Europe 09/21 – Family Park, Böhmischer Prater + Wiener Prater
Day 13 – Family Park
The last ‘major’ park in Austria for me is a bit of a tease. Though coast2coaster would have you thinking it’s a healthy +4, I was shocked and appalled to discover that it’s only really half that.
I’m all about that Rattenmühle though, even for the name alone.
First stop was #1 Götterblitz, the original ‘other’ layout of the Mack Youngstar model, a criminally undersold family coaster. This one once again reminded me why that is, they’re offensively smooth and give you just that little bit more to think about with the forces here and there.
Well there’s one of the issues. It was the first time I’ve seen one of these operate and it even had a queue!
The other issue was a Butterfly that, even if it counted, was closed.
The park is still deceivingly large though, there’s a lot of nice looking other stuff around that we didn’t do.
Construction, get excited.
And here we are, the main event. #2 Rattenmühle kicked ass, as it rightly should have. It had a very nicely themed station and a unique, interesting and punchy layout. Every time I ride one of these Gerstlauer Bobsleds I keep thinking it’s the new best one.
For all the stuff we didn’t ride the morning had felt a little empty, so we gave this weird looking Stellarium a go, having never seen one before.
It’s a cool visual, watching all the arms intertwine and never quite crash into each other, but it lacked a little on force. I was hoping for Magic Carpet style lurches and all I got was a light breeze.
Next stop was the affectionately dubbed ‘other Prater’, a small collection of rides elsewhere in Vienna that should be better than the real thing.
Spot the inconsistency.
In reality it was a bit of an incohesive place, transitioning awkwardly from interesting heritage
To cheap creds. And you know what we were here for. #3 Shark Trip.
But if you really want a ridiculous hit of creds in Vienna, there’s only one place to be.
Doing a solo run of this place at lunchtime, offpeak, was a pretty grim experience that I really didn’t care for. It was a monetary exchange of 50 euros for 11 coasters and nothing more. Staff were rude, the place felt like a dump and it was a complete faff.
This time round I entered the park care free and at ease. A couple of new coasters to grab, a handful of dark rides to try and the opportunity to watch someone else suffer through everything I didn’t have to. That’s how you need to experience this park.
We began at Megablitz, which is the only attraction I gave the honour of a reride, as it was by far my favourite of the bunch last time around. Much like the Jet Stars and Jumbo Jets of earlier in the trip, this Vekoma is a ridiculously forceful set of twists and turns that take place in single file seating and it’s really damn good for what it is.
Loving the look that new paint job too, glad to see it getting some attention. It’s a bit off the beaten path compared to most major attractions here and always seems less popular than it should be because of that.
Stuff I enjoyed not doing:
Well, not so much that one. Such a tease.
Stuff I didn’t do but wish I had.
Stuff I did do. Eisberg is amazing and that’s all you need to know.
But for context it’s an interactive dark ride where the ‘guns’ are cameras. It contains elevator lifts, big talking polar bears and tasteful physical comedy.
Dangerous for me to say it, but put it on your must do list, with a higher priority than the coasters.
Especially when said coasters involve a #4 Roller Ball, again.
Oh well, set complete. Let’s hope they stop at 3.
After sitting out another hundred coasters we decided to dine at another Rollercoaster Restaurant that they now have on park here, next to a Flying Theatre I didn’t really want to pay for and that mercifully doesn’t open in the evenings (5pm close if you’re interested).
The restaurant had a rather different vibe again to ones we’ve tried before, with an emphasis on interactive table games (though not during covid times) and dancing robot arms.
The food was good, the service was sneaky. Be wary of being offered ‘sauce’ with a portion of fries like it’s a friendly bonus, it comes as a handful of those ten a penny sachets and they charge you a pound, per sachet, for the privilege. I prefer the places where you order on a tablet for this very reason.
I had two missions for this visit and one of them was to finally suss out what went on in here, with conflicting evidence floating around on the internet.
Blue Planet is a dinosaur walkthrough with several disctinct features.
Aside from the walking, which contains dinosaurs, it has a mysteriously unattended lift near the start with crude screens on the walls. The lift shakes around for what feels like an age, playing loud sound effects and trying to intimidate you with repetitive footage of angry dinosaurs. It ain’t very good.
You then walk through some dinosaurs and come to the fun part, a mysteriously unattended simulator room under the name Dino Tour. As you enter and sit down, the doors shut you in and a statuesque driver with elf ears (no idea why) pretends to take you through the jungle a bit while the room jiggles around in all directions. Animatronic dinosaurs attack from the outside, all physical, things get scary and then you have to escape.
You then walk through some dinosaurs and come to the other fun part, a mysteriously unattended lift with an open side that descends down a rock face. Halfway down, big old dinosaur (not pictured) comes out of the rock to get you and the lift performs a little evasive manoeuvre, tilting away from and then back towards the wall. Just as you hit the bottom and exit the floor does a little jump scare jolt to leave a lasting impression.
I thought it was fantastic overall. I love the complete lack of staff interaction even though there’s some technical ride elements going on inside, really adds to the anticipation factor particularly if your party is alone.
Dangerous for me to say it, but put it on your must do list, with an equal priority to the coasters.
Talking of coasters, the other new one for me was another Gerstlauer Bobsled and also another #5 Gesengte Sau (apostrophe excluded this time).
It was having many teething issues with block sections and temporary ceasing of operations. A couple of engineers were hovering, one of whom was actually in Gerstlauer overalls. They were working hard and managed to restarted it several times over the course of our queueing.
The ride is very vertically stacked as a layout and contains some pretty huge drops with some great airtime, good pacing and some solid all round fun. I was really impressed by it. Every time I ride one of these I keep thinking it’s the new best one.
My final investigation was into Jack the Ripper, the haunted walkthrough.
I’m no real fan of these types of things, there’s a lot of walking through unpleasant situations with a deadpan expression, though I’m probably just doing it wrong.
Eventually you reach a room where the atmosphere (not that I liked the atmosphere) is ruined by a member of staff awkwardly telling you to wait for a lift, in a room full of loud screaming, ultra violet light and set pieces. Have you tried Blue Planet, sir?
While waiting you can watch this amusing animatronic scene of Jack himself stabbing a woman. She slowly crumples to the floor in a highly convincing manner as he slithers away.
I think the lift itself tried to do some stuff but I already had scary elevator fatigue by that point and have legitimately forgotten what went on.
At the bottom of the lift is a mysteriously unattended haunted swing ride (the origins of a madhouse). It’s no Hex, it travels at a million miles an hour and is super disorientating, in a rather unpleasant and sickly way. You leave on an anti climax and the experience is over.
Don’t put it on your to do list. Spend the money on a cred instead, even if it has to be the Boomerang.
Well aside from that downer at the end, which is entirely my own fault for committing myself to research these type of things, I really enjoyed my second visit to Prater.
The lesson is come at night, don’t come alone, and experience a wide variety of attractions. Bring lots of money too. Lots of money.