The German amusement park Phantasialand is regularly rated to be one of the best and especially most atmospheric spots of its kind in Europe. While it is very popular, they have a key issue: they have significantly less space as key peers like the Europapark and still have just limited potential to expand. Since quite a bunch of years, they established the Wintertraum, a winter- and Christmas themed special opening in the cold part of the year. During my visit in 2022, I decided to take you with me and especially show you the evening illumination with Pictured Story-size images.
Phantasialand – Location & Admission
The Phantasialand is located at the edge of Brühl, a Southern suburb of Cologne. There is also another city called Brühl, which is close to Mannheim and the former residence of tennis legend Steffi Graf. Don’t mix them up. There are three large parking lots around the park and the autobahn A553 is next to the park, so many people come by car. There are also bus shuttles from Brühl’s train station and the Brühl-Mitte tram stop (3 Euro return).
For the 2022 season, Phantasialand is opening its gates for the Wintertraum from 19th November 2022 until 29th January 2023. Apart from New Year’s Eve (18:00 hrs close), the park is opening from 11:00 to 20:00 hrs. There are a few exceptions like 24th & 25th December as well as Mondays and Tuesdays in January. The amusement park is moving to online ticketing online only, i.e. there are no tickets at gate to have better control of the capacity. If available, you can also buy same-day tickets online. These are more expansive than the nominal 57 EUR adult admission, though. We paid significantly less at a regular Wintertraum presale.
Phantasialand Wintertraum – General / Daytime Experience
As said above, the park is opening a bit of later than in the summer, as the key time for the Wintertraum (“Winter Dream”) is the late afternoon and evening after the sun has set. Nowadays, Phantasialand is operating practically all their attractions in winter as well. My wife was there with a friend in 2022 before and even the world’s steepest log fume Chiapas was operating at temperatures below zero (Celsius). During our visit on 23rd December 2022, they had more technical closures. But still apart from some Christmas decoration, tiny spots of artificial snow and some Christmas market style food (some of them are opening in the late hours only), Phantasialand at this mild December day felt like a visit in spring or fall.
There are a few special winter spots, though. The most prominent is likely that you can hire skates and to some sports on the artificial ice rink. The shows at Phantasialand are excellent (if you manage to grab a cheap ticket, I would say they are already worth the visit) – and the wintertime ice skating show is also telling you a Christmas story.
Phantasialand Wintertraum – Evening Pictures
At our visit, the magic of Wintertraum started around 16:30 hrs when the lights started to illuminate. The first pictures have been taken at the Fantasy section, which is majorly featuring family and kids attractions. It had some colorful areas leading to really nice atmosphere.
By far the most lights can be found in the Berlin section, which becomes truly magical. Also the white dresses in display, which feel a bit of boring during sunlight, create a beautiful atmosphere. The park is rather packed in this section in the evening, but it is still bearable. In general, due to the lack of space, Phantasialand feels rather narrow, especially if you compare it to major US parks.
Other Spots & Mystery Castle
However, as you typically don’t visit Phantasialand in the dark, other areas are interesting to visit as well. There are spots of Christmas and winter references, bu they are sparse especially compared to the historic Berlin-themed area around the original entrance (nowadays, many people get into the park from the side gates, due to large parking spaces there). The traditional China Town section has a lot of winter lights and magic, however, and was one of my favorites. They also had some Chinese lantern figures, as you have them in many spots around the world in the dark times of the year.
Every twenty minutes, the free fall tower Mystery Castle is used in order to project a show in which the castle is potentially invaded by attackers. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but if you are around, it is definitely an entertaining part of your visit as well.