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  1. Hi guys. Today was, interestingly, my first visit to Thorpe Park of the season; by my usual standards, September is quite late in the season for me to be visiting Thorpe for the first time! Today was also the return of my solo theme park tripping; as with last September, my parents’ love of professional golf was greatly useful, as they were going to watch the championship at Wentworth and offered to drop me at Thorpe for the day. We left early and made very good time; entry was very prompt, and I was in well before opening: Once the park opened, I headed to my first ride… Nemesis Inferno Nemesis Inferno was on a walk-on queue, so I decided to start my day there. As promised by the queue times board, it was deserted and I waltzed straight onto the second train of the day; always a bonus! So how was the ride? Well, I was seated on the outer seat of the back row, and I’ve got to say that it was absolutely brilliant! It was glass smooth, had just the right amount of force, had great pacing, and was an overall awesome coaster; having ridden the original Nemesis at Alton Towers a month ago, I perhaps controversially prefer its Thorpe Park sibling, and by a fair bit. I should also add that the operations were awesome on this run, with no stacking whatsoever! All in all, Inferno was fantastic, and a brilliant way to start the day: After Nemesis Inferno, I decided to try another ride nearby… Detonator Detonator was on an advertised walk-on queue, so I decided to take a ride. The ride was very quiet as promised; I only waited one cycle! But how was the ride? Well, it was absolutely fantastic! Even though I’m not generally a huge lover of flat rides, a glaring exception to that is drop towers; I can’t get enough of a good drop tower, and Detonator stacks up very well against others in the genre for me! In spite of it not being the tallest drop tower in the world, that drop is phenomenally punchy! One interesting thing that was also happening today was that the ride host appeared to be overriding the regular ride soundtrack and doing their own spiel, holding us up there for quite some time; it almost reminded me of HangOver at HPWW! Overall, though, Detonator was very good; I thoroughly enjoyed it: After Detonator, I went to do another coaster… Stealth Stealth was on an advertised 20 minute queue, so I decided to take a ride. It took slightly longer than this in reality, taking more like 30 minutes. So, how was the ride? Well I’ve got to say that it was absolutely fantastic! I was seated in row 5, and the launch hit just as well as it ever does, the airtime was brilliant, and the ride also seemed a fair amount smoother than it was last year; it seemed really quite jolty at times last year, but it wasn’t overly rough at all today, which made it a fair amount more enjoyable for me! Overall, Stealth was awesome today, and has definitely shot up a fair bit for me: After Stealth, I headed down towards Old Town to go on another coaster… Saw The Ride Saw was on an advertised 30 minute queue, so I decided to head over there and have a go on it. The advertised queue time absolutely skyrocketed before too long; it had hit 60 minutes by the time I reached the ride, and it quickly hit 120 minutes shortly after I joined the queue. However, I had a secret weapon up my sleeves… the newly added single rider queue! As anyone who’s read my recent Alton Towers trip reports will know, the single rider queue on The Smiler has been a very useful asset to me in terms of reducing queue time, so I was intrigued to see what it would do on Saw, particularly with a 120 minute queue time. It wasn’t quite as much of a remarkable silver bullet as Smiler’s, as I waited 40 minutes, but in fairness, I did only queue for 1/3 of the advertised main queue time, which I can’t really complain about! But how was the ride? Well, Saw isn’t really a favourite of mine, and today wasn’t too much of an exception, but in all fairness, my front outer seat ride was not exactly the worst ride I’ve ever had on Saw by any stretch. The first drop jolt got me pretty badly, and the ending was pretty rough, but the ride wasn’t too terrible other than those two sections. One thing I must commend about Saw that I’ve never really noticed before is that the ride actually has quite a bit of airtime; I can think of at least 3 pretty strong pops on there, and that drop off the MCBR gives off considerable shades of Silver Star! In reality, it is probably one of the strongest coasters for airtime in the UK, in my opinion; it’s a shame it’s so rough in places, as I think I’d really like it if it were smoother: After Saw, I decided to break up the coastering with a flat ride… Rush Rush was on an advertised queue time of 40 minutes, so I decided to have a ride on there. This ended up being pretty accurate; always a bonus! So, how was the ride? Well, I may have talked above about drop towers being an exception to me not generally being a huge flat ride fan, but Screamin’ Swings are another notable exception; I really enjoy Rush, and today’s ride was no exception! I really like the gorgeous pops of floaty airtime at the top of each peak, there’s a great sense of speed in each trough, and it’s also nice and thrilling without being overly intense, which always gets me on side! Overall, Rush was great fun; it’s always a ride I thoroughly enjoy, and today was no exception! Perhaps controversially, I'd take it over either of the gyroswings I've ridden any day of the week, and it's not even close for me: After Rush, I had a reride on Nemesis Inferno, as it had a mere 40 minute queue. I was seated in row 2 this time, and it was every bit as good as earlier; Inferno is just an incredibly solid ride, in my opinion, and really good fun! It’s definitely one that has considerably grown on me over the years: After Inferno, I sat down to eat my packed lunch on a bench near to Derren Brown’s Ghost Train, timing the throughput of Detonator as I ate (I had a very good vantage point!). After that, I took a bit of a walk to my next ride… The Swarm The Swarm was on an advertised 40 minute queue time, so I decided to have a go on it. This queue ultimately ended up taking a bit longer, taking close to an hour in the end. But how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 5, and I’m sad to say that while enjoyable, it was probably one of the weakest rides I’ve had on Swarm. I like Swarm, don't get me wrong, but I don't really love it any more like I used to, and I think today's ride reinforced that. It is a slightly frustrating one for me these days; there are still many elements of it that I absolutely adore, but there are a few niggles that do take away from it a fair bit for me these days. The first is its smoothness; this wasn't too much of an issue today, as the ride was fairly smooth on my inner seat ride, but it's definitely not the glossy smooth ride it once was, and I've had outer seat rides that were really quite bumpy. The second is the fact that I always grey out for several seconds on the helix over the water when I never used to; I know that some people like this, so I'm probably being overly picky, but I don't personally find it an overly pleasant sensation, and it does take away from my enjoyment of the ride somewhat for me. The third, and to be honest probably the main one, is the vest restraints. I used to really like them when I was young, but I'm afraid to say I'm not particularly fond of them at all anymore, and they do detract from the ride a fair amount for me. I'm not personally a fan of how rigid they are and how much they tighten during the ride; they seemed to particularly detract today, even taking some of the sting out of that awesome final inversion. It's a real shame, as Swarm was my first real Thorpe Park love; it spent a 2 year stint as my number 1 coaster of all time (yes, had I joined the forums prior to riding Mako at SeaWorld Orlando in 2016, Swarm would have been the coaster I'd have gushed about endlessly!), and it's also my most ridden coaster of all time outside of Alton Towers (some of those Towers classics are in another league of ridership numbers, really...). And there are still many elements I really love about it; the sense of speed, particularly on that first drop, is absolutely phenomenal, and that last heartline roll over the station is just absolutely sublime! Overall, while my ride on Swarm was still enjoyable, I'm afraid to say that it fell a bit flat compared to some of my phenomenal experiences on it in the past. I know I probably come across very picky here, so I apologise for being overly harsh, but I cannot lie about my own thoughts: After my ride on Swarm, I headed for a reride on Stealth at an advertised 50 minute queue, which ended up being closer to 70 in reality. I was once again seated in row 5, and it was just as fantastic as it had been earlier; Stealth really was riding excellently today, and I've really fallen back in love with it! I really need to get back on the front row at some point... my one experience of the front row, in 2020, sticks out in my mind as being my most enjoyable ride on Stealth by a fair margin: After my ride on Stealth, I headed down to Lost City to ride... Colossus Colossus was on an advertised 50 minute queue, so I decided to give it a go. Now anyone who has read my posts for a while will know that I do not hold much love for Colossus, but by this point it was one of the shorter advertised queues on park, and I also hadn't done it yet today, so I thought it might be worth giving it a spin. This turned out to be a slightly poor choice... because the queue ultimately took 110 minutes, meaning that I waited nearly 2 hours for Colossus and ultimately frittered away any opportunities to ride anything else today (I joined the queue at about 4:15pm, and by the time I exited the ride at about 6:05pm, I had to dash back to my parents in the drop off zone). Ah well; it can't be helped, and I'm sure that the ride staff were certainly trying their darnedest to shift the near 2 hour queue! But how was Colossus? Well, I'm afraid to say that I didn't enjoy the ride at all; I was seated in row 10, and it was incredibly rough and uncomfortable; I got very sore ears and a properly good headache out of the experience. I also find the cars/restraints extremely uncomfortable, and I'm not a fan of the consecutive series of slow heartline rolls. On the plus side, I think the layout of the first half is quite strong, and I did get a very, very slight tickle of airtime on the ride's airtime hill, which I've never had before! Overall, though, I do not find Colossus enjoyable at all; it's definitely one of my all time least favourite coasters. I apologise if that comes across harsh, as I know some of my reasons for disliking it are very picky, but I feel like honesty is the best policy when it comes to my opinions on these things: After Colossus, it was just gone 6pm and my parents were waiting in the drop off zone, so my day ended there: I had to rush out pretty abruptly, as I was informed that my parents only had 9 minutes left in the drop off zone... after I reached the car park, we all headed home. So, that sums up my day at Thorpe Park! I had a really good day; I was very pleased with my ride count of 9, and it was great to get back on some of my favourites! Inferno was awesome, Stealth was great, Detonator was fantastic, Rush was really fun, Swarm was good... there were loads of really good rides today! Thorpe is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, and today was no exception; I had a great day! Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed my report from Thorpe Park! That's probably going to be my final trip report of the 2022 season (I don't see myself going anywhere else this year), so... trip reports wise, I guess I'll see you in 2023!
  2. 7th August 2022: Alton Towers Day 1 Hi guys. Today was the first day of my latest 2 day Alton Towers trip, which is always an exciting day, particularly when your break entails a stay in the Alton Towers Hotel! I know it’s only been two months since my last trip to Alton Towers, but I got offered a theme park trip of my choice for my birthday this year by my parents, and as I had a nice time at Alton in June, I thought “why not go back there?”! We left home at about 7:15am this morning and got to the park in good time, arriving through the hotel entrance shortly after the 10am opening time. I’ve got to say, that hotel entrance has become a real secret weapon on my last two Alton Towers trips; it saves a huge amount of time getting into the park, which is always a bonus: After entering the park, we headed to our first ride… Galactica Galactica was on an advertised 0 minute queue, so we decided to take a ride on it. As promised, the queue was very short indeed, which is always a bonus. The operations were also very good, with a throughput of comfortably over 1,000pph being attained on 3 trains and 2 stations; terrific work! So, how was the ride? Well, Galactica isn’t a favourite of mine, as I find the flying position a bit uncomfortable, but I’ve got to say that today’s ride was one of the more fun I’ve had on it in recent times; I was seated in row 4, and it was really smooth, with some fun sensations! All in all, that ride on Galactica was about as good as I could have asked for given that the ride isn’t really one of my favourites: After Galactica, we tried the other Forbidden Valley B&M… Nemesis Nemesis was on an advertised 25 minute queue, and as such, we decided to give it a ride. Ultimately, the queue ended up being more like 45-50 minutes once we joined; it was only stretching up to below the first corkscrew, but dispatches were infrequent, and me and my dad later ascertained that this was because the ride was on 1 train and attaining around 500-600pph. The park decided to add the 2nd train whilst we were in the queue, which added another 10 minutes or so onto our queue time but ultimately sped up the pace of the queue after that. Interestingly, we encountered a rather angry staff member at the Fastrack merge point, who later got moved elsewhere due to them getting overly animated at guests’ behaviour. I’ve never seen that at Towers before… anyway, how was the actual ride? Well, it was good! I was seated in row 5, and it was fairly smooth, well paced and forceful; what’s not to like? As much as I may not hold Nemesis on the same god-like pedestal that most enthusiasts do, today’s ride was very good indeed; it certainly packed a very good punch: After Nemesis, we decided to head for a slightly longer stroll to ride… Wicker Man Wicker Man was on an advertised 50 minute queue, so we decided to have a ride on it. This queue time was very accurate, which is always a plus, and it appeared that the bulb in the pre-show had been fixed since my last visit, meaning that its tricks were obscured from guest view once again; good work, Alton! But how was the ride? Well, it was phenomenal; I was seated in row 8, and it was relentlessly fast, packed with airtime, smooth and overall very fun! That definitely cemented its place as my personal favourite ride on park, my UK #2 and my overall #5; I always feel like I shouldn’t enjoy Wicker Man nearly as much as I do, but it never fails to have me laughing and feeling blown away when I hit the brake run! As blasphemous as this probably sounds, I genuinely get almost as much enjoyment from riding it as I did from riding Wodan at Europa Park back in April! Even though it’s not nearly as impressively specced as Wodan on paper, it’s just so much fun and so rerideable, and even though Wodan does come out on top for me, the gap between the two remains far smaller than I ever expect; there’s really not a whole lot in it for me! Perhaps I just really like GCIs in general?: After Wicker Man, it was getting on for 1pm, so we decided to sit down in the courtyard for a spot of packed lunch before heading to our next ride… Thirteen Thirteen was on an advertised 50 minute queue, so we decided to get in the queue and have a ride. This queue didn’t end up being anywhere near 50 minutes, and operations were good; always a bonus! So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 2, and it was good fun, with some fun twists and turns in the outdoor section and a cracking indoor section that’s always a laugh; it was lovely and smooth, as well! However, having ridden it both towards the back and towards the front in recent months, I must say that I definitely prefer Thirteen towards the back. That cracking pop of ejector airtime over the first drop is missing in the front, and the outdoor section generally feels a bit more fun in the back. Nevertheless, Thirteen is always a really good, fun ride that puts a smile on my face, and it’s definitely one that’s grown on me over time: After Thirteen, we initially considered Rita, but it had a 75 minute queue, so we went elsewhere… The Smiler In spite of a 60 minute advertised queue, I decided to give Smiler a go. Now you may be wondering “why on earth did you do Smiler when you’re not a huge fan of it and it had the longest queue on park?”. Well, dear reader, that is where a secret weapon of mine came into play; the single rider queue! I made use of this for the first time on my last visit to Alton Towers, and it is truly a game changer; it reduces my wait time substantially every time I use it, and today was no different! In spite of a 60 minute advertised queue time, I got on the ride within 5-10 minutes, which I thought was brilliant! So, how was the ride? Well, Smiler isn’t really a favourite of mine, as I find it a bit too rough and intense for my personal liking, and today’s ride was pretty par for the course in this regard. However, it admittedly didn’t seem quite as rough as it did on my last ride; always a bonus, particularly given that I was seated on the back row! I do always feel bad for Smiler, though; it’s a coaster I really want to like, as I think there’s some good bits in there (the layout is admittedly creative, and those two airtime hills are absolutely amazing!), but it never really does it for me due to a combination of it not being the most comfortable ride and the back-to-back inversions almost creating a repetitive motion-type sickness feeling for me akin to that caused by a particularly intense spinning flat ride (I’m not a huge flat ride lover myself). I apologise for this, as I know that most enthusiasts love Smiler, but I cannot lie about my own opinions and experiences: After The Smiler, I met back up with my parents, and we moved on to the other coaster in X-Sector… Oblivion Oblivion was on a mere 15 minute advertised queue time, so we certainly couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a ride! This short advertised queue time certainly held true; it didn’t take us long to get on at all, which was aided by some very good operations. A throughput of over 1,000pph was being attained when I was in the queue, which is phenomenal, in my opinion; well done, team Oblivion! But how was the ride? Well, I’ve got to say that as ever, the other X-Sector coaster is far more up my street; it was particularly excellent today, with an absolutely sublime pop of sustained airtime over the drop and a phenomenal sense of speed in the tunnel. Even though it isn’t the fastest coaster I’ve ridden (that accolade goes to Stealth at 80mph), Oblivion always feels like it could conceivably be the fastest coaster I’ve ridden; that tunnel feels unbelievably fast! Overall, Oblivion was absolutely excellent, and definitely warranted its top 10 placement for me today; it may only have one key element, but it does it so well that it always leaves me grinning: After our ride on Oblivion, we fancied something slightly less thrilling… Congo River Rapids Congo River Rapids was on an advertised 15 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go as a slightly more relaxing ride to break up the coaster rides. The queue initially looked long when we joined, but it moved quickly, so the advertised queue time was actually pretty accurate. The good thing about rapids rides is that they are almost invariably queue munchers; CRR was dispatching a boat roughly every 15 seconds or so, making for a throughput of about 1,800pph if you assume full boats of 8. They also seemed pretty good at filling boats today, so this throughput figure likely wasn’t too far off despite rapids rides’ tendency to often dispatch with boats that are far from full. So, how was the ride? Well, it was all right for a nice sit down; as a way to relax, I can’t really complain about it! However, I do feel that the ride is considerably less exciting than it once was due to the removal of the waterfalls and many of the wave machines; I don’t really have an issue with it not being a huge soaker given our climate, but the opportunities to get even a slight spray on the ride are slim to none these days, and my parents and I both felt somewhat short changed upon getting off. I appreciate that this is out of the park’s hands, so I’m probably being overly harsh, but the ride is definitely less of a priority on our agenda than it once was due to these changes. Still, it was perfectly all right for a relaxing ride in between coasters, and it was nice to get back on it after quite a bit of time without a ride: After our ride on Congo River Rapids, we had a reride on Wicker Man, with a tempting 40 minute queue. I was seated in row 8, and it was just as sublime as our earlier ride, if not more so; it had warmed up superbly from earlier in the day: After this, my parents left the park and left me to my own devices. I went on to ride… Spinball Whizzer Spinball Whizzer was on an advertised 25 minute queue, so I decided to take a ride on it. The queue did end up longer than 25 minutes, taking more like 45-50 minutes, but this can’t really be helped; what can you do? So, how was the ride? Well, Spinball isn’t a ride I overly rate, and today wasn’t really an exception to that rule, I’m afraid; spinning rides aren’t my favourite anyway, as I have quite a low tolerance for spin, and Spinball is quite a jerky ride, so definitely isn’t the most comfortable of experiences. Still, that’s more down to my personal preference than anything overly wrong with Spinball; it solidly fills a family thrill coaster hole in Alton’s lineup, and even if it isn’t my personal favourite, I’m glad I got to ride it: After getting off Spinball Whizzer, I had a reride on Oblivion. The airtime wasn’t quite as strong this time due to me getting a pretty thorough stapling into the restraint, but the ride was still excellent nonetheless: After my reride on Oblivion, I closed out the day with another ride on Wicker Man. I was seated in row 3 this time, and despite being very near the front, the ride was still relentless and brilliantly thrilling and fun like it had been earlier; Wicker Man is a ride that always clicks for me regardless of where I’m sat: After that, I left the park and headed back to the Alton Towers Hotel: So, that was the first day of our trip to Alton Towers! The park was undeniably busy today, but I still got on 11 rides, which I was really chuffed with! I was also chuffed as always with how some of my favourites were riding; Wicker Man was as phenomenal as ever, and still easily my favourite on park, Oblivion seemed particularly awesome today, Thirteen was great fun, Nemesis was good… it was an excellent day all round! Thanks for reading! I’ll post the 2nd part tomorrow once I’ve had my 2nd day in the park!
  3. 8th August 2022: Alton Towers Day 2 We had our second day at the park today! Staying in the hotel naturally gave us an advantage, and I had a particular advantage this morning as I headed in alone at about 9:15, therefore I had plenty of time to get to my first ride of the day. That hotel entrance remained a phenomenal secret weapon as it had been the previous day: If you’ve read many of my Alton Towers trip reports before, you’ll know that a common strategy of mine when greeted with a pre-opening Alton Towers is to start in Dark Forest and ride Rita first thing. It’s at the back of the park, but also has low capacity and often holds a substantial queue later on, so getting it done early eliminates a substantial amount of waiting. I attempted to implement this strategy once again, but sadly, Rita was experiencing difficulties, and I was informed by the ride host that it would be opening late: With this in mind, I instead decided to get in a pre-opening queue nearby: This queue was for… Thirteen Thirteen’s pre-opening queue appeared quite long, but I thought I might as well join it seeing as I was in Dark Forest and it was the only other ride I could start on in that area. Thankfully, this queue was not nearly as long as it initially appeared, only taking around 15 minutes. So, how was Thirteen? Well, I was seated in row 4, and it was really good fun just as it had been yesterday; in fact, it seemed a bit more fun today, with a little bit more airtime in the outdoor section: After Thirteen, I retried the other coaster in the area… Rita Rita was on an advertised 10 minute queue, so I decided to give it a ride while in the area. Rita was the only one of the big 7 I hadn’t ridden yesterday, so I was looking forward to giving it a go. So, how was the ride? Well, it was pretty good fun; perhaps controversially, I do really enjoy Rita! I was seated in the back row today, and while it had a little bit of a rattle, this was certainly not a deal breaker, and the ride sensations themselves seemed awesome today; the airtime over the first twisted hill was unbelievable, and the pacing was absolutely turbocharged throughout! Overall, Rita was good fun today, and I’m definitely glad I gave it a ride: After Rita, we headed over to another coaster elsewhere that had a short queue… Oblivion Oblivion had an advertised queue time of 0 minutes, and we thought that this was an opportunity far too good to pass up! As promised, the queue was very short indeed, and strong operations on 2 stations meant that we were on the ride in very little time at all! So, how was the ride? Well, I thought it was absolutely cracking; the speed was exceptional, the ride was smooth, and a loose OTSR made for some excellent airtime! I do love Oblivion, and today’s ride was very fun indeed: After Oblivion, I split off from my parents and tried the other coaster in the area… The Smiler Even though The Smiler was on an advertised 100 minute queue and I’m not its biggest fan, I decided to give it a go for one reason; that single rider queue! I know I’ve talked about it a lot lately, but the SRQ really is a game changer on this ride, and I’m far more tempted to give Smiler a go if I can get on it in very little time. I must say that “how much queueing time can I shave off by using Smiler’s SRQ?” is becoming an increasingly fun game, and it was one that very much worked in my favour today, as I only waited around 15 minutes in spite of the 100 minute advertised queue time! So, how was the ride? Well, I’ll afraid to say it wasn’t that pleasant for me at all; I was seated in row 3, and I’m afraid it seemed to give me an incredibly thorough bashing today compared to yesterday’s ride. I came off with an incredibly sore neck and a definite headache: After Smiler, we headed towards the lakeside. Me and my mum had drinks and ice cream while my dad attempted to get a hole in one on the £1000 golf challenge… he sadly couldn’t win £1000 on this occasion. After that, we initially headed to Wicker Man, but the queue time had risen to 80 minutes by the time we got there, so this plan was quickly foiled. We instead decided to head over and ride… Galactica Galactica was on only a 20 minute advertised queue, so we thought we’d have a ride. I’m not sure the queue even took that long, to be honest; it was very quick, which is a definite bonus! So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 5, and it was actually quite similar to yesterday’s; not my favourite ride on park, but smooth and actually not too bad at all, all things considered: After Galactica, we decided to try the other coaster in the area… Nemesis Nemesis was on an advertised 30 minute queue time, so we decided to give it a ride. The queue was stretching a fair amount into the extensions, so I did wonder if this was a bit understated, and it did ultimately take about 45 minutes. But how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 5, and it was pretty good, although it seemed a little bit rougher than it did yesterday: After Nemesis, we headed back to a ride we’d tried to do earlier… Wicker Man Wicker Man was on an advertised 45 minute queue time, so we decided to take advantage of the substantial drop compared to earlier. I initially thought that this was somewhat overstated, as it only took us 30 minutes to reach the baggage hold and the waiting area for the pre-show, but the advertised time turned out to be fairly accurate, as it somehow took us 15 minutes to get through the pre-show area and queue through the station. Anyway, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 6, and it was phenomenal; fast, airtime-filled, and overall very fun and rerideable! As I said yesterday, Wicker Man always delivers for me, and is definitely a coaster that I like an awful lot more than I think I probably should: After Wicker Man, we had time for one final ride… Runaway Mine Train Runaway Mine Train was on an advertised 30 minute queue, and we hadn’t ridden it yet this trip, so we decided to have a go on it. The queue initially didn’t look too long, but looks were a bit deceiving here, as I later ascertained that the entire queue was open, and it ended up taking 45 minutes. Anyway; how was the ride? Well, we were seated in row 16, and it was good fun; even though it’s on the less intense end of the spectrum, RMT is a good bit of light hearted fun that never fails to put a smile on my face! It’s a definite guilty pleasure of mine; the intensity of that helix into the tunnel never fails to surprise me: After our ride on Runaway Mine Train, it was past 3pm, so we thought it was a good time to head back home. So, that concludes our 2 day trip to Alton Towers! I had a great time; even though my last visit was a mere 2 months ago, I do always enjoy a trip there, and it was great to get back on some of my favourites! It was also nice to stay in the Alton Towers Hotel again; I do always enjoy it there! Thanks for reading! I’m not sure where I’ll be reporting from next, but I know that a new trip report from me shouldn’t be too far away!
  4. It would appear that Chessington is installing 2 new rides in Pirate’s Cove for 2022, according to Chessington Buzz: https://chessingtonbuzz.com/news/two-new-rides-for-2022/ The planning application was submitted today, and the two rides are: A Zamperla Watermania (basically a mix of a teacups and a splash battle) that features water guns around the outside and a nautical feel, with a lighthouse tower operating console. The ride is to be named Bobbing Barrels. A Zamperla Rockin’ Tug, thought to be Timber Tug Boat from Thorpe Park, that is being named Trawler Trouble. Some of the artwork has also spawned a rumour that Pirate’s Cove is being rethemed to more of a nautical theme as opposed to a pirate theme. That would make sense given the general aesthetic of The Blue Barnacle compared to its predecessor, in my opinion. Isn’t this interesting! What do you guys think? It does certainly appear as if the level of investment into Chessington is stepping up somewhat, with these new rides now and Project Amazon in 2023!
  5. Hi guys. The 2022 season is just beginning, with BPB starting to reopen its gates, so I thought I’d breathe some life back into TPM’s trip report section (which hasn’t been updated for over a year by the looks of things) and make a 2022 Trip Plans thread! So, what parks are we all planning to do this year, now that COVID’s effect on the theme park industry is seemingly beginning to ease? Personally, I have a variety of plans for 2022. Much of this isn’t set in stone, as it’s only February, but here are my tentative 2022 trip plans, split into categories of their status: Locked In Plans Europa Park (26th-30th April 2022, on park 27th-29th April 2022) - After months of planning, this is finally locked in! We’re staying in Castillo Alcazar for 4 nights and have 3 days of park tickets to Europa Park, a bucket list park I’ve wanted to visit for a good 7 or 8 years now! I’m absolutely buzzing about it; it’s slightly surreal to think that after years and years of wanting to go, I’m only a little over 10 weeks away from finally stepping into Europa Park, the Golden Ticket Award winner for world’s best theme park and a place that many hold in extremely high regard, and I’m going to be riding coasters like Wodan, Silver Star, Blue Fire, as well as seeing other esteemed rides like Voletarium and Piraten in Batavia, as well as seeing what the park in general has to offer… my, this is so exciting! I know a lot of you are probably quite blasé about a trip to Europa by now, but from my personal perspective, I can’t believe that a trip I’ve dreamed about doing since I was 11 or 12 is finally happening! Almost Definite Plans Solo Train Trip to Drayton Manor (Weekday in June 2022) - After my successful pilot of solo theme park visiting at Thorpe last September, I want to take my newfound ability further in 2022 and take the train alone to a theme park in 2022. And where better to begin with that than the easiest park to reach from my location by train; Drayton Manor! I’ve mapped out the route from Wilnecote train station (reachable by direct train from my local train station), and everything looks nice and walkable the entire way, and I’d also like to get back to Drayton even excluding the stuff about my solo park visiting; I haven’t been in 4 years, there’s still some significant(ish) stuff there I haven’t ridden, and I would like to give Apocalypse a good send off before its rumoured removal at the end of 2022! In terms of when I’d like to go; I’ve decided on a weekday in June, as I’m headed to Europa in April, and this is also when I’m off uni and the kids are still in school keeping park crowd levels low, so it’s win-win! I obviously haven’t booked anything or concluded anything for this yet, but I am quite set on doing it at some point in 2022, so I’ll file it under “Almost Definite”! Possibilities Brean Theme Park/possibly Weston too (Unknown) - In spite of having been a theme park enthusiast since I was 10, I still haven’t visited my nearest theme park; Brean Theme Park! My dad has said to me that me and him could remedy that at some point in 2022, though, and he also raised the possibility that we could do Funland at the Tropicana as well, so excluding the kiddie creds at either park, as I don’t generally do kiddie creds, this could be a very easy +4! Blackpool Pleasure Beach (Unknown) - My parents have said we might be able to get back up to Blackpool for a short break at some point this year, and I’ll admit, I am keen for a revisit, what with new Valhalla and retracked Big One, Grand National and Big Dipper all having happened since my last visit, and I’m gagging to get back on my #2 coaster Icon after 3 years away! To tell you the truth, I was originally planning to do BPB myself on the train in one day, but from the South West, the trip was quite an epic one compared to anything I’ve done before, and practically everyone around me thought it sounded like quite a poor travel-to-park-time ratio (I totted it up to be around 8-9 hours of travelling for around 4-5 hours of park time, with me needing to get up at about 5:30am), so my parents said to me “if you want to go to Blackpool, I’m sure we could go up and stay there at some point this year so you get a full day in the park!”, which sounded like a far more pleasurable, less bold idea to me… That’s all I can think of at the moment, and as I say, much of that is not set in stone, so the year could turn out totally differently; it’s only February at the moment! In terms of the Merlin parks; from having talked to my parents, I’m led to believe that after quite a Merlin-heavy 2020 and 2021, our visit frequency to those will be considerably lower in 2022 due to us no longer having MAPs (my parents aren’t buying themselves new MAPs after being angry at the way Merlin treated passholders during COVID). I could in theory buy an MAP myself (my last MAP, the Premium MAP I had during COVID, was one I bought myself), but if my parents don’t get them too, it’s probably not overly worthwhile. But what 2022 trip plans do you have?
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