The biggest travelling fair in Ireland opens to the general public the day after Christmas. However, there is often a preview day, and this year I was fortunate enough to scrounge a ticket. As always, I took a large quantity of photographs, which can be found at themeparks.ie. There are no ride charges during the preview event, and for this reason I made a point of trying as many things as I could, even attractions I would normally skip. Quite a lot of those present appear every year, but there were several new attractions in the mix. Chief among these was the Star Flyer tower (Goetzke), though unfortunately it was not ready to ride at the preview event due to the late arrival of a crane necessary for assembly. I'll have a review of that in a trip report early next year.
The attractions I tried were, in order:
- Speed Loop, a Pinfari ZL-42, which has been on the road in Ireland for as long as I remember. Elderly Pinfari rides are not known for their comfort, but this one was running pretty well with only the occasional jolt.
- Extreme, broadly summarised as a floorless orbiter. This ride is worthy of its name, being a very intense experience.
- Ghost Train. Most of the time I don't bother with travelling dark rides, as the standard is generally pretty poor. This one was about typical of the genre, though there were two occasions which made me jump, two more than usual!
- Booster (Rüdiger), probably the finest achievement by Huss Rides, seen outside the German fair circuit for the first time. Not a ride for beginners, this qualifies as the most aggressive spin and spew in Funderland this year. I liked it a lot.
- Hollywood Funhouse. I've seen this around Ireland on numerous occasions, but had never much bothered with it, given the price of a ticket. A few of the effects were not working, but otherwise it was a fairly good example of the genre.
- Take/Off was a new attraction at Funderland last year, and the promoters evidently liked the takings from it given its return. Notable for its absence was the owner plate on last year's version (Ruppert); it seems like this ride has been bought out, and deservedly so.
- Kristall Palace is a mirror maze attraction. These simply do not work if there is a convoy of people walking together, as was the case today. If I had bought a ticket I'd have wanted my money back. However, if it wasn't as crowded it might well have been fun.
- Dodgems. What is there to say?
- Breakdance, another Huss Rides production I've always skipped in the past. Little did I know what I was missing; this is great fun.
- Wild Mouse, for some reason operating only two cars out on circuit instead of the usual seven or eight. They were all in the station though; perhaps there was a blocking problem of some description?
- Jubilee Wheel. A great way to end the day.
Booster, Extreme, and (by opening day) Star Flyer are a substantial improvement over the various attractions that were dropped from this years line up. It would have been nice to see a return visit of Power Tower 2 from a few years back, but I guess you can't have everything. As I write this trip report I'm about three hours into a flight to New York to spend Christmas with my family, but I really cannot wait until I return to explore Funderland some more.