Sunday, 31 July 2011

Movie Park Germany

Movie Park Germany is one of the major theme parks in Germany and has a past going back to the early 70s.   In that time it has gone through half-a-dozen name changes, which perhaps gives an indication of the problems that have blighted this park. When I visited it in 2004 it was under the ownership of Warner Bros. who were having difficulty getting the park to work, and back then it was closing rides. So it would be interesting to see how it had fared under the new owners.

The park has the typical American Park Main Street. Whilst common place over there it is unique to Germany.

We started the day with an excellent ERS on Van Helsing's Factory, their new indoor rollercoaster that is housed in what used to be the Gremlins attraction.

Attention to detail in the theming on the queue line was top notch. The photo here isn't indicative as this room is dark with the occasional UV lettering flashing up. My camera flash ruined the illusion.

The ride itself is excellent with excellent theming and a pretty lengthy intense coaster experience to boot. There's good use of projections and lighting to make the ride entertaining from start to finish. It's a shame that I have to let a pun go as there are no dead spots in the ride to report on. To misuse an industry cliche this really is a good addition to the park.

For those that are curious the ride has nothing to do with that terrible Hugh Jackman film but is based on a comic book of the same name. Actually that film does feature one memorable bit in the toughest cow ever. Watch it and you'll see what I mean...then please forget the film because its so bad.

Across the street from the Van Helsing theming continues with this large restaurant/stage area in which we were to have lunch later on in the day. The buffet was alright but unfortunately there was no show when we ate.

More American cars, this one reminding me somehow of Roger Rabbit.

This park doesn't just have drink and ice cream stalls, they have fully fledged "Happiness Stations". Just seeing the signage wiped the frown from my face and I quickly forgot those African children who die on a daily basis from malnutrition and starvation, so the branding clearly works!

Following the Helsing ERS the park ran a Q&A session for the club. Now usually I would be up for that but the mood was different today. In the days leading up to this we'd found ourselves spending more time on the road travelling than planned and this had left us with less time than liked in the parks. Tensions were a little frayed with this so a little group decided to enjoy the park rather than take time out to do organised stuff.

On the upside making that decision did give us first goes on this coaster, the new addition since our last visit, and because we were first we were sent around a few times, bonus! The coaster is a kiddy inverter and alright.

Stupid blue Thomas rip-off.

Spongebob water ride. The park clearly has enough budget for some good theming though.

Dora exploring a log flume. Shortly after this photo was taken she slipped on the rock, knocked herself out and drowned. That'll teach her to explore around parts of the park she shouldn't.

Last time we were here this mouse coaster was themed around Tom & Jerry. Now it had been given a better undersea theming that worked really well, and the ride wasn't too bad.

and last time this coaster was themed around roadrunner and wile e coyote but now it was themed around a planetary rocket ride. This one was fairly OK but nothing exciting really. The restraints were the new type that need to be rolled out around lots of parks.

Another ride that changed was the indoor rapid ride that is now themed around the Ice Age movies. Unfortunately this one is a pale shadow of it's former incarnation. As The Never Ending Story this ride was superb last time. There was no way they were going to better that.

Strange flying machine in the centre of this end of the park. The idea is that you're supposed to be able to direct a sail to steer the plane cars but I couldn't get it to work turning the ride into a frustrating baby star flyer.

Oh, god this one was atrociously bad. Previously a Batman themed simulator ride it was now re-themed to a time travelling story with John Cleese playing the part of a potty scientist. Aside from one clever effect where you go back in time to you boarding the ride, the experience was a joke and not a good one.

Aside from the Nickelodeon part of the park the biggest branding was probably the Marvel one, with this collection of stuffed characters being a tiny part of the branded merchandise available. When is Iron Man not Iron Man, when he's cotton wool stuffed.

Wild Wild West now Bandit. The least said about this the better. Every year a guy called Mitch Hawker runs a poll on best and worst coasters. Expect this one to slip to the bottom based on the ride experience given to the club on this trip.

The park have a fairly new boardwalk area with a small number of rides including this Disko with a bump. With it being fairly new the queues were quite long and put us off riding what is a generic ride.

Overall though the boardwalk area was looking really good, we didn't spend too much time in it though.

Along with the American Theming there were two groups of flashmob dancing; a line dancing crew and a jive bunch. They were dancing for most of the day in their jeans, cowboy hats and ground stomping boots. This picture was taken early on. By the end of the day they'd stomped a trench 2 ft deep and the resulting dust had closed the drop tower and polluted the boardwalk area.

This park had an X-Men stunt show. I'd have to visit that for sure. (Little did I know at this point how fortunate I was in deciding to go)

The drop tower is alright but they have a silly no glasses rule which puts me off riding it. What's the point in going on it if I can't get to enjoy the view?

I took a quick respite from the riding to watch one of their musical revues. This one mixed routines from musicals such as Rocky Horror, Grease etc into an incoherent mess of a love story. The small cast meant there were a quick number of costume changes that kinda worked, and one of the women was particularly easy on the eye, which always makes this sort of show bearable.

This was her, fit aint she?

Now onto the best thing in the park by a long way. The X-Men stunt show. Featuring foam suits and silly martial arts choreography the show was a stupid tale of the mutant heroes vs Magneto and his evil cohorts.

The characters were well costumed and I could easily identify them, helped by being a comic book geek however the overall show was one of those experiences that was so bad it turned out to be good. So bad that I went back and watched the over show later in the day just to ensure that the one I saw wasn't bad by fluke.

Indoor pyros were used regularly through the performance to keep the audience awake.

Oh Gambit, you swine. You've turned traitor on the X-Men. I hope you pay for your treachery. I don't recall if it did I was just too overwhelmed by the entire experience to remember.

Nightcrawler was my favourite character. Played by 3 different looking chinese men (so the teleportation section looked legit) he was terrible and must have joined the team not realising he was going to be face-painted like a smurf 2 times a day, and 3 during peak season.

Overall Movie World succeeds in having a range of attractions from very good (Van Helsing) to hilariously bad (X-Men) so enough to please everyone; optimists, pessimists and masochists alike. We could have spent more time in the park and ridden the SLC and some of the other rides but we chose to leave the park for a smaller family one further down the road.

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