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The Best, The Wurst and The Gersts - A Week in Germany

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Omg. It really happened. We (@Slamming Coastercore @SilverArrow @chainedbanana and @Coop ) actually boarded a plane and flew to another country and travelled around riding roller coasters for a week. What is this...2019?!?!

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Look at those smiles. No one smiles like that in 2020. We must have somehow travelled back in time from Heathrow.



I'd like to kick things off with my most controversial takes from this trip, so you can frown at those, then quickly scroll past the rest of the text and hit that angry react button asap. I'm only thinking of you, dear reader.

Okay. Here we go, * deep breath*

1. Hals-uber-Kopf is better than F.L.Y.

2. The animal park at Tripsdrill is significantly better than the theme park

3. Black Mamba is pretty much as good as Taron

4. Collossos isn't even the best coaster in Heide Park

5. The Excalibur rapids at Movie Park was the best ride of the entire trip

6. Halloween events sadly don't seem to work during a pandemic

7. FLY is extremely uncomfortable and a bit boring in places

8. Hansa Park has overtaken Efteling as my favourite theme park in the world

...I'll stop there!

I've decided not to write this trip report in chronological order, instead focussing on order of interest. So without further ado, lets talk about Rookburgh at Phantasialand.

Walking into a new themed area with four fellow goons and hearing us all fall silent in awe is something I'm not going to forget in hurry. Spotted loads of other goons in ride merch, you could say the area was wall to wall with enthusiasts! Rookburgh has somehow managed to live up to the massive hype, and that's a feat in itself! From the steaming vents on the floor to the the locked up penny farthings, the train above the launch train to the deep colour pallet - the area is truly a feast for the eyes. I love that wherever you look you are surrounded by bits of crimson track, yet the abundance of underground sections render it nearly impossible to follow the rides layout just from standing and staring.

But here's the thing. F.L.Y. is more enjoyable to watch than it is to ride. Like Stunt Fall. Like Formula. Like every Rollover on every SLC. Like, well...pretty much all Vekomas. *sigh* It is a great piece of decoration to Rookburgh, but the visual impressiveness of it almost gets you too hyped for what is essentially a slightly above average coaster.

Some criticism:

Despite having spent hours in Rookburgh and riding F.L.Y. twice, I still don't really know what the story of FLY is...or if it even has one? I'm no closer to even discovering what F.L.Y. stands for.
Fairly Long, Yes?
Flying Launch, Yes?
Fascinating Layout, Yes?

Answers on a postcard please.

This leads me to a bone I'm going to pick with Phantasialand in general - as highly themed as the areas are, it feels like the rides are just vehicles to give you a tour of the area. Taron is simply the worlds fastest monorail of Klugheim. Black Mamba is an inverting cable car through Africa. Where is the character for the coaster itself? The backstory? It's all so visually impressive but it doesn't connect to me in the same way that the story of Baron 1898 does. Do you know what I mean? That difference, where a great story with characters elevates theming into a ride that really captures your imagination. Phantasialand is obviously world class and I do love it, but sometimes there appears to be little storytelling depth behind those grandiose walls. Sometimes the areas and rides feel a bit shallow. Merely extremely stylised, if you will.

Anywho. Things I liked about F.L.Y.
- Airtime on a flyer? That's new!
- The water and steam effects that trigger when you ride in the front row
- The preshow
- Always facing down so never breaking the immersion within the Rookburgh area
- The pretty station lights

Things I disliked about F.L.Y.
- Feeling like my chest was being crushed in that uncomfortable riding position
- Lack of exclusive-to-flying-coaster manoeuvres like Fly To Lie or Pretzel Loop
- Weak launch
- Repetitive swooping motion, lack of variation in the track layout

Overall I would give F.L.Y. a 6.5/10. It's not bad, but it's not great either. It has entered at Number 4 on my Phantasialand Coaster Chart:
1. Taron
2. Black Mamba
3. Colorado Adventure
4. F.L.Y.
5. Raik
6. Winjas
7. Temple of the Night Hawk

In terms of the area, you had to queue to get into Rookburgh each time, but we only ever queued for a maximum of 10 minutes to walk beyond the walls. Then we only ever waited a maximum of 30 minutes for F.L.Y. so that was good as the park was surprisingly busy for a chilly Wednesday in October.

So what's next on the exciting new front?

I guess it's the other new Vekoma prototype Hals-uber-Kopf at Tripsdrill! Never have I wanted to eat a coaster so much. The track colour looks like caramel fudge! Delicious! This ride really warms up. In the morning we put it under the 'thrilling fun' category but at the end of the day it was pretty 'wow!' - especially for those incredible floaty inversions with just a lapbar. I found it interesting that we all immediately ran round for a reride Hals-uber-Kopf - something we didn't do with F.L.Y.
But then I guess Tripsdrill doesn't have a fab double launch coaster, brilliant water rides and awesome dark rides to contend with it's new Vekoma. In fact, what does Tripsdrill have, apart from terrible food, barely any music, barely any atmosphere and a bunch of racist and sexist theming (the baby in the well and the fountain of youth log flume :oops:)?

Not gonna lie, I was pretty disappointed with Tripsdrill. It's a park everyone kept saying I would love, but it felt so quiet and dull. Completely lacking in ambience. Why do they not have any music anywhere?! Admittedly, the Halloween theming was cute and I enjoyed the mad drop tower and brushing the goats; but I had a much better time exploring the animal park down the road in the afternoon. Karacho was definitely the Worst Gerst of the trip, and I had so been looking forward to it! It's a bit like an underwhelming version of Anubis with lapbars.

Speaking of Gerstlauer, we started our trip at the amazing Hansa Park on officially the rainiest day in history, ever. Despite being soaked to the bone after 30 minutes in the park, our spirits remained undampened as we rode the 2 Best Gerstlauers in Existence. I am pleased to report that no matter how many times you ride it, Karnan is still terrifying. I love how unique this coaster is, the soundtrack and the theme send a shiver down my spine. I just adore how this coaster is like nothing else. And amazingly, THE EXACT SAME THING CAN BE SAID FOR NOVGOROD!

Of all the Eurofighers, Novgorod is easily the most bonkers. The most interestingly paced. And it features my favourite launch of all time. Not to mention a bunch of amazing animatronics, ghost and fire effects and gorgeous station lighting. There aren't many coasters which I rode back in my early days of Goonery, which still hold up now I have over 600 coasters under my belt - but Novgorod is one of them. I swear it gets better each time I ride it! In fact, I'm starting to think that a rejig of my Top Ten may be in order...

We were super lucky to unintentionally capture Hansa Parks Autumn Magic By The Sea event - meaning the very quiet park stayed open until 8.30pm and we were treated to all kinds of beautiful themeing from projection mapping to lit up pumpkins. Honestly, this event is one of the best in the world and even the Covid restrictions (no parade, no big shows) didn't hinder the electric atmosphere when it got dark. I love it. New fave park. (No, I didn't ride Highlander, I'm not INSANE!)

P.S. Nessie! The old Schwarzkopf! Now that's how to lease life into an old coaster! The new station looks amazing in purple and the flags with the Nessie illustration suit the park perfectly. Rode it in the back and got loads of surprising airtime too! I am still in wonder at what a triple-threat Hansa Park have with these three amazing coasters: Karnan, Novgorod and Nessie. Brilliant stuff.

I guess the fourth most interesting thing would have to be retracked Collossos. WickerCollossos. Collossos avec fire. My god, that theming structure looks amazing. Way cooler than the smug ol' Wickerman. I love how this coaster looks now, and the artwork dotted around in the queue was brilliant too. Heide was our second park of the trip and we headed straight for Collossos. The difference between how this coaster was when I rode it 5 years ago to how it is now is like night and day. I was genuinely shocked. It rides like a B+M hyper now??!! It's so smooth it doesn't even feel like a woodie. The airtime is gentle and floaty. I enjoyed it but it's definitely nowhere near as intense as it used to be.

Krake is still the best coaster at Heide Park for me. Nice airtime on the drop and hill plus impressive theming with the kraken and the splashdown effect. It's pleasing both on and off ride. Definitely one of my Top 3 Dive Machines. Flug Der Daemonen on the other hand, is easily my worst Wing Coaster - it's so shaky it made me feel sick and gave me a headache.

The How To Train Your Dragon ride and the Ghosterbusters ride at Heide were shut, and due to the park being super quiet we ended up doing things like the monorail just to get our moneys worth. We had loads of fun, but I think that was largely us enjoying each others company rather than the park itself. This was my third visit to Heide Park and I still can't figure out what this park is missing, but it really does feel like it's missing something. What could it be?

Well. That's enough rollercoaster nonsense for one evening. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we experience Movie Parks Halloween Horror Fest and get back on EGF at Holiday Park.

Thanks for reading!
 
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Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
I can accept everything... apart from Hansa Park being better than Efteling.
No. Just no.
To give a bit more background, my summer visit to Efteling this year was easily the worst time I've ever had there. And I realised a few things: the park isn't great at handling crowds, their Covid measures were by far the ugliest and most slap dash, and things just aren't as good as they used to be, with Raveleijn being about 4 minutes long now and effects not working on all the major rides. The atmosphere in the park was weirdly sour and things like getting Warm Snacks ended up taking 45 minutes. It was a frustrating day. Funny thing is, we would forgive most theme parks for this on a day to day basis, but Efteling sets the bar so high that it's noticeably raw when the park fail to meet their owm impeccable standards.

I think what Hansa Park has over Efteling is the element of surprise. The unassuming approach towards theme park magic. I notice new amazing details every time I visit. From the crows eyes lighting up when a train dispatches on Novgorod to the maze and slide as a ride exit, it's just not like anywhere else. When we visited last week, they had a construction area at the entrance...so what did they do? Have a load of drummers and dancers perform by it in Hi Vis outfits, bashing kegs as if they're in Slipknot, suddenly transforming a bit of scaffolding into a bit of themeing! Where else would you get that!

Plus, I believe the combination of Novgorod, Karnan and Nessie is far stronger than Baron, Joris and Python. And the themes at Hansa Park have that dark, brooding, Norse Mythology vibe...which is always a win for me.

Now all they need to do is build an intricate dark ride...
 
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Howie

Active Member
^Oh that's a shame about Efteling. My last visit there (2017) was sooper dooper, totally fell for the place.
Hansa Park is great n'all - gotta love an Oompah band - but I think I'd need to revisit both parks with fresh eyes before I could even think about switching loyalties.

Great report though mate, always fun to read, I look forward to the rest! 😁
 

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Hold onto your hats guys...it's Part Two of the trip report!

How do you follow up a Wednesday at Phantasialand, where every ride is of impeccable standard? With a trip to Movie Park Germany's Halloween event, of course!
Yes, Thursday saw me don my skeleton jumper (and a weird black roses headdress I got in the Halloween section of Poundland) for a day of spooky fun at Germany's most American theme park.

After 10 minutes, I felt stupid wearing the Poundland Halloween garb and settled for being a Star Trek fangirl instead (far cooler, no?....no.)

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Normally, when you hear a park has an Enterprise you think of the knackered old Huss spinning contraptions, not Galaxy Class spaceships. And yet, here I was, aboard the USS Enterprise ready to hit warp speed.

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I love that this ride exists. I love that it's themed to Next Gen-era Star Trek (the BEST era of Star Trek!) In my last visit in2017, the ride had a fantastic preshow where you enter the Transporter Room before boarding the ride. Sadly, this was not in operation due to Covid, but I understand the park simply could not make it so.

Because the theme excites every nerdy bone in my body, the Star Trek ride could be crap and I wouldn't even care. I'd still love it. I mean, it's never going to be my Number One but it will always hold a special place in my heart. (Sub-question: how much does an IP you care about sway your opinion on a ride? Do you love Gringotts because it's a good coaster (it's not) or because you love Harry Potter? What comes first...the thrills.. or the theme?)

Star Trek: Operation Enterprise is one of those coasters you forget how fun it is. It's not as good as Icon in the back row, and obvs it's nowhere near Helix, but this Mack is good in it's own way - the spike delivers a fantastic sensation and the layout interesting. I'd take it over Blue Fire. It still has THAT MACK THING where the train takes the route of the ride in an almost premeditated way, as if it's thinking about what element it's going to do before it does it. I've yet to ride a Mack that feels truly wild and out of control; but then what would the world be if it were simply full of Intamins? The variety is good.

In other news, Bandit is shocking. Didn't remember it being that bad. My head still hurts!

The SLC? Ditto. And I didn't even need the cred! I was just in a good mood! The kind of stupid good mood that makes you all irrational and go "sure I'll ride the SLC with you Alex, how bad can it be?!"

Onto more important things. The rapids. Excalibur. Hands down GREATEST RAPIDS OF ALL TIME, and worth the entire trip alone. We all ran round for a second go, how many people can say that with a rapids ride? The themeing is straight out of RPG territory, I absolutely adored it. If this is how Movie Park updates a ride, then YES PLEASE.

Got to meet Spongebob characters in their Halloween outfits which was great.


Got to interview the Brand Manager onsite of the new-for-2021 Intamin coaster which was amazing! Watch here

Then darkness fell and Movie Park utterly transformed. This is a park that really, really knows how to do Halloween. The loud heavy music, the abundance of scare zones, eight mazes and awesome strobe lighting on the rides. If you go to Movie Park - make sure you go during Halloween. Their Halloween Horror Festival is 100% one of the best there is.

We got an exclusive run through of the parks new shooting attraction, which had not yet opened to the public. You enter heavily themed rooms and shoot at ghost projections on the walls - the full Halloween version will also have actors inside. My absolute favourite thing about this was how the rooms reacted to the guns - you could shoot the lights on and off! Wow! That blew my mind! There was also an interactive Peppers Ghost featuring an actor in a glass box. Amazing stuff, so chuffed we got to do that.

The whole evening was met with torrential rain, but we still stayed until the park closed - a testament to how good this event is. There were hundreds of actors roaming the park, and they all had props like walking sticks or fake weapons, which meant they could interact with you and say, catch you off guard, without coming too close. A great idea. I also learned, when interviewing Manuel from Movie Park Germany, that all the scare actors are volunteers who make their own costumes and outfits. This explains why the outfits at this Halloween event are so unique and cool - not your run-of-the-mill zombies and vampires. The one's here are truly twisted creations and I love it.

The park also went to extra effort to ensure guest were having a great time despite the weather, they put some scare actors in a big building and invited people in to come and take photos with them in the dry. This was where a Scare Actor turned to me and said "nice Nekrogoblicon top" - now that's something you don't hear everyday haha! (I couldn't take full credit for the compliment though, as it was Alex's hoody!)

The only thing that didn't work as well as in previous years were the scare mazes - due to being restricted on how many actors they can have inside the mazes, the scares didn't come thick and fast as they usually do at this event - but they made up for it with all sorts of brilliant other elements such as fire effects, crawl spaces and the weirdly disturbing theme of Project Ningjo.

The day after we went to Tripsdrill, but I've already written about Hals-uber-Kopf and tbh, I genuinely don't have much else to say about that park apart from: where is the atmosphere?!

Saturday was the final day, booo :( and we spent it at Holiday Park. Probably, on paper, the least exciting one but we actually had a really great day! Better than Tripsdrill!

EGF is definitely a front row ride for me, I love the push you get over the hills and it certainly warmed up as the day went on. SkyScream is mega fun and backwards launches are always the best thing ever. Plus the horror theme is fab. Me and @SilverArrow managed to brave the Anubis drop tower, which is definitely going on my CV. Love the buzz of conquering a ride you are scared of!

I love that weird torture themed dark ride because it's so bleak, sexist and depressing. But I also hate that weird torture themed dark ride because it's so bleak, sexist and depressing. I really want them to go full Plopsa and rip out all the horrendous scenes and replace them with Maya the Bee.

The newly refurbished dino rapids were great. Which leads me to conclude: after a week of riding the best coasters Germany has to offer, experiencing new Vekoma prototypes and refurbished Intamin woodies, insane Gerstlauers and lovely Macks...we've had very high calibre of Rapids Rides on this trip. Seriously. RapidsForce, coming 2021. Yes, the majority of my happy memories from Germany seem to be all 5 of us crammed into a boat getting soaked at every park. There's just something so social about a water ride, and in these stressful social distancey times, I've really missed that.

So here's to a future of log flumes and well-themed rapids!

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HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
I was waiting for you finish the hat trick of ST:NG references, but I suppose I'll have to engage in conversation now.

Sub-question: how much does an IP you care about sway your opinion on a ride?
I don't think there's enough proper thrill rides with an IP out there (yet?) that I truly care about. The closest to my heart is probably Dragon Gliders which was no doubt enhanced by my appreciation for the franchise, but that's not to say it wouldn't have been amazing anyway - and thrill wasn't an important factor.
I can see it potentially going the opposite too, if they don't do an IP I love any justice then I'm more likely to dislike it (that Avengers one also in UAE).
Basically it'll intensify the feelings, for better or for worse.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
An interesting point...

I'm not much of a Trekkie, I wonder if that's why I thought the cred was a bit turd.
 

Coop

New Member
What a fantastic trip it was. I thought I would chime in with a few of my thoughts from the trip, I'll try and keep it brief as Serena touched on most of the points far more eloquently than I could ever put it.

I thought I should start off with rating the drop towers having ridden one in each of the 6 parks we visited.
1. Mystery Castle @ Phantasialand - still the best drop/shot/dark/flat ride
2. Anubis Free Fall Tower @ Holiday Park - Probably the best freefall weightlessness on any drop tower I've ridden and with incredible views of EGF.
3. Those weird family drop towers @ Tripsdrill - An absolute wtf moment.
4. Scream @ Heide Park
5. Highlander @ Hansa Park - I mean, it is tall and very intimidating but the drop just didn't feel forceful for me, I think it would be better without the tilting seats.
6. High Fall @ Movie Park - Forceful drop but those stand up floorless drop towers really hurt in the places you don't want it to hurt when you hit the brakes.

Hansa Park has been on the bucket list for years and for good reason, I love this park and with the extended hours during the autumn event meant we got some awesome night rides. For me, Fluch Von Novgorod is the best ride in the park. I love the theming, the dark ride section and that launch! it really took me off guard, probably one of my favourite launches on a coaster ever. Karnan is an incredible ride but I perhaps spoiled it for myself by hyping it up so much in my head, it just didn't live up to my expectations and with our first ride on it being in pretty heavy rain it made it a very painful experience.

It just so happened that our day at Heide Park was on my 30th Birthday - some B&Ms and Intamins as a present? I don't ask for much for my Birthday ;)
I don't feel it's fair to completely judge Colossos on the rides we had on it however with the social distancing measures (which were good in all parks we visited) meant they were only filling every second row meaning the train just wasn't heavy enough to pick up enough speed. The first drop and two giant airtime hills were fantastic, some great airtime but as soon as you hit that turnaround it just loses so much steam and the airtime from then on is pretty weak. For me, the title of best ride on park would have to be Krake, what a beautiful looking dive coaster, probably my favourite aesthetically.122140162_3554237957989055_7629279732876556567_n.jpg

Rookburgh has to be one of my favourite themed areas of any park, truly is a feast for the eyes. I'm still not completely sure of what I think of F.L.Y, I am not the biggest fan of flyers due to the pretty uncomfortable riding position and straining your neck but it is a really fun ride, the airtime after the second launch in the front row is fantastic, the inversions were really fun, it is one of those coasters that is just as much fun to watch as it is to ride with the various smoke and water effects which trigger as the train passes by but as Serena said, without any unique-to-flying-coaster elements it just feels as if you could put STC trains on it and it would ride just as well if not better than it does with flyer trains.

WTF even is Tripsdrill? don't get me wrong, it's a very pretty park but it completely lacks atmosphere. It's more akin to a country park or manor with some rides shoved in and some very questionable animatronics (the babies in the well and Jungbrunnen I'm looking at you). Hals-uber-Kopf is a great ride, the inversions with a lap bar are super fun but every ride I had on it the force at the bottom of the first drop slammed my lap bar down making the rest of the ride pretty uncomfortable. Best part of the park (and probably best part of the trip for me) were the goats.
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Now for my most controversial opinion of the trip - Burg Falkenstein at Holiday Park is my favourite dark ride ever. As Serena said, it is extremely bleak and depressing, it made me feel pretty uneasy but call me a sadist, that's what I like.

This has been a pretty haphazard trip report so I'll just conclude with some photos from the trip.
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SilverArrow

Active Member
So I was going to do a sort of photo review of things in park order. I'll just add random things that I think of to add to what everyone else has said.

First up, Hansa Park!

I think cf is secretly the also known as the fanclub of Hansa Park! I don't know anyone who dislikes this park.

This was my second visit , my previous one being THAT one where we all sh*t ourselves on Karnan. Good times.

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The weather was drizzly all day which, whilst it was a pain, didn't detract from the loveliness of the park. Not every park can do that! Karnan and Novgorod were as fab as always, I really struggle to pick my favourite of the two, which is a great problem to have. Due to the current situation only a couple of the indoor restaurants were open (and no space dogems boo) so we decided to suck it up and queue for the Italian restaurant in the rain. It was tasty.

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Tasty!

So you all know how I love Schwarzkopfs (clue is in the name), but Nessie was absolutely fab. The new theme is beautiful and has lots of purple (yay), they've jazzed up the trains with sensor lights etc, the station looks great, the loop is nice and forceful and the airtime on the drop into the lower helix in the back row is absolutely amazing! I had my hands up and must have flown about a foot out of my seat! I don't remember this from last time so I wonder if they've improved the ride experience in the renovation but either way it was really great.

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Pretty!

I didn't do Highlander, was working up to it and we had planned to go back to it at night but in the end didn't manage it as we got distracted by pretty lights and crepes so nevermind. I dragged everyone onto the observation tower which was a nice break from the rain and overtook another group on the dingy boat ride, which was amusing and turned out to be one of two occasions that we did this on the trip! Something about rapids on this trip eh! The troika was fun and swung inches away from a wall which was an interesting added effect! 😂 Here are some photos showing how pretty the park is in the autumn.

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I love the retro, yet modern feel of Hansa and how it feels nostalgic despite not having visited until 2017. You can tell that the owners really care about the atmosphere of the park and it shows.
 
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