Travel Note

13th April 2024

I decided to revise my original itinerary for today when it became clear that I'd be a few weeks too early to ride Voltron Nevera. In simple terms, there was little point in driving all the way over to the western side of Germany if I'd be heading there again at some point in the not too distant future.

The ever-reliable Coaster-Count pointed me to five different fairs within range, and while opening hours precluded me getting to all of them I nevertheless managed to concoct a slightly insane plan taking in three – as well as a powered coaster, two alpine coasters, and two permanently-installed credits. The result was more than a little silly, given that I spent twelve hours in the car and drove a little over a thousand kilometres, but on the plus side I managed to tick off a whole bunch of attractions I was genuinely interested in seeing for myself, not least a Bockwurst-themed Sunkid Butterfly, a Fabbri-built Reverchon knockoff, and the steepest alpine coaster in Germany.


Inselsberg Funpark

13th April 2024

Inselsberg Funpark is a pay-per-ride facility operated by Wiegand (yes, that one) located on the side of a mountain. The star attraction is a sommerrodelbahn that is quite a lot longer than it appears from within the park. The official web page quotes a length of a kilometre, but that is likely conservative given that the lift hill alone stretches 350m according to a Google Earth measurement. It was a great ride, too, and excellent value at just €4.


The real reason for my visit however was Wie-Flyer, the world premiere of a product line probably best described as an inverted Bobkart. The ride opened in 2012 with single seat cars resembling airplanes, though since 2018 passengers have occupied two-seat inverted cars with a speed control lever in the middle. The track structure is ugly (if not quite as bad as the example at Schwaben Park) but despite that the onboard experience is actually pretty good, once again easily justifying the ticket price.



13th April 2024

Erlebnis-Arena-Ruhla consists of two facilities; a gated park with miniature replicas of local buildings, and a standalone sommerrodelbahn that is marketed as the steepest mountain coaster in Germany. Erlebnis-Rodelbahn-Ruhla has an uphill gradient of 35% and a downhill slope of 22% – and in all honesty it feels even steeper than that. Some of the corners were crazy even by the somewhat flexible standards of Brandauer, to the point that I just had to do a second lap. I timed my descent at about 45 seconds without brakes, quite a bit faster than two published POVs, and I have the bruises to prove it!


Erfurt Altstadtfrühlingsfest

13th April 2024

My third stop was at the Old Town Spring Festival – German compound words are great, kapische? – a fairground in a public square directly in front of Erfurt’s cathedral. Locations that central are often problematic for enthusiasts on a schedule, making me absolutely thrilled to discover an enormous underground car park less than one hundred meters away from my target coaster. Better yet, I arrived about thirty minutes before the published opening time only to find everything already in full swing.


Time Machine (#3121) is one of three examples of the so-called “Stall Turn” version of the Reverchon spinning coaster, an improved version of the classic layout with a resigned first drop and turnaround. Owned by Colin Buwalda of the Netherlands, it is by far the best presented example of the genre – thanks to custom signage and lighting, an elaborately themed station, and a custom pay box. It’s really great to see standard rides upgraded in this way; I hold out some hope that this will be an example for future showmen to follow.

For all the glory of the appearance, the on-board experience was standard fare (as indeed I expected it to be) meaning that one lap was enough. I disembarked and went for a quick walk around the rest of the fair before heading back to my car.


Allwetterrodelbahn Weißenfels

13th April 2024

I’d planned my route from Erfurt to follow the A4 as far as Hainichen, but a traffic accident en-route caused Garmin to recalculate an alternative using the A9. This had the unplanned but entirely fortuitous side-effect of taking me within a few kilometres of Allwetterrodelbahn Weißenfels, and given my proximity it would have been appallingly rude not to make a brief detour.

The park, whose name translates to Weißenfels All-Weather Toboggan Run, has three distinct activities: an archery range, a miniature golf course, and an alpine coaster. Schöne Aussicht, or “beautiful view”, is a Wiegand product entirely devoid of memorable moments – to the point that even someone afraid of coasters and high speeds should have no problems whatsoever. The one feature that caught my attention was the remnants of a decommissioned a sled half way up a tree, which I guess qualifies as theming for nerds.

Schone Aussicht


Karls Erlebnis-Dorf Döbeln

13th April 2024

Karls Erlebnis-Dorf Döbeln is the newest addition to the Karls Tourismus GmbH portfolio, having opened its doors to the public on March 23 this year. Despite being brand new it is clearly already a roaring success; the huge parking lot was completely full for my arrival. Management are evidently confident in their offering, as a further three locations have been announced for Loxstedt (2025), Oberhausen (2026), and Plech (2027) – and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if more are in the pipeline.

As with the rest of the chain the offering is split between a retail facility and a free admission outdoor amusement park. Those out to spend money have a choice of an enormous variety of products made from strawberries, ranging from the obvious (like jam) to the decidedly non-obvious (like strawberry burgers). The amusement area is generally aimed at a younger audience, but the presentation is to such a level that older people can appreciate it too.

I decided to eschew the retail area entirely and headed directly into the ride area to ascertain the lay of the land. The first credit I came across was Knollis Mais Express, a tiny children’s coaster where parents control the lift hill by pedaling on a bicycle. A published height limit of 130cm has been ignored by people visiting on quiet days but there was absolutely no hope of that today – and even if there had been I would not have been able to pedal and ride simultaneously. (As a fun aside, RCDB currently lists 56 coasters where human power is required; I’ve ridden a handful of them over the years at places like Brændesgårdshaven, Green Valley Farm, Holleshof, and Osteria Ai Pioppi; I suspect that most of the rest will elude me for eternity. So it goes.)

Knollis Mais Express

In due course I arrived at the entrance to Erdbeer Raupenbahn (#3112), a pay-per-ride family coaster that is probably best described as a Big Strawberry. The ride is a direct copy of those found elsewhere in the chain, which is a good thing; a nicely presented entrance building with a moving caterpillar on its roof shows an impressive attention to detail. There was a half hour wait after handing over my €3.50, some of which I used to estimate daily takings. I figured that a good day should easily gross €10,000, and probably a bit more than that if operators are on the ball. A brand new coaster of this type can be bought for less than €150,000 from certain manufacturers – and while installation, commissioning, maintenance, and employee costs would slow down the break-even I’d be genuinely amazed if the ride hadn’t paid for itself in a few months.

The other hit for me today had a three quarter hour queue, though in this case it was due to extremely limited throughput. Bockwurstschleuder (#3123) is a Sunkid Heege Butterfly with a special car designed to look like a traditional sausage. I had to buy €5 worth of tokens from the machine even though I only needed three for my ride, but the family behind me were more than happy to take my spares.


Dresden Frühlingsvolksfest

13th April 2024

My second fair today was a quick hit and run for Spinning Mouse (#3124). At first glance my target looked like a Reverchon product, but on closer inspection I realised that something felt a little off; less than optimal tracking coupled with an embossed logo on the back of each headrest made it clear that this machine had been built by the Fabbri Group. On one level I’m glad that the Italian manufacturer has apparently given up on the mediocre Power Mouse layouts, but on another, I can’t help but wonder why they’d copy an ubiquitous deign rather than come up with something genuinely new and interesting. I guess we’ll never know.

Spinning Coaster


Leipzig Frühjahrskleinmesse

13th April 2024

I’d driven within a few kilometres of the Leipzig Frühjahrskleinmesse on my way to Karls Erlebnis-Dorf Döbeln earlier in the day, but wasn’t able to stop at the time as I needed to get to Karls before closing. My personal batteries were running low by the time I made it back, to the point that I decided I didn’t have the energy for anything other than my target coaster and a well-deserved bratwurst mit pmmes.

Nessi (#3125) is a Top Fun-built version of the standard layout Nessi, and the third example of the genre I’ve encountered in as many months. This version had clearly been customized for the fair environment, insofar as the operator never left his pay box – locking the restraints and dispatching the train (with only me in it!) from ground level. The lift hill on this unit was quite noticeably faster than normal for the genre, but this had little practical effect on the rest of the layout which was pure vanilla.