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Just Another Germany Trip Report– August 2020 {Day 5 - Schwaben Park}

Hixee

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Come on... Do a trip report... You know you want to (not too many opportunities in 2020!)
Yeah come on Matt, do a trip report. We need as many trip reports as we can get at the moment!
Ah go on.
G'waan g'waan g'waan!
Gotta give the people what they want…

Less pictures this time – but there’s a few. Got all the good pictures a few years back:

Don’t need any more context to this trip – first one of the year – so let’s get to it…

Day 1 – Erlebnispark Tripsdrill

Short blitz from our hotel near the airport (having arrived late the night before and opting to just dive into a bed as quickly as possible) and we were at the park.

Straight to the main attraction – it’d be rude not to.


Blimey Vekoma – you feeling okay?


Lovely stuff

So, my first experience of the ‘proper’ new-gen Vekoma stuff. Love it! First drop is quite good, with a nice pop of airtime in the back row. Zero-g over the other cred’s station was very good – smooth, floaty and fast. Rest of the layout has a nice flow to it, with a good combination of floater, inversions and surprisingly strong forces. All measured against the family coaster metric, of course, would be silly otherwise. I thought it was brilliant, actually.


Whilst I do like the concept art for the new station (to be completed for 2021, allegedly), it does look ****e right now.


The trains are great, though.


Into the first drop they go.


It does look rather nice, too.


Oh, I also liked the way it slithered over the top of the paths.

Just a short walk down to the shuttle coaster – this time they bothered to finish the station too, which is nice. The highlight of this coaster is obviously the trains, but it’s an okay enough coaster. I do like how it twists along underneath the invert, and I think the interaction of it bursting into the station will be really nice once it’s all finished.


Nice looking station, gives me hope the other one will look good.


Zoom!


Living for the goat, this is great.


I do like the way these coasters fly through the station.

At this point we decided to mince round the rest of the park hitting up the other coasters. Nothing new to us, but might as well get a ride on them. Short summary:

Karacho – Feels so close to being good, but typically Gerstlauer in its execution. Lumpy corners, weird pacing, crappy transitions. The launch is actually good (although don’t like the drop into it) and the top hat is excellent, but after that take-it-or-leave-it.

Mammut – It’s strange. The layout is reasonably naff, but the rubber wheels make it kinda hilarious. It’s charming, but no world beater.

G'sengte Sau – Maybe the best bobsled, you know. Gerstlauer should stick to making these. Getting really overgown too, which is excellent.


Only took a photo of Mammut…

Lets go back to the Vekoma for another few laps before calling it a day.


Brilliant interaction between the two coasters.


Can see the drizzle here – not going to stop us though!


There’s a nice view of the coaster across the little lake/pond thing.


See?

Right, time to head south towards Europa now. No real love for Tripsdrill, to be honest, so don’t mind heading off somewhere a little more exciting.

Tripsdrill is an odd park – we ended up settling on describing it as Germany’s knock-off Efteling. On both visits I’ve had I’ve left the park thinking that I should have liked it, but just… didn’t. I think the park layout is a mess, which is really frustrating. There needs to be a path linking the top end of the Karacho bit across into the rest of the park, and there needs to be a better approach to the new Vekomas (there is a path, they just don’t use it for some reason). The creds are meh at best, and there’s actually nothing else there (log flume was closed this time, but had done it before).

And also, for some reason, all the little coffee outlets are cash only. Made it feel like 2002…

For completeness’ sake – Covid status:
Tripsdrill
Mask policy
- In queues, indoors and on rides (not required for children, but not exactly sure how that is defined). Staff patrolling queues and ride-ops enforcing proper mask usage (must cover nose and mouth).
Social distancing - Reasonable enough effort in queues, shops, restaurants and general areas of the park. No vacant rows on any rides. Park did not feel particularly busy, but wasn't the best day for weather, so not sure if this was a capacity limit or lack of interest.
Sanitiser - Plenty of hand sanitiser stations throughout the park. Trains not 'evidently' being wiped down, but can't guarantee we just didn't see it happening.
Overall - Frankly, as good as it'll get I think. Generally guests were adhering to the policies and appeared to be thoughtful towards others.
We had a smooth and fast drive down towards Europa, but had opted for a night up in the hills/mountains nearby instead of heading to Rust. Lots of wine, great food and a nice scenic setting. Ah, I’ve missed this.

Fabulous Europa next…
 
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Howie

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You mean... you didn't fire an egg out of a chicken?? 🤦‍♂️
I therefore put it to you, Sir, that you didn't do Tripsdrill properly.
 

Hixee

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Day 2 – Europa Park

We were staying on site (Castillo Alcazar) – so after a very good breakfast we took advantage of the early entry to hotel guests and headed into the park. Only a handful of stuff is open first thing, but we had a plan.

We started off wandering over towards Blue Fire (blue fire Megacoaster, urgh), which is still holding up as a decent ride. It’s no world beater, but is definitely above-average.

We were aiming towards CanCan Coaster for park opening, as we had a sneaky feeling it was going to have a sizable queue, but on the way stopped off at Snori Touren – the new dark ride – and Piraten in Batavia – the new boat ride.

Snori Touren is a lovely little ride, linking with the ‘main character’ from Rulantica, and has plenty of nice looking animatronics and high-res screens. It’s a one-and-done, but worth the walk on.

Piraten has only recently opened (reopened?) after the big fire a few years ago spited the old one. Bit of a convoluted queue set up here, and it feels a bit odd actually. We didn’t wait all that long (somewhere around 25mins) but the queue stretched a long way through the park. Okay, social distancing means the main queue isn’t at full capacity, but if it was I doubt it’d hold more than 15-20mins worth of queue. Hardly seems like enough?


Façade looks much the same as it did before, I think.

The ride itself was rather good. The drop into the first scene is fantastic, and you then follow a reasonably simple journey through a number of scenes. The sets are big and detailed, and there’s likely a lot of smaller details that we missed too. There’s also a slightly strange looking Roland Mack featured mid-ride. It’s excellent, it really is, and I’m pleased to see they were so keen on rebuilding it bigger and better. Quality stuff.

Onto the final new-to-me ride at Europa – CanCan Coaster. My override memories of EuroSat were: a) **** queue, b) funky lifthill, c) rattly coaster. Mercifully, a) and c) had been sorted with the rebuild, and it was great. I particularly liked the music and, as cheap as they were, the cardboard cut-outs worked well.


The new entrance is a great improvement.

Nicely tucked behind CanCan Coaster was Silver Star – the park’s big boy. It’s no secret that we LOVED this last time we visited, and we were anticipative of riding it again. With typical Europa Park efficiency, we were on in no time. Silver Star was running really, really well. There was a notable shake in the trains, but the airtime was lovely throughout. Good stuff.

We wandered across for some lunch (bit of corona-induced-faff here with a bit of poor queue planning in the restaurant, but nothing that wasn’t sorted soon enough), and then did a little loop via the ‘wet’ rides at the back of the park – the log flume and supersplash. Neither are actually that wet, mind.


Europa Park looks so good.


Up close these supersplash things are flippin’ enormous.


The drop and hill are fun enough, but they’re a bit lacklustre apart from that.

We’d been using the virtual queue thing throughout the day, and our time slot for Wodan had nearly arrived. Similar to Silver Star, we were really looking forward to getting back on this. Sure enough, it was brilliant again. The first drop is fast and wild, but the final section (I’d say probably after the station fly-through to the brakes) is bonkers. It has speed, airtime, chaotic corners, it’s got the lot. We were beaming.

On the way passed through the Blue Fire launch preview area – which I’d somehow missed last time. You get some cool views:


Pulling up.


Off they go!


Gotta love rides themed to industrial accidents…


Wodan doing it’s thing.


I quite like the overlapping of the Wodan and Blue Fire too.


Down they go!


One of the best bits of Blue Fire is this twisted hill after the loop – it’s great!


More of the interaction.

We opted for another lap-ish of the park picking up some of the other bits and bobs on the way. Euro Mir and Poseidon were both piles of **** – really showing their age when compared to Mack’s newer stuff.


Looks much, much, better than it rides.

Another lap on Silver Star while we were heading past (it’d be rude not to) and also hopped on the two omnimovers. The one underneath CanCan has had a retheme, but it’s a slightly strange effort. I thought the dinosaurs and everything would be removed, but it’s been weirdly adapted and bodged to sort of make sense as a tea party for a load of strange creatures. Definitely a curious move by the park. The ghost train omnimover in the Italy section has a few gruesome scenes, but is a bit pants really.

Looped back round to the park entrance for Voletarium. Now, I don’t particularly like flying theatres, I think they’re a bit naff, but I do like (or at least, don’t dislike) a lot of this one. I think the starting sequence is excellent, and I like the fact that it’s a gentle ride over some interesting scenery. The queue was burdenous this time, mostly due to them only operating one of the theatres and loading it in an odd way – making it the longest queue of the day, but at about 30mins that’s not so bad. It was a pleasant ride, though.

Finally we swung back towards the hotel stopping off at Arthur on the way. This ride is starting to show it’s age a little bit, and from what Ben and Sam were saying, even more so after having done the new one at Warner Bros. It’s fun and the soundtrack is nice, though, so no complaints.

That just about closed out our day in the park. We headed over to the hotel to check into the room before dinner and although we didn’t have a ‘high up’ park view, we could still see plenty of creds from the window, so beats the Ibis.


Sunset, yay. Sadly park doesn’t quite stay open late enough for night rides this time of year.


Little bit more functionality going on in the wider shot, mind.


I like this shot of Blue Fire, though.

We headed over to Colosseo for dinner, which included good gluten-free beer, so I was a happy chappy. Few of them polished off, and we headed up to the roof level bar at the hotel for a quiet drink before retiring to the room. Cocktails were nice up there, but a bit of a shame they allow indoor smoking as all our clothes (and masks) ended up with a noticeable pong. Thankfully we had spares!

Views of the park from the bar were good, but nothing truly outstanding, I have to admit.


Looking over towards Silver Star.


Not so easy to get pictures like this handheld…

Right, next two days will be condensed into one as there aren’t many pictures. :)
 

Hixee

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Two for one in this post – won’t be a long one I assure you. Photos are quick snaps from my sub-par phone.

Day 3 – Europa Park

Couldn’t quite muster the energy for a twenty minute vlog for you guys, I’m sorry. ;) The hotel was nice, though.


Not sure why you’d ever need more than that…

Anyway – into the park.

Weather was decidedly rubbish this day. Thankfully, nothing stops the Germans and everything was still running like normal.

Equally painful, hilarious, extra-forceful, and of course: soaking. It was excellent, but man it was a tiring day! Special marks to Wodan for what felt like an almost exorcism worthy experience in the front row.

Alternating between indoor and outdoor rides kept most of the cold and wet at bay, but a few hours off park close the allure of the hotel sauna became too much. Plenty of warmth, soft towers and luxury – oh yes, thank you.

Dinner was just as good as the night before – but this time we ate Castilllo. More food, beer and great service, this is what I like about these trips.


Lurrrvley.

That’s all the energy I can muster to write for today. Will close off with the covid status of Europa Park:
Europa Park
Mask policy
- In queues, indoors and on rides (not required for children, but not exactly sure how that is defined). Staff patrolling queues and ride-ops enforcing proper mask usage (must cover nose and mouth).
Social distancing - Reasonable enough effort in queues, shops, restaurants and general areas of the park. No vacant rows on any rides, and some ride-ops even filling empty seats with odd-numbered groups. Park was busy, meaning lots of crowded pathways (where masks are optional - we began wearing them everywhere it was even remotely crowded, but at our own choice). Honestly, felt just as busy as it did when we visited three years ago, I can't believe they were limiting numbers in the park.
Sanitiser - Plenty of hand sanitiser stations throughout the park. Trains were being stopped every 15mins or so for a full wipe down.
Overall - Mixed feelings here. Mask policy and sanitisation was good, but the park was busy and lots of people not adhering to the rules until told to by staff (and even then sometimes only temporarily).
Day 4 – Rulantica

Our last day at Europa was going to be trying out their new-ish waterpark – Rulantica.

Besides some minor ticket faff (I think actually a technical difficulty with the entry barriers) we got all our stuff in lockers and were heading into the park. I won’t bother trying to do a chronological report of this day, but I’ll briefly touch on the main points in a somewhat random order.

Towels: We didn’t have towels, so figured we’d hire some. Found the place to drop them off at the end, clearly signed and plain to see. Could we find the place to pick them up? Nope. Staff didn’t seem to know what we were on about, either! Strange. Mercifully, the indoor section is warm enough that you dry off reasonably quickly, so we made do without.

Wristbands: I’ve never seen these before, but them I’m also a bit basic, so… I liked them. You get a little wristband/watch type thing, which is scanned everywhere for food, drink, souvenirs, etc, then simply pay your tab once you leave. Don’t have to faff with money, cards, or anything in the park itself. Smart.

Body slides: Strangely the only two proper body slides are the two trapdoor slides. They’re slightly unnerving semi-self-operated contraptions, but are only small compared to the others I’ve done.

Tube slides: Most of the rides at Rulantica are tube slides – varying from one or two person rings to the bigger four person versions. Most of the slides are reasonably good, but the best being the toilet bowl thing by a mile.

Other rides: The lazy river is cute, with a sort-of dark ride feel and very relaxed. The outdoor rapids thing is great though, these things are always a laugh, and this was probably the best thing at the park.

So yeah, we had a good day here although I think it’s in dire need of an expansion. It feels like it’s missing a good half-dozen (or more) slides to give enough stuff to do for a proper full day (bearing in mind the waterpark is open 10am-10pm!). They are currently building an expansion, but I think it’ll still be a half-day job for a while. It is nice, but it’s just small.

They also need to sort the ventilation out – it had a terribly stuffy and at times stinky smell to the place – but then maybe I’m a bit biased to those sorts of things. :p


Credit where it’s due – the hotel looks magnificent. Although until there is some sort of mass-people-mover between Rulantica and the main park (and no, the shuttle bus doesn’t count), I don’t think I’d choose this hotel over the main ones purely for convenience’s sake.

Finally:
Rulantica
Mask policy
- Masks must be worn right up to the changing rooms for the waterpark, after that not required.
Social distancing - I mean, sure? It was busy and people sort-of tried their best, but wasn't great.
Sanitiser - Plenty of hand sanitiser stations throughout the waterpark. Rafts/inflatables rinsed between users.
Overall - My summary of this day was "Corona-what?". This truly felt like 'the good old days', and I don't think that's necessarily a positive thing.
After leaving the park we bombed it north towards Stuttgart to get ourselves fairly close to Schwaben park as we wouldn’t have a full day there. Turns out we needn’t have bothered, but more on that next time.
 

UP87

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Blue Fire (blue fire Megacoaster, urgh)
But actually it's "blue fire Megacoaster powered by Nord Stream 2" as it is shown on the beautiful new logo. (ugly af)
I didn't know you can enter the launch area. Quite cool. Have to look for this place on my next visit.

But it's "WODAN – Timburcoaster"... ;)

Thanks for the cool pics and the nice report. Can't wait to be back at Europa Park but that won't happen this year.
 

Hixee

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Day 5 – Schwaben Park

Some light context – our flight was early evening this day, which meant we had to do the car hire drop off and airport faff after the park. We’ve done this so many times in the past, but even still we’re always a little bit anxious all day – that’s why we leave the smaller places to the last day. Coupled with the unknown additional faff related to Covid at the airport, we planned on cred-running the park and getting out of there. As you’ll see, we needn’t have worried (but there was plenty of Covid faff at Stuttgart).

So, Schwaben Park.

We drove from our hotel down increasingly more rural roads to the park. Eventually spotted the creds on the horizon, and pulled down a farmyard driveway to the park entrance. Car park was basically empty, so we parked up and headed in.


The ‘big’ coasters (relative to the size of the park) are all located adjacent to the car park.

We made our way up towards the coasters (there seemed to be a handful of staff pottering round the area, so figured this was a good start) only to be confronted by a group of staff using a tractor to pull the Force One train from a valley onto the brakes. Put it this way – this wasn’t their first time. ;)


There was a rehearsed technique being employed here – I think this probably happens relatively often.

The bother with that seemed to have attracted all the staff from the other two coasters, so little use in milling about. Heard the distinctive noise of a cred though, so strolled down the hill towards the kiddie cred. +1, I suppose.


Goofy looking trains.

Slightly further down the hill was the Bob Kart. Hopes up – Blitz Bahn at Toverland is fantastic – and it was going well during the downhill stretch, but once you hit the uphill back straight all joy was lost. One could argue it was ‘cos I’m too heavy, but Blitz Bahn zooms around with ease. Should have asked to see if they could wind the power up, I guess…


So close yet so far.

Back up the hill now to see all three of the other creds running. Good-o. First one we got to was Force One, so on we go. Coaster wasn’t actually awful, but felt like it could have done a lot more with it’s size. It was, in places, tantalisingly close to being fun.


A few decent corners scattered around the layout.


First drop.


Socially distanced rows.


These two wanted to do lap-after-lap, so they’d opted for the middle seats so they didn’t have to get off when other people showed up for the front or back row.

Onto the slightly more unique stuff.


An odd creation.


Best ride was had by heavily unbalancing the car.

Always got to make sure I adjust my perspective accordingly, but it was hard to find a perspective where this was little more than ‘alright’. Chronically slow lift hill, to the point of hilarity, and the rest of the ride wasn’t much faster. Drops were close to being fun, but the trim grabbed and we were slowed down again. The soundtrack in the queue is also infuriating!

Hummel Brummel next door – quote my comments on this previously:
So we rode this on Tuesday.

It's actually quite fab.

Pokemaniac isn't far off with his assessment - it's clearly a family coaster (Schwaben is clearly a family park), but for what it is it's quite fun. It has good speed pick-up and once at top speed the corners are tight enough to induce some decent swinging of the seats. The ride-ops were leaving sensible gaps between cars so you wouldn't really catch up with the car in front, although we did try a test and the system automatically cuts your speed with a reasonable gap to the car in front.

EDIT - Would also add the supports are quite cool. Clever use of one support column for several different sections of track all passing in different places and at different heights.

The colours aren't great, mind. Oh, and it lacks a station of any real description yet - although it looks to me like they might install something later, it currently has a lot of temporary wooden fencing and rope to make paths, etc.

Overall - actually quite fun. Probably the best thing at the park, to be honest.
Probably the best ride in the park though…

The clock had chimed about 10:30, and we had all the creds. Not sure we’d need to worry about flight anxiety, then.

We wanted another hour or so before calling it a day, so we pottered around the park grabbing a coffee with probably the most over the top reaction to seeing a credit card I’ve ever seen. The poor lady looked like I was trying to pay with a live snake – she basically screamed and rushed backwards away from me (seriously, @Ben can corroborate this!). The card worked fine though – no idea what that was all about!

Could smell a faint smell of burning electronics outside one of the buildings, so naturally ventured inside. Ended up seated in a little boat and headed off on an oval track around a warehouse. In the centre, a musical fire and water fountain show. Very strange, but slightly charming. No signage outside, but a big fancy logo on the park map. Curious.


Water.


Water AND fire.


Bit of a pain to photograph, but we were smiling for sure.

Okay, a couple more laps on Hummel Brummel and we’ll be ready to go I think.


Given this ride is quite new, they’ve done a good job of keeping a lot of the vegetation around. Often these things are bit rubbish until the trees have had chance to grow back.


Example of them using the same support for multiple different bits of track. Clever really, and probably only possible as the weights/forces are fairly tame.


On a sunny day this might have been a marketing material worthy image.

Food options looked average, at best, so we did a bit of digging and found somewhere nearer the airport we could eat a big lunch before flying home. Perfect. Thanks for having us Schwaben, but we don’t need much more time I’m afraid.

Overall perception of the park is okay. It’s clearly, clearly, not meant for people like us. I should imagine on a nice day this would keep a young family enterainted for long enough. My only genuine criticism (which is funny ‘cos I suppose there’s little they can do about it) was the manure smell present across the whole park. Unfortunatlely probably just an artefact of time of day/year, wind direction and location, but was very potent in places.


Shot from the car park on the way out.


One of the less eventful hills on Force One.

Finally, the covid wrap up for completeness’ sake.
Schwaben Park
Mask policy
- In queues, indoors and on rides (not required for children, but not exactly sure how that is defined).
Social distancing - Reasonable enough effort in queues, shops, restaurants and general areas of the park. Vacant rows on coaster trains. Park was Dead (with a capital-D) though, so not really sure how it'd hold up on a busier day.
Sanitiser - Only a few of these around the park, but then park is small and they were in the common areas in between rides.
Overall - Given this is a tiny park in the arse-end-of-nowhere with only about two dozen people in the park on the day we were there - this was fine.
We ended up having a brilliant meal just outside the airport (very near the hotel of the first night, actually), before dropping the hire car off. Now, will have a little vent here at Eurowings – not really got any better place to do it I suppose.

We booked with Eurowings a new months back, and like many budget airlines it’s online check-in only (for free). Easy enough these days. Got notified during the check-in process online (48-hours before the flight or something like that) that whilst we’d been successfully checked-in online, we still needed to visit a desk/counter at the airport to get boarding passes because of ‘coronavirus’. I suppose this is because they’re going to a bunch of other Covid checks or something. Nope.

At Heathrow the situation was silly on the way out – you’re already checked-in online like every other flight you’d ever take, but now you have to go and use one of the touch screens to get your boarding pass. No extra questions, process or anything. We stood in a queue, used a high-contact surface and spent longer in the building that we would have under the ‘normal’ system.

At Stuttgart the situation was even more laughable, with every Eurowings customer that evening having to join one long queue to visit a desk and have our passport scanned and boarding pass handed to us. Very peculiar indeed.

Furthermore (!), on getting on the plane we (along with probably two dozen others in the end) were told out hand luggage needed to be checked as there wasn’t enough space. On a flight only two-thirds full? Not sure about that. No point arguing though, just grab the valuables and get on with it. Sure enough, plenty of free overhead bins. Eurowings were very un-German in their efficiency here.

Mercifully they came out of the baggage carousel at Heathrow nice and promptly, and after the drive back home we ended up shaving over an hour off the journey from STR to home. Good stuff.

Short summary next.
 
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HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
They specifically weren't letting people unbalance the car on Wilde Hilde for us, not that it would have been a gamechanger.

Azura wasn't just a weird dream I had then. Fire on top of a fountain is real.
 

Hixee

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Summary

Time for some stats!

New creds: 7
Total creds: 38
New parks: 1
Total parks: 3 (4 if you count the waterpark)

Milestones: None!

Best Park: Europa Park, duh.

Best Cred: I always struggle to choose between Silver Star and Wodan – both excellent coasters.

And the route(s):

Green = Airport, Blue = Nights, Red = Parks/Activities
Not quite as elegant as the map would suggest, but the main sections of motorway are unrestricted so extremely fast and easy to cover the mileage.


Overall, a good trip. It was refreshing to finally get away again and for the most part things felt fairly normal. No issues wearing the masks for significant periods of the day, and on the whole everything went quite smoothly. This trip is bittersweet in many ways. It was great to get away and get back to Europa, but also a bit sad to think of all the other trips that we’ve had to spite this year. It did give me faith in the hobby again, though, so onwards and upwards for the future.

Cheers for reading. :)
 

Hixee

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They specifically weren't letting people unbalance the car on Wilde Hilde for us, not that it would have been a gamechanger.
Fella operating it the day we were there didn't really seem to give a monkies. We were a group of three, so not like he had much choice...

Azura wasn't just a weird dream I had then. Fire on top of a fountain is real.
I can't guarantee it wasn't some shared delusion. There were some potent fumes in that building when we went through. ;)
 
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