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  1. Liseberg https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/liseberg This is the last remaining park I had to write up from my Scandinavian trip. Liseberg is a bucket list park for me, and it sure lives up to its reputation. It’s located in the nice city of Gothenburg. You can get there in about 3 hours from either Stockholm or Copenhagen. I was in the city early enough to take a stroll around the CBD and just walk a couple of km to the park (Though multiple tram lines go to the park too). (The spherical building is part of a museum next door) Even had time to do a lap around the outside of the park to gaze longingly at Balder, which was closed for my visit for track replacement. Was ready at the entrance for opening time, and had the app on my phone to take advantage of the virtual queueing system. Was quite a fairly day though. I was there from 10am till 11pm and did plenty of rides, waits often ranged from 20-60 mins. I’ll talk a bit about the park itself at the end of the report, but here are the rides. Helix Much Like other Macks such as DC Rivals, it’s an excellent, well rounded ride that combines lots of cool things. 7 inverisions, 3 really good airtime hills, a couple of launches, and it’s hillside location means you make some quite large drops and dives. And overall it’s well paced. In some ways though it represents the end of an era. If you’ve ridden a newer RMC, Intamin or Vekoma you’ll know how these days coasters are a bit more funky and dynamic, owing to advances in engineering. On the other hand Helix is very ‘traditional” (Like a good B&M), it’s all conventional elements done well, but I think now the coaster world has evolved, and something like Taiga is the way things are done now. Starts off with a drop out of the station, corkscrew and a bit of a drawn out turn. Theres a decent launch straight into a corkscrew, then it really picks up with a dive down the hill, airtime, another dive, a zero g roll, another airtime hill, and helix, all woven amongst other rides. That in itself would be a decent layout, but a 2nd launch sends you into an inverted top hat, another big dive, airtime hill. At this point the ride peters out a bit, with series of uphill S turns, and concludes with a heartline roll, but it’s nowhere near as agressive as the one on Steel Taipan. The queue is a sight to behold. The design brief was clearly “Make queuing an architectural experience”. EDM in the queue line pumps up the atmosphere a bit. Uppswinget S&S Screamin Swing. This is a ride that seems quite common overseas, but never quite made it to Australia. A shame because they are excellent. You get the huge swings of something like a Gyro Swing, but less nauseating, just great moments of airtime over and over. The position perched over the edge of a hill made it even better. AtmosFear A gyro drop without the gyro, and it was at a weird point in time where intamin was using their superman/surfrider type seats on drop rides. The queue line had a cool theme, sort of like a power station or nuclear reactor. What set this one apart was the addition of VR. This one didn’t seem to slow things down too much, I guess because it's only moving up and down, so less difficult to sync the ride movement. Once you are seated they just go around and offer a headset during the checking. Of course I gave it a go. Spoiler: it is like you are in an underground scientific research lab, and are being lifted up past this huge particle accelerator, as you reach the top, a wormhole forms and the machine begins to break apart, bits get sucked in, aliens come out and they try to attach to your face, but right as you are about to get eaten you drop. A bit of a freaky experience. As you are being lifted up you are so preoccupied with the footage that you forget how high you are, and it’s not until you start feeling the breeze at the top of the tower and the sun on your forehead that you realise “oh geez, im 100m in the air wearing effectively a blindfold” AeroSpin TailSpin crossed with Trident sums this one up. Seemed quite easy to get a continuous spin going, and again the hilltop location made for some great views. Lisebergbanan This one is excellent, so I did a few rides. It’s a terrain coaster by Schwarzkopf, and for such an old ride it runs very smooth. And operation are excellent too, with several trains pumping guests through. Loved the attention to detail in the queue and station, it was actually themed like a train station, right down to the daggy 50s terrazzo floors. The ride maintains a great pace from start to finish, with quite a spread out layout that you really cant get a full picture of from any one vantage point. The best part is where you complete 3 large circular drops in a row, like a enormous tilted helix, where you would keep lapping around uppswinget. Eventually the track peels away with more curves and helixes through the trees, concluding with a speedy finale parallel to the main park walkway. Onboard you got some glimpses of the custom family boomerang they are building too. Valkyria I love dive coasters and this is a particularly good one. One of the reasons they are great is they are so re-ridable, they aren’t’ too forceful, and the drop is fun. Couple this with a single rider line and I think this ended up being my most ridden attraction. The only drawback of the single rider queue is you virtually always end up seated on the right as you are the last in the row, so I did use standby once to get a left hand ride. The theming is fantastic, with the station even having a projection of a shadow of a valkyrie flying around, and a custom soundtrack that was dramatic viking music. From the station you head up a 50m lift hill, around a turn, and perch on the edge of a drop. Shortly thereafter you are released, drop into a tunnel, emerge into an immelman, then make a hard overbanked turn with a great near miss with the lift structure. From there you do a bit of a figure 8, with a zero g roll and a heartline roll on the way. This part is over a creek running through the park, and you get a fair bit of hangtime, making for an interesting experience. FlumeRide Most flumes seem to follow a format of float along, lift, medium drop, float along, lift, big drop, the end. The one at Liseberg was somewhat unique, owing to the large hillside. A huge lift takes you right to the top of the hill. then there is a long floaty section that passes over and under a few other rides, including very closely to Lisebergbanan, so dont stand up! But the finale is great, because all the final drops come in quick succession. You do a drop, splash down and lose a bit of speed and then before you know it there's another big drop. Spokhotellet Gasten This can be low capacity, so i queued virtually for it. It was quite a long horror maze through an old hotel. The jump scares from the actors are what you’d expect, though this one has really well done and elaborate rooms, through various hotel scenes that totally are not inspired by TOT at Disneysea 😛 Mechanica Many years ago I did Bling at Blackpool and thought it was okay, and all these years on the ride experience is still just as meh. The arm moves in a big slow loop, and you are seated on flipping rows of seats that are arranged in a fan shape, much like a top scan. But because all the rotations are so steady you don't really flip much and it just ends up being a whole lot of being high in the air awkwardly sideways. Underlandet Underlandet was a fun kids dark ride where you go through the underground world of the Liseberg rabbits. Starts of with a faux lift ride into an “underground” loading station. Bright and colourful and quite well executed. There was a bit of narrative of the villain (Who resembled a magician crossed with Robbie Rotten crossed with Oddwald) sneaking around trying to steal carrots but getting hurt in the process. The ride actually goes up and downhill over a couple of levels too so its more substantial than you'd expect. Funniest part was a scene with various rabbit animatronics sitting on thunderbox toilets, with containers below labelled “compost:” Kaninslandbanan Overhead pedal car thing, that I mostly rode to get some decent overhead photos. Carried the theme of the kids zone of “Rabbits making crazy inventions to grow and process carrots”. I quite like how they had made the ride maintenance bay a feature and themed it like a wacky workshop. Lisebergshjulet One of those big air conditioned ferris wheels like the one at Southbank. Was ok but it was right on the edge of the park so it wasnt necessarily the best for park photos. Good views to the city center of Gothenburg though! Liseberg Gardens Didn’t know this existed till I visited. A whole corner of the park is just a nice botanic garden, much like at Alton or Tivoli, with pleasant trails winding down the hillside, and even an old windmill. Stampbanan Tiny kids coaster near identical to the baby shark one at Luna Park Sydney Rabalder A bigger family coaster the same as the Chicken themed one at Djurs Sommerland. The station had some crazy invention theming, including a dripping bucket on the way into the station. Kallerado One of the best rapids I have done. Really nice leafy setting, and plenty of Colorado theming too. The rapids were dynamic, with quite powerful rapids, plenty of fountains, and heaps of boats, to the point that on the open water sections sometimes boats would bump and overtake each other. Clearly popular with the locals too, it had a huge queue, but thankfully I had a virtual queue pass. Jukebox Octopus ride, but with a very creative theme, so just had to give it a go. (Plus octopii are fun for a spin and spew) Krilstallsalongen Quite a short mirror maze, with a few illusion rooms along the way. What i liked is that the front of the attraction was window, so you could stand outside and watch this happening: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/nQjlipMs4cc Skepp o Skoj I’ve done plenty of car rides, but never a boat ride. You pilot a little electric boat along a course, but it felt like the steering has huge lag, so you ended up just bumping off the walls on the way through. Tempus Finally got to ride one of these newfangled Zamperla Nebulaz. I reckon every park needs one, right level of intensity for a family ride, bit of speed, bit of tummy tickling airtime, but it’s so hypnotic to watch. The cycle seemed to be that they would load one half, run it for a bit, stop with you at the top and load the other half, run it a little more, then you’d get off and the cycle repeats. I quite liked the aesthetic of this whole area. Yes its just flat rides, but it was so classy. Come to think of it, it’s just like the grand exposition are at Sliver Dollar City. So there you have it, 20 different attractions in 13 hours. I wouldn’t have minded riding the Loke gyro swing, given how good its counterpart Tigeren was at Djurs Sommerland, and that was the only major thing I didn’t ride. The park is one of the best out there, everything is such high quality. Even generic rides had really quite ornate booths and signage. The dining options were great, The buildings were nice. Operations were good. The virtual queue system wasn’t oversubscribed so lines kept moving despite big crowds. They even had some themed areas, eg the Viking zone, the Port Zone, the 50s zone, Kaninlandet, Luna Park etc. I reckon this is something they could lean into a bit more.. Have a look at the attractions and give everything a themed zone. Right now it's half traditional amusment park, half theme park. In terms of what the park needs, well it has such a complete lineup already. Perhaps an immersive indoor coaster or a dark ride for older audiences would be good. There’s no shortage of flats or water rides.... Photos here https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/liseberg
  2. Grona Lund + Bonus Mountain Coaster at Hammarbybacken So I still have do my trip report for Liseberg and that's Scandinavia sorted, but I probably won't get to that until sometime in January. In the meantime, i’ll smash this one out before i head away for christmas. Grona Lund is really one of a kind, located in the heart of Stockholm. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/grona-lund The site is perhaps comparable in size to a Bunnings, or say 2x the area of LPS, but in that space there's 8 coasters, 4 drop rides, dark rides, heaps of flats, several eateries, and it's just so tightly packed in 3 dimensions and pushes the boundaries of clearance envelopes. Line too long on one ride, cool you can walk across the park in 2 mins to something else! The park is on two sides of a laneway, with a bridge connecting each side. One part has mostly kids rides, the rest feels like sideshow alley at the royal show, except everything is better. To get there you can take a tram (and the ABBA museum is right next door) but the best way is to get a public ferry (Pendelbåt) from Slussen. Just tap your credit card to pay the fare. You get a great visual on the way in. Previously it was a pay per ride or wristband type park. Now they limit attendance into 5.5h sessions that you pre book. I was worried that it wouldn't be enough time but it was plenty of time to get heaps of rides, and in addition you get two jet passes included, and waits weren’t that bad because of the capacity cap. Still, I bought 2 sessions on separate days so i could do daytime and evening, so it worked out to be the most costly park of the trip, though i definitely got my moneys worth. The park also has concerts included with admission on certain days, and they actually get major acts. Toto...Tom Jones...Pixes for instance coming up. Monster Obviously was going to kick off with this one. B&Ms newest inverted coaster. I have been following this project for years, ever since it was announced as “project blue harvest” back in 2017, and ive literally been holding off on a Scandinavian trip until this ride was open. It kept getting pushed back and pushed back, and of course there was Covid, but finally opened in 2021. You win some you lose some though. This coaster opened, but a few weeks before my visit Balder at liseberg closed for retracking…bah! The theming was fun, monsters have come up from a subway station.the safety video was done like an old Scooby doo cartoon meets MTV. The queue takes an interesting route up and down stairs through some buildings. As for the coaster, you rise up from underground to the apex of the lift hill with great views of the harbour, before hurtling down a very steep drop. You skim over a garden into a zero g roll then a forceful inclined immelmann. Next comes a corkscrew high above some buildings, before some more turns and a tight helix which also attempts to smack you into a building One more corkscrew follows, before a turn into a short tunnel, which had a bunny hill that would chuck you upwards and forward in your seat. Never felt that sort of airtime on an invert. One final turn and it hits the brakes Wowee What makes this special is the way you get the sense of height by being above the crowds, but you also get the near misses with buildings on all sides Ikaros Another ride I was eager to get on was This drop tower is an Intamin Sky Jump, that has tilting seats that have you freefall face first. Honestly one of the best drop towers I have done. The tilt at the top makes the tension just that bit higher A great thrill seeing the ground rushing towards you, and the addition of the seat rotation just before the brakes makes it just that little bit more dynamic. It seems like a bloody complicated system with long hydraulic rams. Why didnt they just have a pivot and rotate the seats like a freespin. Seemed to have less of a queue than the other drop rides, despite only having one side open, so i guess its perhaps a bit intimidating for most. Insane Ah, the infamous ZacSpin. 3rd one I’ve done now. They definitely are a ride that I find quite intense and nerve racking and even stressful in parts. On the smaller dips at the start your car stays fairly upright, so the forces feel amplified because you are being yanked up and down rather than following the hills predictably. And of course the drops are freaky because you change direction so half of it is always backwards and you feel frontal acceleration rather than just vertical. Once you get to the 2nd level it gets quite intense, and the curves are so tight that the forces are quite strong. Still did it a couple of times. You wouldn’t want the ride to be any longer. I think the reason this one is “worse” than the other designs is because it is quite compact still, so the turns are not quite as drawn out as they should be. Counter intuitively, if you did a scaled up version of the same layout, some of the jarring and rapid changes in force would be smoothed out. Twister So many of us have ridden Leviathan now so you know what Gravity Group wooden coasters are like. This one is SO compact, the turns are almost getting like a wild mouse, and it runs a short little 6 car / 12 person train to deal with it. So many near misses, and the layout is a tangle full of quick drops and ground hugging turns. Afterwards, I came to the conclusion that it is basically a wooden version of a rollerskater in terms of scale, though perhaps a little more intense. Good fun and runs well. I liked how the queue line had posters with some of the great wooden coasters around the world, it’s almost like they were trying to say “hey, this wooden coaster is a legitimate attraction, not an old rattler”, it could also be because they are trying to sell tickets to Kolmarden, because the last bit of the queue had a video promoting wildfire. Kvasten Vekoma Family invert that is more intense than Escape from Madagascar, but less intense than the SFC 450 (TNT, Orkanen, MWs forthcoming etc), so it was alright. The station was the best themed in the park, a really cool witches house full of detail, and a cacking spiel from the witch whenever the train departed. And there was even some theming around the base of the helix, and a kid was engaging in satanic worship. I love the airtime hill that runs the length of a section of boardwalk. Fits in so well with the park and its fun whizzing over the crowds. This is a ride to use Jetpass on because it's popular but only has 1 train. Jetline My hot take is that there are no bad Schwarzkopf coasters, and this is no exception. A thrilling layout with big drops and smooth turns and helices and heaps of near misses both with itself and other rides, all perfectly negotiated without jarring. One thing i found interesting with the layout is that it had a couple of big drops that broke away from the main layout and crossed halfway across the park, rather than being like a traditionally travelling coaster where everything is contained in a fairly compact footprint. This has the highest capacity in the park, waited 2 mins max each ride. Vilda Musen So normally if you were building a ride, its a strict rule you don't attach to another manufacturer's ride structure, since then you open yourself to issues of liability if one ride has an impact on the other. Grona Lund evidently offered enough dollars (or maybe its because Schwarzkopf are extinct now) because they built a mad mouse style Gertstlauer bobsled coaster onto the existing structure of Jetline. The layout was decent, despite being heavily driven by being able to snake through the other coaster. Still had all the staples of this ride model, nice curved drops, sharp turns, helices and even some good little airtime hills. This is another highly popular ride, so good to book your jetpass on this one. This might be some of my favourite theming too: Kärlekstunneln So if you were ever dreaming up a list of generic amusement park rides, you might say roller coaster, merry go round, ferris wheel, ghost train and ….tunnel of love. But has anyone actually ever seen one of these anywhere? Grona lund actually has one, complete with a heart shaped portal at the start of the ride. Wasn’t sure what to expect, was it going to be animatronics and pink coloured scenes of people getting frisky? A big dark tunnel where people can kiss in the darkness? Turns out it was more like a ride through fairyland, with dioramas of magical creatures, fairie amongst the toadstools and so on. Just stuff that was "pleasant" and "happy" and "peaceful" to use some adjectives. The ride path is so narrow, so all the scenes have to be behind glass because i guess modern day guests would just reach out and break stuff. Tuff Tuff Taget Imagine a kiddy coaster more gentle than a wacky worm, with a bit of wild mouse thrown in. Turns out a lot of 20-30 somethings ride this for a laugh, so no shame in riding. Nyckelpigan Another one of those oval shaped Zierer kiddy ladybird coasters. Veteranbilarna Quite a pleasant little car ride, mostly rode to get some pics of Nyckelpigan. Pettson o Findus Värld Walkthrough house based on the works of a Swedish children's writer. Aimed at kids with some bits and bobs on the walls around the house you could switch on and off and make noise with. Wholesome fun. Bla Taget My other hot take is that most ghost trains are overrated and rarely warrant repeating. I mean have you ever ridden one and thought "Wow that was awesome lets go again". Yeah maybe if its haunted mansion, but most of the low budget ones are so formulatic. This one did have an outward banked turn and some innapropriate theming to save it at least. Katapulten The rare S&S combo tower. Imagine you took Batwing and crossed it with Supreme scream. So you launch up, come down with some airtime, bounce and sort of stop halfway up the tower. You then are raised slowly to the top, held, and then finish off with a fast downwards launch. So its a longer ride cycle, and you get to experience two ride types in one. Surprised this model isnt the default over the conventional space shot at more parks, its more fun! Eclipse I quite enjoy starflyers, its just a shame there’s no way to take a camera to capture the wonderful views. One thing i thought was cool was how the ride base is on an elevated platform, but the queue line comes up around the middle of the tower (So the queue isn't on the outside like trident). So you get a good view of the ride rotating around you and rising up: Fritt Fall Evokes memories of space probe 7, good classic Intamin drop ride, with spectacular views. One side had the stand up tilt seats, which have more of a bicycle seat you sit on rather than a proper seat, and it tilts forwards a few degrees before the drop (Sort of redundant now that they have Ikaros), but the feeling of your legs hanging vertically makes it a bit more thrilling and feels more exposed. Lyktan Ended up riding this just to tick off every tower ride. This one is the smallest of the lot, a rotating Zierer family drop ride with a VERY random program of drops and lifts. Lustiga Huset A very long, very awesome fun house. I had everything, bridges, multiple slides, multiple turntables. And the punters love it, this is the first time ive ever queued for a fun house! At the end you finish off with a really long slide ridden on a mat from the top floor that concludes with an airtime hump at the end. A finley tuned operation, with conveyor belts taking the mats to the top, staff members setting them up for you, and an automated system dispatching you. Clearly everyone loves the slide so they have focused on optomising it. There were a few spin and spew rides I didn’t do, and for some reason I couldn’t be arsed doing the upcharge ‘house of nightmares’ walkthrough. So in 5.5h on the first night I did everything i wanted to, and if you were pressed for time and its not too busy you could do the park in that time frame, but booking a 2nd night made it much more relaxed and I definitely got to enjoy myself and Whats wrong with this picture? And now they have acquired the car park next door and have another coaster planned. If it’s anything like Monster it’ll be a hit. Grona Lund is a true icon in the theme park world, very unique, and a must if you are in Stockholm. ********************************* Bonus, the Mountain Coaster at SkiStar Hammarbybacken https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/skistar-hammarbybacken Hammarbybacken is an artificial hill formed by waste spoil from various tunnelling and construction projects over the years. During the winter they use it as a ski slope. During summer its mostly used by runners doing hill training, and grass skiing. But just prior to my trip i found out it even existed, and they were opening a Mountain coaster. This one is by Sunkid (Brandauer) and instead of a track like the Wiegand ones, its a single rail so feels pretty exposed. Access was easy, its not far from the city centre. You can catch a bus to the stop near Bauhaus Sickla, and then walk about 500m along some local pathways and across a pedestrian bridge to reach the facility. These have a reputation for being crazy, and indeed the one I rode in bavaria a few years ago was. This one wasn’t quite so intense, but still good fun. Had a few wide back to back turns that followed the slope, and towards the end was a bunch of downhill bunny hops that give a little bit of air. I purchased a 3 lap ticket, which was plenty. Wasn’t hard to get the speed to max out with a ‘no brakes’ , and it was fairly uninterrupted since i arrived first thing and had it practically to myself. Towing to the top is achieved by attaching a spring loaded rod to your sled. At the top it actually detaches quite hillariously and skitters across the ground as it reels itself back in. I dont think youd want to stand in the way! They also had a ropes course, and artificial snow tubing. If you've not done this style of mountain coaster it's worth a look.
  3. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/kokpunkten Kokpunkten was a place I found out about a year or so before my trip on Blooloop. In a sentence, it’s an old power station that has been turned into an indoor water park and hotel, and given an ultra modern renovation and lighting package. I love it because someone clearly had a clear big vision in their head about what it was going to be, put together a couple of contrasting things, and the result is really cool. As a water park, it's not all that big, with only 4 major slides, but there are a few nice spas, whirlpools and interconnected pools you can explore. There's also an outdoor pool on the roof, and the option to do a "VR Dive" in the main pool. It is located in Västerås, about 100km from Stockholm. I had stayed there the night before, so i was able to sleep in and spend the morning there before heading to the capital. The park has free go pro rental if you sign up to their "Club", though you are asked to come back to the counter a little while after opening after they have cleared the entry crowds. As for the rides. Black River Never in Australia. The slide is more of a channel, with about a 30cm deep flow of water that is quite turbulent, so you are carried by the current. The layout felt like a bunch of quick s bends with the occasional longer turn. What makes it wilder is that its essentially in a big dark room, so you are just being tossed and turned, bumping against the walls. No rafts or anything, it's like canyoning. The ride alternates modes, lights off is pitch black and not for the unconfident. Lights on is still mostly dark, but you have the odd bit of pipework and uv paint that is illuminated. Even getting out of the slide exit and paddling against the backflow is an effort Inside out is one of these "Magic Eye" tube slides. Essentially an oval shaped cross section and a fairly shallow gradient, so its more about length than speed. In some ways it feels like the child that comes from the marriage of a lazy river and a raft slide. Had some cool daylight rings on the way down as well. There is the option to ride with a waterproof VR headset. The way it seemed to work is that there are transponders at various points on the slide and they are used to track your position. Boomerang This was a Boomerango type slide, but built by Wiegand rather than Whitewater West Just like their toboggan runs, it's made of stainless steel. This was the highlight, felt quite speedy. On other types of this slide you go down the drop, into the quarter pipe, over a little hump and then glide to a stop. On this one you carry heaps of speed over the hump and get funnelled into a couple more turns before the splashdown (also done at high speed). Hard to describe, but if feels almost scary the speed at which you hurtle into the last bit, almost like if you were going slightly off angle you'd smack into the walls or flip yourself. But of course the precision engineering has you 'threading the needle' quite well. And of course, you can't beat the setting! The other attraction is Double Racer Another stainless steel Weigand slide. The low friction means you build up heaps of speed, so can make the ride as wild as you like. Having drops at the start helps make it fast from the get go. Note too the LED neon strips. There is a timing system and the LED strips glow green over the lane of the rider coming first at that point in time. Transparent section too, but barely noticeable. Overall, it's worth a look if you are in the area. A few more slides wouldn't hurt of course! I had wanted to combine it with my day at Skara Sommarland which would have been perfect, but on the days i was there the opening hours didn't quite line up. Photos here https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/kokpunkten
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Did you hear about this crazy beast, (Yes i know this is not an Aussie Rollercoaster but it is Amazeballs) Wild Fire!!! what do you guys think about it and where do you think a RMC woodie could go to if one ever did come down under?
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