Netherlands + Germany 08/17 – Slagharen + Phantasialand

Landed in Amsterdam early on a Saturday with Mega-Lite and happened across a big stand in the supermarket with 10 euro off vouchers for Walibi Holland. Not this time lads, we’re going slightly further afield with this hire car.

Day 1 – Slagharen

We had managed to grab a great deal for this park online, with some limited half price promo tickets. This ensured that it didn’t sting at all for a whole 2 creds and 1 hour spent there. Went straight to the new Gestlauer Infinity coaster and had a couple of rides on it, only about 15 minutes queue each time. For the time of year and ‘Netherlands 2nd most visited theme park’ it wasn’t crowded at all. I guess the figures are down to the resort as a whole and not just the amusement area.

#1 Gold Rush

Gold Rush is a great little ride for its size, using a triple launch system to get more out of a small footprint. The back row seemed best for a particularly crazy moment of hanging upside-down after the reverse launch and then being forcefully dragged into the surprisingly steep drop of the top hat.

It’s also rather attractive to look at.

Grabbed a panini from the plentiful shops along the walk to the Vekoma Junior #2 Mine Train, expecting a bit of a queue and planning to eat it there. Again the queue was really short, but had time to wolf the food down while watching some pitiful argument about the height of some child that went on far too long.
+1.

And that’s the park really. Nicer atmosphere than I expected and Gold Rush makes the park completely worth a visit. It’s a shame with so few creds they had to remove something else to bring in the new addition, would be great if they could expand somehow.


Soon found myself back on the autobahn for the 6th time in 2 years, heading down to Phantasialand for their final 50th Anniversary event day with midnight close. We had hyped this up rather a lot in our heads, dreams of ‘midnight Taron’ being at the forefront of the motivation to get this trip rolling in the first place.
Unfortunately the park fell a little short of expectations again, although it has many of the ingredients required to be amazing, I’ve always found it a struggle to have the best of times here.

Phantasialand

Got directed to an overflow car park opposite the Ling Bao entrance where a man was aggressively shouting instructions to cars in an attempt to maximise efficiency in space. This seemed to be an afterthought as the first half of the car park was already filled in completely the opposite manner to his mission. This didn’t seem to bode well for how busy it was going to be, but efficient German operations right?

Wasn’t allowed in entrance 2 for some reason, so took the long hike round to the main entrance. Had a quick scout of queue times which went as follows:
Maus au Chocolat = 75 minutes – “nah mate.”
Black Mamba = 75 minutes – “nah mate.”

Feng Ju Palace was down on our last visit so walked onto that first. The projection preshow was an interesting change to the many other Vekoma Madhouses around. It was amusing to start with as the robot thing kept bring out bigger and bigger weapons to fight with, but got a little repetitive when the bloke started shooting fireballs at us causing an animatronic to jiggle slightly 4 times in a row.
Then the ride sequence came and not much happened except a projection on the floor near the end. Bit confused by the story on this one. Did he save the Asian girl or not?

River Quest was also down last visit so went for that next. Phantasialand complete.
I donned my trusty Valhalla poncho and eagerly anticipated what my favourite Hafema boys would throw at me this time. The queue had a good build up, with a couple of spots in which boats were kicking up some nasty waves right into our path.

Loved the dual elevator lift that has to merge into a single funnel, causing you to crash viciously into a wall mid drop. There’s a bit of calm before the storm while drifting round to the whirlpool, where the boat suddenly isn’t even on water anymore and just starts spinning wildly, picking up speed, culminating in a catastrophic splash.
One bloke in the boat stands up at this stage and starts grumbling about his phone being wet and trying to adjust his pocket to which both ourselves and some locals have to shout “sit down man, vertical drop any second!” Final drop wasn’t quite as mental as I had imagined, but still way beyond your average rapids ride. Great stuff.

After a bit of water maintenance, the moment of revisiting Taron had finally arrived. We entered Klugheim and paused for a second, waiting for the amazing characteristic 2nd launch sound. Moments later it hit and stupid grins were instantly brought to our faces.
Queue time = 100 minutes. “Well that sucks.”
Ride close time = 21:30. “Wait, what?”
Dreams of ‘midnight Taron’ shattered.
105 minutes of second hand smoke and disappointment later, nabbed the front row.

Taron

The ride is exactly as good as I remembered it to be. A fun little sit down for the most part, weaving your way through rocks, track, buildings, everything, for what feels like a wonderful length of time.
The second launch is probably still my favourite single moment of any ride. I love getting that feeling of ‘there’s more to come’ out of a ride, it’s a rare treat on coasters due to their inherent nature of losing momentum over time and Taron’s version of this is particularly vicious and spectacular. More marvellous mincing around follows the launch, TRIM BRAKE and you’re done.
I simply don’t get the fact people consider it an intense ride. I could ride it all day like a rag doll, non-stop, with zero physical consequences. That’s not a negative at all, just, they’re wrong.

Grabbed some tasty Taron bread from the Balder shop outside and headed round again.
Queue time = 115 minutes. “This isn’t going at all well.”
We wouldn’t even get inside the entrance within the first 20 minutes and the 21:30 cut off time was dangerously approaching.

From a glance as we approached the station previously, there were only about 8 people in the single rider queue outside the station building. People were now powering into single rider, climbing over ropes on their way. Should we play it tactically and join them before it’s too late? I guess we’ll have to.
120 minutes of standing on a vibrating bridge followed, gradually getting Raynaud Syndrome.
Sadly Mega-Lite didn’t stand the test of time and had to bail for the bathroom at this stage. There was zero chance of them letting him back in the queue and the staff even pursued him into the toilets to shout at him and try and kick him out of Klugheim. Meanwhile I was next to someone who was having an actual panic attack because of how awful the queue was and then the ride had a panic attack of its own.
1000 smoking Germans all start shouting and jeering at this announcement, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

Another half hour later they got the ride up and running again. I assume a significant portion of the main queue must have bailed in disgust through the door in the cattle pen section at the announcement because it dried up 2 trains before the SRQ did. We were all brought into the station at last.
I get batched into the 2nd row for the last train of the day. Looking to my left, the front row will be empty for this last train. I take the chance and attempt to head round, but one of the staff members runs over to me and screams “NO!” in my face. 2nd row it is.
So I got my ‘almost midnight Taron’, in the rain too. It was fanastic.
This is also now the longest I have queued for any ride ever. Wouldn’t really expect that to have happened in Germany, but there you go.

After a confused phone call through the narrow and packed walkways of the park, caught up with Mega-Lite who had been wandering aimlessly around closed rides and getting shouted at by more staff.
We lucked upon walking straight on to the last train of Black Mamba, back row. Well this was certainly memorable.
The staff were cheering and thrusting as we left the station. The riders were chanting and singing, getting super rowdy and excited. Dreams restored.

The ride was running like a beast at this time of night and the firework display had just begun. Every inversion was filled with ‘OH MY GOD UPSIDE DOWN FIREWORKS’ and then disappearing back into the pitch black with an intense B&M invert swoop.
The train pulled back to the station. Everyone stayed seated exactly where they were. “Again?”
Well, alright then.
More cheering, more thrusting, more chanting, more singing. MORE UPSIDE DOWN FIREWORKS, AHHHHHHHHHH!
Why did Taron have such a terrible atmosphere?

We got caught up in the masses of the Berlin area as the fireworks were coming to a close, to the (disco edition) tune of Chiapas, the park’s log flume. Unfortunately we were the only people in the park to chant “CHIAPAS!” along with it. I thought it was more popular than that.

Then we got stuck in the car park for an hour queueing to leave, music on full volume, cutting up a million people and getting cut up by a million more.
Got to the hotel, parked in a hedge.
Died.

Day 2

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