Fårup Sommerland

5th August 2012

Last night after work I flew to Aalborg in Denmark, with a brief stopover in Amsterdam. The journey was uneventful, though it was moderately amusing to fly from the Netherlands to Denmark on a plane staffed by a crew from Leeds; they spoke no Dutch, no Danish, and barely comprehensible English. On asking the question, I was advised that almost all passengers on this route can speak English. I couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed; I'm just about able to manage a few words of French, a few words of German, and a few words of Spanish, but I'm not even close to fluency in a second language.

This year Fårup Sommerland has installed a new roller coaster for its younger visitors, replacing the powered Mini-Lynet which now travels with Dutch showman Hendriks. Pindsvinet (#1796) is a standard model family coaster from Zamperla, and as with the other versions of this design it's pretty violent. One might think that a ride like this would be a good first coaster for a child, but I'm not convinced; there are very few adult coasters that track quite as awkwardly as this design. It's a miracle they don't tear themselves to pieces.

I was very sorry to discover that my favourite ride in the park, the Wetracer speed boat ride, was no longer present. It seems likely that insurance issues marked the end of this ride, as riders could potentially hurt themselves if they were not careful (as demonstrated by another enthusiast on a previous club trip!). We compensated by riding Falken, which was running very well; there was a small amount of shuffling in the turns, but nothing unmanageable, resulting in a good ride. We caught a quick lap on Flagermusen and another on Lynet before heading for the exit.

Wetracer no more

 

Legoland Billund

5th August 2012

The various Legoland parks are not the sort of places one associates with major thrill rides, as their target audience tends to be substantially made up of children under twelve. Be that as it may, the original Legoland park has broken with all tradition by installing Polar X-Plorer (#1797), currently one of three roller coasters worldwide with a section of track that drops vertically. The other two are designed for thrill seekers, and while this one is aimed at children, it is nevertheless a surprisingly enjoyable ride.

The layout starts with a reasonably substantial lift hill, leading into a drop, an airtime hill, and a few intense helices. The train then stops in a building with a projection screen in front of it showing a number of penguins standing on thin ice. A door closes behind the train, dropping it into darkness; then the ice cracks and the track drops; not a particularly long way, but with a strong element of surprise that makes all the children in the train scream. From that point, the train rolls forward and onto a gentle turnaround, past an exhibit of live penguins, and back into the station.

I've not been quite so taken with a family coaster in some time; I'd have happily sat on it for a few hours, and would have done so if scheduling had allowed. Top marks for park management for taking a chance on an unproven coaster product; there's no question that their gamble has paid off.

 

Hamburger Summerdom

5th August 2012

It was shortly before five in the evening when I dropped off George at Billund Airport and began to drive south. The motorway speed limit in Denmark is 110km/h, but the limit disappears as one crosses the German border, and I decided to put the boot down a bit. THe end result was a total journey time of just over two hours, which wasn't at all bad given the distance.

Wilde Maus XXL (#1798) is the latest coaster to hit the German fair scene, and a ride that is likely to be somewhat controversial among the coaster counting fraternity, given that it is made up of the now retired Wilde Maus (Kinzler / Lift Left) with a substantial track extension. I've decided to think of it as a new credit, given that the overall experience is substantially different to what came before, but there will be many other opinions out there!

The structure of the new coaster looks absolutely massive when you approach it from ground level, and while it isn't quite as large as the legendary Olympia Looping (which was running very well today) it somehow manages to look just as big, if not bigger. The queue is made up of a series of fun house elements; a vibrating floor, moving walkways, and similar which keeps things interesting on the path to the ride. The new drops add a huge amount to the overall experience, and the tracking is remarkably smooth from start to end. Max Eberhard started with a cookie cutter attraction and turned it into something special, and I'm impressed by what he has achieved.

Hamburger Summerdom