Finland + Italy 08/19 – Linnanmäki
PowerPark had Junker, Särkänniemi had Tornado, but until very recently Linnanmäki had nothing at all worth getting excited about. That all changed in 2019 though, when they shocked the enthusiast World and unleashed Taiga.
We arrived at the park just after lunch, ready for their 1pm opening, I’m getting Liseberg vibes already and that’s most certainly a good thing.
After picking up our ride wristbands we headed straight to Taiga.
Short review, I freaking love this coaster to death, it slotted straight into my top 10, I can’t get enough, get on your knees and bow down to the Bird.
The longer review? How long you got?
Liseberg’s Helix is my favourite coaster in the World, it has been since I rode it when it I only had 100 credits to my name and it has remained in that position as I approach 800. This Mack multi-launch coaster excels in everything it does and it does almost everything that you could ask a coaster for. Insanely violent airtime, bone crushing positives, 2 powerful launches, elegant and intense inversions, an incredible drop out of the station, a long ride experience, amazing train and restraint design, a beautiful setting and a ridiculously catchy soundtrack. I know I’ve forgotten something but it doesn’t matter, it’s not the individual components that make Helix the greatest coaster ever built, it’s when all that and more is combined.
Taiga, this time an Intamin multi-launch coaster, goes down a very similar path. I could describe all the highlights for me, but it’s much more the way they are all combined into one kick ass coaster that matters. Insanely violent airtime, bone crushing positives, 2 powerful launches (the second one violently tickling your balls), elegant and intense inversions (that freaking stall man!), a long ride experience and amazing train and restraint design. After several laps, me and Heartline, catching our breath in the brakes said this, “it’s not better than Helix, but it’s clear, it will be a coaster along these lines that tops the King because Christ that was fantastic.” I can’t really think of a better review than that.
I only needed Taiga to be better than Taron, to shut up Phantasialand fanboys, but the Bird went so hard it had me questioning how long it will be before Intamin build the new best coaster in the World.
Talking of Taron, there’s another aspect to Taiga that I freaking love, that Taron completely lacks, a sense of comedy. Which comes in the form of the giant bird, that to us at least, is Taiga himself.
There’s massive bird foot prints, through the whole queue line, through the ride shop and out the ride exit, this properly set me and Heartline off. It was as if the Bird was saying, yep, I’ve destroyed Taron, I’ve made you question if Helix is untouchable, that’s my work done, where can I get some food in this place?
Then there was the Bird’s face slowly fading in on the queueline TVs, as if to say, I see you, ready for another round boys?
He’d always get a pat on the head when we sat in the front row too, we’re always happy to ride on the wings of Taiga and had to let him know.
In summary, Taiga is a fantastic coaster, the perfect example of why the multi-launch is the greatest coaster type in the World. The Bird has truly put Finland on the map as a must visit country for coaster nerds. Obey, or face the same fate as Taron.
For better or worse, aside from the Bird, there’s very little quality to find in Linnanmäki’s other coasters.
Starting with Tulireki, a Mack E-Motion coaster, which was disgusting. Managing to find incredible roughness out of nowhere but in a much more annoying than funny way.
Then there was Salama, the park’s Maurer Spinner, it was fine, certainly much better than Tulireki at least.
We rode the suspended dark ride Taikasirkus after that, it was good fun and nice to see theming from the quality Rex Studios in the UK.
An enclosed custom Zierer Force coaster, built inside of an old water tower, with optional VR. We refused the VR and found the coaster itself to be slightly better than we were expecting.
I used to always get excited when I saw Finland had the last Valdemar Lebech woodie I hadn’t ridden, then I saw it was a clone of the stupid Bakken one and I got sad.
Thankfully, unlike Bakken this one actually still uses it’s brake man, which means things are much more out of control and you get some quality airtime moments, I really enjoyed it.
Absolute trash. I hate SkyLoops at the best of times but this one was stupidly rough to add insult to injury.
We rode the Ferris Wheel next, mostly for aerial views of Taiga, but also to see the city, isn’t Linnanmäki in a beautiful location? I think it is.
Saving the worst for almost last, it was time for Kirnu. Kirnu is an Intamin Zac Spin coaster and after a horrible experience on Gröna Lund’s Insane, me and Heartline were dreading this thing.
Thankfully Kirnu is much tamer than Insane, which in this case is a very good thing. So instead of getting viciously dropped on your head several times in a stupid manner, Kirnu opted to just violently lurch back and forth and only inverted once.
I hate it, I’d never ride it again but it’s several thousand times better than Insane.
We completed the park’s coaster line up with a ride on their Mack powered coaster, Pikajuna.
Next up we rode the Monorail to get dangerously close to the Bird.
We everything ticked off, there was only one thing left to do. Spend the rest of the beautiful Finnish evening in the embrace of Taiga.
In the queue on one of our many re-rides, me and Heartline decided we wanted to return to the park tomorrow for 1 final hour with the Bird. So we visited the friendly team working in the ticket office and got cheap tickets to return tomorrow.
In case it isn’t obvious from that, I freaking love Linnanmäki. It really does feel like a discount Liseberg, but please don’t take that as me throwing any shade, that’s one of the strongest compliments I could give a park.
I’m certain without Taiga the park would have been a half day affair, much like the other 2 major Finnish parks, but with the Bird, the beautiful location, the park’s wonderful staff and that city park atmosphere, Linnanmäki is truly something special.
Knowing we’d only get our full hour with the Bird if we were smart, today we made sure we were as efficient as possible. This meant parking right outside the park’s door, getting to Taiga’s entrance 15 minutes before it opened, ditching Heartline’s wife on a bench and then ditching all loose articles with her.
We managed 10 laps in an hour, with some running and some rest breaks on that bench. It was an awesome way to end our trip to Finland and the perfect goodbye to the Bird.
I quite liked Helsinki airport, when we arrived at midnight and no one else was there, but this evening, nah man, it wasn’t great.
The tiny gate waiting area was standing only, packed wall to wall, then Norwegian messed up our seating arrangements, then we had to take a packed bus to the plane. Can Taiga not fly us to Italy?
You thought Helsinki airport was bad? It was nothing on Rome…
Our bags weren’t on the conveyor they were meant to be on and the staff instead of helping were just shouting at everyone. So we split up to find our bags, then got lost and then got shouted at again. Not the strongest of starts here.
Finally reunited we made our way to the car hire desk, where the rude woman there shouted at us in disgust for joining the queue without first taking a number from the machine. There 1 was group waiting and they were already at the desk…
We had to laugh when we asked to sign a document, regarding places we weren’t allowed to park the car, for fear of it getting stolen, because it listed half the places we would be visiting…
What followed was a several hour drive south, before arriving at our hotel, at almost midnight. At first we thought we would be sleeping in the car, after discovering the front door was locked and no one was answering the door bell. Thankfully in the end a friendly old man, the owner, let us in and told us to just go straight to our rooms, we’d sort the paperwork tomorrow, top bloke.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 4, where we visit one of the funniest parks in the World, Etnaland.