On my way to Munich, I have already passed Bavaria’s strongest piece of leisure twice; the first time ignorant of the existence of the amusement park as a child, the second time out of respect for my passenger, who had promised to visit the park to another person for years, and a rather strict daily schedule. Since I accompanied my father on a bicycle tour along the Tauber river to the Main river, starting in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the 30km long detour off the A7 motorway to the Freizeit-Land Geiselwind was finally tackled.
The amusement park, which opened in 1969, has its origins as a bird and pony fairy tale park, a mixture that was already extraordinary back then. Although remains of the fairy tale park have been preserved, the animal enclosures dominate the amusement park, which has also featured an increasing number of rides since the 1980s. Since then, these rides have generated the greatest interest. At the same time the zoo is quite respectable and, similar to Weltvogelpark in Walsrode in Lower Saxony, it can boast a great variety of species in sufficiently large aviaries and enclosures.
In terms of design, however, the Freizeit-Land Geiselwind is dominated by extinct creatures. In addition to a railway in dinosaur look and numerous figures, the dinosaurs are particularly popular in T-Rex World. This is a small exhibition worth seeing with animatronics, which were skillfully staged. Interestingly, the exhibition here convinced me more than the guided exhibition of newer Era T-Rex in the Portuguese amusement park Zoomarine, despite the much smaller size.
In front of the hall is the T-Rex Tower, a Shot ‘n’ Drop by the manufacturer HUSS, a vertical ride that has become extinct at least at German fairs. While Robrahn’s Countdown travels through France under Fleur and Goetzke’s Freefall was sold to the Australian amusement and water park Adventure World near Perth, Roies Shot ‘n’ Drop is the only ride remaining in Germany. Like the towers mentioned above, the T-Rex Tower delivers a solid ride with a very nice shot up and drop down. Despite the lack of negative acceleration compared to the manufacturer S&S Sansei, the ride is always a little more fun due to the beautiful launch, although the end of the ride is reached after just one cycle.
Next to two water basins with Nautic Jets and water roundabouts, which always had the longest waiting time, there is a corner exclusively consisting of rides from HUSS, as could be experienced before, in a similar constellation, in the Lower Saxony amusement parks Heide Park and Serengeti Park. Besides a stylish condor called Ikarus and a Ranger called Shuttle, you can ride an Enterprise, as well as a Break Dance. All rides offer a long ride with more or less balanced programs. I found the acceleration phases of the Ranger interesting and at the same time a bit disturbing, because it always decelerated in the valley, which was never the case with the identical Fliegender Hai ride in Hansa Park.
If you follow the paths further on you will come across the big log flume Wildwasserbahn with its three shots. This is a slightly modified version of the standard model of the French manufacturer Reverchon, which has been supplemented by a further downhill run. Although the ride reminds of a funfair of the past due to its large back wall, the general design of the ride, especially the nicely designed waiting area, is successful.
After the boat has left the station, one rumbles a little through the channel along the maintenance hall of the Freizeit-Land Geiselwind before taking the first lift. At the top you make a small curve behind the back wall on rollers until a friction wheel pushes the boat into the first shot. This is designed as a double gradient and releases you a little wet into the further course. One S-curve later it goes up again and a small right curve follows. Now the smallest descent of the ride follows and as fast as this one came, as fast the end of the run-out distance is already reached and you rapidly make another right turn. After a slightly longer straight, the boat accumulates for the last time in altitude. Arriving at the top, the game repeats itself and a high shot follows without any interruptions. Arrived at the bottom you get properly moistened just before you continue the rest of the way towards the station. By ingenious technology, which I actually noticed for the first time at the ride, the boats are stopped briefly before they are gently put on the conveyor belt of the station without crashing against the other boats.
Similarly interesting from a technical point of view, but on a much larger scale, is the Top of the World observation tower, which can be briefly described as a monster with a capacity of 132 people. The formerly largest transportable ride in the world measures a total height of 95 m, with a ride height of 72 m. The ride was built in the mid-90s by Nauta Bussink for the Bremen showman Finnendahl, who operated the 270-tonne structure until 1998. Compared to the modern free-fall towers of the manufacturer Funtime, the ride is very massive, which is already noticeable by the four outriggers. The tower itself is relatively wide, which certainly did not make transport easy. The technology of the nacelle, however, is very simple and is driven by two steel cables that are rolled up and down and thus lift and lower the counterweight and thereby influence the position of the nacelle. After the gondola has been lifted a little, a power rail ensures the supply of the motors for the rotation of the gondola. The ride itself, however, is relatively slow in both movements and thus offers a good view of the amusement park. Thereby, also the air-conditioned gondola is a very special, as most of the seats are designed as standing places and are arranged in two rows. Moreover, the view from the windows is surprisingly clear, as there are no traces of scratches and other wear and tear.
Quite inconspicuous and easily overlooked even from above is the Drehgondelbahn, a truly unique roller coaster at Freizeit-Land Geiselwind. This is the only spinning coaster of the company Zierer, which has been making its rounds in the park since 1994. This fact alone is more exciting than the actual layout of the ride, as there is only a simple oval with a descending helix in the middle. As simple as the track seems to be, as good it makes the gondolas turn, so that a thoroughly amusing ride emerges. For three rounds, one makes the way through the course before the gondolas are automatically aligned in the station.
It’s strange to find only one roller coaster of this kind from Zierer, because the potential to be a box office hit today is shown by the compact spinning coasters from SBF Visa with their even simpler layout. Especially for smaller amusement parks a ride like the Drehgondelbahn would be more than ideal, so a new edition of this classic ride would certainly not be the worst idea.
In an alignment with the Top of the World observation tower and the Drehgondelbahn, there is the biggest roller coaster of Geiselwind, a Vekoma Boomerang. Although it looks relatively normal from the outside it is an elaborately designed ride in Australian style, including the eponymous throwing weapon. Access to this ride is around the engine room, whereupon you are directly inside the station. Compared to similar rides, this one hardly vibrates when the train passes through, which is why, interestingly enough, televisions adorn the station.
After the driver has gripped the train, it is slowly pulled up the first ramp. At the top of the ramp it automatically disengages, whereupon the train descends and crosses the station at top speed. The train then shoots up the first manoeuvre and stands upside down for the first time, before it goes overhead again in the second half of the Cobra Roll. A classic looping, which is powerfully passed through forwards, is added. In its exit, the first brakes are applied and thus reduce the speed just before the train engages a lift chain. This in return brings the train back to its maximum height before a mechanism lowers it and thus releases the train. Now it goes backwards down the second ramp and at top speed into the loop, which has now noticeably gained pressure. The Cobra Roll, on the other hand, will pass through a little slower before the train enters the station once more and the brakes engage. The riding characteristics are, similar to the ones from the Belgian amusement parks Bellewaerde and Walibi Belgium, extremely good and invite to several rides.
On the site of the former roller coaster Marienkäferbahn, which left Freizeit-Land Geiselwind for reasons of cost and age, this year’ s roller coaster Cobra by showman Agtsch is located. In the years before, the place was already occupied by two Wild Mice, the indoor roller coaster Black Hole and a ghost train, which is understandable on the one hand, but on the other hand is not really needed due to the already large offer of rides. Because of the barriers along the ride this place doesn’t look very nice, a non-temporary attraction would surely be an advantage here in the future.
Right next door is a Blauer Enzian roller coaster of the same name from Mack. Like many rides at Freizeit-Land Geiselwind, this is a former travelling ride, which can be seen by the two water basins that make the sole of the ride heavy. Since the bridge above the station was not built, the exit happens on the same side as the entrance. Therefore, one side of the train was closed off.
The ride begins with a wide left turn, followed by a leisurely climb. Once at the top, the train makes a downward helix to the left before climbing up a steeper straight. Now the train makes a wide downward right-hand bend, crosses under the track just passed and surrounds the first downward helix in another left-hand bend. With much more momentum, the car now crosses the station and then lap by lap the course. Except for the abrupt second change of direction, it’s a nice ride.
In addition to a 4D cinema, which is currently showing a film in the style of Jurassic Park, the Freizeit-Land Geiselwind also offers a number of flat trips, all of which have been well designed. However, only the Fränkische Weinfahrt (Franconian Wine Ride), a teacup ride, shows the regional reference of the park. Everything else is bavarian, which also keeps the gastronomy prices in a good range.
Pictures Freizeit-Land Geiselwind
Conclusion Freizeit-Land Geiselwind
The Freizeit-Land Geiselwind is a rather neat amusement park. The rides are all in a very good condition and generally appear to be very well maintained, as are the gardens. Despite the parcel-like division of the rides, the routing does not remind of the computer game Roller Coaster Tycoon, a state of affairs that can be experienced for example in the rear part of the Erse Park in Uetze, so that a harmonious overall impression is created. Although the origin of many of the rides cannot be denied, the impression of a permanent funfair is by no means created by the nice integration of the rides. At least, the Freizeit-Land Geiselwind easily manages to entertain its visitors for a few hours and offers a good price-performance ratio, which is why I would like to call the park Bavaria’s strongest piece of leisure, which makes the park’s slogan more accurate (but the competition in this federal state is very manageable).
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