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  1. 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.
  2. Day 3 – Bon Bon Land A park that is relatively infamous and well known from a certain American coaster site, Bon Bon Land is essentially famous for being silly. With farting dogs, defecating seagulls and various other creatures doing random stuff; it’s a park I’ve been interested to visit to see what the hype is all about. So we hopped into the Nissan of Narcissism and directed by Cassandra the Sat-Nav and were taken off the motorway into the middle of nowhere, a theme certainly to be followed through most Danish parks. Needless to say, it was a rather underwhelming place. They’ve got a gimmick that’s for sure, but that’s it, there’s barely any substance behind it overall. And once you get over the fart and pee jokes around the park, there’s nothing really special about it. It’s no surprise the Americans seem to love this place, but for me, whilst the various models dotted around the park are nice with a home-made feel to it, there’s not much else going on for it. Either way our first port of call was Wild Hog, the first Eurofighter, but it was shut. As was the Gerstlauer Spinner Han-Katten (which didn’t open all day). We waited and noticed that the Zierer Viktor Vandorm had opened, so ran to that and it’s millions of stairs to the station. A weird coaster by anyone’s standards. A short lift hill lead into a decent drop into a long channel built into the lake, and then the designer clearly gave up with his life and proceeded to play RCT for so long he reached his dead-line and hence had to make up some random crap. It reminded me of the Dragon at Legoland Windsor’s outdoor section, but slow, burdenous and not very entertaining. We got two goes around and things didn’t improve much, especially when the bars refused to open on our return to the station, causing a self-evacuation of 90% of the train (the two remaining kids were too fat to escape). Not a great start to the day. 3/10 NOT the actual entrance… After this we headed towards Sveng Swingarm a gigantic Frisbee ride off, someone… Actually an excellent ride to be honest, the height making it seem much more intense yet enjoyable (in comparison to the full intensity of Flamingoland’s Flip Flop), and the constant change of direction was a decent addition. Solid attraction and the first thing we all really liked at the park. Maybe things were going to look up as we found a Fabbri Drop Tower Cobra Tarnet, which wasn’t as good as Detonator unfortunately. In search of new attractions and the sun making an appearance we decided the Baever Rafting would be next. A decent themed rapids ride which had a weird hiking pathway queue. Didn’t get too wet but that wasn’t too much of an issue as the water looked dire as hell. Dillen (you son of a bitch!) was next, a Huss flat ride of some description themed to crocodiles and short queuelines and ended up being a decent enough ride to fill up some extra time. More meandering around empty pathways lead us to the final coaster of the park, and the most well-known, Dog Fart Coaster. Apparently the farting dog is a famous character in the Bon Bon world of sweets, so of course he was to have his own coaster. And with enthusiasts from that site again proclaiming it’s brilliance, surely we’ll hit a good coaster here? Well, no… It’s a mini Zierer with a helix that goes into a massive kennel… I thought it was going to be something of the length of Vandorm, but no, one drop, one helix, one turn, station. And we think Smiler is going to be overhyped? Dreadful ride, and the whole ‘fart’ gimmick wasn’t even working. 2/10 After that disappointment we headed to the Drunk Turtle Waveswinger, which was its usual boring dependable self. Then we did my first ever set of porn ponies, Hestepaererne which was long and well themed. This was followed by a boat tour around the world of dodgy stereotypes and rubbish animatronics on Soloven, which was pretty crap but it involved a sit down for some time at least. We headed towards the Crow Tower which are the same attraction as the infamous Tree Houses at Tripsdrill, of which Nicky and Holly had never seen before. As such, the secret was kept secret and the surprise that the ride gives was fully appreciated by them both. So much so we did it twice without moving off it. We broke for lunch into the Western area specifically. Why? Because Pulled Pork sandwiches! <3 Whilst we waited for them to be cooked we played Coaster Top Trumps, where it appears Jimmy Neutron is more thrilling than Diamondback… At least Merlin’s make some semblance of sense and balance. Anyways, Pulled Pork is made of joy, on we go. On our way out we popped into the Office Block/Western themed Hestorado, which was an Alterface thing of shooting at a screen for 10 minutes. It was made of WHY. Walking back into the main section of the park we did Viktor again, which was still crap, but doing the amusingly named Disko, AlbaTossen, which was quite intense. The pedal Monorail Mageklatterne was next, which involved plenty of collisions and other pointlessness. We were all starting to get a bit bored of the park and since Han-Katten didn’t look like opening, we headed back to the entrance. Bored, Mark and Holly decide to act out Star Wars On our way out, we suggested to venture into the massive Fantasy World building, certainly worth it. Inside is the most random array of animatronics and other things ever. There’s even a ball pit to which we spent some time in because it was the most fun thing we had seen at the park all day. After spending some time in there, we were done and headed home. It annoys me that I have to return to this place for the missing coaster, because I don’t really want to. An incredibly over-rated park that we didn’t really enjoy because of the sheer lack of anything really. Lots of empty space and we just didn’t connect with it, especially after a wonderful day at Tivoli before.
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