it probably would've been quite a while until I would've wanted to return, if Kärnan hadn't been built.



We got into the park at about 9.20am and we were queueing up outside the entrance of Kärnan by 9.30. After over half an hour waiting outside, they finally sent a test car out and shortly after, we were let into the queue. There was a bit of faff as my sister was not going to be allowed on due to her flip flops being a loose article, but thankfully she just swapped shoes with my Mum (who wasn't riding). I get why this is necessary as they don't want people going barefoot either in case of an evacuation, but it could really 'ruin' someone's day if they didn't have a spare pair of shoes or someone to swap with.



It took them a further 20-30 minutes to actually open the ride and because it's a bit of a capacity nightmare, it took another 30 minutes to actually get onto the ride, despite there not being that many people in the queue in front of us. So after just over 90 minutes of queueing, we were finally on and I was excited :)

As this review is going to be of a decent length, I'll split it up into different parts. Some of the sections may contain spoilers, so please feel free to skip over bits if you wish to.

The Queue line

The queue line is mostly a little bland at this point, as you might expect given that the theming is not set to be completed until next year. You start off queueing outside the castle, then down some stairs into the castle, where you then queue through some big, dark rooms with blue lights and a few treasure chests dotted about.

Then you come to a (boring white) door, where one group of sixteen is let in each time and this is when you place your belongings in the cubbyholes, which open up into the station, to collect after the ride. The ride op in this room will give you the 'empty your pockets' talk (it was in German, but I assume that was what they were saying), but one of them actually went a step further by whipping out a torch and shinning it around everybody's pockets to check they'd done what they had been told. I thought it was quite funny and I was kind of hoping someone was gonna get caught out :p

Next, you are let through another (boring white) door into the loading room, which was themed to look like the inside of a circular tower; almost like a chapel I guess. The way they load you onto the train was very cool. Firstly, everybody queues up in four lanes. Then, a random door will open which leads to one of the four rows and just after that, one of the gates at the end of the queueing lanes will open (not necessarily the one that corresponds to the already open door) and this is the row those guests have been allocated. This happens one door/gate at a time, until everybody is on the trains, meaning no matter what gate you choose to stand at, you'll never be able to predict which row you're going to be seated at.

Yes I know it is just a bit of a gimmick, but I quite liked the element of mystery it provided. We got lucky with it and got two front row rides and one back row.

The Tower

Once your train exits the station, you curve round (under the final barrel roll) and then drop down a small drop before you turn onto the bottom of the vertical lift. Yeah, that drop isn't as good as say, the one on Saw, but I wasn't expecting it the first time and I'd say it felt like the natural thing for the coaster to do at that time. You then start to ascend the HUGE vertical lift. I absolutely love vertical lifts, so I was really enjoying this one, especially since you're lifted out of your seat for the entire time. I found it very thrilling.

*Main potential spoiler coming up*

You then stop near the top of the lift. I knew what was going to happen next, but my Dad and sister didn't, so I was excited to see their reactions. You're left waiting there for a significant amount of time, but I liked that, as even for me, it built up quite a bit of anticipation. You then drop back down the lift. I felt like the initial free-fall sensation was there when you first started to drop, but then it does brake quite quickly. It's another gimmick, but I did quite enjoy it. You do then stop again for a while before making the ascent back up the lift, so if you don't like vertical lifts, then you're probably hating the ride at this point. I actually found that after spending so much time on it, you begin to feel quite disorientated as if you're actually looking forward, rather than upward.

Obviously this time, you make it all the way over and and are sent down the vertical, twisted drop. I thought it was a excellent drop <3. At the front, you're floating out of the your seat the entire way down and at the back it is the same, except you get a stronger pull from going over the top (so it's even better!). All the other coasters in my Top 5 have a drop which I adore and this was no exception. The feeling was fantastic and the thrill factor was HIGH. Loved it! A bit different to EGF's drop because the ejector moment isn't as strong, but the extra freedom of the trains and restraints puts it on a par for me.

The Outside part





Towards the bottom of the drop, you exit the tower and then you enter the 'heart-shaped' element (i.e. I have no idea what it's called and I'm just guessing), with the really ugly support structure. I was very curious to see how this element would play out in real-life and I have to say, I was surprised by how good it was. Coming into the first half of the element, you receive a nice portion of (fairly sustained) airtime with a bit of laterals thrown in and the same on the second half. The first half had better airtime at the front, the second half had better airtime at the back. The only two parts of the ride which I thought had any significant rattle were at the bottom of the first drop and at the bottom of the 'heart' element. It wasn't to the degree where the ride became at all uncomfortable though; it didn't actually bother me and I wouldn't say it really detracted from the experience.





You then travel at a ridiculous speed into a fairly small over-banked turn, which creates quite an intense moment right there, but not as much as the transition out of the element, which throws you sideways (particularly violently on the left-side of the train), before you enter another two, really quick snappy turns. It's this sort of aggressive streak that makes a coaster a 'Top 10-er' for me. I don't necessarily see it as a requirement, but it's definitely something that can win me over. I guess it's possible to see it as roughness, but to me, it's more like a mixture of violence and intensity than that. I like the freedom to be chucked from side to side (providing it's not painful).



The next few twists are quite high on the Lateral Gs as well, although not quite as snappy as the previous ones. You then get a decent boost of ejector over the small hill; good airtime at the front, great at the back. The next part of the ride is arguably a bit of a dead spot, which I'll happily admit, but then the outdoor portion finishes strong, with an even stronger pop of ejector on a final hill, leading to the breaks. At that point, I was buzzing and amazed at the coaster I had just experienced.

The final bit isn't outdoor, but I won't bother making a separate section for it as it's pretty short. You slowly drop down into a tunnel, which contains the coaster's final 'surprise'; an oddly-shaped barrel roll, which provides a really fab hang-time sensation, but not taken so slow that it feels tame or too prolonged. I'd say it's even better than the indoor one on Karacho, which I also really enjoyed. Your photo is taken either just before or just after this element. You then enter the final breaks and roll back into the station.

Even after walking out the exit through the gift shop, I still had that massive, childish grin on my face; that sort of reaction is another thing that tells me a coaster deserves to be very high up in my rankings :--D



Summary

While I personally consider Kärnan one of the Top Five coasters I have ridden, it's not necessarily going to be everybody's cup of tea. If I'm being honest, I'd say it's still a bit of a way from being a 'perfect' coaster. The layout is quite sloppy and visually unappealing in many places, but what I love about it is that it's taken at such an insane speed, which makes it an incredibly thrilling coaster IMO. You see, none of the coasters at the very top of my list have 'perfect' layouts; they all have dead spots and some slight degree of restraint/roughness issue, but it's the 'WOW-factor' they give me that places them at the top; that's the most important thing about a coaster for me, whether it's done by airtime, intensity or a mixture of both.

The indoor parts of Kärnan will obviously be enhanced next year, with the completion of the rides theming (I have no doubt Hansa Park will pull it off well) and again, while they're not perfect with respect to the ride, I still found them highly enjoyable and exciting. They really added another dimension to the ride experience, which helps boost it even further up in my rankings. The restraints are very comfortable (the ride ops don't staple you) and as I have touched on already, they give you a lot of freedom for movement because they are more like 'thigh bars' as opposed to lap bars. Think Skyrush, but comfier.

I guess the last thing I'll say about why I liked it, is its originality. It's not just "another B&M Hyper", "another GCI Woodie" etc. It has enough uniqueness to stand out amongst other coasters I have ridden. Of course, in 10 years time, when perhaps they're more Gerstlauer Hypers about, this may not be the case, but for now, it certainly is.

My personal rating for Kärnan would be 9.5/10, but as a coaster to appeal to the masses (of coaster enthusiasts), I would give it an 8/10.



We did do a couple of other rides at the park as well, but as I said at the start, the ride selection at Hansa Park is pretty mediocre overall.

My sister and I rode Fluch Von Novgorod twice and I'd say I enjoyed it even more than on my previous visit. I thought it was quite rattly last time, especially on that 'butterfly' (again, I think I'm making up terms) turnaround thingy, but this time the whole ride seemed pretty smooth, making it considerably more fun. The launch is still one of the best around (beats most hydraulic launches for me) and I love the lead-up to it. The airtime hill is still good and as the OTSRs don't seem to tighten on this Eurofighter, it's very enjoyable. The 97 degree indoor drop wasn't quite as novel as last time, but still a really fab element. I do think it's no longer the stand-out coaster at the park, but it and Kärnan do make a very good coaster duo. 8.5/10



Nessie wasn't as boring as I remembered, although it's still pretty average. 5/10

As for my feelings towards Hansa Park this visit, I think I like the park itself slightly more than last time. A lot of that can probably be attributed to not having to run around and get all the creds (with long queues) this time, so the day felt more relaxed. I still think a lot of the park looks dull and a bit grubby in places, but I think as the park is clearly putting much more effort into their new additions than they used to, these sorts of things will improve over time and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the park will do next.

Heide Park

Again, I'm going to keep my reporting to just the main coasters for Heide Park, but I don't that's an issue considering we've had quite a few Heide Park reports this year.


Unfortunately, this was the only picture I took at Heide Park

Colossos

When I first rode Colossos three years ago, I'd say it was a really good, airtime-filled woodie, if a little too juddery. After my visit this week, I'd still say the same thing. I really love the first half; rushing down that first drop and over those first two big hills is an almost surreal moment. At this point, I'd say it's probably beating Balder. It's after those hills, where I feel Colossos drops below the aforementioned pre-fab.

The next few elements are fairly mellow and after that comes the helix, which is (let's be honest) a bit crap. The final three bunny hops are good, if a little weak compared to the equivalents on coasters like EGF and Goliath (Walibi). The helix and bunny hops are also the parts of the ride, where I feel the juddering becomes slightly detracting; it actually makes me feel a little ill and gets to my head a bit. It's not like the good ol' rattle you get on a traditional wooden coaster, which can actually improve the experience a lot. The truth is, here Colossos is trying to be more like one of those traditional woodies and it's sucking at doing so.

Don't get me wrong, I actually do love riding Colossos, but I believe the Intamin Pre-fabs have gotten better with each addition (although, I haven't ridden T Express to see if that is better than El Toro). It's a great coaster, but it is showing it's age in the form of roughness and the unimaginative layout compared to more modern coasters. 8.5/10

Flug Der Dämonen

This was the only new-to-me coaster at the park. I'd only ridden Swarm and Raptor as far as B&M Wing coasters go before this and I really liked both of those, but I had heard rather mixed reviews about Flug. It was a bit of a weird experience in many ways. Firstly, I really liked it on it my first ride, but liked it less and less each ride I had on it after. It's from far from a bad coaster, but I have issues with the layout. I don't feel it flows as seamlessly through the elements as Swarm and Raptor do, as they're a few choppy, 'stop-and-start' type moments which ruin the pacing a bit.

I loved the first drop (although not as much as Swarm's; it's shaped slightly differently) and the airtime hill was actually really good in the back, but after that, a bit meh really. I know it's because they've had a more restricted space to deal with than other Wing coaster installations, but it felt a bit too cramped as well. I don't know, maybe I'm being a bit too picky with some of these things, but I thought the quirky layout, meant it didn't 'work' as well as the other two. Still a decent coaster overall though. 7/10

Krake

There's not actually much to say about Krake; it's very much a short, but sweet coaster. Dive coaster drops are always a great place for sustained floater, so that works in it's favour. I feel the octopus mouth, although visually impressive, isn't as effective as Oblivion's deep, dark tunnel or Baron's tunnel full of mist, but is still better than no tunnel at all. Where Krake leaps ahead of Oblivion (for me), is the excellent execution of the Immelmann loop and airtime hill, to carry on the sustained floater for the entire ride. It's very re-rideable and bucket loads of fun. Baron is my preference out of the two, but only by a very slight margin. 8/10

Desert Race

I still think it's better than Rita. It's very smooth and I feel there is a stronger feeling of airtime going over the hills than on Rita. I also really like the combination of navy blue track and beige supports, which I only just realised this visit. Still, the theming is a little too barren and the layout is still very uncreative. 6.5/10

We also did quite a few flats in the Maya Land area and the Polyp (why do I always miss these at parks? They're fab <3). Unfortunately, Scream was shut and will be until October :(

I really like Heide Park as a whole. There is a nice German charm around the areas with smaller rides, but also an exciting atmosphere built up around the larger coasters. Perhaps the fact that the areas with the bigger rides feel more corporate is why the park attracts quite a lot of criticism, but I feel that having both gives the feel of the park a bit more diversity. Sure, some of the areas are perhaps a little bland and the 'land of white coasters' doesn't help that, but I feel there are enough positive attributes the park has to not make that such a big issue. It's also got a very good ride collection, which could easily keep you there for two days. It's not a park that I would put in my Top 10, but it's good and I think Merlin have played a part in that to be honest.

Well, I've written in a lot more detail than I was anticipating :)

Thanks for reading!
 

davidm

Well-Known Member
Re: Hamburg Dom, Hansa & Heide Park (Including Kärnan review

Nice mini-report ; Karnan looks very nice, might have to visit next year I think! :)
 
Top