After an overnight train and a full day at Hansa Park, I was ready to crash. My bed was calling my name. However, a crazy European funfair called my name louder.
My base for Hansa Park and Heide Park was downtown Hamburg. And the Hamburg DOM funfair just happened to be less than 2 miles from my hotel. It would have been criminal not to go.
I had no clue what the ride lineup would be. I sort of expected a lot of coasters and flats to overlap with Oktoberfest’s lineup. Much to my shock, basically every ride was different. The only ride I noticed from Oktoberfest was the weird multi-story Rotor with the funhouse queue.
The biggest coaster was the Rock & Roller Coaster not starring Aerosmith. Instead of being a cool Vekoma launcher in the dark, this one was a Schwarzkopf wildcat with some light theming around it.
This supersized galaxi was great for a fair coaster. The second and third drops had quick pops of air and it was immaculately smooth. The only rough part was a borderline violent stop at the end. Brace yourself for that! 5 out of 10
The other major coaster was Crazy Mouse. Since I got a solo ride, my car spun like a top in the second half. The other cool thing about this ride was that they had complimentary fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo adjacent to it. I’ve never seen that at a fair before. 5 out of 10
I never thought I’d find a wacky worm better than the one at Nigloland. What could be better than a wacky worm that gives ejector airtime? Well I may have found one.
If you take a wacky worm and add animatronics, smoke, and water, you have officially piqued my interest. And that’s exactly what Kuddel Der Hai did. And it also plays the SpongeBob SquarePants theme as you crawl around the course. 4 out of 10
There was also a debatable fourth credit in Spuk. This was a gravity driven haunted house with a sizable spiral lift and multiple drops. Honestly, this is more of a coaster than Black Diamond or Conneaut’s Devil’s Den. One of the hills even had a tiny pop of air.
But the highlight was the scare effects. The props themselves were relatively cheap looking, but the timing was impeccable. Jump scares were lined up perfectly with the coaster drops to give this haunt a unique flavor. And it gets major points for almost making me crap my pants. 9 out of 10SPOILER
As you round the corner, I thought there was one last animatronic. Except this was a real dude. Not only that, but he swung a rubber axe into
my throat. WTF?! I’ve been touched before on haunts, but I’ve never had someone go for my jugular.
It's the things that would never fly in America that make Europe special.END SPOILER
Since one effed up haunt wasn’t enough, there was also this multi-story shooter that begins with an elevator lift. The props and targets on Geister were bare bones; however, it had some unique things that made it memorable.
For one, it has some drops. They’re 100% powered, but there were targets during this drop that were a real challenge to hit. Second, there were multiple jump scares. When you’re busy focusing on targets, you really let your guard down so cheap carnival effects suddenly become effective.
And like Spuk, this one also has a surprise finale. 7 out of 10SPOILER
Just when you think the ride is over, the car actually moves on a motion base. A zombie then “attacks” you and you rise into the air and shake around a bit. It wasn’t thrilling, but I guarantee you’ll be laughing at the randomness of it.END SPOILER
Off-ride, the grandest dark ride appears to be Dr. Archibald Master of Time. The multistory building is absolute eye-candy. You’d think a ride that puts that much effort into the facade would have some detailed sets on the inside.
Except there’s one problem, Dr. Archibald is a VR dark ride.
Rather than trying to scare you, this VR was to transport you to different fantasy worlds. It was definitely novel, but the overly cartoonish scenes just weren’t immersive enough for me. Honestly, the coolest part was how the unload station matched the final scene from the VR. 5 out of 10
Happy Family was a disorienting fun house. I lost count how many shaking, spinning, rolling, bouncing, and sliding platforms there were. All I know is that my legs felt like jelly afterwards and I couldn’t walk straight. There was also a super tall and fast spiral slide for good measure. 8 out of 10
Crazy Island was the lesser of the two fun houses. Not all the indoor effects worked, but the outdoor section is where it got interesting.
There are all sorts of platforms above a pool. There are also a series of sprayers. If you lose your balance, you will fall in the water. If you mistime your journey, you’ll get blasted. And if you somehow manage to stay dry, don’t worry. The last platform sinks into the pool anyway. 5 out of 10
And of course the fair was filled with insane flats. It’s a toss-up what was crazier- the Huss Breakdance or the Mondial Shake.
I never rode the famed Break Dance at Coney Island, but I find it hard-pressed that thing could top Dancer. To start, it had a ridiculously long cycle. The cycle lasted two FULL songs! Even if it ran like crap, that alone would make it notable. But it didn’t run like crap. This thing was insane.
I never knew a break dance could be operated so fast. The Gs on the spinning combined with the violent whipping was pure bliss. I didn’t think it could get any faster, but the operator laughed maniacally and yelled, “Spin like a bee!” And somehow it got even faster. The Gs were so intense it pushed the skin back on my cheeks a la Top Thrill Dragster. 10 out of 10
I loved Tik Tak at Tivoli Gardens. I thought it was the perfect flat. It was beautiful, had a super long cycle, and was wild. Shake isn’t a looker, but it has an insanely long cycle and an insanely wild ride.
Tik Tak had violent rocking and long, drawn-out flips. Shake had the long, drawn-out flips, but instead of violent rocks, it did complete 360 flips in the blink of an eye. Combine that with a disorienting lighting package and you’re going to have no idea which way is up. 10 out of 10
Viva Mexico was a waltzer, which is basically a tilt-a-whirl on sterioids. And it had the potential to be one of the best spinning rides of all-time. There was just one problem. I don’t have boobs.
During the ride, the operators ran around the platform manually spinning vehicles. Every so often they’d give me a token spin and the Gs were incredible. But most of their time was spent on the all-female cars. So if you want a great ride, I hope you’re female or willing to dress in drag. 8 out of 10
And since it was a German fair, there was of course beer and food. I feel like I committed a mortal sin skipping the beer, but I did indulge in food. I had a jumbo pretzel, some fluffy pofferjes, and a delicious unknown-meat sandwich.
For those unfamiliar with a European fair, there’s no wristband. A different showman owns every ride. On one hand, that stinks because it can become costly. On the other hand, this is why every ride is run to the max. They need to make their ride more appealing than the competition!
The Hamburg DOM isn’t a destination fair like Oktoberfest. However, it’s still a riot. The atmosphere is electric and you see plenty of things you’ll never get in America like vomit-inducing flats and crazy dark rides.