Henri: Excalibur: Secrets of the Dark Forest has a long history. All started back in 1996, when Warner Bros. Movie World Germany opened its gates. Our older fans will remember the attraction as Die unendliche Geschichte, themed after the famous german novel from Michael Ende. Everything changed in 2005, when the park got a big retheming. Mystery River could never live up to the fame that “Die unendliche Geschichte” had. 2018 is the big year for the classic Intamin Rapid River. Same attraction – new theming. Can Excalibur live up to the fame of the Warner Bros. Version? – let’s find out.
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A new approach to a classic!
Your adventure starts at the Nickland (at the adventure lagoon to be precisely). After passing the entrance gate, you enter an old building full of knight armor and other dark age related theming. The old pre-show room is now the room where you meet Merlin – the famous wizard – for the first time. During a big meal – yes, the pre-show is now a big room with a round table, big wooden chairs and a lot of food. Instead of forcing you to watch the pre-show again, you can pass the room directly and move directly to the station. Great for people who want to ride the attraction multiple times. Merlin greets you and tell you about the legendary sword that is in danger. He wants you to join the other knights to fight for the sword. The old projector screen is replaced by a modern LCD screen which looks a lot better. The acting is a little bit over the top but it’s perfect for a theme park attraction.
FINALLY, finally they themed the rest of the queue. Before Excalibur, the rest of the queue was a small and long blue hallway with some signs on the wall, that made no sense at all… the only word you could say about it was “ugly”. But this is the past. Yes, the long hallway still exists, but they themed it after a knights castle wall with some details here and there. A treasure chest here, some gold coins there. A great upgrade! To make the experience even better, they got a new soundtrack from IMAscore, which sounds awesome.
You can not deny your origin!
The station… I like it and I don’t like at the same time. First things first: They changed the music. The old boring tune is replaced by an adventures theme that creates fun and excitement. They dimmed the light and now you only have a blue mist with some tables at the wall where they placed some colorful bottles on it. But wait, what is that? That rock formation on the wall, it looks like something from Mystery River. And yes, they didn´t removed the old wall stone formations, they just turned the lights off. A little bit awkward, but it doesn’t look that bad.
And off we go. The track is the same as before. The ride starts with a big lift hill. Back then it was filled with colorful lights and a big wolf that growls at you at the top of the hill. Now you are lift up in a dark tunnel with some LCD screens left and right. Merlin appears and give you some tips for your adventure. The gap for the wolf animatronic is now an empty hole…I miss the wolf. You leave the cave after passing some colorful crystals. Finally some colors, I really like that. They could add them at the lift hill too. The overhaul of the outside part looks very similar to Mystery River, but they replaced animatronics with new ones, recolored some rocks and other scenery. It gives the ride a new feeling and breathes now life into the scenery. Maybe they could add some more animatronics here and there, but it is already a big upgrade from Mystery River.
A Grand Finale!
The end of the ride… I don’t want to spoil it, but be prepared for a grand finale. The end takes place in the old cave where you made the 180 degree turn that pushes you to the station. The old finale was somewhere between lame and relaxing, but the new one nails it. You enter the cave, everything gets pitch black and than… you should experience that for yourself. But with this finale, the Movie Park shows that they can create beautiful and satisfying attractions/finales.
In a nutshell you can say that the Movie Park did a great job to give an old and loved attraction new love and creativity. The Movie Park already showed with attractions like Lost Temple and the newest coaster Star Trek: Operation Enterprise that they have the creativity to create beautiful looking rides. I really hope that they move on with this effort and do the same process with other attractions, because so many attractions deserve a new and inventive look… until that I will take another ride on Excalibur: Secrets of the Dark Forest.
Thank you for checking out this Excalibur review! As we merge European Coaster Kings with California Coaster Kings, stay tuned for lots more European content in the near future! A brand new Toverland and Fenix report is LIVE for your enjoyment here!