How an amusement park became one of the biggest investment ruins of the last few years was impressively demonstrated at the Nürburgring with the Ring°Werk, but how an investment ruin became an amusement park resort can be seen in the development of Wunderland Kalkar. When the nuclear power plant Kalkar was finally shut down in 1991 due to political and safety concerns, a buyer was sought for the site, which was then sold for a bargain. The former administration buildings were turned into a larger hotel complex. Between the individual buildings, or on and in the buildings, the Wunderland Kalkar amusement park was built.
Without any major exception, the park’s offer consists of rides by the Italian manufacturer Zamperla, but the larger and more interesting rides by the manufacturer are completely missing, which is hardly significant in relation to the target group.
The most interesting rides are the Disk’O, located on the roof of a building, which scores with its intensive ride program and the Vertical Swing, located in the cooling tower, where the additional gondola carrier doesn’t fall off, as in the Polish amusement park Śląskie Wesołe Miasteczko, and thus instead of an interesting freefall only offers a boring panoramic ride. The American fans of Theme Park Review envy us for this ride.
However, also normal roller coaster fans will get their money’s worth, because the park’s roller coaster named Achterbahn is a quite interesting example of a Powered Coaster, if only it weren’t for the dispatch, which destroys all fun. Unfortunately, there is hardly any interaction with the neighbouring Wildwasserbahn log flume, which offers much too steep slopes and is averagely wet.
In general, the handling in the park is a bad joke and starts already at the entrance, where one can wait a little longer despite the printed tickets, as there were many ticket buyers through Groupon and Co. who wanted to finally redeem their vouchers before the end of the season. In the park itself, the crowd was divided relatively homogeneously across the park, but most of the visitors spent their day queuing for free fries at the central distribution points below the cooling tower. Here a decentralization, as is often the case, would be a solution, also an abolition of the all-you-can-eat offer for fries and ice cream would be an idea, but that would probably result in a lower entrance fee. For the portions at least, standing in line in long queues is hardly worth it, but hey it’s free after all.
The Wunderland Kalkar is one of the most interesting amusement parks in the world due to its location and its prehistory, which also attracted international attention with the original placement of its rides. Due to the abundance of the park, however, I spent much more time than planned in the park, so that one should not choose the sunniest weekend for weeks for a visit when various vouchers come up. Otherwise, the Wunderland Kalkar could surely be described as a quite solid amusement park, but due to the expensive entrance fee, despite the food policy of the park, the price-performance ratio is rather mediocre.
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