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I’m loving all of your updates!!! I was in Germany last month and absolutely fell in love with everything about it. The people, the food, architecture, transportation, just everything! We also went to Hansa Park and had a great time so it’s fun seeing your pics of one of those “rare” parks that doesn’t get much international fame. I was only back in america for a week before I booked my next flight back for this coming May. Keep the awesome updates coming!

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And now...Phantasialand!

 

Ahh, how to start with Phantasialand? It is completely unlike any other park, in all the best ways! The thing that I admire most about Phantasialand is the amount of creativity that goes into this park. What I mean is, it felt so refreshing to see areas that are so uniquely themed. The big coasters of Taron, Winjas, and Black Mamba are unlike any other attractions. Colorado Adventure is a fantastic mine train as well. The theming at this park is incredible, but what I liked most about Phantasialand was the consistency of theming. What I mean by this is that there is no other park where you can ride such high thrill coasters with so much detail to theming. Yes, there are other well-themed parks that have big coasters. Disney is the king of theming all rides, but you will not find a coaster at any Disney park on the intensity level of a coaster like Black Mamba. Universal and Busch Parks also have big coasters, but at both of these chains the theming is mostly in the park and in the queue, as there is very little theming during the ride. The same can also be said for Herschend Parks, and even Europe Park to an extent. But Phantasialand themes all their coasters, from the smallest to largest. Many parks seem to be under the impression that a high thrill coaster can stand on its own, but this park understands how theming can really add to the experience of even their most famous coaster.

 

Oh, what's that one coaster at this park everyone talks about again?

 

Oh yeah...

 

TARON!

 

Taron is a fantastic looking coaster. I am usually not a fan of neutral colors on roller coasters, but the black track makes this ride look industrial and twisted all at the same time. None of my pictures could fully grasp just how impressive that mess of track looks. But how is this coaster, you may ask? I can answer that: AWESOME.

 

But I say that it was awesome with a few caveats. The track layout is good. It is intense and filled with positive and lateral G's, but airtime is a little sparse. However, the layout alone is nowhere on the level of a coaster like Maverick. I would say it is more intense than Cheetah Hunt and Manta (San Diego). But where is coaster really shines is how well the layout is integrated in the area. If Taron were just another parking lot coaster, there is no way I would place it anywhere near my top ten. But the experience of diving under walkways, weaving between rocks, and the forced perspectives at the high points of this ride are what make this ride truly amazing. I also found this coaster to be very re-ridable. After fourteen rides throughout different times during the day (not at night sadly), I found that no ride seemed any better or worse than the last, which is very good.

 

To summarize Taron: I loved it. However, if you ride it expecting the next Maverick or Skyrush, you may leave dissapointed. I would say Taron is like a more intense version of Manta at SWSD, another coaster I adore. CA's Manta is a low to the ground launch coaster which interacts with the surrounding theming very well (at least in the first half). If you like Manta for this, you would love Taron. Overall, I would say that Taron was my "favorite" coaster of the trip, but not the "best" coaster of the trip. I say this because Taron gave the best overall experience of any coaster I rode, with the theming and interactions. However, there is one other coaster not too far away that gives an objectively better ride in terms of airtime and forces (And I bet everyone knows which coaster I'm talking about).

 

So on to the photos! (I placed my opinions of the other coasters in the captions as well).

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Phantasialand is near Cologne, where I would be staying. This is the famous cathedral, arguably one of the most impressive in Europe.

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WWII destruction. While there are some old sights in Cologne, most of the city actually looks very modern, especially for a European city. This is because the city was heavily destroyed during WWII. Had my great grandfather lived a littler longer, he might have helped destroy this city too. (But for a very justifiable reason!)

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Much of downtown Cologne looks more like this.

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But I know these are the photos you really want to see! Phantasialand! This is the main street, themed to 1920's Berlin.

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you would know that this is Colorado Adventure.

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Testing! (German parks tend to open an hour before the rides actually do).

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China! This area is very well done. Much better than the pavilion at Epcot.

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Mystery Castle. To be completely honest, the queue for this ride is the best part. The ride itself is pretty "meh." While the queue rooms look great, the actual ride is just a giant frog hopper in a big room. This ride could benefit from a better drop sequence and more theming during the ride.

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But Chiapas looks great! This is one of the best log flumes in the world. My only criticism of it is that I would like to see more dark ride like effects and scenes during the ride. Other than that, it is an exceptional log ride.

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Taron

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Colorado Adventure is one of the best mine trains I have ridden. Actually, it might be my favorite mine train. It has plenty of high-banked turns, and I love how it has a long middle section in the dark. It is far more intense than Gatekeeper, no doubt. (But that's not saying much!)

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Winjas. This coaster is messed up in all the best ways. It is best experienced on the fear track starting backwards. (Those first few drops really get you going in reverse!)

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Taron is fantastic. The ride itself could be a little better, but the theming and interactions make this coaster a must ride.

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Black Mamba. I found this coaster to have plenty of intensity throughout, and the theming really goes a long way. The experience of weaving through the trenches and tunnels makes this one of the best inverts in the world, no doubt.

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These upper turns on Taron are surprisingly fun, due to the forced perspective provided by the theming. (It makes it seem like you are very high off the ground).

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A Tapa bar. Because Mexican food is (sadly) fairly unknown in Europe

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Bye to Phantasialand! I was consistently impressed with almost every aspect of this park, and I think it truly is one of the best in the world. I wish there were more parks like this out there! This might be my new favorite park.

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^Yes!

 

But come to think of it, I did find one flaw with Phantasialand: the spillover of theming. The theming itself is very well done, but the park is very compact. Because of this, many of the tallest structures are visible from around the park. While parks like Disney do a good job of making sure the structures that are visible blend in with the surrounding theming, Phantasialand seems to have a more difficult time at this. Being able to see Mystery Castle took me out of the atmosphere of Klugheim a bit, and seeing Black Mamba took me out of the Chiapas atmosphere a bit.

 

However, this was literally the only flaw I could find with Phantasialand, and even this is a very tiny flaw. Otherwise, this is the most perfect park I can imagine. Every ride is well themed, and the operations were great. This is a solid 10/10 park.

 

Small Holiday Park update next! (And my opinion on GeForce).

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To summarize Taron: I loved it. However, if you ride it expecting the next Maverick or Skyrush, you may leave disappointed.

I will say this summed up my thoughts on Taron as well. Although since so many of the German fanboys & even some of our TPR friends kept bragging that this was a "Maverick killer" I went into it with higher expectations, which was a mistake. For me I would put Taron slightly *slightly* below Cheetah Hunt and Cheetah Hunt only gets the nod because I really do like the inversion on that coaster. I felt that Taron just kept doing the same things over and over again and could have used an inversion or something different to mix things up a bit more.

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Small Holiday Park update!

 

Holiday Park is a small park, and a strange one at that. While Hansa Park feels like a small park in transition to a big park, Holiday Park is pretty much just a small park with one large coaster. It is almost strange to see such a small neighborhood park have an Intamin mega coaster right in the middle. Aside from that, there is really not much to say about Holiday Park. The best rides besides GeForce are the SkyRocket II, the Intamin drop tower, and the Starflyer. However, I can ride all three of these ride types at my two respective home parks. (SFDK and CGA). So really the only thing drawing me to this park was GeForce. But that is more than enough to draw me in.

 

It would be redundant to say that Expedition GeForce is an amazing ride. But why is it great? I like it because it reminds me of one of the most famous and polarizing roller coasters in the world: Millennium Force. Have you ever ridden Millennium Force and said, "that was fun, but I wish it had more airtime."? If you are on this site, I guarantee that you have read that on the internet or heard that from a fellow enthusiast. If you are one of my fellow enthusiasts who has said that, then I strongly suggest that you go out and ride Expedition GeForce. Most of the ride gives a very similar vibe to Millennium Force. The first two thirds are filled with large overbanks and large floater hills. Both coasters even spend a fair amount of time going over and through trees. However the difference is airtime. While Millennium Force has just two airtime hills, Expedition GeForce has no shortage of air, especially in the final four hills. These hills are unique, as they are strong, but larger in size than your typical bunny hill finale. I really wish more coasters ended like this, because I loved it. The ending was fantastic, and the best part of this ride. I would probably rank the rest of the ride as being slightly below an average RMC coaster, maybe even on par with a B&M hyper (dare I say). But the final hills really elevate this coaster to its world-class status. I would say that GeForce is overrated, if not for the insane ending. It does not have the intensity of a coaster like Skyrush, but it probably still belongs somewhere in my top five.

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This was an exciting moment.

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No! I don't care about an SRII! More GeForce please!

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There we go! It works well flying over the trees.

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Large floater hill.

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Overall, the coaster gave a very "Millennium Force" vibe, until it hit these last few hills. The ending really gives GeForce the airtime that Millennium Force lacks.

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Enjoying your trip report very much so far! Definitely fun to read.

 

Holiday park really feels like a small quaint park that was build around expedition geforce and not vice-versa (eventhough that's the case). I actually find your commentary on Geforce opposing of what many others (including I) think.

Where the first drop is the best part (maybe the world's best) and the accompanying two hills (especially the second one ). Eventhough I have to agree that in positve forces it is nothing to write home about.

Oh well at least no one has ever come off the ride disappointed saying that it was not worth the drive.

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^That might have to do with different tastes in intensity. As I said, the first two thirds of GeForce felt very much like Millennium Force to me. Both have great first drops, which are followed by two floater hills in between overbanks. GeForce's floater hills are much better though. However, I might have liked the ending better because I tend to prefer shorter bursts of intensity and quick direction changes over long drawn out moments of intensity. For example, I actually like Phantom's Revenge better than El Toro. El Toro is great, but there is rarely a quick direction change on that ride except for the S turns at the end. On the other hand Phantom's Revenge seemed to throw elements at me far more rapidly, especially at the end. This is probably why I like the end of GeForce the best; this is the part where the elements come most rapidly instead of the large hills in the beginning.

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New update: The south German city of Freiburg! If you want to see a beautiful large(ish) city in Germany, this might be the city for you!

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One of the historic clock towers

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Streams. There are several of these running around Freiburg. Legend has it that if you step in one, you will find love in this city. (And that legend did come true, but that's not a story for TPR).

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The other historic clock tower. Naturally, this one has a McDonalds at the bottom.

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But I ate here! With my Schwarzwald Schnitzel! (Black Forest Schnitzel). It is a schnitzel with bacon sauce.

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At the streetcar stop to ride back to the main station. This was where I would go to my next park...It was...um...Europa Freaking Park!

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And now...the moment you've all been waiting for! Europa Park!

 

A short train and bus ride from Freiburg took me to Europa Park, where I spent two full days. And you need that many days at least to see this park!

 

Europa is quite possibly the most beautiful park in the world. Imagine the world showcase of Epcot were an entire park. Then add every bit of amazing foliage you can imagine. That's basically Europa Park. My introduction to this park is much shorter, because Europa does not have any hot new attractions at this time (not that it desperately needs any). So, I will give my opinions on the individual aspects of this park down below! (And tell some of my unusual stories).

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This begins with Blue Fire, possibly Europa's most famous coaster.

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With maybe the weirdest overbank in existence. (Yes, I know it was shaped that way for a reason. It is to make the first hill the largest hill so a rollback is more likely than a valley)

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Largest loop on a launch coaster in Europe, or something like that.

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Overall, Blue Fire is a "fine" launch coaster. It is perfectly smooth, and it has amazing trains. But this coaster did not have any amazing forces or overly memorable moments except for the final inversion. The last heartline roll is one of my top five favorite inversions ever, but the rest of the ride was not insanely memorable. It is mostly just a big, fun launch coaster with amazing capacity. It also had just enough adrenaline to almost cure my headache. (I may or may not have drank too much German beer the night before).

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Next: Wodan! Like other GCI's Wodan has a fly through. Unlike other GCI's, the fly through actually adds something to the ride itself. On most GCI's the fly through is just a straight section. But on Wodan, the fly through banks to the right, serving as a sort of trick track. I liked how they were able to build this element without killing the pace of the ride.

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Wodan is actually one of my favorite GCI's. It might have the strongest laterals of any GCI I have ridden, even more so than Thunderhead and Gold Striker. However, those two coasters also have quite a bit more airtime than Wodan.

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Wodan also interacts well with pathways and other attractions. I do with Europa themed their other big coasters as well as this one. (I feel like this is the one thing Europa does not excel at. They theme the park well, but I wish they placed more theming on the coasters themselves, like what Phantasialand does)..

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Did I mention this park is beautiful? There is plenty in this park to see, especially when you want to ride fewer coasters because you may or may not have had one too many German beers the night before. Luckily, the Germans are also very friendly. I managed to find a group of very nice German girls who were carrying a cooler full of vegetables, and shared them with me to help with my said headache. (I'm not making this up!)

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Arthur (Excuse the horrible picture quality)

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This is a fantastic, and very unique dark ride. It feels like a much more modern take on the Peter Pan ride concept, which is very neat. I would love to see more inverted dark rides like this.

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Poseidon. This is a fine, family water coaster. The turns are really just okay, and the best part is the final two hills after the second lift.

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Largest drop. I did not notice that the Silver Star train snuck into my picture. I should have expected that though, given Europa's stellar operations.

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Gotta love how Silver Star is themed to F1 racing, while it is basically a parking lot coaster.

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Silver Star is also fine. It is standard for what you would expect from a B&M hyper, if not maybe a little less intense. I am also not the biggest fan of how it is essentially a parking lot coaster. But overall it is very fun and very floaty. I still think Silver Star is my favorite coaster at Europa Park, even though it does not stand-out too much in my coaster rankings. I would love to see Europa get that one A+ standout coaster it seems to lack.

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I'll just let these photos speak for themselves.

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The wild mouse. Only Europa could make a standard wild mouse look this good. Step it up Disney!

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The bobsled coaster. The first drop is pretty big for a bobsled coaster, but the rest of the ride is pretty standard. (Though the queue if pretty cool).

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Switzerland is one of the best themed areas of this park.

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They do have a real locomotive you can climb on.

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This one is for the train nerds, who might need a moment alone with this picture.

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Eurosat. This might be the most intense coaster in the park. (No, I'm not kidding). The back row on this thing whips around turns like mad! It is like a Space Mountain on steroids.

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Splash zone of Atlantica. The backwards section on this ride is surprisingly fun. I count this is a coaster, but I know that one is pretty disputable.

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Euro Mir

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Quite possibly the strangest coaster around. It is fun, but odd. That's really all I can say about it.

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I like how Europa just lets the rafts on their rapids ride get close enough to bump each other.

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Aplina Blitz. I rode it with and without VR. Up until this point, my only VR experience was Six Flags America. Needless to say, I have a much more positive view of VR now. (The VR or Pegasus is also well done).

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That's all from Europa Park! This is the last park on the trip, but the trip is not yet over. I still have several days in Munich to upload!

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^This.

 

You need at minimum two full days at Europa Park, especially if it is your first time. The park is much bigger than you might think, and there are plenty of little things to do that you may not notice when walking from ride to ride. I spent two days there, but I guarantee that I would still discover even more things if I went back.

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That is what I think too. In most amusement Parks, maybe besides Dosney, you run from ride to ride, but at Europa, you actually want to sit down, relax , enjoy the scenery, have raclete and splurge in one of the Hotels, not particular cheap, but these Hotels are attractions for themself.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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