Sunday, 31 July 2011

Bayern Park

The first park, a little over an hour away from Munich Airport was Bayern Park, a mid-sized family run park. The main reason for visiting this park was for their new coaster Freischutz, a new custom Maurer-Sohne launched ride.

The park mascot is a nationally dressed lion. The lion used to run wild around this Bavarian region until it was killed for it's fur and liederhosen, which is in high demand from specialist collectors.

Family parks typically have a mixture of rides and gardens: rides for the kids and gardens for the oldies. Bayern goes one better by freezing the kids in carbonite and planting them in the gardens.

This is Freischutz which looks amazing. I say "looks" because that's all we got to do. There had been a delay in the construction and the odds of the ride being open for our trip was touch-and-go. Gone, for us. However realising our plight, the park did very kindly allow us to walk around and under the ride where the opportunity to take some unique photos softened the blow.

We also happened to be there as they were loading the train onto the track. Yep, this ride is a single train ride and doesn't feature any mid-course brakes which means the coaster will fly around the track. The park seemed quite proud of the fact that this would offer 6 seconds of sustained 3Gs. For a family park this was certainly a big step up...and to some of us a bit too big. Time will tell whether the ride is the draw that the park are expecting.

The gardens were very well maintained.

Onto the coasters. Even without Freischutz running there were still four other rides to accumulate. Two of those are arguably the most basic of coasters, the Butterfly. These are silly little slides where you're pulled up to the top of one side and then released to coast back and forth from each end until the ride settles in the centre. The throughput is therefore quite terrible and on a coaster trip this invariably led to queues of adults who should know better. The game with riding these things therefore is to plan a time when the queues are at a minimum.

The littlest proper coaster is frog themed. It's sort of alright, still embarrassing but not as bad as the butterfly. Amphibian > Insect perhaps?

The big coaster is a large rollerskater ride, themed around a caterpillar with a penchant for staring. This ride was OK, let down by a pretty strict ride op who'd ensure the exit line was clear of public before sending the next train out, ruining the opportunity for photos.

At the centre of the park is a forest nature walk. Included in amongst the basic attractions was this quite neat log lift challenge. The final log, which can't be lifted by anyone is there to show what a Gorilla is capable of lifting. Education, and a workout combined. Unfortunately, despite hanging around, the gorilla didn't show up to justify their claims.

European Parks often feature kiddy attractions that we'd unlikely see in the UK. The most common has to be these inflatable bouncy mats. Kids love them, I can't quite get my balance on them and look stupid.

A quite cool mouse ride which despite it's appearance is not a coaster. Also notice how the kids are not discouraged from running amok amongst the ride.

At the back of the park is one of two toboggan rides in the park. This is the better of the two as it featured nice comfy seats instead of the basic plastic sled that you usually get. This ride usually costs 4 euros a ride but the park had kindly allowed us free rides, which we exploited.

The miniature boat ride for mini people, or was I playing with the tilt shift mode on the camera? The centre of the park features a large lake, which is quite scenic.

A uniquely themed spin ride.

More carbonite kids to keep the olds happy.

Inside the main eating hall with typical Bavarian touches inside. During your meal a Bavarian would come up and touch you.

More carbonite kiddies. 

At the end of the day we were given an hour riding on the caterpillar ride, which went down well, although I think the consensus amongst the group was that the toboggan ride was much better. The park is very pleasant and a nice gentle way to start the trip. We knew bigger and better parks were coming and whilst it was a shame that the signature ride wasn't running I think we all still had a good time.

Subsequent to the trip I've heard that the Freischutz coaster is terrible and no-one who's ridden it has had anything good to say about it...A shame.

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