Attraction Review - Hansa Park

The year was 2009 and I had finally managed to get myself on my first ever theme park trip to Europe. It was a bloody fantastic time, and we rounded the amazing trip off with a visit to a park I'd never heard of at the time called Hansa Park, added on to the trip due to the opening of its new launched Gerstlauer Eurofighter coaster Fluch von Novgorod. We had a fantastic day, but unfortunately the theming for Fluch wasn't finished just yet, so we all agreed that we'd head back when it was done.

So yh, life got in the way and many years passed, but I FINALLY got my bum in gear and in October this year made my way back to fabulous Hansa Park after...EIGHT YEARS oh my god I'm old...

It's weird to revisit a place after so long that holds so many memories. As many a CFer will know, loads of silly antics happened at that park and we often watch those old videos when we all get together and reminisce, so to finally be wandering through the highly themed gates again was strange indeed!

The park were as accommodating as ever - we were greeted at the entrance by the CEO of the park himself as well as being gifted some awesome goody bags. One fab thing about Hansa is they absolutely love enthusiasts and people who love theme parks, so they go out of their way to make us feel welcome, which is a pretty strange concept when you're used to UK parks! They didn't have to do that, it wasn't expected but it really did set us up for the epic day ahead.

Last time I visited the park it was a hot day in June, and this time is was October so the vibe was very different. I was shocked at home much I just...didn't recognise the park at all. I'm not sure if lots of redevelopment had taken place but there were even older rides (like the super cute garden boat ride) that I just have zero memory of! Like a memory from a dream, everything seemed familiar and yet completely unfamiliar all at the same time, super odd.

We squealed with joy as we ran past all of the pumpkins and autumnal decorations as we made our way over to the key reason for returning to this park - Karnan. I'd managed to avoid most of the mystery of what Karnan actually DOES up until the day before (screw you Chris!) and once my worst fears had been confirmed I'd been low key bricking it. And standing at the base of this beast, early morning as the looming tower was shrouded with fog that feeling intensified. Crap, this is going to be obscene!

I'd called it the Tower of Terror effect in which the anticipation begins from the moment you first glimpse the ride when you're at the park. The terror slowly increases the closer you get, and yet you push past the terror because you know this is going to be great. And then you wander through the queueline, marvelling at all the fabulous detail and soaking in the narrative, all with that little voice at the back of your head telling you to run as far away from this bloody thing as possible. But you push on, because you're a sadist, apparently. It's a love/hate thing.

Hansa Park are experts at nailing the little details, and Karnan is no exception. Talk to anybody who's ridden this coaster and they'll excitedly babble at you about the queueline, the bag storage, the batching system, everything has been considered and has a little something or other about it that makes it so memorable.

So yh, let's talk the actual experience then. I don't remember feeling this scared of a coaster since...climbing the lifthill on Shambhala for the first time? Yh, total terror, but enjoyable fear because the entire group felt the same way so it was a shared hysteria which made it funny. Usually I'm a one-click kinda gal, but on Karnan I stapled myself good and proper. And before I had time to change my mind, we were off.

And honestly...I think I built the whole thing up in my head too much. That's not to say Karnan isn't fantastic - it really, really is. Easily one of the best coasters in Europe, hands down. But I'd braced myself for this intense terror and it didn't really come. The...thing that happens (not spoiling it for you, go Google it if you want to know that bad) really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The first drop is incredible, but I implore you to ride in the front row if possible.

I'm not one for hangtime so I didn't really rate the first half as highly as some of the others in the group did, but omg the second half is terrain hugging, ejector airtime stuffed goodness. Like I mean it's SO much fun! The coaster is just so packed with every kind of element you can imagine and it nails all of them perfectly. You like hangtime? Got it! You want airtime? Sure! You want forces? Sorted! It's honestly one of the most complete and accomplished coaster experiences I've ever had. All the potential fear melted away and was replaced with utter joy! Another one knocked out of the park for Hansa!

Next up it was time to get reacquainted with Fluch von Novgorod. Joining the queue surrounded by creepy scarecrows and cawing crows just felt right in October! Luckily the queue wasn't that long and we were taking our seats before we knew it! Now THIS I remembered...apart from all the new theming that wasn't there before. The ride has a whole dark ride section before the coaster kicks off now which is just so unnecessary but just so great too! The coaster was as epic and rerideable as ever, I think it's probably my favourite Gerstlauer out there. The launch catches me by surprise, the little pops of airtime are great and the theming is perfect - so metal!

Grabbed another cred next, Kleine Zar, which is a kiddie cred which the park have cleverly themed to the story of the original coasters of Russia - including theming the supports so it looks like an old fashioned wooden coaster. Fab!

There was just one more cred for me to nab that day before hanging around and waiting for the sun to set so we could enjoy the Autumn Magic By The Sea event that evening, and that came in the form of family Gerstlauer coaster Schlange von Midgard. Again with the theming! I don't speak German so I haven't a clue what was happening here, but it was fab, and had animatronics and smoke and lighting. And the coaster wasn't half bad either!

It was very strange to hang out in an area that was once a field filled with giant bouncy cushions that now live in the shadow of a giant coaster. Apparently the upcoming evening event was popular as the park had suddenly gotten rammed! Luckily at this point we'd ridden everything we wanted to and could just sit back and take in the growing atmosphere as the crowds began to buzz.

Autumn Magic By The Sea consisted of two parts - the light parade and the fireworks. We had about an hour to kill before it started and sadly Karnan was boasting a 90min+ queue at this point. A shame because I'd have liked to have seen how it rode at night, but not to worry, we'll definitely be back. Instead we opted for a final go on Fluch. As we were queuing we realised that by the time we were launched out of the show building it'd likely be dark, and we weren't wrong. That'll stick with me as one of my all time favourite theme park memories - launching at speed over the entire park lit up for the evening - magic!

Being experienced with waiting for Disney parades we ran ahead of the crowds and made sure we grabbed a good spot for the parade. Earlier when we'd met with the Hansa Park team they had downplayed the parade and humbly told us it was only a small thing they'd whipped up - liars! It was amazing! Easily enough to give Disney a run for their money. There were lights, music, fire and fireworks! What more could you want from a parade?

We then ran to grab a night ride on the gorgeous little boat ride, now all lit up for the evening before taking our final spot for the evening fireworks. What I didn't realise is that there was actually a whole show complete with projection mapping before the full fireworks kicked off! It was super cute, meant for children and younger families of course so definitely tailored more towards that audience, but enjoyable nonetheless. Always love a bit of projection mapping. Oh, and during one section everybody around us got handed sparklers! WTF? Definitely one of those never in the UK moments, it was so good!

And to add the cherry of top of a fantastic day we saw the evening out with some epic fireworks accompanied with an IMAscore soundtrack. The perfect end to a perfect day.

I absolutely loved returning to Hansa Park and secretly love the fact that I'd waited so long between visits. It felt like an entirely new park for me but with the added bonus of that lovely nostalgic feeling. The park has changed so much since my last visit, and just gets better and better with each new addition. The thought and effort that goes into every single new attraction is astounding, and you can really tell how much the team behind this park care so much about delivering fantastic and enjoyable experiences for every guest. It was a pleasure to visit and I can't wait to return - hopefully next time it won't be eight years before I visit again!

Talk later xoxo,