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You like Rock Rage? You should have mentioned it!

Stealth, so good it makes the list twice  

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Decided to be a negative so-and-so and have come up with my 10 most-hated coasters (from least most-hated to most most-hated)...

 

10. Kirnu, Linnanmäki

Intamin's first Zac Spin coaster. It's awful. 

 

9. Shockwave, Drayton Manor

Intamin stand up. It wasn't awful the first time I rode it. Second time I was worried I'd be castrated. Never again.

 

8. Tornado, Hellendoorn

An almost 30 year old Vekoma sit down looper didn't sound appealing. Funnily enough, it wasn't. When I rode it, operator offered the group I was in a ride at the back because it's better there. I politely refused.

 

7. Boomerang, Bellewaerde

One of the first Vekoma Boomerangs. Not the worst Boomerang I've done, but still, nope. 

 

6. Vampire, Walibi Belgium

The first SLC to appear on the list. It's painful, so so painful.

 

5. Cobra, Walibi Belgium

Another Vekoma Boomerang. It's crazy how a coasters with the exact same layout can feel different, but this is just less appealing than Bellewaerde's one. Even crazier thing is I can tolerate (and kinda enjoy) Walbi Holland's Boomerang...

 

4. Hero, Flamingo Land

Whoever thought of putting people in a flying cage needs their head checking.

 

3. Ukko, Linnanmäki

A Maurer Sky Loop. The sheer pressure your head experiences when you're being hung upside waiting for the train to disconnect from the lift chain is actually one of the most uncomfortable moments I've ever experienced in my life.

 

2. MP Express, Movie Park Germany

Another SLC! This one looks ugly, sounds ugly and smells ugly (not even kidding, the stench of manure is overpowering somehow). It also rides terribly.

 

1. El Condor, Walibi Holland

Another SLC? Whodathunkit! It's the first SLC too. And it's just dreadful from the moment you sit in the seat until about 2 hours later when the headache finally subsides. Why couldn't Vekoma have stopped after this one?

 

---

 

Looking at it it's actually a boring list since all but Shockwave are off-the-shelf models. Near inclusions were Colossus (Thorpe), Smiler (Towers), Viking Roller Coaster (Energylandia) and Tulireki (Linnanmäki).

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Coaster Count ran a poll to find out users' favourite rides: https://coaster-count.com/page/poll

Steel Top 10:
1. Steel Vengeance (Cedar Point)
2. Fury 325 (Carowinds)
3. Taron (Phantasialand)
4. Taiga (Linnanmaki)
5. Zadra (Energylandia)
6. Hakugei (Nagashima Spa Land)
7. Helix (Liseberg)
8. Shambhala (Port Aventura)
9. Maverick (Cedar Point)
10. Untamed (Walibi Holland)

Wood Top 10:
1. Wildfire (Kolmarden)
2. El Toro (Six Flags Great Adventure)
3. Lightning Rod (Dollywood)
4. Voyage (Holiday World)
5. Wood Coaster (Knight Valley)
6. Troy (Toverland)
7. Boulder Dash (Lake Compounce)
8. T Express (Everland)
9. Phoenix (Knoebels)
10. Wodan (Europa Park)

Pretty fair and reasonable results in my opinion. Some nice stats breakdowns available on the site too, being able to break it down by country and so forth!

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Think we need some more Top 10 variations.
 

Top 10 Theme Park Soundtracks:



10/  The Island Theme- Thorpe Park Resort

The direction of the park has been heavily  questionable over the last number of years, however the introduction of the main theme is one of the few better things that has arguably been introduced. I know this placement will be a mixed-bag to some, but I think the introduction of this music definitely gives the entrance area at least, more of a build up and atmosphere. It does beat the chart music indefinitely.

 

9/ Main Street USA- Disneyland Paris 

One of my most exciting theme park memories was visiting Disneyland Paris for the first time (5 years nearly already?), but nothing could’ve helped boost that feeling than the beautiful Main-street  soundtrack. Comprising a mixture of traditional songs and ones from shows/musicals, the playlist beautifully helps put together what must be one of the most impressive theme park entrances around.

 

N.B I believe the park use the mix from the original park now.

8/ Valhalla- Blackpool

Dramatic and forcefully attention grabbing, nothing pleases the ear more than listening to the main theme of Valhalla. The ride may not be operational for 2020, but least it’s soundtrack still boosts out from the nearby speakers.

 

7/ Droomvlucht- Efteling 

6/ Euromir- Europa Park

One of the weirdest (yet wonderful) pieces of mainstream theme park music to exist. The unique soundtrack greatly complimented the ride, whether it’s in the queue line or going up the lift of forever. It works perfectly!

 

5/ Fata Morgana- Efteling

Efteling stride with some truly magical pieces of music, but not many can overturn the wonders of the score of Fata Morgana. Meaning to be a mirage, the music perfectly blends amongst the many rich scenes of the attraction, whether that be the grand palace suite or town scenes within the ride. The attraction is essentially an Arabian take on Pirates Of The Caribbean, but that doesn’t take anything away from the ride. 
 

4/ Klugheim/Taron Soundtrack- Phantasialand 

PHANTASIALAND real,y know how to master mysterious and whimsical themes in their parks and the music really seems to hit the nail on the head there. What I like about the Klugheim theme is how the music is varied yet developed throughout the area giving enough balance to keep it interesting, whilst also entailing a strange yet uncharted vibe to the area.

 

3/ Phantom Manor- Disneyland Paris 

I am completely aware this is a variation and re-work of the original Hsunted Mansion soundtrack, but there is something just remarkable about this theme working. Whilst I’m yet to experience either of the American rides, the theme from the Paris definitely takes the music a step further by giving a deeper more meaningful and perhaps emotional content. This wraps the whole Frontier Land Story together rather nicely. 

 

2/ Chiapas Theme- Phantasialand 

I adore much of Phantasialand’s music, but the Chiapas theme tops all of it. Mysterious, upbeat and soothing are just some of the words you could use to describe the soundtrack. From it’s main theme to it’s wonderful (yet hilarious) disco room Varient. The Budapest orchestra and IMA score struck gold here!

 

 

1/ Europa Park suite, - Europa Park

This piece of music is honestly gorgeous, atmospheric, cinematic and makes for an amazing soundtrack. You know a piece of music is great when it gives you a positive vibe and always make you feel better after listening. 
 

Tried to give a variety of music here, hence why some things didn’t make the cut.

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You could easily do a top 10 with just Efteling themes here.

 

Or IMAScore.

 

What about ride songs? Black Mamba, Silver Star and Solguden (Djurs) are all contenders there. If I can think of 10 I'd do a list.

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9 minutes ago, Benin said:

What about ride songs? Black Mamba, Silver Star and Solguden (Djurs) are all contenders there. If I can think of 10 I'd do a list.

Walibi Holland has given us Lost Gravity, Speed of Sound and Xpress songs, and would all have to be up there. Psyke Underground at Walibi Belgium too...

 

I'm sure the K3 has a song which relates to the roller coaster at Plopsa as well. 

 

Ride songs are easy. ;)

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Theres so many great theme park soundtracks out there, which made selecting very difficult. I do think Efteling has some of the best out there amongst Phantasialand and Europa. 
 

Haven’t had the pleasure to do Walibi Holland yet, but that might change later in the year. I recall Plopsa having catchy music on my washout visit.

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I'm jumping on this bandwagon.

 

Bottom ten rollercoasters

 

10. Top Thrill Downtime. I can feel the eyebrows rising at this already. Frankly, it may have been better then sex in 2003 but right now it spends most of its time closed. For something that takes up that much space, is so dominant on the horizon and so famous, its open to close ratio is way off. The ride don't get me wrong is pretty good but it's so much hassle to ride and its just not worth the time it takes for something that short and is so risky. The risk isn't worth it.

 

9. Blue Tornado. I'm not an SLC hater and even if there was two or three in my worst list, I wouldn't put them all in here because frankly, its all the same thing. Blue Tornado is far and away the worst one just because its slightly longer and has more head banger moments then the others. it's not well looked after.

 

8. Superman The Escape at Magic Mountain. WHEE YOU LAUNCH BACKWARDS, WHEE YOU CAN'T FEEL THE SENSATION BECAUSE YOU CAN ONLY SEE WHERE YOU'VE BEEN AND CANT TELL THE HEIGHT. It's better when you come back down the tower and back into the station as you can actually feel the speed. But it just misses the original intention of the ride.

 

7. Saw: The Ride at Thorpe Park. I find this ride pretty grating at times. A lot of my bottom rides have in common the dread that comes before riding. That feeling of 'is it going to hurt me' Rides should not have that and Saw has it in a couple of places. it doesn't help that I feel the layout is pretty lacking and short.

 

6. Stampida at PortAventura. It's our heroes at KumbaK again, here to wreck a potentially good ride with their awful trains. I'm glad nobody wants there business anymore because they shouldn't be allowed near rides again.

 

5. Green Lantern at Magic Mountain. I feel like I'm being unjustly cruel as this was more of a guilty pleasure then hate but I have to face facts. Would I feel worried about whacking my head riding this again. Yes I would. Would my fiancé ride it again? No. Has it been closed for ages because of a potential law-suit. Yes it has. Therefore decision made. 

 

4. The Mighty Canadian Mine-Buster at Canadas Wonderland. I probably would have liked this had it not destroy my crotch. It's out and back layout is fine but I did't have any enjoyment as the restraint continued to try and kill me. 

 

3. The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I'm not here for previous record holders and that nostalgic kick they have, I'm here for cold hard honesty. This thing sucks. Airless hills that just go on and on, a first drop that just wrecks your spine, a mid course break run that slows you so much that the following helix is just like an awkward road roundabout. I like the ending where the train swoops through the scenery into the end. But its too little, too late.

 

2. Rustchebanan at Bakken. Destroyed by Kumbak really, this ride used to have a break-man to control the speed but then our heroes swooped in and added magnetic breaks all over the ride to completely kill the pacing and create this vile thing. The final nail in the coffin is the restraints that get tighter and tighter as it goes. Nah.

 

1. Tornado at Bakken. Contraption of evil. Rough, vibrating, painful. Restraints that cut into your shoulders and leave scars. Man, this things a travesty. Would you like a launched lift hill into a shed that quickly descends into pain after pain. Definitely my least favourite rollercoaster of all time.

 

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23 hours ago, Mark9 said:

9. Blue Tornado. I'm not an SLC hater and even if there was two or three in my worst list, I wouldn't put them all in here because frankly, its all the same thing. Blue Tornado is far and away the worst one just because its slightly longer and has more head banger moments then the others. it's not well looked after.

Interesting. When I first did my list, I literally just did the 10 rides I hated the most. Then looked back and saw 3 SLCs and 2 Boomerangs, and then I thought to myself is that *really* any surprise? It surely makes sense that if I hate one ride, I'm of course going to hate its clone.

 

But in both cases, I've ridden another clone of each ride type and enjoyed it (Mayan at Energylandia for SLC, Speed of Sound at Walibi Holland for a Boomerang). And it's not just theme / style or whatever, it's that as a ride, they are simply more enjoyable, because they are nowhere near as uncomfortable or painful to ride. Mayan it's largely down to restraints I reckon, and likely age as well helps. And further, the difference between my ride on Vampire and Condor were completely different.

 

In short, I get why you call them all the same thing. I get why plenty of people will. But out of the 4 cloned SLCs I've done, the difference in quality is actually huge, so there's no way I could group them together and say 'any SLC is this bad'.

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  • 1 month later...

Top ten Intamins

1. Taron - Top class ride. A rare ride where it's more than the sum of its parts.

2. Maverick - Awesome ride with so many different elements that work well in unison. The most un-American ride in Cedar Point and yet one of its best.

3. Juvelen - Always a firm favourite with me. Despite being a family ride is very very good.

4. Piraten - Djurs Sommerlands second ride in a row. Really excellent air-time and a good long layout.

5. Millennium Force - Maybe overhyped but I love the speed of this thing. The restraints really enhance how exposed you are at 300 feet. Unlike Dragster you can appreciate it.

6. Goliath - Under-rated gem. I much prefer this to its German brother as this has a much nicer setting and a faster ride crew. 

7. California Screamin' - An odd one but full of great little elements. Yet to ride it's refurbished version.

8. iSpeed - Excellent speeder at the great Miribiliandia. Really intense and snappy layout.

9. Xcelerator - The first. The launch out of the station really sets up a ride that is only better then the next one as its longer.

10. Stealth - Addictive ride. Last year I enjoyed it more than I ever have before. 

 

Bottom five 

 

5. Vertical Velocity/V2/Wicked Twister - Essentially the same ride. Pretty boring rides to be honest. Quite often in parks with other launches so they are redundant. 

4. Top Thrill Dragster. If you're lucky to ride its fine. most of the times its closed.

3. Superman Escape from Kryptonite. impressive in '96. Not so much now.

2. Green Lantern. Gone but not forgotten. DIlge.

1. Tornado at Bakken. Awful awful ride. So painful and full of vibration. Speeding through a shed is not fun.

 

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Have my Top 10 dark rides...

 

1. Maus au Chocolat, Phantasialand. I love the theme. Simple story. Ton of fun.

2. Popcorn Revenge, Walibi Belgium. Same as above. Had this been a little bit longer this probably would be my #1.

3. Bazyliszek, Legendia. Love the interplay between screens and real sets. Incredible ride especially considering the low budget.

4. Duel, Alton Towers. Okay, I know it's a watered-down, bastardised version of the original, but I love the fact it's basically a shooting ghost train...and in case you can't tell, I like shooters.

5. Area 51, Movie Park Germany. First non-interactive ride! Not technically a dark ride since it has an outdoor station and the end of the drop is outside, but it basically is. And it's pretty clever. 

6. Challenge of Tutankhamon, Walibi Belgium. It's incredible Walibi has two amazing interactive dark rides really. This has aged really well.

7. Symbolica, Efteling. The grand-ness of this is what makes it really. Some incredible sets too.

8. Hex, Alton Towers. I enjoy madhouses, but honestly I think the ride type is a little over-egged. Hex is by far the best example of it though.

9. Kyöpelinvuoren hotelli, Linnanmäki. Brilliant ghost train with lots of great sets, great effects and a nice mix of jump moments.

10. Fata Morgana, Efteling. I remember the first time I rode this and not getting it. But after a second ride, I ended up really liking it and it became an instant favourite.

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Might as well start another bandwagon.

 

Best Theme Park Restaurants 


5/ Rollercoaster Restaurant- Alton Towers. Probably my favourite UK park restaurant, I love how they’ve used the  ‘food loop’ Concept and that the place is
also dedicated to past and present coasters. I personally enjoy the food here too. 


4/ Tivoli Foodhall-Tivoli Gardens. Great variety here, plus the Smorrebrod (cultural delight) were absolutely delicious.


3/ Silver Lake Saloon- Europa Park. I love the food and I love the atmosphere and think I’m a sucker for most Wild West style places. Reminds me of Smith and Western a little. 
 

2/ Polle’s Keuchen- Efteling. This place is something of a masterpiece to the point where the food is almost secondary. Charming surroundings, meet and greets and amazing thematic set-pieces Which perform often. The pancakes are great too.

 

1/ Rutmoore’s Tavern- Phantasialand. I adore the cosy setting and theming plus the food is divine. It’s like stepping in time to another world or something!

 

The Worst Theme Park Restaurants 


5/  Woodys Burger Bar-Oakwood Theme Park. Bland quick service food, the burger was tasteless and inedible to the point it makes Burger Kitchen look like Five Guys.


4/ Aus Fastes Des Rome- Parc Asterix. Barely food and more processed than Jedward’s auto tune. Cold, tasteless, bland and did I say processed? I didn’t favour to much of Astérix’s food but this was something else!


3/ El Paso Dinner Buffet- Port Aventura.  P.A has become infamous for it’s terrible food quality and that is true. Expensive, inedible food that makes eating a chore as, opposed to enjoyable. I ate something so bad here I thought I was going to vomit!


2/ Jerome’s Grill- Port Aventura. I’ve had some lovely Pizzas in my time dining, the one I ate here wasn’t one of them! Disgusting, plastic, oily and more tasteless than a series of love island. Probably the worst pizza I’ve eaten, those cheap supermarket pizzas are gourmet compared to this travesty. 
 

 

1/ Piratengrill- Plopsaland De Panne. I never thought Port A.V. could be topped for disgusting food. Apparently not. The burger here tasted terrible to the point I struggled eating. To make matters worse, it was horribly expensive and they took so long serving I thought I’d be seeing CHRISTMAS there.

 

I miss going places.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Let's do a top 10 water rides, because why not...

 

1. Chiapas, Phantasialand. It's bloody amazing.

2. River Quest, Phantasialand. One of the few rides to have genuinely terrified me. Not necessarily the best, and when you get wet, you get soaked, but I adore it for the fear factor alone.

3. Excalibur - Secrets of the Dark Forest, Movie Park Germany. I liked this pre-retheme, but after it's retheme, it just feels so much more complete. Really well executed ride with good levels of wetness.

4. Piraña, Efteling. Solid rapids run, always a bit of fun with acceptable amounts of wetness.

5. Loggers Leap, Thorpe. RIP. Great fun; the smell after the tunnel in latter years was never good though..

6. Kållerado, Liseberg. Rapids ride that starts of really slow before picking up. If the slow start didn't take as long it might be higher..

7. Splash Jungle Adventure, Energylandia. Another rapids ride. I'm not normally a fan of the bare rapids rides, but I did just really enjoy this one.

8. El Rio, Bobbejaanland. One of the few good things at this terrible park. Solid ride with a decent whirlpool element. 

9. Fluch des Pharo, Belantis. Another good ride at a terrible park. Quirky log flume-esque ride with a fun indoor element and a good post-drop section to go with it. 

10. Stormforce 10, Drayton Manor. It's fun enough, a bit tooooo wet for my liking.

 

4 log flumes to 6 rapids; pretty even mix

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Here’s mine:


10/  Dino Splash, Plopsaland De Panne- lovely themed flume and probably my favourite ride in the park (considering I couldn’t ride Heidi or Anubis).
9/ Kallerado! Liseberg- Fun large rapids and great with groups for a laugh.

8/ Tidal Wave, Thorpe Park- intimidating, soaking and one of the best themed rides there.

7/ Le Grande Splasch, Parc Asterix- fun and quirky with lots of features between the drops add to the experience. 
6/  Poseidon, Europa Park- Mighty impressive to ride but also watch.

5/ Loggers Leap, Thorpe Park (RIP)- one of the best examples of any classic log flume out there. Shame it is gone for good.

4/ Fjord Rapids, Europa Park- Fun rapids with loads of theming and interactive elements, j’adore. 

3/ River Quest, Phantasialand- Made, crazy but simply Marvelous and one of the craziest water rides I have experienced.

2/ Valhalla (pre-2020 at least), Blackpool- Stunning soundtracks, effects and scenery. You get more soaked than a hail storm, but that’s the fun.

1/ Chiapas, Phantasialand- An absolute masterpiece. This ride is practically perfect in every way.

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I haven't experienced many, though this is my list.

 

1. Valhalla: When running at its full potential, easily one of the best dark rides ever made and easily my favourite water attraction.

2. Journey To Alantis (Seaworld Orlando): Brilliant Mack water coaster. Great theming, and fun ride.

3. Fjord Rafting (Europa): Currently my fav rapids ride. The theming is on point, the ride is exciting, and I love how it weaves around the area around it. Even the bloody lift up is themed!

4. Grand Canyon Rapids (PortavenAwful): Great rapids, if only it wasn't a park like Portaventura.

5. Poseidon: (Europa)  Great water coaster. The theming is what keeps it here, the finale is also really fun with a pop of air to boot.

6. Tutuki Splash (PortavenBadOps): Another PA ride. Love the second drop.

7. Angkor (Portaventura): Brilliant water ride. Best of its kind IMO. 

8: Tirol Log Flume (Europa): Love the cave section of this ride. It is a magical moment and absolutely makes this ride alongside its neighbour.

9. Supersplash (Europa): Short but sweet. Great airtime pop and interaction with Wodan.

10. Tiger Falls (Chessington): It isn't perfect. But its a fun ride where you get to see tigers. Also a fun log flume.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Top five restaurants (Matt Creeks post was criminally ignored)

 

 

5. Woodcutters at Alton Towers. I never have a bad time here. When I think of nostalgia and feel good, this always comes in there and makes me happy. It's pretty decently priced and big portions.

 

4. Tiffins at Animal Kingdom. This is at the higher price bracket but Ive never not had a fantastic meal here. It's slightly more clinical then the others above this on the list and less about ambience, more fine dining. Its absolutely top quality though.

 

3. Cowboy Cookout at Disneyland Paris. On the surface this is a generic Barbecue quick service, typical American fare. But what I really like about being here is the ambience. It's one of the easier places to grab a bit to eat (when its open) and I like the live band that play every now and then. The ribs are also lovely. 

 

2. Flaming Feather at Toverland. We were lucky to be there on a really warm day so that helps. We sat outside overlooking Fenix with delicious food and one thing I value in restaurants is how relaxed I am. Important to be chilled out at theme parks. 

 

1. Sanaa at Kidani Village, Animal Kingdom Lodge Disney World. Ok so technically not at a theme park but this is my go to for when I want high quality food, amazing atmosphere and theme. The view of the animals, the ambience, the bread service. It's the greatest.

 

 

Top B&M Inverters

1. Nemesis 

2. Katun

3. Raptor 

4. Monster

5. Batman the Ride at Six Flags Great America

6. Oz'Iris

7. Black Mamba

8. Chinese Fireball (RIP)

9.  Nemesis Inferno

10. Silver Bullet

11. Hungarian Horntail (RIP)

12. Montu

13. Batman the ride (backwards) at Magic Mountain

14. Batman la Fuga at Parque Warner

 

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Difficult one ordering this, but this feels right..

 

5. Polle's Kitchen, Efteling - I remember my last visit there not being as good as my previous visits, but the food is still pretty great, reasonably priced, and the restaurant itself looks fantastic. 

 

4. Food Court, Linnanmäki - I'm sure there's names for these collection of places, but I can't say for certain. Basically a collection of 3-4 food places in one mini complex, quite close to Taiga, people can choose where to eat and then eat together. Really nice food choices, really good seating choices (indoor and outdoor) and just all round a nice area. Price was reasonable for the park too.

 

3. Flaming Feather, Toverland - Mark hit the nail on the head about the relaxed feeling you get in here; it's just nice a cosy. Was sat by the fireplace which added to it. Little on the expensive side but you get what you pay for.

 

2. Oberża Lecha, Legendia - A classic European canteen-style restaurant, the restaurant by Lech is just stunning. Real nice hearty food options, along with what I'm sure was plenty of Polish classic dishes. Cheap because it's Poland, but even in context of the park, it wasn't expensive. Really spacious inside but also with lots of outdoor seating overlooking the lake too.

 

1. Rutmor's Taverne, Phantasialand - Absolutely brilliant, stunning. I queued 45 minutes to eat here on my last trip, and happily did so with the knowledge that: 1. waiting around in Klugheim is no hardship, 2. the food would be worth it. Again, really hearty food with lots of German classics. On the more expensive side, but again really really worth it. Would recommend.

 

And best couples of places for sweet treats:

-Las Rocas Eis-Shop, Phantasialand - Ice cream cookie sandwiches overlooking Chiapas. What more could you ask for?

 

-Ice cream sundaes, Linnanmäki - They sell these at various places throughout the park. But basically, you pay a fixed price (like €3), get given a cup, and can go crazy. Different soft serve ice creams, lots of sauces and toppings. Wonderful; bliss!

 

 

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6 hours ago, Mark9 said:

 

I literally want to live in the Chiapas plaza. 

I would happily live anywhere anywhere in Phantasialand. Except for Crazy Bats/Nighthawk!

 

Staying on-site is the nearest thing to this indeed.

 

Might as well list my favourite theme park hotels I’ve stayed at.

 


5/ Legoland Hotel- Legoland Windsor 

Staying here is a Lego fan’s dream. Booked this in off-season and was much cheaper than usual. Expected a glorified Travelodge but was pleasantly surprised, from the physical (lego built) theming, shows, amenities and excellent service. You could even find a Lego polybag in your room!
 

The breakfast wasn’t too bad either. 
 

4/  La Cite Suspendue- Parc Asterix 

A unique yet pleasant surprise. You stay in a room which is clustered with a few others in modest sized buildings. It’s secluded and quiet surroundings certainly give this place a strong feel of escapism away from the theme park, let alone the real world!
 

3/ Newport Bay- DIsneyland Paris

My first (and hopefully not last) Disney hotel stay. I love the grand exterior and the inside reminds me of a ship, which is likely intentional. Rooms are reasonably themed and the pool area a pleasant surprise to visit. The main restaurant is decent enough and the complex located a short convenient  walk from the parks.


2/ Efteling Hotel- Efteling 

Grand, big and beautiful, it is pretty much what you would expect from an Efteling hotel. The rooms feature discreet but noticeable theming and styling appropriate to the park’s character. The breakfast is delectable enough although the park entry for the hotel  is underwhelming given you go straight through a play area as opposed to an architectural master piece!

 

1/ Hotel Ling Bao- Phantasialand 
Staying here was literally like being transported to another world. From it’s splendid decor throughout, there is literally nothing I can fault here. The bars were cosy yet reasonable and breakfast offering excellent cultural culinary delights. The park’s Chinese area  is also open to hotel goers In the evenings, making this by far the nearest experience to staying the night in a park! 
 

Surprisingly haven’t stayed at any of Europa’s hotels yet but they all look great. Colosseo or Bell Rock are the ones I would choose if I ever get the chance.

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Lockdown got me Top Fiving all over the place.

 

Top five hotels.

 

5. Hotel Colosseo, Europa Park. I'm a sucker for this hotel. I've stayed here a few times over the year and its always been a firm favourite. For anyone who has never stayed in a Europa Park resort hotel, this is the quintessential stay and a shining example of why Europa Park is the gold standard when it comes to quality experiences. Beautiful decor, stunning backdrops, gorgeous food. 

 

4. Hotel Castillo Alcazar, Europa Park. This may seem like an odd choice when you look at the other far more impressive hotels at Europa Park. But actually this one is my favourite because its theming is completely on another level. It also has the advantage that as the smallest hotel on property, its dining areas are never ridiculously busy (Colosseo can give me PTSD). The beautiful bar overlooking Atlantica Supersplash and Wodan is the icing on the cake of a wonderfully intimate hotel. 

 

3. Disneyland Hotel, Disneyland Paris. This hotel is probably the most expensive hotel I've ever stayed in. I mean sure you're in this wonderfully Victorian themed hotel overlooking the entrance plaza to Disneyland. On one side you have the gorgeous fountains and night time light show and on the other side you can see the Main Street railway station which slightly obscures the Castle. And sure, its one of the best ways to stay at Disneyland Paris if budget is no constraint. If you're not fussed about location or detail or immersion then, yeah go for one of the cheaper hotels but for that authentic Disney experience in France, this is the only hotel to go for. 

 

2. Hotel MatambaPhantasialand. I first stayed here in 2014 and I think this is a hotel that takes atmosphere and detail to the next level. I love the entrance doors for example. Completely unassuming and swinging open to this beautifully detailed lobby. The cozy bar on the left, the incredible buffet. The gorgeous hotel rooms overlooking Black Mamba. Immersion is truly next level and I crave another stay at this sublime hotel.

 

1. Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World - You may have gathered that ambience and emotion are my drivers when it comes to any experience. I want to feel part of that attraction/place and nowhere gives me that amazing sensation like Animal Kingdom Lodge. The giant savannahs, the restaurants, the incredible theming, the sizeable rooms and the attention to detail. I love it here and even just to visit is an experience in itself. 

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  • 1 month later...

Dark rides are one of my favourite park attractions, some are great but others less-so. 
 

Here are my least favourite indoor/dark rides I have ridden to date. I am excluding travelling rides such as those at Winter Wonderland.


10/ The Ferrari Land Simulators- Ferrari Land, Port Aventura 

Both attractions aren’t anything remarkable and just come across as bland and unoriginal. Both attractions share the same pre-show which is boring and tedious to watch. Not to mention worsens their throughputs and is pretty much an advert for a product 90% of it’s visitors will never own.

9/ Castillo Del Terror- Tivoli World
I’ve been on my fair share of ghost trains and this isn’t the worst but it could be better. The timing of half the scenes in here is off and the rest either turned off or never repaired. 

 

8/  Ghost Train- Brighton Pier

Mediocre, off timing and generally poorly maintained. No surprises there maybe.

 

7/ Fairy Tale Castle- Liseberg 
I had a love-hate relationship with this ride but it still wasn’t great. A tacky yet hilarious selection of dated fairy tale animatronics accompanied by the Droomvlucht soundtrack. It might be gone now (part of Valkyria stands there now) but never forgotten!

 

N.B some of the cars and theming are reused as Halloween theming. Quite fitting perhaps. 

6/ Golden Nugget Wild West Shootout-Drayton Manor

bland, underwhelming and left me with no impression on my experience. The open plan setting made it feel about as exciting as a trip to Tesco’s and that’s saying a lot. The ride has been updated since my experience so might be less terrible now.
 


5/ Tales Of The Coast- Pleasurewood Hills

Very bizarre ride with a somewhat monotone dialogue and a strange yet underwhelming scene selection. It was demolished a few years ago and replaced by a chair swing. Whether that’s an improvement remains to be seen.


4/ Charlie And The Chocolate Factory- Alton Towers 

An absolute travesty of a dark ride has got to be one of the most underwhelming I have ever experienced. Boring cardboard cut out scenes and narrative dialogue that’s amongst the worst ever seen. The elevator part was alright and probably helped being near the exit too. 


3/ Boo Blasters- Kings Island 

Awful awful awful. Such a pointless attraction with a dreadful narrative and zero storyline. Apparently it used to be themed to Scooby Doo in the Paramount days, but whats there now is much much worse.

 

This was my first and dark ride I have done in the states and given the current state of things, it might well be my last! Shame. 

 

2/ Derren Brown’s Ghost Train Rise Of The Demon- Thorpe Park Resort
Having a dark ride at my home park should be something delightful, unfortunately though I can’t say that here. DBGTROTD is far more of an embarrassment than an innovation to the industry. It uses hundreds of potentially interesting ideas in the worst possible way, is unreliable and less re-rideable than a bad SLC
 

It has aged terribly for what should still be a new attraction and is tied around the park’s neck for the foreseeable future with much investment in the dust as a result.

 

 

1/ Impossible- Blackpool Pleasure Beach 

I have only ever been on this once and that was six years ago. I have no intention to re-ride it soon. Most of Blackpool’s dark rides are good or at least charming but not this! It serves no purpose for the park and is hilariously awful in every shape and form. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Following my French trip and hitting 200 coasters, here's my Top 10%...

 

1. Taron, Phantasialand. Practically perfect in every way.

2. Taiga, Linnanmäki. Also practically perfect in every way. A touch more theming around the ride and this may have been #1.

3. Untamed, Walibi Holland. So much airtime ❤️

4. Helix, Liseberg. Little bit of everything, and done oh so well.

5. Oz'Iris, Parc Astérix. New entry, and really has everything you want in an invert. Plus the theming is incredible.

6. Balder, Liseberg. Lots of airtime, and the first drop is bliss.

7. Lost Gravity, Walibi Holland. I have a serious bit of love for this ride, and the random theme and theming is the icing on the cake.

8. Nemesis, Alton Towers. Whether it's because it's ageing or I'm ageing, the relentless intensity and forces of this is becoming less my cup of tea.

9. Joris en de Draak, Efteling. I'm a sucker for duelling / racing rides, and individually the coasters are great fun.

10. Troy, Toverland. Ton of fun woodie.

 

11. Goliath, Walibi Holland. 'Old school' type Intamin, with a good first drop and lovely airtime at the end. Riding it at night is fab too.

12. Black Mamba, Phantasialand. Similar to Nemesis, but not as good as the original masterpiece.

13. Hyperion, Energylandia. Big, fast, airtime. Easy.

14. Lech Coaster, Legendia. If the first drop was a bit less intense and didn't make me grey out and leave me feeling wiped out, I genuinely think this would be a Top 5 ride for me..

15. Lisbergbanan, Liseberg. Just something about I really enjoyed; great length and interaction with surroundings.

16. Van Helsing's Factory, Movie Park Germany. I've got a soft spot for Gerstlauer bobsleds, and this is a decent one entirely indoors with solid theming.

17. Pulsar, Walibi Belgium. Quirky coaster which is a joy to ride.

18. The Swarm, Thorpe Park. It's still here, but honestly I feel like I enjoy it less with every ride, and the outside seats are sometimes really vibratey..

19. Nemesis Inferno, Thorpe Park. Solid ride all round. Testament to the quality of B&M inverts.

20. Colorado Adventure, Phantasialand. With coasters doing crazier inversions and weirder elements, this is an example of how a fun, simple mine train with a decent layout can actually be just a solid coaster.

 

So that's 5 Intamins, 5 B&Ms, 3 Macks, 2 Vekomas, 2 GCIs, 1 RMC, 1 Gerstlauer and 1 Schwarzkopf. Nice mix.

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Pre-Phantasialand rankings. Had some changes after Alton Towers:

 

1. Steel Vengeance

2. Maverick

3. Shambhala

4. Wodan

5. The Smiler- Got a heavy push up after a couple of recent rides (one in the front)

6. Top Thrill Dragster (-1)

7. Goliath (Great America)

8. Blue Fire

9. Wickerman (+1)

10. Nemesis (-5) got pushed down after some under-whelming rides.

11. Millennium Force (-2)

12. Magnum XL

13. Silver Star

14. Raptor (Cedar Point)

15. Nemesis Inferno

16. Furius Baco

17. Viper (Six Flags Great America)

18. Euro-Mir

19. Galactica

20. Gatekeeper

21. Stealth

22. Gemini

23. Batman The Ride

24. The Joker (S&S freespin)

25. Raging Bull

 

Some very controversial picks here, I'm interested to see how Phantasialand goes. I expect Taron to hit my top 5, and Black Mamba top 10-15. Can't wait for my first visit.

 

 

 

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