If you think Klugheim, Taron, and Raik are the best Phantasialand can do, think again.
Rookburgh and its main attraction, F.L.Y., are not just simply new additions into an already almost-perfect Phantasialand. It's a marvel of engineering that you can appreciate only when you step your feet into it. Fitting a 4,055-foot roller coaster, a 109-room hotel, and plenty of other amenities and shops into a tiny footprint of 75m x 100m might sound impossible, but Phantasialand seems to have pulled it off with ease; and with that gives itself a grandiose victory with what I call "the most immersive, highly-themed roller coaster in Europe." Yes, even more than Space Mountain: Mission 2 at Disneyland Paris.
Guests enter Rookburgh through a passageway similar to that of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, quickly whisked away from the rest of the park into an imaginative steampunk Berlin neighbourhood of Rookburgh. As soon as you get out of the entryway, you'll certainly gasp at the majestic sight of F.L.Y.'s magnificent presence with its twisty, sprawling track across the land. The track goes and flip between, over, and under the sceneries that the project team carefully put in place and specific order.
F.L.Y., a Vekoma next-generation flying coaster, itself is not necessarily an extreme coaster. Its two launches are rather weak compared to those of Taron. But what makes F.L.Y. so unique compared to the typical Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) flyers is that it's truly a flying coaster. The layout carefully mimics what flying motions really feel like. F.L.Y.'s long train makes it possible for riders to experience entirely different flying sensations: row 1-3 offering an experience full of airtime, row 8-10 offering a forceful ride, while row 4-7 offering somewhere between the two.
Personally, what makes F.L.Y. an excellent addition to the park is how it manages to get every single rider extremely hyped up. As soon as the train is dispatched, the dark ride portion begins with a glorious orchestral soundtrack. I won't reveal what happens in this dark ride portion, but at only around 35 seconds long, F.L.Y. is able to get everyone screaming with excitement and gasping in awe as they're transported into the retrofuturistic of Rookburgh. The excitement soars as soon as the train changes position from going sideways to flying position. That moment was truly magical beyond explanation. Everyone was screaming in awe seemingly because they don't expect how such train can do such motion.
To ensure the optimal immersive nature of the land and the roller coaster, Phantasialand seems to have opted to not install any safety nets throughout the land. That's probably why F.L.Y. has what I can describe as the strictest carry-on measures of any roller coasters I've ever seen in any theme parks. All loose items, even if can be secured in a zipped pocket or worn tightly around the riders' bodies (e.g. GoPro), have to be left at the locker. Just right before the loading station, all riders are given wristbands to secure their items in the lockers, which have two-sided doors that allow riders to pick their items upon disembarkation. To exit the ride, the riders then have to give back the wristbands back to the staffs.
Before entering the loading station, riders have to go through sensitive security check using detectors. It's surprising to see so many riders having to be sent back to the locker area because they still carry items in their pockets. And when I said "sent back," it truly means they're sending them back to the back of the line. They can't just go back to where they were. While this can be annoying for some, I'm actually impressed by how much Phantasialand is dedicated to bring the immersive world of Rookburgh by applying such strict security measures.
F.L.Y. and Rookburgh are masterpieces of theme parks that I believe would even make Disney and Universal turn their heads and say to themselves, "We have to learn from this park." Everything about it shouts what makes Phantasialand amazing in the first place: being able to create a world's best attractions in a top-notch immersive environment with extreme land restrictions. These should be at the top of the list of any theme park goers worldwide for 2021 and 2022!
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