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Everything posted by cfc

  1. Little late answering this, but it's Drachen Fire's old maintenance barn. They've used it for Howl-o-Scream mazes, but now I think it serves as a dressing room.
  2. Part 12 Hey, It's a New Park for TPR: Furuvik Furuvik is another part of the Swedish theme-park empire that also encompasses Grona Lund, Kolmarden, and Skara Sommarland. Like Kolmarden, its much larger cousin, Furuvik is a zoo with a small collection of rides. Unlike Kolmarden, all the rides are gathered in one spot called the "Tivoli," so you don't have to hike to two or three miles to get to them. The main attractions in the Tivoli are two Vekoma family coasters: Lightning (a fun launched ride with cool-looking, kind of retro trains) and Fireball (one of those Family Boomerangs that have been sprouting like dandelions all over the place recently); there's a family "dragon" coaster, as well (it's a Zierer--just for a change of pace, I guess). They even have a Sally "Boo Blasters" type dark ride with a nicely themed queue to round out their collection of flats and carnival games. But the zoo is the main attraction here. Furuvik has an interesting mix of habitats, ranging from a Swedish farm to an island for primates to enclosures for camels and other hooved beasts. Even the zoo contains a few odd attractions. There's a somewhat creepy boat ride that winds through a mysterious cave and abandoned village (not sure if there were supposed to be live animals there). They also have a little obstacle course where people ride hobby horses. The zoo is working on rebuilding its image following an unfortunate incident involving some escaped chimps earlier this year (Google it if you're curious). But they still have a fair-sized collection of orangutans. You can even walk among some of the smaller primates in both indoor and outdoor habitats. The name "Furuvik" means "pine bay" in English, and it certainly lives up to it. The park sits in a forest by the sea, and there's a nice spot where you can hang out by the water. There's even a museum there devoted to coastal defenses. This makes sense, as Russia isn't too far--just on the other side of the bay. They have a cat as a mascot? I like this place already. All zoos should have a Tivoli. Behold the power of neon! Art Deco lives at Furuvik! Sarah looks rather blissful sitting on what looks like a dynamo from a 1930s "Flash Gordon" serial. Hear that dynamo hum! Seriously, it looks like Emperor Ming the Merciless mounted some sort of death ray on the front of this train. Lightning is a good ride--thrilling for kids and fun for adults. For families, yes, but we old farts like it, too. (Photo by either AJ or Andy, I think.) I saw neither fire nor balls on this ride. But Vekoma Family Boomerangs are becoming a "thing," it seems. At least it's not themed to a gravy boat. Well, if you were disappointed by the lack of fire or balls earlier, here are some furries on a dragon-themed coaster. Well, may as well get in line . . . OH MY GOD! We must escape the furries! (Photo by . . . Elissa or Jere, I think?) OK, ghosts. We're gonna get all "Scooby Doo" on your ass! OK, everybody got that? His instructions are in Swedish, but I think it boils down to this: Aim your gun . . . . . . and blast the hell outta them ghosts! (Not sure who took this photo.) OK, all you Mystery Science Theater fans--sing along: "It's Joey the Lemur! The friend to mankind!" "I don't know about you, but this yellow stuff is getting me really high!" "Yes, you can walk under me, but be advised that I eat a rather high-fiber diet. You have been warned!" "Look into my eyez-z-z-z-z . . . you are in my power . . . you will accept me as your sovereign leader . . . understand?" It was a bit of a walk to the creepy boat ride. SNAKE! MONKEY! OH MY GOD! This boat ride would make a pretty good haunt. It's already kind of spooky. And the unstable boats add an extra thrill. There's a walk-through habitat full of critters, such as this white-headed saki. ( That's this animal's name according to the park's website). Looks like it's feeding time. "How about feeding me, pal? Just stick you hand down here." "OK, where's that lady with the food?" "I'm out here. Please don't try to tear my arm off this time." I think one orangutan is about to mug another orangutan. Meanwhile, back at Lightning, this bird seems oblivious to the peril it's in. "OH CRAP!" You'll be happy to know that the bird escaped unharmed. "Oh boy! Sticks and leaves! We camels love sticks and leaves!" "Hey, big boy, once you go camel you don't ever want to go back. Get me?" As I said earlier, "Furuvik" means "pine bay." "Yeehaw! Yahoo! And other such cowboy nonsense!" Thanks for a fun day, Furuvik. We hit this somewhat frightening single-rail alpine coaster on the way back to Stockholm. (Photo by Elissa.)
  3. Part 11 A Most Unusual Day: Skara Sommarland This may be the strangest day of the TPR Scandinavia Trip for two reasons: One of the group, Barry, had to spend some time in a Swedish hospital after getting an enormous splinter in his foot at the park's wake-boarding attraction. Tranan, a notoriously unreliable S&S Free Fly coaster, ran pretty much all day while other, simpler attractions broke down frequently. Did I say "splinter"? From what I understand, Barry impaled his foot on a huge piece of the wake-boarding pier. He rode in an ambulance to a hospital in another town, accompanied by Colin, one of his trip mates, and caught up with the group in Stockholm by train after being released. Barry and Colin were both real troupers during and after this incident; Barry was able to get around the rest on the trip using crutches and wheelchairs and the help of other TPR folks. As for Tranan, it's fun but very weird as you cruise over, under, and beside the track. ERT on this ride, and on the park's bizarrely named new bumper cars, Badrings Bumpers (the park's webiste also refers to them as "Swimming Ring Bumpers"), went well. But other rides were having issues. For example, Robb and some of the group got stuck midcourse on the park's spinning mouse. A technician rode up on a bicycle, reset the ride (which resumed operating), then rode off again. The ops sent the next car full of riders, which got stuck in exactly the same place. Newton, the park's flume ride with cute little whale-shaped boats, also kept breaking down. Even the deck outside the restaurant where the group had lunch had some technical issues. Seating inside was limited, and it was a rather hot day (especially for Sweden). Fortunately, awnings provided shade for many of the tables. The staff extended the awnings, which work with electric motors controlled inside the building. At the table where I and some others were waiting, the awning extended, then slowly retracted, leaving us in the blazing sun. They tried three or four times to get the awning to stay in place; each time, it retracted. Finally, they let us eat inside. Good lunch, as I recall. Well, we did grab some ice cream before we left--yay! On to Stockholm! Skara is a popular campground with a surfing-beach-themed water park. So maybe this should be "Valkommen-a-bunga." Would you trust these birds on Tranan? Looks like they may have smoked some weed this morning. "Er, these birds look a little stoned. Is this a good idea?" "I'm sure it will be . . . fine." Lord, what the hell is happening? The bird is upside-down? How is this even possible? This ride provides a different sensation than any other coaster I've ever ridden. It is, indeed, unique. You feel really exposed on these very open trains, and you're held in by nothing more than a rather funky seatbelt. I think it's fun but just really weird. What has this bird been drinking, and where can we get some? Tranan can have strange effects on people. (I think this is an Andy or AJ photo.) The theming of the new bumper cars is rather . . . interesting. Lots of manspreading here. "I can see everyone's crotch, which fills me with joy." Thank god my shorts held up! (Photo by Elissa, I think.) Time for a manly lunch on a Manly Beach. This weird snake ride used to be at Grona Lund (the same people own Skara). I'm sure Robb got some interesting footage. "We broke the ride! I can't wait to post the POV!" This is as close as Eric and I got to riding Newton. I know there's some ice cream around here somewhere. But where could it be? Goodbye, Tranan! See ya around, Snake! Catch you later, Karp Pond!
  4. I agree that Rutschebanen is way over-braked. The old version with the brake men was much better. I still get a kick out of Tornado, as insane as it is. But, yep, the fun house and the haunted-house ride are the two best attractions there.
  5. Fear the Five: Howl-o-Scream 2023 Begins Maniacs, swamp people, chainsaw-wielding clowns, and more took over Busch Gardens during the opening weekend of Howl-o-Scream 2023. Theme Park Review was invited to the Media Night on Friday, September 8 for a reception and a chance to experience this year's fiendish goings on. So, what's new for Howl-o-Scream this year? Lost Mines: The Descent (new maze, Escape from Pompeii building)--a group of miners are possessed with desire for the gems they unearth and become freaky mutants with bad attitudes. The park did a good job redressing last year's somewhat generic Inferno maze with claustrophobic earth-and-rock walls and shored-up tunnels. As usual, some of Howl-o-Scream's best sets are in this building. Fest-Evil (new TERROR-tory, that is, "scare zone," Festa Italia)--this party of fiendish, soul-stealing Mardi Gras revelers ties into the Death Water Bayou maze nearby. Watch out for evil harlequins, gator people, and voodoo masters. The returning four mazes have been "revamped," as Busch Gardens likes to say--that is, they've been tweaked and reworked a bit. Death Water Bayou: Full Moon (Festa Italia near the Roman Rapids)--I don't think this voodoo maze has changed all that much from last year, although that's OK, because it's still the best one. I did notice some more blacklight effects, so this indoor/outdoor maze is best experienced after dark. It's the best haunt they've put in this space since the original Ripper Row maze. KILLarney DIEner: Infested (Ireland, Battle for Eire building)--looks like the cannibal diner has a bug problem, so pest control been called in. But be careful. They're not too picky about who or what they exterminate. Nice sets and creatures, but there's still that long exit walk where nothing happens. Nevermore: Chapter 3 (Germany, old Drachen Fire station)--more creepiness courtesy of the stories of Poe. There are a few slightly different scenes, and I think they made the maze a bit more disorienting than last year (more twists and turns). I'm a fan of Poe, so I always enjoy this one. Witch of the Woods: Scorched (Germany, entrance on the left of the Festhaus)--the local villages tried burning the woods to get rid of the witch with predictable results; that is, they just ticked her off. The maze does have a scorched look and smell to it now, although it really hasn't changed much otherwise. This outdoor maze is best after dark. But be warned--it's a bit of a hike from the Festhaus to the entrance, which is behind Verbolten. You can still run from fiendish childhood characters on Scary Tale Road (Germany); be served up on a platter in the Meat Market (New France); get stoned in Gorgon Gardens (Italy); and survive being harassed or offered a "good time, dearie" by the denizens of London's Whitechapel at Ripper Row (England). The Terror-tories were pretty active last weekend, and there was a roving Hack Pack of chiansaw-carrying clowns. These "scare zones" used to be a weak spot for Howl-o-Scream, but they've been improving over the last few years. All rides, with the exception of water attractions, are running during Howl-o-Scream (including Verbolten, which had been closed for over a month). The kiddie rides and Forest of Fun shut down at 5:00 pm, though. Three Howl-o-Scream shows are currently running all day: Jack Is Back (of course) in Ireland, Phantoms of the Festhaus (Germany), and Skeletones (Italy). Monster Stomp on Ripper Row opens on September 28 in the Globe Theatre. The mazes and TERROR-tories usually open at 6:00 pm. My Media Night experience was disrupted by a thunderstorm. I was waiting for it get darker for the outdoor mazes and ran out of luck, so I went back Sunday night to check out the rest of Howl-o-Scream. Despite the stormy weather, they're off to a good start. My thanks to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for having TPR at this event. I look forward to Howl-o-Scream each year. "Fear the Five" . . . what? There are five mazes and five TERROR-tories, which makes 10. Just pick the five you're most afraid of, I guess. The Virginia Beer Company strikes again! This time, it's a nice cream ale. The park put out a good spread that night. All this terrifying merch can be yours if the price is right! "Oh, I made them some lovely finger food, but was it good enough for their high-toned reception? Bah! They can be yours for a few shillings, dearie." "You! Seen any signs of the Ripper about?" "Ripper? Why no . . . no Ripper here. Why do you ask, officer?" Do I need one of those helmets with a lamp on it? A candle? Maybe a canary to check for poison gas? "Don't go in there! They ain't got no workin' toilets! Why, I barely made it out before . . . well, maybe you don't want to hear the end of that story." "We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig dig! We did the whole day through!" "Yeah, it's hard work, but you meet all sorts of interesting people . . . who you get to eat!" Whew! After being stuck in that mine all day, I'm ready for something more festive, like Mardi Gras. Yessir, I just want to . . . er . . . let the good times roll? "Hey, you got just the soul I'm lookin' for!" "Yes, you'll hope this party will never end . . . and it won't!" "Helluva a party, eh?" Maybe I can lose them in the fog. "Oh, did you come from the Fest-Evil party? We know how to have a good time here, too. Just remember: . . . . . . Don't look into her eyes!" Busch Gardens has been renovating the Italy/Germany bridge all year. It's looking good. Damn! I am sick of all these @!$%!! phantoms in this @!$%!! festhaus! Shall we ponder a quaint and curious volume of long forgotten lore? "Could someone get me some Neosporin and perhaps a bandage? Thank you," Wow! Tempesto must be a really dangerous ride! "Yeah! When they tell ya to keep your hands, arms, and legs in the ride vehicle at all times. you best pay attention!" I think I would've gone with a closed casket, but maybe that's just me. They're still partying on at Fest-Evil. I think I'll peacefully commune with nature in this fetid, evil swamp. What the hell. Hmm--when pumpkins start dismembering people, the party is getting a bit out of hand. "Gimme a shilling or I'll sic the Ripper on ya!" Somehow, I got out alive. Thanks for reading!
  6. Yeah, it was a bit hard to find, and the ride was more elaborate than I expected.
  7. I liked the dark ride, even though I was rather confused by it. It was like a "cleaner" version of the bunny ride they used to have at Oakwood in Wales.
  8. Great update, Erik! My impression was that the aquarium was special-event space masquerading as an attraction. I like Tivoli a lot, and I agree that it's more of a "hang out" park than a "ride" park--which is fine.
  9. My impression was that the flume was being removed or replaced, but I might be mistaken. Oh, yes, I remember the bunny that got the swirly in the dark ride.
  10. Part 10 At Last, with a Clear Head: Liseberg What was the best thing about TPR’s 2023 visit to Liseberg? For me, it was finally visiting the park with a clear head. I’ve been to this classic Swedish park with TPR on three other occasions, and each time, I caught some sort of Euro crud that left me with a hacking cough, a runny nose, and a head that felt like it was stuffed with cotton. But, even so, a nice ride on Balder, the park’s Intamin wooden coaster, made me feel ten times better. And even with an annoying virus fighting for my attention, I liked Liseberg--a lot. And this year I liked what they were doing with the place. For years, Liseberg has been an urban regional park along the lines of Tivoli Gardens, only on a bigger scale. But its appeal is much larger than that, with much larger rides, such as Balder and Helix, than its Danish cousin. Liseberg is now branding itself as more of a “destination” park. The first stage of this rebranding is done. Liseberg now boasts its very own resort hotel--the Grand Curiosa. This hotel, which just opened last spring, is very good, with fairly large rooms, whimsical theming (such as a carousel and and two-story slide curling down to the lobby), a good family-style buffet, and a rooftop bar and restaurant with beautiful views of the park and city. Liseberg is also building an indoor water park named Oceana, which should give the resort more year-round appeal. You’ll see some photos of it later from our hard-hat tour. This year’s visit was everything you’d expect from a TPR trip--ERT on Helix and Balder (along with the traditional signing of this classic wooden coaster) and an early ride on Luna (their new Vekoma Family Boomerang). The park’s excellent haunt, Hotel Gasten, is no longer an upcharge, and it now has its own “haunted” pub--a fun place to grab a beer or cocktail and a snack with good, creepy atmosphere. Shall we go in? I hope you have good walking shoes, as the park is very hilly (with escalators, thankfully). It’s a lot of exercise to get around Liseberg. In the past, TPR has stayed at a more modest (but nice) hotel a few blocks away. But it wasn’t as grand or as curious at this one. The carousel was for kids only. But did Bert find a way to ride it? Too lazy to walk but not lazy enough to take the elevator? Just slide down to the lobby. “Hmm--we need some more whimsy here. Add a blimp and a Ferris wheel. Those are pretty whimsical. Maybe a big ship’s wheel, too, just to be sure.” The group meets with Pontus, who will be taking us around the park and the still under-construction water park. Time for the traditional signing of Balder. Deep into the Belly of Balder we went--like true Vikings! I stole this from General MacArthur, but I’m sure he won’t mind--being dead and all. Balder has always been great, and it recently had some retracking done. I also believe that it eases a head cold (at least it did during my previous three visits). They need to sell a line of Balder cough drops or decongestants. Luna was a nice family ride. I liked the Jules Verne-like observatory in the station. Are they moving backward or forward? Liseberg does Farup one better by putting their Vekoma Faily Boomerang on top of a large hill. I enjoyed Helix more this visit. I think my head cold kept me from enjoying this ride completely a few years ago. Helix is much more enjoyable without a virus trying to kill you cell by cell. One minor knock against Liseberg used to be its lack of a memorable dark ride. Well, it’s got a good one now--about bunnies in a bunny-themed land of their own. You learn more about the life and times of the park’s mascot, a green and pink bunny rabbit, then you ever expected. He leads a “steampunkish” existence laden with existential dread--and carrots. Nice cottage, though, His arch nemesis is, apparently, an evil magician (or maybe not--hard to say) with a tall silk hat. In truth, he’s more an annoyance that a nemesis. He and Elmer Fudd would not like this bunny-themed world that Liseberg built. I can picture Elmer wandering around, holding his head, and muttering “wabbits, wabbits, wabbits!” Hi, Valkyria. You know you’re much better than Valravn. Just thought I’d mention that. Who needs a drink . . . a really scary drink? Terrifying tables with real, creepy candles! Can you heart stand a beastly beer . . . . . . with some frightening fiends, er, friends? Be careful when you order a “Bloody Mary.” The park’s flume ride is shutting down for (I think) an extensive rehab after this season. Or is it being removed? I forget. At any rate, it was fairly wet. (Photo by Jere.) But the rapids just gave us a good spritzing. (Photo by Jere.) Speaking of the future possibility of getting wet, put on your vest and hard hat, folks. We’re visiting Oceana. No worries about getting doused with water--yet. They’re installing one of these crazy water coasters. You know, there just might be a bit of airtime on this ride. Nice chance for some ride interaction here. Low bridge! (Photo by Robb.) Meanwhile, back at the park, let’s not forget to pay homage to Lisebergbanan--aka, “Banana Coaster.” I think this is Schwarzkopf’s best creation. It interacts with other rides quite a bit (especially Helix). But not Balder, who just stopped in to say “hi.” I see some familiar faces on AtmosFear. (Finally got to ride this thing. It was broken the last time I was here with TPR.) “Catch you later. I gotta go harass some people. By harass I mean ‘poop on them.’” If it weren’t for the Balder and Valkyria being in the shot, you’d swear this was just a quaint European village. Any ERT session on Balder . . . . . . is a great ERT session! (Photos by Elissa and Robb.) Good night, Liseberg. Like General MacArthur, "I shall return"--someday.
  11. What was funny to me was that the taco toast was the best thing in the Mexican buffet.
  12. I like the idea of jazzing up the original Haunted Mansion's queue. Memento Mori is my favorite gift shop at Florida's Magic Kingdom, so I hope they do as good a job with this one.
  13. Part 9 The Day Is Yours, So Enjoy It: Tusenfryd The original entrance sign at Tusenfryd used to day “dagen er din,” which means “the day is yours” in English (or so says Google Translate). I remember hearing someone translate this as “enjoy your day” back in 2006 when I first visited the park with TPR, but I might be misremembering what was said. Whatever it means, Tusenfryd is still a very good park in the beautiful Norwegian mountains. It looks like a ski resort with coasters and other rides. This is my third visit to Tusenfryd, the last being in 2009, and the park has changed since then. Gone is the old “Viking ship simulator,” but the excellent Speed Monster and the cute-as-a-button Teeny Weeny remain. They’ve done some nice work upgrading some sections of the park, too, such as the spruced-up Route 66 and the new Dragonville. Speaking of Dragonville, this is the home of the park’s newest coaster--a Gerstlauer launched suspended ride called Storm. If you like intensity, you’ll like Storm. It also has some rather violent airtime, particularly during the first half. On the “transitional” hill, the airtime was so crazy that it felt like someone was driving spikes into my thighs. The second half of the ride isn’t as intense (and it’s more fun), but my legs were pretty sore that day and the next morning. Then again, I was also the oldest person on the trip. I’ve come to appreciate more “floaty” airtime. Even thought I’ve liked this ride during past visits, the park’s woodie, Thunder Coaster, has not aged particularly well. It now sports Timberliner trains, but I think it could use some re-tracking. It’s very bumpy. But Speed Monster is still excellent. This Intamin launched coaster is smooth as glass and has a great, twisted layout with plenty of airtime. ERT on this coaster was great--I could ride it all day. Oh, and the old Arrow loopscrew, appropriately named Loopen, still exists. My memory of it was evil, so I didn’t ride it this time. Others in the group didn’t think it was all that bad. But you know how coaster enthusiasts love to kid people. We spent the previous night in Oslo, so let’s start the photos there. Sheesh! Thor is sure careless with that hammer. He left it lying around Djurs Sommerland, too. No wonder Odin gets impatient with him. Here we have two naked people on top of what appears to be a giant dildo. You’re welcome. Oh hi, Ligeia! My, how you’ve grown while I’ve been away. TROLL! A beautiful Norwegian sunset. “Nice city you got here. Shame if someone were to poop all over it.” Time for the day to be ours at Tusenfryd. We started the day, which was ours, here. Mike, you’re gonna hurt yourself! Save your strength for Storm. Storm starts with a forward launch, a rollback into a backward launch, then a drop into a stronger forward launch. This seems to be the latest fashion in coasters. I prefer the second half of this ride after you fly by the station. This is the painful transitional airtime hill. But the little dragon head on the front of the train is cute. Look! An Old West-style town! I know you’re all very surprised to see this. (“Will Kane” was the name of Gary Cooper’s character in “High Noon.” I guess the “Morgan” part comes from “Morgan Earp.”) Marshal, I think they’re doing more than just laundry at Kitty’s House if you get my drift. Morgan Kane City is the home of the buck naked version of Big Thunder. Norwegian tacos, anyone? Thunder Coaster is growing older and crankier. Well, don’t we all? Nice setting, though. “Oh, great. We’re on Teeny Weeny. People are taking pictures and shooting video. Life is good.” Livin’ the dream, baby! Based on what I’ve seen at Tusenfryd, . . . . . . Vikings like to get really wet. (I think this is either an AJ or Andy photo.) Thor’s Hammer is a good 3D dark ride--sort of Norway’s answer to Curse of DarKastle. Few are honorable enough to carry the Hammer of Thor. My . . . that’s a big one. Matt has found his soulmate. I guess he’s into really big Viking guys in armor. Who knew? A jungle-themed ride in Norway? Eh--why not? Here’s where you can “get your kicks” . . . oh, gawd, that song’s as old as me. Why Loopen--what a great big new sign you have. Why, this new sign and the fresh paint will make all the difference for this old Vekoma loopscrew. Godspeed, my friends. I salute you . . . from a safe distance. They said it wasn’t that bad . . . or was that the concussion talking? This whole section of the park looks much nicer than it used to. Route 66 is a fitting home for the park’s best ride. There are two ways to ride Speed Monster. Like the little boy . . . . . . or like the little girl. Whatever you decide, this is a great launched coaster. It don’t need no stinkin’ backward launch. I spy with my little eye two familiar faces in the front row. “Whee” is the appropriate response here. Any ERT spent on Speed Monster is well spent, indeed. I see nothing to dislike here. AJ wishes he were on this train. Now there’s a good way to end a ride--well done, Intamin! My thanks to whomever took this photo. Long may Speed Monster run!
  14. Part 8 Where Even the Apocalypse Is Awesome: LEGOLAND Billund Following its stay at Hansa Park, LEGOLAND set up shop near the LEGO factory in Denmark. This is the oldest of the LEGOLAND parks, and it set the template and standard for all that followed. I’m not the intended audience for these places, but I still like visiting them and noting their differences. Billund has many of the same attractions as the other parks in the chain, such as the Dragon coaster (this version is a powered ride), an observation tower, and, of course, Miniland (with a Scandinavian theme). But it has unique attractions, as well--for example, the Polar X-plorer coaster and Ghost--The Haunted House (a walk-through with a surprise at the end). Emmet’s Flying Adventure is a “Soarin’” type of ride inspired by The LEGO Movie. (I think the California park has this one, too). One funny thing: During the preshow for Emmet’s Flying Adventure (which is in Danish) whenever you expect the word “awesome,” they use “super duper.” According to Google translate, the nearest Danish equivalent to “awesome” is “fantastik.” I guess that didn’t sound quite right, so they went with “super duper”? However, signs in the park say “awesome” in English. So, let’s go where everything is SUPER DUPER--that is, AWESOME or FANTASTIK. If they weren’t stopped by this fence, these drummers would attack and kill you! This is how I imagine all LEGO parks are built. And Erik’s shirt is, indeed, FANTASTIK or SUPER DUPER or AWESOME--as is his trip report. Check it out. This dragon with the block-and-tackle on its head was also crucial to the construction of the park--SUPER DUPER, indeed. Ligeia has found me yet again--and she has a witch with her! They’re proud to be Americans in Denmark? I think this coaster is unique to this park, at least in how it's themed. I did not cover myself in glory with my photos of this ride. But I’m sure Robb got a much better video. Aw, thanks, Emmet! You’re a pal. Emmet invited me over to hang out on his double-decker couch. “I find my lack of an invitation to hang out on Emmet’s couch disturbing.” Polar X-plorer was fun, even though it doesn’t have real penguins anymore. (Photo by . . . Elissa? I think.) Ice Pilots is unique to this park, but it’s not really my thing. But if you like being tortured by an industrial robot, be my guest. Welcome to the cutest Mad Max-style hellscape ever . . . . . . unless you’re a stinkin’ DUPLO! “Yeah, I’m really cute when I run you down with my motorcycle and chop your head off with my flaming ax.” The Apocalypseburg Sky Battle has begun! Kristin and Sarah in a dance of death--in the sky! “You win this round, Crouse. But you task me! You task me, and I shall have you!” We all escaped the colorful hellscape. This show was such a huge hit, it spawned a spin-off series and a Euro western movie. First was the pirate-themed reality show “Wench! Whar Be Me Pantaloons?” This was followed by that classic Italian-Spanish western “When You Meet Sartana, Hold on to Your Pants!” “I . . . SEE . . .YOU!” This part of LEGOLAND aggravates Frodo Baggins’s PTSD. “Look, Sarah! A haunt! You love those!” “See? Just some skeletons, rats foraging for rotten food, flickering lights . . . everything is AWESOME!” I think Sarah would prefer this nice, relaxing boat ride. A Danish model of a French statue that stands in an American harbor! Yay! USA! USA! “Er, I thought we were in Denmark.” Yes, it’s a very relaxing ride--as long as you keep the little boat balanced. (Photo by Elissa.) There’s also a somewhat less relaxing boat ride with pirates and sharks. This guy was taking a shower back in 2009, too. Why doesn’t he give someone else a chance? “No we won’t be playin’ that ‘Yo Ho’ song! We be sick ‘o’ that tune! No requests, sez I.” The clientele be too classy and too rich for my blood, mate. Let’s find us another tavern. OK, what’s this Ninjago stuff all about? It appears to have something to do with spinning a redheaded woman at a high rate of speed. I couldn’t get the hang of this ride. Just not very good at waving my hands around in the right place. I’ll never be a ninja or ninjago or whatever it is. Time for a stroll through Miniland. I’m always impressed with the attention to detail in these displays at the LEGOLAND parks. It’s amazing what they can do with LEGO bricks. Hey, I’ve been there. This is a working canal-and-lock system. You can see Miniland via monorail, too. (Photo by Jere.) Time to go, I guess. Well, maybe after some chocolate LEGO bricks. Thanks, LEGOLAND. You were FANTASTIK or AWESOME or SUPER DUPER!
  15. The Pantheon ops push down and pull up a bit when checking restraints. I think the sensors used to be a bit buggy, but are more consistent now. If you have a problem fitting they will try to accommodate you with an extra shove or two on the restraint. I find that it helps to rent a locker and empty my pockets, as the restraint tended to hit my bulky old wallet. They're very strict about loose items on Pantheon, anyway. They used to allow cell phones in zippered pockets, but not anymore. Now they want all your pockets empty.
  16. ^They started allowing guest to take photos and shoot video in the mazes last year.
  17. I agree--enjoyed a nice one with smoked salmon and a poached egg at Tivoli.
  18. ^Yep--that slipped my mind. We just sat up there for a few minutes.
  19. Let's have a look at the obstacle course, shall we? More Vekoma goodness is on the way, too. I was content to watch the younger set risk serious injury on the obstacle course. After all, someone must be healthy enough to provide assistance when necessary. Besides, you know my motto. Dignity. Always dignity. (Photo by Elissa.) “Whaddaya mean there are leeches in that water?” TPR’s intrepid campers soldier on. I did traverse this rope successfully. Uh, that’s OK. I’ll wait for the next one. Lynet, the park’s launched Eurofighter, is rougher than it was in 2009. But it still has some good moments. I think any park worth its salt needs a nice train ride. This one had enough stops to be useful as transportation, too. Farup has a mini-golf island. I didn't play a round, but maybe I'll get back there someday. This is Orkanen (Danish for “hurricane”). Shades of Cosmoworld and Kings Dominion! Orkanen has an “underwater” drop. Now this is a Vekoma Suspended Family Coaster, unlike the ride at Djurs. There’s so much to unpack in this photo of Fønix. The boy in the second row is howling like a banshee. The two boys behind him are probably thinking, “What’s his deal, anyway?” The two girls in front and the man in the back are thinking, “Great--we’re going to have to put up with this for the entire ride, aren’t we?” I think the boy in the third row may have broken his neck. And now a brief spot of nature. You’re welcome. So much for nature. Time for ERT! Fønix has caused Andy and Daniel to sprout multiple arms! They are now gods! This is the part where everybody yells “wh-o-o-o-o-o-o-a!” There is nothing to hate, or even mildly dislike, about this ride. Vekoma has triumphed again. “I am the Zen Rider! Fønix and I are as one!” “Sell all my earthly possessions. I’m not coming back.” Despite my expression, I love this coaster. (Photo from Robb’s rider cam.) Aw, time to go. Can we take the Club Car back to the bus?
  20. Part 7 Like Summer Camp, but with Coasters: Farup Sommerland When I was in fourth grade (back in that distant era known as the Sixties), my school district used to send the entire class up to Old Oak Ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills for a week each year. Everyone hiked around, communed with nature, and shared industrial-sized pots of oatmeal at breakfast. Farup Sommerland in Denmark reminds me of those days. It’s like a summer camp, only with roller coasters and other attractions, but no oatmeal. “Green” is the main color at Farup. The park is located in a heavily forested area, and winding trails connect different sections. The trees are so thick that even huge rides are hidden until you’re practically on top of them. There’s a lake with paddle boats and an obstacle course in the woods similar to what you might find in an old summer camp (or perhaps an army boot camp). Yes, the park has a beautiful setting--but what about attractions? There’s a lot to like here. Fønix, which opened in 2022, is the standout here--one of the best rides in Europe. This big twisting mess of steel continues Vekoma’s current winning streak. There’s great airtime and a very scary moment of hangtime, and the ride itself is a buttery smooth--nary a bump, a lurch, or a clunk anywhere. Our ERT session on Fønix was excellent. You could ride this coaster all day without any problem. Farup also features Saven (Danish for “saw”), a lumberjack-themed Vekoma Junior Boomerang. It’s a fun little coaster, with a cool surprise part way through (which I won’t reveal here). Another unique attraction is Raeven’s Hule, a “haunted” fun house (it’s near the entrance to the obstacle course). Lots of good gags that reminded me of Knott’s old Haunted Shack. I think I missed this one back in 2009--glad I caught it this time. Yet another great Danish park that’s just improved since the 2009 trip. Let’s have a look around, but be careful doing the monkey bars on the obstacle course--you could get wet or contract leeches or maybe get eaten by a bear. Gee--just like camp! Good morning, campers! Are we ready for some bird watching? “Why, good morning! I’m Falken, and I hope you enjoy watching me, you creepy avian voyeurs! Don't you think birds deserve some privacy? Huh? Don't you?” Let’s watch a train roll by. TPR makes its way through the impenetrable forest in search of the Church of Fønix. The Holy Writ says that if you pass a giant spider, you’re on the right track. One must approach Fønix with reverence. The pews of the Church of Fønix: Vekoma’s trains are so much better than they used to be--so comfortable and smooth riding. Fønix ascends to the heavens. You’ll whisper a brief prayer during the scary hangtime moment. More on this amazing ride later. I think if we follow this track will find the entrance to Saven. Just a hunch. “Uncle Joe! Someone done crashed into Hooterville’s water tower!” (That was for all the “Petticoat Junction” fans out there, if there are any.) Yay! We found Saven! (I honestly don’t remember who took this photo, but I thank you for it.) See what I mean by “summer camp with rides”? You have to go through the obstacle course to get to ship. Greatest ride sign ever! As I recall, it spun pretty well. (I think Elissa took this photo.) This ride is also Count Dracula approved! Tonight on Ghost Hunters, we investigate Raeven’s Hule--the most haunted fun house in Denmark! Are these giant wiggly worms evidence of paranormal activity? I feel a sense of disorientation here. Where’s the EMP reader? Anyone else feeling a bit . . . weird? Holy Haunted Mansion! An endless corridor! Water flowing uphill? What sorcery is this? More to come from Farup.
  21. ^I was impressed by how much it had improved over 2009, and it was good then, too.
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