|Enchanted Forest is a small park built on a hillside outside Turner, Oregon, and accessible from IR-5. It's almost, but not quite, entirely unlike any other park I have ever seen. Entrance is past a tiny little kiosk where I bought my admission ($6.95) and ten attraction tickets ($0.55 each). Attractions are as follows--|
|Haunted House:||3 tickets|
|Ice Mountain Bobsled coaster:||3 tickets|
|Big Timber Mountain Log Ride:||4 tickets|
|Pan for treasure:||1 ticket|
Once suitably entranced, I headed up the hill and came to two steep paths leading off to the left and right. A sign lays down the ground rules (no running, no high heels...it's really steep, have fun, etc.), and another sign says to "start at the castle". Yet another sign points to the left and says, "This way."
At the castle entrance, you pass through a narrow passage where an illuminated manuscript is posted on the wall:
Welcome to the Enchanted Forest
We sincerely hope you will find your visit most enjoyable.
This park will undergo constant change and what you see today is just the beginning.
I began designing & building my dream in 1964, opened to the public in 1974, and am still creating new dreams today with my family.
Thank you for your visit and do come again.
|Apparently the whole park is a figment of Roger Tofte's imagination. Which is apparently fairly extensive. The bulk of the park is a "Storybook Forest" kind of place, with scenes from nursery rhymes and children's literature. Notices are posted relating to difficulties fond in various rhymes. Steps later, we go through the looking glass into Alice's wonderland. Well, there is no looking glass to step through, but there is a rabbit hole to crawl through. The detailing is very interesting, right down to the steel handrails, which are coated so that they look exactly like tree saplings, are even bent in natural-looking ways. On up the hill are the home of the three bears, the cottage where an animated witch tried to get the best of Hansel & Gretel (she loves children, especially with a nice burgundy...), and the little crooked man's crooked little house. There is a self-guided tour through the seven dwarfs' mine, and a visit to the old woman's shoe, which includes a rather large slide.|
It was more or less at this point where I first heard the familiar clanking of a steel roller coaster.
|At the top of the hill is the mining and lumbering town of Tofteville. Shops line the street, and in each shop there are figures and sometimes audio to accompany the scene. So it's effectively a series of dioramas. There are two gift shops in this area, neither of which has much in the way of interesting merchandise. So much for the Ice Mountain Bobsleds T-shirt!|
At this point, the path forked. I went to the right, past a frontier fort, detouring through some kind of indian cave enroute. Finally I found myself standing in front of a snow-capped mountain. I went up the path to a chalet on one side. There I handed in my three tickets and boarded the last car of the Ice Mountain Bobsleds three-car train.
|The train is most unusual. The cars are like log flume boats, complete with the grab rails just below the top edge. But they are on roller coaster wheel sets, and there are proper multi-axis couplers between the cars. Most unusual is the cover over the cars. The cars are totally enclosed, with a rectangular Plexiglass canopy, hinged at the front and latched at the rear. The front panel is perforated with 2" diameter holes to let air through. It is an odd design, but the reason quickly becomes obvious.|
|The train heads up a chainlift and into the top of the mountain. There, shrouded in mist, it winds through an impossibly tight tunnel, so tight that the cars barely fit. Obviously, if the cars were open, people would be losing digits and knuckles to these tunnels!|
|It then drops down the back side of the mountain, arching through a couple of curves and passing a plate-glass window attached to the back side of a building in the English village. From there it's up another chain lift for the final run, which includes a couple of rabbit hops past a towering fountain of water, which, strangely enough, does get you a little wet even though the car is fully enclosed. This is the spot in clear view of the entrance path. A set of brakes sets off the transfer switch, then a lazy sort of 270-degree turn leads back to the station. It's an unusual sort of ride, but it is a lot of fun. A little turbulent, but generally smooth running.|
I had heard very little about the flume ride, and I was trying to decide whether or not to ride. Then I saw one of the boats approach the top of the major drop. Very rapidly. This requires some checking out. Conveyor lifts do not move that fast.
|I did not use one of the available, optional, and very smelly ponchos available in the station. The ride begins with a chain lift and a small drop leading to a building containing an animated sawmill. Some more floating around leads to a second chain lift, and another little drop. It is just after the third...yes, THIRD...lift that something very surprising happens. The boat goes down a bona-fide dry roller coaster drop (complete with up-stop means), then shoots back up another hill, enters another flume channel and comes down the long splashdown drop. Quite a neat ride, and the dry drop gives it something no other flume I've ever seen has...not to mention lots of momentum to carry into the splashdown. It's a fun ride, not terribly wet, but wet enough.|
Instead of going through the Haunted House, I spent my remaining tickets on the Ice Mountain Bobsled, then headed out through the last section of the park. This is the English Village, and like Tofteville this has shops with displays inside, though more elaborate than the ones in Tofteville. Merlin's Magic Shop has a window built like a stained-glass kaleidoscope, and Newton's Gravity Factory has a fascinating Spacewarp-style display, with balls rolling down tracks all over the place. Gepetto's Workshop (hey, I thought he was Italian...) has an upstairs display of puppets. But best of all is the bakery. Inside there is a small theatre, and at the end is a very large pie. A fork is stuck into the pie, and a large blackbird sits on the end of the fork. Twenty-three additional blackbirds pop up on cue from within the pie, each individually animated and singing. Now isn't THAT a special dish fit for a king! Footnote 1
Beyond the village is a hike down a hill beside a plain board fence. I mention this because it is the only plain, ugly board fence in the whole place...the only place where the theming...perhaps 'decoration' is a better word...is incomplete. This path leads to the food service area at the base of the hill where you can get the usual amusement park fare...burgers, fries, hot dogs, nachos, soft drinks, and latte'. Hey, this is the Pacific Northwest, you know...you can't hurl a brick without hitting at least three coffee stands.
The biggest disappointment about the park was that I couldn't find any park T-shirts. The shirts I found in the park were all generic non-park stuff. The park exit is through another small gift shop, again with no shirts. I guess Northwesterners aren't into buying park merch. I bought a souvenir park map, and got on my way. I noticed that the park map is a print of a drawing signed "R. Tofte", a signature which also appears on some sketches of the flume ride, sketches sitting in the windows of a building near the main food service area. I get the impression that Roger Tofte is a really talented artist, and that Enchanted Forest is clearly an example of his best work.
|Ride Name||Manufacturer||Common Name|
|Ice Mountain Bobsleds||Tofte/Argonaut||Roller Coaster|
|Big Timber Mountain||Miler||Coaster Flume|
Next: Thrill-Ville USA, Turner, Oregon
Northwest Coaster Tour '99 index
Trip Reports 1999
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--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Footnote 1: My apologies for the (pocket full of) wry comment...What do you expect for 6p?