Attraction Review: Phantasialand Part One

Sometimes when I'm bored I have a cheeky look at SkyScanner to see if there are any cheap flights going. So one day a few months ago I was doing exactly that when I stumbled across return flights to Cologne-Bonn for £24. I messaged Conor straight away and within 10 mins we had ourselves a short trip to Phantasialand booked! If you want to see how to book yourself a similar trip, you can check this out here.

So yeah, a fleeting visit to our favourite theme park in the world was locked in and we couldn't wait to get back on the glorious Taron! I visited for Halloween last year and indulged in an evening of ERT on this majestic beast and I fell in love instantly. It's not every day you find a coaster that you literally do not want to get off so for this to not only exist but live at my favourite park in the world was something truly special. As we were leaving the park that night we were already plotting when we'd return and we knew it wouldn't be too long!

Not very often we do mid-week flights, and usually as a rule I fly out the night before so as not to be dead on the day of the park visit. I have to admit I was a little blinkered by the price of the flights and didn't really take into consideration that I'm not as young as I used to be and the first day at the park really took its toll on me considering I'd be up since 4AM. Oh well, you live and learn!

So, the trip! Obviously it was excellent because it's Phantasialand and Phantasialand is the best. I've never visited the park on a Tuesday or Wednesday before but going from the advice of a friend who had visited on these days the week previously I wasn't expecting many crowds. And I was right. The park was absolutely dead - everything had a 5/10 minute queue (except Taron, grr, more on that later). Pretty much heaven to me!

After faffing with car hire and driving the 20 mins to the park from the airport we arrived at the park at just around midday with a pretty much empty playground to let loose in! Seeing as Taron had the longest queue and we know from experience she's a better beast once she's warmed up a bit, we decided to take a visit to Mystery Castle first.

As somebody who doesn't really enjoy drop towers, it's funny to me how much I absolutely adore this ride! I was gagging to get back on it and the 0 minute queue sign out the front wasn't lying - we literally walked through the whole queue without stopping (apart from to catch our breath after the bastard scare actors got us good and proper) and within seconds we were strapped in and ready to go. Only, the tower wasn't running its proper programme with the creepy German voice and the bouncing and the strobe lighting - you know, all the stuff that makes it good. One redeeming factor was that we did get one full drop but it was over so quickly I ended up with total Mystery Castle blue balls. Womp womp.

We had a mince down Berlin's main street and grabbed a pretzel from the bakery (that smells SO FUCKING GOOD omg) and headed into Afrika for a bit of Black Mamba action. 10 minute queue made slightly longer by our decision to wait for the front. Along the way I attempted to get some pics, but my god this coaster is so well integrated into its surroundings that it's pretty much impossible to get a good shot apart from the first drop! Annoying for us coaster geeks but a testament to just how well themed tis B&M invert is.

Black Mamba always takes me by surprise - I forget how good a coaster it is until I'm riding it then I kind of forget about it straight away. It's a weird one! Later in the trip we had a few rerides and I'm afraid to say that further back there's a very noticeable rattle which isn't great, but still a solid coaster.

Headed to one of Conor's favourites Colorado Express next. I always love the way this coaster meanders around what's left of the Wild West area. The interaction with Chiapas and the show arena is excellent and really does a great job of disguising the sheer size of this coaster! Top tip for this one, head to the back seat and try and have the restraints on as few clicks as possible. Probably the craziest ride on a coaster you'll ever have, it's tons of fun!

Next up we decided to bite the bullet and take a sail on River Quest. I'm always torn on this one - I LOVE mad water rides but I hate getting wet so usually end up not seeing most of the ride as I have my coat over my head. There'd been reports that more theming had been added to the ride since my last visit in October and it's a noticeable difference - the extra bits really help it blend into the Klugheim area and it's great to see that a whole new entrance (not yet in use) has been created to tie everything together. Reason #247 why Phantasialand is awesome - any other park would have just left that as it was!

The ride then, mad as ever although it did seem that some of the water effects were off - maybe something to do with the time of year as admittedly it was damn cold, but hope it's not a permanent change! I always say River Quest is best ridden with newbies as people's reactions when they see what is about to happen to them really is the highlight of the ride. We were lucky to be in a boat full of RQ virgins and it was hilarious. It almost justifies the inevitable drenching!

I was trying to stay away from Klugheim until the evening as I knew I'd get sucked in by its charms, but we relented and went for a wander around what is probably Europe's best themed land. We stopped to take it all in and tried to grab a couple of beers, but it came to €13 and was cash only, so we bailed on that idea (if you go to Phantasialand make sure you have cash - cash only transactions are a bit of thing here). We did cave in slightly and attempt a sneaky ride on Taron using the single rider queue, but abandoned that idea when we had been standing there for 20 minutes and hadn't moved.

Chiapas next - one of my favourite rides in the park! I adore log flumes and think Chiapas is the perfect modern adaptation of the classic theme park ride. It's filled with little only-in-Phantasialand style surprises and silliness and has just the right level of wetness and thrill. The kind of water ride I would attempt sans coat over my head. Oh, and once again, zero queue - we walked straight on and sat down and the ride ops were even letting people stay on for another ride. Awesome.

Conor wanted to upset himself next, so he joined the queue for Talocan. And by join the queue I mean walk through the queue and take a seat until more fools joined him. I opted to watch and laugh and take photos. What's great about Talocan is that the park have cleverly incorporate a viewing platform so clever guests who choose not to ride have a great spot to stand and watch the torture - a ride for the whole family!

Seriously though, this thing is so impressive and terrifying to look at. It's too intense and nauseating for me to enjoy but Conor likes that sort of thing and I enjoy watching the ride, so best of both worlds.

Skies were turning a little bit grey now so we opted for some indoor rides in case the heavens opened. First up, Maus au Chocolat, a shooty 3D dark ride themed to mice that have taken over a bakery that you have to take down with icing piping bags. Genius concept, the building smells of cake and chocolate and the theming is elegant and whimsical. It's just so much fun splatting the little mice with chocolate (oh, and I always win too!).

Maus exits you in the walkway towards Wuze Town so we wandered over for a ride on Winjas and had a little peek at the hoarding for the highly anticipated Rookburgh, a new steampunk themed area replacing the land behind Maus au Chocolat where a naff old simulator that I never rode used to live. I couldn't get any pictures, but from what I can see they have dug a HUGE pit, so I'm expecting something on a similar level to Klugheim in terms of immersivity. Exciting!

Wuze Town is slightly strange on a good day, but on a day like this where the crowds are sparse it's positively bizarre. It's really quiet and everything feels slightly too light and bright. Conor likened it to feeling like one of those sad shopping centres that were booming in the nineties but turned into ghost towns following the recession. I think it feels like being inside someone's dream. It's half Toverland style magic - half weird Deviant Art fan made characters. So to put it bluntly, Wuze Town is weird as fuck, but it is cool in that it hosts the world's only duelling Maurer Sohne spinners (with a few added extras).

We couldn't be bothered to ride both right now but couldn't remember which side was the 'good' one. We opted for Force and turns out this is not 'not-as-good' one. Like, it's fun (especially if you're a first time rider and don't know what to expect) but not something I'd go out of my way to ride if the place were rammed busy. We took our time in here and discovered that there's a buttload of kid's rides and a kiddie theatre tucked away on the top floor. This is what is amazing about Phantasialand, this is something like my 6th visit and I'm still discovering new things about the place, amazing!

By this time it was time for Taron! Annoyingly as much as I pestered the marketing team they wouldn't relent and let us join the hotel ERT, so we had to bite the bullet and queue with the peasants (I jest). The queue board stated 45 minutes but I'd guess that we actually only would have waited 25 had we not opted to hang around for the front row (a must in my opinion).

I was a little nervous that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. But good lord, I needn't have worried. Despite not having the extra fabulousness of riding in the dark, the coaster is still as obscene a ever. The launch, the speed, the airtime, the near misses, just...everything! It's just so, so good and I don't think I'll ever get tired of it. There are maybe one or two 'dead' moments that keep it from stealing my number one slot from SkyRush, but it's as close to perfect as coasters can get and it brings a tear to my eye every time I remember it exists. Taron <3.

We managed to squeeze in a couple of rides before having to leave for the day. Annoyingly we were stupid tourists and didn't realise that the machines for the car park only accepted cash, of which we had spent all of ours on pizza and churros, so we had to trek all the way from Mystery to Berlin to get some cash. Twats. The guy on the door couldn't believe that we didn't have cash on us, must be a London thing, I never have cash on me!

And that was it for Day One! Check out Day Two.

Talk later xoxo,