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  1. According to reports, a major fire broke out in the Spanish area of Europa Park, causing a park-wide evacuation: https://insidethemagic.net/2023/06/europe-park-massive-fire-breaks-out-ld1/
  2. 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
  3. Grona Lund + Bonus Mountain Coaster at Hammarbybacken So I still have do my trip report for Liseberg and that's Scandinavia sorted, but I probably won't get to that until sometime in January. In the meantime, i’ll smash this one out before i head away for christmas. Grona Lund is really one of a kind, located in the heart of Stockholm. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/grona-lund The site is perhaps comparable in size to a Bunnings, or say 2x the area of LPS, but in that space there's 8 coasters, 4 drop rides, dark rides, heaps of flats, several eateries, and it's just so tightly packed in 3 dimensions and pushes the boundaries of clearance envelopes. Line too long on one ride, cool you can walk across the park in 2 mins to something else! The park is on two sides of a laneway, with a bridge connecting each side. One part has mostly kids rides, the rest feels like sideshow alley at the royal show, except everything is better. To get there you can take a tram (and the ABBA museum is right next door) but the best way is to get a public ferry (Pendelbåt) from Slussen. Just tap your credit card to pay the fare. You get a great visual on the way in. Previously it was a pay per ride or wristband type park. Now they limit attendance into 5.5h sessions that you pre book. I was worried that it wouldn't be enough time but it was plenty of time to get heaps of rides, and in addition you get two jet passes included, and waits weren’t that bad because of the capacity cap. Still, I bought 2 sessions on separate days so i could do daytime and evening, so it worked out to be the most costly park of the trip, though i definitely got my moneys worth. The park also has concerts included with admission on certain days, and they actually get major acts. Toto...Tom Jones...Pixes for instance coming up. Monster Obviously was going to kick off with this one. B&Ms newest inverted coaster. I have been following this project for years, ever since it was announced as “project blue harvest” back in 2017, and ive literally been holding off on a Scandinavian trip until this ride was open. It kept getting pushed back and pushed back, and of course there was Covid, but finally opened in 2021. You win some you lose some though. This coaster opened, but a few weeks before my visit Balder at liseberg closed for retracking…bah! The theming was fun, monsters have come up from a subway station.the safety video was done like an old Scooby doo cartoon meets MTV. The queue takes an interesting route up and down stairs through some buildings. As for the coaster, you rise up from underground to the apex of the lift hill with great views of the harbour, before hurtling down a very steep drop. You skim over a garden into a zero g roll then a forceful inclined immelmann. Next comes a corkscrew high above some buildings, before some more turns and a tight helix which also attempts to smack you into a building One more corkscrew follows, before a turn into a short tunnel, which had a bunny hill that would chuck you upwards and forward in your seat. Never felt that sort of airtime on an invert. One final turn and it hits the brakes Wowee What makes this special is the way you get the sense of height by being above the crowds, but you also get the near misses with buildings on all sides Ikaros Another ride I was eager to get on was This drop tower is an Intamin Sky Jump, that has tilting seats that have you freefall face first. Honestly one of the best drop towers I have done. The tilt at the top makes the tension just that bit higher A great thrill seeing the ground rushing towards you, and the addition of the seat rotation just before the brakes makes it just that little bit more dynamic. It seems like a bloody complicated system with long hydraulic rams. Why didnt they just have a pivot and rotate the seats like a freespin. Seemed to have less of a queue than the other drop rides, despite only having one side open, so i guess its perhaps a bit intimidating for most. Insane Ah, the infamous ZacSpin. 3rd one I’ve done now. They definitely are a ride that I find quite intense and nerve racking and even stressful in parts. On the smaller dips at the start your car stays fairly upright, so the forces feel amplified because you are being yanked up and down rather than following the hills predictably. And of course the drops are freaky because you change direction so half of it is always backwards and you feel frontal acceleration rather than just vertical. Once you get to the 2nd level it gets quite intense, and the curves are so tight that the forces are quite strong. Still did it a couple of times. You wouldn’t want the ride to be any longer. I think the reason this one is “worse” than the other designs is because it is quite compact still, so the turns are not quite as drawn out as they should be. Counter intuitively, if you did a scaled up version of the same layout, some of the jarring and rapid changes in force would be smoothed out. Twister So many of us have ridden Leviathan now so you know what Gravity Group wooden coasters are like. This one is SO compact, the turns are almost getting like a wild mouse, and it runs a short little 6 car / 12 person train to deal with it. So many near misses, and the layout is a tangle full of quick drops and ground hugging turns. Afterwards, I came to the conclusion that it is basically a wooden version of a rollerskater in terms of scale, though perhaps a little more intense. Good fun and runs well. I liked how the queue line had posters with some of the great wooden coasters around the world, it’s almost like they were trying to say “hey, this wooden coaster is a legitimate attraction, not an old rattler”, it could also be because they are trying to sell tickets to Kolmarden, because the last bit of the queue had a video promoting wildfire. Kvasten Vekoma Family invert that is more intense than Escape from Madagascar, but less intense than the SFC 450 (TNT, Orkanen, MWs forthcoming etc), so it was alright. The station was the best themed in the park, a really cool witches house full of detail, and a cacking spiel from the witch whenever the train departed. And there was even some theming around the base of the helix, and a kid was engaging in satanic worship. I love the airtime hill that runs the length of a section of boardwalk. Fits in so well with the park and its fun whizzing over the crowds. This is a ride to use Jetpass on because it's popular but only has 1 train. Jetline My hot take is that there are no bad Schwarzkopf coasters, and this is no exception. A thrilling layout with big drops and smooth turns and helices and heaps of near misses both with itself and other rides, all perfectly negotiated without jarring. One thing i found interesting with the layout is that it had a couple of big drops that broke away from the main layout and crossed halfway across the park, rather than being like a traditionally travelling coaster where everything is contained in a fairly compact footprint. This has the highest capacity in the park, waited 2 mins max each ride. Vilda Musen So normally if you were building a ride, its a strict rule you don't attach to another manufacturer's ride structure, since then you open yourself to issues of liability if one ride has an impact on the other. Grona Lund evidently offered enough dollars (or maybe its because Schwarzkopf are extinct now) because they built a mad mouse style Gertstlauer bobsled coaster onto the existing structure of Jetline. The layout was decent, despite being heavily driven by being able to snake through the other coaster. Still had all the staples of this ride model, nice curved drops, sharp turns, helices and even some good little airtime hills. This is another highly popular ride, so good to book your jetpass on this one. This might be some of my favourite theming too: Kärlekstunneln So if you were ever dreaming up a list of generic amusement park rides, you might say roller coaster, merry go round, ferris wheel, ghost train and ….tunnel of love. But has anyone actually ever seen one of these anywhere? Grona lund actually has one, complete with a heart shaped portal at the start of the ride. Wasn’t sure what to expect, was it going to be animatronics and pink coloured scenes of people getting frisky? A big dark tunnel where people can kiss in the darkness? Turns out it was more like a ride through fairyland, with dioramas of magical creatures, fairie amongst the toadstools and so on. Just stuff that was "pleasant" and "happy" and "peaceful" to use some adjectives. The ride path is so narrow, so all the scenes have to be behind glass because i guess modern day guests would just reach out and break stuff. Tuff Tuff Taget Imagine a kiddy coaster more gentle than a wacky worm, with a bit of wild mouse thrown in. Turns out a lot of 20-30 somethings ride this for a laugh, so no shame in riding. Nyckelpigan Another one of those oval shaped Zierer kiddy ladybird coasters. Veteranbilarna Quite a pleasant little car ride, mostly rode to get some pics of Nyckelpigan. Pettson o Findus Värld Walkthrough house based on the works of a Swedish children's writer. Aimed at kids with some bits and bobs on the walls around the house you could switch on and off and make noise with. Wholesome fun. Bla Taget My other hot take is that most ghost trains are overrated and rarely warrant repeating. I mean have you ever ridden one and thought "Wow that was awesome lets go again". Yeah maybe if its haunted mansion, but most of the low budget ones are so formulatic. This one did have an outward banked turn and some innapropriate theming to save it at least. Katapulten The rare S&S combo tower. Imagine you took Batwing and crossed it with Supreme scream. So you launch up, come down with some airtime, bounce and sort of stop halfway up the tower. You then are raised slowly to the top, held, and then finish off with a fast downwards launch. So its a longer ride cycle, and you get to experience two ride types in one. Surprised this model isnt the default over the conventional space shot at more parks, its more fun! Eclipse I quite enjoy starflyers, its just a shame there’s no way to take a camera to capture the wonderful views. One thing i thought was cool was how the ride base is on an elevated platform, but the queue line comes up around the middle of the tower (So the queue isn't on the outside like trident). So you get a good view of the ride rotating around you and rising up: Fritt Fall Evokes memories of space probe 7, good classic Intamin drop ride, with spectacular views. One side had the stand up tilt seats, which have more of a bicycle seat you sit on rather than a proper seat, and it tilts forwards a few degrees before the drop (Sort of redundant now that they have Ikaros), but the feeling of your legs hanging vertically makes it a bit more thrilling and feels more exposed. Lyktan Ended up riding this just to tick off every tower ride. This one is the smallest of the lot, a rotating Zierer family drop ride with a VERY random program of drops and lifts. Lustiga Huset A very long, very awesome fun house. I had everything, bridges, multiple slides, multiple turntables. And the punters love it, this is the first time ive ever queued for a fun house! At the end you finish off with a really long slide ridden on a mat from the top floor that concludes with an airtime hump at the end. A finley tuned operation, with conveyor belts taking the mats to the top, staff members setting them up for you, and an automated system dispatching you. Clearly everyone loves the slide so they have focused on optomising it. There were a few spin and spew rides I didn’t do, and for some reason I couldn’t be arsed doing the upcharge ‘house of nightmares’ walkthrough. So in 5.5h on the first night I did everything i wanted to, and if you were pressed for time and its not too busy you could do the park in that time frame, but booking a 2nd night made it much more relaxed and I definitely got to enjoy myself and Whats wrong with this picture? And now they have acquired the car park next door and have another coaster planned. If it’s anything like Monster it’ll be a hit. Grona Lund is a true icon in the theme park world, very unique, and a must if you are in Stockholm. ********************************* Bonus, the Mountain Coaster at SkiStar Hammarbybacken https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/skistar-hammarbybacken Hammarbybacken is an artificial hill formed by waste spoil from various tunnelling and construction projects over the years. During the winter they use it as a ski slope. During summer its mostly used by runners doing hill training, and grass skiing. But just prior to my trip i found out it even existed, and they were opening a Mountain coaster. This one is by Sunkid (Brandauer) and instead of a track like the Wiegand ones, its a single rail so feels pretty exposed. Access was easy, its not far from the city centre. You can catch a bus to the stop near Bauhaus Sickla, and then walk about 500m along some local pathways and across a pedestrian bridge to reach the facility. These have a reputation for being crazy, and indeed the one I rode in bavaria a few years ago was. This one wasn’t quite so intense, but still good fun. Had a few wide back to back turns that followed the slope, and towards the end was a bunch of downhill bunny hops that give a little bit of air. I purchased a 3 lap ticket, which was plenty. Wasn’t hard to get the speed to max out with a ‘no brakes’ , and it was fairly uninterrupted since i arrived first thing and had it practically to myself. Towing to the top is achieved by attaching a spring loaded rod to your sled. At the top it actually detaches quite hillariously and skitters across the ground as it reels itself back in. I dont think youd want to stand in the way! They also had a ropes course, and artificial snow tubing. If you've not done this style of mountain coaster it's worth a look.
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/kokpunkten Kokpunkten was a place I found out about a year or so before my trip on Blooloop. In a sentence, it’s an old power station that has been turned into an indoor water park and hotel, and given an ultra modern renovation and lighting package. I love it because someone clearly had a clear big vision in their head about what it was going to be, put together a couple of contrasting things, and the result is really cool. As a water park, it's not all that big, with only 4 major slides, but there are a few nice spas, whirlpools and interconnected pools you can explore. There's also an outdoor pool on the roof, and the option to do a "VR Dive" in the main pool. It is located in Västerås, about 100km from Stockholm. I had stayed there the night before, so i was able to sleep in and spend the morning there before heading to the capital. The park has free go pro rental if you sign up to their "Club", though you are asked to come back to the counter a little while after opening after they have cleared the entry crowds. As for the rides. Black River Never in Australia. The slide is more of a channel, with about a 30cm deep flow of water that is quite turbulent, so you are carried by the current. The layout felt like a bunch of quick s bends with the occasional longer turn. What makes it wilder is that its essentially in a big dark room, so you are just being tossed and turned, bumping against the walls. No rafts or anything, it's like canyoning. The ride alternates modes, lights off is pitch black and not for the unconfident. Lights on is still mostly dark, but you have the odd bit of pipework and uv paint that is illuminated. Even getting out of the slide exit and paddling against the backflow is an effort Inside out is one of these "Magic Eye" tube slides. Essentially an oval shaped cross section and a fairly shallow gradient, so its more about length than speed. In some ways it feels like the child that comes from the marriage of a lazy river and a raft slide. Had some cool daylight rings on the way down as well. There is the option to ride with a waterproof VR headset. The way it seemed to work is that there are transponders at various points on the slide and they are used to track your position. Boomerang This was a Boomerango type slide, but built by Wiegand rather than Whitewater West Just like their toboggan runs, it's made of stainless steel. This was the highlight, felt quite speedy. On other types of this slide you go down the drop, into the quarter pipe, over a little hump and then glide to a stop. On this one you carry heaps of speed over the hump and get funnelled into a couple more turns before the splashdown (also done at high speed). Hard to describe, but if feels almost scary the speed at which you hurtle into the last bit, almost like if you were going slightly off angle you'd smack into the walls or flip yourself. But of course the precision engineering has you 'threading the needle' quite well. And of course, you can't beat the setting! The other attraction is Double Racer Another stainless steel Weigand slide. The low friction means you build up heaps of speed, so can make the ride as wild as you like. Having drops at the start helps make it fast from the get go. Note too the LED neon strips. There is a timing system and the LED strips glow green over the lane of the rider coming first at that point in time. Transparent section too, but barely noticeable. Overall, it's worth a look if you are in the area. A few more slides wouldn't hurt of course! I had wanted to combine it with my day at Skara Sommarland which would have been perfect, but on the days i was there the opening hours didn't quite line up. Photos here https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/kokpunkten
  9. 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
  10. Skara Sommarland 17th of July The day after I went to Tusenfryd I went to Skara Sommarland. The park is about 120km east of Gothenburg (Where Liseberg is located) https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/skara-sommarland This park was sort of a 50-50 for me in terms of dedicating holiday time. The main reason to go here to to try Tranan, the worlds only S&S Free Fly coaster, but the park also has a few cool Proslides too, so i decided to give it a few hours. Wouldn’t necessarily be for everyone. I didn't actually do a whole lot here, most of the rides are fairly generic, but still there was enough to keep me busy. To get here you can get a train to Skovde (From Gothenburg) and then a bus to the park. Sweden actually has good buses. You’ll see coaches that form part of the local transport system and covered under the same fares that supplement the normal urban buses, and they run at a usable frequency, eg about every hour. Only hiccup was the day was a Sunday, so trains start later, and I could only get to the park about an hour after opening. Not that it was really a problem. First impressions is that the place reminded me of a bigger version of Adventure park geelong, lots of open lawns and picnic areas, a few lakes, with a smattering of amusement rides and water slides. They also had cable water skiing and some go kart tracks, so its definitely more amusement park than theme park. The presentation was ok, they’ve done up some parts, but it still feels like an older park. I started off with Spinner. This is a Maurer spinning coaster back before they produced the XC2000 with its overbanked turns and cool stuff. It’s more like a normal wild mouse, but lacking any sort of steep drops. Good bit of spinning, but otherwise nothing to write home about. Up next was Tranan. I’m glad I got to ride it since I don’t think another one will ever be built, except maybe if a random park in China decides it wants one. The gimmick is that its kind of like a wing coaster, but the seats stay level like on a suspended coaster / 7 dwarves mine train, so the track can do twists and run inverted or upright, and the cars themselves never go upside down. In particular the twists are interesting because one side of the car goes ‘over the top’ and the other sweeps underneath. You sit in shallow seats with a seat belt that locks electronically. Overall, it’s “okay” Temporarily delving into some physics, but because the seats are so far off the heartline of the coaster, it makes some of the sensations of the ride feel a bit weird and awkward, rather than the “free fly” it purports to be. You imagine the car going around a corner at a certain speed. The seats on the outside are going around a wider radius, so go ‘faster’, and likewise the seats on the inside follow a smaller radius and go ‘slower’. Its a bit like when you are on a classic Whip ride and get that jerk of acceleration when you go around the pulley at the end. So because of this you feel lurching like the train is hitting a brake, or accelerating suddenly whenever you reach a turn, and the swinging car is a bit wobbly. The layout is a few back to back turns and a couple of twists, so you well and truly can experience what the ride can do. For example see this pic of the first drop. Immediatley after coming off the first drop you feel like you slow down straight away in the inside seats because its almost like you are pivoting and turning on the spot. The outside on the other hand feels way faster. So its still fun, an interesting gimmick and mechanically impressive, but doesn’t necessarily result in an enhanced ride experience. Temper your expectations I got changed and headed into the water park. Yep you heard right, there’s an outdoor seasonal water park in a place with a harsh snowy winter, so it makes it even more laughable when people said Melbourne was too cold for water parks. The water was heated, but it still felt a teensy bit cool. They had a nice cloakroom rather than lockers which was a godsend considering i had my luggage. They had a couple of those old school concrete slides (Like Mountain Rapids at AW or Krakatoas at Blue Lagoon) Quite lengthy and interesting, with a few bumps and pools. Big Drop is a trap door freefall slide, but was interesting in that it went through an underground tunnel. I like freefall slides so another winner. The Snakepit is a group of 3 generic proslide bodyslides. Proslide put a fair bit of kick into these, and they are pretty darn intense, particularly the green enclosed one. The Racer is a 4 lane racer, A bit of a hold up at the top when a little kid freaked out when confronted with the view from the top and the prospect of riding head first, and then the Dad tried to convince the kid to go. Sheesh if the kid doesn’t want to go, then don’t waste time upsetting them by trying to force it. Good air on the dips by employing professional riding methods. There was a Tornado Wave called Cobra but skipped that one. The other one I wanted to try was Waka Waka, a really long raft slide with 4 of those proslide flying Saucer Elements. They are totally a gimmick of course since all they do is provide a slightly nicer view out of the slide on the turns, but overall it’s still an objectively good slide due to the ballistic pacing and force you get on the back to back turns. And it’s looooong. I was done with the water park so grabbed a bite at the water park cafe and headed back into the dry park. The queues on Tranan had dropped off so I did a couple more goes on that to cement my opinions on it and make the most of what would likely be my only time to ever ride it. They also had Snake. I love these high speed booster flat rides, but this one was spiced up with an additional arm that makes the circular rotation more irregular, so sometimes you do a big circle, and sometimes an extra tight one with some force. At only 8 per cycle the queue moved a bit slow, but I got some relief when they called for a single rider. Had a stroll around and looked at the rest of the park. The last coaster was Gruvbanan, a mack powered coaster. The coaster is about 3 helices and some turns. One of the helices is in a big shed but it doesn’t really make it dark inside. The ride is built on a mound, with the queue cutting through in a trench underneath, so you walk through a long gold mine to reach the station, so points for them making that effort. With time to kill till the next bus I did another lap on Spinner and a couple more on Tranan since it was down to a walk on at this point. So overall, the park is pleasant enough, but I would only really bother if you are uber curious about Tranan. Otherwise, it’s nothing you wouldn’t have seen before. Check out all the photos here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/skara-sommarland
  11. Hello again! This topic will comprise of my Trip Reports to parks in Europe. I really like to describe my experience on coasters and I hope you'll enjoy the reads (The Phantasialand and Liseberg TRs are a copy paste of my reports originally posted at CoasterForce) Part 1: Phantasialand (April 2017) After missing out on Taron the previous year because I visited the park too early, I was determined to make it this time! The coaster has received rave reviews, almost unanimous, and my anticipation was sky high for a coaster that has a very unique and confusion layout...A 3-hour drive from my friend Erdekraft's home meant we had to wake up at 5 am to ensure we would get to Phantasialand around opening times. We arrived at the Ling Bao (no pictures, whoops) hotel right before 10:00 am for check-in. We took our hotel ERT bracelets and headed straight to Winjas': The sight of Wuze Town's main hall and the double helix still amaze me. Even though it is my 3rd visit to the park, I was surprised by how fast the elevator lift was. It lasts for like, 10 seconds until you reach the main drop? The coasters themselves were fun as always. They didn't really duel during my visit but I did not mind given how immersive the theming is. Both layouts are varied, complete and have some little tricks that set them apart from other spinning coasters. I can't conclusively decide which one I prefer, even though both my friends heavily leaned towards Fear because of the bigger drop and overbanked turn. Our second ride of the day was Temple of the Night Hawk. Erdekraft nicknames it 'le coaster nul' ('the sucky coaster' in French). It isn't that bad to be honest. Just meandering a very long time in the dark. Would be more interesting lights on and with theming in my opinion. I guess even Phantasialand has room for improvement I was looking forward to riding Black Mamba which left me a positive impression last year. And my first ride was... fairly disappointing sadly I sat at the front right seat, and definitely felt some headbanging during a couple of transitions. The intensity was there though as I remembered, but those jolts meant I couln't fully enjoy that first ride. Funnily enough, Erdekraft sat in the middle front and had no trouble whatsoever, but heard me and my other friend (sitting at the left) say 'ouch' at the very same time! Thankfully, there was no such headbanging on my following laps later in the day or the next day, and as such I still rank this B&M Inverted highly for its extensive theming and narrow, forceful layout.Our impatience then was too much, we couldn't resist the urge to go and see Klugheim... Taron was about an 1:30 hour wait. I was extremely intrigued by the hype and applause around the latest Intamin blitz that I feared ending underwhelmed. Therefore I was very excited when it was time to ride aboard the new trains complete with their Mack-inspired lap-bars. They felt a little bit bulky at first, but caused me no problem overall. Good job Intamin! My first impression was that the ride was worth its reputation, a Top 5 coaster full of intensity and snappy turns. The couple of airtime hills are good ejector but definitely not the most insane/powerful Intamin ever did (EGF and El Toro still fare better imo). But more on Taron later that day with the hotel ERT... Mystery Castle was a 5 minute wait. Aside from the great theming, this Space Shot-thingy dazzled me with its light effects which made me lost sense of height. At some points during the program I couldn't tell if I was towards the top or the bottom of the ride. I suppose the effects worked wonders on me! Chiapas and its earworm soundtrack... Still the best flume log I've ridden, great Mexican scenery all along and fast, efficient switch track tricks. The log reaches a fairly nice speed at the bottom of the main drop. Templo de Fiesta is still good funky Onto another best of its kind, this time Colorado Adventure. This Mine Train is only pure fun, no dead spots, a good speed throughout and fairly smooth even though a few oddly banked turns caught me off-guard when I raised my hands ^^ The final helix makes for a great picture location. The next ride was something much more agressive with Talocan. A good soundwork and fire effects really add to the atmosphere, especially during the queue. The ride itself was on the edge of too much intense spinning for me buy fortunately I still enjoyed it.We then decided to eat a quick dinner with some Chinese noodles (no pics, yep again). For some reason our noodles contained a substantial amount of sweetpepper. Well, doesn't matter if you have bad breath when you still get an ERT on Taron later! Taron evening ERT. I will go straight to the point: this hour of exclusive ride time of Taron was the most fun I ever had in an amusement park. I really enjoyed my first lap on this coaster, but the 6+ rides with little to no wait after park closure took matters to an entirely new level. The second half was literally breathtaking, I couldn't even scream of joy even though I wanted so, because the twists were so snappy, and the turns so intense. The official POV doesn't do it justice really. While the first half might be some fast strolling around the rocks after the airtime hill, the second part is so relentless the overall experience feels overwhelmingly exhilarating. The Taron fanfare and the sweet Intamin LSM sound build my excitement even higher for a complete experience, ride and theming joining hands to deliver a fantastic moment! I think EGF still ranks ahead on pure airtime joy, but Taron comes very, very close behind because of that magic ERT. As opposed to most coasters I've ridden before, Taron has an 'organic' feel that is hard to describe. I can't tell each element from another, as the elements are so intertwined. A truly wonderful engineering achievement to my eyes. (Picture courtesy of my friend Maxime) We went back to our room still bewildered by the outstanding time we had. The experience was so fulfilling we couldn't help laughing for the next hour! -Day 2- After the insanity of evening ERT on Taron, this custom Vekoma family Boomerang might seem like a footnote, but there's still plenty to say about the other 2016 addition at Phanta. Raik, for that matter, is actually my very first Family Boomerang. I have to say I was pretty impressed by the speed the train goes through the station after the first backwards crest. For a family-oriented coaster this is still fairly scary The scenery is very detailed and easy on the eyes. I didn't get the fog effects but I loved how the lights changed from red to green as the train switches from going backwards/forwards. The only downside of this charming coaster is its limited capacity because of its shuttle nature. I waited around 45 minutes in the morning (in the single rider line!) for my one ride. Thankfully the atmosphere is more than nice enough to cushion my impatience and I got rewarded with a nice interaction with Taron on my way through the backwards lift! Maus au Chocolat was our last major attraction to experience again. This 3D shooting dark-ride was a pleasant and fun one. I love the theme, it is refreshing and new for a ride of this type and still very fitting! The theming is well executed and the whole 3D-thingy well integrated. The rest of the day, which precise schedule I can't exactly remember mostly consisted of rerides on Black Mamba, Winjas Fear and Colorado, with the B&M getting the most laps overall despite (or because ?) of the unconfortable experience of my ride at the front the previous day. We also went around the lake for a welcome break from all the intensity and dense (but wonderful!) theming of Phantasialand. Overall, Phanta stands out as my favourite park. It simply has the most balanced mix between intricate theming, excellent operations and of course, fantastic coasters. Taron and, to a lesser extent, Black Mamba might get most of the attention, but Winjas and Colorado Adventure are really quality rides for their type. I would only avoid going to the park during very busy days, because the dense scenery with many narrow pathways might become uneasy, but otherwise I have not a single minor complaint about the park. It truly is fab! I hope that you'll like reading coasters reports in Europe. If so, I'll be posting my story of visiting Liseberg last month next
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