Park Update

everyday objects come to life. Elsewhere, guests can purchase their own magic wands, which come with a secret map, the ‘Mapa Magica’, which reveals magical locations around Port Laguna. Casting the right magic spells in these spots conjures up magical scenes, but guests have to be very precise with the movements (the correct pattern for waving the wand is shown on the Mapa Magica) to trigger the effects. Anything from stirring cauldrons to water sprays will magically happen. From Port Laguna, guests can spread out across the park,

with routes direct through to themed lands Ithaka, home to Troy, and Magic Valley, home to the Mack Rides spinning coaster Whirlwind.

Animatronic effects on Merlin’s Quest

The road to Avalon Walking past the 27-metre Solaris lighthouse reveals the path to the biggest part of the latest expansion: Avalon. Themed around Celtic mythology, the mysterious world of Avalon is Merlin’s home and the place where the magical sword Excalibur was forged. The area is evocative of the Middle Ages: knights and wizards and mythical objects. The expansive and elaborately themed area is home to

two new rides, Fnix and Merlin’s Quest. Just as with Port Laguna, and much of the park, there’s something to see and explore around every corner, and different pathways to adventure down. A wobbly wooden bridge offers an alternative route to Fnix from the standard footpath. Or venture across an old stone bridge to a cobbled stone road underneath the heartline roll of Fnix - just watch that your kids don’t fall in the waters of Avalon. There are even little streams trickling across the footpath to splash in. Merlin’s Quest is a boat ride across the lake of Avalon and in search of Tir na nÓg, the source of eternal life. Legend has it that famous magician Merlin is the only one who has seen the place with his own eyes... As you journey across the waters, the B&M Wing Coaster Fnix frequently soars overhead. In fact the boat ride offers some of the best views of Fnix, especially of a low helix that’s just a few metres away.

Merlin’s quest

Merlin’s Quest, built by Mack Rides, takes you deep into the catacombs below the Fnix station to travel past magical scenes that wouldn’t be out of place in a Disney park. The use of animatronics, projection mapping, smoke and optical illusions make this a truly magical experience that will leave little ones awestruck, and even grown ups feeling enchanted. Merlin's Quest is the first attraction at the Dutch park to include dark ride scenes, and takes guests on a twelve-minute ride that combines a boat ride with a dark ride to create a two-in-one attraction. Music throughout is provided by IMAscore, and animatronics by Van Krieken Design & Engineering feature through the queueline and the inside parts of the ride.

Showstopper Of course, the star of the show for Avalon, and arguably for the whole park, is Fnix. It’s the eleventh example of a Wing Coaster from B&M, and the longest one in Europe. When deciding the theme, the park began with the rides,

wanting to build a big coaster that makes guests feel as if they are flying. After riding B&M Wing Coaster ‘Flug der Dämonen’, or Flight of the Demons, at Heide Park in Germany, the decided on the phoenix as the magical mythological creature they would represent. The idea is that the bird has just risen from the ashes, and so is a bit inexperienced – hence the bumpy ride. The ride vehicles either side of the blue tracks form the illusion of golden wings soaring through the sky. The experience begins entering a mysterious cave and

following a very dark passageway and down a very dark spiral staircase and along more dark passageways. The occasional candle-lit lantern illuminates the way. Pausing in an open area with high ceilings and moving portraits and Merlin magically appears (without wishing to spoil the magic, it’s a Pepper’s Ghost effect). Riders must now choose between flying with the Fnix on the left or the right, or picking the very front row. As the different queues merge for climbing the stairs to the station, those who’ve waited in the longer front row queue are given a golden token which they must present to be able to ride in the front. Heading out of the station, the train heads in to the darkness and through a mist screen to climb the lift hill. Having reached 131 feet, riders get to experience the first of three inversions, the Dive Drop. Soaring above the footpath the train flies over an airtime hill that packs a reasonable punch given that this type of coaster isn’t known for negative g forces. Diving under and over a bridge in an Immelmann loop, riders race around a helix that’s very low to the ground, particularly in the right hand seats. It’s this part that is wonderfully close to the Merlin’s Quest boat ride, the path of which travels right alongside. Rising up to a zero-G roll, riders are quickly dropped back

low to the ground and under another bridge. A rising helix that’s twisted through the first drop brings the cheering guests to the station.


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