“Home to some of Europe’s most incredible roller coasters”
If you’re reading this, there’s a fair chance that you love amusement parks. In that case, Phantasialand doesn’t need a big introduction. Over the past decades, this German theme park has become legendary thanks to its unique rides and themed lands. Phantasialand is in a cramped location and expansion possibilities are very limited. However, the park has managed to transform this weakness into a major strength. Rides are built in an extremely compact way, using different levels and tight layouts. Despite its limited surface, Phantasialand is home to several world-class attractions. A visit to this park should be on your bucket list, especially if you’re into thrilling roller coasters.
Space is limited, but Phantasialand offers more coaster tracks than almost every other European theme park. That’s mainly due to the fact that Phantasialand loves to build super-long roller coasters. This park is home to a 1,200 metres’ long VR indoor coaster and a Vekoma Mine Train with 3 lift hills. Both perform rather weak when it comes to theming, though. Crazy Bats seems a misfit in the park’s Fantasy area and Colorado Adventure may be intense, but its decoration looks chaotic.
Another giant is Phantasialand’s Blitz Coaster with a total length of 1,320 metres. Yes, I’m talking about an iconic machine named Taron. Taron opened in 2016 and it’s been considered as one of the world’s greatest coasters ever since. It’s easy to see how that happened: Taron boasts a surprising layout, it’s got comfortable trains, the medieval theming is superb and the second launch is nothing less than amazing. Unfortunately, the ride’s awesomeness comes with a price. Everybody loves it, so queues can get pretty long. Ride Taron in the early afternoon for the shortest queues. Still, I’d also recommend conquering the longer evening queues. Taron gets considerably more intense over the course of the day, so those evening rides are the best.
Another beauty in Phantasialand’s coaster assortment is Black Mamba. This ride opened in 2006 and it’s got everything you’d expect from a B&M inverted coaster. Black Mamba is smooth and it remains forceful until the final brake run. The biggest strength of Black Mamba, however, is its landscaping. In order to reduce noises, the layout was placed half underground. This results in constant near misses and it greatly improves the sense of speed. Black Mamba’s exotic African theme rounds it all off in a stunning way.
In 2002, Phantasialand amazed the world with Wuze Town. And even after 20 years, this indoor area remains one of the most recognisable sights at Phantasialand. It’s a beautiful area with nice details, but an upgrade wouldn’t hurt. Wuze Town is home to Winja’s Fear and Winja’s Force, two beloved spinning roller coasters built by Maurer. The Winjas contain unique special effects and their combined capacity is more than acceptable. By the way: New Year’s Eve is the best time to ride these two beauties. On 31 December, Wuze Town is transformed into one huge dance floor and cocktails are being served throughout the area. Definitely worth a try.
The latest addition to Phantasialand is Rookburgh. This new zone is directly connected to the Berlin-themed Main Street and it features a steampunk theme. Phantasialand has taken its time to finish the project (to say the least), but Rookburgh finally opened its gates in September of the year 2020. The area is home to a brand-new hotel and several F&B outlets, but the true star of Rookburgh is undoubtedly F.L.Y. This next-generation Vekoma Flying Coaster includes two launches, two inversions and approximately 1,200 metres of track. Impressive, isn’t it?
Watching F.L.Y. may be considered as a privilege. Phantasialand created a magnificent new land and the coaster itself is nothing less than sexy. The experience, however, depends entirely on the row you’re assigned to. My first ride was in the back seat and honestly… this ride made me slightly nauseous and the G-forces felt very weird. Fortunately, my rides in the first half of the train were a lot better. The forces feel more natural and the coaster even includes some airtime if you’re seated in one of the first four rows. It’s bizarre, but this really makes a huge difference. I didn’t like that back seat ride on F.L.Y., but the front seats deliver one of the most perfect coaster experiences in Europe. The seats are comfortable, the ride starts with a surprising dark ride section and F.L.Y.’s smoothness is remarkable. Still, F.L.Y. lacks a highlight in terms of coaster elements. It just keeps going on and on, while intensity remains similar the whole time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I prefer a Taron-like experience, which includes a ‘soft’ beginning and a thrilling second part.
During hot summer days, be sure to pay a visit to Phantasialand’s two water rides. River Quest is an extremely popular rapid river that was integrated in a medieval castle. It’s actually one of the most thrilling rapid rivers on Earth. It features three drops and there’s a large chance of getting soaked. The park’s other water attraction isn’t any less legendary. Chiapas may be considered as one of Europe’s greatest log flumes. It has a huge final drop and theming is superb, but Chiapas especially deserves praise for its music. IMAscore created a truly magical soundtrack for this ride and you’ll especially remember the song that’s played in the Día de los Muertos scene. Don’t miss this great attraction.
Phantasialand has said goodbye to quite a few dark rides during the past decades. The legendary Gondelbahn and Silbermine were removed to make way for new experiences. Besides, Hollywood Tour remained closed in 2020 as well. Therefore, the park is currently home to 3 dark rides. Two of them can be found in the Chinese area (a mad house and an Asian ghost train, both of them are rather underwhelming). The most popular dark ride can be found in Berlin and it’s called Maus au Chocolat. This was Phantasialand’s answer to the wildly popular Toy Story Mania at Disney theme parks. The good news: Phantasialand exceeded Toy Story Mania’s theming level with greatest ease and the attraction performs a lot better in terms of story telling. The bad news: Maus au Chocolat’s interactive game is considerably less fun than the Disney version. You’re literally playing the same game seven times, which becomes rather boring near the end.
Almost every attraction at Phantasialand is unique. This is also true for the thrill rides. Talocan is the park’s top spin and it features an incredible setting. Talocan is integrated in an impressive temple and the ride features many fire and water effects. The result is a visual masterpiece. Phantasialand’s second big thrill ride is Mystery Castle, an indoor drop tower. The ride experience isn’t overly intense, but the theming and atmosphere are very elaborate. From time to time, you’ll even encounter scare actors in the queue.
WORTH A VISIT?
My opinion on this park has changed dramatically in recent years. I used to consider Phantasialand as a messy park. The contrast between old and modern rides was immense and I just couldn’t appreciate the park’s chaotic layout. Phantasialand has completely reinvented itself during the past 15 years, though. The park has changed beyond recognition and the quality of the attractions has risen rapidly. Many recent additions even belong to the world league within their genre. I’m thinking of Black Mamba, Talocan, F.L.Y., the sublime Chiapas and the beast called Taron. I’m sure Phantasialand is already thinking of its next big novelty, so the future looks bright. Of course, Phantasialand still has its flaws. Certain parts of the park look dated, the Mystery entrance is horrible and some staff members could use some hospitality training. Perhaps this could be fixed in the near future? We’ll see.
DEEP IN AFRICA
Is Rookburgh one of the best themed lands in Europe? Does F.L.Y. deserve its legendary status? Or do you prefer a ride on Taron, just like I did? Share your opinion in the comments section below.