Phantasialand is a theme park I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I first discovered it as a kid. Their super-gothic carousel and river rapids appealed to the phase I was going through at the time, and by keeping up to date on park happenings the desire to check it out has been dormant inside of me for many years. When we discovered, then, that it was only a couple of hours away from the hotel we’re staying at in the Netherlands while we visit Efteling, we naturally had to pay them a visit.
Not only is this my first new theme park since 2010, it’s also my first ever visit to the country of Germany. I’d heard all these rumours about the intensity of German rides, and we all know about supposed German efficiency, so I kind of expected to see about 9 staff members on each ride, strapping you in pretty much before you’ve even sat down, and dispatching trains every 10 seconds to keep queue lines down. Apparently this isn’t what happens, and while some of the attractions do run very efficiently indeed, I think it’s just as much down to how busy the day is and the attractions are as to whether you queue or not.
Shawn and I actually got quite lucky in this respect as, aside from the new themed area Klugheim and its associated attractions, we didn’t really wait long for anything at all. This meant we had plenty of time to do all the attractions we wanted to, multiple times in many cases. So what were my impressions on my first visit to Phantasialand?
Honestly, I loved it. I think the day took a while to get going, particularly as one of the attractions I was really looking forward to was a little bit of a let down and then we ended up standing in the three longest queues of the day after this. But aside from this one little niggle, I can genuinely say that I really enjoyed every single ride we did today. The themeing around Phantasialand is great – each area is exquisitely decorated and it almost feels like its own little village, whether you’re in the heart of Mexico, China Town or a square in Berlin. Particular props have to go to the themeing around Klugheim, which looks phenomenal – and don’t worry, my reviews of the two new coasters there are coming very soon!
I was quite surprised at the spectrum of attractions that Phantasialand has to offer too, with more family-friendly things than I anticipated and a fair few attractions I didn’t even realise existed until I got there. You can tell that thrills are at the heart of what they do, though, and each and every one of their thrill rides is a truly unique, immersive and interesting experience complete with scenery, music and a whole host of other touches that makes each one memorable for all the right reasons. Even something simple like a top spin, a log flume or a spinning coaster they take to the next level by adding just a little something extra that makes it even better than what some other parks have to offer.
As much as I enjoyed the day, though, Phantasialand is not without flaw. I think the major disadvantage they have is that sometimes they try a little bit too hard to make their attractions unique; this was particularly evident on River Quest, where the sheer amount of technology and things going on meant that inevitably there were times when not everything went according to plan. The other thing I found strange was the setting of the park – there’s no grand entrance, just three different points of entry with a couple of ticket kiosks and turnstiles and then BOOM, you’re in the park. It was an odd sensation as the main entrance was essentially on a main road; it kind of reminded me of working at Dudley Zoo, and was a little amiss from parks like Efteling and Alton Towers where the entrance is suitably grand and well-presented.
That said, we had an awesome day at Phantasialand trying out new and certainly unique experiences. Once again the staff were friendly and looked as though they were enjoying their jobs, and there are some great souvenirs on offer themed around the six dragon mascots. Overall a very attractive theme park with a great spectrum of attractions and definitely worth a look if you’re anywhere near the area.
Full Attractions List (Everything we did today):
Black Mamba (twice) / Chiapas – Die Wasserbahn (twice) / Colorado Adventure (twice) / Feng Ju Palace / Maus au Chocolat / Raik / River Quest / Talocan (twice) / Taron (twice) / Temple of the Night Hawk / Winja’s Fear & Force (once each)
Top 5 Attractions:
1. WINJA’S FEAR & FORCE
3. Chiapas – Die Wasserbahn
5. Black Mamba
Winja’s Fear & Force (for the sheer depth and number of elements they threw at this ride – this completely blew me away and was so much better than I anticipated)
River Quest (for being just a little underwhelming compared to what I expected, and for leaving us stuck on a malfunctioning conveyor for 10 minutes)
See you around =] x x