“Hollywood in Germany!” was the 1996 slogan of newly-opened Warner Bros. Movie World – 26 years later, Movie Park Germany near Bottrop remains one of Germany’s premier themed parks. Attractions include Star Trek: Operation Enterprise, Movie Park Studio Tour, Van Helsing’s Factory, Area 51, and Excalibur – Secrets of the Dark Forest; join us for a tour around through what we still call “Hollywood in Germany”.
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We made it to Movie Park Germany at opening and joined the masses of mostly German and Dutch guests through the gates and into the movies. Guests were welcomed by several of the park’s Hollywood residents on the way! We took a right turn into the Hollywood Street Set (a nicely maintained main street of sorts with shops, dining, photo ops and a 4D theater) on our way to Nickland!
If we would have made an immediate turn to the left at the entrance of the park, we would have wandered into Area 51. This ride was formerly known as Bermuda Triangle: Alien Encounter and has been relaunched in 2019 to be themed to the infamous Groom Lake AFB in Nevada. Area 51 is a lengthy dark ride featuring two significant drops, one of which is extremely wet. The vast majority of the ride (everything besides final splashdown and station) takes place inside a show building with a variety of dark ride scenes based on an alien encounters in Area 51. This is one of Germany’s greatest dark rides and is a can’t miss at the park! We made sure to ride it a few times this trip!
Excalibur – Secrets of the Dark Forest is Movie Park’s other water-based dark ride! While this ride is a classic rapids ride, it’s unique for being heavily themed, lengthy, and about half of the ride takes place indoors. The scenery for this is awesome and the ride navigates an exciting story themed to the Knights of the Roundtable and their quest to obtain the sword “Excalibur”. The ride does a great job maintaining a story while it rapidly moves you through themed sets into the wet indoor finale to the ride. Definitely a can’t miss at Movie Park Germany!
Nickland is located right by Excalibur and is home to 14 Nickelodeon themed attractions starring favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants, Backyardigans, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Jimmy Neutron, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Dora The Explorer, just to name a few! Highlights definitely include the always-wild Ghost Chasers roller coaster, the suspended family coaster, Jimmy Neutron’s Atomic Flyer, and the soaking-wet Dora’s Big River Adventure!
Movie Park Studio Tour is the park’s new pride and joy and we couldn’t be any more excited. To say this is a home-run hit for the park is an absolute understatement – we’re talking genius, here. The park took the studio backlot tram theme and ran with it! The self-love and culture around Movie Park’s history lives on in this attraction with Easter Eggs referring to past and present attractions in the form of clever ride scenes, brilliant movie production posters, and on-ride sets. The mix of scenes on-ride, the forwards and backwards launches, and the quite impressive pacing also makes this a great roller coaster, but what really enhances it is the fact that you’re surrounded by show-scenes the entire ride. Alex had great words in our vlog (linked below in this article) and even called it his “Favorite coaster in Germany”. Great work Movie Park, great work.
Next up on our tour of Movie Park Germany is Time Riders, a fun simulator ride taking guests on a journey through time and space after a series of pre-shows. Right next door is Van Helsing’s Factory, one of the better indoor coasters out there. The Gerstlauer coaster very cleverly uses the indoor space of the former “Gremlins” dark ride. On the vampire hunting mission, small 4-passenger vehicles blast through several scenes and an insane hair-pin wild mouse moment in a special effects laden ride. Frankly, this is one of our favorite indoor coasters around the World. It’s well themed, features great special effects and animatronics and has an intense layout. We always come off Van Helsing’s Factory amazed by how good it is.
MP Xpress is the park’s Vekoma SLC; not usually a ride coaster enthusiasts care about, but it remains one of the biggest thrill rides at the park. The coaster has seen a gorgeous refresh and now has a variety of brown shades for its supports and a black and yellow alternating scheme for the trains. The ride looks great and rode surprisingly great as well. Kudos to the maintenance at this park as MP Xpress was one of the best SLCs we’ve ridden (in its current state).
Bandit however wasn’t running quite as well as we remember. The coaster is immensely popular with families and was Germany’s first wooden coaster. It was quite a big deal when I was a kid, as it was my first wooden coaster actually! The ride has been retracked quite a bit over the past few years but still tracks a little poorly in some spots. Overall though, don’t skip it on your next visit to the park, but stay away from the front row.
We also rode High Fall, the park’s 60m tall Intamin GyroDrop. This standing drop tower delivers a quite intense ride experience as riders straddle a what feels a bit like a bike seat for their journey up and down the tower. High Fall does rotate and provides one of the better drop experiences out there. Another fun thing about High Fall is the queue, which is actually themed quite well! Right next to High Fall and the park’s The Old West area is Santa Monica Pier, home to a solid collection of family rides!
Last, but not least, let’s discuss the park’s star roller coaster located in the Federation Plaza themed area of the park: Star Trek: Operation Enterprise. This MACK Rides full-circuit shuttle coaster does things just a tad differently, offering a unique ride layout that includes elements such as a 180 degree twisting back spike, a top hat, a reversed flying snake dive and more! The coaster layout itself is quite awesome, but what really makes this coaster special is the awesome queue. Riders enter the Starfleet Academy Recruitment Center and are treated to a ton of movie props and Star Trek Easter Eggs (Next Generation series). They are then beamed up to the SS Enterprise and pass by the bridge before boarding a shuttle craft. Amid a series of audio and visual effects, a sliding track moves the comfortable ride vehicles into place for a great few moments of intense elements and three launches. Overall, one of our favorite MACK Rides coasters out there!
Don’t miss our full day of action at Movie Park Germany in our vlog with lots of footage of the park and conversations about our experiences!
It’s wonderful to see Movie Park Germany’s transformation and they continue to make the right choices when it comes to revitalizing big infrastructure and attractions and adding new rides for generations to enjoy. Their choices of original themes and franchises they work with create a pretty strong balance. Each attractions gets the same attention to detail and theming and the park has really created a self-nurturing culture that sees many park fans. It was fun seeing the amount of people wearing Movie Park merchandise and the the attractions referencing one another for what essentially makes this entire park a pretty compelling approach to a movie studio, a difficult feat for theme parks. We had a great visit, enjoyed our merchandise collection expansion, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the park next. We’ll be back at Hollywood in Germany!