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Phantasialand Wintertraum 2017

Benenen

Member
Right, let’s talk Phantasialand!

I was here last Wednesday and Thursday for the Wintertraum event after finding a last minute deal on the website. I’d never been to Phantasialand before so it was great to finally be in a place I’d heard so much about.

Rocked up to Hotel Ling Bao at about lunchtime on Wednesday and was given the keys to the room straight away even though check in usually isn’t until 3:30. First impressions of the hotel were great, the lobby is huge and there’s so much detail to take in, my head was darting around trying to look at everything while chatting to the reception staff. Once in the room I was excited to see Mystery Castle looming out the window and if I squeezed myself up against the wall I could see part of Taron snaking its way along.

After we had settled into the room it was time to find the park entrance which was located in the hotel gardens round the back. Once in the park the Chinese theme continues and looking back its amazing how well the hotel entrance blends in, if you weren’t a guest you would have no clue its there.

First up was Taron. While queuing I had a flurry of nerves in my tummy and I had no clue whether I was nervous about the ride or worried about how much I was about to enjoy it. After keeping up with the construction updates, seeing Taron in person was like going on a Tinder date with someone after stalking the hell out of their pictures. It felt so surreal to be there.

After a fifteen minute queue it was time to ride in the second row. I love the music that follows you all the way from the station right up until the moment you launch, I was so hyped! First launch was decent, doesn’t knock you back in your seat a huge amount but it felt powerful. There’s some scary headchoppers on the overbank that follows then the airtime hill is as good as it looks, you really feel it on your thighs. You then swoop round to the left through a tunnel then as you transition into a right bank the ride really starts to surprise. I’ve never felt such a brutal transition before! On the left seat it feels like airtime as your seat flies into the air while rotating then suddenly stops as your bodies momentum carries on into the lap bar.

From here until the next launch there’s not too much to write about, there’s a break in intensity as you glide and slalom your way through some buildings and caves. Then boom! Second launch! Every time I was shocked by how much acceleration there is here. The next few elements really cement Taron as a world class coaster as you gain some height then swoop back down through an S-bend followed by a tight overbank and two twisted airtime hills. After a bit more fannying about with some turns you reach the anticlimactic finale with all the trims, it’s still a fun section but once you reach that straight bit you know its already over. There’s a tickle of airtime on the bunny hop but none of that is relevant once the out of control feeling is sapped by the brakes.

Feeling relieved that Taron lived up to my high expectations it was time to try out Raik, the also new for 2016 family boomerang. It was a lot of fun and surprisingly forceful on the forward helix. There’s so many little details like the lights that change colour in the station and the lift hill audio which make this stand out and not feel like a filler attraction.

Feeling peckish I headed to the noodle bar in China but opened my wallet to find a load of English cash! Nightmare. Thankfully my room was a minutes walk away so I was soon back with some euros ready to eat. I was impressed with the food at Phantasialand, it was decent quality for a theme park and I never resented paying the prices. The hotel bar was about 50p cheaper a pint than my local pub!

While I was eating my noodles it started to snow which looked beautiful against the backdrop of China and all the Christmas lights. Unfortunately this soon turned to rain so we ducked in to Geister Rikscha, an omnimover style ghost train. If ridden in the middle of a busy afternoon it would be a nice chill out ride but as the third ride of the trip I was gagging to get off and go on something more exciting halfway round. It’s not a bad dark ride and has some detailed sets like the ship scene but it isn’t that fun.

One ride that’s really really fun however is Colorado Adventure. There’s surprise airtime, some speedy sections and it goes on and on over three lift hills. I particularly enjoyed the bit after the second lift where it dives into a tunnel and remains pitch black for about twenty seconds, got everyone screaming every time I rode it.

Next we saw White Christmas on Ice, it was a no frills ice show but the skaters were great. And weirdly enough it didn’t feel odd sat there on the 4th of January watching people skating to Christmas songs.

The show spat us out next to Talocan, one of the most anticipated rides of the trip. And good god are those fire effects strong! It’s one of those rides that’s impossible to fault. The cycle is long and intense with no dead sections (why don’t all top spins have back to back multiple flip sections?), the theming is beautiful and the fire effects add so much atmosphere. Plus the hiss it makes when the brake releases sends shivers down me.



Chiapas was next and I was on my own for this one. I was careful walking down the queue trying to keep an equal distance from the group in front of me and the group behind so as to get a boat to myself. Thankfully my waiting and scurrying ahead tactic payed off and I jumped into my own boat. Like Talocan this is as perfect of the ride type you can get. I loved all the little effects like the statue blowing you away down the backwards section and the theming and rockwork is so lush throughout. I liked as well how upbeat and feel good Chiapas is, even the turn around before the final drop where you’d expect a more perilous soundtrack had happy music. One minor criticism is how Colorado Adventure interacts with the ride. When you reach the highest point of a log flume you should feel like you’re at the top of the world however on Chiapas you can see the mine train about five metres above you. I’m being so fussy here, the ride is fab.

It was starting to get dark so we headed over to Black Mamba. It’s surprisingly forceful given it’s less than 100 ft and there’s some nice airtime between the helixes at the end. Doing this coaster first time in the dark is such a mind ****. You wander round in the dark trying to find the entrance, walk down the queue with minimal lighting and the coaster roaring overhead. The station is pretty oppressive what with all the spikes and loud tribal music, the music then follows you up the lift hill, you spend a minute getting chucked about in the dark then you’re suddenly in the brakes where it’s pitch black with more loud drumming chanting music. As a full experience between joining the queue and leaving your seat Black Mamba really nails it, it just oozes atmosphere then the coaster is really good too.

It’s been about a week since I started this report so my memory is getting hazy. I believe the night time shows were soon to start but we managed to nip on Maus and Winjas beforehand.

Maus Au Chocolat is very good for what it is, however I don’t think it offers much re-ride value and I’m not sold on a ride where the bulk of it could be replicated on your phone or TV. From a theming perspective it’s great, the queue is pleasant to walk through and smells gorgeous and while brief the physical sets on the ride are nicely detailed plus I love all the shadow scenes. As for the screens I was very engrossed as I was desperate to beat the person I was with but for a ride like this the graphics need to be colourful and in your face like on TSMM. It was satisfying when you hit a mouse with a high number but everything was a bit too brown and grey for it to be really fun. I’m torn as to where I stand on this ride, I did really enjoy it but I felt no desire to ride it on the second day.

Crossing back over to Mexico it was soon time for Tiempo Del Fuego to start. We only got there ten minutes before it started but managed to nab a spot right at the front which was great. What wasn’t so great was that it started raining and continued to do so for the rest of the night!

The show started and it’s ten minutes or so of projection mapping to some lovely music, there’s some really creative stuff as seasons come and go and buildings keep changing patterns and crumble down and get rebuilt. I could have stood and watched it for hours, it was mesmerising. Then part way through the fireballs start and it gets a bit crazy. There’s so much fire and it went on for a lot longer than I expected.

After munching on a Bratwurst we took our place for the big end of day show, The Magic Rose – Spirit of Light. I’m not much of a show person but this was very grand and had a warm fuzzy feeling to it. It’s one of those shows where the costumes, effects and size of the cast pull it along as opposed to skilful performance. As it got going there was a lot to look at and take in and the firework finale topped it off well.

At this point I was absolutely freezing with my coat and hair soaked through from the rain so our next move was a dash back to the hotel to chill in the sauna. This little benefit was the main thing that swayed me to Ling Bao as opposed to staying at Hotel Matamba and it was so worth it, I’ve never felt so relaxed and toasty in all my life. Once I was warm through I had a quick wade round the pool. The outside area was beautiful with the mist rising from the surface into the cool air and all the Christmas lights in the background, definitely one of the more magical moments of the trip. I also got a bit of a culture shock when I walked past the sauna and saw a man sat there with his tackle out.

The next morning was due to start with hotel ERT from 10:00 to 11:00 on Taron and Raik but it was all a disaster. We started queueing at the entrance at 10:15 however it took twenty minutes to get into the park due to only one turnstile being there at the hotel entrance. Once inside I saw a staff member standing in front of Klugheim turning people away and my heart sank. Apparently there was a problem with Taron and they weren't sure if it would be up again later in the day. I went to have a look at Taron from the main pathway and saw an engineer doing some work on the trims on the final section which got me wondering, was Raik then shut as well because the two rides share a same restricted area which this bloke was in?

I was pretty frustrated because I had only been on Taron once the previous day as I assumed I could get some whoring done in the ERT so to not have this was a kick in the teeth. Also to my frustration the Thursday was weirdly busy compared to the very quiet Wednesday. Taron peaked at 75 minutes and Winjas was on 50 all afternoon. The queues weren’t absurd but it took a lot more planning and backtracking to get stuff done and I was gutted I hadn’t done Taron a few more times on the Wednesday.

I’ll finish my moaning here and crack on with with my thoughts of the remaining rides. First up was Winjas which we rode back to back a few times until the queue built up. I had high expectations of this and I was pleased to not be disappointed. It’s such a weird and wacky coaster with a lot of variety. I loved the mix of banked sections and wild mouse sections which I’m surprised Maurer haven’t carried over to more of their designs as it adds a lot of re-rideability. Fear>Force for me due to the huge first drop/camelback combo and the lengthier dark section after the trick track.

After this we re-rode some of our favourites from yesterday then headed back over to the Fantasy section. Hollywood Tour was surprisingly good, I know this ride gets a lot of slack but I have always got time for a fun cheesy dark ride. Temple of the Nighthawk on the other hand I can see why it gets criticised. I quite enjoyed it and there’s moments where it feels out of control but it turns into a slog towards the end.

While in the area I also had a go on Wurmling Express which is a Squirrel Nutty style ride offering a nice view of the lake and a great view over the construction site on the former Race to Atlantis ride. The area that’s been flattened out for it is absolutely huge and goes all the way down the side of the Wuze Town building as well. Personally I’d love to see a dark ride go here but something with a bit of intensity like the systems found on Dinosaur or Forbidden Journey with mainly physical sets. I can’t see the new ride being a thrill coaster after Taron or a family coaster what with there being 4 other family coasters in the park so a dark ride seems likely.

The final new to me attraction was the Hotel Tartuff fun house which was so much fun. It really nails the chaotic and tacky vibe of a fun house but feels like a fully fledged theme park attraction. The slide at the end is particularly steep and the spinning tunnel is very nauseating!

After two days on park I really wish I could have stayed longer. It’s definitely the most themed theme park I’ve been to, the more layered areas like Mexico and Klugheim feel natural in their design like real locations as opposed to somewhere carefully planned and artificially created for a theme park. I also liked how the normal things that annoy me about going to a park don’t really apply here like reduced capacity on quiet days, getting forced through gift shops, having deals shoved down my throat, etc. The day is just yours to chill and enjoy things without thinking of the outside world.


Cheers for reading guys!
 
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zazobo

Member
Nice review, such a shame you missed mega whoring of Taron on the second day.

I'm heading out for the first time in April for three nights... do you happen to know what the taxi/transport is like between the hotels and the local town? I ask because I know the hotel restaurants are pretty expensive and fancied trying somewhere in town at least for one of the nights.
 

Benenen

Member
Thank you! It was indeed a disappointment but gives me a good excuse to head back.

According to Rome2Rio a taxi one way to Bruhl is £11 to £14 so if there's a group of you you'll definitely save money going out.

Like you I was alarmed by the 30€ buffet price in the hotel so I ate in the park shortly before leaving in the evening. I believe the Dragon Bar and possibly the one in Matamba do bar food in the evenings which would be a cheaper alternative.
 

Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Fantastic report!

Gutted to hear about the Taron Spite but glad you had a great time nonetheless.

I agree with you RE: Chiapas and how it should feel much higher than it actually is. Only when you are on Chiapas do you realise the amount of effort that went into squeezing it into its current location!
 

zazobo

Member
Thank you! It was indeed a disappointment but gives me a good excuse to head back.

According to Rome2Rio a taxi one way to Bruhl is £11 to £14 so if there's a group of you you'll definitely save money going out.

Like you I was alarmed by the 30€ buffet price in the hotel so I ate in the park shortly before leaving in the evening. I believe the Dragon Bar and possibly the one in Matamba do bar food in the evenings which would be a cheaper alternative.
Ahh danke.

Even with a £25 return taxi I expect it's going to end up being cheaper going into town with a few drinks and a bit of food etc...!
 

Pink Cadillac

Active Member
I'm glad you had such a great time but it's gutting to hear about Taron. At least it's a good excuse for a revisit! I agree with the music between Taron's station and first launch - it really got me geared up!
Chiapas was next and I was on my own for this one. I was careful walking down the queue trying to keep an equal distance from the group in front of me and the group behind so as to get a boat to myself.
#me
 

Will

Active Member
Zazobo - you can find the bar menus and prices on their website - http://www.phantasialand.de/en/business-to-pleasure/top-locations/restaurants-bars/
There is bar food, but if you want a full meal and not a snack, this won't happen - I think they also stop serving food quite early.

I found the bar prices to be quite reasonable, and they're also nice places to unwind in at the end of the day - though that may be the Maker's Mark talking :p
The restaurants on the other hand were excessively priced and the food didn't do a lot for me, so I always made sure I'd eaten on park. That said, I can't imagine a taxi to Bruhl and back costing all that much, though I wouldn't be able to tell you an exact price :)
 

zazobo

Member
Thanks Will, do you happen to know if the park food outlets stay open later than ride time? I think the park closes at 6pm in April which is a bit early for dinner.
 
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