Bayern Park was the complete antithesis to Oktoberfest. Instead of the loud, bustling midways, Bayern Park had the feel of a well-shaded, scenic German village. The entry area reminded me of the architecture in the German section of Busch Gardens, but again, much quieter. As a whole, I'd say the park caters to children. But it was also home to two of the most intense rides on the trip, Freischutz and Duell der Adler. Interesting, these two rides are two of the park's newer attractions too so maybe they're trying to spark a demographic shift and target a whole new audience.
We only had 3 hours at the park, so we began a quick loop. While the rides at Oktoberfest try to top each other in a dick measuring contest, Bayern Park really tucks most of its rides away. Without the map, we probably wouldn't have found 2-3 of the smaller coasters. We wanted to begin with the funky river rapids water slide. The weather was slated to get cooler as the day went on, so we wanted to knock this out first in case it got us drenched. So we proceeded through an odd-looking castle that we thought was the entrance.
Thought is the key word. The queue was a narrow, winding labyrinth in almost total darkness. When we reached the end, we realized we had made a mistake. We considered bailing out, but decided to stick around and see what was inside. We figured it'd be some type of walkthrough. When the doors opened, we were shocked to see a drop tower. Mind you, the tower was probably no more than 40-50 feet in height so it was clearly a junior drop tower model. But nonetheless we were intrigued by the ride being enclosed.
Soon after the ride began rotating (yes the tower spun too) towards the top. Each level of the tower had these creepy looking dolls that were honestly more terrifying than the garden variety ghosts in Tower of Terror. As a kids tower, the drops weren't that fast, but they did give a tiny stomach dropping sensation. Later in the ride, I was surprised by a few fast ascents to the top that even gave some pops of floater air. When we got off, we weren't really sure what we had just ridden. I still can't believe the amount of theming put into a junior drop tower, but we ended up enjoying the ride they call Thaolon. 7 out of 10
Next we actually got on Whitewater Rafting. Turns out the entrance passed right over the ride and had a big old sign next to it, go figure.
None of us had ever seen a rapids ride quite like this. Honestly, it was pretty similar to those Whitewater West spinning raft things that Cypress Gardens and Six Flags New England used to have. Except here the dinky inflatable rafts were replaced by robust river rapids boats. And that honestly made the slide more terrifying.
The section leading up to the lift is a decent little lazy river section with some theming. I think it was themed to mining, though we're pretty sure one scene had a dude bludgeoning another dude with a hammer. I thought this was a kids park? But after the haunted dolls and murder, I wasn't so sure. After the lift, the thrilling section began. It felt wrong careening full speed in a river rapids boat towards an unbanked water slide turn. Since we had a pretty full boat, we were genuinely terrified four Americans would send the raft careening over the edge, giving the park some more bodies to use in Thaolon. I think you can tell we survived, but the rafts definitely slid up the walls more than expected. The final splash was surprisingly dry, but we appreciated it. 8 out of 10
As the rest of the group enjoyed their first beer of the day, we decided to venture off to the far side of the park. One end of the park has a pretty large pond and the walkway loops around it. At the end of the loop are some kids rides, highlighted by the cute little mouse ride where we saw kids riding in the not-in-America position (aka sitting on the back of the car with their feet on the seat while enjoying an ice cream cone). But there was one adult ride down there and one that could genuinely be dangerous after beers, an alpine slide.
Earlier this summer, I rode my first alpine slide at Attitash. I really enjoyed the ride, but I definitely rode it with training wheels and exercised discretion around almost all of the turns. On Attitash's, there were several steep drops that were seemingly engineered for stupid decisions. Accidents on that thing are common bedside stories in New England. Give me a mountain coaster and I'll ignore the brake like Massachusetts drivers ignore the speed limit. But when it's possible to fly off the course, I am careful. I started with that tentative approach on Twinbob Rodelbahn, but about 1/3 of the way down I realized the downward angle was so slight that I couldn't possibly fly off the course. My hubris was rewarded as I sped (though that's an overstatement) the rest of the way down. Honestly it was ok, but I found this one a little too tame and significantly shorter than Attitash's. 5 out of 10
After burning the good chunk of the day on non-coasters, we figured we should start racking up the credits. The first one we hit was the custom Zierer Tivoli, Achterbahn (aka Roller Coaster in German). There were no real drops, but the ride had the obligatory super long train so the helixes generated decent speed in the back. The best part of the ride was how it interacted with the nearby trees. It was definitely better than most junior coasters, but just an ok ride overall. 5 out of 10
On the way, we passed the park's flume and since it was a walk-on, we gave it a whirl. While Oktoberfest had the unique traveling flume, Whitewater Ride had the standard portable flume layout. The drops were just ok, but what made the flume slightly better than usual was the little landscaping and theming around the ride. While a standard layout, it's built on a hill and the first turn actually had some hidden theming. I guess it's obligatory for all German flumes to have at least one random show scene. 5 out of 10
Continuing the theme of the day, we again got distracted on our way to the credits and made our stop at the slide. Usually slides are relatively tame affairs unless they have been throughly waxed and can give some air. This slide was different. I honestly think this slide would never have to be waxed and it would still give a crazy ride. Called the Steep Slide, it's appropriately named. I don't know what the angle of descent was, but I can confidently say it was steeper than most coasters and was on par with a speed slide. Because of the tight radius at the start of the slide, you're guaranteed to get some frightening airtime. The whole experience isn't more than 3-4 seconds, but it's a rush. 10 out of 10
We then went into credit whore mode since we had less than an hour left. Next to the death-defying slide was Froschbahn (aka the Frog Ride). Also a Zierer, this one was far less respectable than the larger one across the park. Like most rides at the park, it looked great and the layout was well-hidden. The latter was a plus so no one (hopefully) saw us riding this credit. 2 out of 10
It was time to try my first Butterfly. But which one to pick? The park has two, one enclosed and one outside. We decided to go all in and picked the indoor one first. The coaster (if you call it that, I do) is located in an odd castle building that contains quite a few do-it-yourself attractions. Along with Star Shuttle, there was also some rock walls, a manual swinging ship, a weird looping ride, and some free arcade games. Naturally we all ran to the credit first.
I was in a group of 4 people that had never ridden a Butterfly before, so it took us some fumbling around to figure out how to operate it. Eventually we got it and the ride was fun. The first drop really had me feeling it in the gut, kind of like the first drop on a Vekoma boomerang, but the rest of the ride was just meh. It seemed to take a while to stop; a fact that made for an entertaining show with a few other members on the trip. 4 out of 10
While we were in the building, I decided to try the manual swinging ship, Komet. I hadn't seen it run, so I figured it'd be a cute little ride that rocked back and forth. I pulled the lapbar down that rested a good foot off my lap and pulled the string to start the ride. The instructions said to hold the string to keep the ride swinging. The first few swings were like a lawn swing, so just as I started yawning, the ride reved and made a sound that would excite 1001 Nachts woman. It then got higher and higher and higher. When it reached its max height, I was afraid I'd break the dang thing, but I was getting some surprising ejector air. Who would have thought a swing no taller than 20 feet could be capable of air that strong. I would have loved to keep going, but I didn't want to be a dick and stopped so the next passenger could be treated to the airtime buffet. 9 out of 10
After Komet, I had to try the funky inverting wheel. I had to wait about 3-4 runs (the longest wait of the day by far) and was treated to a considerably tamer ride. Yes it inverted. But the inversions were taken incredibly slowly. Honestly the best part was intentionally stalling the wheel upside down much to the chagrin of the passengers waiting in line. It was an interesting little ride, but I wish it inverted a little faster like the Unicoasters. 5 out of 10
With only 20 minutes left before ERT, we ran over to Butterfly. A few people sat it out after the first one, but the real credit whores (myself included) made sure to ride the outdoor one as well. It was the same ride pretty much, except this one was shaded by trees instead of being illuminated by incandescent light bulbs. 4 out of 10
So you may have realized that I saved the park's two biggest thrill rides (and arguably best rides) for last in Freischutz and Duell der Adler (the Sky Roller). That was intentional for two reasons. One, I didn't want to make everything else in the park seem tame by comparison. Two, we had ERT on them and I wanted to ensure I had time to hit everything else. Number two is the primary reason, but since we had 10 minutes before ERT, we decided to sneak a ride on Freischutz through the normal queue. Thought normal isn't the right word here. The queue is a maze. And I don't mean that in the sense that it's ridiculously long. No I mean it in the literal sense. It is actually a series of 3 mazes with multiple routes. All paths seemed to lead to the station, but it was still weird.
This was my second Maurer X-Car. My first was Rip Ride Rockit. When the Rockit opened, I remember reading several reviews stating the ride was rough. I was worried during my ride, but I was treated to an almost glass-smooth, intense coaster that I ended up loving. With the same lapbar only trains, I had high hopes that Freischutz would deliver another smooth and intense ride. It did half of that. The top speed is less than 50 MPH, but that launch was surprisingly forceful. It was no Top Thrill Dragster, but it put the launches of Helix and Flight of Fear to shame.
The inverted top hat was excellent (I seriously love these inversions) and had some great hang-time. The next bit gave the ride its positive Gs. The vertical loop was decent, but the two overbanked turns afterwards were incredibly forceful and caused me to grey out a bit. The hang-time returned on the zero-G roll and that was followed by a ferocious final corkscrew that really whips you through it. The ride is short, but it's a rush that perfectly alternates between positive and negative Gs.
So you may have discerned by this point that if I'm praising the ride's forces, that it let me down in the smoothness department. And you'd be correct. Thankfully there were no OSTRs or else this could have been brutal. Even without banging my head, I still got a bit of a headache since the ride rattled the entire way through. I don't think there was a single track piece after the launch where I didn't feel like I was riding a vibrator. I got rides in the very front, front of the back car, and very back, and all 3 seats were quite rattly. I did hear the middle seats on both cars were smoother, but I didn't get a chance to try those. Still despite the vibrations, I did enjoy Freischutz since it is a really intense ride with impeccable pacing. 8 out of 10
We wrapped up with Duell der Adler, the Sky Roller. I had experience on the versions at Canada's Wonderland, Blackpool, and Liseberg, so I knew how to put on a good show. I rocked the wings in rhythm and was eventually treated to the balls-to-the-wall, intensity that I crave. I probably averaged 50-60 flips per ride. The most amazing thing to me about this flat is just how intense the flipping is. I can't think of a single ride with faster flips out there and for that reason, I absolutely love it.
On what we thought was our last ride, we waited for our restraints to be unlocked, but the park gave us another lap. Most riders were excited by this and we made sure to go out with a bang. The one feature I particularly liked on this one is that the ride statistics are fully visible to riders as they exit. On the other versions I've been on, the flipping stats seem to be hidden in the operator box, so the only way you can keep track of your flips is if the operator calls it out or if you can miraculously keep count while going head-over-heels. Here, there's a monitor so you can either brag about your performance or run before someone calls you out for having as many flips as Big Thunder Mountain. 10 out of 10
I thoroughly enjoyed our few hours at Bayern Park. As a whole, it's a perfect family park. But then Freischutz and Duell der Adler are two of the more intense rides out there. I'm not sure if that's the direction the park wants to go in or if they just wanted some added variety in their lineup, but as long as the park keeps their quirky and funky charm going with all their additions, I think Bayern Park will always be worth the day trip when I'm out in Munich.