Movie Park Germany
“Perfect park for families, but operations could be improved”
Welcome to Movie Park Germany. As its name implies, this is a movie-themed amusement park in western Germany. In the past, this place was known as “Hollywood in Germany” and they used slogans such as “Hooray! I’m in the movies!”. This will obviously be a day of cinematic proportions. But does Movie Park Germany deliver an incredible action movie, will it be pure horror or does this day turn into a real drama? Time to find out.
The northern part of the park is home to Movie Park’s most thrilling coasters. But unfortunately, two of them deliver mediocre experiences. MP-Xpress was recently fitted with a Lucky Luke theme and the paint job looks nice, but it remains a very shaky Vekoma SLC. The nearby Bandit doesn’t blow my mind either. I must admit that Bandit runs considerably smoother than expected. The ride is known for being one of Europe’s roughest roller coasters, but it’s actually not too bad today. We were in the middle of a carriage (always recommended while riding woodies) and the ride is quite okay there. It could use a little more airtime and speed, though.
Star Trek – Operation Enterprise is one of the more recent roller coasters at Movie Park. That’s noticeable in the waiting area, which is considerably better themed than most other queues at Movie Park. There are some references to the movie series and a specially composed soundtrack enhances the atmosphere. The high theming level continues during the pre-show, but I’m not a fan of it. Roller coasters are usually the rides you want to visit multiple times, but pre-shows drastically lower my interest to ride again.
Does the ride make up for the boring pre-show? Yes, it does. However, let’s start with the bad news: in terms of decoration, the actual ride is worthless. In contrast to the queue, the coaster itself doesn’t feature any space theme. Besides, it’s far from the most thrilling ride on Earth. Star Trek is a relatively tame roller coaster that could use some extra speed. But there’s good news as well. The backward spike, for example, is incredible (make sure to choose a seat near the back of the train to experience this element in the best possible way) and the ride is wonderfully smooth. That’s why I don’t care about the absence of theming and the limited sensation: Operation Enterprise puts a big smile on my face anyway. I could ride this coaster all day long, but could I skip the pre-show, please?
Operation Enterprise is fine, but it’s not my favourite Movie Park coaster. That honour is reserved for Van Helsing’s Factory. This indoor coaster replaced a cult attraction called Gremlins Invasion and despite the limited surface, Movie Park did a great job. Van Helsing’s Factory isn’t very tall or fast, but it provides a lot of fun. Gerstlauer built an ultra-smooth roller coaster, the decoration is original and the ride lasts longer than I initially expected. This is how every family roller coaster should be. The ride’s only downside is its low capacity, which is due to the 4-seater trains. In other words… queues for Van Helsing can get long.
The southern half of Movie Park is the home of Nickland. This zone is based on Nickelodeon and it features plenty of attractions for the whole family. This also includes three coasters: Mission to Mars (Vekoma Junior Coaster), Ghost Chasers (Mack Wild Mouse) and a small-sized Jimmy Neutron suspended coaster. Nothing too special, so these rides are only interesting if you’re visiting the park with young children or if you’re aiming at a coaster bingo.
Movie Park’s 8th and final roller coaster is also the newest one: Movie Park Studio Tour. This ride is quite similar to Van Helsing’s Factory: this ride replaced a dark ride and it’s also aimed at families. The park has put a lot of effort in its theming. The queue contains some cool references to old and existing Movie Park rides and the dark ride section boasts pretty solid theming as well. The ride itself could be improved, though. The dark ride section is actually a little too fast (it’s hard to pay attention to the theming) and the outdoor coaster section feels too slow. Don’t get me wrong… I really enjoyed my ride on Studio Tour, but its actual coaster experience is a little underwhelming.
One of the largest rides in the southern half of the park is Excalibur, a rapid river. This attraction looks completely different than most other rapid rivers on Earth. This is due to the medieval decoration and the fact that a major part of the ride can be found indoors. Indoor attractions are generally easier to theme and that definitely applies in this case. Nevertheless, Excalibur looks dated and that’s a little strange for a ride that received a major overhaul in 2018.
Excalibur doesn’t exactly fit within a Nickelodeon-themed land, but it’s without a doubt the best water ride in this area. Dora The Explorer’s log flume looks like it belongs on a funfair and the SpongeBob Splash Battle isn’t a beauty either. In fact, that’s the general feeling at Nickland: it is a fairly simple zone with cheap-looking scenery.
Another water ride can be found near the park entrance. Area 51 – Top Secret is an updated version of Bermuda Triangle, the shoot-the-chutes that has been next to the park’s Main Street for years. Surprisingly, most scenes haven’t changed at all and the story remains vague. It seems as if they invested a lot of money in the ride’s technology, but theming remained mostly unchanged. That’s not necessarily bad (I always considered Bermuda Triangle as an excellent family attraction) but I really expected the renovation to be more profound.
Movie Park has an enormous amount of family-friendly attractions. Nickland is filled with carousels and car rides for the youngest visitors and Santa Monica Pier has a similar purpose. The most striking examples are a Ferris wheel, a Disk’o Coaster and a cool jet ski carousel. The attraction lineup is okay, but Santa Monica Pier is rather unimpressive. Rides are standard, queues aren’t themed at all and the German version of the Pacific Ocean looks sad. The real Santa Monica Pier is a lot more interesting.
Thrill seekers aren’t forgotten. Movie Park offers a top spin and a frisbee, but The High Fall remains the park’s most famous thrill ride. This 61-metre tall free-fall tower is impressive and it can be seen from afar. I conquered it during previous visits, yet I cannot motivate myself to take a ride today. I’d like to mention that The High Fall was nicely integrated in the Old West part of Movie Park, but it’s a shame that they didn’t come up with a more original name.
The Lost Temple (not so immersive tunnel) and Time Riders (simulator) both deliver weak experiences, so I don’t recommend riding them if there’s a queue.
WORTH A VISIT?
All in all, I may conclude that the park isn’t mind-blowing, but it isn’t horrible either. It only seems as if Movie Park prefers quantity over quality. As a result, the park has developed a wide range of attractions, but very few of them are outstanding. You shouldn’t search for the world’s best roller coaster, the most beautiful dark ride or the best themed water attraction here. Families with children are spoiled at Nickland and Santa Monica Pier, but coaster enthusiasts are considerably better off at the nearby Phantasialand.
HOLLYWOOD STREET SET
STREETS OF NEW YORK
THE OLD WEST
SANTA MONICA PIER
Is Movie Park Studio Tour the ride that Movie Park needed? What do you think about the current attraction lineup? And what’s your opinion on pre-shows? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.