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  1. Movie Park is perhaps one of Germanys lesser known parks, being home to a top quality indoor gerstlauer, a terrible woodie, marmite SLC amongst others. However for 2017, the park is set to gain another star attraction, in the form of A Mack launch coaster which will be themed around Star Trek. Source- Movie Park Facebook. Certainly looks an interesting and exciting coaster.
  2. Hi one and all, I am just a lurker here really so you probably haven't seen me around before. I've recently returned from a trip I took to Phantasialand and have alot to share. It doesn't take much to make an impression to me, and I feel like the impression Phantasialand makes is incomparable. I hope, that it pretty quickly displays why it's my favourite park in the world. I'm not one for just concrete and thrills. The immersion this place delivers is un matched by anything I've experienced or seen. Everything feels so genuine and real. I'm gonna stop blabbing on and let the pictures do the talking for a bit. The park is breath taking. Unlike my home nations parks which seem to be descending steeply into decline, phantasia is maintained and propelled fantastically, with the recent addition of taron. The ride itself is very mediocre. The ride has some insane ejector, but that's it. It is one of the most unique steel's I've ridden, only comparable to woodies for me. I love Phantasialand because they openly admit they embody their rides into areas. They design the ride with the area in mind, not the other way round. There's no way the park would work if they worked the same way everyone else does. Their back to front attitude leads to some seriously immersive and breath taking theming. The reason why I love this park so much is because each area takes you 1000's of miles across the planet within the space of metres, and it does it convincingly too. This is my favourite theme park in the world, simply because it removes you from just that. It makes you a time & space traveller, like no where else can. ] thanks for reading (PS, my photo's don't do it justice. YOU HAVE TO VISIT!)
  3. Germany trip - Part 2/3 From 19th May to 25th May 2016 With Loose Steele Bluth Parks visited: Hansa Park, Heide Park, Phantasialand **Photos to be added at a later date** Day 1 - Hansa Park is in the previous blog post Day 2 - Heide Park General points ⁃ Park open 10-6 ⁃ It was a Saturday so the park was very busy (See queue-times to see the difference between Saturday and Sunday particularly!) ⁃ Difficult to access before 10 on a Saturday due to train timetabling ⁃ Fairly large park, especially compared to Hansa ⁃ Weekend following the opening of the 'How to Train Your Dragon' land ⁃ Good ride reliability! A few times rides appeared as temporarily closed on queue time boards, but we were unaffected by/didn't see a break down all day (except Flug in the morning which I will talk about) Public transport made it difficult to get to the park before opening - There is a bus from Hamburg to the park that arrives at 10:10am, but leaves to go back at 5 so we did not opt for this option and instead got trains. Despite Heide offering a shuttle bus from Soltau station, the bus times did not coincide with our options for trains so we instead alighted at Wolterdingen at 10:17 (Train before arrived at 8:05 and we would have needed to be up at 6 or something ridiculous). The park is then a 20-minute walk from the station on a road surrounded by trees. On arrival it was obvious the park was going to be incredibly busy despite its size. At 10:45 queue time boards showed Desert Race had an hour queue and Krake was on 45 minutes so we headed to Flug der Daemonen which was sporting a 10-minute queue. We considered the Express Butler (Q-bot essentially) as it only costed €20 and you could use it similar to reserve and ride where you wait in a virtual queue for the wait time of the ride you wished to ride. There were other pricing options such as €30 to wait half the queue time, and €70 for unlimited use on all rides all day too. We however had faith in our ability to plan the day effectively and get on everything necessary without giving an extra €20 to Merlin for no reason. Flug der Daemonen Walking into the queue, I was pleasantly surprised at the theming, The portion of the queue in the old log flume building was really atmospheric and also a good use of the historical existing structure, despite some unthemed cattle pens following that (and nets everywhere of course) the queue was very dealable, having views of the ride above and a noise when the train passed by an area of the queue similar to the Swarm. Batching into the station was good as it kept everything organised (Germany ❤), however meant you could not opt for front row if someone else got their first! So we got the back on the left hand side and admired the station and bag-drop turntable (No bag rooms made life so much better for all ❤) before setting off. Halfway up the lift we came to a stop and after 5 minutes a member of staff came out to talk to someone two rows ahead of us (we presumed about camera usage on the ride?!) - Another 5 minutes and the ride started again. At the end of the ride the person was spoken to by security and a park manager and trains were being sent empty, potentially indicating that he was tampering with the ride in some way?! Unknown to us but we had lost a crucial 10 minutes early on in the day and went off to our next ride. The experience itself was good! I personally preferred that the transition from the lift to half loop was quicker than The Swarm, the airtime hill was good, the twists and turns were tight which led to a little bouncing of the trains but it didn't make the ride uncomfortable. Sounds are played during times the train enters tunnels which was very effective and one of those small things which makes a big impact on the ride experience. On the whole the length of the ride was welcome in comparison to The Swarm, but the Swarm is definitely more thrilling. Flug may suffer potentially as every inversion feels the same, just another roll rather than a loop; even an inline would be a nice change. All in all it was a fun ride with an interesting layout, theme, and effects. The queue-line shop was hellish though... We couldn't make sense of why Flug der Daemonen was shoehorned into the area its in as there is space elsewhere in the park, plus it makes the left corner of the park just a mash of coasters with Krake, Bobbhan, Flug, Big Loop, and Limit all there. But it was impressively shoe-horned at least, leading to some tight elements and interaction with pathways, the queue, and itself. Scream An Intamin Gyrodrop tower. This was fairly well themed as a pair of giant cogs moves as the ride is raised. The queue moved quickly due to the high capacity, and it was nice to hear a very similar version of the detonator music! Because it's a gyrodrop, it offered some good views of the resort from above as well as the local area (forestland). A familiar top-spin gondola was spotted in the maintenance area, but more on that later! The drop itself was more forceful than expected and caught us off guard - Really enjoyable ride. Limit An SLC which is the same as the rest... Awful. I would love to see more parks invest in new trains for these like those on the SLC in WB Movie World, Gold Coast, Australia. However I was a fan of the fact that the transfer track went over the queue line hilariously. Land of the Huss flats There is a Mayan-themed area with 7 flat rides all next to each other, all manufactured by Huss (The company is based in Bremen not too far from the park) The topspin and Rotor ride were closed, and we ignored the enterprise. The topspin was closed for essentially maintenance, so the Ripsaw gondola may have been sent to Heide to have its parts cannibalised in order to get this one up and running again! We enjoyed the breakdance although it was tamer than a recently enjoyed one in Tivoli Park. A chair swing sits on a raised platform central in the land with the other flats surrounding it. There was a moon dance which was surprisingly forceful, and a twister-type ride which was good fun too. Desert Race A quick look at queue times showed Desert Race at 20-30mins, so we headed there after all it had been 60 earlier on. Walked past these wonderfully themed toilets on our way. **Photo to come soon** Another rotating bag drop was used here ❤ The ride seemed very out of place and just plonked down, but the experience itself was pretty fun. The layout is the same as rita with some more ground-hugging moments and a faster turn after the trims before the main brake run. Better than Rita? Yes, but potentially only due to the first turn not being the jolt we've grown to know and love of course. The park's rapids were really good. Long with two waterfall sections and loads of actual rapid sections. The Mack Powered Mine Train has a similar (if not identical) layout to the one at Europa Park, and was therefore deemed a failure as the theming was lacking in comparison, especially when entering the big shed. How to Train your Dragon Land Land had opened two weeks prior and took advantage of the prevoius nordic-ish themed land Had a boat ride like Charlie and the Chocolate factory which entered a cave and has screen-based Dragon entertainment. There was a spinner ride with water similar to Solugden at Djurs Sommerland, Denmark. There was a smaller spinner and finally a Zamperla Kite Flyer ride where you lie down and are spun like a chairswing. It was painful on the neck if you didn't push upwards, but much fun was had. The land was well themed and the IP is popular, so good news for Merlin, Dreamworks, and guests alike! Lunch We ate at the Dämonen Grill which was located next to Flug. The ordering system was similar to Nando's athough there is a ordering form with both german and english to make it easier for everyone! Restaurant was really well themed, with some nice cosy seating areas too! Food was nice and like all the german food was in massive portions... 5? from me. Krake The queue reached 90+ minutes at a point so when it was down to 45-60 minutes we thought this would be the ideal time to ride. The queue itself just had Dragon's Fury written all over it as you queue by the brake run with little view of anything. After a bag drop (whyyyy) you enter the station where you have the choice of choosing front row or rows 2/3. We opted for the front having waited a good 50 minutes outside already, an extra 10 minutes really wasn't an issue, however most other people felt the same and the other rows were not being filled. People queuing assumed that row 3 wasn't a row and staff made no effort to correct this, even allowing people on the 3rd row to re-ride despite 15 + people waiting for row 2?! This may have been due to staff shortage as they were running 2 trains (Not sure how many trains the ride can run, but there was a lot of stacking on 2...). Two staff members checking bars and two in the bag room is just annoying to see when they run good bag shelves etc on their other rides. The ride itself was really good; loved being eaten by the Octopus and coming out of a ship, nice floaty immelman and airtime hill too. The ride is short but the main attraction of a dive machine is the drop which is delivered well here. Big Loop The park's oldest coaster with a train donation from Corkscrew at Alton Towers. As rough as you expect a 1989 Arrow Sit-down to be, but it was still fun. Bobbhan Having ridden the Bobsled at Europa Park we didn't have high expectations, but felt like we should ride as we had the time towards the end of the day. Surprise hit of the day! It is long with loads of tight turns, and general hilarity which was so so much better than Europa's bobsled. Colossos The queue was listed at 90+ minutes all day so we decided to do this towards the end of the day. Queue was incredibly unimaginative switchbacks despite plenty of room amongst this monster of a ride. Managed two rides as we entered the queue a second time just before ride close at 6. Both times we rode at the back as our experience with Intamin pre-fab wooden coasters (Balder at Leisberg) led us to believe this would give the best chance of airtime and fun. The ride is just huge and incredible, debatably still the signature attraction of the park despite the much newer Krake and Flug pulling big queues and dominating the skyline on the left side of the park. I don't have much to say except that it was as good as expected if not better, so much airtime and immense speed. Whilst I would prefer the smooth-yet-exciting transitions of a GCI such as Wodan, it really was the most enjoyable ride in the park for me and I can see why it was so popular. Overall it was an enjoyable day despite not having time for some of the smaller rides like the monorail, and whilst the coasters were good they lack a certain charm that Kärnan and Fluch had the day before, and none are stand-out rides except maybe Colossos! Heide exuded the charm of a lot of European Parks which had their own mascots, and paid a lot of attention to detail etc with a quirkiness. At present it does scream 'Merlin' quite a bit, but probably not noticeable unless you've been to a UK Merlin park. Day 3 - Travelling Train from Hamburg to Brühl before getting a taxi to Phantasialand (Were too late for the shuttle bus the park provides as our train was delayed). I wrote days 1 and 2 on my phone during this time which may explain the difference in writing style or detail compared to Phantasialand days (part 3).
  4. Germany trip - Part 1/3 From 19th May to 25th May 2016 With Loose Steele Bluth Parks visited: Hansa Park, Heide Park, Phantasialand **Photos to be added at a later date** Edit: SPOILER TAGS ARE NOT WORKING AT PRESENT, SO BEWARE THERE ARE MANY SPOILERS We hopped on the plane at LHR being keen for the parks again, Got the metro from HAM woo! Am I getting airtime? Jumped out the train it's Hamburg Central Station, checked in the hotel I can see the free mouthwash. We are both so tired, everybody seems so gerrrman Day 1 - Hansa Park Woke up early to ensure we had time to buy train tickets and catch a train to get to the park on time: After buying inter-rail passes (although just for Germany), we took two trains to get from Hamburg to Sierksdorf and had a short 10 minute walk to the park. Scanned our online-purchased tickets and were in just before main ride opening. General points about the park: ⁃ Open 9-6 with most rides opening at 10 ⁃ Not a big park, mostly family orientated ⁃ All rides were walk-on during our visit as the park was empty ⁃ Did not see a broken down or SBNO ride all day Der Schwur von Kärnan (The Oath of Kärnan) - Spoiler tags are being a bit temperamental on this post, so I am warning you below This was the newest ride, opened last year. It is a Gerstlauer infinity coaster and whilst not fully themed yet boasts many unique qualities World's only hyper coaster with an inversion World's first and only freefall drop on a lift hill Europe's second tallest coaster after Shambhala Queue You walk past the massive tower, around a castle-turret themed queue and down a set of stairs entering into the building. On the stairs you wait to be batched into a room, and whilst waiting there are televisions playing a documentary-style TV show which explains that the King who built the Kärnan fortress may have used a spell in order to keep the fortress impenetrable (nonsense says the archeologist being questioned!). 16 people (one train) are then batched into an incredibly well-themed room where another video plays. This video speaks of the unearthing of the inner workings of the castle and discovery of rooms etc which may lead us to believe the spell is real! We are told it is too dangerous to bring belongings with us and a bookcase shelf opens for us to deposit items. Following the depositing of items you are led through a tight winding corridor past some cogs into a room with 12 doors in a circle which meet in a spire above, and 4 rows of 4 crowns on the floor. When everyone has stood on a crown, the lights get low and above the doors there are crests which illuminate one by one, first slowly, then quickly, and the music climaxes before ending when one row of crowns on the floor lights up. The floor lights then correspond to a door crest and the door opens for your group of 4 to board the train. The process repeats until every group of 4 is assigned a row on the train. This process is completely random; even after 9 rides we could not spot a pattern to the choice at all. We rode twice in the front, once at the back, and the rest row 2/3. The whole pre-ride experience is just fab. Having a story behind not being able to take bags on is so unneccesary it's brilliant, and the idea of the spell choosing your rows stops the squabbling/extra queue for the front and creates an extra bit of excitement/tension before the ride. Ride experience - SPOILERS You turn left and pass under a barrel roll before a gentle hill down in pitch black and back up, before a very sharp (why no banking?!) left onto the lift hill. The lift hill gets off to a slow start much like other vertical lift hills on Gerstlauer coasters, but makes it way up the lift very quickly to about 3/4 of the way up. There is nothing to see except lights of sensors on the track, which may make the lift suspenseful for some but just boring for me personally. There are sounds which get increasingly louder and louder until... You freefall drop 100ft down the tower. In reality you freefall for a short time before brakes gradually slow you to a halt at 1/4 of the lift hill. The drop is isn't forceful, and whilst it would shock a first time rider I think it's dull and not worth the engineering effort it probably took to make it. Despite this, it isn't a bad thing and certainly adds to the theme of the spell but perhaps not adding a great deal to the ride experience overall. If there was more going on in the lift than just darkness and noise then it may have been better, but in its current state is just misplaced somehow. After the drop there is another long wait before you start moving to the top of the hill. The whole lift from start to finish takes 2 minutes, meaning a maximum throughput of 480pph (?!); the ride was running two trains when we were there, and whilst could definitely run more, throughput is incredibly hindered by the lift sequence. The train slows at the top of the 200+ft lift hill and down you go. Down down down. The layout is a bit of a blur but essentially you go incredibly quickly through very tight turns and elements; the train really flings you out at times during the non-inverting loop at the beginning, there are some tight turns and good airtime hills. If the ride had OTSRs it doesn't bear thinking about how rough it may have been, so the clam-shell lap bars were welcome although incredibly tight by the end of the outside ride. The ride does seem to lose a little momentum but the final few turns despite the 80mph start at the bottom of the first drop, however an airtime hill before a sharp brake run shows the train is still travelling at quite a speed. Past the brakes, a door opens and you enter an un-themed black room with an unexpected, slow, and slightly painful due to the tightness of restraints at this point, barrel roll. Sharp right into a brake run where your ORP is taken, then a right onto the offload past a lit up shield (lol theming again). You step off the train on the left and collect your bags from the other side of the bookcase before walking out through a gift shop. Put simply the actual coaster experience is crazy, travelling as fast as stealth through elements designed to fling you out of the train, tight turns, and airtime hills. Impressive pre-show and batching procedure, and despite poor-pacing inside (potentially due to not being finished) the experience is on the whole incredible in all the right ways. Fluch von Novgorod A Gerstlauer Eurofighter opened in 2009 like our Saw - The Ride The queue was very well themed, you snake through corridors before choosing row 1 or 2 closer to the station. Boarding the train from the left, after a quick check and you're off. Using a pepper's ghost illusion a figure appears to the right and has a little sing, the train progresses and on the left a hooded figure with projected-face speaks more german goodness before the train moves forwards once more. A sharp drop into an unexpected forceful launch, sharp right outside into an airtime hill which I would build in NoLimits and say 'no that's unrealistic'. Twists and turns before a barrel roll and brake run into a building. In the building is the classic Eurofighter lift hill with the hooded figure from before speaking to you from the left, crows seemingly attacking you (air cannons), and lights etc in the ceiling above. You plummet into a 97° drop, through an over banked turn, and into a set of trims before a sharp hill into the main brakes. A scarecrow then flys from the ceiling towards the train, which is particularly scary as it is unexpected due to being on the final brake run; also most effective if you're on the front row. Whilst there was a fair amount of movement/rattle on the cars, the ride was not rough and incomparable to Saw's roughness despite similar speeds and tight elements (Why Saw, why...) The theming and story was brilliant, and the only negative would have to be how short the layout was after the inside drop, there is just so much momentum that it seems wasted to end the ride after one hill. But it was really fun, the launch was surprising, and the ride was forceful too. Other rides and attractions The other inverting coaster was a Schwarzkopf coaster called 'Nessie - Superrollercoaster'. I have ridden looping Schwarzkopf coasters before but from memory only ever shuttle-loops, so I wasn't sure what to expecting in terms of roughness, and was pleasantly surprised that it was incredibly smooth. The ride was fun with a loop through a mine train ride, a helix, and a few airtime moments (best in the back). The ride finale is a drop into the mouth of the happy Loch Ness Monster into a tunnel of flashing lights (also the train storage area). In the station there was a speed counter which showed how quick the previous train had traveller through the loop (Highest spotted that day was just over 86kmph, lowest around 80kmph which shows the difference between a full and almost-empty train). All in all it was an enjoyable coaster! The aformentioned mine train which passed through the Nessie loop was a very tired-looking Vekoma junior coaster. Fairly forceful and long considering it was a junior coaster with penty of interaction with Nessie and its own track Die Schlange von Midgard (The Snake of Midgard) was another Gerstlauer, this time family coaster. The ride enters into a well themed preshow area before acceding the lift hill and completing the ride's short but thrilling curcuit twice. As has been mentioned before on the forums, it is truly ridiculous the level of theming and detail put into this small attraction which rivals that of Disney and certainly puts Legoland's Dragon Coaster to shame to be honest, despite the difference in length of pre-show section Spinning boat ride that was incomparable to Storm Surge - There was no water in the boats, the boats spun very forcefully despite several changes in direction of the flume, the circuit was a lot longer and more interesting, and it had a great deal of theming in the station and lower half of the ride. It was really good fun and you can see why Storm Surge might have been a good ride for Thorpe, but unfortunately it is just run terribly somehow. Die Glöcke (The Bell) - So much wtf, it was fun but I'll keep a KMG afterburner or similar over it anyday. Plenty of fun playgrounds and a free high ropes course which had the biggest queue of the day. A train which made its way around the park, Depth Charge clone, inverted pirate ship, Rattlesnake clone, indoor space-themed bumper cars, Calgary Stampede clone, and much more! In the Kärnan pre-show there is a plan on a wall for a Gerstlauer sky-fly, so this may be installed on the patch of land behind Kärnan between Schlange and Die Glocke where there is currently empty plot. Overall veiw of Hansa was that it was a fairly well themed, well cared-for park. You can see that the theme and implementation of newer rides is really important to the park and well thought out, not dis-similar to the shift of Paulton's from rides like the Edge to the current Lost Kingdom.
  5. Good Afternoon all of you wonderful people! It's finally here and I'm very excited to officially announce plans for our Second European trip and this time to Europa Park! The date of the event is the Bank Holiday Weekend of Saturday 28th - Monday 30th May 2016! As voted by you. As you can see it's set for 3 days! This is due to the extent of the trip and with the amount on offer at Europa Park its been recommended that you have 3 days on site so you're not rushing - I have provisionally set it for a bank holiday so the majority do not need to book work off. If you cannot do 3 days other alternatives will be arranged for you! Please take note if you plan to stay with us overnight, it will be your responsibility to book your own rooms/ flights and unfortunately if your under 18 we cannot help you with this! If you were to come under no circumstances will TPM get involved and take responsibility with your stay, and if you did go you would also need written permission from a guardian just for the sake of border control! This trip has been set in mind as an over 18's event. I understand some of you may be disappointed about this but due to the meet being outside the country it complicates matters too much! As this is the largest scale of a meet TPM has ever attempted some advanced planning for those who are interested and want to go will need to take place. I will help you as much as I can with groupings and questions and answers about the trip and I will go into much further detail on this with those who want to go. Depending on your circumstances some may have to pay some money up front to their 'group leader' so things can get booked. In total Flights, Accommodation, Park Tickets, Food & Spending Money for the whole trip I predict will be in the region of £300-450 (Depending on your spending money levels ) The Outline of the day/s will be as follows (Prices rough estimate of provisional date): Please take note the outline for travelling and hotels is just a guide - things will be confirmed with those who are going. If you decide to come after we've made initial bookings I will tell you what to do to still be able to join us. As this is a guide it does not mean this is how you will travel as you may make your own arrangements! Friday Night Flight from Gatwick to Basel. We will then make our way to Rust where the majority of the accommodation near Europa Park is. Once we arrive we will enjoy our first night in Germany. Rough Flight Costs will be between £80-£100. Tickets for Europa Park for 1 day in 2016 is 45 Euros and 84 for a 2 day ticket. 180 for a season ticket. 3 days will therefore be in-between that but will be no more than £100 for 3 day park ticket Meet At the entrance to Europa park at 08:30 am. This will give people a chance to sort out their tickets. We will ensure during the day for those who may want to sort out an annual pass that you will get the chance in the day as the rest can watch a show around the park. Please bear in mind we will leave without you if you are late as it’s not fair on time keepers! If by any chance you happen to miss this meet point due to travel arrangements or just plain lateness you can either phone or text so we can arrange to meet you. As members have found out! We will then go and enjoy our day in Europa Park. I know not everyone will want to do some of the rides/ shows at Europa. If you decide to not come on please be polite and wait for everyone to come off and chat to other members whilst you are waiting. Or go off and do another attraction as long as you’ll be back after the group has finished riding the attraction. Please respect other people’s wishes who wish to ride certain things that you yourself may not be too keen with. During the day, around half 1, we will stop for a bite to eat where you can go and eat where you like and we will arrange where to meet after everyone has finished eating. (Who knows we might all want to eat the same thing anyway ) After lunch we will group together for the Official Group Photo for the day and continue going round the park until it closes at 6pm. After this you may head back to your hotels or join me by heading out for a bit of nightlife in the local area. The Sunday & Monday we will meet at the same time and place as the Saturday but instead at 09:15 at the entrance of wodan (It will be at the entrance again at 8:45am but Ryan spotted a mistake - I need to respect that ) and basically continue what we were doing Saturday until people need to start leaving to make their flights or crossings. I will be handing out my phone number for everyone who is attending the meet that day, should there be any problems. We aim to stay together as a group for the day, going from one activity to the next, enjoying getting to know people you share very similar interests with, the idea is to just go with the flow and enjoy the day with some awesome people. There will be many photo’s in the day being taken and the possibility of a few video clips. Whilst we cannot force you to stay with the group, it is the general purpose of these meets! You will have my number (and some of the senior teams) if you become split so by all means use it. The meets are a fantastic laugh and everyone is invited, even if you have never posted before or been to any kind of meet at all. If it's your first meet, I understand it can be nerve breaking - but we were all there at one point so know how it feels, please don't let this stop you from attending - Once there you'll be part of the group in no time! Just look at the past trips this year! I will soon be posting up a separate post on possible accommodation locations which you can use to help you decide where to sleep (If your staying for the night.) If however you know where your going already by all means book it up when we confirm the dates this time next week. I know for example I will be staying at Gastehaus Metropolitan which is 5 mins walk from the park. Rough cost of accommodation is £80-£100 per person for 3 nights. Once again, everyone will have my phone number so please use it on the day If anyone has any issues or concerns or even nervous about coming, feel free to post here, or PM myself and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you feel like my response is taking too long another member of the team will be more than happy to help. We will all try and help you out as much as we can. Please PM me or post here to say if you’re attending. If you are bringing a mate along with you, please also include who they are so they are not known as ‘Plus 1.’ The events with TPM have been fantastic this year and this one will be no different! Starring (0)
  6. Over the last year, my theme park adventures have taken me to some weird and wonderful places away from the U.K. This is all started with Disneyland Paris last april [with a return visit in September] followed by Efteling in November. But from here on, where would my next theme park adventure take me? It would take me to Europa Park, the crème de la creme of European parks amongst being one of the best in the world [if not the best]. After a doable 1 hr 20 minute flight to Basel from Gatwick followed by a 75 minute car journey we had all arrived at our accomodation in Rust. Located 15 minutes away from the park with at least 6 beds per room, this accommodation was perfect for the large [but nicely sized] group of us going. The perfect crash pad and HQ for TPM and ideal for the usual and many meet shenanigans. After an evening exploring the culinary delights and limited sleep, it was time to enter the golden arches into this beautiful park . The entrance area is absolutely beutiful and is another example of a theme park entrance done right, with the grandiose entrance and fountains outside leading into a beautifully layed out main street leading through to the main park. With over 60 rides and attractions [not including shows], Europa Park houses the highest volume of attractions in one park [including Disney] making it even more impressive. Aside from it's stunning cohesive park areas it's a place where you only have to turn a corner to find a random show or enter a small marked façade and find one of many dark rides. The above picture is a disclaimer that I have visited [something that seems to be becoming a standard these days] Europa currently houses 12 coasters [with another on the way soon] making it the park with the most coasters in Europe amongst the world. One of these is Wodan, a GCI coaster which opened back in 2012. At over 130 ft tall, it is a mighty beast of a coaster and rides as beautiful as it looks [if not better]. After the descent into the drop, the coaster races through it's circuit in a crazily out of control yet impressive style as it's flies through turns and helixes around the area whilst diving in and out of tunnels. Wodan is a spectacular coaster and does everything I currently want from a coaster. From an impressive queue to an even more amazing layout. It is with the combination of both these elements that now make this my new number 1 coaster, knocking off Nemesis from it's top spot after nearly 4 years in the running. Firing off in the nearby surroundings, stands yet another impressive master piece. Blue Fire is such a photo friendly coaster and rides as well as she looks. After passing through the mandatory but impressive dark ride section, the ride thrusts into a smooth but impressive launch which isn't as intense as Stealth and Rita but considerably more comfortable. The coaster flows through it's circuit providing intensity and elegance at the same time, from it's flying through twists and turns to injector airtime inversions whilst proving to be glass smooth. Blue Fire is yet another amazing coaster the park have created and everything from the comftable lap bar trains, to the greatly paced layout make for a fantastic ride, which is now my second favourite coaster overall, only just beaten by Wodan [for it's queue line alone]. This coaster makes me even more excited to be experiencing Helix soon and hopeful that if Blackpool are getting one of these, it will put them back on the map as a must do park. Then there is Silver Star, Europa's giant which until 2012 was the tallest coaster in Europe, taking the height title from the inferior Big One. Despite hearing people saying it was rather mundane before visiting, I actually enjoyed this one alot. From it's steep drop, to it's airtime hills which did give quite a floaty feeling. The ride's position does make it feel you're outside the park though almost which is a strange feeling,but probably helps make it stand out I guess. The ride is one of the first to be spotted when approaching the park and can be seen for miles. It was astounding watching a train go up the lift less than two minutes apart each time too as a result of the park's outstanding operations. But Europa isn't just home to fantastic thrill coasters, but some equally impressive family ones too like Arthur. This is such a gem of a ride which features many dark ride scenes indoors [mixing screens and traditional scenery amongst animatronics] with great bursts of outdoor coaster sections throughout making for a great paced coaster which would be perfect for a number of family parks. Another amusing fact is this has to be only family attraction in existence to feature swearing on the ride, due to the rap song in the alley scene using the n-word . And if those weren't enough to handle, I also managed to take a brief visit to Epcot as well. Of course not, this is Euro Sat, one of the park's indoor dark ride coasters which is located in this giant ball [which mostly resembles Space Ship earth]. But once inside, the similarities between the two become vastly different with the attraction's 80's space theme and german rave music included. Whilst this may be one of the park's older coasters it certainly doesn't hold back as it really packs a punch in it's layout amongst it's long spiral like lift hill. After a couple of go's this attraction was a hit with most people, myself included [which may even be in my top 5 park favourites]. The ride is so much fun and could be described as a superior version of X with some space mountain effects. Euro Mir has to be one of the most bizarre coasters I've ever ridden. From it's long spiral lift [also like Eurosat] to it's long twisty turns amongst mirrored buildings before going through numerous twists and turns. As much as I liked this one, I definitely prefer Eurosat to Euro Mir. Then there's Poseiden, an amazing water coaster. This is yet another enjoyable ride in the park, which I think is nicely paced out with lift, coaster section, splash, lift, coaster and a final splash before returning back to the station. The throughputs on this again are amazing as boats were literally flying out the station to the degree there were even two on the lift at the same time as well. Then there's Atlantica Super Splash, which as perhaps the weakest coaster at the park. However with the decent theming and settings surrounding this can be mostly forgiven. I'd swap Storm Surge for one of these anyday. Then there's Pegasus,which for a family coaster features a decent amount of theming amongst a fun and remarkably thrilling layout for a family coaster. And lets not forget about the park's veteran coaster Alpen Express, which features a fantastic layout for a powered coaster and really speeds through that cave and last ride section at a fantastic pace too. I'm yet to try the VR on both coasters, but if I visit again soon will definitely be doing so. Nestled within the Swiss area is the matterhorn blitz, a wild mouse with a difference. From it's amusing elevator lift to it's steep drop and tight corners, I found this version considerably more enjoyable than many others out there which reminds me a little of the old Jungle Coaster [despite this being superior]. Last but not least is the Schweizer Bobbhan, the park's bobsled coaster and by definition the prototype, due to Europa being a showcase of many of Mack rides [being owned by the Mack family]. The ride layout is highly enjoyable but not quite as good as Blackpool's but probably wins due to it's loverly location. A loverly location indeed. It also has one of the longest break-run-station transitions in existence which takes up nearly half the ride alone. However, there is more to Europa than a dozen coasters. It's all about the park's random dark rides. Many of which are cleverly hidden away some of which are little more than a ride sign and a door in the wall. Like this random christmas themed ride in the Russian section. Or this PIrates Of The Caribbean style knock off. Which was actually remarkably good and well done. Even the ceilings were themed up as well. And there's no waiting for this Ghost Train either. It was actually really well themed and reminded me quite alot of the sadly long gone Wicked Witches Haunt ride amongst some tongue and cheek references to the Haunted Mansion with it's singing heads and stretching room. The food at Europa is absolutely fantastic [even the quick service places]. The restaurant that naturally stands out the most however is Food Loop, the originally Roller Coaster Restaurant. The food wasn't bad either. I absolutely loved this place, from the clever way of ordering food on the screens and then watching them race down along the track to your table. Whilst I don't think it beats Polle's as my favourite theme park eatery I really did enjoy this and look forward to trying the Towers version in the near future hopefully. The park also has many shows, so many you could almost spend a whole park day watching them. One of these was a show about celebrating the park's history featuring rotating sections like the Caroulsel of progress I believe. There was an Elvis tribute act in the Globe Theatre in the England area, no I am not lying. Was still amusing though. However the ice show in the greek area was considerably better and more entertaining. The projection mapping and performances in this one were impressive to say the least. There was also a park parade too which even had a soundtrack [quite reminiscent of Magic Everywhere]. Whilst the Paris parade was most likely the better of the two, what makes this one nicer is it feels a lot more close and intimate. There's a noticeable reduction of crowd hogging and finding a place to watch seems an easier task without waiting an hour find a good spot. Some of the other weird and wonderful attractions in Europa include this set of football themed Dodgems, with an actual over sized football in play too. The 'infamous' London Taxi ride, which is a lot more fun than getting a real taxi. The Queen's Diamond, a laser maze which is a fun little filler. This amazingly well themed splash battle attraction. This quirky inverted monorail ride [the attention to detail is ridiculously good]. This 4D show about Euro Mouse. It was sort of like Angry Birds 4D but slightly better. There is also the astoundingly themed Columbus Dinghy. This features projection mapping, fountains, rider control of directions and thematic centre piece all just for a sea storm ride. It's absolutely amazing. And not forgetting this Jungle Cruise style ride. This was again lots of fun and a worthwhile filler attaction. This picture alone perhaps describes the difference between Merlin and Europa. RIP Skyway There's even a Fairy tale forest-esque area at the park which is very reminiscent to Eftelling's, except for being much smaller. But even then, Europa Park is very beautiful and picturesque place to visit. And the on-site hotels are just as beutfiul Even the underground walkway is themed. And it was a fantastic place to visit. Europa is an amazing park. It features pretty much everything you'd wish in a theme park. A wide range of rides, coasters and dark rides, plenty of shows and green spaces, decent upkeep and great selection of food as well. The park definitely had a lot of tongue and check influences from places such as Disney & Efteling amongst some elements bringing back the days when our parks used to put care and effort into their rides. Comparing this park to what have in the U.K is like comparing a tesco microwave meal to a michelin star restaurant [which the park apparently has actually] and they just can't be compared at all. Europa certainly has to be my favourite theme park now, probably just scraping past DLRP in greatness. It's not a park you would go to experience the rides more-so [bar Blue Fire & Wodan], but one just for the amazing surroundings and showcases in how everything there compliments one another and isn't just plonked down. To appreciate the park, it's definitely a place where you need several days to visit, in which the longer you stay, the more you will appreciate the park. I spent three days at the park, which is probably the minimum amount of time of getting the core park elements done, but could could have easily done another day or two, just to experience all the shows, re-ride the coasters, do the VR and adore the park even more. Bucky approves of Europa Park.
  7. Mark9

    Glitz and Glamour

    Yes I know what you're thinking, another Europa Park/Disneyland Paris trip report from Mark9. I was blown away by Europa Park in 2010 and 2013 and surely this trip can't be any different. And how could I possibly compete with the three blog wonder of Matt Creek's comprehensive Disneyland trip reports. Well... this is a report with a little bit of difference (Or at least I hope so, this is all on the fly so might just end up me complimenting every aspect of Europa Park). Nonetheless, I hope this entertains or at the least interests you. Scene 1 - Staying on site at Europa I make it a point to stay on site at Europa. Unlike other parks where it isn't essential, I feel staying on site gives such an advantage because of the sheer beauty and theme of the hotels. I've previously stayed in the Tipidorf, Hotel Colosseo and Bell Rock, and this time around was Hotel Alcatraz. Themed around a Spanish castle, this 9 floor building is the closest to the theme park. During check in I was hoping, praying for a view of the park. My wishes came true with an 8th floor view over the entire park. This blows away my previous favourite view of Shambhala and Dragon Khan at PortAventura. Hotel Alcatraz itself isn't the best of the hotels at Europa but it is certainly the most intimate, As an alcoholic I particularly enjoyed the 40th anniversary special cocktails in the bar on the 9th floor which afforded spectacular views of Wodan and the hotel area. I had a Blauer Enzian (The Mack name for their powered coasters) and a 40th Euromaus special. They were delicious. Staying at Europa Park is a fantastic experience and well recommended. The staff are friendly, accommodating and the attention to detail in the rooms is second to none. Next time, I'll be staying in Hotel Isabel but for first timers, Colosseo is the one I'd recommend. Scene 2 - 40 Years of Europa Park ​Something that separates Europa out from the competition is its sense of pride in its achievements. It's easy for a park owned by a coaster manufacturer to perhaps do this, investments after all are cheaper and as a showroom for the Mack products, it can afford to be perhaps more extravagant then others. I find this a cop out excuse though. The reason Europa Park is the best park in Europe (perhaps the world) is because it never rests on its laurels, it never slows down and it never stops improving. Back in 2013, massive works had been done to the rapids including a new lift hill building, animatronics and theming and a new tunnel to accommodate the rapids going over the pathway into Iceland. This time around two other rides were in the process of change. Columbus Dinghy, a simple boat carousel like Chessington's Seastorm had seen massive change with new queue line theming, a show during the ride and a simple addition of a steering wheel which allows the rider to control when the boat spins. A small change but massively changes the fun levels of the ride. And completely unnecessary as there was nothing wrong with the ride set up previously. The other two ride's to see a change is the rides Splash Battle, Whale Adventure. Now with the tag line 'Northern Lights'. It wasn't open unfortunately, still in construction but a massive change and I'll be interested if the water sprayers remain on the boats. Eurotower has been spruced up with new theming and a steampunk look. Other new additions include a new 40th anniversary parade, a new 4D show which was really fun, a travel escalator in the car park (WOO) and a new show called Fabulous Europe. This was a dud, essentially trying to imitate Disney's Soarin' but lacking any kind of cohesive flow or enjoyment. Scene 3 - Rides and Stuff Rides are Europas bread and butter. With so many, it's impossible to get them all done in a day. That being said, there has been some operational changes and it makes me slightly concerned. Firstly, Europa was always a park that wanted you in and out a seat as quickly as possible. That hasn't changed. What does seem different is that the rides weren't at full (or higher capacity). Now maybe it wasn't necessary as the park wasn't packed on our visit, but I was surprised to be hanging around for a few seconds in stations on Euro-Mir and Eurosat along with trains being deliberately stacked. Silver Star's third train never made an appearance, neither did the second Pegasus train. They also seemed pretty intent on checking bars which in previous years only happened on Wodan and Blue Fire. Now the only ride not really checked is Alpen Express, that was the only ride that ran with urgency. Arthur as a piece of ride hardware is sublime. It's an amazing piece of kit that train. The ride itself could be better. There's some parts of the ride show that don't live up to expectations such as the giant rat in which its pulley system is more noticeable then the rat itself or the fact the first screen on the ride is so in view of the queue that its effect is pretty much zero. I would love for a park like Phantasialand to get their hands on the hardware as they could do it absolute justice. Europa kind of dropped the ball on the ride experience on this one, even though I enjoyed the ride for what it was. And finally, I just wanted to show some pictures of how beautiful Europa is. Trip reports sometimes get stuck in a list of ride descriptions and misses what makes a park good or bad. This time around, I really wanted to appreciate what makes Europa special. Euro-Mir Switzerland Atlantica Supersplash and Portugal Austria Greece And with that another year of Europa Park had passed. Pleas visit this wonderful park. It deserves every accolade and every part of your attention. Scene 4 - Disneyland time I'll keep this brief. Visiting at the moment doesn't deliver the Disney experience that people probably deserve, at least if you're going primarily for the rides. With Space Mountain closed for a refurb, a lot of pressure is being put on Thunder Mountain and that seems to have terrible reliability. First day, it was closed, second day it opened at 12, third day it was on and off. With both main coasters down, rides like Indianna Jones and Phantom Manor have 45 minute queues. It's the first time I've ever used an Indy fasts or even seen it running. Beyond refurbs of Thunder and Space, another massive ride is required to spread those queues. A potential Star Tours 2 refurb in Discoveryland will only go so far. All the ride investment is in Studio Parc and even there was rammed. I'm never going to queue 55 minutes for RC Racer or 20 minutes for Slinky Dog. That's an insult. The park though is on the up and is a very different place from my first visit in 2013. Life seems to be returning such as a new spring time show, more meet and greets occurring regularly and the stages in Frontierland/Discoverylandcoming back into action. With Cafe Hyperion closed in Discoveryland, all the other food places on park were open. I couldn't believe my eyes to see Hakuna Matata open and actually serving food. Hopefully this isn't temporary and will continue to serve in future. So all in all a successful week. If you read this far, I thank you for your time. Till next time, Mark9 out.
  8. Hi guys so I said I would start this eventually and now I am !! Yes! Finally I am doing this. I have to say before I start I did not go on Eurosat (it had an 80 minute queue most of the day, don't ask me why I have no clue, maybe it broke??) Pegasus (looked ok but wasnt prepared to wait 30 minutes) and Alpen express (was closed all day) for the reasons I have specified haha! Right lets start! Entered the park to a nice greeting by Silver Star! I was then kindly greeted by that mouse mascot thing, by this point I couldn't see because the sun got Florida strong and I'm not kidding!! My good ol' I don't want to be in this photo pose Plus the sun started to burn at this point! From this point I could see why people preferred it to Thorpe,its so clean and pretty The Jazz Band unfortunately weren't playing when I walked past This is about as close as I got to this Ball of fun, STUPID QUEUES First Coaster! MATTERHORN BLITZ: This was a great little ride to start with and I loved the slow but odd lift thing, the ride its self was good and I loved the drop but then I have never been the biggest fan of wild mouses although this is the best of bunch I have been on. EC! Rating: 6/10 I'm so goos with the high speed shots... NOT Next Up SCHWEIZER BOBBAHN (I think thats it!) This I really enjoyed I thought it looked a bit slow and boring from the videos on the Youtube but I enjoyed my self very much and was very twisty which is a bonus, the only drawback was how much it vibrated... It was like sitting on a washing machine on full pelt haha but apart from that it was great EC! RATING: 7/10 Look at my happy face My gramps enjoyed it alot too This is where I will leave you lot for now ! Part 2 will be tomorrow! Some of the images won't be mine because I whored Wodan a bit too much to realise I only took 2 photos of poseidon Oh well till tomorrow toodle pip !
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