Monday, 1 September 2014

Enchanted Kingdom

Located around an hour south of Portland beside the I-5 highway is Enchanted Forest a small family run park tucked away on a forested hillside that has been around since the 70s.

Starting off with a $2,000 loan Roger Tofte started building the park as a hobby and in true "Field of Dreams" style having built it the people came. Now its run by the 2nd generation of Toftes, although pops does still get involved.

The first impression is that everything is home made, which wasn't a criticism. It shows a genuine passion for the park

Humpty Dumpty did have a great fall. It was legitimately damaged just days before our visit having been in place since 1968. The attraction was now work in progress as Humpty 2.0 was put in place.

The fairytale part of the park retells the stories of Grimm and Alice in Wonderland, and stuff like that.

The seven dwarves attraction has alternative names, I guess to avoid any risk of a major theme park corporation from suing. Some further research revealed that the original Grimm names of the dwarves were Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick and Quee. I do like Dingy and Lumpy though :) 

This led to an interesting discussion as to what the plural of "dwarf" is.

"Dwarfs" is the general plural noun.
"Dwarves" was introduced by "Lord of the Ring" author JRR Tolkein. 
So I guess this is a way to test for geekiness.

The whole feeling around this bit of the park was that it was all sweet, charming and given the kids reaction, definitely magical. The park does have "Enchanted" in its name, clearly no challenge in that choice of word.

Is it a rabbit or a duck?

Wabbit? Duck?

This was a pretty cool attraction. This isn't part of the fairy tale kingdom, we were now in the Western part of the park.

Time for a coaster, and this was one I didn't know too much about but that Tal was really looking forward to riding. Seeing the ride in action I can understand why. It was clearly another one of Mr Tofte's home made projects. 

Locked in a little perspex box on rails looks scary but its fair to say the ride isn't scary but is a lot of fun. With a lot of the ride hidden out of sight in amongst the trees and that section being pretty wild in terms of speed, closeness to everything and being just wild enough to elicit laughter not screams the park really does have something special with this ride.

The end of the ride goes over another part of the park, that pathway leads to the second coaster.

"That's not a coaster, that's a log flume" you say and yes you'd be right but it does have some coaster track before the final drop so it does count.

Tal wimps out by donning a poncho - I turned it down and got pretty wet but on a nice hot day like this I dried out pretty quickly. One nice touch from this park is that they have free ponchos. You just pick one up as you board and leave it over the handrail when you're done for someone else to use. Putting fun before profits - nice job Tofte clan!

There's something scary in amongst the woods and it's not my travel chums...although Christof does look a little bit sinister here.

The park's haunted house is a pretty lengthy walk-through attraction. The chap running this ride was a really nice guy who seemed really pleased to be working at a park he visited a lot as a youngster. 

I wonder if seems bigger to the kids?

"Challenge of Mondor" is a bought-in shooting dark-ride that was also a lot of fun. The trains don't run on rails so move more randomly and spin on the spot, stuff you can't usually do. The shooting was accurate and there was plenty to aim for - perfect ingredients for this sort of attraction...and I got top score on our car!

We decided to have some more goes on the Bobsled car. The train design would make it a bit difficult to get a large group through should an ERS happen but its definitely a coaster to visit.

Hard not to like this place...

Exploring the many buildings and you come across so much random stuff such as this puppet museum. Oh, in the fairy tale section of the park they even have a tunnel that grown ups can't fit into and kids are encouraged to enter. It's also pretty long and a kid could easily get stuck, but none of them did. 

We finished our visit watching the park's fountain show. Whilst The Bellagio has nothing to worry about, it's still pretty cool.

I really really enjoyed this park. There is so much love put into the park that it's hard not to like it. Yes, Disney may have money and make everything look amazing but when it comes to kids imagination you can still make things magical with a miniscule budget. Everyone in this park was having so much fun and the staff were really friendly and genuinely enjoyed working here.

If you had to choose one park to visit in this Pacific North-West area, I'd choose this one.

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