Attraction Review - Ghosterforce Part 3, Phantasialand

Like I need a reason to revisit Phantasialand? My fav park in the entire world, this was the day of the trip I was most eager about. After chilling in the fabulous Hotel Matamba, stuffing our faces at the Zambezi Restaurant buffet and sipping down some cocktails, we entered the park bright eyed and bushy tailed and sauntered over towards one of the most hotly anticipated coasters of the 2016 season. And by this I mean we ran like idiots, only to be faced with a queue and the realisation that the new land wasn't open for another hour. Shit.

Oh well, at least we were first in line for the epicness of Taron that would await us and it meant loads of time for a photoshoot. Porn, all of it. Drink it in.

Watching the beast test and warm up, weaving intricately through the detailed rockwork theming as the sunlight broke crisply through the mist was, well, epic. The stuff one can only dream of as an enthusiast and here we were soaking it all in. The anticipation was almost torturous, like getting a dance at a strip club. Look but don't touch. Just when we thought we couldn't bear it anymore the rope dropped and we stampeded towards the station, stopping briefly along the way to take some more snaps.

Being some of the first to ride that day, we opted for a ride towards the back first, knowing we'd have plenty of time for rerides later that night. Honestly, first impressions before the coaster had really warmed up were a bit...meh. Yes, it looks epic. Yes, the launches and near misses are cool as fuck. But this time of day there was a ton of dead space,  and we all exited muttering that it'd be much better once the sun went down. But now we had the cred, breathed a sigh of relief and joined the queue for the second of many unbelievable rides at the best theme park in the world.

And that's the thing about Phantasialand - everything is good. I mean everything. They're slowly trimming the fat and replacing the older, crappier attractions with brand spanking new out of this world ones, further solidifying its spot as number one for me. Every ride takes the normal notion of what that ride would usually do and completely twists it on its head, meaning unexpected and hilarious moments are around every corner (bonus fire, 'bouncy' coaster track and unexpected elevator lift hills in the last place you'd expect are just a few of what's on offer). And there's just as much pleasure re-riding with people who've never been before and just watching them react to the sheer nonsense happening around them. There's no place like it in the world.

Luckily, staying in the resort Hotel Matamba meant not only would we benefit from some evening ERT in Klugheim, but we also received two fast passes each. The park wasn't rammed, but these definitely helped take the edge off of what otherwise would have been an extremely stressful day trying to cram in all of the good stuff (re everything).

If there's one downside to this park it's that is easily has the potential to be very overwhelming. Crammed into the tightest of spaces and sunken down a level or two, Phantasialand is the embodiment of immersive theming in that it actual towers in over and around you and really wraps you up in your surroundings. There's a real sense of discovery and exploration, but with that a slight sense of crowdedness once the park reaches its peak times. Despite this, the atmosphere is always electric and there's always that sense that just about anything might happen. Also there's shit loads of churros everywhere so it smells incredible pretty much 100% of the time.

As I mentioned, to top off our day of epicness on park as hotel guests we benefitted from evening ERT in the epic Klugheim area, and it was now that we'd really get a taste of what Taron could do.

Klugheim is the newest themed area of Phantasialand, and easily my favourite themed land in the entire world. In their effort to bring the rest of the park up to scratch with the top quality on offer across the rest of the resort, Phantasialand said goodbye to the dusty old Wild Western themed land and set about creating what is probably their most intricately themed and immersive land to date.

Klugheim is a modern take on a medieval village. Think Game of Thrones with a fantastical and mysterious edge and less violent death. You can really feel the magic in the air, and with Taron surrounding you and whizzing around at every angle there's a real sense of threat. Like a medieval village plagued by some kind of mythological beast, Taron dominates the atmosphere and never lets us forget its presence.

And lets not forget that Taron isn't the only new attraction in this land. Raik, a family Vekoma boomerang, somehow also exists in this claustrophobic and multi-layered environment, snaking in and out of the rockwork, village buildings and entwining itself with its more dominant sibling. Raik is fun and easily the best of the three of this coaster type I've ridden. Small touches like changes in lighting when the train zooms through the station or realistic smoke pouring out of the train itself raise what could easily be a mediocre ride to an excellent family experience.

Suffice to say Taron is an entirely different beast after dark. For my second ride I rode in the back again, so that I could more easily compare to my earlier ride. This absolutely took my breath away. Not only is the landscaping and near misses stunningly lit and realised at night, the sense of speed is heightened and therefore the way the train navigates the track and takes on the elements feels completely out of control and wild. Probably the most thrilling experience of my life.

There really is nothing like the sense of speed created by Taron at night. The airtime is extreme, forceful and exhilarating and had me grabbing for the restraints every time no matter how hard I tried to keep my hands in the air. The transitions are crisp and precise, tightly maneuvering the jagged rocks and sporadic chimneys and buildings. The environment flies by at such speed and the direction changes with such ferocity that the sense of madness is real and totally thrilling. Every time we pulled into the station I was ready for another go. I rerode until the ERT was over and even then I still wasn't satisfied. A truly incredible, full package coaster that will be put up on a pedestal of what makes a great ride for years to come.

Sadly, it was time to leave Klugheim and Taron behind and make our way towards another European great in Efteling.

Check out Part 1 & 2 of this report or continue on to Part 4!

Talk later xoxo