Legoland Billund3rd May 2004
Billund is the city where the Lego story began and consequentially it was an ideal location for the first Legoland park. It opened in the late sixties just five minutes walk away from the city airport, which itself had been inaugurated just a few years before. Pedestrians walk very near the original Lego factory, which is very easy to spot thanks to the two foot high duplo blocks located just outside the gate!
We were greeted on arrival by the park manager, who was not at all sure what to do about a large group of coaster enthusiasts. His usual audience, he explained, was typically between the ages of three and thirteen. Justin only partially spoilt the mood by noting that there are very few adults in coaster clubs.
In a break from the usual tradition we chose to begin our day on something other than a coaster. The Jungle Racers is a spinning ride with water skis that those on board can easily partially control. The real fun is had by onlookers, who can control a number of water sprays. This led to a considerable amount of merriment, not to mention several soakings!
The group seemed to be going nowhere fast, so rather than waste time I decided to head off on my own for a while. The X-treme Racers (#238) was a relatively standard mouse coaster which had been enhanced somewhat by the addition of some mirrors and water effects; it really did seem like our car was about to collide with... er, our car! From there I went to the powered Dragen, superficially similar to the coaster at Legoland Windsor but powered throughout. As with its brother, the actual time spent moving at speed on this ride is relatively minimal; it is for the most part a dark ride.
I rejoined the group at Power Builder, an attraction which is worth the admission price on its own. It consists basically of ten robotic arms which can be programmed to perform an amazing variety of flips and spins. Naturally we all chose the most extreme settings, which were very impressive indeed if a little unsettling. It was almost a relief that the ride cycles were so short, as anything longer could result in a large amount of pavement pizza.
We decided to recover en masse by taking over the kiddie coaster, here branded as the Timber Ride (#239). This was the third small tivoli design of the trip, albeit only the second we were able to ride. Some beautiful theming had been added to this unit, turning a cookie cutter ride into something truly special.
An extremely slow lunch break gobbled up (d'oh!) the lions share of our remaining time. With less than an hour remaining, we made a whirlwind tour of several attractions; the Lego Canoe flume, the LEGOTOP® observation tower, and the Lego Racers 4D show. The latter was the first time I've ever done a 4D show where all the special effects were working properly. All too soon it was time to head for the bus for reasons that were about to become apparent.
Karolinelund3rd May 2004
This park was known as Tivoliland at the time this trip report was written. The ride names from that time have been left in place in this report.
Karolinelund was a surprise park on the trip that only the organisers knew about ahead of time. They were not aware that it would prove to be the most expensive on the trap, a rather frightening fact given its star attraction was a Vekoma Boomerang. This ride broke down within minutes of our arrival, with a handful of members getting evacuated from the second spike. Subsequently to this the mechanism failed completely and valleyed the train at the base of the vertical loop. Breakdowns almost seemed to be the theme for the park, with a number of other rides experiencing technical difficulties.
Most of the group staged a takeover on the Caterpillar (#240), one of the few Big Apple coasters to be fitted with a turntable allowing for two train operation. The operators got into the spirit of things, laughing and pointing at the dozen or so adults who had shoehorned themselves on board. The experience proved to be a lot of fun, unlike our next stop at Looping (#241). My first encounter with a Pinfari TL59 was not a happy one, with some serious bruises to take home. Once was more than enough.
Gravity Tower was my first encounter with a Moser Rides drop tower. This particular unit managed to hurt just about everybody who boarded it, with only one or two exceptions, me included. The problem was the restraints, which had no padding whatsoever. This meant that the drop caused larger riders to receive a fairly heavy whack from an utterly unsympathetic piece of metal. Martin suffered worst of all from it, declaring it to be the most uncomfortable ride he had been on ever. It was a pity, as the drop experience itself was top notch.
The only other ride I tried out was the Spøgelsestoget ghost train, an unusual if not particularly exciting design built by Pinfari.