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Review: Ph-antastic day in Phantasialand

What if we plan a day to Phantasialand and invite a bunch of colleagues? That is exactly what we asked ourselves a few months ago and so it happened. Phantasialand is one of the most immersive theme parks in Europe. With two top class coasters, this park has to be on your to-do list!

After doing multiple longer trips with max 8 colleagues, we decided one a one-day trip and invite even more colleagues. We didn't even have to think about which park, Phantasialand was on the top of our list. Even though some of us had already been there, we knew this was the perfect park to visit with a bigger group. I know this park can be packed with crowds and queue times can get pretty crazy, so a quiet day would be the best for us. Some research later and we decided on a random Tuesday in April. We started inviting colleagues and eventually put together a group of 22 people!

We left early in the morning to avoid traffic jams and make sure we would get to the park at opening time! Gotta make sure that you have the whole day to enjoy the rides, right? Phantasialand usually opens at 9am, while most of the rides open at 10am. The first ride we headed to was Black Mamba, a B&M Invert in African theme. Not the easiest ride to start the day with.. But it made sure we were all wide awake!

It's amusing to see the ride ops face when you tell them your group is 18-22 people. Usually you'd say 2 or 4 people, which they can easily assign rows to. Big groups require more planning to fill trains and keeping the group together, which the staff handled really well! The average wait time was around 10-15 minutes. For me it was the second time visiting Phantasialand and I remember continuously getting lost in this park, which of course happened again this time. This park has a lot of intertwining paths that really take you into the themed area. Theming on point!

Phantasialand has two big water rides, River Quest and Chiapas. Both are absolute soakers! With River Quest being the worst of the two.. this is one of the most violent river rapids I have ever come across. The ride features a lift with a direct drop down, which held the record for highest drop on a river rapids until 2018 when Infinity Falls, SeaWorld Orlando opened. But it's not the first drop that is the massive soaker.. It's the other two smaller drops that get you wet, with water coming through the middle and the sides of the boats.. Guaranteed soaker! The other ride is Chiapas, an Intamin flume ride with the steepest drop on a log flume! Chiapas might look innocent, but don't be fooled, you will get wet!

Next on the list is easily my favorite coaster in this park; Taron! This Intamin multi launch coaster packs a punch! It has quite a long layout despite the small area it is built within. The track crosses over and under 116 times, which is a world record for a launch coaster. The second launch is a rolling launch that has a good kick to it! The trains feature lap bar restraints, which make you feel really exposed. I often describe this ride as 'getting yeeted out of my seat', as it is smooth and violent at the same time. On to my second favorite ride in the park, which is F.L.Y. This is the world's first flying launched coaster built by Vekoma. Flying coasters already existed, mostly by B&M, but had a tedious and complex loading system. Vekoma designed a newer generation of flying coasters with easy boarding, which resulted in F.L.Y. at Phantasialand. This is the only ride in the Rookburgh area of the park, where everything is steampunk themed. Even the queue line is completely themed and tells a story, adding to the whole coaster experience.

Besides rollercoasters, Phantasialand offers a variety of flat rides and dark rides. Not all of them are great though, for example Feng Ju Palace, A Vekoma mad house. The concept is nice but the pre-show is very long and boring. The mad house itself offers basically nothing but a spinning room, there is nothing to look at. Dutch people will always compare mad houses to Villa Volta, Efteling. Thus we described Feng Ju Palace as 'When you order Villa Volta on Aliexpress'. A few dark rides that are worth mentioning are Mystery Castle (Intamin indoor drop/shot tower), Talocan (HUSS Topspin) and Das verruckte hotel Tartuff (Funhouse).

At the end of the day most people in our group went back home and get something to eat on the road. A few of us were left and we decided to try one of the hotel restaurants. By this time the park was already closed (6pm) and close to empty. We decided to eat at restaurant Zambesi in hotel Matamba. Zambesi is an African themed barbeque restaurant with an all-you-can-eat concept. Luckily they had two tables for us to eat at, as it seemed to be full of reservations. Looking at the menu we found out that this restaurant really offers exotic meat, like zebra, ostrich and river buffalo. It was such a nice experience and absolutely worth the price!

As the park closes at 6pm and we were still at the hotel restaurant, we had to walk around the park to the car park. Upon arriving we saw that my car was literally the only one left, they even opened the barrier as the ticket machines were already closed off. They left a small gap for us to leave the carpark. That security must have thought those Dutch people were lost in the park! They are obviously not used to day visitors leaving after closing time ;)

All in all we had a fantastic day with a lot of rides and even rerides! The weather was absolutely perfect, despite being a little on the cold side. Major props to Phantasialand for amazing operations and dispatches! At the end of the day Taron was running on 3 trains, which is crazy with barely any queue! The only ride with long dispatches is the Crazy Bats VR coaster, because the set up with VR sets takes a lot of time. Which doesn't matter on quiet days, but can be a pain in the ass when it's busy. All staff were very friendly and eager to help us out when needed!

If Phantasialand is not yet on your list, it should be now! There is plenty of coaster credits for a coasterholic, but also beautiful immersive theming and rides for everyone.

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