If you’re a roller coaster fan, it’s highly unlikely that Norway is at the top of your to-do list, if it’s on it at all. With just 17 coasters in the country, travelers are far more likely to be drawn to the land’s stunning fjords and mountains, than to its less-than-stellar roller coaster collection. However, this collection recently grew a little larger with the addition of Storm – The Dragon Legend, the first Gerstlauer Infinity Inverted coaster in the world, at Tusenfryd. Being in the country for a family occasion, I most likely would have visited the park even without Storm, but this addition certainly made it a must-do. So join me, team member Claire, as I explore everything Norway’s leading theme park has to offer!
Travel to the park from Central Oslo is simple. At least, it should be. The 505 bus runs every 10 minutes during peak times from Oslo Bus Station. Tickets can be easily purchased on the Ruter app, or if, like us, you have the Oslo Pass, the journey is included. However, on the morning of our visit, heavy rain overnight had flooded the roads and caused the cancellation of all services to the park. After a moment’s panic, we found an information desk in the station where a very helpful employee told us that the buses would be back by midday, but alternatively, we could get a train to the nearby town of Ski and catch a bus from there. So, onto the ten-minute train we hopped, before catching a local taxi to the park, eager to make it for rope-drop.
More stressful-than-expected journey complete, we’d arrived at the park! Park admission at the time of writing costs 529kr (£39.20) when purchased online, but we were both able to secure a discount. The Oslo Pass grants a 20% discount on admission taking my partner’s admission down to 431kr (£32), and with my European Coaster Club membership, my own admission cost just 320kr (£24). On our visit date, gates were due to open at 10:30, and in a break from what I’ve seen at most parks, there was strictly no admission before this point. Chains remained tight across the turnstiles until 10:30 on the dot, when a voice called out ‘The time is now 10:30 and Tusenfryd is open!’ The small crowd surged in and up onto the waiting escalators, taking us up under Speed Monster and into the park. What a magnificent entrance this is! It’s hard to over-exaggerate how exciting it is to enter a theme park, up an escalator, surrounded by mountains and forests, as an Intamin Accelerator tests above your head. Tusenfryd have well and truly nailed the first impression.
Of course, our mission was clear: get ourselves to Dragonville and in line for Storm ASAP. But, looking around, there didn’t seem to be too many people rushing to the very back of the park. So with my coaster count standing at 398, we made a slight diversion and hopped straight onto a kiddie coaster that was loading the next train. (I’m not usually one to care about my milestone coasters, but the opportunity was right there!) HuriHuri is a Zamperla compact spinner that was the park’s 2022 addition and is one of only two of this model in the world. I’ll be honest, I can see why there aren’t many! Whilst the ride offered an enjoyable level of spin through a classic family coaster layout, the train had horribly unnecessary shin restraints reminiscent of an RMC train that made the entire experience uncomfortable. Not a ride I’d rush back to. (Note: Every time we passed this ride later in the day it had one of the largest lines in the park, so rope drop is actually a very good idea!)
Speaking of rushing, that was very much the name of the game as we continued our trek toward Dragonville. On the way we passed a surprising amount of theming and landscaping – this was a far prettier park than I’d envisaged! We passed bug-themed kiddie rides, carnival games, and even a Zamperla Giant Discovery by the name of Spin Spider, before eventually seeing the gorgeous themed arch up ahead. The land was thankfully still quiet, with not many guests having yet made the journey to the very back of the park. We rushed into the queue line for Storm – The Dragon Legend, and were able to walk straight onto the front row! There wasn’t much time to take in the surroundings, except that they were brilliantly themed. The wooden station adorned with banners and crests seemed to function as the town hall of Dragonville, just one that happened to have quite a large, and fast, dragon sailing through it frequently! The coaster’s single train features a gorgeous blue dragon head at the front that appears to have been hand-painted, with the scale design continuing down the rest of the train. The seats are comfortable and are feature just a lap bar, almost reminiscent of Vekoma’s modern suspended coasters in design.
Prior to riding, I’d been a little anxious about whether this ride would be for me, as many people have remarked on how intense the ride experience is and, well, they’re not wrong! A launched, inverted, inverting coaster with a short layout… It’s no surprise that it’s intense! As the cycle begins, the train launches forward with a relatively mild initial launch, returning for a backward second launch, which was consistently the most forceful. But even then, these launches are nowhere near as powerful as the kind Gerstlauer have installed on other rides such as Anubis at Plopsaland De Panne, they simply don’t need to be. The third and final launch is more than powerful enough to send the train forward and out over the first dive loop. Dive loops are one of my favourite elements, particularly when there’s a good amount of hang prior to the dive. This wasn’t really the case here, with just a brief moment through the inversion, but it was delightfully floaty – an unexpected sensation! This continued through the rest of the layout as we traversed a hill that generated some more lovely floater airtime, and flew into the second dive loop. Here I really felt the intensity I’d been warned about, as my vision grew slightly blurry, and by the time we’d been through the final inversion – a reverse sidewinder – my feet had grown incredibly heavy! Even with the swing launch, this is not a lengthy ride experience. The entire duration from the first launch to hitting the brakes is under 40 seconds, but all 40 of those seconds are thankfully very enjoyable. Of course, this brief layout helps the single train maintain some level of capacity, helped too by the presence of a single rider line! Whilst I was able to walk on the ride at the start of the day, and even remain on the train for a second ride, later as the crowds made their way toward the back of the park the queue expectedly began to grow. But I was able to walk straight on the next train in the single rider line – beautiful! Of course, there’s no escaping the fact that this is a coaster from Gerstlauer, a manufacturer not known for offering the smoothest rides, and it follows that Storm does already have a slight rattle, particularly noticeable when exiting the dive loops. Let’s hope that doesn’t develop in the future! Storm is a great addition to Tusenfryd. It may be the park’s second launch coaster, but with its modern inverted trains, it feels fresh and exciting. I hope that, should the coaster age well, this is a model we will see appear elsewhere too!
Of course, Storm wasn’t the park’s only new addition for 2023. The entire surrounding area of Dragonville is new for this season. The land is quite similar in nature to Vikings at Drayton Manor, with plenty of beautiful, high-quality signage, well-themed lighting, and planting that is set to look its best in a few seasons. In Dragonville, alongside Storm, you’ll find a gift shop, quick service restaurant, (really nice) toilets, and even an upcharge scare attraction: The Dungeon. In my visits to Scandinavian parks this year, one thing that’s really stood out is the quality of their year-round scare attractions. Across Tivoli Gardens, Liseberg and now Tusenfryd, it’s been a joy to get to experience some spooks out of season. At Tusenfryd this takes the form of The Dungeon, a 60kr (£4.50) upcharge that transports guests to a medieval dungeon. The sets are relatively simple, featuring the likes of dark cages, hanging body bags and glowing lanterns. But the numerous cast do an excellent job skulking around and jumping out when you least expect it. The host of the pre-show was fantastic, and even though it was all Norwegian I was able to soak up plenty of atmosphere. The host did end the pre-show by asking me a question individually, leading me to explain that I hadn’t understood a word he had said, at which he immediately broke character to apologise and run through the essentials in English, which was very much appreciated. My favourite thing about this experience was the use of lighting, which made the entire walk-through ooze atmosphere. I’ll be honest, I didn’t get too many scares in The Dungeon, but this certainly wasn’t the fault of the actors. I’d ended up in quite an unusual situation in this maze, where I was unexpectedly making my way through holding the hands of two young girls who had entered unaccompanied, and who were in tears. Together we made it through, but whilst I was focused on looking out for them, I was not as immersed as I would’ve liked to have been. I wonder if it also meant the actors held back a little. I know for sure the first few didn’t at least, with one actor making the girls cry – they got me good too! For £4.50 this experience was a bargain, and well worth adding on to any day at the park. I’d love to try it again, child-free!
Heading out of the land, we walked down the hill and straight onto the front row of our second major coaster of the day: Thunder Coaster. One of only three Vekoma wooden coasters to have existed, and one of two still operating (alongside Walibi Belgium’s Loup-Garou), this somehow managed to be even less enjoyable than its Belgian cousin. I’m no fan of Loup-Garou, but at least that coaster did something. There was fun to be had. Aside from a good amount of speed through the first drop I just got nothing from this coaster. An attempt at airtime was made through the final bunny hills, but only the smallest crumb actually materialized. It hurts, because looking at the layout, it should work. It should deliver. But for me, all this ride delivered was a headache. A one and done.
Continuing down the park’s hill, we headed down into a land that didn’t really seem to have any theming throughout the wider land but featured three attractions themed to Norse Mythology (to varying degrees): Ragnarok, Thor’s Hammer, and SuperSplash. (I wonder if you can guess which of these had the least theming!) Our first stop was Ragnarok, a rapids ride that I’d actually heard glowing reviews of prior to arriving. Usually, if people are talking about rapids, you know they’ll be really good! And this ride did not disappoint! Sure, it’s no River Quest, but does Phantasialand’s epic rapids ride send you swirling down a whirlpool into the open jaw of a sea monster? No, no it does not. As well as this show stopper, the ride features themed caves, waterfalls, and a drop, plus we didn’t get too wet! Win-win!
Directly opposite Ragnarok, you’ll find SuperSplash, a creatively named Mack SuperSplash coaster. There’s not too much to write home about here, but the final drop is a delightful double-down through a tunnel under the walkway, which makes for a far more exciting ride – and adds excellent kinetics to the land!
The final attraction in this section of the park was Thor’s Hammer, the park’s only dark ride. Initially displaying a ‘closed all day’ sign outside, I was devastated that we wouldn’t get to experience this unique attraction, but thankfully, on returning to this area of the park later, we found the ride open… if not functioning. As we stubbornly entered the long line for the broken-down attraction, I noticed that the signage outside stated that the ride only opened from midday, so perhaps the earlier signage had just meant to say that the ride was currently closed? Either way, I’d passed beneath the waterfall and into the dark cave – this attraction was constructed inside an actual cave – lined with elaborately carved wooden pillars, and character artwork where I’d spend the next 40 minutes – the only real wait of the day – waiting to ride. The ride vehicles are 6-seater tracked cars, with two rows of three, meaning that if you’re a party of two the likelihood of being split and sat one per row is high, and this is of course what happened to us. Never mind, we’re about to head into Norse Mythology! 3D glasses on, our car began its impressively motion-filled journey through the cave. The majority of the ride’s action takes place on screens with the space between filled with physical effects – including a waterfall! Sadly, this beautiful effect might just have been the ride’s downfall, as my glasses just kept steaming up. And it wasn’t just me. I rode Thor’s Hammer twice, and both times the other passengers in their car all started wiping their glasses at the same time as me. This was particularly the case during one of the final scenes when a heat effect exacerbated the issue! As for the story, I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a clue what was happening, due to the language barrier. However, the character design was excellent, and the animated sequences were all of very high quality. I do think it’s a lovely idea for the country’s main theme park to have a dark ride tied into Norway’s myths, it just feels right. All in all, I was really impressed with Thor’s Hammer. Whilst the attraction is let down by 3D that just doesn’t land, the ride is ambitious, exciting and features vehicles with a fantastic range of movement that kept me wondering what would happen next!
On our way back up the hill, we came across Eventyrstien, a troll-themed children’s obstacle course. Of course, the target audience didn’t stop us from hopping our way across sinking lily pads and around giant sleeping trolls. Again, I really appreciated the inclusion of local culture, but I would highly recommend stopping in here on the way down the hill. The course exits back at the bottom, leaving us having to trudge our way back up once again!
Having walked up the hill twice, lunch was well-earned and I knew just where I wanted to go. I’d heard great things about Explorer’s Society, the restaurant near the park’s entrance. This large, table service restaurant offers a wide range of ‘proper’ meals, including pasta, pizza, and meat-based dishes. On arrival, we were instructed to find a table and order using a QR code on the table. The code brought up a menu with an English option – perfect! However, having perfected our orders, we were given only the option of paying with Vipps, a Norwegian mobile payment service. We attempted to register with the service, but even that would only seem to let us register if we had a Norwegian mobile number. Thankfully, the staff in the restaurant spoke good English and were happy to let me order at the till instead of using this system. The food was then delivered to our table, with the exception of the drinks which were self-service, and was delicious and well-presented. I opted for the mushroom tagliatelle which was clearly marked as vegetarian on the mobile menu, and it was creamy, flavourful and served with some unusual cornbread-esque bread. Meals at Explorer’s Society cost around 189kr (£14) each, not bad at all for a good quality theme park meal! Who said Norway was super expensive?
Just a short distance from the restaurant lies what must be the park’s largest land: Route 66. Here you’ll find two major coasters, Loopen and Speed Monster, alongside several child-friendly supporting attractions, shops, and endless carnival games! This definitely feels like an older area of the park, with some dated theming around, but the carnival games especially are presented in a really charming way, along a brick street with each stall having individual theming. Overall, with its driving school and small-town aesthetic, the land was reminiscent of LEGOLAND’s LEGO City area, except with two large roller coasters! The first we experienced was Loopen, of which the best I can say is that it’s short, and only had one truly painful moment. Not bad going for a classic Vekoma looper honestly. The main event here was, of course, Speed Monster. The park’s former headline attraction still dominates its skyline, sending its two 12-person trains flying over the park entrance at regular intervals. The presentation of this coaster is… bizarre. To join the queue, guests enter under a large archway adjacent to the chair-o-plane, snaking around the outside of that ride’s queue, with no defined queue structure, before crossing thin, metal bridges and heading into a simple metal station, adorned with sun-faded signage. It’s all very odd. Not that it really matters, given that the coaster is excellent, if weird for an Intamin Accelerator. With a top speed of 55.9mph, this feels far, far slower than its counterparts, and lacks the punch of their launches. However, the original Norwegian Loop (as you may have guessed from the name) is a delight, offering some good hang, and intense forces between the two halves, before sending the train twisting through the forestry, over a mild airtime hill, and into a final corkscrew. It’s a unique coaster and one I could happily have lapped all day. Despite an audible rattle, the ride experience was also smooth and enjoyable.
Having experienced all the headliners, it was time for a final circuit around Tusenfryd to mop up those last remaining kiddie creds, and hopefully try out a few supporting attractions along the way. We had one final land to explore, one I had no idea existed! Tucked away toward the left of the park map, not far from Dragonville, is, in my opinion, the best theming in the entire park. It’s a Western-themed land! Sure it’s a theme that parks around the world have pulled off to a very high standard, but it’s one that continues to impress me time after time, especially when finished to a standard as high as at this park! The area’s one attraction – a Vekoma junior coaster by the name of Western-Expressen – is tucked away at the end of a small Western town, featuring a Tex-Mex restaurant, themed carnival games, and a gift shop selling on-theme toys. The coaster itself wasn’t particularly memorable, bar an incredibly aggressive brake run, but the area really was fantastic.
However, my final coaster of the day would be memorable, a record-breaker in fact! Well, according to the park at least. Den Aller Minste (The Very Smallest) is an SBF Visa roller coaster featuring no drop, 85.3ft of track, a highest point of 8.2ft, and a top speed of 3.7mph. As such, the park proudly claims that this is the smallest roller coaster in the world. Now, I have no idea if it really is, and I can’t find the stats of a Go Gator anywhere, but in a delightful surprise, adults can ride! Just be prepared to feel shame you’ve never known before. I’m pretty shameless when it comes to getting my kiddie coasters, but being placed in the front row next to a small child whose parents were enthusiastically taking photos was an experience. Anything for a +1 eh?
I really wanted to wrap up the day with a ride on Spin Spider, the Giant Discovery, but the queue had grown quite substantial, and so had my headache, so we opted instead for another very popular ride, the log flume! Thankfully, what appeared to be a very long line moved remarkably quickly thanks to the ride’s dual loading station! The flume ascended the hill, and traveled very close to Storm, offering fantastic views as the ride cycled above us. After this, the boats meandered a while before splashing down the relatively large drop. It was a delightful classic, but not one to trouble my favourite flumes.
Having sailed so close to the coaster, I couldn’t resist ending the day with one final ride on Storm – The Dragon Legend. Mostly, I was curious to see if the ride would have warmed up, and in my opinion, it certainly had! The launches felt snappier, the forces more intense and the airtime more aggressive than earlier in the day. Had my head not been hurting, I would have spent quite some time circling that single-rider line!
My final mission of the day? Grab some merch! This was my first visit to the park after all, and I always like to mark a first visit with some small trinket. Usually a t-shirt, a pin or, the holy grail, a CD. Unfortunately, this was… not easy at Tusenfryd. If I could make one quick change to this park, it would be to add a Big Shop near the entrance. Sure, the park has gift shops, and there is some quite cool merch! Most major attractions have their own t-shirt, which is something I always love to see, but for general park merch? That’s surprisingly hard to find. The shop nearest the entrance featured two t-shirts, both camo prints, one pink, one green. That was it. There were a few cups and mugs, and some pocket money knick-knacks, but that’s all. The Storm merch is quite nice but was just a little dark for me (it all reminded me of Phantasialand’s Schneck!) So, I left empty-handed and a little disappointed.
Have you visited Tusenfryd, or are you planning a trip to ride Storm – The Dragon Legend? Let us know your thoughts across our social media channels!