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Belantis is located about 10km south of Leipzig in Germany.
If the gallery is being buggy, cycle though the photos from this point to see all 180:
I had a few spare days left on my rail pass, and it’s only 1h 15m to get from Berlin (Where I was at that point) to Leipzig, and then from there you take a local S-Bahn train to Markkleeberg and a bus to the park. I got caught out because the return buses don’t run as often outside of school holidays, so I would have been stuck till 4pm. Instead I got STUNG for a taxi back.
Belantis is a spread out park (About the size of the dry part of Dreamworld) built around an old coal mine. The pit is now a lake, and there are different themed lands, eg Medieval, Egypt, Ancient Greece, Mayan, Native American etc.
The park feels like a mixed bag, some pockets have quite good looking theming and feel like immersive zones.
Other parts it looks quite weathered and cheaply done, a lot of the park is just grave/bitumen paths and long grass and untidy landscaping.And maintenance doesnt seem the greatest, with crumbling theming in parts.
If you go on Google maps you can sort of see how spread out and sparse the park is.
I reckon the park would have felt better if they had just brought it all closer together. It’s the same issue WnW Sydney has basically.
As for the rides, they are alright and some were interesting and unique, but I don’t think anything really grabbed me other than Gotterflug, which was a riot.
The entrance area I thought looked good. Quite liked how the building was overlaid with the sundial design.
First ride was Hurcan, a large Eurofighter. I heard this one was quite rough, and it shook a bit, but nothing unbearable. I don’t think you’d want to ride more than 3 times though. Starts off with a vertical lift and drop, zero g, then an oddly shaped cobra roll the train appears to wobble through. Then after a couple more turns it finishes off with some interlocking corkscrews. Nice layout actually.
Too big for this coaster or top spin though. Aint it the cutest?
After that passed through the Pirate themed area and tried Capt’n Blacks Piratentaufe, which is one of those family sized drop towers except it can sway from side to side. Cool little gimmick actually.
The pirate area looked quite good, but it’s basically an island of theming, and once you leave its back out into windswept barren park area.
It happened to be on the way but Posiedons Flotte was next, the park was dead so I was the sole person flicking around on this thing. They are their most fun when you hold the boat inwards and then suddenly turn outwards, which creates strong lateral forces. Think of it like a water borne version of flying scooters.
Pressing on was Fahrt De Oddeseyus, which is a tow boat ride around the lake, passing some crap ancient Greek theming on the way, and at one point passing through a concrete culvert tunnel.
Good way to waste 10 mins.
I couldn’t hold off on the Egyptian bit any longer, and joined a 10 minute queue for Fluch des Pharaos, a large flume ride built by Hafema (The company that brought us Jurassic Park in Singapore and River Quest at Phantasialand.
It’s sort of halfway between being a rapids ride and a flume, with boats that are inflatable dinghies holding 8, with the metal lap bars strapped/sewn onto the rubber body of the boat.
The pyramid looks impressive from the outside, but a bit of missed potential. The indoor section of the ride is very brief, and really just long enough to get you to the elevator lift. Theming is essentially flat walls with a couple of statues and a mannequin of a temple explorer.
The boat rolls sideways into a vertical lift, where there is a UV painted image of a big Pharaoh head, before you are lifted up, and slide sideways out again at the top, and down the main drop.
The main drop is about as big as WWF, but not really wet at all. From there the ride is done at a speedy pace, leading through a few more twists and turns, and into the whirlpool element, which looks more interesting than it is, but the curved drop in the middle is kinda waterslide-ish.
A couple more turns, passing a waterfall on the way, and the ride is over.
It’s better than a regular flume ride, but the theming was too featureless.
Right next door was Cobra Des Amun Ra, a Gerstlauer family coaster, and quite good, with a punchy layout full of elevation changes. It doesn’t just lumber around like the likes of Roadrunner/Madagascar. The station and queue building was nicely done for a coaster of this size too.
Just as I got off, the park mascot made an appearance in the STATION, and then hopped on for an actual ride. You’d never see that here in Aus.
Doubling back on myself, I took a ride on Gotterflug, which is a Gerstlauer Sky Roller.
This is a similar concept to tailspin, but instead of it being seats on a tilted arm, it’s more like a star flyer in that it is a circular ride that rises up.
The thing is super easy to get spinning, so you can get triple digit rotation counts if you like. I held back, but still spun more than any ride I’ve done on a Sky Roller.
The back of the park is one big dead end, which is silly. There’s what, about 200m of path missing between Huracan and the Native American zone that would complete a logical loop around the lake, but its absence results in an 800m backtrack to reach the end of the park as a result.
The park has a heap of random little non rides, like this nature walk, wonky bikes, kiddy cars etc. Filler I guess.
This medieval town square is another example of a pocket of good theming, but all the shops were shut.
So the next bit was the Medieval section, which has a Gertslauer bobsled coaster called Drachenriit, more or less a wild mouse on steroids with a spread out layout, and a much more interesting design overall.
Starts off with a curved drop, then a few conventional switch back turns, then the remaining majority of the ride is quick helices and punchy bunny hills. Great fun.
This whole area looked quite nice actually. The main castle building holds a Vekoma mad house ride, which I was sad to miss since it was closed for maintenance, but at the same time I’d done plenty of others on this trip anyway, so it wasn’t a full on loss.
There was also a hedge maze.
The bit at the back of the park was a sort of Native American village. I skipped over the canoes and the Frisbee ride.
At that point I had done everything I wanted to, so I swung back via Huracan and tried a ride in the back seat instead, and then made my way to the exit. Time spent around 3 or so hours.
It was at this point I discovered I had misread the bus timetable (carefully typing the footnote on the timetable into translate led me to discover that certain buses don’t run outside holidays), so I headed back to the entrance, where guest services called a taxi. I ate a pretzel in the meantime, before departing.
Overall, the park is just average. I went mostly because it wasn’t too far out of the way from my location, and it meant more or less completing the set of major parks in Germany.
Doesn’t stack up to the majors like Phantasialand or Europa of course, but I felt the 2nd tier parks like Holiday Park or Tripsdrill were better as well.
By Coaster Hipster
Even though Parc Saint Paul is less than 2 hours away from where I live, I somehow never bothered to visit the place. After several delays and figuring out a public transportation/uber strategy to navigate in and out there, it was finally time to discover Parc Saint Paul and its reported quirkyness
The entrance sets the tone with a plastic-y gate that wouldn't feel out of place at a fairground. The Campion family - who founded the park and still operates it to its day - were originally fairground ride operators which explains the very funfair look of most scenery there, as well as the nature of the rides.
Started the day on Aérotrain. The ride op which was actually very warmful and friendly, was the most remarkable thing about my experience on this tame Vekoma kiddie. It makes for some nice parking lot mini-skyline, but of course I forgot to take a picture from that angle
Next was the local shameful cred, Pomme (apple in French).
Actually make that 2 shameful creds! Never seen this sort of hairpin style kiddie before. It's obviously fairly uneventful, but the tight hairpin turns actually deliver some soft laterals which are rarely found on the usual kid-targeted coaster.
There is actually a lot of trees around the paths, which alleviates the whole tacky scenery and basic, flat pathwork of the park. Since I didn't really research into the park, was surprised to find some sort of authentic village houses around the chairswing area. They look nice enough even though they feel too realistic to fit the otherwise carefree, fun atmosphere of Parc Saint Paul.
But anyway, moving on to the main draw!
Wood Express is really fun! There are so many little pops of ejector air taken at a good speed thoughout the layout. It doesn't provide much if any laterals at all unlike its older French cousin Timber at Walibi Rhône-Alpes, but I found the Parc Saint Paul woodie to be smoother. Also, the second hop on the double down midway through is remarkably strong! Like all other hills the airtime is very short, but it is definitely felt there in particular.
Since chest-belt GoPros are accepted here - as with most smaller French parks - I took the chance to use my camera and test its 4K abilities. Parc Saint Paul clearly made a very clever move buying Wood Express. It's a lovely ride for the whole family, but thrillseekers will certainly enjoy the fun, airtime-filled experience. I'm very pleased to see another nice new ride in France, we're truly in a good phase after years of frustrating stagnation
Next door is Formula 1, my first Pax coaster :eek:
The Russian manufacturer has a reputation for making wonky rides, and this one surely has its share of weird transitions! Tbh, I didn't find F1 to be really rough. It has quite intense moments, especially the main drop which is quite sudden. The bad banking and above all horrible restraints prevent me from truly enjoying this however. Still something very unique and worth trying at least once though!
Ending the cred with another fairground-ish coaster. Une Souris Verte is your typical Zamperla spinning wild mouse. After trying the horrible SBF equivalent (with OTSR...) this one feels like a relief. It's still a very mundane experience.
Piece of trivia: Une Souris verte is actually named after the eponymous folk song for children. The sign above actually displays the lyrics!
But wait, isn't there another cred here? That's correct, but Wild Train is SBNO for the year. Shame as it was reportedly the better Pax of the two at Parc Saint Paul. Oh well... Make of that what you will 😛
Tried the drop tower. The ascend to the top is actually, really, really slow! The ride's not very tall, but the drop itself is decent I guess.
With all the main trill rides ticked off, it's time for some re-rides on Wood Express! Luckily the line, which went up to 30 minutes before, ended up shortening to a 5 to 10 minutes wait at the end of the day. Kudos to the good ride employees who kept the ride running and often tried their best to fill up empty seats
Ended up with 11 rides on Wood Express eventually - and it was consistently fun! I found the front row better, but the difference is very slight anyway.
Parc Saint Paul was fun! Obviously it is mostly about Wood Express from my enthousiast perspective, however the rest of the park has decent enough filler to keep me interested for a short day. The employees are friendly, and the place overall has a warm, unpretentious atmosphere. It does lack the charm of other French parks (Le Pal and Nigloland come to mind in particular) and I would not want to revisit any time soon, but the good dynamic of the park has to be acknowledged
Next on my trip schedule is Holiday Park, where I return for a +1 kiddie cred and more Expedition GeForce bliss!
By Coaster Hipster
I've had a nice and cheerful experience with the guys at CoasterForce at Parc Astérix, so I decided to join them for another, bigger trip! This time I would also discover 3 new parks in Germany, in addition to a return to Phantasialand...
Part 0: Phantasialand - Return of Taron
Part 1: Movie Park Germany - Star Trek is actually underrated!
Part 2: Heide Park - My first Wing Coaster
Part 3: Hansa Park - Lovely management and stunning Kärnan
Part 0: Phantasialand
Although not an official part of GhosterForce, many people from CF added a stop to Phanta before the main event. The temptation to return there and get more night Taron craze was too much!
One of my car-mates was Rachel, who was visiting the park for her first time, and her excitement was infectious! It's always a special feeling for me to return there and enjoy unique creative theming and rides, but to share the experience with someone who's never visited before added to my joy and certainly made me proud of my favourite park We also met CSLKennyNI, which was a real pleasure. Really cool guy with great insights on the park and the German coasters in general
Starting with Maus au Chocolat allowed us to avoid long lines there, and therefore the high-pitch mice noises didn't get too annoying. I find this shooter dark-ride to be a lot of fun, despite the shoulder pain it indulges and despite my actually terrible aiming skills!
The walk to Wuze Town includes a stopover near the much-discussed F.L.Y. sign. Winjas was good family fun as usual. It has a lot of gimmicks, but it truly adds to the experience instead of being a marketing overhype. Only complaint is that the cars are really narrow, even for a skinny dude like me :eek:
We cleared off this side of the park with two of its more dated rides: Temple of the Night Hawk and Hollywood Tour. I suppose that, along the Berlin entrance, Phantasialand will work on refurbishing this zone to bring it to the standards of the park. Temple is actually fairly smooth and has some decent pace, but its family-ish layout calls for much more theming than a ride in the complete dark with no effects whatsoever.
Chiapas is for me what a flume ride should be. Gorgeous, immersive theming and music that keeps you entertaining throughout. The disco part never ceases to keep me excited!
After that, I split a while from the group to take more pictures and off-ride videos, we rejoined for Mystery Castle. The launch took me by surprise as I was expecting some more wait before the boost kicks off. I know it's part of the theming, but I wish it weren't so dark during the actual ride experience, so you could see the others as you drop and launch up again during the short program. Still a creative and exciting take on the usual drop tower/space shot type of attraction!
We walked through the Klugheim zone but did not ride the gem Intamin yet. Not exactly sure how we resisted the temptation with so many breathtaking interactions with the ride, but I also remember Rachel really really wanted to make Taron her #300!
Colorado Adventure was I believe her final stepping stone before reaching 300. I still like this Mine Train very much, the long layout provides a enjoyable ride. However, Big Thunder Mountain in Paris did have more of a wild out-of-control feel since its rehab. The banking on Colorado is funky at times. You have some wonky laterals which gets really fun during the dark section. Not having hard OTSR on an old Vekoma (and no inversions either) really helps I suppose!
Can we ride Taron now then? Yessss!!!
After that exhilarating Night ERT last April, I was curious to ride again the much-praised Intamin Blitz. Predictably, it wasn't as intense at noon, but Taron still surprises me, notably with the wicked change of direction right after the first airtime hill! Really snappy twist coming after a dive under some building so you can't really see it coming if you're not familiar with the layout.
I split again from the group for the launch break. I was planning to shoot more videos of Taron, but a 5 minutes wait for single riders decided otherwise... Not gonna refuse such a treat! Did 3 more solo rides then, and also grabbed a front row ride on Raik, which does have a twisty bit of its own. It's a cool extra really
Black Mamba at the front was still remarkably forceful. The layout is kinda generic, but very enjoyable nonetheless. The drum beat playing as the train exits the station always makes me more excited! Did a couple more re-rides later in the day which confirmed my positive thoughts about the Invert.
I somehow forgot to take a picture of Talocan on fire. Such a spectacular thrill ride and once again, the scenery and atmosphere really enhance the experience there!
Onto the final "new" attraction of the day: I never did Hotel Tartuff in 7 previous visits to Phantasialand. :eek: It's very easy to miss it and mistake it for yet another merch store in the Main Street. The CF lively atmosphere made the Fun House quite fun actually!
The rest of the day was re-rides so let's skip to the most exciting part...
Exclusive rides on Taron for the hotel guests, yay! I have to say, while the coaster does feel less borderline insane than before, I still get the adrenaline rush that makes me run in excitement from the station exit to the ride's gates all across the empty line again and again. The epic fanfare, the magnetic roars, and a twisty fast-paced layout really kept me excited during the whole hour. I ended up riding Taron 10 times during that session, and 15 times the day overall. Phantasialand really had a superb idea to make this hotel ERT, that's a brilliant piece of marketing there!
By Coaster Hipster
Traveling and crossing borders in Mainland Europe isn't too bad, so I took the opportunity to visit again two parks in nearby countries north of France!
Part 1: Efteling
As I moved on from simply visiting and credding to filming videos at parks. I started appreciating places that actually care about theming and landscaping a bit more. I had visited Efteling 2 years ago, and while I thoroughly enjoyed that trip, I felt I needed to go again sometime to fully enjoy the merits of the park. That's why to my surprise, I did not need a new coaster, as the addition of Symbolica and night opening were attractive enough to get me back there!
I arrived shortly after the 10 am opening. The entrance must be one of the most distincive and majestic among theme parks.
I went against my instincts by strolling along the lake to take some pictures. Efteling is a really large park, and the distance covered by the lake is only a fraction of it!
I had surprisingly pleasant memories of Bob, one rare surviving iteration of the Intamin Swiss Bob model. My ride this time was not as enjoyable - the fun swinging and relatively steep drops couldn't make up for what was some noticable bouncing in the train. I waited 45 minutes, completely forgetting about the single rider line nearby. Oh well...
Went for the second row on Baron 1898 and got right wing seat. It was a bit underwhelming. The drop didn't feel as floaty and impressive as I remembered, and I felt a couple of minor headbanging during the inversions. Nothing too serious of course, but still surprising. Hopefully I got a couple of rerides afterwards, but that's for a another paragraph
(Ugh, my camera sometimes fails to get a non-blurred picture. Frustrating!)
Joris ended that run of (slight) disappointment as it happily matched my expectations. Went for Vuur first, and it was running pretty well! Good pace and a lot of fun laterals.
Ever since my Poland trip, I have the unreasonable curiosity in (re)riding any old Vekoma to put to the test my recent love for the Dutch manufacturer. Equipped with vest restraints, Python turned out only slightly uncomfortable. There was some notable rattle during the drop and vertical loops, but the ride as a whole felt more uneventful than really horrible.
The Pagoda is the only ride (to my knowledge) which provides great overviews of the park and where you can bring your camera. It's really valuable since the views from up in the air are quite impressive!
Symbolica was another eye-drawer from outside. Really like this type of architecture as I find it fitting for the carefree atmosphere of a theme park, and here it is implemented really well! This dark ride was the 2017 and it shows its infant age. Really sophisticated and enjoyable addition. The scenery is appealing except for the stairs leading down to the station which lack some details. Loved the atmosphere and wish I could have done it more if it weren't for the substantial queue wait...
Wanting to give Baron another try, I was rewarded with a fun lap at the front! It eliminated the (minor) jolts issue and provided a much more impressive drop!
At this point I went across all the park to take more pictures. I also wanted to buy some merch before the crowds flood the stores right before closure. Went back to Joris only to find it temporarily closed for some minor technical problem.
The issue was quickly solved however, which meant I ended up waiting a little less for my lap on the Water side! That one is certainly my favourite of the two. Some really good hops in quick succession here
(That picture was taken hours before)
Vliegende Hollander never impressed me in videos or on-ride. Not a single exciting layout element and the boat section is almost completely in the dark. Too bad for a ride with such a fab queueline and building
Night ride on Baron was undoubtedly the best I've had. I even got a small pop of airtime of the final hill, which was really cool
I then wasted too much time on taking (yet more) pictures, and it ended up costing me a final ride on Joris. Unfortunate, but Baron was still an excellent way to end the day on a high note!
Next in Part 2 will be Plopsaland with another night opening!
By Coaster Hipster
This topic will comprise of my Trip Reports to parks in Europe. I really like to describe my experience on coasters and I hope you'll enjoy the reads
(The Phantasialand and Liseberg TRs are a copy paste of my reports originally posted at CoasterForce)
Part 1: Phantasialand (April 2017)
After missing out on Taron the previous year because I visited the park too early, I was determined to make it this time! The coaster has received rave reviews, almost unanimous, and my anticipation was sky high for a coaster that has a very unique and confusion layout...
A 3-hour drive from my friend Erdekraft's home meant we had to wake up at 5 am to ensure we would get to Phantasialand around opening times. We arrived at the Ling Bao (no pictures, whoops) hotel right before 10:00 am for check-in. We took our hotel ERT bracelets and headed straight to Winjas':
The sight of Wuze Town's main hall and the double helix still amaze me. Even though it is my 3rd visit to the park, I was surprised by how fast the elevator lift was. It lasts for like, 10 seconds until you reach the main drop? The coasters themselves were fun as always. They didn't really duel during my visit but I did not mind given how immersive the theming is. Both layouts are varied, complete and have some little tricks that set them apart from other spinning coasters. I can't conclusively decide which one I prefer, even though both my friends heavily leaned towards Fear because of the bigger drop and overbanked turn.
Our second ride of the day was Temple of the Night Hawk. Erdekraft nicknames it 'le coaster nul' ('the sucky coaster' in French). It isn't that bad to be honest. Just meandering a very long time in the dark. Would be more interesting lights on and with theming in my opinion. I guess even Phantasialand has room for improvement
I was looking forward to riding Black Mamba which left me a positive impression last year. And my first ride was... fairly disappointing sadly I sat at the front right seat, and definitely felt some headbanging during a couple of transitions. The intensity was there though as I remembered, but those jolts meant I couln't fully enjoy that first ride. Funnily enough, Erdekraft sat in the middle front and had no trouble whatsoever, but heard me and my other friend (sitting at the left) say 'ouch' at the very same time! Thankfully, there was no such headbanging on my following laps later in the day or the next day, and as such I still rank this B&M Inverted highly for its extensive theming and narrow, forceful layout.
Our impatience then was too much, we couldn't resist the urge to go and see Klugheim...
Taron was about an 1:30 hour wait. I was extremely intrigued by the hype and applause around the latest Intamin blitz that I feared ending underwhelmed. Therefore I was very excited when it was time to ride aboard the new trains complete with their Mack-inspired lap-bars. They felt a little bit bulky at first, but caused me no problem overall. Good job Intamin!
My first impression was that the ride was worth its reputation, a Top 5 coaster full of intensity and snappy turns. The couple of airtime hills are good ejector but definitely not the most insane/powerful Intamin ever did (EGF and El Toro still fare better imo). But more on Taron later that day with the hotel ERT...
Mystery Castle was a 5 minute wait. Aside from the great theming, this Space Shot-thingy dazzled me with its light effects which made me lost sense of height. At some points during the program I couldn't tell if I was towards the top or the bottom of the ride. I suppose the effects worked wonders on me!
Chiapas and its earworm soundtrack... Still the best flume log I've ridden, great Mexican scenery all along and fast, efficient switch track tricks. The log reaches a fairly nice speed at the bottom of the main drop. Templo de Fiesta is still good funky
Onto another best of its kind, this time Colorado Adventure. This Mine Train is only pure fun, no dead spots, a good speed throughout and fairly smooth even though a few oddly banked turns caught me off-guard when I raised my hands ^^ The final helix makes for a great picture location.
The next ride was something much more agressive with Talocan. A good soundwork and fire effects really add to the atmosphere, especially during the queue. The ride itself was on the edge of too much intense spinning for me buy fortunately I still enjoyed it.
We then decided to eat a quick dinner with some Chinese noodles (no pics, yep again). For some reason our noodles contained a substantial amount of sweetpepper. Well, doesn't matter if you have bad breath when you still get an ERT on Taron later!
Taron evening ERT. I will go straight to the point: this hour of exclusive ride time of Taron was the most fun I ever had in an amusement park. I really enjoyed my first lap on this coaster, but the 6+ rides with little to no wait after park closure took matters to an entirely new level. The second half was literally breathtaking, I couldn't even scream of joy even though I wanted so, because the twists were so snappy, and the turns so intense. The official POV doesn't do it justice really. While the first half might be some fast strolling around the rocks after the airtime hill, the second part is so relentless the overall experience feels overwhelmingly exhilarating. The Taron fanfare and the sweet Intamin LSM sound build my excitement even higher for a complete experience, ride and theming joining hands to deliver a fantastic moment!
I think EGF still ranks ahead on pure airtime joy, but Taron comes very, very close behind because of that magic ERT. As opposed to most coasters I've ridden before, Taron has an 'organic' feel that is hard to describe. I can't tell each element from another, as the elements are so intertwined. A truly wonderful engineering achievement to my eyes.
(Picture courtesy of my friend Maxime)
We went back to our room still bewildered by the outstanding time we had. The experience was so fulfilling we couldn't help laughing for the next hour!
After the insanity of evening ERT on Taron, this custom Vekoma family Boomerang might seem like a footnote, but there's still plenty to say about the other 2016 addition at Phanta.
Raik, for that matter, is actually my very first Family Boomerang. I have to say I was pretty impressed by the speed the train goes through the station after the first backwards crest. For a family-oriented coaster this is still fairly scary
The scenery is very detailed and easy on the eyes. I didn't get the fog effects but I loved how the lights changed from red to green as the train switches from going backwards/forwards. The only downside of this charming coaster is its limited capacity because of its shuttle nature. I waited around 45 minutes in the morning (in the single rider line!) for my one ride. Thankfully the atmosphere is more than nice enough to cushion my impatience and I got rewarded with a nice interaction with Taron on my way through the backwards lift!
Maus au Chocolat was our last major attraction to experience again. This 3D shooting dark-ride was a pleasant and fun one. I love the theme, it is refreshing and new for a ride of this type and still very fitting! The theming is well executed and the whole 3D-thingy well integrated.
The rest of the day, which precise schedule I can't exactly remember mostly consisted of rerides on Black Mamba, Winjas Fear and Colorado, with the B&M getting the most laps overall despite (or because ?) of the unconfortable experience of my ride at the front the previous day. We also went around the lake for a welcome break from all the intensity and dense (but wonderful!) theming of Phantasialand.
Overall, Phanta stands out as my favourite park. It simply has the most balanced mix between intricate theming, excellent operations and of course, fantastic coasters. Taron and, to a lesser extent, Black Mamba might get most of the attention, but Winjas and Colorado Adventure are really quality rides for their type. I would only avoid going to the park during very busy days, because the dense scenery with many narrow pathways might become uneasy, but otherwise I have not a single minor complaint about the park. It truly is fab!
I hope that you'll like reading coasters reports in Europe. If so, I'll be posting my story of visiting Liseberg last month next