Schwaben Park


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Theme Park:Schwaben-Park (since 1972)
Address:Hofwiesen 11
73667 Kaisersbach
https://www.schwabenpark.de/
Operated by:Fam. Hudelmaier

Raupen ExpressSchwaben Park in the small community of Kaisersbach near Stuttgart is a medium-sized amusement park in Germany. Opened in 1972, the amusement park was known for many years for its chimpanzee shows. Nowadays, the park hosts a solid selection of interesting and exceedingly unusual rides.

 
 
 

Highlights of the Animal and Theme Park

 




Azura

 

Azura

The water fountain show dark ride

 


Force One

 

Force One

The wild family roller coaster

 


 

Wilde Hilde

The not so wild but fun family roller coaster

 


The overambitious theme park

Schwaben Park has its origins in 1972 when the Hudelmaier family’s animal and amusement park opened its doors as Safari Park. The park became famous for its chimpanzee show, which was discontinued in 2017.

To be honest, I never had any desire to visit Schwaben Park. However, since the focus has been shifted more and more to the classic amusement park business and the zoo has been reduced in the same process, things have changed a bit. The park now stands out positively because of its interesting ideas.

Santa Lore

Since almost all the main attractions are in the same corner of the park, we start our walk clockwise. The first ride we come across is the Santa Lore ship swing by Metallbau Emmeln, which – for whatever reason – has its own soundtrack by IMAscore. The ride itself is pretty solid and great fun for the whole family.

Azura

One of the main attractions of the amusement park is located in an old riding hall: the Azura water ride. The combination of the quiet boat ride with a fountain show is convincing all along the line. You wouldn’t expect such a spectacle in a medium-sized amusement park, and yet you can experience it at Schwaben Park. Hats off!

Schwaben Express

One ride I’ve been looking forward to for ages is the Schwaben Express from Gerstlauer. This flat ride has a rather steep hill in the course of the ride, which is travelled at a decent speed both forwards and backwards.

Bobkart

The Bobkart ride in Schwaben Park is a rather short one. As soon as we leave the station, we take the first wave. After a ride through a helix, we speed through a wide left turn. Parallel to the monza track Anno 1950, we race over several waves and a few curve swerves before we enter a helix once more. After a change of direction, we continue spiralling upwards, but then drive directly into the exit area of the ride, where the fun ride unfortunately comes to an end.

Das Sägewerk

Past the Märchenfahrt, which is a leisurely boat ride past numerous fairytale pavilions, as it was at Heide Park, we head straight to the log flume ride Das Sägewerk (The Sawmill). The classic Reverchon ride with its two drops convinces with its elaborate design and a fitting soundtrack.

Raupen Express

Directly opposite is the entrance to the family coaster Raupen Express. The Force Zero from Zierer convinces with its classic Tivoli Coaster layout including this funny little twist. In keeping with the rules, several laps are made one after the other.

Märchenturm

In addition to the abc rides children’s log flume Kroko Splash, the Pferdereitbahn and the dinghy slide Wellenreiter, you can also ride the Twist & Turn Märchenturm in this area. The mixture of a teacup ride and a Ferris wheel is always a guarantee for a good mood in Schwaben Park.

Kreiselkarussell

The Kreiselkarusell is another ride from Gerstlauer that I’ve been looking forward to for ages. The gondolas of the ride are similar to those of the Suppenfahrt in Erlebnispark Tripsdrill, but here they run on a circular track. The rotation of the gondolas creates a real spinning sensation in no time at all.

Verrückte Palme

Directly above the Kreiselkarussell is another family classic that no amusement park should be without these days. The family free fall tower Verrückte Palme convinces with its fun ride programme and the hopscotch included in it.

Wilde Hilde

Passing no less than three scenic rides – the Oldtimerbahn, the Papageienbahn and the Traktorbahn – we now approach the corner mentioned at the beginning, where three highlights of the amusement park are located. The first is the Wilde Hilde. 

This roller coaster from RES runs mainly vertically. To prevent the whole thing from becoming too fast, a large part of the ride is slowed down. The highlight, however, is that the gondolas can swing freely and the transitions to the next level always result in very funny swinging sections. Unfortunately, however, the ride is ultimately a little too repetitive, so that you rarely get to enjoy the chicken cackle of IMAscore à la Popcorn. 

Hummel Brummel

Things are a little different with the Hummel Brummel. Wiegand’s Wie-Flyer is basically a suspended Bobkart track. Passengers decide on their own travel speed as they whiz around the track.

The ride begins quite leisurely in a wide left-hand bend, where we gain a little height. A few bends in the airy heights follow before we make a small turning manoeuvre in a tight right-hand bend. This is followed by several wide left and right turns. Another tight right-hand bend later, we approach the station again.

Unfortunately, the suspended powered coaster Hummel Brummel lacks a bit of speed. If the ride were a little faster and the swing of the gondolas a little greater, the ride would be a lot more fun. As it is, the fun is unfortunately a little limited.

Force One

The biggest roller coaster in Schwaben Park is Force One. This ESC by Zierer offers a thoroughly impressive layout, which is notable for its numerous drops. The ride starts with a shot from a height of 22 metres. After the big drop, we immediately shoot just below the lift, where a big helix awaits us. After a smaller dip, we take another drop parallel to the first. Immediately we race into another helix close to the ground. A short turn just above the lift entrance later, the path leads us over hill and dale before we reach the final brake following several small hills.

Force One is a really cool family coaster with unfortunately not so cool ride characteristics. The ride vibrates, and not too little. Interestingly, this only slightly reduces the repeat factor. After all, Force One is still a good, albeit not perfect, family coaster in the end.

Pictures Schwaben Park

Conclusion Schwaben Park

Schwaben Park is a very solid amusement park with some really good ideas. They try to make the best of the park and that is definitely noticeable. The concepts are good, but some of them are a bit overambitious. However, I think that once the discovery phase is over, a coherent overall concept will emerge at some point. Until then, we can’t wait to see what else Schwaben Park will surprise us with.

 

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Enjoying the Smoky Mountains at Dollywood

Dollywood

Timber Canyon

The Timber Canyon themed area is home to two of the theme park’s largest roller coasters, as well as the small children’s roller coaster Whistle Punk Chaser.

Thunderhead

The largest roller coaster in the Timber Canyon themed area is Thunderhead, a wooden roller coaster built by GCI in 2004.

The ride on Thunderhead starts with a short pre-lift section consisting of a right turn and a small left turn. Shortly afterwards we enter the lift hill which takes us up to the starting height. With the best views over the Wildwood Grove themed area, we then descend in a steep turn. While climbing a hill, we first turn left and then right. We then cross the next valley and immediately climb another hill. A wide right-hand bend takes us over several hills and through the station. We then ride over hill and dale to the other side of the track, where we enter a sweeping helix. After two more turns we reach the final brake of the ride.

Like Troy at Toverland, Thunderhead is a really good wooden coaster. The GCI coaster is a merciless fun machine, especially in the rain, giving the layout an even wilder feel due to the limited visibility. In short, a truly great coaster!

Drop Line

Due to an incident on a similar tower from the same manufacturer, the Drop Line freefall tower was unfortunately closed during my visit.

Mystery Mine

Mystery Mine is one of the first Eurofighter coasters from Gerstlauer. The ride has a very impressive setting and is designed to simulate a ride through an abandoned mine.

The ride on Mystery Mine starts with a small drop out of the station. The ride then goes up to the first vertical lift. Interestingly, the ride doesn’t go straight down, but through a series of small drops. Where before there was a big drop followed by an Immelmann turn, now there is a left turn. This is followed by a fairly steep descent and the steep bend that leads to the block brake. After a Bayernkurve we return to the building where we enter the second vertical lift. At the top, we narrowly avoid an explosion by plunging into an overhanging and twisting drop. Back in daylight, we ride through a 1. 5-fold roll and finally into the final half loop. Shortly after we reach the brakes.

Mystery Mine is an interesting mix of roller coaster and dark ride. All the turns are extremely tight and make full use of the Eurofighter car’s capabilities, to the regret of the passengers, as the ride characteristics are not the best on this ride. However, the high-speed finale of the ride makes up for all the effort. All in all, a fun rollercoaster.

Wildwood Grove

Wildwood Grove is a very nice themed area. In addition to the large suspended family coaster Dragonflier, there is the ship swing Giant Tree Swing and the flying scooter Mad Mockingbird, where you can control your own flight. 

Dragonflier

When the Orkanen roller coaster opened at Fårup Sommerland in Denmark, it was met with great amazement. The layout, which was specially designed for the park, was built on a lake and dives into a tunnel immediately after the first drop, while the rest of the track runs largely at ground level over the lake. When Dollywood then built a ride with the same layout, a tunnel was also included. After the first drop, the track leads us very smoothly through an overbanked turn and over a small speed bump into a wide helix. We immediately cross the station building to land in another helix on the other side. A compact right-hand bend leads us into a small depression. After another bend, we enter the station building and our very entertaining ride unfortunately comes to an end.

Wilderness Pass

FireChaser Express

Firefighters are considered heroes in America. So it’s no surprise that Herschend Family Entertainment’s two major theme parks have a roller coaster and even an entire themed area dedicated to them. Dollywood is home to the FireChaser Express family roller coaster.

The ride on the FireChaser Express begins with a launch out of the station. After two sweeping turns, we reach the coaster’s lift hill. Once at the top, the track first takes us through a right turn and a dip. After a left turn, there is a larger drop, which then turns into a steep turn. We then go over two hills at some speed. We then cross another dip and climb a slope.  After passing a block brake, the track takes us through another left-hand bend, which again drops off quite steeply. Now it’s over hill and dale to the other side of the track. After a fun ride around a bend, we ride over a switch to the next block brake. Here we are treated to a little show. As the fireworks go off, we back out of the area, then ride over a short hill and through a Bayernkurve. After a steep descent we reach the final braking section. Shortly afterwards we reverse into the station.

FireChaser Express is the perfect family rollercoaster. The impressive height and the great location in the park make the ride even more interesting and the backwards final is a real highlight.

Wild Eagle

One of the most impressive roller coasters at Dollywood is the B&M Wing Coaster Wild Eagle. The ride looks even more impressive from a distance thanks to the track layout on a mountain ridge. But before the ride begins, passengers can expect a Dolly Parton song on a loop and really bad jokes from the staff.

After a left turn we reach the lift hill. Once at the top, the descent is unusually straight for this type of coaster. After a steep descent we enter a huge loop. A short left turn then leads us into a zero-G roll. With a lot of momentum we enter the classic Immelmann and then a long corkscrew. Finally, the ride takes us over an airtime hill into the double helix finale of the ride, before coming to a stop in the coaster’s braking section.

The Wild Eagle Wing Coaster is particularly impressive due to its breathtaking location. The layout has some great elements, but at the end it seems a little too long due to the double helix finale. All in all, Wild Eagle is a very solid coaster.

Craftman’s Valley

Craftman’s Valley is the most beautiful part of Dollywood. As in its sister park Silver Dollar CIty, numerous artisans showcase their skills in this area. In addition to many already manufactured goods, you can also buy individual products and watch them being made.

Tennessee Tornado

Tennessee Tornado is Arrow’s latest looping coaster. It is also the only looping coaster from the manufacturer that was developed with a different design philosophy – so there are no copy & paste elements like on their previous rides.

After a ride through the coaster’s maintenance hall, we immediately climb the coaster’s lift hill. Once at the top, we enter a very tight turn before plunging down into a large tunnel. Back in daylight, we immediately enter an oversized loop that is slightly tilted to one side. After a steep turn we enter the second, more classic loop. Finally there is a quick change of direction in a sidewinder. Our path then takes us through a very sweeping turn, before the final climb towards the brakes. The transition is very abrupt, which makes for some great airtime, especially in the front of the train.

Tennessee Tornado is a really nice looping coaster with unusually sized loops. While the airtime is very pronounced as you enter the braking section at the front of the train, the drop at the back of the train is much more of a pull. All in all, a great ride!

Blazing Fury

The Blazing Fury indoor roller coaster is based on the Fire in the Hole dark ride from its sister park Silver Dollar CIty. Passing various scenes, the ride continues uphill in a large oval. We watch as the residents try to extinguish their village before we cross a collapsing bridge, giving the ride a rollercoaster feel. A second descent follows when we have to dodge an oncoming train. Shouting “Fire in the Hole”, we crash into a dynamite store, which fortunately can be extinguished. Shortly afterwards, the train slows down and the lovely dark ride comes to an end.

Daredevil Falls

The Daredevil Falls log flume is a beautifully slatted super flume by O.D. Hopkins. The ride has a single drop with additional water fountains that set the scene nicely. However, you won’t get particularly wet on the ride.

Owens Farm

Owens Farm is home to the big Barnstormer Swing. Made by S&S, the Screamin’ Swing is one of the most beautiful flat rides in the park and offers a terrific ride.

The Village and Country Fair

The Village and Country Fair themed areas are located close to each other. Most of the theme park’s family attractions are located in these areas, including the Waltzing Swinger wave swinger, the Lemon Twist tea cups ride and the Aviator Sky Rider, where you can control the flight of your own car. The main attraction in this area is the film Heartsong, which is shown in the Heartsong Theatre and features a flight over the Smoky Mountains and several scenes with the young Dolly Parton. Basically, Dolly hasn’t changed in all these years, but the film technology has, which is why the film looks a bit old-fashioned today despite the many special effects. The fantastic flying scene at the beginning of the film would really come into its own in a flying theatre – an attraction that unfortunately does not yet exist here in Dollywood. In any case, you shouldn’t miss a visit to the Heartsong Theatre.

Dollywood Express

The Dollywood Express takes us on a longer tour of the park. Unlike the train ride at its sister park, Silver Dollar City, the train does not stop for a comedy show in which the train is robbed. However, the views of the park and the Smoky Mountains are well worth the ride.

Rivertown Junction

The Rivertown Junction themed area is home to the Smoky Mountain River Rampage rapids ride. Here you go through a neatly designed canal with all kinds of obstacles. Fortunately, the ride wasn’t too wet on the day I visited, as the water here was quite cold.

Jukebox Junction

The Jukebox Junction themed area takes you back to the 1950s. In addition to the main attraction Lightning Rod, you can also take a ride on the beautifully designed vintage car ride Rockin’ Roadway.

Lightning Rod

Like Silver Dollar City, Dollywood is home to one of RMC’s masterpieces. As the first wooden coaster with a launch, Lightning Rod takes its passengers up the mountain and then back down over a series of wild elements.

Even before I could take my first ride on Lightning Rod, the ride came down for several minutes. While waiting, I struck up a conversation with another rollercoaster fan, with whom I quickly became friends. As a big fan of the Kangaroo Chronicles, I was delighted to meet a variety artist who travels around America’s stages as Showtime Steve. In this sense, I am the kangaroo. His act of balancing two ladders on his chin is pretty crazy.

After a bend, we immediately enter the launch section of the track, which takes us up the hill quite quickly. However, the following crest is crossed at a more leisurely pace. After another hill, we start to descend relentlessly. We then shoot up a hill, where we experience the greatest airtime when tilted 90° to the side. Following the terrain, we then enter a wide right-hand turn, at the top of which we briefly turn in the opposite direction. Back in the valley, the track climbs up over several hills. This is followed by the quadruple down, visible from the park, where we find our way back into the valley over four airtime hills and are mercilessly lifted out of our seats. Finally, we climb a steep turn. After another descent we finally reach the braking section of the coaster.

The Lightning Rod is a world class ride. The launch up the hill is pretty awesome. The rest of the layout is also very impressive and fits perfectly into the topography. The quadruple drop towards the end of the ride is awesome. Unfortunately the last turn ends with a drop that is a bit too high.

Pictures Dollywood

Conclusion Dollywood

Like Silver Dollar City, Dollywood is an amusement park that is second to none. What Dolly Parton has created together with Herschend Family Entertainment since 1986 is impressive. The park has its very own charm, which is not only due to its location in the Smoky Mountains, the great atmosphere and the remarkable attractions, but above all to the people who work here. You simply feel at home. I for one can hardly wait to go back to the Smoky Mountains.


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