Full Steam ahead on Hals-über-Kopf

Erlebnispark Tripsdrill has once again built something new and presented it to the public half-finished – and thus not made with love at all. In the German amusement park scene, we only know this kind of behaviour from Hansa Park, but there they have to cover up a big tower every time. To be honest, I didn’t really understand why they had to open their two roller coasters, Volldampf and Hals-über-Kopf, during the Covid-19 pandemic; after all, they could have marketed the whole thing all the bigger when the pandemic was coming to an end.

Well, now the two roller coasters are here and can be tested. The smaller of the two Vekoma rides is the Family Boomerang Volldampf, which is already very impressive. Admittedly, the ride is basically finished; the only thing missing is the decoration at the reversal point of the ride.  Apart from the beautiful station, the cute and macabre train design, the foreign visitor gets acquainted with Swabian folk songs and before the ride starts, one sings along with Trulla-trulla-trullala of the song Auf de schwäbsche Eisebahne after the coaster has been designed.

The ride begins with the backward incline of the friction wheel lift. Once you have reached the top of the lift, you are first held in position while the friction wheels are pushed apart, thus clearing the way. Immediately the brakes are released and the descent begins. With momentum we now drive through the station and over a small hill to the right. Here we also avoid the threateningly close rail of Hals-über-Kopf. Close to the ground, we now whiz through a wide left turn before we cross a path on a hill. Now we make our way across the inside of the Suspended Thrill Coaster. After a slight turn to the right, a turn to the left follows. With momentum we then go through another right turn, whereupon we enter the station building of Hals-über-Kopf and change our direction above the station. A little more leisurely than before, we now go backwards through the already completed stretch.

Volldampf is fun! The ride across the big sister ride convinces with its curves close to the ground, the constant changes of direction and the mutual interaction. The long stretch of track also gives the passengers a lot to enjoy.

Less is offered to park guests – at least in terms of design – on the Suspended Thrill Coaster Hals-über-Kopf. This is an iteration of the very common suspended looping coaster. The track profile, however, is based on that of the manufacturer’s new looping roller coasters.

The ride on the Hals-über-Kopf begins immediately with a short right turn, which soon leads us into the ride’s lift. Having reached a height of 30m, we immediately plunge straight down to the ground. Just above the roller coaster Volldampf we turn right. With momentum we now go through the first valley and immediately into the first inversion. We cross the station building of the family roller coaster in a long zero-G roll. Shortly afterwards, we turn around in an Immelmann Jr. Far above a pavement we now whiz over an airtime hill. After a short bend to the left, we plunge to the ground once more and immediately turn to the right and, poof, we see the world upside down a second time. Immediately we plunge into a 270° helix close to the ground and full of pressure, before we take off a little on a small hill. Another strongly inclined turn follows. Very close to the ground, there is a short bend to the right before we enter a dip to the left. This is followed by the last and final inversion of the ride. Shortly afterwards, we already hit the final brake.

Hals-über-Kopf is an extremely solid family roller coaster with a beautiful track layout and great pacing. The ride is only slightly stressful, which means that every member of the family should get their money’s worth. For us roller coaster fans, there is now an extremely exciting roller coaster in the Erlebnispark Tripsdrill that you could confidently ride for several hours at a time and that is an extremely nice thing per se.

With the new roller coaster duo, Erlebnispark Tripsdrill has done a lot right. The new coasters enhance the front section of the park and, due to their location alone, ensure a better overall distribution of visitors in the park, who would otherwise mostly romp around in the back part of the park. Now there is something for the whole family in every area of the park and that is a very nice development for a family theme park like Erlebnispark Tripsdrill.

 

What is your opinion about the roller coasters Volldampf and Hals-über-Kopf? Just write it in the comment field below the report or visit our social media channels:

 

          


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:

 

          


The Flight of the Fēnix

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.

 

What is your opinion about the Wing Coaster Fēnix and the themed areas Port Laguna and Avalon? Just write it in the comment field below the report or visit our social media channels: