Smoke signals from Phantasialand

It is less than a year ago that Phantasialand gave us a Klugheim, a brand new theme zone containing two new roller coasters. Taron became the new crowd puller of the German theme park and is named one of the best roller coasters on the European continent. But Phantasialand wouldn’t be Phantasialand if they just did nothing. We already knew they had plans for the area were once the simulator Race for Atlantis was located. The simulator was broken down and now the park reopened again, it placed some very interesting signs near the construction site. Enough for the fans to start the rumors!

© Phantasialand

But what could it be? What is Phantasialand building? Traditionally, Phantasialand itself doesn’t release very much information at all. An official statement will probably be known right before the opening. For example, they announced that there was a second coaster in Klugheim only six months before the opening.  In the case of Rookburgh, the opening could be expected in 2018. Depending from the size of the project, it could also be 2019. We can only take a guess at what the Germans are trying to pull off.

Dark ride

One of the loudest rumors is a dark ride. It seems only logical that just after the opening of two new roller coasters, a park wouldn’t directly open another new roller coaster. If you count out a roller coaster, there are some other options left if you expect that the park wants to go for a big ride: a water ride, a thrill ride or a dark ride.

With Chiapas Phantasialand opened a state of the art log flume, and that’s only three years ago. Together with Wakaboto, a splash battle, and the new upgrades River Quest got it seems that Phantasialand is happy with the water rides they can offer right now. A water ride doesn’t seem to fit the steampunk concept either. A thrill ride could be a part of the new area, but most likely not as the eye catcher. Phantasialand already has some great thrill rides like Talocan and Mystery castle and has no need for another big thrill ride.

So from these options, a dark ride seems to fit best. They do have another three dark rides. Maus au Chocolat is the most recent one, it opened in 2011 and is a rather kitschy themed shooter dark ride. The other two are quite old. Geister Rikscha is one of the oldest rides in Phantasialand still open today, it goes back to 1981. Ironically the third dark ride, Hollywood Tour, opened nine years after Geister Rikscha but seems way more outdated. It seems very likely one, or maybe even both, of these dark rides will have to shut its doors.

In order to create Klugheim, Phantasialand already closed Silbermine, a western dark ride that was only three years older than Geister Rikscha. Considering the park might lose another dark ride or two in the near future, they could drop down to only one dark ride left. A state of the art dark ride could fill in that future gap and put Phantasialand on the stage of the best theme parks in the world even more. Some of the biggest parks are building dark rides like Harry Potter at Univeral, Ratatouille at Disneyland Paris or Symbolica at the Efteling. So why not Phantasialand?!

A flying roller coaster

With the opening of Taron and RAIK last year, it seems unrealistic that Phantasialand would already chose to open another new big roller coaster. So when Dutch theme parks news site Looopings came with the news that a Vekoma flying coaster would be the new ride of Phantasialand, it came as a shock. Or not?

© Phantasialand

Look at the concept art that Phantasialand hang up in the park a bit closer. The new zone will have a steampunk theme, in that area zeppelins ware huge. Zeppelins were rigid airships invented by the Germans. And take a close look at the text on the building. It says “Airrail corp”. Airrail corporation, that is definitely a term that hints at aviation. All of these hints, if they are hints from Phantasialand, could easily refer to a flying roller coaster.

Another good argument for the case of a (flying) roller coaster, is the fact that the site they are building on, is the last big area they have they could fit a big sized roller coaster on. Phantasialand has a small surface and therefore must be creative with its space. That fact gave us beauties like Klugheim, Chiapas and Black Mamba. All zones with the rides heavily themed with a great use of space. And another fact: the site is slightly bigger than the site they have built Klugheim on! If Phantasialand can build two roller coasters on a smaller space, than they could build a flying roller coaster on a bigger space, right?!

In red: the new site they are building the new Rookburgh zone – In blue: the Klugheim site

Let’s talk about the possible manufacturer of a possible flying roller coaster. There are three main manufacturers who offer flying roller coasters: B&M, Vekoma & Zamperla. It seems very unlikely Phantasialand will chose for Zamperla, as they have not worked with them before and the flying coasters from the Italian manufacturer don’t have a great reputation.

B&M is the manufacturer that pops in everyone minds when it comes to flying coasters. Their flying coasters are sold more than the other two manufacturers versions and they have built some of the most exciting flying roller coasters like Tatsu and Manta. But Looopings, the source of the flying roller coasters new, also said Phantasialand agreed terms with Vekoma!

The Dutch manufacturer actually offered flying roller coasters earlier than B&M did. The first B&M flying roller coaster was Galactica in Alton Towers – known as Air – which opened in 2002. By that time, the Dutch already constructed three flying roller coasters, the first they opened was Stealth in California’ s Great America. Though the chances Phantasialand will have this type of flying roller coaster from Vekoma is small.

© Vekoma

Vekoma recently came up with a new concept for a flying roller coaster named the stingray. This new concepts features the new track type from Vekoma which would allow smoother and more comfortable rides. One of the less positive points on the classic Vekoma flying Dutchmen type were the fact you rode the lift on your back and only inverted after the lift. With the new stingray, Vekoma solved this solution by introducing a 90 degree lift, like most Gertslauer coasters have. This way, your going up in a seating way and this should be more comfortable than the old version. Or even the B&M version, where all your weight is pushed into the harness.

Vekoma has already sold one of these stingray coasters to a Chinese theme park. So the concept is still pretty unique if Phantasialand would open one. Another advantage of this stingray is that the coaster itself can be pretty compact if needed. For a park with a small surface, that’s a god’s gift!

Why not both?

Why not a (flying) roller coaster and a dark ride?! Phantasialand wouldn’t be Phantasialand if they didn’t manage to surprise us almost every time. When everyone thought Klugheim was only about Taron, Phantasialand waited six months before the opening to confirm that there was another second roller coaster, RAIK. So now we all are guessing what they are building in Rookburgh, we could predict that a roller coaster or a dark ride won’t be the only rides they are building on.

With the opening of Klugheim less than a year ago, Phantasialand is already giving us reasons to speculate and looking forward to. This story will surely be continued!

Post Author: Frederik

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