General Information Phantasialand

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Theme Park:Phantasialand (since 1967)
Address:Berggeiststraße 31 - 41
50321 Brühl
http://www.phantasialand.de/de
Operated by:Fam. Löffelhardt

Taron • Intamin Blitz Coaster • PhantasialandPhantasialand in Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the most important amusement parks in Germany. Founded in 1967, the amusement park is one of the most influential parks in the world, setting new standards despite its limited space. On an area of only 28 ha, the amusement park offers a large selection of family-friendly rides and roller coasters in a very immersive environment, where there is a good mixture of realistic theme areas as well as fantasy ones.

Fun Fact #1: The Phantasialand-Jet – the former monorail of the amusement park – was originally intended as a public transport connection between the Brühl railway station and Phantasialand. Instead of using the Schwarzkopf Railway, fans can still take the shuttle bus to the park.

Black Mamba • B&M Inverted Coaster • PhantasialandFun Fact #2: After a fire the amusement park lost two of its roller coasters. The River Quest rafting ride was built in record time and recently lost its park house appearance due to a thematic adaptation to the Klugheim theme area.

Fun Fact #3: At its opening, the Klugheim theme area set a total of 6 world records for its two roller coasters Taron and Raik.

Flying through Rookburgh

Phantasialand has once again built something new and of all things it was completed during the Covid 19 pandemic. Whereas elsewhere the opening of the new attraction, the new themed area and the new hotel would have been postponed until next year, the park in Brühl has once again taken the initiative to completely turn the theme park world upside down.

After the closure of the huge IMAX Simulator Race for Atlantis at the end of the winter season 2015/16, rumours about the future use of the area started. At the same time, the new themed area Klugheim was in its final preparations. Shortly thereafter, Taron became Europe’s most signature ride and Klugheim one of the most immersive areas in a European theme park.

A teaser of the new themed area appeared to the start of the 2017 season and in June of the same year, the roller coaster F.L.Y. was announced to the public. The first track was installed soon after. Yet, due to the location at the edge of the park and between the areas Berlin and Fantasy, there was not much to look at. Indeed, no visitor would know what Rookburgh and its flying machine would look like until the opening of the area.

With time, the anticipation grew immensely and all the sudden – and in a time when nobody would have thought about it – Rookburgh opened its gates for a preopening. Due to Covid-19, the number of visitors to the area was restricted and only the front entrance to the area was opened, which led to a long queue right from the start expanding over a large part of the Kaiserplatz and into the Fantasy area.

I joined the queue around noon and enjoyed the time in the open-air queue on the Kaiserplatz for quite a while. Once Rookburgh was in sight – all the sudden – a queue jumper thought it was a good idea to be a group member of mine. Apparently, he was an employee of the park on a day off and was just interested in the area. As I do not accept queue jumping, I informed the staff about his behaviour and he was denied entrance to the area for the day of visit. He called me – rather thankful, I guess – an asshole.

From the moment, he forced himself into my life, I was angry. But all the anger was forgotten once I stepped into the immersive world of Rookburgh. This steam punk paradise is just incredible. The way the roller coaster F.L.Y. is passing through the area and the nearby Hotel Charles Lindbergh is awesome. There is so much going on, yet everything is reduced to the new sensation of flying and clear in its visuals.

Apart of the main attraction, Rookburgh offers some delicious treats. In Emilie‘s Chocoladen & Candy‑Werkstatt you can buy high quality chocolate and candies, whereas Zum Kohleschipper offers a range of delicious sandwiches and the restaurant Uhrwerk fully concentrates itself on exclusive hamburgers, craft beer and Gin. This all comes for a price and covers a segment, which was not yet been covered by the park. Phantasialand therefore offers a large range of fantastic food options for a very reasonable price.

The signature attraction of Rookburgh is the Vekoma flying coaster F.L.Y. Albeit Vekoma was the pioneer of this kind of coaster, their Flying Dutchman model can only be found in a handful of parks. The complicated loading mechanism and the lowered capacity in regard to the competitor’s product never led to another installation since 2001. In 2009 a first iteration of the train’s mechanic got presented with the short-lived Stingray coaster at the Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou. For F.L.Y. the Flying Dutchman design received a completely new development. Now the trains are featuring the vest design to be found at other modern coasters of the company and the shin clamps are fixed to the train and not to the restraints and can be entered while sliding into them. But the most important novelty is that you are entering the train whilst the track is in a 90° rotated position – a swivel turned the car to a horizontal position.  The station is therefore highly unusual, as it needs to be rather long.

Once the train is boarded, the ride can begin. In a dark ride section, we climb a ramp while still sitting in an upright position. In a curve, we then change into the flying position in probably the most elegant way so far. Shortly thereafter, we are accelerated in the first launch section of the ride and into a wide and upwards leading curve. Along and above facades of Rookburgh, we now twist ourselves around in a corkscrew. After a left-hand bend, we cross the first launch section in an airtime hill. Accompanied with a lot of pressure, we fly through the back section of Rookburgh before gaining a bit of height in a curve to the left. We then make our way through the centre of the area before we descent in a very wide left-hand curve. A tight bend to the right then leads us towards the area front right corner of the area, where we descend to the ground level in a tight helix. Here we hit the second launch track and accelerate once more towards the Hotel Charles Lindbergh.

As the launch track is leading upwards, we soon have a view onto the upper levels of the hotel. A steep curve then takes us down. With a lot of momentum, we now fly over the restaurant Uhrwerk, before we make our way through the centre of the area once more. In a left-hand bend we then surprise the visitors of the Chocoladen & Candy-Werkstatt, while continuing our journey towards the front right section of the area. Here, we descent in a left-hand helix, before we plunge down towards the ground. In an intensive left-hand bend, we now head towards the second inversion of the ride, whereupon we continue in a wide curve close to the ground. A short swivel to the right later, we then hit the brakes. Like the start of the ride, we are then turned back to the horizontal seating position while passing through a short turn. We are now waiting for debarkation in a very comfy position. Shortly after, we reach the exit station.

Rookburgh is without a doubt one of the most immersive areas in any theme park and F.L.Y. is its masterpiece of a roller coaster. It became my favourite flying coaster somewhere in the middle of the ride, as I could not stop laughing. As most of the flying coasters out there, F.L.Y. is a very intense experience, yet a very enjoyable one. The trains are a lot comfier than the standard ones to be found on a B&M coaster of the same type and guarantee a very safe journey through the air. The high capacity, the long ride time, the technology of the ride and its location certainly enhance the overall experience on F.L.Y.: a ride which got with ease the next big signature ride of Europe.

 

What is your opinion about the Flying Coaster F.L.Y. and the themed area Rookburgh? Just write it in the comment field below the report or visit our social media channels:

 

          


Klugheim’s wild roller coasters

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.

 

What’s your opinion about Klugheim and the roller coaster duo Raik and Taron?  Just write them in the comment field below the report or in our social media channels: