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Whilst Jadam, Josh & Peaj had a massive theme park road trip in Europe last month. I [sort of] had my own last weekend with Mr Fish, Myk & Shinequa [although on a much smaller scale] as we hit all the parks in the Great Yarmouth area visiting several new parks which would give a nice little splash to my list of parks visited, ride creds and new parks in 2015. After making my way to Stevenage via Kings Cross [so that tom Tom could get me] through an underground commute I hope won't happen again which almost almost resulted in missing my train, we arrived at Shinequa's place where after experiencing some decent fish and chips [much better than the ones we had at Chessington] we crashed over at for the night ready for the long day ahead. After an early morning call and heading our way to the Great Yarmouth region, we headed to the first of the parks we would experience that day which would be Pleasure-wood Hills, small family park in Lowestoft home to several half decent coasters and underdog dark ride. Once arriving in the stony car park [which is a bit bumpy], one of the first things you notice is that the parking lot is sort of in the middle of the park giving you some pretty good views of a number of the park's rides. This is the site you're welcomed to once you reach the main entrance. It's not a bad design for a little park like this [but would probably look nicer if it weren't for the weather]. And this is the site you're greeted to once you arrive in the park. Apparently there used to be a caroulsel right at the front of the entrance in the middle of the pathway which has since been relocated, which is a shame as it would look quite nice still at the entrance. Still beats Chessington's north entrance though. These buildings remind me a bit of Thorpe when it was owned by RMC [not the coaster manufacturer reassigning ageing woodies in to hybrids]. Moving on to rides then! First up was this Moby idiot attraction which was sort of like a rocky express style attraction where the ride moves along a circular track with ups and downs. It wasn't anything special as it didn't reach any fast speed but gets a thumbs up for the theming on-ride. Getting back to shore, we went on the Hyperdrive Dodgems, which is an attraction that it was brought in to the park this year even though they already have another set of Dodgems on the other side of the park. It's quite an interesting addition actually in the way the ride has a completely different layout involving a central reservation in the middle of the ride turning it in to a racing style dodgems attraction giving a different type of feel to the ride. Due to the heavy rain we faced that day, the dodgems floor was wet causing the cars to skid and slide every time a car entered the right hand corner, which made it quite for me to turn corners there to the degree it resulted in me crashing in to Fish's car and getting wedged so badly in the outer side that the operator had to switch off the ride temporarily to resolve this issue, which was very amusing to have experienced at the time [maybe that's why I liked them more than others]. The inferno/RCT2 style background music possibly helped. Due to the wet weather, some of the rides didn't look like they were going to be opening on visit. One of those was the Marble Madness coaster, which was a shame [or so we thought!] On our way exploring the park, we passed Hobs Pit [which didn't open until 12]. the facade though is quite nicely done though [and has a bit of a homemade feel to it]. The next ride we went on was the Pleasurewood Express, a minature railway that goes round the park [there's another railway round the park too]. The ride itself offered a loverly scenic ride around alot of the park and quite a lot of the rides too. THAT WAS UNTIL YOU ENCOUNTER THE MOST INSANE BUSH CHOPPER EVER ENDURED! You read that correctly, there were bushes so overgrown on the ride we had to duck ridiculously low where failing to do so would result in pain [I'll stop there as other than that I'm ripping off Jadam's entry ]. Least the driver warned us about them and after we left took the ride around again to try and sort them out. It wasn't a very nice day weather wise and I think this photo pretty much summarises that. From the ground to the air, we took our flights on another scenic ride at the park, the Chair Lift [first type of ride I've done in this form too] The ride is very calm,soothing and relaxing, although is very very slow. Definitely slower than walking and takes at least five minutes to get from one station to the other, still better than Storm Surge! What's that snaking in the distance I wonder? Why it's Rattlesnake, the park's original coaster [and my first new coaster cred of the day!]. Not a bad little coaster actually, pretty forceful in some of those corners, sort of reminded me of Treetops at Oakwood a little really but maybe a bit better because you got three laps around, shame they no longer have theming on the ride's lift hill through . Time to see how the other Dodgems compare, think I preffered these actually as there more traditional really [still powerslides]. Now on to one of the park's more thrilling additions, The Fireball. Really enjoyed this one actually as it gave out quite a lot of spinning and reached quite high on the ride's peak [probably better than Vortex]. Shame it looks like it's just been brought in from a travelling fair though! OMG WE'RE AT DISNEYLAND! Actually the building is home to meet and greets with the park's mascots [including Woody Bear who we met] and was also home to a Noel's House Party style show back in 90's [how times have changed]. Still reminds me Disney though. Then we boomeranged it back to the entrance where it was time to experience Wipeout which would be my first erm, Boomerang. This ride has a fair bit of history as it first started life at a funfair/exhibition in Scotland known as the Coca-Cola Roller in 1988 before moving to American Adventure in 1989. Apparently it was described as being one of the top coasters in it's time [which shows how far we went with rides in the 90's]. Then the park sold the ride to Pleasurewood in 2004 due to it's changing target audience [it shut down a year later]. The ride didn't open though until 2007 due to difficulties in planning and construction [originally supposed to be opening in 2006]. It also received a new train too which was taken from La Via Volta in Walibi Holland [the old train was apparently horribly rough]. I quite enjoyed the ride, The first half was great fun although the backwards journey was a little nauseating, those views of the sea on the backward lift hill though . After being wiped out [pun intended], it was time for some lunch and went to the Flying Fish restaurant [why I do I feel Thorpe is following us ] I had Sausage and Chips which with large drink cost around £7.50, which wasn't a bad price actually and surprisingly good food too [beat's Chessington's chippie]. So let's have a casual stroll to see what's happening at the park. Oh not much, just Marble Madness running.WHAT! MARBLE MADNESS RUNNING! LETS RIDE IT NOW! Marble Madness was quite fun, fairly jerky at times but I really enjoyed it. Considering it's a very similar ride to the one at Chessington [except being a mirror image], I think I actually prefer this one slightly, but Chessington's is still better due to it's heavy theming and creative queue line [at least until Merlin give it the Dragon Falls treatment ]. The ride opened at Pleasurewood in 2014 however used to be at Flamingo Land before though [then known as Wild Mouse] which opened in 1997 before being removed at the end of 2012 to be replaced with Hero which I haven't ridden yet but hear is horrible. It was then time, to enter the mine of Hobs Pit. This ride opened in 2013 ad replaced an attraction that I think used to be some sort of Fairytale type ride [Myk described it was ripping off disney quite a bit]. But Hobs Pit though was a ride that had alot of hype around it when it opened being described as scary attraction [with 12 rating] and an attraction that would not look out of place at Alton Towers & Thorpe Park. But would it live up to expectations? Well, for a park this size I would say Yes. The ride starts where you are greeted by someone wearing mining gear who summons groups of four at a time where you go through a mini scare maze with some effects and the like where you're soon greeted by a mini pre-show like thing before following the rest of the path where you're all batched in to a small ride vehicle where you go through a mine setting with lots of effects and visuals [some of the scenes in there are actually pretty graphic for a theme park ride actually] before leaving the ride vehicle [where apparently you belong to Hob]. Hobs Pit was a great dark ride [especially for a park like Pleasurewood to have] and was my favourite ride at the park during my visit. Aside from throughput, it probably wouldn't look out of place at a Merlin attraction and the experience as a whole reminded me a lot of a cross between The London Dungeons & The My Bloody Valentine Maze at Thorpe Park. Then it was time for the Jolly Rodger drop tower, a ride which opened at the park in 2011 Aside from the lack of theming [and the fact it was broken at the start of the day], I really enjoyed this and am going say a bit of a big statement here but say this was my second favourite drop tower after Detonator [on top of getting some good views of the sea too]. Now it's time for Cannonball Expresss: Ooooppps! I mean Enigma. This ride opened at Pleasurewood in 1995 being relocated from the now defunct Rotunda park in Kent which would by my first [and hopefully not last] Schwartkopf coaster [a manufacturer of coasters who have sadly now become defunct]. The ride broke down the first time we queued for the ride [due to faulty brakes] but reopened later on. Enigma is a fantastic little ride and offers a selection of fun thrilling elements within the ride and was probably my second favourite ride after Hobs pit during the day. The main and only complaint I have about the ride is the throughput. The throughput on this ride is awful, as the ride only uses one train which takes eight people at a time and often receives hefty queues of over 30 minutes at the park as result. Apparently the ride used to have not two, but three trains and some theming too which is a shame as it would be an even better ride if they could ever bring back one of those lost trains back to the ride [wonder where and why they went]. A green and broad view of the park showing the Marble Madness and the park's Log Flume which we didn't try as we couldn't really be bothered [and the water looked a bit green too]. There used to be a golf course where the kid's play area is [why they removed it I don't know]. Time for to take sea again on a classic Pirate Ship. Not my favourite I'm afraid, this one really seemed to clonk and jolt whilst the ship was in motion which for me really detracted the ride experience and as a result goes towards the bottom of the list of Pirate Ship rides I've experienced, even Mr Monkeys is better nostalgia aside [really!]. We also experienced this classic Caroulsel which was actually quite fun and was double decker too! Double Decker! Now here we come across an interesting attraction: Tales Of The Coast, a scenic/dark ride which is positioned near to the entrance of the park yet is not included on the map. This begs the question of is this just a mistake by park management or will is this ride set to be closing down? Who Knows! It was an interesting ride to experience, although felt like one with potential but let down on execution and overall care of the park. The ride begins gently floundering outside with on-board audio and some theming [which doesn't fit in with the ride's theme terribly well. You then enter this dark looking shed [the doors apparently used to open and close but longer do which is a shame]. Here you come across a number of different scenes on the ride before turning a corner and seeing more models before encountering a dog like model and then re-entering the outside wondering what just happened. Zufari says hi Another ride we did at the park [which I didn't picture] was Tide Traveler which was a cross between an enterprise and twister, however despite that didn't lift up which was a shame [although apparently it used to] which left me feeling a little dissapointed really. When it came to around 3:30 we took a trip to the park's gift shop before heading off from the park to experience more Joys in Great Yarmouth. Pleasurewood Hills is a loverly family park with some great rides and little additions, whilst it's not on the level of places like Thorpe Park & Alton Towers [mostly due to having smaller rides, less theming and lack of area audio], it's a great place to visit and if you're after something different from Merlin parks withou going abroad, this might be the place for you! Jadam was wrong, there wasn't a lot of pain here
Following my eviction from the concrete jungle island during February, it was off to a whole new kind of Island. Where could we be going? Why to Adventure Island Southend of course! Where all the action is happening! Expect Lots Of Rage [is better than Saw The Ride] Plenty of Whip [a great little ride] A Helter Skelter of drama Fury from Pharaohs [it's just a standard twister really [but quite well themed] And extreme conflicting Time Machine [I didn't do this ride ] Peaj Branning & Ian Beale prepare for what is ahead A mighty Scorpion of pounding When you experience something like this, it can feel like you've had a whole bottle of wine once you come out of it. A bit like coming home from a manic house party [Crooked house is a fun attraction with lots of interactive bits] Which can be a right serpent of trouble Devils Creek [I think they named it after me ] Where Ian Beale plots something [we believe an evil mastermind plan of some kind] Whilst Dirty Den looks out for the ladies Whilst Jack and Adam [Phil] Mitchell prepare to fight [for the best spinning possible] Fireballs come and go Because there's always a Barnstorm in the square [my second favourite ride there] Matt [Creek] Branning approves of this. But there is more!!! AS a series of new film sets near completion for the next episode [This will be a new indoor park that's apparently going to be open all year round]. Jack Approves Moments later Peaj uses his secret weapon just as a series of beating drums end this episode. Critics Review [the serious bit] Adventure Island Southend is a loverly little park. Whilst it doesn't have the hardware thats Thorpe, Chessie & others have, it has a great series of lots of fun pleasant rides with Over The Hill, Barnstormer & The Crooked House for families and the likes of Rage, Time Machine, Vortex and numerous other spinning rides for the thrill seekers [this could be the 2nd best uk park for flats]. Staff here were very friendly and enthusiastic, the park was in general fairly well kept [we must remember this is a small independant park afterall] and the wristband was pretty reasonable which I bought at a discounted rate instead of the usual £27 . If you fancy something different from your usual Merlin parks in the south of England, this place may be somewhere worth visiting.