At Lake Neusiedl, the largest lake in Austria – about 40 km from the capital Vienna –, you will find the Familypark, the largest amusement park in Austria. In the past few years the Familypark surprised everybody over and over again by its well-chosen novelties. With the new for 2015 ride Leonardos Flugmaschine a visit became obligatory.
In the theme area “Erlebnisburg”, the entrance area of the Familypark, one already notices the high-quality design of the park. A large number of rides for the smaller park guests are located here, such as the children’s train Hans and the Bean Tendril, the monorail Dragon Train or the carousel Duck Parade, as well as the Heege Sunkid portfolio of the park. This includes a comet swing and a tower as well as a brand new Butterfly featuring an eagle design, but unfortunately the equipment here has to be paid for with a token and some Austrian children think that they have to ride continuously despite the queue in front of them.
Following the paths to the right, you reach the most beautiful area of the park, which is dedicated entirely to a farm theme. Those who already appreciate the Mullewapp area in Hannover Erlebnis-Zoo will have their true pleasure here, as such a love of detail can rarely be found. Every ride seems to be perfectly integrated into the overall concept of the area, such as the abc Rides Tilt Tower Verrückte Vogelscheuche, which ran a very entertaining program, the Zierer Wave Swinger Apfelflug, which can also be found in this design in the French amusement park Nigloland, or the large tractor ride. In addition, there are some rides and play areas for the smaller park guests, as well as some animal enclosures.
In addition, the Rattenmühle is one of the park’s roller coasters to be found in this theme area. Opened in 2013, the Gerstlauer roller coaster shines above all through its successful adaptation to the terrain and the area itself, but also due to its photogenicity. The queue of the ride is neatly designed and even features a shortcut between the exit of the ride and its station, which nevertheless requires too much time for adults due to its narrow climbs.
After we boarded the car, the journey starts immediately. After a small descent we take a left turn towards the lift hill. As usual, we pass this hill in a fast way before we take a steep turn towards the ground. After a turnaround, we go ascent a hill in a left turn. At its highest point we pass a short distance without any inclination of the track, similar to a top hat element, before we rush towards the valley. In an oversized Bavarian curve, the track leads us up to the top where, after passing the first block brake, we take the only hairpin turn of the track. Going down a straight slope, we take another turn into a slightly steeper curve, which is followed by two smaller bends. After another turn, the second block brake is waitin’ for us. On the following meters two sweeping hills and a helix are on the way until the final brake is reached.
The Rattenmühle is a very satisfying roller coaster, even though it is very atypical compared to the other coasters of this type, as Gerstlauer Bobsled Coasters are usually characterised by their variety of helices, hairpin curves and camelbacks. At least this doesn’t detract from the fun of the ride and especially the audience of the Familypark likes the layout.
Through the worth seeing fairytale forest we head towards the adventure island, the biggest theme area of the park, which seems to be a little mixed up. The area itself is quite coherent, but the Zierer Flying Fish Fliegende Fische – which unfortunately comes without a kitschy children’s song – created an area with a separate design. This wouldn’t be particularly awful, if this year’s novelty wouldn’t take up the theme of the rest of the section with it. Since there is still a lot of space available and the maritime design was also implemented beautifully, an independent area with a few smaller rides would be desirable.
Passing the swamp castle, where one would have spent some hours as a child, and the equally wet water playground, our way leads to the Mediterranean area, where on one hand the dinghy slide Tempelrutsche gets on one’s nerves because of its constant announcement, and on the other hand some other attractions are extremely satisfying.
A very nerve-racking ride is the small abc Rides log flume Krokobahn, which does not seem to offer much except for a small double shot ride seen from the outside. As the channel was more than sufficiently filled with water, the boat tipped from one side to the other, despite desperate attempts to remain somehow in a straight position. Although a capsizing was not possible, the ride to the lift hill was more than adventurous, moreover we sat quite cramped and very uncomfortable in the boat. After climbing the aqueduct we went down the 4m high shot after a short left turn. The promise of the employee, according to which we will be properly soaked, is more than fulfilled.
Within sight of the log flume there’ s the Götterblitz, a youngster coaster from Mack, similar to the roller coaster Pegasus at Europa Park. The ride begins, this time without music, with the ascent of the lift hill. After a small gradient we quickly take a turn before descending the big drop. With full speed we enter a horseshoe, which is rapidly passed through. In a right bend we go uphill again, whereupon a leftside helix with an adjacent slope is added. This is followed by an alternating uphill and downwards helix, which are carried out close to the ground. Another right turn leads up to the brake section before heading towards the station.
The Götterblitz, like its identical counterpart Correcaminos Bip, Bip from the Spanish Parque Warner, offers a wonderful ride that made you want to stay seated. The biggest roller coaster of the park fits perfectly into the general picture and perfectly matches the target group.
Not quite as perfect, as it is no longer rideable for people who are halfway grown up, is the small soapbox roller coaster Herkules, the second novelty this year, which has been added to the Familypark portfolio. Like the Heege products, the Kiddy Racer has to be paid for with a token.
The main reason for our visit this year is definitely the Gerstlauer SkyFly Leonardos Flugmaschine. Although the first laps surprisingly were without any rollovers, we were fascinated by the SkyFly after the third ride at the latest. As veterans of the interactive Gerstlauer rollover carousels we spent countless laps on the ride thanks to an average of 40 – 100 rollovers per ride – according to the RideOps counting even a little bit more – at the burden of both our shoulders. Unfortunately we were the only visitors who rolled over on this day, although some guests at least tried, but at the end they didn’t find out about how to change the position of the wings properly.
The Familypark is, despite its trivial name, a really great amusement park. The overall design of the park is outstanding and the portfolio of rides has been very well aligned. It would be nice to see another water attraction coming into the park in the next few years, as the small crocodile ride alone does not do justice to the size of the park. A bigger white-water ride would be just as praiseworthy as a splash battle or even a roller coaster. Nevertheless, the Familypark is the best amusement park in the country.
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