One more long morning drive took us back over to the far side of Sweden, primed and ready for some final creds and a quick escape from Stockholm again.
Day 4 – Furuvik
Furuvik was the name of the game, somewhat poorly represented by its photos of concrete and rides from most trip planning resources, when in fact it’s more of a zoo with an amusement section. We had been wondering what could justify it costing more than Kolmården.
The opening stroll is rather pleasant before you hit said amusement section if you head in the right direction. The Dragon wasn’t quite ready for us yet, so ended up on the shooting dark ride first.
Boo Blasters on Boo Blasters Hill Version 2.0 is in Europe? Spökjakten was news to me.
Having thought the recent experience in Alabama was somewhat one of a kind, I hadn’t expected to be reliving it so soon, but it’s good. For some reason the room with the skeleton army advancing was toned down, though otherwise a very solid dark ride.
The #1 Draken was ready for us and delivered the +1 as promised.
As was/did the #2 Fireball. That standard Vekoma junior boomerang layout.
#3 Lightning, the brand new coaster that makes this place a bit more worth seeking now is around the corner, looking nice and shiny.
Those smooth Vekoma curves and slick looking train make for an attractive package and it rides real good too. It was just like Big Bear Mountain without the faff in fact, and for me that makes it better. Pure twisty, bouncy fun with a near-excessive level of refinement that befits the family target it’s trying to hit.
This is where that style of Vekoma belongs, not on the big boys. Great stuff.
The front car was a nice touch, shame the dials didn’t move.
Thinking we were done with rides, headed off into the animal section to see what was what.
Sadly their red panda was MIA, but good views
Sheep in a hat?
Wait, what’s this? A boat ride that enters a tunnel? Well now we just have to know.
The little tub boats float around an area of not much for a while, some animals are far in the distance and it’s not the most intimate experience, except perhaps with your fellow riders.
Once in the cave, skeletons with treasure and a big kraken thing. In summary, yes.
And with that revelation we were done.
Thanks for reading, will be back in a jiffy with something a bit more further afield.
Back down Oslo way it was time for our supposed revenge with spite: the dragon legend. Things looked rough on arrival as we were directed into an overflow car park I never knew existed before, though actually ended up closer to the gates than the regular car park, with less stairs and better views of the rides, so bonus.
Day 3 (still) – Tusenfryd
Season passes slowly starting to pay off now, for the wrong reasons, we slid in up that classic escalator and headed straight for the main event.
#1 HuriHuri had a bit of a queue, but geography. It’s an underwhelming little spinner type thing that is at least custom or unique, for now, I think.
A touch of rain filled the air as we headed to the actual main event. Will this thing cease operation for the weather again? Better not. Things got ominous with breakdown announcements and operational delays the instant we entered the queue, getting more than a little wet now. Thankfully they fixed whatever teething troubles were going down and after a few overly low capacity cycles we were primed and ready.
Or was I ready? #2 Storm – The Dragon Legend kicks more ass than perhaps it would suggest. It begins with no more than a trundle of a forwards launch and up an incline that has nothing to offer yet, but the backwards part of the triple launch sequence has a surprise kick to it and then, if seated towards the rear of the train, the last inversion has some wicked hangtime to offer. Lap bars, lap bars, lap bars. For some reason I didn’t think Gerstlauer would do it for this, they make all the difference.
The layout proper is short and sweet of course, but each of the three inversion shapings have decent forces to offer and the airtime hill is pretty great. There’s a bit of positive imperfection and character to it that I found too – in the most positive-heavy parts of track, a solid moment of being forced into the seat suddenly turns into an amusing rattle as though it can’t quite handle it.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it, and couldn’t help but think that I’d like to see more of this style of attraction, but longer. There’s still an opening for this type of invert to become a gamechanger in the market right now, with Intamin still sleeping on it since Duelling Dragons Someone put some money down, these things have potential.
The rest of the visit didn’t go so well, in true Tusenfryd style. Was spited the dark ride for the third time on the bounce.
Thundercoaster was walk on and I was looking forward to getting reacquainted with the somewhat sleeper hit of a revamped Vekoma woodie. Though they’ve obviously done some retracking recently, it was riding hilariously poorly in the back row, with everyone up in front being visibly assaulted through any high force moments. The vibration was so bad to the point of blurring vision at times, but otherwise not detrimental to health like some woodies can be to me. The good parts were still there in principle, it’s a decent layout, but they were so sapped of energy from the carnage that it was all a bit of a shame.
As was the fact that they broke Speed Monster before we got round to reacquainting with that one too. It never reopened either, so closed the day with a few more flights on the dragon. Some success I guess, but perhaps I can never truly complete this park.
That wasn’t much of an installment, so let’s go again.
Next it was a long morning drive to Norway, a little more off the beaten track than usual – they have more than one amusement park you know. Hunderfossen had intrigued me for quite some time though it is often the victim of being left off an itinerary for ‘better things’, on paper.
Day 3 – Hunderfossen Eventyrpark
Up in the scenic hills there’s a pleasant natural beauty to the place. The location on the side of a valley gives this ever present view of the greenery on the far side, on this day coupled with some moody clouds. You could believe that trolls lived here.
First attraction on the agenda was the new-ish #1 Fyr & Flamme. The name alone sealed the deal for me, with the train design being the cherry on top. It’s very nicely presented, the titular characters appear to be stars of a kids TV show and while the coaster completes its two lap circuit, guests waiting in the station are treated to a little video sequence and accompanying music.
Intrigue got the better of us next, with that age old question of ‘is it a dark ride?’ A highly themed barn scene stood separately to an animatronic farm show.
Beyond that was a tractor ride, Traktorbanen, with some outdoor decorations, stopping points and what turned out to be three separate ‘indoor scenes’, in which a projected video would play, telling a story of a rooster tracking down his chicks.
In summary, yes.
The moment we’d all been waiting for was further along the bottom of the park. #2 Il Tempo Extra Gigante is one of those names you just have to have in your coaster collection. The fact that the train looks ridiculous only enhances that. The only downside is that it’s a Force One clone, but at least it was riding better than the OG counterpart these days.
I had been rather excited to try the award winning simulator Reodor Felgen’s Hyperakselerator, from what little I had learnt about it beforehand. A short queueline full of curious contraptions on posters leads to an elaborate pre-show room. Various farm-inspired gadgets adorn the walls and ceiling and these are all linked together in a mousetrap-type sequence. These sheep eat from the tubes, something spins, something inflates, you get the picture. Meanwhile on screen, another set of animated TV characters including Mr. ReFe himself talk about some invention they’ve got going on. Soon enough it’s time to hop aboard.
As with the coasters, they’ve gone above and beyond with the presentation of the ride vehicles here, which look rather fantastic. The big red button is used at one point in proceedings, though sad to say the simulator itself is a bit something and nothing. Some things felt a little off, exaggerated happenings on screen far outweighed the overly timid range of movements of the vehicle making it harder than usual to suspend the disbelief. Beyond that the perspective was a little confusing. The implication surely is that the guests are riding the contraption itself, but you’re also following one of the/the contraption on screen as though you’re more of a fly on the wall, or a floating third person camera. This is most notable when the vehicle up in front gets perilously suspended on a frozen cliff edge and you just sort of slide around to the side of them, and then turn to face them, unphased. Hard to describe in words really, but it confused me.
Talking of things that were a little off, how’s about a wax museum with Hitler looking shiftily through a window?
Not to worry, you can’t go wrong with a ride name like Trollfallet. This impressive and elaborate building can be entered in the upper regions via a little forest walkthrough.
A pre-show room and further indoor walkthrough, with highlights like these little rats appearing, set a fairytale scene before boarding a small drop tower in the dark. As the ride reaches its summit, a lit scene of a princess at a spinning wheel slides into view. You’ve come to save her, but hall of the mountain king, here comes the troll. Drop.
Silly, but effective. And I think this picture alone speaks a thousand words.
Also housed in the depths of the same building is a trackless Sally dark ride I’d never heard of being talked about before, Eventyrslottet.
It takes a lengthy trip through very many individual fairytales, ranging from castles to villages to troll caves.
It runs rather slow to fit all the storytelling in though, being narrated in the local tongue, this meant it lacked a certain dynamic for ourselves at the very least.
We only learnt after the fact that you can apparently slip the operator a fiver and have it put in English. Oh well.
Though a more relaxed pace than usual in such a pleasant environment, time was a-ticking and there was one more attraction on the list left to tick off. Is it a dark ride?
The new for 2023 4D Musikkfabrikken houses an elaborate pre-show featuring a self-playing piano positioned against a projection and made to look like these elf things are virtuosos, with one more bumbling one causing shenanigans in the background.
Inside the cinema itself, things get more than a little confusing this time. An animated baby introduces us to a world where music and rhythm are seen as wisps of colour, before the video changes to an actual human experiencing the same phenomenon while washing dishes in an industrial kitchen. They break the dishes, get fired and depressed, walk home in the rain, catch the eye of a girl on rollerskates, go to bed, get up, find a magical factory outside their house, enter said factory and get sucked into the machinery, conduct an orchestra a la Philharmagic (with all them colours again), meet the girl again who works there or something, get given a lab coat. Dance number. Fin. In summary, no.
Had some pizza in a decent food establishment near the entrance before hitting the road. A mixed bag in the end, but I enjoyed the place for the character and charm, the creds, and the troll. Worth a look for sure.
For logistical reasons we spent the whole of the next day giving courtesy to Kolmården. Don’t have a whole lot to say on the matter as there was nothing new on offer, and I’m not sure it was justified given the original spiteful saga back in opening year, but RMC right?
Day 2 – Kolmården
Well first up we were spited out of a discount promised by their out of date website, no biggie.
Most of the animals were hiding along the legendary long walk to the back of the park, but we saw the red panda so that was enough to keep me happy.
Soon enough it was Wildfire time.
Eh. I wasn’t wrong when it was my first RMC and now I’ve done every layout but Medusa (damn, that’s an ever-tantalising set prospect), it definitely doesn’t stack up.
My original criticisms were that it doesn’t feel like wood (which always felt a bit of a farce when it topped wood coaster polls) and the second half is very underwhelming.
Now it does feel like wood, but that’s a bad thing because it was doing an Outlaw Run and insta-headaching me in the wheel seats. So only Lightning Rod was enhanced by feeling wooden, and we all know how that went down. I guess it’s best they stop doing it.
The second half remains underwhelming, it just has none of the spice of pretty much any other RMC out there. To the point that this time I got that ‘I am on a wooden rollercoaster’ feeling that’s become so prevalent over in the US, albeit a good looking one.
First half still has the spice, but it’s weaker than many a sequence out there. Drop has good momentum going into it. Stall is no longer special to me sadly, while it used to be the king this element has gotta be more common than the vertical loop by now. Outwards corner is like the Lightning Rod bits that are more visual than visceral. Tunnel! Airtime hill with no airtime. A roll over the rocks. And that’s the good bit.
After that you can sit back, relax and have fun. Maybe that’s all you want in a coaster and I could (and did) happily sit on it for most of the day. Just doesn’t quite get the heart racing.
They have other coasters too you know.
Then we got hideously assaulted by wasps for the duration of dinner.
The Scandi season is a harsh mistress. Time had flown since our frozen and failed attempt at Tusenfryd earlier in the year, and suddenly there was very little opportunity left to make it right.
Not having enough faith in the revenge target being a strong enough headline act however, the horizons were broadened in light of other newness further afield. Needs to be worth the faff after all.
As such we landed in Stockholm one early afternoon and took a leisurely drive in our freely upgraded Citroen (?) down to the city centre. Gröna Lund recommends this big underground car park not too far away and it was surprisingly cheap given the location.
Day 1 – Gröna Lund
A stroll through scenic Stockholm soon had us being frisked by teenagers in order to enter the park, where we immediately got confused as to where to collect the wristbands. A gesture in the direction of a new machine, like the Liseberg ones, that it turns out doesn’t work here, led to more machines that were boarded up and some aimless wandering before realising the gesture had been towards a human ticket desk all along. Got what we needed the old fashioned way and then proceeded to get what we came for.
Namely #1 Monster, the first culprit to break my ‘all B&Ms in Europe’ set and, perhaps more scarily, the last unique B&M Invert layout left for me in the world. We had a free fastrack booked with the online tickets but this was entirely unnecessary. I assume as a consequence of recent unfortunate events that a park that should have been thriving on a summer’s day was a relative ghost town and two trains were ensuring this could hold nothing but a front row queue.
So, how was the ride? Good! I’ve become a cliché by ragging on modern B&Ms as of late, though I believe it’s more justified now than it was 10 years ago. The invert however remains the quintessential model that retains the prestige that was once synonymous with the manufacturer. It was forceful, fun and full of surprises.
The steep, curved drop has a pretty wicked kick to it, particularly not one you’d usually be used to on an inverted coaster. The compactness of the subsequent turn and pullout immediately brings the signature positives that get the old feet tingling. A floaty inversion happens in a solid moment of contrast, though a few weeks later I’d struggle to name what and how many there are of those on the ride – a sign of seemlessness or a bit of blandness? You decide.
From there the surprises keep on happening, the integration of the layout into the surroundings have you guessing where things are headed next while it treats you to more tight turns. Things culminate in an effective footchopper moment and surprise airtime hill before swinging you round into the weird brake run. With space at a premium, an unusually steep downwards incline has you slowly chugging back into the station.
Talking of the station, it’s rather elegant. I liked the vibe (and the music), though any semblance of storyline that there’s meant to be a subway monster chasing you is never made obvious. Regardless, we thoroughly enjoyed our several laps front and back, with back winning out for the drop of course.
There are other things in this park though, right? Well the lineup was a little wounded, what with Twister also being unavailable. The only other new thing we needed was Ikaros, for which we also had free fastrack booked and, on pure principle, held out on.
This tunnel of love dark ride, Kärlekstunneln was… interesting. I like a bit of quirk.
Courtesy laps were taken on Kvasten and Vilda Musen, which were both riding better than before, along with the kiddie creds, because why not. Anything is better than Insane.
Blå Tåget was awesome, can’t recall if they’ve changed something up or I didn’t know what i was looking for in a Ghost Train back then, but it’s certainly one of the best examples of one in the world. Tons of cool effects, well paced, not over reliant on obnoxious noises, they even let us go round twice for lack of queue.
Having not fully appreciated the park before, took the time to chill on some flats too. The magic carpet ride was terrifyingly vicious, took me back to the old days of trying to do quantum without bracing. This one is either better, or I’m not as good any more.
Blackfisken was my first ever one of whatever these things are, spinny and bouncy. I believe people make a fuss about them and it was pretty hectic and funny.
Fritt Fall remains a beast, though I’m not sure stand-up golden drill can ever be topped when it comes to these old Intamins now.
As for new Intamins, it was time for Ikaros and we did actually manage to skip a single cycle with the fastrack. No time to get nervous then, straight in and straight up. Well, straight apart from the facing the floor bit. I like the gimmick for the fear factor, but I still get a better feeling out of a regular decent drop tower. There’s simply less room for internal organs to shift in the horizontal. Better than the Busch one.
We left before the tallest man on earth could make things any more rowdy. All in all a highly satisfying evening, Gröna Lund redeemed itself by not giving me a headache. I wonder what to blame for that.
Having seen all there was to see at Six Flags Over Texas we headed out into the city, to a cred that had been spotted by the side of the road the night before. No new discovery or anything exciting, the various internet tools were well aware of its existence (except Captain Coaster), I just hadn’t planned on being done here so early.
The establishment in question was a beautifully air-conned arcade and bowling alley, but that was besides the point.
Outside, the spirit of the #8 Rattler lives on in an SBF spinner. Unlike our friend Frankie and his mine train, this performed far too many laps and was extremely inefficient given the weather.
With that bonus out of the way, enough was enough. Just the one day to go.
Day 15 – Prairie Playland
A ride we had planned for, to finish up, given no other Texas based disasters. This large outdoor market and camping ground has an amusement section and as of quite recently, the world’s largest coaster from E&F Miler, formally from California. Seemed worth a shot.
They’ve painted the #1 Prairie Screamer green, done up the trains and given it an amusing name and logo. We were knocking on the ticket window for opening and ended up on the first cycle for the day.
I expected clunkiness, it’s the defining feature of the medium ones of these. What I didn’t anticipate, as we approached speeds of 50Mph was that it just isn’t built for that sort of force. The track isn’t straight, so the base of the dips have a prominent set of jolts to them. Being bigger and more drawn out in the hills and turns was also detrimental to the usual wild airtime and laterals, though it still had its highlights in surprise places. Fun, still prefer the Kissimmee one.
With nothing left to do but drive to the airport, we stopped off on route to Austin in the town of Waco, at a far more upmarket market built next to some old magnolia silos.
Apparently it’s famous, has been on TV and stuff. Had some food trucks and did what it says on the tin.
Total states – 15 New creds – 62 New dark rides – 8 New parks – 17 New wacky worms – 2 New RMCs – 5 Best new coaster – ArieForce One Best coaster – ArieForce One Best new dark ride – Mystic Mansion Best dark ride – Monster Mansion Best new park – Fun Spot America Atlanta Best park – Dollywood Distance travelled – 4,518 Miles Spites – 4/66 (6.06%)
Following on from Frontier City we arrived at Over Texas sometime late in the afternoon and immediately had our Six Flags Day moment. It was something ridiculous like 37 degrees, 150% humidity, there were weather warnings saying don’t go out in the sun, you nutters. In our haste we had chucked an assortment of drinks in the bag, as they were going to be essential for the upcoming exertion. Yet for the first time in my Six Flags history, most of these were removed from our possession during a security check that put Austin airport to shame.
The logic was that they have ‘an alcohol problem’, so one bottle that was already open having been sipped from in the car (subsequently uncapped and sniffed), along with one that was still sealed but had the label torn in order to distinguish whose was whose, all had to go. We were assured that free water was available on park, though the where or how was left entirely to our imagination. Having not gone out of our way to look for it, I can at least say that they weren’t going out of their way to distribute it, though ride staff were giving reminders to stay hydrated.
With nothing but horror and inconvenience out of the way, we had clocked on the way in that #6 La Vibora was operating. In my head this is never running, so this was the first place we headed in order to bag the ‘rare cred’. Sure enough, upon our arrival, it had gone down. The queue was closed off in a confusing manner and they were cycling empty cars. Not wanting to backtrack much, or even move, we opted to wait it out and ensure the win.
Victory came soon enough, I was interested to learn once in the station that the seating is single file, unlike the deceased Dutch counterpart and my only other experience with an Intamin Bob. It rode with a decent vigour, I quite liked the unrefined and out of control feeling it delivers by not being on rails, more so than any Mack really gives you. The uncomfortable clattering sideways into each block section was what defined the experience of Bob for me, this was far less jarring here. You’re alright La Vibora, you’re alright.
Skirting round the 100th Larson Loop of the trip, we headed for RMC’s other catalogue offering. If there was anything that needed to be secured on this preview visit, it was the #7 New Texas Giant.
The sweaty scream shields on the sides of the train were something to behold, it doesn’t quite have the aesthetics of the Rattler. On-board pouchies are a plus, they always amuse me. We settled down towards the back of the train and ended up with two inaugural laps on the bounce as no one came to fill our row in the meantime – no one else was stupid enough to be riding rides in this heat.
Sad to report that this one didn’t quite justify the ambient discomfort. It’s far more clear here that they were onto a new thing, being the first project, and simply hadn’t dialled up the insanity meter. I’ve also ridden it far too late in the day. Maybe the drop was something special, maybe it wasn’t, you know how that’s been going on this trip. For an RMC that’s comprised entirely of corners and airtime hills, I’d expect both to deliver something substantial, yet there are more misses than hits.
I can pinpoint just a single ‘great’ hill in the layout, on the second circuit before the mid course brake fun. The rest are like my impression of a B&M hyper that’s not delivering. When it comes to the turns, sure they look wacky and are a marked improvement on some old nasty woodie, but they reminded me of all the ‘weakest’ moments that punctuate RMCs – overbanks and stuff that don’t really excite. Rattler had them, even Wildcat had that one. Arie didn’t. Oh Arie…
Nevertheless it’s a noticeably long ride, and always at least decent fun throughout. Good visuals, speed, variety, some structural interaction, unpredictable tunnel sections at the end. A fine attraction, one that I’d be happy to sit on all day were it not unbearably hot, but not one that I’d be busting to. On a world stage, you’ve still got yourself a headliner coaster. On an RMC pedestal, it’s probably the worst.
With that successfully figured out, time kept running and the game was on to see what else we could mop up before close. For both geographical and significance reasons, #8 Titan was up next, the other, bigger giant. As someone who probably likes the other Giovanola hyper more than most, and would take it over other low tier hypers for the sake of variety, it rode exactly like that one, but in 37 degrees.
In other words, it kicked my ass. Two incredibly sustained and intense grey-out sequences that would make Intrimidator 305 blush, and I could barely leave the station due to some sudden wobbly legs. It’s not a criticism in this case, just a warning that this monster goes hard. I really like the first drop, something about that shape manages to draw things out just right and not undersell the 240-odd-ft. The openness of the trains and the rarity of being on something this huge, with thinner track/two-wide seating gives the turnaround a more unnerving and exposed feeling than the comforting arms of a B&M.
The speed over the speed hill always delivers and then it’s time to start your breathing exercises. Exiting the first helix of doom often garnered a range of reactions from surrounding riders, from the primal instincts of punching the seat in front to screaming various expletives about having passed out. A god damn Titan or two.
It stops dead on the mid course, and I’ve often read that as a criticism, but quite frankly it needs to. They’d be taking people away on stretchers if it didn’t, especially in climes like these. It fades in and out of some of the most sustained positive forces in the business while winding back down towards the ground in a long series of nothing but twists and turns before the sweet relief of the final brakes.
Sad to see they didn’t have another shirt in the Six Flags series here. ‘I blacked out on Titan’, with a giant figure curb-stomping a stick person could well have earned a sale in this instance, though I think the snake one still wins.
Given this area is a dead end of the park, we moved as quickly as we dared back towards the middle regions, tactically aiming for known capacity nightmares. The first of these was another #9 Pandemonium, thankfully not breaking down every 5 minutes. Couldn’t find the entrance in our weakened bodily state (seems to be a park-wide phenomenon of poor signage) and ended up brute forcing the fast track stairs because it was quicker, and no one was in any line at all.
Same one as Fiesta Texas but purple and not by a cliff, it happened. I think the 420/4 model remains the most spinningnest of all the Gerstses.
Below it was #10 Aquaman: Power Wave, though I don’t recall a single thing on or around it that bore any relation to the character. It has far less character than Pulsar through both a lack of vibrating walls and not being integrated in a more ‘natural’ environment. The surging of the LSMs was more satisfying than I recall, amongst a sequence of forwards, backwards and a splash in surprisingly comfortable seating. S’alright.
With 10 mins on the clock we intended to close out on yet another Justice League, but it was a waste of a walk as arrival in the station had staff telling us it was broken. Could have done with a sign. It was time to head out, and soon after collapse from heat exhaustion.
Day 14 – Six Flags Over Texas
Right back at it again, we keenly rocked up for opening and opted for the VIP entrance for one last abuse of the system. The tune had already changed from the previous evening here, apparently it didn’t matter whether bottles were open or not, they didn’t want to allow outside drinks at all. But, because they were feeling nice, or maybe the privileges of the season pass saved us, they let us off ‘on this occasion’. Can’t waste that sweet Georgia peach tea.
Heading in the opposite direction to previous we wound up at Spite E. Coyote’s cred. A short trip up the stairs led to us being awkwardly informed that we couldn’t ride because we had no children. Bah.
#1 Judge Roy Scream knew what was up, with the amusing ‘appeal denied’ banner at the crest of the lift. Day 4 of ‘I am on a wooden rollercoaster’ closed out the woodies of the trip. I think we peaked on Switchback. Out, back, hills, rumble. This one has it all and the staff were already soaked in their own sweat, dripping, after their second cycle of the day. Did I mention it was hot?
Too hot for this rubbish, it was time to endure yet another Freespin in the form of #2 Joker. My usual thing about they worry me, how they’ll behave etc. No harm done on this occasion.
Time to endure yet another #3 Batman, this one ran super fast and brought out the old foot sensation. Interesting how it looks far less intimidating than usual, in the shadows of a highway intersection, which I’ve somehow managed to obscure from view here.
#4 Mr. Freeze‘s air-con went down a treat, but then he went down himself. Again, too unpleasant to move, we camped it out in the station while engineers were called and eventually landed the front row for our first non-reverse blast (forwards) experience. This was fast becoming ‘positive Gs: the park’, with yet another assault of speed and heavy heads. Think I preferred the St. Louis one, the dominant sensation here being that the return journey messed up my hair in an unpleasant fashion.
Speaking of unpleasant, the operator announcements on #5 Mini Mine Train were unbearably loud for some reason, and they just never stopped talking. An endless, headache inducing loop of hype package, welcome back riders, and more dumb policies about not leaving articles on the platform of a single train attraction. +1 though.
Unlike its neighbour, the not-mini mine train. Staff were busying about, cleaning the train and the queue and giving a vague indication that it might have opened later. A poorly placed sign outside, however, implied that it was undergoing a refurb until the ‘summer season’. Any news on when summer is going to hit the US in 2023 yet?
A path from there to our next destination had then been inexplicably closed since the night before, taking us the long way round to #6 Shockwave. Not sure why it looks Mindbender green from this angle.
It kicks Mindbender’s ass though, the return of positive-Gs: the park interlaced with wild pops of unexpected Schwarzkopf airtime. Reminded me of the best of Nessie, several times over. Might be my new fave of his loopers.
Towering above it is the Oil Derrick, an elevator leading to observation platform not masquerading as a landmark from France. From here you can see that Shockwave isn’t green, along with its attractive surroundings.
And some other filler. Note how Judge Roy is out on its own, separated by a road and a lake. Fun facts.
I believe this only left #7 Runaway Mountain on the to do list, given that the Speelunking pirates dark ride was devastatingly closed for flooding, again.
This squirrel had the right idea.
Somehow the longest queue of the day went to this weird indoor coaster from Premier Rides. I guess for shade reasons. Weird trains, weird restraints, curved station, poor loose article management, it had it all. It didn’t have the character of a Skull Mountain, but had a couple of intense whips in the layout, in the dark. Unique, I guess.
With the park as complete as it could be, it was time to pay a courtesy visit to the two big boys. While they remained decent enough, it soon became quite clear that we didn’t have the drive or even the need to last out the day here. Which, no matter the weather, always brings up the question – any +1s around?
Upon arrival in Oklahoma City, the ‘too hot to theme park’ heat had finally caught up with us. It had been ranging from pleasant to bearable thus far but, as is inevitable in this part of the world, with operating calendars only 2 months long, weather reports started announcing record highs and it got more than a little sticky.
Not too concerning for the first item on the agenda though
Day 13 – Frontier City
Again more pleasant than I had imagined, for whatever reason. Something about looking at lacklustre lineups on RCDB sometimes makes you think something else must be lacking too. It all looked green and pleasant from this vantage point at the very least. No concrete and rides here.
Maybe some tarmac. The wrong #1 Diamondback, or Not Revolution, can be found signposted from the gift shop that you enter the park through. The queue winds you upwards in a more merciful manner than the Blackpool counterpart. I don’t mind that one and I didn’t mind this, rides pretty much the same. The lurches in or out of the drops toe the line between exciting and painful depending on where you sit and the loop is… an inversion.
Round the corner is the only dark ride on the bill, Quick Draw.
Interactive of course, and themed to the same as everything in the park. It was perfectly serviceable, had a fun dynamite scene at the end.
Bonus cred? Sadly not, this tease of track appears to be the remains of the Nightmare Mine. It’s gone.
I had a bit of a milestone to check off here, so did a tiny bit of backtracking, though not even entirely sure what I wanted or whether it mattered – there was nothing particularly enthralling on offer.
#2 Silver Bullet was a candidate, but nah, clone. Good thing too because it rode horribly for one of these, a ride where the main redeeming feature is usually coming off thinking ‘rides good for its age, that’. Anton will be rolling in his grave.
Sure as hell wasn’t gonna be #3 Steel Lasso, though I had it in my head as an over the shoulder restraint version so that was a pleasant surprise. The guy in row 4 is definitely sunglasses on, not caring.
Thus, #1500 ended up being the Wildcat. RCDB tells me there are just 62 rollercoasters that have used this exact name, so it will always have to come with the appendix – the one at Frontier City. That bugs me, I wanted Big Bad John. On the plus side, it has historical significance, is custom and allowed me to make a reference to Wildcat’s Revenge.
It joins the ranks of many a wooden coaster around the world that pays tribute to other wooden coasters around the world. Signs are up in the queue snapshotting a wide variety of what is/was on offer, from local deceased classics such as the Zingo to local revived classics such as El Toro, from nearby early RMCs that shall not be named to far flung Chinese duellers that may be misnamed.
I’m putting off talking about the ride experience again because, simply put, there wasn’t one. Three days back to back of ‘I am on a wooden rollercoaster’ continued in a pleasant romp through some trees and one rather unique turnaround – the elevation changed both up and down rather than just being flat.. I hear they ‘spiced it up’ during a retrack once, maybe that was it.
With the end in sight and the skin beginning to blister, it was time to power on and find #5 Frankie’s Mine Train. This ride might well win the award for our most efficient +1 ever. Walked up the stairs, got in the train, quick dispatch, single lap, left. Perfection.
In fact the overall experience was one of efficiency. I had made a late game prediction about this, but I doubt it took any more than a couple of hours. Good thing it’s free.
As such we had an afternoon to play with and at last made headway back into Texas to mop up one final Six Flags. Another sweet start was now confirmed to be on offer, or more accurately, sweat start. That one can wait though.
Having headed back into Mississippi the night before, the next state line took us over into Arkansas. It was the worst drive of the entire trip traffic wise, for some reason. Felt like the middle of nowhere and yet everyone was heading on that road to nowhere. Luckily it didn’t matter too much as there’s only one park here. And what a park.
Day 12 – Magic Springs
The car park looked surprisingly busy for what it was however, including several coaches. This was mostly due to the water park thankfully and didn’t impede our progress in the slightest, though it did cause other inconveniences.
First up was the #1 Arkansas Twister, a relocated woodie from Florida. Much like Rampage the previous day, it provided the perfect sensation of ‘I am on a wooden rollercoaster’, bouncing about on a daily basis and not offering much of anything. It managed to have an even more hilarious wobble over bits like that hill in shot, a rhythmic pulsing that sapped any other force out of the track shaping.
All in all we were simply glad it didn’t murder us, those trains look suspiciously like The Boss trains. What it did do for us was get us wet – all the seats were, because everyone was coming from the water park and riding it. Slimy.
Talking of murder, they have one of these. The recent news of Abismo,the extended version of this model, doing its party trick and getting stuck upside down again didn’t do anything to alleviate my fear of #2 X Coaster, but needs must. An amusing dispatch sequence added to concerns, a conversation between staff that went something like “did you push the button?” “what button?”, going into the control box for 30 seconds looking confused before we set off.
I do hate the upside-down-ness of these, it messes me up. The back passes through fastest in theory, and that helped to alleviate some of the discomfort. From there this particular version does more ‘coasting’, with a full forwards, backwards, forwards swing out of the starting drop. Mercifully most installations I’ve done haven’t even bothered with that much, though the OG at Skyline did it twice, catching and pulling through the top again – evil, but I was new to it then.
Mercifully here, this one was less rough than a number of those with shorter cycles, though not ideal. It got the job done, and with dryer seats.
#3 Big Bad John had wet seats, but could be forgiven both for the name and for being the best ride in the park. As a relocated mine train, it’s unusual at best. 3 lift hills worth of romp through the trees at odd elevations, culminating in a wicked final drop into a tunnel, accentuated by back row of course.
#4 Diamond Mine Run was another of these E&F Miler things, but it ain’t no Kozmo’s Kurves.
The SLC was closed for the foreseeable – what a pity, never mind.
Park complete and with no others in sight, we were at a loss as to what to do for the rest of the day, until realising I had planned for us to do another 5-6 hours of driving, so there was that.
There is a big observation tower around the corner and up a hill in the town of Hot Springs however, so we gave that a flying visit.
There’s the town.
Spot the spite.
After just a few minutes a staff member came up and evacuated us from the platform, as there were storms approaching. This resulted in receiving a full refund, so that was kind of a bonus. With that it was off to Oklahoma.
Having had all the big hitters back to back for a few days, the pace of the trip inevitably had to change a bit. We had ended up staying just over the border in North Carolina, having learnt on route that Gatlinburg = bad. The only place in America where seemingly all parking is a $20 day rate – no use when you just want to grab some food passing through. And then there’s no civilisation for the next hour of mountain roads.
With a lot of states converging in this vicinity, it was then back through some of Tennessee and then no more than a mile over the line before winding up in Georgia again for
Day 11 – Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park
And here it is. For the ‘summer season’ (someone needs to tell both Sea World and Six Flags) the park gets a little on the pricey side, for what it is, as an additional cost for water park admission becomes included by default. You can save one whole dollar by booking online though!
The most interesting aspect of all entry was that in order to prove your entry, they slather the back of one of your hands with orange paint. This seems a bit much, to the point that the back half of the admissions cabins are covered in the stuff from guests obviously removing and drying as much as possible in passing. Then you must live in fear of touching clothes or any parts of rides with it, because it remained tacky at best for the duration of the visit.
First up was their signature coaster, the #1 Cannon Ball. It’s got all the makings of a classic, simple out and back with plenty of hills, and buzz bars. Rode pretty well for 1967 – nothing overly special, just some solid fun.
Word was that the Wacky Factory was no longer wacky, it was scary. This was true if you’re scared by low budget ghost trains, though thankfully it didn’t fall for the typical trope of obnoxiously loud noises. Should have a POV for you at some point.
Last on the roster of musts was this fellow, a humble #2 Wacky Worm. The never ending variation of faces never ceases to amaze me, there’s something slightly off about this one too, but it delivered exactly what we wanted.
Park complete, we spent a good 10 minutes in the bathroom washing the paint off of our hands before wondering what would happen if we were ‘caught’ between there and the exit for no longer being orange. They’re probably used to it.
After not much more time on the road we were back in Alabama, heading down towards Birmingham of all places. We have one of those.
But it doesn’t have one of these. The car park looked pleasingly quiet as we rocked up for late afternoon. The main street, though more attractive than I was expecting for whatever reason, confirmed an almost ghost town situation.
First up was their signature coaster, the #3 Rampage. It’s got all the makings of a classic CCI and looks suspiciously similar to Megafobia. I’m not familiar enough with the latter to confirm or deny, except for the end bit that leads into a weirdly steep final brake section, like the one at Mt. Olympus. I expect better from a company with Custom in their name and also from the fact that some of their coasters kick ass.
This one did not. It wasn’t bad, had some hilarious wobbly sections at times but otherwise nothing noteworthy going on, the pure definition of what I would call ‘I am on a wooden rollercoaster’. Even the one earlier had more to it. We basically had it to ourselves but the interest wasn’t there.
Next up was obviously that orange thing called #4 Cheddar Chase in the foreground, a Wild Mouse that had made the same journey as us from Lake Winnie at some point in its life. It happened.
As did our second one of these, known here as #5 Centi-SPEED. Now we’re talking.
Park complete, you could tell that not much goes on around here. As we left the establishment, a man with his shirt off requested the re-entry stamp be put on his torso “like a tattoo”, rather than in the traditional spot and this garnered an incredible reaction – staff suddenly looking up from their phones and pouring over from all sides of the plaza repeatedly exclaiming ‘did you just stamp his chest?!’ I’m sure the tale will be told for generations to come.