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Grona Lund is small'ish amusement park located in Stockholm which is probably the 2nd biggest park in Sweden [after Liseberg]. For 2017 the park will be building a giant new drop tower called Ikaros. The ride will be 95 metres tall [aprox. 311ft] and will be similar to Falcon's Fury as it will be using tilting seats.
It's not often that I tend to have the persuasion and determination to visit theme parks outside of Britain, primarily due to the costs, travel and venturing into the unknown when visiting another country. But Liseberg is different. Liseberg drew my attention more than any other European theme park for 2017 because further research into what the place offered and the ease of travelling there entirely on public transport and not hiring a car got me seriously interested. Of course, Helix was the draw factor for me more than anything because I have found it almost impossible to find a single negative review about the ride since it's debut back in 2014. For too long Nemesis and Shambhala have both always been my top coasters and nothing since has ever managed to come close to them... until now! This review will consist of my experience of the park over 2 days earlier last week, flying out on Friday 12th May until Monday 15th May and I will be detailing every little detail I noted, so please understand this is going to be a very long and precise review of travelling there, the park itself and it's attractions it has to offer. If you like to read quick and to-the-point reviews, this is not for you! The aim of this review is to familiarise readers who are considering visiting the park for the first time everything they should know and expect, especially considering a new dive coaster will be opening here in 2018 which is guaranteed to draw quite a few Brits to visit. So let's start at the beginning and that's transport and travel to the park, including costs: 1) TRANSPORT TO & FROM THE PARK From what I understand, there are three airports in or around London which fly directly to Gothenburg Landvetter airport which are Ryanair from Stanstead, British Airways from Heathrow and Norwegian Air from Gatwick. I flew with Norwegian Air since Gatwick was the closest airport from my address (Pompey) and even though I admit the flights are cheaper with Ryanair from Stanstead, I was not willing to travel half way across the south to get on a plane, so Norwegian Air was my choice. My outgoing flight from Gatwick was at 19:35 which cost me about £30 single each way (8 weeks in advance booking, no reserved seat). Once arriving at Gothenburg, follow the signs to the airport bus service called Flygbussarna which runs every 20 minutes right outside the entrance to the terminal and takes you directly to the city itself which is about a 25 minute drive. Price-wise, at the time of writing this review, tickets are 185 SEK, which equals to about £14 return approximately. There are 4 stops along the way, each getting closer and closer to the centre where the terminus train station is located. Since I was staying in a hotel just 10 minutes away from the park, I only needed to get the second stop, the first one being directly outside the park's entrance and the Gothic Towers. So as you can see, it is perfectly manageable to get into the city through the use of public transport without the need to hire a car. A recommendation I make is try and get a flight to the airport which is not scheduled to land after 23:00, because the last bus service is at 00:50am and if there is any delay in your flight, you could risk missing the last one and having to spend about £34 at least with a taxi to get to the city instead, so bear that in mind. Now that's out the way, now onto the park itself: 2) PARK ATMOSPHERE AND THEMING If you were to ask me to compare the park to any other I know, I would find it very difficult because it's unlike any other theme park I have been to. The first and most obvious difference is that it's located right in the centre of a city with motorways, skyscraper buildings, housing and museums surrounding it everywhere. In some ways, similar to Alton Towers, it has a unique feel to it all because seeing a theme park in the middle of a large city/open countryside is the last thing you would expect! Once inside, if you go through the main (north) entrance, you are greeted immediately by a long walkway surrounded by small buildings with gift shops, restaurants, ticket booths and in my case, market stalls (it was their green weekend where the whole of the plaza area and theatre was dominated by fresh plants and flowers). To the right you can see the dominating tower of AtmosFear and the Ferris wheel overshadowing you as walk along the pathway getting ever closer to the centre of the park. Through these alleyways, music played which mostly consisted of chart music, both modern and retro, giving the place a good and clam atmosphere for guests. Presentation wise, this is something I will keep mentioning in the review further down, but the park have done a great job at keeping all the buildings, pathways, lighting and signage looking clean and well-maintained at all times which has really put a lot of our parks here in the UK to shame. Instead of having rotting roofs, mouldy walls and broken lights, it was great to see all the smaller details looked after such as all the lightbulbs for the street lighting working with none that have blown or the roofs and walls of the buildings looking like they have just been cleaned overnight and don't have mould or overgrown weeds everywhere and there was no trace of litter anywhere. Being used to the state of our parks today, this was a pleasant surprise for me, regardless of how small it might be. So overall, it might not be the Swedish version of Main Street or Towers Street, but initial impressions of the atmosphere and theming are good so far with everything being maintained and cleaned on a regular basis (from my perspective anyway). 3) FOOD & DRINK & PRICES Now being a tourist attraction in the middle of Sweden's biggest city, I was expecting much like every other theme park on the planet for the prices of food and drink to be high and it absolutely was. Being used to getting the 20% discount on all food and drink at Merlin's parks for many years, I had forgotten how expensive theme park food can be and some of the prices did seem too high for me. For instance, if you get their Max burger meal deal at one of the many stalls in the park, that will set you back about 89 SEK which is about £8 roughly. A cup of coffee (cappuccino) was about 45 SEK (£4) and a bottle of water about 19 SEK (£1.75), so in comparison to the food prices here in the UK, you are looking at about an average price increase of about 10-15%. Despite however the prices for their food and drink being quite high, I will say that you definitely get a filling meal for what you pay for. On the second day for lunch, I went to the sandwich shop and had just a full salami and brie baguette which was about 65 SEK (£6.10) and it was pretty large and filled properly and was enough to keep me full until late that evening. So bear in mind even though you might be paying more for an average meal at Liseberg, you are getting bigger average portions as a result in comparison to other theme parks, so that might make up the extra cost for you. Another great thing about the food and drink at Liseberg is the variety they provide. Here in the UK it's your typical burger stalls, pizza, pasta, donuts and hot dogs. Whilst Liseberg did offer all this, they also offer as mentioned above some alternative choices, such as the baguette shop, seafood, stir fry, Italian, Mediterranean and Austrian food just to name a few. So regardless of your preference, they are sure to have something to suite your taste and the variety offered was great. 4) OPERATIONS & RELIABILITY The first thing that jumped out to me was how efficient the park was at running all of their rides. The staff were loading and dispatching guests as fast as they can on all coasters, one simple check of the restraint was all that done and the guests I noticed don't tend to carry a lot of bags with them when riding, so essentially, this massively sped up the process and reduced the amount of faff some guests can create to a minimum. Lisebergbanan for instance is a great example because not only were they running all trains on the track despite a 10 minute queue all day (take note, Thorpe Park), but the dispatch procedure was quick and simple - gates opening whilst guests were leaving the train, baggage taken onto the trains down by your legs so it doesn't fall out, one quick check of the handle bars with two staff on each side of the train, a simple thumbs up and they're good to go. All of this can take as little as 20 seconds and the queues as a result were moving especially fast, giving you the opportunity to manage more later in the day. If only our parks could run all their rides this efficiently, there wouldn't be the need for Fastrack most days anymore! As for reliability, I don't know if I was extremely lucky, but I did not encounter a single break down or stoppage across the entire park on both days I visited. Not one. Every single ride was open, at full capacity and ready for guests, regardless of whether there was a queue or not. Perhaps our rides keep breaking down a lot because of the paranoia surrounding what happened with The Smiler where any little thing out of place involves calling an engineer over the rectify it now, but Liseberg could be a lot more relaxed over it or simply because their rides are purely more reliable machines. Part of me reckons it could be to do with the great amount of maintenance and work done to the rides every year which might have something to do with it, which will be mentioned in a moment. 5) PRESENTATION This was perhaps one of the most surprising things for me about all of the rides at Liseberg - everything looked as though it was brand new. Things such as mould and rust on the coaster tracks was gone, or the queue lines being clean with almost no wear marks, or the trains on Helix looking spotlessly shiny and polished with no marks anywhere, or all of the lights working fine on Mechanica at night. Simply put, everything had a great presentation and didn't look like it was neglected and left to rot. This is what the standard should be at all theme parks - to keep your rides looking spotless and new as long as possible. You know something is wrong when Lisebergbanan, a 30-year old coaster looks better than The Smiler at just 4 years old...... pretty embarrassing if you ask me! Other smaller details visible across the park and its rides such as the queue line fencing everywhere being freshly painted, to all the queue TV screens working, to all the signage looking untouched & clean and the vegetation trimmed back so it's not overgrown on the rides are what I appreciate a lot with theme parks and it's great to see details as small and noticeable as this being looked after on a frequent basis. We need an attitude like this across all our UK parks where presentation is key because from a customer's perspective, it is. 6) THE RIDES And now onto the best part - my opinion of their 7 signature rides, including Loke being their new one (spoilers - it's awesome!). Here I'll rank them in the order I found to be best in ascending order and I'll being with AeroSpin: • AeroSpin (6.5 / 10) I wouldn't say this is a bad ride or anything as it definitely wasn't, but I just found it to be a little short and uncomfortable for what it offered. The seats are exactly the same ones you have on Saw and Smiler with the addition of a seatbelt (believe me, it was comforting to have that there for me!), so it wasn't the most comfortable seat for me since I find the restraint to crush my shoulders too much when inverting, and boy, it certainly did it to me on this. When you spin in the air, the two mini wings you control are moderately easy to control and are smooth to tilt with your arms, although you might need to put a bit of effort into them as it can strain your arms a bit if you flip too much or too fast during your flight. Depending on the speed of the wind which you are flying in, getting yourself to spin upside down and tilt can really be hit or miss. My first ride I managed 46 flips and then the second only 16. If the wind speed is minimal, you are really going to have to put some effort into getting your plane to spin upside down and the best way to do this is to flip the wings quickly and in perfect sync with the tilt of your seat. If you can manage nice and smooth tilts, this will be easy enough for you to manage. But if you take quick and small tilts with the wings, you barely make it over the top unfortunately. When flipping upside down, the first time actually scared me because once I got my wings into position to enable me to flip 46 times, it really goes fast and can make you feel quite dizzy very quickly. Plus, considering you are about 100ft above the ground or 200ft if you include the mountain it's on, flipping that fast feeling as though you are not in control did scare me, especially when the spins got faster and faster and you are sitting in isolation next to nobody else. The problem I had most with it was the restraints used and as a result, I had bruise marks on my shoulders after riding it the second time (my own fault) since all the pressure can rest directly onto them if you are held upside down for too long. Also, the ride seemed very short too at only around 1 minute in the air and that's it. Wished it lasted a bit longer, especially considering it would cost the rider 3 tokens if they didn't have the wristband. So whilst it's great fun for the views, the soundtrack by IMAscore and multiple flips you can manage, I just found it too uncomfortable and short for my liking unfortunately. • AtmosFear (7 / 10) If there is any type of ride at a theme park I am still scared of to this day, it's a drop tower, and AtmosFear really was a struggle for me to get on the first time. Being the tallest in Europe, I almost chickened out on this as a result. But the way I saw it before riding is it cannot be any worse than Detonator which has the most horrible free-fall experience I know on any ride out there and considering I managed Hurakan Condor back in 2013 (yeah, the first ride didn't end well), this surely cannot be any worse. Thankfully, I was right. The restraints are almost identical to the seats used on Stealth and Rita with the exception of the shoulder bars being a firm nylon material instead of the padded metal bars used on the coasters. As a result, I could close the restraint using the adjustable fastener to a perfect fit against my chest making sure I was securely strapped into me seat with no give anywhere. When you begin to rise, there's a mist at the top of the building you pass through before you are outside slowly rising to the top. It takes a while to get up there which was a great opportunity to get some amazing views up there. The best viewing point is northwards in the direction of the Liseberg wheel when the river down the the harbour goes. Once at the top, there is no countdown or hint at when you are going to drop, so the first time you ride this, it could come as a shock to you. When released, the initial release does have the proper free-fall feeling for a split second, but unfortunately, despite picking up more and more speed as you fall down, it doesn't get worse and instead, it feels as though the drop has been tamed to quickly due to the brakes reaching up the first 50% of the tower. I would say the first third of the tower you fall down is forceful, but after that, it doesn't feel as bad in all honesty, so the worst bit is the initial release but once you fall, it doesn't feel too bad. I still rate this higher than AeroSpin for the fact it offers better views at the top, travels much faster and doesn't have uncomfortable seats. It might be the most forceless drop tower I've been on yet, but it's still great fun to go on, especially any sunset. In addition, due to the height, this is the first drop tower that has made my ears pop once you've fallen from the top to the bottom in just 3 seconds. That should give you an idea how fast and tall this really is! • Mechanica (7.5 / 10) Initial impressions of this ride from looking at videos of it online were Samurai meets Slammer, and after riding it, that opinion is pretty accurate! The overall theme and look to this ride I loved. The queue line with all the carpentry tools and equipment and molten metal in the barrels, to the great soundtrack (also by IMAscore) and the overall look of the ride's support and pods really looked visually attractive. I'd go as far to say at night, this is one of the best looking themed flat rides I know with all the orange lights and flames lighting up the structure and seats in the dark. Now as for the ride experience itself, the seats and restraints are far more comfortable compared to the ones used on Samurai (different manufacturers I know, but it reminded me too much of Samurai) and didn't crush your thighs or chest once closed. Plus, there's a good amount of gap between each of the 5 seats on the pods, making moving your arms a lot easier this time. The restraints when closed do not mould against your body unlike Samurai, they instead fix into place on the closest notch they can lock onto. So in my case, there was a bit of give between my stomach and the restraint, which made it easier for me to breathe and adjust thankfully. Now onto the ride experience itself, the shocking thing for me was how differently the pods tilt in comparison to Samurai. These pods on Mechanica tilt a lot easier and in effect, you are tilting and flipping much faster and more violently as a result. Some may see this as a disadvantage as it makes the ride quite violent, but I didn't mind and thought it made the experience better. The gondola spins quite slowly when it rotates both directions, but this was enough to not make you feel dizzy or to pin you against the side of the restraint either. Instead, it was slow enough to offer you some really good airtime when the arm flips you all the way over, especially if you get the right pod at the right time where you can be plummeting straight to the ground looking straight down whilst feeling weightless. Really good moments and a long ride too! The only downside I can say about this is even though the pods flip you a lot more than Samurai's, the structure in my experience seemed to shake a little too much from side to side, probably due to the counterweight at the top being too light and as a result, my head lightly bashed from side to side a bit a couple of times. It's not like Colossus which violently tries to shake your brain out of your skull level, but instead, it's more Dragon Khan levels of head bashing instead. So if you are trying this, I recommend you rest your head against the right side of the restraint or to get a seat closer to the inside to reduce the amount of force on your head. Apart from that, great flat ride and looks very pretty! • Lisebergbanan (8 / 10) This was the first ride I went on in the park on my first day as I wanted to leave Helix until later and experience it properly for the first time with a queue instead of walking straight on. I must say, despite it being 30 years old, it kicked one hell of a punch for a family coaster, to the point where I begin to wonder how on earth can they get away with a height restriction this low for it?! The train seats and restraints are very similar to Olympia Looping and Thunder Looper with just a lap bar in place and no divider in between the two seats, leaving you're entire upper body vulnerable to moving from side to side. It was comfortable enough and the seats were quite low down, so there wasn't any thought of losing your bags placed in-between you legs on the floor. Once dispatched and getting to the top of the lift hill, the first helix down the hill and over the garden area is a lot, lot faster than any video online YouTube will show you. I had the very back of the train the first time on this and immediately after going down the first drop, I was shocked by how fast this thing goes when the train is full! It really is quite intense for a family coaster and you even get some great airtime at the back too! Once the first bit is over and you go down and under Uppswinget three times, this is where it really gets fun as you are going what feels like almost 60mph under the tunnels several times over and over again and due to the design of the trains, you're upper body can shake side to side a fair bit when going down the drops and again, this is a family coaster? It seems very fast and intense to be one for me! After that, there's one last small helix around the tree and an airtime hill added before you enter the brakes and I must warn any new riders, if you ever rode the Black Hole when it was at Alton Towers, if you remember the brakes at the end of that, you'll know exactly what these ones are like! They are really very violent and sudden brakes which can lurch you forward in the break run and when you re-enter the station, so my suggestion is when you see the yellow sign saying "Broms" on it, hold the handle bar in front of you and brace you arms ready for impact to stop yourself lurching forwards. Overall, for a family coaster, this was incredibly surprising for me as it goes a lot faster than it looks, it's long, the restraints are minimal and it has a classic feel to it which reminds me of Nemesis, so it get's a big thumbs up from me. • Balder (8.5 / 10) Their wooden coaster Balder was another great coaster which reminded me a lot of Megafobia at Oakwood. The trains were comfortable with both a seatbelt and a lap bar restraint holding you in and thankfully unlike Gwazi and Stampida, this was lovely and smooth and didn't feel horribly jerky or rough anywhere on the train. The lift hill is surprisingly steep for a wooden coaster and for seats like these ones with no back rests, it felt almost as if I was going to fall out backwards if it wasn't for the restraint. When you consider the small space this is located in, it makes sense to have it this steep. Now onto the ride itself, the back of the train is by far the best place to sit. The number of times you are whipped over all the dozens of airtime hills on this thing is huge and from beginning to end, there is not a single moment to relax or take a breather since the hills get sharper and tighter making up for the loss in height and speed towards the end of the ride. The addition of the tunnels also made the experience great as one of them was small enough to create a head chopper effect! It's easy to see why many people regard this as the best wooden coaster they know and it certainly is. The face it's so smooth with airtime after airtime after airtime made this incredibly fun to ride, coupled with the length of the ride makes this a great wooden coaster. For me, it's not quite as good as Megafobia, but it comes close! • Loke (New for 2017) - (9 / 10) I've always found flat rides which swing like Vortex and Rush to be fun to a certain point until they become repetitive and boring, so I wasn't building any huge expectations for this ride despite the advertising and delayed opening it received. But when seeing it in-person, oh my word, this thing is bloody massive! Never ever ridden Maelstrom at Drayton Manor before so this was my first Intamin Gyroswing and what made this ride very special for me besides from the size, speed and theming was the design of the restraints and seats. They are very comfy to sit in and they are very similar to the ones you get on The Swarm. Just imagine Swarm's restraints but without the foam vest holding your chest. That's Loke's seats in a nutshell. The thin metal bars which are there to lower the restraint across your waist were widely spaced and positioned quite far back, so when you fasten the restraint using a seatbelt similar to Stealth/Rita, there is nothing in the field of view from where you are sitting. This in effect made you feel extremely vulnerable and reminded me a lot like Rush with just a lap bar holding you in, only this time, the seats are much comfier and aren't deep this time. Heck, they're similar seats to Nemesis to give you an idea, so imagine Nemesis' seats with just a lap bar. That's the best way I can describe them. Once the floor lowers and the thumping bass from the soundtrack filling the ride starts up, it begins to swing higher and higher very quickly and the speed of the spinning gondola is not too fast to make you feel dizzy, it's just about right and it also gives you the chance to get multiple angles whilst in the air at maximum height too. Once it picks up speed and reaches it's full height, it doesn't matter which direction or angle you are at, this ride is epic! The sheer speed you are travelling when it swings downwards is faster than Rush and the weightlessness feeling you get when falling back down again is forceful and offers some brilliant views when you're looking straight down. Plus, the close proximity between you and Balder makes this even better. When looking down, you are either staring directly over Balder's structure and the people below, or the nearby river directly over the water. In total, you get about 8-9 full swings before it begins to slow down and lower again. It's quite a claim to make, but I consider this to be the best flat ride ever built that I have ridden. The size and speed of this monster is what sells it and the comfort and lack thereof of restraints holding you in makes you feel incredibly vulnerable and doesn't distract you when swinging. In addition, the paint work and theming of this ride looks very nice during the day and night and the soundtrack played with the thumping bass from the speakers really build up a huge anticipation when waiting. Thorpe Park or Alton Towers seriously need one of these rides at their parks with the same restraints, capacity, height and speed, because this beats the living hell out of Vortex and Rush combined in my opinion. It truly is a superb flat ride and is my favourite one out there right now as a result! • Helix (9.5 / 10) And yes, as expected, Helix is my number one ride at the park and indeed as mentioned at the beginning of the review, my new personal favourite coaster. Never before have I been left speechless by a coaster after trying it the first time and Helix was the first to deliver. What a magnificent coaster Liseberg have here. 26 rides later in 2 days and it's still brilliant every time. From the beginning of the experience to entering the queue line, you are instantly transported from the dull innards of the dome to a futuristic, modern and cool looking maze of stairs, platforms and metal walls and mechanics lying around everywhere in the queue line, all lit up in bright neon green lights on the walls, flooring, rock work and ceiling. This coupled with the soundtrack which was blasting though about 30 Bose speakers in all of the queue line in perfect synchronisation gave me goosebumps the first time entering this area. It sounds and looks visually impressive in the queue and the maze of stairs and platforms getting you ever closer to the station builds up some huge anticipation and excitement. Whilst queueing, you can see various windows looking through the walls of the station and underneath, you are able to see a sneak of the brakes, wheels and trains passing over the track entering the station ready for the next batch of people to board the train. In addition, once directly underneath the platform, you can see how the platform gates work with the mechanics underneath the flooring where every minute or so, the bars move in perfect synchronisation which in effect opens and closes the gates. Nice thing to see whilst waiting (not that there was much of a queue!) as I've always wondered how they work. When the queue got bigger during the day, I eventually stopped to watch the TV screens and noticed you can download an app on your smartphone which is a game for the ride where you in synchronisation with other guests can play these mini games to gain points and whichever player every 15 minutes get the highest score, they get a free Fastpass for Helix presumably. I tried multiple times to win but only managed to get as high as number 4 on the leaderboard, mostly due to the fact the app was all in Swedish with no English option making me guess how you play each game by improvising. Once you go up the stairs into the station, you are free to choose any row of seats you want and you are not allocated them by a member of staff. I was so glad this was the case as I wanted front row on my first ride, which I did. The trains themselves look stunning, especially when it gets dark. The fact all the seats underneath are lit up in green and the front of all three trains and along both sides have these very bright white lights made it looks visually stunning at night as it whizzed round the track. Plus, they looked nice and fresh with a shiny gloss finish added, making them look as though they are still brand new. The seats themselves are extremely comfortable to sit in. The lap bar that lowers down is nice and tight and moulds perfectly to your body. There are also grooves on either side if the bar allowing you to rest you arms on when grabbing the handles and the design of the back rest made it comfortable to rest my shoulders into. Plus, despite it being a floored train, the seats are high enough for your legs to dangle allowing you to move them freely as you wish. The difference these restraints make to this ride in comparison to a traditional shoulder restraint are huge and make everything so much more fun. Now onto the ride experience itself, the experience offered is unparalleled to anything else I know. The experience is so smooth from beginning to end, the two launches are lovely and smooth too with no extreme forces exerted on you body and each and every element assembles beautifully together. This is a ride where it gets more and more extreme as you go round as each inversion become tighter, the speed of the trains get faster, the drops become larger and the twists and turns become more and more forceful. The airtime on this thing can be shocking if you get the two very back seats and it's obvious to me now why there's a minimum height restriction of 1.5m for these seats. The airtime over the hill straight after the second launch and top hat at the back of the train is so strong and forceful that it pins your thighs to the restraint almost painfully for a brief second. It's that good! The interaction the track has with it's surroundings is mastered perfectly and you can tell the designers of this ride have really thought this through and been clever at making the most of the surroundings they have. The fact it snugs so closely to the ground at various points makes the experience really quite intense, especially the helix just before the second launch which throws you straight into your seat thanks to the extreme forces. One of the concerns I had been hearing from a few people was this ride was not fast enough and didn't have forces that were extreme enough. In my experience, the speed of this ride is perfectly fine and is fast enough for me to enjoy going on again and again and surprisingly, despite this having 7 inversions, I didn't feel sick or dizzy at all when riding it several times in a row unlike Colossus, Smiler and even Nemesis. Helix even reminded me a lot of Nemesis as it constantly has speed and force from beginning to end and never seems to slow down, and this certainly matched Nemesis in terms of the pacing. If I were to find any criticism of Helix, that would be the lack of on-board speakers used in the trains because the grills have been installed but no audio is played through them. If they can add music similar to Blue Fire from what I've seen, this could make the experience even more exciting for guests. And another criticism I have is when you leave the station into the first inversion, I find the train vibrates a bit too much where you can feel and even hear it. That is literally all I can think of! I would usually supply lots of images of it in action, but I thought making a video would be better, so here it is: So to finalise my review of Liseberg and, if you are visiting for the first time and considering it, do it. The park has great opening times during summer between 11am -10/11pm at the weekends, all the other rides like Kallerado (better river rapids ride than Alton's one), FlumeRide, Hanghai are lots of fun and the atmosphere is very friendly and relaxed. For me, Helix alone is worth the journey and it will be a firm favourite if you ever get the chance to ride it, so make sure when you visit, you ride it. I myself have have an awesome time visiting both Gothenburg city & Liseberg, and this park is certainly one to keep your eyes on for the future since every year they are currently relentlessly installing more and more exciting and great rides, which reminds me a lot of Thorpe's days in the mid-2000's. In particular, Valkyria looks to be an excellent dive coaster when planned to be opened in April 2018, which is a great reason to visit again. It's very likely I will be visiting this park on a frequent/yearly basis now as they have some truly kick-ass rides for a park that is not on the scale of other European theme parks, so my next visit will likely be April/May 2018. Here's a full record of all the 230+ photos and videos I took whilst I was there if you're interested in having a look: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B3MFeYFbViDuREFNOV9rRDdUNVE Liseberg - (8 / 10)
Two weeks after experiencing the wonders of Europa, I would be experiencing another new European park. This park was Liseberg, Sweden's largest amusement park located slap-bang in the middle of Gothenburg home to a fine number of flat rides and coasters. Prior to 2014 I knew nothing about this place until a certain ride helixed into the lineup making this park leapfrog onto my list of must do parks. After checking in and dropping our bags off at Gothia Towers we headed over to the park. This is a lovely hotel which is beautifully modern inside and conveniently located across the road from Liseberg and worth a stay. It's striking appearance almost makes it look like something from the Matrix. Such a simple, but highly effective entrance. New for 2016 is Aerospin, a Gerstlauer sky roller, which is similar to sky force but riders are positioned on a raising tower instead of an arm. This ride is mixed bag for me. The views from the top of the ride are absolutely stunning offering some lovely views below but trying to spin on this is even more difficult than on the sky fly models. That said trying to freely spin over 200 ft in the air is terrifying enough. IMA score soundtrack for the winning though. Also new at the park for 2016 is this traditional looking carousel and this lovely looking garden area.The park used to have two S&S drop towers and small wheel in this area but they were removed last year for Aerospin and these. Parks need quiet/green spaces aside from the rides IMHO. Another of the park's recent flats is Mechanica, a star shape which opened last year. all this theming and attenton for a flat ride? Amazing! Mechanica has to be one of the most intense rides I've ever experienced too. They also boast a decent afterburner, this time from Zamperla. Flamingo need one! And a better and more scary version of Rush. This one goes over a cliff [ if you're looking the right way]. There's also a Jukebox themed polyp ride which is great fun and an automatically operated Waltzer which can do some crazy spinning if the timing is right. They also have a log flume which features an impressively original name. What makes me even more happy is that at over 40, this is a working log flume. Good drops though. The park also boasts a fun and wild set of rapids. Whilst Fjord is still my favourite, this is still better than Congo and wipes the floor with Rumba. Liseberg is also home to Europe's largest drop tower once observation tower. Whilst the drop isn't the best, this is made up for this with the superb views at the top and atmosphere. The ride is actually called Atmosphere. There is however only dark ride at the park, the Fairy Tale Castle. The best thing about this ride is that it's indoors and plays the dream flight soundtrack. Their scare maze Hotel Gasten however is absolutely amazing and worth the paid extra [around £4]. But there's another important aspect to Liseberg. The coasters. The park is home to four major coasters, the first of these is Kanonen, an intamin launch coaster. Considering how small this coaster's footprint is, the layout is remarkable. Unfortunately, the ride's setback is the restraints which are rather tight fitting and dig in during the ride. Well done Intamin. Still a good coaster, but probably not a great one due to the restraints alone. Liseberganen is the 2nd of the park's large coasters. A 1987 Schwartzkopf Whilst at nearly 30 years this may be the park's oldest coaster, it packs one amazing punch and is an amazingly fun thrilling ride. Flying through twists and turns, hills and helixes on the park's hillface. The ride's only minor issue is the brakes, which hit you worse than absinthe. It literally feels like you've almost experienced a car accident each time they kick in. Then there's Balder, the park's intamin woodie which has apparently won a number of rewards since it's existence. Which features number of other coasters in it's queue. Nemesis, Grand National and Megabobia all feature here. Which is a fantastic coaster. This features some brilliant moments of ejector airtime throughout the ride, although the corners are unfortunately a little dull honestly speaking. It doesn't beat Wodan but is still one of my favourite woodies. And now for the ride you've waited for. Helix And what a spectacular diamond she is. Helix alone is worth travelling out to the park for. From it's modern airy sci-fi style queue line to it's amazing ride soundtrack. The ride starts as it means to go on, hurtling into a corkscrew immediately after leaving the station followed by a vast array of inversions, twists, turns, helixes [no pun intended] and hills delivering a significant amount of ejector airtime. This ride never shows any signs of slowing as it ascends into the second launch before the ride gets stale in anyform, launching round more exciting elements before entering a final corkscrew into the brake run. As a result of the ride's immense layout and superb styling amongst being one of the most photo friendly coasters around, makes it my new number one coaster even over taking Wodan. Never have I been on a ride so many times in one trip and still been wanting to go back for more. Once Blackpool gets one of these, it could well be a game changer. Throughputs on this were also very good, no faffing around at all. I would say most park-wide operations were on a par with Towers overall. And it's in one of the most picturesque parks out there amongst being my favourite amusement park [not theme park]. And Darkadder won a giant Toblerone!
N.B. The Blog seems to dislike the majority of my pics, so have a pic-heavy topic instead! Day 1 – TusenFryd The hype for this jaunt to Sweden had built to unbelievable levels. A massive group of coaster goons, 3 Swedish parks, with Helix at the forefront of this trip, meant that the flight to Gothenburg went pretty quickly. We start our report in Norway though, as a few of us turned up for the weekend trip early for cultural times (of which there are no photos, but Gothenburg is alright), and Norwegian creds. First thing you do notice about TusenFryd is the location and surrounding area. Its hill-side forest setting gives the park overall a lovely bit of presentation, however in a fair few areas this doesn’t extend to the park internally, which is disappointing (Speed Monster’s area being a real bad example). Up the entrance escalator and straight towards our first ride of the trip, Speed Monster, an Intamin Accelerator that created the Norwegian Loop. We took over the 12 seater train and we were off, with the launch feeling quite weak in comparison to other bigger variants on the Accelerator, the loop was quite decent though, but in typical Intamin fashion as soon as it did any form of tight transitional turns (2 in a row as well </3) the restraints ruin everything. A ride of two halves really, as the start until the first twisty hill is quite good and enjoyable. But then it all goes to pot. Shame really. Minimal theming is, minimal We then headed further into the park to find our next coaster, the world’s smallest one in fact, Den aller minste. Coaster enthusiasts generally have little shame in getting kid’s creds, and usually ones of this size generally frown upon adults riding without kids. Indeed, the man operating it took one look at our group and clearly knew why we were here; his exasperation wasn’t hidden in the slightest. At least the seats were comfy and spacious, a rare thing amongst kids creds. There’s little else to say about a ride which is literally a flat oval. Up next was Thundercoaster, the first wooden coaster of the trip, and it was to be a Vekoma. Yay? Actually I did like Loup-Garou back at Walibi so this one being slighty bigger and using the terrain slightly more intrigued me. The burdenously long queue that we walked through did not impress me though (I.e. no shortcuts </3). It’s certainly a ride that when you come off you know you’ve been on one. Which might be a bad thing for some people; it was certainly flinging itself around the track in a wild manner. I found it neither awful nor amazing really, just a reasonably decent ride in the end of it all, with some good airtime about, with the irony that the recently retracked section was probably the roughest part of it all. https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/q71/s720x720/10417707_10154455377210220_4140049616716512199_n.jpg?oh=6e867f81457b3371fddc86f9e81621e5&oe=54560BFA[/img] Cows on a cred! There was a bit of faff as the area at the bottom of the giant hill where the Supersplash and Thor’s Hammer are located (think Legoland Windsor style) opened at 12. We eventually headed down the long walk which was awful due to the weather, and headed straight into the cave of Thor’s Hammer. This was probably the second ride I was most excited about on this trip. A dark ride themed to Norse mythology using a cheap version of the Spiderman ride system set in an actual cave (no sheds here). The theming within the ride is gloriously beautiful, unfortunately not everything comes up to that same high standard they set themselves. It was really, a disappointment to me and others who were hyped for it, for the ride has a few small flaws that prevent it from being amazing. This are namely down to broken screens; a lack of urgency from the speed of the ride car; a lack of ‘extra’ effects (such as water sprays/heaters) and the odd bit of non-sensical positioning from the car (Why are we still falling on the screen before continuing? Why are we flying?). This was probably the biggest shame of the weekend. Sue was excited because there were rocks Next door to Bore’s Hammer was Supersplash, which I think was actually the first Mack Supersplash in the world, hence why it doesn’t have any turntables or funky lifts or stuff. I also think it basically has the whole “if you’ve ridden one, you’ve ridden them all”, it’s still fun though, but not really reaching the spectactular. We then broke for some lunch, before heading back towards the entrance to pick up another stray goon. I watched a Spongebob themed show at this point, which made zero sense to me, having neither watched the show in the first place and it also being in Norwegian. We rode Speed Monster again which was still yay to meh in 10 seconds, before popping over to Loopen, an old Vekoma Tornado (I just looked it up, apparently 3 were built). It had a curved station, of which there need to be more of them because reasons, and the ride itself was mercifully short, though also one of the more smoother classic Vekomas in the world. One and done. The heat of the day was getting to all of us, so the Toomerstupet was done. It was a singular drop Log Flume with mincy bit in the trees prior to the drop, and one boat got stuck in the dual loading station of random necessity. Was certainly required though. We started the long walk up the main hill (more hills than Towers this park) and diverted at the SpinSpider, a MASSIVE Frisbee ride that has a Danish cousin at Bon-Bon Land. It was (like Bon-Bon’s) a brilliant ride, where the ridiculous height prevents a large level of intensity from being built up, and it just becomes completely enjoyable. At the top of the hill, antics were had, as was a character photo! We then continued to the Western themed area to hit up the last coaster, Western Expressen, which had been moved from Mirabilandia in Italy a few years back for some reason. It was meh and unexciting. We headed BACK UP the hill and rode Space Shot, their S&S Launch Tower which was ok. Some people did SpinSpider again on the way back down the hill before we went through the Eventyrstien kids playground, which helped us get back to where we wanted to go in a much more enjoyable (and shaded) fashion. We found ourselves back at Thor’s Hammer so a few of us re-rode it, where it still suffered from the same issues as earlier. We then went back to Thundercoaster, which was running a bit rougher than it was earlier in the morning, many of the group did not approve of this factor in the ride either, but it didn’t bother me too much. MEATBALLS! Some people wanted to ride Nightmare, which was an apparently better version of Vengeance with a long wait in a hot pre-show room. Some of us didn’t, and we discovered a brilliant way of cooling down in the weather. Finally Speed Monster was done once more, and we headed back to our cars for the long drive back to Gothenburg. Overall TusenFryd was a mixed bag of a park. It had an ok line-up of attractions, some awful ones, some mediocre areas in amongst the woodlands and LOTS of hills. I wouldn’t necessarily be running back desperately to the park it must be said, although that might be an opinion spoilt by other rides that were done later on the weekend. Good, but not great really, and some areas of the park need a LOT of work done on them.