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  1. Disneyland Paris https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/disneyland-paris So, the other half to my trip report for Walt Disney Studios Both days I visited I went into the park in the afternoon. This probably makes sense because there’s not really anything you want to ‘rope drop’ in Disneyland, it’s all quite high capacity attractions (aside from Peter Pan, which I ended up skipping both days, just couldn’t be arsed waiting 90 mins for it. Most rides seemed to be around 30-40 min waits, so no problem visiting a wide variety of attractions. Overall impressions is that it is very nice, you can really see how they went above and beyond with the theming here in order to impress the well cultured European market. The castle is ornate. They have nice arcades behind main street. More details in general. I also felt that Paris has the “better” version of many of the classics. Their big thunder mountain is better, Pirates of the Carribean has a better themed queue and facade, Phantom Manor looks a lot cooler than the haunted mansions, and of course who can forget their more thrilling Space Mountain. Only downside is I don’t think the park has enough ‘unique’ rides (Aside from Space Mountain being very different). It’s like how Tokyo has Monsters Inc or Beauty and the Beast, or HK has Mystic Manor, or MK has Seven Dwarfs mine train. The main unique thing Paris has is some additional themed walk throughs. So Paris is good if you are a fan of the classic E-ticket rides, but you’ll have to go next door to the studios for something more unique. On to the rides! Indiana Jones - Et Le Temple du Peril Ugh got this one out the way early. It’s like a bigger version of Nitro Coaster type layout, a glorified galaxi with a loop, but built by Intamin. Rough as guts, and the theming is decent (But not a touch on Raging Spirits) The queue line is down under a canvas tent and you go up a grand stone staircase to the ride, which is built around a temple. It does get points for how well they position a stone arch that hides the structure of the loop, so if you are not paying attention you might not be aware it goes upside down. Star Tours Yeah, this one is always nice for its well themed queue. The storyline we got was a bit older, it was the pod racing sequence and then ending up on Naboo, which I think debuted when the new 3D version of star tours was launched. The last time I did star tours in Tokyo in 2019, it was a brand new film based on the last Jedi Space Mountain This was perhaps the one I was most hyped for. When they would show Disneyland Paris on shows like Getaway as a kid, Space Mountain would alway feature prominently. The outside looks gorgeous, particularly the enormous cannon pointing up the side of the mountain. It’s a shame they deactivated the whole mechanism where it woul roll close and recoil when fired. It was such an iconic thing. Maybe one day they will bring it back, and delete the star wars overlay in the meantime. The first bit of the queue is outdoors, before going through some plain corrugated metal corridors inside. Eventually you reach the well themed open air station. It has the new Vekoma trains with onboard audio, so comfort wise it was fine. Out of the station is an enclosed turn, drop and then incline which gets you onto the catapult launch. Despite not being the fastest launch, the fact you are pushed back in your seat going uphill gives it a bit of force. Inside, its like a more drawn out version of RNRC / Avengers Flight Force. Starts with a big drawn out turn that does a lap around the ride building, eventually leading into a sidewinder and a couple of tighter turns, mcbr, then a drop into a corkscrew. From that point the layout peters out a bit, with a regular lift hill towards the end, some more turns and helixes, and vekomas early attempt at an overbanked turn. All the while the audio is playing chaotic star wars music and there are projections on the wall of tie fighters etc being blown up. It’s a Small World What can you say about this ride? Does anyone other than kids enjoy it? Do people just ride it for tradition? For its infamy? Because it has a shortish queue and it gets you out of the sun for 15 mins. Possibly all of the above. I think all the kooky imagineers get put on the design team for this, with all the stylised design sets depicting various countries. Molly Brown Riverboat A moment to relax. I rode this in the afternoon which allowed for some awesome shots of Big Thunder. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast A ride I secretly enjoy and will always ride at Disney. There was a 30 min wait for this one, so I actually googled how do get a high score. A couple of the secret targets are very hard to to hit, but i was able to spam some of the difficult triangular targets and at least get a score in the hundreds of thousands rather than the tens of thousands. Pirates of the Caribbean This is proper POTC. Other versions have you going straight out from a New Orleans area into this pirate boat ride. Meanwhile this one has you going into the actual corridors of a pirate fortress, so big points for having an actual themed queue. All the scenes were the same, including the pirate battle and the burning town. What made this version better was how the layout was on a few levels and had a few crossovers, so youd get views through to other scenes from a higher level before actually arriving in it a few mins later. Phantom Manor Another Disney classic, and well executed. It looks a lot more spooky having the house sitting up on a hill by itself, surrounded by overgrown gardens. There were a couple of scenes unique to this version. In the load area there is a lonesome bridge, staring out a huge glass window with a thunderstorm raging outside. At the end of the ride you go through a haunted mining town (to tie in with its location in Frontierland), and that part was reminiscent of Fire in the Hole. Still, my favourite part will always be the floating head in the glass ball. Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. These fantasyland dark rides are a bit ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. You speed through a quick retelling of the story in what feels like a couple of minutes, so only have a brief moment of time to appreciate the scenes before crashing through the doors to the next one. Nice enough, but I struggle to think of a single moment in the ride that really sticks with you or where I was like ‘woah how did they do that’. Ok there was one memorable thing. The ride control panel is themed like an old open book, and the buttons are on the pages. Les Voyages Des Pinnochio Similar Comments to the above. Mostly UV black light painted sets. Autopia Big Ole car ride through some pleasant pine trees, and a handful of billboards with advertisements for space destinations, and themed bridges to give it that Discoveryland feel. If you are short on time you could probably skip this, but again, not much of a queue so I gave it a go. Big Thunder Mountain Ended up saving one of the best for last. There was an intial false start. The ride needed an evac so they emptied the queue and i came back an hour later. The paris one is different because the coaster is on an island in the middle of the river, with the station on the mainland. This means you have a pitch black tunnel at both the start and end of the ride to get over to the island and back, which bookends the experience nicely with thrilling moments. So from the station you drop down into a mine, and it feels like you go really quite deep underground. I’d just about say its a better tunnel than Oblivion. From there it’s classic Big Thunder, with themed lift hills (including one with projection mapping involving fuses burning towards a stack of TNT) and helixes, but also a lot more random drops, and it seems to maintain speed better than the others, rather than hitting a lift the moment you build up a bit of speed. The end of the ride has you go into a themed tunnel, but then the track starts diving deeply and getting darker, and then you just keep diving and diving and go around a huge underground banked turn, and head back up a lift hill. The train practically makes it to the top before the chain finally catches and you rise out into the daylight and coast into the station. So one thing you must know about Paris is that it has a handful of well themed walkthroughs. This seems to be a European ‘thing’ since you see similar attractions at Efteling and Europa Park. Adventure Isle A series of bridges, caves and passageways and great themed sections, like a grotto full of pirates treasure, and a skull shaped rock you could look out through. Needs more slides La Cabane Des Robinson Not Far from Adventure Isle, and another Disney Staple. What I find notable is the way it uses a lot of visual distraction to still maintain the reveal of different parts. From a distance, all you see is this giant tree and a couple of platforms sticking out. When you get there, you basically just see a staircase disappearing up into the tree and the famous water wheel. Quite unassuming considering all that is going on above. When you are up there in the tree canopy, you can see walkways going everywhere, above and below you, and the bits of the treehouse perched in different parts of the tree, so all you can really do is follow the walkway along and be guided through the labyrinth. Thematically its one of my favourites. La Cabane Des Robinson Not Far from Adventure Isle, and another Disney Staple. What I find notable is the way it uses a lot of visual distraction to still maintain the reveal of different parts. From a distance, all you see is this giant tree and a couple of platforms sticking out. When you get there, you basically just see a staircase disappearing up into the tree and the famous water wheel. Quite unassuming considering all that is going on above. When you are up there in the tree canopy, you can see walkways going everywhere, above and below you, and the bits of the treehouse perched in different parts of the tree, so all you can really do is follow the walkway along and be guided through the labyrinth. Thematically its one of my favourites. Le Passage Enchante d’Alladin This has a few dioramas behind glass telling the story of Alladin. Havent seen this film since about age 5 when we watched it on the last day of term before school holidays, brought back memories, ended up watching it again on the plane home! Les Mystères du Nautilus Probably my favourite of the walkthroughs, and I almost missed the best part! From a small building next to lake in Discoveryland you go down a spiral staircase and through an underground passageway into the interior of the Nautilus submarine (You see the top of the Submarine poking up through the water next to the entrance. All the rooms are ornately themed, with a cool engine room full of moving equipment. The main room I strolled straight through, but when I looked back i noticed a crowd of people gathered around a small circular window. Went back to have a look, and all of a sudden the window expands like an iris / camera shutter, revealing a much bigger circular window looking out of the submarine. The iris opens and closes every few mins, revealing something new each time, eg a pod of whales swimming by. Amazing bit of imagineering to build that mechanism. La Belle Au bois Dormant I found out about this one via the Imagineering Story. They did some really ornate stained glass windows in an area in the ‘foyer’ of the castle, so definitely take the time to check this out. La Tanière du Dragon Under the castle, there is a damp cave with a dragon that occasionally wakes up and roars. Easy to miss if you dont know about it. Alice’s Curious Labyrinth A large hedge maze with statues from Alice in Wonderland. You eventually reach a small castle, but its bloody narrow and crowded up there, though its a great vantage point for photos over the park. Disneyland Paris Railroad I thought this was going to be closed for my visit but it ended up re-opening late afternoon day 2. They've designed the carriages to only load from one side, so most of the views are designed to face into the park…If you are riding, sit on the side closest to the platform. For those of you not familiar with the Disneyland Railroads, you dont just do a lap around the park, a couple of times you pass through other ride buildings, and through a couple of indoor sections with actual built sets (The latter too hard to get photos of in the darkness. The other “train” Casey Jr Circus Train was closed on my visit, so no powered coaster for me. So final thoughts. Nice park, superb theming, but perhaps it just feels middle of the range compared to the other Disneylands since it’s all ‘classics’ and the last new ride they got was Buzz Lightyear. More photos here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/disneyland-paris
  2. Six Flags Magic Mountain https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/six-flags-magic-mountain Flight schedules from LA to Australia usually have you leaving in the evening, so it's somewhat of a tradition for me to do one of the parks there for a last hurrah before jumping on a plane back to Aus. I hadn't been here since 2019, and my last visit was kind of shit because my wallet was stolen. This visit was much better, with cool autumn weather making for a quiet park where most rides had short waits. The rides are good, but man they know how to be irritating. Parking at the park now costs a whopping $40 USD, which is just taking the piss. As has been publicised, the park has several ride closures at the moment. Superman, Ninja, X2 all closed and Scream didn't open in the time I was there. I wasn't too miffed since I was here to ride the new stuff and wasn't going to be at the park long enough to do everything anyhow, but still, wouldn't have minded doing Superman before it goes the way of TOT2. The new stuff I was interested in was West Coast Racers, which missed its 2019 opening date last time I was there, and then proceeded to be further delayed by Covid. There's also Wonder Woman Flight of Courage, which to be honest was the main reason I was visiting because I was really keen to get on one of these Raptor coasters and all the others are less convenient to visit..... Got there at opening and headed to Wonder Woman. Closed for technical difficulties with a guy out the front, so it was off to West Coast Racers instead. The queue line is supposed to look like the Workshop of West Coast Customs but I think maybe the theming was too light on, so you lost that vibe of a bustling workshop, but the ride certainly makes up for it. Once you contort yourself into the Premier trains, a launch sends you into a high 5 element, which was surprisingly snappy and maybe borderline uncomfortable. You then bank around into a zero g stall, with the other track doing a little hump underneath. For the best views of these dueling moments, definitley sit in the back. There's another launch following the stall, where you do an enormous corkscrew in parallel with the the other track. The next section of the ride is probably the most true to theme, with two helices in a figure 8 configuration allowing you to look across at the other train. The tracks cross over from outside to inside, so you get to see the other train seemingly pull ahead then fall behind. A couple more turns and the track goes back into the ride building, where you stop for a moment while they dick around and load the other train. There's a screen next to you where a guy says "we are just doing some adjustments to your car right now" , with associated sound effects of rattle guns and tools coming from below. The train then launches, and its the same layout again, though right at the end you do one extra corkscrew over the other track. Overall, it's a great ride. Well paced, interesting elements, very good dueling, and at leas you are guarunteed to get it unlike on Twisted Collossus, where it really comes down to the speed of the crews. At that point Wonder Woman still wasn't open, so I went around and rode a few other favourites, some of which I haven't done in years since it seems every visit I do to SFMM is only a part day. Apocalypse was running very well, having clearly been retracked in many sections. A real beast of a wooden coaster, and decently long too. The layout ducks and weaves constantly, giving it a real elment of surprise. Tatsu is as good and intense as ever, but the less said about the new colour scheme the better. Haven't done Riddlers Revenge in a while, and yeah the old stand up seats are nothing on the new surf coaster seats, but that all said, I forgot how bloody long this coaster was. After the mid course brakes its just endless turns, and quite a bit of track between the two corkscrews. Still a solid ride, and the station music is "unforgettable" Batman surprisingly felt less intense than usual. Cold weather? Kept checking back on Wonder Woman. You could see maintenance staff working on the transfer track, so at least it was looking like it would open at some point. Justice League has 2d on the screens now instead of 3d, so 3d glasses are no longer given out. A double edged sword since it means everything is a bit brighter and easier to see, but a shame they couldn't keep the 3d going. During my run it kind of crapped out halfway through the cycle and stopped, so a couple of scenes were just frozen with the car wiggling away, but it did get itself back in sync for the final scene. Also did Lex Luthor Drop of Doom. The lap bar type harnesses make this one feel a little more exposed than GD. Finally, trains started cycling on Wonder Woman, so I parked myself near the ride. In a true Six Flags moment, they wouldn't let people form a line outside the ride, they would tell people "oh you cant wait here", so instead it became a bit of a rabble of people just waiting everywhere, which of course became a bit of a stampede when it finally did open. Why on earth was this preferable for them? The queue is themed like a museum about the Amazonians. Had to laugh at the random kangaroos on the map of Thermyscira Fortunately I got on quite quickly first time around and ended up in the very back seat. First impressions, solid coaster, but perhaps lacks the "WTF holy crap this is wild" sensation you get on the flagship RMCs. It was a bit more intense than Big Dipper but not that much moreso. I would put it on par with something like a good Gerst Infinity coaster. Less shaky than Big Dipper too, but it still shakes a bit, so it must be an unavoidable aspect of these little single person car coasters. The first drop genuinley kicks ass, as does that cool dive loop element with a twist at the top. (Reminded me a bit of the way you are flicked around on the non inverting loop on Rivals) The rest of the ride is stuff like zero g rolls and airtime hills all in a long line, which sounds good on paper, but perhaps lacks a little personality since its a bit formulatic and you can see it all coming up in a row. The elevated turnaround was something I had been wondering about since it looks crazy fast on videos and I was thinking you'd be thrown around like a ragdoll, but it was perfectly comfortable. I went around for a 2nd lap, and by that point the queue had expanded to an hour, so waited it out and got a seat in row 4. Up front the first drop isn't as good but the other elements seem to work bettter, so swings and roundabouts. Final impressions, decent ride, but imo the visual appearance of the ride is it's gimmick and the ride experience was really no better/worse than an equivalent coaster of similar size. Perhaps the linear layout doesn't really give the ride a chance to shine....If my experience on Big Dipper taught me anything, it is that weaving and quick transitions is what makes these single rail things most interesting I would be interested to try RailBlazer or the Wonder Woman at SF Fiesta Texas since apparently the prototype raptors are more intense.
  3. SeaWorld Orlando https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/seaworld-orlando I bookended my time in Orlando at SeaWorld, with an night time visit on the day I arrived (Due to late trading for their Christmas event) as well as a visit in the daytime before I caught my afternoon flight on the last day. The last time I was at SeaWorld Manta was fairly new, and they had just announced the construction of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. The latter was a ride I had been interested in, but 2020 saw it's closure, so it was a case of seeing the full lifecycle of a ride without ever getting to ride it. That all said I finally got to ride another trackless ride using the same system, Ice Age at Genting Skyworlds so it was all good in the end. So what's new. Pipeline: The Surf Coaster Obviously was going to start off here! New for 2022, this is a really fun take on the stand up coaster. Aside from the gimmick of the launch it features open style surfboard themed trains, with a new harness system B&M has patented. Normally on standups you slide the backrest/harness up and down, and it is locked in at that height before dispatch. If you have it too high, you can knackerate yourself. However on pipeline, the seat is still able to move +/- 10cm after locking, allowing for extra movement during the ride. It's not too loose though, it's kind of similar in resistance to a Smiths machine at the gym. And it is this movement which makes the ride loads of fun. Anytime there is airtime, or even a quick transition, your seat lifts up wether you like it or not, which really emphasises the movements. You can even try to squat a bit before the hills and get bonus lift off. The ride is mostly fast banked turns, with a couple of hills and a big corkscrew thrown in for good measure, so its perhaps the most stereotypically B&M looking layout ever, but the turns are forceful, and there is one twist right at the end that really catches you off guard and lifts you up. Wouldn't mind seeing more of these built. Ice Breaker The other (currently) launch coaster is Ice Breaker, sort of a spicy compact version of a Mega Lite style ride, with a few small airtime hills, twists, couple of stengel dives. Could even draw comparisons with Maverick, though no inversions. Feels like an enthusiasts no limits project, and thats no bad thing! It's not about raw stats its about interesting forces and elements. The launch is a multi pass much like Steel Taipan, though it's 4 launches since it starts off backwards. In addition, the inclines at each end are double ups, so on each pass you get a pop of airtime, before the floater on the spike. Overall, a fun zippy ride, especially if you like compact coasters with quick twists. Mako Orlando finally gets a hypercoaster. This is one of the better B&M hypers, with sustained floating airtime on every hill, and I mean sustained, as in a few seconds worth. And I guess it comes down to what you prefer. B&M does longer lasting airtime that is less strong. Intamins/Macks is more powerful but over quicker, as is the reality of the physics. A decent first drop leads into a flat section over the water which fakes you out a bit (instinctively you expect to immediately start climbing again) before a huge overbank, huge floater hill (best one on the ride), hammerhead turn, another floater hill (where the trims hit), followed by a bunch of smaller hills, some of which near miss with the main supports. The last bit of the ride is inside the main park boundary, with a nice panoramic turn by the main lake and an s bend up into the brakes. Visually it's mixed. The station has an interesting shipwreck theme, and the front bit of the coaster that goes around the ride entry plaza has had the columns themed with coral growing on it. The back half of the ride is around an artificial lake, so not necessarily the most visually stimulating environment, and it doesnt help the station looks right out onto the park boneyard. Night time is probably the best ride experience, nothing like soaring through the cool night air. Infinity Falls So in 2018 SW put in some rapids (Orlando has plenty of them), with a drop (yep seen that too), and a vertical lift (Legoland and Phantasialand say hi), and whenever I saw photos of it, I always thought they had gone a bit tooooo abstract with this metal structure next to a drop, certainly looked very SeaWorld. Just another rapids? But the marketing gimmicks are a distraction, holy shit is legitimately the worlds best rapids ride, purely because of how well it does the rapids part. The video below from Intamin sums it up, there are literally sections with 1m high bunny hops of water you go over....waayyy bigger than those waves you get on other rapids where there are logs under the water creating a bit of a wave. The ride would be brutally wet with a fully loaded raft. Meanwhile I rode solo at 9pm at night, so managed to miss every wave. Would love to try it again on proper stinking hot day. There's also a great bit of trickery where the the water goes down a small drop and then flows uphill. Again just watch the video. The theming looked nice, it was all your usual jungle and artificial rockwork, but there were accents of fluro colours and modern materials, reminiscent of gear you get from Kathmandu/BCF/Anaconda. Another nice touch was the soundtrack, with drums etc reaching a crecendo on the intense bits as you approached drops and waves, really building the tension. I made sure I did Manta again, never ridden it at night. Kraken was closed for maintenance, and I was happy to skip over Journey to Atlantis. I should give a shout out to the Sesame Street land they built to replace Shamu's Happy Harbour, beautifully themed! SeaWorld is really doubling down on being about coasters rather than Shamu, and the park actually has one of the 'highest average' coaster collections anywhere, looking forward to seeing how Penguin Trek turns out.
  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 visited France back in June and visited a few parks over the course of 3 weeks. Might as well get one of the easier ones out of the way, with Walt Disney Studios. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/walt-disney-studios I had a two day pass which was the right amount of time for Disneyland Park / Walt Disney studios. But for the purposes of this TR I'll just go attraction by attraction rather than a recount of both days. Getting to the park is easy, about 40 mins from Central Paris on the RER, then through the security checkpoint into Disney Village and the two parks. When you arrive, the main street is actually a sound stage, with plywood sets forming the shops and restaurants. Crush's Coaster Recommended to start on this one since it draws long queues. I frequently saw it reaching 120 minutes. It was broken down when I arrived, so I hung around for 20 mins and got on as soon as it opened. Really good! An indoor marina themed station (complete with seagulls chanting "mine") leads into a short lift hill, a couple of turns outdoors before heading back into the building. From there are a few dark ride scenes where you are going with the sea turtles to ride the east coast current, a jellyfish field, and finally a lift hill in the hull of a ship with sharks chanting "fish are friends not food". From there it's into a very dark show building with the standard Maurer SC2000 layout, with a few scrims with projected flowing bubbles to simulate riding the current. Much darker inside than scooby. The coaster is zippy and good fun. My only criticisim would be that too many coasters at Disney Paris rely on being in a big dark room with a few effects. Avengers, Crush's and Space Mountain all rely on it, so thats half the coasters. A tip, the single rider queue time lies. I saw it advertised as 50 mins, walked in and there were 3 people waiting, so it was more like 5 mins! Worth using since there is nothing worth seeing in the standby queue. RC Racer Similar comments to the one in HK. I really like these compared to the spinning halfpipes because the beyond vertical spike creates this great sensation where you are floating, but also being forced forward in your seat (much like the beyond vertical drops on GL/Abyss), combined with the launches picking up speed. Again the single rider queue is the way to go. Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin Missed the one in HK so did this because it has a short queue. Most gentle matterhorn ride ever lol, but the theming looks great. Not sure who makes it, but I suspect Intamin because it looked like the cars actually run on Intamin track. The theming is great, with a pile of dog toys on a bowl as a centerpiece. Ratatouille Hmmm, a bit underwhelmed by this one sadly. I love trackless and 3D dark rides, so was really looking foward to this, but it falls a bit flat. The vehicles can spin, but cannot do the full range of motion like you get on rides like Spiderman or Planet of the Apes or the Justice Leauges at Six Flags. You ride in large rat shaped cars that seat 6, and scurry around through the kitchen, being chased by angry kitchen staff, with a mixture of oversized sets (including going under a stove, into a fridge, through the wall cavities), interspersed by scenes in front of giant screens. For some reason I thought that despite the reduced range of motion the vehicles would still maybe scoot around a tiny bit on the spot or rotate a bit from side to side in front of the screens to give a little feeling , but nah you're just parked there in front of a giant screen for 30 seconds watching a giant movie, with things popping off but it feels strange and muted without any movement. The best part probably is the giant sets. A nice touch is when you are under a giant waiters trolley, and as you roll fowards the castors either side of you rotate as well. In this area they had a food festival going, with very permanent looking stands selling food from different regions of France. I tried this cheese and potato thing but it was a bit pungent! Spider-man WEB Adventure Ok, so it wasn't until shortly before I went on this trip I found out they built an Avengers campus at WDS (For some reason I thought it was just Rock n Roller coaster being re themed with other stuff coming later)....Cool, means I don't feel guilty about skipping DCA! This is another 3D dark ride, with vehicles that track the movements of your hands and allow you to shoot webs. Can tell you ahead of time there is nothing special enough to see in the standby queue, so by all means do this with single rider...You still get to see the preshow either way . The ride is themed like an old brick warehouse that used to be "Stark Motors" that has now been taken over by a tech startup called the "World Engineering Brigade" . The preshow is set in a research workhop and uses a few layers of scrims, and has Peter Parker showing you his new spiderbot . The spiderbot is able to mine materials and 3D print it's own replicas, which sounds cool until they start cutting holes in the walls and replicating out of control. That's where you come in to start hunting them down before they replicate into the millions, by blasting them with webs just like spiderman. The ride reminded me of a long lost relative of toy story mania, with large back to back vehicles travelling in front of game screens. The bits in between were probably better themed, and in this case yes they did take advangage of the spinning of the vehicle to get a bit of wild movement between scenes. I've heard this ride bagged out a bit, but I had a great time. The graphics and the gesture tracking was super crisp, and each scene had heaps of ways you could interact with it, eg shoot webs at the spiderbots, or you could fling a web at an oil drum, then sweep your hand a across and cause it to fling across the room and cause a massive explosion. Avengers Flight Force This was a rethemed of Rock n Rollercoaster, with a snazzy, but perhaps sterile queue set in Avengers HQ. Think lots of stainless steel and chamfered panels, like an Apple store without the wood. Simple storyline, some missiles have been sent towards earth by the bad guys, all the other avengers are busy with other missions, so its up to you to help Captain Marvel and Iron Man by flying in a manner that draws the missiles away from earth. There's a really good Iron Man animatronic in the preshow. Another touch I liked is the pulsating lighting tubes throughout the queue that all go haywire from the power surge when the ride launches. The coaster, again, excellent, with flashing red lights on the launch, followed by 3 inversions taken smoothly in the dark, with the odd curved screen with the two heroes shooting beams etc in the battle. The finale is a huge panoramic screen where you see the baddies missiles blown up in a spectacular green explosion, coupled with a cresendo in the music, all at full speed, before finally hitting the brakes. Pym Test Kitchen Forked out for Sit Down Meal for a change. This restaurant was a buffet with novelty food items that were either bigger than smaller than normal. The theming reflected this. Eg for burgers, you could get sliders, or get a slice from a burger the size of a hubcap. There was a bit of scientific mixed in too, eg blue coloured salad dressing, things in test tubes, this really nice lemon dessert that had an crystaline atomic structre pattern on the top etc. 49 EUR, ouch! Tower of Terror This thing is wild. I've done other TOTs in Cali, Florida and Japan but this one has the best most intense ride cycle and its not even close! Right from the first pushback, you are rocketing to the top forcefully. No slow lifting floor by floor, just several sustained ups and downs, all the while a creepy girl at each floor tells you "not to scream, it will only make it worse". I get the feeling Europeans are a bit tougher in terms of thrills, so they get a better cycle as a result. The queue is the same as the others. Gorgeous. Cars Road Trip Urrrgh. This is unashamedly a filler while they build the Frozen area. It was the studio tour, it has been cut short due to construction work in the park, and they kept the catasrophe canyon bit, and stuck it in with this utterly rubbish road trip thing where you look at 3D props of roadside landmarks. Think lame stuff like a giant spanner, billboards, the Tyre-ful Tower. But then the catastrophe canyon bit is ham fisted too becasuse they took the tanker that blows up and put a cars face on it, so you're literally watching a setient tanker getting burned alive with a look of mild concern. Walk on queue said it all. Tapis Volants You know, out of all the Disney rides I've never done one of these Dumbo/Orbiter type things, time to rectify that. It's themed as if Alladin is being filmed as a live action movie. You can move the carpet up and down with a little lever in front of your seat. Supposedly the other lever makes you tilt back and forth, but despite reaching back and trying it did nothing? The viewing area was nice too. Cars Quatres Roues Rallye. Same sort of ride as Patricks Jellyfish Frenzy, a figure 8 motion demolition derby, but with Cars theming. The queue predates cars land, so it's like a mini mish mash of Radiator springs. Despite having two of the rides installed side by side it still must get long queues. Final thoughts The park is pretty good, though a lot smaller than every other Disney Park. The offering is about 1/3 of Disneyland next door. I did appreciate the thrill rides here, probably the most 'intense' lineup of any Disney park. Perhaps what it lacked was strong themed zones. The whole front of the park is this open bitumen area with a lot of plain looking studios and food trucks. The bits around Avengers Campus, Ratatouille and Toy Story felt immersive, but then the rest of the park is a bit mish mash. Perhaps once frozen is finished it will feel a bit more consolidated. At the moment, even the orignal DCA is better! The park seemed popular, with crowds and 30-60 min waits all day. As always, photos are here. https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/walt-disney-studios
  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. Green Valley Farm - 4/2/2023 https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/green-valley-farm Green Valley Farm is a place that I’ve wanted to visit for a while now. It’s located between Inverell, Glen Innes and Armidale on the New England tablelands. https://goo.gl/maps/fDb4G82QANByWfXy7 I’ve been up and down the New England highway multiple times, but It’s always been late afternoon etc, or in the cold months when the slide is closed (And who wants to miss out on an old school treasure like that) so the timing never really has lined up. The place fascinated me because it has a lot of play equipment identical to the things seen at the (in)famous Monash playground in SA (Google, or search forums and there are some threads about it) Originally I thought that when Monash closed down they had been relocated to Green Valley, but it turns out the plans were actually shared by the original designer, Grant Telfer, and the owners of Green Valley built replicas. It’s all great fun, but you can hurt yourself if you are being careless (i managed to bang/cut both shins within 15 mins of arrival) , which led to Monash closing in the 80s, with a more ‘sanitised’ playground opening in the 90s. But Green Valley lives on! More recently, when the ECC were on their Australian tour several people broke away from the main group and went on a rather wild day trip aiming to get a ride on the park's single rail, human powered shuttle coaster. (Hilariously, that coaster is on rcdb now https://rcdb.com/20449.htm ) Anyhow, fast forward to a few weeks ago and @Noxegon mentioned was coming to Australia and wanted to go. That was the kick in the backside i needed to finally make more of an effort to go there, and we figured out a plan where I could drive down to Glen Innes on a Friday night, pick him up from Armidale airport, head to the park and then press on to the GC for DW and SW the next day. Easy drive, a few signs by the road let you know when you are near. And finally you arrive at the car park. Actually a reasonable number of cars for a park in the middle of nowhere. Judging by online reviews, the place has a bit of a cult following and well regarded by generations. You enter through a museum in a mud brick building. I’ll spare you the photos of the siamese calf taxidermy though! Reminded me of the ‘historical society’ museums you see in many country towns, with lots of old farm equipment, old signs, guns, gemstones etc. Towards the end you sign a waiver (I guess its fair, if you want to do all this old school fun stuff without padding, there is an element of risk) and pay your admission. At $15 its a bargain. Yes the park is pretty old, but to be honest the water slide itself would cost you $15 elsewhere. And you find yourself in the park, a large grassy field with various elements scattered around. Instantly you are transported back to those old school adventure parks like Greenhills, Puzzle Park, Kinkuna Country, Arakoon, Wyangala etc. Didn’t do the mini golf. Most of the play equipment can only be used by those over 10 given the responsibility involved, and plenty of adults were having a go. I did my best to document all of them. A few of the good ones included: The 3 way seesaw. The 1 person spring loaded seesaw. The giant rocking giraffe, which I managed to draw blood on by going a bit too fast. What I called the “Catapult Swing”, where the entire structure tilts back and forth, as well as the swing itself. The “satellite” dish. The rotary cone. Tire pile that you can literally fall down the middle of, but great for a vantage point. Monash had way more slides, but one of the designs made it here. You ride on a hessian mat, but still almost stall out on the flat bits. But of course the main drawcard is the roller coaster. It’s entirely fenced, so you just jump the fence wherever and have a go when it's your turn. Pushing it up the slope is a bit like pushing the sled across the floor at gym on leg day. Eventually you reach a small platform where the track levels off and you can jump in, and then it's time to push off. The transitions between slope and level are at sharp angles, so there’s a bit of a jolt at each one. And it’s loud! Sounded like TOT. There’s one particularly hard bump as you come up the first slope from the low point. Oddly, they did make the spike at one end a nice curve. You then roll backwards, and partway up the first slope, and oscillate a couple of times. No brakes so it's up to you to stick an arm or leg out to bring yourself to a proper stop.The great thing is you can brave it backwards too for free, but those jarring transitions cannot be anticipated if you are going in reverse. Overall, not the fastest thing, but good fun just because of janky and out of control it feels. The park also has a rather nice garden centred around the house and the kiosk. Various animals and birds on display. They used to have monkeys but a sign mentioned that they got rid of them due to the “huge regulations” now governing their care. Macaws now live in their old run. The merry go round constitutes the sole mechanical ‘ride’. The kiosk, again you are transported back to a 90s milk bar, with the smell of dripping permeating the air and an array of lolly jars with the whole “3 for 10c” type deal going. Food is well priced and handmade. There’s a nice display with some photos of the park being built. The last thing I did was the water slide. Is it just me, or are long body slides like this not a thing anymore. It seemed every decent country town would have a mammoth like this. Nowadays new slides all feel like they are over in 10 seconds. You’re given a spiel by the lady at the slide kiosk with the rules and then essentially left to your own devices. The stairs are literally just treads made of steel pipe, similar to the giant slide. Mats are on offer if you want to get a bit of extra speed. First ride without one was a bit of a crawl. With the mat they suggest trying it wrapped around you like a burrito. Well, that turns the thing into hyperdrive, with so much speed that the water piles up in front of you, forming wave. Wowee! The bit for the toddlers seemed fairly new, and more to the standard as you’d see in a caravan park these days. Same goes for the kids playground and jumping pillow. Obviously the stuff for younger kids is a bit ‘safer’ I think we stuck around for 2 or 3 hours, did 3 goes on the coaster and had a go at most of the equipment. Overall, it's worth a stop if you are in the area and feel like stepping back in time, and hey, its only $15 (And the patch was $1)
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Sup, Parkz community. Hope you're all keeping well. I found this YouTube series, "Problematic Roller Coasters", by YouTuber "ElToroRyan". The guy was once a ride attendant at several theme parks in the US, including Cedar Point. As the name suggests, it's a number of episodes that go into detail of 1 specific roller coaster, that has had a problematic history, or is just a headache to operate. Currently there are 21 episodes, so 21 different roller coasters, including (but not limited to) Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure, American Scream Machine, Space mountain, Texas Giant etc. They are all very interesting to say the least, hence why I thought I'd mention them. For anyone interested, here is a link to the a playlist of all the current episodes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjproJZUcOI&list=PL-gC-PDnDt6SAt8sPgFjghDkRt4yWQ_Qt
  14. If anyone's interested, I have just posted a POV video on You Tube of Abyss at Adventure World with the maintenance lights on in 2013 just after it opened. https://youtu.be/0LrmircPc2E The Video is not the best quality while on ride at speed outside, as it was shot on a small handheld compact camera (Sony HX-30V). It was taken after the park had closed and it does show pretty well what is inside the building which is normally in pitch black when the ride is open. Pete.
  15. A new type of ride! In the Gold Coast I think it's probably best suited to somewhere like Thunderbird Park, and maybe Dreamworld could also accommodate it, perhaps in the area where the vintage cars are. Takes the already awesome concept of a Zip line to a whole new level. And another one, and another one, and another one, and another one. ...................! https://m.facebook.com/rollercoasterzipline/
  16. 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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