Erlebnispark Strasswalchen doesn't look like much when you first approach it. On walking through the gate though one quickly remembers the danger of judging a book by its cover. We began the day with a delicious group lunch provided by the park, complete with free beer. The owner was probably even more enthusiastic about our visit then we were, and he simply could not do enough to accomodate us.
With lunch completed, it was time to evaluate the parks sole coaster, the Pax-built Wild Train (#499). Having previously ridden a Pax coaster in Parc Saint Paul I had a fair idea of what to expect, and I was not disappointed in the least. If anything Wild Train was even more insane than I had anticipated, with the back seat in particular being probably the most airtime-filled experience I have ever had in a coaster of this size. I clocked up three rides almost immediately.
It is only fair to mention that the park had a blanket ban on glasses on board, even those secured with a strap. Regular readers will know that this is one of my pet peeves. Rather than repeat what I have said many times before, I will just observe that I find it challenging enough to intentionally remove my glasses when they are secured, making it impossible that a coaster will throw them.
Another fun attraction was the Trampolinanlage, which as the name suggests is a full sized trampoline. Several club members were able to jump to impressive heights, and impressive acrobatic manoeuvres were performed. I tried a few attempts myself but decided not to risk a somersault, and indeed I was glad of my decision later when one of our members landed badly and hurt himself, though fortunately the only thing really injured was his dignity!
The park ran an unscheduled session of the 3-D Kino show for our group. The performance turned out to be in English, although it would probably have made just as much sense to me in German!
Almost the entire group watched the magic show, during which Lisa and Derek were called up on stage to assist with one of the tricks. The show itself was a standard affair but performed well. It would be nice if some parks somewhere took the time to develop a different routine.
The Sindbad Abenteuerreise Geisterfahrt turned out to be a rather good dark ride. Unusually, this attraction had no visible ride operators whatsoever, relying on a mechanical gate which allowed a maximum number of passengers through at a time. The car dispatched automatically after the lap bar was closed. Mid way through the course lay a very clever effect with a projector and dry ice that made us feel like we were travelling into some form of vortex.
With plenty of time to kill in a very small park we began the process of testing out every attraction in the park. As most are standard fare it is difficult to say something unique about each. The rides we tried were:
- Monorailbahn Schneckenfahrt, a cycle railway on which the pedals had been disconnected, replaced instead with a slow motor drive.
- Oldtimerfahrt, a rather cramped car ride with an apparently functional steering wheel which did not however have any obvious effect on the wheels.
- Westernexpress, a very cramped train ride.
- Piratenschaukelschiff, a pirate boat ride with a long ride cycle, approaching four minutes.
- Jeepfahrt, another car ride. The vehicles were decorated like those in Jurassic Park, and featured a number of buttons triggering assorted sound effects.
- Flossfahrt, an electrically powered boat ride.
- Schwanenbootfahrt, pedal powered swan boats whose pedals were a little too close together for comfortable operation by adults
- Riesenrad, a very small ferris wheel.
After a snack break, with complimentary food provided once again by the eternally obliging park staff, I made my way back to the Wild Train in the hope that the glasses rule might have been relaxed. No such luck, though I still stayed on for three circuits before going over to the only other non-up-charge attraction I hadn't tried, the Skyglider. This was a standard fairground style slide with four racing lanes, and much to my astonishment I found I loved this! It must have been a decade at least since my last outing on a large slide, and I have been clearly missing a lot during that time. I managed five consecutive rides, only pausing due to the exertion of climbing the stairs up to the slide in the heat.
After four more laps on the Wild Train and five more on the Skyglider it was time for our ERS to begin. This was, of course, going to be on the coaster again. After arguments from the powers that be, the park relaxed the glasses rule and allowed me to enjoy Wild Train properly. I only took two rides though before taking advantage of a unique opportunity to walk up the lift hill and photograph the ride from there. This is the first time I have ever been able to walk a lift hill while a ride has been operational, and it was an interesting and worthwhile experience. The ride wobbled a lot more than I had anticipated as the train went over the top, but the resulting attack of nerves was easily forgotten when I saw some of the pictures I managed to take.
I was also able to climb on the roof of the Kart track building using a ladder the park left for the purpose, and although there were no really good angles there it was still interesting to try.
With my pictures taken, I went back to make the most of the remainder of the ERS, clocking up seven rides, five of them in a row without disembarking. The latter, though fun, finished my riding for the night, as my lap bar was a notch tighter than it should have been resulting in a somewhat painful experience. It seems that our circuits were so that the group photo being taken below us could have a train full of members in it; it'll be interesting to see the pictures on the web page when posted.
Before leaving the park owner insisted we all try a complimentary ride on the Autodrom dodgems. We were treated to several displays of formation dodgem driving. This is always funny to watch, though it is even better if the public get to watch. Perhaps there will be an opportunity later in the trip for such a display during park hours.