Life in Lockdown: After Lockdown Bucket List

Life in Lockdown: After Lockdown Bucket List

The original idea for this post was inspired by Alice Spake, check out her post here: After Lockdown Bucket List. It made me think about what I want to do when we return to some sort of normality. Granted we don’t know when ‘normality’ may return in the UK, 2020 has certainly turned into a topsy-turvy kinda year.

Okay, it’s not exactly a bucket list we’d all want to be writing at the moment. However, it’s certainly given me some excitement & hope during this lull of a lockdown. These little things in life that I may have taken for granted before lockdown began, I can’t wait to have back in my life again.

alton towers scarefest 2019 review

My After Lockdown Bucket List

(not specifically in order!)

  • See my boyfriend Jared – long-distance relationships are hard and I want cuddles
  • See my friends
  • Work back in the office & see my work colleagues
  • Go out for lunch/dinner with my family
  • Visit some country parks to enjoy the beautiful spaces we have in the UK
  • Go to the cinema
  • Have a proper date night with Jared
  • Go food shopping without having to queue to get in
  • Visit a Go Ape course
  • Drive down to Southsea and walk along the seafront
  • Visit various UK theme parks including Thorpe Park, Alton Towers & Chessington
  • Go on a UK cred trip – cause it’s tradition to grab some new creds each year, right?
  • Visit Center Parcs Longleat with Jared – booked our week holiday last year and in the process of moving it to September
  • Go to Nando’s – just can’t beat a cheeky Nando’s!
  • Be able to comfortably run 5k
  • Have a weekend away somewhere in the UK
  • Travel to a European theme park – provided that the COVID-19 situation is under control!
  • The freedom to drive to wherever I want even if it’s to a local business or open space near my house
  • Be confident enough to experiment with my make-up & potentially share on Twitter/Instagram
  • Book Florida 2021 – it’s mine and Jared’s 30th birthday next year so we would like to be able to get our joint birthday celebration holiday booked at some point

It’s not a massive list by any means but it’s enough to keep me going. I hope you are all staying safe & keeping well during the lockdown. Sending all my love to you all. xoxo

What would be on your After Lockdown Bucket List?

What are you missing most during this lockdown?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

 

Life in Lockdown: 25th April 2020

Life in Lockdown: 25th April 2020

Howdy! So it’s been 25 days since I last wrote a blog post… Honestly, I’ve lost all my passion for writing on here at the moment. Granted a huge influence on that is having no freedom to travel anywhere, therefore the main essence of my blog is on hold whilst we all tackle the COVID-19 situation. My creative spark has disappeared slightly so I’ve been putting all my energy into other things. So what’s happened since my last Life in Lockdown blog post?

Not a lot has changed in all fairness.

The UK lockdown was extended for a further three weeks, meaning it is currently set to end on 7th May 2020. Not gonna lie, this extension so far has been more a struggle for my own mental health. I’m missing having the freedom to go out and see my friends when I want. I’m missing my boyfriend. I’m missing theme parks. I’m missing the office environment – I don’t think I could work from home 24/7!

So I guess the big question is…

How have I been keeping busy?

life in lockdown dumbbells

FITNESS/EXERCISE

5 days after my previous blog post, I ended up ‘overtraining’ myself with my workouts and exercise. For someone who is still very much a beginner in exercising, it’s easy to fall into the trap of overdoing the workouts. Exercising for me has been a great escape from the reality of what’s happening. In a way, I may have replaced my love for theme parks with exercise for the time being in order to keep me feeling sane during these troubling times.

This week, as I write this on 24th April, I’ve started running. And no, it’s not the Couch to 5K kind. Whilst this is a great way for people to get into running, I’d rather build myself up in smaller sections. Starting with a 1k run on Monday and just slowly progress every other day. This can be increasing the distance slowly by 0.5km or trying to run for longer intervals. At the moment, I can run for 1 minute comfortably but making sure my walking interval at least 1 minute or more. Gotta take it slowly obviously!

Having started this, I’ve learnt to love the sport. Okay, I work for a multi-sport retailer so everyday I am surrounded by exercise enthusiasts. Honestly, you can enjoy exercise if you find the right one for you. Exercise releases endorphins so it’s perfect for calming down those overthinking thoughts running through your head. Running can now be added to my list alongside resistance training. I may be losing my excess body fat slowly but it’s more sustainable in the long term. Plus, it’s great for boosting my fitness for when theme parks can open again.

animal crossing new horizons nintendo switch lite

ANIMAL CROSSING

I was going to write a paragraph about gaming however there’s only one game taking my attention at the moment. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a great way to keep me busy during those dull periods when I’m not working or doing my exercise. I’m not an OG player but when I heard about the hype of this game from people on Twitter, I had to discover what all the fuss was about.

I’m a little bit obsessed. Whether it’s catching the various bugs, fishing the finest fish or constructing lots of exciting DIY furniture to place around my island, it’s highly addictive. Plus, you know you’re sitting on a goldmine when Turnip prices are at a really good selling rate! Here’s to many more weeks of me playing this.

YOUTUBE/NETFLIX/DISNEY+

Of course, a good staple to my daily life is keeping up with the latest YouTubers I’ve subscribed to and watching the latest series & new releases on Disney+ and Netflix. Key YouTubers that I’ve been loving at the moment include: Natacha Oceane, Emma’s Rectangle, James Turner, Plumbella to name a few.

Recently I binge-watched the new Netflix Original series, Spinning Out, a drama based around professional competing ice skaters and the turmoil of drug use. It was very well done and some gripping moments throughout the series. I love Netflix Original series as these provide great binge-worthy shows to watch. Other particular favourites of mine include After Life, Orange is the New Black, Tiger King, Cheer and so much more.

2020 is certainly turning into a funny old year. Even though we can’t change the situation we are in, we can certainly find ways to keep ourselves busy. Who knows what will happen in the next few weeks to come. Hope anybody reading this is staying safe & well during these troubling times. Sending my love to you all.

What are you doing to keep yourself busy during this situation?

Who else is loving Animal Crossing?

Any tips or ideas on what else we can do to keep ourselves busy?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Life in Lockdown: 1st April 2020

Life in Lockdown: 1st April 2020

Well, the last few weeks have been a crazy time, hasn’t it? I know I haven’t written any blog posts for the past 3 weeks, and I’m going to be honest, I haven’t felt like writing anything. The whole COVID-19 situation has really shaken up all our routines. With my blog focused on travel, this will be on hold and I’ll be writing updates about my general day to day life and fitness regimes. Provided I get the motivation to write anything each week that is.

I miss travelling and having the freedom to see my boyfriend and close friends whenever I want to. All I want to do is get in my car and go for a long drive to see the people I care about. I’m incredibly grateful for having my family around to support me and keeping me sane. It’s certainly going to be the new normal for the time being but I’m trying my best to remain positive. We can’t control this situation but we can control how we deal with it.

So, how’s life been for me?

I’m still working but from home. Yes, I’m in a very fortunate position amongst the crowd of people around me who are key workers, been made redundant etc. However, I do feel for those who are unable to work from home. You are all troopers and you will get through this. So effectively my Monday to Friday routine between 8am to 4.30pm has remained unchanged other than my work location. Getting used to working from the kitchen table whilst using Microsoft Teams to keep in contact with my work colleagues where I can.

life update working from home

A couple of weeks ago, I made the decision to start exercising again. I had some dumbbells sitting on the floor in my bedroom so I thought I’d give these style workouts a go. You know what? I’m enjoying this way more than pushing myself to do any kind of running or excessive cardio. My aim was to do at least 3 workouts per week of at least 45 mins to 1 hour. I’ve now increased that to 5 workouts per week however have started to introduce HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts into the mix. I have lost some weight over the last 4 weeks so it’s certainly more motivation to keep going.

Exercising has been an escape for me. It’s 1 hour of my mind focusing on strengthening my body whilst improving my own health. A bit ironic given the current circumstances but it does seem to be helping (in my mind at least). I’m not invincible so who knows when COVID-19 may decide to hit me. I guess this is what I hate. Not knowing when it could strike me or my own family members. Especially with my Mum being a key worker at our local Supermarket. The unknown is well and truly here for the time being.

life update fitness dumbbells

From my workouts to healthy eating. I was quite worried about doing mindless snacking whilst working from home. In the office, I like to have a couple of snacks with me – mostly fruit but a little sugary treat every now and again doesn’t hurt. However, by some miracle, I’m not snacking as much as I used to. Why? I have no idea. However should I need to have a quick pick-me-up, I’ve got a couple of bags of almonds & mixed dried fruits to keep my satisfied. And yes, I do still have chocolate but that’s the last resort if you know what I mean. *wink*

Since the UK lockdown last Monday, the Government have said we can go out for exercise once a day, whether that’s a walk, run or cycle. As long as we comply with the social distancing measures, it’s been nice to get out of the house and take a walk around my local area. I always make sure I keep my distance from people, crossing the road if necessary. From what I can see around my area, people do seem to be observing the social distancing rules which is great to see. Hopefully, this lockdown can be lifted over the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed, ey?

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Of course, this lockdown has meant I can’t see my boyfriend, Jared. We’re in a long-distance relationship, roughly 1-hour drive from each other. We live with our families and have high-risk people in our households. This means it’s incredibly risky to see one another (physically at least). However, the joys of technology have allowed us to be able to FaceTime every day. It’s been a real pick-me-up and I’ve tried to be the rock in our relationship for Jared. I hate seeing people I love struggle through a situation they can’t control, and I can’t be there to help them.

And that is my life in a nutshell at the moment. When I’m not working or exercising, I’ve been using my spare time to play some Animal Crossing: New Horizons on my Switch – those tarantulas are a pain in the arse but I’ve managed to catch one now! Alongside this, I’ve been playing Smurf’s Village (thanks to Jared!), Candy Crush Saga, Tetris etc on my phone. I’m also currently looking at starting my scrapbooks which were Christmas presents. Certainly, the perfect time to start them once I’ve managed to sort through the photos I want to have printed. Sometimes you need to look closer to home to find new things to keep you entertained.

I hope you are all well and staying safe. Sending my love to you all and just a small reminder that we will get through this together.

Much love xoxoxo

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Chessington VIP Photography Experience Review

Chessington VIP Photography Experience Review

When Chessington World of Adventures announced their brand new VIP Photography experience, I couldn’t resist buying this for myself and my partner. Last Sunday (1st March), we thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and are now even more keen to get out there and take photos using our SLR cameras.

After 3 sessions so far, we were in the trial phase. The whole experience is still being firmed down and finalised before an official release later on this year. Due to half the theme park being shut, we weren’t able to go down to Land of the Tigers to see the Amur Tigers or head into Lorikeet Lagoon. Whilst this was disappointing for us, it’s clear that this will be included later on this year when the park is fully open.

chessington VIP photography experience owlchessington world of adventures goatchessington VIP photography experience penguinchessington world of adventures capybarachessington world of adventures otters

SO, WHAT DID YOU DO?

The Chessington VIP Photography experience was split into a fun & jam-packed itinerary. First up was an hour brief with Sally Beard, professional photographer at The Photography Boutique, teaching us about the basics of photography and how to take professional photos of animals. This was perfect for me since it’s been well over 10 years since I was taught how to use SLR cameras at college.

Afterwards, we headed into Amazu & Penguin Cove to get ourselves used to Manual mode. This was almost a good starting point to adjust the settings for ISO, aperture and shutter speed. We had front row seats to the Animal Antics show & enjoyed spending an hour on a Safari truck, taking photos of the Giraffes & Zebras in their paddock. Definitely worth adding to the bucket list!

You’re given an hour for lunch. Don’t worry about preparing any lunch as you’ll be given a VIP lunch voucher. This entitled us to a standard meal deal at any of the available food and drink outlets at Chessington. This is great for fussy eaters who can choose their favourite F&B outlet in the park – we opted for Captain’s Fish & Chips because it was quiet.

The afternoon session was pretty much flexible with the whole group. We enjoyed walking through the Trail of the Kings, front-row view of the Sea Lion Show & grabbing some cool shots of the Otters & Reindeer. This added flexibility was great as we could take as many photos as we wanted of the animals we cared the most about. Especially when feeding time came around for the Lions & Gorillas.

chessington VIP photography experience giraffechessington world of adventures zebrachessington VIP photography experience rhinochessington world of adventures monkeychessington world of adventures sea lions

So what exactly did I learn from this VIP experience?

MANUAL MODE ISN’T SCARY TO USE

That’s right. Once you know the basics of ISO, aperture & shutter speed, the rest is pretty much simple to follow. It’s so easy to let the camera automatically adjust the settings for you. Sometimes that perfect shot can look overexposed or underexposed. With manual mode, you have complete control over how the photo looks. I’m now a changed woman and will opt for manual mode – it’s a lot easier to adjust than you think!

ANIMALS CAN BE FUNNY CHARACTERS

You’ll learn throughout this course that observing the animals can showcase their personalities. When I’ve visited the zoo at Chessington, I don’t really spend a lot of time observing the animals. Sometimes it’s a quick wander around and looking into the enclosures. Then it’s time to move on and see the next animal. Having my camera out made me think about the different angles and compositions of the photo I wanted to take. And you really see how funny the animals are, from headbutting each other to refusing to stay still!

NO PRESSURE TO TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS

When you’re in Auto mode, it’s easy to get trigger happy and take 1000s of photos. In manual mode, you don’t take nearly as many photos. Why? Because you’ll be spending more time focusing on getting the settings right for that perfect shot. After taking each photo, I was always checking over what I took to see if the exposure was correct, my depth of field was looking sharp etc. It might take a bit more work but the finished results were amazing!

PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS, AMATEURS & EXPERTS

This course is perfect for anyone with an interest in photography. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never worked with manual mode on an SLR or you’ve taken so many professional photos that you want to branch out into animal photography, this course is designed for everyone. I would say I’m a beginner with an interest and passion for photography. Yes, there were 3 other photographers with way more experience than me (my partner included) but that didn’t stop me from doing this course.

To conclude, I’d highly recommend doing this VIP Photography experience from Chessington. It was priced at £100 per person (during the trial period) which I feel was pretty reasonable. Considering you get at least 5 hours of photography, 1-hour editing workshop & lunch included. Of course, the price & course structure will be different when the course launches later this year. Would I do it again? Almost definitely. Even if just to get some fab close up shots of the Amur tigers!

chessington VIP photography experience foxchessington VIP photography experience zebrachessington world of adventures giraffechessington world of adventures reindeerchessington world of adventures ostrich

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

 

Top 5 Energylandia coasters you can’t miss

Top 5 Energylandia coasters you can’t miss

In October last year, I boarded my flight to Krakow in search of coaster creds in Poland. I had to get a trip booked in after the announcement of Zadra’s opening date. Flights were going cheap for late October so had to get them booked, didn’t I? Visiting Energylandia for the first time was a bizarre experience for me. I had previously watched Jordan’s vlogs from her trip in April and knew it was a park I wanted to visit. Just not as soon as I did. I was very eager to tick off the 15 creds and there were at least 5 coasters at Energylandia that I couldn’t miss.

Cred anxiety is a known thing. Were we were going to get spited by a major coaster? Was the weather going to take a turn for the worst? Thankfully it was like a UK summer heatwave all over again! Energylandia as a park reminded me of a RCT (Roller Coaster Tycoon) park. Coasters dotted all over the place, with the odd bits of theming added in. The layout made no sense without the help of a park map. It was somewhat confusing but once you get your bearings, you know exactly where to go.

tall wooden rollercoaster with blue sky
tall green water coaster with blue sky
bright multicoloured rollercoaster for children on green track
chairswing ride with flowers and bushes neatly placed around ride
top 5 energylandia coasters

With 15 creds to grab, it seemed fitting to pick out my top 5 coasters at the park. There’s a lot of kiddie creds and that’s not an understatement. I know some people aren’t hardcore ‘cred whores’ but there are some solid coasters in the line up. Aside from the obvious reason for my trip in the first place. Can you hazard a guess as to which coaster? Anyway let’s crack on with my top 5 coasters at Energylandia you can’t miss!

wooden rollercoaster going through inversion with pumpkin statue to right

Coaster #1: Zadra

It was obvious that this would be number one for me. I loved Zadra, a LOT. From the moment you leave the ride station, you knew this ride was going to pull out all the stops to be an incredible ride. It had the speed, the forces, the inversions, the whole package in my eyes for a world class coaster. I’d love to be inside the mind of Alan Schilke when he comes up with the concepts for his coasters. Zadra is a force to be reckoned with. The whole area around the ride is stunning – just be prepared to walk in the ridiculously long queue line to get to the station!

race car style rollercoaster on red track

Coaster #2: Formula

I’m gonna just put it out here now and say that I didn’t think I was going to love Formula as much as I did. For a compact layout, it packs a punch even with the launch at the beginning of the ride. It’s a fun ride that is pretty intense in places (not as much as Lech coaster in Legendia though.) I cannot wait to see what else Vekoma is going to come up with in the future as I’ve been very impressed with Formula and Lech Coaster in Poland.

tall rollercoaster on black track with lights on side of lift hill

Coaster #3: Hyperion

Now, I know some people who’ve ridden Hyperion are going to wonder why I’ve put it beneath Formula. Hear me out. Overall, Hyperion is a good coaster as it packs in some cool airtime moments and whips you round the ‘Dive Drop’ element after the first airtime hill. Yes, I rode Zadra first and probably got completely spoilt by how amazing it rode. BUT I just felt like there was something missing from the whole ride experience – even after 4 rides, I still came off Hyperion feeling flat and unimpressed.

top 5 energylandia coasters

Source

Coaster #4: Dragon Roller Coaster

There’s not a lot to say about this coaster other than it is fun. I have a huge soft spot for these new style Vekoma suspended coasters. Flight of the Pterosaur at Paultons Park, Orkanen at Farup Sommerland & the list goes on. I believe this is the same layout as Orkanen at Farup Sommerland – don’t quote me on that. They incorporate the water element to the ride really well. The dragon head was beautiful to look at and worked so well as a near miss element. It’s a basic suspended coaster that is fun for the whole family, cool ride layout with some fun turns and something I consider to be re-rideable – if you need to waste some spare moments on a quiet day.

mayan temple building with rollercoaster to the left

Coaster #5: Roller Coaster Mayan

Say what? A Vekoma SLC is in this list? Oh yes, people. This SLC has the new trains and restraints from Vekoma and blimey, you can tell the difference. As with any SLC, it isn’t what I call silky smooth. However our first ride on Mayan was very good. Baring in mind the temperature reached highs of 25 degrees so the ride had plenty of time to warm up. This is where the painful reminder of SLCs came back in focus. The new restraints didn’t give me too much of a headache, thankfully! I did still felt sore and battered after my second ride later in the day. Whilst this is my favourite of all SLCs I have ridden so far, it still provides with that raw old school Vekoma roughness that we all know and ‘love’…

girl posing in front of massive pumpkin
rollercoaster through loop on red track
wooden rollercoaster with red topper track
formula red rollercoaster track during sunset
top 5 energylandia coasters

I can’t wait to return to the park over the next few years. I’d love to see how the park develops, plus I’m intrigued by the new Vekoma Shockwave, Abyssus, opening in 2020.

Are you planning a trip to Energylandia this year?

Visited Energylandia, which rides are your favourites?

What are your top 5 coasters at Energylandia?

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

5 Self-Care Tips | Theme Park Edition

5 Self-Care Tips | Theme Park Edition

I’m going to start by being honest with you all, I’ve been struggling with my mental health recently. My self-confidence has been knocked and I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall. Picking myself back up has been a challenge. Even when I’m doing my self-care routine. My mind ends up telling me I don’t deserve it. The closed season is probably taking its toll on me since I don’t have many opportunities to visit theme parks on the weekends. So I thought to myself, why not write down a list of 5 self-care tips that us theme park enthusiasts can do to help pick ourselves up when life gets us down.

Now, this isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ list. Everyone has their way of channelling their emotions and that’s okay. This is what I do when life wants to throw curveballs at me. Sometimes they work a treat and I feel better instantly. Other times, it takes more time for me to heal my mind. Sometimes the best thing is to do it at a pace that suits you. Since the development of the #BeKind movement after the tragic passing of Caroline Flack last weekend, RIP, we need to think before we speak. We don’t know what is going inside the head of everyone around us. So let’s start being mindful of this, alright? Anyway, here’s my 5 self-care tips theme park edition.

5 self-care tips watch theme park vlogs

Self-care tip #1: Watch theme park vlogs

Theme park vlogs are a good way to take yourself away from reality. I like to dedicate at least an hour of my day to chill out and look after myself. So when it comes to theme park vlogs, I’ll choose to watch either Theme Park Worldwide or Charlotte Ruff‘s Disney Park vlogs. Not only do I find them fun to watch but they inspire me to think about booking my next trip abroad. I have major wanderlust so I’m always dreaming about my next road trip.

5 self-care tips theme park cds

Self-care tip #2: Listen to your favourite theme park soundtrack

There’s one theme park soundtrack that picks my mood up instantly. The Chiapas soundtrack by IMAscore leaves me feeling giddy and reminds me of all the good times I have had at Phantasialand. No, I’m not biased since Phantasialand is my number one theme park! Whatever soundtrack you love to listen to, whether it is from a Disney park or your local park, give yourself a little break and plug in your headphones. It’s the perfect way to give you a little boost when things get a bit rough.

5 self-care tips read theme park books

Self-care tip #3: Read your favourite theme park book or blogs

I have a handful of books surrounding the theme park industry. Whether it’s reading about Walt Disney or diving into the review of a theme park online, it’s nice to take your mind away from the negative headspace. There are lots of talented bloggers in the theme park community, so there’s plenty of blog posts to get stuck into. However, if I need a break from my Macbook or phone, the joys of an 8-hour office job sat at a computer all day, I like to get stuck into a book. If you have any recommendations for theme park books I should read, leave them in the comment below.

5 self-care tips visit theme parks

Self-care tip #4: Take a trip to your local theme park

Okay, when it is the closed season, this can be more of a challenge. However, you could visit your local funfair or park to take your mind off things. I live near Portsmouth so I am lucky to have the seaside a good 10/15 mins away from me. A walk along the beach can help me to think clearly about things and enjoy my own space. Plus, exercise is a good way to boost your mood. But during the open season, a trip to my local theme park gives me the adrenaline rush I need to forget my worries. Plus, a day trip with your friends is the perfect pick-me-up in my opinion.

5 self-care tips be artistic

Self-Care Tip #5: Be artistic

I have left this last self-care tip very open because everyone is artistic in their own way. For me, this could be writing blog posts or compiling an Instagram post. For other people, this could be making theme park artwork, scrapbooking, taking photos, coding a website, dancing etc. The list is endless. What I am trying to get at is: take the time to look after yourself in an artistic way. There are so many talented people in the theme park community. Use your talents to give you the mental boost you need. Sometimes we are our own worst critic but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the things we enjoy.

These are my 5 self-care tips which follow the theme park theme. Whatever happens on those bad days, just remember that it isn’t a bad life. Hard to believe when you feel helpless but know you’re not alone. Even when your brain gets into that negative headspace, there are simple ways to get you back into a better headspace.

What do you do for your own self-care routine?

Who’s ready for the theme park open season?

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Theme Park Favourites

Theme Park Favourites

Let’s share a bit of love in this Valentine’s inspired theme park blog post today. Valentine’s, Galentine’s, whatever you want to call it, we should all have the chance to feel the love. No matter what makes us happy, we should do it because we want to do it. Not because someone says it’s the right thing to do. Heck, who cares if someone doesn’t enjoy the same things. We’re all individuals at the end of the day with an opinion, a voice, a personality. Don’t stop being YOU. Even when it comes to your theme park favourites. I may not be as well travelled as some people I follow on Twitter/Instagram. However, it only spurs me on to get out there and travel further than ever before.

So, let’s crack on with my theme park favourites:

theme park favourites phantasialand

Favourite Theme Park: Phantasialand

Possibly the biggest favourite among the theme park community. Phantasialand was a park that I deeply fell in love from my first visit in 2013. There is that slight air of grace and beauty about the park. From the ornate details in the Berlin area to the wildly intense rockwork in Klugheim. To me, it is like a work of art and the park has all the qualities that I like in a park. Theming. A good coaster line-up. A sizeable theme park. What’s not to love? I can’t wait to visit Phantasialand this year to ride F.L.Y. It’s been 4 years and I’m ready to return to the park that I so love.

zadra energylandia

Favourite Rollercoaster: Zadra, Energylandia

Zadra is my current number one coaster, and a firm favourite for me. I seem to have taken a fancy to RMC’s over the last few years. Ever since my first ride on Wildfire at Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden, I’ve grown a real fascination for them. They may be overrated for some enthusiasts. To be honest, I can see why. But I can’t help enjoying the ride experience on them. Zadra was intense but in a good way. The sheer speed of the ride as it twists and turns was incredible. I’d be keen to find out if there is a coaster out there that will beat it!

theme park favourites

Favourite Dark Ride: Dreamflight, Efteling

Dreamflight at Efteling is a dark ride that fills me joy every time I think about it. The first time I visited the park in 2013, this ride was shut. It was down for refurbishment at the time and I was truly gutted. Thankfully, I returned in 2016 and it was open. Hurrah! The ride is beautifully themed. You’d pretty much compare it to the likes of Disney dark rides. Add in the mix of music & lights, you’ve got yourself a dark ride to be proud of. No wonder it’s so popular with guests. Might not be the highest throughput ride at the park but it’s so worth it.

theme park favourites chiapas

Favourite Water Ride: Chiapas, Phantasialand

Okay, anybody have the Templo De Fiesta song in their head right now? Just me then. Honestly, this ride is a true representation of what Phantasialand can do. No matter what ride type it is, they will go crazy with the theming. And it really does make a difference. Chiapas as a ride itself is incredibly fun with some very cool transitions and interactive elements. Add in the theming and the fantastic feel-good soundtrack by IMAScore, it’s transformed into an experience. No matter what the weather is like, there’s always a good time to ride Chiapas. Now don’t mind me, I’m off to listen to the soundtrack for the millionth time.

theme park favourites the beast

Favourite Flat Ride: The Beast, Fantasy Island

The Beast may no longer reside at Fantasy Island but it’s still up there as my all-time favourite. Of all the flat rides I’ve ever been on, Mondial Top Scans are impressively fun. Whilst Samurai at Thorpe Park may never get back to the glory days when it was at Chessington, The Beast was always that one flat ride at Fantasy Island that I needed to get my fix on. I’ve never vommed on or off the ride but I’ve experienced those ‘greying-out’ moments due to the intensity. The operator always knew how to flip the spins on each gondola. It was amazing and I wish it was still here in the UK!

theme park favourites

Favourite Ride Manufacturer: B&M

Of all the amazing ride manufacturers out there, B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard) is still a firm favourite of mine. Yes, they don’t take as many risks compared to the likes of Intamin or RMC. But they sure as hell create some solid coasters that are liked among a variety of people. B&M provides an all-round fun experience that is smooth and sometimes thrilling. If you’re looking at the right cred, that is. I’m always checking up on their latest investments and love seeing what else is coming up from them. I will always have a soft spot for them, and my heart fills with joy whenever I’m at a new theme park and a B&M is there waiting for me to ride it.

Do you agree with my theme park favourites?

What are some of your theme park favourites?

Do you love theme parks?

Let me know in the comments below.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

My top tips for visiting Energylandia

My top tips for visiting Energylandia

Energylandia is a theme park near Zator in Poland and is the next major park on all theme park enthusiasts hitlist. This includes the exciting Aqualantis area coming to the park featuring Abyssus. With Zadra opening last year (2019), it’s no surprise that everyone wants a piece of this RMC. It’s amazing and you should definitely ride it! Energylandia is a fairly easy park to deal with from my experience. So I’d thought I’d compile my top tips for visiting Energylandia. I hope that this will help any of you who has an upcoming trip planned.

So without further ado, here are my top tips for visiting Energylandia.

My top tips for visiting Energylandiaracing rollercoaster on red trackwooden rollercoaster with pumpkin at energylandiaMy top tips for visiting energylandia

Top tip #1: Locker System

There is a very clever locker system that is in place at Energylandia. Not only is it inexpensive but it’s super easy to deal with. If I remember correctly, they cost around 5 PLN which is the equivalent of around £2, making it super affordable. You receive a wristband which has a barcode you scan, and the computer system assigns a locker number for you. These lockers are placed within the queue lines of certain coasters including Zadra, Hyperion, Formula etc.

It’s a simple concept. You get a locker, place your belongings inside and then collect your items once you have ridden the rides. Easy to follow which means taking bags with you on park won’t cause too much faff. I’m an anti-faff kinda person so this was ideal! And for anyone wondering, you can change the language to English. No need to worry about working out the Polish translation when claiming your locker number.

Pro tip: Beware that you will need to ensure you collect all items after you’ve ridden the rides as you won’t be able to collect them again once the locker doors are shut. And no, there is no guarantee you will get the same locker number again once you’ve scanned the wristband.

Top tip #2: English Language Barrier

Trust me when I say this, every staff member we came across on our trip spoke great English. Yes, some members of staff might have broken English but you can still make small conversation with them. At all the shops, food outlets, even the Entertainment staff spoke fantastic English. Of course, learning the basic Polish will get you far but don’t fear if you haven’t managed to cram in a late night Polish lesson via Duolingo. You’ll be fine and the staff are extremely helpful too.

Top tip #3: Plan your route

Energylandia is a very big park. You don’t really appreciate the size of it until you are actually there. You’ll soon realise that whilst Hyperion is right next door to the entrance to the park, Zadra is a good 10 minute walk to the back of the park. It’s definitely worth understanding the layout of the park and working out a route of attack in order to tick of the creds. Pro tip: Almost all kiddie creds are located in the central area of the park and worth ticking of in one go!

Top tip #4: Food prices

You will find that Poland is incredibly cheap. This is perfect for anyone on a budget as you won’t need to scrimp and save too much. If you’re worried about the cost of food in Energylandia, don’t fret. For 2 people, we bought 2 meals plus drinks for the equivalent of around £10 – bargain I say! The portion sizes are generous and great value for money in my opinion. Pro tip: Don’t worry about getting any cash out in Poland as most places in Energylandia took card – and contactless worked a treat over there!

Top tip #5: Use the park map

Following on from point 3, make sure you grab a park map. I know some people love to collect maps and there’s nothing wrong with that, but Energylandia can be a little bit of maze unless you’ve travelled to the park before. The park map is the best way to figure out the pathways you need to find the ride entrances. One particular case was with the Viking Roller Coaster entrance – we found the station but had trouble trying to find the entrance to the queue. Pro tip: Before you start making your way to a particular cred that is in your sightline, study the park map for your route to the queue line entrances. Some are pretty concealed and not where you expect them to be!

Top tip #6: Plan order of coasters

Last but certainly not least, you will need to PLAN the order of which creds you’ll get first. Why do I say this? Well, it is commonplace in Energylandia for ride staff to wait until they have filled an entire train of people. If you’re planning to visit on a quiet day like we did, you will soon learn that you may be waiting around a while. Of course, they don’t wait until every seat is filled as you would end up with some very grumpy guests. But be prepared for a slight wait before you get on the ride.

Pro tip: Whilst the temptation to get on Zadra, or the brand new Abyssus for 2020, is extremely high. Just a reminder that these are located at the back of the park. Trust me when I say you’ll be waiting a long time until more people actually reach the area to get on the rides with you. Be wary of what I said above about how it’s a good 10 min walk from entrance to Zadra… Start near the front of the park and work your way around since they don’t like sending half empty trains!

I hope my top tips for visiting Energylandia has given you some insight into how the park works. The park can be overwhelming but it is simple to navigate. Hopefully this post will help you to have a stress free experience on your travels. Of course, if you have already visited Energylandia before, and there’s some tips I have missed, feel free to write them down in the comments below.

Already visited Energylandia, what is your favourite ride/coaster here?

Planning your first visit, what is your most anticipated ride/coaster?

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

My trip to ZSL London Zoo | Review

My trip to ZSL London Zoo | Review

Two weeks ago I took a trip to ZSL London Zoo and had a lovely time experiencing what the zoo had to offer.  Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house during January and enjoy the cool sunshine. Or maybe that’s just me? To be honest, most of the animals wanted to stay inside in their warm indoor enclosures. Likewise I don’t blame them one bit and can totally relate. January is that closed season lull for us theme park enthusiasts. All we want to do is hide away until the theme parks officially open again.

Anyway, a key goal of mine in 2020 is to visit more Zoos. My particular favourites in the past have included Kolmarden Zoo, Marwell Zoo and Chester Zoo. It’s always been on my list but I knew I needed to make a trip to ZSL London Zoo at some point. The zoo itself is located in Regent’s Park near Camden. Consequently it’s very easy to get to via the Tube. Don’t fret about the distance as it’s a simple 10-15 min walk from Camden Town tube station. We did have to use Google Maps to make sure we were walking in the right direction. Typical tourists ey! It wasn’t long till we arrived at Regent’s Park and saw the rather understated entrance to the Zoo.

So, how was ZSL London Zoo?

ZSL London Zoo isn’t a massive zoo. However after my visit to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in October 2018, I expected more. I shouldn’t have tried to make a direct comparison. Subsequently I ended up feeling a bit disappointed from my visit. Just to clarify there were plenty of animals to see including Tigers, Lions & African Wild Dogs. In case you weren’t aware, I’m a huge lover of big cats! Some of the ‘theming’ around the enclosures were beautiful to look at. Rainforest Life was a brilliant exhibit as it gave you a chance to see both the daytime & nocturnal Rainforest animals of Madagascar including bats!

Personally I felt a bit underwhelmed of the whole day. This wasn’t helped by the long arduous journey to get into London. Rail replacement bus services are a nightmare at times! What normally takes an hour to get to London Waterloo, took double that time. It was bad planning on our part so I’ll remember that for next time! Sadly this meant we only had about two hours to explore the Zoo fully. Not enough time in my opinion. Most reviews I have read said that this was one of the best Zoos to visit in the UK. I didn’t get that vibe! In conclusion I think a return visit is what we need for this Summer. We had a lovely time and would love to go back to see more of what the Zoo has to offer.

Find out more information about the Zoo through their official website here.

Have you ever visited ZSL London Zoo?

What are your favourite Zoos in the UK?

And just for fun, what’s your favourite animal?

trip to zsl london zooflamingoes in a pondtrip to ZSL London Zootiger sleeping on platform in enclosuretrip to ZSL London Zootrip to ZSL London Zoolion lying on the groundtrip to ZSL London Zoomonkey sitting in the treetrip to ZSL London Zootwo lemurs sitting on perchafrican wild dogs eating their lunch

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Europa Park Magical Winter | Favourite Moments

Europa Park Magical Winter | Favourite Moments

I’ve seen many photos and videos from my friends who have visited the Europa Park Magical Winter event. They’ve all told me their Europa Park Magical Winter favourite moments, and I’ve been very envious of them. In 2019, I finally made the trip over to Europa Park for their winter season – and in particular for New Year. Plus, it gave me a good rollercoaster fix during the closed season! Europa Park Magical Winter is open daily from 23rd November 2019 to 6th January 2020, with park hours open from 11am till at least 7pm (the park does extend their hours during busier periods – latest close we had was 8.30pm!)

I highly recommend everyone planning a trip to Europa Park during the winter months. It may be cold and selected rides are closed but with so many rides and attractions at the park, you will still be able to fill up your time – especially with Rulantica, the brand new, immersive water park next to Hotel Krønasår. As I am writing this, I’m already wanting to get myself back to the park as it was a wonderful way to end 2019. So, here are my Europa Park Magical Winter favourite moments.

europa park favourite moment christmas tree lights

Favourite Moment #1: Christmas Tree Lights Switch On Show

One of the best ways to end an incredibly cold day at Europa Park is the Christmas Tree Light On show. This ran from around 6.30pm each day and is located near Historama and Euro-Mir in Russia/Luxembourg. I loved watching this show and seeing all the park mascots in their winter outfits.

europa park favourite moment bellevue big wheel

Favourite Moment #2: Bellevue Wheel

So, what do you do when the weather is freezing cold and incredibly misty/foggy? Why, you go on a Big Wheel right? There were blankets available which were very much needed as we travelled upwards towards the top. The views were… invisible however it was highly amusing hearing the sound of Wodan going round the track and you couldn’t see anything.

europa park favourite moment ice sculptures

Favourite Moment #3: Batavia in Ice

I was stunned at the sheer beauty of the ice sculptures. They were all themed to the new Piraten in Batavia ride which will be opening this year. My favourite sculpture of the entire set was of the ride logo (as shown above). There are some incredibly talented people in this world who are able to make art from ice. It’s incredible how they have the ability to craft out the key details without any mistakes. I would love to have the creative talent to do that myself!

europa park favourite moment rollercoasters in the fog

Favourite Moment #4: Rollercoasters in the Fog!

Am I the only one who enjoys the delights of rollercoasters in adverse weather? There’s always a strange new atmosphere in theme parks when the weather is not sunny. Whether it’s raining, snowing, misty, it can be a right laugh! One of my favourite rollercoaster moments on this trip was riding Silver Star in the fog. Baring in mind, we all decided to get a front row ride. There’s nothing more ‘scary’ than the coaster track disappearing over each airtime hill. By the end of the ride, my face was frozen, my bum was cold AF but I came off cry laughing.

europa park favourite moment log fires

Favourite Moment #5: Log Fires

Have you ever been to a visitor attraction, scare event or theme park, and they have open log fires burning away? Whilst you may be wandering around in the cold, nothing beats the feeling of walking up to an open fire to keep warm. It was particularly noticeable in Gardaland and Europa Park that you were able to add logs to the fire if they were dying out – something that you wouldn’t get here in the UK! It’s pretty much a staple part of the winter season.

Are you planning a trip to Europa Park in 2020 to experience Rulantica and Piraten in Batavia?

What are your favourite moments at Europa Park Magical Winter?

Have you ever visited Europa Park for their Magical Winter event?

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS