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  1. So something I’ve noticed lately on various theme park podcasts and discussion groups is talk about the difference between regional “action/amusement parks” and theme parks. One notable example is a recent podcast episode I listened to that spoke about Gumbuya World’s new coasters. The hosts claimed that “Gumbuya has transcended it’s action park status and is now a proper theme park” with the addition of these two new attractions. I disagree with this statement. In my view, Gumbuya has always been a well themed park with dedicated “lands” and areas just as any legitimate theme park would and I’ve always classified it as such. I don’t think simply adding one type of ride should suddenly change the entire category the park is labeled under. Meanwhile, I’ve also seen other people claim that Gumbuya needs at least 4 or 5 more major attractions before it can be classed as a true theme park. So that’s got me thinking, what truly makes a “theme park” a proper theme park and at what point does a park like Gumbuya cross-over to become universally regarded as a theme park instead of a simple action park? Is it when a certain level of theming is installed? When a certain amount of rides and attractions are brought in? Does it matter what kinds of attractions the park has? Does layout have anything to do with it? There are parks like Adventure World and Funfields which have fantastic theming and story telling in their rides and tick a lot of the “theme park” boxes for me, yet I’m sure many still see them as action/amusement parks. At the same time, there are other parks that have coasters and big attractions but are widely regarded as simple amusement parks. To give my opinion, I see parks like Adventure World, Adventure Park, Funfields, Gumbuya World, Aussie World, Magic Mountain and Jamberoo as a unique “Australian style” of theme park (similar to how Europe and the US have distinctive styles of theme parks) as let’s face it, it’s what the majority of our parks are like and isn’t really replicated the same way anywhere else (particularly the wide open spaces and mashup of dry rides and water rides sharing the same space). I’m interested to hear your thoughts and opinions on this matter.
  2. Grona Lund + Bonus Mountain Coaster at Hammarbybacken So I still have do my trip report for Liseberg and that's Scandinavia sorted, but I probably won't get to that until sometime in January. In the meantime, i’ll smash this one out before i head away for christmas. Grona Lund is really one of a kind, located in the heart of Stockholm. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/grona-lund The site is perhaps comparable in size to a Bunnings, or say 2x the area of LPS, but in that space there's 8 coasters, 4 drop rides, dark rides, heaps of flats, several eateries, and it's just so tightly packed in 3 dimensions and pushes the boundaries of clearance envelopes. Line too long on one ride, cool you can walk across the park in 2 mins to something else! The park is on two sides of a laneway, with a bridge connecting each side. One part has mostly kids rides, the rest feels like sideshow alley at the royal show, except everything is better. To get there you can take a tram (and the ABBA museum is right next door) but the best way is to get a public ferry (Pendelbåt) from Slussen. Just tap your credit card to pay the fare. You get a great visual on the way in. Previously it was a pay per ride or wristband type park. Now they limit attendance into 5.5h sessions that you pre book. I was worried that it wouldn't be enough time but it was plenty of time to get heaps of rides, and in addition you get two jet passes included, and waits weren’t that bad because of the capacity cap. Still, I bought 2 sessions on separate days so i could do daytime and evening, so it worked out to be the most costly park of the trip, though i definitely got my moneys worth. The park also has concerts included with admission on certain days, and they actually get major acts. Toto...Tom Jones...Pixes for instance coming up. Monster Obviously was going to kick off with this one. B&Ms newest inverted coaster. I have been following this project for years, ever since it was announced as “project blue harvest” back in 2017, and ive literally been holding off on a Scandinavian trip until this ride was open. It kept getting pushed back and pushed back, and of course there was Covid, but finally opened in 2021. You win some you lose some though. This coaster opened, but a few weeks before my visit Balder at liseberg closed for retracking…bah! The theming was fun, monsters have come up from a subway station.the safety video was done like an old Scooby doo cartoon meets MTV. The queue takes an interesting route up and down stairs through some buildings. As for the coaster, you rise up from underground to the apex of the lift hill with great views of the harbour, before hurtling down a very steep drop. You skim over a garden into a zero g roll then a forceful inclined immelmann. Next comes a corkscrew high above some buildings, before some more turns and a tight helix which also attempts to smack you into a building One more corkscrew follows, before a turn into a short tunnel, which had a bunny hill that would chuck you upwards and forward in your seat. Never felt that sort of airtime on an invert. One final turn and it hits the brakes Wowee What makes this special is the way you get the sense of height by being above the crowds, but you also get the near misses with buildings on all sides Ikaros Another ride I was eager to get on was This drop tower is an Intamin Sky Jump, that has tilting seats that have you freefall face first. Honestly one of the best drop towers I have done. The tilt at the top makes the tension just that bit higher A great thrill seeing the ground rushing towards you, and the addition of the seat rotation just before the brakes makes it just that little bit more dynamic. It seems like a bloody complicated system with long hydraulic rams. Why didnt they just have a pivot and rotate the seats like a freespin. Seemed to have less of a queue than the other drop rides, despite only having one side open, so i guess its perhaps a bit intimidating for most. Insane Ah, the infamous ZacSpin. 3rd one I’ve done now. They definitely are a ride that I find quite intense and nerve racking and even stressful in parts. On the smaller dips at the start your car stays fairly upright, so the forces feel amplified because you are being yanked up and down rather than following the hills predictably. And of course the drops are freaky because you change direction so half of it is always backwards and you feel frontal acceleration rather than just vertical. Once you get to the 2nd level it gets quite intense, and the curves are so tight that the forces are quite strong. Still did it a couple of times. You wouldn’t want the ride to be any longer. I think the reason this one is “worse” than the other designs is because it is quite compact still, so the turns are not quite as drawn out as they should be. Counter intuitively, if you did a scaled up version of the same layout, some of the jarring and rapid changes in force would be smoothed out. Twister So many of us have ridden Leviathan now so you know what Gravity Group wooden coasters are like. This one is SO compact, the turns are almost getting like a wild mouse, and it runs a short little 6 car / 12 person train to deal with it. So many near misses, and the layout is a tangle full of quick drops and ground hugging turns. Afterwards, I came to the conclusion that it is basically a wooden version of a rollerskater in terms of scale, though perhaps a little more intense. Good fun and runs well. I liked how the queue line had posters with some of the great wooden coasters around the world, it’s almost like they were trying to say “hey, this wooden coaster is a legitimate attraction, not an old rattler”, it could also be because they are trying to sell tickets to Kolmarden, because the last bit of the queue had a video promoting wildfire. Kvasten Vekoma Family invert that is more intense than Escape from Madagascar, but less intense than the SFC 450 (TNT, Orkanen, MWs forthcoming etc), so it was alright. The station was the best themed in the park, a really cool witches house full of detail, and a cacking spiel from the witch whenever the train departed. And there was even some theming around the base of the helix, and a kid was engaging in satanic worship. I love the airtime hill that runs the length of a section of boardwalk. Fits in so well with the park and its fun whizzing over the crowds. This is a ride to use Jetpass on because it's popular but only has 1 train. Jetline My hot take is that there are no bad Schwarzkopf coasters, and this is no exception. A thrilling layout with big drops and smooth turns and helices and heaps of near misses both with itself and other rides, all perfectly negotiated without jarring. One thing i found interesting with the layout is that it had a couple of big drops that broke away from the main layout and crossed halfway across the park, rather than being like a traditionally travelling coaster where everything is contained in a fairly compact footprint. This has the highest capacity in the park, waited 2 mins max each ride. Vilda Musen So normally if you were building a ride, its a strict rule you don't attach to another manufacturer's ride structure, since then you open yourself to issues of liability if one ride has an impact on the other. Grona Lund evidently offered enough dollars (or maybe its because Schwarzkopf are extinct now) because they built a mad mouse style Gertstlauer bobsled coaster onto the existing structure of Jetline. The layout was decent, despite being heavily driven by being able to snake through the other coaster. Still had all the staples of this ride model, nice curved drops, sharp turns, helices and even some good little airtime hills. This is another highly popular ride, so good to book your jetpass on this one. This might be some of my favourite theming too: Kärlekstunneln So if you were ever dreaming up a list of generic amusement park rides, you might say roller coaster, merry go round, ferris wheel, ghost train and ….tunnel of love. But has anyone actually ever seen one of these anywhere? Grona lund actually has one, complete with a heart shaped portal at the start of the ride. Wasn’t sure what to expect, was it going to be animatronics and pink coloured scenes of people getting frisky? A big dark tunnel where people can kiss in the darkness? Turns out it was more like a ride through fairyland, with dioramas of magical creatures, fairie amongst the toadstools and so on. Just stuff that was "pleasant" and "happy" and "peaceful" to use some adjectives. The ride path is so narrow, so all the scenes have to be behind glass because i guess modern day guests would just reach out and break stuff. Tuff Tuff Taget Imagine a kiddy coaster more gentle than a wacky worm, with a bit of wild mouse thrown in. Turns out a lot of 20-30 somethings ride this for a laugh, so no shame in riding. Nyckelpigan Another one of those oval shaped Zierer kiddy ladybird coasters. Veteranbilarna Quite a pleasant little car ride, mostly rode to get some pics of Nyckelpigan. Pettson o Findus Värld Walkthrough house based on the works of a Swedish children's writer. Aimed at kids with some bits and bobs on the walls around the house you could switch on and off and make noise with. Wholesome fun. Bla Taget My other hot take is that most ghost trains are overrated and rarely warrant repeating. I mean have you ever ridden one and thought "Wow that was awesome lets go again". Yeah maybe if its haunted mansion, but most of the low budget ones are so formulatic. This one did have an outward banked turn and some innapropriate theming to save it at least. Katapulten The rare S&S combo tower. Imagine you took Batwing and crossed it with Supreme scream. So you launch up, come down with some airtime, bounce and sort of stop halfway up the tower. You then are raised slowly to the top, held, and then finish off with a fast downwards launch. So its a longer ride cycle, and you get to experience two ride types in one. Surprised this model isnt the default over the conventional space shot at more parks, its more fun! Eclipse I quite enjoy starflyers, its just a shame there’s no way to take a camera to capture the wonderful views. One thing i thought was cool was how the ride base is on an elevated platform, but the queue line comes up around the middle of the tower (So the queue isn't on the outside like trident). So you get a good view of the ride rotating around you and rising up: Fritt Fall Evokes memories of space probe 7, good classic Intamin drop ride, with spectacular views. One side had the stand up tilt seats, which have more of a bicycle seat you sit on rather than a proper seat, and it tilts forwards a few degrees before the drop (Sort of redundant now that they have Ikaros), but the feeling of your legs hanging vertically makes it a bit more thrilling and feels more exposed. Lyktan Ended up riding this just to tick off every tower ride. This one is the smallest of the lot, a rotating Zierer family drop ride with a VERY random program of drops and lifts. Lustiga Huset A very long, very awesome fun house. I had everything, bridges, multiple slides, multiple turntables. And the punters love it, this is the first time ive ever queued for a fun house! At the end you finish off with a really long slide ridden on a mat from the top floor that concludes with an airtime hump at the end. A finley tuned operation, with conveyor belts taking the mats to the top, staff members setting them up for you, and an automated system dispatching you. Clearly everyone loves the slide so they have focused on optomising it. There were a few spin and spew rides I didn’t do, and for some reason I couldn’t be arsed doing the upcharge ‘house of nightmares’ walkthrough. So in 5.5h on the first night I did everything i wanted to, and if you were pressed for time and its not too busy you could do the park in that time frame, but booking a 2nd night made it much more relaxed and I definitely got to enjoy myself and Whats wrong with this picture? And now they have acquired the car park next door and have another coaster planned. If it’s anything like Monster it’ll be a hit. Grona Lund is a true icon in the theme park world, very unique, and a must if you are in Stockholm. ********************************* Bonus, the Mountain Coaster at SkiStar Hammarbybacken https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/skistar-hammarbybacken Hammarbybacken is an artificial hill formed by waste spoil from various tunnelling and construction projects over the years. During the winter they use it as a ski slope. During summer its mostly used by runners doing hill training, and grass skiing. But just prior to my trip i found out it even existed, and they were opening a Mountain coaster. This one is by Sunkid (Brandauer) and instead of a track like the Wiegand ones, its a single rail so feels pretty exposed. Access was easy, its not far from the city centre. You can catch a bus to the stop near Bauhaus Sickla, and then walk about 500m along some local pathways and across a pedestrian bridge to reach the facility. These have a reputation for being crazy, and indeed the one I rode in bavaria a few years ago was. This one wasn’t quite so intense, but still good fun. Had a few wide back to back turns that followed the slope, and towards the end was a bunch of downhill bunny hops that give a little bit of air. I purchased a 3 lap ticket, which was plenty. Wasn’t hard to get the speed to max out with a ‘no brakes’ , and it was fairly uninterrupted since i arrived first thing and had it practically to myself. Towing to the top is achieved by attaching a spring loaded rod to your sled. At the top it actually detaches quite hillariously and skitters across the ground as it reels itself back in. I dont think youd want to stand in the way! They also had a ropes course, and artificial snow tubing. If you've not done this style of mountain coaster it's worth a look.
  3. I plan to build a video game themed amusement park in Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, something that I haven't seen done before, we have movie themed parks, so why not game theme parks. Anyway, I would like some help and ideas with the park, I want to use very minimal custom scenery as I have a 'shit' PC. Aside from help for the game themed attractions, I would like some help on making realistic park entrances and main streets without custom scenery, I search online and all I get are ones with custom scenery. Last and least, I need a good name, if I can't find one, it will just end up being called Game World. I already have a few ideas, tell me if they are good: [*]Tomb Raider (White Water Rapids) [*]The Legend of Zelda (Looping Coaster) [*]Red Dead Redepmtion (Mine Train Coaster) [*]Call of Duty (unknown), due to the franchises popularity, I will have to include a CoD themed ride, it will be very tempting to making it a junior coaster [*]Angry Birds Duo (Suspended Swinging Coaster), will be a dueling coaster. [*]Need for Speed (Twister Coaster), will be a launched coaster rather than one with a chain lift. [*]Mario Kart (Go-Karts), this is one of the few rides that I will download a custom scenery set for. [*]Metal Gear Solid (3D Cinema) The rides will not just have generic names, they will have names like Need for Speed: Nitro (I may steel the names from lesser known games from franchises so I can easily slap their logo onto a billboard). Other game series that will have rides include: Resident Evil, Mass Effect, GTA, Sonic, etc. I will try to include themed areas, for example, one area may feature rides based on retro games such as Pacman and Space Invaders (this is where I will need the most help with ideas).
  4. I'm heading up to the Gold Coast in November, and I want to visit some theme parks while i'm there. The only parks I have been too before are Dreamworld (I was only tall enough for the small rides back then), Movie World (back when the Superman Escape was only new) and Wet n Wild (before the AquaLoops, and I dind't go on the Jetsteams as the lines was too long). Now I'm going when it won't be holidays so there are no long lines. What is the best choice for a thrill seeker, Dreamworld and White Water World or Movie World, Wet n Wild and Seaworld. Note that the Cyclone will be closed a Dreamworld when I'm at the gold coast
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