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  1. Two weeks after experiencing the wonders of Europa, I would be experiencing another new European park. This park was Liseberg, Sweden's largest amusement park located slap-bang in the middle of Gothenburg home to a fine number of flat rides and coasters. Prior to 2014 I knew nothing about this place until a certain ride helixed into the lineup making this park leapfrog onto my list of must do parks. After checking in and dropping our bags off at Gothia Towers we headed over to the park. This is a lovely hotel which is beautifully modern inside and conveniently located across the road from Liseberg and worth a stay. It's striking appearance almost makes it look like something from the Matrix. Such a simple, but highly effective entrance. New for 2016 is Aerospin, a Gerstlauer sky roller, which is similar to sky force but riders are positioned on a raising tower instead of an arm. This ride is mixed bag for me. The views from the top of the ride are absolutely stunning offering some lovely views below but trying to spin on this is even more difficult than on the sky fly models. That said trying to freely spin over 200 ft in the air is terrifying enough. IMA score soundtrack for the winning though. Also new at the park for 2016 is this traditional looking carousel and this lovely looking garden area.The park used to have two S&S drop towers and small wheel in this area but they were removed last year for Aerospin and these. Parks need quiet/green spaces aside from the rides IMHO. Another of the park's recent flats is Mechanica, a star shape which opened last year. all this theming and attenton for a flat ride? Amazing! Mechanica has to be one of the most intense rides I've ever experienced too. They also boast a decent afterburner, this time from Zamperla. Flamingo need one! And a better and more scary version of Rush. This one goes over a cliff [ if you're looking the right way]. There's also a Jukebox themed polyp ride which is great fun and an automatically operated Waltzer which can do some crazy spinning if the timing is right. They also have a log flume which features an impressively original name. What makes me even more happy is that at over 40, this is a working log flume. Good drops though. The park also boasts a fun and wild set of rapids. Whilst Fjord is still my favourite, this is still better than Congo and wipes the floor with Rumba. Liseberg is also home to Europe's largest drop tower once observation tower. Whilst the drop isn't the best, this is made up for this with the superb views at the top and atmosphere. The ride is actually called Atmosphere. There is however only dark ride at the park, the Fairy Tale Castle. The best thing about this ride is that it's indoors and plays the dream flight soundtrack. Their scare maze Hotel Gasten however is absolutely amazing and worth the paid extra [around £4]. But there's another important aspect to Liseberg. The coasters. The park is home to four major coasters, the first of these is Kanonen, an intamin launch coaster. Considering how small this coaster's footprint is, the layout is remarkable. Unfortunately, the ride's setback is the restraints which are rather tight fitting and dig in during the ride. Well done Intamin. Still a good coaster, but probably not a great one due to the restraints alone. Liseberganen is the 2nd of the park's large coasters. A 1987 Schwartzkopf Whilst at nearly 30 years this may be the park's oldest coaster, it packs one amazing punch and is an amazingly fun thrilling ride. Flying through twists and turns, hills and helixes on the park's hillface. The ride's only minor issue is the brakes, which hit you worse than absinthe. It literally feels like you've almost experienced a car accident each time they kick in. Then there's Balder, the park's intamin woodie which has apparently won a number of rewards since it's existence. Which features number of other coasters in it's queue. Nemesis, Grand National and Megabobia all feature here. Which is a fantastic coaster. This features some brilliant moments of ejector airtime throughout the ride, although the corners are unfortunately a little dull honestly speaking. It doesn't beat Wodan but is still one of my favourite woodies. And now for the ride you've waited for. Helix And what a spectacular diamond she is. Helix alone is worth travelling out to the park for. From it's modern airy sci-fi style queue line to it's amazing ride soundtrack. The ride starts as it means to go on, hurtling into a corkscrew immediately after leaving the station followed by a vast array of inversions, twists, turns, helixes [no pun intended] and hills delivering a significant amount of ejector airtime. This ride never shows any signs of slowing as it ascends into the second launch before the ride gets stale in anyform, launching round more exciting elements before entering a final corkscrew into the brake run. As a result of the ride's immense layout and superb styling amongst being one of the most photo friendly coasters around, makes it my new number one coaster even over taking Wodan. Never have I been on a ride so many times in one trip and still been wanting to go back for more. Once Blackpool gets one of these, it could well be a game changer. Throughputs on this were also very good, no faffing around at all. I would say most park-wide operations were on a par with Towers overall. And it's in one of the most picturesque parks out there amongst being my favourite amusement park [not theme park]. And Darkadder won a giant Toblerone!
  2. Following on from the joys of Joyland, it was time to experience the third and final new park wonder of our park trip; this place was Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach. After driving down the seafront from Joyland, something that seems a cross between a larger Southend and slightly cleaner Blackpool, we arrived at the Pleasure Beach's car park which more of just a grassy field on the seafront really, luckilly though it was free for us [due to tickets]. So once we collected our wristbands from the ticket collection area [unfortunately on the other side of the park], it was time to start riding. OMG We're at Disneyland! Actually, Disney haven't built any Mulan based attractions at any of there parks [even the Tokyo & Hong Kong ones ], so the Pleasure Beach beat them to it with this ride. Not a bad ride actually, a lot more forceful than the likes of Rocky Express & Knights Quest. One random feature this ride also included was how the ride cars were suddenly covered up by a giant green canopy half way round the ride resulting in riders not seeing where they were going. Tivoli World had this on their ride equivalent but decided to get rid of it a few years ago for some reason. The only drawback on this ride resulting in a chunk of the fun factor disappearing was I got crushed during most of my ride by a [Mr] Fish Welcome To The House Of Fun! [gotta love Madness]. This is the park's fun house attraction which features lots of crazy moving stair cases, paths and spinning things inside whilst inside a dimly black lit room featuring 3D objects around the whole interior. Really enjoyed this one a lot, ending up doing at least a couple more times during the trip. For some reason, the background energetic upbeat music reminded me of the Spongebob Squarepants theme tune. Now this is frightening; frighteningly bad I'm afraid as I found this ghost train very bland and average really and definitely not a favourite. Still better than Tivoli's Ghost Train & Storm Surge however. As you can probably tell, we are not at Alton Towers however this ride used to be. It used to be at Alton Towers from 1982 until 1997 when it was removed from the park to this place. The ride wasn't terribly interesting and just done for the cred really, still it's a good coaster for people getting in to coasters and clearly fits in much better here than it does at Towers [it would stick out more than Spinball ever could if it was still there]. The Twisted Steel Log Flume thingy. Didn't ride this actually as I didn't really want to get wet then [nor did the rest of the group] so we moved on. If you time your walking around the ride's area really badly, you would get soaked during the ride's main drop. Now what is that sticking out there? That's right, a metal pole that guy in to place. But this is the ride though that really makes this park worth visiting for [aside from those creds], The Roller Coaster [got to love creative names ]. Such a great coaster, the way the ride flew up and down the drops throughout was superb and the pacing as a whole made for a great thrilling family coaster. This coaster is very different from many others as instead of having brakes/stops scattered throughout the circuit, this ride used a brakeman who rides on the coaster train on his own seat with the riders and applies brakes throughout the whole circuit when required. This not just results in each ride technically being unique, but means on some rides you can get some really good airtime on the ride, something which seemed to improve steadily during our time here making for a fun ride. The ride was only running one of a possible four trains [two were stored in workshop areas and the other was off the track completely] however luckilly there wasn't much a queue at all meaning we never waited more than 5 minutes for each ride. The ride's complex structure also helps add further fun factor and interaction as there's a few head choppers there too. Whilst it doesn't topple my top 10's or even favourite woodies from the list [Megafobia 1st, National 2nd, Dipper & Wild Mouse 3rd], it still a ride I thoroughly enjoyed and is probably 5th on my wooden coaster list. Since experiencing this ride, two milestones have [sort of] been reached, one being it's my first ever Scenic Railway, the second being I have nearly done all the UK woodies now with just Gulliver's Antelope & The Scenic left, however one of those is still closed & the other is at a park which is difficult for child-less adults to enter to so this is closest I'll get to a completed list for now. They also had their own Sky Drop tower which was identical to the one at Adventure Island. Good drop tower really, not a patch on Jolly Rodger but better than Bounce. Another ride however that was on the must do's was the historic yet charming Snails & Fairytales ride positioned in-front of the Roller Coaster. Loverly charming ride where after seeing pirates & farm animals along a track which interacts with the roller coaster flying above, this happens. You are taken through a secret portal to Disneyland for a couple of minutes seeing all the wonderful characters from the films whilst the It's A Small World music plays through your ears, before returning back to the real world and exiting the ride. I really liked this attraction alot and whilst it's definitely not going to any rewards anytime soon, it is such a charming relaxing attraction that should be second on your to do list after the big coaster here. Whilst Jadam & co. got to experience an impressive Mack spinner under the title dwervelwind, I got also to experience a new spinner coaster here called Whirlwind. Despite being a kids coaster, I enjoyed this ride quite alot, was surprisingly fun and is worth a go, better than the Apple Coaster at least. Then it was time to tackle the park's Family Star coaster. Was alright as coasters go, but nothing special really. Time for a fairground classic which was the Twister, this one however was quite different as it was slanted as opposed to the normal flat layout which made for an interesting ride, not to mention the cycle was pretty good too. Then on to the first Waltzer I've done in a while [enjoyed a lot more than I expected actually]. Other rides at the park [not-pictured] were a monorail style ride which went around the park, you got some good views of the Roller Coaster & Snail rides [amongst the more fairgroundy ones] and a small Disko ride like Ramba Zamba, although it wasn't my favourite ones. Once we'd done all of these, we did Roller Coaster & Snails once more before heading off back on our long journeys home ending what has been my highest splash of new creds at once for a long time. As park's go, Great Yarmouth isn't the best park around, lacking the large scale of Blackpool or the thematic element of other parks and the fact it feels a bit like a permanent fun fair in parts. However what wins the park over as the place to go is the park's classic Roller Coaster, Snails & Fun-house attractions which are all great in their own ways and the former makes me excited for when Dreamland's open reopens amongst the day I visit Tivoli Gardens & Bakken [to a lesser extent]. Until then Oakwood, Disney and countless Halloween events remain ahead plus my second big non Uk park in November on my first trip to Efteling.
  3. Dreamland Margate has been a place that I have always been interested in for years and when I found out it would be reopening this year I knew I had to plan a visit, after all it's the nearest park to me with a woodie (with the others either being in the north, East Anglia or Wales). This is why I have decided to hold an unofficial trip/meet up there this summer to check what has been perhaps the most exciting 2015 development in the UK. This is not a meet by all means as there's no specific plans/arrangements apart from having a great time and exploring the park and possibly surrounding areas. The trip is currently scheduled for Saturday 11th July 2015, which loosely may also be my TPM birthday celebration trip too. The park's openings hours that day so far are 10am-8pm. For anyone who's interested and would like to join, feel free to comment below or any form of PM or communication you request. Further information on the park, prices and how to get there can be found on the Dreamland website. http://www.dreamland.co.uk
  4. Whilst on holiday summer 2013, I visited Tivoli World. A small theme park located in the southern Spain. The entrance to Tivoli, decorated in bright warm colours waiting to welcome many guests in to the park. The area here retains a fairly grand appearance, however perhaps a little dated in terms of design. After walking up the rather steep hill, most of the park resides on and buying the Supertivolino, a wristband that lets you go on most of their rides for free during the day, it was time to check out some of the rides the park had on offer. This was the first park ride area I found. The park layout comprises pretty much of a straight wide footpath up the hill to the top of the park, with a number of ride and show areas scattered among the sides. This is one of the first ride areas that appear in the park. The first attraction I went on was the Paratrooper ride [which can be seen in the above] pictures which is perhaps incorrectly titled Twister, despite the fact it doesn't really twist in any way and the name often belongs to traditional fun fair rides. I found the ride itself ok, It gives quite a fun spin when at full flight and also giving some not bad views of the surrounding area and despite appearing to be rather ancient is probably worth a ride or two if you ever visit the park, 5/10. After taking a spin [ not a twist] on the Twister, it was time to see what other rides were around at the park. Apart from a few kids rides and a rather average Vintage Car ride, the only other worthwhile attraction in this area seemed to be this powered coaster called Tokaido, which had the same layout as the Runaway Train coaster in Chessington. It does seem very quiet though doesn't it. This was because the ride had another similarity with the mine train, in the factor that it was closed. Even the train was missing too. Maybe this ride's getting rethemed next year as well ;]. So, apart from an average flat ride, closed powered coaster and typical kids rides, what else does the park have on offer? Well, it has this cross metal-wooden log flume ride, which has received the magical addition of a bunch of marquees covering the ride's station and lower queue, still least it blocks the sun. Well, the ride itself is no Tidal Wave [theming wise], but it does get you quite wet with three drops, the two largest at the start and the smallest at the end. There's a fair amount of shrubbery at the start of the ride [mostly due to over growing weeds] plus numerous disused park objects dumped at the back of the ride. The water itself isn't brilliant and marginally better than Loggers, but the boats do rattle quite a bit on the drops. One to do once if the weathers nice, but maybe avoid if the queue is massive, 4/10. After getting soaked on the Log Flume, A large tall big wheel lay nearby, which I took a ride on whilst I dried off. Despite doing what it does on the packet, this big wheel was surprisingly good, lifting you 80ft in to the air at a medium pace several times with a decent ride duration of around 5 minutes. The ride certainly gives some very good views of the park and surrounding coastal area. You can see for miles! The ride is much better than Peeking, plus offers less restricted views from the carriages too. 7/10. hmmmm, what thats nearby red and blue structure over there? Looks like a roller coaster to me. Roller Coaster, we need to ride it! This coaster's design is similar to the SDC Galaxi models made in the 80's, but features a few differences including the extended roller coaster section at the bottom with the added twists, turns and air time hills. Also this ride isn't manufactured by SDC, but rather an uncommon manufacturer known as Mundial Park. more information of this ride can be found here http://rcdb.com/1556.htm The coaster itself was built in 1972, the same year the park opened and over forty years later, the ride still packs a punch. The coaster itself is rather decent featuring a fun layout comprising of rather sharp turns in to sharp drops followed by spiraling down a helix and then after slowing a little, it suddenly gains speed running through twists and turns and up a few hills before returning to the station. Although the lift hill shunts the car rather aggressively and the fact there is a rather uncomftable moment in the middle of the circuit, it's a very good fun ride and one of the best rides in the park, 8/10. There are quite a lot of other rides the park also has on offer, which includes this pre-date Rocky Express caterpiller style ride, whichs appears to be model presumably from the late eighties- early nineties. The ride itself goes at quite a fast past and feels better than the merlin versions due to it being slightly faster and more comftable, 6.5/10. Incidentally, this ride used to have a cloth which would fly on top of the cars during the middle of the ride which would obstruct the vision of everything around you. This was quite a strange experience when this occurred, however it didn't actually add much to the ride experience. We also have this brilliant looking ghost train. So brilliant you wouldn't even see it at Disney ;]. Seriously though, this ride was rather disappointing and whilst it looks alright on the outside, there isn't a great deal in the inside. Just lots of darkness, random continous sound effects and a few animatronics which only seem to be activated after you've passed them. not bad for the laughs, But seriously rather dull and disappointing, 2/10. On the other side of the park lies one of the park's more thrilling rides a top spin, but unfortunately, this ride was also closed during my visit. I think it's quite ironic that both closed rides at this park are exacly the same type of ride that are closed at Chessington [except the different manufacturers and the factor the ones here are even more tacky than Chessingtons]. Thankfully, there's another white knuckle next door to it, a giant drop tower, which was manufacturer by Moser Rides. The tower hoists riders to an impressive 200ft high. Before plummeting them all back down to earth again in less than 5 seconds. Overall I really enjoyed this drop tower, it gave off some impressive views from the top and gave you quite a bit of airtime during the drop part of the ride too. That being said, Detonator despite being half the height is still a better drop tower, more forceful and intense, but it's still better than Bounce though, 7/10. So, what other attractiones does the park have to offer? Are there any relaxing areas here? And how what happens to the park when it gets dark? Watch this space for part two of my trip report and you should find out.
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