Flying through Rookburgh

A new themed area at Phantasialand

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.

The Pre-Opening of Rookburgh

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.

F.L.Y. – a flying sensation

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.

The ride on F.L.Y.

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.

Conclusion F.L.Y.

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.

Pictures Phantasialand

 


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Parque Warner (2020)

A visit of Parque Warner during the Covid-19 pandemic

I haven’t been to Parque Warner in a long time. The park belonging to Parques Reunidos is known to have a great selection of breathtaking roller coasters and water rides soaking through to your underwear. However, 2020 is now the year of Covid-19 and the Spanish are known to have taken it a little harder, so I was very curious to see how the amusement parks are run in this country. Due to my experiences concerning the protection measures in Germany, I expected very long waiting times from the beginning and therefore bought the Pase Correcaminos Platinum in advance; a quite expensive ticket for pushing the queue with theoretically unlimited access to the attractions.

As I had made a little mistake in the bus schedule, I reached the park much later than originally planned. As the entrance was narrowed to two access points, there were already two very long queues at my arrival. On the day of my visit, there were no day tickets; unfortunately, shortly before my visit, the park offered 50% reduced tickets, thus the park was relatively full. As I could not find the office for the Pase Correcaminos right away, I also lost some time; who could have guessed that the man at the lockers would take care of it.

Equipped with my wristband it could go through the park. Basically, masks are obligatory everywhere – the correct way of wearing them is meticulously observed. The staff is perfectly trained for all Covid-19 measures and at all shows and attractions they take care of the hygiene measures, e.g. you have to disinfect your hands every time in front of the watchful eye of an employee, at the shows you are accompanied to your seat (even after the show you are only allowed to leave the theatre in groups) to guarantee the safety distance. The attractions are additionally disinfected after each use, before the next passengers are allowed to board. All this of course reduces the capacity, but the Spanish staff is surprisingly fast. The only thing I honestly should have saved was the visit of the mad house Hotel Embrujado.

Pictures Parque Warner

Closing Words

At the end of the day I could ride all the attractions at least once. Thanks to the Pase Correcaminos, the waiting time at the roller coasters was a maximum of 30 minutes, without of course much more. At the water rides and all other attractions I had a little more luck. Of course, a visit outside of Corona would have been much more fruitful, but nevertheless I am impressed by the professionalism of the park and therefore recommend a visit to Parque Warner this year.

A visit to the theme park could hardly be safer!

 

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A visit to the original Movie World

Warner Bros. Movie World

Warner Bros. Movie World is one of the best-known theme parks in Germany and one of the most influential movie parks in the world.  The park was founded in 1991 by the film studio Village Roadshow, which belongs to WarnerMedia, and is the model for our local Movie Park Germany. From 1996 to 2004, the film park was also known as Warner Bros. Movie World. The Spanish theme park Parque Warner Madrid is also based on the park on the Gold Coast and continues to use the licences of WarnerMedia.

While Parque Warner Madrid is a huge park and Movie Park Germany is also of respectable size, Warner Bros Movie World is rather small. Apart from the Main Street, which is well-known to visitors of Movie Park Germany, the park only consists of a small children’s area, the log flume Wild West Falls and a DC Heroes themed area, where almost all attractions of the amusement park are located.

Tour of the movie park

Green Lantern Coaster

This area is located directly at the entrance of the amusement park, but is not a dead end due to the clever integration of the roller coaster Arkham Asylum. Right at the beginning we come across the Green Lantern Coaster, an El Loco from S&S.

Climbing the steep and fast lift, it quickly goes into a combination of curves without any cross slope, which shortly afterwards leads into a steep 120.5° drop. The associated world record was short-lived, as Takabisha opened in Fuji-Q Highland just a few months later. With a small sideways turn, it immediately goes up to the first block brake.

This is followed by a curve that could be used more often in various roller coasters, as the outwardly inclined section of the track is quite impressive. Unfortunately, this part is completed soon after and a seemingly conventional curve follows, which, however, becomes more and more inclined towards the end and quickly puts you in an overhead position. The hangtime is very pronounced and you are quite happy to fall towards the ground in a half loop shortly afterwards. However, the ride is not over yet and another incline with a subsequent barely regulating block brake follows. The last traditional curve comes next, which ends in a downhill heartline roll – actually the most interesting element of the ride. A trivial turnaround in the form of an Immelmann turn follows, after which the ride ends abruptly.

Thanks to the wider cars and the increased ride comfort due to the lack of shoulder claws, the ride on the Green Lantern Coaster is much more fun compared to other (almost) identical rides. The ride is exciting and bizarre – basically a bit Loco.

Batwing Spaceshot and Justice League: Alien Invasion 3D

Directly opposite is the Batwing Spaceshot, a vertical drop ride by S&S, which takes you up to a height of 61m at high speed. Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll get a good dose of airtime and a big grin in your face.

The entrance to the dark ride Justice League: Alien Invasion 3D is located in a hall behind it. Previously, the simulator Batman: The Ride was located here. The dark ride, developed by the Sally Corporation, combines large plastic scenes with 3D screens where you have to fight off the aliens of the villain Starro before they take control of all mankind. It’ s the kind of delightful fun you’d expect from Sally. The ride itself was later the inspiration for Justice League: Battle for Metropolis, which can be found in various Six Flags parks.

DC Rivals HyperCoaster

One of the reasons to visit Warner Bros Movie World is the DC Rivals HyperCoaster. The roller coaster by Mack Rides has a breathtaking out & back layout including a highly twisted first drop, a 40m tall non-inverted loop, as well as a multitude of breathtaking turns and airtime hills and the possibility to experience it backwards for a small extra charge. It’s just a shame that the roller coaster was closed during my visit.

The DC Rivals HyperCoaster was not all that was closed on the day I visited. Actually, the Village Roadshow Theme Parks allow quite easy planning of the visit, because there is a maintenance calendar for each individual park, but they don’t plan these periods very well, so that the individual attractions usually have a longer maintenance period. At the same time, however, visitors are not informed about this, so that they are first confronted with it on site. Other amusement parks that are open all year round, such as the Disneyland Parks or Efteling, show how it could be done better, and the nearby Dreamworld amusement park does it better without question.

Road Runner Roller Coaster

Thus, once past the closed Roxy Theatre, we were drawn to the children’s area on the right-hand side of the main street. Some time ago, this was where the Looney Tunes River Ride used to be, but it was replaced by a covered money printing machine, the Junior Driving School. The Road Runner Roller Coaster, the theme park’s first roller coaster, has been located in the outdoor area in front of it since the year 2000.

Interestingly, the children’s roller coaster Coyote’s und Roadrunner’s Achterbahn from the German branch of Warner Bros. Movie World was used as a model for this roller coaster, but the elaborate rock structure of the roller coaster was not used on the Gold Coast. The coaster does, however, have a second train, which means that you only do one lap at a time through the tried-and-tested roller skater layout of the manufacturer Vekoma.

Hollywood Stunt Driver 2

Past the small collection of children’s rides, we are now drawn to the theme park’s big stunt show. Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 offers a similar spectacle to Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular from the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris and thus a very strong focus on filming with a few selected performers. We can be glad that Movie Park Germany continues to focus on a jam-packed stunt show like the original Police Academy Stunt Show with Crazy Cops New York. Unfortunately, the show over here was no good.

Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster

A roller coaster has moved into the former Gremlins dark ride building at both Warner Bros. Movie World theme parks over the years. Here on the Gold Coast, the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster was created in 2002 and is based on the Scooby Doo live-action film of the same year.

The ride begins with the familiar ghost train ride from the film. The whole thing is peppered with a few small drops, swinging axes and animatronics worth seeing. Basically, the Spooky Doo Spooky Coaster is a dark ride well worth seeing, but then we enter the ride’s vertical lift. Accompanied by a scene in which Scrappy Doo mutates into a monster, we leave it facing backwards. Shortly afterwards we plunge down a 7m drop. On the other side of the ride we change direction again on a turntable. Accompanied by the song Scooby Doo, Where are you? we now go through the well-known course of a classic wild mouse. Where we would normally expect a double shot, we drive straight into a brake after only one shot. Shortly afterwards, we leave the Sound Stage, where a large part of the roller coaster is located. After a short interlude, another 3m high drop awaits us and soon the exit station of the ride.

Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster is a great roller coaster, but thanks to its limited capacity it often has a longer queue. However, the ride in the extended Wild Mouse is quite something and makes you leave the ride in a good mood – although the actual roller coaster ride mainly takes place in a dark hall with a light show.

Doomsday Destroyer and Wild West Falls

Passing the Doomsday Destroyer – a suspended version of the popular Kamikaze ride built by Intamin – which offered a very solid ride, we now approach the western area of the theme park. The only attraction in the area is the log flume Wild West Falls, the only remaining attraction based on the film Wild Wild West. Originally, however, the ride was supposed to be based on the film Rio Bravo, which is also reflected in the existing theming of the ride.

After crossing the rather long queue, you can immediately take a seat in one of the boats. Shortly afterwards, the boat bobs past the maintenance hall of the ride towards the first lift hill. Once you have reached the top, you drive into the huge mountain massif where the first turntable is waiting for you. This then releases the boat into the first shot, which is completed backwards. This is followed by a small hill. Shortly afterwards, the descent into the cool water starts, whereby the level of wetness is still very manageable. After a bend, you reach another turning point, whereupon the boat moves forward again. The river now takes you unspectacularly through a canyon, an Indian village and the western town of Dogde City before entering the mine again. Once you reach the highest point of the ride, you are brought into position again via a turntable, whereupon the second and final shot is initiated. When you reach the bottom, you are pleasantly moistened. This is followed by the return journey to the station.

I love water rides from Hopkins and Wild West Falls is an all-round successful water ride with a great setting and two breathtaking drops. However, compared to the log flume Rio Bravo from Parque Warner Madrid, it is in many ways the weaker ride. The revision of Wild West Falls, built by Intamin, scores mainly with its airtime, which is unfortunately completely missing here on the Gold Coast. The ride in Spain also seems to be in a slightly better state. Nevertheless, the log flume Wild West Falls is not to be missed.

WB Studio Showcase

On the way to the next attraction, we stopped by the WB Studio Showcase, where some props from recent WB productions, including The Great Gatsby, Shazam!, Suicide Squad and Mad Max, were on display during our visit. Unfortunately, this was also the only attraction that took up the original idea of the movie park. I would have liked to see more of this.

Arkham Asylum – Shock Therapy

The Vekoma Suspended Coaster Arkham Asylum – Shock Therapy should have been open on the day we visited. On a later day, the ride was also closed until further notice. In fact, the coaster has not been operated since then and will probably disappear from the park soon. I would have loved to do a lap on the SLC with its bonus helix, as the ride also featured the VR film known from Parque Warner.

Superman Escape

The last attraction on our tour is the Superman Escape roller coaster. The queue for the roller coaster is rather inconspicuous and ends in front of automated doors behind which the MRT (Metropolis Rapid Transit) underground can be boarded.

The journey begins quite leisurely. However, it soon becomes clear that our situation is a little more tricky. Warnings of earthquakes ensure that we do not stop at the next stations. Burst gas pipes, which led to the blowing up of a pumping station, cause the railway tunnel to flood and suddenly police cars also crash into the tunnels. Although the situation seems hopeless, Superman comes to our rescue at the last moment. What follows is a breathtaking rollercoaster ride, starting with an insanely good hydraulic launch.

At a good 100 km/h we immediately climb a 40m high top hat, which we enter straight and leave to the side. After a high-pressure right turn along the ground, we immediately enter an airtime-rich camelback. This is followed by a left turn where we drive through a hall. After another turn, the path leads us through a further right turn close to the ground before we change direction again on the following hill and soon find ourselves in the braking section of the ride.

Superman Escape is a mercilessly good roller coaster. The ride through the compact layout is extremely tough and convinces with its fast turns and great airtime. Unfortunately, however, the roller coaster is only located at Warner Bros Movie World and not here at Movie Park Germany, which in turn reveals some weaknesses. The low capacity of the ride in a a one train operation is exacerbated by the high number of fast pass users, so that unfortunately you have to queue for a very long time at this ride. Movie Park Germany now has the immersive tunnel The Lost Temple and the roller coaster Star Trek Operation Enterprise in the same place, but I really wish they had taken another inspiration from the park on the Gold Coast.

Pictures Warner Bros. Movie World

Conclusion Warner Bros. Movie World

Warner Bros. Movie World, you must have been a really good theme park once. In the early 90s you surprised everyone with your concept, but now there’s almost none of that magic left. You’re more like a classic theme park these days, but your roller coasters can hardly hide your lack of attractions and shows. To be honest, I really wonder how one is supposed to spend a whole day here. A question that, interestingly enough, you would never ask at your younger sister in Bottrop.


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