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Favourite Ride

  1. Universals Islands of Adventure https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/islands-of-adventure (For all the pics) Ah, nice to be back at one of my favourite parks. Well themed, good mix of dark rides, water rides and thrills, and pretty well considered in terms of having plenty of things for kids scattered throughout. I've been here before, so less urgency to see everything (I skipped over the water rides), that will make this trip report a bit shorter. For those unfamilar with the park, it has a few themed lands: Port of Entry. The "main street" of the park, with a bit of exotic explorers theme, with plenty of gags. Marvel Super Hero Island: Built before the whole MCU thing / Disney, its a real animated looking area with oversized cutouts and stylised buildings. And because of the terms of the licensing agreement, Disney cant use these characters in their parks lol. Toon Lagoon: Errr, more comics I guess, but these are the ones you'd see in newspapers, like the Phantom, Popeye (But no Garfield or Peanuts it seems!) Jurrassic Park, needs no introduction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Islands of Adventure was a good park, but just didn't get the attendances it needed. Potter turned all this around. Lost Continent. The only non IP zone in the park, but part of it was swallowed up by Potter, and the two attractions it DID have are now closed. Hopefully this gets redeveloped. Seuss Landing. The most kid friendly area of the park, wonky and full of colour. But lets cut to the chase, everyone probably wants to know about Jurrasic World Velocicoaster Yep it lives up to the hype, a highly themed, properly intense launch coaster from Intamin that is just a polished experience from start to finish. The story goes that in their quest to further thrill guests, Jurrasic World have decided to build a roller coaster in a raptor pen, where you can see them up close. The queue is well themed, a highlight being the medical room where a couple of raptors are in a crush getting their daily check up, and the room actually smells like antiseptic. There's also windows onto the launch track, with transparent screens showing raptors chasing each launching train. Just before the station you have to put your stuff in a locker, activated with your park ticket (and if your ticket is on your phone, they give you a card with a barcode to use instead. The final bit of the preshow is hilarious, with Owen the raptor trainer ranting about how the whole concept of a coaster in a raptor pen is a terrible idea and you should all leave, and Claire the manager saying it will all be fine and perfectly safe. There's a separate queue for the front row in the station, with not too much extra wait due to the speed they dispatch, so its worth doing once or twice. My tip, front right is the best seat, because on a few of the elements that side seems to get banked up more. As for the coaster. Before the launch is section with raptor pens either side of you, with screens showing them thrashing around inside, bumping the cage walls etc and workers keeping them at bay with cattle prods. A good launch leads into an Immelmann with strong airtime at the top (think DC rivals loop), dive down steeply into a rocky tunnel (and the rockwork on this ride is really good, with sharp spiky bits that you feel like you're going to hit. Next comes a dive loop, followed by a bunch of quick twisted turns, transitions, and a couple of airtime hills all crammed in. You are constantly rising and falling and avoiding rocks, so there's a real element of surprise as you work through this section. There are a few raptor statues perched on the rocks, but they sort of blend in, so you really have to look for them. Eventually you hit the 2nd launch, which really spices things up. A top hat with ejector leads to a steep drop, a high speed S bend at ground level, and then a very long zero g stall which has you hanging upside down for a few seconds. Next comes a 720 degree helix, but the 'helix' is interruped with elements, so theres this fake out reversed banked turn, then a wave turn (imagine a sideways airtime hill) And then for the wild finale, a speed hill over a lake, followed by the "mosasaurus roll", which is like a more agressive version of the roll on ST, really dunking you down and throwing you to the side, so you cant help but grab the bar. A quick couple of turns and you hit the brakes. I think the name of the element is a gimmick though. I get the feeling the intent was that there was supposed to be a jaws style animatronic jumping out of the water when the train goes past. They totally should do that. Pretty awesome overall, the two halves have their own character. Fast transitions and confusion on the first half, big grand elements on the 2nd half. Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure A real 1-2 punch with the park having this as well. Imagine the fun of Jet Rescue spread out over 1.5km of track. The park is onto a winner, with it consistently having a a posted wait of 60-90 mins. Again though they tend to overstate, i saw a wait of 70 min but it was more like 45. The first bit of the queue is themed well too, full of magical creature classroom stuff. By magic they have duplicated flying motorbikes for everyone to join hagrid on for a lesson on magical creatures in the forbidden forest. The final room in the queue I thought was clever, Imagine standing under a deck, with people riding motorbikes and doing doughies above you. They used some form of projection to simulate this. Ocassionally too you'd see silhouettes other creatures like giant spiders appearing to walk above you. Loading is done by a moving conveyor, so this ride really does have huge capacity, its just that demand is high too because its a good ride. The first bit has a short launch then a drop down then a bigger launch, and a few quick turns at ground level. Eventually the track enters hagrid's hut, when a blast ended skrewt (imagine a giant double ended scoption shooting fire out of its ass) shoots smoke at you. With that you launch again, up into an airtime hill through a castle ruin, down a curved drop into a tunnel, more ground level turns, another launch, and even more turns. Already at this point the coaster part has been pretty substantial but there is more to come. The track continues into a short foggy tunnel through a rocky outcrop, with a crashed car on it, surrounded by cornish pixies. Well they have designed the sightlines well here, because the shape of the outcrop is good enough to disguise a vertical reverse stall, like a little baby tower of terror. Obviously you get to go up higher in the front seat, but i never got that sadly. You travel backwards, with a high speed track switch sending you up into a helix, and by the time you have had a moment to process all that you have reversed into a show building. In the show building, the walls and ceiling appear to be writhing with devils snare vines all around you. Great concept, but you can see the shed roof and trees ''cutting off" at the ceiling line quite clearly here, which undoes some of the immersion despite the money they would have spent. But a couple of seconds later, the whole track drops a few meters (Much like Thirteen at Alton or Namazu at Vulcania), and you exit the darkness into the open air. Then one last launch, the most powerful of all. The coolest feature is a trail of light and smoke along the side of the launch, giving the impression of rocket fuel (or in this case "dragons breath" giving you the power needed to accelerate. A couple of final high speed turns and you hit the brakes, and join a conga line of 3 or 4 trains rolling into the unload station, also with a conveyor belt. Overall this ride is excellent. Good level of intensity on the coaster bit, and the way it hides both the reverse stall and the drop tracks as suprises on the way, integrated seamlessly into the pacing works really well. The level of theming is high for the most part, aside from perhaps the indoor show building (from the outside it looks like a shed too, guess it needs more trees to cover it?) As a final note, I saw perhaps the most chaotic good, but non condonable behaviour ever at a park. On one of my rides i was in the singles queue, but it was moving slow. You get most people in even groups, which can make this line crawl. A group of people ahead of me decided to cut into the main queue sneakily. I was thinking they were just line jumping, but of course, I was not going to cause a scene and complain. But, the plot twist came when they were at the front. When the grouper asked them how many, each of them said one, one, one, one. Net result, was that 8 people got cleared from the singles queue in the space of a minute lol. Skull Island: Reing of Kong This is the only other 'new' ride for me was this. It's an immersive tunnel attraction, or rather a few of immersive tunnels in sequence. You ride in a tour bus that stops in long cylindrical rooms with screens either side. There's also a motion base, so at each of these points stuff happens on screen, before you drive off into the next. The studio tour at Hollywood has an abridged version of this (Where the tour shuttle will drive into a building shake table with screens either side) The queue is well themed, through a dark temple. A highlight is this giant worm in a glass cabinet moving about, a taste of all the other mutant things you'll see on Skull Island. You board your tour bus and from there set out on your jungle expedition. The next few minutes can be described as various battles and attacks from giant creatures, with a liberal amount of water being squirted at you every time something gets decapitated or shot, ugh. Overall, decent I thought, but I think the limitations of the bigger vehicles and the longer time spent at each screen makes it feel a bit less frantic than other screen based dark rides like Spiderman or Transformers. Incredible Hulk Coaster Tell a lie, technically this is 'new' since they replaced all the track since I last visited. The queue has been totally refreshed and looks great, with lots of neon scientific equipment, too bad you cant take pics, since the lockers are before you enter the queue, so no phones. Onboard, the launch tunnel has been fitted out with LED screens, showing energy pulsating around the train before you launch. Forgot how darn intense this ride is, with positive G forces that dont let up, and huge elements. And of course that zero g roll straight out of the launch tunnel is a great start to the ride. Cat in the Hat A bit of a sleeper hit. This ride goes through the story of Cat in the Hat, with the words being recited, with each scene being an animated version of a page of the book. A real delight actually. **** A note on food. I had the "Green eggs and ham". Basically potato gems, with scrambled eggs (with chives to make it green) and diced ham and some cheese. Actually a filling breakfast option. Amazing Adventures of Spiderman Always a favourite, and now in 4K (I've done the 4K version in Japan, good to experience it in English) Still holds up well, and the re animated sections have more background gags to spot. Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey A great ride from a physical standpoint, after all, being flung around on a robotic arm whilst following a track is real technical achievement. But since then, the newer Harry Potter rides have done a bit better in terms of storytelling, leaving this one feeling a bit chaotic. I guess you cant blame them, this was the first HP ride ever built, so it seemed like they were trying to fit as many things in there as possible. Quiddich? Dragons? Dementors? Still a great ride, just wish more parks would do them, and with more themes (At this point, I think its only WB World Abu Dhabi that has done one) **** These days you can now get 'warm butter beer' in the area, but I thought it tasted like white hot chocolate mostly. I had a laugh that Heathcliff was mentioned....Heathcliff comics are absurd: And thats IOA for another decade likey.
  2. Disney's Animal Kingdom https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/disneys-animal-kingdom Back to Disney, this time Disney's Animal Kingdom. I ended up heading here in the late afternoon on a couple of my days at WDW. I've been here before and it doesn't necessarily take a huge amount of time to see the park regardless. For the time that I had I didn't really take an issue with skipping over Kilimanjaro Safaris and Kali River Rapids for example. Of course, my main target was Pandora - The World of Avatar. You can spend ages wandering around and admiring the detailed theming. Here is when it really pays to visit in the evening, since you can enjoy the land after dark where it really puts it's lippy on. Satu'li Canteen probably has the best food in the parks too: I started off with Flight of Passage, a ride known for its huge queues, but somehow I was through in 30 mins! The queue is well themed from start to finish. In particular the avatar research lab has a massive amount of detail, right down to seemingly living blobs that move around inside their containers. And of course an avatar in a tank that is kicking and moving as it floats in its sleep. A long preshow explains the whole concept for those who don't know much about the Avatar universe. Basically Pandora is an alien planet inhabitied by the Na'vi. They have bred clones of the Na'vi called "avatars" that humans can control via a neural link, allowing humans to better explore Pandora.... ...and even take part in riding on Banshees, a flying creature that Na'vi ride for fun. The ride is like a much more intense version of a flying theatre. There's no gentle soaring over landscapes here. You are wearing 3D glasses, and diving, twisting and moving quite aggressively the whole time, apart from a brief breather halfway through where you stop in a cave and those little flying jellyfish spore things land on you. Felt on par to me to those simulated flying sequences on Harry Potter and the forbidden journey. The rows of seats are even able to drop a few meters, allowing for actual freefall moments during the ride! And the graphics are spectacular, and very colourful. The seat looks a bit like a Zamperla Disko seat, with some extra vibrating seat pads, and even some inflating air bags to give the feeling the banshee you are riding is breathing. A great trick is done to transition you into the ride film. Your seat has tiny little led strobes that flicker right in your eyes, and as they do this they quickly open the door in front of your seats, play some more flickering lights on the dome screen and then wham, you 'wake up' in the world of Pandora. Na'vi River Cruise is the other attraction. Suprisingly this thing had a longer wait whenever I looked. It's a pleasant well themed dark boat ride through scenes from Pandora. But I guess the thing for me was, the ride scenes and theming are just like what you have already seen out in the main park, with the difference of a few screens showing animals scurrying around and some additional moving things overhead. Though it does come good in the end with a dancing singing Na'vi priest lady. And the queue is quite beautiful, seemingly built by the Na'vi, and full of artefacts. As for the rest of the park. Harambe Marketplace is food district the park opened. Again, the food here is great if you actually want something proper with a bit of flavour. I think i had some Chicken flatbread thing with tahini. They certainly got the developing country vibe right, love the meta copyright infringement. Expedition Everest is fun as always, and quite pleasant at sunset. Dinosaur is a motion based dark ride with exactly the same layout as Indiana Jones, but something about it doesn't click for me. I think it's because is so homogenous from start to finish. You are riding around in a jeep in a dark jungle looking for a particular dinosaur just before the asteroid wipes out the dinosaurs. But it's the same thing the whole way through. Twist and turn then stop, the onboard computer IDs a dinosaur next to the track, nope its not that one, twist and turn some more, another dinosaur, nope not that one either, etc etc repeat that for most of the ride. It eventually reaches a crescendo at the end. You know how on Indinana jones you dive underneath a boulder. On this one you dive under a giant T-Rex head that lunges at you (Clearly inspired by the ending of Jurrassic Park River Adventure!) They took out the Spinning Coasters, but they still have that Dinorama area. The gift shop is worth a look for how zany it is inside. Tough to Be a Bug I did for old times sake, and because the posters in the waiting area is funny. The show is presented like a cabaret of different bugs on stage. Creative use of 4D effects in the cinema, with stink bugs and poisonous bugs shooting at you, and even ones that sting. The other ride I had wanted to do (I've managed to miss on previous visits) is the wildlife express train, but it closes quite early in the afternoon. Ah well, guess I'll ride it in a few years time. And thats Animal Kingdom.
  3. I'm starting to plan a trip to South Korea next year and had some questions for anyone who's been. It looks like they've got some great parks like Everland and Lotte World. For those who've visited, any recommendations on must-do parks or rides? Also, any tips on getting park tickets or using the transportation systems would be appreciated. I'm also curious about the best way to visit the different areas of the country. Anyway, looking forward to checking out the parks there. Let me know if you have any other South Korea theme park advice!
  4. Parc Asterix Featuring Toutatis - 2/6/23 https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/parc-asterix Aside from Disney, if you’re a theme park fan in France you’ll probably want to visit Parc Asterix, about 60km north of Paris. This year seemed like a good time to visit with the debut of Toutatis, which was being massively promoted on billboards throughout the Metro system in Paris. It’s a great, but very busy part, that does a fine job of combining impressive rides (and there are heaps) with good theming. If you only have a day you can use their Filotomatix express pass option, and they also sell 1 shot passes too. The website suggests you need to download an app to use Filotomatix, which becomes an embuggerance because the app isnt available to non French Google/Apple accounts, however in the end you dont need to worry because you can use the system through a browser. The throughput on rides is good, but because the park is so popular it can get long lines. I did get a fair bit done from 10am till 7pm. Onto the rides. Tonnere 2 Zeus This ride feels like a distant relative to Ghostrider, fast paced and wild, though this one was revamped by Gravity Group rather than GCI. It also has a backwards row like on Leviathan, no charge and no real extra wait but I skipped over since they can be a bit much on a bumpy ride. The layout is good, first drop into a tunnel, a few hills and a double down with plenty of air. Highlights included a 90 degree banked hill (essentially half of a high 5 element) and a helix towards the end of the ride. OzIris Really good, with a layout that is more interesting than your average invert. Seemed to climb and dive much more steeply, so good variation between near misses at ground level/sense of speed, and flying high. Starts with a steep first drop that nests into the terrain a little, before whipping up into a dive loop, then an overbanked turn and a loop. After the loop it did something unusual where the track kept going downhill (imagine the first inversion on Viper SFMM in reverse), picking up speed through a tunnel, before an immelmann. Then comes another overbank turn and steep drop into a tunnel that goes ‘underwater’. The ride finishes in double, with a zero g roll, and an elevated helix, then a drop, another zero g roll behind the station (with a cool near miss with the edge of the building), and finally a forceful ground hugging helix. Overall, a dynamic ride! Goudurix Gout du Risque, the ‘taste of danger’. A bit of worry going into this one, since it's often regarded as one of the worlds worst coasters, but I found it on par with other Vekoma loopers (Like Blue Hawk at SFOG) and SLCs of the same age. Does have some real bumps at the bottoms of loops however. Features an interesting Butterfly element which is like a really disorientating pair of inverted top hats, a butterfly loop, and a classic double corkscrew (RIP Sea Viper) Menhir Express Mack log flume with a cool coaster style drop partway through. The station and splashdown area is really well themed, but most of the course is industrial style troughs and a couple of ‘sheds’ , so a mixed bag. Trace du Hourra Awesome fun. I love bobsleds, and this one is enormous, with quite long drops, and helices, including a few that get tighter as you go downhill, increasing the force. Bobsleds are thrilling in their own way because they do feel pretty out of control, so when you pick up speed you get this sense of nervousness…Is it going too fast for this turn coming up? Capacity is great too, they had multiple trains running and could get them loaded in under 30 seconds. Romus Et Rapidus Ok rapids ride. The station is well themed, but it mostly seems quite open and surrounded by grass and the huge holding pond, so felt a bit underwhelming thematically compared to the rest of the park. Managed to stay dry until a damn rouge wave came in through the side and got me right at the end. Pegase Express Cool concept. Mixed execution. The ride is a lot like Firechaser Express at Dollywood, with forwards and backwards portions. The ride is themed like an ancient greek rail network, where you ride through the sky on a pegasus. The station has hilarious station theming, with a departure board showing some strange destinations for trains. Starts with a gentle launch out of the elevated station, helix, drop, and finally the main lift hill. The main coaster has a series of rolling hills and turns, over the top of the rapids, its like a family version of ‘hyper coaster’ in terms of style. Its a bit plain and open like the rapids ride, especially since you are running along the edge of the car park. There’s a good diving drop through a billboard, and you come around into an enclosed dead end show building themed like a temple. Good idea for a theme, but it looks weird sitting up on unthemed stilts. The door closes behind you, and a projection mapped head of medusa comes to life and in a fit of rage, blows you out the temple backwards. From there, more hill and turns back to the station (quite a long backward section) till you reach the track switch at the end and return to the station. Oxygenarium This is a family raft slide, but with a fully sealed boat so you can ride it fully clothed. You wont get wet at all. The theming is fun, with huge oversized air pipes coiling around, and the sound of droning air blowers in the station. The lift conveyor has plenty of theming, with whirling gizmos, and enclosed tunnels with electrical arc effects and giant cables. The slide down is fairly short, felt shorter than mammoth falls, but foam pads on the slide cause the bottom of the raft to grip on one side, causing a bit of spinning. It all concludes with a helix, which you get a nice view of in the queue. The final splashdown leads to a slow, gentle drift back to the station. SOS Numerobis Run of the mill Zierer kiddy coaster. Le Carousel du Cesar Went on here intending to get in the giant Obelix, other passengers beat me to it, so I had to settle for a horse. Epidemaïs Croisière Quite a long tow boat ride through various static scenes from Asterix. I think this would have been one of the earlier rides at the park, and I guess you'd have to have a real appreciation for the comics to 'get' it. Vol D’Icare This is good. Design wise, it reminded me of a cross between a standard family coaster, and one of those Gerstlauer bobsled coasters, so lots of quick turns, sharp drops and so on. The vehicles are nicely themed as winged baskets, truly representing the flight of Icarus, and the ride itself is well themed too, surrounded by Greek ruins. Discobelix I was told this had a good effect of a flaming cauldron at one end, but sadly this was switched off first thing the morning. The station looks good, with the disko seemingly ripping through and knocking out columns. Le Defi De Cesar Oh boy, a madhouse, I love these. I think operations were pared back 'due to covid' and never fully reinstated, since it had several preshows, but on my ride they just took us in through the exit, did the ride, and out the same way. Either that or they plan to close it in the near future. Was a walk on compared to many other busier attractions. The story is that you have been recruited to Cesar's army, and are being sent out on a warship. The ride chamber is elaborately themed to represent this, with windows containing screens so you can see whats going on outside. You set off from the port, encouter Asterix and Obelix, and your ship is sunk, and this is where the ride starts tumbling around. I liked it, it was a creative way of doing a madhouse beyond the usual "the room is magic and turning upside down" type storyline. La Rivière d'Elis Pleasant little onion boat ride through some gardens, with quite an elaborate stone mountain as the centerpiece. Always amazes me to see minor rides like this in Europe with theming budgets bigger than some of our local major rides. Main basse sur la Joconde (Hands off the Mona Lisa) TIL That the Mona Lisa is called Joconde. An awesome, big stunt show. Some villains steal the mona lisa whilst it is being shipped in a high security van at a port. Four bumbling policeman fail to stop the theft, and spend the show chasing the villains. A witness to it all, a tradie painter tries to help out too. So the whole show is about the painting changing hands between the three, with cartoon style fighting and action, for example one of the villains escapes down a sewer, a giant round style cartoon bomb is tossed down a manhole behind them, boom, and then the painting pops with a "whooop" sound effect, up out of the hole and is caught by one of the good guys. Well choreographed, and some good practical effects like entire buildings being blown apart too. L'Aérolaf It’s best described as a floorless observation tower, inside a fancy looking steel frame. It's technically not an upcharge, but before you board you buy a drink/snack to take on the ride, and these are priced much higher than the rest of the park. I did it anyway since you get good views of the coasters at this end of the park, and quite a generous amount of time at the top, a good 5-10 mins. Attention Menhir ! I dont speak French but this was a good show. The preshow is at a campsite where Romans are plotting an assault on the Gauls village, you can see the shadows of the characters in the tents plotting. You then move into the main 4d show, which is a hilarious cartoony battle between the Romans and the Gauls, with plenty of giant rocks and arrows flying about in 3D. The show used a technique i have never seen before where actual lasers are projected onto the screen, so they could do stuff like stars flying when characters fight, or hypnotic rings around eyes when they were angry / ‘powering up’. L'Aventure Astérix Short walkthrough with some sculpts of the Asterix characters and some history about the creators. A highlight was a model of the park, with pointer showing which comics each attraction was based upon. Toutatis Top 10 ride here! The well themed station building sits under an earthy mound, decorated with carved standing stones. Inside the building, things look even cooler, with load area sitting in a dome shaped chamber, with light pulsating between the gaps between stones. At the front is a carved face of Toutatis, with eyes that glow with energy each time a train dispatches. The trains are very open and comfortable, with elevated seating and an overhead lap bar offering a great feeling of freedom. A short drop leads out of the station into the first launch in a well themed trench evoking memories of Taron , which offers a good kick of speed. Numerous overhead walkways provide great views for bystanders, as well as a few head choppers. All those coasters that have below ground sections in concrete trenches that resemble a dirty motorway underpass, take note! A turn to the right out of the launch leads into a unique take on a Zero G Stall. This one is more like a barrel roll that switches directions halfway through, providing a bit of hangtime. A wide turn and a dip down leads into a bunny hop that has been tilted to the left, a miniature version of the outward banked turn. It’s all very unique and sets the tone for the ride ahead. The train effortlessly turns onto the launch track, and it is here where things become wild. Normally multi pass swing launch coasters cop a bit of flak. After all, you are taking what was a 2-3 second period of extreme acceleration and dragging it out over a longer period and distance. Not necessarily that satisfying for those who want to be pinned against the backrest. Toutatis changes all this, with 2 short banks of LSMs in valleys, with an extended speed hill in between. Quick punches of acceleration and positive g’s alternate with negative g’s on the hill. It transforms the launch into something else akin to a bucking bronco, becoming wilder on each pass. This launch is also well themed, with giant logs forming head choppers The high speed track switch means there is no pause in the pacing, so on the backwards trip you are sent up a straight reverse spike, offering great views of the layout ahead and floating airtime. With the 3rd launch you are sent up over a top hat, cruise over the apex, before descending into a beyond vertical drop. Again, more airtime. A high speed turn leads into my personal favourite element, a Zero g stall. The sensation of travelling upside down, floating in your seat for close to 3 seconds will never get old. A long ground hugging u-turn has a “speed hump” halfway through the turn lifting you out of your seat. From here there is a bit of classic Intamin, with an ejector airtime hill, and a snappy S curve. Next comes a wave turn, with floating ‘sideways’ airtime combined with the sense of being pushed outwards off the track. Diving down of the wave turn is another low to the ground high speed turn that passes around the queue area, transitioning directly into a barrel roll that tries to dunk you out of the train with a statue underneath as a near miss, immediately leading into an overbanked turn. The ride finishes off with a double up. That last sequence is pretty rapid fire, so its quite an unhinged feeling finale. Operations on the ride are solid. A countdown screen in the station helps operators keep an eye on the time, and it was not uncommon to see trains loaded and checked in 30 seconds flat. Overall, it’s an incredible package of the ride. It offers all the sensations a coaster fan would love, it’s full of variety with not a single repeated element, it’s got the theming, it’s got the comfort and it’s got the operational efficiency. Closing thoughts, it's worth a whole day, and maybe even half more if you want to take in more of the park and do re-rides. Would highly recommend doing it with an express pass. The French really do have a great sense of humour, and it shows through here. And some of the in between themed areas are incredible actually. Would have liked more time to explore them, and perhaps eat at the giant fruit restaurant, or the circus restaurant... And a lot of the smaller attractions I'd totally come back and do since they seemed to have a bit of love in the theming department too, rather than merely being filler. More pics here https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/parc-asterix
  5. I stumbled across this gem uploaded by “A&A Home Movies” on YouTube. It’s an incredibly in depth look (over an hour long) at classic Movie World from 1992, containing full recordings of numerous defunct attractions and shows in decent quality. (For some reason, YouTube won’t let me embed it, so here’s a link): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4S1WKrhi8E Also found this video from “Roger Garrod” showing the park under construction in early 1991!
  6. Ocean Park - 23/04/2023 https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/ocean-park I didn’t just head to Malysia back in April, I headed to Ocean Park in Hong Kong as well. It’s a huge park split into two parts that are 1.6km apart, connected via cablecars or a funicular. Ocean Park is located on Hong Kong Island, and very easy to reach via the MTR, a single stop away from Admiralty (literally minutes from downtown). Once you are there you literally walk 50m to the front gate. First impressions as you come in are quite impressive, with whimsical ocean themed buildings around a lagoon used for fountain shows. I was advised to head to Giant Panda Adventure first thing since you get to see them feeding, and I wasn’t disappointed, with one of them right up close and munching away. The red pandas were pretty cute too. Down this end they also had Little Meerkat and Giant Tortoise Adventure, a pretty small exhibit but again offered a good up close view. Down here they had a few other smaller exhibits. And a kids area, which to be honest looked a bit underwhelming on the rides front for a park this major. Guess Disney reigns supreme for families with kids here. To their credit they did build a big indoor thing with giant interactive walls and so forth recently. The cablecars can get quite busy in the morning so I opted to head up to the summit on the Ocean Express. Probably the best themed transport ride I’ve seen. There was also a video playing in the roof of the cars, but it was nothing to write home about, just a mash of ocean related stock footage. Arriving at the top of course I headed to Hair Raiser, the parks B&M floorless coaster, which looks rather awesome perched on the edge of a cliff. The ride experience is a bit of a jackammer though, it was kind of like when you lean your head on a bus window and your head is vibrating so much your vision is blurred. Starts off with a climb up the side of a naked cliff, before a large loop and a dive loop. Next comes a high speed camel hump, a Zero g roll, and an immellmann right over the ride entrance. The ride finishes off with a twisting hill and another turn into the brakes. I still did about 7 laps given the lack of a queue, but it was with my head firmly planted against the backrest. Arctic Blast is the other coaster, a mack powered coaster which was decent, with a dive into the trench under the entrance and a few helices for good measure. Only steadily paced though, so firmly for the families. Theres also The Rapids, pretty decent with an animal exhibit in the middle full of rainforest creatures. Note: dont do artificial rock like this! Most of the wetness seemed to come from a multitude of fountains on the way. Spotted the Ocean Park Tower nearby, spectacular views. Sea Jelly Spectacular was supposedly the inspiration for Sea Jellies Illuminated at SW, and got multi hour queues once upon a time. Was expecting something huge, but in reality the one here in the GC is better imo. Ferris Wheel offered views of the SBNO Dragon coaster. Pretty bad to have so many rides in plain view but not operational. The funny thing is off by itself amongst the closed stuff they have Wild Twister, a very modern looking Top Scan. Haven't done one of these in years, and certainly not in the outside seat and they are great fun, with you tumbling about in all directions. Feels like it achieves much more randomness than say a tourbillon. I think that sums up all the proper rides I did. (not one for spin and spews) I opted to catch the Cable Car downhill to get some pics and then promptly caught it back uphill again. Really makes you appreciate how HK just clings to every flat bit of available land. Around the bottom area is a nicley themed "Old Hong Kong" themed zone. Grabbed a drink before pressing on. There are quite a significant number of other animal exhibits Pacific Point contains all the seals, I got there right on feeding time but the underwater area was under rennovation. Didn't stick around for the dolphin show. Perhaps the most significant exhibit is Polar Adventure, which is divided into both north pole and south pole themed zones. Amazing seeing a walrus up close, and they seemed to love the crowds, blowing bubbles. The smelly, but cute arctic foxes. And of course they have penguins, but the whole room was kept cold rather than an enclosed box like the ones at SW. Shark Mystique is an all indoor version of shark bay, starting above ground at the rock pools and then leading down a spiral to a huge under ground tank. The sawtooth sharks were probably the highlight. Catching the ocean express back downhill I saw the last two major exhibits. Sichuan Treasures contains some long haired monkeys. But perhaps one of the best was saved for last, the Grand Aquarium. If this existed outside the park, they'd probably charge $40 for a ticket, but here its a standalone attraction. Several quite large displays, culminating in a massive picture window (since eclipsed by SeaWorld Abu Dhabi) Could have done without the baby shark stickers getting in the way however. Overall, its a good park, though disappointing to see so many closed rides in full view. These are not even ones they have boarded up etc, you have to walk right past several to get to some of the newer stuff. You can tell they are trying to fill a niche not covered by Disney, with a renewed focus on thrill rides and animals, neither of which Disney have. The rub with the place I feel is that it seems to have way too much in terms of facilities, attractions etc for the attendance that it gets, and they have built a lot of new stuff without getting rid of the old stuff, so the result is a place that is very spread out and empty feeling in parts and needs a lot of staff to actually run it. These comments more apply to the summit area. The bit down near the entrance is absolutely fine. I do hope the parks financial woes are able to be solved because no other place in the world has a setting like Ocean Park, and their animal exhibits are excellent. More photos are here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/ocean-park
  7. Hello everyone! Over the weekend I decided to go to Melbourne and visit Luna Park and decided to share my thoughts here in this thread. Sorry for the lack of photos. Luna Park is located in St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne and is Australia's oldest theme park turning 110 a few months ago. Unlike the Sydney park, Luna Park Melbourne has operated since 1912 without closing. Unlike the other theme parks such as Gumbuya World and Funfields, Luna Park Melbourne doesn't see the need to expand. One thing that is noticeable is that there is no map on the website or in the park, making you go to explore the park and its secrets itself. The park is quite small without room for expansion. Unfortunately, we went on a busy day where the park was sold out. We booked the tickets earlier in the morning so we didn't have to miss out. We arrived to the park at around midday and there was a 15 minute wait to get in. Once you get in, you are greeted with the Twin Dragon being right next to you, and the historic carousel being right in front of you. The ride has been operating since 1913 and is heritage listed. Also the Luna Palace is getting repairs, and the dodgems have been moved to a temporary white tent. We planned on going on the Scenic Railway first, but waited due to there being a 40-minute wait. I first went on the Speedy Beetle coaster, a SBF Visa spinning coaster installed in 2019 similar to Crazy Coaster at Adventure Park Geelong. I had a 15-minute wait, and the dispatches were alright at around 3 minutes. Fun ride, however a little rough. One thing they do let you do is put in your seatbelt yourself which is great. The next ride I rode was the carousel. It is one of the oldest rides in the park, opening 110 years ago in 1913. Luckily, the carousel was a walk on due to me arriving just when it was boarding. Some of the horses were out of action (I think 2 were) but most were operating today. Overall, a fun ride that still holds up today. After the carousel, I rode the Enterprise. It is a HUSS Enterprise that opened in 1993 but manufactured 10-years before. I only had to wait around 15 minutes for it, in which the wait was worth it. as the operations. A lot of families were surprisingly going on it including little kids. A ride worth going on if you go to the park. Meanwhile, the other people on my group decided to ride the Sky Flier, which was a Ferris wheel located next to the carousel and The Power Surge. The worst thing was they had to wait 30+ minutes, then wait 4 cycles because of a weight balance thing. I didn't go on it but at least I didn't have to wait that long. After that, me and my sister went and rode a few rides. First up, we did the Power Surge. A ride manufactured by Zamperla that used to be on the carnival circuit and occasionally visit the park for peak seasons before being installed permanently in 2013. I would say it is the most intense ride in the park. Unfortunately we had to wait a cycle due to the same weight balance thing which made it so 8 of the 24 seats were unused. After that we did the Supernova, which is an SBF Visa Star Flier similar to Trident at Sea World except it has 2 seats a pole instead of 3. It gave you some nice views of the park and St Kilda beach that looked really good. However there is one thing that ruined it. I reckon it had a 10-minute dispatch time which is horrible. We waited around 30 minutes which was a decent time though. Then, we went on the ghost train. It was one of the most popular rides in the park and had a 35-minute wait. It is a very popular ride, installed 80 years ago and has been relatively unchanged since then. Operations were GREAT, only having 30 second dispatches which is great for a ride in Australia. One of the negatives however is that the queue is cramped, leaving no room to move around and the seats are also cramped, luckily I got my own car. Unlike many other parks, they don't call out single riders and instead make people ride on their own, slowing down the PPH. I then went on the Twin Dragon, where it was a walk-on due to them actually calling out for single riders for once. It is similar to the one at Funfields, which was the former one at Sea World. It is less intense as the one just mentioned however but still a fun ride. The queue line is cramped like the ghost train. After it was time for the Scenic Railway. We waited for 55 minutes to ride, not to mention the coaster was only running 1-train today even know the park was full. Luckily, the queue was less cramped than the previous two. With operations, unfortunately they were very slow, not to mention it had different unload/load stations that slowed down the operations. I'm pretty sure the ride was getting less than 150 people per hour by looking at the queue. Another bad thing about the ride was that the trains were very cramped and not good for tall people, as me and my sister both hit our knees on the train after each drop. Not to mention there was also no single rider most likely due to the weight balance thing. Overall a good ride but the cramped train and ops brought it down for me. Then, I went on the Pharoh's Curse, that is actually well themed and similar to Doomsday at Movie World. I was meant to get a walk-on, but they didn't allow it due to the weight balance thing, so I had to wait. After I did get on in the front seat. They had to switch an operator which caused a 10-minute dispatch time. I pulled down my restraint, but the operator pulled it back up and used the computer to pull it down, which ended up in me getting stapled that caused pain to my stomach and legs. Also the restraints must have been damaged by people scratching it like foam. The final ride was the Spider. It was built in 1983 by Eyerly Air Company and has been operating at the park ever since. Like many of the other rides, I got my seat alone due to the weight balance. It's actually pretty fun for a ride like that, and have me some good spinning moments. After that it was time to leave, and my group had fish and chips on the St Kilda Pier before going back to Bendigo. Overall, the park was an alright place to visit, but it goes down for me due to the horrendous operations including the 10-minute dispatches and the weight balance thing making many seats empty, also making the people per hour go down by a lot. Even my group (who were all GP except for me) complained about the operations. I only got on 12 rides in the 5 hours I was there. They also only have the standby line, no single riders or fast pass lines. They also need to upgrade the rides as they are becoming old, and many stapling you which make you hurt. The staff also seemed to just take their time and didn't care how long the dispatches were. My rankings: Operations: 4/10 Rides: 7/10 Staff: 5/10 Atmosphere: 9/10 Value: 6/10 Overall: 6.2/10 Definitely not the best theme park out of all of them in Victoria, but some good fun for people visiting. I suggest getting there early as you might be able to get some walk-ons but getting there after 12 you will not on rides like Scenic Railway etc.
  8. Real deep dive here but thought some may be interested in this. Watched it when it originally was released and rewatching over Easter. Really interesting, well researched stuff
  9. Liseberg https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/liseberg This is the last remaining park I had to write up from my Scandinavian trip. Liseberg is a bucket list park for me, and it sure lives up to its reputation. It’s located in the nice city of Gothenburg. You can get there in about 3 hours from either Stockholm or Copenhagen. I was in the city early enough to take a stroll around the CBD and just walk a couple of km to the park (Though multiple tram lines go to the park too). (The spherical building is part of a museum next door) Even had time to do a lap around the outside of the park to gaze longingly at Balder, which was closed for my visit for track replacement. Was ready at the entrance for opening time, and had the app on my phone to take advantage of the virtual queueing system. Was quite a fairly day though. I was there from 10am till 11pm and did plenty of rides, waits often ranged from 20-60 mins. I’ll talk a bit about the park itself at the end of the report, but here are the rides. Helix Much Like other Macks such as DC Rivals, it’s an excellent, well rounded ride that combines lots of cool things. 7 inverisions, 3 really good airtime hills, a couple of launches, and it’s hillside location means you make some quite large drops and dives. And overall it’s well paced. In some ways though it represents the end of an era. If you’ve ridden a newer RMC, Intamin or Vekoma you’ll know how these days coasters are a bit more funky and dynamic, owing to advances in engineering. On the other hand Helix is very ‘traditional” (Like a good B&M), it’s all conventional elements done well, but I think now the coaster world has evolved, and something like Taiga is the way things are done now. Starts off with a drop out of the station, corkscrew and a bit of a drawn out turn. Theres a decent launch straight into a corkscrew, then it really picks up with a dive down the hill, airtime, another dive, a zero g roll, another airtime hill, and helix, all woven amongst other rides. That in itself would be a decent layout, but a 2nd launch sends you into an inverted top hat, another big dive, airtime hill. At this point the ride peters out a bit, with series of uphill S turns, and concludes with a heartline roll, but it’s nowhere near as agressive as the one on Steel Taipan. The queue is a sight to behold. The design brief was clearly “Make queuing an architectural experience”. EDM in the queue line pumps up the atmosphere a bit. Uppswinget S&S Screamin Swing. This is a ride that seems quite common overseas, but never quite made it to Australia. A shame because they are excellent. You get the huge swings of something like a Gyro Swing, but less nauseating, just great moments of airtime over and over. The position perched over the edge of a hill made it even better. AtmosFear A gyro drop without the gyro, and it was at a weird point in time where intamin was using their superman/surfrider type seats on drop rides. The queue line had a cool theme, sort of like a power station or nuclear reactor. What set this one apart was the addition of VR. This one didn’t seem to slow things down too much, I guess because it's only moving up and down, so less difficult to sync the ride movement. Once you are seated they just go around and offer a headset during the checking. Of course I gave it a go. Spoiler: it is like you are in an underground scientific research lab, and are being lifted up past this huge particle accelerator, as you reach the top, a wormhole forms and the machine begins to break apart, bits get sucked in, aliens come out and they try to attach to your face, but right as you are about to get eaten you drop. A bit of a freaky experience. As you are being lifted up you are so preoccupied with the footage that you forget how high you are, and it’s not until you start feeling the breeze at the top of the tower and the sun on your forehead that you realise “oh geez, im 100m in the air wearing effectively a blindfold” AeroSpin TailSpin crossed with Trident sums this one up. Seemed quite easy to get a continuous spin going, and again the hilltop location made for some great views. Lisebergbanan This one is excellent, so I did a few rides. It’s a terrain coaster by Schwarzkopf, and for such an old ride it runs very smooth. And operation are excellent too, with several trains pumping guests through. Loved the attention to detail in the queue and station, it was actually themed like a train station, right down to the daggy 50s terrazzo floors. The ride maintains a great pace from start to finish, with quite a spread out layout that you really cant get a full picture of from any one vantage point. The best part is where you complete 3 large circular drops in a row, like a enormous tilted helix, where you would keep lapping around uppswinget. Eventually the track peels away with more curves and helixes through the trees, concluding with a speedy finale parallel to the main park walkway. Onboard you got some glimpses of the custom family boomerang they are building too. Valkyria I love dive coasters and this is a particularly good one. One of the reasons they are great is they are so re-ridable, they aren’t’ too forceful, and the drop is fun. Couple this with a single rider line and I think this ended up being my most ridden attraction. The only drawback of the single rider queue is you virtually always end up seated on the right as you are the last in the row, so I did use standby once to get a left hand ride. The theming is fantastic, with the station even having a projection of a shadow of a valkyrie flying around, and a custom soundtrack that was dramatic viking music. From the station you head up a 50m lift hill, around a turn, and perch on the edge of a drop. Shortly thereafter you are released, drop into a tunnel, emerge into an immelman, then make a hard overbanked turn with a great near miss with the lift structure. From there you do a bit of a figure 8, with a zero g roll and a heartline roll on the way. This part is over a creek running through the park, and you get a fair bit of hangtime, making for an interesting experience. FlumeRide Most flumes seem to follow a format of float along, lift, medium drop, float along, lift, big drop, the end. The one at Liseberg was somewhat unique, owing to the large hillside. A huge lift takes you right to the top of the hill. then there is a long floaty section that passes over and under a few other rides, including very closely to Lisebergbanan, so dont stand up! But the finale is great, because all the final drops come in quick succession. You do a drop, splash down and lose a bit of speed and then before you know it there's another big drop. Spokhotellet Gasten This can be low capacity, so i queued virtually for it. It was quite a long horror maze through an old hotel. The jump scares from the actors are what you’d expect, though this one has really well done and elaborate rooms, through various hotel scenes that totally are not inspired by TOT at Disneysea 😛 Mechanica Many years ago I did Bling at Blackpool and thought it was okay, and all these years on the ride experience is still just as meh. The arm moves in a big slow loop, and you are seated on flipping rows of seats that are arranged in a fan shape, much like a top scan. But because all the rotations are so steady you don't really flip much and it just ends up being a whole lot of being high in the air awkwardly sideways. Underlandet Underlandet was a fun kids dark ride where you go through the underground world of the Liseberg rabbits. Starts of with a faux lift ride into an “underground” loading station. Bright and colourful and quite well executed. There was a bit of narrative of the villain (Who resembled a magician crossed with Robbie Rotten crossed with Oddwald) sneaking around trying to steal carrots but getting hurt in the process. The ride actually goes up and downhill over a couple of levels too so its more substantial than you'd expect. Funniest part was a scene with various rabbit animatronics sitting on thunderbox toilets, with containers below labelled “compost:” Kaninslandbanan Overhead pedal car thing, that I mostly rode to get some decent overhead photos. Carried the theme of the kids zone of “Rabbits making crazy inventions to grow and process carrots”. I quite like how they had made the ride maintenance bay a feature and themed it like a wacky workshop. Lisebergshjulet One of those big air conditioned ferris wheels like the one at Southbank. Was ok but it was right on the edge of the park so it wasnt necessarily the best for park photos. Good views to the city center of Gothenburg though! Liseberg Gardens Didn’t know this existed till I visited. A whole corner of the park is just a nice botanic garden, much like at Alton or Tivoli, with pleasant trails winding down the hillside, and even an old windmill. Stampbanan Tiny kids coaster near identical to the baby shark one at Luna Park Sydney Rabalder A bigger family coaster the same as the Chicken themed one at Djurs Sommerland. The station had some crazy invention theming, including a dripping bucket on the way into the station. Kallerado One of the best rapids I have done. Really nice leafy setting, and plenty of Colorado theming too. The rapids were dynamic, with quite powerful rapids, plenty of fountains, and heaps of boats, to the point that on the open water sections sometimes boats would bump and overtake each other. Clearly popular with the locals too, it had a huge queue, but thankfully I had a virtual queue pass. Jukebox Octopus ride, but with a very creative theme, so just had to give it a go. (Plus octopii are fun for a spin and spew) Krilstallsalongen Quite a short mirror maze, with a few illusion rooms along the way. What i liked is that the front of the attraction was window, so you could stand outside and watch this happening: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/nQjlipMs4cc Skepp o Skoj I’ve done plenty of car rides, but never a boat ride. You pilot a little electric boat along a course, but it felt like the steering has huge lag, so you ended up just bumping off the walls on the way through. Tempus Finally got to ride one of these newfangled Zamperla Nebulaz. I reckon every park needs one, right level of intensity for a family ride, bit of speed, bit of tummy tickling airtime, but it’s so hypnotic to watch. The cycle seemed to be that they would load one half, run it for a bit, stop with you at the top and load the other half, run it a little more, then you’d get off and the cycle repeats. I quite liked the aesthetic of this whole area. Yes its just flat rides, but it was so classy. Come to think of it, it’s just like the grand exposition are at Sliver Dollar City. So there you have it, 20 different attractions in 13 hours. I wouldn’t have minded riding the Loke gyro swing, given how good its counterpart Tigeren was at Djurs Sommerland, and that was the only major thing I didn’t ride. The park is one of the best out there, everything is such high quality. Even generic rides had really quite ornate booths and signage. The dining options were great, The buildings were nice. Operations were good. The virtual queue system wasn’t oversubscribed so lines kept moving despite big crowds. They even had some themed areas, eg the Viking zone, the Port Zone, the 50s zone, Kaninlandet, Luna Park etc. I reckon this is something they could lean into a bit more.. Have a look at the attractions and give everything a themed zone. Right now it's half traditional amusment park, half theme park. In terms of what the park needs, well it has such a complete lineup already. Perhaps an immersive indoor coaster or a dark ride for older audiences would be good. There’s no shortage of flats or water rides.... Photos here https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/liseberg
  10. *Pic heavy thread* Hi all! Whilst in Melbourne, I decided to visit Funfields theme park to wrap up 2022 and figured I’d share my thoughts here. For those who don’t know, Funfields is located in Whittlesea (about 40 mins from Melbourne’s CBD). Opening in February 1985 as the “Alpine Toboggan Park” (that’s right, this park pre-dates Wonderland) it was rebranded as Funfields in 2005 and has seen rapid expansion ever since. The park no longer offers printed park maps, however a large sign containing the map (as well as a QR code that links you to a digital copy) is located near the entrance. As you enter the park, you are greeted with a large outdoor picnic area complete with barbecues. Funfields allows (and even somewhat encourages) guests to bring their own food and drinks and camp out on the lawn (multiple people even brought tents which are also allowed). Turning left leads you to the first themed land in the park; “Mystic Kingdom”, a children’s area with a medieval theme. The area features some impressive theming, including an interactive animatronic tree. The land is home to a series of flat rides for the youngsters, including an SBF mini drop tower, an SBF Airborne Shot, a ferris wheel, carousel, spinning balloon ride and a teacups ride re-located from Australia Zoo (most of which I forgot to take pictures of, opps)! I love the way this operator’s booth is themed. The “Burnout” (formally the “Stingray” from Dreamworld) was also located in this area, but has since been retired to the car park (apparently it’s for sale). Continuing through this area leads you to “Amazonia Falls”, the park’s interactive water playground with a jungle theme. Manufactured by Wizard Works, this attraction is quite unique in that it’s completely solid-state and uses a computer to activate the water effects, rather than relying on the traditional mechanical valve technology most water playgrounds use. This also allows for some pretty interesting effects such as motion activated fountain jets and “TNT detonators” (where pushing the plunger will cause water jets hidden in the surrounding splash pool to suddenly activate, soaking unsuspecting guests). The structure also has a “tipping bucket” of sorts, though it’s not really a bucket at all. Instead the “treehouse” simply dumps water on guests every 3 mins. A smaller, more traditional water play structure by Whitewater West called Birdy Cove is also located nearby. This attraction is designed for children under 6. Private cabanas are available to hire in this area as well. Moving further up the hill, we arrive at the Tiki Bay Bumper Boats (manufactured by J&J Amusements), one of the older attractions at the park, having been installed in 2004. Still as popular as ever. Behind Tiki Bay is the Typhoon, a Proslide Cannonbowl water slide advertised as being the longest of its kind in the world when it opened in 2013. Despite the many expansions and additional investments Funfields have made after its launch, Typhoon still remains one of my favourite slides not only in the park, but in the country! The sheer amount of speed you pick up in the enclosed section never fails to take my breath away. You absolutely FLY through this thing! That combined with the drop into the typhoon bowl itself and the suspense of not knowing if you’re going to complete the final drop facing forwards or backwards creates an incredibly fun and intense ride experience. A must do attraction when visiting the park! Next up is unfortunately the first stinker in the Funfields line-up IMHO, the Splashdown in-ground water slides. A flashback to the old “Alpine Toboggan Park” days, these slides were installed in the 80’s and quite frankly, that’s were they belong. Whilst they may have some historical significance, I wouldn’t mind seeing them be replaced with something a little more modern. Next are Wipeout and Blackout, two slides manufactured by Australian Waterslides and Leisure and installed in 2009. While they may have been somewhat overshadowed by their newer Proslide counterparts, these are still decent, fun slides that are worth checking out (especially Wipeout which lives up to its name. It has a tendency to launch riders over the final splashdown pool, providing a pretty thrilling finale). Now we reach the ride that started it all, the Alpine Toboggan. Despite being installed in 1985, this attraction still holds up extremely well today. The carts were speed-limited a few years ago due to multiple accidents when guests ignored the warnings to slow down on corners. Some believe that this has negatively effected the ride experience, however I was still able to get my cart up to a decent speed and had a very enjoyable ride. Perhaps it differs from cart to cart? Between the Wipeout/Blackout waterslides and the toboggan is a path that leads to the rear section of the park. Following this takes you to…The Voodoo! A very highly themed Zamperla Discovery Revolution. Funfields really went all out with the theming for this attraction and the attention to detail is amazing! The basic storyline is that your are exploring an ancient temple, looking for lost treasure. However, the treasure is guarded by an ancient Voodoo spirit named “Tawhirl”. Signs throughout the queue combined with an ominous soundtrack help to set up the story and prepare you for the experience ahead. Many props (lost items from previous explorers who attempted to grab the treasure and failed) are scattered throughout the queue and around the ride area. I love the attention to detail in this rock work too! It’s supposed to look as if the gondola has smashed through the middle. Then, as you enter the site of the old temple (or board the ride) Tawhirl becomes displeased with your presence and unleashes her wrath, picking you up and throwing you around (the ride swinging you around) to keep you away from the treasure. The ride experience is a perfect balance of being fairly intense, but still something the whole family can enjoy. A perfect addition to the park with simply excellent theming and a well executed storyline. I also really love how the theming from nearby Volcano Beach in the background perfectly matches up with Voodoo’s theming in the foreground here. Seems the park actually thought about sight lines which is pretty impressive! Speaking of which, Volcano Beach is the park’s wave pool and another very well themed area. I think I’ll let the pictures do the talking here: As you can see, it’s probably the most immersive and highly themed wave pool in the country. I absolutely love having the volcano as the centrepiece and that there’s plenty of shade around the beach area to relax in. It pumps out some pretty decent waves too! A cafe is also located in the area offering takeaway food such as chips, burgers and pizza as well as ice creams and lollies. Salads and even coffee is also on offer here (a larger cafe near the front of the park carries a similar menu too). Private cabanas surrounding the wave pool are also available for hire. Behind Volcano Beach sits the newest addition to the park, Supernova! It’s a shame this attraction has been largely overshadowed by the opening of Gumbya’s new coasters, as it’s the park’s biggest investment yet and is by far the best water ride they’ve installed to date. The pacing on this slide is fantastic. From the very beginning of the ride, you immediately pick up quite a lot of speed and navigate the first few turns at a pretty fast pace (this speed is maintained throughout the slide). The “Supanova” colour effects in the tunnel are very impressive and the fact you pass through them at fairly high speed really adds to the experience. Then comes a pretty intense drop into the main tornado (not sure if the drop is any steeper than other tornados, but it certainly feels that way) before taking one final turn and finally ending the ride in the splashdown pool. It may not come across in this write-up, but the slide is actually quite long in length and would have to be one of the most intense water slides I’ve been on (aside from maybe some drop slides). If I was to nitpick though, I would say the most disappointing aspect of the ride was the first “bowl” element near the beginning (not sure what it’s officially known as). I was expecting that you would spin around in this bowl or do something exciting. But nothing really happens. It’s just sort of there and you simply glide past it on one side and that’s it. Not really sure what the significance of it is TBH. Apart from that though, this is a sensational slide overall that is fast and thrilling and not to be missed! Next to Supernova is 2017’s Gravity Wave. I must say, the two slides weaving around each other looks very impressive from the tower. While Gravity Wave is definitely a decent attraction, I do unfortunately think it’s a bit of a one trick pony (at least compared to Supernova). The ride starts out incredibly slowly and meanders around until the main drop. While the main drop is still incredible and definitely worth checking out, Typhoon is still the superior slide overall IMHO, with Supernova beating them both by a mile. Still, having both Supernova and Gravity next to each other works really well and adds to a solid line-up in that area of the park. Next to Gravity wave is the Kraken Racer, a 4 lane aqua racer from Proslide. Another good addition to the park. The park is also home to Thunderdome Speedway, a go cart track installed in 1997 that still pulls in decent crowds today. Heading back towards the front of the park leads us to Treasure Cove, a pirate themed mini golf course. One of the holes even goes through a tunnel! This cemetery area reminds me of Movie World’s Boot Hill. In front of the mini golf is Sea World’s former Pirate Ship, Blackbeard’s Fury. Manufactured by Huss and added to the park in 2009, this attraction still rides beautifully and is well maintained by the park. It even has additional theming that wasn’t present during its time at SW. That covers all of the major attractions the park currently has on offer. All up, Funfields is a very impressive park that is well kept, well run and features a fantastic line-up of rides with decent theming and a great atmosphere. Other factors such as themed audio throughout the park, decent food, friendly staff and great operators add to a fantastic overall experience. I do feel like the addition of a coaster is very much needed to complete with Gumbya, though there is plenty of room for expansion, so hopefully this will come later. The water rides on offer are far superior to what Gumbya currently have though. So they easily have them beat in that regard IMHO. All in all, Funfields is definitely a must do park while visiting Victoria and is easily one of the best regional parks in the country!
  11. Tivoli Friheden and Tivoli Gardens https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/tivoli-friheden https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/tivoli-gardens Was trying to get these trip reports rounded out by the end of the year, but I’ve still yet to upload the pics from Liseberg, or finish a couple of them. So here is an easy one. Tivoli Friheden I did the same day as Legoland, Monday 11th of July. It’s situated in Denmark's 2nd city of Aarhus. 1h drive from Legoland, but more like 1h45 in my case because I detoured to look at that Elia sculpture from the Tom Scott video. And four days later on the 14th of July the park had a fatal accident on their Santori built inverted coaster Cobra, where the final car detached and killed a 14 year old girl. What is quite shocking is that when the ride was first built it had a derailment that caused injuries shortly after opening, and you’d think that would have been that, but the manufacturer rectified it, but sadly it happened again and now the ride will finally be scrapped. I always had a bit of a curiosity with this ride since it’s basically like a travelling version of an SLC, with a cobra roll and immelmann and a helix the train barely makes it around (Which probably explains why they only cycle with a full load) Anyway it was rougher than a bad SLC. And one of my rides was in the exact seat that fell off later that week. They also have Tyfonen, a Zamplera spinning coaster which in itself is a clone of the original Reverchon design. Was seated alone so it spun like crazy. Interesting that it was enclosed by perspex on two sides since there is residential immediately north of the park that obviously dont like the noise. They also had Dragen, a typical big apple coaster. And Bisvaermen, a three loop spinning coaster like the one Adventure Park Geelong. Much like Fury 325 at Carowinds, it is themed around bees, so it looked pretty cool. And in fact the whole kids area around it carried the “bottom of the garden” theme well. What else? Hjertekig is a gyro drop ride from RES, but it also had lap bars only as well. Decent height too at 65m. I reckon its a great model for smaller parks like this. There was also Himmelrum next door, but it looked too vomit inducing for me, especially at that point in the day where i was a little tired and sunburnt. The thing the park is known for is Sky Tower, A SCAD tower where you are literally dropped into a net. Bungee jumping without the rope. They actually make you wear a football helmet and strap you to a board so you land the correct way, but to be honest it didnt appeal and i wasnt in the mood so ill probably never do one now 🤷. You can in fact just head up the top where there is a viewing platform and a glass floor Haunted House was 'okay'. Combined all the usual house of horror type gags like trucks with headlights beeping at you loudly and characters popping, but it also had a few 3d screens where you would shoot at hordes of advancing zombies. Was a bit ick because you were handed a ratty 2nd hand set of 3d glasses that hadn’t even been washed! Next door was Illusionfabriken, another nice funhouse, though this one was more focused on optical illusions and mirrors rather than punching bags and spinning tunnels. Every park should have a funhouse now, im convinced. Sommerfulgen is the low budget version of a Gerstlauer skyroller. Rather than being lifted up and sweeping around a tower, it’s more like a dumbo ride with fixed arms, so you can still roll with some effort, but its lower speed and lower height. Pariserhjulet is a decent sized ferris wheel, so a slightly different elevated vantage point to the Sky Tower. I quite liked the tribute to the inventor of the Ferris wheel. Looking down over the mini golf course, it totally reminded me of the very rigid layouts you’d have in roller coaster tycoon. The park had all your other usual suspects in terms of carnival rides. The park itself had a very peaceful and pleasant atmosphere. It’s clear they were trying to emulate the model of the original Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, with higher quality dining, concerts, lots of landscaping. Looking at the lineup, it does look like a lot of permanent carnival rides, but an effort has been made to make the grounds nice. How the park will fare in the wake of the accident, who knows? Im not sure if you'd bother adding it to your trip unless you were really keen for the SCAD tower (Even for me it was a couple of hours tacked on at the end of the day) More photos here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/tivoli-friheden ****************************** So Tivoli Friheden was at the start of the trip, and 3 weeks later at the other end of the trip I finished off at Tivoli Gardens, which was very busy! In fact i ducked in a couple of times for short evening visits since the friend I was staying with had a gold pass so could get me in for free, and all I had to pay for was ride tickets. One night I dined at Groften for some traditional Danish food. 'Skipperlabskovs' is meat, diced beetroot and mashed potatoes, chives, with plenty of rye bread and butter on the side. quite hearty! On another night it turned out one of their summer concerts was on. The artist performing, Birthe Kjær is more or less like Denmark’s Oliva Newton John. I actually already visited back in 2017 but because some rides closed earlier in the night I totally missed the funhouse Skaersilden and one of the coasters Karavanen. Denied Denied Since then, they did a 1 for 1 replacement of Karavanen with another coaster called Kamelen. Skaersilden i loved the aesthetic of, like a port / cargo hold. This funhouse you are free to explore like a playground rather than make your way through in sequence. Kamelen was also very attractive for a family coaster, with the same ornate theming seen elsewhere in the park. It would have been rude to not ride Dameonen whilst I was there so I reacquainted myself with that and its punchy, fun layout. Probably waited half an hour, but the atmosphere was unbeatable. More photos here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/tivoli-gardens
  12. Linnanmaki 25th July 2022 https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/linnanmaki Linnanmaki is the #1 park in Finland, located just 2km north of the city center. And its for a good cause. The park is run by a not for profit and all proceeds support child welfare work. In fact, if you arrive in Helsinki via boat (I caught the night ferry from Stockholm) you can quite clearly see the skyline of the park in the distance. In particular, the skyloop really stands out, but you can see the white painted drop tower, and even the tophat for Taiga if you really squint to the left of the striped crane. Various tram lines serve the park from either side, so it’s easy to get to, but the park itself is located on a hill in the middle of a public park so there is a little bit of an uphill walk to the front gate. In terms of size, the park is about 250x250m, so it’s about ¼ the size of say DW, but has heaps of rides packed in. It's definitely an amusement park, though most of the kids rides have a circus sort of theme, and most of the bigger rides have vague themes/names based on Finnish mythology. Turns out I misjudged the entry time so was there an hour before rides actually started, so took the time to wander around the outside and get some photos. Linnanmaki offers wristbands for 45 EUR, or individual ride tickets at 10 EUR each or 45 EUR for a 6 pack. (So for most visitors you’d clearly get the wristband, I mean I did 16 separate rides, plus some re-rides so it’s easy to get your moneys worth) Tagia has a deal that if you use two ride tickets, you can skip the line. But if you already have a wristband, then a single additional ride ticket allows a skip. So later in the day I forked out 45 EUR for a 6 pack, reasoning that 7.5 EUR a pop was a good deal to get plenty of rides on a top roller coaster that I probably won't be back to ride for at least a decade or more. When the gates opened i made a quick beeline for Taiga. What to say? This has to be pretty close to the world's best launch coaster (Haven’t ridden Velocicoaster though) Such a varied layout, great pacing. Beats Maverick, beats Taron. From the station there’s a decent initial launch into a zero g winder, which is like this 90 turning corkscrew but it banks outwards at the top so heaps of hangtime. Then you pitch sideways into a big curved drop down a hill, and some snappy jet rescue style transitions between some turns, a good start which lines you up with the 2nd launch. Then it really kicks into gear, hitting 100km/h along a launch that dramatically crosses over a major pathway. Then into a great tophat with great views due to being at the edge of the hillside. Following that is a long zero g stall, quite unusual travelling upside down for so long but magically floating in place with the train. Floater soon becomes ejector as there is a tiny dip at the exit of the stall which doesn’t look like much in POVs but is as aggressive as some of the airtime on Skyrush. A 3rd inversion, an immelmann follows, before another big banked turn, a snappy transition then a helix above the station. A brief moment of respite as you do some s bends high in the air, but that all goes out the window with an aggressive dive back down the hill, that really catches you off guard. At full speed at the bottom of the hill is a bit of a wave turn giving some unexpected air. You finish off with a long drawn out corkscrew that dunks you out of your seat like the final inversion on ST, then you cruise around the final turn into the brakes. What an adventure. It’s a tangled mess like Taron so it’s hard to follow which way you are going to go. Switches between thrilling and outright furious, and the gentle moments in the course are set ups for quite aggressive moments. At the exit is a nice gift shop, positioned on the edge of the hill with some big windows I heard Salama can get long lines so i went there next. A custom Maurer spinning coaster. Had heard it was underwhelming but i thought it was fine. Had a suitably confusing layout, combining several high banked turns, quick drops and so forth. The track layout was good but it could have perhaps spun a bit more. Visually its not the prettiest thing since it was built above the existing rapids ride, so it has a lot of heavy supports spanning over the rapids below. The rest of the rides, in no particular order.... Tulireki Ugh, turns out Mack can occasionally have a stinker. This is like a wild mouse with banked turns and a helix, so it’s like Mack were trying to replicate a Gerstlauer bobsled. But it has the “e-motion” suspension system, which just makes it rough, and in particular at the bottom of the drop clunks down so you get a nice bit of spinal compression. One and done for me! Ukko A Maurer skyloop just like Buzzsaw / Project Zero. Do you need me to review this again? As a bonus as soon as I joined the queue they called for a single rider so I was in and out in 5 minutes. Apparently the name is the Finnish god of the sky and thunder, but then the theming was this hippy yellow submarine type deal which made no sense but looked fun. Kirnu These free spin / Zacspin coasters can be polarising, but if you have misgivings, this ride is the one for you and is nowhere near as intense. I think what helps is that its a lot shorter and the main curved drop is much more drawn out, so you get a fun flip, but not the repeated sensation of being thrown up and down and shoved back and forth. (Now i dont mind the full sized ones of these btw ) The feeling is really like being swept around on a top spin and doing a single flip. Made sure i got 2 rides, left facing foward and right facing backwards. I think forwards leaving the station is a little scarier because you cant see the first drop. Vuoristorata Your spine can get readjusted on Scenic Railway, but this thing is brilliant. It's a classic wooden side friction coaster with a brakemaster riding onboard. The layout is a fairly standard layout, an oval with a cross over in the middle so it makes a double figure 8. The airtime is variable depending on your brakemaster. On one lap i sat at the front and we must have been going a little too fast on the double down and i was well and truly chucked out of my seat. And its just a fixed lap bar so a momentary freak out when it happened. Was running 3 trains quite efficiently so I got a few rides. Linnunrata An indoor family coaster built inside an old water tower. The queue line reminded me of those 90s lasertag places or watching escape from Jupiter. But you were made to wait outside and rushed through this part, likely 'due to covid' The ride is one of those Zierer family coasters with a very long train (like this) and it had two lift hills, so was a reasonable little journey, and was quite dark for many parts so was actually not half bad! On the way were quite a few strobes, and big foam planets hanging from the ceiling, the usual space coaster stuff. Did a couple of laps because it was good. Panoraama Rotating observation cabin. Clean the windows please! Pikajuna A powered mine train type coaster, but if was a bit naff, a fairly basic layout with a couple of helices, though they did make the effort of making the station look like a giant train (So is it meant to be like the train is giving birth to a baby train, who knows?) Hurjakuru Under Salama is this rapids ride. Normally the top of the hill would be the last place you'd build a rapids, and what was even crazier is that the high point of the ride was at the lower side of the hill, which meant the end of the course was essentially in a huge ravine. Yeah it was ok, the foggy tunnel at the start with viking theming was probably the highlight, and i guess being in more of a deep gorge for the rest of the layout made it feel like more authentic rafting. Kingi Another moser drop tower, with rotating seats. These are a little weaker than the intamin counterparts because the brakes start so high up the tower, so you dont get as much freefall, and the braking is more drawn out and less forceful. The theming was great, this curtsey medieval look. The staff had no hustle so the wait felt longer than it should have. Kammokuja This was a spooky walkthrough, but you wore a special type of chromatic 3d glasses that would make all the blacklight murals appear to 'pop' off the walls. Hocus Pocus Hall at Chessignton was like this too. No actual scare actors, though a couple of basic animatronics would jump around when you walked past the trigger. Was ok. Kyöpelinvuoren hotelli This was a ghost train/haunted hotel, but it was a bit newer than the classic ones many parks hold together with duct tape. Given it was newer, the quality of the theming was a bit better, the lighting had more polish and it had some nicey animated projected screens too. A solid B+. Rinkelli A big ferris wheel, with great views of several of the coasters. Seemed very popular so a bit of a wait. Taikasirkus This is a family dark ride through a circus, so if you have clourophobia or globophobia steer well clear. The vehicles were little 2 person 'eggs' suspended from an overhead track, and these could rotate just like the disney omnimover, so you would face certain scenes. The scenes were all quite cute and well done, basic movements in the characters brought them to life. I got a giggle from the clown sweeping up elephant dung. Maisemajuna A mini monorail that does a lap around the park, so another good opportunity to take some photos. Overall, it’s an excellent park with a lot to hold your attention. I rode heaps and heaps but still only did less than half the lineup, so it represents excellent value for money. If you are in this part of the world Helsinki is a nice city, and Linnanmaki is worth the effort. No i didn't ride this. Also, I should give a special shout out to the food, they had a proper indian restaurant. And the taco place near Kingi was decent too. Almost 300 photos here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/linnanmaki
  13. Sarkanniemi is an amusement park in the city of Tampere, about 90 mins by train north of Helsinki. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/sarkanniemi-amusement-park Easy trip and a bargain at only 9 EUR! I got into the city around 8. The park is about 2km from the main station, so I just wandered across the city centre and took in the sights till opening time. It is located on a peninsular on the lakeshore, and part of a broader tourist complex that has an observation tower (Similar to the ones in Canberra/Sydney) kids farm, aquarium, art gallery and planetarium. Your ticket includes all of these things. With more time to kill I wandered around the adjacent marina and got some photos. The main draw for me was of course Tornado, a rare example of an Intamin SLC . There’s a decent selection of other rides, and perhaps the highest density of Zamperla rides you’ll see anywhere. The entrance to the park isn’t exactly the most inviting… So, kicking off with Tornado. It’s so unique heading into an underground tunnel and finding a station cut into the rock. It feels like a themed attraction, even though its entirely utilitarian design. Should have called it “missile” or something like that. I had heard beforehand it was rough as guts, but it was running “fine”, not perfectly smooth, but not bad for something built 20 years ago. Starts off with an average first drop into a forceful loop, a straightaway in a tunnel, before a forceful cobra roll. A lazy banked turn that threads through the loop leads into a downhill section of track into another tunnel. Hidden inside is a barrell roll through the top of the station cavern. You come out on the other side, and into another barrel roll, which just about everyone gets this photo of: So yeah, pretty good, the layout feels a bit formulaic, as you can see from the aerial image, just elements plugged in one after each other. It has my favourite ride colour scheme ever too. Some nerd pics include the wheels, and the video AI system they use for checking if the restraints are closed. I think next i headed to Boom, a Zamperla drop tower. It’s a bit like Inferno at AW. It doesn’t really hit true freefal because you are attached to cables the whole time, it kind of just “goes down fast”. You have to give the engineers credit for doing the difficult thing of making the whole tower rotate rather than just the car. Turns out a lot of the rides didn’t really open till 11 so had some time to kill so wandered around the Angry Birds area and went on the Kantii X Kantii car ride. Nice views of the lakeshore but the thing must be 40 years old. Vauhimato was also here, an early model Zierer kiddy coaster. Hey where have i seen that train before? Realised that the observation deck and aquarium were already open so I headed back out of the park and had a look at them. It was getting close to 11, so i headed back down to go back into the rides area, and at this point the weather started to turn. I reasoned if it was raining I’d do Koskiseikkailu rapids ride. As far as rapids go, it was on par with Bæver Rafting at Farup. Basic concrete channel in the woods with not a whole lot of theming, though i did think the entrance waterfall did have a bit of this very Finnish mid century modern style to it: The rain got really bad as I was exiting. So i parked up at a Cafe near the Doghill Fairytale Farm and had an early lunch. The area was quite nice from the perspective of "Lots of wholesome stuff for kids to do" When the weather started to improve I continued with the park. Motogee Actually pretty fun! Gave this a couple of laps. It's a Zamperla motorbike coaster, and it in fact uses a cable launch like superman, but the difference is it's a simple electric motor rather than hydraulic. Has the right amount of speed, and relatively tight turns, so it feels quite zippy. And because most of the course is downhill, it never loses pace. Hype Premier Sky Rocket 2, and I love these things. A punchy launch, really fast vertical twist, good pop of airtime as you transition at the top, then a fun heartine roll. The 2nd half rapidly picks up speed as you dive down again, with more air in the non inverted loop. So despite looking quite simplistic from the outside, it's quite forceful and varied. I swear whoever did the theming from this borrowed from Bounce Inc. High Voltage A Zamperla power surge. Despite having these at LPM and AW, I've never thought I'd have the stomach for one. Anyhow, its actually not too bad, its sort of like being on Tailspin with the flipping seats, but in this case you aren't controlling the spinning. So nothing unbearable, its bark is worse than its bite, but Im not sure if I'd bother with one again. Trombi I last did one of these Volare flying coasters years ago at Canadas Wonderland, and it....wasn't good. The park was quiet so i did 3 laps over the course of the day to really cement my opinion on the thing and see if there was any way to enjoy it. The issue is that it has turns as fast and as sharp as a wild mouse, but you are in a flying position in a car that isnt very comfortable, so it is a ride of endurance. This is one ride where trim brakes would help it. If you just cruised through slowly, it would actually be somewhat enjoyable. I think looking down rather than straight ahead makes it a bit more comfortable, but overall it's just a bit of a failed concept to be honest. Tyrsky Zamperla Disko coaster with a cute dolphin theme. The setting was nice since its on a peninsular out on the lake. Sort of rode by accident, since I went up to get a photo, saw they were loading and it had no queue, so, what the hell. Tukkijokki quite an old school flume ride. It start off with a lift hill and then follows the terrain with several small drops working down the hillside, and at a couple of points you come quite close to Tornado. A second lift takes you to the big drop. Interesting for the proximty to tornado but it wasn't a particularly attractive ride. Some kids thought it was a stand up coaster. The park is reasonably compact. It was still raining sporadically so I did some re-rides and took plenty of photos, but eventually called it quits around 4 when i was getting a bit cold and damp, so headed to my hotel for a nice hot shower and a sleep. More photos of the park are here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/sarkanniemi-amusement-park Overall, it's a decent park. Operations were good, didn't really seem to wait long for anything, and they even had 2 trains going on Tornado despite non existent queues. Overall its a well balanced lineup, with higlights being Tornado, Hype and MotoGee. If you are going to PowerPark its on the way, and even if you aren't its a cheap and easy day trip from Helsinki.
  14. PowerPark (Powerland) is an entertainment complex located in central Finland about 350km north of Helsinki / 200km north of Tampere. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/powerpark So its not really that conveniently located. Initially I was going to hire a car for a day, but that was going to cost close to $200 for the day. However, the park is located a couple of km from the tiny obscure train station of Härmä on the main line to the north of the country. Finnish trains are well priced, but annoyingly, only a couple of trains per day actually stop there, which I guess made me uneasy since you don't exactly want to miss your train and be stranded in the Finnish countryside for an additional day. But as it turns out, the park has a shuttle that meets every train, the northbound train gets you there around 11.30, and the southbound leaves around 6.30, so enough time for a day in the park (Though you might want to stay overnight if you wanted to do every last ride, do some go karting etc) Free lockers too, but it was definitely a 'push' (And there's only 12 so keep that in mind) The park is owned by a wealthy businessman who manufactures industrial machinery (The factory is actually behind the park) and the guy seems to have a thing for go karting and stunt planes. So really the park is a passion project where he seemingly just builds rides, hotels etc on his land because why not? Overall, the look of the park is a mixed bag. Some parts are themed properly. Some parts look 'okay' but not necessarily what I'd call an attractive style. Some parts are just Italian flat rides chucked down everywhere. Some parts they clearly had an interesting idea on what to build. And there are various other facilities like go kart tracks, hotels too. So it ends up looking like this. But anyhow, onto the rides. Junker Top class, and has everything. Decently quick launch, a top hat, huge looping element around a walkway, airtime, twists and turns, and a couple of quick final inversions including a dive loop into a tunnel and a sudden corkscrew at the end. Normally Gerstlauer can be hit and miss, eg sometimes their rides run great, sometimes they are rough. In this case definitely a hit, and the fact the trains only had lap bars made this even better. Pitts Special If Junker was the hit, this was the miss. When this was being built, I thought this was pretty cool, A steep drop going into a mix of twisted and straight airtime hills, a variant on a non inverted loop, and even an RMC style wave turn. It almost reminded me of a mega lite coaster. Anyway. Not to be. The non inverted loop thing knocks out a lot of speed, and then the rest of the hills are slower and drawn out, so you get virtually no airtime anywhere, just the sensation of scooting over various elongated elements, though the wave turn was sort of interesting. So they bought a lemon I feel. If the idea was that it's meant to be less intense than Junker and more 'family' oriented fair enough, but then why put in an intimidating vertical lift hill? Its a shame because the design had so much potential. To add insult to injury, the park was running only a single 8 car train, so the wait was a bit annoying. I gave it another go later on the arvo, and it was still pretty average. Thunderbird A good ride from GCI, though again the staff were a bit slow. It opened the year after Thunderhead at Dollywood and clearly it had similar thinking. It would alternate between huge high banked turnarounds, and fast paced sections low to the ground where it was full of little bunny hops and twists. Ran really well too, so its a quintessential "out of control" wooden coaster. Hopefully our Leviathan has a similar vibe. Cobra Vekoma Boomerang. A lot of people complain about the roughness of these, but the main problem i have is doing 3 inversions backwards in quick succession is a bit nauseating. That said, this one ran well too. The trains are not the latest type (Eg like on Gold Coaster) but rather an intermediate design that was only ever used on a couple of coasters. In terms of looks it's battling it out with Sea Viper, but at least it's comfy Joyride A coaster from the early days of the park when I think they were just spamming carnival rides. It's almost like a Galaxi 2.0 , with nice transitions and helices rather than the design many of us would have ridden back in the days of Metropolis or Thrillseeker. I did find this support amusing. Mine Train Zamperla family coaster nearly identical to the Spongebob one at Sea World. Devils Mine Hotel Fairly standard ghost train fare, with trucks blaring headlights at you with their horn, and store dummy animatronics popping up. But lets be honest, most of your attention is focused on the shooting if such a system is installed, and there were enough moving bits and bobs to make it interesting. Oh, and they only give you a set number of shots. But even spamming the fire button didnt seem to cause any problems in terms of running out early. Neo's Twister Spinning wild mouse, but with fairly shallow drops, so not that fast. What it lacked in speed, it made up for in spinning. The layout looks like something from Roller Coaster Tycoon. One problem...The seat dividers were literal metal bars rather than moulded fibreglass, so they would dig into your thigh and pelvis bone at every turn. Ouch! (The spinning coaster at the Perth Show is a similar design, but thankfully had moulded seats) Dragon Tower A tall drop ride from Moser. Can you really separate drop rides though? They all feel bit similar, though this had 360 degree rotation on the way up. Seats could have been a little less bulky. The park also offers and observation tower mode where you just get lifted up and down slowly, without the drop. Though no cameras allowed so didn't bother with that option. Fun House After a bit of research, it seems like a lot of these European fun houses are made by https://gosetto.com/fun-house/ Essentially, you can purchase various modules like walkways, conveyors, spinning tunnels and then whack them together to create your walk through. So aside from having a thing for planes and go karts, the park owner seems to love construction as well, and there was some vague decoration base on this. Typhoon 360 Not sure who made this one, and normally I skip over these 360 pendulum rides, but I had to in this case because they built this cantilever roof that goes either side of the pendulum, creating an actual head chopper as you swing under. Thankfully this got up to the full inversion much faster than other versions, so it wasn't too much of an endurance test. Balloon Tower No queue, so onto here for some photos. Giant Wheel And good photos from up here too at the other end of the park. Kwai River This is a flume ride from British company interlink and has perhaps the most bizzare layout I have seen on a flume. You actually start at the top, travel across a bridge, then drop through a slot in the bridge. The boat runs on wheels so is able to make a turn halfway down, before a secondary drop. A flume that thinks it's a wild mouse. The remainder of the ride ambles along and eventually you get to the main lift and drop. And then a lift at the end of the ride to get you back to the station. So an interesting concept though the bare concrete and grass means it's not much of an 'adventure'. You can see there are plenty of other decent flats like the Booster and the Feista Mexicana. Had I had more time I probably would have given them a go, but in the end I focused on re-riding the coasters since they are unique to the park. How do I rate the park? Junker and Thunderbird are worth the trip. I had heard the karts were good too, but I just didn't have the time. I missed the bull riding thing too because it didn't open until late and I had to leave In the end I did all the above once, though did 2x on Pitts Special and 3x on Junker and Thunderbird. Visually, just wasn't a fan. Parks need to be themed, or presented well, but half and half like here means the ugly stuff undoes the efforts of the pretty stuff. That all said, it seems like they are adding extra theming as they go. Compare this pic from rcdb of the boomerang when the built it: And today: So, you wouldn't go to Finland just for this, but if you are already heading to Tampere for Sarkaniemmi then this is a good add on. They seem to show no signs of letting up, so I'm sure more good coasters will be built here. Feel free to ask any questions. More photos here https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/powerpark
  15. This is a bit of a shorter trip report for Kolmården Zoo. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/kolmarden It's an interesting place. Primarily a zoo, but it has a couple of bona fide theme park style areas in a couple of patches. It makes for an interesting mix, sort of like a Busch Gardens Tampa with smaller rides area. The mix is more like 75% animals 25% rides, but the rides part has a couple of stand outs that make it worth the trip. It's about 115km from Stockholm, (near the city of Norrkoping) and via public transport it took about 90 mins to get there. You have a couple of options, get an express train, and then a longer bus trip backtracking to Kolmarden Zoo. Alternatively, you can take a slower local train which stops at the village of Kolmarden itself, and then have a shorter bus trip to the park. The park is quite spread out and hilly, it's more like an open range zoo, but about half the size of the one at Dubbo, so its walkable, but it can take a while. The day was quite sunny for Sweden, which made the walks a bit sweaty, but the reward was Wildfire was running very fast. Wildfire is at the back of the park, but I first made a detour into Bamse Varld (A popular swedish bear character that gets superpowers when he eats a special type of honey) The area is quite cute, with fairly standard flat rides given quite a bit of polish with good theming. The target here was a lap on Godistaget (Lolly train) before the crowds got to it. With that out of the way I continued to Wildfire, passing the Aparium and Savannah enclosures. The ride was only ever a 1 to 3 train wait for most of the day, so the single train operation didn't really harm things much. I rode about 9 times so definitely got my money's worth! The ride is awesome, and damn fast, and aggressive in parts (But never rough). One of the best settings for a coaster, perched on a steep hillside with views over the forest to a bay. From the station you head up the lift hill, make a panoramic turn at the top before a small hump and a huge steep drop that lifts you out of your seat. It's all a blur as you make your way into a zero g stall, curving upside down with the structure whizzing past you. Another steep dive and incline and then one of RMCs signature wave turns, a sort of airtime hill that banks sideways suddenly at the top. It then heads uphill with a couple of camel backs, before a corkscrew that has you diving back off the hill. The remainder of the ride is more of a blur, with heaps of hills, twists and even a corkscrew as the layout winds back and forth on itself at the base of the hill. It's a level of confusion in a layout not seen since thunderhead at Dollywood. I've heard people complain the layout is slightly too long for the height of the drop and loses speed, but I didn't feel that at all. It's fast from start to finish, and the warm wheel bearings no doubt helped. One of the best in the world, and very close to the likes of Steel Vengeance and Hakugei, and pretty much on par with Lighting Rod (But I mean, overall RMCs as a cohort are quite close ) The other must do attraction is the Safari. Was probably a 35 min wait for this one, since it gets popular. You ride in a gondola over the main open range exhibits, with the cable following an irregular route that zig zags over the area. At some points the cable runs low to the ground, with water underneath to prevent animals getting to close, so you do get some great views. On the way you see Bears, Lions, Giraffe, Elk etc, though in particular the lions were difficult to spot. A solid 30 min ride, so again you get your moneys worth. The other coaster in the park is Delfinexpressen, a standard Vekoma roadrunner clone, but with Dolphin themed cars. The pirate ship was the sole 'big' flat ride. Grabbed lunch in the area too, a very nice open kebab with pickled cabbage etc. This is the sort of food I wish was available more widely at parks in Aus. The park is apparently getting rid of its dolphin show Hope. It was unusual because it was held indoors, with a big screen that would show spectacular imagery of reefs, waterfalls. As for the show, nothing that we haven't seen at Sea World before. There's also a normal exhibit type area a the back in a separate part of the building. The park is laid out in a bit of a loop, so it's easy to see everything. Seals and sea lions... Tiger world was enormous. Other nice areas included a large field with south American animals like Capybaras. The obligatory animal nursery, themed like a traditional Swedish farm. And much much more. Overall, it's hard to fault the park. As a zoo, it has plenty to offer, with large natural looking exhibits, the rides are just a bonus. Glad that wildfire exists, but it seems the rides and their themes can clash a bit with the park. I mean you can understand Delfinexpressen, but then why have they got the sawmill themed Wildfire (There wasn't really any education about wildfires in the queue, it literally was just Buzzsaw type theming) If they are going down the rides route, it would be good if it was balanced out with a few more family and thrill type stuff to make that aspect of the park strong enough to stand on its feet (The Bamses Varld area felt quite complete on the other hand) Overall, if you are a coaster fan, Wildfire is worth the trip alone, and the zoo itself is high quality, so you won't be bored from just the coaster. Park photos: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/kolmarden
  16. Here’s a place to show everyone funny theme park videos you stumble on while scrolling through YouTube here is one of my favorite funny theme park videos
  17. I just thought of marking a place for us to share stories from Theme parks whether they’re insane, scary or happy share them here. Here’s one from theme parks me I remember going into hot wheels sidewinder just to look at the queue because I was too scared to go on it Don’t know what’s going on with the photos so just try your best to ignore it thanks
  18. A while ago I reached out on here for any helpful info about theme parks to assist me in writing an animated comedy pilot about a run-down Aussie amusement park. I’m excited to share that the first episode has been written and we are looking for people who want to be involved through Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2SzSI6K The link shows a short preview of the comedy (There’s a roller coaster called the Red-bellied Black Snake!) and also has some pledge rewards that may interest anybody who wants to become a cartoon character in a show! Additionally, I’ve also written about my Theme Park experiences as a kid growing up in Sydney during the 80s and 90s. (Wonderland, Old Sydney Town, El Caballo Blanco, SegaWorld, Green Valley Farm, Tomteland, Fox Studios Backlot Tour and others all get a mention): http://www.pacificrock.com.au/blog/nurry-brothers-adventure-world/come-and-revisit-your-favourite-childhood-amusement-park/
  19. Hey! (I'm only imagining how many eye rolls that this title would have received... 😂) So I know this is a 'cliche' topic and has been discussed several times, but I just want to know peoples thoughts to the following; Many say that Australia can't accomodate a Universal Studios park due to the small population that Australia has, yet Singapore has only got a population of 5 million? As well as that, Universal Studios Singapore only has about 20 attractions - in comparison to Movie World that has 24 - and it's size isn't ALL that big (It literally surrounds a lagoon). I can understand why a Disney park wouldn't work in Australia, but I feel like a Universal Studios park has potential? Anyway, I'm a curious person and just want to see/hear what other people think about this.
  20. Not sure if this has been discussed, But does anyone else think that Village Roadshow should sell Sea World to 'Sea World Theme Parks & Resorts'? And if so, does anyone actually know the chances of it actually happening? The park seems to have gotten worse over the years and it's honestly just sad, so I'm hoping that a decent company could make it 'good' again. Plus if they did sell it, then it could help Village pay off debt. After all, they sold Wet'n'Wild Sydney, so what harm could selling Sea World do? (By the way - if this has been discussed before then can someone please just link me to the thread?)
  21. Was googling some things and came across this recent article; https://www.ausleisure.com.au/news/merlin-entertainments-looks-to-develop-new-australian-expansion/ It seems they want to open up a 'Dungeons' somewhere here... and they want to open another Legoland Discovery Centre.
  22. There is going to be a new kid on the block, opening around Mid November. Great to be involved.
  23. Dreamworld' future remains unknown, so why don't we discuss the uncertain future of this theme park or maybe the whole industry!
  24. Dreamworld' future remains unknown, so why don't we discuss the uncertain future of this theme park or maybe the whole industry!
  25. We have been planning, and are about to build a multi Billion Dollar Global Complex, incorporating the world's most advanced Theme Park in Australia…'ElysianWorld incorporating FantasmicWorld', focused on 'Edutainment' (Education through brilliant Entertainment). Linked to the site in Australia, which we call the 'Mothership' site, being the largest of the sites and principle World Headquarters, will be additional smaller sites we call 'Satellites', in other selected location around the world. Some of these satellite locations include, New Zealand, Hawaii, Canada, the Bahamas and Western Europe/UK. There will be approximately 100 major rides and attractions in FantasmicWorld, many which have never been seen before, and it will be a 365 days of the year weather proofed environment, so no getting soaked in the rain, or burnt under the hot sun, or rides closed down do to weather! Yet it will still give the feeling of open space and outdoor environments. The overall ElysianWorld project will be built over 7 stages. FantasmicWorld will be the largest Theme Park in Australia, and when all seven stages of the project are complete, it will be the largest of it's kind in the world. We are looking at several possible locations in Australia, so, where would you like to see this project built, and where do you think the best place in Australia is to build it?Keep in mind we will be looking to attract visitors from all around the world, including our closest neighbours in Asia and New Zealand. The locations we are looking at, to build the 'Mothership', are; Melbourne Victoria, Central to Northern NSW Coast, Sydney NSW, Gold Coast Queensland, Sunshine Coast Queensland, Central Queensland Coast & Great Barrier Reef region, or Northern Queensland up around Cairns and Port Douglas and Great Barrier reef region. I realise most people would want it built in their own state or region, but we would like to get your idea of where you think it would be best for all Australians, and overseas visitors, as well as your own personal preference. What State do you live in, and would you be willing to travel interstate to visit FantasmicWorld, if it was not built in your state? Leave your comments and let us know what you think. Visit the Websites to find out about FantasmicWorld and the overall ElysianWorld vision:The Theme Park website: FantasmicWorld The Overall Project website: ElysianWorld
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