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Exodus Matt

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  1. It’s time to update my top 10’s again. Coasters: 1/ Steel Vengeance 2/ Velocicoaster 3/ Zadra 4/ Toutatis 5/ Mako 6/ Iron Gwazi 7/ Taron 8/ Oziris 9/ Nemesis mk1 10/ Hyperion European Parks: 1/ Europa Park 2/ Phantasialand 3/ Energylandia 4/ Disneyland Paris 5/ Parc Asterix 6/ Alton Towers 7/ Toverland 8/ Liseberg 9/ Efteling 10/ Tivoli Gardens And now. Theme park hotels. 1/ Ling Bao, Phantasialand 2/ Grand Curiosa Hotel, Liseberg 3/ Efteling hotel, Efteling 4/ Plopsaland Hotel, Plopsaland 5/ Newport Bay, Disneyland Paris 6/ Cite Suspendue, Parc Asterix 7/ Splash Landings Hotel, Alton Towers 8/ Legoland Hotel, Legoland Windsor 9/ El Paso, Port Aventura 10/ Shark hotel, Thorpe Park Top 10’s a personal preference and based on numerous circumstances and things on the day.
  2. Four years ago I wrote a blog on Parc Asterix being an underrated park. Today, I still go by what I said back then, because it is underrated. Since my last visit, the biggest change/addition has certainly been Toutatis, the multilaunch/swing coaster. Whatever you call it. It’s simply an astounding ride! Some great pacing, moments of hang, floater and ejector airtime. All complemented by some stunning theming. Oziris was just as blissful to ride as last time along with Pegasus and the bobsled which are pretty much faultless for what they are. Some astounding theming, support rides and shrubbery just enhance this place more. Even the food is okay too, at least with the burger place in the new area. Now, Tonnere2zeus. A carnation less than 2 years old. I heard many horror stories about this attraction, especially with some comparing it to Mine Blower (which I didn’t like at all). Having done this, I can say it isn’t great nor terrible. However it still feels like a downgrade from the original, which I didn’t really warm upto anyway. Perhaps somewhere other than row 1 would’ve made me more negative here. It’s a lovely park and one on the higher-end of those in mainland Europe (more-so now). Throw in a proper dark ride and the lineup is practically faultless. Ferry, eurotunnel, plane, other? Get yourself to this park!
  3. 3.5 years after what was arguably my most disastrous theme park trip to date, I returned to Plopsaland. On this occasion, I was lucky to stay at the Plopsa hotel, next door to the park. This was honestly delightful and reasonably priced too. Featuring a theatre theme, I especially loved the theatre centric lobby and (self-playing) piano there. The room was also generally decent too and the buffet grub in the restaurant substantially better than the in-park food. Now, for the park. One cold soggy winter trip, I was spited the two main creds and Ride To Happiness didn’t exist. The curse would surely end. Or would it? Did Heidi first as staggered openings galore. Clearly a terrible idea as we’d waited at least 90 minutes in a one train 90 minute queue. And just as we were about to have our go, disaster struck. Breakdown! Fortunately they fixed it we had our ride. It’s a charming little woodie that fits the park. Not the best by any means but pleasant. Finally got Anubis done too. This is such a hidden gem and this is by far one of the best highlights. A highly themed and decent layed out coaster. And finally, also did Ride To Happiness. This was interesting because the first ride was just alright but the second incredible. Make sure you sit towards the front if you experience this. Nicely themed and landscaped. Managed also some rides on their decent flume and their quaint plop dark ride, before heading to their water park. It isn’t biggest but has a decent selection of slides and activities and is certainly worth a visit if you can. Certainly a better visit (mostly) from last time, but even with two good coasters I probably won’t go back anytime soon.
  4. Things are going well then? Can’t say I’m surprised.
  5. So, I went back to Efteling for an express visit after all this time. The park was looking great in some areas, but maybe less-so in others. The entrance, Danse Macabre, fairy tale forest segments and other pathways were closed. We were also spited Baron (darn). Main notable changes being the addition of Max & Moritz. These were fun and whacky rides, not the best powered coasters by any means but they fit the park. I do like the interaction in the station though. The new scene In Dutchman works perfectly well, I can’t remember for the top of me what the old one was like, given it’s been six years since my last ride. But I liked it. The new track on Joris doesn’t feel different, although the operations didn’t seem to be great. The Sinbad retheme looks ok, however I didn’t understand what they were trying to do with the Six Swans in the fairy tale forest. Now, the dark rides. Fata Morgana was just blissful to ride again, I love its mysterious atmosphere. Symbolica was great too and it was nice to see Carnaval after its changes. Droomvlucht looked much more refreshed and updated from its refurbishment and it’s amazing how popular that ride really is. Managed another meal Polle’s, fantastic as always and a daytime showing of Aquanura. Was pleasant but is far more effective at night. I do like Efteling, it’s a very charming park and can be enjoyable if you aren’t one for thrilling coasters. As much as I enjoy aspects of this park, It will likely be some time before I return here again. Even with Danse Macabre opening next year.
  6. And this a lesson on how not to re-track an ageing roller coaster. Better examples remain.
  7. Or Weatherspoons to places like Cote, Wagamamas or Wildwood. However the food at Spoons is better in both quality and value than what they serve at the park these days tbh.
  8. Problem is even though these parks have been under Merlin domain for over 15 years now, they continue to be operated as if it’s their first year running them and they are millions in debt. Whilst the new investments look exciting, the whole barebones of the park operations have been getting worse. Whether it’s things like Galactica taking more than 6 weeks to be in full operational capacity or the quality and quantity of F&B becoming worse.
  9. *blows massive cobwebs* This week I was fortunate to be amongst the first to stay at Liseberg’s new Grand Curiosa hotel. Which is absolutely gorgeous and also pretty huge too. It’s located next to the second entrance near Valkyria. Place kinda reminds me of Kronosar and features lavish theming and even a slide. Probably the best theme park hotel I’ve stayed at since Ling Bao. We also got to see a construction tour of Oceana, the park’s new water park opening next year which features several large slides including a master blaster. It’s between Caribs Creek & Rutluntica in size I reckon. There’s already several expansion plans. Now to the main park. The biggest change is the addition of the Luna Park area, which is nice but maybe lacks the thematic styling of other new rides. Gone is the waltzer and a new fun motorbike ride, plus another Cred. Luna’s layout is generally substandard, but the views are stunning. Rest of the park was the same really. Balder was awesome, Valkyria decent, along with Loke, Kallerado Rapids and the Flume ride. I hope they don’t spite that tbh as they seem a rare bunch now. Helix isn’t my favourite multi launch coaster, but I like elements of the ride such as those ejector hills. For some the park probably isn’t high priority currently, which is understandable. However there’s no denying management have plans hinted in coming years wity hrlp from new and repurposed park land. Andreas and the team certainly know how to look after their consumer.
  10. When I went to Paultons the other month, basically none of the above happened. Almost every attraction open, short queues, nowhere near as much RAP, clean, next to no breakdowns and an enjoyable filled day. If an independent park can get themselves ready for an early/mid February opening, it baffles me how Chessington cannot. Ok, things happen but having your headline ride on reduced capacity and at least 2 more closed, whilst everything else is also reduced and breaking down constantly. Jumangi may help, but it won’t solve any major problems with anything.
  11. Definitely echo much of the above. On my previous visit, Chessington very much looked the best it has in numerous years. Areas such as Mexicana, Wild Asia and both entrances looking much better. However, what’s the point in having a nicely presented park if most of the rides are on reduced capacity and/or breakdown regularly. It’s shocking that to think 500 PPH is now likely a good throughput for Chessington’s standards, especially when Rock (formerly Falls), Tomb and Vampire were once more than capable of reaching around the 1000 mark. But with reduced/mothballed vehicles, they will never happen. The fastrack and RAP distribution is unsurprisingly poor too.
  12. Towers Street changed a long time ago, I believe. Longer than probably the majority of users here knew what it was like. However, there were shops on both sides of the street, a bit like main street in Disneyland maybe. But then around the mid nineties the street saw some changes, with most of the right hand side changed into offices. The left hand side was changed into the Towers Trading shop we know today.
  13. So me and a few other members popped into Chessington today for it’s 2023 pass-holder day. Lots of rides closed (all advertised bar Gruffalo), which was a shame but expected. Vampire was the only operational coaster today, with some slow operations on just 1 train. Tiger Rock was on just 9 boats, Monkey Swinger had numerous broken seats and Tomb Blaster had a Mis-match of working/broken targets. We left the park around 4. So again early, however this time feeling more accomplished and worthy of the trip, despite the numerous operational potholes during the day. Although when you compare somewhere like Paultons having pretty much their full selection open for February half term, it certainly puts things into perspective. Even if today is just a rehearsal day at this point. Right, some more positives. Because I don’t want to become a Craig Revell Horwood here. Chessington has seen some substantial aesthetic updates last closed season. From entrance amendments to cosmetic theming upgrades throughout the park, from Adventure Point to Mexicana. From a presentational perspective, the park hasn’t looked this good in at least ten years and is welcoming to see. There’s still some areas (naturally) that need t weakening, but compared to the shambles of the 2010’s this is welcoming to see. It’s amazing how better fury looks with just the repainted supports. Jumanji is still a construction site at this time, but seeing the park’s first new coaster in almost 20 years and biggest expansion in a generation is so refreshing to see. A headline attraction with two supporting rides. It’s a park which needs new infrastructure and more capacity, even if there are some compromises in this example. Oh, and Pizza Pasta was actually okay this time round, except the BBQ chicken pizza. That was rather grim if I’m honest, but the other pizzas and pasta were fine.
  14. I went to today’s passholder day and kinda wonder why I made the effort. Ride closures galore, with basically one half of rides closed for the day and the rest pretty much breaking down on a fairly regular basis. Ok, some were advertised and other’s weather related, but still disappointing. Stealth basically closed midday due to various rollbacks. Swarm and Detonator appeared to have regular breakdowns. Rush was on one swing and Quantum was playing as they had to keep releasing the bars. The Dobble teacup sticks out like a sore thumb and is an inferior iteration to say Tetley. I arrived midday at the park and left around an hour before closure. Probably says it all if honest. Not the greatest day by all means and possibly the worst passholder day since 2011. It is understandably a preview/rehearsal on the main part, where things won’t be perfect. However if these issues persist beyond a certain point, one must wonder if it is worth it. On a more positive note, some nicer spruce ups around the park. Rush flooring, Dome enhancements, F&B outlets, the new rest areas and more. Hopefully this continues as cosmetic improvements are always welcome. Exodus construction will without doubt be a pulling factor for things too.
  15. Shop names don’t bother me really and seem to fit with what they are seemingly doing. I’m pretty sure the band Spooks R US, was inspired by a now defunct American toy chain.
  16. The themed areas/No themed areas thing doesn’t bother me too much. Because Thorpe is actually a small’ish park full of large rides you might see in a Six flags/Cedar Fair park. Arguably. However, turning what was probably the best themed Burger King into something you would see on an M4 services is just disappointing. Some nice changes ahead of the 2023 season, but some poor ones also.
  17. The security area is definitely the focal point where changes need to be made. Maybe demolish the old huts and put in a more permanent building that looks visually appealing but offers efficient checks. The entrance structure also needs substantial work too, although some back of house areas would also need adjustments. It’s really a shame that the dome has gone from this charming (yet ageing) nautical portal to what is basically a bland hub area. Like some budget holiday resort maybe. The bridge is actually ok, but maybe just needs a bit of modernisation in parts. The entrance used to work fine in the 90’s/2000’s but in places no longer feels fit for purpose.
  18. Phew. I thought Epic Universe would be open first at this rate.
  19. Grey/blue Colossus is basically this years version of the blue/gold dress. Who remembers that? Glad they are doing work to it, but shame it’s the slightly wrong shade there.
  20. It’s quite embarrassing really for somewhere that claims to be a leading theme park. The ride was dying for 10 years. Then again this is just a sorry sequel and deja vu to ripsaw and twirling toadstall.
  21. At least the Tetley sponser fitted the ride. This is just random and such a weird choice to be honest. Dobble is a game.
  22. Ok. Right, so you can probably tell Saw isn’t my favourite coaster. I wonder why. But there is a very good reason to ride Saw this year. Exodus construction, if you can excuse the torture from being knocked around like a shopping trolley.
  23. Stealth has an iconic top hat element Swarm has that drop inversion Inferno is just bliss, with its volcano Colossus was the ride that put Thorpe on the map (more-so) as a major park. Saw, Erm. Sorry, I’ll just pass for now. I mean the airtime hill is quite I guess.
  24. Did one of these in Dream Land Margate, a number of years ago. Very fun ride, but not sure how it fits in. Should probably go before it falls in the sea.
  25. Thing is though are there any UK parks that be solidly called a two day park if you excuse breakdowns and poor operations? Thorpe to an extent may be on the better leg of this currently because nothing seems to warrant more than a long days visit currently.
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