Toverland isn’t the world’s most famous amusement park and that’s an understatement. Most of my non-themepark-loving friends don’t know the park at all, but that’s actually not surprising. When Toverland opened in 2001, it was some kind of indoor playground for children. Everyone over the age of 12 was just too old for this kind of amusement park. But times have changed and during the past decade, Toverland added lots of new rides and the theming level went up dramatically. Nowadays, the park offers a total of five rollercoasters and most of them are integrated in elaborately themed areas. One of those areas is called Avalon and it’s home to a brand-new B&M wing coaster. Both Avalon and the B&M opened just five days ago, so I guess that’s a valid reason to visit Toverland again today.
A new B&M… that’s right. This kind of steel from heaven is usually reserved for large theme parks. These rollercoasters require big investments and most medium-sized parks just can’t spend that much money. Or at least, that’s what I thought. Toverland attracts approximately 700.000 visitors every year, which is a rather low number compared to other theme parks in Europe. Despite this limited attendance, Toverland becomes the 13th European park with a B&M. That’s a huge accomplishment, if you ask me. There’s even more good news: the park didn’t put its B&M on a simple plot of land, but they created an enormous new themed area around it. And to make things even more astonishing, Toverland also presented a new entrance and a new Main Street last Saturday. Needless to say: this former children’s playground instantly became a mature theme park.
Port Laguna is one of this year’s many big novelties. Toverland seemed to realize that the old entrance was just too tight and simple for a park with a B&M. That’s why they closed the old entrance and moved the admission gates to a new piece of land: Port Laguna. The result is simply stunning. Although skies are grey at our arrival, Port Laguna immediately manages to create some kind of exotic vibe. The area actually reminds me of Islands of Adventure’s Port of Entry, which should be considered as a huge compliment. I love the central lake, I like the colourful lanterns and the playful architecture works just very well. Some theme park enthusiasts are sceptic about the very bright colours in Port Laguna, but I really don’t see the problem. Those colours are a welcome contrast to the clouds (it’s still the Netherlands…) and it certainly fits within Toverland’s atmosphere. Overall, I think that Port Laguna is awesome and this is definitely the nicest main street-like area in the country.
Let’s move on to Avalon. If you consider yourself as a true rollercoaster lover, you should be heading to this new area almost instantly. Avalon represents a fantasy-like landscape with some medieval touches. The headliner within this area is Fēnix, which is indeed written with a strange horizontal line above the letter e. A B&M wing coaster in the Netherlands… who would have thought. When Efteling opened Baron 1898 three years ago, that felt somewhat normal. When an international tourist destination like Efteling presents a new rollercoaster, a B&M seems a valid option. Toverland has an attendance which is approximately 7 times lower than Efteling’s. However, Toverland always showed the ambition to become one of the big boys, so the addition of a B&M is actually a logical choice. And so it happened: Toverland became the proud owner of a stunning machine called Fenix, Fénix uhm… Fènix or was it Fēnix?
Let’s cut to the chase: Fēnix is amazing. This coaster’s clear blue tracks look stunning and the ride experience is even better than I expected it to be. It’s smooth, it’s fast and above all: it’s very intense. Especially the helix after the second inversion is filled with g-forces and I greyed out during every single ride. Some may say that Fēnix is pretty short, but I’d rather call it to the point. After riding Flug der Dämonen, Raptor, Wild Eagle and GateKeeper, Fēnix definitely became my favourite B&M wing coaster. The coaster is great, the station and queue are themed brilliantly and wait times are usually short. Avalon feels like Heaven.
Fēnix isn’t the only attraction in Avalon. Toverland also built a beautiful new boat ride called Merlin’s Quest. This ride is everything but thrilling and it may even look a little desolate due to the lack of vegetation. However, the ride features a nice-looking darkride part, which is hidden underneath Fēnix’ station. Don’t expect any Disney-like atmosphere, but the theming is actually surprisingly nice. So make sure to pay a visit to Merlin’s Quest between all those Fēnix rides.
Avalon is definitely the highlight at Toverland, but the park already offered some pretty good rides before 2018. At De Magische Vallei (The Magic Valley) for example, you’ll find a magnificent Mack spinning coaster called Dwervelwind. This rollercoaster looks rather tame, but it’s a lot more intense than you might think. Thanks to its smoothness and a great onboard soundtrack, this is easily one of the best coasters in The Netherlands. And let’s not forget to mention Troy, the park’s famous wooden coaster built by GCI. Troy is often considered as one of Europe’s greatest woodies. The lay-out is surprisingly long, the trains maintain high speeds and the ride looks very impressive. So please don’t think that Fēnix is the only valid reason to put Toverland on your bucket list; the park has a lot more to offer.
Toverland once was a playground for toddlers, but it became a top class theme park destination in less than 20 years. Since Port Laguna and Avalon have opened, it even feels like an entire new park. That’s why I thoroughly enjoyed this visit and I hope to be back again soon. With kind regards from a brand-new Toverland fanboy.