Due to the limited space available, rejuvenating cures are not uncommon in Phantasialand. A complete redesign of a theme area, which was only relevant for visitors with a large nostalgia for the rather boring dark ride Silver Mine, is part of the package. Nevertheless, it seems that the park actually hang on old icons, even if they were completely destroyed by a fire a long time ago. The multi-million euro project Klugheim with the two roller coasters Taron and Raik in an impressive scenery reminds of the former area around the legendary roller coaster Gebirgsbahn and its little sister, the Grand Canyon Bahn.
Once you enter one of the numerous entrances to the area and let yourself be overwhelmed by the breathtaking scenery, it is more or less clear that the park did everything right. In Klugheim, you can rave about the basalt rock formations or the numerous wooden buildings where the black tracks of both roller coasters pass by and cross each other. My highlight remains the fantastic food that you can get in Rutmors Taverne, the very nicely designed restaurant of the theme area. For a theme park this is outstanding, even the price is right. As mentioned before, you simply have to fall in love with this area. Actually, there is no need for a roller coaster, but the view to two of them makes the enthusiast’s heart beat loudly.
The smaller ride of the two roller coasters is called Raik and is made in the Netherlands by the manufacturer Vekoma. It is a Family Boomerang roller coaster and features an obligatory forward and backward ride; unfortunately, it also has always a rather long queue, which is why a visit is only really worthwhile during the later opening hours, when everyone else has already made his rounds on the roller coaster.
There is hardly anything to complain about the ride and after you have left the queue behind you, the friction wheel lift takes you up the hill. Once you have reached the starting height of 25m, the train is briefly held in place while the friction wheels are mechanically pushed apart. After the release of the train it races down the hill and immediately through the station. After a short hill, which introduces a downward helix, the lowest point of the ride is reached. At 62 km/h the train shoots through the canal, leaving it in a left turn. After a short reversal you approach the lift hill, after which you gain potential energy on the parallel track section – at least in theory – via a second pair of friction wheels. The backward part is now driven through a little slower, which is why the forces are not quite as pronounced as on the outward journey.
Raik is an exceptionally nice family coaster, which despite its two (world) records as the highest and fastest ride of its kind, does not quite match the ride characteristics of the prototype Ben 10 – Ultimate Mission of the English amusement park Drayton Manor Theme Park. Due to its significantly more compact layout and the resulting dynamic ride, it simply convinces a bit more. However, it’s hard to imagine a better roller coaster to get the next generation used to roller coaster riding than Raik.
As soon as your kids are old and big enough, nothing stands in their way of riding the second roller coaster in this area. As soon as you have left the beautiful queue and the extremely desolate open-air waiting area behind you and have decided to ride in the back part of the train or in the first row (which other than indicated has mostly a shorter waiting time), your ride on Taron can start immediately.
You leave the station in a right-hand bend, whereupon the train enters the waiting position for the upcoming launch. As soon as the track section is cleared, the train accelerates with a lot of pressure and races up a steep right-hand curve. This quickly turns out to be a slightly inclined U-turn, which sends the train at a high altitude in the direction of an exceptionally nice camelback, which pushes you out of your seat with ejector airtime. With a huge grin on your face, the train leads you through a tight left turn, just before the next twist brings a very surprising highlight to the visitors. The young buck tries to kick you sideways out of the train. Quelle surprise exceptionelle! From here the train shoots through a wide right-hand bend and then passes two gentle turns. After the second turn the roller coaster Raik is passed by in a small Bavarian curve. A left-hand bend follows, which leads into a short zigzag section. Another left turn takes the cars down into a pit and ends the first part of the ride.
In contrast to the Lost Gravity roller coaster at Walibi Holland, which has a similar division of the ride, the second act of the ride begins with an outstanding highlight, similar to the song “Totale Finsternis” from the musical Tanz der Vampire or “Maskerade” out of Phantom of the Opera. In general, Taron can easily be compared to a good play, only that here we forget about the intermission.
The train is now brought up to its maximum speed of 117 km/h with a tremendous force by a second launch. After that, the train shoots up a very steep left turn. Arrived at the highest point of the layout there is hardly any time to catch your breath, as a curvy shot follows in no time. Several short changes of direction, with constant inclination, lead to a fast descent, before you throw yourself into the abyss at a proper cross slope. On the following hill, the buck tries to throw you off again laterally, but this attempt again fails. All good things come in threes, which is why the following turnaround is just as wild. After that, you cross a relatively moderate right turn, above the heads of the motivated riders within the queue. A gentle twist leads to the final left turn of the ride. On the only straight section, aside from the station, launch and brake tracks, you cross two hills where the speed is reduced quite a bit. The only weak point of the layout is skillfully compensated with the following right turn, whereupon the brakes of the roller coaster Taron are reached.
Taron is a genuinely impressive roller coaster and undoubtedly the best roller coaster in Germany. At the moment it has no competition in Germany, as the wood giant from the Lüneburg Heath is quite weak at the moment and its future is uncertain; otherwise Taron would only be the best steel roller coaster in the country; but who wants to differentiate in small nuances? The company Intamin has once again succeeded in a great coup, which was outstandingly staged by Phantasialand, besides the questionable record marketing. The expectations for upcoming projects have once again been raised by one bar; let’s see how the other parks (apart from the already well-known Star Trek Coaster of Movie Park Germany) will react.
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