Forgotten Tirol: PlayCastle

UPDATE: PlayCastle is now Magic Castle, and here is its website, with events and information.

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What was I thinking? The snow in Seefeld in Tirol is three feet deep, and where I wanted to go hadn’t been plowed all winter. But on the first official free day in two weeks (three if you factor in that I was actually home sick for those last free days), I was going stir crazy. So even though I was up to my knees in snow, I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

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Did you know that Sleeping Beauty’s castle lies in Tirol? Well, not the original (if there were one) but more like the Disney version, sitting alone in the woods, locked up and dark, waiting for a prince with enough capital to come and rescue it. This was actually a 1990s business venture called PlayCastle, a sort of Tirolean Sesame Place, an indoor-outdoor amusement park for children. It had a “Fun Dome” with online skating on three levels, a climbing wall, an “Adventure World” with video simulations, and who knows what else, prominently situated just outside of an alpine tourist resort town. Something for the family to do on a rainy day.They had expected 250,000 to 300,000 visitors annually. The place shut down after one year, and has been closed since I can remember. According to this site it’s currently being used as an events rental space and disco, although nothing looked remotely in use to me.

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PlayCastle even has its own little fairy-tale rail station on the Mittenwald line, although in all my travels on that line I have never seen a train stop there. The ÖBB website doesn’t even recognize it as a stop, so I have to assume it’s been discontinued, even though the link directly above advertizes it as a way to get there.

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Inside the station, a wannabe-medieval fresco. Local kids are using the station to sit and drink, and who can blame them. At least someone is showing up.

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2 Responses to Forgotten Tirol: PlayCastle

  1. paschberg says:

    Nice stroy from the archive – you have digged out here🙂
    The operators of this venture expected this to be a cash cow due to the “vicinity” of Munich**. As I remember the operating scheme was discourageing for visitors: It wasn´t an all in one ticket – instead you had to pay for the more interesting attractions inside extra fees.
    The project was financed by the Hypo Bank. Tyrolean Land-use/regional planning was not very amused about the site, but there was the political will to make it – to improve the reachability regional planning claimed an own railway station – but as the project failed, this station saw only two or three years of trains stopping.
    As I remember we joked about the project when hearing about first. But scepitcism is no solution. It is always a matter of planning and luck to make a sucess with things no one needs. The “vomitting sphinx” (*) for instance was also a flimsy looking project on first glance. But it worked from the first day and is established.
    *) also a joke of a former colleague of mine; you might easily guess, which sight I mean.
    **)Maybe nowadays with Seefeld becoming soon a terminal of S-Bahn München on weekends it would work – but I think then it should be a on stop shop with the olympic aquatic center.

  2. Marcellina says:

    Die “erbrechende Sphinx”! Hah! That is one place I have never wished to visit, perhaps because it is in every single guidebook. (Dear readers, I believe that my friend Paschberg is speaking of the ugly fountain at the Swarovsky Crystal World.)

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