Europe 08/22 – Tivoli Gardens

2015, Copenhagen. It’s hard to imagine a time when I took this stuff way less seriously. Less than 50 coasters to my name, Helix wouldn’t be a part of my life for another few days yet. Sightseeing was at the forefront of the agenda and I remember it was a faff. So this time it was quite refreshing to have another crack at it, a city tour, early morning, in the comforts of your own vehicle. Great fun.


One of the stops was the famous Nyhavn, or ‘that colourful street’. Colourful it was, also feat. boats.


And seven years ago, almost to the day, this had been so crowded with tourists we could barely even see it. Now it was a case of rock up, basically touch it. Tick.

We were here for creds of course though, a certain lovely little place by the name of

Day 4 – Tivoli Gardens

Had a +1 to offer. It should have been a 2, but worldwide delays on parts meant the new-ish powered coaster was listed as closed on the website up until the day of the visit. We wanted to park directly under Dæmonen for the day but someone beat us to it and we ended up a street behind. Still pretty surreal.


Wait a second.
It’s back!

#1 Mælkevejen was refreshing for a number of reasons. It was open when it shouldn’t have been. It rode way better than the old version it replaced. The theme was space.

You know when you just get a vibe from a park. You take a second to survey your surroundings. I’m in <insert park here>. Everything just feels right, it’s welcomed you home. There’s not many of them, but they’re out there. This is one for me and I was reminded of that as soon as our first ride was over.


Next up was the replacement #2 Kamelen, for the old Karavanen (which we rode just a few weeks ago again in France, accidentally). Look at that face. It’s so inviting, with the little lights on the hat and everything. Love it.

We came armed with plastic bottles, hoping to turn a profit at the recycling machines they have on park but sadly they’ve been modified to take only the cups that the stalls serve up now.


Oh well, dark ride time. The Flying Trunk is always a classic, I love the parts when this omnimover passes over itself, it’s an odd sight. The thing I didn’t quite remember was all the Hans Christian Andersen stories they squeeze into this one being rather ‘rushed’ in the voiceover. The narrator basically admits it himself in one of the scenes, that tale is too long to tell today.

We also did Minen while in the mood. I stand by the fact that this well themed indoor boat ride didn’t need guns. The scenery is gorgeous and fine without it, plus the targets don’t even have anything to do with anything. Why would you want to shoot the moles that are cleaning a dragon? Damn kids.


Dæmonen still kicks ass and I was proud to be wearing it’s shirt. Learnt that it’s totally not me getting bored of B&Ms, just that those formulaic layouts in particular do nothing for me.
Here, however, I really enjoy the anticipation build in the first section. The big drop has a great kick with the gained momentum and the 3 choice inversions all hit in a single sequence in a satisfying way. They aren’t the focus of the ride. They complement it. It looks damn good too.


Rutschebanen though, Is this even better than I thought before? Because I absolutely adored it before. The mood in the station, the brakemen operators are just so chill and good at what they do. It’s infectious. One of them is wearing a million sunglasses, they’ve kept some of the knuffelbeers from covid era in the trains and then placed the rest in various scenes throughout the ride. They’re riding polar bears, they’re up on a mountain, everyone’s having a good time.

They run this ancient woodie hard, that restraint does nothing, you fear for your life on those drops. The laterals are crazy, it’s dark, it’s light, you’re waving at people. Then we finally mustered up the courage to join in with the locals and exit the ride while it’s still moving. It’s such a fun feeling, pushing against that bar as you roll into the station, just waiting for it to pop and then leaping into action at several miles per hour. Don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Thoroughly back in love with the place we whiled away the afternoon on all the old fond memories it provided. Monsunen, the evil flat ride, tasty and offensively cheap pizza, the little rabbit lawnmower doing his thing out in front of the Nimb restaurant. I could spend all day here and not even need to ride. That’s the measure of a good park and I miss it already.

Day 5

Europe 08/22 – Sommerland Sjælland + BonBon Land

I’ve always treated the two sides of Denmark as separate entities when visiting in the past so crossing between them the next morning was quite a novel experience.


Our weapon of choice was the Storebæltsbroen, I do admire a good bridge and this one is absolutely massive. Love how it was inside the cloud, it’s even tall enough for the world’s biggest cruise ships to just pass under. A tad pricey though.

Day 3 – Sommerland Sjælland

Talking of pricey, the first park of the day definitely suffers from coast2coaster syndrome somewhat. One look at their uninteresting +3 lineup certainly had us exclaiming how can they justify charging more than Fårup? For tarmac and an SBF Visa spinner. There is more to the place than it would appear though.


Entry is the same procedure, with the admissions booths being a drive-thru. You can then head down the car park and stroll through the entrance uninhibited by the staff-less presence.


It all began with said SBF Visa on tarmac, which shares both the name and look of the Beech Bend equivalent – #1 Spinning Out. Ignore those two in the back.

The major rides here can operate on time slots or rotation during the ‘low’ season which it already was by this point, so although we saw an engineer sign off the biggest coaster for the day, it was a case of come back later for it. Sommer is over.


Heading off into more of the park, we stumbled across the amusingly named Simulator Inator, the entrance of which is shared with an eatery.


Didn’t know what sort of hardware to expect, but this TV screen in the tiniest of queuelines gave it away. What’s unusual about this picture?

The active film was called Great Wall of China and began with an over-enthusiastic rickshaw driver taking us for a spin along said wall. Full marks for realism. Before long we look down to notice he’s attached a couple of fireworks to our transportation and, once lit, things get a little wild. Before long we’re mechanically separated from the driver.

It all boils down to that age old simulator styling of making every situation into a fantasy, physics-defying rollercoaster, but also not very good. It did go on for quite a significant amount of time, day turned to night, summer turned to winter and it ended on the big visuals of a massive fireworks festival, during which our lost driver makes another appearance by shooting over the moon and into the ocean. Full marks for continuity.


I fully believe the entrance price is justified by this nightmare fuel alone. I do love a good custom Wacky Worm face, particularly when they aim for the more weird and grotesque, essentially mocking our very hobby.
#2 Vildbassen was a standout in more than one way, by also not having any form of restraint for adults and just a seatbelt for the kids. This meant I was getting fully Skyrushed sideways out of the train on the turn after the station for 8 of the 9, 9 laps. Which had me wondering what the clearance envelope is.

We’d heard tales of a boat ride at the park that contained ‘indoor scenes’ and wanted to verify for ourselves whether it could obtain ‘dark ride status’ or not. Subsequently we got very lost in the park for a good while trying to find it, which is when we found out how many other things the place has to offer.


Alright, let’s take a closer look at these spitey things. The blue one is ready to go as far as I can tell but this rain-soaked piece of paper says we have to wait for the grand opening next year. Construction, get excited.


You can get scared by hanging out with goats and Black Phillip.


You can feel like a giant, roaming freely amongst these miniatures.


Better than Silver Dollar City. And Gold Rush. And Bakken.


After much searching and time killing we found what we were looking for. Amazonas.


It was very impressively themed, they clearly went all out on this thing. The ride lasts for over 7 minutes as well, with various jungle exploration escapades going on. Sadly, by definition of the database, it only goes into a cave once with just the one scene, so is decidedly not dark enough. Good though.


All that wandering meant we arrived back at the Pinfari to see the SBF operator shut shop and head on over to run the #3 Vildkatten. While hell on earth for us coaster folk, it’s a highly popular ride here. Everyone else on our train did a Rollercoaster Tycoon and jumped for joy at the exit before heading straight back round for another lap. We, on the other hand, nursed a couple of bruises and thought ‘I want to go home’, heading straight for the park exit.

BonBon Land


The other park for the day was BonBon Land, a place that I’ve previously declared the largest park left in Europe that I hadn’t yet visited. I’m sure there’s various different ways of measuring it, but I’m not even sure who that title falls to now. Maybe that Italian place who can’t spell Eurofighter.


Let’s talk about BonBon land though, or perhaps not, because I don’t think words can do this park justice. Pictures speak a thousand of them. Vildbassen was being outdone at every turn and the charm of this place was through the roof. I loved every second of it.


#4 Hundeprutten, the dog fart coaster, cracked me up. I usually like to consider myself above toilet humour but just the terror on the face of this train paints a picture of it being a serious medical condition and his desperate plea for us to stop taking advantage of it. Every lap, without fail, the non-descript speaker inside the dog house makes that sound and the comedic timing is nothing short of genius. Best Zierer Force One in the world.


World’s first Eurofighter, the #5 Vildsnivet. Wild Boar coaster. Why?


Because he’s a racing driver, and straddling the back of the car like a madman. That’s why.


I actually rather enjoyed the ride too. It’s a good little layout and rides surprisingly elegantly considering it’s the first and how bad some of the next few ones were. The whippy banked turn out of the first drop is done really well and the loop is solid.


#6 Han-Katten was a bit of a let-down (that brake run though). There’s some rather superlative reviews knocking around the internet from over a decade ago. Claims of this being the most intense spinner in existence, of some of the biggest names in our hobby being unable to stand after riding.
It was as decidedly meh as with all my early experiences with Gerstlauer spinners, don’t tell me it never gets better than Six Flags.


#7 Viktor Vandorm brought it all back to reality with a quirky custom Zierer Tivoli layout that was originally designed for a specific piece of land, in a park in Germany. It even had wooden supports back then. Hybrid.


One of those evil tilting forwards drop towers.


Can never say no to a Fabbri tower either, even with weird sketchy seating.


I got excited here, thinking the ‘new for 2022’ attraction Prærie Expressen was another potential database entry. They used to have an old Alterface interactive theatre in this spot, have they gone and got a new one?


Alas, no, no ride system. Just sitting on stumps (or standing) and shooting cowboys on a new film on the screen. Got the best score of the day though.


Bon-Bio 4D was unhinged.


There’s a bizarre utilitarian shift inside, unlike anything else in the park.


It was playing both Moby Dick and Aladdin back to back, but not as we know them, in films that were more than a little off in many aspects.

I can’t really do the situation justice but the language kept changing, which synced up parody-poorly with the characters mouth movements. A whale is captured by an evil scientist in a mechanical octopus contraption and we pursue in an attempt to save it. Various peril occurs but there’s this crab channelling One Punch Man who just, with no physical or audio effect, casually sends characters flying off the horizon with a single touch. Yet strangely he’s not the hero of our story as, entirely unrelated to what has been happening, the parent whales show up out of nowhere at the end and save the day. Damn you, Moby Dick, I’ll get you next time, hahahahahaha. Punch.

Before we had time to recover from that one, the developer logo played twice and Aladdin was on his smart phone, having a picnic. Jasmine video calls and is thoroughly pissed off. He wakes up the genie, who is also scared by this, they need to get home now. Various peril occurs but it makes even less sense. Random 3D slow-mo cuts happen in the wrong places with no impact, creatures behave in very strange ways, it’s like all of the developers were locked away in separate dungeons, and also have no concept of what actually makes things good. We finally get to, wherever his home is, and spend an age flying through and near-missing a ton of towers while (another) massive firework display is going off. He lands on his balcony, is dragged into the bedroom by the ear and the doors slam shut, while genie adopts a bodyguard outfit in front of it and shakes his head at us. End.


Enough waffle, don’t even know where to start on this boat ride.


Or how to end this report.


What a place.

Day 4

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.


Cheat shot.

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.

Fårup Sommerland

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.

Day 3

Denmark + Sweden 08/15 – Tivoli Gardens

For the next park day we took another train over the bridge to Copenhagen, this time alighting right in the centre. Immediately across the road from the central station entrance is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. Noticing a trend here.
The location is both surreal and satisfying, I can’t really imagine what it would be like to live in a city and have such easy access to a theme park of this nature, other than perhaps ‘life-consuming’.

Tivoli Gardens

First impressions are, after picking up some wristbands from a self service machine, that it’s a stunner.

There’s a beautiful atmosphere and the way the park manages to seal itself off from the world outside, while still giving you teasing glimpses of the more impressive surroundings is quite remarkable.


The first order of the day was the attractive B&M floorless coaster.

To make the best use of space, most of the ride is positioned above the surrounding pathways, leading to a slightly unorthodox layout.
The major selling point for this ride type is that your feet are free to dangle above the track. In the station, a satisfying dispatch sequence has the floor mechanically removed from beneath the train. Front row is a particular highlight with absolutely nothing in front of you and the visuals most closely resembling a POV video.

The ride itself is forceful and quirky. Without much of a first drop to speak of, momentum is steadily built into the ground hugging vertical loop. The other two inversion squeezed in are skillfully negotiated and there’s a surprisingly strong punch of airtime into the final brake run, rounding off the package nicely. Given the obvious limitations of the location, it’s a very impressive coaster.

Around the corner is a multi-level tracked dark ride that visualises the various tales of Hans Christian Andersen. While enjoyable, the standout memory here is the machine outside that actually pays guests to recycle drink bottles.

Better still is the boat based dark ride Minen. It has strange wand-like guns for shooting targets, but it’s not necessary to use them. The most appealing aspects are the indoor atmosphere and the sheer scale of one particular animatronic.


Continuing clockwise we reach the other star attraction of the park. At over 100 years of age, it’s the oldest consistently operating coaster in the world, it beats out the one at Bakken in every conceivable aspect and I simply loved it.

The brakemen are still present on ride and each one is a real character, adding entertainment and charisma to the proceedings. They ensure everyone has a good time by exercising their control over the ride, allowing it to surge through the layout at impressive speeds.
The layout itself alternates between unnervingly powerful airtime (enhanced by having no real restraint to speak of other than a bar to stop you climbing out) and hilariously strong laterals through enclosed sections, some with impressive theming and others in disorientating darkness.
Upon reaching the station, the bars fly up and everyone jumps out of the train while it is still moving – it’s very satisfying. Tivoli are clearly proud of what they have here and they damn well should be.

With what I’d consider to be the most major attractions complete, it was time to explore a little deeper.

Karavenen is another Tivoli Small coaster for the count, decorated by camels.

The nearby Monsunen was a surprise hit for me, the floorless equivalent of a Fabbri Magic Carpet, one of the most understated flat rides around. The intensity is entirely unavoidable and the fountains below added some extra peril.

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I wasn’t a fan of the Mack Powered coaster for some reason, it negotiated the track with a particular type of roughness that is likely to stir up a headache more than anything else.

That’s likely the only negative of the day though, as darkness began to fall and the park began to light up, the magic of the place really began to shine through. The S&S shot/drop tower Det Gyldne Tårn was a powerful example of it’s type with equally entertaining views of the surrounding city.

Before a night of rerides on the major coasters, we rounded off the evening with a fascinating stage show at the Pantomime Theatre.

I couldn’t get enough of this park, it was a completely captivating place to spend the day and we stayed for as long as we were physically allowed before taking the midnight train back to Malmö. Bonus shout out to the food here, they’ve got a huge selection of reasonably priced and amazing street snacks, something I’m not usually that fussed about so if I bother to mention it at all – praise indeed. Tivoli Gardens really has everything.

Part 3

Denmark + Sweden 08/15 – Bakken

The trip began with our arrival in Copenhagen, upon which we headed straight for the border and a train that would take us to Malmö in neighbouring Sweden. It actually worked out cheaper to stay at a super nice hotel here for the duration of the trip and commute every day back into Denmark than it would have been to sleep in the capital.

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The train takes you over the Öresund bridge which spans a huge stretch of water between the two countries.

Once in Malmö we whiled away the rest of the flight day checking out some local architecture.

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The Turning Torso holds the claim of tallest building in Scandinavia, with it’s unusual twisted design.

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I believe this was the exterior of a mall. Reminds me of a generic Windows background for a PC.

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Next we have a U.F.O.

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And lastly something more traditional and European looking. Good variety.

For our first day over in Denmark, we took another train out beyond Copenhagen to Klampenborg and after a stroll through a forest, avoiding much horse dung, arrived at the world’s oldest operating amusement park.


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Mine Train Ulven

The first coaster that greets you with a glimpse through the trees even before you set foot in the park, is the Intamin family coaster. After grabbing a ride wristband, I walked straight onto it. There was almost no one around at this time of the morning.

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The ride packs a surprising punch if you sit anywhere towards the back of the train. Upon cresting the lift hill, the momentum of the front cars hurl the remainder into a sudden steep and twisted drop with far more force than you’d expect from a ‘family’ ride. It’s a very smooth experience, with some strong cornering and close interaction with the surrounding environments, both natural and artificial. A solid coaster that’s well worth the visit.

The quietness of the morning gave the park a slightly subdued atmosphere. Many of the staff seemingly didn’t want to be working at this time of day, making getting onto some of the rides a chore and there were also a lot of older locals sitting around the various outdoor restaurants that litter the place, throwing out what appeared to be evil stares at anyone who walked by. Hey, I’m just trying to have a good time over here.

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The park’s signature wooden coaster used to be a classic, using trains that were operated by a brakeman. Sadly they have since replaced this with modern automatic braking systems that are scattered throughout the layout, removing much of the charm in the process.

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I didn’t actually know any of this at the time of riding however, but it was still a very poor experience. At each point that the train wants to enter a drop, the brakes hiss and tug away at it, sapping all the momentum from the ride before it can get going again. In spite of this lack of speed, the track was rough to the point of giving me a headache and the ride was a total disappointment in every aspect. You’d hope a park with such a strong claim to longevity would take pride in their heritage.

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As far as modern disappointments go, this Intamin spinning coaster sits just opposite. Though it’s entirely unique, looks impressive and the prospect of a ‘launched lift’ bringing instant energy into the tiny layout sounds exciting, the design is simply very poor.

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The cars have these inwards facing seats, which you’d think would be great for watching other rider’s reactions as they are spun wildly around a dizzying layout. In reality, you just get to watch them get punched hard in the neck by the awful restraints and then spend the rest of the duration complaining about that while zero spinning occurs.
The reason this happens is the lift hill itself, using an unusual double chain that wrenches the car quickly and uncomfortably up an awkwardly steep slope into a flat S-bend. There’s nowhere for anything but your head to go with the lateral force that this sequence produces and pain is inevitable, unless you’re extremely well braced for it.
I gave it a few attempts just to be sure, but there’s no pay-off to being prepared anyway, the rest of the track always failed to induce any rotation in the car and it just navigates a few banked corners through metal sheds while I wondered what went wrong?

A far better coaster is the tiny Zierer Tivoli that we managed to squeeze into for a couple of laps. For some reason the tyre lift hill on Mariehønen was slipping wildly and managing to hold the train at an angle for several seconds before entering the layout. It appeared like the operator was making it do this on purpose and if so, fair play for trying to make it more fun.

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Vilde Mus

It started to rain at this point and a wet lap on the Mack wild mouse was somewhat enjoyable, punchy in all the right places and some amusingly harsh braking.

As it got heavier, I boarded the final coaster in the park. Racing is an unusual Zierer ride that was once a travelling fairground attraction. The single seater cars take a few awkward curved drops at low speeds and not a whole lot happens.

In terms of other attractions, the most significant we tried was an old ghost train named Spøgelsestoget. Though the design on the front of the cars amused me, the ride otherwise failed to entertain us. A good number of things here seem rather poorly presented and not particularly well looked after.

Not the strongest of starts then. What was supposed to be a charming old park gave me very little reason to like it and this hobby seems to be turning me into a miserable old man already. Luckily a few more laps on Mine Train Ulven managed to lift spirits before departing.

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Should have stuck to architecture.

Part 2

Germany + Denmark 04/16 – Djurs Sommerland

The operating season of parks on this side of Denmark are surprisingly short. Even by the end of April, only one other had opened its gates for the year and fortunately for me it was the place that I was most interested in.

Day 6 – Djurs Sommerland

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It seems I neglected to get a park entrance shot, but you see this beast on the way in anyway and that can only encourage me to head straight to the main event.

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The Intamin megalite is often heralded as the best clone on earth. If a park is going to be lazy and not get a custom ride, ‘please let it be a megalite’ will be the first words on many enthusiasts lips. Piraten exists as the only version in Europe and stands as the perfect demonstration as to why this is.

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From the intense first drop (taken at unusually swift speeds thanks to the cable lift hill) to the brake run, the layout has no deadspots at all. Every single element is designed to hit you with airtime, hard, no matter where you are seated in the baby Intamin mega trains.

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Aside from sheer efficiency, it offers moments that are almost difficult to deal with. The two twisted hills throw you from side to side in a brutal manner, I often found myself shifting positions in the seat and getting put out of my comfort zone. Before you have time to readjust, the final straight of consecutive hills comes so fast that there’s no time to process any of them in turn, sometimes resulting in minor neck injuries (in a good way of course) from the rapid shift in negative to positive to negative force.

Piraten is a physically challenging coaster to ride repeatedly, but the amazing experience it provides will always demand that I do just that anyway, no matter the cost. And that’s the perfect combination.

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Djurs’ other Intamin coaster is also a winner. The train design mimics that of a quadbike, with each rider getting their own seat and handlebars. This is a vastly superior seating position to any of those motorbike ones.
Upon leaving the station, the train remains indoors for a slight dark ride section in which the I assume the temple guardians are shaking their sticks at you for trying to steal the jewel. The door opens, light floods in and the launch fires up. Away we go.

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The first portion of the ride is good fun, with some light twists and turns, but where Juvelen really shines is through the second, rolling launch. For a more family orientated coaster this element really wrenches you through it at a wild pace, feeling particularly out of control if you are seated toward the back as it snaps into significantly heavier cornering with sharper transitions and some good near misses with the surrounding rockwork and water features.

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The pace dies out a little towards the end as the train traverses a couple of drawn out hills that don’t deliver particularly well, but overall it’s a fantastic attraction.

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Vilde Hønsejagt

Moving further down the family spectrum we have this Zierer coaster with a quaint little queue full of animals and vegetables.

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The ride is decent enough for the size, but the main highlight is the front of the train decorated with a fox chasing a chicken. Will he ever catch it?

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Thor’s Hammer

As the largest of the standard Gerstlauer Bobsled models, this ride delivers a reasonable amount of force with a particularly stand-out bunny hill through a shed. The cars have me seated in a very relaxed position, almost lying down in some instances with the how low to the floor it is and this enhances it slightly for making me feel less in control of my movements.

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The final cred in the park is a Mack water coaster. The weather hadn’t improved at all today so it wasn’t receiving much love. The themed portion before the lift hill is rather attractive and beyond that it’s a simple experience, with the final moments taking you through some tight rockwork, an airtime hump and signature splashdown .

That concludes the coaster package here at Djurs Sommerland and it’s a strong lineup. There isn’t a huge amount in the way of other rides to compliment it though, I believe the highlight on nicer days is to sit in the ample green space, cook some bread on an open fire and relax.
Instead we tried another water ride which was fairly forgettable other than containing a large King Kong statue towards the end.

Piraten kept me going until closing time with some especially violent laps in the rain and I left the park very happy. It’s a fantastic place.

Day 7

Germany + Denmark 04/16 – Legoland Billund

Day 4

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Ever wondered what a marzipan museum looks like?

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It can be found in the town of Lübeck, the original home of the sugary creation and our stop for the day.

From here we headed up and over the border into neighbouring Denmark.

Day 5 – Legoland Billund

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From the home of marzipan to the home of Lego, this was the original Legoland park and sits adjacent to the company headquarters.

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Polar X-plorer

In terms of an attraction lineup it has received a bit more love than most of the other parks across the globe, the most interesting being their Zierer family coaster, which we headed to first.

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This is no ordinary Zierer, it has the nicest trains they have to offer with elevated open seating and comfy lap restraints. The first half of the layout isn’t exactly thrilling, but it contains a couple of good moments.

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There’s also a surprise feature in the form of a drop track section. The train enters a cave and stops in front of a screen. Two mountaineering lego figures are hacking away at some ice and suddenly the track drops from beneath you, taking you down with it with a fantastic lurch. There aren’t many of these elements in the world and they’ve never failed to delight me.

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With the distance dropped, there’s almost no height left to continue the momentum of the ride, so it crawls out of the cave past a few figures and into the other more unusual theming – a cave containing real live penguins that also houses the brake run.
Polar X-plorer is a good all round attraction with a bit of something for everyone and very refreshing to see in a park like this.

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X-treme Racers

In stark contrast, these wild mouse layouts are common as muck, particularly thanks to the Legoland franchise.

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The Temple is a shooting dark ride featuring a jarringly simplistic layout that consists of a single circle around various lego set pieces – you can almost see the whole ride from one position. When shot, the targets on the ride often trigger some animatronic effects to keep things a bit more entertaining and scoring often becomes secondary to me as I try to see what everything does.

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A common theme for any Legoland is the castle decoration and Dragon rollercoaster. They mostly begin through a dark ride section with a few impressive scenes, smells and usually one big lego namesake as the star of the show. This version was no exception and looked noticeably more well maintained than what I was used to back in Windsor.

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The ride itself is a Mack powered coaster that traverses a mostly uninteresting layout once outside in the trees. It is a crowd pleaser of course, but all about the decoration to me really.

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I was a little disappointed by the rapids. They might have had it on safe mode for the wintry weather, but special features such as the elevator lift didn’t manage to make it crazy enough for my liking. I’ve had a lot more peril on the one back home.

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This quaint little boat ride was good though. Had all the charm of a classic Lego attraction with various antics on route.

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Ghost excited me. Drop towers and dark rides have the ability to go extremely well together but this one didn’t really deliver sadly. The walkthrough section and batching area was novel, just when it came to the hardware there was very little force to be found and I didn’t really catch the plot – just some Lego bloke spinning around and shouting in front of us for the entire duration.

The latest dark ride is Ninjago the Ride and almost as if to counter The Temple, it’s another shooter, though this time with some newer technology. Instead of guns, the shooting is completely hands free, requiring riders to wave their arms about frantically over sensors in the front of the car, with the hope of channeling a ninja enough to taking down the bad guys. The scenery between screens was impressive and overall it was a lot of fun, if a little frustrating to get the hang of.

I thought that the park had the Atlantis submarine simulator found at others, as there was a Lego statue of one outside the entrance to the aquarium and even a seated preshow, but it turned out it was just that – an aquarium.

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The remainder of the day was spent in Miniland, admiring the creativity of all the unique sets.

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Disaster struck! And with that it was time to leave.

Day 6

Denmark 06/17 – Fårup Sommerland + Djurs Sommerland

We arrived bright and early the next morning at what the park claims is ‘Denmark’s best Sommerland’. Seems like we had the perfect way to put that to the test. Entrance tickets are bought from the window of your car at a hut on the way in which was quite a novel experience. It was a massive turnout again, but they’re all here for a picnic or something.

Day 2 – Fårup Sommerland

Walked straight onto #1 Falken, intrigued by what S&S could bring to the woodie table.
They did alright for themselves, I found it to be a fun little ride with some good hills and a decent overall feel to it.
Highlight: Interesting start to the layout with the curvy double down.
Lowlight: Uninteresting end to the layout with the helix of doom.

#2 Orkanen looks and rides great. It’s nice to have a bit more of a layout to a Vekoma Suspended Family Coaster to make go faster, try some more interesting elements and last longer.
Highlight: Nothing under your feet on the lift is a rare sensation.
Lowlight: This is as big as they make them for now.

#3 Pindsnivet – a particularly small family coaster
Highlight: +1
Lowlight: Take your pick

#4 Lynet

This Gerstlauer launch coaster was both fun and punchy, with a well balanced mix of airtime and inversions. I don’t like these trains at all from previous experience, so didn’t really expect to like the ride as much as I did.
Highlight: Gerstlauer’s smoothest thrill creation yet.
Lowlight: Could have been fantastic without OTSRs.

#5 Flagermusen – spinning wild mouse that spun.
Highlight: Reverchon > Zamperla.
Lowlight: These things are starting to plague me now.

#6 Mine Expressen – a common Vekoma junior
Highlight: No view of Harry Potter.
Lowlight: No view of Wildfire.

We had allowed a whole day to experience this park but, as nice as it was, it was just do quiet and we were done with everything including several rerides in just a couple of hours.

Decided on a whim to jump back in the car and risk visiting Denmark’s best Sommerland a day earlier than scheduled.

Djurs Sommerland

Unlike Legoland, I was more than happy to return to this park (new cred aside). I loved it before and will love it again, I’m sure.
There were cars as far as the eye could see in all directions as we entered the car park, so foolishly started to think we had made a mistake…

Headed into the park.
Walked straight onto Piraten.
It’s all about those picnics.

The Intamin megalite is such a finely tuned layout, with none of that dead spot nonsense I often complain about on larger coasters that try to provide a similar singular experience – buckets of airtime.
Piraten kicks your ass from beginning to end, leaving you no time to prepare in between any of the craziness and making marathons a real physical challenge. Love it.

#7 Drage Kongen

Time for the new boy. (Or an annual pass).

Intamin’s latest offering to the park looks great but isn’t unfortunately. Though very new, the train had a significant and distracting rattle throughout the layout and the ride has no more force to it than Orkanen down the road, making it a bit of an odd investment.

The ‘unique feature’ – a tyre driven surge of speed at the beginning into a tunnel before the lift hil feels very pointless and overall it just about passes for a decent family coaster. With the lineup they were building before this, I’m sure this park could have done a lot better with the money. I hope it works out for them.

Just like this. Juvelen is fantastic. Beings with a good indoor launch anticipation sequence with the temple statues shaking their sticks at you, followed by a fun warm-up lap. I’m a sucker for a rolling second launch and this one provides a great burst of speed for such open trains, leading to snappy turns and unnerving scenery interaction.

I was very pleased to have been able to nab Ørnen the Topple Tower this time around. They seem to be very temperamental rides and I’ve never managed to find one working before.

Did the rest of the creds for completion – all good solid family rides that compliment the lineup here, then had a couple more laps on Juvelen and Konge to further prove some points,

We finished the day nearly killing ourselves with double figure rides on Piraten. There was plenty of joy to be found, with the pirate staff spraying guests in the baking heat and playing some games of musical chairs throughout the train each time it was in the station. You know the park are onto a real winner when the general public re-ride something as much as we do.

Having knocked out both Sommerlands so smoothly in one sitting, we were left with a day spare now. What to do..?

Day 3

Denmark 06/17 – Legoland Billund + Tivoli Friheden

Due to the very limited operating season of the region, I failed to hit all the parks in mainland Denmark on my previous visit. Still needed Fårup, Friheden and Drage Kongen had just opened… so lets check things out.

Might find a couple of recycled pictures of some rides from previous visits thrown in here because I was particularly lazy this time. You can probably spot the difference in the weather.

Day 1 – Legoland Billund

We landed in Billund with the sight of Polar X-plorer greeting us from the plane window. Unfortunately I had to endure a revisit in the morning so that Mega-Lite could get the creds.
We ended up in an overflow car park at the back of the park which meant a good 15 minute walk around the perimeter to the entrance. It cost a stupid amount for the parking privilege as well, it’s Alton all over again.

The park itself was so packed full of people that it was a struggle to get around and I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with that, but as we would discover everywhere on this trip, Denmark seems unable to get big queues.

Polar X-plorer

Started with a couple of laps on the best coaster in any Legoland – the Zierer with the drop track. It had only a 10 minute queue and was then walk on after a short and well handled breakdown.
Still found it to be a great family ride that gives you a little something to think about.
Stop building wild mice, start building things like this.

15 minutes for the wild mouse, X-Treme Racers which had also had a well handled breakdown. It was trim braking itself to death after the big drop for some reason, not that it really mattered.

I didn’t realise the powered coaster Dragen could run 2 trains, must be some sorcery going on there. The dark ride section remains well kept and the outside section remains pointless.

Reminded myself how short and pathetic The Temple is, no wonder they decided to buy a second shooting ride for this park. Took a few confused seconds to pinpoint that it was playing the Tomb Blaster theme from Chessington.

Still don’t like Ghost. The hardware is a glorified frog hopper in a park with 3 perfectly suitable frog hoppers. The walkthrough is more of a chore now and the theming isn’t particularly enthralling.

Still like Ninjago, even though it seems impossible to get a hang of the actual shooting, waving arms frantically over sensors with no feedback. It’s a fun little sit down and a definite change of pace.
In true Merlin style, the effects seem to have already been toned down from last year.
Job done.

Tivoli Friheden

I was expecting a crappy Bakken atmosphere from this park for some reason, but this was a really relaxed place to visit. Just not so good on the coaster front.
Didn’t end up taking many (any) photos here because after the nice looking entrance area it quickly begins to look like you’re in the Battlebots arena, with all the exteriors of the rides being covered by soundproofing plexiglass.

Had a moment of realisation that I’ve ridden too many uneventful coasters, as our conversation continued unhindered throughout the Pinfari looper that is #1 Orkanens Øje. Completely zoned it out. +1.

Was quite intrigued by the uniqueness of #2 Cobra, the world’s only Sartori Rides inverted coaster, but didn’t expect much from it. It rode about as well as a middle of the road Vekoma SLC and the layout was mildly interesting, most notably impressive for its use of space rather than the experience.

#3 Bisværmen, the bee themed SBF spinner was a thing.

2nd #4 Dragen of the day, the not quite a wacky worm was a thing.

The Zamperla spinner, #5 Tyfonen didn’t spin at all, by design. And here I was thinking it was just Japan that had weird ideas like that.

Haunted House was the only other attraction that caught my eye. It was a ghost train which stopped dead at screens several times to shoot zombies in a completely non-immersive fashion. Enjoyed the standard themed sections in between those moments a lot more.

I just had to try the SCAD tower, without really thinking too much about the implications. The staff were extremely nice and fantastic at leading people through the experience. While dangling over nothingness I was asked if I was “much of a screamer?” I replied that I wasn’t.
The guy said: “I’ll scream for you then. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

I’m glad I gave it a go, though I wouldn’t say it was an enjoyable experience for me.
In my head there was very little fear going on, but the instinctive physical lurching reaction in my gut to freefalling backwards, when my body decided “I’m about to die”, wasn’t particularly pleasant.

Sat down on a bench and looked at some pictures to calm down, it did leave me buzzing a bit in it’s own way, then had a round of crazy crazy golf before calling it a day.

Day 2

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.

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.