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Exodus Matt posted a topic in International AttractionsGrona Lund is small'ish amusement park located in Stockholm which is probably the 2nd biggest park in Sweden [after Liseberg]. For 2017 the park will be building a giant new drop tower called Ikaros. The ride will be 95 metres tall [aprox. 311ft] and will be similar to Falcon's Fury as it will be using tilting seats.
Am I getting too old for theme parks? 🤔
Inferno posted a blog entry in Blogisis BlogfernoThis is something that's been playing on my mind for the past 3 years or so. Whenever I visit a theme park these days, there's usually one or two moments throughout the day where I feel like the odd one out. At 30 years of age, I feel old. I look round me when stood in a queue, and most of the other guests are teenagers or adults with kids. Yes, there are a few couples or older groups etc who visit, but they're a rare sight. Usually the feeling passes after a moment, and I brush it off with my usual "who cares, I love theme parks!" take on the situation. But this year at Fright Nights, it really hit me. For most of the day, the feeling stuck with me. I know it wasn't the case, but I felt like the oldest person on the entire park. Nearly everyone queueing around me was in their teens (except my theme park buddy who is a year younger than me), and going through the mazes with a group of young teenagers did make me feel like an old man, reminiscing about mazes from over 10 years ago, when many of the other guests would have been toddlers. As we head towards next weekend, me and Mrs Inferno are heading to the fireworks at Alton Towers, and I have a very faint feeling of dread building - am I getting too old for all this stuff? I've always been a firm believer in just going for it, and if anyone ever asked me the question "am I too old to go to a theme park", I would say absolutely not! But just lately, I'm beginning to understand why people might feel that way. I'd love to know if anyone else ever feels similar, and what your take is on being "too old for theme parks"?
Your most "magical" theme park moments?
Matt N posted a topic in General DiscussionHi guys. Ever since Disneyland first opened in 1955, the idea of "magic" has been a cornerstone of much of the theme park industry, and over the years, theme parks have become almost intrinsically linked with the concept of "magic", particularly in the case of parks that err more on the family-friendly and/or heavily-themed sides. Nowadays, "magic" is quite possibly one of the biggest marketing clichés in the theme park industry; many, many theme parks use magic as a key selling device within their advertising and propaganda. Building upon this, my question to you today is; what are some of the most magical theme park moments you've ever experienced? What are some of those moments within theme parks that actually gave you goosebumps, or actually made you feel like a child on Christmas Day, instead of merely promising these emotions to you in an advertising campaign? When have theme parks lived up to the magical propaganda and really made you feel like you're experiencing something special? Let's spread some positivity and magic this closed season by reminiscing about some of our fondest theme park memories! I'll get the ball rolling with some of my answers. There are many, many moments I could have gone for here, but a few that come to mind are: Stepping into Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida for the first time (August 2014) - Now I admittedly think that both Potter areas could have qualified for this, as I adore both and both felt pretty special when I experienced them for the first time, but I have to say, stepping into Diagon Alley for the first time and experiencing Gringotts for the first time when I was 11 years old has easily got to be one of my fondest theme park memories even 7 years on; admittedly, the 3 hour queue wasn't too fond, but the land, the main indoor queue section of Gringotts, the Gringotts ride itself and the overall experience of Diagon Alley left me genuinely speechless in a way that very few things have since. Admittedly, I'm unsure how the land and ride would stack up for me now, but even having already experienced it before in 2016, I remember the whole WWOHP experience feeling like true theme park magic at its finest! Riding Mako at SeaWorld Orlando (current #1 coaster) for the first time (August 2016) - You all know my opinion on this coaster very well by now, so I won't bore you with details of my first ride, but even though this isn't magic in the sense you're probably all thinking of, I couldn't not mention it; the raw euphoria of experiencing that insane first drop and those phenomenal sustained airtime hills for the first time back in 2016 still sticks with me 5 years on, so in that sense, I'd certainly say that my first ride on it and it becoming my #1 is one of my most magical theme park moments! Watching Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom (April 2019) - As much as I'll admit that the Magic Kingdom didn't quite live up to the hype for me when I first went in April 2019, and that I'm also not huge on shows in theme parks in general, I have to say that my first and only time watching the much hyped night-time spectacular at Magic Kingdom was quite something; I don't know quite what it was, but this show really was brilliant, and something about it really felt magical and gave me goosebumps! Watching Happily Ever After was the very last theme park thing we did on that trip to Florida, and as much as I'm not usually a show person, it really was the perfect way to end the trip for me; it definitely meant that the theme park element of the trip ended on a high! (I'll conveniently brush over the last day, where our trip ended with a mad rush off of the Fantasia mini golf course to the airport when the mother of all storms abruptly began to soak us...) Riding Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios (April 2019) - You know those times where an attraction's been really hyped up and you worry that it won't possibly live up to the hype? My first ride on Florida's Tower of Terror was one of those times for me, but I needn't have worried, because I exited that attraction genuinely awestruck! For me, it was one of those rides where every little bit of it felt absolutely perfect; for starters, the entire queue and pre-ride experience is phenomenal, being crammed full of little details, while also carrying a rather brilliant ambience about it the whole way around that really gave me shivers! The dark ride portions carried on this brilliant ambience, but the icing on the cake was the drop tower itself; I was shocked at the raw strength of the airtime, and I couldn't stop laughing the whole time! Overall, my first and only ride on ToT was a genuine magical moment for me, and I certainly regret only doing it once! Islands of Adventure in general (Various) - I know this is quite general, but on both Florida trips where we've visited Universal, Islands of Adventure has always had this wonderfully magical vibe throughout the entire park that no other park I've ever been to has; it just makes me incredibly happy every time I go, and the combination of that and the park's amazing ride selection and theming are what make it my #1 park of all time! IOA is the absolute pinnacle of fun and magic for me, and I'm gutted that I haven't visited in 5 years, because it holds a very special place in my heart! Pre-entry/entry experience at Alton Towers (Various) - To be honest, I think the whole park at Alton Towers has a certain aura of magic about it, but for some bizarre reason, I've always found the build-up to a day at Alton Towers to be quite possibly one of the most magical parts (Not my favourite part by any stretch, but certainly one of the most "magical"; it's a very different type of magic to the others in this list!)! Even the drive through the Alton village and along the country lanes still gives me this child-like feeling of excitement all these visits later, and when you combine that with a ride on the monorail (or walk down the golden path) and the walk down Towers Street facing the ruins themselves, I really think Alton Towers' entry experience really stirs up feelings of magic for me! So, those are just a few of my most magical theme park moments! As I said, I could have picked loads, but I decided to limit it down to a select few that came to mind at the time of writing! But what have been some of your most magical theme park moments?
Annual Pass Delivery
Strickland posted a question in Quick QuestionsHi, I am very much new to these forums so sorry if I miss anything, I purchased three thorpe park annual passes at around the start of january (which the thorpe park shop website said would be delivered in 2 weeks) , I have been constantly emailing asking about the location, with each reply having some automated “passes will be sent out before the 23rd” reply. I am just wondering if anyone else has this problem or if it is just me, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the start of the season thanks
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom 2016
EC! posted a blog entry in EC The Ride!!!So after a really nice calm 40 minute drive from the airport we finally made it to a place to be fair I thought I'd never ever visit in my life! Six Flags Discovery kingdom is a surprisingly small and compact park like it is definitely the same size if not slightly smaller then Thorpe park so, finding everything wasn't too much of a hassle. Medusa is the first thing you see when entering the park with a car park that is just burdenously far away but we arrived and we were really excited to try everything the park had to offer! The rides opened at 10:30pm which was quite late when we are used to parks opening at 10am sometimes even earlier so it was a little annoying waiting but it was nice seeing the main plaza which for a six flags park is really pretty with a nice big fountain as a focal point. Now I'm quite sure you know why we came here, we probably wouldn't have even come to San Francisco in the first place if it wasn't for this coaster. And as you know it was... THE JOKER!! Once the rides opened we rushed so fast only to be greeted with burdenous bag faff as they don't allow bags in the station and they had to be put in lockers which is a pain in the ass, not to mention it was badly lit as well which made it even more annoying! This is the one thing I hated as all the big coasters were like this, so if you ever go to this park bare in mind you will need to spend a bit on lockers. So onto the ride itself! This was probably my most anticipated coaster on the trip other then Twisted Colossus and X2(which I will get onto in another blog as it spited and I was not happy!), and well what can I say, this coaster blew it out of the water for me, its not that tall but it is incredibly relentless, with intense force in some places, amazing intense ejector airtime, 3 amazing inversions which are fast paced and feel great not to mention what has to be the greatest inversion ever created, the Zero G Stall, there is nothing like it and words cant describe the sensation when you go through it! Its a heavenly inversion of which I want on a lot more rides in the future. This ride is unfortunately incredibly unreliable due to a sensor fault which is six flags fault, which made it get stuck on the lift hill multiple times while we where here, like this ride is really really unreliable, but it is the second best coaster I have ever been on and therefore I give it a 10/10! Here are some more pics of it! So the first of many spites on this trip was V2: Vertical velocity, which tested literally once in the morning but barely got up the first tower, it had only actually opened about 3 weeks prior due to renovations but it seems like it was absolutely screwed as they were picking the trains apart the whole time we went passed it, I don't know how long it stayed closed afterwards but that too sounds like a really unreliable ride! Shame. The next coaster we got on which was early in the day and at that point has a really short queue at the time at least was superman. This was my first sky rocket 2 clone and to my recognition the original of these. We managed to ride it twice once with the Q-bot which was a life saver at points for the rides with the bigger queues. I actually quite liked it, the launches had a good enough punch to theme and getting flung up that track felt amazing! The inversion was a bit grim but I quite enjoyed the ride, although I can see why some don't like these models as they are a bit basic and don't actually do much but overall I liked it and I'd give it a good 7.5/10. After this we headed to the other side of the park to ride Medusa and Kong! First up Medusa. The ride as a whole is good its got nice forces, the inversions are good and its got good pacing. But that's the thing with Medusa, its Good, not amazing, not special, just good, there isn't anything that stands out as something amazing on this ride other then its a big B&M looper, and while some will love that, I thought it was good but it wasn't anything to shout about so I'd give it a good 6.5/10. This is one thing I'd say about this area is that it doesn't have much shade at all, other then occasional parts in queue lines, it was all open which on a summers day which was pushing 30c, was really bad but yeah they really should put some shade in that area. Onto Kong... Well I had ridden Infusion before and it wasn't too bad I thought, and I kind of thought this would be the same case... GOD I WAS SO WRONG!! What heinous thing did anyone do to deserve this piece of S**t! we were one from front row and it violently rattled and vibrated the whole way round not to mention the god awful tracking of this ride, I wish this was closed rather then V2! The worst thing was is that the day we went would be the last day it was open for a month and a half so they could put VR on it, like why......? Its bad enough without the headset... This ride really needs to be demolished but a +1 is a +1 but this is a 1/10 coaster... The only photo of this POS! So after this we had food at a chicken place which was a rip-off but it was really nice, the chicken actually tasted good and the chips were really nice, shame for the toxic waste they call Fanta they have over there though.. I have to say other then the area with Medusa and Kong this park is actually quite pretty with lots of foliage, pretty plants and surprisingly good themeing for what I have heard is the norm of Six Flags Parks. Heading to the back of the park after lunch greeted us with this. Now I had never done a Vekoma Boomerang before which is a little embarrassing, but nether the less, we hoped straight on this thing, As there was no queue. and boarded the ride. On first thoughts it wasn't too bad but I can see why they get a bad rep with some nasty forces and jolts in places, namely that cobra roll, but to be fair again this coaster isn't that enjoyable and a little boring so again just a +1. This is a 4.5/10 for me. Now I already had a headache from the strong sun, as well as Kong and Boomerang so this probably wasn't the best thing to go on... Anyway after this mistake, the rapids finally opened so we finally got on it as the head was so bad at this point. Well I can happily say it was actually fab, got us soaked which was really needed at the time and was quite interesting as there was no dull moments at all while riding! Again we skipped the queue with the Q-bot as the queue got stupidly bad as soon as it opened so it was lucky we had it. For a rapids it is a good 8/10 Another +1 this was a little like treetops at Oakwood but without the trees so was quite enjoyable I suppose, but it was made better but the over enthusiastic ride op giving everyone high fives so that was fab haha . 5/10 Then on to this thing... I hated it... again this should be destroyed alongside Kong... The final big flat we got on was the Sky screamer which I think is the smallest out of the Six Flags Sky Screamers due to SFDK's height limit, and I can say although these rides do scare me a little it was really enjoyable and it gave great views of all the coasters around the park, especially Medusa and Joker . A solid 7/10 for me as the ride cycle was quite short. The Final New ride we went on was Monsoon Falls, as I couldn't bring myself to get the kids cred with so many families with young children around that area, that and the fact that their top spin was broken as well. And it like Tidal Wave on a warm day hit the sport perfectly getting us soaked! It was small but the massive wave it produced was great for us as well as the spectators, and also the people who wanted to get soaked on the bridge too. A good 8/10. We managed to rerides on Medusa, Superman and the AMAZING The Joker, before we had to set off again, riding Joker again cemented it at my No.2 spot as it is just bliss and fab and just RMC for the Win!! For those that don't know this has a small zoo as well although we only went around the bit that had the aquatic animals, which were still quite cool to see. Sting Rays. After this one more ride had to be had on Joker and we got Back row which was insane! Words can't describe how much I love this ride! Overall this park reminds me a lot of Thorpe Park. This in the fact that it is all quite compact with all the rides quite close together. Unfortunately it has Thorpe Parks reliability issues as well which lots of rides down a lot of the time, although locker situation is just abhorrent and Merlin are just so much better then this park when it comes to bag storage. The throughput's are about the same too, but the rides that are good are just outstanding and I'd definitely recommend the place just to ride the Joker! But I'd say this is a one day park, if you planned 2 days for the park you'd probably get bored but other then that I really enjoyed SFDK and I think its a park that if I'm ever in the area I would happily go to again! Next Blog will be short as it is about our small detour to Yosemite and Glacier Point!
The Lost Creek
Exodus Matt posted a blog entry in Creek CritiquesSomewhere in the rural Hamptonshire countryside, lies a mysterious theme park. But this isn't any ordinary theme park, which is home to dinosaurs, Cobras, wonderful beasts and a famous animated pig (to name a few). This is a park that is certainly on the up, investing in attractions that improve the park whilst retaining and complimenting it's character and values. It's a place so renowned for its greatness, legend has it adventurers have travelled to the depths of boots to witness it's golden gates. WELCOME, TO PAULTONS PARK Home to the weird and wonderful, like this raining tree. For 2016, the park have invested at great lengths to bring us this wonderful prehistoric land through dedication of 8 million coins. It's well spent if you ask me. One the main new discoveries of this new lost area is one of two coasters, Flight Of The Pteranosaur. A veto a family suspended coaster which dominates the centre of the world. The rock work theming is superb and of high quality. And what a great family coaster this is. The coaster is great fun and interacts with the area superbly alongside a good proportion of theming. The end helix is also superb. As far as I'm aware the layout may be clone of another (maybe Grona's) but that doesn't take anything away from the ride which certainly looks to be a hit for the park. It's the perfect fun thrilling coaster for the family. Theming, with working animatronics. The second new coaster is the Veloceraptor. Another Vejoma, but this time a boomerang style coaster like Ben10. This is another superfluous coaster for the park and another fun ride. Whilst it doesn't beat Pteranosaur for me, I do prefer it to Ben 10 as this gives more a kick I think. But the area is more than just coasters though (listen Merlin). They also have one of these crazy fun spinning rides like the Crazy Taxis at Europa Park. This ones called Boulder Dash. This small Triceratops coaster, which I didn't get chance to ride ( ). Fact, this ride isn't actually brand new and was rethemed into the new area. It used be known as the Flying Frog I believe. They also have a Safari track ride too which is neat. Some very good theming here too. It's great to see park put so much effort into something just like this whilst a number of others (not naming) are either ripping theirs out or leaving them to rot. Best car style attraction in the uk by far. Theres also an interactive Dino show too, which is good to see the park not just focus on the ride side either. Plus there's some roaming dinosaur animatronics in the area too. They even have an area shop which is themed to a good level also. They've also added a new food place and smaller flat ride to the area too. Certainly making one of the best themed areas in the uk. Also in the park, resides my second home. Critter Creek. The theming quality they have here has been done very well, especially for a park like Paultons. And here is the Cat-O-pillar, which again has been rethemed into the new area. The theming again is fantastic, weird and wacky. The coaster was alright but not my favourite. The area is also home to a random aquarium type place. For a park like this, it's a nice little walk through. The park is also home to Cobra, arguably their signature ride. The queue line was a little shabby (spilt mess in the queue and a few areas of chipped pant), but that can be forgiven for the moment. There is even a shed tunnel, and that isn't the best part. Cobra is a really fun coaster and possibly my favourite ride at the park (either this or Pteranosaur). Two things to note about this ride are that it is a Gerstlauer, and an enjoyable one at that and that its 10 years old and was working fine. No lifeless structure here. Speaking on lifelss, this ride was shut (at least when we went passed it) which was a shame as it looked fun. They however have a Disko called The Edge (not Kobra) as Paultons know how to spell. This one is also run on a better setting too as you really get a good cycle. My only criticism are you were required to wear leg seat belts and mine was very tight. (Which ruined the experience in a way) and the ride doesn't feature much in terms of theming, but I'm sure that will be sorted one day. The park also have a 4D cinema which features a fairly quirky but nicely themed facade outside (not cheap looking). The movie itself was alright, nothing amazing but was nice for a sit down and seemed entertaining enough for the guests. Its no Angry Birds but is good for what it is especially being the only undercover attraction so far. The park even have a loverly grand carousel. Featuring some loverly shrubbery too. But the one thing park are famous for is Peppa Pig World, the investment (alongside Cobra) which have really helped the park develop in the last few years. Sadly I didn't anymore photos here because my phone's camera reached capacity but all I can say is, it's a loverly themed area for the park's clientele and the park got the right balance with everything there too. We only managed one ride in the area, that was Windy Castle. From the outside it looks like a little innocent spinning observation ride thing, think again! Peaj, Steve, Alex and I all shared one capsule and when you have no spin limits on a ride that also rotates upwards on a 4-5 minute cycle you're in for one hell of a white knuckle ride. it was honestly crazy and ridiculous how crazily fast we were all going here and whilst it was hilarious to start with, I'm certain my thrill limit has been reached as it felt very painful and comftable towards the end of the ride and pretty nauseated for the tail end of the day too. Think this has put me off tea cups for the time being. As much as things post 2006 have clearly marked the up for the park (moreso post 2010), there's still a fair few number of areas in the park that look bland and in need of an update. one of these is the park's log ride which is pretty much an off the shelf Reberchon. Considering this ride isn't even 20 years old does show how superior their new stuff is now. I could probably say the same for the Go Karts. I didn't try these either as I think there was an up charge. that being said, there isn't a massive amount of upselling at the park. Considering I didn't see any HB leisure stalls or any posters trying to persuade me to buy a pass. Although the park exit is deliberately through a massive toy shop, that is more a tactical decision (and a cunning one at that). But Paultons isn't just home to a decent selection of family rides. There's also a very reasonable amount of gardens and green spaces which help enhance a day here. Which made for a really enjoyable day out that was enjoyed by all. Unfortunately though Peaj was eaten by a giant hedge snake and hasn't been seen since. Paultons is definitely a loverly park and worth a visit. its a place that puts effort and dedication into everything they do. Whether that be building a giant new themed area, staff friendliness or keeping the place tidy (we saw someone pick up litter minutes after it was dropped). With the possible exception of Cobra's queue, everywhere was beautifully well kept with no signs of wear and tear anywhere and a good atmosphere throughout. The future for the park is bright and seeing the massive improvements they've made in the last few years (each one better than the last). All they need to do is build a proper flume and add a dark ride and they will then have a perfect full lineup. Whilst the park have little to nothing in terms of merchandise, I think they have it right by housing a massive toy shop at the exit which will no doubt be blissful joy for many of the kids (and a nightmare for many of their parents). Chessington step aside. This is what a family park should be. Jump in the boot and let's go!
20 Years Of Awesomeness
Exodus Matt posted a blog entry in Creek CritiquesIn 1996 within the Berkshire countryside, a defunct Safari park was invaded by bricks. Bricks that would mark the way for Legoland Windsor which would become the second Lego theme park in the world after Billund. Home to a boating school, driving school, Lego model village, A pirate log flume and more, the park was truly a unique place especially in it's early years. Twenty Years on, the park is now part of the Merlin machine currently operating six (and counting) Legoland parks and discovery centres. Through this ownership the park has experienced much change (for better and worse), experiencing rigorous expansions of larger updated attractions. However one could argue as a consequence the park has lost much of it's charm, seeing smaller features neglected or removed and a spike up in the park's commercialism. Something that can be seen from the many walking adverts and upselling,the use of shouty IP's and rise of the hotels (consequently ripping out two prominent rides). Now I think I have probably come across relatively harsh against the park. Yes it doesn't quite have the hardware of other parks out there; yes it can get packed with young families and is not to everyone's taste. But this is Legoland Windsor, the UK's most popular and successful park which now welcomes over 2.2 million guests a year despite its last E-ticket ride being over 5 years ago. It may not beat (or come close) to the likes of Europa, DLRP and Efteling, but Legoland retains a strong soft spot for me, being one of the first major theme parks I visited and the place responsible for my interests in theme parks (and Lego). I have fond memories of the many trips I have taken here since first visiting in 1997. From squirting everyone on the train (and getting karma through a leaky tap) to my fascinations with the sadly long gone Magic Thestre and Explorers Institute attractions. With much fanfare going towards a ghost train, 2016 may be a low investment year at Legoland, but the park is far from quiet. As new for this year, the resort finally takes advantage of the success of the Lego Movie by releasing a brand new film based on the shenanigans from the original movie. The movie wouldn't be the Lego Movie (no pun intended) without the lovable cast from the original film, including Emmet, Wyldstyle, Benny, Metalbeare and of course, Uni Kitty. The feature film see's the cast enter a fictitious theme park operated by President Businesses's brother Risky Business, who has built a specific attraction for each character. Then in true Lego Movie style, this turns out to be a trap with Risky Business planning to capture the cast for a terrible park show. However things eventually end well with the characters eventually visiting the real Legoland. The Lego Movie 4D has to be one the best cinema shows I've ever seen. It retains the charm and humour the original film boasted on and features many poke in the back moments to current trends, from the original film to even some tongue and cheek Disney references. It's a film that shouldn't be missed on any visit. 4.5/5 (not 10). Also new for 2016, the Star Wars Miniland gets a hefty extension. Early on the season, it appeared the original Millenium Falcon entrance feature had been removed. But I'm happily to announce it has been repaired/replaced which is great to see. After experiencing the original sections of the attraction, you are greeted with a series of heavy well built Lego Star Wars ships which lead into the new main section. This a great transition and works rather well. More impressive models (displayed on the side of the area). We then enter into the main area, which features a series of scenes based on the Death Star battles in the films, including the trenches. And a mightily impressive Death Star model. The size and scale is remarkable. The whole of the new area occupies space previously occupied by the Star Wars store (and Lego Racers store long before). It is certainly a fantastic addition and features many interactive elements, from ships flying around the model to numerous smaller animations being depicted by lights and push buttons. The Star Wars store has also seen some modifications, with the tills moved to the old display case and the shop moving forward to space previously wasted as a result of lost space. The Model Maker workshop area has also been updated (which I'm yet to see). 2016 has also seen the addition of another new eatery, Farmer Joe's Chicken Company, replacing the Duplo Buffet restaurant. The facade area is themed quite well (if a little blocky) but I suppose it fits the Duplo area well. I didn't try the food here, however I believe it's similar to the fried chicken company at Chessington and Towers. As as nice as it looks, it's a shame the park now lacks (non quick service) table restaurants as since the Burger Kitchen conversations, it really just leaves Knights Table, Hilltop cafe, Merlin pizza buffet and the hotel restaurants. Meanwhile perched in a hidden corner resides Loki's Labarinth, the park's maze, which is one of the few quiet areas in the park to escape the crowds. But not for very much longer sadly. Very soon, the whole maze will be completely removed to make way for a brand new Ninjago dark ride. I would strongly recommend visiting Legoland very soon if you wish to take in this attraction before it's removal as in Legoland fashion it's likely to close forever before the end of this season! The maze's removal will also mark the end of the remainder of the Amazing Mazes, which the attraction was previously part of until the other mazes were demolished in 2007 for Viking River Splash. Elsewhere in the park, another attraction has already become extinct making way for the park's second hotel. Dino Safari. The ride was the last ride installed when the Lego had full park ownership (now 30%) and marks the final nail in the coffin for the original Adventure Land. As exciting and detailed the new hotels appears from the concept art (amongst being a fan of castles), I can't help feel the location isn't ideal, with the elaborate Atlantis on the left and airy Legoland hotel on the right. Not to mention the loss of another ride and the likeleihood of costing £400 pn. Still I'm sure it'll be a hit with the park's audience and may hopefully ease some of the strain from the park's nightmare car park situation. At least segments of the original ride still live on (although in static model form). And though some things in the park may have become a little bland recently. There is still magic to be found. And wonders to behold. Some of which are small with details. With Hidden gems. And others larger than life. Which is like Christmas for most seven year olds. Happy Birthday Legoland, here's to twenty years of awesomeness (and hopefully another twenty). It may have changed for better and worse in its due course, but it's still my Legoland, the park I've enjoyed as a child and still enjoy today. Raise a glass of Brickcola
Liseberg: The Hills Of Helix
Exodus Matt posted a blog entry in Creek CritiquesTwo 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!
Euro Matt: The Wonders Of Europa
Exodus Matt posted a blog entry in Creek CritiquesOver the last year, my theme park adventures have taken me to some weird and wonderful places away from the U.K. This is all started with Disneyland Paris last april [with a return visit in September] followed by Efteling in November. But from here on, where would my next theme park adventure take me? It would take me to Europa Park, the crème de la creme of European parks amongst being one of the best in the world [if not the best]. After a doable 1 hr 20 minute flight to Basel from Gatwick followed by a 75 minute car journey we had all arrived at our accomodation in Rust. Located 15 minutes away from the park with at least 6 beds per room, this accommodation was perfect for the large [but nicely sized] group of us going. The perfect crash pad and HQ for TPM and ideal for the usual and many meet shenanigans. After an evening exploring the culinary delights and limited sleep, it was time to enter the golden arches into this beautiful park . The entrance area is absolutely beutiful and is another example of a theme park entrance done right, with the grandiose entrance and fountains outside leading into a beautifully layed out main street leading through to the main park. With over 60 rides and attractions [not including shows], Europa Park houses the highest volume of attractions in one park [including Disney] making it even more impressive. Aside from it's stunning cohesive park areas it's a place where you only have to turn a corner to find a random show or enter a small marked façade and find one of many dark rides. The above picture is a disclaimer that I have visited [something that seems to be becoming a standard these days] Europa currently houses 12 coasters [with another on the way soon] making it the park with the most coasters in Europe amongst the world. One of these is Wodan, a GCI coaster which opened back in 2012. At over 130 ft tall, it is a mighty beast of a coaster and rides as beautiful as it looks [if not better]. After the descent into the drop, the coaster races through it's circuit in a crazily out of control yet impressive style as it's flies through turns and helixes around the area whilst diving in and out of tunnels. Wodan is a spectacular coaster and does everything I currently want from a coaster. From an impressive queue to an even more amazing layout. It is with the combination of both these elements that now make this my new number 1 coaster, knocking off Nemesis from it's top spot after nearly 4 years in the running. Firing off in the nearby surroundings, stands yet another impressive master piece. Blue Fire is such a photo friendly coaster and rides as well as she looks. After passing through the mandatory but impressive dark ride section, the ride thrusts into a smooth but impressive launch which isn't as intense as Stealth and Rita but considerably more comfortable. The coaster flows through it's circuit providing intensity and elegance at the same time, from it's flying through twists and turns to injector airtime inversions whilst proving to be glass smooth. Blue Fire is yet another amazing coaster the park have created and everything from the comftable lap bar trains, to the greatly paced layout make for a fantastic ride, which is now my second favourite coaster overall, only just beaten by Wodan [for it's queue line alone]. This coaster makes me even more excited to be experiencing Helix soon and hopeful that if Blackpool are getting one of these, it will put them back on the map as a must do park. Then there is Silver Star, Europa's giant which until 2012 was the tallest coaster in Europe, taking the height title from the inferior Big One. Despite hearing people saying it was rather mundane before visiting, I actually enjoyed this one alot. From it's steep drop, to it's airtime hills which did give quite a floaty feeling. The ride's position does make it feel you're outside the park though almost which is a strange feeling,but probably helps make it stand out I guess. The ride is one of the first to be spotted when approaching the park and can be seen for miles. It was astounding watching a train go up the lift less than two minutes apart each time too as a result of the park's outstanding operations. But Europa isn't just home to fantastic thrill coasters, but some equally impressive family ones too like Arthur. This is such a gem of a ride which features many dark ride scenes indoors [mixing screens and traditional scenery amongst animatronics] with great bursts of outdoor coaster sections throughout making for a great paced coaster which would be perfect for a number of family parks. Another amusing fact is this has to be only family attraction in existence to feature swearing on the ride, due to the rap song in the alley scene using the n-word . And if those weren't enough to handle, I also managed to take a brief visit to Epcot as well. Of course not, this is Euro Sat, one of the park's indoor dark ride coasters which is located in this giant ball [which mostly resembles Space Ship earth]. But once inside, the similarities between the two become vastly different with the attraction's 80's space theme and german rave music included. Whilst this may be one of the park's older coasters it certainly doesn't hold back as it really packs a punch in it's layout amongst it's long spiral like lift hill. After a couple of go's this attraction was a hit with most people, myself included [which may even be in my top 5 park favourites]. The ride is so much fun and could be described as a superior version of X with some space mountain effects. Euro Mir has to be one of the most bizarre coasters I've ever ridden. From it's long spiral lift [also like Eurosat] to it's long twisty turns amongst mirrored buildings before going through numerous twists and turns. As much as I liked this one, I definitely prefer Eurosat to Euro Mir. Then there's Poseiden, an amazing water coaster. This is yet another enjoyable ride in the park, which I think is nicely paced out with lift, coaster section, splash, lift, coaster and a final splash before returning back to the station. The throughputs on this again are amazing as boats were literally flying out the station to the degree there were even two on the lift at the same time as well. Then there's Atlantica Super Splash, which as perhaps the weakest coaster at the park. However with the decent theming and settings surrounding this can be mostly forgiven. I'd swap Storm Surge for one of these anyday. Then there's Pegasus,which for a family coaster features a decent amount of theming amongst a fun and remarkably thrilling layout for a family coaster. And lets not forget about the park's veteran coaster Alpen Express, which features a fantastic layout for a powered coaster and really speeds through that cave and last ride section at a fantastic pace too. I'm yet to try the VR on both coasters, but if I visit again soon will definitely be doing so. Nestled within the Swiss area is the matterhorn blitz, a wild mouse with a difference. From it's amusing elevator lift to it's steep drop and tight corners, I found this version considerably more enjoyable than many others out there which reminds me a little of the old Jungle Coaster [despite this being superior]. Last but not least is the Schweizer Bobbhan, the park's bobsled coaster and by definition the prototype, due to Europa being a showcase of many of Mack rides [being owned by the Mack family]. The ride layout is highly enjoyable but not quite as good as Blackpool's but probably wins due to it's loverly location. A loverly location indeed. It also has one of the longest break-run-station transitions in existence which takes up nearly half the ride alone. However, there is more to Europa than a dozen coasters. It's all about the park's random dark rides. Many of which are cleverly hidden away some of which are little more than a ride sign and a door in the wall. Like this random christmas themed ride in the Russian section. Or this PIrates Of The Caribbean style knock off. Which was actually remarkably good and well done. Even the ceilings were themed up as well. And there's no waiting for this Ghost Train either. It was actually really well themed and reminded me quite alot of the sadly long gone Wicked Witches Haunt ride amongst some tongue and cheek references to the Haunted Mansion with it's singing heads and stretching room. The food at Europa is absolutely fantastic [even the quick service places]. The restaurant that naturally stands out the most however is Food Loop, the originally Roller Coaster Restaurant. The food wasn't bad either. I absolutely loved this place, from the clever way of ordering food on the screens and then watching them race down along the track to your table. Whilst I don't think it beats Polle's as my favourite theme park eatery I really did enjoy this and look forward to trying the Towers version in the near future hopefully. The park also has many shows, so many you could almost spend a whole park day watching them. One of these was a show about celebrating the park's history featuring rotating sections like the Caroulsel of progress I believe. There was an Elvis tribute act in the Globe Theatre in the England area, no I am not lying. Was still amusing though. However the ice show in the greek area was considerably better and more entertaining. The projection mapping and performances in this one were impressive to say the least. There was also a park parade too which even had a soundtrack [quite reminiscent of Magic Everywhere]. Whilst the Paris parade was most likely the better of the two, what makes this one nicer is it feels a lot more close and intimate. There's a noticeable reduction of crowd hogging and finding a place to watch seems an easier task without waiting an hour find a good spot. Some of the other weird and wonderful attractions in Europa include this set of football themed Dodgems, with an actual over sized football in play too. The 'infamous' London Taxi ride, which is a lot more fun than getting a real taxi. The Queen's Diamond, a laser maze which is a fun little filler. This amazingly well themed splash battle attraction. This quirky inverted monorail ride [the attention to detail is ridiculously good]. This 4D show about Euro Mouse. It was sort of like Angry Birds 4D but slightly better. There is also the astoundingly themed Columbus Dinghy. This features projection mapping, fountains, rider control of directions and thematic centre piece all just for a sea storm ride. It's absolutely amazing. And not forgetting this Jungle Cruise style ride. This was again lots of fun and a worthwhile filler attaction. This picture alone perhaps describes the difference between Merlin and Europa. RIP Skyway There's even a Fairy tale forest-esque area at the park which is very reminiscent to Eftelling's, except for being much smaller. But even then, Europa Park is very beautiful and picturesque place to visit. And the on-site hotels are just as beutfiul Even the underground walkway is themed. And it was a fantastic place to visit. Europa is an amazing park. It features pretty much everything you'd wish in a theme park. A wide range of rides, coasters and dark rides, plenty of shows and green spaces, decent upkeep and great selection of food as well. The park definitely had a lot of tongue and check influences from places such as Disney & Efteling amongst some elements bringing back the days when our parks used to put care and effort into their rides. Comparing this park to what have in the U.K is like comparing a tesco microwave meal to a michelin star restaurant [which the park apparently has actually] and they just can't be compared at all. Europa certainly has to be my favourite theme park now, probably just scraping past DLRP in greatness. It's not a park you would go to experience the rides more-so [bar Blue Fire & Wodan], but one just for the amazing surroundings and showcases in how everything there compliments one another and isn't just plonked down. To appreciate the park, it's definitely a place where you need several days to visit, in which the longer you stay, the more you will appreciate the park. I spent three days at the park, which is probably the minimum amount of time of getting the core park elements done, but could could have easily done another day or two, just to experience all the shows, re-ride the coasters, do the VR and adore the park even more. Bucky approves of Europa Park.
Chessington in Minecraft!
Jack F posted a topic in RCT/No limits/Minecraft etcHi there. A few friends and I have recently been working on a full 1:1 Chessington recreation in Minecraft and have just recently opened it! We currently have Land of the Dragons, Forbidden Kingdom, Wild Asia, Africa and some of Mexicana finished. Here are a few fancy pictures
An Efteling Review Part 2
Exodus Matt posted a blog entry in Creek CritiquesEfteling is more than just about the rides, especially when a large chunk of park comprises of the Fairy Tale Forest. The Fairy Tale Forest is a massive forested area in the park which features a large array of animatronics and models telling the story of numerous fairy tales. There are different types of settings, some that are outdoors, others that are inside and some that are somewhat a mixture of both. Some have said to me how you can spend hours looking around the whole area. Believe me, it's no joke as it took me around two hours to polish the whole area whilst taking everything in from the charm and overall atmosphere of the area and believe me, it didn't feel like a waste of time at all and was an intriguing experience in the wacky yet wonderful world of the Fairy Tale Forest as there was just so much to see. As a result of this, I shall only be showing some of the best fairy tales. if anyone wants to see any more of the missing, just let me know. The iconic tree is one of the main centrepieces. To me, he comes across as wise and intelligent. Could This Dragon be the influence for the creation of Joris? One of the most interesting ones, the Chinese Nightingale. The way they did the carpet on this one still remains interesting today. The Emperors New Clothes, One of the more modern fairy tales in the forest.The effects and animatronics used here were nothing short of impressive. There's some giant bits of theming in here [pun intended]. One of the most famous ones I think, the dancing water lilies I think. The track is included on the park CD. The insppiration for Aquanura surely? On of the more familiar ones, Cinderella. I like how the castle appears at the end. I think Europa park got some influence from this one. One of the more simple but effective ones here. And who could forget this fellow? One of the original ones here [Anton Pieck anyone]? And of course this guy, who is one of the first characters you will encounter in the forest. But there's more than just dozens of fairy tale models and characters in this forest. There's a full scale theatre right in the middle where a puppet show aires every so often. Great show for young families, although the position of the dragon puppet is debatable. But there's more to just the Fairy Tale Forest and the rides. Ravelijan, a full scale live action show featuring numerous impressive live stunts and effects addition to theming and a soundtrack that are superb. Whilst I didn't understand the what was being said, the choreography and everything else was enough for me to know what was going on. Ravelijan as a result of it's greatness is now my favourite theme park show [that doesn't use fountains & projections] and that includes Lights Motors Action too. Amazing show. Like many of the best parks, Efteling features many random wonderful attractions around. One of these is this walk-through which depicts numerous fairy tale diorama scenes. An interesting distraction. There was also an indoor carousel in the same complex which made me think of the long closed Carousel Kingdom at Thorpe Park. Naturally during a busy day out, the need to have a bite to eat becomes inevitable. but Efteling, it's not all 'shove it down your mouth' at the park eateries. Like a lot of the park, it is a unique experience. Polle's Kitchen is a must do on anyone's visit to Efteling. Because they do the most amazing pancakes you've seen and eaten. They do savoury ones. Or sweet ones. Both I had during my trip were absolutely fantastic. It's one the best places I've ever eaten at within a theme park and the theming and turning gears which will speed up and react to the music every so often help significantly. You can also buy pancake mix in the shops and restaurant as well, to yours heart's desire. There's even a small museum in the park dedicated to the history of the park. It may not be for everyone but is nice to see the park keep such a historic addition. Now on to one of the most ambiguous additions in the park, Spooksplot. Which down to interpretation can be seen as a show or an attraction. I see it personally as a show [though maybe not in the traditional sense]. This is because you enter an unguarded entrance way, which adds to the mysterious atmosphere, wait and then enter where you are then shown a series of interesting effects in a spooky gothic setting whilst the music of Dance Macabre [Jonathan [Matt] Creek] plays. Despite it's unknown entrance way, it fits in to the park very well even today as a sign of one of the first stepping stones where Efteling started expanding from the fairy tale forest in to the large world class park it is today. The effects there are still intriguing from the peppers ghost to the moving stairs especially considering this is nearly 40 years old, being the first projected created by the now late Tony Van De Ven, the successor to the park's original creative artist. This attraction was also one of the set pieces to the music video to Kate Bush's first tv appearance [type Kate Bush Efteling in youtube]. But no visit to Efteling would be complete without watching the shows fantastic fountain show Aquanura, the largest fountain show in Europe [third in the world]. It's an absolutely fantastic show, especially how they synchronise all the different fountains and colours to the music which are all ride themes from the park. These include The Flying Dutchman, Joris and Dream Flight, all of which are re-orchestrated to transition better but still retain their original features. And some beautiful night shots to close my Efteling report, because this is one of the most picturesque parks I have ever visited [probably overtaking even Towers on that one]. Efteling is an underrated park. It features some fantastic theming and impressive rides alongside some excellent shows, entertainment and even eateries and as a result is one of my favourite park's I have ever visited. My favourite rides were easily Joris, Dutchman, Baron & Fate Morgana amongst many others. Not many weak rides in this park here, Monseur Carnival comes across as the only ride I did not really like and though Python was a little dull, I did not dislike it. My only criticisms to the park would be the park closes rides at closing times [not the queue like many others], which would be nice if they took up the Towers way of closing things and the merch. Whilst there was some merch there to buy [notably Baron & CDs], I did not find there was a great selection and actually found it quite difficult choosing stuff to buy in the wrong sort of way. If the park could do more ride branded items like pens, mugs, t-shirts and even badges, it would be so much better. Aside from these few floors, this park like Disney [ in it's own way], wipes the floor with much of the current UK offering. A lot of UK parks could learn many things if they took a leaf out of Efteling's book.
An Efteling Review
Exodus Matt posted a blog entry in Creek CritiquesFor the best part of at least three years, I have been looking at spiralling out of the UK circle of Theme Parks. Though doing Tivoli World many times [part of annual family holidays], it wasn't really to count as at the end of the day it was little more than a glorified fair ground [though the shows & fountains were half decent]. It was not until this year where I managed my first large non UK park in the form of DLP which was achieved in April this year, however this was to only mark the beginning of a brand new era. It is here where MC16 is set to begin [MC16 meaning Matt Creek, Mega Creds, or Mighty Coasters 2016]. The next steps of which park to do after DLP was an interesting one, with Europa Park & Liseberg initially projected as the next parks to do. However in the end Efteling was decided as the next park to do, with the great incentive to experience the impressive looking Baron 1898 coaster amongst those lucky enough to do this park amongst others on a long trip this summer. I will not name any names see [C] here. It was also Benin's loverly TR from a few years ago that gave me the incentive to visit here as until then I didn't really know of this place. Part 1 of this report will focus on the rides. Part 2 will mostly look at the shows and anything else worth noting about the park Moving On to the report then! After a loverly cheeky night ride on the eye, we stayed over night at the Stansted Premier Inn with a train journey, sleep and bus shuttle that left very little to be desired. However after munching down a slightly overpriced Weatherspoons Eggs Benedict & taking the train to our gate [not a cred surely] we were on our plane and made it to Eindhoven in a remarkably quick 35 minutes. Ryanair aren't as bad as they are geared up to be. A short'ish sight seeing tour and a generally easy commute [despite train problems] followed before we reached our port of call. EFTELING! Don't think I had been so excited seeing this since spotting those spotlights of Tower Of Terror at Disney. Since we weren't visiting the park until the next day, we walked to our hotel, checked in before finding a Steak House for tea [which was quite good actually] before hitting the sack for the next day ahead. One thing to note is, how the area is quite rural and very much in the middle of nowhere where aside from the roaring motorway, a couple of restaurants and a petrol garage [though not quite to the level of Towers perhaps]. Walking from our hotel to the guests of the park [NH Waalwijk [which is a very good hotel and decent for the price]], we arrived at Efteling. One of the first things to spot upon entering the mighty impressive curved building which stands out from quite a distance away. Accompanied by some appropriate yet subtle music brought out excitement levels on a similar level yet different feel to that of walking in to a Disney park. Impressive is an understatement. Much of the rest of the park architecture upkeeps this fantastic standard. Upon entering we swapped in our printed e-tickets for actual tickets [which didn't work], however we were given a signed note from turnstile staff to enter for ERT, which we technically missed due to a mixture of poor/confused organisation [from us] and one of the entrances being closed due to the new Pinocchio element in the Fairy Tale Forest. No Strings holding down this one then. First stop is what could be called the chase. Baron 1898. Amazing architecture again, very much near Disney standards here and superier to much of what the Uk currently offers. That animatronic though Saw Alive, eat your heart out! So Photo friendly. Efteling have created half a masterpiece here; why half I hear you ask? Well, two things struck out for me on Baron; the experience and the ride. Baron as an exprience is absolutely fantastic, from the moment you approach the surrounding area and landscape, you can tell lots of effort and dedication went in to not just building up the impressive steampunk style building/life structure but the small details such as the lights at the top, the turning wheels and even the smaller details all over the building. The preshows too are also of very high quality. The first in where the Baron introduces us to his mine, where we briefly meet the white women is superb and the descrete touch of a more tinny recording of the soundtrack in order to give the attraction a nostalgic feel only helps it better and better. The second pre-show keeps up this with a high quality of the Baron himself where after setting in your rows, doors open shortly taking you directly to the station [with a smaller bag drop for smaller things] in a fashion of entering a ride station never ever seen before. The third and final pre-show occurs on the ride itself, which is where the white women sing and curse riders before the main cut of the ride begins. The layout though, left seeking for more. The drop at the top is impressive in the that the rest of the park is surrounding you before you enter the mine, but then it's it's goes through a few inversions, airtime hill, helix and then the ride is pretty much over. For me, it was sort of like the ride finished as I had just got in to it really. Though it surpassed Blivvy [though the drop was better], I would rate Inferno better at least on the layout. The ride however as I rode later in the trip though did grow on me quite a lot more though as I re-did the ride in different rows [once at night] and have since rated it better, to the degree it has just made it in to my Top 10 [however that's not hard so far]. Baron is a stunning ride at the park and everything about it has been polished to a remarkable standard that has rarely been seen outside of the giants of Disney & Universal and once again proves that the difference between small details can make the difference between a ride that is average to something which is great. The park should be proud of their baby right now [if only we had seen this details on the Smiler station]. Efteling of course has many other coasters, most of which comprise the park's coaster corner where all the coasters except Bob can be found. One of those is the Flying Dutchman [ or De Vilegende Hollander if you prefer], which is a water coaster at the park [and my first such cred too]. Opening in 2007 by Intamin, this ride was supposed to open a year before hand, but numerous problems occurred with the ride's original manufacturer Kumbak [who make Intamin look like B&M in many ways] had problems and Intamin stepped in. Fantastic indoor queue line theming. Wouldn't see that at Merlin, you'd be waiting outside in a hideous cattle pen before hand. Or station for that matter. Flying Dutchman was a ride I really enjoyed and passed my expectations. The theming and effects featured in the ride again are superb and of high quality. The dark ride parts actually reminded me of Valhalla a little acutally. After going through the fantastic theming parts, the ride cascades in to a roller coaster section with twists and turns with drops before splashing in to the lake below. One of my favourites at the park for certain [and has made it in to my top 10 water rides]. Incidentally got stuck on this ride when it broke down just as our boat reached the station. Not sure what happened but a bright halogen light was on when we reached the brake run. Fixing took a while at this time, so candy crush was the only way to pass the time. Two down and town to go. There are two more coasters to knucle in this area of the park, so which we we do next. Hint- It's not the one with all the loops Joris of course, the park's duel racing woodie. Built in 2010 by GCI, this beast replaced the ageing Pegasus coaster [which I hear was boring & rough]. Though this wouldn't be my first racing woodie, it would be my first GCI [aside from the first outside the UK too]. First ride over, this ride didn't impress me, IT BLEW ME AWAY! This coaster is superb, the way everything has been knotted is so creative from it's swampy queueline building up the ride to the touches so small yet effective. There is far more fanfare on this ride when a train wins [than on the likes of National] as not only does a sign notify which train won, but the winners come back to flags and cheers whilst the losing trains arrives to booes and jeers, and that's before I start talking about the nicely themed station, impressive soundtrack or that this is a coaster smooth as silk yet is so forceful when it rides though the corners. It may well be my favourite woodie now on the basis alone of it's use of simple theatrical effects and smoothness. It is also possible this was the ride to heavilly influence Wodan as well. Last & least of the coaster corner is Pyphon, the park's original coaster which opened in 1981 & made by Vekoma. Well it was no surprise that this was my least favourite coaster at the park [and that's before we review the other two]. Aside from the lacking the overall theatre,theming & atmosphere due to being an older addition, the ride just feels rather short and a little dull, however the helix at the end was pretty good, least the ride was very smooth thanks to it's decent train designs. Speaking on trains, I think this is the third or even fourth carnation of trains they have here two as the original trains were replaced at somepoint in the early 2000's by some form of vile Kumbak ones then may have been re-replaced by Vekoma ones before the current ones replaced them I think. Whilst it's noticeably weaker than it's other coaster counterparts, I am sort of glad they've still got a ride like this in the park. Not just is it showing how much the park have progressed since it's early days amongst it's original coaster, but also a type of generic ride that seems to be sort of in a position of being endangered seeing how both Uk corkscrews removed [though one may have been spared], Walibi's Tornado & Holiday Land's corky coasters torn down. It's makes me question how long Heide's & even Garda's have left. I can see Efteling happily keeping theirs though for a while, especilly with the trains which were probably one of the best things about the ride. The park's second classic coaster was Bob, built by Intamin a few years after Pyphon. This seems to Efteling's equivalent to Spinball, Crush or Boating School. Not so much in style but more so it suffers from having a high popularity but a low throughput. Fortunately a few years ago, the trains were replaced by newer ones which can take 6 instead of 4 people marking the throughput to a slightly better 850 PPH aprox. It's still the lowest throughput coaster though. The ride still entails some fairly nice theming [though not a patch on the other coasters]. Bob was a fun ride, it really pulled some force when it went round it's corners and helixes. Slightly prefer this to Avalanche, whether that's due to one being in a picturesque forest & the other in the middle a grotty seaside town who knows, but I found this one to retain a better pace and the 'semi' night ride only helped add brownie points to this. The final coaster at the park to do was Vogel Rok, a Vekoma indoor coaster which opened in 2001. This would by my fourth indoor coaster [and indoor Vekoma too for that matter as I'm yet to do an indoor coaster that isn't a Vekoma]. Didn't take many pics of this one for some reason, probably either due to my phone running out of storage or rushing the ERTs on day two. A really great coaster here, packs a punch for it's short but sweet cycle and the music throughout the ride like most others at the park is superb, especially the fanfare'ish bit at the end. Reminds me a bit of a family/ non looping Space Mountain in a few ways here, no idea why. It's probably my join second favourite indoor coaster right now after DLP's Space Mountain with RNR on the same place and X at Thorpe taking last place, the 2 people blanket rule probably hasn't helped it for me either [sorry X]. Moving from coasters now to dark rides [Vogel transitions this quite well really] where the park has a great selection. First off the highly impressive Fate Morgana, an Intamin tow boat ride which opened in 1986. Essentially an Arabian equivalent of Pirates Of The Caribbean, the ride is pure perfection. The intimate yet high quality scenes and story of the landscape is so perfectly paced throughout the whole ride, starting in a jungle, heading in to town, jungle & palace landscapes before ending in jungle again which makes you wonder almost 'was what I experienced real'? Another sublime attraction, one of my favourite dark rides I have done. It obviously doesn't top tower but is definitely in my dark ride top 10's. The next dark ride takes us away from the east to somewhere a lot more dreamy. It's Dream Flight [Droomvlucht]. This one opened in 1993. Cattle Pens! least they're not like Saws. I think they were added after the ride opened due to it's popularity I believe. I have never seen so much charm built in to a dark on such a large scale. Whilst it doesn't top Fate Morgana, I adored Dream Flight, from it's astounding soundtrack, large, high quality set pieces and lighting affects alongside the coaster section at the end [which is a lot faster in person the POV's suggest]. Was unsure on this ride on my first go what to think of it, but grew on me a lot more on the second go to become one of my park favourites and at nearly 25 years old [scary the fact the ride is the same age as me ], in no way does the attraction appear dated in anyway. Liseberg's Fairy Tale ride is surely a patronising insult in comparison. after the charming forests of Dream Flight, we move on to the comical world of Festival Carnival which is one of the park's most famous rides. Definitely one of the park's more comical attractions, and unPC to say the least. Apparently a critic slated this ride for it's subtle racism a few years ago [despite praising the rest of the park] and as a result received lots of backslash and even death threats. Carnival Festival is such a fun ride, from it's bright colours, catchy soundtrack to amusing depications of the world. It feels like an It's A Small World style ride done in a Bubbleworks [pre 2006] format. Though it's not making the top list, it's a dark ride I strongly enjoy. This was Daniel Sheldrake's favourite ride of the trip too [who as a result bought the ride's music at the end]. The park's final dark ride is nestled in the forest on this cold autumn day. [note the failed Hex reference]. It's Villa Volta, the park's mad house which opened in 1996. Although it preceeded it by four years, the ride's biggest problem is it's frequently compared to Hex at Alton Towers which unfortunately affects the ride's experience, at least to begin with. Unfortunately, I too was in that camp of comparing, however before hand, here's what I thought. Villa Volta is definitely a beautifully detailed attraction, the facade fits in perfectly with the nearby Ravelijan & Dream Flight, not to mention the animatronic figure in the second pre-show is of high quality. Unfortunately, this was potentially my lesser favourite of the dark rides, not so much that this was a bad ride [far from it], but I struggled getting the storyline really, however reading up after my trip I believe the basic story is of some gang robbing a town or something [ with Villa Volta being the leader's home] and a woman cursing them with that the leader will never have peace or something like that]. Looking back at the pre-shows which I vaguely remember, this seems accurate especially with the animatronic being the gang leader himself. I probably should've done a re-ride to be fair as you can't really judge a ride on just one go. Soundtrack though was impressive as was the decor in the ride itself. However unfortunately on these grounds mentioned earlier, Hex still wins the battle by a long shot. Hex features some amazing theatrical build up's aside from it's also just as impressive soundtrack and even the subtle things like the evil face when the room turns upside down. But enough review of Hex now. The last notable ride yet to be ventured at the park is the Pirana Rapids, a massive wild water set of rapids which is the park's main water ride. Safe to say is now my favourite Rapids rides, and probably the roughest too. Quite often our boat was get stuck in different pockets throughout the ride and may sometimes take a while to get out too. Wetness levels were mild-moderate soaking [ around Dragon Falls soaking level] which was refreshing to say the least. a slightly better Congo or themed Viking River Splash essentially. Amongst other rides at the park include, this impressive Pirate Ship [second after Buccaneer]. The strangest carnation of a sea storm ride, it doesn't go too fast nor does it turn backwards [the theming is decent though]. These very very stiff tea cups which for that alone make it my least favourite ride on park. The theming & soundtrack were still good though. Too many caroulsels to count. This Get Set Go style ride This boating ride [one of the few attractions I didn't do at the park]. There was a sky view ride called Pagoda, but sadly this one was closed for refurbishment during the visit. Efteling has some really good rides there amongst some which are just ok. You can definitely see which rides are the more recent ones with all the intricate details and elements included and those that are park veterans and stick out more than others and not so much in a good way. However, the rides at Efteling are only half the experience as there's lots more to experience than just rides. And that's what we will look in to in Part 2 where we look in to what flipping forests of fairytale fountains can be discovered at Efteling apart from it's decent selection of rides.
OldFarmerDean posted a topic in UK AttractionsSo after Funderworld setting up at Bristol every Easter half term for 2 weeks for the past years, to hear nothing this year, they've finally released that they will be at Birstol in the May Half term 23rd May - 1st June... can't wait
Gggggggg posted a topic in International AttractionsI couldn't find a topic about Parc Bagatelle, a small theme park in North France. Anyone ever been? What are your views? I went there a few years ago. I loved it, but their main ride, Le Triops, an inverted boomerang was closed EDIT: Changed the location from West to North