Lilleputthammer is a small park located fifteen kilometres north of Lillehammer in central Norway. Admission for anyone over the age of six costs 360 NOK (~€36.80) though there is a five percent discount for those who purchase online at least twenty-four hours in advance. The booking system is only available in Norwegian as of this writing, but it's easy enough to figure out the correct buttons using Google Translate. My pre-printed ticket was exchanged for a small handstamp, though I suspect this was only for re-entry as it wasn't needed inside the park.
The main draw for the majority of visitors is a 1:4 scale replica of the town's main street as it stood in 1930, with forty-four shops, two hotels, three cafés, two bakeries, a police station, and a cinema. Aside from the history guests will also find a number of family rides, including a carousel, bumper boats, a train, a seventeen metre drop tower, and Berg-og dalbane (#2724), a Zamperla 80STD with a colourful train. The ride wasn't one of the smoother examples of the genre, though the three lap cycle was still pleasant enough.
27th July 2019
Hunderfossen Familiepark is one of the largest theme parks in Norway. The ride area occupies roughly 115,000 square metres of land, though this is just one section of a larger resort that also includes a hotel, a campsite, and a children's farm. The facility has an eponymous train station located a few minutes walk from the park entrance, making it an easy hit for those who would prefer not to drive; services from Oslo Airport run several times each day and take just under two hours. (Solo travellers should be aware that public transport is considerably cheaper than driving due to the large number of automatic tolls along the route.)
I wasn't able to pay for admission in advance of my visit as the park web site wouldn't accept any of my credit cards. As such my first port of call was at the ticket window. The cashier addressed me in flawless English from the get go; I can only assume that there was something about my appearance that made it clear that I wasn't a local. The ticket price of 445 NOK (~€45.50) was remarkably good value by local standards, though I had to supplement it with an additional 59 NOK (~€6.03) for parking. This was enforced not with a hard barrier but with an automatic camera system; invoices and penalties are sent automatically to vehicle owners who fail to pay on the day.
My visit began with Hunderfossen Rafting, a five hundred metre long rapids ride supplied by BEAR GmbH at the turn of the millennium. The queue stretched some distance across the midway, but it was moving forward at a steady rate; I waited no more than twenty minutes. There was a divide close to the station that cut a few minutes off the wait for single and double riders, while also ensuring that the six person boats went out full. The course had no special theming, but the spectacular natural backdrop made for a more than adequate replacement. Better yet the ride was very good indeed; the boats moved unusually quickly through the trough, and the route featured both a whirlpool and a waterfall.
My second stop was inside Ivo Caprino's Fairy-Tale Cave, a walkthrough located behind a fourteen metre high Hunderfossen Troll. Though not a household name internationally Caprino (1920-2001) was a successful Norwegian film director best known for his puppet films, most of which remain popular today. The stories depicted were unfamiliar to me (White-Bear King Valemon, Askeladden and the nice helpers who ate granite?) but I was able to appreciate the top notch presentation. Part way through the cave I found a small cinema showing movie footage, and I passed a few pleasant minutes in there before moving on.
The park first came to the attention of coaster enthusiasts in 2014 with the installation of Il Tempo Extra Gigante (#2725), a standard layout Zierer ESC 535 fitted with the most elaborate rolling stock I've ever seen on a coaster. Each train is fronted by an enormous chrome car bonnet with working headlights, wheels, and thick black pipes that combine to occupy roughly the same amount of space as two rows of seating; the front row of passengers is where row three would be on a typical ride. The rear car is also abnormally large, with wheels, more pipes, and exhausts behind its two seats. To describe the result as eye catching does an injustice to the phrase; the trains are quite simply spectacular. The theming can be appreciated by all, but it has particular resonance for those familiar with The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix, a stop-motion animated feature from 1975 that is the most widely seen Norwegian film of all time.
The ride leaves the station to the rumbling of an old fashioned car engine. The roll out of the station and the chain engagement are sluggish, though the pace picks up rapidly on the lift hill as the chain motor accelerates to around double the normal speed. The layout from the apex onwards is forceful; I found myself greying out very slightly in the climbing helix immediately after the first drop. There were a few bumps along the route, but nothing major; on the whole the comfort level was several notches above the nominally identical machine at Parc Spirou Provence. The train returns to the station to a brief but dramatic musical climax which I presume to be a riff taken from the movie. I completed four laps in various seats and would gladly have done more.
I next made my way into the Energisenteret, a science-themed activity area for younger visitors. The interior contained a number of practical renewable energy demonstrations, including water wheels, wind turbines, and even solar cells. There were detailed explanatory boards next to each, though sadly these were only offered in the local patois; I could have spent hours in an English language equivalent had such a thing existed thirty-something years ago. (As an interesting aside, almost all Norwegian electricity is generated from renewable sources.)
My next stop was at Trollfallet, a themed drop ride from ABC Rides added to the park in 2009. Signage at the entrance today indicated that twenty guests would be admitted every nine minutes, suggesting a very long programme. The reality was somewhat different; a pre-show with a talking reindeer head and a themed walkthrough took most of the time; the actual ride lasted no more than twenty seconds. Once restraints were checked the lights were extinguished and we rose to a height of around five metres, where an old lady could be seen at a spinning wheel. After a brief pause we dropped back to where we came from and the restraints were released. Though the experience was fun it wasn't something I'd bother to wait for more than once, and the lack of queue today suggested very strongly that other guests were of the same opinion.
The same building is also home to the Eventyrslottet, a trackless dark ride past scenes from Norwegian fairy tales. There is a spoken soundtrack, and in a nice touch this has been localised into both German and English for international visitors; one need only ask the operator to flip the appropriate switch. The journey was unhurried, giving ample time to appreciate the different sets. As with the earlier cave the stories were for the most part unfamiliar to me, though I recognised the final room as featuring Peer Gynt in the Hall of the Mountain King even before the Grieg began to play.
My last hit was the all-electric Go Karts. There were two rows of vehicles in the station, allowing one set to be plugged into chargers while the other was out on course. We were given five laps, which one presumes to be close the limit fo the onboard batteries. The acceleration was not quite to the level of the combustion engine machines at Kylemore Karting, but the top speed was eminently respectable and well worth the short queue.
27th July 2019
A few days before my trip I looked at four different funfair operators in Norway on the off-chance that I could fit in a bonus credit. Hugos Tivoli, Thomas Tivoli, and Skandinavisk Tivolipark were all open in the far north of the country and entirely out of range. Lunds Tivoli on the other hand was at a ground no more than ten kilometres away from the traditional Norwegian restaurant I'd planned for my dinner, and I figured that it would be unconscionably rude not to make a quick detour.
There was an enormous traffic jam in the vicinity of the fairground, and having battled my way through it I was hit for an eye-watering 100 NOK (~€10.18) for parking in a grass field. Unfortunately it was all for naught; the coaster I'd been hoping to find wasn't present. I decided to invest a further 59 NOK (~€6.01) on the Ferris Wheel to make completely certain of my miss, and having confirmed the bad news I didn't hang around.