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Mirabilandia

 

Parques Reunidos is a name that sends shivers down the spines of enthusiasts. So as expected there were some frustrations- one train ops on Katun, wretched dispatches on Master Thai due to VR, and their new-for-2019 Desmo Race was closed for the day.

 

But for the most part, I had a pleasant afternoon. Dispatches were fast outside of Master Thai, the staff was friendly, the park was well landscaped, and the top two absolutely delivered.

 

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Have a Parques Reunidos Day!

 

Few things are sure in life are certain except death, taxes, and Intamin breakdowns. Sure enough, iSpeed was down when I arrived. Since I saw activity on the platform, I hung around the plaza and a few minutes later they cycled some test trains and reopened.

 

iSpeed has a magnetic launch so while the initial kick is lacking, you really feel the speed by the end of the launch. It was a good launch, just not a great one. But unlike most launch coasters, this one has a full layout.

 

You haul through the first half. The speed felt similar to the second half on Maverick. You fly over this camelback with some serious sustained ejector air. That’s followed by an I305-esque twist and a Ride of Steel-esque S-Hill. Oh and I can't forget about the great top hat either.

 

iSpeed also has the world’s most intense inversion, the barrel roll. After the failed barrel roll on Maverick, Intamin was hell-bent on perfecting it. So they added one to iSpeed. And holy moly is it wild. You take it at like 60 mph and are violently ejected and flung sideways. I loved it and the best part is that there are two of them.

 

iSpeed dies after the MCBR, but it's so good to that point that it doesn't matter too much. iSpeed is insane. It has a nice launch and the quantity and quality of elements after that blew me away. The only downsides were the reliability (it broke down a lot) and the hard OSTRs (I had to brace for a few turns). If this thing had the soft straps of Maverick, it would be perfect. 9.5 out of 10

 

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Top hats are always classy.

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It looks like Maverick and sort of rides like it too.

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iSpeed sounds like an apple product, but it doesn't quite have the same reliability.

 

After seeing Robb’s POV from the clone at Energylandia, I was terrified to try Divertical. I didn’t want to be knee-deep in water. Thankfully that doesn’t happen. Your shoes are safe, but everything else isn’t.

 

The speed and fluidity of the elevator lift is thrilling. As is the gargantuan first drop. The initial splashdown perplexed me. Water shot through the floor of the boat. WTF? After a few uneventful turns, the same thing happened on the final splashdown.

 

Divertical is an awkward ride. The big drop is quite thrilling, but all the speed is wasted afterwards. That being said, I am glad I tried it, but I didn’t feel the need to hop back in line. 6 out of 10

 

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Riding this after the sun sets is an unwise decision.

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Thankfully we didn't drown like the TPR crew at Energylandia.

 

Since I was already wet, it seemed like a perfect time to ride Autosplash, the park’s flume. I applaud the park for ditching the typical log theme and instead trying something different with the car theme. The theming wasn’t anything special, but it was a nice change-up.

 

The most notable part of the ride was the final double down. These seem to be a lot more common in Europe. The first part gave a brief pop of air and the final splash was very refreshing. 7 out of 10

 

The only bad part of the ride was the dude in front of me. He decided to stand-up on the final drop. His pants didn’t come with him. And I think he was going commando. That’s a sight I can’t unsee.

 

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How often can you say you rode a log flume in a car?

 

I then whored it up on Leprotto Express. However, I didn’t feel all that guilty since this one actually had some laterals on the first drop and some theming along the layout. 3 out of 10

 

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Whenever lists are compiled of the best B&M inverts, there are usually three contenders- Nemesis, Montu, and Katun. I loved Nemesis and Montu, so I was really excited to try Katun.

 

The scale of Katun cannot be understated. It is simply massive. I’ve found larger B&Ms tend to be less forceful, but that isn’t the case with Katun. This thing is really heavy on the Gs and hauls from start to finish.

 

While the one train ops were a killer for capacity, it may have explained why the MCBR was off. We charged right through it and the resulting drop had some nice floater air. That was followed by 2 great corkscrews and a forceful helix.

 

Was Katun the best invert? No. I still prefer OzIris. And I think I’d take the theming of Nemesis as well. However, it’s a coin flip if I prefer Katun or Montu. I think Montu’s individual inversions are a bit more forceful, but Katun doesn’t let up at any point. 9.5 out of 10

 

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Katun's drop is one of the best of any invert.

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It has the intensity of a Batman but the size of Alpengeist.

 

It’s sort of terrifying how steep the drop-off in coaster quality is at Mirabilandia. After iSpeed and Katun, the next best coaster is either Divertical or an off-the-shelf wild mouse. Yikes!

 

However, that mouse is quite wild. Gold Digger has no air to speak of, but it also has no trims. This meant those turns in the second half are arguably the most violent hairpin turns in the world. 5 out of 10

 

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Gold Digger is aptly named. Gold diggers are abusive.

 

Master Thai may be one of the most baffling coasters in the world. This is a Mobius loop coaster, but each ride consists of two laps so you start and finish on the same side. Oh and you can ride with VR too.

 

The ride itself is quite janky and will shake you up a bit. The first drop is steep so it has a little air. And I’m still trying to decide if I enjoyed the ridiculously tight turns in and out of the MCBR. 4 out of 10

 

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It's like Twisted Colossus, but without the RMC amazingness.

 

Rexplorer is a powered coaster essentially through one long helix. But that helix goes through caves and past trees, so it’s more exciting than it should be. However, this coaster does have one unintentionally thrilling moment.

 

When the brakes engage, you’re still on a banked section of track. The result is that riders will fold over the seat like a ragdoll. Make sure your kids are on the left side or else they’ll be in for a world of hurt. 4 out of 10

 

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While leaving the wild west area, Buffalo Bill Rodeo was loading so I decided to take a spin on this Disko coaster. This one was noticeably smaller than the others I’ve ridden, but the forces were no different. I’ve decided I’ll only ride these if they have the center hump. 5 out of 10

 

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An operating Buffalo Bill ride. A rare sight.

 

Before kicking off an iSpeed marathon to close out the night, I had one last fish to fry in Reset. I tried to ride it earlier in the day, but discovered it was closed from 7-9 pm. That seemed like a cost-cutting move, but it was actually something far more exciting.

 

Reset is located at a dead end. When Reset reopened, they converted the walkway and plaza outside the attraction into a hybrid dance party and scare zone. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.

 

The energy outside the attraction made my Reset experience even more disappointing. I know the ride is supposed to have an apocalyptic theme, but it just felt wrong having a completely silent attraction. There was no music, no audio, nothing. It killed the ride for me.

 

It was a shame since the physical sets looked fantastic. And there were plenty of targets to shoot too. Is the ride normally dead quiet or did I catch it on the wrong night? 3 out of 10

 

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This was certainly a fitting place for a scare zone.

 

Finishing the night with an hour marathon on iSpeed was incredible. And the experience was pretty draining. This is one intense coaster, especially when you only give yourself a 5 minute break in between.

 

I also lucked into a front row ride at the end of the night. Mirabilandia accidentally closed the front row queue too early so it emptied out. So for the final 10 minutes they were allowing anyone the opportunity to ride there. While the rush on the launch was nice, I still preferred the extra whip of the back.

 

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iSpeed is a blur.

 

I also want to touch on the new Ducati World. For the most part, it felt like Spain’s Ferrari Land, except Ducati World isn’t a separate park. The giant superstructure in the center houses some simulators (most seemed to be upcharges though) and the outside had some motor vehicle themed rides.

 

The anchor of the area is Desmo Race. While it has officially opened, it has been plagued by technical issues. I was one of the few on the 2017 TPR Oktoberfest trip with a positive opinion of the prototype spike coaster at Skyline Park, so I was a bit bummed to miss the larger Desmo Race.

 

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Flashbacks to Ferrari Land.

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Maybe next time.

 

Of the parks I visited in Italy, Mirabilandia was without question my favorite. And it really came down to that top two. iSpeed and Katun are absolutely destination coasters if you ask me.

 

Those two coasters overshadow everything else at the park, but it’s worth stating again that the park looked better than I expected and the staff was quite friendly.

 

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Also, they have a pizza vending machine. Because Italy.

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At least Desmo Race has opened *cough*SFMM*cough

 

That's not exactly a high bar.

 

Hopefully Six Flags' 2020 rides are all open by Memorial Day (or July 4th at the latest; the later date would apply to the northern/northeastern parks where schools remain in session until mid/late June)

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At least Desmo Race has opened *cough*SFMM*cough

 

That's not exactly a high bar.

 

Hopefully Six Flags' 2020 rides are all open by Memorial Day (or July 4th at the latest; the later date would apply to the northern/northeastern parks where schools remain in session until mid/late June)

 

Six Flags Magic Mountain just seems like they're slow. Two years ago it took them until mid-summer to open a frisbee when Six Flags New England got their's open by Memorial Day. And I'd reckon to guess SFMM had better weather over the winter.

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Katun and iSpeed are right there with EGF, Balder, and others on my international bucket list; but don't get the spotlight very often. Thanks for bringing it back to them in your report. Looks like an epic trip!

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Bakken

 

Lake Compounce is America’s oldest amusement park at 173 years of age. What if I told you there was a park 2.5 times older? You may call me a liar, but I’ll point you towards Bakken.

 

Bakken has been around since 1583. And that’s not a typo. This park was born almost 200 years before America even became its own independent country. It’s incredible to realize just how old this place is.

 

Since I visited on a weekend, Bakken was packed. However, I never waited more than 5-10 minutes for any ride thanks to the insanely efficient ops. This place gives the German fair circuit a run for its money.

 

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In some ways, Bakken feels frozen in time.

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In other ways, Bakken feels progressive in nature. Want to win a sexy gift?

 

I started with Tornado, the indoor spinning coaster. It looks like a family coaster. And for the most part, it rides like one too. But Intamin couldn’t help themselves.

 

The chain lift looks like your ordinary lift. But it’s secretly a launch that absolutely flings you over the first drop. The airtime and lateral combo is downright violent. I loved it, but watch out for your neck since this thing has the hard OSTRs like Kingda Ka.

 

The middle section was considerably tamer. While it wove in and out of the building, it never spun much on any of my rides. The only real spinning occurred during the finale. There’s this steep plunge into a super tight helix and an airtime hill into the brake run. But that launch and first drop combo is what defines this ride. 7 out of 10

 

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Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

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It's impressive a ride less than 40 feet tall can have a drop this terrifying.

 

Across the way is Rutschebanen, the former scenic railway that was modernized. Having ridden the one at Tivoli Gardens a few hours later, it was saddening to see the removal of the brakeman. I imagine this thing could have had some truly insane air.

 

As it currently operates, the train comes to an almost complete stop on every turnaround. This meant all the bunny hills were an airtimeless formality. The two exceptions were these super steep double downs that delivered crazy bursts of ejector air.

 

So while it isn’t very intense outside of those double downs, Rutschebanen is a very smooth classic. And it may have the best tunnel of any roller coaster. I received an education in biology. 7 out of 10

 

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Maybe in the days of the brakeman, this had more airtime.

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Apparently vaginas have strobe lights inside them.

 

I’m convinced Intamin cannot make a family coaster without a crazy first drop. See Tornado across the park or Skull Mountain back in America. Intamin did it again with Mine Train Ulven. There’s no airtime, but the drop is very steep and twisted. If you ride in the back, you get some serious whip on this thing. But unlike Skull Mountain, the rest of the ride has some force to it.

 

The rest of the ride weaves through some tunnels and whiz past some trees. Plus all the tight helices actually produce some Gs. Mine Train Ulven was a big surprise for me. 7 out of 10

 

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The Intamin family coaster with a deceptively awesome first drop strikes again.

 

Continuing with the parks coasters, I then rode Vilde Mus. For the most part, this was your ordinary wild mouse. However, this one was sort of enclosed in this open top box and ran mostly unbraked. 6 out of 10

 

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To the pit of misery. Dilly dilly.

 

Next door was Racing, the Zierer flitzer. These compact coasters are becoming rarer and rarer, but I’m fortunate enough to have one at a local carnival annually. There’s no force, but all the near misses with the supports make this ride. Bakken’s was also located on a hillside, so I wasn’t expecting the first turn to be a good 100 feet above the ground. 4 out of 10

 

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Are those on the Jersey Shore jealous?

 

I was also a good credit whore and got my ride on Mariehonen. This kiddie coaster had an enjoyable first drop and it gave four laps. However, on the third lap, the train would park itself on the lift momentarily before continuing. I’d say our train had too much weight, but it did that every ride. 3 out of 10

 

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What is the Flash doing here?

 

But Bakken is so much more than coasters. This park has some state-of-the-art flats. Take Extreme for example.

 

I have no clue what type of ride this is, but Extreme fits the mold as your prototypical crazy European flat. This thing starts like a high speed scrambler, but then it elevates and the cars start flipping. The mix of wild flips, long holds, and near-misses made this an incredible flat. 9 out of 10

 

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Does anyone know what type of ride this is?

 

One flat that should have been excellent was the Skyroller. I figured I was in for a real treat considering it was a windy day, but I couldn’t get this darn thing to invert once. Usually I own these things. I’d say I was having a bad day, but no one could get it to flip. At least the views were nice. 2 out of 10

 

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This really should be called the Sky Rocker. It doesn't roll.

 

Oddly the views weren’t so nice from the park’s drop tower, Tarngyset. This was an S&S double shot located down some steps and surrounded by trees. So it wasn’t surprising the views were lackluster. What was surprising was how quiet it was with the shielding on the tower. Looks like they took the Grona Lund approach.

 

As for the ride itself, it was just ok. The first launch delivered some nice air, but the second launch’s air was considerably weaker. I was surprised to get a quick pop of air on the third bounce though. That never happens. 5 out of 10

 

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This S&S tower is creepily quiet.

 

If I’ve learned one thing going to European parks, it’s that you cannot underestimate any of their flats. At first I blew right past Polyppen, but I couldn’t help but notice people being launched out of their seat. While the airtime was nothing more than a brief pop, the laterals were insane. Basically you’d levitate in mid-air for a split second and then be yanked across the ride vehicle. 8 out of 10

 

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Another amazing thing about European parks are the fun houses. In lawsuit happy America, we’d never get a fun house like Hurlumhej. I can count at least a dozen ways someone could break a limb. By the time I left this fun house, I couldn’t walk straight. Most of the house is designed to wreck you equilibrium. Rooms tilt, pathways are tilted, and stairs constantly shift.

 

There was also a high-speed, a surprisingly tall fireman’s pole, and downhill slope of rollers. The latter gag caused every tenth person to wipeout. Yet in Europe, everyone just laughed it off. 9 out of 10

 

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You'll feel like a drunken sailor after doing this.

 

Bakken also had two dark rides. The better of the two was the spook house, Spogelsestoget. This ride takes the same approach as Bakken; it seamlessly blends the old with the new.

 

You have some time tested effects straight from a carnival dark ride, but then you have some screen based effects from the 21st century. Most of the gags were predictable, but there were two jump scares towards the end that got me. 7 out of 10

 

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The shooter, Safari, was a disappointment. The physical sets themselves were fine and I was surprised it spanned multiple levels, but the guns were a major buzzkill on this version. They had a super short leash and it was impossible to tell if your hit registered. 4 out of 10

 

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Welcome to the jungle.

 

Last but not least, I also rode Vandrutschebanen, the park’s log flume. This one has solid drops with quick pops of air, but you’re basically playing a game of Russian Roulette.

 

You see, the normal splash will get you wet. However, the splashdown from the first drop is elevated. If your log is navigating the first or last turn when a log is coming down that drop, you’re going to need a change of clothes. I lucked out, but the people behind me weren’t as fortunate. 7 out of 10

 

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It may look innocent.

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But it can wreck you if this splash hits you.

 

I only had a one day layover in Copenhagen, so I needed to squeeze Bakken and Tivoli Gardens into one day. While I could have easily spent a full day at Bakken racking up rerides, a half day was plenty thanks to their efficient operations.

 

Would I go back to Bakken? Absolutely! While I agree Tivoli Gardens is the superior park, Bakken is still great in its own way. It has a wonderful atmosphere and a diverse mix of attractions- both old and new.

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But Bakken is so much more than coasters. This park has some state-of-the-art flats. Take Extreme for example.

 

I have no clue what type of ride this is, but Extreme fits the mold as your prototypical crazy European flat. This thing starts like a high speed scrambler, but then it elevates and the cars start flipping. The mix of wild flips, long holds, and near-misses made this an incredible flat. 9 out of 10

 

 

Looks like a Moser Speed Flip. Wow. The Twin Flip was more flipping than I could handle, and this thing looks like it makes that look like something out of kiddieland. Amazing, but I think I'd be out of commission for hours if I dared ride that one.

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^ Thanks! I actually thought the Twin Flip I rode at the Big E last year was more intense than this Speed Flip.

 

While on the Moser Rides page, they have quite a few twists on familiar flats that add in rocking seats. I'd love to see more of these built in America!

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Tivoli Gardens

 

I expected Tivoli Gardens to be one of the most well landscaped parks in the world. Even with that lofty expectation, the park’s beauty still blew me away. It cannot be understated. Tivoli Gardens is not only one of the most beautiful parks in the world; it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

 

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Obligatory garden shot.

 

And the anchor is Rutschebanen, the most surprising ride of my European trip. This is one of the most historically significant coasters in the world. Not only is it a scenic railway with a brakeman, but it even survived a bombing by the Nazis!

 

The ride could have been a boring, rickety piece of garbage and it would still be special. And when I saw how the lap bar rested several inches off my lap, I figured it’d be a gentle journey through the mountain.

 

Was I ever wrong!

 

If you get the right brakeman, you get some serious airtime. My rides in the back peaked at sustained floater on every single drop. My rides in the front peaked with a mix of floater and ejector pops. There is potential for less air, but even my worst ride still delivered great air on at least half the hills.

 

There were so many little touches too. The mountain looked spectacular. The brief dark ride bits gave the ride character. And I couldn’t help but smile at the brakemen posing on every drop. 9 out of 10

 

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Note how the brakeman (or brakewoman) poses on every drop.

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At the end of the night, my butt hurt from all the airtime.

 

Below Rutschebanen is this weird shooter. You are given this wand and fire at these orbs and mole people. No score is kept, but the orbs change color depending who hits it. This is one of those rides that didn’t need the interactive element, but it gave the ride that extra element of reridability. 8 out of 10

 

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Guns + mole people. Works for me.

 

For the most part, Tivoli’s ops were fast and efficient. The lone exception was Daemonen. It was weird to see a B&M averaging 5 minute dispatches, but it all made sense once I saw the VR goggles.

 

What was also uncharacteristic for a B&M was to see it go down for an extended period of time. I was next to board when Daemonen went down. And this breakdown took it out of commission for hours.

 

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Just look how freaking nice this park looks.

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Daemonen was working when I got in line.

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But it caught a case of the Intamins before I was to board.

 

As a consolation prize, I made my way over to Vertigo (aka plane-on-a-stick). My mouth dropped when I saw how fast it was spinning. My jaw dropped further when I saw the queue. It was completely full.

 

Vertigo doesn’t have a good capacity to begin with- 2 arms, 4 riders per arm. And it has a really long cycle. But on this day, Vertigo was down to one arm. However, I got lucky. After 40 minutes, the operator called for a single rider. For reference, I was only halfway through the queue.

 

The ride starts and ends with slow rotations. These rotations are loaded with hangtime. In a way, it sort of feels like a supersized roll-o-plane. But it’s the middle where Vertigo goes berserk.

 

When Vertigo reaches its max speed, it pulls over 5 Gs! And the crazy part is that it’s a sustained 5 Gs. Schwarzkopfs or boomerangs pull those kind of Gs, but it’s only for a second or two. I hope you like greying out since it’s inevitable.

 

So in summary, Vertigo has a miserable capacity but the ride is absolutely insane. 10 out of 10

 

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I felt like my head was about to explode. I loved it.

 

Since my views of Copenhagen were short-lived on Vertigo, I made my way to the drop tower, Glydne Tarn. And this is where I encountered an unfortunate policy. Tivoli doesn’t allow glasses (even with a strap) on thrill rides.

 

In retrospect, I’m guessing it was an oversight how I wasn’t asked to take them off on Vertigo. I respected their policy, but my miserable vision made it impossible to appreciate (what I know should have been) the breathtaking view of Copenhagen. This is why I skipped the Star Flyer.

 

The drop itself was your average S&S turbo drop. There was a quick pop at the start of the drop, but it was completely devoid of that coveted freefall sensation. 6 out of 10

 

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I'm sure the view is fantastic...if you aren't visually impaired.

 

As crazy as Vertigo was, Tivoli had a flat almost as crazy in Tik Tak. I don’t know the model name for this type of ride, but it’s basically a breakdance that inverts instead of spinning. You alternate between violent rocking and these long, drawn-out flips.

 

That alone made Tik Tak disorienting. But it’s also one of the most visually stunning flats I’ve ever seen. The roof is this fancy clock and the ride is accompanied by lights and fog. It’s a complete sensory overload.

 

I’d say Tik Tak was perfect, but it was slightly spoiled by a portable version I rode two days later at a German funfair. As long and wild as Tik Tak was, the German carnies took this ride to a whole new level. But more on that later. 9.5 out of 10

 

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Tik Tak looked stunning.

 

Usually I skip bumper cars, but I couldn’t help but hear a thunderous crash from Radiobilerne. Like a moth to a flame, I eagerly boarded. And these cars delivered.

 

These cars were just a notch below Lusse skooters in terms of power. And in Denmark, they could care less if there’s a head-on collision. The results were bone-jarring and exciting. 9 out of 10

 

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When you hear screams of pain, that's a sign to ride the bumper cars.

 

I was disappointed to miss the suspended flying carpet at Nagashima Spa Land last year. Those who rode it said it was nothing special, but I thought it was one-of-a-kind. But then I saw Tivoli had one!

 

Monsunen had one of the longest cycles I’ve ever seen on a flat and I loved how the geysers were synchronized beneath us. But I found the forces just ok. There was no airtime, just a strong downward yank that got a bit boring after the first few rotations. 6 out of 10

 

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Finally crossed the suspended flying carpet off my bucket list. Turns out, it didn't need to be on my bucket list.

 

Tivoli is also home to a lengthy omnimover-style dark ride in Flyvende Kuffert. I really wanted to like this ride. And it wanted me to like it too. Heck, the cars had an English narration switch!

 

But I thought the ride was a bit too ambitious. I liked the set design and style, but I didn’t like how the ride was basically a SparkNotes version of a dozen fairy tales. I would have preferred the ride focus on one or two and really flesh them out. 6 out of 10

 

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Looks like Ariel lost her top.

 

Skaersilden is the park’s fun house and it’s unlike any other fun house I’ve ever experienced. Usually fun houses traverse a linear path. Meanwhile, this one was more like an open playground.

 

If you rate fun houses like me by the number of things that would be banned in America, this is one of the best in the world. Highlights include tall, twisting slides, bouncing bridges, sliding staircases, rock walls, and barrels ripe for hand stands. 10 out of 10

 

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This fun house was more like a playground. A never-in-America playground.

 

I admittedly played with fire with Tivoli’s kiddie coaster, Kamelen. The ride had a decent wait during the day, so I decided to wait until nightfall for the line to die. Too bad for me it closed early. No big loss.

 

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It made sense this stopped operating at nightfall.

 

Missing Daemonen would have been a big loss. This next part was only possible because Tivoli Gardens is literally across from the train station. I decided to check one last time if Daemonen was open and my prayers were answered, it was!

 

I didn't have time to wait, so thankfully it was a walk-on. So I got two quick rides. Daemonen is basically the Great Bear of floorless coasters. You have an aerial helix, steep drop (with some air), vertical loop, Immelmann, and zero-G roll in rapid-fire succession. The compactness of the elements made them quite snappy in the back. 7 out of 10

 

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My new screensaver.

 

I also want to note that the operators at Tivoli Gardens are some of the friendliest I’ve encountered at any park. And every single one of them spoke perfect English too.

 

The combination of beauty, friendliness, and awesome rides makes Tivoli Gardens one of my favorite amusement parks in the world. I was always skeptical this place was overhyped, but after visiting the park, I understand why it’s so highly regarded.

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For anyone trying to replicate this trip, I do have one word of advice. Do not take an overnight train... assuming you actually want to sleep. I took one between Copenhagen and Hamburg after leaving Tivoli Gardens.

 

I'm one who can sleep almost anywhere. I can sleep almost anywhere. For that reason, I often book overnight flights (and in college I booked overnight Greyhound buses). I thought sleeping on the train would be no problem, but there were three issues.

 

1) The number of stops- I didn't feel comfortable leaving my luggage on a storage rack since the train had numerous stops. This is a stark contrast to a plane or even a Greyhound bus.

 

2) Lack of leg room- To protect my bags, I had to keep them at my feet and on my lap. This resulted in it being impossible to get comfortable and sleep.

 

3) Lighting- Unlike other redeye modes of transit I've taken, this one didn't dim the lights at all.

 

I highly recommend DB Trains (or any European train). They're fast, efficient, and on-time. I just don't recommend trying to sleep on one.

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Hansa Park

 

Hansa Park was one of my favorite parks on my recent Europe trip. I could gush all day about it. The landscaping is beautiful. The park had way more theming than expected. And the rides are great too.

 

Except there is one problem when it comes time to write a trip report. Their major coasters have spoilers. If you want to avoid having the surprised ruined, I recommend the following three things.

 

1) Do not go to RCDB.

2) Do not read the ride signs outside the attractions.

3) Avoid the spoiler section at the end of this report.

 

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Beautiful entrance.

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Beautiful park.

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Beautiful boobs.

 

My train arrived an hour before Hansa Park even opened so I had to kill some time. Since the park is located atop a hill overlooking the Baltic Sea, I took a scenic walk down to the water. I also got excited when I found a Banana Museum, but it was closed.

 

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I knew the park was right on the Baltic Sea.

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But WTF is this?!?

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Sorry folks, the museum's closed. The banana out front should've told you.

 

Once inside the park, I anxiously waited to Karnan to open. Skipping all the spoilers inside the building, I'll just start with the first drop. It’s incredible and one of the best in the world. The fact that a 200+ foot drop is entirely enclosed is sweet in its own right, but the sustained ejector air and laterals are insane if you’re towards the back. This drop felt like Expedition GeForce’s first drop on steroids.

 

When you emerge, you’re blinded. It’s similar to an on-ride photo blinding you on a night ride. You then rocket into this funky sea serpent thing. If you’re towards the front, you get some amazing airtime and laterals on the first part and a smaller pop and lats on the second part. Reverse that if you’re in the back.

 

You then charge through an overbank that has laterals exceeding that of Skyrush’s Stengel dive. It’s downright wild. Karnan then hugs the ground and eventually whips around this ridiculously tight turn that will have your legs number than a Batman clone.

 

Karnan then returns to the airtime with this incredible camelback with some powerful and sustained ejector airtime. Karnan gives you a second to catch your breath as you return towards the brake run, but it does have one last bunny hill with some more sustained ejector.

 

I also want to take a moment to talk about Karnan’s smoothness. It definitely has a bit of a shimmy to it, but the lack of OSTRs leads to zero discomfort. It’s still smoother than most wood coasters.

 

I had very high expectations for Karnan. And you know what? The ride met them! The combination of an immersive story, incredible airtime, and strong laterals. And when you mix in the surprises detailed below, you truly have one of the best coasters in the world. 10 out of 10

 

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Karnan is the complete package. Amazing surprises.

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Amazing drop.

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Amazing airtime.

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Amazing laterals.

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Amazing speed.

 

One of the park’s funkiest rides is actually their frisbee ride as this is the park home to the one themed to a giant bell. I made sure to hit Glocke early since the capacity is putrid. I think it’s 6 riders per cycle.

 

And fortunately it rides as cool as it looks. This one spun surprisingly fast, even on max swings. These max swings had some nice floater air plus a cool visual of water geysers below your feet. 8 out of 10

 

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R.I.P. Glocke. You will be missed.

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What a bizarre frisbee ride.

 

Next door was Stortebekers Kaperfahrt, a spinning raft slide. Like most of these rides, this one spun better than a tea cup. And it’s a good thing too because the rest of the layout is pretty tame.

 

The slide itself is dry, but those who hate water are in for an unpleasant surprise. You know how most parks charge you 25 cents for water cannons? Hansa Park gives its guests free water guns. Don’t try to fight it; you’re getting very wet. 6 out of 10

 

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This part won't get you wet.

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But the free water cannons sure will.

 

I then made my way across the park to Fluch von Novgorod. This ended up being my longest wait of the day at 45 minutes. But the queue was very well themed so I didn’t mind too much.

 

I’m skipping some spoilers, but you eventually emerge from the castle (Hansa Park really has a thing for them) and fly over this amazing camelback. The sustained ejector air feels like something from a hyper coaster. There’s also this awesome barrel roll with a ton of hangtime.

 

Unfortunately, Fluch von Novgorod has OSTRs, so you need to ride defensively during this pretzel turnaround. Thankfully, that’s the only rough part of the ride.

 

As good as the outdoor section of Fluch von Novgorod is, it’s the indoor section that makes it standout. See the spoilers below if you want to know why. 8 out of 10

 

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The outdoor part is nice, but the indoor part is what makes this ride special.

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What's in the tower?

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Mmmm, pretzel.

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Mmmm, barrel roll.

 

By this point I was dry, but it didn’t last long. The flume, Wildwasserfahrt, had this evil little drop at the start that sent a wall of water over the side of the boat. The big drop was just ok, but the ride did travel past some really nice landscaping and decent theming. 6 out of 10

 

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Why does it always seem like the little drop gets you wetter on most flumes?

 

Now you’d think a ride called Super Splash would get you soaked, but it was ironically the driest water ride in the park. The final splash was huge, but all the water was repelled away from the boat.

 

Before that splash is a sizable drop that could have been quite good. It was a funky double down with a tiny pop of air. However, it jackhammered worse than most wooden coasters. 4 out of 10

 

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How is the ride called Super Splash the driest water ride in the park?

 

Continuing the loop around the park, I then hit Kleine Zar, the kiddie coaster. As far as kiddie coasters go, this one wasn’t bad. It was smooth and came *this* close to giving airtime on the final bunny hill. 3 out of 10

 

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No shame. Not an ounce.

 

Space Scooter is one of the oddest bumper cars around. The ride would be notable alone for being indoors with music and lighting, but it also has a game.

 

Riders are tasked with driving around the arena and shooting each planet. To shoot a planet, you needed to t-bone the wall while pressing a second foot pedal. When I realized I wasn’t going to win, I started obliterating all the other drivers who weren’t paying attention to the other cars. 8 out of 10

 

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To hit the targets, you have to literally t-bone the wall like the person in the bottom left. Or you can just roll around and crush those who aren't keeping their eyes on the road.

 

The park’s newest ride was Highlander, a colossal drop tower. I figured the views would be spectacular. Doubly so since it was running in “Super Tilt” mode in the afternoon.

 

However, the ride never tilted. I kept expecting to tilt at the top, but it never happened and we just dropped. So I’m not sure if the tilt feature was broken, but it was a good drop too; my stomach most definitely dropped.

 

It’s also worth noting the park strictly forbids glasses on all thrill rides even if you have a strap. While the view was blurry, I could still appreciate the ridiculous height since we were on a hill and also towering over Karnan. 9 out of 10

 

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I was promised Super Tilt. I checked the time and everything. But I didn't get it.

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Instead I just got the world's third tallest drop tower.

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Great views and an even better drop.

 

I then rounded out the rest of the park’s coaster collection starting with Rasender Roland, a surprisingly good Vekoma junior coaster. This one winds its way through the park’s Schwarzkopf. And it even has some Gs on the first helix and lats on the second helix. 6 out of 10

 

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Rasender Roland and Nessie are a twisted mess of track.

 

Speaking of that Schwarzkopf, Nessie was pretty good. The helices did absolutely nothing for me, but the loop and drops delivered. The second drop in particular had some really strong ejector in the back. And there’s also an abrupt kink into the brakes that gives a pop of air as well. 7 out of 10

 

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This Nessie may not have interlocking loops, but it does have an interlocking Vekoma junior coaster. 2 credits is better than 2 interlocking loops.

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This picture really lets you appreciate just how interwoven Rasender Roland is with Nessie.

 

One of the park’s most unremarkable coasters was Crazy Mine, the wild mouse. This one had minimal braking on the top section, but it had a very hard brake before the second half. It was able to regain enough speed for a pop of air or two though. 5 out of 10

 

I also want to point out there’s this 50 foot tower adjacent to the exit that gives some amazing views of both Crazy Mine and Schwur des Karnan. Make sure not to miss that!

 

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I hadn't been this close to a coaster since Mount Olympus.

 

The last coaster was a surprisingly good junior coaster, Schlange von Midgard. This one has a little show scene during the lift and some decently strong laterals. Plus it’s located over the water.

 

Speaking of water, watch out in the queue line. There’s this innocent looking female animatronic. But she will literally spit on you. 5 out of 10

 

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At first it may look like an innocent junior coaster.

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But she will actually spit on you while you wait in line.

 

I also made sure to ride Holsteinturm, the observation tower. It was nice to admire the park and its gorgeous location with my glasses on for a change. My only gripe was the short cycle. I think we got one rotation at the top before we descended. 8 out of 10

 

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I'd like to give this ride a big thanks for all the aerial shots in this report.

 

Hansa Park was the complete package. It was beautiful and had a great mix of rides. And the highlight is without a doubt Schwur des Karnan, a roller coaster that is a complete WTF of awesomeness.

 

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This is your last chance to avoid spoilers...and scrape shit off your boots.

 

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

 

Schwur des Karnan

Schwur des Karnan’s queue line would fit in at a Disney park. The queue tells the story how a king wants an impenetrable fortress. To achieve this, the king used a magic spell that cost him his soul, which is now locked inside the castle. Flash forward to the present day and tourists are now exploring the castle.

 

The theming inside this castle even exceeds the famous Neuschwanstein Castle (which isn’t hard considering that castle is unfished). The highlight is the throne room, which is complete with a Cobra’s Curse esque projection mapping effect.

 

For those unaware, Karnan has assigned seating unlike any other ride. You’re put in groups of four. When the floor under you illuminates, a door randomly opens and that’s your row. On one hand, it’s a cool way to assign seats. On the other hand, there’s a chance you never get to experience the front or back. I was stubborn and kept riding until I did.

 

It’s now time for the super spoiler. What happens in the castle? After you leave the station, you head down this abrupt little drop, rip around a hairpin turn, and then ascend the massive vertical lift. Then the king appears on the ceiling and starts yelling at us in German.

 

I have no clue what he said, but he’s clearly pissed. The train starts to shake and then you freaking plummet backwards down the vertical lift. The element was awesome! The abruptness yielded a brief stomach dropping sensation and it’s just so unique. It would have been even better had I not been spoiled.

 

The last spoiler occurs at the very end. After you hit the brakes, you think you’re about to return to the station. But when you re-enter the building, you slowly crawl through a barrel roll that feels similar to the jojo roll of Hydra or Copperhead. And it even includes a crazy handchopper with the floor.

 

Fluch von Novgorod

The coaster actually begins with a dark ride segment. I had barely any clue what was going on, but there’s something about a curse. You then hear riders curse as you dip down this very sudden plunge in total darkness. It has that abrupt airtime of the Mystery Mine shaft drop.

 

If that drop wasn’t enough, it leads into a launch. And it’s a surprisingly powerful launch. I couldn’t believe it, but it technically has a higher rate of acceleration than Top Thrill Dragster! You then rocket around a banked turn (not unlike Maverick) into the outdoor segment.

 

When the outdoor segment (detailed above) ends, you re-enter the castle and climb a vertical lift that doubles as a brief show scene. You then plunge down an always awesome beyond vertical drop.

 

Now keep in mind you’re still indoors. You then whip through this large and extremely disorienting overbank. The castle basically follows the path of the track. You then wiggle around in complete darkness for a few moments before hitting the brakes.

 

This is where most rides end, but Fluch von Novgorod may have the world’s best exit path. You take this slide back down to ground level and then have to navigate a surprisingly long maze to exit. That’s not a euphemism for a gift shop. You seriously navigate a legit maze with dead ends and such.

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Awesome trip report as usual! Karnan really seems like gerstlauer took a page out of the intamin hyper book and then just said f*ck it let's take it up another notch!

 

Fluch von Novgorod's launch does claim it's one of the fastest in the world (0 - 100km/h in 1.6(?) sec.), but it's a moving a launch (not even a rolling one). So, I wonder if that claim is really that accurate. Oh well, it's a good launch anyways (but no top thrill dragster by any means).

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I really love that this park has such a great one-two punch with Karnan and Fluch von Novgorod... Plus a line up of other coasters and flats in a really well landscaped, charming environment. This park is definitely on my must-do list if I ever get around to visiting more parks in Europe.

 

Thanks for sharing!

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I have loved Hansa park since our first visit in 2005, and it just keeps improving at a crazy pace. Glad you also had a wonderful time and appreciated all of their crazy rides!

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Great report! I love Hansa Park, it's such a charming little park that keeps getting better every time I visit Kärnan is my favorite rollercoaster, that exit out of the overbank must be one of the most intense elements I have ever experienced, somehow it combines ejector air, crazy laterals and heavy positive g-forces all at once

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Awesome trip report as usual! Karnan really seems like gerstlauer took a page out of the intamin hyper book and then just said f*ck it let's take it up another notch!

 

Fluch von Novgorod's launch does claim it's one of the fastest in the world (0 - 100km/h in 1.6(?) sec.), but it's a moving a launch (not even a rolling one). So, I wonder if that claim is really that accurate. Oh well, it's a good launch anyways (but no top thrill dragster by any means).

 

Thanks! It's definitely a strong launch, but the fact you're moving 20-25 mph as you enter it takes away some of the initial lunch. I'd say the launch is closer to Maverick (especially when considering it's in the dark) than Dragster.

 

I really love that this park has such a great one-two punch with Karnan and Fluch von Novgorod... Plus a line up of other coasters and flats in a really well landscaped, charming environment. This park is definitely on my must-do list if I ever get around to visiting more parks in Europe.

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Thanks! Hansa Park definitely had the charm of a small European park, but Karnan is a bonafide top tier ride.

 

I have loved Hansa park since our first visit in 2005, and it just keeps improving at a crazy pace. Glad you also had a wonderful time and appreciated all of their crazy rides!

 

The crazier the better! Plus it's simply a charming park.

 

Great report! I love Hansa Park, it's such a charming little park that keeps getting better every time I visit Kärnan is my favorite rollercoaster, that exit out of the overbank must be one of the most intense elements I have ever experienced, somehow it combines ejector air, crazy laterals and heavy positive g-forces all at once

 

Thanks! Yeah I was completely caught off-guard by the ferocity of that overbank. And this is from someone used to being tossed like a ragdoll on Skyrush.

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I'm way behind in catching up on your reports, but I have looked at the pics, and they all look like you had an incredible time!

 

(will go back and read later).

 

Hansa in particular looks like a really spectacular park. I adore that swinging bell frisbee. Did I hear recently they were closing it?

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Hamburg DOM

 

After an overnight train and a full day at Hansa Park, I was ready to crash. My bed was calling my name. However, a crazy European funfair called my name louder.

 

My base for Hansa Park and Heide Park was downtown Hamburg. And the Hamburg DOM funfair just happened to be less than 2 miles from my hotel. It would have been criminal not to go.

 

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I could have admired the sights.

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But instead I went to a crazy European funfair.

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It was where the action was.

 

I had no clue what the ride lineup would be. I sort of expected a lot of coasters and flats to overlap with Oktoberfest’s lineup. Much to my shock, basically every ride was different. The only ride I noticed from Oktoberfest was the weird multi-story Rotor with the funhouse queue.

 

The biggest coaster was the Rock & Roller Coaster not starring Aerosmith. Instead of being a cool Vekoma launcher in the dark, this one was a Schwarzkopf wildcat with some light theming around it.

 

This supersized galaxi was great for a fair coaster. The second and third drops had quick pops of air and it was immaculately smooth. The only rough part was a borderline violent stop at the end. Brace yourself for that! 5 out of 10

 

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These galaxi coasters always look more imposing at a fair.

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Rock and Roller Coaster felt incomplete without Aerosmith.

 

The other major coaster was Crazy Mouse. Since I got a solo ride, my car spun like a top in the second half. The other cool thing about this ride was that they had complimentary lockers adjacent to it. I’ve never seen that at a fair before. 5 out of 10

 

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I never thought I’d find a wacky worm better than the one at Nigloland. What could be better than a wacky worm that gives ejector airtime? Well I may have found one.

 

If you take a wacky worm and add animatronics, smoke, and water, you have officially piqued my interest. And that’s exactly what Kuddel Der Hai did. And it also plays the SpongeBob SquarePants theme as you crawl around the course. 4 out of 10

 

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It may look like an ordinary wacky worm.

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But just look at all that theming!

 

There was also a debatable fourth credit in Spuk. This was a gravity driven haunted house with a sizable spiral lift and multiple drops. Honestly, this is more of a coaster than Black Diamond or Conneaut’s Devil’s Den. One of the hills even had a tiny pop of air.

 

But the highlight was the scare effects. The props themselves were relatively cheap looking, but the timing was impeccable. Jump scares were lined up perfectly with the coaster drops to give this haunt a unique flavor. And it gets major points for almost making me crap my pants. 9 out of 10

 

SPOILER

 

As you round the corner, I thought there was one last animatronic. Except this was a real dude. Not only that, but he swung a rubber axe into my throat. WTF?! I’ve been touched before on haunts, but I’ve never had someone go for my jugular.

 

It's the things that would never fly in America that make Europe special.

 

END SPOILER

 

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This drop is 100% gravity powered. Credit whores can rejoice.

 

Since one effed up haunt wasn’t enough, there was also this multi-story shooter that begins with an elevator lift. The props and targets on Geister were bare bones; however, it had some unique things that made it memorable.

 

For one, it has some drops. They’re 100% powered, but there were targets during this drop that were a real challenge to hit. Second, there were multiple jump scares. When you’re busy focusing on targets, you really let your guard down so cheap carnival effects suddenly become effective.

 

And like Spuk, this one also has a surprise finale. 7 out of 10

 

SPOILER

 

Just when you think the ride is over, the car actually moves on a motion base. A zombie then “attacks” you and you rise into the air and shake around a bit. It wasn’t thrilling, but I guarantee you’ll be laughing at the randomness of it.

 

END SPOILER

 

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I think the elevator lift was scarier than the zombies.

 

Off-ride, the grandest dark ride appears to be Dr. Archibald Master of Time. The multistory building is absolute eye-candy. You’d think a ride that puts that much effort into the facade would have some detailed sets on the inside.

 

Except there’s one problem, Dr. Archibald is a VR dark ride.

 

Rather than trying to scare you, this VR was to transport you to different fantasy worlds. It was definitely novel, but the overly cartoonish scenes just weren’t immersive enough for me. Honestly, the coolest part was how the unload station matched the final scene from the VR. 5 out of 10

 

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What a facade!

 

Happy Family was a disorienting fun house. I lost count how many shaking, spinning, rolling, bouncing, and sliding platforms there were. All I know is that my legs felt like jelly afterwards and I couldn’t walk straight. There was also a super tall and fast spiral slide for good measure. 8 out of 10

 

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I'm glad Mario, Angry Birds, and Despicable Me could come together to form one big happy family.

 

Crazy Island was the lesser of the two fun houses. Not all the indoor effects worked, but the outdoor section is where it got interesting.

 

There are all sorts of platforms above a pool. There are also a series of sprayers. If you lose your balance, you will fall in the water. If you mistime your journey, you’ll get blasted. And if you somehow manage to stay dry, don’t worry. The last platform sinks into the pool anyway. 5 out of 10

 

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It may look like an innocent fun house.

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But it has a very unacceptable amount of wetness.

 

And of course the fair was filled with insane flats. It’s a toss-up what was crazier- the Huss Breakdance or the Mondial Shake.

 

I never rode the famed Break Dance at Coney Island, but I find it hard-pressed that thing could top Dancer. To start, it had a ridiculously long cycle. The cycle lasted two FULL songs! Even if it ran like crap, that alone would make it notable. But it didn’t run like crap. This thing was insane.

 

I never knew a break dance could be operated so fast. The Gs on the spinning combined with the violent whipping was pure bliss. I didn’t think it could get any faster, but the operator laughed maniacally and yelled, “Spin like a bee!” And somehow it got even faster. The Gs were so intense it pushed the skin back on my cheeks a la Top Thrill Dragster. 10 out of 10

 

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People need to learn from German carnies how to run a flat.

 

I loved Tik Tak at Tivoli Gardens. I thought it was the perfect flat. It was beautiful, had a super long cycle, and was wild. Shake isn’t a looker, but it has an insanely long cycle and an insanely wild ride.

 

Tik Tak had violent rocking and long, drawn-out flips. Shake had the long, drawn-out flips, but instead of violent rocks, it did complete 360 flips in the blink of an eye. Combine that with a disorienting lighting package and you’re going to have no idea which way is up. 10 out of 10

 

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If you give a German carny a ride capable of doing crazy flips, you can bet you're going upside down more times than you can count.

 

Viva Mexico was a waltzer, which is basically a tilt-a-whirl on sterioids. And it had the potential to be one of the best spinning rides of all-time. There was just one problem. I don’t have boobs.

 

During the ride, the operators ran around the platform manually spinning vehicles. Every so often they’d give me a token spin and the Gs were incredible. But most of their time was spent on the all-female cars. So if you want a great ride, I hope you’re female or willing to dress in drag. 8 out of 10

 

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Note the dude spinning the cars himself.

 

And since it was a German fair, there was of course beer and food. I feel like I committed a mortal sin skipping the beer, but I did indulge in food. I had a jumbo pretzel, some fluffy pofferjes, and a delicious unknown-meat sandwich.

 

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For those unfamiliar with a European fair, there’s no wristband. A different showman owns every ride. On one hand, that stinks because it can become costly. On the other hand, this is why every ride is run to the max. They need to make their ride more appealing than the competition!

 

The Hamburg DOM isn’t a destination fair like Oktoberfest. However, it’s still a riot. The atmosphere is electric and you see plenty of things you’ll never get in America like vomit-inducing flats and crazy dark rides.

 

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Edited by Canobie Coaster
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