Europe 08/22 – Djurs Sommerland + Fårup Sommerland
I had naively believed that our hotel woes were behind us, but on arrival at our stop off in Germany for the night we found that I had received an email saying my credit card details were out of date… not this again.
I’ve no idea what’s going on at this point, this particular trip was booked several months after the previous card had expired. The hotel for the following night had already confirmed that they had taken the money up front on that day, straight off of the same card details I provided. There’s no trace of the old details still on my account and yet still the system is out to spite me.
The staff decided to make a huge deal out of this matter for some reason, with two different people repeating at least 6 times between them that my card details had expired, why didn’t I check my emails?! (in the last few hours, while driving, and on holiday) and that 6pm was the cut-off point so they had cancelled our rooms.
That was all well and good, but I’m standing here right now with the credit card in hand, what are we going to do about this? The point just didn’t seem to sink in.
Eventually they just checked us in anyway, with no issue at all, so the completely unjustified berating was a total waste of life. Guess you still can’t go anywhere any more.
An early morning run on the autobahn had us making good time into Denmark the next day. We had successfully completed the 2sommer run before and of course were confident that we could do it again with just a +2 to pick up from each this time. For fun, and the sake of the relative significance of the new coasters, the order was switched up this time.
Day 2 – Djurs Sommerland
I’ve always got on really well with this park before. It’s such a lovely place to be and they’ve had a cracking lineup for a good while now. Slight technical hitch upon arrival this time (again), we had booked our tickets online but never received a confirmation email. It transpires that they ‘hadn’t turned the machine [computer] on’ though strangely the guest services and ticket counter were unable to do much about the problem. Instead they asked us to buy another set of tickets up front and send an email asking for a refund at a later date, which seemed a less than ideal solution.
Faff out of the way, we stood ready for the rope drop at the now slightly more signficant looking entrance to Wild Asia (insert Chessington joke here) and then, once let in, hopped straight onto #1 Jungle Rally.
It’s a cute little Zierer (there’s a lot of those on this trip) and really nicely presented. They’ve definitely fleshed this area out a lot since it was just the signature attraction, mud and concrete and I’m very impressed.
We took a token lap on Drage Kongen to see if much had changed over the years. Wasn’t too bothered about it before, though I believe it was a victim of hype at the time – I can still recall the bold statements bouncing about from ‘could be as good as Nemesis Inferno’ to ‘might ride like an inverted Megalite’. No.
The ride still rattles around and is essentially a weaker version of the larger Vekoma model, which makes little financial sense at the very least. It’s not a bad attraction by any means, it looks really nice, the little trick at the start is a good spectacle from the air gates and the layout goes on for a surprisingly long time. What had improved on this occasion for me was the atmosphere in the station, with some good music and lightning effects that I don’t particular remember from opening year.
They’ve been so busy at this park, the new and massive Tigeren has replaced the old Topple Tower that we were lucky enough to catch operating once. This ride had me at ‘bigger Loke’ and it’s rather spectacular in the forces that it pulls. Lap bar freedom, massive beyond vertical swing, big amounts of weightlessness and crushing positives. I’m no flat ride connoisseur but these are totally my bag.
Headed into the new, new area next to see some dinosaurs. I don’t really remember what was here before, if anything, but it’s quite the transformation. Dino Xpedition is a fun little jeep ride along the lines of many others of this ilk. I’ve since been led to believe that not everything was working properly inside the cave, the projections were broken and even technology like the queue signs were out of action, which is unfortunate on something so recent.
#2 T-Rex Family Coaster was rather great. I’ve now been given more hope for this rebirth of modern Mack & Moritz powered coasters as this one provides so much more of a ‘ride’ experience. The layout has some pretty funky moments and the build up of speed into a significantly faster second lap is particularly satisfying, making it a much more well rounded experience.
Having finished with everything on the hit list we jumped on Juvelen for a back row ride. It still kicks a surprising amount of ass when it wrenches you through that second launch and into a very potent set of twists, turns and near miss interaction. Love it.
Last up was the old favourite Piraten. It actually had a queue, which I’ve never really seen before, so we weren’t quite able to get as reacquainted with it as we had hoped. I think this hurt the reputation of the ride somewhat, it’s definitely something you want to marathon to get the most out of. It remains a fantastic ride, with a near grey-out inducing first turn, several moments of powerful airtime and the satisfaction of those violently twisty hills. Half hour waits for such a short, cloned layout just didn’t quite hit the spot this time and I’m far less confident about the whole ‘Piraten is better than the other Megalites’ thing now than I used to be. It may be much more circumstantial than I previously believed. Still, we’ll always have 2017.
On that note it was time to hit the road to the main event and inspiration for the whole trip, though there was even time for a leisurely lunch on route because we wanted to be cheeky and take advantage of the reduced rate afternoon tickets.
We arrived 5 minutes early and enquired about the deal at the signature drive-thru ticket booths. Sadly it’s entirely down to the whims of a computer system so there’s no opportunity for the admissions staff to be lenient in this case. They recommended we back up and park for a couple of minutes until the time ticket over and then we were waved through once again to seal the deal.
The park was much busier and, more surprisingly, much larger than I remember from before. We of course wanted to get to Fønix first and the walk through the pleasant greenery seemed to take forever, it just kept going and going along the very long and thin layout that spreads either side of the main entrance.
At last we were greeted with the sight of fresh Vekoma track and stumbled into a 20 minute queue not knowing what to expect.
God damn Iron Gwazi, they’ve finally done it.
#3 Fønix is the Vekoma we’ve all been banging on about for years, the new generation has finally arrived and is ready to play with the big boys. I absolutely adored this thing and we couldn’t get enough of it. Essentially to the point where all notions of courtesy rerides on the other coasters went out the window rather quickly.
No more underwhelming profiling, no more bland forces, no more pointless inversions. Almost every single moment hits hard and fast and, under the guise of what has already become their established style, it’s unbelievably refreshing.
The first drop was punching harder than Piraten and leads into a forceful pullout of positives. Instead of dwelling on this for too long you’re immediately up into the weirdly floaty stall and flopping out of your seat in a gorgeous moment of contrast.
I love the insanely tight and twisted exit of this element, it doesn’t even look real from off-ride and I guess totally justifies why the trains are a little shorter.
Perhaps the one piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite land is the subsequent big hill. It feels just a little too high, there’s no significant airtime or even sustain on it and then it rides like it has to turn into that turnaround slightly prematurely. Basically the single thing Lech and Abyssus do better.
All is immediately forgiven as it throws you into an outrageous second inversion that tries to hurl you outwards – up there with the classic Blue Fire and the more recent Mosasaurus. A double down follows into a twisted hill, this is definitely riffing off of some other greats as well.
Of course next is the point dance, the station inversion. It’s currently a little obnoxious offride as everyone has taken it upon themselves to scream really loudly through it, though this was a bonus contrast with the Lech equivalent not even letting you in the station and not having people on it. Onride however it’s another powerful snap of an element, perhaps only faltering in not being as good as the one before it.
Another moment of strong positives breaks the flow in the next turnaround and then we hit a finale of no less than six bouncy, twisty, joyous airtime moments. Some wonky, others straight, one popping out sideways like an RMC, it does it all and it does it well. Well done.
Best Vekoma in the world by an almost immeasurable margin for me and, somehow, the new best coaster in Denmark. I’m excited for these again now and can’t wait to see what they do next. That’s dangerous.
Of course there’s one other Vekoma to tick off round the corner. #4 Saven looks great in it’s natural habitat, not to say they didn’t do a nice job with the clone at Energylandia but this one fits in the space for a reason. I really like the water splash effect, it’s very convincing from around the middle of the train.
The outbound trip is solid with it’s satisfying sequence of hills, just it loses a bit of oomph on the return run from being purely gravity driven. Couldn’t help but think a little boost on the spike would help spice it up a bit.
As stated, we never got round to revisiting the rest of the park, save for after the queuelines had closed for a quick photo lap. 2017 me was very lazy and basically missed pictures of half the rides so at least that’s solved now. In terms of lineup, things are looking pretty great for Farup now.
Orkanen wasn’t needed, I’ve lost count of how many others I’ve ridden since, but is still a remarkably good piece of hardware for what it is.
We found Falken to be solid, if unremarkable in the past and that was with far less experience. Having just come off the back of what, 60 mostly unremarkable woodies in the last couple of months I’m not sure a reride would have done anything but harm it slightly, though it’s undoubtably fine at filling it’s niche here.
Lynet was smooth before, offensively smooth. The clear standout of the type and surprisingly good given the hardware. I worry that it isn’t any more, so leave the memories alone. Still, solid launcher for the park.
Fønix is an obviously massive step up though, and I bet the park is even seeing that themselves. Everyone was just lapping it again and again, with the queue remaining a consistent and popular length all the way up until close, with guests desperate for that one last ride. I can’t imagine that this level of attention is anything but new ground here given the attractions that preceded it. Our final lap was treated to a rendition from the entire train of “EKSTRA TUR, EKSTRA TUR, EKSTRA TUR” on the brake run. Sadly we weren’t going to get our Steel Vengeance moment as I could still see a queue snaking down the station stairs. A sly shake of the head from the operator confirmed this as we pulled back into the station, but I admire them for trying.
It was a little depressing to walk away from something with such strong emotion and yet at the same time thinking it’ll struggle to even crack a personal top 50, but this is the fate I’ve chosen for myself.
Fønix is nothing short of incredible though, and I don’t say that lightly.