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trips and stuv

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Havin a Nice in New york n tha'

Havin a Nice in New York n tha' - Six Flags New England, Lake Compounce & Coney Island   Just come back from spending 2 and a bit weeks in America. Fantastic time to say the least.   Coney Island itself is a bit of a wreck. Picture a depressed, ran down Adventure Island, and then bunch a whole ton of Russian and mob gangsters there, and a touch of history. Voila, you got Coney Island.   The old parachute drop makes a real cool impression from the beach, can be seen all over the island.   Thunderbolt was odd.. I really enjoyed it but have come to learn that's a controversial opinion. The restraints are a bit of a red herring, on the drop you forget the 'ostrs' are just slack seat belts, so I fully thought I was going to fall out as we went over the top.    Cyclone was really good fun. I'd recently shaved my head so I had a few shocked faces when I took my cap off to ride. It's cool seeing a 90 year old coaster run so well, and it had some proper air time to it.   New York is cool. I really like the city, there's so much to see. We went to a place called Do, where they sold cookie dough as if it was ice cream. That was really cool. Also, I recommend going up the rockefeller tower if you're looking to go up a tall tower. We did the freedom tower last time and it's not as good, on the rockefeller you're open to the elements and get the view of the empire state and the rest of the city much more nicely.   Went and crashed at my uncles place for the rest of the time, and he live right near by Lake Compounce, so it'd be rude not to ride boulder dash..   Rode a lot less well then I remembered, disappointingly. Still masses of fun and craziness, but there was absolutely nill air time for me this time. I remember being absolutely thrown out of my seat 3 years ago, but they've changed the trains a fair bit and the rides been retracked I believe, and its left it an a disappointing state compared to previously. That, and I've developed a better stomach for forces now. Maybe I'm immune. That's sad     Those premier off the shelf thingies are fun.   Spent a couple days catching waves on a tube on a nearby lake, and entered on a quest to get diabetes.   Then, to finish off the trip, off to Six Flag New England! I've heard horror stories about these parks, but I really liked it!   Headed straight to Wicked Cyclone. What. a. ride.   Pandemonium was alright I guess, but we quickly skipped over this and thunderbolt and headed to the world renowned Superman!!!...... which...was... an intamin pmbo. First drop, incredible. Thereafter, utterly disappointing. Done this in a vary of seating arrangements throughout the day (the same with boulder dash) and nothing changed. I was actually really disappointed by this. Very little airtime throughout the hills, especially compared to the intensity of Expedition Geforce, it's little sister!   Fed up we headed over to the Joker. One of those icky S&S 4D things, which was actually a barrel of laughs. Really intense, good fun!   Mind Eraser. Now, this is an SLC with the new vekoma restraints, so I gave it a go. Regretted it instantly. Whilst the vests are extremely comfortable and prevent headbanging, I'm fairly sure the lap bar shook the nerves in my thighs so aggressively I'll suffer from some sort of muscle deterioration later in life.   Did my first floorless - Batman. It was alright, very B&My, with a super intense zero G. Other then that it was a bit meh. Only ride with bad ops throughout the whole trip. These Americans are efficient! Grabbed some really expensive lunch, and then went and whored out Wicked cyclone for the rest of the day!   If there's one thing I got from SFNE it's an RMC cred that I am so thankful for. Before riding this I thought the stall looked stupidly awkward, and it makes a few noises that are... unsettling, but it's probably the smoothest, best flowing ride I've ever been on, and it was so, so intense. It has a small height restriction too which made me laugh, because 4 hours after our final ride I was still having blood rushes in my legs.   In the back row you truly get thrown over the drop, and dragged relentlessly through every inversion and air time hill. Soooo intense, so fun, and utterly ridiculous and unparalleled by any other cred I have. I absolutely fell in love with the back row. I'm already gagging to go again.   The upside down, side ways, inside out air time is unique, and brilliant. I urge everyone who can to get to an RMC. I am so eager and excited to try one of those big ones. They look cool.   Thanks for reading, here's a dodge ass video you can watch that I made.   

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Phantasialand - the best THEME park in the world?

Hi one and all, I am just a lurker here really so you probably haven't seen me around before.  I've recently returned from a trip I took to Phantasialand and have alot to share.   It doesn't take much to make an impression to me, and I feel like the impression Phantasialand makes is incomparable.     I hope, that it pretty quickly displays why it's my favourite park in the world.   I'm not one for just concrete and thrills. The immersion this place delivers is un matched by anything I've experienced or seen.   Everything feels so genuine and real.   I'm gonna stop blabbing on and let the pictures do the talking for a bit.          
  The park is breath taking. Unlike my home nations parks which seem to be descending steeply into decline, phantasia is maintained and propelled fantastically, with the recent addition of taron.   The ride itself is very mediocre. The ride has some insane ejector, but that's it.   It is one of the most unique steel's I've ridden, only comparable to woodies for me.   I love Phantasialand because they openly admit they embody their rides into areas. They design the ride with the area in mind, not the other way round.    There's no way the park would work if they worked the same way everyone else does. Their back to front attitude leads to some seriously immersive and breath taking theming.   The reason why I love this park so much is because each area takes you 1000's of miles across the planet within the space of metres, and it does it convincingly too.   This is my favourite theme park in the world, simply because it removes you from just that. It makes you a time & space traveller, like no where else can.   ]
thanks for reading (PS, my photo's don't do it justice. YOU HAVE TO VISIT!)

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Taron

Taron looks like burnt spaghetti.     Taron, the biggest part of Phantasialand's newest development; Klugheim is one of the better coasters I've been on.     The parks biggest and baddest ride has little mercy, and throws you around the majority of the track relentlessly, curving and hopping in ways previously unmatched in steel tracks, comparable to renowned wooden coasters.     The ride is a very generous length, and meanders its way underneath, around, and above the gloriously themed village of Klugheim, which I wouldn't hesitate to call the most immersive themed area I have ever been in.      The detail is uncanny.      The ride is one of the most reridable attractions I have ever experienced.     It's refreshing to ride something that doesn't have any stand out elements. Yes, the track goes over itself loads, but it doesn't have the tallest drop, the most inversions, or groundbreaking technology. Its just a very fun ride, and an engineering master piece.     This isn't my favourite coaster. I'm not going to ride the hyper train here, but it's worth mentioning that the elements this ride features are astounding.     The lap bar is comfy, the lack of fans on the side of the seat give you a lot of freedom, and these mixed with some of the elements the ride throws at you create insane air time, powerful launches, and unique throw out elements that completely ace the likes of blue fire, and many wooden coasters.     This ride won't fade with time. All these record breakers with silly USPs fade. this won't. This is an amazing ride, with superb surroundings and elements that I'm already dying to ride again.        

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Wodan

I'm not gonna drown you with words, or pictures either. I just want to demonstrate how I fell in love with Wodan.   From the entrance, Wodan sits on the far right hand side of the park. you have to walk through most areas to get there, and the pathways there are limited, but stunningly themed, however when you emerge in Iceland you are treated to this gem of a view.     The ride casts an intimidating shadow over the rest of Iceland, and it's thunderous roar is well reserved until you arrive in this area.    It's 2 neighbours, Atlantica Super Splash and Blue Fire dance around the far ends of Wodan, creating some stunning pirouetting like synchronization if you're lucky. (I was not)       Wodan alone is a reason to visit Europa Park. Hel(l), it's queue alone is a reason to visit.         There was a certain, euphoric satisfaction I got from this ride that has only been achieved once before. As an experience, this is entirely complete. It submerges the rider, right from the entrance, in another world. The queue never stopped moving, the ride roared past you regularly building up a sense of enigmatic tension, and the sights you bare witness to in this queue are unmatched by anything I have ever experienced in a theme park.      Wodan is a truly complete ride, with a perfect amount of theming, unique character and intensity. Whilst I feel like Europa as a whole was overhyped during my visit; this ride certainly wasn't. It sits timidly at the back of the park, enticing you in.      And when you do come off of it, you just want to ride it again.   If you want to see more, I made a music video of our trip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9_EaSXENjs  

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Kinder bars give me happiness.

I got back from a trip to Italy ab out 3 weeks ago. Personally, I think the trip could've been better. This was down to several reasons; 1. The people on it were eh 2. The people running it were rubbish 3. We were 20 minutes from Cinecitta world at one point AND WE DIDNT VIST WHY buuuut it's sop picturesque I can't really complain too much Anyway, here's a little collection of pictures and talk through my 5 day trip to Naples and Sorrento and Capri (no sun). Day 1. So we spent most of the day travelling but when we arrived in the evening a group of us (there were 40 people on this trip) decided to have a quick look round Sorrento's centre. There really isn't very much, but you get some nice views and architecture here and there. (this was also a brilliant opportunity for me to get used to my new camera and see what it's like in the dark. The whole trip was basically a chance for me to play with it, as I was given the title 'officially official photographer of the trip guy') You see right across the bay to Naples. Bare in mind it was very very dark, I couldn't even make out Vesuvius with my naked eye, so I sort of jumped when I saw the photo because it was like a ghost mountain. Day 2. Spent most of the day on the Amalfi coast, which is so stereotypiucally Italian you wouldn't believe it. god h8s u lol One thing very visible in Italy is the amount of stray pet animals you see. There were wild hot dog dogs. It was absolutely terrifying. favorite shop of the whole trip tbh One of the Michelangelo's crypt churches. It's pretty cool but unfortunately my lens was too small to take a picture of the entire structure so I had to take the photo through my friends phone XD Day 3. So today we visited Pompeii and Vesuvius. Again my camera's lens wasn't wide enough to take any good photos at the crater of Vesuvius, but yeah the Pompeii photos are alright. It's not very clear from the pictures but it's mentally windy up at the top. It's a weird sensation, your head is absolutely freezing from the wind yet your feet are quite warm from the rocks. There were some pretty fun rock formations at the top to take arty pictures with. Played around with the shadows and focus a lot up here; this one is probably my favourite. After our traditional at every foreign country we go to we have to get a McDonald's at least once meal, we continued into Pompeii, where you're immediately greeted by a bunch of rock people who were caught in the blast, giving you a '15 minutes into Pompeii and chill and he give u dis look' glare. The ruins were pretty cool to run around. I could see a themed area looking amazing with something like this at a big park like Universal, or maybe even Towers? A couple cool facts: Pompeii was purposefully built in the shape of a fish, for strategic reasons. Whilst a lot of it is uncovered, archaeologists still reckon about 1/4 of it is under dirt, however after recent excurvations costed so much and actually caused damage to a lot of the artifacts, the excavations have stopped and the site is now being preserved. Also, the roman building technique of this entire city has a particular name which meant 'whatever' or, 'random', but I can't remember the name of the technique in Italian. But it's the reason for some of the structural collapses, and the reason why any of the buildings are prone to just falling over if they decide to. day 4 We spent the whole day at the island of Capri. Really beautiful place, clearly the inspiration for some of the scenes in How to train your dragon. probably my favourite picture of the trip. I borrowed someone else's lens for this, and oh my it's just so picturesque and look how blue the water is and the rocks are all so cute I want to hug them clear httyd resemblance and from above (with someone elses lens again) 18 people were sick on the boat trip around the island of Capri. I'm proud to say I was not, one of those 18. Stray dogs everywhere! Italy just does have the greatest ice cream. Day 5. The last day on our trip we were given 6 hours of free time to do whatever. Unfortunately from our hotel the nearest theme park was a 2 hour drive away and no one else wanted to give it a go. I didn't take any pictures that day because I wasn't expecting to go anywhere particularly picturesque, but anyway, here's a couple from the evening pizza making thingy we did. After pizza we did some bowling. I broke my all time high score of 27 and got 72! Only those who went to Guildford know how much of an achievement that is for me. Aaaaand then we congo lined all the way home. Oh yes, and kinder bars. I lived off them for the week. You can buy pakcs of 48 for €7 so I was like buying 200 a day. They are great. Just yum. Sorry for long non rolly toasty post, here's an Italian potato.

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Fright Nights smells

[spoilerS AHEAD] Now you may embark on reading this thinking it's going to be a crushing article on how disappointed I was with my first ever attempt at fright night mazes, however, it really isn't. Today, for the first time I braved up enough to actually try the mazes at Thorpe Park. I've been to Fright Nights several times before but have only done 2 mazes once, and that shook my soul, so I wasn't expecting to do any mazes, simply because I was too pussy frightened to do so. The day was spent as any other day would normally be spent at Thorpe. Paige and I doodled about in the morning, took a look at the new maze and a ceremonial wheel spin for the brave it alone goers of the day, and then we met up with some friends. I had no intention at the start of the day to do any of the mazes let alone all of them, but rather play around with my new flashy camera. One of our friends, Alex, was kind and passionate enough to persuade me, and Paige, to try at least one maze. After redoing saw for the first time in what, 4 years (?) I finally saw past the silly little scaredness I had inside and was up for trying the whole lot. We started with Saw alive, apparently a great maze to start off with. The theming was very nice, and as iconic as I remember, I just wish it was slightly better lit. The maze wasn't particularly scary but the costumes in here were probably the best of the evening for me, and the scenes were well executed, however there were no seriously scary bits. The actors are split from you by cages and mesh and none of them attempted to touch me or jump scare me, but rather hiss and bob up to my face then back away. Overall it was a cool experience and reminded me of the dungeons. We then moved on to the big top. I've already heard a lot of mixed reviews about this, and personally, I thought the experience was very odd. The first tent was rather pointless to be honest, I really can't add anything on to that. The second tent I remember being a little more exciting but besides a clown jumping out at you I don't really remember much of that tent at all, simply because again, nothing interesting happened. The out door bit we encountered the ring master, something apparently only a few groups got in the evening (and also a sad lacking of the fortune teller in the beautiful box). The final tent was fun, I loved the finale and I felt it was well executed with the chainsaw echoing throughout the whole tent. The fact the fortune teller in the first tent tells you about it though helped build up the tension but also ruined the surprise. I was disappointed again by the lack of actors in the final tent, there were so many missed opportunities here, but the actors that were there did a fab job... If only there were more! My Bloody Valentine was next, my personal favourite of the night. I have heard again mixed reviews about this one, however overall I thought the actors were all terrific, there was a perfect amount of them too and the fact the group got split up like it did and how well the maze unravlled was great. I just wish there was someone wearing a gas mask in there. Besides that the interaction in this maze was the best and whilst there weren't very many open scenes, the walls had been covered up in immense detail that was highly appreciated! (Finally a maze where they weren't afraid to touch me!) Cabin in the Woods followed, a favourite for the group we were going round with. Overall I thought the actors were good, with the groom being the stand out one. Really creepy to walk into a room and just see his head slowly look up and he maintained eye contact for looooonngg. And then BOOM he jumped at me and he was pretty much the first guy that evening to properly scare me. It was great fun, a shame the control room was out of service along with the forest scene, all the spare actors were stuffed into the final zigzag. I thought the rooms theming was weird but it probably relates to the movie well, I was just very impressed with the impression the groom actor made on me (also the roaming actors in this area were jokes). Finally it was the blair witch. Didn't think much of it, a couple of the actors made me jump a little but nothing overly creepy like in Cabin, and the discreet injections of theming are nice. The cabin bit could have been executed better however overall it was fun. In conclusion I truly can now appreciate Fright Nights. Whilst I may have critiqued a couple things the day couldn't have gone much better; I thoroughly enjoyed all the mazes, especailly My Bloody Valentine and Saw Alive. The theming level in these mazes are great and the character roles the actors play are also really nice, and, to me the whole thing was a very new and different experience. So why does fright nights smell toof? One thing I noticed throughout the evening is that if one thing merlin does 110% every time, it's the immersive smells they have in their attractions. Cabin smelt like freshly cut timber, My bloody valentine smelt like rot and mud, Big Top smelt like circus and Saw smelt like piss, meat, and that irony smell you get when things go static. It's the same with the dungeons, the smells in there are also great. I think this is a nice little touch as although I have only really visited merlin attractions of this type one thing I have always noticed is how the smells really compliment the experience. I truly think it's a great stand point of merlin and it helps you notice the attention they put into projects. If I could take anything away for next time. I'd love to see the big top once more as I've heard 'it can only get better from here' from a number of sources, but also I'd like to try Cabin and find the control room! Sorry for long post, heres a potato

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European vending machines are the best.

I went skiing this week with my Explorer unit. (yay) now, you can stop reading there, or you can continue reading about how everything went. Day 1. I spent 14 hours on a train with 3 of my mates, and 16 13 year olds. It was great, because I just sat there, watched movies, and threw food at them, but also bad because they'd throw it back, continue to ask me questions about the scout leader (who was, my mum. Ergh.) and it was 14 hours, on trains, for 700 miles. Although, in this time, we did pass through several cultural captials, the likes of Burn, Paris and London. I definitely liked the small slice of paris (the walk from Gare du nord to gare Du L'est or whatever) Now, the best thing on the journey was learning about the new vending machines in french and swiss stations. Its utterly fabulous. I went to buy a kinder bar, because, well, I was hungry. And then, when it went to eject the bar, it got stuck. So I was standing at this vending machine, as our train pulled in, thinking 'oh bollocks, I'm about to get yelled at'. Then I pressed the change button, and it gave me all my money back. So not only did I get my money back, I got 2 kinders, for the price of one. My friend looked it up, and it's something to do with lasers in the bottom of the vending machine that sense whether or not an object has fallen. If it hasn't, then you'll get all your money back, rather then running off angrily to the guy in the nearest ticket booth and swearing at them because they are foreign and have no idea whats happened. Absolute logic, and customer satisfaction at 100% We got to Kandersteg at about 9PM local time. The food we were introduced by was one of the greatest mountain dishes to say hi with, and I went to sleep almost immediately.... Day 2 To be woken up by my little brothers dodgey pop music, and slamming my head against the timber pillar above my bed. So the first day we were fully in Switzerland, it snowed about half a foot (which is not that much in the terms of things locally, but made most of us go insane.) We walked up and down for a bit, fell down a 5 ft ledge, and then had lunch looking down at a frozen lake where REAGA (the voluntary search and rescue swiss team) were doing hypothermia training, and it was great fun watching grown men jump into literally frozen waters. this was followed by piste sledging. So normal sledging, you go 5 miles an hour tops on wooden scaffolding on snow that seems like it wants to bury you and glue you and never let you move. Piste sleding uses metal sleds, down flattened and icey slopes, some up to 40 degrees in steepness. Yeah, mental. According to our guide we reached about 35km on these things. Finally, we went curling. We were all rubbish at it and just ended up watching the ice hockey match going on next door. Day 3. WE FINALLY STARTED SKIING YaY. For those of you who don't know, skiing is one of those sports I was actually good at. It's a little boast of a thing I can talk about. My mum skied for England, and I started skiing when I was 6, and from then on skied almost every week until I was 11. Annually we did holidays to France rather then going away in the summer, and I got into the county race team at some point. Anyway, a couple years ago I had a big crash racing and it put me off, so I turned to ski cross, where I since have had many more, and far worse crashes, but couldn't care less. What is ski cross? I hear you mumble. It's like a slalom, where you are given a set amount of gates to go around, but the corners are banked, you are given up to 12 bumps and jumps to ski over, and you race head to head with up to 5 other people. Aaaand I picked up my first injury, skiing into a tree Day 4 We went skiing again..! But to a different place. This one had a really good ski cross, so I was happy. And then it had some nice off piste too, then I twisted my leg a little bit and had to ski 'cautiously' for the rest of the day. IN THE EVENING we had a massive snow ball fight. This was great because it meant I could pour snow down my brothers back and it be deemed okay. But then the ice started getting thrown.... Injury 3! Day 5 OMG more skiing woaw. I hit about 65 km on this day. Which is pretty bloody quick. Also, there were lots of little jumpy bits so that was fun SKI CROSS Evening activity was cooking bananas. I hate bananas, as do one the rest of the explorers who were there, so we had a massive banana fight and then got told off a little. DAY 6 Final Day of skiing. Nooo D: But... SKI CROSS. Here, have a running commentary thingy of me skiing an olyimpic quality one: and we're off! Round the first S bend Round the second and he slips into 2nd place Round the left quarter turn Over the 1st air time hill (they exist out of coasters as well you know) Second & third airtime hills (and into 1st!) Double camelback and finish! The only thing that could've made the day better was if the slalom course was open... and if I didn't tare some muscle in my knee. How? This: That's what happens if you get cocky kids. To finish off the trip, we went night tobogganing. It's super dooper fun, especially when it was as icy as it was: So yeah my leg is in a rubber thing and I have loads of homework to catch up on. If any of you read this, thanks for taking to the time to read something entirely not coaster related. Maybe I'll do one of those things soon.

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