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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.

 

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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).

 

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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.

 

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Minimal theming is, minimal

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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At the top of the hill, antics were had, as was a character photo!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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MEATBALLS!

 

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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.

 

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Finally Speed Monster was done once more, and we headed back to our cars for the long drive back to Gothenburg.

 

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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.

 

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Got to be honest, I'd never even heard of this place. Most intrigued by Thor's Hammer though, I've thought for a long time that as technology moves on a cut price Spiderman type ride should be possible and within our parks budgets. So do you think it would be possible to bring that ride/system up to decent standard, or does the cheaper kit seem to be intrinsically flawed in some way that means it's really a non-starter without the big bucks?

 

Without knowing anything much about that park, surely they are running with development budgets less than the likes of Merlin. I so want a Spiderman type ride on these shores, but it has to be done well to be worthwhile.

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Got to be honest, I'd never even heard of this place. Most intrigued by Thor's Hammer though, I've thought for a long time that as technology moves on a cut price Spiderman type ride should be possible and within our parks budgets. So do you think it would be possible to bring that ride/system up to decent standard, or does the cheaper kit seem to be intrinsically flawed in some way that means it's really a non-starter without the big bucks?

 

Without knowing anything much about that park, surely they are running with development budgets less than the likes of Merlin. I so want a Spiderman type ride on these shores, but it has to be done well to be worthwhile.

 

It's definitely doable I'd say, I really liked Huntik and that was pretty much the same style as Thor but with shooty aspects and animatronics... Thor just had that odd flaw here and there that would be easily fixed (and probably will be at some point)...

 

So I woudn't trust Merlin to build one of the same quality at all... The park though is owned by Parque Reunidos, so perhaps their budget is of a decent size compared to other parks in the region? It is the biggest park in Norway though...

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I really don't understand why parks pick Intamin accelerators for launchers if they don't want a high speed one. Their restraints are rubbish at almost all transitions. At least get the padded restraints.

 

The reason why Spiderman works so well is because it doesn't rely on the 3D screens, the external effects work really well and the pacing is spot on. For me, I think Potter is much weaker because the pacing is so haphazard. I'm not sure Merlin could get it right if Sub-Terra is an indication. Maybe if they got the team who designed The Sanctuary to help.

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Day 2 – Liseberg

 

So this was what the trip was all about. Liseberg, and by extension, Helix. Having been driven past the park by our airport bus and seeing everything for the first time is amazing. The design of Helix damn near perfect with its location and pops away from the terrain, but more on that later.

 

As it was the first official day of the meet, we all arrived outside the main entrance to the park, said our hellos and introductions as we waited for the management to come pick us up for the ERT on Helix.

 

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We were taken through the park away from the plebs towards the back entrance of the Helix/Atmosfear building, and left to our own devices until 11. The ERT was shared with other people (I think hotel guests, but never found out), but none the less with 3 trains running at a decent efficiency, there was no real queue to speak off aside from at the airgates themselves. The queue-line itself is reminiscent of Westminster’s Jubilee Line area, with Escher references and the odd Goon-Window for goons to pry into the mechanical workings of the ride.

 

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Like Blue Fire and Alpina Blitz, the seats are incredibly comfortable; however the stapling from the ride ops is unfortunate to say the least. A considered warning for those planning to go in the future.

 

Long story short, the ride is fantastic. I adored it from the word go (many were rather meh towards it after the ERT), and it’s straight into the top 10. It does all the things it does well, including the airtime hills and inversions, it has good pacing, it has a lovely style. It is a coaster made by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. And Liseberg and Mack both deserve applause for it.

 

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After 3 goes during the ERT, the park had opened and we received our wristbands for the day before heading off to our next destination, Balder. I’m not a fan of Colossos at Heide Park, I found the ride dull and lacking a soul 3 odd years ago, so I wasn’t particularly excited for Balder like many were around me.

 

However I found myself pleasantly surprised from the experience. Perhaps it was because I thought the layout was akin to an old style Scenic Railway, with airtime hills going in and out of tunnels, or just because it was full of airtime. The corners are dull as though, which to me is what prevents it from being a real top ride in itself, there were also others who were not enamoured with the ride at all, so it certainly seems to have a divide about it.

 

It also has a theme regarding the local football team, who play in red and blue, like all the best football teams in the world do. Bonus point there for random theme that needs to be explained but is randomly hilarious.

 

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Right next door to Balder is Kanonen, the tiniest Intamin Accelerator you ever did see (unless you’ve been to Italy). It includes a launch into brakes/BROMS, a top hat it barely makes it over, painful Intamin style turns and the inspiration for Blue Fire’s finale inline. It seems a strange addition to the park, as it’s quite clearly been plonked into available space with no real rhyme nor reason, being located on top of a building over dull lifeless concrete.

 

It was rubbish. Slow, dull, painful turns. Stupid Intamin.

 

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After Kanonenenenenenenen, there was call for the Rapids, but they were busy so some people went to the scare attraction. The rest who didn’t had drink/ice cream/dancing times in the pavilion. There were also photographic opportunities to be had to show how gorgeous Helix is.

 

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After all had returned we headed into the kid’s area for the two coasters there. First up was Rabalder, which had an awesome Roomba thing that mowed the lawn for it, as well as the fabled “Tree of Silence” in the queueline. The ride itself was pretty plain and uninteresting, although the ride ops were pretty fab and interactive with everyone on the ride. There was also a bucket of water dripping over the station entrance which was more burdenous than praised.

 

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Next door was Stampbanen, an even SMALLER kids coaster which did even less. It was however well themed and had comfy seats (indeed, most Swedish kids creds seem to have wider trains to accommodate two adults/goons, must be deliberate). We passed the time in the queue watching the nearby show and having character times.

 

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Lunchtime was called, so after trudging through the heaving park trying to find somewhere we headed back up the hill to take Helix based photos.

 

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Meeting back up with the group, some elected for more Helix times whilst others went on Atmosfear, the non-rotating Gyro Drop Tower. It was dull for me as I find the taller towers just lack much in the way of thrills after the initial drop, and I’m not scared of heights. The lack of rotation was also disappointing to me. Queue was themed quite nicely though and you could watch people’s reactions whilst queuing, which is ALWAYS entertaining.

 

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After that we ventured back down the mountain towards Lisebergbanen. The queue moved quickly but alas, not quickly enough, as when we reached the station the heavens open and a fierce storm raged. This closed everything major and we were left to evacuate down a fire exit into a game stall. Conor managed to win a massive box of KEX chocolate which was then used as shelter from the rain.

 

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We eventually moved out towards the Fairy Tale Castle attraction. It was a cheap European dark ride and included music from Efteling’s Droomvulcht. It made me want to be at Efteling, but we weren’t.

 

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After the rains officially stopped we headed back to Lisebergbanen, and got to see some hot transfer track action. The Swedes were bemused by the cheers as the 5th train appeared slowly into circulation, causing the ride op to give a little bow as he finished. The ride itself is excellent fun, as it treks up and down the hill in giant swooping drops and turns. It features some faff before and after the triple helix action and has BROMS. Fab.

 

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It was then called that we do Balder again because of the storm. It was done and it was certainly faster, but still had dull corners. Ah well, it was still good though, with wilder airtime than in the morning.

 

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Some people opted to do the Rapids at this point, before food was called for and Sue and I played the Balder themed racing game. Sue won and was incredibly proud of this. Many people also did the Log Flume whilst I elected for tat times, though the selection was quite poor it must be said.

 

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We started our venture back to Helix for night ride times but were distracted by the Space Shot of Halfway Up. It was silly because it didn’t use the entire tower, which is why they also have another S&S tower ride, because S&S are crap.

 

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And so we were to finish our day where it began at Helix. We spent the queue investigating the Helix game app, which is incredibly fab and is incredibly goony. Free to download on Apple and Android devices now!

 

The ride itself was good in the morning, and at night it got even better. It was pushing around the course like tomorrow was not on the horizon, and the overbanked turn drop was fiendishly whippy. It shot Helix above Blue Fire in my top 10 as a result (which I think it might have done anyway, but the night ride confirmed it), and it was just utterly fantastic. The lights along the train provide an even better viewing experience for non-riders, especially given the relatively lack of brighter lights in the surrounding areas where the ride goes (as opposed to Swarm’s brightly lit plaza).

 

Honestly fantastic. If I could I would sit on it all day (and it’s a ride where that is actually doable as well).

 

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After some more tat faff it was time to leave, Liseberg is a nice park I’d say; probably prefer Tivoli Gardens to it on a presentation point of view, but it’s still of a very good quality. Helix is an outstanding ride, whilst Balder and Lisebergbanen provide some suitable support to it, with a fantastic kid’s area to boot as well. It perhaps misses a big dark ride out of the mix, but for an inner city park to look as good as it does (the harbour themed area is top tier quality), it doesn’t matter too much.

 

Random night shots because pretty park is pretty.

 

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We left the car park to Ride of the Valkyries booming, thoughts of Helix still fresh in our minds. We can only hope that a major company rides it and realises the potential of it further still.

 

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Really? Helix gets involved and no comments? Fail :(

 

Day 3 – Skara Sommarland

 

A long drive to the next park from the outskirts of Gothenburg lay ahead (2 hours), but it passed by reasonably quickly, and before long we arrived at our next destination ready for more ERT. The song of choice on arrival was the James Bond theme, which definitely confused the Swedes who were already waiting for the park to open.

 

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We were eventually let in and strolled towards Tranan, the world’s only S&S Free Fly coaster. The majority of the group who hadn’t ridden it were all pretty intrigued about the ride, the unique idea and design of it would certainly be an interesting pull and provide a slightly different family based ride experience.

 

We found that the ride is incredibly fun and enjoyable. Whilst the layout is dreadfully short, the ride as a concept/idea is actually quite good. The rotating motion of the seats work well in tandem with the ride layout, and I think it’s a shame that the ride hasn’t had bigger cousins built overall. Must be a cost thing, but I’d like to imagine what a full inline would do for the ride. Just good fun really (the right side was better though).

 

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After 4 goes the ERT came to an end and we popped next door to the imaginatively named Spinner, a Maurer Sohne Spinning Coaster. It was a strange Wild Mouse style layout, and really, really crap. I don’t really understand the point of it to be honest, as the park could have gone for something a bit more expansive due to the tonnes of space they have, or just gone for a normal Wild Mouse instead.

 

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Massive faff ensued from this point, as many wanted to go on the Go-Karts, so the group split and the remainder sat on some benches and chatted away and had ice cream. A few of us went to watch the race unfold as well, but the drivers weren’t particularly impressed by the course in the end.

 

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Upon their return the Faffle happened. Some fantastic tat was on offer, and I was very pleased to win the Knoebels Carousel Music Volume 6 cassette tape.

 

Faffle complete, the call of the 3rd cred of the park was strong, so we began walking towards it, being distracted by fountains and fish in the lake along the way. Eventually we arrived at Gruvbanen, a Mack Powered with hot shed action. It was pretty dull and the shed was just made of whyyyyyyyyyyy.

 

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Scanning for fish!

 

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On the way out we passed some Dodgems which were fab because of the large group that rode them. Then Nelson, the Aquatic Mammal themed log flume was next, which was a slightly more entertaining singular drop flume than the one at TusenFryd. A handful of us also did the Moser Drop Tower Fyren and the Rodeo Breakdance, both of which were pretty average flat rides.

 

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Lunch was called at this point and I had a burger that made Merlin’s recent offerings look like a 5 Michelin star piece of work, before we all met back up and headed towards the attraction of the day.

 

Vattenskidjon is one of the most stranger attractions you’ll see in a theme park. The idea? Get on some skis, hold on to a rope which then connects to a powered overhead system and try not to fall in. As a spectator sport I don’t think nothing else can beat it. You cheer those who succeed and laugh at those who end up face first into the lake with the fish. 4 brave people from our group took on the challenge and all failed in varying degrees, but well done to all that did attempt it. Probably fill it under “Would never happen in the UK” though, which is a shame, and if it did occur in the UK, it certainly wouldn’t be free with entry.

 

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During this time another storm was encroaching, as we all split up again as some wanted to do the Water Park. Due to the weather I decided against this and joined the many who had taken residence in the bar instead for chatter and banter. After some time those who were in the water park returned, and the weather really took a turn for the worse as we all got into our cars and ran off to the next destination.

 

Skara is a barren place it must be said. It’s nice but can’t imagine I would spend an entire day there under normal circumstances. It does have a lot of space though from what I could tell and I just wonder what the park could do with that space. It is owned by the same people who own Grona Lund and Kolmarden (who are getting Wildfire), so maybe some fab expansion plans are on the horizon. I hope so, because the park could do with a real fab landmark/icon coaster (and a few more other rides to boot).

 

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Really? Helix gets involved and no comments? Fail :(

 

The snap into the helix and the last airtime hill are the best parts of Helix. The rapids are surprisingly good if a bit weird. The haunted house had really good sets but not very good actors. The S&S drop tower is way better than the S&S shot tower. The Peter Pan knock off is amazing.

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Thanks for the TR Benin; enjoyed it! :D

 

Have to say, I was more looking forward to your views on Tranan than your views on Helix (as we all knew that Helix was gonna be amazing anyways..)!  Looks like a really interesting idea, and I remember following construction thinking it could really take off, but it seems not.  The seats look a bit...odd, for lack of a better word - how comfortable are they?

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Thanks for the TR Benin; enjoyed it! :D

 

Have to say, I was more looking forward to your views on Tranan than your views on Helix (as we all knew that Helix was gonna be amazing anyways..)!  Looks like a really interesting idea, and I remember following construction thinking it could really take off, but it seems not.  The seats look a bit...odd, for lack of a better word - how comfortable are they?

 

They're REALLY comfy and simplistic, with just a seatbelt over your lap holding you in... Combines the freedom of no restraints with the fear of falling out rather nicely I thought...

 

 

Day 4 – Grona Lund

The final day began with a long journey to Stockholm from our hotel. There were many weary souls staggering out of the hotel that morning, but we all eventually made it to the final park.

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We met the rather fab Annika who told us how the night before the park had closed due to the storm, with Eclipse (the 400ft StarFlyer) being struck around 3 times, which meant it was playing the spite game.

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We were then taken to Twister, the Gravity Group woodie for an hour long ERT. Before we entered the park it had been explained to me as “like Blackpool with class”, which in the long run means that many of the rides intertwine with each other and there’s not much space for huge rides. Twister is perhaps the epitome of this factor in the park’s design process, as it crosses over not only itself (26 times apparently), but also over and under other coasters that come within the vicinity, and the gaps certainly aren’t big enough.

It also has the Timberliner trains, which are equally weird and fab with their Maurer Sohne esque lapbar system that comes over, only without ANY of the pinning that those suffer from. Absolute result.

The ride itself is pretty much a blur still, even after 10 goes. Tonnes of airtime about though, especially when on one-click bar operations from the staff where I spent most of my time standing up throughout the course. Some highlights do include the teaser airtime hills, which lull you into expecting tonnes of airtime, but don’t provide one, before promptly giving you another change of direction and an airtime hill to make you feel better.

It was at the end of the hour, a rather suited 400th coaster for me, and I want to see more parks pick up these little bundles of joy as they are getting quite highly rated.

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ERT over, we headed back into the rest of the park, starting with Vilda Musen, which is actually a Gerstlauer Bobsled. I usually find these good fun rides, but there was just something about this one which I couldn’t put my finger on. A strange thing, given the interaction available with Jetline on numerous occasions, but perhaps Twister had taken all the love I had to give that day.

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Jetline was then next with some classic Schwarzkopf action. It was alright; quite rattly it must be said as well though, and it is vastly improved by the interaction with the other rides nearby. I find myself struggling to remember most of it if I’m quite honest here too. A bad sign if ever there were one.

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Continuing the quest for creds led us all over towards Kvasten, one of the newer Vekoma Junior Inverts. The station building is beautifully themed it must be said, inside and out. It stands rather weirdly amongst the mess of the rest of the park, this rather majestic wooden house, but it’s so damn good to look at. The ride itself was fun if lacking anything remotely forceful, because family coaster. We need the trains on Vampire though, because they are the comfiest Vekoma trains going.

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Opposite Kvasten was the highly rated Ghost Train, Bla Taget. And it’s utterly fab, which is pretty high praise from someone who doesn’t usually do such rides. It has LOTS of effects, ranging from fab to UTTERLY FAB, makes absolutely zero sense (in the same way that the original Towers Haunted House didn’t), has a decent pace and is just generally a good attraction. This certainly puts the goal high when other parks refurb old dark rides.

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After that it was time for Insane, potential death cred ahoy! This was to be my first Intamin Zac Spin, and after watching this go around a few times I had my doubts as to whether I would enjoy it or not. Luckily I was able to get into a balanced car due to the odd number of us who had entered the queue, and I am very glad for that fact.

Me and Intamin restraints don’t have a great history, usually with my neck. Insane decided to punish my stomach for a nice change of pace, with some of the spins/drops throwing me into the restraint quite hard; it’s not too difficult to see how someone could fall out. I did not find it enjoyable, and I now have another Intamin creation to glare at in anger.

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It was time for the kiddie creds, which consisted of a Zierer Tivoli Small in Ladybird, and a Zamperla Mini Mouse in Tuff Tuff Taget. Both were, as predicted, nothing worthy to write home about.

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Lunch was called, and I managed to watch a Pirate themed show as well as some roaming dancing gorillas right by the next meeting point.

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The meeting point was set outside the Lustig Haus, which is perhaps one of the best park based fun-houses ever. It had pretty much everything token in a fun house and more besides, with the particular stand-out being the conveyor belt slide, which when 20 odd people ride it there’s some bad times ahead, but in a fab way. It all ends with a massive slide back down to the bottom as well. Fantastic.

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We popped next door to the Tunnel of Love attraction. Which was a random dark ride in a boat thing, the scenes looked nicely done, but we were far too interested in creating a convoy of boats to care (we got 6).

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After that faff the group split up as it was nearly time to say farewell. We found time to shop for tat, enter one of those crappy corridor of mirrors things and even have ice cream.

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And that was that, we all bid farewell to each other and the park. Grona Lund is pretty nice really, with some decent rides in there. Unfortunately Eclipse was being spiteful due to being struck by lightning numerous times the night before but that’s the only ride that actually seriously spited us over the course of the trip, which can only be seen as a positive. Sweden is lovely and the people are as well, so I must advertise the fact that it’s so easy to get to two of the parks there, why aren’t people going? Gothenburg is 2 hours away! That means Helix is arguably closer to London than Towers is! Why aren’t you visiting?

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