7th August 2023 (Flamingo Land)
Hi guys. Today, I visited a new theme park that I’d never previously visited before; I visited Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire for the first time! This visit was a present from my parents for my 20th birthday last week, and I was interested to see what the park had to offer; prior to today, Flamingo Land was probably the most major UK park I was yet to visit, and Sik was probably the most revered UK coaster I was yet to ride!
We’d actually made the 4.5 hour journey to North Yorkshire yesterday afternoon, so as we’d stayed in a local hotel only around 5 miles away the night before, we set off for the park at around 9:20am to get in just after the 9:30am park opening time:
After getting into the park, we headed to the back of the park to ride our first coaster…
Mumbo Jumbo was a coaster that I’d been advised to tackle first due to low capacity, so me and my mum decided to give it a go (my dad steered clear as he thought that the tight-looking turns might not do his back much good). There was pretty much no one in front of us waiting for the 10am ride opening time, which was definitely a good thing given that we saw a sign while negotiating the queue indicating that two switchbacks into the queue took an estimated 60 minutes to navigate, which definitely shocked my mum a bit… but how was the ride? Well, I’d never ridden an S&S El Loco before (or an S&S coaster, for that matter), so I was interested to try Mumbo Jumbo, but I’m afraid to say that neither of us were huge fans of it. I’ll admit that it’s a novel ride with the repeated slow hangtime, and a beyond vertical drop is always good fun, but I really wasn’t a fan of the shoulder bars on there. When the shoulder bars were combined with the repeated slow hangtime and tight wild mouse-style turns, I didn’t find it a terribly enjoyable experience, I’m afraid, and my mum seemed to echo my thoughts:
After Mumbo Jumbo, we decided to try the coaster directly next to it…
Kumali had a relatively short-looking queue, so we decided to give it a go while we were nearby. This queue was short, and only took about 10 minutes or so; I couldn’t complain too much about that! But how was the ride? Well, I had pretty low expectations given that my least favourite coaster was Infusion, a fellow SLC at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, but it was actually OK! I was seated in row 9, and it was a bit rough in places, which did detract to an extent, but it was not nearly as bad as Infusion, and the ride had some pretty decent inversions and was well-paced and reasonably intense without being excessively so! Overall, I still wouldn’t have said that Kumali was one of my absolute favourite coasters, but it was a perfectly all right ride that was only somewhat rough, unlike the very rough Infusion, and had some decent elements, so I couldn’t really complain too much:
After Kumali, we headed towards Metropolis to ride a unique and highly notorious ride…
Hero didn’t look to have an overly long queue, so me and my mum decided to give it a go (this was another one my dad steered clear of). When we entered the queue, it became apparent that this not overly long queue could be longer than we’d previously thought, as I’d logged a throughput of 167pph, and it ultimately took 35 minutes. But how was the ride? Did Hero live up to its notorious reputation? Well, I have to say… yes, it did. It’s certainly a novel ride, but it wasn’t one I was keen on at all. The car and position are very weird; I’m not a huge lover of flying coasters at the best of times, and this car was extremely uncomfortable with the stepladder and how unrestrained you were, and it was very, very rough throughout for me, throwing you around a lot. I’m sorry to be negative, but I didn’t like Hero at all, and I’m very tempted to say that it’s usurped Infusion as my least favourite coaster:
After getting off Hero, we got some ice cream before heading to our next coaster…
Velocity was another coaster we were interested to do, so we decided to give it a go. Like numerous coasters at this park, I hadn’t really done anything quite like Velocity before; my closest comparison would have been Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal (which I loved!), and even that is a very chalk-and-cheese comparison given that Hagrid’s has a normal seat and is on a vastly grander scale. The queue here took around 30 minutes, which I didn’t think was too bad at all, personally! So, how was the ride? Well, I thought that it had a fun layout, with a few nice pops of airtime, a punchy launch and some nice fast-paced turns! However, I did find the actual motorbike position a bit odd and uncomfortable compared to a ride like Hagrid’s, what with how it has you riding so that all your weight is placed on your chest, and that was a big detractor for me. Overall, I thought that Velocity had a fun layout, but I wouldn’t have said that it was one of my favourite coasters due to the discomfort of the riding position being a fair detractor for me:
After getting off Velocity, we headed around to the final big coaster that we hadn’t done yet, as well as our most anticipated…
Sik was on an advertised 30 minute queue time, so we decided to take a ride on it. The advertised queue time ended up being pretty accurate, so we couldn’t complain too much! But how was the ride? Was Sik… sick, as its name suggests? Well, I was personally intrigued to see how Sik rode, as I’ve never liked Colossus, but I’ve always felt that my biggest issues with that ride were the trains and the roughness, which were both issues that Sik looked to have solved. I have to say that I thought it was great; it was a thoroughly decent coaster, in my view, and the comfort of the overhead lap bars make a big difference! I also really liked the altered first drop, with the steep turn to the left being a definite enhancement compared to the original Colossus’ drop, in my view! The first half was much the same as Colossus elements-wise, and I’ve always felt that this is a pretty good first half; it works really well here. I’m still not 100% sure on the second half with the successive heartline rolls, as they are definitely a bit dizzying, but I’ll concede that the overhead lap bars do make them more comfortable than they are on Colossus. Overall, then, I thought Sik was a really decent coaster, with the lap bars and altered profiling being a definite game changer; it definitely lived up to my expectations, and I definitely enjoyed it! It’s not a top 10 coaster for me or anything, or one of my absolute favourite UK coasters, but that style of ride doesn’t tend to rank phenomenally highly for me anyway and I’ve never liked Colossus, so I wasn’t really expecting that to begin with. On its own merit, I thought Sik was a very good coaster that I definitely enjoyed overall, and my dad, who’d never ridden Colossus before due to being too tall for the restraints, thought pretty highly of the ride:
After our ride on Sik, we got some lunch in the Muddy Duck Cafe before heading to look around the zoo for a bit. We initially decided to head onto…
The Zoo Monorail was nearby and looked to have a short queue, so we decided to give it a go to get a panoramic view of the zoo and its animals. We hadn’t been in the queue very long, and had only narrowly missed the first and second monorail trains that went after we joined the queue, but we’d noticed that the first train had come to a stop not very far after the station, and the operator later noticed, abruptly stopped the second train, and told us that “the battery’s gone flat”. As such, we left the queue; I think we made the right choice given that everyone else left shortly afterwards, with even the operator swiftly abandoning the scene:
After our ill-fated attempt at riding the Zoo Monorail, we headed around the zoo on foot for about an hour, looking at animals such as lemurs, the park’s namesake flamingos, kangaroos, wallabies, penguins, black rhinos, zebras, camels and giraffes, amongst numerous others. The animals seemed a bit inactive and not too keen to come out, likely due to the current British summer we’re having, but it was nice to walk around the zoo nonetheless. It looked like quite a nice zoo, and it was fairly big; have a few pictures I took:
After leaving the zoo, we initially headed to try and do Twistosaurus, as I had thought that this and Zooom! might be two nice bonus family coaster +1s that didn’t look like embarrassing bonafide kiddie coasters (Runaway Mine Train, Dino Roller and Go Gator were all conclusively ruled out beforehand on this basis). We did get in the queue briefly, but it was quite long, the throughput didn’t look overly high, and my parents were put off after seeing a particularly spinny car containing a very perturbed-looking woman going around for a second lap… I ultimately decided that I wasn’t that bothered about doing Twistosaurus or Zooom!, so we decided to leave that queue:
After we bailed on Twistosaurus, my parents decided that they didn’t fancy riding anything else, so they headed around the zoo while I headed for some rerides.
I started off with a reride on Kumali. I was seated in row 9 once again (I’d initially gone to sit in row 7, but row 9 was empty, the operator later noticed this and moved me up, and the lady I had been batched next to said “let’s go to the back; it’s faster!”), and it was similar to how it had been earlier, with possibly a touch of additional speed from having warmed up:
I then headed for a reride on Sik using the single rider queue, which was very useful as I pretty much walked straight on there! I was seated in row 2 this time, and as with earlier, it was a thoroughly decent coaster that I really enjoyed, although I think I preferred it towards the back of the train:
After my reride on Sik, I went for a reride on Velocity. I was seated in row 2 this time, and it was similar to earlier, although I think I found it a touch more uncomfortable:
After my reride on Velocity, I headed to try out a ride I hadn’t done yet…
Pterodactyl appeared to have a relatively short queue, so I decided to give it a go. I was interested to try Pterodactyl, as even though I’m not generally huge on flat rides, I’d never ridden a Star Flyer-style ride before. As with a number of rides at Flamingo Land, the “relatively short queue” was longer than expected, ultimately taking around 40 minutes, and I ended up not getting on Pterodactyl. I nearly did, as I was initially batched into a cycle that went as usual, but the operator realised they’d overbatched without considering exit riders and abruptly ushered me back into the queue. The cycle that I was then batched into looked promising, as I fastened my restraint and the operator went into their booth as normal to send it with no sign that anything was wrong, but they abruptly came back out and said “Ride’s broken, get off!”, so I was ultimately unable to ride Pterodactyl:
After my ill-fated attempt to ride Pterodactyl, I went for one final single rider queue reride on Sik. I was seated in row 7 this time, and it was once again a very good ride:
After my final Sik reride, I headed back towards the Muddy Duck Farm to meet back up with my parents. It was about 5pm by this point, so we decided to bid Flamingo Land goodbye and head back to our hotel:
So, that just about covers my first ever visit to Flamingo Land in Yorkshire! I had a nice day; I was really pleased to get 9 rides in, I got on many of the things I’d hoped to get on, including all 5 big thrill coasters, and overall, I really enjoyed visiting somewhere different! There really is no feeling quite like going to a new park for the first time, and I had a really nice day discovering all that Flamingo Land has to offer!
In terms of the park itself; sure, it’s not the greatest theme park I’ve ever been to, but I don’t think the park deserves some of the hate it gets, personally, and I certainly had an enjoyable day. The operations are slow (some of the slowest I’ve ever personally encountered), and the park is not the most cohesively themed in numerous areas (although I thought that some others were reasonably nicely themed), but overall, I think it’s a nice enough park that I certainly had a nice day at, and I do think that there is something to be said for the breadth of the park’s offering and the relative strength of its coaster selection for a park of its calibre. Sik is a very decent headliner, and while I wouldn’t have said that I rated any of the other coasters overly highly (I’d probably say that only Kumali makes my top 50% out of the other 4), they are certainly novel experiences that add good variety to the lineup and help to flesh it out. There are also quite a few other rides that I didn't do; for instance, Cliff Hanger was unfortunately closed today, but had I done it, I imagine that that would have been a really decent headline flat ride for me (I love a good drop tower!). The zoo was also nice and surprisingly expansive, and overall, I had a nice day at Flamingo Land! You can talk about the operations and such, but given what I got on, I don’t think I can really complain; the longest queue I waited in all day was 40 minutes, and I managed 9 rides in 7 hours, which I was pleased with!
Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed this report! My next report will probably be from Thorpe Park at some point in early September!