Phantasialand this year.
I lost my phone on the plane on the way home, so I didn't post the trip report I was halfway through writing. But oh my god. I have never been that excited for a theme park trip and it certainly delivered.
It was my first trip abroad to a theme park since Florida in 2011, before I had much interest in theme parks. Almost everything about the trip was perfect and I have so many good memories. It started on the Tuesday, where we spent an hour in the lovely Cologne, looking for the Cathedral for half an hour with no luck (not sure how we missed a 515ft Cathedral but ok), only to look and Google Maps and find out that if we'd turned right instead of left out of the train station we'd have been right in front of it. I'm still not sure how we managed to navigate ourselves to Germany and back at all tbh. The Uber trip on the way there was fun, the driver was so incredible friendly, calling the drive "the drive to happiness" and insisting on driving us to our hotel that he thought was outside of the park when we insisted that the entrance was just fine. The rest of the day was like Christmas Eve, walking into the Hotel and being taken aback by the incredible theming before we'd even entered the park. I remember walking to the entrance with butterflies in my stomach, walking up that weird bridge with loads of Rookburgh newspapers on the floor, and looking around at the place I'd been wanting to go to for years. The hotel room was lovely, and massive, and the view was just incredible. If you really, really looked you could see one tiny segment of Taron track, and some rock.
The next morning was probably the most excited I've ever been in my life. Standing behind those big wooden gates and hearing Taron. I remember sitting on the ride, being amazed at how comfortable the train was, and then being asked to get off as it had broken down. Oh. It came back up quickly however, and we got front row on the first train of the day. The anticipation before that first launch was something else, and then the ride... I don't think I even have to say that it was my new favourite coaster. Chiapas was obviously amazing, although I remember not being able to fully appreciate it the first time round because I was too shocked at how wet my feet were, Black Mamba took a while to warm up but eventually it was good, and the theming was (obviously) just... wow.
I don't want this post to be too long, so I won't describe the entire trip here, but some of my fondest memories from the whole trip came at the end of the first day. Me and my friend took a trip back into the Ling Bao gardens, to plan out the last few hours of our time because we'd discovered the shows that we didn't know about before. We wanted to see the Chiapas projection show, the Magic Rose Fireworks show, but also had planned for night rides on Taron and Black Mamba. We'd missed the first showing of the Chiapas show, and it was going to be very, very tight if we wanted to squeeze in Taron and the two shows. We decided to risk it for a night ride on Taron, with a 20 minute queue and around 20 minutes until the show began. I'm so glad we did, it was incredible, and we made it to the Chiapas show. I'm not really ashamed to say I had to fight back tears during that show, I'd been wanting to go there for years, and thinking about the fact I actually made it, watching the beautiful show and also thinking about how we didn't have that much time there got a bit too much. I held it together though and in the end we made it to the Magic Rose which was very confusing and didn't quite have as many fireworks as we were expecting, but the fireworks it did have were good.
Even after leaving Phantasialand, and losing my phone on the way, I still had one more great experience with them. On the end of the second day I bought a Taron shirt (obviously), but stressed and in a rush to get to the airport I didn't check the size and got one that was way, way too small. We messaged Phantasialand about this to see if there was anything they could do, and they sent us a new one with a really nice letter.
Sorry this was so long, but I haven't really posted about this trip yet and I loved every minute of it. It obviously turned out to be my last theme park trip of this year so far, possibly the last for some time more, and I can still feel everything I felt then from my chest tightening before Taron's launch, to the hunger on the first night because we couldn't find anything we wanted to eat. Maybe I'll try a full trip report at some point. Bit glad I didn't buy an Annual Pass like I was planning too, though.