Europe 09/21 – Phantasialand
Much like Energylandia, we’d find ourselves returning to Phantasialand just over a year since our last visit in order to ride a new large-scale Vekoma. Unlike Energylandia, I wasn’t really all that excited to ride said new Vekoma or to return at all really, after having gotten a much better than usual trip to the park the year before.
But alas, back to Brühl.
This time, for the first time, we were directed to park in the car park behind Mystery Castle, which is thankfully one of the decent car parks.
You’ve missed it, I’ve missed it, but medical masks are back and shockingly Phantasialand are one of the best parks in how they handle it.
There was a repeating announcement in the car park and at the park entrance that warned that medical masks must be worn in the park. This gave Heartline the warning he needed to put on one of the blue medical masks before leaving the car. I wasn’t sure if my mask, basically a medical mask in shape, not colour or fabric though, would be accepted, so I brought both masks in just in case.
After what I believe was actually the nicest greeting to the park we’ve ever recieved, it was time to F.L.Y..
In more comparisons with Energylandia, we must discuss the presentation of F.L.Y. and Rookburgh before we move onto how the coaster rides.
Quite honestly Rookburgh is one of the most stunning and highly detailed areas I have ever witnessed at a theme park. There’s so much to look at, I swear I barely took in half of the detail on my visit. There is also so much going on effects wise, with smoke, sound effects and animated theming either going off at random or being triggered by the arrival of F.L.Y..
Another thing I really like is how the coaster track perfectly blends in with the theming, which means you’ll never be able to memorize the layout.
If I had to nitpick though, I’d say it’s a shame that the intense theming doesn’t really carry all that much into the queue of F.L.Y..
Speaking of the queue, further praise must be given to the park for actually having a completely functional locker system. You can’t bring anything onto F.L.Y., so it’s good that this has been well thought out, unlike Arthur at Europa Park which descends into several thousand people battling for lockers for 15 minutes every time you ride.
F.L.Y. itself then, how is it?
That’s a really tricky question.
On a technical level it’s something really special, the way the coaster is able to effortlessly switch between sitting and flying to start the ride is something I’d never get bored of experiencing. Also you can’t gloss over how cool the concept of a multi-launch flyer is. Finally the way the coaster interacts with the stunning theming of Rookburgh is incredible.
Then there’s my 2 major downfalls the coaster has, which stop it from being in any way near my favourite coasters in the World.
I’m slightly shorter and slightly chunkier than the average bloke, not by much though, and to me F.L.Y. borders on being a painful experience. The vest part of the restraints cut deep into my shoulders throughout the entire flying experience and then I find myself faffing about trying to push myself off the vest, which takes away quite a bit of the fun of the ride.
It’s pretty boring as a roller coaster.
Take away the amazing theming interactions and F.L.Y. would suck. The coaster suffers from the new Vekoma issue of applying the exact same forces to your body for 90 percent of the experience. This coupled with the flying position (which hurts me) means it’s really hard to understand what is actually happening to you, other than I’m flying on my stomach (and it hurts), now I’m flying on my back (and it doesn’t). Compare this to the best flyer in the World, Flying Dinosaur, which offers a beautiful variation of forces, including weightlessness, followed by crushing positives and I hope you can see where I’m coming from.
In summary, F.L.Y. and Rookburgh feature some of the best theming in the World, the coaster itself though is not a World class ride.
On the second of our back to back rides on F.L.Y. to start the day, the lady at the entrance of the coaster politely asked me if I would change my mask for one of the blue medical masks. She didn’t expect me to do it right there but instead said I could change it while walking through the queue.
A warning at the park entrance, meaning I had the mask on me and a polite request from a staff member, this is how this sort of thing should be handled, stay tuned for the last day of our trip to see the exact opposite…
That’s enough F.L.Y. for now, let’s go check out the rest of the park.
Maus au Chocolat
Maus au Chocolat was first and remains one of my favourite interactive dark rides.
Followed by Black Mamba, which wasn’t riding as well as it was the last time we visited but was still pretty awesome.
In constrast however, Taron, which is still the park’s best coaster, was riding the best it ever has.
The coaster was back to how I remembered it riding when I first experienced it and nothing like it had been riding in recent years. Airtime was back and it was great, I was being violently thrown out of my seat again and I loved it and the snappy changes in direction were actually snappy again. I don’t exactly know what was causing Taron to suddenly ride much better today but I hope it continues because the coaster has moved way up in my books, sadly not in my top 25 though because Hyperion is still better, sorry.
Next up, in true Phantasialand style, we were angrily shouted at in German by a staff member for accidentally entering Wuze Town when we weren’t supposed to while lost looking for where you’re meant to queue for Winjas now.
It turns out the queue starts outside, opposite the long closed Hollywood Tour.
You still aren’t able to pick your fate on Winjas, thankfully though we got lucky and were able to ride on the Fear track. Winjas (Fear especially) are always fantastic fun and nothing has changed.
We visited Crazy Bats next, which is still running without the VR, meaning you get several minutes of pitch black riding around a warehouse, which is interesting… It felt good to have a ride though, surely this thing can’t have much long left at the park.
Lastly, for fresh stuff today, we went to check to see if Colorado Adventure is still amazing. Sadly we were unable to get anywhere near the back of the train, where the magic happens, always next time I suppose.
Then it was time to get to know F.L.Y. some more before ending our day with a few awesome laps on the newly reborn Taron.
Phantasialand are famous for kicking you out of the park (and the toilet) as quickly as possible, today however, with barely 30 seconds before the Taron queue was due to close, a wonderful staff member ushered hundreds of people in before the deadline, what park are we at again?
2 trips in a row that I’ve really enjoyed, F.L.Y. for the most part is great, Black Mamba is always an underrated gem, Winjas are awesome and Taron is now kicking serious freakin’ ass. I hate to admit it guys but I might be slowly becoming a fan of the place.
Thank you for reading, click here for day 18 of my trip report, where we visit the decent Duinrell, the horrible Hellendoorn and the wonderful Waarbeek.