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Nitefly does Europe

Nitefly

Member
Hello.

I flew into Germany today via a Greek Island to commence a coaster quest. It was very exciting because this was the plane, which was very unexpected:


Upon seeing the plane I did a backflip to celebrate and promptly boarded. When I arrived in Germany everything was minimalistic and industrial as expected. I got into my hire car and blasted Europe Endless by Kraftwerk for the whole 3 hour journey to Holiday Park, stop one of my exciting trip.

Holiday Park is... yeah, it's pretty terrible isn't it? There were several oddities and I may as well go through them before getting to the meat of the post (the EGF review).

First, there really aren't many rides for adults and the rides that are there (with one obvious exception) aren't that exciting.

Secondly, worst ops ever - it was taking 5-10 minutes for each EGF dispatch and similar for SkyScream. The park was pretty busy and the queues were very long for even some of the smaller rides. With the pandemic, I was sort of surprised that they were running express passes, but I jumped at the chance. They have quite a curious system - you get 9 queue skips for 30 Euros... but front rows of coasters cost '2' of your skips. We spent our tokens doing 3x front rows on EGF, one back row on EGF, the log flume and sky scream (which were therefore all more or less walk-ons).

Third, what is with the merchandise or the lack thereof?! There was a whole load of Nintendo shirts (including Mario Kart and Zelda shirts)... some marvel t-shirts... some ****ing Jurassic Park shirts... and then two Expedition Everest t-shirts (one of which is knowingly titled "I only came here for Expedition GeForce"). Neither were very attractive. I was nearly having a mental breakdown deciding to whether to buy one before my wife declared "don't be FOMO-ed into getting a **** t-shirt" - ooff. We then looked for a fridge magnet and they didn't even have one of those! What the heck!!

SkyScream was my first Skyrocket 2. It was alright, but I don't think I need to go on one again. It was very intense in the final section and really whipped me quite hard. My overall feeling was that it felt quite 'fairground-y'.

The log flume looked to have quite promising theming but was actually quite barren on the inside sections which was disappointing. The surrounding area was being redeveloped for an extended viking area. I would have been a bit gutted to queue for any length of time for the log flume. It did have a backwards drop that at least made it a little interesting.

The theming of the rear sections of the park (a beach and a flight show) seemed a little desperate. The beach bar was obliterated by wasps.

Another notable mention must go to the 'castle dark-ride' - perhaps the worst ride I've ever been on. It's so bad I'd rather play the Dark Castle video game on Philips CDI. Not only was it extremely dated it was also.. well, unnecessarily 'dark' and unsuitable for children? Hooray for scenes of miserable prisoners... and I'm pretty sure one of the animatronics (sort of being behind a barred window as the buggy ascends, half-hidden) was of a woman from an earlier scene being sexually assaulted?! Yikes!

On a rosier note, although we skipped the rapids ride, there was a pretty cool animatronic t-rex you could see from the walkways. Maybe that 'explains' the Jurassic Park merchandise.

Main course time - EGF. As per the t-shirt, this was why we were here. Holy poop this is one intense, speedy and all-round excellent ride. In fact, just watch (or rather listen to) my POV below. As a minor note, I appreciate that perhaps I do need to STFU a bit on rides, but all my cheers and whoops were of childish joy, so please forgive me. The point being though, my ass is flying so far out of my seat, particularly on that penultimate hill, you can hear how much my ass is out of my seat. As I claim at the end... awesome!


I did also film my ride on the back, which was a bit of an error-ride due to my inexperience with filming and inexperience with riding. The back row ride was before the above POV and my chest harness for my GoPro was less tight, so although it was secured it was still a little anxiety inducing so I naturally ended up holding onto the camera, which took away from the ride. Note to other novices: strap that harness on tight! Also, I tried to do the super hardcore roller coaster enthusiast thing of just letting the ride-op loosely put the bar on me, so I had relatively loads of room. When I went down the first drop with no hands, my right thigh took all of my weight and got absolutely crushed and I'm expecting a big bruise tomorrow. In hindsight, that was boneheaded and I would suggest that with a ride this intense, you really don't need to try to get a 'looser' restraint. Doing that might make less intense rides more fun but it's really not needed on a ride like this. I guess that's all you need to know about how the ride is... I don't think it benefits from additional intensity in the back (even though I did goof my ride in the back row). You live and learn! I do wonder whether the Skyrush complaints in part come from people trying to do the same thing / trying to get the benefit of additional leg space (when doing so actually detracted from the experience as it does here)......?

I did really enjoy how long EGF is and it ends on a massive high with those epic ejector hills.

With all of that said, is it worth going out of your way to visit the park just for this ride? Hmm, honestly I don't know. If you are an enthusiast and are driving passed the park as part of a wider trip, sure. I don't think the rest of the park warrants going out of your way just for that one supreme ride. You can have a much more balanced experience at any other park I've visited. Also, I did this in a few hours with the benefit of the express passes. It would have been a little miserable without them with how slow the operations were.

Last park comment... coronavirus stuff. Not many people were paying attention to wearing masks or social distancing in areas where it wasn't enforced which annoyed me a little at first but then I started to understand why. It was a very hot, humid day and wearing a mask for extended periods was borderline unbearable - it was really making me feel quite ill and with my dehydration, I was struggling on my final EGF rides. So make sure you stay hydrated to avoid 'coaster sickness' which I think is exacerbated by the unpleasant combo of hot weather + masks.

Satisfied with our EGF rides, we left the park and hit a god-tier McDonalds - the food was ultra-fresh and actually looked like the photos. it was 10x nicer than a UK Maccy Ds. But then a wasp came along and ruined everything. It was terrible. I kept on having to abort eating my McFlurry to go into defence mode. ****ing wasp!!!

Tomorrow... Europa Park (for the first time). Very exciting.
 
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HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Jealous of the plane, even though I wouldn't fancy it at the moment.
I had successfully suppressed the details of the dark ride but it's all coming back to me now and you're dead right.
I do wonder whether the Skyrush complaints in part come from people trying to do the same thing
From my experience no amount of either clearance or stapling helps with Skyrush - it's purely down to what part of your leg makes contact with the restraint.

Do they not sell seats from the ride any more? Who needs a magnet when you can have something like that on your... wall?
 

JammyH

Member
Can I ask why you flew via a greek island? Did you stop there for a few days or was it just cheaper or...?
 

Nitefly

Member
Can I ask why you flew via a greek island? Did you stop there for a few days or was it just cheaper or...?
I added that comment only as its bemusing when put like that but it does demand an explanation; I'm on honeymoon - we spent the first week in Santorini and are finishing it off with a little theme park medley.

Just finished day 1 of Europa Park but too tired to write anything so I'll have to do it when I have more energy!!
 

JammyH

Member
I added that comment only as its bemusing when put like that but it does demand an explanation; I'm on honeymoon - we spent the first week in Santorini and are finishing it off with a little theme park medley.
Haha- thank you- it makes a lot more sense now. It certainly created more intrigue than you probably meant it to. 😅
 

Nitefly

Member
Europa Park (2 Days)

This was part-written after day one and part written after day two, so it’s not in a neat chronological order and probably reads a bit weird in places... let’s go with ‘avant-garde’ (it’s certainly self-important enough).

We arrived here nice and early to make the most of the hotel early access (we’re staying in the Colleseo).

OK, now we’re talking!!! Europa Park is truly excellent and really quite beautiful. Having now finished the second day, it’s actually my favourite park of all those I’ve ever visited (replacing the previous champion, Islands of Adventure). I’m pretty shocked that I’ve landed at that opinion but it just goes to show that you really don’t need the most beastly rides to conjure up an atmosphere of fun.

Most of the joy has come from getting lost and finding cute little family rides set amongst flowers and/or heavy theming. My wife and I have had a little in joke for some time where we say “OooooOoooOooOooo immersive 360 degree themiinggggggg” just about anywhere (theme parks, ASDA, on the toilet doing a poo etc), parodying TPW’s reaction to Tokyo Disney Sea where they were both perpetually pulling faces like they were each getting a 5-star nosh. Well, I can now STFU because clearly the effort towards the theming really DOES make a difference and EP smashes it out of the park.

We started off our first day with a ride on Blue Fire. This always gets middling reviews so I had low expectations. The screens in the queue were quite elaborate and impressive. We managed to bag the front row and had a stonking ride. Very good. We then had a second ride the next day and it wasn’t quite up there. I actually found it the ride that brought out the ‘coaster sickness’ in me so perhaps I have a thing with rides that do inversions... maybe they just aren’t for me. Let’s see how I get on later in the trip...

We then (on day one) lined up for Wodan which was our anticipated highlight. In the queue, I was using my seasoned Disney World skills to refresh and get the queue skips as soon as they were released, managing to bag a fast pass for Wodan so we’d walk on it immediately after our first ride. Lovely queue on Wodan even if it is a bit of a trek. We ended up getting the back row and a middle/back row. This one really bops you around - not knowing the track we were flung all over the place. I really rather enjoyed it, but wife hurt her arm somehow so was a little less impressed. We got a great interaction with Blue Fire on the second ride. On the second day, I managed to get back to back walk ons using the fast pass system at 9am. On one hand, this makes me a bit of a nob since it had a posted 45 minute queue (as it opened for hotel guests instead of blue fire due to technical issues) but if you’ve got the mad fast pass skills it would be rude not to use them. Those rides were excellent and cemented Wodan as my favourite coaster in the park.

By this point (after day one Wodan) I was suffering with coaster sickness again. Wearing the masks in the heat is just miserable and exacerbates the problem and I would probably suggest to anyone to delay theme parks in the extreme heat for that reason. Desperately needing to hydrate, we encountered an absolutely absurd problem - there is almost nowhere in Europa Park to buy a drink before 10am. I kid you not. Nothing is open, certainly not around Wodan. No staff could point us in the direction of a water fountain or anywhere we could buy anything. We eventually stumbled upon somewhere, hot and bothered in the fairytale forrest. I know this is a problem that I have personally (coaster sickness) but it was nevertheless quite absurd. Make sure you bring a bottle of water to this park unless you want to feel like you’re in the desert in the morning. FYI the cafe in the Arthur building also seems to open quite early so you can go there.

We then (on day one) had a fast pass for Arthur so went on that and it lifted my spirits immediately. What a great ride!! Very cute, loads of animatronics, some ‘scary’ imagery and also an absurd section with some Dr. Dre music… I thought once of the teenagers I was with on the car was playing music through his phone when that happened. I’m pretty sure they left in some of the lyrics that including swearing or ‘controversial’ words but perhaps I’m mistaken. On the second day we re-ride and had a fantastic experience on the front row. Again, wonderful - bravo.

We hadn’t eaten by this point (on day one...) and with the coaster sickness and lack of sleep, we then took refuge in the Arthur outside seating area for about an hour, which was a great place to take a rest and the cafe has a good selection of snacks.

What followed (on day one...) was a trip on the train and my jaw dropping as I got a glimpse of how extended and vast the park is. The theming is wonderful and, speaking generally, often playful and silly. Stereotypes are sort of embraced at Europa Park for the theming, in a way that I think would be sort of frowned upon in the UK in the overzealous way we try to avoid offence... or we would laboriously make everything ‘inclusive’ to make sure we aren’t offending people that don’t fit into those stereotypes. It makes me a little sad that we have become so sensitive / obsessed about finding/avoiding offence in the UK.

But then, it’s swings and roundabouts. The ‘Jungle Cruise’ at Europa Park is themed on colonialism and even though there is clearly no intention of being offensive and it was obviously intended to be good natured and fun, the odds of that ride being in the UK today are 0/10. Perhaps even -1/10. I wasn’t quite sure what side of the fence I belonged on that one. Was it dated, or was I just being British? I don’t know. Also, I was struck how the merchandise at Europa Park is very ‘blue is for boys, pink is for girls’, which I DO think is dated.

Anyyywaaay. Back to the rides. I’ll be writing all night if I try and include everything so I’ll stick to highlights and short summaries / general thoughts.

The family rides are absolutely wonderful and there are SOOO MANY of them. The outdoor rides, such as the race cars, the da Vinci ride, the classic cars, the puppet water ride, the cute train with the dragon and particularly the ‘mushroom cruise’ were all soooo cute, it was just adorable.

Never have I been to a park with so many water rides. That said, none of them were great. The super splash in particular was super gash. The log flume had the diamond mine but otherwise average. The Poseidon coaster was very rough and the rapids were fun and by far the best, but it’s obviously no Popeye at IOA.

I loooooved the diamond mine, walking through it and riding through it. Very cute indeed.

Euro-Mir - not for me this one. The dance rave at the start was the best bit, I yearned for glow sticks. The end section of the ride was unnecessarily forceful, the spinning was annoying - one ride was more than enough for me and Mrs. was of the same view.

Bobsled - so quirky. Short but ace.

Matterhorn Blitz - fun but the tight turns was gruelling and it felt like an endurance round. Once was enough.

Cancan coaster. ****ing loved this. The whole time I was just laughing at the absurdity, starting with the spinning Eiffel Tower, then the big moon... passing through the arc de triumph and then the legs. I thought I’d write this off as a fun novelty ‘ride once only’ but it’s an incredibly smooth ride and just a great time even the second time around. Probably sits only behind Wodan as my favourite coaster in the park.

Silver Star - Had two rides on this. A pretty dull theme but got loads of floaty floaty airtime and a bit of flojector too. But, it was a rattly ride, quite rough actually towards the back especially ascending the hill after the first drop (we were in the penultimate row both rides) and I did dock points as a result. Otherwise, most notable thing about it was the chap doing the row allocations. Don’t **** with that guy, he was hardcore!!! Shouting at people etc. I mean, he was herding cats so fair play, but I have never seen someone so ruthless and direct about row allocations. I feel his ‘get **** done’ abilities are somewhat wasted in coaster seat allocation; I’d vote for him.

Volatarium - never been on a ride like this, was interesting but not as good as Fight of Passage. Transitions between locations was jarring.

Snorri Touren (sp?) - loved this. Well humoured and super cute. The screen section at the end was switched off so we missed that but still one of the more charming attractions I’ve been on.

Dinosaur cake party - ok so it’s not called that officially but that’s what it is. I know I’m overusing the phrase but it was ‘very cute’ and charming. A real treat.

Pirates in Batavia - this was OK, I was taken out of the experience somewhat as some of the rooms are really obviously ‘stages’ where you can see the square edges of the building. Just a few drapes here or there would have sorted it so it’s a bit of a shame that they overlooked that. I did enjoy it otherwise.

Ghost Castle - absolutely hilarious... humorous and surprising gory, plus a few mild jump scares. I got two rides in on this one.

Re: coronavirus, the park was very busy and social distancing was pretty much impossible, and wearing a mask was almost unbearable due to the heat. They were definitely reminding people to put masks on and cleaning down the rides, so that was good. Almost everyone who was obnoxiously ignoring the rules, in my experience, was speaking French - coincidence or not I don’t know *shrug*.

A quick word on hotels. As I mentioned, we’re staying in Colleseo. The decor of our room was... interesting:


I went to the front desk and asked whether I had accidentally selected the ‘nightmare room’ option from their selection. The guy dealing with me seemed quite aware that people didn’t like it and he even said that they have frightened children before. If so, it’s somewhat amazing that they are still up and frankly it blows my mind that anyone could think that was a good idea! They changed our room for another with a much more subtle Leonardo Di Vinci theming.

That’s all I can muster for now as I’m nodding off when posting this... An early start tomorrow for my first visit to Phantasialand, woo! I have more to say on the hotels here but that will have to follow :)

Thanks for reading.
 
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Nitefly

Member
Finishing off Europa Park quickly, we ate at the Bell Rock (Captains Finest) and that was beautiful, best hotel restaurant I’ve been too. I had a 5 star steak. We also ate at the ‘buffet’ restaurant at the Portuguese hotel which was not a self service buffet and more of a ‘order as much as you like’ affair - also excellent. I had really good experiences at both.

If I were to go again, I’d opt to stay at the Bell Rock rather than the Colleseo - our second room at Colleseo was very hot and had middling WiFi (I’ve left them poor feedback on that because it was subpar for the price). Also there were no plug sockets immediately next to the beds unless you unplugged the lights.

Other than the unfortunate problems with the rooms, and forgiving the silly water situation as per the last post, I’d rather the experience as 10/10. Completely blew me away. Well done Europa Park.

Now at Phantasialand... here’s my view...


Will Taron live up to the hype? Let’s find out...
 

zazobo

Member
Am loving reading this... EP and PhL are two of my most favourite parks and I adore hearing people's first time reactions to them.

Keep it coming :)
 

Nitefly

Member
Phantasialand (2 days)

This is written at the end of my two day stay. At my room at Hotel Ling Bao, actually.

My immediate thoughts with this park and my experience is that I feel it’s ‘lopsided’. There is a lot of ‘good’ (and the good is very good) quite a bit of ‘middling’ and some ‘bad’ (although this could just be misfortune). Overall, it’s been a less consistent experience than Europa Park. But the rides are very good and I have no hesitations recommending a visit to the park.

The drive up from Europa Park was long but a doddle. Arriving at Phantasialand is very unexpected. You’re on the road as per normal… and suddenly you look left and omg it’s THE wall… and then Hotel Matamba!!! Oh my!!! It was really quite exciting.

(If you don’t want to read my about my mixed hotel experience, skip below to ***RIDES WOO***)

A running theme throughout my stay was the slightly rude way I perceived I was treated by staff. I have no doubt that I’m ‘high maintenance’ and I’m therefore unduly prone to feeling slighted, plus there is a language/culture barrier, but I nevertheless feel I’m justified with my lingering mild annoyance.

My first irk happened at check-in where I was asked whether I had a time in mind for breakfast. I gave my preference and was told the breakfast would be at the neighbouring hotel Matamba. I therefore asked what times would be available at Ling Bao. There was then a back and forth in which I perceived that I was being ‘amusingly fussy’ (when in reality I was trying to ensure the timings etc were to the satisfaction of my wife). I might as well get all my whining out of the way now… the second time I felt annoyance was when I then tried to book dinner at the hotel. I was greeted with a fairly indifferent shrug and told that they had no tables left for either the first or second night (which was unexpected - possibly coronavirus related??). I asked whether food could be ordered from the bar and was given a gruff “no” (later, the bar menu showed they served food… which may not have been running but it was hardly a stupid question). We were offered an early table at the ‘Matamba buffet’ which we didn’t really fancy, but fearing rumbling tummies I deployed my partner to book it. I wasn’t there at the time to witness the following conversation but I then gather the front desk were again ‘grouchy’ towards her. More about the buffet later….

The final nail in the coffin was that the staff member on the door of hotel entrance was having problem scanning tickets. I tried explaining that we had already scanned our tickets but I think I fell victim to the language barrier. To resolve the situation, the person decided to ‘confiscate’ our tickets and told us to collect them later from reception. Now, I don’t know whether it happens or not because we didn’t see any shows (partly as a result of this action), but the info pack told us our tickets would be scanned inside the park to access shows, so we now found ourself in a situation whereby we didn’t know whether we would be denied access and would have to trudge back to reception to ‘sort the issue’ - urgh. I really don’t time for this sort of ******** on holiday when I have paid a ££££ premium for the room and I have limited time.

With the whining now (mostly) done, there are some big pros to this hotel. First, the hotel room is very nice. We have a ‘kaiser’ room on the third floor and the fittings, bathroom, bed etc are all ‘good / very good’ by any hotel standards (not just by low ’theme park hotel’ standards). The air con and wifi are both excellent and the view (as per my photo above) is very pleasing. I enjoy spending time relaxing in this room. It is relaxing in here. Also, the hotel is mostly aesthetically very pleasant (although as a minor gripe, some of the general use areas and notably the lifts are shabby and worn, which felt a little lazy for the ££££ price tag). Next, the proximity of the hotel and the breakfast room to the theme park is excellent. Could not be better. Finally, the very last person we dealt with on reception was lovely, so it’s just a lottery with staff and I guess we had bad luck.

So if you fancy a nice room, can tolerate rolling the dice with staff experience, and also have the foresight to book your hotel restaurant on a weekday well in advance (?), you could do a lot worse than booking here.

Oh yeah, Hotel Matamba and the buffet. There is something about the Matamba theme that I find rather dated. Ling Bao is very cliched of course but it draws on themes of ‘heritage and prestige’. Meanwhile, the deep Africa setting of Matamba goes for ‘adventure’ but leans towards ‘exotic primitive/savage’. It’s not a theme I dig, personally.

The food at the buffet was OK (I really didn’t fancy an African inspired spread but the meats were good), but in the coronavirus climate the experience was ******* horrid. It was nothing like the A+ experiences at Europa Park where you were either served food or everything was in grab and go portions. No, this was your true, standard unmanned buffet affair where it was more or less a free for all on unattended food and you all shared serving spoons (!). The same thing happens at breakfast. To make matters particularly bleak at Matamba, we were given the premium view of the hand sanitiser station, so we could witness everybody NOT use it. It was the worst. My faith in humanity was great damaged. Now, fair play to Matamba, they had one dude checking in on everyone to ensure they were wearing masks and sanitising hands. He was competent and, quite rightly, very firm with people that couldn’t follow the VERY BASIC hygiene rules. But he couldn’t get them all. We ended up being extremely diligent and going to the hand sanitiser station before and after collecting food… but overall it was a gruelling experience and I wouldn’t recommend it. This evening, we happily drove 15 minutes to McDonalds.

***RIDES WOO***

The theme park itself was less of a mixed bag, but still ‘lopsided’. It couldn’t compete with Europa Park with ‘abundance’, obviously, but many of the rides were good to very good and it made for a very enjoyable 1.5 days (which was about right). Plus, the queues were generally very light (~15 minutes on Taron each time, waiting for opportune moments).

Starting with the big guns, Taron. Excellent ride. Two launches, lots of weaving and at least 2 very good airtime moments with some lesser ones. Great themed area too. We got four rides on this in total, the first three being in the back or penultimate row and then on the final ride we fluke the front, result!! The front was SUBLIME and definitely one of my top rides to date. As a whole, the ride wasn’t as intense as I was expecting but the intensity was fine. The foot print was also quite small… not much bigger than Rita, surely? All things considered, it hasn’t wow-ed me as being the obvious number one coaster of the trip without question, but it’s definitely right up there with Expedition GeForce. Surprisingly, it was not the most frightening coaster in the park for me…

Mystery Castle - AWESOME drop tower. YES!!! Theming is brilliant. Starts off a little goofy and quaint and then goes to a more industrial, colder laboratory feel which although camp and goofy did give me some minor heebie jeebies! Racing up to the top of the tower was very starling…. Took forever to get to the top! No actors in the queue for corona-reasons, I guess. Definitely a highlight. Did two rides on this.

Talocan - Far more ferocious than the now defunct UK top spins, from memory. I really enjoyed this. It’s theming and balanced cycle but this in top flat ride territory for me.

Raik - Um, this was a thing. Not aimed at me, obviously.

Chiapas - Great ride this, nice to have a wet ride where you actually get wet (compared to Europa Park). Interesting to have quite a substantial backwards drop too. Disco sections was fun. All in all just a great time.

Winjas - Again, top notch stuff here. Smooth, fun and with lots of quirky features. I thought that one side had a tilt track the other bounced at the end… but having ridden both sides, they both have tilt tracks (different angles) and both bounce at the end?? In any case, deffo the best spinners I’ve been on. The area looks a little sparse though, could do with a makeover.

River Quest - The only substantial queue of the stay at a whopping 70 minutes. Very strange ride… there is a super long lift section followed by an impressive drop, but the notable feature is that unlike ANY other raft ride I’ve been on there is a hole in the middle of the raft which erupts with water at the bottom of each drop. I got absolutely drenched on this, not quite Popeye standards but it was surprisingly close. My top tip would be to go against your instincts and avoid Taron first thing and hit this since it seems prone to long queues.

Black Mamba - Only got one ride on this during my stay. It was great but… it’s a B&M invert. I was more interested in other things. Not the most frightening coaster either…

Mouse Hunt thing - Quite cute, a low-res Toy Story Mania. Wife beat me on this *shame*

Fun House - So unusual for a theme park, really good fun and a nice break from the norm.

Carousel - Classic feel good fun.

Crazy Bats - No VR. A coaster in pitch black is a little pointless to me but wife enjoyed it. We also enjoyed the nearby ‘big sky ride thing’.

Splash Battle - This was really rubbish. So bad I think it must be broken. Not a single target did anything. Maybe you need four people on one side to hit the targets with enough water? We only had two on our side (due to social distancing). Utter crap and a real fun combo-breaker. Ultra slow loading too. Sort it out, Phantasialand - this area of the park feels forgotten.

Ghost Train - Could be good but needs a lot of TLC and a refresh. Some animatronics were bad. The boat scene was cool and we have fun laughing at its goofiness.

Madhouse - Notable for its bemusing final screen at the end of the cycle where someone gets a kiss and there is a George Lucas / Buggs Bunny-esque screen transition, out of nowhere.

Minetrain - WTF THIS RIDE. No joke, the front row at this is frightening and forceful… maybe more so than Taron?! My wife is a hardened coaster veteran and she was screaming on this. I think it’s because being at the front on a long train, it accelerates in really unusual/weird places and therefore feels unpredictable. An absolute riot this one! Deffo one to ride in the front. Even on row 3, it wasn’t as wild. That front row ride, wow. Maybe we were just caught off guard but it was definitely one to remember!

Other things of note:

This park had serious wasp problems at its slush station. They were almost swarming, at least hundred of them.

All people obnoxiously disobeying social distancing again were, again, speaking French…?!

The theming is a bit sparse in areas so as the main entranceway and square. It’s really showed up by the newer areas such as Taron.

All in all, a great time - not too many rides here but many good ones. Now off to bed as I have a flight to catch before Lech Coaster!
 

JammyH

Member
I’m really shocked you had a poor experience in the hotel ling bao. I was literally just there in January and the customer service was phenomenal. Reception staff friendly, upgraded to a park view room from street view for free due to the hotel being quiet and service at the buffet dinner in ling bao and the buffet breakfast was just absolutely phenomenal- never have I experienced such attentive staff who will come and take away your plate as soon as you are finished with it, check everything is ok and come and constantly refill your coffee and tea should you want another refill.

I also love matambas theme, friendly, fun and vibrant and I do not find any of ling bao dated in the slightest.

Language barriers at Phantasialand: this is just personal opinion but the staff are reluctant to speak English! I am lucky enough to have 6 years of German under my belt so my communication with hotel and restaurant staff was always in German, but when I went with my family in 2017 there has always been that language barrier and miscommunication. The staff are normally very attentive and can speak English well but it is very easy to get the wrong end of the stick and some stuff can be very reluctant to speak English even though they are more than capable. Unfortunately I don’t think that the language barriers helped you in this circumstance- and regarding your issues with the hotel dinner and breakfast, I have never been sent across to the other hotel in my life, so this must have simply been due to the coronavirus and because they were very busy that they were fully booked up.

For me, Phantasialand is better than europa park. I find the park significantly more charming and magical and the food throughout is consistently top quality- whereas in Europa park it is very hit and miss. I think both parks are very strong for customer service and both have very high quality hotels, but I also think Phantasialand is also far better value for money as Europa park has become extremely over priced.

The buffet breakfast at Phantasialand in normal times (in the ling bao) normally wipes the Bell Rock breakfast out of the water, although I don’t know what it’s like at the moment. Also the ling bao buffet dinner is far superior to the matamba so that may have been part of the issue that unfortunately you couldn’t get in the restaurant due to being fully booked due to corona.

Also as far as I’m aware I’ve never had my ticket scanned to go into any shows in PHL, and I’ve visited four times before. The parks shows are amazing though and are definitely worth seeing. So it’s a shame you missed out on them.
 
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JammyH

Member
Something else for me that makes Phantasialand significantly better than europa park is every idea in the park is original and every idea is unique and created in-house.

If you go to the ice cream parlour, all the flavours are imagined and created by their own team. Whereas, if you go to europa park, they will just sell you carte dor or a magnum at an overpriced rate compared to the supermarket.

At Europa park, there is just too much advertising and product placement for me, which ruins the experience. Whether it be eurowings, coca-cola or Mercedes Benz (or even worse Gazprom) it’s constantly shoved in your face around the park- and it just takes you out of that imaginary world and back to the real one. In Phantasialand there is no advertising, no branding, no product placement, it’s all original theming and design, and that’s what makes the park so unique and immersive compared to other parks which rely on advertising and product placement throughout the park.

The theming is a bit sparse in areas so as the main entranceway and square. It’s really showed up by the newer areas such as Taron.
Interesting once again. I agree in finding the main entrance bland, but the Main Street itself is incredibly detailed and well executed. In the Main Street buildings themselves you have the Wintergarten Theater, Maus au chocolat and the funhouse all within the small space, as well as guest service. 2 cafes and a waffle bakery. A very effective use of space and I just love the detail on the buildings and at the entrance to Maus. I also love the detail around the kaiser Platz, especially the small little wagons placed around the area and the flowers planted are just beautiful. Coupled with the music in the Berlin street I really think it adds to the magic. Nice when they have the roaming actors out too but I imagine that’s not the case right now.
 

Nitefly

Member
@JammyH cheers for the posts. Yes, as I mentioned, I think we just caught people on their off days (as I mentioned the most recent person we dealt with was lovely) - it’s also likely that an ad hoc ‘bad experience’ will colour your mood slightly, as it did for me. I completely agree that there was a mild reluctance and annoyance towards speaking English, and whilst I acknowledge that I don’t speak the home language, but I’m a very courteous person and would always apologise upfront for my lack of German.

Yeah, the scanning tickets for shows thing was weird... you can hopefully understand why we were put off seeing the shows when we were told we NEEDED to show tickets and then had them confiscated. With that said, we don’t tend to be ‘show people’ anyway, but having the tickets taken from us and then being lightly shoo’ed away was a further mood breaker.

Just to clarify, I do not find Ling Bao dated with its theme, only Matamba. My view of Matamba didn’t at all affect my enjoyment because I wasn’t staying at that hotel. It was just an observation as everyone else seems to enjoy it - I’m just glad I stayed at Ling Bao.

Breakfast at Ling Bao was far more peaceful that the absolute carnage of the Matamba buffet, but we had no offer of drink top ups and no plates collected, nor any similarly nice customer service pleasantries. We did very much enjoy the pancakes and no doubt we’ll be going for round 2 this morning! I don’t really have any criticism of the breakfast itself. Meanwhile, our breakfast at Colleseo at Europapark was very good. I think the most stark difference is that Europapark seemed to have fully implemented Coronavirus prevention methods (or it has just always been this way and it now turns out it’s ideal for the current climate) or maybe it’s just the case that the ‘self service’ buffets of Phantasialand are just unfortunately a bit anxiety inducing in the current climate.

Re: theming back wall of the main square deffo seemed a bit flat to me, winJas area was cool but seemed like it needed a bit of love, then the rest of the park to the west seemed forgotten about with the extremely dire splash battle (which as I said was shockingly poor). So I thought it was ‘half and half’.

We’ll have to try out the ice cream next time!

I still had fun and I’ll deffo be back for Charles Lindbergh... hopefully with a better run of staff interactions! :)
 

zazobo

Member
Ahh i'm sorry you had a bit of a crap experience... I've been to both Matamba and Ling Bao (pre lockdown!) and both were really lovely relaxing experiences- even breakfast!! We always travel off peak though so that might have been why.
 

JammyH

Member
I agree about the “splash battle”- it’s not really a splash battle because the targets don’t work and you can’t actually get anyone on any of the other boats with the water.

Because the location of this part of the park is literally in the neighbouring houses gardens they aren’t allowed to build or improve anything there- as there are usually one or two neighbours who complain and then the proposal gets void. So for example, if they wanted to make it more of a dark ride and add a dark ride section, then it wouldn’t be allowed due to the neighbours.

For that reason the splash battle also doesn’t operate on Sundays and public holidays for the neighbours peace and quiet. I don’t know whether the targets aren’t working because they are simply broken and haven’t been fixed or because they are turned off to reduce noise from guests. I remember riding it in 2017 and there being a sign saying that the targets were off due to it being a “quiet day” so that guests wouldn’t make noise when trying to set off the targets.

Yes, fantasy is one of the older parts of the park and it’s harder for them to redevelop it due to planning permission and resident issues. Hopefully they can get around this in the future. It’s also why rookburgh has such large walls, essentially so there’s a sound barrier for the neighbouring houses!

I’m more keen to go to the park during winter these days and the splash battle is never open then, so it offends me less. 😝
 

Nitefly

Member
Legendia

We checked out of Phantasialand and departed for Frankfurt for our flight to Kraków. It was quite a lot of travelling but if all timings worked out as they should, we’d have 2-3 hours in Legendia before it closed. Sure enough, we got that park at 6pm - 2 hours before it’s 8pm close

Getting to Legendia and Energylandia is super easy and quick by car from the airport - so if you’re worried about hiring a car, don’t worry. The polish roads were enjoyably ‘slow’ too, compared to the fast lane mentalists in Germany.

I didn’t really have any expectations of Legendia but for my short stay I actually thought that as a whole it was a very pretty (or at least charming) park. It helped massively that the weather was stunning and everything had a beautiful warm glow due to the impending sunset (see my POV below). Unlikely Phantasialand and Europa Park, the rides were spread out nicely around a circular pathway with mown, relatively well kept short grass. It was also interesting that the park seemed to be in the middle of a fairly built-up town, so there were tower blocks etc in the background. Unusual... especially for a park that conjures images of a fantasy setting with the name ‘Legendia’.

The clientele were almost exclusively families (rather than groups of teenagers) and two things were abundantly clear. First, there was absolutely no regard or concern for coronavirus - I don’t think I saw a single other guest with a mask. Secondly, everybody there appeared to be having the time of their lives. There was a really good vibe in the park that evening.

The rides themselves all seemed fairly budget / family park affairs which was absolutely fine. After all, like Holiday Park there was only one reason we were here; Lech Coaster.

If you’ve been reading my walls of text above, you’ll know that I’ve been suffering from ‘coaster sickness’ on this trip. I seem to have a very low tolerance for rides before queasiness sets in. I really don’t know what the trigger is, but I did have some reservations with Lech. Even Blue Fire had made me queasy so the odds of me liking this one seemed rather low. I was also absolutely shattered. I thought I’d have one or two rides and explore the kiddy rides before the sickness escalated again.

Seeing the park from across the lake when we entered was wonderful. WOW!! What an impression!! I wish I got a photo of it in this light but at this point but I was so excited to walk round to the entrance I forgot to take the time.

It is quite a walk isn’t it?

Finally we were standing underneath the coaster. Excitement was setting in. Wait time: 0 minutes. Oh yes.

From what I gathered, this was a great but not necessarily a top-tier coaster. It was a more of a ‘oh we might as well’ before we hit Energylandia.

I really don’t know where to start on this one, so I might as well just drop in my POV (which was of our first ride). My reaction says it all.


WHAT A RIDE!!!! Oh my god!! Ladies and gentlemen, this ride was so ****ing good that for the first time on a coaster for many years, I found myself with the feeling of pure unreserved joy. That feeling you get when your favourite band plays your ‘unlikely to be played’ favourite song at a gig. THIS, my friends, is why we do it!! This is it it!!! I am not messing around. This ride was ON FIRE.

After ride one, it was immediately my number one coaster, no question. How many rides did we do? Two? Three?! No... NINE!! Yes, nine rides!! All back to back save that we slotted in a quick rapids ride for a break after ride 7 before going back for more.

I said in another thread already that perhaps that planets had alligned as I had heard that the ride had been ‘trimmed / castrated’ and it was no longer running at its peak. There is no way I could believe that anyone could say that if they had been there on that fine, memorable evening. This thing was absolutely HOONING round the track. It made Taron feel pathetic. For the first time on the trip, I was greying out and I did so on almost every ride - on one ride I lost my vision from the turn after the first inversion all the way to the end of the air time hill. It was by far the most intense ride of the trip so far, no comparison. I will also say that Forumla at Energylandia was absolutely nothing like this - Formula is a joke in comparison. I’ll stick to this coaster for the rest of the post and will compete it to the other Polish giants once I’ve done my Energylandia report!

And the airtime... oh god the sweet, sweet airtime!! I found myself constantly thrown out of my seat in an extremely aggressive yet comfortable manner. Just listen to my reaction in the POV. The restraints on Lech are wonderful, perfect even, for this sort of ride where you have snaps of short but intense airtime. Obviously the clamshell style restraints are probably ideally for the ‘hyper coaster’ sustained floated type-ride. The two consistently strongest moments of airtime were the obvious airtime hill before the station flyby and then the airtime hill before the second inversion but, again, listen to my reactions in the POV to see where the airtime hit.

The ride was also smooth as butter. The smoothest of the trip for sure. So smooth, I was able to do the nine rides without any sickness or dizziness, despite the greying out. All things considered this was by far away the most comfortable coaster of the trip.

Then there was the drop. Oh lord, the drop in the back... heck, even in the front, is amazing. I’m not sure I can say it’s categorically the best drop of any coaster, because of its relatively low height, but I can’t believe how good it was for its size.

I also must say that the location over the lake, particularly in that light, was wonderful. Plus, the castle building... the fly through the station... the near miss with the tree...!!! This ride really is the full package.

The fact that the same people were getting off the ride, running round and doing it again and again and again and again speaks volumes. This was a legendary riding session and at that point, at least (so as to leave it open for my thoughts at Energylandia) my single best experience on any coaster. My face after leaving the park. Honestly, it makes me smile thinking about it even now.

It was also nice to have so many merch options. I think there were 10+ (!!) different fridge magnet options for Lech Coaster. Holiday Park, take note!!! Enthused, we each picked up a t-shirt. We also got the very last train of the day.

The only other thing I have to say about the park was about the new rapids ride. It was fun and probably the best rapids ride of the trip. Not too wet, but fast and spinny. A nice break from the coaster.

Can this possibly be topped?! Roll on Energylandia....

Edit - a couple of snaps as a bonus.

 
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Matt N

Well-Known Member
Nice report! I’m very glad you were so blown away by Lech; I always love those rides you go on with expectations that aren’t necessarily huge, and just get blown away as soon as you get on, and Lech sounded like one of those moments for you!

I’m not sure if it would be my kind of coaster, as I don’t tend to like coasters with really intense positive g-forces, but I’m very glad you seemed to love it!

I’ll be very intrigued to see whether Hyperion or Zadra manage to beat it for you... or even something else! Sounds like those rides may have very tough competition, however!
 

Nitefly

Member
Nice report! I’m very glad you were so blown away by Lech; I always love those rides you go on with expectations that aren’t necessarily huge, and just get blown away as soon as you get on, and Lech sounded like one of those moments for you!

I’m not sure if it would be my kind of coaster, as I don’t tend to like coasters with really intense positive g-forces, but I’m very glad you seemed to love it!

I’ll be very intrigued to see whether Hyperion or Zadra manage to beat it for you... or even something else! Sounds like those rides may have very tough competition, however!
Cheers!

Your post has made me evaluate my use of the word ‘intense’. The forces were definitely there (you can hear me say “woah” or similar when going round one of the tight bends in the POV) and I was greying out but it was never uncomfortable / unpleasant. So perhaps it would be wrong to infer it was ‘extremely intense’ coaster by virtue of its forces and instead be better to clarify that the ride was ‘consistently intense, thrilling and relentless’ in a very enjoyable way, with zero dead time.

To the extent the ride was ‘very intense’, the negative sides of this were negated by the fact the ride was sooo smooth. If you can handle Nemesis then you should be fine.

I do have a lot to say with my comparison of this to Zadra and Hyperion so I will get round to it :)
 

JoshC.

Active Member
I managed 3 or 4 rides on Lech during my whole 6-7 hour day there a couple of years back and that was more than enough for me. After 2 consecutive rides I needed a break from it it was so intense! So to do 9 in a couple of hours feel insane, so well played!

I'm guessing you didn't try out their dark ride which is by their ferris wheel? Honestly one of my favourite dark rides and should be a must do really!
 
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