Having a blast on Dynamite

The last time, I have visited Freizeitpark Plohn, I was not at all impressed by its missing professionalism in some points. I had never issues paying with my Girocard (a German Debit Card) before and since there was not an ATM nearby, I had to drive to the nearby town of Lengenfeld just to get some cash and stand one more time in the queue before finally being able to pay my entrance ticket. This time, I tried to pay online and due to the system in use, it was not at all easy to do so on the phone. It took me several attempts – yet at the end, it worked.

With a good mood, I started my day at the new entrance area to the park, which is now situated right next to the water ride Fluch des Teutates. The Rafting by abc rides gets a good crowd during the first hours of operation, while the area close to the original entrance stays deserted for the most part of the day.

Here we find the small SBF Visa spinning coaster Drachenwirbel. Like most of the installations in Germany, this also comes in the three-loop design, whereby upwards leading righthand curves always change into a downwards leading lefthand curve. Due to the change of direction, the cars quickly get into a rotation. After several laps the ride on the Drachenwirbel comes to an stop and we can exit the ride.

The second and largest addition to the park Freizeitpark Plohn in recent years is the Mack Rides Big Dipper Coaster Dynamite. The ride is situated for most part on the land of the former Silver Mine roller coaster and reuses parts of the queue. The coaster itself is a lot bigger and offers an interesting layout.

After climbing the ride’s lift, the coaster starts with a Dive Drop, whereby the car is slowly rotated around its own axis before it plunges to the ground. At full speed we now pass through a building which gives a great near miss and race over a bunny hop shortly thereafter. A steep curve now leads us upwards. After a more conventional drop, we then enter a righthand curve close to the ground. On a small hill we rapidly change direction before entering Dynamite’s loop. We then pass the ride’s entrance in a Zero-G Roll. Finally, we now circle around the HUSS Break Dance Westernrodeo before hitting the brakes.

Dynamite is a nice addition to the park. The Big Dipper offers a great, albeit short layout which offers a well-defined play of forces. There is only one issue: It does not have a good capacity. With a total of just two cars for up to eight people, the queue can get quite long. Especially, when only one of them is in operation and can only be loaded by a maximum of 4 people due to the Covid-19 regulations. Therefore, I only rode this Mack product once.

As the Saxonians did not really care about Covid and only a few respected the rules, I left the park early. Overall, I had a good visit to Freizeitpark Plohn. Yet, I was not overly impressed on how El Toro developed in recent years. This coaster is by far one of the roughest wooden coasters, I have been on and to my luck, I had to ride it twice in a row as the ride operation gave an encore. Apart of that, the park’s operations were good, and I am willing to come back once everything is back to normal.

 

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Batavia is burning – and you want to go there?

Well, who would have thought that Batavia would actually burn down one day. Two years after the disaster at Europa Park, we were determined not to miss the new edition of the Piraten in Batavia dark ride, as well as some of the other novelties of the last three years.

The Voletarium in the entrance area of the amusement park marks the beginning of our little round-up. The ride is the first project under the guise of the Adventure Club of Europe, a fictitious adventurer’s club that links the innovations of the last few years a little bit and is therefore also supposed to function as a trademark of Europa Park. As with the new water park Rulantica, this is taken ad absurdum by various novels, making it difficult to follow the plot once again.

Leaving it at the essentials, however, the Voletarium is a so-called Flying Theatre by the company Brogent Technologies. The flight simulator offers a breathtaking, but very family-friendly, flight through Europe. However, not every transition between the individual scenes is successful, nor logically implemented, so that the film comes across as a little weak in comparison to the really well-done film of Fuji Airlines in Japan’s Fuji-Q Highland or that of Sky Voyager in Australia’s Dreamworld.

Nevertheless, the Voletarium’s location enhances the front section of the park. The ride is coherent overall and is ideal as a ride for in-between.

It’s the same with Jim Knopf – Reise durch Lummerland. In the best Europa Park style, they did not miss the opportunity to integrate another licence into the park – this time one that is mainly known in German-speaking countries. The children’s locomotive Old’99, which previously had a circus theme, was redesigned for this purpose. It’s old decoration found a new home in a small pavilion of the neighbouring marionette boat ride. Accordingly, you now travel with Emma the locomotive through Lummerland, well-known from the book by Michael Ende, which is a really great experience, especially for smaller children.

It’s a similar story with the immensely popular dark ride Snorri Touren, which moved into the basement of the Scandinavian themed area when it was rebuilt. On this tour, Snorri – the mascot of the Rulantica water park – leads us through the legendary water world outside the gates of Rust. Thanks to the vivid design and the largely successful media integration, the ride does a lot of things right – only the short slide sequence, in which the car drives onto a moving platform, is reminiscent of early Playstation 2 titles due to its spongy graphics, and thus dulls the actually coherent overall impression immensely.

Something you can somehow forgive the cute Snorri for, you can’t forgive Madame Freudenreich for the life of her – after all, the Universum der Energie used to be the most coherent dark ride in the entire theme park. Now the ride is no longer even a shadow of its former self, but an attraction you should at best stay away from. Smaller children might still enjoy the Alsatian gugelhupf dinosaur mash, but I can’t think of anyone else who could halfway tolerate this baloney.

It’s a good thing that the Green Fairy has moved in directly above it. Since its redesign, the indoor roller coaster Eurosat CanCan Coaster has taken us on a sensory intoxication. Driven by absinthe and the familiar sounds of In A Second Orbit, we climb up the drum lift in familiar fashion before the Galop Infernal kicks in and we basically encounter a brand new roller coaster.

Like in a CanCan, we swing through the curves. Past large black-light backdrops, we race faster and faster through the dome and are even lifted out of our seats a little in between. The fact that the experience is absolutely smooth makes the ride all the better.

Eurosat has always been a good indoor roller coaster. A bit rough on the ride, but quite entertaining. Eurosat CanCan Coaster on the other side is one of the roller coasters of Europe. Perfectly balanced, atmospheric and with a great show value. Everything is just perfect on this ride.

But that really only applies to the CanCan Coaster. There is also Eurosat Coastiality. While one side has been able to soar to new heights thanks to its collaboration with the Moulin Rouge Variety Theatre, the other side is betting on a VR experience based on Luc Besson’s Valerian – The City of a Thousand Planets.

In principle, I find VR roller coasters fun and Europa Park has already shown on the Alpenexpress Enzian what you can squeeze out of a roller coaster. Despite the outdated graphics, the first film was a revelation beyond compare. After that, many parks joined the VR trend and there seemed to be no stopping them. Fortunately, as quickly as the trend came, it disappeared again, so it’s a little surprising that Europa Park is the only park in the world that continues to promote the technology. Thanks to the resort’s stand-alone attraction Yullbe, however, this is actively no longer happening in the parks.

Eurosat Coastiality is, at least in theory, an extremely passable upcharge attraction that barely if at all affects the capacity of the Eurosat CanCan Coaster thanks to a separate station, which eliminates one of the main points of criticism of VR roller coasters. However, the ride is strenuous and not very impressive thanks to the outdated graphics. The show value of the roller coaster is completely lost, which is why there is no incentive for a repeat ride.

Meanwhile, the dark ride Piraten in Batavia, which has undergone a complete makeover thanks to the new construction, offers plenty of reasons to go on a ride. What was previously a long-winded rip-off version of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean is now much more independent thanks to a consistent storyline around the adventurer Bartholomeus van Robbemond and his otter Jopie. The Piraten in Batavia ride is thoroughly entertaining and offers an overall high show value, which is why it should by no means be missed.

As you can see, Europa Park has been in quite a redesign frenzy in recent years. Some of the projects were long overdue and some of the park’s attractions would actually still like to see such changes. Not every upgrade is a success and not every licence is a plus for the park, but in general the Mack family’s drive is positive. They are trying to show a world-class amusement park to an ever-growing number of visitors, but unfortunately they often forget that great attractions do not need additional media integration.

 

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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.

 

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