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About Martin.C

  • Rank
    Does my eye look OK to you?
  • Birthday 05/24/95

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    The study of electronics, technology, roller coasters, squash, golf, reading and military aircraft displays.

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  • Favourite ride
  • Favourite Theme Park
    Alton Towers

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  1. PA have just announced a new offer saying that anybody who has booked a room at one of their own hotels between 24th June - 10th September will qualify for a free ticket to Ferrari Land per person/per stay, which means there's no need to shell out €30+ for entry. On Expedia, some rooms available stated this is included but others did not, so it's worth pointing out to those who haven't booked yet regardless of what type of room or hotel you stay at, access is now included during your stay. Here's the link to the offer:
  2. If the budget for this ride was less than £10M altogether and isn't costly to run, maybe this can be signed as a one-off for Merlin and wouldn't have too much of an effect on their record. But whether it's £30M, £40M or whatever amount it's being labelled this week, that accompanying an over-reliance of actors to get the thing working resulting in higher costs in the long-term was a huge gamble they took, and if these figures are to be accurate, that's really poor performance for a ride that is branded as the 'future for theme parks across the world'. Now I really do like and enjoy it in the current state, but that's irrelevant. Whether it's loved, hated, forgotten or popular, it's clear the expectation, interest and hopes Merlin & Thorpe had for this thing didn't deliver the way they wanted and lessons hopefully will be learnt from this. This, my friends, is a white elephant.
  3. It's not often that I tend to have the persuasion and determination to visit theme parks outside of Britain, primarily due to the costs, travel and venturing into the unknown when visiting another country. But Liseberg is different. Liseberg drew my attention more than any other European theme park for 2017 because further research into what the place offered and the ease of travelling there entirely on public transport and not hiring a car got me seriously interested. Of course, Helix was the draw factor for me more than anything because I have found it almost impossible to find a single negative review about the ride since it's debut back in 2014. For too long Nemesis and Shambhala have both always been my top coasters and nothing since has ever managed to come close to them... until now! This review will consist of my experience of the park over 2 days earlier last week, flying out on Friday 12th May until Monday 15th May and I will be detailing every little detail I noted, so please understand this is going to be a very long and precise review of travelling there, the park itself and it's attractions it has to offer. If you like to read quick and to-the-point reviews, this is not for you! The aim of this review is to familiarise readers who are considering visiting the park for the first time everything they should know and expect, especially considering a new dive coaster will be opening here in 2018 which is guaranteed to draw quite a few Brits to visit. So let's start at the beginning and that's transport and travel to the park, including costs: 1) TRANSPORT TO & FROM THE PARK From what I understand, there are three airports in or around London which fly directly to Gothenburg Landvetter airport which are Ryanair from Stanstead, British Airways from Heathrow and Norwegian Air from Gatwick. I flew with Norwegian Air since Gatwick was the closest airport from my address (Pompey) and even though I admit the flights are cheaper with Ryanair from Stanstead, I was not willing to travel half way across the south to get on a plane, so Norwegian Air was my choice. My outgoing flight from Gatwick was at 19:35 which cost me about £30 single each way (8 weeks in advance booking, no reserved seat). Once arriving at Gothenburg, follow the signs to the airport bus service called Flygbussarna which runs every 20 minutes right outside the entrance to the terminal and takes you directly to the city itself which is about a 25 minute drive. Price-wise, at the time of writing this review, tickets are 185 SEK, which equals to about £14 return approximately. There are 4 stops along the way, each getting closer and closer to the centre where the terminus train station is located. Since I was staying in a hotel just 10 minutes away from the park, I only needed to get the second stop, the first one being directly outside the park's entrance and the Gothic Towers. So as you can see, it is perfectly manageable to get into the city through the use of public transport without the need to hire a car. A recommendation I make is try and get a flight to the airport which is not scheduled to land after 23:00, because the last bus service is at 00:50am and if there is any delay in your flight, you could risk missing the last one and having to spend about £34 at least with a taxi to get to the city instead, so bear that in mind. Now that's out the way, now onto the park itself: 2) PARK ATMOSPHERE AND THEMING If you were to ask me to compare the park to any other I know, I would find it very difficult because it's unlike any other theme park I have been to. The first and most obvious difference is that it's located right in the centre of a city with motorways, skyscraper buildings, housing and museums surrounding it everywhere. In some ways, similar to Alton Towers, it has a unique feel to it all because seeing a theme park in the middle of a large city/open countryside is the last thing you would expect! Once inside, if you go through the main (north) entrance, you are greeted immediately by a long walkway surrounded by small buildings with gift shops, restaurants, ticket booths and in my case, market stalls (it was their green weekend where the whole of the plaza area and theatre was dominated by fresh plants and flowers). To the right you can see the dominating tower of AtmosFear and the Ferris wheel overshadowing you as walk along the pathway getting ever closer to the centre of the park. Through these alleyways, music played which mostly consisted of chart music, both modern and retro, giving the place a good and clam atmosphere for guests. Presentation wise, this is something I will keep mentioning in the review further down, but the park have done a great job at keeping all the buildings, pathways, lighting and signage looking clean and well-maintained at all times which has really put a lot of our parks here in the UK to shame. Instead of having rotting roofs, mouldy walls and broken lights, it was great to see all the smaller details looked after such as all the lightbulbs for the street lighting working with none that have blown or the roofs and walls of the buildings looking like they have just been cleaned overnight and don't have mould or overgrown weeds everywhere and there was no trace of litter anywhere. Being used to the state of our parks today, this was a pleasant surprise for me, regardless of how small it might be. So overall, it might not be the Swedish version of Main Street or Towers Street, but initial impressions of the atmosphere and theming are good so far with everything being maintained and cleaned on a regular basis (from my perspective anyway). 3) FOOD & DRINK & PRICES Now being a tourist attraction in the middle of Sweden's biggest city, I was expecting much like every other theme park on the planet for the prices of food and drink to be high and it absolutely was. Being used to getting the 20% discount on all food and drink at Merlin's parks for many years, I had forgotten how expensive theme park food can be and some of the prices did seem too high for me. For instance, if you get their Max burger meal deal at one of the many stalls in the park, that will set you back about 89 SEK which is about £8 roughly. A cup of coffee (cappuccino) was about 45 SEK (£4) and a bottle of water about 19 SEK (£1.75), so in comparison to the food prices here in the UK, you are looking at about an average price increase of about 10-15%. Despite however the prices for their food and drink being quite high, I will say that you definitely get a filling meal for what you pay for. On the second day for lunch, I went to the sandwich shop and had just a full salami and brie baguette which was about 65 SEK (£6.10) and it was pretty large and filled properly and was enough to keep me full until late that evening. So bear in mind even though you might be paying more for an average meal at Liseberg, you are getting bigger average portions as a result in comparison to other theme parks, so that might make up the extra cost for you. Another great thing about the food and drink at Liseberg is the variety they provide. Here in the UK it's your typical burger stalls, pizza, pasta, donuts and hot dogs. Whilst Liseberg did offer all this, they also offer as mentioned above some alternative choices, such as the baguette shop, seafood, stir fry, Italian, Mediterranean and Austrian food just to name a few. So regardless of your preference, they are sure to have something to suite your taste and the variety offered was great. 4) OPERATIONS & RELIABILITY The first thing that jumped out to me was how efficient the park was at running all of their rides. The staff were loading and dispatching guests as fast as they can on all coasters, one simple check of the restraint was all that done and the guests I noticed don't tend to carry a lot of bags with them when riding, so essentially, this massively sped up the process and reduced the amount of faff some guests can create to a minimum. Lisebergbanan for instance is a great example because not only were they running all trains on the track despite a 10 minute queue all day (take note, Thorpe Park), but the dispatch procedure was quick and simple - gates opening whilst guests were leaving the train, baggage taken onto the trains down by your legs so it doesn't fall out, one quick check of the handle bars with two staff on each side of the train, a simple thumbs up and they're good to go. All of this can take as little as 20 seconds and the queues as a result were moving especially fast, giving you the opportunity to manage more later in the day. If only our parks could run all their rides this efficiently, there wouldn't be the need for Fastrack most days anymore! As for reliability, I don't know if I was extremely lucky, but I did not encounter a single break down or stoppage across the entire park on both days I visited. Not one. Every single ride was open, at full capacity and ready for guests, regardless of whether there was a queue or not. Perhaps our rides keep breaking down a lot because of the paranoia surrounding what happened with The Smiler where any little thing out of place involves calling an engineer over the rectify it now, but Liseberg could be a lot more relaxed over it or simply because their rides are purely more reliable machines. Part of me reckons it could be to do with the great amount of maintenance and work done to the rides every year which might have something to do with it, which will be mentioned in a moment. 5) PRESENTATION This was perhaps one of the most surprising things for me about all of the rides at Liseberg - everything looked as though it was brand new. Things such as mould and rust on the coaster tracks was gone, or the queue lines being clean with almost no wear marks, or the trains on Helix looking spotlessly shiny and polished with no marks anywhere, or all of the lights working fine on Mechanica at night. Simply put, everything had a great presentation and didn't look like it was neglected and left to rot. This is what the standard should be at all theme parks - to keep your rides looking spotless and new as long as possible. You know something is wrong when Lisebergbanan, a 30-year old coaster looks better than The Smiler at just 4 years old...... pretty embarrassing if you ask me! Other smaller details visible across the park and its rides such as the queue line fencing everywhere being freshly painted, to all the queue TV screens working, to all the signage looking untouched & clean and the vegetation trimmed back so it's not overgrown on the rides are what I appreciate a lot with theme parks and it's great to see details as small and noticeable as this being looked after on a frequent basis. We need an attitude like this across all our UK parks where presentation is key because from a customer's perspective, it is. 6) THE RIDES And now onto the best part - my opinion of their 7 signature rides, including Loke being their new one (spoilers - it's awesome!). Here I'll rank them in the order I found to be best in ascending order and I'll being with AeroSpin: • AeroSpin (6.5 / 10) I wouldn't say this is a bad ride or anything as it definitely wasn't, but I just found it to be a little short and uncomfortable for what it offered. The seats are exactly the same ones you have on Saw and Smiler with the addition of a seatbelt (believe me, it was comforting to have that there for me!), so it wasn't the most comfortable seat for me since I find the restraint to crush my shoulders too much when inverting, and boy, it certainly did it to me on this. When you spin in the air, the two mini wings you control are moderately easy to control and are smooth to tilt with your arms, although you might need to put a bit of effort into them as it can strain your arms a bit if you flip too much or too fast during your flight. Depending on the speed of the wind which you are flying in, getting yourself to spin upside down and tilt can really be hit or miss. My first ride I managed 46 flips and then the second only 16. If the wind speed is minimal, you are really going to have to put some effort into getting your plane to spin upside down and the best way to do this is to flip the wings quickly and in perfect sync with the tilt of your seat. If you can manage nice and smooth tilts, this will be easy enough for you to manage. But if you take quick and small tilts with the wings, you barely make it over the top unfortunately. When flipping upside down, the first time actually scared me because once I got my wings into position to enable me to flip 46 times, it really goes fast and can make you feel quite dizzy very quickly. Plus, considering you are about 100ft above the ground or 200ft if you include the mountain it's on, flipping that fast feeling as though you are not in control did scare me, especially when the spins got faster and faster and you are sitting in isolation next to nobody else. The problem I had most with it was the restraints used and as a result, I had bruise marks on my shoulders after riding it the second time (my own fault) since all the pressure can rest directly onto them if you are held upside down for too long. Also, the ride seemed very short too at only around 1 minute in the air and that's it. Wished it lasted a bit longer, especially considering it would cost the rider 3 tokens if they didn't have the wristband. So whilst it's great fun for the views, the soundtrack by IMAscore and multiple flips you can manage, I just found it too uncomfortable and short for my liking unfortunately. • AtmosFear (7 / 10) If there is any type of ride at a theme park I am still scared of to this day, it's a drop tower, and AtmosFear really was a struggle for me to get on the first time. Being the tallest in Europe, I almost chickened out on this as a result. But the way I saw it before riding is it cannot be any worse than Detonator which has the most horrible free-fall experience I know on any ride out there and considering I managed Hurakan Condor back in 2013 (yeah, the first ride didn't end well), this surely cannot be any worse. Thankfully, I was right. The restraints are almost identical to the seats used on Stealth and Rita with the exception of the shoulder bars being a firm nylon material instead of the padded metal bars used on the coasters. As a result, I could close the restraint using the adjustable fastener to a perfect fit against my chest making sure I was securely strapped into me seat with no give anywhere. When you begin to rise, there's a mist at the top of the building you pass through before you are outside slowly rising to the top. It takes a while to get up there which was a great opportunity to get some amazing views up there. The best viewing point is northwards in the direction of the Liseberg wheel when the river down the the harbour goes. Once at the top, there is no countdown or hint at when you are going to drop, so the first time you ride this, it could come as a shock to you. When released, the initial release does have the proper free-fall feeling for a split second, but unfortunately, despite picking up more and more speed as you fall down, it doesn't get worse and instead, it feels as though the drop has been tamed to quickly due to the brakes reaching up the first 50% of the tower. I would say the first third of the tower you fall down is forceful, but after that, it doesn't feel as bad in all honesty, so the worst bit is the initial release but once you fall, it doesn't feel too bad. I still rate this higher than AeroSpin for the fact it offers better views at the top, travels much faster and doesn't have uncomfortable seats. It might be the most forceless drop tower I've been on yet, but it's still great fun to go on, especially any sunset. In addition, due to the height, this is the first drop tower that has made my ears pop once you've fallen from the top to the bottom in just 3 seconds. That should give you an idea how fast and tall this really is! • Mechanica (7.5 / 10) Initial impressions of this ride from looking at videos of it online were Samurai meets Slammer, and after riding it, that opinion is pretty accurate! The overall theme and look to this ride I loved. The queue line with all the carpentry tools and equipment and molten metal in the barrels, to the great soundtrack (also by IMAscore) and the overall look of the ride's support and pods really looked visually attractive. I'd go as far to say at night, this is one of the best looking themed flat rides I know with all the orange lights and flames lighting up the structure and seats in the dark. Now as for the ride experience itself, the seats and restraints are far more comfortable compared to the ones used on Samurai (different manufacturers I know, but it reminded me too much of Samurai) and didn't crush your thighs or chest once closed. Plus, there's a good amount of gap between each of the 5 seats on the pods, making moving your arms a lot easier this time. The restraints when closed do not mould against your body unlike Samurai, they instead fix into place on the closest notch they can lock onto. So in my case, there was a bit of give between my stomach and the restraint, which made it easier for me to breathe and adjust thankfully. Now onto the ride experience itself, the shocking thing for me was how differently the pods tilt in comparison to Samurai. These pods on Mechanica tilt a lot easier and in effect, you are tilting and flipping much faster and more violently as a result. Some may see this as a disadvantage as it makes the ride quite violent, but I didn't mind and thought it made the experience better. The gondola spins quite slowly when it rotates both directions, but this was enough to not make you feel dizzy or to pin you against the side of the restraint either. Instead, it was slow enough to offer you some really good airtime when the arm flips you all the way over, especially if you get the right pod at the right time where you can be plummeting straight to the ground looking straight down whilst feeling weightless. Really good moments and a long ride too! The only downside I can say about this is even though the pods flip you a lot more than Samurai's, the structure in my experience seemed to shake a little too much from side to side, probably due to the counterweight at the top being too light and as a result, my head lightly bashed from side to side a bit a couple of times. It's not like Colossus which violently tries to shake your brain out of your skull level, but instead, it's more Dragon Khan levels of head bashing instead. So if you are trying this, I recommend you rest your head against the right side of the restraint or to get a seat closer to the inside to reduce the amount of force on your head. Apart from that, great flat ride and looks very pretty! • Lisebergbanan (8 / 10) This was the first ride I went on in the park on my first day as I wanted to leave Helix until later and experience it properly for the first time with a queue instead of walking straight on. I must say, despite it being 30 years old, it kicked one hell of a punch for a family coaster, to the point where I begin to wonder how on earth can they get away with a height restriction this low for it?! The train seats and restraints are very similar to Olympia Looping and Thunder Looper with just a lap bar in place and no divider in between the two seats, leaving you're entire upper body vulnerable to moving from side to side. It was comfortable enough and the seats were quite low down, so there wasn't any thought of losing your bags placed in-between you legs on the floor. Once dispatched and getting to the top of the lift hill, the first helix down the hill and over the garden area is a lot, lot faster than any video online YouTube will show you. I had the very back of the train the first time on this and immediately after going down the first drop, I was shocked by how fast this thing goes when the train is full! It really is quite intense for a family coaster and you even get some great airtime at the back too! Once the first bit is over and you go down and under Uppswinget three times, this is where it really gets fun as you are going what feels like almost 60mph under the tunnels several times over and over again and due to the design of the trains, you're upper body can shake side to side a fair bit when going down the drops and again, this is a family coaster? It seems very fast and intense to be one for me! After that, there's one last small helix around the tree and an airtime hill added before you enter the brakes and I must warn any new riders, if you ever rode the Black Hole when it was at Alton Towers, if you remember the brakes at the end of that, you'll know exactly what these ones are like! They are really very violent and sudden brakes which can lurch you forward in the break run and when you re-enter the station, so my suggestion is when you see the yellow sign saying "Broms" on it, hold the handle bar in front of you and brace you arms ready for impact to stop yourself lurching forwards. Overall, for a family coaster, this was incredibly surprising for me as it goes a lot faster than it looks, it's long, the restraints are minimal and it has a classic feel to it which reminds me of Nemesis, so it get's a big thumbs up from me. • Balder (8.5 / 10) Their wooden coaster Balder was another great coaster which reminded me a lot of Megafobia at Oakwood. The trains were comfortable with both a seatbelt and a lap bar restraint holding you in and thankfully unlike Gwazi and Stampida, this was lovely and smooth and didn't feel horribly jerky or rough anywhere on the train. The lift hill is surprisingly steep for a wooden coaster and for seats like these ones with no back rests, it felt almost as if I was going to fall out backwards if it wasn't for the restraint. When you consider the small space this is located in, it makes sense to have it this steep. Now onto the ride itself, the back of the train is by far the best place to sit. The number of times you are whipped over all the dozens of airtime hills on this thing is huge and from beginning to end, there is not a single moment to relax or take a breather since the hills get sharper and tighter making up for the loss in height and speed towards the end of the ride. The addition of the tunnels also made the experience great as one of them was small enough to create a head chopper effect! It's easy to see why many people regard this as the best wooden coaster they know and it certainly is. The face it's so smooth with airtime after airtime after airtime made this incredibly fun to ride, coupled with the length of the ride makes this a great wooden coaster. For me, it's not quite as good as Megafobia, but it comes close! • Loke (New for 2017) - (9 / 10) I've always found flat rides which swing like Vortex and Rush to be fun to a certain point until they become repetitive and boring, so I wasn't building any huge expectations for this ride despite the advertising and delayed opening it received. But when seeing it in-person, oh my word, this thing is bloody massive! Never ever ridden Maelstrom at Drayton Manor before so this was my first Intamin Gyroswing and what made this ride very special for me besides from the size, speed and theming was the design of the restraints and seats. They are very comfy to sit in and they are very similar to the ones you get on The Swarm. Just imagine Swarm's restraints but without the foam vest holding your chest. That's Loke's seats in a nutshell. The thin metal bars which are there to lower the restraint across your waist were widely spaced and positioned quite far back, so when you fasten the restraint using a seatbelt similar to Stealth/Rita, there is nothing in the field of view from where you are sitting. This in effect made you feel extremely vulnerable and reminded me a lot like Rush with just a lap bar holding you in, only this time, the seats are much comfier and aren't deep this time. Heck, they're similar seats to Nemesis to give you an idea, so imagine Nemesis' seats with just a lap bar. That's the best way I can describe them. Once the floor lowers and the thumping bass from the soundtrack filling the ride starts up, it begins to swing higher and higher very quickly and the speed of the spinning gondola is not too fast to make you feel dizzy, it's just about right and it also gives you the chance to get multiple angles whilst in the air at maximum height too. Once it picks up speed and reaches it's full height, it doesn't matter which direction or angle you are at, this ride is epic! The sheer speed you are travelling when it swings downwards is faster than Rush and the weightlessness feeling you get when falling back down again is forceful and offers some brilliant views when you're looking straight down. Plus, the close proximity between you and Balder makes this even better. When looking down, you are either staring directly over Balder's structure and the people below, or the nearby river directly over the water. In total, you get about 8-9 full swings before it begins to slow down and lower again. It's quite a claim to make, but I consider this to be the best flat ride ever built that I have ridden. The size and speed of this monster is what sells it and the comfort and lack thereof of restraints holding you in makes you feel incredibly vulnerable and doesn't distract you when swinging. In addition, the paint work and theming of this ride looks very nice during the day and night and the soundtrack played with the thumping bass from the speakers really build up a huge anticipation when waiting. Thorpe Park or Alton Towers seriously need one of these rides at their parks with the same restraints, capacity, height and speed, because this beats the living hell out of Vortex and Rush combined in my opinion. It truly is a superb flat ride and is my favourite one out there right now as a result! • Helix (9.5 / 10) And yes, as expected, Helix is my number one ride at the park and indeed as mentioned at the beginning of the review, my new personal favourite coaster. Never before have I been left speechless by a coaster after trying it the first time and Helix was the first to deliver. What a magnificent coaster Liseberg have here. 26 rides later in 2 days and it's still brilliant every time. From the beginning of the experience to entering the queue line, you are instantly transported from the dull innards of the dome to a futuristic, modern and cool looking maze of stairs, platforms and metal walls and mechanics lying around everywhere in the queue line, all lit up in bright neon green lights on the walls, flooring, rock work and ceiling. This coupled with the soundtrack which was blasting though about 30 Bose speakers in all of the queue line in perfect synchronisation gave me goosebumps the first time entering this area. It sounds and looks visually impressive in the queue and the maze of stairs and platforms getting you ever closer to the station builds up some huge anticipation and excitement. Whilst queueing, you can see various windows looking through the walls of the station and underneath, you are able to see a sneak of the brakes, wheels and trains passing over the track entering the station ready for the next batch of people to board the train. In addition, once directly underneath the platform, you can see how the platform gates work with the mechanics underneath the flooring where every minute or so, the bars move in perfect synchronisation which in effect opens and closes the gates. Nice thing to see whilst waiting (not that there was much of a queue!) as I've always wondered how they work. When the queue got bigger during the day, I eventually stopped to watch the TV screens and noticed you can download an app on your smartphone which is a game for the ride where you in synchronisation with other guests can play these mini games to gain points and whichever player every 15 minutes get the highest score, they get a free Fastpass for Helix presumably. I tried multiple times to win but only managed to get as high as number 4 on the leaderboard, mostly due to the fact the app was all in Swedish with no English option making me guess how you play each game by improvising. Once you go up the stairs into the station, you are free to choose any row of seats you want and you are not allocated them by a member of staff. I was so glad this was the case as I wanted front row on my first ride, which I did. The trains themselves look stunning, especially when it gets dark. The fact all the seats underneath are lit up in green and the front of all three trains and along both sides have these very bright white lights made it looks visually stunning at night as it whizzed round the track. Plus, they looked nice and fresh with a shiny gloss finish added, making them look as though they are still brand new. The seats themselves are extremely comfortable to sit in. The lap bar that lowers down is nice and tight and moulds perfectly to your body. There are also grooves on either side if the bar allowing you to rest you arms on when grabbing the handles and the design of the back rest made it comfortable to rest my shoulders into. Plus, despite it being a floored train, the seats are high enough for your legs to dangle allowing you to move them freely as you wish. The difference these restraints make to this ride in comparison to a traditional shoulder restraint are huge and make everything so much more fun. Now onto the ride experience itself, the experience offered is unparalleled to anything else I know. The experience is so smooth from beginning to end, the two launches are lovely and smooth too with no extreme forces exerted on you body and each and every element assembles beautifully together. This is a ride where it gets more and more extreme as you go round as each inversion become tighter, the speed of the trains get faster, the drops become larger and the twists and turns become more and more forceful. The airtime on this thing can be shocking if you get the two very back seats and it's obvious to me now why there's a minimum height restriction of 1.5m for these seats. The airtime over the hill straight after the second launch and top hat at the back of the train is so strong and forceful that it pins your thighs to the restraint almost painfully for a brief second. It's that good! The interaction the track has with it's surroundings is mastered perfectly and you can tell the designers of this ride have really thought this through and been clever at making the most of the surroundings they have. The fact it snugs so closely to the ground at various points makes the experience really quite intense, especially the helix just before the second launch which throws you straight into your seat thanks to the extreme forces. One of the concerns I had been hearing from a few people was this ride was not fast enough and didn't have forces that were extreme enough. In my experience, the speed of this ride is perfectly fine and is fast enough for me to enjoy going on again and again and surprisingly, despite this having 7 inversions, I didn't feel sick or dizzy at all when riding it several times in a row unlike Colossus, Smiler and even Nemesis. Helix even reminded me a lot of Nemesis as it constantly has speed and force from beginning to end and never seems to slow down, and this certainly matched Nemesis in terms of the pacing. If I were to find any criticism of Helix, that would be the lack of on-board speakers used in the trains because the grills have been installed but no audio is played through them. If they can add music similar to Blue Fire from what I've seen, this could make the experience even more exciting for guests. And another criticism I have is when you leave the station into the first inversion, I find the train vibrates a bit too much where you can feel and even hear it. That is literally all I can think of! I would usually supply lots of images of it in action, but I thought making a video would be better, so here it is: So to finalise my review of Liseberg and, if you are visiting for the first time and considering it, do it. The park has great opening times during summer between 11am -10/11pm at the weekends, all the other rides like Kallerado (better river rapids ride than Alton's one), FlumeRide, Hanghai are lots of fun and the atmosphere is very friendly and relaxed. For me, Helix alone is worth the journey and it will be a firm favourite if you ever get the chance to ride it, so make sure when you visit, you ride it. I myself have have an awesome time visiting both Gothenburg city & Liseberg, and this park is certainly one to keep your eyes on for the future since every year they are currently relentlessly installing more and more exciting and great rides, which reminds me a lot of Thorpe's days in the mid-2000's. In particular, Valkyria looks to be an excellent dive coaster when planned to be opened in April 2018, which is a great reason to visit again. It's very likely I will be visiting this park on a frequent/yearly basis now as they have some truly kick-ass rides for a park that is not on the scale of other European theme parks, so my next visit will likely be April/May 2018. Here's a full record of all the 230+ photos and videos I took whilst I was there if you're interested in having a look: Liseberg - (8 / 10)
  4. Really not happy with this decision. Slammer despite its huge number of reliability problems and mixed opinion from day one always offered an experience that couldn't be matched anywhere else, even if it was painful for riders. Quite saddened to hear it's inevitable departure subtly announced like this. Oh well, it was fun to ride it whilst it lasted and at least the park are being honest about it's removal and not claiming it was down temporarily for TLC/redevelopment or something similar, by then removing it from the park without any notice given the following year. I suppose we better start speculating at what inflatable HB Leisure replacement we might be getting soon!
  5. Oh my goodness, just gotten off of it now and I was actually pretty darn impressed by it this time, which is something I never thought I would ever say about it. There have been some subtle changes and differences compared to riding it a few weeks ago, most of which are for the better: • Firstly, it opened at 10:13am first thing and not the typical 11-12pm hour. Much, much better. • Staff were filling both bays to the brink which massively helped the queue moving quicker. • Only issue I had was the pre-show began as soon as the first person entered the room in the group. Since I was near the back, I missed out nearly a minute, but not an issue with the ride itself, just the operation. • There was no stacking anywhere between the pre-show room and the warehouse. Good stuff. • Some may see this as a disadvantage, but the carriage was absolutely sweltering hot inside just like a real underground carriage during summer. Not sure if this was deliberate or not, but I couldn't hear the fans working to cool the units. I didn't mind it. • Pretty much all Vive headsets were working on both halves. Great stuff. • The first VR half had a minor addition made which I've never noticed before. When the infected girls breaks into the carriage, I could see the man sitting opposite me just casually walk out of the carriage to the right as though nothing ever happened. All previous rides show them immediately disappearing as soon as the window breaks without any trace, so this was something new. • Half-way section was working perfectly with all audio and visual effects working, including the moving carriage. Yay. • Now the 2nd VR half was the most surprising bit for me. Despite already haven ridden it earlier this year, new content appeared. My guess is because we were waiting still for nearly 4 minutes, the VR content goes through 3 or 4 different scenes and whenever the train is ready to move again, it cuts that scene. So instead of waiting in green mist like last year or seeing the demon creature wander through the carriage, I was also shown an infected girl standing right in front of me before being pulled out of the carriage and then the night vision goggles turned on and another person was pulled away into the darker corners of the carriage when they stood up and the announcer asked them to keep their contamination goggles on. My previous few rides have all only shown up to the point where the demon wanders through the carriage before being thrown into the pit, so this was a really nice surprise to see how the teams have worked around the holding issue experienced last year. Instead of having the same scene on loop, it progresses through several different scenes until the train is ready to move back into its starting position again. Last year I said it would be impossible to avoid this looped scene as it depends on the timing of all carriages in the circuit. I'm glad that I've been proven wrong! • Finally for the new ending without giving too much away, all I'll say is the eyes and mouth now light up in red with smoke coming out of them. You may also get a little wet too. This has been the most complete, consistent and enjoyable ride I have had on this yet and if Thorpe can keep it's current quality running every day throughout the year and especially during Fright Nights, they have a real winner now. Keep it up! [emoji4]
  6. Can't refuse a weekend at Alton, so I'm a definite yes for this. The accommodation at Newcastle Under Lyme would be fine by me since it's near Stoke-on-Trent rail station and I'll be using it to get to and from Portsmouth. Getting from the hotel to the park is another matter though.
  7. Hope I'm not too late for the booking but I can confirm that I can make both the visit and meal if that's still possible?
  8. Old and dead topic I know, but something I can't help but notice with Zodiac this season so far is that the wheel doesn't make it to the vertical position anymore. Instead, it reaches a maximum angle of roughly 60-70 degrees. For a few years now the ride has struggled to slowly raise to the top which has resulted in longer rides for guests, but now, it just reaches the 60-70 degree point and then lowers immediately again afterwards. It doesn't pause for a few seconds in the vertical position anymore. As a result, the reduction in ride time this year compared to last year is definitely noticeable. Maybe it it has been tweaked deliberately to reduce further strain on the ride considering it is now over a decade old, but just thought it's worth pointing out. Never before have I seen this on Zodiac until now. Anyone else noticed this?
  9. Are all the open coasters except for Colossus on their maximum capacity just out of curiosity? With queues exceeding an hour already, they're gonna need it! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  10. Just as long as the park delivers the information about later openings as clearly and as accurately as they can to every guest that enters, whether it's through social media, on-park displays or on their website, that's all that matters. Delivering accurate and clear messages is key. Sorry for ranting on a bit about this 1/2 train issue which I know has been an issue for a few years now, it just frustrates me greatly when I see a park that has the potential to offer guests a superb day out hinder themselves like this which ultimately leads to lower guest satisfaction, more complaints and weaker incentives to visit again. If the park can run better and more efficiently for guests, they should always strive for the best and not let anything get in the way of that goal. Right now, I just don't see that sadly. Also, I too have seen Galactica run that way in the morning a couple of times too, which I also find inexcusable and pointless. So not every Merlin park is run perfectly, you just see these issues more prominently with Thorpe for some reason.
  11. Not every guest will see those boards upon entering the park and the one at the entrance doesn't show any of this information as soon as the gates open. I don't remember Saw or Colossus being on those screens but I do remember their entrance boards saying they open at 11am the other day. That's the inconsistency and unreliable information I am talking about. I'm not saying that all guests should know the full details as to why a ride is run at a limited capacity, I never stated that. What I said was if a ride is being run at a reduced capacity creating unnecessarily long queues, why does this only happen on what is considered as quiet days and the occasional weekend (like Saturday 25th March)? Why not do the sensible thing and run everything at full capacity if you can, you know, like all the other theme parks do if the queue isn't walk on? Too many times I've seen queues of around 60 minutes for Inferno or Colossus on weekdays in the middle of March/May/September because of this bizarre decision the park has been making for a few years now. That's what I'm criticising here. All I can say to Inferno running just one train in the morning and then adding the second one on later when the queue reaches an hour is this is not the first time I've seen this. This is probably the 4th time in the last two years I've seen it happen in-person, which is why I am criticising and pointing out this activity - it is not a recent thing, it's been typical operations on this ride for some time now. This is not how to run an £8M ride that still pulls thousands of people a day on it. I'm sorry, but I just don't think it's acceptable for a park this scale to do that for guests paying up to £58.50 for admission alone.
  12. If that's the case and it is only just those 3 rides that are scheduled to open later, where can the average guest know about this before trekking half the park to find it closed at the ride entrance? Whilst opening Storm Surge later is not something to fuss about, it would be helpful if guests knew this as they entered the park after the gates open between 10-11am so they know what's open and closed for the first hour. I didn't even know this until now, so how the heck the normal guest would I have no idea. The only reason I am questioning which rides are scheduled to open at 11am is because a few days ago, Saw and Colossus's entrance boards stated the ride opens at 11am, not 10am. In addition, the park advertised it was opening the gates at 10am. It's inconsistent and unpredictable right now. As I said in my previous post, I accept and acknowledge that in some instances there are exceptions to opening rides at half capacity or later in the day due to work still taking place on them. But the problem I'm saying is that on quiet days, the park operate virtually all of their coasters except for Saw and X on just 1 train all day, creating unnecessary long and slow queues for guests potentially paying up to £58.50 for admission. So how am I supposed to know now when I see a ride running at half capacity if it is deliberate or not? An example of this is when the last meet was at Thorpe on the 25th March a couple of weeks ago, I distinctly remember seeing and hearing an announcement through Inferno's 60 minute queue announcing that the ride temporarily ceased operation whilst they were adding the 2nd train onto the track... on a Saturday.... at midday...... Well done lads. What logic is there in this approach and why is this the normal way of operating rides at the park now? It's absolutely inexcusable that a park this large and popular can get away with such shoddy operations like this.
  13. Regardless of whether certain rides open later in the day at 11am as opposed to 10am, shouldn't the park at the very least give their visitors some advance notice on their website or on social media what will and won't be available upon opening when the gates open? Granted, the display at the entrance does list which rides are available when waiting, but from all the visits I have done so far this year and last year, this is only shown before the gates open. What about visitors that enter the park between 10-11am? How are they supposed to know what's available or not when they enter and cross the bridge? The problem is that this has become the norm for a few years now. Never before the year 2015 did you ever have to think or consider which area is open or closed if you arrive before 10am. Years ago, everything (or nearly everything) was open at the hour, as advertised and at full capacity, ready for the day ahead. Now however, we have gradually seen more and more rides over time open at 11am instead of 10am. First it was just Slammer, then it was Samurai, then it was Colossus and now it's even Saw a couple of times I have visited (the entrance board said it opened at 11am). And to make matters worse, if you visit on a day the park consider to be a 'non-peak day', which is usually a weekday, you are subjected to reduced capacity on almost all coasters and the occasional flat ride, such as one swing on Rush at opening weekend or one train on Stealth and Colossus. Now I understand that every morning, each and every ride requires checks, testing and confirmation from the ride teams before the entrances open. But given the fact we are now seeing the park deliberately open a fair chunk of their lineup later than everything else, this is absolutely inexcusable unless it's a moderately less-busy ride. Alton Towers and Chessington minus their water rides have pretty much all of their attractions at the ready for a 10am opening unless their is a fault, most of the time at full capacity with all of the trains running in the circuit, so why the heck can't Thorpe follow their lead anymore? Do they have a shortage of engineers or something similar? As for the enormous queues we have seen these past couple of days, it's good to know that the park's management thankfully refused to sell Fastrack for their coasters and tried to deal with it the best they could. But considering the place has had arguably decades of previous experience and practice to deal with situations like this, who's clever idea was it to under staff the park during the flippin' middle of the Easter holidays without having a backup plan?
  14. Rode it again today and I too saw it working finally. Rating for the ride has now gone from 7/10 to 8/10 for me after that! Thankfully it was, as predicted, a broken effect that clearly wasn't working until today. Wonder what took them so long to get it running again?