Phantasialand – 50 Years of Fun and Enjoyment

Phantasialand is known as one of the best theme parks of Europe. But what made this park so great? To find out, join me on a trip through the history of the Phantasialand.

by Henri 

The Beginning

The history began in 1967, when Gottfried Löffelhardt and Richard Schmidt founded Phantasialand, one of Europe’s older theme parks. Like many other European parks, Phantasialand started as a fairy tale park with a playground, a restaurant and two flat rides. Despite the little amount of attractions, they counted 400.000 visitors for their first season, which was a great sucess back then. This led to an expasion of the park area and paved the way for a bright future.

The 70´s and 80´s

In 1970, the founders made the first step towards the idea of a theme park by opening a recreation of the famous street “Unter den Linden” , which represented the “Golden Age” of Berlin. (early to late 1920´s). To complete the scenery they copied the “Brandenburger Tor” in scale 1:2 and opened their first theatre, the “Wintergarten”, which holds the show “Musarteum” at the moment.

“1001 Nacht” Germanys first stationary darkride. (Source: youtube/ThemeparkSoundtrack)
Source: onride.de
Source: onride.de

The biggest suprise that Phantasialand had to offer in 1970, was the opening of Germanys first stationary darkride “1001 Nacht” (tales of 1001 nights). When it first opened, you had to pay extra for this “special” attraction, which changed over time. This attraction was home, together with a cafe called “Cafe Oriental”,  to a subject area “Orient”. This theme wasn´t implented largely in the park. When they shut down the attraction in 2009, the last remains of this theme were removed.

In 1972 they build Silvercity, a western themed city and their first two rollercoaster: Bobbahn 1/Gebrigsbahn and Bobbahn 2/Grand-Canyon-Bahn. First they were without any scenery but due to the high noises the coasters created they fixed it with a  mountain massiv scenery.

China Town was their next big project. Instead of using reproduced components, they imported lots of components directly from Taiwan, to create an outstanding experience. Nowadays it´s the largest amount of Chinese buildings outside of China.

The 90´s

In 1988, they opened “Space Center”, the largest indoor coaster of the world. It was fairly received by the guests and was a huge sucess for the park. Today it´s known as “Temple of the Night Hawk”. They reused the “space”-theme a second time when they opened the IMAX-Simulator “Galaxy”, after 2005 known as “Race-for-Atlantis” which was demolished in 2016 due to the new area “Rookburgh” and the new flying coaster “F.L.Y”.

In 1996 they did it again and opened all time classic : “The Colorado Adventure”, also known as “The Michael-Jackson Thrillride”. Opened by the King of Pop himself, who was a big fan of Phantasialand, this coaster became an all time favourite among all guests. They scrapped the adittional name in 2014, as they thought that to advertise with a dead celebrity isn´t the best idea.

The last big project, before the millenium year arrived, was the opening of Mystery Castle. A 65 m high bungee drop tower from Intamin which is well known for its queue. It represents different rooms of an haunted castle and has an awesome design in general.

2001: The disaster!

2001 wasn´t the best one for Phantasialand. On the first of May, a defect cable by the Grand-Canyon-Bahn caused a fire. At the time, it wasn´t the standard to build a fire-resistant set for a ride. Due to this flaw, the fire took over to the setting of the two coasters and burned them nearly completly down. In addition, attractions like “Mystery Castle” and the “Westernstadt” took damage too. In addition, the “Tankara Theater” was destroyed. Nobody died during this disaster but 63 people were injured. The damage had a value of 19,5 million euro. (22,92 million dollar / 17,45 million pound)

Source: express.de

The attractions were replaced by the rafting attraction “River Quest” and the Mad House “Feng Ju Palace”.

Originally the indoor-part Wuze-Town was scheduled for 2001. Because of the accident, Phantasialand pushed the opening to 2002. All parts of the park, who were built by non-fire resistant materials, had to be spread with an fire resistant spray. All attractions from this point on were build with fire-resistant materials.

2003 until now

After the opening of the Wuze Town and the double spinning coaster “Winja’s Fear and Force”, Phantasialand focused on transforming to a short trip destinantion. To reach this goal, they opened their first Hotel PhantAsia (today: Ling Bao) and they introduced the dinner-Show: Fantissima.

In 2006 they opened their first coaster with inversion. The B&M inverted coaster “Black Mamba”, back then often called “Black Mamba: The biting ride”. Together with the coaster came the area “Deep in Africa”, which was build on an old parking area for workers. The concept of Africa in Germany was rounded up by the opening of the Hotel “Matamba”.

In 2007, they opened the Huss Suspended Top-Spin “Talocan” , which is known to be one of the best themed Top-Spins of all time.

In 2010, the area “Alt-Berlin” got a complete overhaul and was renamed to “Kaiserplatz”. It was build on the demolished place of “1001 Nacht”. In addition they demolished the Brandenburger Tor and nearly every house was refreshed. To create more atmosphere, they introduced a new cafe, the chairoplane “Wellenflieger”, the interactive dark-ride “Maus au Chocolat” in 2011 and the fun-house “Verrücktes Hotel Tartüff” in 2012.  The Kaiserplatz is now the heart of Phantasialand and is often used for fireworks and other special shows, like “Die magische Rose” during the winter season.

Chiapas and Taron

With the demolishing of the Monorail “Phantasialand-Jet”, the first rumours came that the Phantasialand wanted to renew the Mexican area. When they finally shut down the two beloved log flumes “Wildwash Creek” and “Stonewash Creek”, everybody knew that the rumours were true. The new attraction was a  new log flume, but a bigger and better one, with the steepest downhill of any logflume.

Shortly after demolishing the old log flume, the park revealed the name of the attraction and a model of the new area. Originally the attraction was planned to  open in the summer of 2013, but because of problems during the winter season, the attraction opened at the beginning of the summer season in 2014.

The new attraction unfortunately still had many issues and was often shut down for lots of hours, but by the end of the 2014 season, the problems were nearly fixed. A big advantage of this newest type of water ride, is that it is open during the winter season as well.

Also in 2014, the Westernstadt and the dark ride “Silbermine” were demolished and replaced by the new Intamin Multi-Launch Coaster “Taron”, the Vekoma Kiddie-Boomerang “Raik”and the area “Klugheim”. This expansion of the Mystery theme was often requested by fans, and was completed by refreshing the attraction “River Quest”.

In an nutshell, Phantasialand had a very interesting history with plenty of different attractions. Sadly the park’s main issue is lack of space, which resulted in  demolishing many classic rides. Luckily, when they replace a ride, they don’t disappoint the fans with fantastic attractions like Chiapas and Taron.  This year, Phantasialand celebrates its 50 anniversary. It looks like a bright future with “F.L.Y” and the new area Rookburgh on schedule and who knows what the surprises the park has in store for the future.

We hope that the next 50 years will be as or even more exciting as the last 50.

Happy Birthday Phantasialand 😀


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