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WARNING - This review has very STRONG spoilers Choo Choo... No this isn't Runaway Mine Train, this is MY Ghost Train (Well actually it's Derren's, but I got to experience it last weekend). Delayed for two months, a hype built higher than Kingda Ka and being the largest investment in Merlin HISTORY! I, of course, had low expectations. EXTERIOR I'll begin my review on the outside, we were greeted by a 90 minute queue in the baking heat, so I had lots of time to sink in the exterior, unfortunately, most of the poster theming had been destroyed by the guests'. Apart from the huge red shed that Thorpe has proudly placed at the front of the area, the actual building itself is well themed and the music was loud, maybe a little too loud (is that possible?). Apart from the AWFUL photo spots, the queue itself wasn’t that bad, the baggage room was well themed and the batching area kept the hype going… now it was time to go through to the pre-show. INTERIOR The pre-show started, with the worlds lamest ‘jump scare’, Derren waffled on about fear (I did pay attention, honest!) and another lame jump scare, although I did appreciate the special effects, this pre show felt like it was actually him talking to me, not just a video. We move onto the main room and I was taken aback, the train looked incredible and really looked like it was hanging! I have no idea how it’s done, the way the trains are hidden is actually the most mind bending thing about this attraction. The VR headsets come on and the story begins, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6... The scares begin and I was already screaming before the video started, the whole first VR section felt so realistic and I was immersed in what they was saying, I had the young man, old lady and old man so I got to experience a difference in the stories, my 3rd ride on DBGT 1st VR experience was the best VR I have ever experience, so crisp and clear. So after my knees were attacked by Thorpe’s ride host, we moved into the second part of the attraction, after a lot of shouting and confusion, this huge train comes swinging towards us, the effect would work well if they had more smoke and less lights but I still jumped back in time. Onto the second train and off we went, this time the story got confusing for me… why the explosions? Where’s Derren gone? Is Derren a member of the Green Party? But the demons did scare me, but the extremely long gas section made me loose interest and I could feel myself wanting to remove my headset, next thing I know, we’re falling to my second home, 5,4,3,2… an abrupt ending and back to reality. We exit into the highly themed shop and I had experienced the ghost train. Pros – - The physically train and underground theming. - The first VR experience nearly made me fall off my seat - The ride system works SO WELL. Cons – - The whole ‘sub core’ story comes out of nowhere, it feels like they’re two different plot lines happening throughout the whole attraction, Derren Brown & Sub Core. - Second VR section comes across very out there, making me confused to what was actually happening. - Making me change my pants because it scared me THAT much. Overall Review: The newest major UK theme park attraction, was certainly an experienced I’ve never had before, the plot line and lack of physically theming let it down for me, but it did what it was created for, to scare you. I’m unsure how this will keep up in a few years’ time, the technology is far too underdeveloped for how much it gets used and was already straining when I visited, I have a strong opinion that VR is NOT the future of theme parks, but that’s a debate for another day. Trolley Dolly 7/10
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.