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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/24/19 in Blog Entries

  1. 2 points
    Many years ago a man visited a smallish yet popular Danish amusement park. That place was Tivoli Gardens. He was inspired by the charm and character of the place which lead him on to creating his own park. That man was Walt Disney. Tivoli Gardens has been somewhere I have always wanted to visit, whether that be it’s significant history, interesting pallet of attractions, or to say I have visited the fourth most visited European park? These were just some of the reasons, not to mention ‘’technically’’ following Walt’s footsteps. Opening in 1843, Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world (after Bakken). The park is literally in the City centre of Copenhagen (Denmark) putting it firmly into the category of city parks. Like Liseberg, Grona Lund and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The park features no fewer than three entrances, including the iconic main entrance. We decided to take this one. Upon entering, you are greeted upon some pretty picturesque gardens and open spaces, which make for an ideal first impression and one contrasting the busy street outside. One of the first attractions we visited was the iconic Ruschterbahn (Roller Coaster). This attraction dates back to 1914, making it one of the oldest attractions in the park and maybe the world. Despite being nestled into one of the park’s corners, it was definitely one of the most popular attractions. And for a great reason! The ride is so simple yet perfect, a brake-person rides on the train with you and controls the speed as you go through numerous drops and turns. I can safely say the Ruscteebahn is my favourite attraction in the park. It’s effectiveness of completing simple tasks so perfectly is satisfying. It is easily my favourite of the three Scenic Railway attractions I have done too. Tivoli’s second headline coaster is The Demon (Daemonen),a B&M floorless which opened in 2004. This must be one of the smallest B&M’s in the world, with it’s compact layout. There seemed to be some rows dedicated to VR in the station, however we didn’t see anyone use it whilst we were there. Another VR failure? It definitely isn’t my favourite B&M out there, however it’s impressive what the park have managed to fit into what is a very small footprint (for B&M standards). Better than Dragon Khan though. The park did have a Mack powered coaster, however this was in the process of being replaced whilst we were out there. “Adds another to the list of spited creds”. Our final coaster was Kamelen (Camel), an adorable Zierer . This replaced their older junior coaster. The attraction features an Arabian style theme (like other rides in the area). Six laps too? Woo! There are two dark rides inside Tivoli, one of these is The Flying Trunk. This Mack ominmover attraction depicts numerous scenes based on the books from renowned Danish author Hans Christian Anderson. The attraction was sweet and relaxing. It is certainly impressive how much they have managed to fit into what is a relatively small building. The ride is built partially below ground level. The Mine is the park’s second dark ride and is just totally bizarre. You go around in small boats shooting targets, although the scoring system is not particularly clear. The guns are either similar to Wands, or things one will say is less appropriate! The ride is essentially a tiny flume dark ride with lasers. The scenes are charming despite the potential lack of context. Tomb surprisingly disliked most of the attraction. Tivoli packs a large selection of flat rides, some of which have to be the craziest out there, Vertigo is no exception. This crazy contraption flings you 360 whilst turning at rapid speeds to the point of almost making the former Slammer look tame. I enjoyed it, but literally experienced my limit for thrill rides! Some of their other flat rides include a pretty Steampunk themed Air Race, an S&S drop tower (least this one launches down) and a Crazy inverted Magic Carpet. I found this one the most nauseating, it probably didn’t help that girl opposite me looked like she was going to vomit any moment tbh. Amongst this, they also had a highly impressive Fun House, which was free flowing and located underneath the Ruschterbahn. They also had an adorable Vintage Cars attraction which is amazing, because fountains and a vintage Ferris Wheel. We ran out of time for the Dodgems, Carousels, Land-Train and Sea Storm (style) attractions. Annoyingly some attractions were unavailable on our day of visit, including the Fata Morgana which was an iron condor style ride, a crazy mutated breakdance attraction (which replaced their old breakdance) and the sky flier. Tomb was particularly disappointed by the later, especially when it was actually operating the next day too. Just like Efteling! The park also plays hosts to their Illuminations show every evening/night. Essentially a smaller scale Aquanura , the performance features fountains, lights, fire and other effects. Whilst Aquanura is more impressive and contextual, Illuminations still makes for a cherishing and worthwhile watching. The rides shut at 21:45 on the day we were visiting, due to their Friday Rock event, where their centre stage hosts notable Music artists performing. We watched some of the music even though it wasn’t really our cup of tea. We left just before the end, grabbing a McDonald’s on the way. Final Thoughts and Reflections: Tivoli Gardens is undoubtably a charming and lovely park to visit and something of a national treasure to Denmark. Despite it’s relatively small size it hosts a very reasonable diversity of attractions which suit the park. The grounds, landscaping and architecture are lavishing. Whilst not themed as such, the park are definitely trying to allocate different stylings to each area of the park. whether that be Space/Steampunk, Asian or Middle Eastern sections, which are reasonably distinguishable. The park was generally charming and the majority of staff friendly and helpful. It is probably also one of the better parks for food quantity and quality. Smorrebrod, a cultural delight. My only major criticism I can really give was the lack of audio in most of the park. Whilst the dark rides and toilets featured audio, there were very few other areas of the park (especially main areas) where there was nothing. Whilst I don’t expect audio blaring out left right and centre, it would be pleasant if a few more areas featured audio to enhance further atmosphere to the place. Just something ambient and reflective here and there would do the job. I would recommend a visit here to anyone, whether your after a park with charm, class, thrilling attractions or all three! Tivoli Gardens is worth seeing at least once in everyone’s lifetime theme park lover for not! Join me soon in part two as I cover some of the other things to see in Copenhagen outside of Tivoli Gardens, where I witness this City of modern fairytales by Land, air and sea to see what treasures and cultural gems are discovered. Thanks For Reading!
  2. 2 points
    Last weekend, I visited Berlin and Leipzig for a quick cred run and culture trip. I had originally planned to go to Finland and hit up Linnanmaki this month, but since Taiga opens next month, we opted for something a little different.. After arriving in Berlin Friday morning, the first port of call was Little Big City. Owned by Merlin, LBC is one of their newer midway brands, and is basically a miniature village which goes through the history of Berlin. This one opened up about 2 years ago, and one opened in Beijing late last year, so it's struggled a bit so far. We had free tickets thanks to a member of the group being a Merlin-worker, and hit the attraction up at 11am. We were the only one in the pre show room (which is basically a projection explaining the concept), and there was probably only about 10-15 other people in the attraction whilst we were there. It's not a large attraction, and all the exhibits take place in one large room. However, it is well done: there's lots of interaction points, you can get very close / touch basically all of the models, and it's really informative and relaxed. It handles the more sensitive parts of Berlin's history well too. We spent about 50 minutes in there, but a family / more interested group could easily spend closer to 90 minutes I'd say. So yeah, it's a shame this isn't doing better and the brand isn't taken off. It has potential, but feels poorly marketed and in an awkward location. At about 13 euro for entrance, it's perhaps a little steep in price and I probably wouldn't have paid to do it personally, but I reckon for those who are interested in learning a little about a lot of the history, it's perfect. We then made the 45 minute ish drive down to Karls Erlebnis-Dorf Elstal. This came onto my radar last year when they opened up the abc tube coaster K2. For some more context, Karls is a massive strawberry farm brand, and we saw a few strawberry stands in Berlin in our brief time there in the morning. The place itself is a bit weird: it's like a garden centre, mixed with a market, mixed with an adventure playground, mixed with a small theme park in the making. Over the past couple of years they've added more rides and more to the theme park side of things. Entrance to the place is free, and includes a few attractions (mostly adventure playground stuff, like climbing frames, outdoor maze, etc), and the rides are pay per ride (1-4 euros per ride), or unlimited rides for 12 euros, the latter of which we opted for. After a delicious and reasonably-priced lunch, we moved onto the rides. K2 is one of the biggest surprise coasters out there, given it's unassuming location. The ride is themed to potatoes / harvesting potatoes / a crisp factory. The queue line (which is exceptionally long), is beautifully well-themed. It's like walking through a crisp factory, going from the harvesting of potatoes to the prepping of them into crisps. For those who have been to Phantasialand, it's similar in style to Maus au Chocolat's queue line. And it is themed amazingly. This is honestly one of the best themed queues I've ever been through: in the same league as Maus, Flying Dutchman at Efteling, etc. Which in itself is a feat. The ride itself is great fun. The cars have a lot of room and only have a seatbelt to lock you in. You go through an indoor pre-lift section which shows the harvesting of potatoes, before climbing up the 80ft lift and going round. There's some nice little pops of floater airtime, and it's just a fun, speedy coaster. It hits a MCBR which kills a lot of speed, before going through a couple of helixes and hitting the brakes. We did it multiple times and it's just as fun every time. Another quick thing to add: the throughput. This ride was running 4 cars, on a Friday afternoon when the place was super quiet. It occasionally had a queue, but it was running really well and cars were constantly flying around. Was really great to see! The rest of the park is fairly standard fodder. There's a Zierer water carousel thing (like Squid Surfer at Legoland), a water drop thing (the first one I've done: it was terrifying), mini drop tower, tractor ride, etc. All were really well styled and worked really well. And in saying that, we had a really good time. The place is really relaxed and a lot of fun, and has plenty to do, especially factoring in the non-park stuff. The place is usually open 10-8 as well, so it's easy to visit whenever you want. The place clearly has a bright future, financial backing and a long-term place, since they're planning on adding some form of hotel / camping / resort experience in 2021 too. Definitely one to watch! That's all for now. We drove down to Leipzig (a couple of hours away), ready for a..erm...fun day at Belantis tomorrow...
  3. 1 point

    The Wickerman- The Truth

    *This blog is getting bumped rip* So I have to admit that during late 2017/early 2018 I was incredibly cynical and skeptical over Wickerman during its construction. the layout to me just looked really mediocre and in a way I just writ off because its layout looked a bit naff to me, I think this was amplified even more due to Wodan being my only experience with GCI and with it being more than double the height and size of Wickerman. " ... So last year as a enthusiast I kinda failed. I only visited Lego, Chessie, and Thorpe, I just didn't get round to going up north and riding Wickerman or Icon. Even worse my only only abroad park was Portaventura.. Yuck.. Thorpe is better than.. This year though I think I am somewhat going to redeem myself. I'm heading to Europa in May and going to Six Flags GMerica and Cedar Point in June, I'm not gonna fail like I did last year.. One trip this year though left me with "would I make it?" and that was Alton Towers. After a bunch of last minute plans I finally headed to ride Wickerman, I would finally be able to form a proper opinion on the ride. So after a 3 hour drive I headed into the park for ERT and a early ride on Wickerman. I have to say it looks pretty sexy from afar.. So I have to admit I wasn't expecting a pre-show, it caught me off guard a little. Overall the pre-show was kinda neat, it certainly was well done but I found it was a little dark for a coaster that has a 1.2 restriction, I also felt on repeat rides it got a little old too.. After exiting the pre-show I was very lucky to be instantly batched to the front row on my first ride, I nearly snogged the guy giving out the rows. So as soon I get off Wickerman I was instantly very impressed- its well paced, fun, full of airtime pops and some fun GCI banks. The coaster is a lot better than I was giving it credit for, its really what Alton needed. The theming around the ride adds to the ride in a fun way (especially in the front row) and the main structure itself looks very cool. The coaster I found had a few minor pops of air in the front but had some pretty aggressive ejector pops in the back, if you want a more intense ride I would say the back is your best bet, especially on the first drop! The coaster runs very much like Wodan, it has a constant fast pace to it and never seems to slow down, its also decently long too. The coaster itself was running three trains on my visit (which is great for a merlin park!) but it did stack quite a bit so don't expect Wodan style capacity. Overall Wickerman is probably my favorite on park and maybe even my favorite in the UK. Its not quite as insane as Wodan but its still a great ride in its own right and is a great ride for those who can't be arsed to go to Europa or Toverland. Wickerman is proof that Merlin can build good rides, hopefully Merlin decide to add more GCI's in the future.. #Thorpe4GCI 8/10 With that last post, I wasn't wrong.. But Wickerman is brilliant for this country and I'm glad I can get my GCI fix closer to home now. 3 rides on this beast only hyped me more to ride Wodan again. Hope you enjoyed the review
  4. 1 point

    Cedar Point 2

    (As if you havent had enough of Cedar Point already) Blue Streak So this woody has a problem in that there's a part of the ride that travels past the bins and it absolutely stinks. Other then that this is a surprisingly fast and brutal wooden coaster and it took us a little bit by surprise. It had two trains running and never had a queue. I like. Corkscrew This was pretty standard actually and apart from doing its thing over the pathway and has sentimental value, it's just another rollercoaster at the park and hasn't too much going for it these days. Look at my photo skills. Gemini I don't really understand this ride. It didn't seem to be very reliable on my visit and for a ride that makes a point of it being a racing coaster, it must be the worst racing coaster out there. The thing doesn't are as the right hand side will always have the advantage. It's also a hybrid coaster but it was pretty unmemorable. Magnum XL This ride is brilliant. My only experience with Arrow hypers is The Big One which is in my opinion, an absolutely atrocious attraction. No air time, painful, shuddery and rides terribly. But Magnum, my god is absolutely fantastic. I can imagine riding this thing in 1989 and being blown away by just how much air time features throughout the ride. Oddly, the majority of the ride is outside the park and can barely be seen as you stroll around the midway. The ride is strangely themed to almost like a space ship (but obviously not) and features a huge drop and a journey towards the adventure park. But on the ride as you come back towards the station the ride throws air time hill after air time at you and it just feels insane. My first ride I was kind of in pain from just how much ejector you get. The second time I was fully aware and I adored it. So yeah I loved it, my fiancé loved it and I wished I'd ridden more. Alas, too much to do. The next big ride is ages away in Old Town (or whatever its called) and too start off with... WARNING, A LENGTHIER REVIEW When it comes to Intamin, they are either brilliant (Taron, Juvelen, iSpeed) or monstrous (Cheetah Hunt, Tornado). With Maverick, back in its opening year and it had an inversion removed due to being too forceful, I had my reservations with how rideable this thing was going to be. Since opening its had some restraint modifications to make it more comfortable to ride and with its mini look but explosive layout, this ride has developed a somewhat cult following among enthusiasts. And I'm happy to say I am a fan. The queue line is quite scenic for Cedar Point, going around a small lake and into a small shedded area before going into the station. I like how each train has a different colour and a different name. In the station, two trains are loaded at a time. We always chose the second train and I think it has a slight drawkback. When the trains are dispatched, the first will go straight into the launch lift hill but the second waits at the bottom. Problem is you have nothing to look at so you just sit (like in the picture) waiting for the ride to do something. But once it gets going this ride doesn't disappoint. From snappy inversions, huge air time hills with bucket loads of air time and a great little speed run through the lake with water blasters going off, this has something for everyone and is a real crowd pleaser. What I like about rides like Maverick, Icon, Taron, Juvelen is that the launch is only part of the experience, a faster lift hill if you will. You're not supposed to get off these rides beaming about how fast you accelerated but how the whole things come together. Maverick is a winner because it brings together everything that is good about Intamin. They don't always get it right but when they do, they really nail it. My only hope is that more open across Europe as they are such great, enjoyable rides. And finally... Ah RMC. Back in your earlier days whilst Theme Park Review were raving and singing your praises, I think a lot weren't too sure about the odd blocky track, the strange stall turns, the way the ride seems to throw riders around with all the grace of a bucking bronco. But over time, as more and more opened, whether completely new like Wildfire at Kolmarden or refurbishments of older rides, each has opened to massive praise. Steel Vengeance is without a doubt their biggest project. Not only did they change the universally hated Mean Streak but the created one of their longest and craziest rides. How does it really compare to other rollercoasters when to be honest there's very few like it. From the moment the train is dispatched, even before the lift hill there's air time which bodes well. What follows the lift hill is what feels like the most out of control experience felt on a rollercoaster. From the banked air time hills, the zero g rolls that felt like they come from nowhere in the layout, the way the train dives through the structure feels incredible. The zero-g stall, the small air time hills into the break run. When it comes to B&M's and you ride, you can remember the layout quite easily, it's simple to describe the feelings through each hill or inversion. When it comes to Steel Vengeance, that feels impossible. Especially on the ride when you're flying past wooden beams or over the top of hills, trying to process the experience feels like a trivial exercise in over-analysing. It's just damn good. My only complaint is the restraints, particularly around the legs aren't great. I don't know if its a height thing because it only seems to effect a few people. But its a minor complaint in what I think is one of the best rides built in the last ten years. Sure, I prefer Gatekeeper as I personally enjoy that ride more. But I don't underestimate the technical skills and know how that went into modifying, building and designing Steel Vengeance. Go and ride, simple as. And so with all that, the Cedar Point experience was over. And was it worth it. Without a doubt yes. Maverick, Still Vengeance, Gatekeeper, Millennium Force and Raptor make the visit more then worthwhile. This is such a strong line up and it's only part of the offering. I know there is a load of people who like to pit CP against Magic Mountain and knowing I have been to two of the sought after US parks feels pretty awesome. I personally prefer CP but Magic Mountain is still a top theme park; I'd go there for Tatsu. JOY! The next stop is Canadas Wonderland so see you then. And thanks for reading.
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