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Photo TR: Chuck Returns to Europe at Last with TPR

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If this were Six Flags or Cedar Fair, you'd be lucky if they put up a few umbrellas to block the sun, much less construct an elaborate queue and tell you a story. Of course, it helps if you can read German.

It's the famous story of "This area is under video surveillance".



My god! Then the old legends are true!


But those books should've been destroyed centuries ago!

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Chapter 5

The Most All-American Park in Germany--Movie Park


We experienced one fairly hot day in Germany; naturally, it was at the park that had the least amount of shade--Movie Park. I had a pretty good time there back in 2008. While the coaster collection was hardly stellar (the best one was a Mack Wild Mouse themed to Spongebob Squarepants), the park had some other quirky attractions that made it worthwhile--for example, the Alien Encounter/Bermuda Triangle splash-boat boat ride, the Ice Age Adventure dark ride, and the Mystery River rapids ride.


Well, they have improved their coaster collection since then with Van Helsing’s Factory. While the movie Van Helsing was something of a dud, Movie Park did turn it into a really good Gerstlauer Bobsled in a box, with cool-looking cars for vampire hunting, some good dark-ride effects, and a crazy layout that throws you around like a rag doll. We had a great lights-off-and-on ERT session on this ride. Some of us grabbed a nice meal at Van Helsing’s Club next door, where we enjoyed some good schnitzel while Addams Family reruns (in German) and strange music videos with monks singing heavy metal played on the club’s big screen.


Of course, this means the same thing in all languages--that someone has just ridden Bandit, the park's notoriously rough wooden coaster.


Mystery River is still fun, too. Unfortunately, we missed out on the other two attractions I mentioned. Ice Age was down with technical problems. Alien Encounter, which is right next to the park’s entrance, ran from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. only, and we got there a few minutes late. As I think back, Alien Encounter ran on a weird schedule back in 2008. Still it seems a bit odd that a major ride was open for only part of the day. Such is life.


Two other attractions were new to me. Walking Dead: Breakout is an up-charge “permanent” haunt. I'd say it was on a slightly higher level than the mazes at BGW's Howl-o-Scream--some good sets and effects. The other was the Lost Temple, which is a 4D simulator. It’s a step up from your standard 4D theater in that you board a ride vehicle that rolls into a digital 3D environment, where you’re attacked by dinosaurs. The car shakes around, dinos lunge at you in 3D, some other dude in a big Jeep saves you, then you’re done. Think of it as “German Indiana Jones and the Temple of Loud and Obnoxious." I think Bobbejaanland used to have one of these rides, too.


All in all, this is a pretty good park for families, and it can create good attractions (for example, Van Helsing's Factory and Mystery River). But it does need something "big." Maybe the new launched Star Trek coaster will fill the bill.


Time to ride the movies.


OK, movie-themed park with a round logo in a fountain. Check.


Those large spotlights on the building indicate that a movie could break out at any moment!


An All-American park . . . in Germany.


Never travel without your Speedy Pass, baby! It’s even hotter than Telly Savalas’s Players Club card.


Time for the ride that’s more fun than the movie it’s based on.


We had to get past this Speedy Pass checkpoint before riding Van Helsing. Do not get caught without Speedy Pass! You will be busted! (Actually, you’ll just have to wait in line--and that could be worse than jail.)


Finding Van Helsing’s uber secret Speedy Pass entrance was a bit tricky. It looked suspiciously like a broom closet.


“I’ll swallow your soul!”


“But you can get your soul back in the gift shop. I hope you kept your claim check.”


I found Donald Trump’s official campaign vehicle.


"Undead for Trump! He'll make America suck again!"


Dan is feeling the love for Santa Monica.


Oh no. Zombies. What ever shall we do?


Buy your tickets, machete, oxygen tank, and plasma here before entering.


I’m not sure what possessed us to ride Bandit, as my memory of it was still evil.


Perhaps it was a desire to see if it really was as bad as we all remembered it. But I think the most likely reason is that we’re dumb. We’re talking box of rocks/bags of hammers dumb here, folks.


But, hey, authentic German Mexican food makes up for everything! Caramba!


No tacos to be found, but the little jalapeno cheese poppers weren’t bad. And aren’t the tiny drinks cute?


It was a fiesta, indeed--a mariachi band playing "La Cucaracha" on your tongue.


Welcome to Time Riders, where the pre-show has a pre-show, and John Cleese speaks fluent German.


Well, it seems that someone can “stop the beat.” More to come from Movie Park.

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One last look at Movie Park Germany. How about we start with a parade?


Germany expresses its American patriotism.


Van Helsing has the coolest car and the hottest chick in the parade.


We need these cars in the U.S., as we often don’t know if we’re coming or going.


“Sorry, folks, but this is as close as you’ll come to riding the Ice Age Adventure today. Maybe you should go see the latest sequel, instead.”


You know, I’m pretty sure the float has a pre-show, too.


This Mutant Ninja Turtle “driving school” looks pretty good--too bad it wasn’t running.Then again, it was hot as hell, and the car tires were probably fused to the pavement.


Hmm--Sarah looks particularly terrified. Maybe the bug-eyed alien was hitting on her.


Time for schnitzel, beer, and the Addams Family.


“Party of four? Hmm--I only got room for two because I just ate. Why don’t two of you come back when I feel a bit more peckish, say around 9:00?”


At Van Helsing’s, you can get Hell by the bottle.


I hope they’re demonstrating a back-lot “rain storm” and not holding a spitting contest on the roof.


We missed out on Alien Encounter, but we made it in time for the last Lost Temple tour of the day.


So, this is where the new “Star Trek” coaster is being built. Mack launched coasters are fun, and who knows? If it's as good as Superman Escape at Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia, it'll be worth coming back.


“Staff only”? Bah! Do you think Indiana Jones cares about “staff only”?


I have a strange feeling that we’re going to have to rescue somebody driving one of these vehicles and then, in turn, be rescued ourselves. Call it a “hunch.”


Marching is not allowed in this area.


If this were a dig in Colonial Williamsburg, they’d find bits of clay pipes and the remains of old wooden posts. They never find dinosaurs or orcs or anything cool.


Oh my goodness. I am terrified beyond all capacity for rational thought.


Remember: Never play with your nuts at Movie Park Germany. I think they allow it at Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia, though. That’s all for now. Off to Phantasialand!

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Do you not understand!? Mortals nowadays... I was correcting that ugly stereotype of a demon! He will not swallow your soul for he is inanimate and he cannot do anything as simple as even having lungs to breathe with! To the mortal (of whom had confused me regarding... abbreviations...) who guessed that I was merely correcting grammar, I do not give a single flying snake's tongue about grammar. Chuck here is correct, but I am afraid to say that I do not single people out... you're next...

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Do you not understand!? Mortals nowadays... I was correcting that ugly stereotype of a demon! He will not swallow your soul for he is inanimate and he cannot do anything as simple as even having lungs to breathe with! To the mortal (of whom had confused me regarding... abbreviations...) who guessed that I was merely correcting grammar, I do not give a single flying snake's tongue about grammar. Chuck here is correct, but I am afraid to say that I do not single people out... you're next...

What is this gibberish?

*checks age*

Only 13 more months....

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Do you not understand!? Mortals nowadays... I was correcting that ugly stereotype of a demon! He will not swallow your soul for he is inanimate and he cannot do anything as simple as even having lungs to breathe with! To the mortal (of whom had confused me regarding... abbreviations...) who guessed that I was merely correcting grammar, I do not give a single flying snake's tongue about grammar. Chuck here is correct, but I am afraid to say that I do not single people out... you're next...

What is this gibberish?

*checks age*

Only 13 more months....


Sorry, I do not understand your references; please, do explain, otherwise you're next on the list.

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^Colossos is bumpier than it was back in 2008 when I first rode it, but it's still got airtime to spare and remains a great ride. It has slipped a bit in my opinion, but it's still fun--just not something I can "marathon" now.

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^Colossos is bumpier than it was back in 2008 when I first rode it, but it's still got airtime to spare and remains a great ride. It has slipped a bit in my opinion, but it's still fun--just not something I can "marathon" now.

This, if I had ridden it two times in a row last time i was there i would probably get off with a headache

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Chapter 6

The Wild, the Whimsical, and the Wacky--Phantasialand


Phantasialand is what you get when you mix a whole package of whimsy with a can of whoop ass in a blender--one of the most outrageously themed parks in Europe. The park combines an often Disney-like attention to detail with a decidedly odd sensibility that embraces China, Mexico, Africa, the Wild West, France, cartoonish Gothicism, and outlandish fantasy--like a Euro version of Japanese anime. It’s a tough park to explain. You just have to experience it.


And what an experience it is. If Phantasialand had no decent attractions aside from Winjas and Black Mamba, it would still be worth visiting. Winjas is still one of the greatest “gimmick” coasters of all time, and Black Mamba’s excellent theming, with trains soaring over and through rocky African canyons, makes it a better-than-average B&M Inverted Coaster. Any park would be happy with those two rides.


But Phantasialand goes a bit beyond that, with its beautifully themed hotels (the Ling Bao and the Matamba) and an assortment of attractions that range from great to so bad they achieve a sort of legendary grandeur. While we missed out on Taron this visit (it opened a week later), there were three attractions that were new to me since my last visit in 2008. Chiapas, with it’s crazy Mayan theming, complete with “Day of the Dead” skulls and a “rave room,” is the best flume ride I’ve experienced in years (right up there with the Disney’s Splash Mountains and Knott’s log ride). Maus au Chocolate is my favorite ride at Phanstasialand next to Winjas. It really is an improvement over Disney’s Toy Story Midway Mania "video shooting gallery" rides, thanks to its elaborate sets--and the fact that you get to kill mice with chocolate. Finally, there’s Hotel Tartuffe--a very good fun house, the likes of which you never see in the U.S. anymore.


As for the other extreme, Hollywood Tour is one of the most delightfully cheesy, tacky dark rides ever. You have to love their bizarre interpretations of scenes from classic movies, along with the not-so-convincing animatronics; all it needs is a tribute to the films of Ed Wood. Temple of the Night Hawk, a Vekoma in a box, once sported vector-graphic-style projections of birds, like some late 1970s video game. Now the trains just rumble around in darkness--no hawks to be seen.


And let’s not forget Mystery Castle (a Frog Hopper on steroids), River Quest (one very cool rapids ride), and the Colorado Adventure (a heavily themed Vekoma Mine Train). Even without Taron, there’s a lot to like at Phantasialand.


Welcome to Phantasialand’s Hotel Matamba: A touch of Africa that isn't in Orlando.


German theme-park hotels go all out with their bathrooms. It’s a pleasure to “do one’s business” here.


Yes, it’s just like camping in the wilds of Africa--only with air conditioning and a very comfortable bed. Mike had a room to himself that actually looked like a tent.


Good morning, Phantasialand. Is that Mystery Castle, or are you just happy to see us?


We didn’t need a safari guide to find our first objective.


This guy was less than helpful; then again, he was made out of wood.


Any sign with fire is a good sign.


As I learned from watching “Kill Bill, Part 2,” a Black Mamba is deadly! But it’s fun, too!


Only locals may ride Black Mamba while naked. It is taboo for outsiders.


I think all these riders are fully clothed.


This is a warning to outsiders not to disrobe before riding Black Mamba.


They actually hanged this visitor from a neighboring tribe for naked Black Mamba riding! You have been warned!


You know, some people have strange morning exercise routines.


We now know what Dan will not be riding today, in addition to Chiapas.


Shooting mice with chocolate? Count me in! It’s both sweet and unsanitary.


The queue even smells like a bakery. I love this ride.


What the hell’s a “Wuze”?


Never mind that. What’s a “Winja”?




But calling it a mere "spinning coaster" doesn't do it justice. This is an excellent ride with a few hidden tricks.


As you can see, it’s a bit difficult to navigate this part of the park.


I fixed the sign.


Excuse me, but I need a moment alone.


Thank you. How long is the line for Berlin?


The addition of Chiapas makes it a little tricky to find the entrance of Colorado “No Longer the Michael Jackson Thrill Ride” Adventure.


I have to to give Vekoma credit. They do make good mine-train coasters. This one is still fun, and I love how it sprawls out all over the place and interacts with Chiapas. Why, it's fun even without the endorsement of the late "King of Pop."


I give ye Chalupas, er, I mean Chiapas! (Yes, I was on that fateful ride when the “We Are on a Log Flume” song broke out.)


Taco Bell is missing a bet here.


They should bring back the Chalupa and tie it into this ride.


Just think of it! Water cannons themed to the Taco Bell Chihuahua lifting his leg! They’d really rake in the euros with those.


The dragon said he’d take my Taco Bell idea “under advisement.”


But the dragon got drunk and tried to fly. So much for that. More to come.

Edited by robbalvey
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There's still more to see, you know.


Move on. Nothing to see here.


“Sorry, folks, but Taron isn’t open yet.”


“The gargoyle out front shoulda told ya.”


Well, this looks like a good reason to return to Phantasialand. After all, I love plywood!


Wow! Mystery Castle isn’t nearly as big when you see it up close.


Oh, THAT Mystery Castle. How silly of me.


The armor should’ve tipped us off that there were either mad scientists or vampires in here.


Hmm . . . I wonder which it could be?


OK, definitely mad scientists.


The power of blue compels you!


River Quest will get you wet, but I imagine you already know that. After all, it isn’t called “Dry Wash Quest” or “Arid Waste Adventure.”


The old Silbermine dark ride was removed to make room for Taron, but Geister Rickshaw is still here.


It’s sort of like “Chinese Haunted Mansion,” . . .


. . . complete with “hitchhiking ghosts.”


Look! More shenanigans!


“We don’t do “shenanigans.’ We do ‘folderol,’ ‘high jinks,’ and basic ‘tomfoolery.’”


For those of you who like to make your own shenanigans, there’s Hotel Tartuffe.


That bell boy gets no tip.


“ Front desk? I’d like to report some problems with the plumbing.”


“There also appears to be some sort of gateway to another dimension. Is that an extra charge?”


And now, the highlight of any visit to Phanstasialand!


This in no way reminds me of an attraction at a certain movie-themed park in Florida.


We call this waste receptacle “the Internet,” because it trashes movies.


This photo almost looks like a Van Gogh painting . . . oh, who am I kidding? It’s just blurry. This section was like a weird tribute to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean rides.


Oh my god. That pillar came within 20 feet of hitting us. It’s true movie magic.


Here’s a scene from that Hollywood classic “Frankenstein’s Big Score.” Too bad it isn’t from the Italian flick “Lady Frankenstein.” That movie has nudity.


If Ed Wood had made this, it would've been his greatest film.


“The Glinda the Good animatronic is busted. Just throw a dress on this hispter dude and put him out there. No one will notice.”


Well, it’s nearly time to bid farewell to Phantasialand.


John is reluctant to leave this magical place.


What the hell? One more look at Winjas! Holiday Park awaits.

Edited by cfc
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Oh! Also- on a scale of 1-10 with one being " doesn't spin at all" and 10 being " linda blair like bilious discomfort" how spinny would you rate Winja(s?) ?


I would give it a 6 or 7 when it comes to spinning. For me, it's just enough to be fun, but not enough to make me feel ill.

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^I've always wanted to see some sort of dark ride/coaster combo based on the movies of Ed Wood. Zipping around the pie-plate flying saucers of Plan 9, zooming past the tentacles of the octopus from Bride of the Monster, and taking part in the goofy seance scene from Night of the Ghouls, with on-board audio featuring the stirring words of Criswell and Bela Lugosi, would be great!

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