PowerPark had Junker, Särkänniemi had Tornado, but until very recently Linnanmäki had nothing at all worth getting excited about. That all changed in 2019 though, when they shocked the enthusiast World and unleashed Taiga.
We arrived at the park just after lunch, ready for their 1pm opening, I’m getting Liseberg vibes already and that’s most certainly a good thing.
After picking up our ride wristbands we headed straight to Taiga.
Short review, I freaking love this coaster to death, it slotted straight into my top 10, I can’t get enough, get on your knees and bow down to the Bird.
The longer review? How long you got?
Liseberg’s Helix is my favourite coaster in the World, it has been since I rode it when it I only had 100 credits to my name and it has remained in that position as I approach 800. This Mack multi-launch coaster excels in everything it does and it does almost everything that you could ask a coaster for. Insanely violent airtime, bone crushing positives, 2 powerful launches, elegant and intense inversions, an incredible drop out of the station, a long ride experience, amazing train and restraint design, a beautiful setting and a ridiculously catchy soundtrack. I know I’ve forgotten something but it doesn’t matter, it’s not the individual components that make Helix the greatest coaster ever built, it’s when all that and more is combined.
Taiga, this time an Intamin multi-launch coaster, goes down a very similar path. I could describe all the highlights for me, but it’s much more the way they are all combined into one kick ass coaster that matters. Insanely violent airtime, bone crushing positives, 2 powerful launches (the second one violently tickling your balls), elegant and intense inversions (that freaking stall man!), a long ride experience and amazing train and restraint design. After several laps, me and Heartline, catching our breath in the brakes said this, “it’s not better than Helix, but it’s clear, it will be a coaster along these lines that tops the King because Christ that was fantastic.” I can’t really think of a better review than that.
I only needed Taiga to be better than Taron, to shut up Phantasialand fanboys, but the Bird went so hard it had me questioning how long it will be before Intamin build the new best coaster in the World.
Talking of Taron, there’s another aspect to Taiga that I freaking love, that Taron completely lacks, a sense of comedy. Which comes in the form of the giant bird, that to us at least, is Taiga himself.
There’s massive bird foot prints, through the whole queue line, through the ride shop and out the ride exit, this properly set me and Heartline off. It was as if the Bird was saying, yep, I’ve destroyed Taron, I’ve made you question if Helix is untouchable, that’s my work done, where can I get some food in this place?
Then there was the Bird’s face slowly fading in on the queueline TVs, as if to say, I see you, ready for another round boys?
He’d always get a pat on the head when we sat in the front row too, we’re always happy to ride on the wings of Taiga and had to let him know.
In summary, Taiga is a fantastic coaster, the perfect example of why the multi-launch is the greatest coaster type in the World. The Bird has truly put Finland on the map as a must visit country for coaster nerds. Obey, or face the same fate as Taron.
For better or worse, aside from the Bird, there’s very little quality to find in Linnanmäki’s other coasters.
Starting with Tulireki, a Mack E-Motion coaster, which was disgusting. Managing to find incredible roughness out of nowhere but in a much more annoying than funny way.
Then there was Salama, the park’s Maurer Spinner, it was fine, certainly much better than Tulireki at least.
We rode the suspended dark ride Taikasirkus after that, it was good fun and nice to see theming from the quality Rex Studios in the UK.
An enclosed custom Zierer Force coaster, built inside of an old water tower, with optional VR. We refused the VR and found the coaster itself to be slightly better than we were expecting.
I used to always get excited when I saw Finland had the last Valdemar Lebech woodie I hadn’t ridden, then I saw it was a clone of the stupid Bakken one and I got sad.
Thankfully, unlike Bakken this one actually still uses it’s brake man, which means things are much more out of control and you get some quality airtime moments, I really enjoyed it.
Absolute trash. I hate SkyLoops at the best of times but this one was stupidly rough to add insult to injury.
We rode the Ferris Wheel next, mostly for aerial views of Taiga, but also to see the city, isn’t Linnanmäki in a beautiful location? I think it is.
Saving the worst for almost last, it was time for Kirnu. Kirnu is an Intamin Zac Spin coaster and after a horrible experience on Gröna Lund’s Insane, me and Heartline were dreading this thing.
Thankfully Kirnu is much tamer than Insane, which in this case is a very good thing. So instead of getting viciously dropped on your head several times in a stupid manner, Kirnu opted to just violently lurch back and forth and only inverted once.
I hate it, I’d never ride it again but it’s several thousand times better than Insane.
We completed the park’s coaster line up with a ride on their Mack powered coaster, Pikajuna.
Next up we rode the Monorail to get dangerously close to the Bird.
We everything ticked off, there was only one thing left to do. Spend the rest of the beautiful Finnish evening in the embrace of Taiga.
In the queue on one of our many re-rides, me and Heartline decided we wanted to return to the park tomorrow for 1 final hour with the Bird. So we visited the friendly team working in the ticket office and got cheap tickets to return tomorrow.
In case it isn’t obvious from that, I freaking love Linnanmäki. It really does feel like a discount Liseberg, but please don’t take that as me throwing any shade, that’s one of the strongest compliments I could give a park.
I’m certain without Taiga the park would have been a half day affair, much like the other 2 major Finnish parks, but with the Bird, the beautiful location, the park’s wonderful staff and that city park atmosphere, Linnanmäki is truly something special.
Knowing we’d only get our full hour with the Bird if we were smart, today we made sure we were as efficient as possible. This meant parking right outside the park’s door, getting to Taiga’s entrance 15 minutes before it opened, ditching Heartline’s wife on a bench and then ditching all loose articles with her.
We managed 10 laps in an hour, with some running and some rest breaks on that bench. It was an awesome way to end our trip to Finland and the perfect goodbye to the Bird.
I quite liked Helsinki airport, when we arrived at midnight and no one else was there, but this evening, nah man, it wasn’t great.
The tiny gate waiting area was standing only, packed wall to wall, then Norwegian messed up our seating arrangements, then we had to take a packed bus to the plane. Can Taiga not fly us to Italy?
You thought Helsinki airport was bad? It was nothing on Rome…
Our bags weren’t on the conveyor they were meant to be on and the staff instead of helping were just shouting at everyone. So we split up to find our bags, then got lost and then got shouted at again. Not the strongest of starts here.
Finally reunited we made our way to the car hire desk, where the rude woman there shouted at us in disgust for joining the queue without first taking a number from the machine. There 1 was group waiting and they were already at the desk…
We had to laugh when we asked to sign a document, regarding places we weren’t allowed to park the car, for fear of it getting stolen, because it listed half the places we would be visiting…
What followed was a several hour drive south, before arriving at our hotel, at almost midnight. At first we thought we would be sleeping in the car, after discovering the front door was locked and no one was answering the door bell. Thankfully in the end a friendly old man, the owner, let us in and told us to just go straight to our rooms, we’d sort the paperwork tomorrow, top bloke.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 4, where we visit one of the funniest parks in the World, Etnaland.
Trip plans to Finland and Italy had been drawn up and forgotten several times over the last few years. There was also something more exciting to do, but when those other plans came and went, it was inevitable where we’d end up. So in Summer 2019, we figured we’d knock off both in one mega trip to Finland and Italy.
Our story begins with a flight to Finland with Norwegian. We arrived late at night, collected our hire car and then collapsed at the hotel.
Before waking up extremely early for the long drive to PowerPark.
Located within PowerPark is PowerLand, an amusement park with an interesting selection of rides.
The first on our list was Junker, the park’s Gerstlauer Infinity coaster. This would be the 3rd Infinity for me in just 2 months, after Fury and Mystic, and I was hoping it would continue their trend of being awesome. It did.
An always surprisingly intense launch sends you flying into a wonderful layout full of strong airtime moments and intense inversions. Junker was awesome and is easily my favourite of the launched Infinity coasters.
A Fabbri spinner, made slightly less dull by each of the coaster cars having anime characters on them. We spent the entire queue hoping we got the pretty girl and not the creepy old man.
With Troy reminding me that GCI can make quality coasters, it was time to add another to my collection, fingers crossed this one isn’t boring. But then it kind of was…
Thunderbird is fine, if totally forgettable. Heartline asked me on the brakes if I preferred this or Thunderhead and I had no idea what Thunderhead was at the time. That is the level of forgettable these GCIs are. For the record, Thunderbird is slightly better than Thunderhead because it didn’t give me a headache.
Time to quick fire tick off the park’s final creds, starting with their Vekoma Boomerang.
Then their Zamperla kiddy coaster.
Ending with a lap on their L&T Compact Coaster. The only thing I enjoyed about this was that we were riding an exact clone later on the trip and this made me excited for what was coming.
Then it was time for a few more laps of Junker before we left the park for another long drive.
I enjoyed my short visit to PowerPark but I fully accept that without Junker it wouldn’t have been worth the epic drive to get there.
A park name I’d heard said hundreds of times, now I can finally say I’ve been.
You can call it sleep deprivation all you want, but there was something special about just being in Särkänniemi. I’m putting it down to the park’s visuals, with it’s fantastic location on the water, massive observation tower and the way all the attractions are squeezed into this tiny city park.
First up was the park’s star attraction, Tornado, one of only two Intamin SLCs in the World.
My experience with the other Intamin SLC, also named Tornado, wasn’t a positive one, thankfully though this Tornado is much better.
Firstly it needs to be mentioned just how cool the ride’s station is. Built inside of a massive man-made cave, it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.
Then there’s the ride’s setting, built around and on top of the park’s log flume, with sections underground, a section in the car park and parts buried in trees. Tornado goes everywhere and it really adds character to the ride.
The ride itself is good fun, miles better than a Vekoma SLC, just don’t for a second think it’ll be as good as a B&M Invert.
I apologise for the lack of pictures from here on out, I was half asleep and forgot.
A Tivoli small, poorly themed to Angry Birds, fair enough.
My 3rd Premier Sky Rocket 2 and probably the best example yet. It didn’t have comfort collars and it didn’t try to break my spine, yes my criteria for being the best is low. I will say though, the launches on these things are pretty insane, the rest I could live without.
I know you’re meant to hate Volares but I just find them hilarious, even more so when I’m falling asleep. Yes they are pretty messed up, but me and Heartline just spent the entire ride laughing until it hurt while all manner of awful things occured. With the right company, Volares are good fun, sue me.
Talking of good fun, MotoGee, the park’s Zamperla Moto Coaster, was not.
I was kind of nervous before my first Intamin Half Pipe. Heartline told me his last experience with one was awful and I’d read several people describe them as terrifying. Thankfully it wasn’t either of those things, it was just pointless. The best part of the whole experience was reading “STAN ELRIS” written on the queueline fencing.
With the park complete, we went for a couple more rides on Tornado. Then Heartline and his wife went up the observation tower. I assumed it was included in park entry and was too cheap to pay the up charge.
After one final short drive we got to our hotel for the night and I crashed hard. Thanks to late opening tomorrow we were more than able to catch up on sleep though.
Thanks for reading, click here for the next part of my report, 2 days of Linnanmäki, riding the fantastic Taiga.
We started with a nice relaxed morning, as in true Scandinavian style the next park didn’t open until 1pm. They’ve got a park and walk scheme recommended by their website which lets you park in this huge and amazing underground cave thing (Tornado station x100) and ‘avoid the traffic’. You validate the ticket at shops in the park and that makes it dirt cheap for the day (3 quid).
Day 2 – Linnanmäki
Headed in and grabbed some wristbands. All the Finnish parks are free entry with wristband options for the rides, which is cool. I like somewhere that acts like a place for people to chill as well as a theme park.
We then joined the queue for the main event. Weekend crowds were ok, it took about 15 minutes to get to the station. Peaked at 30. I didn’t take any pictures, but I like the queue. It has big bird footprints in the floor leading you round certain sections (and out of the shop, back towards the ride entrance). It starts off down some stairs where there’s some berries on branches just sticking out into the path. Fresh fruit in a queue. There’s some foresty stuff going on and some switchbacks, vending machines, a big screen with the bird’s face just ominously staring at you before you head back upstairs between modern looking metal fences with holes punched to form the outline of branches.
As you approach the station, there’s a bit of music and announcements which helped us learn how to pronounce the name. ‘Ride the wings of Ty-ee-ga’. Hang on, is it the bird or the forest? Don’t trust you now RCDB. Still in the habit of calling it Tay-ga though. There’s a nice big mountainy painting on the wall that encompasses the baggage holders. Into the back seat we go.
Anyway, the ride. Wow. I knew very little about the layout other than Intamin doing a bit of a Helix. And it blew me away.
First launch is into this counter-intuitively shaped inversion which throws you outwards then hangs you upside down in the weirdest fashion.
It then enters some low corners which produced some crushing positive forces as the day went on, softening you up for the second launch.
The transition into the launch is slightly clunky and for some reason was the only part of the ride which made the back seats rattle a little bit, but only to the point of comedy. I’m sure some people will treat it like a football injury though. I do love me a rolling launch.
Which kicks you up into this thing, the newest of the oddly shaped tophats. Proper sideways ejector coming out of that one, it’s now stoking memories of my beloved Intamin wings and I’m excited.
Then this happens. Oh they’re doing stalls now? WTF amazing. We also affectionately named this Karnan’s tower in the background. Don’t know what it is, but it’s just chilling there.
Wicked contrast of forces into a speed hill from there, then up into the biggest inversion. And we’re only half done. It gets all vicious on you now, lots of fast and wild twisty and airtimey transitions that proper chuck you out of your seat in any direction it feels like. Scream-inducing airtime. You know, moments of proper significance, the stuff Taron supposedly does but actually doesn’t (time for everyone to get offended and leave).
The end of this slither thing just hurls you downwards and sideways by the side of the building. Another highlight.
And finally we get beautifully inverted into the brakes, Flying Aces style. Wow again. That was really long. And so much going on. Absolutely loved it.
So there are other rides here, but they won’t get such affectionately detailed description. Taiga seems to keep photobombing as well.
This world exclusive Mack E-Motion coaster was grim. Don’t know how they managed to make a wild mouse rough in a straight drop, but they did. And it didn’t do anything. Good interaction though.
The powered coaster next door broke down on us, casually reversing itself through the station and valleying at the end of the ride. Later then.
Salama the spinner was alright. Lots of block sections and not much spinning. I like how it sits atop the rapids. Good interaction.
Ended up on Taikasirkus next. Cute little suspended dark ride about a circus with a catchy song.
Indoor coaster with Virtual Reality. Declined the VR (to the locals surprise) and of course it was better for it. There’s still some spacey theming inside and it packs a bit of a punch for a little custom Zierer.
The Intamin Zacspin then broke down on us. We were dreading it so wouldn’t have been too unhappy if it didn’t reopen.
Woodie then. Didn’t expect much as it’s a clone of Bakken’s, but it still has a brakeman and is run much better for it. Instead of sensors popping and stopping you before each drop, he gives it the beans so there is a little airtime to be found and in the case of the double down, a single moment of wild standing airtime. Respect.
No respect for this thing. Don’t like them anyway and this one was really rough when it tore through the station in both directions.
This little witchy dark ride, Kyöpelinvuoren hotelli (hi Taiga) was really good for what it was. It had vibrating seats, a back poke and a duel with Dumbledore. Significant improvement over the previous day.
Jumped on the ferris wheel for some views. What a pleasant afternoon.
Sadly Kirnu was fixed by this stage, jeering at us while we were enjoying the views. Really, really not looking forward to this after Insane gave us nasty headaches a few years back. Loudly swearing in fear as it ascends the lift. Not in an abusive relationship kinda way with Arashi where you get something out of it. Just this is gonna suck, hard. Stupid hobby. Thankfully it did what weaker S&S Freespins do in the first half and didn’t manage to flip itself, just lurch around in an unusal fashion. Only that final bit tipped us onto our head and tombstoned everyone, but it was surprisingly manageable. Fear reduced, but damn you La Ronde.
Also fixed was.. .. .. .. Mr…. …. …. …. Powered……
Sorry, Mr. Powered Coaster. It was alright. Good interaction again. Coasters complete.
Did this drop tower as I don’t recall doing its type before. Good views and a decent freefall sensation. Not bad.
Jumped on the Monorail for some more views. What a pleasant evening.
I like this place. It lacks the ride lineup of Liseberg, but it’s got the charm.
The night was rounded off by more Taiga laps, before visiting the ticket office and getting cheap ‘bounceback’ wristbands as we were sufficiently hooked had nothing else lined up before a 4pm flight the next day.
Day 3 – Linnanmäki
We drove straight to the door of the park this time for maximum efficiency, parking as close as physically possible to the entrance. There wasn’t really any ‘traffic’ to avoid as hinted towards by the car park deal the previous day. Seemed to be a very quiet city that was pleasant to drive in.
We only had an hour to spend in the park before rushing back to the airport, but 10 laps of the bird. What more can I say. Beast.
From here flew directly to Italy. The natural progression from Finland for a Europe trip of course.
Finland has been on the back burner for a few years now. Had a little bit of interest, but nothing really worth pushing for. Then Taiga happened. And now here we are.
The hilariously limited operating season of this place forced our hand on the order events for this leg of the trip, being open on Saturdays only by the end of August.
A bit more funfairy than I was expecting, but we’ll let the creds do the talking.
Junker was first on the agenda. The look of the park has already improved with the walk under this ride, admiring the interactions. Based on previous experiences this cool looking Gerstlauer Infinity could have been a hit or a miss.
Luckily it’s a hit. Once again they exceed my expectations and knocked out a varied, forceful and fun layout. The launch on these is a lot better when they don’t awkwardly drop into it and you soon find yourself cresting a weirdly shaped top hat. They seem to be all the rage these days.
This is followed by some decent airtime into the Finnish loop, which I loved. The weird drawn out shape of the inverted section provides some great contrast. It powered through the mid course without hesitation, kicking ass into the second half which has another couple of great inversions and a twisty airtime hill.
Next was a Fabbri spinner with some anime looking characters on the cars. Used to think these were quite rare but the seem to be popping up on me everywhere now. They’re alright. Most unique feature is the RCT style right angle in the lift hill and the fact that they free spin on the lift as well. Strong stuff.
Wood Coaster had recently reignited my love for GCI, but sadly Thunderbird was another very run of the mill woodie experience. Though it tries to do some of the features of the better stuff, it lacked the size to make it effective. It had a nice little straight section of what should have been airtime hills, which they don’t seem to bother with on a lot of their layouts. This wasn’t taken at enough pace to be any good though.
Oh good, another Boomerang with weirdly modified trains, just not lap bars. This thing needs no attention.
There was another Zamperla 80STD at the back of the park, but I don’t have a picture of it. So here’s a stock photo of another I’ve done this year, complete with stock name and stock font. There’s more to come too.
And rounding off the creds is this thing by L&T. It had upcharge Virtual Reality available. Nope.
The one other thing that was deemed worthy of doing before rerides was this shooting dark ride, Devil’s Mine Hotel. It’s ‘set off the effects by shooting them’-style, but in a way that you can’t really take any of it in. Bonus reference points for Yukon Mining though, along with having what looked like a demonised Gruffalo inside.
So there we go. A fairly insignificant park that’s a nice half a day out and well worth the visit on a Finland scale, if only for Junker.
After that success, the rest of the bright Scandinavian evening was now dedicated to:
Park expectations were twisted again, the lineup always made me think eww, no effort, but the place itself has a great little aesthetic with its location in the city by the lake.
Talking of lineups, Tornado was meant to be the best thing going. I didn’t have high hopes because the Spanish one sucked.
This one is a massive improvement though. It has presence. The station is underground in this big concrete cave. You enter the air gates and a bright orange train comes screaming through an inversion straight over the top of the station. I love a bit of intimidation framing.
It’s not like really good however, just a bit of fun and a bit of a change of pace. It doesn’t quite have the grace and force of better inverted stuff. The cobra is a bit lame and it barely moves through this overbank turn. The roll in the station and the overall interaction was the highlight for me.
We wanted to get the Volare out of the way, but it broke down in our face. Good.
Then we got lost on the way to the Sky Rocket and ended up at this.
Angry Birds themed Zierer Tivoli. Better than Thorpe’s attempt at theming, but still very shoehorned. The train has the same old bug eyes and leaf.
There it is. Second best one of these I’ve done just for not having comfort collars or shin crushers. They are… quite good for a basic clone. The launch always surprises me with how much kick it has and the trimmed drop out of the top section still packs a punch. Finland’s frenzy in getting every single compact coaster type with no corners starts off OK.
They fixed the Volare. Good. Never had a massive issue with these despite their reputation. They’re as dumb as they are brutal, but not to any damaging degree and it’s quite funny to endure. It was absolutely flying through the blocks at ridiculous speeds into those sharp corners, with hilarious consequences.
Golden Horse do this layout better, so I’ll let that one speak for itself.
Hated my last one of these. This one was alright. Might depend on where you sit. Launching sideways with a shoulder restraint didn’t seem to be an issue any more.
With all that out of the way, headed up to the upcharge observation deck for some views.
The glass was pretty terrible up here and they’ve closed off the outdoor section due to anti-social behaviour… but here’s a nice overview of Tornado’s layout.