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Ridelover123 has transformed to unveil a brand new era of thrills for 2016- DEMAND THRILL, a brand new youtube channel, Instagram page and facebook page. Subscribe to our channel, follow our Instagram and like our facebook page to be provided with the latest funfair and theme park updates all year round. The links for the facebook and Instagram page are provided below. YOUTUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/user/Ridelover123/feed FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/DemandThrill INSTAGRAM FEED: https://www.instagram.com/demandthrill/ Please be aware the facebook and Instagram pages are not properly set up yet, however I am working to get everything up and running as soon as possible. So please, subscribe to my youtube, like my facebook page and follow my Instagram channel- it would mean the world to start increasing my fan base with a brand new logo and theme to my channel for 2016. Here's the channel trailer/promotion, I hope you like it! Please feel free to give any constructive feedback and make sure to watch the promotion in HD! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RooDMHj2fA
Alton Towers finally happened! SCB can tell you, we've had a countdown going for ages and finally we went, so I am no longer an AT 'virgin' as some would put it. When it came to actually going I was nervous, as a lot of hate had been spread around about low standards and operations and the like compared with last season; however this time I once again found myself in the position I was in at CWoA, not knowing what to expect so practically being an ordinary punter. So, day one. We started the day at TP, as there were a few rides I wanted to compare to those at AT (namely Colossus and Smiler, Nemesis Inferno and the original Nemesis, Stealth and Rita, and yeah you get the picture). Got everything we wanted done plus a few extras within an hour and a half; bar Inferno which was already in it's full extension with only one train running... Yeah so as we wanted to get to AT at some point that day we decided it was best to not. Arrived at Towers at around 2pm to find the car park practically empty. We definitely chose a good week to go, up North aren't on their Easter break yet, so it was mostly families and adults there, which helped a lot with both the atmosphere and the queue times for the types of rides we wanted to go on. First thing we walked straight on to Smiler, despite the signs saying it had a 15 minute queue (still would have been good), and I really didn't get what everyone was on about it being rough. Yes I am a fan of Colossus and the fact that it's rough (even though it has gotten notably worse this season) but I will at least admit that it is rough. With Smiler, I don't know if it was the rain or that they'd done some work, but I found it as smooth as I knew Inferno to be. Did all the big rides except Nemesis and Air, we had them on ERT the next day anyway and as I've been struggling with walking recently walking all the way over there wouldn't be great. So just to taunt SCB we took the monorail over Nemmy twice. Found the staff all very friendly, after going round some areas multiple times (SMILER) some of them even started to recognise us, which made the atmosphere seem a lot lighter. Those staff with roles stayed in them well, and there was this one ride op on the Smiler who was pulling faces at everyone and waving through the glass. Day two was much the same, started in Forbidden Valley and worked our way back round the park to the X-Sector, as SCB had booked a surprise lift hill walk and behind the scenes tour on the Smiler. It was awkward how they had Nemmy and Air on ERT, however two other rides over there so far out of the way that didn't open until 11. Still as we knew this we planned around it and didn't end up having to wait long. Then it came to our behind the scenes tour. Earlier that day we had spoken to the awesome Smiler op in the bag room where he made some joke about giving him $0 for the wristband (the code on it was $0) to get our bag back. We discovered his name was Dave and as we waited for our BST we found ourselves wishing it would be him to show us around. Lo and behold a few minutes later over the tanoy came "Dave can you please go to the ride entrance" Yay! Dave showed us around and showed that the ride staff all really know their stuff, telling us all about the ride systems and what they have to do in the winter maintenance - the amount they do is crazy. All the staff were joking around and chatting and made us feel really at ease, encouraging us to ask any questions we wanted, no matter how stupid. The other ride op Matt and a Smile Assistant called Anna took us up the lift hill and were really helpful, and then we toured the dark section of the ride down below the station learning one particular secret that SCB will go into more detail about in his blog all about the tour... It's hilarious. Watch this space, but for now here's a few photos I took... Evening checks from the op box The whole of the lift hill The 'Smile' taken from the pit beneath the ride The rest of the ride from the pit What the inside of the dark section really looks like Couldn't get over the view from the top of the Smiler... I think I found my next drawing project. Come day three the Sun remembered the Earth existed and decided to come out a bit, which mean so did the people. Still AT reacted to this quickly and we hardly noticed at all. We knew Dave and Matt would be opping Oblivion so we went up to see them, and Dave called out to us over the tanoy (remembering both of our names, which was more than we expected) and had a little chat to us after. We'd found out the day before that Oblivion was his favourite ride in the world and he'd ridden it over 2,500 times! Wow. So he wanted to know how we found it and made a joke about having words with us later when we said it was a bit meh. Went on Enterprise next and the member of staff there recognised us from the night before and asked how we'd enjoyed the lift hill which was really nice and made us feel really special, as he held the car for us to get out and everything. Saw Dave again later in the day opping Enterprise covering this guy's break, and he made some joke about it being my "16th" birthday and got all the people in the queue to sing for me, he also made some joke to SCB about if he felt sick my hood was right in front of him... Also we felt a little adventurous, so decided to explore the Towers themselves. They were amazing and it's surprising how much you are allowed around, plus you get some brilliant views from the roof. My only problem was at the front by the exit for Hex there is a huge stained glass window that is in brilliant condition, however you can only see it from the outside which is disappointing. It would look much better from the inside; however after extensive checks every single entrance to this particular room is blocked off. So then we went back to the Smiler Went back to Oblivion last thing to say bye to Dave and Matt and to say thanks before we went home, and Dave once again drew attention to me over the tanoy and we sang again, except this time I was 14. Typical. I do NOT look 14! He came to talk to us after and wished us a good journey back and asked us if we had any more questions, and then we went on our way. It all just proved how much the staff make a difference, and how a few personal touches really can make your trip even if it's just them talking to you a bit before the ride, rather than ignoring you like they do at TP. Before this I hadn't been to a park that was huge on theming, as both Thorpe and Chessie have gone a bit downhill in that area recently, and the difference it made was huge. The atmosphere of each area was different and the stories were clear, unlike parks down here. Meh, one can hope this might improve soon in these so called theme parks, but it seems recently all they've cared about is IPs and "world's first"s. I guess we'll see. PS, Sorry Colossus... I have a new favourite <3
So Christmas is almost here as 2014 gradually comes to an end in what has been one of the most mixed years for everything [in what could easily be material for a new soap opera]. However here I will only be mentioning the theme park side of things [after all it's a theme park forum). Unfortunately compared to a number of active members here such as Benin, my theme park collection trip is on a much smaller scale, as someone quoted to me talking about how comparing Thorpe park to Universal & Disney World was a bit like comparing a corner shop to a large supermarket, something which is very much the case here, but carrying on. Thorpe Park Total number of visits 12 visited March 2x,April, May July 2x, August,October 5x In what might be the park's busiest year for a while, Thorpe has had a very mixed season. The park has seen some minor but excellent improvements such as a new map, improved eateries [Amity Fish & Chips & Cantina extension] and the Inferno shop [which has some great touches in there]. Park events this year were also on a roll and the easter event at the park looked very good [although I didn't actually make it this year] and Summer Nights improving further with not just the main coasters open but also opening of rides such as the teacups and Dodgems on top of a park wide DJ. MOS was just as good as last year [maybe even a little better] and Fright Nights delivered once again bringing us Studio13 [a decent replacement to the Asylum], some great improvements to Blair Witch and Face It Alone, which is an amazing experience for anyone who loves scare mazes and wants to experience them on a more extreme setting. OK, moving on to something [which I appear to be dodging opinions upon] and that is the opening of Angry BIrds Land, perhaps the greatest opinion splitter since Saw, some people seem to love it whilst others hate it like the plague. For me there I love and hate it for different reasons. I love the installation of the new 4D cinema and Dodgems. The cinema offers a fun,interactive & immersive experience for the park [plus a much needed indoor attraction too] whilst the dodgems offer a decent filler ride for the park with the Bird VS Pig car designs offering some good competition which hasn't been seen since the Beanoland days. The area also gives us a new area dedicated to families [something Thorpe have lacked in recent years] and utilising space that was previously rather wasted. What I didn't like about the area though was the fact it has divided the Amity area in half [one of the park's best area transitions] and feels a bit shoe horned and Detonator's retheme feels a bit cheap [pun intended] and more could've been done [the ride music is fine by the way]. I also don't like how the flooring and lampposts in the area are very miss mash in comparison and should've been redone. Whilst the park has made quite a lot of improvements, there is still a long way to go before perfection as the park is still suffering from ongoing problems such as Fastrack, ride breakdowns, Stealth & Samurai in particular were unreliable this year [though the engineer team I know do work very hard [which could do with a few more in numbers] and the continuation of 1 train ops on weekdays and mornings on peak days. There are also a lot of park areas that do look very worn such as Canada Creek which still had no new Loggers tunnel, Ranger County & Rumba to name some. This year we also said goodbye to yet another classic attraction at the park, the Rangers Caroulse, an attraction which was in service at the park for 20 years which disappears to make way for the highly speculated 2016 dark ride. Whilst just a Caroulsel contained rich history of Thorpe's past, not just being the second to last park Ranger attraction to survive but featuring a collage of former park ride vehicles onboard including Phantom Phantasia, Thunder River & Hudson River Rafters. Lets just hope the park salvage as many horses/models from the ride as possible [if there is no chance of the attraction's return]. Best Year since 2009 Alton Towers Total visits 2 Visited June Arguably the most magical theme park in the Uk and our nearest port of call to Efteling, Europe & Euro Disney. during the last few seasons some could argue the magic has been lost a fair bit with three disappointing seasons in a row. 2011 saw one of the lowest number of guests and 2012 featured the then disappointing Sub-Terra ride [amongst still low attendance]. 2013 was supposed to be one the year the park shined as a whole but was trashed completely due to how the park's big new coaster The Smiler was handled overall plus it's poor reliability. Whilst far from perfect, 2014 appears to have been a better year for the park. Operations seem to be on a roll again, ride reliability is better [bar a few exceptions] and improvements in food and entertainment too. Whilst having naturally low expectations, I was rather impressed with the new/re-themed area that opened replacing the ageing farmyard. The area is full of life including freshly re-imaged rides, plenty of themed walkthroughs and gardens and lots of friendly enthusiastic staff. The In The Night Garden Ride was very good in particular with it's animatronics and storyline, Postman Pat was a great fun ride full of heavy themed models and the Get Set Go was a brilliant re-incarnation of the random Squirell Nutty [it feels more like an experience now]. As I'm not the biggest fan of IP's in theme parks [bar some exceptions], the idea of brand-name here makes perfect sense and fits in well within the park. Scarefest proved a mixed bag this year giving us the new Scarytales which looks to have been a good addition however with the loss of one of the former Scaremazes Carnival Of Screams, which was not replaced. Best year since 2010 Chessington Total visits 2 [very very nearly 3] Visited April, May [almost October] 2013 at Chessington [to some] was complete shambles, park falling apart, poor/slow operations, closed rides, disappointing opening hours and also a fire at one of the park's newest outlets. Nothing seemed be done right [even the new Zufari ride]. However for 2014, the park's come it's own again and whilst [stastically speaking] hasn't installed a 'proper' new ride it's improved much of whats there significantly. The hugely retimed Scorpion Express [formerly Runaway Train] whilst definitely being better with the now removed rock face, has a lot more personality now with it's quirky features such as abandoned town backdrops, moving/squirting Scorpion and fire tower plus the overall back story of a town overrun by Scorpions and new soundtrack. Despite losing the Boiler in the queue [which is now in the ride area], the queue line is still nicely themed [for Merlin standards] with interactive elements and the like throughout the queue. Other additions such as the re-imaged Market Square, Mexica & Transylvania areas also impressed me among noticeably better park operations among having more soul altogether this year. Amazu is also an interesting update to the monkey walkthrough which looks nice and updated compared to it's old form and whilst the Azteca hotel has taken up a fair portion of land that could've been used for new development it should hopefully bring in more guests and customers to the park and also the theming [on top of the retheme of the 1st hotel] should definitely add up to the wild/exciting experience for staying guests. Sadly I never [quite] made it to the now rebranded Howl'O'ween event which looked very good from the reviews I saw and heard about, but who hopefully this will finally happen in 2015. Speaking on 2015, I'm looking forward to see what more the park will be doing as we will see a big update to the penguin enclosure and a new show [after all penguins are rather popular at the moment plus more updates to the park overall. Whilst a massive improvement to the disastrous 2013, there's still a long way before the park gets back to it's old 'magic making' days [pre2005] as there's still lots of areas at the park looking old,worn and forgotten. Falls, Tombs, Skyways & Bubbleworks are good examples of this. Overall Best year since 2010 Legoland Windsor Total number of visits 2.5 Visited, April,September, November Despite it's lack of anything groundbreaking or eye-catching in the last few years, Legoland continues to remain as popular as ever [shockingly receiving even more guests than the nearby Thrill Capital]. Unfortunately, 2014 wasn't the best of years of the park as once again nothing too exciting and worthwhile for those over 10 appeared with the main new addition being a big new play area replacing the ageing Rat Trap and a chunk of the enchanted forest walkthrough. Unfortunatly the other new attraction for the park this year was the [3rd] re-theme of the Pirate Falls log flume featuring new models, audio and storyline. Whilst the new one features better audio and looks a lot more fresh in appearance I still prefer the original as it featured more charm and humour then. Aside from a new play area and re-themed log flume, the park also received two further additions which are perhaps unwelcome appearing in the form of Burger Kitchens. Located in the Pirate & City areas of the park, these outlets see the replacement of Burger Ranch & Crossed Ribs [an eatery that has existed since the early park years and did some good BBQ food]. Despite offering more indoor seating for cold/bad whether days these aren't a good addition as the food line up at Legoland has been reduced slightly and Burger kitchens haven't been renowned for good quality [I'm still yet to try one actually]. Despite not being too impressed with the park during main season, I opted out [and paid the perhaps overpriced fee] to visit the park during it's Christmas event which despite the reduced ride line up [and park access] I really enjoyed as I virtually had the park to myself when I went not just getting on rides without queues but getting actually rides to myself and the park was also lit up beautifully with loads of lighting scatted over the park making it feel like a christmas kingdom. It was a truly magical experience there [either that or I'm reflecting on the amount of friends who went to Euro Disney at that time of year ]. 2015 was set to be one of the most exciting years for the park for a while, with the addition of a big scale immersive themed Haunted House attraction [giving the park another much needed dark, high capacity and older aimed] ride. However unfortunately this plan was ripped to shreds due to the selfishness of the residents and local council resulting in the rejection of the plans [despite recommendation] and what we will be receiving instead will not just be on a smaller scale but also strongly unappealing too. I just hope the park can send an appeal and get this ride approved in the future instead. Blackpool Pleasure Beach Blackpool for me was the biggest theme park venture for me [at least outside of the Merlin circle] in what proved to be one of the most exciting weekends this year gaining lots of new credits at the famous Pleasure Beach. Whilst it's no Disneyland, it proved to be surprisingly good with some very exciting coasters including Grand National, Steeplechase and Avalanche with each ride holding it's own. I also got to experience the highly immersive Valhalla which is an amazing experience and is the best uk water ride by a country mile. Many of the other rides also proved to be very good too including Wallace & Gromit which was a very good dark ride whilst Alice [although rather dated] proved to be an entertaining and fun attraction]. The only ride that left me feeling disappointed was Impossible which was just pants. Other attractions I was able experience included the Blackpool Dungeons which was a very good experience and whilst there were some flaws, some elements were better than the London ones including the Drop towers at the end. The circus show and tower themselves were also very and interesting [the latter offering some loverly views from the top]. Coral Island was an interesting attraction with a cool monorail and ghost train which was sadly ruined greatly by funny and moody staff. Oakwood Whilst having a very enjoyable trip in 2013, I sadly never had chance to return to the park in 2014, however by the looks of reports, that was possibly for the better as the park had apparently gone backwards greatly, featuring poor operations of rides, lots of rides closed daily and many areas completely rundown [which make Thorpe's flaws sound almost forgivable]. Lets just hope the park learn from their mistakes next year and finally open the Sleepy Hollow area. Disneyland Paris Where do we begin with this soap opera of my life? Well, It didn't happen [at least in 2014]. There were at least five attempts to get to the park in 2014 [no exagerration] but a lot of things down to budget, timing and personal reasons [which I'm not going in to] none of these trips were successful so I never got to see Remy. 2015 however will hopefully break this spell. Tivoli World Like the last 5 years, the park has virtually remained unchanged still housing the same ageing/out dated attractions that have existed for many years. The park hasn't gone backwards but it certainly hasn't gone forwards and only receives a mention for being the only theme park in Europe I managed in 2014. What looks ahead for 2015? In terms of the uk parks, not much I'm afraid at least for the Merlin parks as so far the only new additions confirmed are glorified log cabins, a retimed area [without any new rides] and a new penguin show and enclosure, meaning we won't get any official rides [as we currently know]. For smaller uk park's though it looks a better year though as we will definitely be receiving some new attractions next year. Blackpool will be getting the Red Arrow flying ride, Paultons will be getting a brand new themed area called Critter Creek, Drayton are getting [yet more attractions] in Thomas Land and Oakwood will finally be receiving it's new Sleepy Hollow themed area. As for Europe, Efteling will be receiving a new major exciting dive coaster, Gardaland will be receiving a dive coaster, Hansa will be gaining a new exciting coaster whilst parks in Denmark and one of the Walibi ones are expected to also earn new rides too. And this marks the end of 2014, roll on 2015 I say, a year I will hopefully be getting some new parks and several across sea [that aren't Tivoli World].