Phantasialand and the Virtues of Being Weird

Can we talk about Phantasialand for a moment? The teaser trailer for Taron, the new coaster for Phantasialand's newest themed land Klugheim, dropped this week and I am now officially losing my mind. It's everything a teaser trailer should be, a taster of what is to come and the right dose of epic soundtrack and hint of theme and tone to leave me gagging for more. It has cashed in on the current Medieval-mania brought on by the popularity of hit HBO show Game of Thrones and brings its own unique dash of Phantasialand magic to make it fit perfectly with the park's branding of mystery and adventure. 

So what is Taron then? As deduced from the trailer, the coaster will be Europe's fastest multi-launch coaster to be constructed by Intamin. I'm a bit of Intamin to fangirl, I've never had issues with the usual complaints about the company (calculated is is too layouts, painful restraints, etc) and my favourite coaster Skyrush is one of theirs but I can not help feel slightly disappointed that Phantasialand didn't invest in the similar coaster built by Mack. Having ridden Helix at Liseberg last year and being blown away by it I would LOVE to see what Phantasialand could do if they got their hands on one of these and can easily imagine how this coaster could be constructed as part dark-ride (as is proposed for Taron). It seems weird to me did the park would go back to a company that caused them so much hassle with their previous large investment ride - water ride Chiapas. But either way, I'm excited as hell for this attraction and will be on the first low-cost Ryanair flight to Cologne-Bonn to ride the thing. 

Which brings me to the point of this post, did something has been a bit of a bee in my bonnet for a while now. Why do we, as enthusiasts, get so excited about projects like Taron at Phantasialand and share little to none of the same enthusiasm for projects going on in our own back gardens. I was a full-blown coaster nerd all through the construction of The Smiler, The Swarm, even as far back as Saw, and gave me goosebumps NOTHING like that trailer just did. But why? Are these coasters not good attractions? I know many will disagree with me but I did think as far as coasters go the three aforementioned are at the very least, in the good-great tape. So why is it that when each was announced, my reaction was either complete disinterest, or the following, which is really interesting to me. It was a reaction of 'I do not wanna get excited by this because I know I'll be disappointed.' And that is so sad. 

Parks like Phantasialand are rare, I'll give you that. Very rarely is a park so unique and quirky with their rides and very rarely does a park appear to take gambles with their attractions being a little on the wrong side of normal. But I suppose this is what excites me so about a new attraction for Phantasialand - it could literally be anything . I always feel like Phantasialand's attractions are all normal rides ... except for this one thing it does differently. I'm not going to divulge in any examples here in case I spoil it for anyone but I think those of us who have visited the park can all agree at least one attraction there caught us off guard, and therefore left us with a smile on our faces. I think the only UK attraction to do that for me is Thirteen, and I still to this day enjoy taking people on it for the first time to watch their reactions to it.  

And therein lies the value of the quirky, the weird and the unexpected. You can give me the world's first, the world's biggest, the world's fastest any day and brag about it no end, but unfortunately in all your gloating you've gone and simultaneously given the game away and raised my expectations so high that no attraction in the world is going to meet them. I know that the times I've had most fun in parks usually surround 'I was not expecting THAT' moments, where everyone just sits grinning at each other and laughing in disbelief at how much whatever it what caught us off guard. And 'that' in turn helps make a park a more memorable place and somewhere I'd want to visit again and again, bringing new people with me to share their 'WTF just happened?' moments, a trick I feel many parks could learn from.