Phantasialand: The irregularities and irritations of one of Europe's best parks

Matt.GC

TS Member
I really want to visit Phantasialand at some point but the booking process scares me a bit.
Just bear in mind that Charles Lindbergh has a max occupancy of 2, Ling Bao 4 and Motamba 4+ as it doesn't tell you this until you go into each hotel individually and attempt to book. On most resort websites (of which I must say, PL's is the prettiest from an aesthetics point of view) they almost ram a "book now" tab in your face where you enter your needs and dates and it comes up with what's available. With PL, you have to select each hotel individually to find this out.

I would hazard a guess that they probably do this so you choose the hotel of your choice first and foremost as you're unable to compare prices unless you research each hotel individually maybe? It is beautifully presented after all I must say.

At the last minute, it takes you to a page to put your details in which on my laptop was only available in German, Dutch or French. Not sure if the mobile site is in English or if my phone translated it automatically but this was fine in the end when I switched to booking on my phone.

It'll say "No credit card needed" (listed as some sort of perk) and that there's "100% to pay in advance". Which any person would likely read as you have payment options like debit card, cash or credit card. But now we've established this isn't what this means at all.

You know which email has your park tickets in it because it'll have 2 PDF's. The tickets are pretty typical barcoded types and the lady at the hotel was pretty quick in replying to my email.

Now you know these quirks, don't let it put you off. Just don't expect the same experience as with almost every other park you've ever booked with.
 
I’ll definitely be bearing all that in mind when we decide to go. I’ll use this thread as a guide whilst booking. The whole process sounds so awkward compared to what I’m used to😆
 

jon81uk

TS Member
I visited Phantasialand in 2019, stayed at Matamba and payed upfront in full by credit card (to get a 25% discount rate), my confirmation email was in English except for the T&C which are in German.

Why didn't I have to beg to make payment?
 
I’ve never experienced it myself, but hearing about how protective Phantasialand are about people taking photos, it’s no wonder the whole Wuze Ball conversation became a thing.
 

Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
Phantasia is easily the best theme park I have been to. It's also one of the oddest. Brilliant and weird. Great but also can be very strangely ran. Hard to book but all the staff are great if you query anything.
 

NuttySquirrel

TS Member
Not even visited yet but going to add my own grumble! Opening times are being advertised as 9am** to "at least" 6pm. Well that's helpful, thanks!

** Most rides and attractions open at 10am

🤷‍♀️
 

Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
Park close is at 6, but ride queues can shut half an hour before the park. It's so odd and a bit annoying. If the place wasn't so good It'd be a big old gripe.

FYI F.L.Y. was opening at half 9, Taron at 10 last week.
 

CSLKenny

TS Member
Not even visited yet but going to add my own grumble! Opening times are being advertised as 9am** to "at least" 6pm. Well that's helpful, thanks!
No different than Europa Park which advertises as open to “at least 6pm”.

Means it’s minimum 6pm but if busy enough can be extended.
 

John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Hours have been cut though - a few weeks ago when I booked tickets (for next Sunday) the park was advertising 7pm close on weekends and holidays. Those have all been changed to "minimum 6pm"
 

Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
Park was quieter on the Sunday than the Monday on our visit. Even the Monday nothing was getting above half an hour except the late opening, one train Mamba (clearly broken, I assume will be fixed soon enough)
 

djtruefitt

TS Team
I notice the whole season hours have been cut at Phantasialand, I’m going in august and previously the whole month said ride close was 10-19, now all season it’s a blanket 10-18, of course I guess they might extend on the day. Out of all the parks im doing its got some of the worse hours if they don’t extend.
 

MattyH

TS Member
Favourite Ride
GIIBBB
The only ORP on park I noticed was on Chiapas.

Staff seemed very happy to allow us to request back row on FLY and Taron. Food service were very happy to speak or attempt to speak English which matches us very well.

The path up to Hollywood Tour was open but the ride was deceased.

I did get told off for leaving my beer out of the ice bucket it came in during our evening meal.

It is definitely a unique theme park and I'd definitely like to revisit at some point.
 

Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
The chairs in Uhrwerk are massively uncomfy and ruin the dining experience. Very odd idea that isn't great for the whole thing or for breakfast the next day.
 

D4n

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Taron
The most striking negative, for me, was the bizarrely slow operations on some of the rides - most particularly Black Mamba. The team on there were incredibly friendly but the ride took an age to load, making Nemesis Inferno look like a throughput machine.

At ride close yesterday (6pm), with around a 20 minute queue still waiting, the team on Toronto decided to make us wait for them to remove the 4th train. No communication.

At the hotel bars, the staff refused to take payment until you were leaving, even if you were thoroughly intent on having only one drink. At busy times, actually trying to pay was a tedious process.

Overall a good trip, and I have to disagree with some of the flaws mentioned so far (for example, I found the beds in Matamba to be perfectly adequate) but the park certainly has its oddities and irritations.
 

Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
The bar thing is odd, I paid upfront in Ling Bao when I popped in for a drink the other week.
 

John_P

TS Member
I remember my last visit staying in Hotel Matamba on my own, had a few drinks sat at the bar then when going the toilet having to make it clear to the bar staff I'd be back and wasn't trying to avoid paying the bill.
 

Sam

TS Member
What all these things add up to is 'reliability anxiety'.

Phantasia is probably my second-favourite park, after EP. But every time I go I get anxious for a few days before about whether it'll be a good day or not (I've had one or two poor days there, and I've heard of others having dire experiences). 95% of this is down to either downtime (the rides are so good that if a top-tier attraction is down, like Chiapas was once all day, it's crushing), guest numbers and operations – which all vary massively visit to visit.

EP is the only park I've been to where you're 100% guaranteed a good day (even at maximum capacity you know they'll generously extend ride close, operations will be flat-out, and the possibility of any downtime at all is remote... oh, and the park will feel buzzing). At Efteling and the Florida parks it feels like you're 95% sure of a good day. At Phantasialand it's much less – it's such a tiny place that small fluctuations in gate numbers can make or break the day.
 
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Sazzle

TS Administrator
Ohhh reliability anxiety - "Will it / won't it". A newly coined term that I think I may pinch!

I haven't been to Phantasialand since 2016 but I absolutely hear that. Even when in the park and having a feel for the crowd levels I still feel this with "Mystery" or "Misery" Castle. When you're in such a top tier park and even then not guaranteed consistency, that doesn't make for a truly relaxing experience!

Consistently Reliable Relaxation - Europa need to include that in their brochures...
 
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