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:

 

          


Star Trek – Operation Enterprise

Movie Park Germany has always been one of my favourite parks in Germany, but I haven’t been to the park for the last three years. During this time, however, a lot has changed: The Intamin Rapids Ride Mystery River became Excalibur – Secret of the Dark Forest, the new roller coaster Star Trek – Operation Enterprise was opened and the dark ride Alien Encounter was redesigned to Area 51 – Top Secret.

The latter novelty was also the reason why I delayed my visit more and more, because a visit to Movie Park Germany without a ride through the volcano is just not the same. Instead of driving through an island in the Bermuda Triangle, we now go through a flooded mine in the middle of the Nevada desert. Where before there was a clearly defined arc of tension, there is now only a trivial and far-fetched story based on the scenes of the original story. Of course, aliens are more likely to be associated with Area 51 than with the Bermuda Triangle, but water travel in the desert just doesn’t make sense – even if it’s Groom Lake Air Force Base (Groom Lake is a dry salt lake).

Area 51 – Top Secret • Intamin Spillwater • Movie Park Germany

But if you can overlook the story, Area 51 – Top Secret is the HD version of an aging dark ride and that alone is simply wonderful. The ride finally shows its best side again and convinces with its numerous effects. Although little or nothing has changed in the course and the staging inside the ride, the lovingly audio-visual refreshment shows its effect. In this respect, thank you Movie Park Germany for the preservation of this ride!

While the Alien Encounter previously still had the story of the original version from the Australian amusement park Sea World Gold Coast, the Mystery River looked quite different after the license was cancelled. The ride was just a shadow of its former self and, except for its ride hardware, it was nothing more than construction foam. IMAscore and IMAmotion then breathed new life into the old ride and so Mystery River became Excalibur – Secret of the Dark Forest. Again, the theme is a bit generic, but the ride itself was definitely upgraded. The queue is now really well done and puts you in the right mood for the ride. It has also been enhanced with new figures, even if the focus here is more on the rapid ride through the current channel and less on telling a story.

Excalibur – Secret of the Dark Forest • Intamin Rapids Ride • Movie Park Germany

Things are different with Star Trek – Operation Enterprise, where the overall experience takes up the original idea of the film park and thus tells a rather round story. For this purpose, the former Marienhof was converted into the Federation Plaza and the once existing – but hardly noticed by the visitors – Film Museum was cleared out to accommodate the queue including the replica of the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. The external station can then be reached via a narrow corridor.

After you have taken a seat on the train, the journey can begin immediately. But first of all you are pushed over a transfer track onto the actual track.  Since this track section has no LSM modules, you are pushed forward very gently before you enter the launch section and accelerate slowly. After this, we climb the first element about halfway before we turn around and accelerate much faster. At the back of the transfer track building we shoot up the Twisted Halfpipe, a slightly twisted vertical section of track. Here, too, we change direction and race through the launch section a third time. With 90 km/h we race up the Top Hat and are immediately torn out of our seats. After a powerful valley we climb an Immelmann and see the world upside down for the first time. This is immediately followed by a heartline roll, which changes into another fall. After a jagged bend above the transfer track building we speed through the Borg Cube and immediately start the second part of our rescue mission. Extremely close to the ground we are now going over several smaller hills and then through a crisp left turn. Very smoothly this then changes into the last inversion figure of the ride, a Zero-G Roll. Directly after that our mission reaches its end. After the braking section there is only a short right turn before we find ourselves back in the station of the ride.

Star Trek – Operation Enterprise • Mack Rides Launch Coaster • Movie Park Germany

Star Trek – Operation Enterprise is a really nice roller coaster by Mack Rides. The ride through the compact layout can show some really nice elements, all of which are ridden with a good pacing. It may not be the most powerful roller coaster and the triple launch is a nice feature at best, but the overall package is quite impressive. Star Trek – Operation Enterprise is at least a very family-friendly launch coaster and fits perfectly into the park’s portfolio in this respect.

What I personally dislike, however, is the new theme area around the roller coaster. The Federation Plaza looks naked and doesn’t look as inviting as the rest of the park. Here, one could and should have gotten out more.

Nevertheless, all novelties of the past years have been very successful and let you look into the future of Movie Park Germany with a joyful view – even if I can hardly imagine the new design of the Vekoma SLC with the henceforth extremely unwieldy name Lucky Luke – The Ride: Die Daltons brechen aus. At least you can be curious and that’s a good start.

 

What is your opinion about the last three novelties at Movie Park Germany? How do you like Excalibur – Secret of the Dark Forest, Star Trek – Operation Enterprise and Area 51 – Top Secret? Just write it here below the report in the comment field or visit our social media channels:

 

          


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.