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Matt N

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About Matt N

  • Birthday 07/31/2003

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  • Favourite ride
    Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
  • Favourite Theme Park
    Europa Park

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    Male
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    Forest of Dean (UK)

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  1. Hi guys. In recent days, Hyperia, the UK’s tallest and fastest roller coaster, has opened at Thorpe Park. It’s only been open for a few days thus far, but a lot of people who’ve ridden it (although admittedly not everybody) are already declaring it their top UK coaster. With this in mind, I’d be interested to know; is Hyperia your top UK coaster, if you’ve ridden? Has it finally knocked Nemesis off its top spot? Or if Nemesis wasn’t your top UK coaster before, has Hyperia usurped whatever you previously had on top? Or did it not quite reach the mark for you? I haven’t personally ridden Hyperia yet, so I’m voting undecided at the moment, but I’m interested to see the consensus!
  2. Matt N

    Legoland

    For those interested, I rode Minifigure Speedway for the first time on Sunday (9th June). I touched on the coasters themselves in my trip report from the wider day, but I felt I should do a longer review, delving into the coasters in more depth and also discussing aspects of the investment aside from the roller coasters themselves, as I do have some... thoughts about the non-coaster aspects that I don't think I've really touched upon yet. Let me start with the coasters themselves. If I were to walk through the ride(s) element by element: The initial drop and rush through the station is quite good fun; it's always fun getting that sense of speed as you fly back through the station on these family boomerangs! The curved drop out of the station is good fun, if nothing earth-shattering. You pick up some decent speed around this corner! The hill before/after the billboard is a definite dead spot in terms of the ride pacing, with little going on in terms of forces here, but it's definitely a fun moment of interaction between the two sides that accentuates the duelling aspect quite nicely. Things start to get a bit spicier after the interaction moment, with two surprisingly fun corners before the second lift hill. These pack some surprisingly decent forces for a ride of this calibre! After that, you go up another lift hill and negotiate the circuit again in reverse. There's little different to report about the backwards lap other than that it's fun without being too intense, and I'd cite the previously mentioned surprisingly fun corners as packing surprising forces during the backwards lap. In terms of some other, more general aspects of the coaster experiences: They track very smoothly, although they perhaps have one or two marginally odd transitions here and there. If we're doing a like-for-like comparison between Zierer's family boomerang offering on Minifigure Speedway and Vekoma's ubiquitous competitor, I would give Vekoma's offering the edge. I think the Vekomas I've ridden feel quite flowy and dynamic in a way that the Minifigure Speedway coasters don't quite match, and the Minifigure Speedway coasters also have a general feeling of being a tad more... unrefined, for lack of a better term. These are very pedantic things, though, and I think the two are quite closely matched, in all honesty. Of the two sides, I would say I marginally preferred Team Legends (the blue one) to Team Allstars (the red one). Overall, I think the coasters are pretty good fun for what they are. They're not going to blow any minds around these parts or enter any top 10 lists, but we're not the target demographic; these are family coasters aimed at young children, with a 1.05m height restriction, and I think they work really well for that demographic. I'll now discuss some of the non-coaster aspects of the investment, as I do have some thoughts to share, both positive and negative. In the interests of fairness, let me start with the positives... The theme is really good fun. The announcements from Roxy are quite a fun touch, as are things like the race lights, the little pre-show (of sorts) for each side. I also like the billboard and giant minifigure statue. The theming is quite basic, but I think that what's there works reasonably well. The throughput is reasonable, and a definite much-needed improvement compared to other attractions at the park. The one interval I timed returned a combined throughput of 825pph for both sides, and in general, I'd say that the average dispatch interval appeared to be around 3 minutes, which would equate to a combined two-side throughput of around 800pph. 800pph is not earth-shattering, but I think it's decent enough and a vast improvement on many other rides at Legoland. The queue seemed to move plenty fast enough compared to other rides at the park, anyhow! With all that being said, I do also have some critiques to air... As was well publicised around opening, I think the landscaping and overall finish of the area by the queue and under the coasters looks poor. It looks a little less poor than it did in opening day pictures, but it still doesn't look great, and definitely still gives off a bit of a "building site" vibe, in my view. With that being said, it might look better once the planting has grown in a bit, and I accept that you won't really notice this when you're on the ride. It's mainly when you're off the ride that you notice it. I also noticed that some of the ride area fencing down by the billboard still looks quite temporary, which I'd also file under this category, but I accept that's a really pedantic one. This is probably going to sound very pedantic, and I apologise if it does, but I think that the design of the attraction leaves much to be desired in terms of viewpoints and interaction with those off-ride. Merlin coasters are normally quite good at considering this, but I think Minifigure Speedway's design does not give you much of a good off-ride view of the coasters from within the immediate vicinity. You can hardly see them from in the queue, with only a very brief glimpse of the tops of the lift hills being visible at the very beginning of the queue, and once you're off the ride, you're sort of underneath only a small part of the coasters, which makes things quite awkward from a photography and interaction standpoint and obscures much of the rides from spectator view. The best view you can get of the coasters is from quite far away in Duplo Valley. I concede that this could be in part due to the inherent nature of the rides being built on a hill, and this could just be me being weird, but it was just something I picked up on. Given that duelling coasters are quite good spectator pieces and often have good inherent visual appeal, I found this aspect all the more disappointing. Another pedantic criticism is that I'm not a fan of how the park don't let guests choose their side. Plenty of other parks with duelling coasters allow guests to pick a side without issues, and given that the queue even contains a flowchart encouraging riders to "pick their team" based on various questions, I am surprised that they don't allow people to pick. It does mean that guests may not get to experience both; I managed to experience both in only two rides, but that was through complete pot luck. Some may not be so lucky. Overall, then, I think Minifigure Speedway is a very solid investment for Legoland. The coasters are good fun and are exactly what Legoland needed; the park really needed a more thrilling family coaster than The Dragon, in my opinion, and the Minifigure Speedway coasters fit this niche like a glove! As much as I have my critiques of some of the thematic and visual aspects, I think the theme is also good fun, and I think the attraction is overall a very fun fit for the park and deserves to do well! Here are the photos I took of the attraction (I apologise for the lack of them and the vantage points... I feel this kind of reinforces my critique about the ride being weak for off-ride viewing):
  3. I got some interesting throughput readings and operational insights from my recent visit to Thorpe Park, if anyone’s interested. Colossus (Theoretical: 1,300pph on 2 trains): 594pph (2 trains, 10th June 2024, average of 3) Nemesis Inferno (Theoretical: 1,150pph on 2 trains): 1,067pph (2 trains, 10th June 2024, average of 8 ) Saw: The Ride (Theoretical: 1,000pph on 8 cars): 788pph (unknown number of cars, 10th June 2024, average of 8 ) Stealth (Theoretical: 1,000pph on 2 trains): 782pph (2 trains, 10th June 2024, average of 4) Note: There was an instance of guest faff on 1 or 2 of these readings, so a consistent figure may have been above 800pph without this. The dispatch time seemed to be 90s or a bit below when the ride was running smoothly. The Swarm (Theoretical: 1,100pph on 2 trains): 1,063pph (2 trains, 10th June 2024, average of 6) In terms of some more general operational insights: Operations on Inferno were awesome. It was very rarely stacking, and stacking for only a short period when it did. It didn't stack on any of my 3 rides, anyway. Great job! Operations on The Swarm were also fantastic. The ride was frequently not stacking or stacking for only a very short period; on all 3 of my rides, it either didn’t stack or only stacked for a matter of around 10 seconds! I think Stealth could really do with a single rider queue or some means of filling empty seats. It seemed to really slow things down when the operators had to push down the restraint of an empty seat, what with how bulky those old Intamin OTSRs are. I noticed that operations on Saw were sometimes slowed down somewhat by holdups at the baggage hold, with the airgates occasionally being empty when a duo of cars turned up ready to load guests. Baggage holds normally improve throughputs substantially, but here, it oddly almost seemed to be taking away from the throughput (?). The pre-loading screens that the park have invested in currently seem a bit redundant, with nothing actually being shown on them. Overall, then, I’d say that operations at Thorpe Park were pretty good. The main weak link was Colossus, which returned a pretty weak figure, but I’ve long come to expect that from Colossus, and it’s understandable given the cramped and bulky nature of the ride vehicles and restraints. Inferno and Swarm had absolutely stellar operations, with little to no stacking being frequent, and Saw was also doing about as well as can be expected from a ride of that nature. I’ll be interested to see how Hyperia compares operationally whenever I eventually get on that!
  4. I got a few interesting throughput readings and operational insights from my recent trip to Legoland Windsor, if anyone’s interested. Minifigure Speedway (Theoretical: Unknown): 825pph (2 sides each running 1 train, 9th June 2024, average of 2) The Dragon (Theoretical: Unknown): 555pph (unknown number of trains, 9th June 2024, average of 2) Note: While I do not know the exact number of trains The Dragon was running, I should note that there was occasionally a small gap in the station between a train leaving and the next entering, so I’d maybe take a stab at 2? I should caveat these numbers by saying that the averages are based off of a very limited number of readings due to either a very limited ability to consistently view the rides from their respective queue lines, me trying to conserve my phone battery or both. In terms of some more general operational insights: Flight of the Sky Lion seemed to be operating pretty slowly. There was only one staff member in charge of both batching the main queue and managing Fastrack/RAP, and things seemed to be moving pretty slowly as a result. The one staff member was working very hard, but I think they could maybe have used another. I did not get an exact timing, but at an uneducated guess, I’d take a stab at there being not much more than a cycle going every 10 minutes. As I say, that’s an uneducated guess from me, and it could absolutely be wrong, but things felt like they were moving slowly on there. On some rides, I noticed that the park weren’t filling empty seats. I can fully understand why they aren’t rigidly filling all empty seats, particularly given the demographic that visits Legoland, but on Ninjago, for instance, I got an entire 4-person car to myself when there was a 60+ minute queue of people behind me. Surely a group of 2 or 3 could have been batched next to me? In general, I think Legoland could do with some higher capacity rides. The queues often seemed to move quite slowly, and for some of the park’s more major rides, advertised queues were quite often approaching or over 60 minutes for much of the day. Minifigure Speedway is a start in this regard, with a throughput that definitely seemed improved on many of the park’s other rides, but similarly to Chessington, I think they could do with a few queue munchers. At least one new attraction that can get close to or exceed 1,000pph with relative ease would be good. For reference, the day of my visit was a Sunday in early June where the park closed at 5pm, so it wasn’t an especially peak day by any means. Overall, I’d say operations and throughputs at Legoland were somewhat slow. In many cases, the queues did seem to be moving quite slowly. How much of that was down to operations and how much of that was down to the intrinsic throughput of the rides, I don’t know, but many queues were quite slow, and I think the park could do with some higher throughput rides. Minifigure Speedway is certainly a start in this sense, though, and the operations on there seemed pretty good!
  5. I heard a few interesting candidates for this thread on my recent solo trip to Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park... When I heard this quote, I was exiting Thorpe Park over the bridge. Hyperia was in view, and as I was walking, a test train was cycling. A man was walking next to me. Man: "Oh just f**k off, Hyperia... you f**king flaky bast**d!" The man then stuck his middle finger up at Hyperia multiple times. When I heard this exchange, I was walking towards Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park. A group of teenage boys were walking next to me. Boy 1: "Look, there's Saw!" Boy 2: "I don't think that's Saw, mate..." Boy 1: "Nah, bruv; that's definitely Saw!" Boy 3: "He's right, fam; it's red 'cos of all the blood, see! That's gotta be Saw, init?" When I heard this exchange, I was in the queueline for Ninjago at Legoland. A father was trying to usher his small children out of the Lego play area, with other adults from his group watching on. Father: "Come on, kids; let's get on the ride!" The kids expressed reluctance to leave the Lego play area. Father: *gesturing to the other adults* "Oh for f**k's sake... we come all this f**king way, and the kids just want to play with f**king Lego all day! I could have just stayed in me living room... wouldn't have cost a hundred f**king pounds and I wouldn't have had to wait in f**king queues all f**king day!"
  6. The announcement we’ve all been waiting for has finally come… Hyperia is reopening on Wednesday 12th June 2024!: It’s great that the ride is finally reopening, and while I’m gutted that I missed it by 2 days, I can get back to Thorpe easily enough! In fact, I’m half tempted to book an impulsive day trip back to Thorpe very soon…
  7. Inferno had excellent operations; my recorded throughput average was nearly 1,100pph, and that’s the highest I’ve ever recorded on that ride by some margin! Normally, I don’t record an awful lot more than about 850pph on Inferno, but operations yesterday were brilliant, with no or hardly any stacking on any of my rides! Stealth seemed to be a little more par for the usual course in terms of operations for me, with my recorded throughput average being a little below 800pph. However, I should say that I had only a small number of readings from Stealth, and that at least one of those also appeared to have some degree of guest faff. When I was actually on the platform, the staff were working really hard and only just missing the 40s dispatch interval on the timer. To be honest, I think it could do with a single rider queue or some way of filling the empty seats, as it seemed to slow things down when staff had to push down the restraints on the empty seats. Another ride that I have to say had excellent operations yesterday was Swarm. As with Inferno, my recorded throughput average was almost 1,100pph, and there was very little stacking going on; there were quite a few dispatches with no stacking whatsoever, and stacking was very minimal where it did occur!
  8. 10th June 2024: Thorpe Park It was the second day of the trip today, and another day can only mean another park; today, I visited Thorpe Park! Today marked my first visit of 2024 to the UK’s most thrilling theme park, so I was excited to get back on some of my favourites at the park for the first time in 2024! After my night in the Premier Inn in Staines, my Thorpe day started at a little before 9am, when I took a short walk to Elmsleigh Bus Station in Staines to catch the Sullivan Buses 950, which is probably better known as the Thorpe Park Express bus, to Thorpe Park from stop 4: Now, I had originally intended to catch the 9:10 service, which arrived at Thorpe Park at 9:20. However, lots of people wanted to get on at my stop and the bus was already extremely crowded. Therefore, I was at the back of the queue from standing aside to let others on first, so I ended up not being allowed on this bus and having to wait for the next bus at 9:25. However, the wait was only 15 minutes, and I still got to Thorpe well before opening, so I can’t complain too much. When I got on the bus, it had to have been one of most crowded buses I’ve ever been on. The whole walkable area of the bus had patrons standing in it, and I was rubbing shoulder to shoulder with people at the very front of the bus. However, the bus was punctual, ran at a ridiculous frequency (15 minutes between buses is hardly any time at all!), and it got me there, so I can’t really complain! On an odd side note, the card machine on the bus was broken, and the bus driver waved me and others straight through and said "just get on" when I tried to present my bank card to pay for a ticket... so I actually got that bus journey for free! After getting off the bus, I headed into Thorpe Park itself. By the time I got through security and past the turnstiles, it was around 9:40, so I was still in the park a good amount of time before rope drop even with me having to take a later bus: Before I get into the main body of my day, I should probably address the main elephant in the room; Hyperia. The ride was one of the main motivations for booking this trip, but in the days leading up to today, I had a bad feeling that it might be closed, and this was unfortunately the case. It was disappointing to not get on the ride today, but I was determined to make the best of the situation and not to let it take away from my day at Thorpe Park. And even if I couldn’t actually ride it, it was quite cool to finally see it in person and see it test a little! It looks awesome; hopefully it can reopen soon: Anyway, that’s enough about Hyperia. Let me get back to my day at Thorpe Park. I decided to start my day by heading to the Saw/Colossus end of the park. My original plan was to start things off on Colossus, but the ride was still closed initially, so I instead decided to head down to… Saw: The Ride Saw was on an advertised walk-on queue, so I decided to take a ride on it. This queue looked as though it was quickly getting longer than walk-on, but as a solo visitor, I had a secret weapon I could use; the single rider queue! This worked very well indeed, with me getting on the ride in no time at all! So, how was the ride? Well, Saw isn’t an absolute favourite of mine, but I have to say that this morning run was one of the smoothest rides I’ve ever had on it! I was seated on the back, and while it was still a bit rough in places, it was nothing like it has been for me in the past; there wasn’t too much Gerst-ache here! As for the ride layout itself, there was some surprising airtime in places, and I think this might be the first time I’ve ever ridden Saw and had the water effect in the heartline roll actually work! I got very surprisingly wet from that effect! Overall, then, Saw wasn’t running badly at all this morning, and it was an interesting way to start the day: When I was off Saw: The Ride, I noticed that Colossus was open, so I decided to head over to it… Colossus Colossus was on an advertised 5 minute queue time, so I decided to give it a go. This 5 minute queue time turned out to be overstated, as I waltzed straight into the station and straight onto the back row; you can never complain about that! But how was the ride? Well, it was OK; Colossus isn’t a favourite of mine, but as with Saw earlier, my back row ride on Colossus today was on the much more favourable end of the spectrum. It was a bit rough in places, but not nearly as overbearing as it has been in the past. As for the layout itself; I really like the first half of Colossus, with the loop, cobra roll and two consecutive corkscrews packing a punch and the airtime hill even providing a small pop of airtime on this occasion! However, I’m not a huge lover of the second half, as I find the multiple consecutive heartline rolls a bit nauseating, and I also think the train and restraint design makes Colossus a bit uncomfortable even excluding any roughness. Overall, Colossus, while not a favourite of mine, wasn’t running too badly today: After getting off Colossus, I decided to head to another major coaster… Nemesis Inferno Nemesis Inferno was on an advertised 5 minute queue time, so I decided to have a go on it. The queue times board was true to its word, as I walked straight into the station; it’s always great when that happens! But how was the ride? Well, I rode in row 3, and I have to say that this morning’s Nemesis Inferno ride was absolutely fantastic, and possibly one of the best I’ve ever had on it! The ride packed such an awesome sense of speed throughout, it was thrilling and had really good forces without being excessively intense, it was smooth, and overall, everything about the ride just clicked! Perhaps controversially, I must admit that I struggle to pick whether I prefer Nemesis Inferno or Nemesis Reborn; it will be a continual struggle, but that morning ride certainly made a strong case for Inferno: After Nemesis Inferno, I headed to the next coaster… Stealth Stealth was on an advertised 5 minute queue time, so I decided to take a ride on it. The queue time board was relatively true to its word, with the queue taking around 5-10 minutes. So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 5, and it was absolutely fantastic! That hydraulic launch is always phenomenal; it really takes your breath away and gets you up to speed ridiculously quickly! Aside from the launch, the ride has many other great attributes; the speed throughout is brilliant, and the airtime over the top hat is also excellent! Overall, then, my ride on Stealth was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed it: After Stealth, my original plan was to head over to The Swarm, on an advertised 10 minute queue. However, the queue was spilling out of the entrance and looking far longer than 10 minutes when I got to the area, so I decided to change course and instead head to... Rush Rush was on an advertised 15 minute queue time, so I decided to give it a go. This queue time proved roughly accurate, with the queue taking 10-15 minutes. So, how was the ride? Well, I'm a fan of a good S&S Screamin' Swing, and Rush is no exception; the speed and weightlessness are awesome! I love the airtime delivered at each peak, and the speed delivered in the troughs provides a real rush! However, I must admit that Rush seemed to be running a slightly underwhelming cycle today, with only one full height swing. I don't know if it's just me misremembering, but it seemed like it did more on previous visits. Nonetheless, Rush was a fun ride, with some nice airtime and speed: After Rush, I had a reride on Stealth, with a 25 minute advertised queue time. I was seated in row 10 this time, and the ride was just as fantastic as earlier, if not more so. Right on the back, the airtime over the top hat felt notably stronger; I got some excellent sustained ejector going over it!: After my ride on Stealth, I headed to the final major coaster I was yet to tick off... The Swarm The Swarm was on an advertised 35 minute queue time, so I decided to take a ride on it. This queue time turned out to be somewhat overstated, with the queue taking more like 25 minutes; it's always a bonus when the queue time is overstated! But how was the ride? Well, I was seated in the back left row, and I have to say that it was absolutely great! The ride had a truly awesome sense of speed throughout, it had some decent forces without being overly intense, it had some great, floaty inversions, and it was overall really good fun! The very rigid and tight vest restraints were a bit of a detractor for me, as they really dug into my collar bones and made me feel quite tightly pinned to my seat, but I have to say that these didn't seem to be quite as bad as they've been in the past; have Thorpe altered Swarm's restraints? Overall, then, my ride on The Swarm was thoroughly decent, and I really enjoyed it: After The Swarm, I headed back towards the rest of the park. But as I walked by, I sampled a ride that I haven't done in a few years... Flying Fish Flying Fish was on an advertised 5 minute queue time, so I decided to have a go on it. The queue time board was relatively true to its word, with there only being a one cycle wait, and I was on the ride in no time. So, how was the ride? Well, I was sat in row 6, and it was a fun little powered coaster; it had its odd moments of speed and some fun turns! It's not exactly a spectacular example of the ride type, but for what it is, it does the job. Overall, then, Flying Fish was a fun diversion along my way back to the rest of the park: After my ride on Flying Fish, I had a reride on Nemesis Inferno, on a 45 minute advertised queue time. I was seated in row 7, and as with my earlier ride, it was absolutely excellent, with great forces and speed, and hit the spot very nicely! On a side note, the operations were also excellent; there was a brief stoppage while I was in the queue, but once the ride was back up, the Inferno team were banging the trains out with no stacking whatsoever! Great job, guys: After my reride on Nemesis Inferno, I headed towards Hyperia and sat down with a Burger King lunch to watch it test for a bit. It is a very impressive-looking ride, and I'm sure it'll be brilliant when I eventually get on it: After I'd had my lunch, I decided to try another quick go on Saw via the single rider queue while I was nearby. The queue was once again quick, but I rather wish I hadn't, in all honesty. I was sat in the front, and the ride could not have been more different to the one I had earlier in the day. It was very rough, with some horrific jolts; the first drop and the ending were particularly bad. I'll digress to being a little confused as to how the front was seemingly rougher than the back on Saw, but I came off with a headache after that Saw ride, for sure: After my reride on Saw, I had a reride on Stealth. I was seated in row 8 that time, and it was every bit as fantastic as the earlier two rides had been; that launch is such an awesome gut punch: After my reride on Stealth, I then had a reride on The Swarm. I was in row 6 on the left side that time, and as with earlier, Swarm was an awesome ride with some great speed and great inversions: After my Swarm reride, I had a reride on Nemesis Inferno. I was in row 5 that time, and the ride was once again brilliant, with a nice amount of force and a brilliant sense of speed: After that, I had another reride on The Swarm. I was seated in row 5 on the right hand side that time, and it was once again a thoroughly decent coaster. I also had this ride during a bout of pouring rain, which added an... interesting dimension to the experience! After my Swarm reride, I then had one final go on Stealth to close out the day. I was seated on the back row, and it was absolutely fantastic, with that ever punchy launch providing an amazing rush and the top hat providing some great ejector! It was a brilliant way to close out a great day at Thorpe Park: After that final ride on Stealth, I left the park to get on the Sullivan Buses 951 back to Staines train station. The bus was very similar to earlier; extremely busy, but very punctual and getting me to the right place. However, I did not get this journey for free, as the card machine was working this time: After I got to Staines train station, I did the final train legs of the trip to get me back to Bristol to meet up with my parents. I took 2 trains; a train from Staines to Reading and a train from Reading to Bristol Parkway. This journey was relatively simple and went without a hitch, so I can't really complain about that: So, that brings my day at Thorpe Park to an end! I had an absolutely brilliant day; it was great to get back on some of my favourites at the park multiple times, and I was thrilled to get 15 rides in over the course of the day! Stealth was fantastic, Nemesis Inferno was awesome, Swarm was really decent, and overall, it was just nice to get back to Thorpe Park and get back on some of their rides for my first time in 2024! In terms of a particular highlight; my favourite ride at Thorpe, pre-Hyperia, would have to be either Stealth or Nemesis Inferno. I'm struggling to pick between the two, as they were both brilliant today! Not getting on Hyperia was disappointing, but it didn't detract from the day in the slightest for me. I still had an absolutely cracking day at Thorpe Park without it, and when I was in the swing of riding some of my existing Thorpe favourites, the lack of Hyperia didn't really occur to me at all; I only really clocked it when I noticed it testing from a queue or on a ride! It does look like an awesome ride, though, and I'll be back very, very soon (potentially imminently) once it reopens... I can't wait to get on it, and given I had a relatively complete Thorpe day today, I'm not sure I'd even mind waiting a potentially considerable length of time for it at the expense of other rides in the park! Given how easy the train between Bristol and Staines is, I could pop back to Thorpe for the day with great ease whenever Hyperia reopens... I have plenty of money, and having just finished university, I've also got plenty of time to kill over the summer, so I'm hardly short of potential Hyperia-riding opportunity in the not-too-distant future once it's back open! All in all, I do have a real soft spot for Thorpe Park. I rarely have a bad day there, and today was no exception! I think the park has a brilliant ride lineup, and for pure strength of rides, I'd struggle to think of a UK park on par with or better than Thorpe aside from Alton Towers! I also think Thorpe has some nicely themed areas and a nice atmosphere, and overall, I do just really enjoy it! As well as the day at Thorpe Park, that also brings this trip to an end. And I have to say that I've overall been thrilled with how it's gone; I was very gratified by how surprisingly easy I found the logistics of managing a solo stay away with some additional public transport complexities, the whole process of staying in a hotel alone was much easier than I expected, and all in all, I'm really pleased to have pushed my solo trip boundaries that little bit further! From a pure theme park standpoint, the trip has also been relatively successful. Yes, I didn't get on Hyperia, but the trip was far from fruitless in terms of +1s, as I still got both Minifigure Speedway credits. It also got me back to both Legoland Windsor, a park I hadn't been to in 3 years, and Thorpe Park, a UK park that I'm very fond of, so that can never be a bad thing! Thanks for reading; I hope you've enjoyed this report, and the overall duo of reports from this trip! To be honest, my next report is very likely to be another Thorpe Park report if Hyperia reopens any time soon, as I am eager to get on that ride ASAP!
  9. I could be wrong, but to me, it doesn’t look like a ride that’s opening today. The area still looked cordoned off with “No Entry to Hyperia” signs up, and the queue time sign outside appeared to say “Closed Today”. This morning, they appeared to be stopping it at different points on the lift hill (at the bottom and then on the top) during their tests. It’s been testing on and off throughout the day, with varying amounts of test dummies (some empty trains, some full). Hyperia being closed does have some upshots, however; I matched the ride count I got in just over 5 hours at LEGOLAND yesterday before 12pm, with 6 rides already done! I’m currently in the queue for my 7th. On a side note; it’s a rather big thing in person, isn’t it?
  10. 9th June 2024: LEGOLAND Windsor Hi guys. Today was an exciting, albeit also somewhat nerve-wracking, day for me; it was the first day of my first ever solo stay away from home. For my first solo stay away, I decided to go for a trip to LEGOLAND Windsor and Thorpe Park, two of the London area Merlin parks. This was because I felt that I should try this with something that wasn’t ridiculously far from home what with it being my first time, and even putting aside my anxieties about doing my first ever solo trip away, both LEGOLAND and Thorpe Park have new coasters for 2024 that I wanted to get on! That’s probably enough of a prelude, though; let me start the first day of my trip, my day at LEGOLAND Windsor, right from the beginning. I left my home in Gloucestershire at a little after 7:30 this morning to make the 30 minute drive to Bristol Parkway, a nearby major train station. After my parents dropped me in Bristol, I was able to start my train journey to Windsor, which consisted of three different legs; a train from Bristol Parkway to Reading, a train from Reading to Slough, and a train from Slough to Windsor & Eton Central. Apart from a 5 minute delay in Swindon, this all went relatively smoothly; I arrived in Windsor & Eton Central around 1h 50m after I left Bristol Parkway: After getting off the train in Windsor, my initial plan when I booked the trip 2 months ago had been to catch a bus from Windsor to LEGOLAND. However, I discovered a few days ago that today was the day of the Windsor Triathlon, which threw large parts of the bus route out of whack compared to my original plans. As such, I decided to resort to a backup plan and do something I’ve never done before; I actually caught an Uber. I have to say that this worked excellently; the process of securing an Uber was really easy, a driver turned up within a couple of minutes, and I got into LEGOLAND by about 11am after a 20 minute ride from near the train station: After entering the park, I decided to make a beeline for the main purpose of my visit… Minifigure Speedway Minifigure Speedway was on an advertised 45 minute queue time, so I decided to give it a go. This queue time turned out to be quite notably overstated, with the queue only taking 20 minutes; the queue moved reasonably quickly! But how was the ride? Well, I rode the Allstars side for my first go, and I have to say that it was quite good fun! I was seated in row 5, and the ride had some good speed, it was smooth, and the backwards section was quite fun without being too intense! With this being the first of these models manufactured by Zierer, I was also interested to see how the ride compared to the two Vekoma Family Boomerangs I’ve ridden. If I were pressed, I’d probably say that it was a little weaker than either of the two Vekomas I’ve done (Velociraptor and Accelerator), as the layout didn’t seem quite as punchy and the ride didn’t seem quite as refined, for lack of a better term, as the Vekoma models. Nonetheless, it’s a good, fun ride, it’s a great addition, and I think it fits this park wonderfully (LEGOLAND really needed a marginally more thrilling family coaster, in my view): After my ride on Minifigure Speedway, I headed over to the other coaster in LEGOLAND… Dragon The Dragon was on an advertised 55 minute queue, so I decided to take a ride on it. As with Minifigure Speedway, this queue turned out to be reasonably overstated, taking only 40 minutes or so. On a side note; is it me, or does The Dragon have an incredibly short queue music loop? I think it every time I ride it, but I swear that it only has about a 2 minute loop; it started to get a little grating after a 40 minute queue! But enough about the queue; how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 12, and it was a perfectly fine ride! The dark ride section was good, with some brilliant animatronics and smells! As for the outdoor coaster section, it was smooth, and towards the back, it did have some moments of better speed than I’d previously remembered. However, it is definitely showing its age a bit, and it does seem like it hardly gets going before you hit another lift hill or brake run. Overall, though, The Dragon was fun enough for what it is, and the theming in the dark ride section was great: After my ride on The Dragon, I decided to head to… Flight of the Sky Lion Flight of the Sky Lion was on an advertised 60 minute queue, so I decided to have a ride on it. When I looked at the queue, however, I didn’t think it looked like a 60 minute queue. It looked notably shorter than the queue I waited in for it back in 2021, and that queue was itself less than 60 minutes. My hunch was proven correct; the queue was quite notably overstated, taking only 35-40 minutes or so. That’s enough about the queue, however; how was the ride? Well, I have to say that it was absolutely brilliant, and possibly better than I’d remembered from back in 2021! The film on the ride is brilliant; it draws some parallels with Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom, and it’s a very original premise for a flying theatre! It also has a brilliant soundtrack and brilliant smells, and overall, I think it’s an excellent ride! It’s a very uplifting ride, with a brilliantly immersive film and storyline, and overall, I’d personally say that it’s among my favourite dark rides in the UK: After my ride on Flight of the Sky Lion, I headed back over to Minifigure Speedway to try and get the other credit. I was psyching myself up to try asking for the Legends side, but I thankfully got assigned it by pot luck without needing to ask. As for the ride itself, I was seated in row 8, and it was similar to the ride I had on Allstars earlier in the day; fast, fun and smooth! However, I’d say it felt a tad punchier, and I’d probably say that I marginally preferred Legends to Allstars, if I had to pick. These coasters are an excellent addition to LEGOLAND overall, however; they’re really good fun and fit the park like a glove. I’ll write a longer review at some stage, but my views of the investment overall are definitely positive: After my ride on Minifigure Speedway, I decided to head to a dark ride… Haunted House Monster Party Haunted House Monster Party was on an advertised 45 minute queue time, so I decided to have a go on it. Continuing the running theme of overstated queue times, the queue time for Haunted House Monster Party was fairly overstated, with the queue actually taking only 15-20 minutes. You can never complain when a queue is overstated, and that was a frequent theme for me at LEGOLAND today! So, how was the ride? Well, it was very good fun! The illusion aspect is always very cleverly executed on these madhouses, and while it’s not quite Hex at Alton Towers, Haunted House Monster Party is a fun and quirky take on the concept! I think the lighting sequence and the whole idea of the ride being a big disco is a really fun concept, and the ride has an awesome soundtrack that really serves to do the concept justice, in my view! Overall, then, Haunted House Monster Party was a good, fun ride that I definitely enjoyed my ride on: After my ride on Haunted House Monster Party, I decided to head to yet another dark ride… Lego Ninjago: The Ride Ninjago was on an advertised 60 minute queue, so I decided to give it a go. I wondered if Ninjago would continue the theme of largely overstated queue times, but Ninjago‘s queue time stayed true to its word, with the queue taking 60-65 minutes. So, how was the ride? Well, I remembered really enjoying Ninjago on my last visit to LEGOLAND in 2021, and today was no exception; the ride was really good fun! I think the shooting technology is very clever, and a very novel concept, even if I probably looked like a complete idiot flailing my arms at a screen! I also think the 3D and screens are good quality in there, the ride system is quite good, and there’s some nice physical theming in there as well, although the ride is mostly screen-based. I will digress that the ride is a little taxing on the arms, with my arms definitely feeling a bit tired by the end of the ride, but overall, Ninjago was really good fun! In terms of my score, I got 45,500, which I was very pleased with given that I am typically very poor at interactive dark rides anyway and was basically flailing my arms around aimlessly with little strategy: After Ninjago, I had originally intended to go for another ride on Flight of the Sky Lion, but my phone battery was unfortunately flagging. As I was on my own, I did not want to take any risks with regard to my phone battery (I needed my phone for my Uber, train ticket and hotel reservation), so I decided to end my day at LEGOLAND there. It was already around 4:15pm anyway, so given the park closed at 5pm, I would likely only have had one more ride even if I had stayed. Nonetheless, I think some form of portable phone charger or battery pack might be a good investment for the next time I go on a solo trip: To get out of LEGOLAND, I once again decided to take an Uber. As with earlier, the process worked brilliantly, and I was back in Windsor town centre within around 10-15 minutes. To get to my hotel, I had to go to the other station in Windsor, Windsor & Eton Riverside, and catch a 15 minute train to Staines. The journey went very smoothly, and the very flash South Western Railway train, complete with plug sockets, gave me a prime opportunity to give my phone some much needed charge: After getting off the train in Staines, I took a short walk to the Staines Premier Inn, my hotel for the night. Check in was very easy, which made for a nice end to the day: So, that brings the first day of this trip to an end! I had a really good day; it was nice to get back to LEGOLAND, and while I didn’t get on absolutely loads, I was pleased with what I did get on and managed to satisfy my primary aim of getting the +2 of Minifigure Speedway. Those two coasters are good fun, and a great addition to the lineup at LEGOLAND, in my view! LEGOLAND was developing a really solid non-coaster lineup, with dark rides being a particular strength, so it’s nice to see the coaster lineup getting a bit of attention. On a personal note, I was also very pleased with how today went in terms of the logistics. As I mentioned earlier, this is my first ever solo stay away, and compared to earlier solo trips I’ve done, this one has entailed slightly more complexity, so I’m pleased that I’ve managed to pull it off without a hitch thus far (I’m hoping I haven’t tempted fate there…). Thanks for reading; I hope you’ve enjoyed this report! Tomorrow, I’ll be heading to Thorpe Park, so keep your eyes peeled for that report! While my chances of getting on Hyperia aren’t looking terribly good, I rarely have a bad day at Thorpe, particularly on a midweek day in term time, so it should be fun!
  11. The ride has been testing comprehensively today, with very quick dispatch intervals:
  12. For what it's worth, Hyperia apparently just tested, according to a person who's been providing updates on the situation throughout the day:
  13. It really would be absolutely typical if it did reopen on the 11th… seeing as I’m going on the 10th! If this ends up being the case, I can’t believe I’ll have missed it by 1 day… that really is just my luck! Now I’m just desperately hoping that the park are simply covering themselves, and the 11th June is the latest date they currently expect it to reopen…
  14. In a promising development, the lift chain has started being slowly tested and the area music has been turned back on:
  15. I honestly reckon that Thorpe are probably best announcing it last minute, if they announce it at all. They’re more likely to know with certainty that it will open if they go last minute, and unlike, say, opening day, the ride’s reopening day isn’t likely to be some special day that people will want to be there for. It will be no different to any other day that the ride is open all year. Part of me honestly reckons that quietly reopening unannounced might be a good shout, but they’ve already said they’re going to announce a reopening date, so they probably won’t do that.
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