Korea + Japan 04/17 – Everland by Mega-Lite

It was time for the first major trip of my life, flying to the other side of the World to take in the culture and coasters of Korea and Japan. I’d been interested in visiting Japan for a while, their way of life had always intrigued me and some of their coasters were living legends. Korea was a different story, I’d just only been introduced to K culture and was dying to see it for myself.

Day 1

Despite this being my first ever long distance flight everything went by quite fast and soon I was in Korea with the first of now many stamps in my passport.

We picked up our T Cards (prepaid transport card) and took the high speed train from the airport to Seoul Station, then checked in to our hotel which was just across the road.

After finding out on the day that a coaster at Lotte World was down for maintenance, we quickly changed our plans to visit Everland today and Lotte World at the end of the trip. We hadn’t planned for this, so we weren’t quite sure how to get to the park from Seoul Station. Thankfully I was able to ask a friendly lady at an information desk, who couldn’t have been any more helpful in setting us in the right direction.

We topped up our T Cards in the station, which takes all of 2 seconds and is all done on a machine that you can set to English, so there’s no excuse. From there we took the subway to Gangnam and then caught a bus to Everland. Quick word of warning, bus drivers in Korea are on tight schedules and any hold up sets them right off, so be prepared to get shouted at if you aren’t quick enough when paying.

Everland

Everland is probably Korea’s most loved amusement park, it’s featured in many forms of entertainment and has an almost cult like following, this has lead it to be one of the most visited amusement parks in the World. The park is located in the mountains and is surrounded by trees, which is probably the best setting I can think of for a park. Perfectly complementing the beautiful setting is the theming and upkeep of the park, both of which are fantastic. It’s easy to say Everland is Korea’s most beautiful park and it’s clearly something the park themselves are very proud of.

After using our T Cards to get 30% off the entrance price, we made our way into the pretty and very hilly park!

Dragon Coaster – While this is just your standard Zamperla Twin Helix coaster, the members of staff working on it were putting on such a show you couldn’t be help but be impressed.

Rolling X-Train – Me and Heartline started laughing at how just wrong this Arrow Looper was as soon as it left the lift, by the time we reached the final brakes we were laughing so hard it prompted an emergency trip to the bathroom.

T Express – Much like the park name itself, the name of T Express is on the lips of everyone in Korea. This coaster is an icon of the country and it damn well should be. Easily one of the greatest coasters on this planet, this Intamin prefab is a spectacular piece of technology and it’s sole purpose to eject you into orbit. Featuring one of, if not the most intense drop in the World and several moments of insane sustained ejector airtime. If like me you demand your woodies to feature insane amounts of ejector air, then you cannot do better than T Express, unless you go to Six Flags Great Adventure.

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Live Hologram Theatre – If you’re into Kpop, then trust me when I say it’s well worth the upcharge fee to experience your favourite idols in hologram form!

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Rotation House – A madhouse type attraction, where the only thing I can remember is how loud the preshow was.

Rapids – This rapids ride features full body covering plastic sheets but you somehow manage to get soaked regardless, extremely good fun.

Everland also features a large zoo that includes 2 different vehicle based ways of seeing the animals and the traditional walk around enclosures. We went on one of the vehicle based ones (I forget the name) and it was great fun, helped massively by the ethusiasm of the staff members.

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Everland more than deserves to be regarded as Korea’s top amusement park, with it’s beautiful aesthetic, wonderful atmosphere, friendly and hard working staff, solid and wacky ride line up and the existance of T Express, it really is a hard park to fault.

I’m not going to pretend the journey from the park to our hotel wasn’t a struggle. After not sleeping on the plane and having now been awake for nearing 35 hours I couldn’t wait to get back and finally get some sleep.

Day 2

Today was sight seeing in the morning and a Kpop show in the evening.

Heartline decided he’d take charge of the sight seeing after the planned tour bus didn’t exist and he did a great job. We saw many pretty looking and probably quite important buildings and never stayed long enough to get bored.

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Long story short the Kpop show (Music Bank) is a must if you’re into Kpop and more than worth the amount of hassle you’ll have to go through to get the tickets.

Thank you for reading, click here for day 3 of my report where we fly to Japan and spend the day at the lovely Greenland.


Denmark 06/17 – Hansa Park?!

Day 3

Hansa Park

Ever since I got serious about getting out there and visiting the theme parks of the World, Hansa Park had always been right near the top of my list. From the stories of just how lovely the park is, with some calling it the best park in Germany, to the creation and opening of the unthinkable Karnan, Hansa Park was just begging for a visit. And now, thanks to Heartline’s genius, it was now.

I knew as soon as I reached the park entrance that the stories of how nice the park looks were true. Hansa Park in places is breathtaking and as much as I’m all about massive intense roller coasters, these days I can really appreciate how much effort and upkeep goes into making things look nice and it’s something Hansa Park fully understands and excels in.

Fluch von Novgorod – This is such a conflicting coaster to talk about so I’ll break it down into 2 sections.

Experience: As an experience, Novgorod is awesome. The theming is incredible and the story mysterious and gripping.

Coaster: The actual ride hardware however is a little lacking. While Gertslauer Eurofighters sometimes get it right, with Novgorod they haven’t quite nailed it. The launch and airtime hill combo are great but then you sort of just rattle around a bit, before an enclosed lift hill that doesn’t really do much, then a drop that does less and it’s over. What the park could have made this if the coaster hardware was better pains me.

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Nessie Superrollercoaster – I can’t say I remember much from this Schwarzkopf looping coaster but I did have a headache at the time.

Schlange von Midgard – Hansa Park have turned a Gertslauer family coaster (which are awesome as standard) into something really impressive.

Schwur des Karnan – I’ll be doing a full coaster write up on Karnan soon, so please click here to read about this insane coaster in more detail.

Where can I begin with Karnan? From the moment I saw the tower from the car park I was filled with immense fear and excitement. There really is not much like Karnan in the coaster world. Where else can you find a near 300 foot fully themed castle tower that every few minutes a coaster train comes flying out of?

The attention to detail with Karnan is outstanding. Theming levels or beats Disney and the effort put into telling the story of Karnan needs commending, with no less than six 15 minute mini documentaries playing in the queue.

You are batched into your rows by mystical forces in probably one of the best preshows I’ve ever seen.

Karnan’s trick lift hill is one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced on a coaster. Waiting there, music blaring, heart throbbing, palms sweating, brain racing, Christ, this is something special. All this made even more insane by the levels of freedom made possible by lap bars. The coaster hasn’t properly started yet and it’s already a better experience than most out there.

Then you crest the lift, where riders in the back row will be violently ejected, over 200 feet in the air, almost into the tower structure itself, in yet another terrifying moment brought to you by Karnan. What follows is an intense blur of positive Gs so strong the seat tries cut your thighs, crazy pops of airtime, relentless pacing and one of the most intense inversions out there.

Karnan is all about taking everything to the extreme, whilst some may not like that, I love this thing to pieces.

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Hansa Park is a fantastic park, beautiful and an absolute pleasure to exist in, features a very strong coaster line up and it’s home to Karnan, I cannot recommend enough.

After the typically delayed flight home, one of my favourite Europe trips to date was over but it’s not one I’ll soon forget.

Thank you for reading.


Denmark 06/17 – Farup Sommerland + Djurs Sommerland

Day 2

Farup Sommerland

You buy your park tickets from the comfort of your car as you drive into Denmark’s most Northerly park, a nice idea as it leads to less faff later on. Despite the website claiming this was “Denmark’s Best Sommerland”, it’s lineup didn’t look anywhere near as exciting as over at Djurs but with some rather interesting coasters to be ridden, let’s get right to it.

Falken – My first ever experience with an S&S woodie (there’s only 2 operating in the World) and I was very impressed! Fast, forceful, strong pops of air and a lovely out of control feeling. 3 laps on this got me wishing for more of these, if only to help drown out the swarms of mediocre GCIs.

Lynet – I was a bit apprehensive about this Gertslauer launch coaster (after a slight disagreement with Karacho) but I needn’t have been as it was awesome. The launch is great and quite forceful and the rest of the layout is full of great moments of airtime and smooth inversions. If Lynet featured Gertslauer’s fantastic lapbars then it would have been even better but it’s certainly still a really fun little coaster.

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Orkanen – My first ride on the biggest of the Vekoma SFC models and it was good fun. A definite improvement on the more common smaller model, faster and slightly more forceful. The setting over the water, the impressive theming and how damn smooth this coaster rides, made it very easy to reride, even more so because it was walk on.

Farup Sommerland is more than worth your time to visit. Lynet and Falken are very good unique coasters and Orkanen is great fun too. The park is beautiful and in places is so secluded and wooded that you’ll forget you’re even in a theme park.

We had planned to spend all day at the park but due to short queues had done everything we wanted and more by half 12. Heartline says to me, “you can get ferries to Norway from near enough here I think, do you want to see if we can do TusenFryd?” …Yes! After that plan sadly failed (don’t worry we’ve been since), he came up with another plan, an even better plan. “Shall we do Djurs today instead of tomorrow and then tomorrow take you to Hansa Park to ride Karnan” …YES!!

Djurs Sommerland

We pulled into the car park and my heart literally sank, there were cars everywhere and I mean everywhere. After parking I scaled the car to assess the situation, cars for as far as the eye could see in all directions. That’s it then, for being greedy we’ve screwed up and this is going to suck big time.

I was on the verge of freaking out during the long walk from the car park to the entrance. I could see Piraten and the new hotness DrageKongen but the chances of riding these beasts without queueing hours seemed impossible now.

Thankfully much like Legoland the day before, despite the park heaving with people, the queue for Piraten was only 10 minutes, thank you people of Denmark!

DrageKongen – Intamin’s brand new and first (only 2 exist even now) SFC and despite what everyone was hyping this up to be, it’s just a rattly, more unrelaible version of Orkanen. The brand new Asia area the coaster lives in looks fantastic, as does the ride itself with it’s striking paint scheme but it’s just an overpriced SFC that rattles and breaksdown a lot, not the inverted Mega-Lite the World expected it to be.

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Juvelen – I love Juvelen to bits. The first section had me thinking this is a great family coaster, then you hit the second launch and suddenly things get really crazy and a lot more intense than I was expecting! Juvelen quite simply redefines what a family coaster can be.

Piraten – What more can I say than Piraten is damn near perfection. There are absolutely no dead spots or pacing issues on this relentless Intamin Mega-Lite. From the bottom of the first drop to hitting the brakes hard, with your shirt half off your body and your internal fluids now external, it’s non stop. Piraten puts Expedition Geforce and Goliath to shame in my opinion. The sideways airtime hills are some of the most intense airtime moments I’ve ever experienced, you literally don’t have time to prepare yourself for them, even after 10 goes. On my 9th run it managed to make me loose vision in my right eye, so we decided to call it a day at 10. If vision loss wasn’t on the cards I could ride this monster all day long!

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Skatteøen – Mack water coaster, it looks pretty.

Thor’s Hammer – Gertslaurer Bobsled coaster, fun for what it is.

Rio Grande Rafting – I love a good rapids ride and this one passes my test.

Ørnen – My first topple tower, we spent the whole ride laughing at how dumb it was, can’t deny it’s fun though.

Djurs Sommerland is a fantastic park with a spectacular coaster line up! Piraten is World class, Juvelen is one of the best family coasters ever created and Skatteøen, Thor’s Hammer and DrageKongen are quality support coasters.

Thank you for reading, please click here to join me at Hansa Park on day 3 of my trip report.


Denmark 06/17 – Legoland Billund + Tivoli Friheden by Mega-Lite

In summer 2017, me and Heartline went on a weekend trip to Denmark. This was to be my second trip to the country, after visiting the parks in Copenhagen in 2016 and falling in love with it. This trip had been on the cards for a while and the opening of DrageKongen was the reason for committing.

Day 1

After an early flight out of Heathrow, we landed in Billund. Seeing Polar X-plorer from the runway was really strange and got me thinking, how many other coasters can you see from runways? In almost no time at all we were in arrivals and after too much car hire faff we were on the road for the extremely short drive to Legoland.

Legoland Billund

I haven’t cared much at all for Legoland parks in years, so why did I go to the effort of begging Heartline to let us pop into Legoland Billund for a couple of hours? Simple, I’ve been dying to ride Polar X-plorer for ages.

We got to the park and began to get worried when the main car park was full and we had to park 2 miles down the road in the overflow car park. We only allowed ourselves a couple of hours max at Legoland, so this was the last thing we wanted to do. After walking the entire length of the park from the outside to reach the entrance, it was time to buy tickets. Via some amazing luck combined with typical Merlin confusion, I managed to get into the park for free, which was handy because I had to buy Heartline’s ticket to get him to agree to this idea.

Now in the park and it was heaving with people as far as the eye could see. Heartline, who had visited before, powered us over to a queue board, 30 minute queue for the powered Dragon and everything else 10 minutes. This strange occurance of rammed park, no queues, would become a staple of this trip thankfully.

I’m no good at remembering the order we did things in, so I’ll just recap the attractions we experienced.

Dragen – Mack powered version of the classic Legoland star attraction, the dark ride section before the coaster begins is in a much better condition than it’s Windsor counterpart, as for the coaster itself, it is what it is.

Ghost – ABC drop tower rides normally pack a suprising punch and produce amazing on ride photo reactions from me. We will put it down to this one being tamed down for children but I came away pretty disapointed.

Ninjago – Quite fun for what it is but nothing too special. It is pretty amusing flailing your arms like crazy though.

Polar X-plorer – What a fantastic coaster Zierer have created here, this is what Windsor needs, but I’m not sure it deserves it. The coaster section before the drop track is great fun, with some good forces and nice pops of air. The drop track section to me feels more forceful than Thirteen and you really do get ejected out of your seat, with alot of help from the brilliant train design. I got 3 laps on this and loved it every time.

Temple – If you think Windsor’s Laser Raiders is bad (and I do), this is even worse. A dark ride with almost nothing happening, while fully aware you’re just doing a big pointless circle in a warehouse.

X-treme Racers – I don’t remember Jungle Coaster riding this poorly. This clone Mack Wild Mouse was slow, jerky and an absolute chore to the add to the count.

While it’s completely fair to say I only visited the park to ride Polar X-Plorer and that in no way Legoland is targeted to me, my impression of Legoland Billund was quite positive. Friendly Danish staff, well maintained effects and theming and a general feeling of life to the park. All of the above are missing from Legoland Windsor.

We drove about an hour from Legoland to the next park and due to no parking being available we parked in the car park for a massive baseball stadium, then walked a couple of minutes down pretty Danish streets before arriving at Tivoli Friheden.

Tivoli Friheden

Whilst I was begging on my knees to ride Polar X-plorer earlier and my hype levels for the rest of this trip were at a critical level, Tivoli Friheden was only on the trip as a means to knock it off the list. I went into this unique little park with unfairly low expectations and then walked away rather impressed.

As before I don’t recall the order we did things in but interestingly this park has really stuck with me.

Cobra – This strange little one off Italian SLC was all kinds of messed up. Was it as brutal as a Vekoma SLC? Yes! Was it more interesting and memorable though? Certainly.

Orkanens Øje – Pinfari single loop coaster that has since left the park. It can’t have ridden too badly because we managed to spend the whole ride discussing plans and then it was over.

The main draw of the park is their famous SCAD tower attraction, where you are taken to the top of a massive tower, then free fall completely unaided many feet into a catch net at the bottom. I’m ashamed to admit I wasn’t feeling up to it but Heartline took his turn while I ate ice cream.

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Because we had time to spare after riding everything we wanted, we took a break from rushing around and wasted an hour or so attemping to play the park’s crazy mini golf course.

So you are probably thinking to yourself, low quality credits, you didn’t do the park’s best attaction (SCAD tower) and you spent an hour playing golf, why exactly are you saying you walked away impressed? I believe it comes from the combination of friendly staff, a pretty setting and the sights and sounds of everyone in the park having a great time.

Thank you for reading, please click here to read day 2 of this Denmark trip report, where we hit up Farup Sommerland and Djurs Sommerland.