Sweden 04/23 – Liseberg
Oops. We wanted to use this sudden abundance of British bank holidays for something constructive(?), but as I’ve no doubt alluded to before now, Europe is getting a little dry for me these days. For this year, with Storm – the Dragon Legend and Luna both being confirmed in advance, we formed a warm up of a one-two punch of new builds as our first selection. One of them happened anyway.
As such we flew into Oslo on a Friday night, without incident. Logistically it didn’t really matter this time, though covid seems to have killed off direct flights to Gothenburg, which is a shame for the Liseberg fan in me. While we would have originally started with one of two separate half days at Tusenfryd, Spite – the Dragon was being spiteful, rather than a legend, and had us opting to just bypass all of Norway in order to maximise our two day Liseberg tickets. Yes please.
I’ve always had mixed results residing in Gothenburg in the past. Our usual haunt is either very reasonable and convenient, or Bruce Springsteen is in town and every hotel gets absolutely massacred in both availability and affordability.
The latter appeared to be the case on this occasion, but much to our surprise the very new on-site hotel was both available and affordable. Parking was a bit of a faff, given half the city appears to be a construction site right now. I’m sure the hotel can better communicate the options in future, for now we ended up in a big multi-storey to the south of the park, dumped some luggage, wristbanded up and headed in the new, fancy looking entrance.
What did I say in my very last trip report? I’m not big on revisits. Liseberg is one of very few exceptions to that rule for me of course, yet the same applies for the trip reporting. It just doesn’t come as natural without that all-encompassing ‘new experience’ aspect, with a strict sequence of events. Talking about rides I’ve talked about before, only I take less photos and pay less attention, and that’s probably for the better, but here goes.
Day 1 & 2 – Liseberg
Helix. Yup, still got it.
I can’t believe they’ve added even more to my favourite hill. There’s yet another ride to look out for when it comes to interaction and I’m all about that.
The flow of the layout is still second to none and it kicks all kinds of ass from start to finish. There’s an interesting race between nostalgia vs new design going on at this point in my career and I still wonder if it can ever be topped for me.
Lisebergbanan. Yup, still got it. New trains have given it a new lease of life as far as I can tell. Just that little bit smoother again, allowing you to feel all the ridiculous forces of yet another incredible terrain coaster, in all their glory. It’s the workhorse of the park, with admirably endless capacity, though it did manage to break itself for about an hour, including evac. That was a new one to witness.
#1 Luna then, the new kid in town.
Perfectly serviceable, I didn’t expect much beyond some killer visuals and it’s a pleasant little sit down that delivered for me.
I preferred it in the front for some surprising steepness in that spike and for me it’s better than any of the pedestrian junior boomerangs, perhaps only faltering in forces to the more significant of the ‘linear’ ones, namely Saven and the one with the goat.
The new area below looks fresh and polished, the queue is an adventure, and it photo bombs that signature shot of Helix. Liseberg have done it again. +1
Aerospin didn’t quite put the fear in me like it used to. It seems mostly a given that if you don’t want it to flip (which I don’t), it won’t. Adrenaline removed, it’s still good for the views, watching the rides below dancing around each other never gets old for me. Seems to have faltered in popularity for the moment, what with the other, more boring, new flats up there.
Speaking of boring flats, it’s a shame Atmosfear doesn’t deliver the same impact as others of its ilk. VR is still kicking around on it too, if you want it, even though it’s at least 40% observation tower. If this was a Scream or even a Donjon Extreme, well, it’s not like the park can go higher in my book, but it would, in theory.
The wheel nearby would be 100% observation tower, were it not a wheel. There’s only so many times I can talk about good views, but this one is best at night, when the Helix trains have their lights on.
As we transition to the lower half of the park, via the entertaining escalators that are steeped in history lesson, let’s talk about the new, free, virtual queue/fastrack system. I’d always appreciated the 3 free time-slotted fastracks you used to get when booking online tickets here and now on this occasion it was a case of gamifying the new system to try and beat what you got before. For the average, or less app-oriented guests that’s potentially not a good thing, you don’t want to end up with a Genie+ situation where anyone feels obliged to go the extra mile just to get a standard day. I don’t think Liseberg is that type of park though, it’s most likely just appreciated by most that they can skip standing in a queue for 40 minutes for the single lap they want on a star attraction, in order to have a nice sit down elsewhere. It’s not going to ruin your multi-million pound holiday, but they could have got 3 of those before, with prior planning anyway, and this system either gives more or less of it to you, on a plate, if you want to look for it.
What it boiled down to in the end was a lot of closing the app and refreshing. Slots throughout the day are released on an ongoing basis and as soon as you see one of the rides you want has some available, you smash that button, it most likely tells you there’s only 1 slot left, and then you reset again, hoping for that golden number that matches the size of your group. It’s clearly going to be a lot worse for larger groups, but we managed to equal the 3 skips on an abridged first day, and exceeded it with about 5 on a full second day.
Tl;dr it’s better than most parks, but not necessarily better than what they had before. Also it killed the Helix queueline app game, that’s a shame.
Balder. They fixed it up good, and didn’t count the cost, so here’s proof it can be done properly. It was running unnervingly smooth for what it really is, yet as powerful as ever. A real, all-round good time. I have my own personal gripes with the layout, but that never stops it from being a contender for best wood in Europe.
Valkyria. Best dive, this park is full of bests. This one just hauls like no other of the type does. Speed, pace, good inversions, even airtime. The smaller trains are more my bag, I don’t care about height records, nor the vests, just give me an action packed ride that tracks well. It does that, and looks and sounds fantastic while doing so.
Loke. Best spinning swinging thing. Tigeren may have been slightly bigger, but Loke seemed more powerful at the peaks this time. Again it’s helped by all that lovely ride stuff going on around you to look at, beyond trees, while being endlessly flung from your seat.
The rapids. There was a stranded boat full of riders near the start which we promptly overtook and may well still be there to this day. It’s exactly the sort of event that endeared me to this ride and park in the past, and it’s great to know it wasn’t an isolated incident. This ride is unhinged, it embraces chaos, as all good rapids should.
The log flume. I hear this one might be on it’s last season, so we gave it a good send off.
Love the layout, the long and slow build up the hillside, culminating in a unique and mildly terrifying drop sequence. I have faith that whatever replaces it will do this justice. Don’t let me down.
I believe all that leaves us with is dark ride time. Underlandet was also new to us here and how cute is this thing? Great theme, great queue, great signage. Love the rabbit mascots, very glad they’re embracing them even more than before, both with the ride and the whole kids area it resides in. Love the ride system, and the theming, didn’t quite get what was going on with Electric Bill in his younger years, even after multiple laps, but it looked fun.
Something was off by the end of the day. The music in the Helix station shut off half an hour early, and they seem to have adopted a new policy of closing all queues such that they will be cleared by park close. Which is a shame, as this didn’t use to be the case. I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s for ecological reasons.
The policy did get particularly concerning at the end of our first day however, upon discovering that it existed and then sprinting around in the final few minutes to see if we could catch a cheeky cycle elsewhere. We reached Uppswinget (guess I forgot this one, best Screamin’ Swing) with 7 minutes on the clock and 10-15 kids in the still open queue, ready for one more load.
The attendant came down to the turnstiles and decided to dismissively turn them (and by extension, us) away, while shiftily clutching at his forearm and never once looking them in the eye. Eventually he revealed his wristwatch to display a time of 20:01. They countered with multiple phone screens that contradicted this and we also corroborated that it was in fact 19:54. Nevertheless, he was obviously out to sour someone’s day and that was that. In the time it took to argue the point, they could have just run the ride.
I’ve never had to take issue with this park before, I suppose if you visit these places enough times there will always be some chance encounter such as this. It stings a little when it’s your favourites though. Your move, Dollywood.
As for the Hotel Grand Curiosa, it was comfortable, very nicely decorated, breakfast was huge and varied in a nicely themed restaurant with good music and a couple of robot waiters making a fool of themselves. Would recommend.
Uncommon angles from the room weren’t bad either.