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Part 4: Fall at Europa Park

 

I’m having trouble coming up with a “fresh” approach for writing about Europa. Everyone here already understands how great this park is (definitely in the top five theme parks worldwide), and I’ve written two reports about this park already (one as early as fall 2016). But there is one big difference this time around, at least for me. This is the first time I’ve visited Europa in the fall, as opposed to the summer--and it was great seeing how the park decks itself out for Halloween.

 

This holiday isn’t as big a deal in Europe as it is in the United States; Phantasialand, for example, doesn’t recognize it at all. Europa, however, has embraced All Hallows Eve and puts on its own haunt, complete with scare zones and mazes. This year’s version is Traumatica, a post-apocalyptic story in which five factions are fighting for dominion over the Earth:

 

Shadows (vampires who rule the world)

Ghouls (reject vampires who feast on the dead and work for the Shadows)

The Pack (werewolf bikers who work for the Shadows)

The Fallen (insane human beings who want to be Shadows themselves)

The Resistance (humans fighting for their piece of the world)

 

Our schedule didn’t allow for us to experience all this, but the park gave us a great backstage tour of Traumatica (along with their new “Soarin’ Over Europe” attraction, Voletarium). But you don’t have to experience Traumatica to enjoy the Halloween season at Europa. The park has decorations all over the place, including more then 150,000 pumpkins; a parade; a song you won’t be able to get our of your head (“It’s Halloween!”); and rides with Halloween surprises (such as a skeleton on a motorcycle inside Eurosat).

 

So, prepare yourselves for some post-Halloween spooky stuff, along with a look at the best theme park in Europe. I must warn the faint of heart that there will be Angry Corn--not a pretty sight!

 

So, gather you nerves and follow me in. If you feel frightened, just hum the Euro-Mir song.

 

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We awoke to this lovely view of Wodan. (Not my favorite wooden coaster ever, but it does look nice.)

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“Oh, welcome to Europa! We’re so glad you could come!”

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“We hope you enjoy our wonderful attractions, such as Arthur . . .

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. . . and Euro-Mir.”

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“And let’s not forget our park’s scenic beauty, . . .

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. . . pleasant fall weather, and . . .

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. . . OH MY GOD!”

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“So, you like pumpkin-spice coffee and ale . . . then you shall have it!”

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“This pumpkin’s blood, if it had blood, is on your hands, human scum!”

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And all this time, even as his people cried out in pain and anguish, the Great Pumpkin laughed. He is a harsh god.

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“Oh, god, so tough to take a leak when ya got a boner.” (I apologize. That was cheap.)

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We sought refuge from Angry Corn, skeletons, and the Great Eurosat Pumpkin in Voletarium.

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Unlike Disney's Soarin', in which the riders' seats are hoisted up and above an IMAX screen, Voletarium's seats roll forward on a rail over the screen.

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Voletarium has a nicer queue that the Disney rides. You can warm yourself by the fire . . .

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. . . and catch up on your correspondence in the office.

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The queue also has an “Adventurer’s Club” vibe to it.

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All it needs is some Disney Dorks shouting "kungaloosh," or something.

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Here’s the scoreboard for the Voletarium online game. Darn it! I put my money on GelatinousEnemy4314 to win it all.

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I was all set to buy some discount horror, but the booth isn’t open yet.

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Looks like I’ll have to pay full retail price.

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“Psst! If you let me spit on you, I’ll get you 10 percent off on all horror today!”

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“That’s nothing! Let me eat your entrails, and I can give you 20 percent off!”

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“He’s not kidding, folks! He got me a great deal after he disemboweled me!”

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Never, ever buy any “back-alley horror.”

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This dude bought some of that back-alley stuff and had to have it surgically removed.

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Always pay fair market price to ensure you’re getting the absolute finest and freshest in horror.

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The Grim Reaper stole some horror, then made his getaway on this bike.

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“Stupid tourist! Payin’ for horror when we’ll torture and kill him for nothin’!”

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At what other park will you see an ancient Greek temple and a huge satellite dish together?

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Another look at Euro-Mir because it’s, well, Euro-Mir!

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One of the best screwed-up coasters ever.

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Long live the SONG THAT YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD! More to come--probably two more posts' worth.

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Brace yourselves--there may be more Angry Corn in this post!

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The Pig-Headed Guy blows a mean version of the Euro-Mir song on whatever that thing is he’s holding.

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Europa not only has a “Soarin’,” it has a “Carousel of Progress” (park history), too. I can vouch for the donut stand on the left (very tasty fried dough circles).

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Decorations or . . .

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. . . more victims for the Angry Corn?

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“Ahoy! Welcome to Pirates Nowhere Near the Caribbean, you lubbers!”

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“Aye, this be the Worst Wonder Woman cosplay I ever seen. But IT'S HALLOWEEN! IT'S HALLOWEEN!” (Seriously, this song popped up in all sort of random places, including the Pirates of Batavia ride.)

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“This poor lubber ate some of that left-handed hardtack, or maybe he bought some discount horror from a cannibal. Never trust a cannibal that offers ye a discount, sez I."

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“Water curtains and projections of some octopus-faced demon? Bah! We have a rum curtain with a dragon!”

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“Could you do a mate what’s stuck in the ceiling a favor? Take this chest off me hands.”

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“Never take a chest from a scurvy, ceiling-dwelling pirate! Now stand and deliver or I'll squirts ye in the eye!”

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"Aye, we'll be drownin' in pumpkin ale, thanks to all this treasure!"

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This guy will tap your butt with his sickle. I know this from experience.

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You can never have enough photos of Euro-Mir.

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Ireland wasn’t finished when we were here last year. It turned out great.

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Begorrah! Look at them whores on the wee kiddie coaster. Have they no decency?

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Joey would make a good leprechaun. No one would ever get their hands on his crock of gold.

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What more can you say about a park that themes the queue for its observation tower?

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See those cranes on the left? That’s where the new water park and hotel are being built.

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Europa is a a great resort, as well as theme park. The lighthouse on the left is part of Bell Rock Hotel. The Colosseo is in the middle. On the right are the Santa Isabel, El Andaluz, and Castillo Alcazar.

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Ride the Bobsled to the raclette shack.

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Euro-Mir and Blue Fire are on the left--two best coasters in the park.

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Time for a backstage tour of Voletarium.

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We’re inside the ride’s guts! (Well, I think it’s just the air-conditioning system.)

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We also made it to Voletarium's roof.

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I’m not a big fan of Silver Star, but it does look nice from up here.

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From the sublime . . .

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. . . to the ridiculous.

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You know what I need after doing hard time in the stocks? Poffertjes and ice cream.

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Bob agrees that ice cream always tastes its best right after you get out of the joint. (At least, that’s what he’s heard.)

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Time for some more backstage tours.

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First, we had a look at Europa's version of Oktoberfest.

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Caesar, get down from there! Coming up next--a tour of Traumatica, Europa's "haunt."

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One last post from Europa (sniff). Here's a look at Traumatica. Thanks for arranging the backstage tours, Robb and Elissa!

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Where’s the Angry Corn house?

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Asleep at his post. He's not going to slay many vampires that way.

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Is this more of the Angry Corn’s handwork?

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All hell breaks loose here on certain select dates.

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Join the Resistance! But you better convince them you’re human, or it might not go well.

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The Pack had the coolest logo.

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The entrance to the Resistance maze--no photos were allowed inside, but I can tell you that you're harassed by Resistance fighters who probably yell a lot.

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Calling MASH 4077! Incoming wounded, possibly undead.

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This church was the Fallen house.

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They showed us around inside. There was a particularly cool room involving a witch and mystic symbols, and they passed around a collection plate for our souls.

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“For the dead travel fast . . .” Or was that “first class”?

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Ellen’s Energy Adventure lives on--with 100% less Ellen!

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Complete with a Hidden Prehistoric Mickey.

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“Mmm . . . crunchy on the outside, a creamy filling inside. It’s a Prehistoric Mickey Bar.”

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“Boo to You,” Europa style.

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The Hottest Pirates of the Caribbean, er, I mean "of Batavia."

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“In no way do I resemble Captain Jack Sparrow. Please do not share this photo with Disney.”

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“Did Jack Sparrow have a rooster as a helmsman? Ha! Suck it, Disney lawyers!”

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Blue Fire, I have been neglecting you as of late.

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I apologize for this oversight.

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I won’t let it happen again.

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You’re just too good to ignore.

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Follow this path, and you will find raclette.

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Hmm--too much raclette for this guy.

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May as well stop for a portrait. Too bad he also stole my soul.

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Welcome to the Enchanted Tiki Room . . .

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. . . meets Show Biz Pizza--in German.

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“Lasst uns alle singen wie die Birdies singen . . .”

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It morphs into It’s a Small World at the end.

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“Last call for the Hellfire Express! All damned souls must board now!”

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“Hello! I’m the Goat of Mendes, and I’ve come for your soul. If you wish to make a blood sacrifice to hold off your inevitable damnation, we will accept sheep and calves, provided they're virgins."

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“Come on, folks! Give us your souls. You’ll never miss ‘em.”

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Hello, again, Blue Fire. I’m not neglecting you from the monorail.

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Yep, this is one beautiful park.

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Yes, absolutely . . .

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“Hey, meat bags! Go shuck yourselves!”

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Well, before we get shucked, can we wish Eurosat goodbye? “Ten, nine, time to crash . . . bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! IT’S HALLOWEEN!”

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Well, looks like ET and the Xenomorph from the “Alien” movies had a baby.

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Goodbye, Hotel Colosseo! Next stop, Phantasialand, with a side of Holiday Park.

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Amazing Report Chuck! I loved how you had the amazing theme music in the beginning because I turned that on and then read the report. I'm really bummed I haven't had the chance to experience this wonderfully themed park but hopefully whenever I make it out there, it will still be as awesome as it has looked in the past several years and won't go down a crappy rabbit hole like some Cedar Fair Parks *cough* Knott's *cough*.

 

Jimmy "I've always loved the Chuck photo captions" Bo

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^Thanks, Jimmy--you definitely need to see Europa!

 

Great report as usual! You can never have enough Angry Corn.

 

I think the benches/theming in the queue of the observation tower basically sums up how great Europa is. What other park would do that?

 

Yep--no one outside of Disney or perhaps Universal.

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Part 4: Fall at Europa Park

...........................

This holiday isn’t as big a deal in Europe as it is in the United States; Phantasialand, for example, doesn’t recognize it at all. Europa, however, has embraced All Hallows Eve and puts on its own haunt, complete with scare zones and mazes. This year’s version is Traumatica, a post-apocalyptic story in which five factions are fighting for dominion over the Earth:

 

Shadows (vampires who rule the world)

Ghouls (reject vampires who feast on the dead and work for the Shadows)

The Pack (werewolf bikers who work for the Shadows)

The Fallen (insane human beings who want to be Shadows themselves)

The Resistance (humans fighting for their piece of the world)

 

OMG. Are you sure this story wasn't patterned after our administration in Wash. DC?! (Thank goodness for The Resistance faction.)

 

Great report as always, Chuck. I miss Europa Park -- and I've never BEEN there! So many needs....so little time....

 

Alice

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Excellent report! Had me laughing all the way through. Really glad the group took the time for Neuschwanstein; visiting a European castle or palace is always an unforgettable experience (been to Versailles and Wawel in Krakow myself). Your connection to the King Ludwig story seems to have made it special for you.

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Part 5: Expedition GeForce with a Side of Taron

 

It was a fairly long haul from Europa Park to Phantasialand, but we had a good place for a rest stop: Holiday Park, where we had ERT on Sky Scream (a Premier “Sky Rocket II”) and Expedition GeForce (an Intamin legend in its own time). They even cooked dinner for us, which was particularly noteworthy because the park wasn’t open that day.

 

Yes, we literally had the place to ourselves. As for GeForce, it was running as great as ever, with crazy ejector air and outrageous speed; in other words, it was running like GeForce. This is noteworthy because the ride didn’t even have a chance to “warm up” before we got there.

 

What a great evening! My thanks to the folks at Holiday Park, and Robb and Elissa, for setting all this up. Next stop, Phantasialand--and Taron.

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“Welcome to Holiday Park! Watch out for the ghost who wants to brain you with a pumpkin!”

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“As you can see, he has plenty of ammo.”

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Walking under the remains of Super Wirbel sent a shiver down my spine. The memory of that ride is evil.

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Never trust a used-car saleman--particularly if he is a zombie.

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The queue for Sky Scream is a permanent “haunt” maze.

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Be careful! The ghost of Super Wirbel may linger somewhere in the mist!

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As we all know, bottles and blue light are terrifying.

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If this guy doesn’t make you think twice about riding, nothing will.

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Take this warning to heart. Either run like hell, or end up in hell.

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Anyone who’s ever watched the “Ren and Stimpy Show” knows that doing so will lead to your meeting Satan--IN HELL!

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I like Sky Scream.

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It seems to have a bit more “kick” than Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

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Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for our main event!

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Now entering the arena, it has a maximum speed of 74.6 miles per hour . . .

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. . . 4,000 feet of twisted steel and sex appeal . . .

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. . . and still reigning Intamin World Champion, . . .

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I give you, Expedition GeForce!

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Whacha gonna do, when Expedition GeForce runs wild on you?

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All must ride GeForce at least once in their lifetime. Off to Phantasialand!

Edited by cfc
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Mmmmmm. Still have good good memories of the park and GeForce...and my first ever StarFlyer!

They fed us too, back in 2008! With beer as well, I remember. I loved Germany.

 

And Sky Scream looks awesome. What a replacement for Super Wirbel, LOL!

 

Great TR, Chuck! On, to Phantasialand!

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In the rocky walls and rustic village of Klugheim, Phantasialand has built a themed environment to match the best work of Disney and Universal. The detail in the buildings, rocks, and landscaping is impressive and provides an excellent setting for Klugheim’s two coasters: Taron (a launched Intamin) and Raik (a Vekoma “Family Boomerang” that runs inside Taron). I have only two very minor complaints about Klugheim: 1) It might be bit too intricate (that is, finding your way from Taron to Raik is a bit of challenge as you wander up and down a variety of paths between the two coasters) and 2) I’m not entirely sure what the “back story” of this new section is. That being said, it looks great.

 

As for Taron, I liked it quite a bit. There are two nice pops of ejector air, and a bit of floater air before you hit the final brakes, and the launches are fun. Like Black Mamba (the park’s B&M invert), Taron is much enhanced by its beautiful setting. However, it’s not on the same level as Cedar Point’s Maverick (which is in my top five); I also prefer Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa to Taron. But the Phantasialand ride is a cut above Alton Towers’ Rita and Heide Park’s Desert Race, when it comes to Intamin launched coasters. Our hotel-guest ERT session that evening was fun, too.

 

As for Raik, it’s a nice family shuttle, but nothing special--aside from its setting. But it is a bit disorienting when you see it running backward as you zip forward on Taron (a great “what the hell?” moment).

 

So, let’s have a look at Taron and a bit more of Phantasialand (especially Hollywood Tour, a ride that I find hilarious). My photos of Taron aren’t perfect thanks to 1) my middling skills as photographer, 2) the speed at which the trains move, and 3) the gray, rainy weather.

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Taron isn’t exactly GeForce, but it’s still a lot of fun.

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Here’s where resort guests wait for their after-hours Taron/Raik ERT.

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Welcome to Klugheim, where the number-one industry seems to be rocks . . .

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. . . and unusual ways to transport them.

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I will accept both theming and hair time.

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Oh my god! That man in the red jacket is going to be killed!

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The people of Klugheim ("Klugheimers"?) appear to like "twistiness."

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It was a bit of a challenge getting decent photos on such a rainy day.

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But these riders look happy. Blurry, but happy.

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This is the only photo I have of Raik in operation.

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Cool-looking trains, though.

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Right, Joe?

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Mystery Castle blends in pretty well with Klugheim.

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The area is well lit, too.

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We shall now bid Klugheim farewell.

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Just documenting that Bob took his first ride on Chiapas--in the rain.

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Phantasialand’s new “steam punk” section should be pretty cool . . .

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. . . but I have some reservations about the Vekoma launched flying coaster. (That being said, I was concerned about Sting Ray in China, but ended up liking it.)

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Winjas is still great, even if it makes mee feel queasier as I get older.

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This outrageously blurry photo may give you a clue as to the source my queasiness.

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Ah, Hollywood Tour, where the Great Movie Ride . . .

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. . . Meets the Pirates of the Caribbean, Who Are Not in Batavia.

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Or is it more like It’s a Small World . . .

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. . . with Something that Vaguely Resembles a Shark?

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On September 30, 2017 . . .

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. . . my parents’ old shag carpet became sentient.

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When salt shakers go rogue.

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Man has fled underseas to escape the horror of the sentient shag carpet and rogue salt shakers. This was in the first draft of a “20,000 Leagues” reboot, but Disney rejected it.

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They rejected this proposed radical remake of “The Ugly Dachshund,” too.

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Mystery Castle looks great from the outside . . .

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. . . but I think they need a new cleaning service.

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And so, let us bid a fond farewell to Phantasialand and the Hotel Ling Bao, which I'm sure had better maid service than Mystery Castle. On to Dusseldorf, Slagharen, and Movie Park--later.

Edited by cfc
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Great report! Glad to see I wasn't the only one who had difficulty getting photos of Taron with the weather. I hadn't a clue what Klugheim was either, but their website gives a little more clarification. Link Basically it sounds like a working class village near a rocky landscape. Whatever Klugheim is, it looked fantastic!

 

I just rode Cheetah Hunt yesterday and I preferred Taron, but they're close. I agree though that Maverick is way better than both of those two.

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^I'd rank Taron on a similar level as Cheetah Hunt layout wise, but I'd also personally give Taron the edge, even if just for the comfier trains (I'm just a pinch too tall to fit well under those Cheetah Hunt-style OTSRs, and they have a nasty habit of tightening way too hard on my shoulders mid-ride).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Part 6--From the Wild West to the 24th Century and the Gold Rush to Star Trek: Operation Enterprise

 

Our revels now are nearly ended . . .

 

Yes, this was the last day after the "official" last day of the Oktoberfest trip (in other words, an add-on day), and we spent the first part of it in the Netherlands at Slagharen. All I knew about this park was that they’d opened Gold Rush, a new Gerstlauer launched coaster, earlier this year. Other than that, I was all ignorance.

 

Slagaharen was a very nice little park, with surprisingly good theming (to the old American West and the world of Jules Verne) and a great coaster in Gold Rush. The ride does Gertslauer’s version of the “forward-backward-forward” launch bit that’s become so popular over the last few years. The train shoots forward, rolls back into the station, shoots backward and part way into an inversion, then rolls down and shoots forward through the course. The launches are intense, and depending on where you’re sitting, you might be hanging upside-down for a moment or two after the backward launch before zipping ahead through the rest of the ride’s crazy, twisting layout. Gold Rush is very smooth--much better than Bayern’s Freischütz (which can shake your fillings loose). There’s some good air time, too.

 

We only had a few hours at Slagharen for a filming session on Gold Rush, so there wasn’t much time to do anything other than tour the park and grab a quick bite.

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Either we’re very early or no one visits this park.

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We began our day in the Wild West for a filming/ERT session on Gold Rush.

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Looks like their original train concept didn’t work out too well.

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These trains were much better.

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Remembrance of Rides Past

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Unlike Bayern’s launched coaster, Gold Rush doesn’t try to shake or beat you to death.

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Someone save us . . . oh, never mind! It’s too much fun.

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Gold Rush has a great layout.

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The coaster’s pretty, and so is the park.

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And I’m not saying this just because they gave us coffee and donuts.

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“Hey there, pilgrim. I’d hate to think that you didn’t wash your hands after using the toilet. I’d really hate to think that!”

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The park also had a nice section themed to Jules Verne.

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How many of you caught this “Around the World in 80 Days” joke? Phileas Fogg was the main character in the Verne novel.

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“Captain Nemo! Giant squid approaching from the stern!”

“Ugh! Again with the damn squid! Break out the deep fryer and prepare the marinara sauce!”

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Annoying pests or popular mascots? Your call.

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Business has certainly picked up since we arrived.

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This is the most secure bridge in the Netherlands.

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Soylent Blue is Smurfs!

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Gold Rush deserves another look.

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This may be the “sleeper” new coaster of the year.

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Yes, you gotta love a little park that has both Gold Rush . . .

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. . . and poffertjes. On to the future!

Edited by cfc
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One more new coaster this trip--Star Trek: Operation Enterprise, the launched Mack coaster at Germany’s Movie Park. This coaster was being built when I was at the park last year, and so (being an old Star Trek fan), I was happy for a chance to ride it.

 

When this coaster was announced, I thought that it was based on the new Star Trek movies. I was pleasantly surprised that Star Trek: The Next Generation was the inspiration. Movie Park built an entirely new section, Federation Plaza, for the ride. While it wasn’t Disney- or Universal-level theming, they did a pretty nice job (especially their facsimile of the Enterprise’s Bridge, which was part of the pre-show).

 

The Enterprise crew has been taken captive by the Borg, and it’s up us to rescue them (poor bastards). This requires piloting a “shuttle” on a crazy course to avoid Borg defenses, penetrate the Borg cube (which looks like a big black box with a green strobe light), save the crew, and get out. They even use a screen in the “shuttle bay" to show the course you must follow to pull this off; odd, but it looks a lot like the layout of the coaster (and involves a forward-backward-forward launch sequence--what a twist).

 

I enjoyed Star Trek: Operation Enterprise quite a bit. There was good air time on some of the hills, and the inversions are crazy. It’s a winner for Movie Park. Now if they could just do something about their wretched wooden coaster, Bandit.

 

Almost time to face “the final frontier.”

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Hooray for Horrorwood! (Hmm . . . I sense another Halloween event.)

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Boy, security is tough here!

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Hmm . . . something new has been added since my last visit.

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More on this later . . .

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. . . if we live that long. Ulp!

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Oh my god! Pumpkins and corn stalks!

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It’s clear that something terrifying could happen here at any moment.

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This sign is way up on the side of a building. The only way I could cross it would be if I were Spider-man.

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AND WE’RE OFFERING AN APOCALYPSE OF SAVINGS!

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Well, there’s goes my Christmas in the Big Apple. Guess I’ll have to go to Sacramento again.

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Van Helsing’s Factory is still a lot of fun . . .

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. . . and it has the coolest restroom signs.

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You can still eat schnitzel, drink a beer, and watch “Addams Family” episodes dubbed into German here.

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The Old West was never this horrifying.

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Albert: The Man Without Fear!

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Well, they reactivated my commission. Better drag my butt to Star Fleet Command. I'm sure they have a mission of profound importance for me!

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Note the artfully tilted photo, which has become very popular online nowadays. Yes, I’m pandering shamelessly!

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Yeah, don’t be like a Klingon.

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What? You called me up to work in the Star Fleet gift shop?

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I wonder if this plush Romulan ship can fire an adorable bolt of high-energy plasma capable of disintegrating an asteroid.

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So, the Enterprise crew works in their pajamas?

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Star Fleet must be getting desperate if they’re accepting bears.

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This “Holodeck Simulator” looks suspiciously like a roller-coaster test seat.

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So, the Enterprise crew is depending on us to save them. They are so screwed!

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Picard loses his crew, and they mount a rescue mission. I lose a crew and spend the rest of my Star Fleet career cleaning space latrines and working in the gift shop. There is no justice!

 

More to come from Movie Park.

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