Stockholm is a beautiful city built on a series of islands; so, it makes sense for it to have one of the best waterside parks, anywhere--Grona Lund. Space here is precious, and the park uses it very well. Roller coasters wind around and drop and rise in and out of each other, and they waste nothing at this park. For example, one of the park’s two (eventually to be three) drop rides was installed on what used to be an observation tower, and it offers two different experiences--one with straight seats and the other with tilted seats (which aren’t too kind to the average gent’s “package”).
I haven’t visited Grona Lund since 2009, and there have been a few changes. Twister, the park’s Gravity Group woodie, wasn’t there back then, and it’s a lot of fun. This ride’s construction provides another good example of how well this park uses space and wastes nothing. To build Twister, they had to dismantle the park’s dark ride, Bla Taget, and tear down its show building. This ride had been with the park in one form or another since the 1930s. So, instead of just discarding Bla Taget, Grona Lund rebuilt it right under Twister, with many of the original gags intact, plus some enhancements (such as on-ride audio, “4D” effects in the cars, and trick track). The ride is even better than it was in 2009. Grona Lund is a park that takes its heritage seriously.
Another new attraction is House of Nightmares, an up-charge haunted walk-through. This was once another haunt called Spokhuset.
The park worked with Sally Rides to give this attraction an extensive make over and a new story line. If they dare, guests are invited to enter into the mind of Dr. Morpheus, a sideshow “scientist” who specializes in sleep and dreams. As you’ve probably guessed, the doc’s sub-conscious is full of all sorts of horrors, such as evil clowns and zombies. There’s plenty of nice effects and scare actors in House of Nightmares, and it’s well worth the up-charge.
Grona Lund and Theme Park Review have a long history, and the park treated us very well for the day and the night we were there, starting with a great dinner in their Biergarten. We had filming sessions on Insane (which still lives up to its name), Twister, and Jetline (a classic Schwarzkopf), another great dinner, and access to the VIP area for a rock concert that night. I don’t think anyone was disappointed with Grona Lund.
Welcome to Stockholm. Such a beautiful city.
The hotel was just across the street from the park. It was also in a good location if you wanted to check out some of Stockholm’s museums.
Yes, Deep Purple is still alive--but this wasn’t the concert we saw. The Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joe Perry) had also played there recently.
At the park’s main entrance . . .
. . . we met up with the brothers who own the place, and other parks in Scandinavia (including Kolmarden--more on that later).
Who’s ready for beer, schnitzel, more beer . . . it was all excellent. They even had a good band that seemed to cover everyone from the John Denver to AC DC.
Time for a great evening at Grona Lund.
And what better way to burn off that schnitzel than romping around the park’s fun house?
Everyone has their own special technique for climbing the moving stairs.
Opportunities for physical injury abound.
I nearly fell on my butt after being catapulted from these spinning platforms. Good thing I slammed into the wall first.
Note the sneaky airtime hill at the end of the slide. It’s a great, old-school fun house.
I would’ve liked to been up in that balloon; then again, I would’ve missed out on other cool stuff that night.
Some of the park’s rides were shutdown for a while due to a concert. The singer seemed to be the Swedish version of Andy Williams or maybe Gordon Lightfoot. Here you can see the park’s two drop towers. Fritt Fall/Tilt is on the left and, and Katapulten is on the right. They’re going to add a third--one of those “Falcon’s Fury” Intamin rides. There's a very tall Star Flyer (Eclipse), too.
Twister had a fairly long line that night.
Hmm--I guess they were shooting “Birdemic 2” while we were there.
Hmm--rather forbidding looking after dark. More on this later.
Bla Taget manages to look forbidding and goofy at the same time. More on this later, too.
The park looks great at night--nice use of neon near Jetline.
Speaking of Jetline, this coaster is great. One of the most unusual layouts of any Schwarzkopf (hell of any coaster made by anybody).
Is it now? ;) In other news, Deep Purple is still alive.
Anth was victorious!
Jake had to settle for this.
Jake, I want you to win one of those giant boxes of Cheez Doodles, then pour it down your throat, along with a whole keg of lager.
Chapter 10 You Know, There’s More Here than Wildfire--Kolmarden Kolmarden is one big zoo. We’re talking huge here. Or as a certain presidential candidate might say, “y-u-u-u-u-u-ge.” Then promptly claim that he has something even bigger. It’s also the home of some new ride some of you may have heard about, Wildfire, which, like the zoo, is also huge.
Kolmarden’s map says it’s a 40-minute walk from the coaster to the park entrance. Believe the map! The park wraps around a large wildlife habitat filled with lion, tigers, and bears (oh my) and lots of other animals from all over the world. At one time, it was a drive-through habitat like the old Lion Country Safari, but now the main wildlife habitat is spanned by a gondola ride that lasts nearly half an hour.
But what about Wildfire? Did it live up to this rather bold claim we saw at Grona Lund?
Hmm . . . is it “the greatest wooden roller coaster in the world”? I can’t speak for others, but for me, it’s definitely in the top five somewhere. RMC has done it again! The first drop is truly terrifying, there’s lots of air, and the inversions are incredible--particularly the corkscrews (or are they zero g rolls?) toward the end. The only minor problem is the finish. Once you whip through those out-of-your-seat corkscrews, the train takes a right, barely clears one last hill, and just seems to meander to the final brake run. That being said, it would be pretty tough to top that last inversion, as it’s the single best moment of the ride. Overall, this is a great coaster and a huge win for Kolmarden, especially after all the hurdles they had to clear to get it built.
Wildfire also benefits from a beautiful setting and breathtaking views. I love how the train speeds past huge boulders and rock outcrops. We were even the first group to ride one of Wildfire’s trains after the RMC crew had finished testing it.
Our day at Kolmarden was every bit as great as our time at Grona Lund. We enjoyed some up-close encounters with lions and tigers and were treated to a excellent lunch in “The Lodge,” a cabin tucked away under Wildfire.
Here’s a look at what Kolmarden has to offer in addition to another amazing RMC coaster.
Rule #1 at Kolmarden: Do not annoy the gorilla.
What? They have coasters here?
Coasters and theming, it would seem.
“There’s been a hoot owl by my window now . . .”
Beware as they have been known to crap in the woods.
“She ran calling Wild . . .” holy crap, look at that first drop! Oh, the humanity!
Wait! What happened to all the people . . . oh, they’re just testing. Whew!
Now that is one stylish train.
Lots of sawmill theming in the station. Very well done.
This is called a “Dutch angle.” It’s used to heighten tension and create a sinister atmosphere. Did it work?
This is the main angle I’m interested in.
More on Wildfire later, as Sarah contemplates a new hairstyle.
Tigers are new to Sweden.
They came here a little over 100 years ago just for the meatballs. True story.
Everything changed after the Tiger Apocalypse.
Based on the extension of the tongue, I think the tiger is ready for lunch. That tongue is as rough as sandpaper, and the the tiger uses it to scrape the meat off of fallen prey. Isn’t that adorable?
“Hmm . . . I think a little garlic and pepper, and you folks will be delicious.”
The last survivors of humanity huddle together for safety as Nature reclaims the world.
It’s interesting being part of the exhibit.
Rule #2 at Kolmarden: Do not annoy the tigers.
Leave the feeding to the professionals.
“What? Canned food again? I am so going to pee on you for this.”
Whaddaya mean the tiger’s got the keys? Dammit!
After surviving the Tiger Apocalypse, we stopped to feed these little guys.
Our next stop was the viewing bunker in the lion habitat, which took us under the Safari skyway. More on this later.
“Cooked just the way I like it; that is, not cooked at all.”
“I’m thinking a nice teriyaki marinade, then smoke them for a few hours over mesquite. How about you?” “Works for me.”
“I think I’ll stick to this horse carcass. I like suckin’ the marrow outta the bones.”
Now, this is the way to go on safari.
Hey, there’s Wild . . . holy crap, look at that first drop!
They have animals from all over the world here.
As part of the tour, you can feed them salad from the gondola.
“Don’t look now, but I think someone just dropped a mess of green stuff over there.” “Maybe the other gondola has a bucket of balsamic vinegarette dressing.”
Great report. The fact that you can get that close to the tigers and feed animals from the Skyway is awesome. I haven't heard much about this place that didn't include Wildfire but we're big animal people and that may be just as big of a draw for us honestly.
If you look closely at my first Wildfire picture, you might notice the roof of a cabin.
It’s a very nice place to have lunch and just hang out.
It offers a great view, as well.
It was pouring rain after lunch, so we took in the indoor dolphin show. Here, using a pink ball, the dolphins try to warn humanity about the upcoming Tiger Apocalypse.
“They’re not listening to us, Fred.” “Then let the tigers eat ‘em, Frank,”
Unlike Grona Lund, there were no tacos here.
Welcome to Bamse's World, where if you step out of line, Bamse will eat his magic honey, gain super powers, and tear you head off. (Well, he probably won’t kill you. But this land is based on a bear in a Swedish kid show that does eat magic honey, which gives him powers but makes people sick to their stomachs for three days.)
It’s a very nice looking kids area, . . .
. . . with a credit.
Behold the power of Zierer!
Whoa! Someone dumped a big log here!
I suspect the troll.
They had a nice learning center for kids, too.
“So I said, ‘Oh yeah? Well, fricasee this!’ And I’ll be damned--they did!”
KT does not like it when people step on snails and slugs.
“Don’t mind me--I’m just a bear tossin’ a bowling ball. Oh, and have you heard about the coming Tiger Apocalypse?
“Come closer. Closer. NOW YOU DIE!”
A further sign of the Tiger Apocalypse--a Satanic raccoon! (Also known as a red panda.)
As it is often said, at least when it comes to Disney movies from the 1960s, everything is better with monkeys.
“Either buy a drink, or get the hell outta my bar! This ain't no waitin' room."
There’s another coaster here.
Of course, it is a bit dwarfed by the coaster next door.
But it is themed to dolphins, so I guess there’s that.
We had more ERT on Wild . . . holy crap, look at that first drop!
I think Kolmarden has a hit on their hands.
Unless I miss my guess, these riders seem to agree with me.
I'm reasonably sure they're having fun. Just a hunch.
This is single craziest element.
There’s much to love about this ride.
Am I right, folks?
The intensity of the experience caused some people to contemplate the meaning of existence.
For Jake, it’s all about having a good time.
Uh oh! Dan’s seen me! Better run!
I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom. Thanks for reading!
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