2nd May 2010

Kongeparken is located in the south-western corner of Norway, sufficiently far off the beaten track that the only sensible way to travel there is to fly into Stavanger Airport, roughly thirty minutes drive from the park. The location can be summarised by the fact that the airport has as many helicopter flights as regular aircraft, thanks to a large quantity of nearby islands and oil rigs. Given its remoteness one might have expected an average park, but to my surprise the place turned out to be an absolute gem; the owners have invested time and effort to create a truly wonderful family park set amidst some spectacular natural scenery.


The first coaster of the day was Bukkerittet (#1493), a standard Reverchon mouse. The machine itself was originally built for Myrtle Beach Grand Prix at the end of the last millennium, where it operated for seven years. It operated briefly at the now defunct Wild West World in Kansas before being exported across the Atlantic to Kongeparken. The money saved on ride hardware appears to have gone into theming, which puts the equivalent mice at Disneyland to shame. Two magnificent castle turrets adorn one end of the ride, while serving also as part of the queue line, which passes right through the middle of the ride next to the main vertical drop. From there we headed across to the Svalbard Expressen (#1494). Though an off the shelf roller skater, this version has been spruced up with a crazy looking building in the corner of the ride that the track passes through twice.

In addition to the coasters, the park has the Bobbanen, the longest alpine slide in Scandinavia. The ride is a trough model with some very tight turns, resulting in a particularly thrilling experience provided that you get a clear track in front of you. On my second lap I got caught behind a particularly slow driver who was practically stopping at every corner (to do her nails, perhaps?). With no available Norwegian it was impossible for me to grumble, though a few of the eight other drivers in our convoy made their feelings a little clearer!

The best ride in the park for me was probably the Tiltetarnet, a tilting drop tower that was new last year. The ride programme was sufficiently random to be both thrilling and hilarious at the same time, the only negative point being its fairly low capacity. The park was not busy today, yet this ride (seating eight) came close to filling its queue area on a few occasions. Perhaps the park might consider adding a second unit (face to face perhaps?) to improve throughput.

The only other attraction I bothered with was the Luftskipet, a slow spinning ride around a central tower that was perhaps most reminiscent of a Huss Condor, albeit without the second axis of rotation. Its location was absolutely perfect for shooting a video overview that captured the entire park.


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