During a flying visit to the region, we couldn’t help but make the trip out to the park and see for ourselves what was on offer. The following is our review of the park and, of course, our recommendations on the rides that you just can’t miss (and there are a fair few!)
The Lay of the Land at Phantasialand
As you’ll find in many large theme parks, Phantasialand is broken into a number of significantly different areas.
- Berlin, based on Germany’s capital from the 1920s
- Mystery which includes ‘Klugheim’, a mythical village based around Old Norse culture
- Mexico which borrows from both Aztec and more modern Mexican theming
- China Town, home to beautiful traditionally styled Chinese buildings and paper lanterns
- Deep in Africa, including sandstone columns and native African art
- Fantasy, home to a race of fairy creatures (called the Wuze) and their warrior queen.
The theming throughout the park was impressively done and relatively authentic. It certainly helped add to the magic of the day!
Navigating parts of the park was a were a bit of a challenge as some of the ride entries sat in parts of the park where you really wouldn’t expect them. To make life easier, you’ll definitely want your map with you (and to pay special attention to the green marks which show where rides are boarded).
As we visited on the last day of the year (which resulted in shortened opening hours), we prioritised the rides over the shows and other winter attractions. If we had more time up our sleeves, we’d have loved to have made the most of the Wintertraum (Winter Dream) but it was an absolute pleasure just walking around the park amongst all of the twinkling Christmas lights and decorations. Even on a dreary winter’s day, the park looked fabulous.
Reviewing the Most Exciting Rides at Phantasialand
Phantasialand is a large park with much to offer and as such, you’ll want to allow enough time to have a good look around.
Though we also went on a number of smaller rides, the following are the ones that, in our mind, are must-sees when planning your visit to this German theme park.
The fastest and longest multi-launch coaster in the world, Taron is quite literally a beast! With masses of track ducking and diving over itself, a top speed of 117km/h (72.7mph) and countless near-misses, this coaster is the flagship ride at Phantasialand for good reason.
Though we rode during the day and enjoyed it, the ride really comes to life in the dark. When lights hits the impressive rock-wall surrounds and the whole area becomes engulfed in mist, the excitement levels seriously go up a notch.
If you’re there for the winter season, be sure to stay late enough to maximise the thrill on Taron!
Pro Tip: The single rider queue moves quickly so if you’re not too worried about sitting with your buddy and want to squeeze in some extra ride time without the wait, head straight for that entry. As we were both paired up with single riders, we even managed to swap and sit together after all.
Black Mamba (2006)
Designed by the legendary Bolliger & Mabillard, the Black Mamba is an inverted coaster set within a West African jungle. Riders’ legs dangle as they’re raced through a loop along with a series of tunnels and helixes.
This coaster was much smoother than I’d expected (and anyone that’s ridden Lethal Weapon before it became Arkham Asylum on the Gold Coast will know how rough inverted coasters can be!) and I must admit, it was a welcome change to be back on a ride with a lift hill and a decent initial drop!
Chiapas – DIE Wasserbahn (2014)
Even in the depths of the German winter, we rode Chiapas twice (back to back even!) which really tells you everything you need to know – this is a ride built for fun!
With a 53° drop, Chiapas boasts the steepest decent of any log flume in the world. It also has a number of smaller drops, a coaster-like track in places, a decent backwards run and fun theming and music throughout.
Pro Tip: There’s nowhere to store your bags on this ride so be sure to take a waterproof bag cover (or ziplock bag for your electronics).
Colorado Adventure (1996)
Considered one of the best mine roller coasters in the world, Colorado Adventure was the real surprise of the day for me. Similar to Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland, this runaway train races around the track and includes an amazing dark section.
Don’t let the number of kids on this ride put you off – it’s an absolute must-do at Phantasialand!
Officially classified a family boomerang coaster, Raik is still a great ride and for those who aren’t enthusiasts, absolutely world-class.
Riders are first pulled backwards up a fairly substantial lift hill before being dropped back through the loading zone and zipping around the track. As riders reach the end, they’re again pulled up a lift hill and complete the track again, only in reverse.
It wasn’t the most memorable ride of the day for me but is certainly worth checking out whilst in the park.
Tlaloc, the god of water and rain does battle with the elements, all whilst you’re left spinning and tumbling.
The ride’s fairly full-on and isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely worth finding a good dose of bravery to take on the challenge.
Mystery Castle (1998)
Hidden away inside the castle tower, Mystery Castle was a great surprise!
Shooting riders 65m up in the air (before dropping them down again), this is a great introduction to the larger drop towers found elsewhere. As you ride inside (and for the most part, in the dark), in my opinion, it’s not quite as scary as the open-air versions (where you can’t escape the sense of how high you are).
Food at Phantasialand
Once you’re in a theme park, regardless of which park it is, you’ll generally be expecting to pay high prices for food of questionable quality.
Whilst it comes as no surprise that food within Phantasialand isn’t cheap (they do after all have a captive audience), we were taken by the wide range of options on offer though and can unreservedly recommend the cinnamon/sugar crêpes!
They do allow drinks and snacks to be brought into the park too (just no glass bottles), so there are some options to help reduce your costs if that’s your buzz.
Getting To and From the Park
Should you have a rental car, getting to the park is easy following their directions.
If you’re making use of public transport, as we did using our KölnCards (which provide unlimited public transport, all the way out to the town in which you’ll find the park), then catching a train or tram could not be easier thanks to the Phantasialand shuttle bus.
For only €3 return, they’ll take you to and from your chosen form of public transport!
For specific times, we suggest you check their website (as different seasons do have an effect on the times they run).
Phantasialand: Cologne’s Answer to Disneyland
If you’re paying a visit to Cologne and are looking for an adrenaline rush or a break from reality, we’d really recommend making the trip out of the city and heading for Phantasialand!
With world-class coasters, awesome theming and a great atmosphere, it certainly makes for a memorable day out.
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Thank you to Phantasialand for inviting us to join them for the purpose of this review. All thoughts are entirely our own.
Some photography provided by Becks Silke.