Second attempt at this damn my phone!
Well as the title states, I recently took a trip oooop North with @Roodieto visit the famous pleasure beach. Having never been that far up the country in my life I was a tad anxious as I don't go too far from home generally - however, stepping out of my comfort zone was worth it.
The sunset on the drive up was pretty lush so I took a fairly standard photo
We stayed over at The Big Blue Hotel which was really nice and meant that we didn't have to travel in the morning as the pleasure beach is next door - the staff there are really friendly and helped out with a few questions we had.
As it was half term when we visited and was a tad busy we decided to get the VIP speedy passes - unlike Merlin these things are more affordable at £45 - but because we stayed at their hotel we got them half price - definitely worth it as we were only there for one day.
There are some rides not included in the speedy pass - Steeplechase, Skyforce, Wild Mouse (possibly others) and you only get one go on Grand National with it.
We kicked off the day on Blue Flyer which is a cute little coaster and neither myself nor Roodie had ever ridden a woodie before so it was a gentle introduction - although I thought my knee caps were going to smash as its a bit of a squeeze.
After that we headed to their dinky log flume (I forget the name) "yeah that looks tame" - wow I got drenched - a rather sizeable wave decided to pay me a visit as we splashed down so that was nice - thankfully it was hot so I dried off quick
Over the course of the day my ride count was as follows -
This is such an iconic ride at BPB and I was excited about riding it - first go on this thing and my butt was flying off the seat so much which was fun although I randomly began screaming which I have a habit of doing on rides I'm not familiar with - love this ride - the first drop is pretty good and I love the tight turns on it and the whole layout
This one surprised me as I thought it was going to be really tame considering it is in the Nickolodeon land area of the park - apart from a rather noticeable jolt at the top of the lift hill I loved it - the hills, the layout, the fact that embarrassingly I screamed . The seats are so comfy - like mini sofas with a lap bar. Not keen on the colour of the ride but then orange has never been my colour
Well....firstly I was worried about how I would get on the flaming horse (I once got stuck on a horse on a carousel which was awkward). Managed to get my leg over ok then we got strapped in and I'm thinking "hmm what's to stop me falling off" - this was all before the ride even started. And blimey when it started I screamed and continued to do so for pretty much the duration of the ride - every corner we went round the screams got louder- I don't have a great sense of balance and was convinced I was going to come a cropper. The ride itself is pretty cool and I would love to try the other tracks as we only did one ride on it - as we came back into the station I got a few funny looks but was more worried that I'd done my throat damage from my sqwaking.
Prior to visiting, this, along with The Big One were the 2 coasters I was a tad concerned about - The Big One because of the height and Avalanche because - IT HAS NO TRACK! So I'm thinking "well what if this thing rolls over and and my life ends mangled on the floor" - NOT that I overthink things. Stood and watched it for a bit but that annoying laughing man thing (what is that?!!) was beginning to grate so we headed up the exit to ride.
Despite screaming the entire time I actually loved this thing - it's so twisty and actually moves a lot swifter than it looks. My onride photo captured the terror on my face- actually I've never had such a look of fear on a coaster picture before - so I bought it.....
The Big One
Ok so I hate heights - I can't even go on The London Eye because the one and only time I did go on it I had a bad panic attack. I'm only ok with Stealth because I've ridden it so many times but I don't notice the height much on that thing because if you blink you miss it.
I remember when this thing opened and watching a news article on it thinking "noooope" but back then I was a huge wuss.
After taking an anxiety tablet and waiting for it to kick in I decided to just do it - Roodie has a much worse fear if heights than me so I went on my own. Was actually fairly chilled on the lift hill going up though I was in the middle of the train so was focusing on the persons head in front of me - was feeling quite chuffed with myself until it went down the first drop - I screamed and some very fruity language emerged from my mouth. I've watched POVs of this thing but that drop when you are on it is high...and steep. Then I randomly screamed in other places - not because I was scared but because heck that thing is rough! The ride length is decent and the track layout is pretty good but the roughness was a bit much at times. I'm glad I rode it and I would ride it again if I ever go back but after that first drop its a bit anti-climactic. It's crazy to think this thing opened the same year as Nemesis though I shouldn't compare the 2 - I know which one has aged better
This is my ride pic which makes me look like I was chilled...which I wasnt
THIS has to be the worst pain I have ever encountered on a coaster - and I don't mind a bit of roughness (I've ridden Saw 9 times in the space of an hour before).
They should have kept with its original name of Traumatizer because I felt like I had some sort of brain trauma after that experience. We sat at the front and I dread to think how horrific it must be on the back row. From when the ride left the lift hill to when it hit the brake run both myself and Roodie were screaming "owwww" "ouch" with the odd swear word chucked in on particularly horrific moments. I can only describe the experience as akin to having my head repeatedly bashed against a brick wall - in fact, I have had my head smashed against a brick wall and I can honestly say it was more pleasant than this thing.
Ive read about Vekoma SLCs being rough but jeez I didn't think a coaster could be THAT rough. They could really do with having mini air bags at the side of the restraints to cushion people's heads - I might pitch that idea to them.
Its not all bad though - the good points of this coaster are that its a nice shade of blue - I also like the water features surrounding it which, to be fair you don't notice whilst riding because you're too busy having your brain bashed.
Our on ride photo is very deceiving - it almost looks like we are enjoying the experience but when the pic was taken we were both mid-"OWW"
"what sort of cheese was that?"
While queuing for this I was informed that it's mean to be pretty scary - ummm how? It just looks like a very small standard wild mouse - but no - this thing is a wooden wild mouse and the structure wobbles a tad which is fab for putting anxiety at ease! There were kids riding it, couldn't hear much screaming so I wasn't concerned. How wrong was I? As we headed up the lift hill I thought "well this ain't bad" then that quickly changed. I don't think I've ever screamed so much on a ride as that one - I've also never been more terrified on a coaster than wild mouse. Looks are so deceiving with this one - it's a small layout but it's full of very tight turns, drops, air time and (if you're me) seeing your life flash before your eyes. I kept thinking this coaster is old and I genuinely thought the car was going to fly off the tracks.
Where Infusion was the most painful coaster I've ridden, Wild Mouse is certainly the scariest - in terms of not feeling safe (you only have a seatbelt aswell) - of course it's safe but jeez it scared me so much that it is one of only a couple of rides I've done that I don't think I could re-ride. The plus of our ride was the noises coming out of my mouth which got some funny looks and possibly entertained people queuing for all of 2 minutes.
I think IF I ever rode this again I would need a few anxiety tablets as my nerves were shot to bits after. Yeah maybe I'm a wuss!
So upon arriving at Grand National there is a sign that warns that it can be intense. Ok no problem - this is a ride I've wanted to try for a long time. I can handle a bit of roughness.
I wanted to love this ride...but I didn't. Now it may be that we rode it just after the hell that is Infusion so my head hadnt properly recovered and I had one epic headache brewing. We sat at the front and headed up the lift hill - after the first drop that was it - I never thought it possible for my head to rattle quite so much on a ride that just has a lap bar but I felt like a nodding dog in a car doing 120mph.
The layout is good, the fact you are racing the other train is good but it was a bit too much for my head to take.
I would love to ride this again when my head is normal (well normal for me!) because I'm sure my brewing headache didn't help the situation. This is another iconic ride at the pleasure beach and was very popular so I think it needs another chance before I can properly judge it
Thats the coasters covered - The only one we didn't do was Revolution but as it goes backwards that's probably good that we swerved it as I don't do particularly well on things that go the wrong way!
Wallace & Gromit ride I really enjoyed and they sell some interesting items in the gift shop - cheese stick of rock anyone?!
Alice in Wonderland ride was ok for what it is - not something I would personally queue for though.
Derby Racers is adorable and thankfully I didn't get stuck getting off the horse at the end
Skyforce is ok - the indoor queue but was hotter than a sauna though so I wasn't able to pay lots of attention to the instructional video. This thing surprised me because it actually goes higher than it looks - I did managed about 75% of one spin on it but freaked out - also it's hard work trying to manoeuvre so I gave up after a while - it's a nice ride but on really busy days it must be horrific to queue for due to its low throughput.
I saved my fave ride for last - VALHALLA!
I have so much love for Valhalla - we ended up riding it 5 times.
The theming outside the ride is brilliant and I love the fact that you can't see any of the actual ride so you have no idea what to expect (unless you've seen a POV which I hadn't).
Its hard to believe this ride has been at the park since 2000 because it is so impressive and unlike Tidal Wave which opened the same year offers so much more and shows just how good a water ride can be (just to add I've only so far done UK water rides so I'm sure there are better ones elsewhere in the world).
Ive always found water rides fascinating - and back before I conquered my fear of coasters and anything really thrilling, Tidal Wave was my fave ride at Thorpe and I would ride it on my own while my sister went off to go on the coasters.
I know Valhalla and Tidal Wave are very different rides (and I enjoy both) but for me I love Valhalla for the theming, the audio, the length of the ride, the drops - everything. Tidal Wave you go up, you come down and you get drenched which is fab on hot days. Of course Valhalla will get you wet - soaked even (front row left hand side especially) but for the experience it's worth it.
We didn't bother with ponchos as it was a warm day. I was drenched - my feet were soggy but unlike rides like Storm Surge where your feet get crazy wet for what I think is a naff ride (putting it mildly) I didn't mind so much after Valhalla - later on in the evening the waft from my damp trainers was not pretty but that was the only down side.
I love the effects used in the ride - though has anyone noticed that the ice room has a hint of a vinegar aroma about it? 👀
This is our ORP from the 4th of 5 rides we did on it - and where I got the most drenched
Summary (well done if you've got this far!)
The park was bigger than I thought it would be even though the coaster seem to be on top of each other (if that makes sense)
The staff are really friendly as are people up North in general - seriously if some of those people came to where I live they'd think every Southerner is a miserable git.
It was great finally being able to ride some wooden coasters (and face my fear going on The Big One)
Being away from home is hard for me at times with my anxiety but I coped fine with it and next big trip is further away
There are some rides we didn't get the time to go on and other rides I would love to do again. Construction for ICON is coming along nicely and it would be fab to go back when it opens.
All in all a great day - we did Alton Towers the following day as it is en route back home so we took the chance to have a quick snooze on the RMT...as you do
Thanks for reading - this is the first blog entry I've done in ages so apologies if it is waffly - I'm on the caffeine and can't sleep!
Next blog will be in Sept/Oct after visiting Efteling and Phantasialand with @Roodie -I'll try to make the next one less waffly 🤓