Phantasialand - 2022 Discussion

John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
The park opening an hour before the rides is my #1 issue with the place.

Opening the park an hour before the rides mean those arriving for opening just wait at a ride entrance for an hour whilst those who arrive at ride opening are faced with 60min waits for the more popular rides. Where's the benefit of opening so early?

We found the queues for Taron and Fly peaked just after 10am due to the vast numbers of people waiting for them to open. After the park had been open a few hours people were better spread across the park resulting in shorter queues (except for when Taron went down to 1 train)
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Phantasialand is such a frustrating theme park, possibly one of the most frustrating parks in the world. You have the severe juxtaposition of some of the most beautifully themed areas and rides in the world, alongside some levels of customer service where it would seem they'd just rather you not be there at all. Utterly bizarre.

Let me start with some positives from my recent visit though:
  • Rookbrugh and F.L.Y. - wow, they've pulled it out of the bag here. Rookbrugh is without doubt one of the most immersive themed areas I have ever stepped foot in, you almost forget you are in Phantasialand! Almost every little detail has been considered and I can see why it took so long to construct, the quality of the theming is outstanding. My only real criticism of the area would be that there is a lack of theming that moves, some extra kinetic energy other than the coaster flying round would be welcome.
  • F.L.Y. is simply a masterpiece. It's unlikely to be threatening anyone's top tens but as an overall experience it works so well. From the station, which I had not seen beforehand due to there being no photos, the dispatch sequence, the manner in which Vekoma get you in to the flying position and the ride itself, it is stunning. The first half of the ride was very much like Air, quite swoopy, and then it really picks up after the second launch with some more forceful turns. I definitely prefer riding it towards the front where you get a couple of pops of airtime!
  • We ate at Rutmor's Tavern and Restaurante Cocorico; the food at both of these sit down table service restaurants is some of the best food that you will ever eat in a theme park.
  • After 10 long years I finally got back on WuzeBall! It's showing its age a bit now and could do with some work, but very thankful that it was open on the Saturday we were there.
And now some unfortunate negatives:
  • It's already been mentioned above but the way they go about opening the park is quite simply a joke. Open the gates at 9am, then open all the rides at 10am (bar a couple that do open at 9.45am). All this leads to is long queues at the start of the day, in fact it seemed that for many rides their queues were longest at 10am and then quietened down as the day went on. First impressions count, yet Phantasialand seemingly do not care about them.
  • I have a nut allergy, at the Hotel Matamba buffet was hugely disappointing for me. €36 to be told I could only have meat and salad. They did the right thing in pointing out cross contamination issues on the buffet, but it would have been good if they had offered me some food straight from the kitchen (PortAventura did this, and although the food they gave me was extremely basic at least they put some effort in). I felt ripped off.
  • Bar service at the hotels is slow, and because they stopped serving bar food at 6pm (with no notice of this) we had to eat just a packet of crisps each for dinner one night. Unacceptable.
  • Parts of Ling Bao look quite run down, especially the lifts. You pay a small fortune to stay in these hotels, pretty much the same as you pay for Europa-Park, but the difference in quality is there for all to see.
As a theme park fan you can't not like Phatnasialand, their product is great. But they frustrate in so many ways, and it would be so easy for them to change some of these things.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
It's already been mentioned above but the way they go about opening the park is quite simply a joke. Open the gates at 9am, then open all the rides at 10am (bar a couple that do open at 9.45am). All this leads to is long queues at the start of the day, in fact it seemed that for many rides their queues were longest at 10am and then quietened down as the day went on. First impressions count, yet Phantasialand seemingly do not care about them.
Apologies if I’m missing something here, but is this not basically what Alton Towers have done since COVID? To be honest, I’ve always thought that works quite well at Alton Towers, so I must admit I’m surprised to hear that it works poorly at Phantasialand.
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Apologies if I’m missing something here, but is this not basically what Alton Towers have done since COVID? To be honest, I’ve always thought that works quite well at Alton Towers, so I must admit I’m surprised to hear that it works poorly at Phantasialand.
Phantasialand is a much smaller park than Alton Towers with a much lower capacity and lower throughput rides. As soon as the park opens at 9am you get guests from the hotels and general admission flocking in and within a matter of minutes they have all formed queues outside the likes of Taron, F.L.Y., River Quest etc. It does not work at all.
 

rob666

TS Member
Lots of large businesses and hotels have been turning of "needless" floodlights to save energy for the nation.
I think some have been forced to by their state/ region.
 

CSLKenny

TS Member
Yeah in the region loads has been switched off - most significantly Cologne Cathedral has had to switch off their night lighting too.

Fire was absent from Talocan for a while earlier in the year but seems to have made a comeback for the summer. Can’t imagine it will last.


Those things aside however; there are definite cracks showing in the resort this season. They are undoubtedly struggling after the financial impact of the corona years and energy crisis, and the staff shortages crisis hitting the industry right now.

The reduction in opening hours EP managed to sort with an increase in staff (yet still not enough and dangerous on edge), helped in large by attracting internationals and using their wide range of staff accommodation, beyond the resources of the vastly smaller business that is PHL. Perhaps though it is something they need to look into as this crisis won’t be going away anytime soon.

While better for the smaller remaining workforce it is obviously embarrassing in comparison to before and poor value for customers for the premium price charged. Although reduced crowds with the cost of living crisis and lack of annual passes have kept queue times down compared to previous summers offsetting perhaps some of the need for more time. Certainly no long term solution though especially for a park trying to offer a premium resort without the resources, size and infrastructure of others (perhaps exposing how over ambitious a goal that has been?).

They’ve also seemingly prioritised construction projects - with the Africa Adventure Trail being the focus obviously. While the Ling Bao pool refurb and the new Berlin stairs / building development have a painfully slow burn timeline - Rookburgh & Klugheim taking a long time is understandable and unavoidable by their nature but some toilets, stairs and a pool not so much.

Hollywood Tour becoming SBNO* as repair wasn’t financially viable and Wakobato and Silverado Theatre spending last year temporarily SBNO. It’s all not a good outlook. Hopefully they can find their way out of the crises. Although for all parks this winter will be tough one. None are out of the woods yet.

*Seems work has finally begun to clear out Hollywood Tour this month. Stripped back boats were spotted being removed.

IMG_0823.png


As for the park opening at 9am while most rides at 10am. That has always been the way. Given the narrow and small entrances crowds gathered to get in are already a negative (before there even was the current issue of reduced staffing) - so my understanding is it is considered better for crowd control and safety to let crowds disperse in the park before the “proper opening.” A necessary evil.
In 2020 they had reduced it to gates open at 9:30 but corona then changed it back.
 

RicketyCricket

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Taron
Is there a recommended plan of action for tackling rides in a certain order when the park/rides open?
Get Winjas and Maus out the way earlier as they tend to generate bigger, slow moving queues.

Taron and FLY will be busy all day so there's not really a good time to do them with the pre opening queues.

Black Mamba should be lowest priority as it rarely builds a huge wait.
 

John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
As previously mentioned, Taron and Fly often open with long waits that may get shorter over the next couple of hours, so joining at/just after 10 is often a bad plan. On hot days River Quest opens with a long queue that WON'T get shorter, so joining the queue before 10 can be a good option (we joined at 9.35ish and got on at around 10.25, by which time the queue length had significantly increased). Crazy Bats often gets a long queue later on due to VR-related faff, so that is also a good option in the first hour (or just skip it entirely).

The only major ride open before 10 on my last visit was Mamba, so if you're there early you could do that whilst waiting for everything else to open, then pick virtually anything other than Taron/Fly at 10. Winjas (and Bats) have the advantage of Fantasy being closed off until 10 according to park signage, so in theory they should open with no queue
 

djtruefitt

TS Team
I visited Phantasialand last Friday as part of my mega trip around European parks. And I hate to say it but PL was certainly the most frustrating of parks in terms of hours and also probably the most stressful of parks to try and plan and do.

Out of 9 theme parks I visited the only others to close at 6pm was Slagharen and Movie Park. Both of these were considerably quieter than PL and also they close they queues at 6pm and not earlier.

Pretty much anything decent at PL closes at 17:30, with some of the smaller riders closing at 17:45. This meant quite a stressful day of planning to try and do what we wanted to do at the park, there’s a few things we didn’t manage to do during the day due to the short hours of the park.

I do agree the 9am opening is a big of a pain, but I also wouldn’t want to be stood in a massive queue outside the entrances waiting until 10am. I do think they would be better opening the rides earlier if possible. According to the app only 2 or 3 minor rides opened before 10am with everything else opening at 10am. Luckily I’ve got a good way of trying to do parks the right way round, so we managed to get a few rides done earlier, and then queue for those busier rides later in the day.

I can certainly see if you don’t know the park (or general theme park tips) you can easily struggle to get on much during the day.

One positive I’ll give the park though was Chiapas, it was closed all day, with the staff member saying it had been closed the day before as well, there was a chance it could open but no guarantee. By 16:45 it was still listed as closed. We had pretty much given up, then as we walked past it about 17:10 they had just opened it and we managed to get on. By the time we got off the whole queue line was full and the ride was then shut (as it was 17:30).
 

Eidderf

TS Member
I was wondering if anyone here could help me, me and my partner have booked a stay at the Hotel Charles Lindbergh in Phantasialand and was wondering how it works in terms of checking in. Is there a separate enterance for getting in to the hotel from outside of the park or do you have to enter the park at a main gate and walk through to the hotel?

Also I've read mentions of metal detectors and that sort of thing on F.L.Y., is there somewhere to store items and that sort of thing before getting onto the rollercoaster (like at somewhere you can hand in your stuff like stealth in thorpe park or even just some shelves you can drop your bags at before getting on) or do you need to get a locker to leave things in. We will leave bigger stuff in the hotel but I mean more like my girlfriends small purse and my wallet and stuff.

Appreciate any help you all can give thanks.
 

Craig

TS Administrator
I was wondering if anyone here could help me, me and my partner have booked a stay at the Hotel Charles Lindbergh in Phantasialand and was wondering how it works in terms of checking in. Is there a separate enterance for getting in to the hotel from outside of the park or do you have to enter the park at a main gate and walk through to the hotel?

Also I've read mentions of metal detectors and that sort of thing on F.L.Y., is there somewhere to store items and that sort of thing before getting onto the rollercoaster (like at somewhere you can hand in your stuff like stealth in thorpe park or even just some shelves you can drop your bags at before getting on) or do you need to get a locker to leave things in. We will leave bigger stuff in the hotel but I mean more like my girlfriends small purse and my wallet and stuff.

Appreciate any help you all can give thanks.
There is an entrance outside of the park to the hotel. It's located to the left of the main entrance, you can't miss it as it's pretty damn huge:

1662322658929.png
Credit: Thrill Nation

In terms of F.L.Y there are lockers available just before heading into the station via the metal detectors. You're given an RFID wristband which will lock an available locker once you've put your belongings in. Once done, you head through the metal detectors, then on your exit from the ride you pickup your belongings and hand the wristband back in to exit. There's no charge for the lockers :)
 

John_P

TS Member
I was wondering if anyone here could help me, me and my partner have booked a stay at the Hotel Charles Lindbergh in Phantasialand and was wondering how it works in terms of checking in. Is there a separate enterance for getting in to the hotel from outside of the park or do you have to enter the park at a main gate and walk through to the hotel?

Also I've read mentions of metal detectors and that sort of thing on F.L.Y., is there somewhere to store items and that sort of thing before getting onto the rollercoaster (like at somewhere you can hand in your stuff like stealth in thorpe park or even just some shelves you can drop your bags at before getting on) or do you need to get a locker to leave things in. We will leave bigger stuff in the hotel but I mean more like my girlfriends small purse and my wallet and stuff.

Appreciate any help you all can give thanks.
I've just came back from staying there.

As mentioned above there's an entrance on the main street. There's a buzzer to press to get the door opened (once you've got your key card you can open the door yourself).

Head to the check in desks, we arrived at 8.30am and the room was already available. When checking in you'll be asked what time you want to dine in the restaurant for your evening meal (the chicken poke bowl starter is amazing).

The hotel gives you access to Rookburgh (through your private entrance) from 9am so if ready it's probably best joining the queue for FLY. Go for the front row!

Was a great experience as due to the way the hotel access worked I never left the confines of the park from 8.30am until I left the park to head off at 6.30pm the next evening.
 

Eidderf

TS Member
Thank you both for your help and clearing up my confusion, very useful information, looking forward to visiting the park for the first time.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
You still have to get a locker on FLY even if you have no loose items because reasons 🤷
What do you put in the locker, then? If you have no bags and no loose items, then I can’t think of what else you’d put in…
 
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