From airship hangar to tropical paradise
It all began with the construction of one of the largest free-standing halls in the world in southern Brandenburg. Originally built by the German firm Cargolifter to be a construction hall for airships, it was acquired by the Malaysian Tanjong PLC/Colin Au consortium in 2003. In 2019 the Brandenburg-based theme park was sold and integrated into the Spanish group Parques Reunidos, a leading operator of regional theme and amusement parks worldwide.
The kind of crazy story that only happens in the Tropics
In the 15 years since Tropical Islands first opened its doors lots of amusing and exciting things have happened. One example is the following story from camping supervisor Alex who tells us about her encounter with a big celebrity back in the summer of 2007.
It was 20 July 2007 and Alex was shift supervisor for security at the time. "I remember it was a Friday and normally I wouldn't have worked that day." But she stood in for a colleague who had a private engagement that evening — a fortunate turn of events, as it turned out. "A helicopter landed on the lawn next to the gravel car park. Two men and a woman got out and climbed the embankment towards her," she recounts.
Once they came face to face with her she could hardly believe her eyes. One of the men turned out to be Tom Cruise. "I remember he was wearing a grey shirt and a black suit. His trousers were covered with burs that had stuck to him as he made his way up the embankment." The actor was filming scenes for his Stauffenberg film "Operation Valkyrie" in the surrounding forests, and every morning his helicopter flew over the huge dome.
Before she could say anything the actor stretched out his hand to shake hers and said: "Hi, I'm Tom." To which Alex responded with a dry: "Oh shit". Cruise was amused by her spontaneous reaction. "He asked me what the story was with the Dome," she recalls.
On the spur of the moment, as her colleagues looked on in disbelief, Alex invited Cruise to take an improvised tour through Tropical Islands that really put her English-language skills to the test. "My English is now Hollywood-tried and tested," she comments with a grin. A few days later she received an unexpected call telling her to come to Tropical Islands as quickly as possible. When she arrived at the Dome her colleagues presented her with a huge bunch of flowers — a thank-you gift from Tom Cruise, sent via flower delivery service Fleurop and complete with a personal message. It was only after the actor had climbed back into his helicopter and flown off that Alex got really excited. "You just do your job," she says summing up the encounter. And sometimes you even get to meet a world-famous star in the process.