This trip was formed around 3 key ideas, ride Taron at midnight at Phantasialand, ride the brand new Gold Rush at Slagharen and ride the brand new Star Trek: Operation Enterprise at Movie Park Germany. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad…
We departed from Gatwick late due to it “being real busy in the sky lads”, this was slightly more a problem than normal because we were cramming in lots today but ultimately it wouldn’t be Gatwick Airport who would ruin our plans for today.
The car hire situation went about as well you’d expect, we ordered a Fiesta and drove away in a tiny Toyota hybrid but not before we emptied the back seat of 6 child seats while the attendant was shouting at us, it wouldn’t the last time I was shouted at today either…
After an hour and a half driving we were at Slagharen and despite it being the 2nd most visited park in the Netherlands queues were very managable.
I’d read mixed to negative thoughts on the park before but it’s fine, not much in the way of rides I’m interested in but the park is nice enough.
Gold Rush – We powered straight to the park’s brand new Gertslauer shuttle Infinity coaster and if looks could kill, seriously Gold Rush has one of the most beautiful colour schemes I can think of, looking extra special on Gertslauer’s fantastic track design, ok I’ll calm down now.
The coaster itself is really good. Relaxing forwards launch to get you moving, thrilling backwards launch that gives insane hangtime as you crawl up and stall on the dive loop, then a final intense forwards launch to get you onto the main layout. A layout that’s full of punchy ejector air and smooth graceful inversions.
Gold Rush uses the lap bar version of the Infinity trains which means you’re in for unnerving amounts of freedom which as mentioned makes stalling on the dive loop a real treat.
After 3 laps on Gold Rush we grabbed a bite to eat and rode the park’s other mine train themed coaster before getting back on the road.
As mentioned in my introduction one of the key reasons for this trip was to ride Taron at midnight during Phantasialand’s 50th birthday special event. This wouldn’t come to be and infact I’d end up having a very frustrating time at the park. What makes this quite funny (in hindsight) is that this was my 2nd trip to the park and the 2nd time I’d walk away disappointed in a park so many in the community rate as the best in the World.
After 2 hours of maxing our terrible car on the autobahn we arrived at the park and immediately things went South. The car parking man literally screamed at us for not parking close enough to the car infront. Then we tried to enter the park through the 2nd entrance next to River Quest and Feng Ju Palace and got shouted at again and told to walk round. So we walked round to the main entrance where the 2 women greeting people stared right through us without saying a word, what a welcoming start to the World’s best theme park!
Feng Ju Palace – The park’s Chinese themed madhouse attraction was closed on our last visit so that’s where we headed first and I really enjoyed it.
River Quest – River Quest was also closed the last time we were here and my God am I happy to have finally experienced this utterly terrifying water ride.
This thing scared me to death, causing me to seriously doubt it wasn’t going to drown me either with the stupid amounts of water it dumps on your head or via the boat flipping during the unthinkable elements it throws at you. For that reason, I loved River Quest.
With the only 2 rides missing from last time ticked off it was time to spend the rest of the evening/night riding Taron until we bled.
We walked over to the beast to be confronted by 2 awful pieces of news, 1 terrible and 1 unforgivable. The queue time was currently 110 minutes, oh and the queue will be closing at 21:30.
They were closing the queue for Taron at half 9 in order to have the area cleared by half 11 for a fireworks show. You may be thinking, well yeah they obviously need to do that for health and safety but I’ll counter that with 2 thoughts. Could they not have launched the fireworks from a different area and have their star attraction running late into the night as their website implied? Also, talking about their website, I went through the event page in detail several times before ordering tickets and there was no mention of Taron closing at 21:30. For reference, Blackpool Pleasure Beach tell you on their website every single attraction that’s closing early for their fireworks well in advance.
Well Taron’s what we came for, we’d better get into that 110 minute queue right now and stop wasting time if we’re going to even get 2 rides this evening.
Taron – We were already angered but the Taron queue tried it’s best to make it worse. 110 minutes of people standing far too close, vaping, drinking, smoking and shouting, normally I’m quite good at blocking out crap like that but this was a struggle.
As for the coaster, it’s still top 20 and one of the best coasters in the World, it’s just such a shame that you have to go through so much effort to ride it. Both times we’ve visited now (first time was a weekday), the queues for Taron have been long and disgusting, it doesn’t give you the chance to properly bond with a coaster when you can’t ride it many times a day.
We knew we’d have to get straight back into the stupid queue as soon as we got off Taron in order to just get 2 rides today, however we were hungry now, so we quickly grabbed a pizza from the pizza place in Klugheim. The man serving there was an absolute asshole, where does the park get it’s staff from?
The queue for Taron was now easily over 2 hours so we decided we’d try single rider, this was a terrible decision.
About an hour into the queue I got stomach issues (probably from the previous time queueing) and needed to bail out to the toilet. While in the cubicle an older sounding German lady starts shouting and trying to smash the door down. This must be a case of mistaken indentity I tell myself, then it happened again. Maybe a drunk I think, then it happened again. 10 minutes later I emerge to see it’s a cleaner lady and she’s not happy. She starts getting right in my face shouting at me, of course in German. I don’t know what’s going on, maybe she thinks I’ve done something wrong? “I’m sorry my German isn’t very good”, I calmly tell her, “YOU MUST LEAVE!”, she screams back. “Why?”, while washing my hands I make out through her angry shouting in both German and English that they are closing the toilets at 9 for the fireworks… This has to be a set up right?
Knowing I can’t rejoin the single rider queue I decide to go for a walk, then almost immediately a man comes running over and shouting I can’t walk that way, when I ask why he mumbles something about the fireworks and points me down another path. This is getting silly now.
The next hour was spent on my own, walking around in the rain, wandering between newly closed paths and uncomfortably busy open ones, not quite the midnight Taron I came here for.
I managed to reunite with Heartline and we powered to Black Mamba the park’s B&M invert in time to get a few very memorable laps, it was these rides that took my mood from livid to just very disappointed.
The staff on Mamba were incredible, they were going absolutely insane, it was an awesome sight.
Our 3 rides went as such.
1 – Pitch black and the coaster hauling way more than it did for us on our last trip.
2 – Fireworks going off, so that every time you inverted you got to watch the show and once again everything felt faster.
3 – After lap 2 we came into an empty station with the staff still going crazy and they sent us straight round for a 3rd, with the fireworks still going off, it’s a shame finding an experience like this at Phantasialand is like finding a needle in a haystack.
We were completely shattered now after a very long day and both completely done with the park, so clearly the best thing for us was taking over an hour to leave the car park while the staff just stood and watched instead of trying to organise it.
Another trip to Phantasialand, another disappointment, hopefully our 3rd trip won’t be so bad but I’m not holding my breath.
Thanks for reading, click here for part 2 of this report where we visit Movie Park Germany and BillyBird Park Hemelrijk!