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Chuck’s Saga of Theme Park Review’s 2023 Scandinavian Trip

UPDATE, September 24: Furuvik (p. 3)

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14 hours ago, SharkTums said:

I also thought the weird kids bunny dark ride was great! I felt bad it didn't have a longer line...maybe cause it was kind of hidden?

it was WAY hidden. . and right next to the "sofa" photo op for the costumed characters. . . if you weren't looking carefully, that queue really did look like it was a queue for the photo op!

luckily I found this one (and rode it a bunch). . but I was sad to hear I missed Desperados - which also had a kind of hidden queue, and knew nothing about it until Chuck mentioned it.    I was all over this park on the two full days we were there. . not sure how I missed that one!

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Part 11
A Most Unusual Day: Skara Sommarland

This may be the strangest day of the TPR Scandinavia Trip for two reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!

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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.




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.)

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I was SO glad I wouldn't let them talk me into all getting into ONE boat.

we for sure would have died.



and that poor family in the back. .they were trying so hard not to be embarrassed for us, as we were all laughing like loons and trying not to tip over.

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