One of the disadvantages of touring Poland at the beginning of June is the fact that it’s a little too early in the season for all parks to be on seven day operation. Years of practice meant that I was still able to come up with a route that included all locations on my shopping list, but it came at the cost of a lot of backtracking and some time constraints. Today was the most heinous of the trip, as it passed within five kilometres of Bydgoszcz Airport two days before I needed to be there and finished up more than three hundred kilometres away. These are the voyages of the obsessed coaster enthusiast; his continuing mission to explore strange new parks, to seek out new credits and experiences, and to boldly go where no sensible man has gone before.
JuraPark Solec Kujawski
5th June 2022
I had intended to get to JuraPark Solec Kujawski for the advertised 10:00am opening, but a last minute recheck of my schedule yesterday evening revealed that the rides didn’t start operation until an hour after the gate. With an early start ahead of a long drive I decided to split the difference: half an hour to explore the park, and an extra half hour in bed. This was the right call; thirty minutes was more than enough for a quick look at the two major attractions – a large but entirely static dinosaur exhibit, and a miniature Poland area featuring scale replicas of some of the country’s most well-known buildings.
The park’s ride collection is very limited, consisting of just four mechanical attractions: a children's train, a pirate ship, a chair swing, and Family Coaster (#3006), a standard model SBF Big Apple. The ride experience today was exactly as expected; a few minutes of entertainment but no more than that. I decided against queuing for a second cycle despite it being my three hundredth different example of the type (and yes, I know precisely how sad that is).
(As an aside, JuraPark is one of a handful of Polish parks that can be easily visited by train. Solec Kujawski station is just five minutes walk from the park entrance, and it is reachable both with long-distance trains and the BiTCity urban rail line between Bydgoszcz and Toruń. This line also serves Bydgoszcz Leśna, which is a little over a kilometre away from Rozrywki Zaginiony Świat.)
Rozrywki Zaginiony Świat
5th June 2022
Rozyrwki Zaginiony Świat (The Lost World) is a gated area within Myślcinek, an eight hundred hectare forest park located just three kilometres from the centre of Bydgoszcz. It features over fifty model dinosaurs to comply with Polish legislation (well not really, but it’s an easy mistake to make) as well as a rope park, a mineral museum, bouncy castles, and two roller coasters. A nominal 3zl (~€0.65) admission fee has been imposed presumably in an attempt to keep out the riff-raff. The very existence of this trip report only serves to prove that this grand plan hasn’t worked!
Ride tickets can be bought both at the entrance and at a booth located in the middle of the park. As of this writing each attraction requires its own bespoke piece of paper despite the fact that many of the rides have the same price point. Hopefully this will be simplified at some point in the future.
My first hit was Roller Coaster (#3007), an enjoyable Zyklon/Galaxi equivalent with a control box painted with the stylised Roller Coaster Tycoon font. The individual cars were far more elaborate than is normal for this type of ride, with each featuring a bespoke race car theme. A wide variety of brands were represented in the liveries, including Compaq, FedEx, HP Invent, Michelin, Orange, Panasonic, Renault, and Reuters. I’m presuming this to be free advertising, not least because the Compaq brand hasn’t been used in anger in almost a decade. If anyone from the park is reading this, when you complete your next overhaul I’m quite happy for you to display Superior Solitaire titles and a QR code at no charge.
With that done I made my way back to Smok (#3008), a stacked oval ride of indeterminate provenance. This looked more exciting than it actually was, not that that’s saying much. Two tyre drives mounted on the back of a trailer lifted the train to an upper level, where it coasted lethargically across the roof of the boarding station. A turnaround followed by a drop picked things up a little, but not much; today at least the top speed was slightly less than one would expect from a standard Big Apple.
5th June 2022
Mandoria is an indoor amusement park located within Ptak Fashion City, an outlet mall located just to the south of Łódź. The building was originally used for retail, but was repurposed during 2019 and 2020, emerging as one of the most spectacularly themed parks I’ve seen in my travels. While the rides are targeted primarily at younger visitors, the visual appeal of the place is impossible to overstate – even readers who don’t count their coasters should make the time for a visit.
The park was very crowded today, with waits approaching an hour on all major attractions. Worse yet, the lines were exacerbated by what up until today I thought of as “Spanish queuing technique”. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it is apparently acceptable to have one person wait in line for a ride, only to summon up a group of eighteen extended family members and friends when they’re close to the front. I saw this happen several times during my visit, but nobody else seemed to mind so I decided to seethe quietly.
The park’s main coaster is Merkant (#3009), the second installation of a Gerstlauer Bob Coaster premiering four years after the first model at Knuthenborg Safaripark. It operates with a single ten-passenger train, which routes around a highly themed course comprising two lift hills, each of which precedes around fifteen seconds of momentum-driven coasting. The height of the building prevents much more than that, and the designers have certainly done a respectable job with the constraints they had to work with – but I found myself lamenting the loss of pacing that comes from having the second lift. A few high-speed tyres or even a LSM or two would have been a much better way to re-energise the train.
Poland’s only coaster in darkness can be found at the very back of the park. Mroczny Dwór (#3010) is a three “loop” SBF spinner. A solitary white glow illuminates the train for boarding, fading into the darkness to the sound of a tolling bell at dispatch time. The experience was certainly different, though not quite different enough to justify the ridiculous amount of time I waited for a three lap cycle. Don't count coasters kids; take it from me.
By the time I disembarked I’d already exceeded my time budget and had little choice but to make a move. Having said that, a Mack powered coaster is under construction with a planned launch later this year, so I daresay I’ll be back sooner or later.
5th June 2022
Tickets for the alpine coaster at Góra Kamieńsk are sold in two forms. A smart card is available for those doing multiple laps, and a paper ticket is available for those who want to do one. I thought nothing of this as I hiked the fifty or so metres uphill to the ride's base station; for whatever reason the installation hasn't been placed adjacent to the park's chairlift.
I wasn't able to scan my ticket at Tor Saneczkowy, which I presumed to be because the operator was dispatching those in the station before coming back to let in the next group. As it turned out, I was wrong; after a few minutes in situ someone began to shout at me from the exit platform. I called back disavowing any knowledge of the language, which only made him angrier. In the end he came over, glared at my ticket, tore it in half, and opened a side gate to let me through – without even the vaguest hint of an apology for the rudeness.
The ride itself was a standard enough experience, and was respectable if not overly memorable. I was enjoying myself until I got shouted at again on the exit platform for unclear reasons, which eliminated any possible desire I might have had to pay for a second lap. I borrowed two excellent words from Sister Mary Clarence before making my exit.
Wesołe Miasteckzo Sielpia Wielka
5th June 2022
In the planning stages of this trip I’d eliminated Wesołe Miasteckzo Sielpia Wielka from my trip for two reasons: the website was offline, and the Facebook page hadn’t been updated since September 2020. It wasn’t exactly convenient to my planned route and I didn’t feel like investing two hours and change just to ogle a closed park. I only changed my mind after Coaster Count revealed that a fellow enthusiast had visited in early 2022. I asked a Polish friend to do some independent research on my behalf, and he told me that the park should be open until 9:00pm. Armed with that information I decided to roll the dice.
The amusement park is a tiny section of a tourist resort that is ordinarily adjacent to Sielpia Lake. Today it was adjacent to Sielpia Dry Sand, though this is a temporary situation rather than a consequence of global warming; media reports suggest that works will be finished ahead of the main tourist season in July. The area was still busy though; I had to wait about fifteen minutes for my ten lap cycle on Speedy Gonzales (#3011), an unusually forceful oval coaster powered by tyre drives.
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