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

Matt.GC

TS Member
Ashamed to say that it took me so long to finally get out to PL. But having done it, I loved the place after the very strange booking process put me off slightly, it far exceeded my expectations.

2 oddities stood out however:

1. Queued up to order some cookies mid afternoon at the Patisserie in Berlin, only to nearly get to the front of the queue when a staff member cleared out the counter without warning. I assume for code purposes, but very strange to just bin everything very suddenly with a queue of guests waiting.

2. On the first day when entering through the Motamba gate, my PDF tickets (which were sent out of date order in the PDF for some reason) didn't scan on the ladies HHT, she was very friendly and apologetic and had to enter all 5 of the ticket barcode numbers in manually. I thought this was a little odd as when I've been in this situation in other parks, there's usually some generic barcodes on hand that the staff scan in instead. But on the second day, when the inevitable happened again at the Mystery gate, I was marched back to the ticket booth to have paper tickets generated and then return to the gates to be let in.

I was going to mention the insistence that everyone in your party has to have a wristband on FLY even if you have nothing to put in a locker. But I guess this kind of makes sense when you have to scan the band to get through the exit to ensure all the bands are returned. Still seems like a bit of an over engineered process though.

Other than a slight few niggles such as the strangely awful operations on Black Mamba, the uncomfortable pillows in Motamba and rowdy teenagers everywhere (was the same in Efteling though), I didn't experience some of the issues others have mentioned. Even at the Jafari Bar we paid for our drinks as we went no problem. So it seems like the inconsistencies are an oddity in themselves.

I've fallen in love with the place and can't wait to return. I'm almost intrigued to see how my next experience compares to my last one.
 

NuttySquirrel

TS Member
Ashamed to say that it took me so long to finally get out to PL. But having done it, I loved the place after the very strange booking process put me off slightly, it far exceeded my expectations.

2 oddities stood out however:

1. Queued up to order some cookies mid afternoon at the Patisserie in Berlin, only to nearly get to the front of the queue when a staff member cleared out the counter without warning. I assume for code purposes, but very strange to just bin everything very suddenly with a queue of guests waiting.

2. On the first day when entering through the Motamba gate, my PDF tickets (which were sent out of date order in the PDF for some reason) didn't scan on the ladies HHT, she was very friendly and apologetic and had to enter all 5 of the ticket barcode numbers in manually. I thought this was a little odd as when I've been in this situation in other parks, there's usually some generic barcodes on hand that the staff scan in instead. But on the second day, when the inevitable happened again at the Mystery gate, I was marched back to the ticket booth to have paper tickets generated and then return to the gates to be let in.

I was going to mention the insistence that everyone in your party has to have a wristband on FLY even if you have nothing to put in a locker. But I guess this kind of makes sense when you have to scan the band to get through the exit to ensure all the bands are returned. Still seems like a bit of an over engineered process though.

Other than a slight few niggles such as the strangely awful operations on Black Mamba, the uncomfortable pillows in Motamba and rowdy teenagers everywhere (was the same in Efteling though), I didn't experience some of the issues others have mentioned. Even at the Jafari Bar we paid for our drinks as we went no problem. So it seems like the inconsistencies are an oddity in themselves.

I've fallen in love with the place and can't wait to return. I'm almost intrigued to see how my next experience compares to my last one.
I think the wristbands are for batching as much as for using the lockers. I kind of agree through, just visited PL for the first time this weekend and the whole queuing process for FLY did feel like a bit of a polava. I get that they have to be really careful to ensure that things don't fall off riders onto people standing under the ride in Rookburgh but the airport-style security gates do seem a bit excessive!
Big question is, was locker 420 working on FLY? Annoyingly it was out of use when we were there.
That's disgraceful, what is happening to the place? Broken lockers is something you'd expect from a Merlin park!
 
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Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
At least locker 316 was working and that's the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.


With the Mystery/Misery Castle situation I never can work out what causes Misery. We waited for under 5 mins and got Misery. Very odd. Still the best dark ride I have done.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
I get that they have to be really careful to ensure that things don't fall off riders onto people standing under the ride in Rookburgh but the airport-style security gates do seem a bit excessive!

Universal studios also has metal detectors on selected rides as they had problems with riders deliberatly throwing coins at other coaster trains and spectators.
 

NuttySquirrel

TS Member
Universal studios also has metal detectors on selected rides as they had problems with riders deliberatly throwing coins at other coaster trains and spectators.
I thought their solution to that was to just get rid of the ride that was causing issues (Duelling Dragons)? It's a shame if that is the case, one (or two) coaster creds I'll never get.

Tbh there is only so much you can do to stop people behaving like idiots anyway!
 
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jon81uk

TS Member
I thought their solution to that was to just get rid of the ride that was causing issues (Duelling Dragons)? It's a shame if that is the case, one (or two) coaster creds I'll never get.

Tbh there is only so much you can do to stop people behaving like idiots anyway!
I think Duelling Dragons was removed for many reasons, including coming towards end of life (Hulk was retracked) and that it didn't fit in with the other Harry Potter rides.
Hulk also has metal detectors as does Rip Ride Rocket. Velocicoaster also has them.

Hagrids doesn't as it doesn't go near guest areas.
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
A few points to raise following a 3-night stay at Phantasialand over the weekend:

  • Service in the hotel bars is inadequate. Two are open (Li River and Jafari), with Dragon Bar closed (as it has been for years now). In both hotels, you may wait up to 20 minutes for service and a further 20 minutes for drinks. The size of the bar area in Li River is totally inadequate! There's no room to make drinks.
  • Some areas of Ling Bao are very tired - especially some lifts. The lift neat Bamboo is scratched, bashed and really not in good shape.
  • There were only buffet restaurants available for our visit. Bar food, whilst advertised, was unavailable. As a consequence, we ended up going into the town to get an a-la-carte meal on one evening. This is unacceptable for a resort where you are paying high prices (€1500/3 nights for 4 people). Catering for allergies was also not really satisfactory in the buffet restaurants.
  • The park's opening hour or two is awful. Guests flood the park at 9am and apart from 1 or 2 attractions, the big hitters don't open until 10am. As a result, you end up with 30-60 minutes (or over) queues when rides open, pathways are congested with guests... it's really messy. They need to take a leaf out of park's like Efteling and Europa-Park's book where rides are already open as soon as guests are in the park, which stops this mess. It leaves a bad first impression!
  • The swimming pool at Ling Bao should have been completed by now. The tiny outdoor pool was open, but was a sea of people. Anything but relaxing. We didn't bother.
  • Hotel Quick Pass needs to be more generous - at least 1 ride on Fly, Taron or Black Mamba please... they just exclude the big coasters!
  • Closing times are a mess, too. Although the park closed at 6pm (early for summer, we thought) - some rides were 5.30pm, some 5.45pm. Why not later?
  • We had to get our park tickets reprinted everyday as they wouldn't scan...
  • Throughput on Taron remains a real issue. The ride was on 2 trains on our first day and ended up on 1 train... then 3 on our second - but constantly stacking/double stacking. 6-800/hour is simpy not enough on a ride like this!
 

Acl90

TS Member
On your last point - Taron today was running two trains but so slowly. They weren’t using the offload station so we sat on the break fun for ages waiting for the train in front to load. Hugely disappointing as have been before and throughput has been fantastic - how are they not loading a train before the previous one completes the circuit?!
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
On your last point - Taron today was running two trains but so slowly. They weren’t using the offload station so we sat on the break fun for ages waiting for the train in front to load. Hugely disappointing as have been before and throughput has been fantastic - how are they not loading a train before the previous one completes the circuit?!

They are slow more often than not. I have seen it well operated on some occasions, but often it has problems - whether mechanical issues or slow loading.

I remember a few years ago they took trains off as they day progressed. It ended up on 1 by 5pm with a 2 hour wait.
 

Vik

TS Member
Found service at hotel bars hit and miss. Seemed a lot of new starters. Ling Bao was fine first night but poor second night in contrast Matamba was opposite.

Had no issues with check in was done and dusted in a few minutes. I have always booked on booking.com and paid in advance, though I know the new hotel can’t be booked this way at the moment.

Prices though for rooms have increased substantially since 2019 and for 2 people for 2 nights really is the limit on what I am prepared to pay to stay on resort, similar prices for just after Xmas when I usually visit too.

Ling Bao buffet was poor compared to previous years. Breakfast at Matamba was fine but seemed less on offer than previous years.

Had no issues on park only that rides times seemed to be think of a number and put it on the queue time board. Either overly optimistic or overly pessimistic. Park close was 7 both days and queues seemed to remain open until around then even though advertised 6:45 pm closing.

My overall view was positive and has given Europa a run for its money.
 

Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
Very odd regarding the ticket situation. Then again ours weren't scanned at all.

Taron was on 4 trains when we went. Hammering them out too which is strange to see that has stopped during a busy period.

Phantasia doing odd things? Who'd have guessed?
 

Matt.GC

TS Member
I thought the ticket thing was very odd. I knew by just looking at the bar codes on my PDF tickets that they wouldn't scan and indeed they didn't on the first day or the second. I get that they have to have unique codes to manage fraud (someone could share a screenshot with a mate for example) but when I've had this problem in any park elsewhere there's usually a quick check of legitimacy like showing the original email and then scanning of a generic code. I thought it quite rude to be matched to a ticket kiosk for reprints as if it was my fault.

Failing that, just send barcoded PDF's that actually scan?
 
Out of interest, have operations got worse at Phantasialand in recent years? It certainly sounds like it.

My last visit was in August 2020 and Taron was running 4 trains.

Hearing of one train operation in the summer months this year is quite surprising, even for a park like Phantasialand which is known for having inconsistent operations.
 

Nick🎢

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Spinball Whizzer 😒
Some great info on this thread for those of us getting ready for first visit.

I can only assume they try and get you to pay by BACS to save the card charges / cut. It's really odd in this day and age through.

They don't make you mark it as (PERSONAL) like a plumber do they? 🤣
 

Plastic Person

TS Member
I love Phantasialand, and have visited regularly since 2006. But I definitely feel that operations, while not atrocious, have worsened while the park has in the main, improved.

My only visits recently have been in winter. The park is too small in the summer season to cope with the crowds it attracts.
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
Out of interest, have operations got worse at Phantasialand in recent years? It certainly sounds like it.

My last visit was in August 2020 and Taron was running 4 trains.

Hearing of one train operation in the summer months this year is quite surprising, even for a park like Phantasialand which is known for having inconsistent operations.
They have deteriorated. Although not hugely. Operations at Phantasialand were always 'good' but not 'outstanding'. I always put it in a similar bracket to somewhere like Alton Towers.

The opening hours these days leave a lot to be desired, though - especially given the admission prices being on a park with Europa-Park. Rides are typically available for 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours a day at Phantasialand whereas at Europa-Park it is more like 9 to 11 hours.
 

Bunny Munro

TS Member
Im heading out to Phantasialand for the first time next month and this thread has been very helpful.

Do anyone have any more advice for first time visitors? Im visiting Tues 18-Wed19th of Oct.
Is the park likely to be busy? And what does busy mean in terms of wait times?

I'm staying offsite at the H+.

Thanks.
 
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