I haven’t been to Toverland for a long time. A lot has changed in the time since my last visit. There is now a new themed area with roller coaster and boat ride, and a brand new entrance area called Port Laguna. This connects the themed areas to each other and serves as a sympathetic hub to return to in the afternoon for the cliff diving show. It’s a very quiet area, which is very much in keeping with all the hustle and bustle in the rest of Toverland.
This also eases the situation in the first hall – the former entrance area – which a full-grown amusement park fan doesn’t really get to see any more, unless he or she really wants to ride the Toos Express (formerly Boomerang) or the dinghy slide. So this is an opportunity for Toverland to transform the hall even more into a toddler’s paradise in the future.
Meanwhile, the second hall also saw some thematic changes. The log flume became Expedition Zork (although nothing has really changed here) and the Woudracer Bobkart ride was redesigned as the new Maximus-Blitz-Bahn and made weatherproof by adding a roof over the outdoor track. In addition, the ride has been given a new queue, which is now themed after an Austrian inventor. Fittingly, there is now also a beer garden, which, however, mainly serves local beers.
In the outdoor area, the new roller coaster Fēnix is hard to miss. Together with the quiet (yet impressive due to its indoor part) water ride Merlin’s Quest, it forms the Celtic-like themed area Avalon.
Once you have left the queue, which is well worth seeing, behind you and decided which side to take, the ride on the Fēnix wing coaster can start straight away. In a right-hand bend, the Firebird first leads us through a dark hall, which also houses the roller coaster’s maintenance track. Above this, an ice dragon gives us a nasty look and fogs us up a bit. Shortly afterwards we climb the ride’s lift.
Having reached a height of 40m, we can enjoy the view for a while, because unlike other wing coasters, we don’t immediately turn around our own axis, but first ride through a wide right turn. However, it happens here too, as it does on most wing coasters, and we tackle the dive drop. Here we first turn upside down before we plunge to the ground. We now pass the first valley with full force and immediately fly over an airtime hill. After a second valley with a lot of pressure we turn direction in a quite high Immelmann, whereupon we make a right turn and enter a curve close to the ground. We then remain there for a few seconds, with a fair amount of blood pumping into our legs. But far before we reach the critical values, we already climb a zero-G roll and are turned very smoothly around our own axis. Back on the ground, we quickly pass under a footpath before gaining some height in a left turn. We immediately lose this height in a right turn before we reach the starting height for the braking section in a gentle bend. Shortly afterwards, we enter the large station hall again.
Fēnix is an extremely entertaining wing coaster that knows how to surprise with its close-to-the-ground manoeuvres. It is a little different from other roller coasters of its kind, but that is by no means a mistake. Instead of long, drawn-out inversions, you mainly go through curves close to the ground, which leads to a lot of pressure in your feet. However, you are still far away from grey out and other discomforts, which is one of the main criticisms of the ride.
Another point of criticism – and here I agree with each of the critics – are the incredibly steep stairs on the ride, which is especially evident in the exit area of the ride. For sure they were designed according to the current standard, but it turns out that Dutch stairs are basically ladders deep down. Apart from that, Fēnix is of course a great addition to Toverland.
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