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Everything posted by JoshC.

  1. An article in The Sun (sorry) suggests that there will be multiple routes / groups split up in Creek Freak Massacre:
  2. They definitely get more than that. They've hit 1m every year since the early 2000s (maybe even late 90s; not sure off the top of my head). 2010/11 they hit above 2m. Since then, they've probably varied between 1.5-1.8m people a year, and it's slowly been going down. The trouble with published attendance figures (like the TEA Attendance Report) is that parks and companies don't want to reveal when they're doing badly if they can avoid it. So they'll fudge their numbers to avoid that, which can make them inaccurate. The Merlin parks in particular regularly have their numbers fudged.
  3. JoshC.

    Linnanmäki Trip Report

    I know you're joking, but don't expect them to ever RMC their woodie. It's part of the park's history, is well loved and clearly looked after very well. I got free entry to SeaLife thanks to some free tickets. Otherwise it was about €14 with a Linnanmäki wristband or €18 without.
  4. Weird funky layout, but lol at that claim.
  5. Official video.. -206ft tall (second tallest in world) -91 degree drop -76mph (fastest in world)
  6. JoshC.

    Linnanmäki Trip Report

    In the park, food and drink prices was on the steeper side. Bottle of drink was around €3.50, a meal would cost around €10-15 and snacks between €2-5. In Helsinki, things were a bit steeper than I was prepared for. For example, a footlong Subway meal (quite close to the park, so outside the main city centre) cost over €10. Ouch!
  7. I remember doing a bit of digging into this. The queue was literally designed to pack as much queueing space as possible into as little space as possible. Acknowledging this, Thorpe put in the two photo points (group photo against the screen and head in a jar) as a way of making the queue more fun. Instead, people were literally queueing for these photo points, and one of them (head in a jar) never really worked out. And, most importantly, they weren't actually that enjoyable, meaning we're left with the lump of the queue. For 2017, they redesigned the queue slightly (to include the two batching areas rather than one), and followed the same principle of putting as much queue in as little space, leaving us with the messy queue we have at the start now. There was a fair bit of theme park experience within Merlin when they acquired the parks I think. But for all the people that did have that experience, there's no doubt just as many who had none. From my experience, there's a lot of senior people within Merlin who specialise in a more general setting of visitor attractions. The theme park side of things is sort of secondary, and this comes through in the company's focus and investment strategy. This then causes issues when people who have that more general visitor attraction experience have to focus on theme parks (or move across to them specifically), as the strategies and focuses required are completely different, and most don't have a clue. Another trend that's happening is, because Merlin focus more on their midways than their RTPs, some of the best middle managers / senior staff at the parks move over the midways for more opportunities / to progress further. In the long run, it can harm the park, as there's not enough people wanting to stay in the long term within the parks. This is how the park ended up with Timber Tug Boat and Lumber Jump. Managers at the park acknowledged they needed kids rides, but also knew they couldn't get the funds as they wouldn't get the ROI. Since SeaLife Weymouth were getting rid of those rides, Thorpe picked them up for nothing, had engineers install and commission them when free and taddah. No money spent = no need for a ROI = no risk.
  8. Finland had never exactly been on my radar; it was more somewhere that I thought "it'd be nice to go there one day", as opposed to a "I'll go there in a few years". Then, Taiga happened, and all of a sudden, my interest popped up dramatically. And so Linnanmäki happened this weekend. I looked at trying to combine the trip with other Finnish parks (like Power Park and Särkänniemi), but given how widespread they are, Finland being the 8th most expensive European country, and time being limited, I had to settle for just the one park. The park was open 1pm-midnight, with it also being the first day of their Halloween event Iik!Week (weirdly, Finnish parks seem to do Halloween events in September, and it was very much a coincidence we ended up going to that too). On a Saturday like this, the park would normally be open 1-10pm, so still very good opening hours. The park is completely free to enter (not even a turnstile in sight), and a wristband for unlimited rides and attractions costs a slightly eye-watering €42. There's options to by 'tickets' for individual rides, priced at the even more eye-watering price of €9, or a 'bundle' of 6 tickets for...€42. Weird system but okay. Taiga I've covered most of my thoughts on Taiga here, but just to sum it up for completeness here too: Taiga is absolutely brilliant. It starts off the day well, and when it warms up, it's a relentless beast. Twists that throw you out of your seat, crazy airtime, ongoing speed. It's stunning. Just sheer brilliance, and POVs don't do the ride justice in any way. The ride has okay operations, with staff asking every single person as they check bars if their pockets are empty and, if not, making them empty them. A small thing, but annoying. Vuoristorata Finnish for 'Roller Coaster', this is a wooden coaster that's been going since 1951, and is a traditional brakeman wooden, with the brakeman at the back of the train. Also is heavily inspired by Bakken's woodie apparently. This is genuinely an utter joy. From the hilariously quick lift hill, to the fun drops and double downs and the pace it manages to keep, it's actually really fun. And at the front of the train, you get some VERY strong airtime. Between this and Taiga, it's a wonder I didn't end up with bruised thighs after this trip. We rode it 8 times during the day, which I think speaks volumes about the quality of this. Kirnu The first ever Intamin Zac Spin. Not a phrase that fills you with joy. I wasn't sure how I'd react to this, and ultimately I didn't enjoy it. The spinning is okay until the end, when it does it's only flip but drops you down head first. The rest of the ride is okay, but still not great. I hate to think what longer versions of this are like. In fairness, we did it twice, so it can't have been THAT awful, but it is significantly less pleasant when you board the station in the backwards facing seats. It's sad to think about how there are such contrasting Intamins in such close proximity. Staff were very insistent on balancing the cars too, which took some time, and we even saw some staff members having to ride it to ensure this balance happened. Those poor souls. Ukko Oh dear. This thing. My first Maurer Sky Loop, and this definitely is up there with one of the most awful experiences I've had on any ride. Whoever thought that a vertical lift hill going back on itself and hanging you upside down was a good idea must have been a bloody sadist. We were sat near the front, which meant we had dreadful hangtime, and it was genuinely one of the most uncomfortable experiences I've had, along with the bad restraints of a Maurer too. Then you do an inversion, seesaw and get off, questioning your life choices. Tulireki The world's only standing Mack E-Motion coaster. What's an E-Motion coaster, I hear you ask? It's basically a coaster where the cars are meant to 'tilt' as you go round corners, thanks to some springs and stuff in the cars. You notice this as you board the cars, as they bounce around a bit. But after that, you hardly notice it at all. Except for the fact that this coaster is uncomfortable, bordering on rough. There's a drop where you literally shunt and jerk back and forth, and I slammed my back pretty hard. Another not pleasant one. There's a couple of other coasters: Salama, a Maurer spinner that doesn't really spin, Pikajuna, a Mack powered coaster which, though not bad, has a long layout and goes round 3 times, making it boring, and Linnunrata eXtra, a custom Zierer built inside an old water tower. Linnunrata has optional VR goggles: I tried them on my first ride, selecting the horror versions (they had 3 choices). It was okay, nothing special, suffers from the same problems all other VR coaster have I guess, but since you don't have headphones, the atmosphere is hurt due to the lack of sound. Without the VR, there's some pretty cool space theming throughout the ride, and it's much nicer than the VR. Would recommend no VR. Outside of the coasters, the park has some really decent rides: Kyöpelinvuoren Hotelli, a very well done ghost train with lots of special effects and surprises, Hurjakuru, a rapids ride featuring some scary waterfalls, an ever-flowing sprinkler tower with fire effects, and a generally decent layout and Kingi, a 75m tall gyro drop tower, which gives good views of the park and Helsinki. (their Enterprise and Ferris Wheel align beautifully at night!) But what about Iik!Week? It was impossible to know what to expect from the event; finding information and reviews online was difficult, and they seem to change everything each year. This year, the event included: -2 Halloween exclusive mazes, rated 13+ -1 Halloween exclusive maze, for families/all -2 overlays of existing attractions, rated 13+ -An outdoor attraction, which was basically a walkway, rated 13+ -A zombie disco outdoor area; with live DJ, bar and actors, rated 18+ -The area where most of the attractions are transformed into a scare zone, again rated 13+ All attractions started at 4pm, except the Zombie Disco which started at 6pm. Despite the park being quite small, this did lead to a 'Thorpe effect' where only a section of the park felt like Halloween, and the rest of the park feeling pretty normal. Anyways, onto the attractions (with spoilers).. Laboratorio (Laboratory) Visitors to the park's harshest site are horribly awaited by the victims of failed human experiments who have been locked away at a research facility. The first maze we did and the one which was marketed as the scariest; this would set the scene for the event. Before entering the maze, you're given a rope for everyone to hold to keep you together; this seemed to just be an alternative to hands-on-shoulders in keeping the group together. A pre-show by a military person explains the backstory, and warns us to stick together, don't touch anything because of radiation, and to walk slowly. The maze itself was very well themed - a surprise from a city park where theming is sparse! Each scene is basically a room from the laboratory, where a failed human experiment is behind a window / cage. The actors themselves also looked great - amazing costumes and make up. But they weren't very scary. One experiment came out of their cage and chased us a bit, and another slammed a door. After barely a minute of slow walk, a sign pointing you to the exit appears, but then there's a monster for one final scare. The monster costume looked stunning, and must have been over 7ft tall. The actor did a really good job given they must have had limited movement, but they were also equipped with what looked like 3 large hairdryers stuck together as a 'weapon', which felt...odd. So yeah, a very short maze with little scares, but with great sets and great costumes and a good number of actors considering. Zombie Tunnel A zombie invasion created by a nuclear fallout haunts amateurs in an old nuclear silo tunnel. Horror lovers have only one way to protect themselves - the green radioactive light source causes the zombies to retreat. Step into the twilight corridor where horror-zombies scare away! The other Halloween exclusive maze takes place in a temporary structure in one of the kids lands in the park (with 2-3 kids rides actually closed for the event). At the start of the maze, everyone is handed a green lightsaber (like a cheap pound shop one) to guide your way, with their in-story purpose being to scare away the zombies that await. These also serve a second, more obvious purpose though - to help you see. The maze itself only seemed to have one light throughout, and was otherwise very dark, so the lightsaber was essential to help you see. The maze was again very short, effectively a horseshoe shape. There were quite a lot of actors (again, all with very good make up), but all bar one of them were stuck behind fencing, and all they could do was slam and growl. It was a very jarring experience, as there's no fear there whatsoever (even a girl who was in our group who looked around 13/14 wasn't the least bit scared). And given the theming for the maze was effectively fences and black tarpaulin, there wasn't much too it. Again, a short maze with little scares, but a fun concept and a good number of actors. Kauhusirkus (Horror Circus) Do you dare to step into the Horror Circus of bloodthirsty clowns? This is an 'overlay' of the park's other dark ride, Taikasirkus (Magic Circus). The ride was open before 4pm without actors, and we tried it - it was a suspended dark ride that goes through different scenes at a circus, with fun animatronics and such. The gondolas turn/spin slightly at different points throughout the ride too, to showcase different points within each scene. There was no audio, though apparently there usually is, which was odd.. After 4pm, the ride has actors (one in every scene, so about 6). The actors are allowed everyone - in the sets, in front of, behind and underneath the cars! The actors, were, unsurprisingly, clowns. This wasn't particularly scary (certainly a push to make this 13+..), but the actors occasionally hid and did (predictable) jump scares, making it a more fun/scary experience. Real highlight was an actor appearing in front of us, then as our gondola spun around, he decided to lay on the floor, as a fun way of surprising us. Again, the actors looked really good, and this was well done. Kammokuja (Abhorrence Alley) The dead spirits have been wandering in the corridors of Kammokuja. There is also a large butcher living in the alley ... An overlay of the park's 3D walkthrough (which was much like a spookier version of Hocus Pocus Hall at Chessington), which basically just included a couple of actors hidden around corners. It was fun, but the actors seemed very restricted in what they could do. For example, one actor literally just appeared from round a corner holding a tray of tea, said in a creepy voice 'Would you like some tea?', and then waited for us to move on with no further interaction. The ending featured a large and loud male actor bashing on a wall brandishing a knife. Probably enough to get younger kids out quickly, but again, this felt a bit tame for a 13+ experience. The outdoor walkway had some clown animatronics, the family friendly maze was just an outdoor labyrinth where the walls were spider webs (no actors) and the scare zone had a couple of sets of actors going round a couple of times. Zombie Disco The reason for this being 18+ was because of the bar; I imagine it makes it easier for serving drinks when you don't have to ID everyone when it's busy. As the park was very quiet, so too was the disco area, which meant it was lacking in atmosphere. However, the actors here did a great job; all interacting with every group personally, spending lots of time with any group there and staying in character very well. It was also nice to see zombies which don't grunt or growl at you, as many theme park mazes resort to. A shout out to the zombie footballer, who at one point started a kick about with people in the area, then proceeded to do several keepy uppies (whilst remaining in perfect character!), and then carried on as if it was nothing. That was impressive! So Iik!Week was a weird one. Clearly the park know their stuff when it comes to doing scary things: the costumes, set design (largely) and acting quality (mostly) were all very good in my opinion. Plus their ghost train is scary too. But it seems like they've held themselves back, like they don't want to create attractions which actually scare people, despite having everything there to do so. I really don't believe a park which has the creative levels they've shown wouldn't be able to get over the final hurdle of actually making something scary. It's a shame, because they've got enough variation to do even one actually scary experience, and then keep the rest more fun. I hope that whatever their reasons, whatever their thought process, they decide to change their mind and do something actually scary in the future. In saying that, I still enjoyed the event, so can't really complain! And that's that! Without Taiga, Linnanmäki would be one of those 'if you're in the area, visit' or 'if you've ran out of other parks to visit' types of parks. It's fun, but nothing standout enough. But with Taiga, they've got a truly exceptional ride, with enough of a supporting line up to be a really solid park which is well worth the visit! How busy was it? Surprisingly quiet! Thanks to some wet weather (which only lasted for a couple fo hours on and off), the park wasn't very busy, and we didn't queue longer than 15mins for anything. By about 8-9pm, everything was walk on. How easy is it to get too? The park is about a 30-40min bus ride from Helsinki airport Is there anything else nearby? Helsinki has a few bits; we did an indoor horror mini golf course, the Helsinki SkyWheel, Helsinki Flying Theatre and Helsinki SeaLife (which is joined onto the park) How expensive is it? Helsinki isn't cheap, and flying out there is a bit costly. We stayed in a hostel, booking a private room for 3 people which cost about €20pp, which helped reduce costs. (and as ever, excuse the horrid photos..!)
  9. An update from Theme Park Guide can be found here: https://themeparkguide.biz/news-page/Fright-Nights-2019-Construction-Ramps-Up Highlights include: -Do or Die construction (including new container!!) -Creek Freak Massacre will have a spinning saw on its sign, as some speculated -Potential Creek Freak spoilers -Not much else
  10. I wouldn't be surprised if we see some changes to Do or Doe's layout. Given it's temporary nature and being in an outdoor blank space, it's probably easier for them to change it than replicate last year's layout exactly.
  11. Fortunately, due to the sheet size of it, one of the conditions on it when it was built was that it couldn't feature real adverts! But this is Thorpe, who sometimes don't know the back of their own hand, so I wouldn't put it past them..
  12. Video from the guy who did the filming: Interesting details about number of times it took to get the video found in comments:
  13. With BounceZilla now done, Do or Die construction has begun... As @MattyMoo would say, it looks, ahem, sick bruv.
  14. Is this not the issue of the park's identity though? They're predominantly a park with a thrill focus, and by retheming X to Walking Dead, they've made their position clear that they favour thrillseekers and scary stuff over family attractions. In that case, why are they faffing about with the rides aimed at the youngest of visitors during their event which is targeted solely at thrillseekers. Makes no sense.
  15. "We're not getting enough people through the gates to make money. What should we do?" "Use the park as an advertising space, make extra money that way. Doesn't matter what we advertise tbh" "BRILLIANT!"
  16. It bamboozles me that Thorpe insist on keeping the likes of Lumber Jump, Timber Tug and even Rocky Express open (for a whole 4 hours) during Fright Nights. And then Banana is open till 6. It feels like more hassle then it's worth, and sends out mixed signals..if Fright Nights is a scary teen/adult event, why bother opening the rides for the youngest of visitors? Don't bother with the Old Town rides, close a couple more small rides early and even just putting the money into be able to run their current line up effectively would be great. Give it a couple of years and let it grow and the focus would be back on the mazes.
  17. JoshC.

    Top 10's

    New Top 10 now that I've done Taiga, and have no major new coasters on the way... 1. Taron, Phantasialand 2. Taiga, Linnanmäki 3. Untamed, Walibi Holland 4. Helix, Liseberg 5. Balder, Liseberg 6. Nemesis, Alton Towers 7. Lost Gravity, Walibi Holland 8. Joris en de Draak, Efteling 9. Troy, Toverland 10. Goliath, Walibi Holland I, for one, welcome my Intamin overlords. It's also pretty damn close between Untamed and Helix, but I think Untamed just pips it..
  18. JoshC.


    The new coaster will be called the Duplo Dream Coaster https://www.legoland.co.uk/duplo2020/
  19. Rode Taiga this weekend. I'll do a trip report soon, but I want to share thoughts on Taiga now.. It is brilliant. Truly brilliant. POVs don't do the ride justice. The ride has some truly amazing moments: great airtime, fun inversions, decent launches and is in itself a long ride. The bit between first and second launch is a bit random. One inversion and loads of corners which keep the speed. Warms up nicely during the day, but aside from the weird out-banked dive loop type thing, nothing special. The second launch gives you a nice woosh feeling as you speed up, followed by a fun top hat. From there, the ride becomes insane: relentless, crazy ejector airtime, fast (and doesn't lose speed!), flings you out of your seat. It's all incredibly smooth and the flow and pacing is amazing. It is just brilliant. Ride operations are a bit weird and slow - staff ask every person if their pockets are empty as checking restraints (and if your pockets aren't empty, you're made to empty them). The ride has a nice style to it with the theming too. Audio is a bit quiet though. Managed the ride 9 times, sitting in a variety of locations and during night time too, and it's wonderful wherever. Can't decide if I prefer front or back tbh.. There's natural comparisons and question to be asked about how this compares to the likes of Taron and Helix. Taron and Helix focus on very different things: Taron on speed and intense whips and turns, Helix on grace and inversions. Taiga is a best-of-both worlds type of ride I'd say: you get the fast elegance of the ride, along with intense whips and some quirky inversions. And it does this phenomenally well. What is 'better' depends on your taste; blending the best of both might not be everyone's cup of tea for example. But all 3 coasters do what they set out to do perfectly. So yeah, tl;dr - Taiga is brilliant. Worth the trip to Finland, easily.
  20. One of the beauties of Big Top was the fact it changed in each of its three years. Of course, 2015 to 2016 was the biggest change, but 2016 to 2017 saw quite a few changes too. And I'm sure they could have kept chop and changing if they wanted. And even if they had a completely different design team, they could still reinvent it (the quality is a different matter, mind), and it would still be Big Top. If you have a good core idea, you can keep it fresh and keep it for a long period of time. Some of the best received events in Europe have staple mazes that have been their for years. They still receive new experiences and the staples get tweaked too. And it's that long lasting consistency which makes it good. There's always a time and a place for the big attractions to go and for something new to come along. Big Top really hadn't reached that time yet.
  21. In fairness, Buccaneer was clearly a last minute thing - the ride was advertised and expected to be open this year, but didn't. The Rameses closure is probably something that's been in the mid-term plan for a while, given the ride is on its last legs. It's not necessarily feasible to amend those plans to replace something that wasn't meant to need replacing. Hopefully we'll get something in for Buccaneer soon; it's in too prominent a position to just be left empty for too long.
  22. That particular Sunday is usually the first or second Sunday of Fright Nights. Traditionally it always was the first, but they seemed to have strayed from that a bit recently and sometimes do it as the second.
  23. Chessington have submitted plans to replace Rameses Revenge with a drop tower. Key facts: -25m tall -12m tall crocodile feature with water effects that the gondola will 'splash' into -16 riders -Rotating gondola with one free fall drop -Flying Jumbos to be relocated to the old Carousel site to make sufficient room. Link to all documents/images: https://publicaccess.kingston.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=PWLD59NHILJ00 Key proposal: https://publicaccess.kingston.gov.uk/online-applications/files/82F01D47B4A400B27B50B0793ACD4906/pdf/19_02079_FUL-DESIGN_AND_ACCESS_STATEMENT-4214704.pdf Key images: There's no indication as to when this is for. It certainly could be 2020, but I've heard murmurs of other things planned for 2020, so this could end up being later. Equally, this could require a fair amount of groundwork, so 2021 isn't unreasonable to assume either.
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