So I'm skipping Phantasialand because everyone knows I think it's the best and I'm behind on writing TRs and stuff. So yeah, do excuse the delay and what will be rushed TRs, which will largely just be reviews of rides in no particular order of riding them...
Movie Park was a park I had reasonably low expectations about. There wasn't many raved about, and any reviews of the park I had read always mentioned long queues, that their Fastrack was a saviour and people always having a sour taste in their mouth at the end of the day. In fact the only real positives I had heard about the park was about its Halloween event. These fears weren't helped when park close was extended from 5pm to 6pm, suggesting the park would be quite busy. But for late June, it wasn't that busy, everything was manageable and it was a decent day.
Star Trek: Operation Enterprise
The new-for-2017, triple Mack launch coaster was the big draw for finally deciding to pay MPG a visit. Figuring it would have long queues, we headed their first - annoyingly the ride is basically the first thing you see at the entrance, but the ride entrance is in the middle of the park. Fortunately we were first in the queue. There was a few minute delay as we waited for a couple more test runs, but no issue.
The indoor queue line is nice, but a bit too clinical. I get that this is the theme, but it just feels a bit uninteresting, even after a short while. What follows are 2 pre-shows, with screens which give a back story from characters from the show (spoken in Germany, but with English subtitles), as well as a staff member guiding you through. They are nice, and the rooms are nicely themed, but they do go on too long for my liking.
We got to the station and were on the second train (being first in the pre shows doesn't guarantee first in the station). The ride itself is fun. The traverser taking you to the launch track is in another very white room, which again feels quite boring. The launches are nice and smooth; they're certainly not fast but that's not really the point I feel. The inversions are taken quite slowly, giving a brilliant amount of hang time. Towards the end of the course there's an amazing bit of airtime which really got me. It's over quite quickly, but doesn't leave you feeling short changed fortunately. You do seem to spend an age waiting on the break run though, which feels even longer as there's not much to look at.
After our ride, we noticed there was no one in the station (people were being held up by pre show!), so we were able to get a re-ride immediately. Though this didn't happen later in the day when we rode again, it makes me wonder how sustainable the pre shows are in their current format. Staff seemed to have iPads showing where groups should be, radios to communicate to each other and god knows what else. Seemed like a very faffy system for not a lot of pay off!
Van Helsing's Factory
This was perhaps the only ride I'd heard good things about before visiting. And I can see why. The theming is fantastic, the layout is fun and works well with the theming. The general mood and atmosphere is brilliant. Just everything about this ride works well together. Even the queue line, exit and shop just feels so right and complete. It's a fantastic example showing that a ride as a whole starts the moment you enter the queue (and even when you just see building!), and finishes the moment you leave the shop. This was a true gem and possibly the biggest surprise of the trip. The fact that our first ride we queued about 40-45 minutes (basically the longest queue of the trip) and I loved it right away shows its quality. Plus things quietened as the day went on, meaning several re-rides.
We did the park's wooden coaster in the afternoon, and the queue time was displayed as an hour. Fortunately it was no where near that (15mins); seems Movie Park just update their queue times to the longest they get all day and leave them like that.. The ride looked like it had potential, but unfortunately fails to deliver. Every time it looks like it can pick up speed, or produce a decent moment of airtime, it just...doesn't? And that's the worst thing about this - excitement builds and builds, and it never delivers.
It was so uninteresting, I didn't get any photos..
This was a Vekoma SLC. It was like any other Vekoma SLC - naff. The first half of the ride was actually not awfully and shows why SLCs can get decent rides. The second half was extremely painful, and right down there with the god awful El Condor at Walibi Holland.
The Lost Temple
Tucked away near the front of the park, Lost Temple is an immersive tunnel themed around finding a lost temple - shock horror - and uncovering dinosaurs and stuff. It features several burdenous pre shows (one of which was a real lift which we thought was fake!), and lots of faffing around between pre shows. The 'experience' as a whole took about 30 minutes, so thank goodness the park wasn't too busy otherwise that would have been a huge chunk of the day gone. The tunnel itself was meh; the Bobbejaanland one was a bit better really. The exit pathway and queue to the ride is decent though.
Another ride tucked at the entrance to the park (and easily missed!). This dark boat ride was literally walk on. I really don't know how to describe this. The ride starts off outside, before taking you into a volcano. There were times inside when I didn't know if I was dropping, going up or what. The theming inside is good, but obviously quite dated - along with the theme itself. The finale is being taken up a lift in a very misty, very warm part of the volcano, before dropping outside and splashing down. There's usually a huge amount of mist before a boat drops down, and there were occasional fire effects from the top of the volcano. It's a really good, yet really bizarre, ride. I'm gutted I didn't actually take any pictures of it.
We tried to get a reride at about 5:20, but when we got to the entrance the entrance board said it closed at 5:15 (even though it definitely said 5:30 when we went there earlier). There was no queue, and I'm pretty certain the ride has stopped running shortly afterwards. A frustrating situation.
Nick land featured some randoms kiddie rides, some family rides and some coasters. One coaster, the Jimmy Neutron themed Vekoma SFC, was closed all day. Annoying spite. One coaster was a Vekoma rollerskater "themed" to the Backyardians. We more or less got straight on. It was meh. There was also a Spongebob "themed" Wild Mouse, which was alright. We also did the Dora the Explorer "themed" log flume, which got me drenched to the bone.
I don't really have much else to say. Nick Land looked quite out of place compared to large proportions of the park. It felt very run down, the theming was minimal to non-existent, and I really feel like the park could do a lot better.
This Neverending Story esque rapids ride is tucked tight at the back of Nick Land, and turned out to be a neat little surprise. I'd say it's in my top 3 rapids rides; it has a good length, decent amount of theming and an acceptable level of wetness. It's also helped by the fact that you basically can't see the ride at all from anywhere on park, so you really have no idea what is coming. The biggest disappoint is that you have to survive walking through Nick Land to get to it.
Crazy Cops Stunt Show
I love a good stunt show, and we wandered into this show not really knowing what to expect, aside from screeching tires and loud noises. This ended up being really good, featuring a decent level of stunts featuring cars, bikes and falls, as well as some decent effects, slapstick comedy and an easy-to-follow 'story' of sorts. It was just great fun to watch, and a great way to break up the day. It's a shame things like this aren't as common in the UK any more..
The High Fall
A tall drop tower with nice views of the park, a bit of suspense and tilting seats. Pretty good fun all in all.
Tip - if anyone ever visits and sees a long queue for this, just do a double check. The indoor queue is a cattlepen where one wall is a mirror and makes the queue look double in length. Caught us out first time..
There was some other stuff around the park, including a simulator featuring massive sets and John Cleese, which was meh, a few nicely themed or styled flats that we didn't bother with (Top Spin, Disk'o, Rockin' Tug, etc). But the final thing of note I want to mention...
The Walking Dead - Breakout
A year-round horror maze with a 5 euro upcharge, Walking Dead - Breakout felt like it had a lot to live up to, since the park was apparently good at Halloween and with its scare mazes. Plus the fact Walking Dead is a huge brand and has mazes at several locations, it felt like it had to be good for Movie Park to be a deserving park to have it.
The maze is open 1-4pm, and we bought out tickets online and booked for 1pm. Unfortunately the time slot system is non existent and you turn up whenever you want.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that the maze is terrible. It's themed nicely, but there's no real scares, no opportunity for scares, not enough actors, no real scary atmosphere. It's just terrible. It terms of actual frights, I'd say it's comparable to Platform 15 (a maze notoriously known not to be able to offer many scares last year). This really was a crying shame, a huge disappointment - possible my personal biggest disappoint at any park across Europe.
And so that's that. Movie Park Germany is perhaps a little underrated, though Star Trek definitely improves the line up. They've got a couple of solid coasters, a decent dark and water ride collection and the odd sparkle across flats and live entertainment. Certainly not a park I'd call a must-do, but definitely worth looking into at the very least.
Next up (and hopefully before Christmas...) - Efteling!