What's new

Hutch's 2022 Trip Report Thread - Kolmarden Wildlife Park

Hutch

Strata Poster
I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that the bonus creds came from Tibidabo. I was all set to bring some of my friends the day after I did Port Aventura (our last day in Barcelona), however after further research in the morning, I realized that the park was something like €35, with no pay per rides options. I didn’t think it was worth it for two creds. The Vekoma did look cool, mostly for its setting, but with the entry price and it being a bit of a hike to get there (we were staying near the harbor), we decided not to.

Instead, we did Montjuïc which was much easier and cheaper to get to. Might as well share a photo of the view.

P9PBj54.jpg


Sunday, May 29th

Fast forward about a week. We did Morocco, then flew into France on Friday night, and drove across the southern countryside, hitting up cities on the way.

After an afternoon visit to Marseille, we hit the road again, reaching our hotel in Saint-Tropez. We had two cars with us, and 30 min out, we received a text from the other car ahead of us, informing us that “We passed by a roller coaster for Hutch.”

Quick search on coast2coaster and come across Azur Park, a place that I had NEVER heard of before. And sure enough, they have a couple a creds. To which I respond “****, it’s a wild mouse!”.

5 min from the hotel, we get a glimpse for ourselves.

Ji8wa2I.jpg


Our hotel was just along the marina:

KpPVu0v.jpg


We regroup, settle in, and I do a little more research on this Azur Park. Ok great, you can do pay per ride, and the “big” stuff is €6 per ride.

You can literally see the park from our hotel (or at least the tall stuff like the swing ride and skycoaster). I take a 15 min stroll down the road, trying to avoid getting hit as there are spots with no actual sidewalk.

S8Q7fkS.jpg


Minor cred anxiety ensued as it seemed like none of the rides were running. Turns out the park was just dead, which meant rides ran infrequently. There were at most 50 guests inside. Probably less.

fn4EcFO.jpg


tS6newI.jpg


Proof I was there.

h8pupYN.jpg


Before buying any tickets, I wandered up to the mouse to confirm it was open, since I hadn’t seen any cars running. No need to worry, there was a bored ride op waiting there with around 6 empty trains in the station. Went back to the main ticket booth at the front of the park, Google translate ready (the woman there spoke English, so that was all good). Turns out for individual ride tickets I had to buy them at the ride itself.

So I go back to the coaster, walk up to the ride op, showing him my translation on my phone. He points me to another ticket booth next door, which for some reason I didn’t spot before.

Finally get myself a single ticket, hand it to the ride op, and he sends me on my way on the Crazy Mouse.

k4otuvW.jpg


Turns out it was actually a Reverchon spinner, which I find a bit more interesting than the standard wild mouses (those are such a nuisance these days). Of the few models I’ve done, this one spun the most. It was a bit ridiculous actually.

HJvqNOi.jpg


But plus-one-and-done.

They had a second cred, but I wasn’t ready to pop my wacky worm cherry (god that phrase sounds absurd).

Vv0HnxH.jpg


F6YUemA.jpg


Didn’t stay long, made my way back.

UxiEAgW.jpg


So that was easy enough. I was actually laughing at myself going up the lift hill of the mouse, amused how I wound up staying next to some little French theme park and getting a bonus cred. My first and only French cred!

Honestly, I think I’ve peaked in my enthusiast career. How could you top that?
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
I only had a week between returning from my previous trip to traveling again, this time to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding (well, “second wedding,” as they got married in October 2020, so this was the chance for everyone to celebrate together). We flew in a few days early too, which gave me the opportunity to prioritize a visit to Six Flags Great America.

Ironically, despite visiting Chicago many times in the past to see family, I had never visited the park before. The last couple of visits were during the winter, and generally all the visits were limited to a weekend, and we obviously had things going on. This time, I made sure it was gonna happen.

Thursday, June 9th

I invited three of my cousins to join me, which worked out great because one of them was able to drive us up. I was planning to visit the park regardless if people joined me or not, but I underestimated the public transportation options (it was either gonna be an expensive Uber or an unnecessarily longer bus and train ride).

We arrived inside Six Flags Great America just in time for opening. The plan was to see if Maxx Force was running or not (conveniently at the front of the park), as that will depend on our game plan. I was actually surprised to see it open up on time. I thought I heard it had been closed for a while, plus the park’s website said “Coming Soon,” whatever that meant.

RcsQ5UD.jpg


hRWgAib.jpg


I figured it would take us 20 or 30 minutes to get on, but of course 10 minutes into the wait it breaks down. We waited a little longer, but decided to sack it because one: I wanted to get going on the cred run, and two: we found out there was a single rider, so we could easily try it later on in the day.

We made our way around to Joker, which had already built up a fairly respectable queue. Luckily this one also had a single rider, so all four of us managed to ride within 10 minutes.

ekYOPuv.jpg


My feelings on these rides have ranged greatly in the past, from kind of loving them to wanting to die. Luckily this one wasn’t too offensive. I got a few solid flips and it didn’t dump me on my head.

ansjlPp.jpg


But I’m kinda over these now. I think the constant fear of getting a brain aneurysm has prevented me from enjoying the ride.

AV1ZEXv.jpg


It’s a good thing we did Flash: Vertical Velocity next, because the queue later in the day spilled outside the entrance. It was only a station wait at this point.

mTuYVxn.jpg


This is another model I used to really like. Impulse coasters are still good rides, but this is the third one I’ve done at this point, so it’s kinda hard to get excited for them, especially as a shuttle coaster. Wicked Twister was the best of them, and that’s obviously gone (though that revival in China looks promising).

The original Batman: The Ride was excellent. It actually turned out to be my second favorite ride in the park. It’s great to see it still kicking ass after—*looks at date—holy **** it’s now been 30 years!

7saU3gw.jpg


I still prefer Great White and the Over Georgia model. Those ones are smoother, but this one makes up for it with the intensity. It also has some surprisingly nice landscaping, which is a nice change from the typical concrete.

tbiXucB.jpg


The Big Daddy was up next.

9xNMYW5.jpg


Little concerning upon approaching Goliath, as most of the queue was already full, but no worries there as we found the single rider queue. The single rider queues are basically shared with the flash pass queue in this park. But this one in particular was around the corner from the main entrance, with the single rider sign turned around so nobody could recognize it unless you were actually looking for it. This obviously worked in our favor because nobody else was using it, allowing us to bypass a 30 minute queue.

EUb7iBb.jpg


And the park handles single rider as it should be, assigning you to rows of odd numbered groups. I was lucky enough to be assigned back row for my first ride!

The biggest takeaway from Goliath is that it’s the most different from any other RMC I’ve ridden up to this point. I guess it’s actually their oldest model I’ve done (2014), which was before they started experimenting with the “let’s cram as much airtime as we can in such a small space” scheme that you find with Storm Chaser, Steel Vengeance, Twisted Timbers, and others.

But that’s part of the reason why Goliath is easily my least favorite RMC I’ve ridden. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the bigger elements here. It’s more so that the ride really is too short. I could forgive the ride time so long as there were more standout elements, but half the elements didn’t quite connect with me.

qAfGWZU.jpg


The drop is great as expected, as is the airtime hill, where you get sustained ejector. The stall was a highlight too of course. Though I surprisingly found myself preferring Intamin’s take on the stall from Velocicoaster and Pantheon. But I’d say that’s more to do with the comfort of the trains and them taking the inversions at faster speeds.

Iwp9CrV.jpg


That leaves the dive loop and the spooning overbanks. These elements are decent, but given the modest length of the ride, I kind of need a third of the ride to not be overbanks. They’re certainly more unique than say a B&M overbank as they give a little bit of laterals, but I’d like something a little more violent.

And I think the dive loop is the weakest part of the ride. It’s fine. The most interesting part about it is actually the headchopper when you dive into the structure.

HbrNeWF.jpg


But of course, I still really liked the coaster, and it’s the best ride in the park. It’s in my Top 30 (though it probably won’t last through the end of the year). It just needs to do a bit more, or swap some of the elements with more intense ones.

Knowing how easy the single rider line was, we kept moving on with the cred run and saved re rides for later. American Eagle only had one side running (no idea if they got the other side open later).

RYiosUF.jpg


Wasn’t expecting great things, but it was fine honestly. It probably would’ve been more enjoyable if it was actually racing, but on its own the bland layout sticks out a lot more. There was some solid airtime at the start (the hills are much lower than the first drop), and the big helix was pretty amusing, but the rest was pretty forgettable.

UgxuYKm.jpg


WdePAbD.jpg


Our position in the park set us up well for lunch. We found a lunch spot with several dining options together. Most of the lines were somewhat crowded, so we settled for the empty deli shop for some turkey burgers.

X-Flight was up next.

lXFnybS.jpg


2G3PoPo.jpg


This was kinda cool for me to ride. I remember seeing the announcement animation of this over ten years ago, back when I started to become interested in coasters. That was my first time learning about B&M wing coasters too, so I used to think this looked pretty cool.

u1r86U0.jpg


Obviously since then I’ve ridden my fair share of wingriders, so my expectations were pretty modest here. But X-Flight was good.

JdRrPZW.jpg


1s2Hm69.jpg


I’d put it in the middle of the wingriders I’ve done. It’s basically Swarm’s layout with a couple of differences for the better. And the stuff it does is actually interesting, unlike Wild Eagle. X-Flight also has locked vest restraints, but I didn’t find it as much of an issue than those other two.

NXreNZl.jpg


peAf912.jpg


But it’s not quite as exciting or interesting as Thunderbird or Gatekeeper. It has some good inversions and a pretty nice flow, and it surprisingly has some intense turns towards the end.

OezML2g.jpg


The thing that kept me from really liking it however was the slight vibration it has. I’ve had smooth rides on all the other models I’ve done, so it was a little surprising for this one not to be the case.

ZoFHbzB.jpg


nstd70e.jpg


0gZiRLf.jpg


vuqtXON.jpg


GfOSkn5.jpg


Some decent attempts at theming:

1ec3cc0.jpg


The queue for Raging Bull appeared quite long, extending nearly to the entrance (without using much of the switchbacks). It was all a deception however, as we got on in less than 20 minutes. I keep forgetting Six Flags likes to do this dumb thing where a staff member holds off the queue before reaching the station, then lets people go arbitrarily. It literally doesn’t do anything besides make the queue appear longer than it actually is.

Anyway, word on the street was that Raging Bull was pretty useless unless you sat in the very back row for the first drop. And that’s exactly what we did.

WatRgSD.jpg


FRzmz0q.jpg


1HNvMjn.jpg


I heard from multiple people that the first drop was bonkers in the back, and while I was ready to be disappointed, they weren’t wrong. Like holy ****, it got me. I don’t know how it’s possible, but it’s a legit ejector pop on a B&M, which I’m not sure you can say about on any other B&M, besides maybe Mako’s drop in the back row (that one really feels like you’re falling out of your seat).

HjVhzKR.jpg


Of course, the rest of the layout didn’t really do a whole lot, but it was honestly better than I thought it’d be. The trimmed camelback is obviously a thing, but I still got a little tug of weak floater in the back. It’s probably nonexistent in the front though.

UZ48XbA.jpg


QB1ahjh.jpg


6NqOC7r.jpg


K7KoINC.jpg


The drop off the midcourse is also fun, and there’s another little airtime hill which tries to do something. Even the final few turns were kinda fun. They didn’t do a whole lot, but that’s where I started to see what B&M was trying to do with the hyper-twister layout.

bja7Pbf.jpg


I could see this being a genuinely good ride if it wasn’t cucked by the trim. I’d almost go as far as saying that I’d like to see B&M take another stab at this style. But then again, they’ve perfected the out-and-back model so maybe stick with what they know best.

B6oFy9L.jpg


Raging Bull is obviously among the worst B&M hypers, but I might actually prefer it over Intimidator and Apollo’s Chariot, solely for the first drop in the back row. That moment truly is amazing and it’s the best element in the park. I know, you’re probably thinking “you shouldn’t judge a ride based on one row.” You’re not wrong, I’m sure this ride sucks in most seats. But I only did the back row, so that’s all I have to base it off of ;).

o6jfVJo.jpg


It was around 2 PM at this point. We were aiming to leave the park at around 4 PM, as we needed to get back in the city for a family gathering. I accepted that I wasn’t going to be able to knock off all the creds, so I prioritized the good stuff at this point. That meant no Demon (which would’ve been another ****ty Arrow), no Dark Knight (I don’t need another ****ing wild mouse), and no Whizzer (would’ve been interested to try it, but eh, didn’t want to wait).

But of course, we couldn’t skip Viper.

KEoa1eL.jpg


And it was great! I knew going into it that people viewed this as a hidden gem, and it really is a genuinely good ride. I was unfamiliar with the layout too, so it was cool to see more cheeky airtime hills pop up.

3f7I7Re.jpg


It also has some fun laterals. We rode towards the back, and I wasn’t even ready for the first drop. There’s a slight turn to the left, meaning you get yanked over as you tumble downs. Some of the longer make this awful noise, but it has some solid laterals.

Quh5QvA.jpg


4hwDwe5.jpg


QdLHAHt.jpg


KSp18Bb.jpg


Having completed the loop of the park, we planned to make another attempt at Maxx Force, however they were having problems again and the entrance was blocked off. The staff out front said to come back in 15 minutes.

We skipped Superman: Ultimate Flight earlier given its location at the front, so we went back there to pick it up. I was a little concerned about the wait here, as the other two clones set an example that Six Flags doesn’t know how to operate a flyer smoothly. But no issues here, and we were on in 10 minutes.

WdluaEe.jpg


I really like B&M flyers, and despite the really simple layout here, I still think these Superman clones are good rides. And the pretzel loops are still one of the best inversions out there.

BqMPgWl.jpg


wvlUu70.jpg


My cousins wanted to do Dark Knight, but I wanted to prioritize re rides on Goliath, rather than a lame +1 (I think they waited like 20 minutes). I broke off from the group and took advantage of the single rider.

Ke2MfsW.jpg


Upon my third ride, I was at the front of the single rider queue when there was a shift change for the batcher. The station was empty, so of course I figured the batcher would start filling people in, and assign me wherever was available.
Instead, she disregards the standby queue, turns to me, and says “How many?”
“Oh, you know this is the single rider queue, right?”
“Go right ahead.”
So I just walked to the front row in an empty station.

And can confirm, Goliath is a front row ride. The overbanks are a little more interesting there, particularly with the floater and laterals.

I met my cousins back at the front of the park. We needed to get going, but I went and gave Maxx Force one more chance while they got the car. I went into single rider, but alas, it wasn’t happening. There were probably sixteen single riders in front of me. With one train operations, it took five minutes to send two train cycles, none of which used any single riders. I probably could’ve got on in half an hour, but I didn’t have enough time. Oh well.

iWhOUfm.jpg


Another day.

kTOy8Aa.jpg


So only ended up getting 9 of the 16 creds, but honestly I’m pretty okay with that. Besides Maxx Force, all the other missed creds didn't look that good anyway:
  • I wasn’t gonna bother with the two kiddie creds to begin with
  • The other half of American Eagle wasn’t running, but as it’s mirrored, it’s practically the same
  • Demon looked horrible
  • **** the wild mouse
  • I supposed Whizzer would’ve been fun for the novelty, but ehh
And honestly, a +9 is still more than most parks anyway. I think if this was like any typical Six Flags visit, I would’ve been pissed and blamed it on the park, but I actually had a nice day. And all the creds we did were all good at the very least.

This was easily the best Six Flags park I’ve been to. The biggest reason I say that is that I didn’t run into any of the expected BS you deal with Six Flags, whether that’s incompetent/rude staff or obnoxious teenagers. The operations were actually pretty good for the most part (easily the best and most consistent I’ve seen at a Six Flags), and the park has a genuinely good coaster selection.

The game-changer that helped put it above the rest of the chain however was the inclusion of single rider queues in some (not all) of the coasters and station bins in ALL the coasters, meaning you’re not harassed into buying a locker or have to worry about losing a phone or something. Little things like that make way for a far more streamlined experience.

The park is definitely not pretty (others might disagree, but I tend to have higher standards when it comes to that). It definitely LOOKS like a Six Flags park, which is why I’d rank it along some of the mid-tier Cedar Fair parks, like a Carowinds or Kings Dominion, which might be nicer parks but are lacking in the coaster selection. Great America has great coasters, but they’re all plonked down mindlessly and don’t look good.

Still got another report to whip up. Hoping to get that in before my next big trip!
 
Last edited:

Matt N

CF Legend
Great report @Hutch; glad you seemed to have a good day! Shame you missed out on Maxx Force, but I’m glad you seemingly enjoyed most of what you did do!

Interesting to hear about Raging Bull’s drop; that one definitely sounds like a back row coaster! But if you want more B&M ejector pops, I’d give Silver Star a go if you ever get to Europa Park; that drop off the MCBR and some of the pops in the ending section feel like properly sudden ejector pops, which provide an interesting contrast to the floater airtime in the pre-MCBR sections!

With regard to single rider lines; I obviously wouldn’t know, having never visited a Six Flags park myself, but I get the impression that the new CEO wants them to be more common across the chain. I seem to remember reading in their recent financial report that he wants efficiency to become a greater focus at Six Flags parks, and one way he wants to do that is to introduce single rider lines across the board. With that in mind, I’d imagine they won’t be exclusive to SFGAm before too long.
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
With regard to single rider lines; I obviously wouldn’t know, having never visited a Six Flags park myself, but I get the impression that the new CEO wants them to be more common across the chain. I seem to remember reading in their recent financial report that he wants efficiency to become a greater focus at Six Flags parks, and one way he wants to do that is to introduce single rider lines across the board. With that in mind, I’d imagine they won’t be exclusive to SFGAm before too long.
I want to say that they were introduced or reintroduced at this park fairly recently. So here's hoping that other parks will follow suit.
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
This next part wound up being my most spontaneous trip ever, theme parks or otherwise. It also happened to be the most I’ve spent on a domestic flight.

The Buzzed Bars crew had put together another event at ValleyFair (Valleystumble!), and while I initially planned to attend, flights were NOT looking good at all. For the past few months, round trip flights from Boston to Minneapolis at these dates were tracking around $600-$700. A month ago, I accepted that it probably wasn’t going to happen.

After getting some FOMO the Wednesday before, especially after seeing folks begin to make their journey (some had plans for Adventureland and other obscure parks the days leading up), I looked up flights for ****s and giggles…

…and found flights that were… still more than I would’ve liked… but the lowest I had ever seen for this trip during this weekend. AND on a schedule where I wouldn’t have to take off any days of work. So I snagged them before prices climbed up again… and they climbed FAST afterward. Within several hours it went up to $2,000 round trip. I’m wouldn’t say it’s my most proud purchase, but it was close to my initial budget (and a budget taking into consideration how ****ed flights are these days). And of course it was worth it. Who doesn't love a trip to a new park with a bunch of fools?

Two days later, I arrived in Minneapolis at midnight (thanks for my connecting flight getting delayed an hour). It worked out okay, because I got to the hotel around the same time as @Hyde, @Antinos, @Snoo, @Youngster Joey, and Homer, who all had a drunken night out downtown.

hVMvX2S.jpg


Saturday, June 25


The threat of thunderstorms scared off the crowds for the first half of the day, even though the weather remained perfect all day. It made for an easy cred run and chill day.

g39QNnq.jpg


1oYNSjN.jpg


Naturally, the first ride to hit was Mad Mouse, and I’m pretty sure we got on the first train of the day. If you know me, you know I’m sick and tired of wild mouses these days, but this one was more interesting by default because it was a rare Arrow mouse.

0WxjwD2.jpg


GgEDr07.jpg


I assumed that the layout was identical to the stock models, so I was a little surprised to see some minor variation here. I didn’t know wild mice could do banked turns!

pTkFwmY.jpg


rfq4Zwv.jpg


The park really cucked the operations on this thing though. They have EIGHT cars operating, but they could only do one car running the course, one on the lift hill, four stacked in the station, and two stacked on the brake run. But then you could only load two cars at once (first two in the station), and they can’t unload the last car in line, even though it’s technically on the platform (and third train in between empty, in between loading and unloading).

You either have to do this early in the morning or at the end of the day, otherwise the queue builds up really really quick.

fOnfjLc.jpg


High Roller was a very solid PTC wooden coaster. You could tell that the park takes great care of it, as it has a fresh paint job and runs pretty smoothly. There were some solid airtime moments through the out-and-back layout. Shame this doesn’t have buzz bars though, but it didn’t stop us from getting a few rides in throughout the day.

QhWtJjz.jpg


aRIhSJO.jpg


CVI0bLZ.jpg


Since I was with a group this time, Cosmic Coaster was not as shameless as it would’ve been. Yes, this powered coaster counts as a cred.

W5c2C9R.jpg


MdRuPBJ.jpg


Corkscrew was one of the better loopscrew variations, solely because there wasn’t any head banging. What’s more surprising is that this is the park’s only inverting coaster.

cVieGPf.jpg


The loop was actually really intense in the front row.

ko6E5La.jpg


IjSYBUL.jpg


AuyyjPd.jpg


Even though I had just ridden an impulse a couple weeks ago, Steel Venom was much more interesting because it actually has a holding brake on the backspike.

8I6eyCi.jpg


I rode back row for the spike itself, and it was definitely a unique moment. It actually doesn’t last as long as I would’ve thought—it’s really no more than a second—but the power it sends to catch that heavy train is pretty cool. And it’s a fun one to watch too! It’s always funny seeing it happen and hearing half the train scream in surprise.

jNZr3ez.jpg


That moment isn’t exactly comfortable though. Upon going back up, I was like “Wait, there’s room between myself and the restraint… how is this hangtime going to work?”. And yeah, it definitely shoves your body into the restraint very suddenly.

Another interesting thing about Steel Venom is that they somehow removed that squealing sound that the LIMs usually make. Now it just sounds like a typical LSM.

Overall, I’ll gladly take this over some of the other basic models like Vertical Velocity and Possessed, but I still prefer the double twists on Wicked Twister.

I got a bunch of people to do the Flying Eagles with me. After getting a few snaps on the ones in Carowinds (which is a similar model), I was hoping I could do them here. But the cables were much tighter this time around, so no success. Still a fun ride though.

5gTkuFw.jpg


On our way over to Wild Thing, Hyde really wanted us to do the SuperCat for some reason. It’s just a typical Matterhorn spinner, something I haven’t done in over a decade at a local fair. It’s basically just “Here’s a bunch of constant laterals and **** off.” We seemed to enjoy ourselves though.

kXptpcb.jpg


I thought that Steel Force, Mamba, and Wild Thing were more or less clones of each other, so it was nice to see Wild Thing have some notable differences.

6r6YOQ7.jpg


K3XdJxo.jpg


The big difference being the first camelback actually being much lower than you’d expect. It’s almost half the height of the first drop, and still shorter than the hill after it. It had some excellent floater and lasted a good bit too.

GP1M7cb.jpg


Things start to fall apart in the twister section in the middle, with some shuffling of laterals reminiscent of an arrow mine train. At least the turns are kinda forceful and they maintain good speed. An afternoon reride in the front made things a little smoother too.

lNsjjoG.jpg


XvEU8Zw.jpg


XkleOnB.jpg


Hcpxw32.jpg


The hills at the end are solid though. Fun pops of airtime, but nothing super special. Overall, it’s definitely better than Steel Force, but I still think Steel Eel is a little more fun with its absurd valleys.

3dc9enf.jpg


Went to the back of the park for the remaining creds. Renegade of course was the most anticipated ride in the park, and it didn’t disappoint. I actually kept my expectations modest, which helped greatly in the end. Mystic Timbers had really been the only GCI that truly impressed me, and that includes things like Thunderhead and Texas Stingray. But Renegade is another fine example.

First impressions:
  • A lot more laterals than I expected
  • The perfect amount of “woodie shakiness”
JLbp6VV.jpg


Anything rougher would’ve been a bit too much, much like my rides on Thunderhead. But had it been smoother/less wild, it would’ve been like Texas Stingray. Renegade kicks your ass in a good way! And that’s exactly what I want in a GCI.

TQmiAEE.jpg


Night rides elevated it even further for me, to the point where I now rank it as my favorite GCI. Some standout moments:
  • GCI’s best first drop. I knew about the S-Bend decline, but I wasn’t expecting that much whip and laterals, especially in the back. Hyde seemed to forget about this drop on our first rides, and hearing him go “WHAT IS THIS?!” on our way down was hilarious. And then the forces down below are pretty intense.
  • The first airtime hill is low and prolonged, giving some wild flojector airtime that feels like it lasts longer than it should. It gets me every time.
  • After the turnaround, you have another low ejector hill immediately followed by a low, heavy-banked S-Bend. It flows so well.
The rest of the ride is filled with plenty of airtime, heavy laterals, and rapid transitions. All while maintaining a fantastic pace. Even some of the taller overbanks had some pretty strong laterals, making an otherwise basic turnaround into a worthwhile element.

FDJoLqc.jpg


Renegade is excellent. With just a few rides I knew it was better than a certain RMC woodie outside Chicago, having just ridden that two weeks priors.

After some lunch, Excalibur finally opened (sadly I don't have any pictures of it...just search a POV on Youtube lol). Snoo and Antinos had been hyping this bitch up from their visit last year, so everyone was excited to ride. I wasn’t convinced it could be that good, but I was certainly intrigued.

It wasn’t GREAT, but it’s probably the second most fun coaster in the park, just because of how ridiculous it is. It’s a short ride and a bit bumpy, but it has some great speeds and solid elements. The first drop is casually taller than Renegade and it’s steep for an Arrow, providing some fun airtime in the back. There’s a couple of wild turns that throw you around, and one or two airtime hills in between. The other highlight was hearing Hyde scream mid ride “WE GAVE THIS UP FOR GEMINI?!”.

Excalibur seriously is a fun coaster and not to be missed. Unfortunately I only got the one ride. They were doing one train ops and I guess it closed at around 8PM, so we didn’t get the chance to ride it again.

With the creds all checked off, we all regrouped for a fun tailgate.

9GKN2bn.jpg


It had gotten quite hot, so a few of us hit the water park for about an hour. We cooled off in the Ripple Rapids lazy river, turned it up on the Raging Rapids, were disappointed by the Breakers Bay Wave Pool, and got actual airtime on the Breakers Plunge body slide. I’m not kidding, your body loses contact with the slide on the drop for a brief second, making you question the safety in that moment. That moment was pretty exhilarating, but none of us were fans of the enema immediately afterward.

KlEW6gB.jpg


Having our fill of the water park, we left the park again to hit the brewery across the street, grabbing a reride on Wild Thing on the way out.

0fSR3O6.jpg


u4jAkcr.jpg


The park had set up some exciting events for us that evening, the first of which was inviting several of us on a float in their Grand Carnivale parade! I’m not a parade guy at all, but this was stupidly fun!

Escorting us to the access road to our float:

yAIcMpj.jpg


o1FufVP.jpg


LiejvcZ.jpg


LGoBFRQ.jpg


Antinos, Homer, @Scotingtonville, and myself getting hyped up:

5zSyYVt.jpg


After things settled down for a bit, we got a reride on High Roller before heading to the back of the park to get some nighttime ERT on Renegade! We cycled through several rides in half an hour, and it was running great in the dark!

That basically did it for our day at Valleyfair. I never thought I’d get to this park anytime soon, and going with a bunch of friends definitely helped me get up there. Otherwise, I’m not sure when I’d ever make the effort. It’s a pretty solid Cedar Fair park, and they’re very self-aware of what kind of park they are. It doesn’t get the attention of a Kings Island or a Carowinds (both from the goons and from the chain when it comes to major additions), but honestly Valleyfair is good as it is. Renegade is seriously one of the best woodies out there, and Wild Thing, Excalibur, Steel Venom, and High Roller fit well here as solid supporting coasters. Not necessarily something that will keep you busy all day, but between a Top 20 coaster, some solid supporting creds, a pleasant park, and friendly staff, that’s really all you need in a theme park.

I’ve got even more coming up… heading back to Europe on Saturday… once I get back I’ll try to get these out at a better pace.
 
Last edited:

Howie

Donkey in a hat
It worked out okay, because I got to the hotel around the same time as @Hyde, @Antinos, @Snoo, @Youngster Joey, and @Howie

Huh? I have no recollection of this whatsoever, or indeed, ever going to Valleyfair.
How much Rohipnol did you dose me up with, exactly? 🤔

😉
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
Huh? I have no recollection of this whatsoever, or indeed, ever going to Valleyfair.
How much Rohipnol did you dose me up with, exactly? 🤔

😉
OH MY GOD! That tag was meant for @Homer! Similar usernames, must've mixed them up real easily.

...unless you were there and the boys left you at the bar?
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
Here we go, biggest trip of the year, and one of the biggest I’ve ever done

Back in January, @LooperOne and @tomahawk put together a big ass Europe trip after their Japan trip fell through, thanks to Covid restrictions. The whole trip was about two weeks, but I only joined for a week as any longer would’ve been a burden against work and finances.

My flight schedule involved a 10 hour layover in Heathrow, before flying off to Hamburg to meet up with the gang. Turns out there was a theme park 15 minutes from the airport... not sure if anyone’s heard of it... I’m sure you’re dying to learn more about it.

The visit to Thorpe Park was never a total guarantee based on uncertainty with flights and delays right now. My second flight had a 6:55 PM departure out of Heathrow, so obviously I’d have limited time at Thorpe.

My first flight was not good. We departed about an hour and a half late for typical BS with gate availability and engine trouble. To make matters worse, the plane’s AC was ****ed, so I was sweating while we waited for the engine to start (thankfully the temperature was fine once we got in the air). On top of that, once we landed, of course our scheduled gate was occupied, so add another 15 minutes of waiting there.

Thankfully immigration was a breeze, and after an expensive cab ride, I was able to arrive to Thorpe Park at around 12:15. It was good to be back at Thorpe after 8 years, and honestly, even though I hadn’t done many international parks since (basically not again until this year), I never guessed I’d be revisiting this one first, especially before new visits to other parks. After 8 years, you’d think there’d be a new cred or two for me, but then I remembered the park is located in the UK, where coasters are more or less taboo there. If it weren’t for Exodus, we’d be reaching Michigan’s Adventure levels of neglect.

But more importantly, I got to meet these lovely fellows!

T2ZSFre.jpg


Turns out @Slamming Coastercore and @Serena had planned to hit up the park the same day as me. So of course, the main draw of this visit was to connect with these two :).

First ride of the day was not something I would’ve prioritized. We pulled a @Matt N, saw that Saw: The Ride was advertised as a 10 min wait, so we decided to give it a go.

DoaeCaE.jpg


Serena summed it up pretty well on the brake run: “That’s some of the best airtime in the UK!” which I’m not sure is a good or bad thing.

Compared to my previous visit, this ride ran a tad better. Jolts and shakiness were limited to a handful of spots, so it ran pretty okay for a Gerstlauer. And I still find the indoor portion hilarious.

nPxBUay.jpg


I’ve always admired the simple layout of Nemesis Inferno. It may be short, both in height and length, and it has a very standard order of inversions. But the ride knows exactly what it is: a compact B&M invert. It may not be the snappiest, but it does exactly what it needs to do and has some solids forces. Plus the landscaping and near misses are very welcoming.

LecVLWB.jpg


GoMQm4a.jpg


uW8JHmm.jpg


The bastard love child of Dragster and Kingda Ka is somewhat of a special coaster for me. Not only is Stealth the best ride in the park, it was my 50th coaster back then. The launch is still one of the greatest in the world, the trains are smooth, and the OTSRs aren’t a problem at all here.

8CtmpYY.jpg


The ride recently dropped out of my Top 30, and while I can’t warrant a spot back inside, it’s still amazing.

Having recently ridden X-Flight, I initially thought that was a better version of Swarm. However, despite having a simpler layout, I actually prefer Swarm now, all because of the smoother ride. X-Flight just has the slight rattle, but it's nonexistent with Swarm. I also prefer Swarm’s scenery placement.

MH8l3DM.jpg


Serena and Alex were eager to get a ride on Detonator. While I did ride and enjoy it 8 years ago, I'm glad they convinced me to ride it again because I probably would've skipped it otherwise. I’d forgotten how strong the ejector airtime is here. This ride can seriously hang with some of the better drop towers.

uBsrAQx.jpg


We finished off with another ride on Stealth. Look who's enjoying their front row ride:

RluLMv9.jpg


I needed to get going to ensure that I'd have plenty of time to make my flight. Alex and Serena were kind enough to give me a ride back to the airport. Seriously, thank you guys, that helped me a bunch with transportation and bag storage logistics.

Even though we only visited for a few hours on a weekend, I had forgotten how easy it is to lap through Thorpe, given its small area and low coaster count.

Now that I’ve done a lot more parks since my first visit, I’ve realized that Thorpe Park isn’t the greatest. It’s still better than a typical a Six Flags, mostly because of their legitimate effort at landscaping, but I don’t think there’s much here beyond a half day visit. The biggest improvement is honestly the installation of free water refill stations, which EVERY park should have (hell, LHR didn’t even have any of these!). Who’d have thought Thorpe would do something like that?

As for the rides, everything we did today was actually better than I originally thought. We didn't do Colossus sadly. I wouldn't have minded a reride, but the others were dreading it so we didn't bother.

But of course the big highlight of the day would be meeting some of our UK CF friends. That definitely won’t be the last time we meet up!

Despite my concerns, LHR security was actually super easy, and I even had enough time to sit down for an early dinner (I purposely skipped lunch in preparation for the time zone change; think it worked out as I wasn't super hungry most of the day). My flight to Hamburg was a breeze and my hotel was a short walk from the airport (although the hotel itself was one of the worse accommodations I’ve done).

Onto the new stuff in the next part!
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
Monday, July 18th

That morning, I met up with @LooperOne, @tomahawk, @Snoo, @Groot, @Sky, and a few other friends at the airport car rental. They all did Walibi Holland the day prior, and had a nightmare-ish flight early this morning out of Amsterdam.

We picked up our rental van and arrived to Heide Park shortly after opening. From first impressions, I knew this was gonna be a great park.

ET9l51x.jpg


Started off with Desert Race. I was pleased to see that some of the turns had been reprofiled from Rita’s original layout, which made the ride actually good. This meant that the forceful turns were reasonably enjoyable, and the restraint wasn’t trying to decapitate you on transitions. And of course, the launch is great as expected from a hydraulic system.

C3u3M8K.jpg


It’s a strange choice for the park though. Obviously the layout was meant for Alton Towers’s height limit, so why didn’t Heide make the effort for a more standard launcher with a top hat or more interesting elements?

ZXOQi3q.jpg


Colossos was one of the more anticipated creds of the trip. And it’s huge!

nWqltRs.jpg


VEfbgiD.jpg


G66QdB7.jpg


With El Toro being the only other Intamin prefab I’ve done, and knowing how rough it is, my biggest concern would’ve been the overall roughness/comfort level for Colossos. But I didn’t have to worry, given the recent overhaul and reports that it runs smoothly. And I can confirm, this is the smoothest wooden coaster I’ve done. In fact, it practically rides like a steel coaster, akin to an Intamin hyper/mega (it's essentially the closest thing we have to a wooden hyper coaster layout).

jc28TNI.jpg


I had a suspicion that this would be a front row ride, so I started off near there. And I suspected right. As soon as we charged over that first camelback, I knew this ride was a hit!

Hn8TmGL.jpg


Others in the group weren’t super impressed (they started off in the back rows), but we knew we’d return for rerides.

JKtrM4P.jpg


I think Vekoma has reached the Limit for worst SLC. You’ve heard bad things about T3, but this was even worse. Nothing but constant shakiness and restraints digging into your shoulders. Hated it. The only thing it adds to the park is the quirky white mess of tracking with its neighboring creds.

JyVLIo3.jpg


I was low-key excited to try out Bobbahn. The only other bobsleds I had done were Disaster Transport and Flying Turns, so the Mack model was a new one for me.

8RdgarI.jpg


Okay, so Bobbahn has officially taken the title of first coaster to make me cry. At least from laughter, because this thing was freaking hilarious! I came close to emotional tears on my first trimless Voyage night ride, and my first ride on Hagrid’s, but Bobbahn made me hysterical.

6upR1cL.jpg


A big part of our experience was coupling up some adults in the same car, same train. I cuddled with Snoo, and we got this bitch moving. The first few turns were fun, but the ride kicked into high gear after the first MCBR. Endless turns, tight helices, wild transitions, and surprise tunnels sent me into constant laughter and tears. It was so good! Easily the second best ride in the park. It's funny how elevated it is off the ground, but even then it uses the hillside so well into its layout.

xJVUd3y.jpg


We lucked out and managed to get on in five minutes, but no rerides on this unfortunately. It climbed to 45 min when we next checked.

I had heard mixed things about Flug der Damonen, but I think it’s pretty good! It’s smooth, has some fun inversions, and the theming and interactions are great. The spooky demon noises in some of the tunnels were quite funny too.

zSYC2ik.jpg


qZntV3F.jpg


7p7wShy.jpg


NS6q8Jo.jpg


SpesxCo.jpg


tU1g19B.jpg


9jgDWyC.jpg


17NkIWI.jpg


FPSop3U.jpg


Krake had a bit of a slower wait. You’d think that dive machines wouldn’t have any issues to get people dispatched at a consistent pace, but honestly I’ve seen other parks struggle with them as well. I think it comes down to the wider trains and having to manage the right number of riders for each row. And it doesn’t help when you also have to deal with a fast pass queue or single riders.

7h6RD9I.jpg


The coaster is good fun though. I used to think it looked fairly weak with its short layout, but recently I’ve come to appreciate dive machines that don’t have a MCBR. And honestly, the three elements here are solid. These drops are always fun, especially with some sort of tunnel or setpiece.

l4nrEA5.jpg


The immelmann was surprisingly really good. These are usually pretty mediocre inversions on dive machines, but this one was great. It probably helped that I sat in the back outside. And the airtime hill is fun, if nothing special.

hxETGh1.jpg


KCKQITh.jpg


IleJjyo.jpg


With the major creds out of the way, it was time for some lunch back up the hill. Next door was the drop tower… I didn’t realize this was called Scream?

qEZSbvf.jpg


It was great! I was honestly more excited for the view on this one, but the drop was incredible. It went on for so long, and felt like it braked lower than most drop towers. We liked it so much that we went back around immediately for a reride.

2GF3NE4.jpg


Making our way back the way we came, people began to split up. I wandered down by Spite Loop to check out the view.

W2vtjKG.jpg


9KnUcSH.jpg


h9BSCh9.jpg


fQ3Frkc.jpg


1h0OGDh.jpg


HZGt8Q9.jpg


SEjdcZ1.jpg


I continued my mission to hunt the missing creds, grabbing a reride of Colossos on the way.

lD57FTC.jpg


Grottenblitz was cute.

KuZHTpz.jpg


cGfofqW.jpg


And Indy Blitz was… unfortunate…

6tEJHBf.jpg


RCKR4jK.jpg


NRTcnYR.jpg


A few of us got a reride on Desert Race, mostly because it was there, before finishing off the day with a few more Colossos rides.

GG9uTy3.jpg


I think I loved it more than anyone in the group. It had definitely warmed up a bit more, and it was giving off some incredible airtime. Back row was a ton of fun and gave a very different style of airtime, but the front is still the place to be. Everything exceeded my expectations, but it was also everything I could’ve hoped for.

8gfTHli.jpg


Also, this thing is so cool:

cC38qb9.jpg


HQrDmIf.jpg


8ZGfbBJ.jpg


So this was a great park to kick off the main portion of the trip. Operations were struggling on a couple of the rides, but other than that, no drawbacks whatsoever (I’m not even gonna complain about Spite Loop). Colossos is amazing, there’s a good amount of solid supporting coasters, and the park is beautiful. I’d be more than happy to return here. Loved it!

JWdDfss.jpg


f1O7zR1.jpg


aHv8JPS.jpg


oQPH51N.jpg


We had another easy drive back up to Hamburg, this time staying at a hostel in town.

Up next, can Gerstlauer finally prove themselves as a worthy manufacture?
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
Tuesday, July 19th

67Uyit1.jpg


Besides some of the major attractions, I didn’t know much about Hansa-Park leading up to the trip. Between Kärnan and Highlander, which are two of the most intimidating rides in the world, I was pretty surprised to learn that Hansa was much more of a family park.

gC7SFJr.jpg


If anything, that makes it even cooler that a coaster as ridiculous as this exists in a park like this, surrounded by a bunch of family rides.

XCUkhEU.jpg


And with De Schwur des Kärnan being that main draw, naturally we went there first.

Upwe0zK.jpg


I know it took them a couple years to get it sorted out, but I’m really glad we got to experience this ride with its complete theming. I’m not kidding when I say that this is Universal/Disney level theming here. Between the showroom in the queue, the “row roulette” just before boarding, the music, and everything in the tower, the buildup to the ride is incredible.

Now before I get into the ride itself, I ran into an issue once we got to the locker room. So I chose to wear my flip flops for the day. Now I’m a big flip flop guy, and the way I roll is that if it’s warm enough to wear shorts, might as well wear flops. I used to always wear sneakers at theme parks, but I recently tried them at Universal Orlando. No problem wearing them on VelociCoaster, and since then I’ll try to wear them at other theme parks, so long as there aren’t any coasters where your feet are dangling.

Anyway, I guess I didn’t realize that the new Gerstlauer trains leave your feet dangling, so I was told I couldn’t ride with flip flops.
“Okay, I’ll go barefoot. Leave my shoes in the locker.”
“No you need to have shoes on.”

This situation led the staff to escort me directly to the exit platform. While the others went off to ride, I hung around trying to figure out a solution. Communication was difficult here given the language barrier, but it was just enough to where we could barely understand each other. The ride op on the exit platform suggested I go buy some shows from a gift shop. I had sneakers from our van, so I was like "I’ll go get my sneakers, but could I get an exit pass or something so I wouldn’t have to wait again?". She sympathized with that but wasn’t sure how to go about handling it… didn’t seem like they have special exit passes lying around like other parks. By this point the others had just returned to the station, and one of our friends was like “Here, switch shoes with me,” which made me feel silly as that would’ve been an obvious solution.

Now wearing sneakers slightly bigger than me, without any socks, they escort me back into the locker room. DEFINITELY a damper to start off the day, especially since I would’ve liked to be with everyone for our first ride, but what can you do.

7ZJr02n.jpg


Ok, spoiler territory up next.

So unfortunately I knew about the reverse lift drop. What’s even more annoying was that I only got it spoiled earlier this year, after watching a video of a heavily-inspired RCT2 coaster, hacked with the feature. I always assumed that the big trick everyone went on about was the inversion at the end of the ride, but as soon as I saw that RCT video of all things, I immediately knew that’s what it was. I never would’ve suspected it.

That being said, the drop still got me. The anticipation was very reminiscent of rising up a drop tower, so much so that I had a firm grip on the restraint as we rose up, while still having a smile on my face. I expected it to be more like the “chain snap” on Big Grizzly Runaway Mine Train, so I was surprised to see us sitting still on our backs for a decent time. The drop itself is good fun, nothing TOO crazy, but I’m still upset I didn’t have that opportunity to go in blind. It’s a rare opportunity to be surprised by insane features on a coaster these days.

What’s arguably just as good as that drop are all the sound effects synched up with it. The draw bridge/chain lift sound effect, the projected ghost/king/whatever on the ceiling, the epic music as you rise back up. It might be my favorite audio design on any coaster. Then you have that awesome twisted first drop.


All things considered, it's an incredible sequence to kick things off on Kärnan. But once you get outside, the ride remembers that it’s a Gerstlauer, so you’re immediately greeted with a rattle that doesn’t let up until the brakes. That’s a problem.

jZcS4E0.jpg


So I don’t have an issue with the layout. The non-inverting sea serpent is pretty ridiculous, there are some wild and snappy transitions (could see them being unpleasant if it had the OTSRs), a couple of great pops of airtime, and it maintains its speed very well. But the rattle is just not good. It didn’t help that I ended up on the back right for my first ride, but thanks to my lack of both sleep and water that morning, I wound up with a headache.

xmb3E7U.jpg


iolwWBv.jpg


UCCePbC.jpg


ciC8Mha.jpg


Oh, and I hate the slow inversion at the end. I appreciate that Gerstlauer stopped doing these things near the start of their older rides, but they really do fit better near the beginning. Putting one in after the brakes adds absolutely nothing, and after that rattle fest I had, it was rather unpleasant.

KJM5SqR.jpg


I still gotta give the ride respect for having one of the best starts on any coaster ever. And I definitely wanted a reride, preferably in a better seat, but I needed to get rid of this headache.

65lbpuD.jpg


I swapped my shoes back, went back to the parking lot, put on my sneakers, and took a moment to drink some water, pop an Advil, and eat another protein bar. I started to feel much better walking back in.

So that wasn't a good start to the day, between the lack of sleep, delay in getting my first ride in, the ride itself giving me a headache, and losing a half hour to get back to the car. Luckily the park itself is pretty small and the distance to the parking lot wasn’t too bad. I kept thinking, what if this happened to me at Kolmarden? I was actually planning to wear flip flops to that park, knowing they’d be fine on Wildfire. But I decided against it, given the uncertainty of their policy.

Alright, back to the coasters. I was a couple creds behind the others at this point, so I ended up doing a decent amount of the park myself. Everything was getting decent queues, but they all seemed around 20 min or so. The next two felt slower than others thanks to one train operations.

QclBdtE.jpg


Royal Scotsman was actually a pretty legit kids coaster. Could anyone expect this ride to have actual positive and lateral forces?

pgDPrdy.jpg


The interaction with the Schwarzkopf is also really cool; something straight out of RCT. There was one moment I saw the train thread the loop, as Nessie sent its riders upside-down. Where else in the world can you see something like that?

esRy9QW.jpg


And Nessie was also a lot better than I expected. Upon first glance, the layout looks super simple with essentially a loop and nothing else interesting. But there’s a couple of really good airtime moments hidden in there. I even sat in the middle and was still floating out of my seat.

LQ093sL.jpg


And the loop itself is real good as well. It sounds like a car crash, but it’s a car crash you want to be in.

qVqKCzN.jpg


Nessie also has great interaction with Highlander. Apparently some changes have been since the tragedy in Florida, as they’re both Funtime drop towers. Seatbelts have been added, and instead of the ride dropping in the tilt position, it has more of a tease tilt at the top before reverting in the upright position for the drop itself.

7Gts5ie.jpg


The drop wasn’t as good as the one at Heide Park, but the views of the Baltic Sea were even better.

z3jIx64.jpg


Ironically, I told myself I’d stop whoring the kiddie creds, unless I was on a group trip. Yet here I was, doing Kleine Zar by myself, much like I did with Indy Blitz the day prior. What am I doing with myself?

SRPJc8e.jpg


UGwbu7Y.jpg


The others weren’t far behind, so we all regrouped for a ride on Flucht von Novgorod. Theming continues to be top notch here. My favorite set piece was the creaking door that’d open up as you dispatch. Funny enough, this was my first Gerstlauer with an LSM launch. And that’s something they’ve nailed! I knew this was the fastest acceleration in Europe, and it didn’t disappoint. If only they got rid of that dumb pre drop into the rolling launch, and it’d be even better.

aOcfxsz.jpg


Other than that Magnum style turnaround, the launch, and the classic Eurofighter lift and drop, I didn’t know much about the layout. So I was pretty surprised to see this sharp airtime hill upon approaching the ride. This is what I imagine the bunny hill on Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger should’ve been like, judging from recent reports.

dopxrX1.jpg


So the ride didn’t rattle like Kärnan, but thanks to the OTSRs there was a fair amount of headbanging, particularly in the Magnum turnaround. But also I ended up greying out here, which caught me by surprise! The following inversion isn't great though. Better than Kärnan’s I guess.

m2SgsSq.jpg


So I think they have the layout backwards here. They should really start off with the vertical lift hill, drop it into the outside portion, and then after the inversion, put the launch there into the remaining indoor elements. Having the lift hill halfway through the ride breaks up the pacing, and swapping these sections out would solve that. Oh, and put lap bars on this thing.

SfxhPY9.jpg


So solid ride, probably the best of the Eurofighters—again, mostly carried by the indoor elements—but could use some work.

FHzTQrb.jpg


A6cLFgO.jpg


KRsgIUz.jpg


I needed some lunch, and while the others went off to do the raft ride behind Kärnan, I had some clean up to do.

V8z3Dao.jpg


You know how much I’m sick of wild mice now, but Crazy Mine is the worst of them all. I admire the theming they’ve done here, but it ran like ass. Also, somehow these are the tightest seats on any wild mouse I’ve done.

The worst part? That god awful brake run. Oh my god. It was a series of stop and go pumps in the worst way possible. You should’ve seen my reaction! It caught me off guard on the first one. It just about killed me in the second one. So you can imagine my misery when it did it a THIRD time, ragdolling my ass around. Just why?

3bZGLyr.jpg


At least the last cred, Schlange von Midgard, wasn’t so bad. I had a hard time remembering the proper name of the coaster, so I settled for calling it the Schlong Cred. Funny enough, I just found out that schlange translates to snake, so I guess my nickname isn’t inaccurate.

kvMGMAI.jpg


I mentioned Gerstlauer is at their best when it comes to themed indoor portions of their coasters, but they also know how to deal with family coasters. Up until this trip, my favorite Gerstlauer was Firechaser Express, because it doesn’t have any of the usual Gerstlauer BS, and is actually also a thrilling ride. The Schlong isn’t quite as long or exciting, but you get to go around twice (...I’m sorry I’ll stop now 😛).

We were interested in trying out our first Gerstlauer sky fly, but we decided against it as we wanted to hit the road soon. Plus there'd be another opportunity at a later park.

ux1FzIs.jpg


We all regrouped for a reride on Kärnan, and this ride was much better than the first. I still ended up in the back row, but I made sure to sit on the inside. Plus, I was feeling much better than I did this morning, so no headaches this time around.

5a2yWPX.jpg


While I'm able to keep my hands up, it’s still a bit of a rattly mess. If it was smooth, I could see Kärnan being a Top 20 ride. The tower seriously is a world class experience, but Gerstlauer really needs to figure their **** out. I honestly don't have hope for their future rides (or any of their other rides) if this is the best they can do. The park should’ve had Intamin do this instead.

It was only around 3:30 PM at this point, but we were all pretty tired and needed to hit the road. We had a four hour drive to Aarhus and we didn’t want to get in too late.

The more I think about it, the more I can appreciate Hansa-Park. I didn’t have the best start there, but I couldn’t help but admire all the theming and design. It’s such a well put together family park, with a couple of big boy rides to put it on the map. That being said, those big boy rides aren’t quite there to reel me back in anytime soon. They have Gerstlauer’s best coasters, but at the end of the day, they’re still Gerstlauers. But even beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be enough quantity that’ll interest me for another day… I mean, we cred ran it all in half a day. But I guess it’ll be one of those parks where you focus on other rides that I otherwise wouldn’t bother with at other parks. It’s also a such a pretty park, and $45 for a ticket is pretty ideal.

I had an amazing nap on the drive up to Denmark. While asleep, I vaguely remember a conversation about swinging by another park—or something—to pick up a butterfly cred (according to Coast2Coaster at least). But they would’ve closed by the time we got there, oh well (not that I'm complaining).

JQyYm2Q.jpg


l4Rer3v.jpg


More family parks up next!
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
Wednesday, July 20th

While the previous two parks were somewhat of a leisurely cred run, this was the one day where rope drop was necessary. Today's schedule involved two parks, each with 8 coasters, with a two hour drive in between. I’m sure @HeartlineCoaster is laughing this off as child’s play after his torturous cred run of Six Flags St. Louis and Worlds of Fun for one day, but for us, success (including rerides) wasn’t quite a guarantee.

It turns out, despite some concerns heading into it, that this was by far the best day of the trip.

m0IJkk3.jpg


Like Hansa-Park, Djurs Sommerland is much more of a family park than anything else. Leading up to the trip, this subtly became one of my more anticipated parks, despite the lineup being—besides the sexy Intamin—pretty much family coasters. I hadn’t heard many opinions about the park, but nothing negative.

Moreso than the park we were hitting in the afternoon, I was expecting Djurs to be a tricky cred run. With only a few hours on the table, the typical “start back and work your way to the front” may not have been the best strategy. You could make an argument for most of the creds to hit first, be it low capacity, single train family coasters, or simply being popular rides… what to do? But honestly, we didn’t have to worry.

Since we were successful in arriving before opening, we decided it’d be best to quickly knock out the creds in the front of the park, and stay ahead of the crowds slowly making their way back. This included a rope-drop on Piraten.

mziTtao.jpg


First train of the day, back row… given the circumstances, it ran much better than I expected it to. Solid airtime on all the hills… but let’s come back later…

On the way to the other “tall” coaster.

Aej2hMb.jpg


But hold on let’s grab Jungle Rally first while we're here.

nqRmPAN.jpg


And it’s a good thing we knocked out DrageKongen when we did. Seems like it’s the most popular ride in the park! And for good reason. It’s definitely a hit with the park’s core demographic: a relatively tall and thrilling coaster that’s accessible to everyone, but sprinkled with a little bit of Djurs magic to make it a big deal. Seriously, the station is so cool. The synchronized lights as the trains enter and exit the station, the sound effects as it dispatches, and mini launch out of the station? And I knew nothing about the layout, so kicking it off with a mini launch and a little indoor pre lift hill section was a fun surprise.

LghWMGD.jpg


K3nWFF0.jpg


0G4qwo9.jpg


And the main portion is a delight. Nothing super interesting of course, but it’s surprisingly lengthy and the landscaping is super awesome. The clearance with the ground is actually insane, my feet definitely kicked some plants multiple times.

Rs2vCD1.jpg


PF6CB5w.jpg


It probably made more sense to grab Skatteøen right after Piraten, given their location, but it was still a walk on so it was fine.

uIrO3lN.jpg


Surprisingly fun! Of all the major coasters in the park, this one seemed one of the least interesting going in, but it was actually solid. I was expecting the coaster portion to not be in great shape, but it was perfectly smooth.

Z6L8Wic.jpg


The main drop has a nice kick here too, with a random change in pitch a third of the way down. That’s obviously followed by a fun airtime hill into the splash, which wasn’t too wet in the back row. The theming also continued to be top notch here. I especially love the ride ops randomly smacking riders in the head with their swords.

HxD7mh1.jpg


CrtUWnf.jpg


IpXwrgJ.jpg


gla9Bga.jpg


That was half the creds down in 45 minutes. Let’s calm down a little bit.

eGHePj4.jpg


Now that we were in a more relaxed state, we decided to pay attention to a new ride type for me.

c5CEkIl.png


Speedy Gonzales was a hoot! Since it’s self operated, we ignored the max load limit and risked our lives on this thing. I rode with @LooperOne and our raft got actual airtime with a split second of freefall, and I nearly broke my legs as we crashed into the wall. Hilarious stuff!

It also gave good views of Piraten.

7ko0ibk.jpg


fcCi3Do.jpg


uQL4Hzh.jpg


For some reason I thought Thor’s Hammer was just another wild mouse, so I pleased to find out it was actually a Gerstaluer bobsled. Another new ride type for me.

sHjMz6K.jpg


Yw9YvZl.jpg


And remember when I said Gerst is good at family coasters? That includes these. This was solid fun, and by far better than any kind of wild mouse. It still has some of the goofy hairpin turns, but they’re limited so it’s not too repetitive. The helices and bunny hops are decent enough, but the ending down by the river was pretty cool.

rrcKMjI.jpg


0J5SyfP.jpg


xwGUGAZ.jpg


8TFJ2ly.jpg


Juvelen was fantastic, better than I expected honestly. I love Hagrid’s, but this was giving it a run for its money. The first launch and few turns are nothing special, but Juvelen really cranks it up with a strong second launch and surprisingly forceful turns. Lots of quick transitions, low to ground turns, and hidden landscaping and waterfalls to really give it a good sense of speed. Easily the second best coaster in the park. Intamin have a real winner with their motorbike coasters.

AKPhgan.jpg


jq6rRr7.jpg


On our way back to hunt the other creds, we got distracted by the trampoline playground. How cool is this place?

A8tJWNr.jpg


IYnU7yM.jpg


84Tr4f1.jpg


Our longest wait of the day ended up being Vilde Hønsejagt at 20 minutes (which was honestly not worth the wait if it were up to me, but we were doing great on time). At least the train is cute.

6mmCyBQ.jpg


eQQj6Ww.jpg


We had trouble finding the last cred, but eventually found the T-Rex Family Coaster . It’s pretty funny that a Mack powered coaster was built in 2022, but I suppose it works for the kids.

PqPhOyL.jpg


Beside the two kiddies creds, this ended up being the least interesting of the coasters, partly because of the lack of intensity, partly because the landscaping/theming isn’t as interesting (although still much better than most of the parks in the States).

TtsLqDd.jpg


The second lap was a little quicker, which made things like the helices a bit more exciting. But the highlight was the staff. Before boarding, a couple of us were able to bypass a queue as ride ops were looking for two riders… this resulted in a staff member using his dinosaur bone to literally push people out of the way to let us through, which was hilarious. Additionally, as we began our second lap, the ride ops sprayed us with water guns! A dinosaur also spat at me as well. Okay, this ride isn’t all that bad.

With all 8 creds completed in about 2 hours, we split off to do our own thing for a bit, before rendezvousing at the entrance. After a super quick lunch, I did a quick loop around the park.

The little boats in the back of the park seemed really cute, and it’s in a really nice area of the park. I decided to skip it since we were still limited on time (nobody else seemed interested anyway).

LpyHQJV.jpg


I would’ve loved to get another ride on Juvelen, but it looked like it had a minor breakdown. Knowing next to no Danish, I assumed the staff member outside was explaining to me the situation, but seemed to be okay if I wanted to enter in line and wait anyway. It's funny, despite the language barrier in these countries, you could kinda figure out what people meant or needed from you (e.g. signaling me to pull my lap bar down or if I was okay to keep my sunglasses on while riding).

So that left me with one priority.

POBsAMS.jpg


Given that it was only midday, and being in the front of the park, I figured I’d be lucky to get maybe two rerides on Piraten.

vIkMwHp.jpg


How about eight more instead? The ride was basically a walk on, or sometimes an extra train wait or two for the back row. They had both trains running, and staff were killing it. I was pretty happy with it in the morning, but it had warmed up significantly more than I expected. The airtime was borderline painful, but in the best way possible.

It’s such a fantastic little layout too. So much stuff packed in there. I love how the first couple of elements are on the "tamer" side, before gradually getting more intense as it goes on. The drop into the low turn is super fun. The g-forces are smooth, and if you’re on the right side you just want to reach out and try to grab the grass.

WN88m6R.jpg


The hill underneath the lift is more playful than anything, but it gets serious in that big ejector hill afterward. Fantastic sustained ejector, more so than the camelbacks on Colossos a couple days prior.

pLE2J3l.jpg


Then it’s one of the best sequences of elements on any coaster. Intamin loves twisted airtime hills, and the three here are by far the best of the bunch. It’s some of the strongest ejector you’ll ever get, and transitions give wild laterals that ragdoll your body all over the place. I couldn’t get enough of it.

dKGVBqu.jpg


The last few bunny hills are a bit of a relief after the chaos preceding it. You’re still buzzing from what just happened, but you're still treated with some more traditional ejector.

One could argue that the last turn and on-ride photo into the brakes are a weak ending compared to the rest of the layout, but you’re satisfied and happy anyway, who cares?

It’s an incredible ride, much better than I expected. Knowing how I rank Superman: The Ride, and hearing impressions on Goliath and Expedition GeForce, I figured Piraten would rank similarly those early Intamin mega and hyper coasters. Maybe Top 20, probably Top 30 (for reference, Superman isn’t even in my Top 30 anymore), but Piraten easily earned it’s way into my Top 10. It was the best ride of the trip, and my new favorite European coaster (Nemesis must be pissed at me).

It was a really solid whore session in about 45 minutes, but it was time to go. If you couldn’t tell, Djurs Sommerland is such an amazing park. I literally had no complaints. It helped that we weren’t expecting much out of the supporting coasters, having known fairly little, but we truly enjoyed all of them and would gladly reride them all when I revisit. It also helped that we were expecting a stressful cred run, but it turned out to be a pretty relaxing visit. The staff were amazing too… but I’ll touch more upon them when discussing the next Danish park though.

And of course, the park is lovely (see a theme here with these European parks? Take note America). Honestly if I was 10 years old, Djurs would be my favorite park. There are a lot of accessible coasters that aren’t just the basic family rides—they’re genuinely fun and thrilling. I seriously can’t wait to get back. I could definitely spend a whole day here.
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
After a fantastic visit to Djurs, part of me was honestly kind of dreading Fårup Sommerland. Other than the coaster lineup, I knew nothing about the park, and hadn't heard much about it. But we also faced another cred run in limited time. We got a little concerned upon seeing how full the parking lot was, but honestly we didn’t have to worry. We ended up cleaning house in another two hours.

o41vq1y.jpg


And it’s such a beautiful park! And surprisingly large too. While the previous few parks rely a lot on themed areas, Fårup was purely natural beauty.

72a7qMe.jpg


Z9iOecc.jpg


3Ynhxkd.jpg


Djurs left me with 299 creds, so naturally it made sense to have the shiny new cred be 300.

uZ1cW5J.jpg


With the exception of some of the family suspended coasters, Fønix was truly my first new-generation Vekoma coaster. I remember people raving about Lech Coaster back when it first came out, but I couldn’t see Vekoma all of a sudden come out with a Top 10 coaster. After a few years I started to accept that maybe they have changed, and the excitement to ride Fønix slowly built up.

NKHZkz0.jpg


Started off with a couple rides in the front and back, and it’s very impressive.

JzgoYar.jpg


We all got plenty of rides throughout the evening, and we all agreed on one thing for sure: it’s a top tier layout. Every single element pops, and there are no dead spots.

OiTKNuZ.jpg


My only gripe with the ride are the restraints. The shoulder straps aren’t the most comfortable, and they kept digging into my shoulders during the airtime (which there’s a lot of). It’s 2022, Vekoma needs to step it up and focus on lap bars. They’re almost there, literally all they need to do is get rid of the shoulder straps and they can keep the rest as is.

Other than that, Fønix is very rerideable. Apparently the park wanted something like Lech Coaster but toned down a little, and it works. In fact, everyone else in our group had ridden Lech the week prior, and I think just about all of them preferred Fønix over Lech.

Yr8iaEt.jpg


It does have an intense moment at the start though. The new stall loop inversion is so cool. After a great drop, you’re shoved with some positive gs and then the perfect amount of hangtime. Reminiscent of Copperhead Strike (like the loops, not that awful jojo roll).

xQXlia4.jpg


Then you're twisted out of that and dumped back to the ground. I can’t wait to see more of these elements. The one on Circuit Breaker should be excellent, as it’s preceded by a snappy barrel roll.

sPgkdCP.jpg


The rest of the layout is a great mix of airtime, inversions, and whippy transitions.

eOZ7XHE.jpg


Rmy9B9I.jpg


Of course, the other highlight is the barrel roll through the station. Such a great gimmick.

57gzgeO.jpg


4RDirqz.jpg


Even the last third, which seems like it’s trying to be an RMC, doesn’t let up.

GQNc1QN.jpg


oMft7UY.jpg


Znc5Awj.jpg


To top it all off, the station looks great, and there’s plenty of interaction and vantage points around the plot.

cGsc9Iv.jpg


EQ5KsLJ.jpg


If it weren’t for my milestone, it would’ve made sense to save Fønix for later. The park is surprisingly huge, with the general layout being long and somewhat thin, but it wasn't hard to find the rest of the creds.

It turns out that Mine Expressen wasn’t some kind of mine train, but just another stock Vekoma kiddie coaster. At least this one was a little more interesting thanks to the dense forest.

M1fuMht.jpg


MqvAnr3.jpg


Up next, more Vekoma. And another new model for me: my first family boomerang.

WdSkleT.jpg


Saven was so cute! I dig the out and back style, and it’s so well presented. Gardens, ponds, water splashes, and tunnels, it looks great. Especially the spike.

Xt0ky8q.jpg


tyivEiZ.jpg


And it’s a fun ride too. Great investment for a family coaster: tame, but still a fun distraction for the adults.

tFBaUgL.jpg


XSJwwTz.jpg


xZH1aEF.jpg


KE5fOp1.jpg


I don’t think I’d heard of any opinions on Lynet, but it’s a Gerstlauer… that means it’s gotta be great, right? I actually had hope when I found out it has the same trains as Dare Devil Dive, which is by far their smoothest Eurofighter. But all that hope goes down the drain after realizing that, unlike the Triple D, Lynet is stuck with OTSRs.

So it starts off promising. Like Novgorod, it has a punchy launch. It’s almost ruined by that awful pre drop though… Gerstlauer really needs to stop doing those.

gXfUAzn.jpg


The little top hat and following airtime hill give strong ejector. Even the mid course gives plenty of air on the entry and exit. It’s a little awkward with the shoulder restraints though.

But things fall apart in the second half. Oh my god. It’s Gerstlauer at their absolute worst. I’m not kidding when I say it’s comparable to old Arrow loopers. Constant headbangning and shaking around in awkward turns and inversions.

EumcHGI.jpg


But honestly, if I’m ever back at the park, I’d probably still reride it because it’s there (and if there’s no wait, like there was today).

GasMImt.jpg


Flagermusen is another stock spinning mouse, but this one is absolutely absurd. It has the craziest spinning I’ve ever seen or experienced on a spinning coaster, so it was actually pretty fun. A bit TOO much spinning perhaps. I actually ended up with a sore neck and shoulder blade after this, and it remained like that for a few days.

7qi96g1.jpg


sDn5nxA.jpg


We were warned that Falken was pretty violent, so we settled for somewhere in the middle. They were only running one train, but this was where we learned that Fårup tends to give riders a bonus ride, even when there’s a full station of people lined up to ride.

oGQIhLs.jpg


It was annoying at first. With one train operations, it essentially doubled our wait time (but even then it was only about 10 minutes). But I couldn’t complain. Most of the riders here were kids, and the lone ride op did a great job interacting with them and getting them hyped up. It was actually kinda sweet. The ride op was also really efficient by herself when checking the restraints and dispatching (and spraying riders with a water gun as they left the station).

gCMEnX7.jpg


Anyway, Falken wasn’t GREAT, but it was kinda fun, mostly for the wrong reasons. It actually had a couple solid moments of airtime . But other than that, the turnaround is pretty bad, and there’s some hilariously questionable profiling in the middle of the layout. And the helix finale is pretty wild.

Definitely could’ve been worse, most certainly had we be on a wheel seat, but we didn’t mind being sent around again (although we mostly didn’t want to delay anyone by asking to be let off while everyone else stays on).

7pYCODB.jpg


I also love how they don’t even bother to lower the lab bars down in an empty seat. And if you dropped a water bottle on the track? Who cares! It'll be there all day.

seVsKuk.jpg


Before Orkanen, the only other Vekoma SFCs I’d done were Freedom Flyer and the some of the early ones at the Paramount Parks, none of which were particularly interesting. Orkanen was obviously a step up, but I wasn’t expecting much.

59gismi.jpg


I loved it! I’m seriously regretting not going back around for a reride, as it was genuinely really good. Even better than Intamin version at Djurs.

0JazD9u.jpg


The drop into the underwater tunnel and the following overbank are a great start. It also had some surprising positive g forces in the helices, And like DrageKongen, my feet were kicking the grass. The interaction and landscaping are really well done. It looks lovely!

uE9mFFx.jpg


wcdEbYs.jpg


9Lk2DAf.jpg


NZbxAzh.jpg


txBsHAv.jpg


UYUEl5f.jpg


vSr7MFC.jpg


Can’t forget the last cred, Pindsnivet.

LPL0uKL.jpg


We all regrouped back at Fønix for a couple more rides.

vNq5mjl.jpg


3C5BTjC.jpg


yCoFXj4.jpg


VvYLEGw.jpg


55OyAE1.jpg


WUXHhLe.jpg


o4tPckH.jpg


SzD5Ua7.jpg


We also distracted ourselves with some other things, including the playground…

P6h5Ruo.jpg


aVyp1nY.jpg


...and their log flume, Træstammerne, which was a ton of fun. Standard stuff (other than the second drop dropping immediately into a turn, RCT style). But @CoasterMOG was rocking his flume a little too much and nearly swamped their boat. 🤣

sRqyrQL.jpg


On our way out, we noticed their chair swing, Nøddesvinget, has a backwards cycle, so we hopped on for a spontaneous and unique ride. Great stuff!

KAXJenZ.jpg


We departed shortly before closing. I had no idea what to expect out of Fårup Sommerland, but we had a ton of fun. In terms of rides, there’s nothing super noteworthy beyond Fønix, but we still kept ourselves entertained for a few hours. The family Vekomas are good fun. Falken and Lynet aren’t that good, but they're worth riding again anyway and work for this park. But because of that lukewarm lineup, you’re gonna be encouraged to try out other rides that you would otherwise skip.

9ny9IPq.jpg


Fårup Sommerland is probably the most adorable park I’ve been to. It's super pretty, and the people are great. Ironically, some areas reminded me of some classic, low key American theme parks, like Canobie Lake. But the way the rides are presented, the families, and the staff really make this park charming.

Between this park and Djurs Sommerland, the staff in these Danish parks honestly might be the best staff I’ve ever seen. When it comes to efficiency, Universal and perhaps some of the bigger Cedar Fair parks have proven to be quicker, but the operations at these parks are on their A game. What they’re truly the best at is their enthusiasm, excitement, and interactions with the riders. Every theme park manager or owner needs to visit these parks so they can so how great staff can really be.

Some examples of great staff:
- When I went up to a shop to buy a Fonix T-shirt, the vendor’s face lit up as I entered, as if she was meeting up with an old friend.
- One of us in the group was dreading the automatic reride on Falken, and the 80 year old ride op dispatched the train anyway just to mess with him.
- Fonix rides ops were also great, offering to take loose articles to set aside to speed up loading. But they were also happy to let me ride with sunglasses, even if they brought up the concern.
- And of course everyone at Djurs!

During our evening drive, it was pretty clear that this would end up being the best day of the trip. Two fantastic parks, a couple of killer rides, some great family coasters, and a casual +16. Easily the most creds I’ve gained in a day, and it was really easy.
 

Gazza

Giga Poster
Fun fact, nodsvinget means nut swing. 😛

Agree about Fonix, the last bit literally felt like an RMC...Great finale!
Loved the 2nd inversion, the heartline roll with a really strong pull to the side.
The layout does so much relative to its overall size.

Did you do the adventure course?
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
Did you do the adventure course?
Was that over in between Lynet and that pond with the pirate ship? I actually wanted to try it out, but by the time I was trying to find the entrance we were already on our way out (couldn't actually figure out where it began).
 

Gazza

Giga Poster
Was that over in between Lynet and that pond with the pirate ship? I actually wanted to try it out, but by the time I was trying to find the entrance we were already on our way out (couldn't actually figure out where it began).
Next to the entrance to the Lynet area there's this stump you enter.

There's also a funhouse nearby; Raevens Hule.
1661919692075.png
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
Thursday, July 22nd

It was gonna be hard to top the previous day, and it didn’t help that we were in for a rough morning. We stayed in Frederikshavn the night before, where we had an early ferry booked to scoot us over to Gothenburg. With only four hours in bed, we got up at **** in the morning for an early check-in at the port. Thanks to our latitude, at least it wasn’t dark out.

9qZAenG.jpg


BAfHh8h.jpg


I struggled to get some sleep and remain comfortable, but after a while I made sure to pop out on the deck as we entered the Swedish coast.

84EYRHm.jpg


LuaNK9d.jpg


EBc3AYf.jpg


The grind doesn’t stop as it was time for Liseberg. Luckily this day didn’t require a whole lot of travel time on the road, just in time for opening.

9NIcDMN.jpg


edEivco.jpg


I think Liseberg was my most anticipated park of the trip. This leg of Swedish parks has always been a bucket list trip for me, with Liseberg and Helix making up most of that reason. I’ll get into it later, but Liseberg was honestly not what I expected it to be. But if anything, it certainly was very pretty.

DkY1nXP.jpg


DEI3eoM.jpg


We learned pretty quickly that we were in for a crowded day, and it didn’t help that Balder couldn’t relieve some of that congestion. Apparently there was some football tournament going on with thousands of teams in town that weekend, so there wasn’t much breathing room. On the bright side, Liseberg had a surprisingly low cred count, with only a +5 on the menu, so we weren't in much of a rush. Slim pickings compared to the +16 at the family parks yesterday.

JZO3fBw.jpg


Fearing what they could be like later, we got rid of the kiddie coasters first thing. Rabalder’s layout was nothing noteworthy (a clone from the one at Djurs), but the entrance back into the station had a surprising water faucet that you can’t avoid. Got me more wet than the rapids ride.

Stampbanan. Not much to say.

f3y64F8.jpg


Time for something more exciting. I always thought that Lisebergbanan rode like a standard family mine train, so it always confused me whenever I heard people declare their love for it. Other than that triple helix, the terrain usage, and it supposedly being a “classic,” I didn’t know what to expect.

First impressions were how insane the throughput was. Three trains, rolling dispatches, relaxed bag policy, and minimal restraint check allowed this ride to eat people up unlike any other coaster I’ve seen. Most of the extended queue was full, but it constantly moves, so we got on in about 10-15 minutes.

Another cool thing about this ride is that it's still one of the tallest coaster in the park?! Obviously it uses the terrain to its advantage, but when you look up that lift hill for the first time, it’s pretty legit.

SFhl1WN.jpg


Okay, I get it. I loved the ride. It doesn’t do a whole lot, but it’s a ton of fun and gives you a big smile on your face. I was really hoping the triple helix would have some serious positive forces, but it was actually pretty tame. But there are a couple of really solid moments in some of the transitions, especially one towards the end of the ride.

The speed and pace is incredible though, and it goes on for much longer than I thought. And the terrain usage is so cool. Probably my new favorite Schwarzkopf (at this point in the trip at least).

I guess I should talk about the virtual queue system now. I’m assuming they implemented this in 2020, but they’ve kept it since. You’re free to queue rides normally, but the virtual queue is free through the app. Basically, you can reserve a ride spot at a certain time, and bring up to six people with you. It meant that two of us could each reserve four seats for Valkyria, while others could simultaneously reserve Helix seats for a later time. Once your time arrived you can physically queue up in what was essentially a fast pass queue, which would get you on in about 5 minutes.

It was useful at first, but given the crowds, pretty soon there’d be restrictions on how many people you could bring with you (sometimes only yourself). And even then some virtual queues would be completely closed off. And if they were open, you’d still need to kill a couple hours, or more.

Additionally, since the virtual queue was essentially free, it acts like a fast pass system and slows down the standby queue, making most rides have hour waits for most of the day. Without it, I could see Helix’s hour+ queue shortening down to a more tolerable 40 minutes.

EKF2oip.jpg


Anyway, we had slots booked for Valkyria. This had one of the coolest stations for any dive machine I’ve seen, highlighted by the awesome soundtrack and animated shadow effect for the bird.

Bni5oyD.jpg


I think this might be my new favorite dive machine? I kinda rate them all the same at this point. The drops are all fun, there’s always an immelmann, but the thing that sets this one apart is that it’s not immediately stopped by a MCBR. In fact, I have a lot of respect for rides that don’t use a MCBR at all, so letting this one continue on allows the ride to flow a lot better. And any sort of playful interaction with the drop is always a must for these kinds of rides.

hmDMabx.jpg


ic9If7n.jpg


If you sit on the outside, the tight overbank and zero g roll are quite good during the banking transitions.

ZJGyA52.jpg


And for what it’s worth, having just ridden Krake a few days prior, there’s literally no difference between classic OTSRs and vest restraints on these rides. Get over it.

t3wQXmL.jpg


ecJsGxN.jpg


Let’s pretend this ride isn’t here…

Jfcq4fK.jpg


Time to hike up the hill for Helix. First impressions of the ride were realizing how huge it actually is. The size is bolstered by the hillside, but there’s gotta be a solid 200 ft change in altitude.

J2L2jA0.jpg


78Yr0DD.jpg


Like Valkyria, this one had an epic soundtrack. Honestly it’s probably my favorite station music. I never really cared for coaster station music, but Liseberg really knows how to handle it.

sNkixaJ.jpg


So, I didn’t love it. This wasn’t my MOST hyped coaster of the trip, but it was up there. But right in that first turn, just before the launch, I immediately knew something was off.

The ride has not aged well. It has a very consistent rattle that bothered me more than Karnan. I’m not quite sure if Helix is smoother than Karnan or not, but I could almost forgive (or at least expect) Karnan’s because it’s a Gerstlauer. I can’t forgive it here. I honestly should’ve expected it though. I actually noticed that Copperhead Strike had a vibration when I first rode it, but I completely forgot about it afterward. With Helix being an older and bigger ride, the rattle is much more apparent here and draws it back moreso than Copperhead's. But between those two rides, it leaves me very concerned for Mack.

tiqysxq.jpg


It’s such a shame, because the layout is seriously one of the best in the world. Like Lisebergbanan, it has mastered its use of terrain. Diving down from the pretzel loop and seeing rockwork surrounding the track was really cool.

DZq5xZi.jpg


And it’s a great mix of elements too. I wouldn’t say any element super great, but the length of the ride and how everything is put together works really well. I think my favorite elements were the inverting top hat and airtime hill following. I was expecting the inverted top hat to have more of a stalling feel, but I was pleased to see that the track continuously rotates. It flowed pretty well.

g9ECVyE.jpg


wSY8zjP.jpg


HTf6cpp.jpg


This hill also has a great pop of airtime. That being said, it’s not one of the best in the world that a lot of people make it out to be. Probably didn’t help that there was a rattle in the valleys.

xQCJiKO.jpg


bkENd7l.jpg


c4HR4Hb.jpg


I don’t like the final roll though. It doesn’t fit in with the rest of the ride and makes for a weak finale. And man, I know it’s a bit of a meme at this point, but the launches are seriously embarrassing. I get that it’s basically just for functionality, but what’s the point if they aren’t fun? It shouldn’t feel like I’m driving onto a highway. They’re honestly a bit of a waste.

So, expectations aside, Helix is still objectively a great ride solely for its layout and how it’s designed along the hillside and spanning the park. But that rattle really gets in the way of enjoyment and keeps it from being amazing.

I dunno, I guess one of these hyped-up coasters on the trip had to be a disappointment, and that turned out to be Helix.

6EIipam.jpg


After lunch, the virtual queue app began to be much more limited. And with the park packed, it became difficult to get re rides on the coaster. I did manage to try out Valkyria’s single rider, which is cheekily hidden next to the virtual queue entrance. It got me on in 10 minutes.

Otherwise, we focused on some of the other rides. I don’t usually care for haunted houses, but the Spokhotellet Gasten was pretty well done.

TtIWPws.jpg


sCc0DWz.jpg


JN11a7r.jpg


vLJuPcO.jpg


Love this view:

o2t31Zr.jpg


Arguably one of the best rides in the park was actually Uppswinget. Screamin’ Swings always guarantee you great fun and this one might be the best, solely for its position up on the hillside. It’s just a shame these cycles are always too short.

oRsodW9.jpg


StBRPJ3.jpg


AIPTeFO.jpg


I mentioned back in the Hansa report that we skipped their Gerstlauer Sky Fly in favor of a later opportunity. Well, Aerospin is a little different, but definitely more interesting.

LkXz945.jpg


This was really cool and even a little freaky rotating that thing! The rotation was a lot harder than I thought, and I failed to get even a single full spin. Nonetheless it was great finally getting on one of these things.

A couple of us went back to suck up Helix’s queue for a reride. We managed to get on in 45 minutes. Our reride saw some improvement, but it was far from its reputation as an elite coaster.

YrFoTKV.jpg


I’d be disappointed if we went this whole trip without doing a rapids ride, so we made sure to do Kallerado. Surprisingly, we stayed mostly dry on this one. There wasn’t anything particularly violent on this ride, and no evil waterfalls either. But still enjoyable enough.

I think the early start had caught up to all of us, and with the park being slammed, we decided to head to our next hotel for some downtime. We came back into the city for some dinner, and we even popped back into the park for another ride on Lisebergbanan. Believe it or not, this ended up being our favorite coaster in the park for a number of us.

pLKnWpw.jpg


I mentioned Liseberg wasn’t what I expected. I mostly wasn’t expecting the park to have a classic amusement park feel. The hillside had a much more dominating presence. And with Helix not being all that, and Balder being closed, the park really lacked a truly fantastic coaster.

I’m sure Balder is great. Knowing how good Colossos was, and knowing smooth they could get it running, I could see Balder easily being the best ride in the park. It was pretty sad to see it closed. The shaping of that first airtime hill looked naughty.

eo5uC43.jpg


The park also had a hard time with crowd control. Obviously it didn’t help with that tournament occurring this weekend, and with Balder being closed, but it wasn’t great. They really need to rethink the way they handle their queues. During both of my Valkyria rides, the staff had a hard time filling up each row for the next train at a reasonable pace, as they’re essentially dealing with three queues at once: assigning rows for standby, virtual/fast pass, and single rider queues. Dispatch operations were otherwise solid.

I expected Liseberg to be one of the best parks in Europe, and it ended up being my least favorite of the trip (well, disregarding Thorpe). That being said, it’s still better than most American parks, and it’s super pretty as well. I’m sure I’d have a better time whenever I return, with lighter crowds and Balder bolstering that lineup.

4EVSh7H.jpg


TUO6wTi.jpg


bjSzYHe.jpg


I’m sure you all know what’s coming up next.
 
Top