One of the perks of travelling with a coaster club is the ability to let someone else worry about the finer detail. Thus it is my sad duty to record that, in a moment of weakness, I offered to assist on this trip by acting as one of the three coach captains. With a stroke of an e-mail, the job of ensuring that everyone supposed to be on my coach actually is suddenly became my problem. Little did I know that this position would put a large damper on the trip for me, making it highly improbable that I'll ever volunteer again. But that's another story.
12th July 2007
We arrived in Helsinki in glorious sunshine, which was a mixed blessing. On the positive side, it was a beautiful day. On the negative side, this meant that Linnanmäki, often a quiet park, had welcomed more than fifteen thousand visitors by the time we made our entrance. Our planned direct access to three of the major coasters had to be abandoned due to sheer weight of numbers, a pity if completely understandable. Unfortunately, the knock on effect of this was that time was at a premium; there would simply not be time to ride everything that looked interesting, making pick and choose the order of the day.
Intamin are recognised in the amusement industry for their innovations. One of their latest concepts is the ZacSpin coaster, a rather odd looking machine that has free rotating cars mounted on a vertical track that just looks, well, wrong. An identical version of the design debuted this year in two parks, the version here being named Kirnu (#980). Justin asked me within moments of disembarking what my views on the ride were, and my immediate response was altogether average. Having thought it over some more, though, I've decided I like it bar the major criticism which most people are likely to echo; it is, in three words, far too short. Fifteen seconds of free wheeling do not a coaster make, especially one with a half hour wait time.
From there we moved across to Linnunrata (#981), which can best be described as Space Mountain. Fans of the Disney attraction will know exactly what is on offer here; a good little family coaster, ideally suited for young and old alike. The ride is housed in the ubiquitous large circular building, although this one hasn't been domed in any shape or form, rather, it's just a large building with a flat roof. Just a little theming outdoors would make a huge difference.
The classic Vuoristorata (#982) was running moderately well on our first ride, but very well indeed on our second. Perhaps we had a different brakeman on duty, but whatever the case there was major air time to be had on quite a few of the drops, easy to enjoy to the full thanks to the single position lap bar in the cars.
Tulireki (#983) qualifies as a moderately decent custom wild mouse, albeit with some pretty nasty jolts at various places in the track. It was a lot more fun than Vonkaputous (#984), however, which got me very wet indeed, the after effects still with me four hours later as I type this on the coach. What's even more frustrating is that I chose to wear a poncho, unusual for me, in the completely forlorn hope of actually staying dry.
The final coaster ride was the powered Pikajuna, which, to be honest, was utterly missable. Its main benefit was to direct us over to the side of the park featuring Kieppi, a Huss Booster. I'd forgotten that there was one of these at Linnanmäki, and it was an absolute delight to ride one again, albeit with the usual semi-obligatory shoulder bruising the machine produces.
A very odd haunted walkthrough, Kammokuja, passed a few minutes. Patrons donned 3D glasses which worked pretty well, although the single most spooky effect they produced was gained by looking at the outdoor sun through them. Rather better was the Kummitusjuna Ghost Train, which had some excellent effects including a projection onto a smoke screen that was seriously impressive.