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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!

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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!

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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

NYE Trip Highlights | Favourite Foods

NYE Trip Highlights | Favourite Foods

During my NYE 2019 trip to Italy & Germany, I will admit I indulged on a lot of scrumptious food at Gardaland and Europa Park. There was a lot of choices available. It was almost a challenge in itself to pick what I wanted. I haven’t written about food as a blog post on here since it’s always been a bit of a trigger subject for me. However, I am going to make an exception this one time. Why? Because I wanted to give you an idea into some of the delicious dishes you can enjoy. So, let’s dive right into the highlights of my favourite foods:

Merlin Stube | Gardaland

There may not be a large choice of food here but what they do provide is made to order and very high-quality for theme park food. From chicken legs to schnitzel, there’s a good range in my opinion. You have the choice of sitting in a tiered style inside the building or enjoying the Italian sunshine outside. Due to it being busy, our group decided to sit outside on the park benches – yes, it was cold outside but with the sunshine, it still felt somewhat ‘warm’. Plus, it’s in a nice location to people watch. Prices at this restaurant are what you expect for theme park food, might be somewhat pricey to those on a smaller budget – some dishes ranged from €14 to €18 however you get a sizeable plate of food and one drink (soft drink or a pint of beer).

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Schloss Balthasar | Europa Park

Okay, as someone who isn’t that well researched on Europa Park restaurants, I had no idea this existed yet have had pictures taken outside the building! I’d probably put this up there as one of the higher-end restaurants at the park but honestly, I was super impressed with the high-quality food – it was incredibly filling and delicious. Considering this was the second medieval-themed restaurant we went to, you know Europa Park takes the upper hand when it comes to theming. Alongside the ornate building, the plate setting on the table was incredibly fancy. Sometimes the little details make all the difference to the dining experience. Prices vary from €15 to €28, you can choose from Steaks to Salads. Plus I’d highly recommend the Kaiserschmarrn for dessert – yummy!

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Captain’s Finest | Europa Park

I heard a lot of good reviews of Captain’s Finest from my friends. They were not wrong about how incredible the dining experience was. I am not 100% into my fancy restaurants so I was a tad nervous about how I dressed and my overall table manners. Silly, I know but I always want to make a good impression. I didn’t need to worry as the staff were incredibly friendly and the food was exceptional quality. About 95% of the group went for the Steak, which was cooked to perfection. I opted for the cheaper option with the Cheeseburger – not my preferred dish but it was incredible. The meat was cooked exceptionally well, plus there were so many fries. That was a downside as I would’ve loved to have enjoyed one of their many desserts. Maybe next time! A superb meal was the perfect way to end our trip to Europa Park.

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Seehaus Restaurant | Europa Park

If I hadn’t gone on this trip, I don’t think I would have discovered the amazing selection of cakes on offer here in Seehaus Restaurant. I have a very sweet tooth so this was like heaven for me – fellow cake lovers, take note and make sure you visit here on your next trip to Europa Park. Cake prices varied from €4 to €7 so pretty affordable in my eyes. Again, Europa Park is showing us how amazing their food range is on park. This was the perfect place to sit down away from the cold and enjoy a sweet treat paired with a warming hot drink. We visited here on New Years Day where temperatures had dropped to around -4°C so VERY COLD!

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Fjord Restaurant | Europa Park

Anyone looking for a sizeable Salad dish, Fjord Restaurant is the place to go! The food options here are very nautical based so plenty of fish dishes including your trusty Fish and Chips. I opted for the Chicken Salad and it did not disappoint. I wanted to stay away from ‘something and chips’ so this was the perfect choice for me – plus I wanted to feel slightly healthy. This is a self service restaurant so you can pick what you want at the food station on the ground floor. I also grabbed a small Blackberry crumble for my dessert which was delicious. They do have a separate bakery station so you can grab a slice of cake if you wanted to.

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What is your favourite restaurant in Europa Park or Gardaland?

Do you have a favourite food at Europa Park? Or indeed at Gardaland?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

Gardaland Magic Winter Event | Trip Highlights

Gardaland Magic Winter Event | Trip Highlights

Who would have known that Gardaland has its own winter event, Magic Winter, that runs throughout December and early January? Gardaland is home to Raptor & Oblivion: The Black Hole & another theme park owned by Merlin Entertainments. Located next to the beautiful Lake Garda in Italy, I’ve wanted to travel to the Italian theme parks for a while. Gardaland has always been up there ever since they built Raptor back in 2011. 

I was incredibly excited when this was planned in as part of New Year’s trip to Europa Park with my friends. Whilst there would have been a strong case of FOMO if I hadn’t gone on the trip, I was already in need of an escape from my daily life as well as the rollercoaster of a year in 2019. The best way to end a year is by going abroad and visiting some theme parks (well, the ones that are open that is!) Gardaland, in particular, was a big surprise for me! I already set my expectations low after a few people warned me of overselling fastracks & queue jumpers. My expectations were thoroughly met and I really enjoyed my visit!

I feel like Gardaland’s Magic Winter event was a truly magical experience. Given it was the end of December, the Italian sunshine still shone brightly during the trip. So here are some of my favourite Gardaland Magic Winter highlights…

Gardaland Magic Winter Song

If there’s one thing that will remain prevalent in my head from this trip, it is the incredibly catchy theme tune for the Magic Winter event. Go and give the YouTube link above a click. This was played across the whole park which did provide a rather magical and festive feel.

However, in the ‘themed’ areas which are more of a darker theme including Raptor, the original soundtrack was playing alongside the catchy Magic Winter song. This was slightly annoying in my eyes as I couldn’t really immerse myself in the area without casually singing along to the Magic Winter song. I spent 2 days at Gardaland and I think I could recite the entire song!

gardaland magic winter raptor rollercoaster

Raptor

It has taken me 8 years but I finally rode Raptor – and it did not disappoint. I loved the transitions between each element of the ride, the first drop takes your breath away and the near misses towards the end of the ride makes for a fun and thrilling ride experience. Much prefer the back row to the front, especially with that pull off the lift hill into the first drop.

Gardaland is quite an odd layout so trying to make your way to Raptor was slightly confusing in my eyes. However, we found the entrance and I was eager to get myself on the ride. The queue line was a maze of conga line fences, and as we went when the park was relatively quiet, this wasn’t an issue for our group. You can get some pretty decent shots of the ride within the queue, and I think Wing coasters are very photogenic!

gardaland magic winter oblivion the black hole rollercoaster

Italian Sunshine

Despite it being late December, the Italian sunshine was a highlight of the trip. Yes, it was cold so you needed to wrap up warm however the sunshine has that warming effect where you can’t help but smile. When you are on holiday, there is no better feeling than enjoying a day out in the sunshine.

The main plus was being able to take photos, and enjoy the gorgeous views of the surrounding areas. The Lake Garda province of Italy is simply stunning to look at, and even better when you are heading up the lift hill on one of the main coasters. The horizon showing off the snow-topped mountains (Monte Baldo and Monte Pizzocolo) made the scenery even more beautiful.

gardaland magic winter il corsari exterior

Il Corsari

If there is one tip I can give you, don’t read up or watch any POVs of this dark ride. It is better to experience this ride without knowing exactly what happens! For a Merlin owned theme park, I was incredibly surprised that this ride exists here in Gardaland. I would have placed this in another European park. Even if purely for the theming as soon as you start walking through the queue line.

I know the pirate theme is seen a lot at theme parks and can become very saturated. However, this is now to become one of my favourite dark rides alongside the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes, it is not to the same standards and I didn’t have a clue about the storyline. The ride itself was enjoyable and offered some pretty impressive set pieces that created an immersive experience. Whatever you do, do not miss out on this ride if you are visiting Gardaland in the near future.

gardaland magic winter merlin stube restaurant

Merlin Stube

Possibly my favourite restaurant at Gardaland. This wasn’t due to 4 members of our group enjoying the delights of the refillable beer lanyards they purchased! Whilst I simply forgot to photograph my food (eating was a priority at this point), the standard of food here was exquisite. Freshly made to order, the food quality was good and prices were reasonable, depending on your budget. If you are ever in need of a good place to stop off for food, come here to Merlin Stube.

I ordered a ‘Sir Paul’, aptly named since we were dining in a medieval-style restaurant, which consisted of 3 chicken legs & a portion of chips. It was delicious however we also saw the mouth-watering desserts. We had to buy one. The Tiramisu caught my eye, and rightly so since I was in Italy. You’d think the portion size would be small… oh no. The dessert sizes were sizeable and perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. I can feel myself drooling over it now as I write this.

I had a great time exploring Gardaland and seeing what it has to offer. I’m already thinking about returning in the future during Summertime. Mainly to grab the next 3 creds shut during my trip. Plus it’ll be great to compare both the park in summer & winter – is it really as bad as some people say? Plus, there are other Italian theme parks on my hit-list including Mirabilandia and MagicLand.

Have you visited the Gardaland Magic Winter event?

What are your favourite Italian theme parks?

Do you prefer the Summer season or the Winter season at theme parks?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

The rides which scared me as a kid

The rides which scared me as a kid

Okay, here goes. I was scared of some rides as a kid. I loved visiting theme parks with my family and always had an appetite for getting my adrenaline fix from rides. The big rides were intimidating but I always wanted to give them a go. However there were a select few rides, that I can remember in the very back of my head, that truly terrified me on my first ever experience of them. I was the kid that you would see crying to my Mum or Dad in the queue saying I didn’t want to go on. We were all like that once, right?

The Fear of the Unknown…

Now, before I crack on with this post, you may notice that a familiar theme will appear. Ever heard of the Fear of the Unknown? I had a major issue with this as a kid. Granted with my hearing loss, I didn’t truly understand the world around me so it was almost like an overwhelming feeling that would take over. This perhaps caused me great anxiety and would kickstart that Fight or Flight response. 

I had a major issue with rides that were indoors or concealed. Simply put, if I couldn’t see the ride, how was I supposed to help build the confidence to go on them? My parents dragged me through the queue line, it was an overwhelming situation. My own hearing loss made things tricky to perceive the world around me. I can confirm, I did conquer these rides which no doubt helps gives you the confidence to try out even more rides.

So here are the rides which scared me as a kid…

Credit to Memories of Thorpe Park

X:/ No Way Out (1996)

I was about 5 or 6 years old when I first ventured on X:/ No Way Out. My family & I queued for a good hour before reaching the station. I cried my little heart out. If there are any old Thorpe Park goers from back in the 90s, you may remember the ride had a pre-show section right next to the station. The doors would shut in front of you and the next thing you know; doors open, the station was empty and an empty train awaited. As a result, this put me into a meltdown and I refused to go on – so yes, Mum had to take me out via the exit because I felt so scared. I didn’t realise it was a backwards ride in the dark. The irrational fear kicked in but I conquered my fear. Honestly, I’d much rather have X back – give me those lasers and lights again Thorpe!

Credit to EastCoasterGeneral

Nemesis (2001)

Oh yes, the one and only Nemesis scared me. I was 10 years old and still trying to build up my confidence for the big B&M coasters. I was fascinated by the coaster and the way it worked into the landscape. Seeing the Nemesis monster around the station was a turning point which led me to rethink about going on the ride. I felt so intimidated by the sheer speed, inversions and the Nemesis monster theming. I couldn’t bring myself to get in the queue. In contrast to a year later, I wasn’t even phased by the ride. This was probably the turning point in my theme park enthusiast ‘career’.

Credit to British Theme Park Archives

Terror Tomb (1998)

Mummies. A man intent on stealing a jewel in a Forbidden Tomb. Snakes. Scarabs. Darkness. Couldn’t really go wrong with this dark ride being a theatrical experience. I had no idea what to expect when I first headed into the queue. I have vague memories of the ride including the intense darkness to Abdab looking very scary when he was cursed. Granted after my first ride, I wanted to go back on it. It’s weird how you can build up so much fear and emotion around a particular object or event. Then you find out it was absolutely fine and you love it.

Credit to British Theme Park Archives

Wicked Witches Haunt (1996)

Noticing a trend in this post yet? Where I was scared of rides that are concealed in a building. I only have one main memory from Wicked Witches Haunt and that was the skeleton chandelier in the station. You knew you were in for a dark and scary experience when you saw that hanging above your head. Your typical omnimover dark ride that whilst is simple in concept, add a dark overlay theme and kids will come off feeling terrified. I loved the ride once I got a bit older and was incredibly saddened when the ride was caught in the fire of 2001. A true part of Thorpe’s history in my eyes.

Which rides scared you as a kid?

Did you always enjoy theme parks & rides as a kid?

When did you start building your love & enthusiasm for theme parks?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

Packing for my New Year holiday

Packing for my New Year holiday

I’m heading off to Gardaland and Europa Park this Thursday to see in 2020 – my first time abroad during this period. It’s certainly going to be a new experience for me having always stayed in the UK and avoided booking travel during the Christmas holidays. There’s a lot of things I am looking forward to experiencing including Europa Park’s Winter Season event and my first ever visit to Gardaland. So what exactly am I packing for my New Year holiday?

I am travelling with RyanAir using hand luggage only. Sounds like an impossible task right? Not really if you plan well when it comes to your clothes and toiletries. Not gonna lie, I’ve travelled using hand luggage for various trips to Europe in order to save costs on luggage, and sometimes travelling light can save you a lot of hassle. Whilst some people might wonder how I do it – whether through the fact I am a woman, or some people might call me crazy in general and can’t fathom the thought of travelling hand luggage only. I’m here to tell and prove to you it can be done.

packing new year holiday passport

So what exactly am I planning to take?

Before I even start getting the suitcase open and chucking clothes into it, I actually plan out my outfits for each day of my trip. This not only helps me to avoid overpacking but it actually helps when I am out travelling. Ever feel stuck trying to figure out what outfit you want to wear each day? You won’t have that issue any more! I will write down my list using the Notes app on my iPad. With this trip in particular, there’s going to be lots of theme park days so obvious choices will be t-shirts, leggings, shorts/skirts etc.

Mix and matching outfits is the key part to packing light with hand luggage. I also have a few evening meals planned so nicer outfits are required, whether that is a nice top paired with leggings or a nice dress with tights. Ensuring outfits are easy to fold and don’t take up too much space, like thin cotton t-shirts or dresses, will really help to ensure you can take the basics with you without weighing down your case.

packing new year holiday hotel kronosar europa park

Top Tips:

#1: If you can make some outfits split into multiple uses like transitioning from daytime to evening, this can really help with space.

#2: Packing cubes. If you haven’t used these before, buy some from Amazon – they are not even that expensive, but please give them a go. They have changed the way I pack my suitcase for any future trips. They really help to utilise the space in your case better – ideal for hand luggage trips.

#3: Having a designated travel outfit can really help avoid overpacking. Wearing bulky items when travelling will save you lots of space in your case – this includes hoodies & coats.

#4: Toiletries & make-up? Try to take the bare minimum and avoid anything that is liquid based. That 100ml limit and one liquids bag can be a pain in the arse but you can make it work – stick with eyeliner pencils, lipsticks, powders etc.

packing new year holiday europa park logo on floor

My packing list as follows…

Clothing

  • T-Shirts x5
  • Jeans/Jeggings x1
  • Shorts/Skirt x2
  • Leggings x1
  • Dresses x5 (Including NYE dress!)

Layers & Necessities

  • Underwear x9
  • Bra x1
  • Thermals x1 (Top & Bottoms)
  • Tights x2
  • Socks x4 (Thick socks mostly cause who wants cold feet when walking around a theme park?)
  • Scarf, Hat, Gloves
  • Leather Jacket (Evening purpose)
  • Superdry Jacket

It’s pretty basic but it’s amazing how I can fit 9 days worth of outfits in my carry-on suitcase without going over the 10kg from RyanAir. It’s not magic, it’s practical and sensible packing!

Have you travelled abroad only using hand luggage?

How do you pack? Do you create a list?

Do you shove everything in and hope for the best? What works for you?

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, see you all in 2020!

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

My Top 10 UK Coasters

My Top 10 UK Coasters

Something I have stumbled across on YouTube a lot is people ranking the UK coasters into a top 10 list. It’s very interesting seeing everyone’s opinions on all the different UK coasters, and in particular how people rank them. I have been looking at my current top 10 coaster list (it’s changed a lot after this year, and better left for another blog post entirely) but when I started thinking about UK coasters in particular, one question popped into my head. Where do they rank in a top 10 list for me?

When it comes to writing down all the UK coasters that I love, easy-peasy. When it comes to ranking them out of 10… boy, this was tricky! Each coaster offers a different unique experience yet how do you rate each one against each other to know where they slot in on a top 10 list. What I can conclude is that there are some gems here in the UK which can easily be forgotten when you start travelling around the world. We may slate that our theme parks & coasters don’t match up to the ones abroad, but honestly, we’ve got some good coasters to be shouting about.

top 10 uk coasters nemesis alton towers

1: Nemesis, Alton Towers

I think this is a given since this is featured quite high in my top 10 coasters list. And I know there’s plenty of people who will disagree and say it is overhyped. I’m not going to disagree with you HOWEVER in my opinion, Nemesis at Alton Towers is up there as one of the best, if not THE best in the UK. It is a classic B&M invert that ticks all the boxes – especially when she gets warmed up on a hot day, back row is crazy at times!

top 10 uk coasters wickerman alton towers

2: Wicker Man, Alton Towers

I had to think about this one but in all fairness, Wicker Man does provide a good all round experience. From the pre-show to the fire effects on the Wicker Man statue (or Big Bob as some people like to refer it), you can’t deny that this ride is great for everyone. It may not be the most thrilling against the likes of Troy but it’s still great for the UK.

megafobia oakwood

3: Megafobia, Oakwood

My first time to Oakwood was in 2016. The main draw for me was to finally experience one of the best coasters in the UK, Megafobia. The reason I have placed this behind Wicker Man is purely down to my memory being bad and I can’t really remember too much of the ride experience – apart from the first 2 drops. They were insane. Granted I wish this coaster was located more central in the UK than in the far corner of Wales, but I guess it gives me an excuse to do a road trip.

top 10 uk coasters stealth thorpe park

4: Stealth, Thorpe Park

I still remember my first time on Stealth in 2006, looking up at the 205ft coaster, pondering what it is going to feel like on the ride. I remember screaming but coming off the ride thinking, ‘HOLY CRAP, that was AMAZING!’ Stealth is just as re-rideable as it was in 2006 in my opinion. I love watching people’s reaction of the ride whenever I’m in the Amity area. Stealth does look daunting but it’s certainly one of the best rides at Thorpe Park – and really adds to Thorpe Park‘s skyline when you drive past from Chertsey.

oblivion alton towers

5: Oblivion, Alton Towers

The one drop wonder and the first B&M Dive Machine to be manufactured, opened in 1998. Oblivion delivers a good overall ride experience to the ride line-up at Alton Towers. This is a ride that everyone associates with Alton Towers, and for good reasons too. I love the adrenaline rush that it gives. Plus, when you have a loose enough restraint, you’ll float happily in your seat as you drop down into the pit.

top 10 uk coasters vampire chessington world of adventures

6: Vampire, Chessington World of Adventures

Vampire will always have a soft spot in my heart. My first initial memories of the ride with the Arrow bat trains and the spooky feel of Transylvania was enough to terrify the kids. Granted I was around 7 years old when I first visited Chessington. It was a fantastic ride and it still is to this day. With the purple Vekoma trains, I love the exposed feeling you get with the ride. It still packs in some great swings through the trees and is overall a firm favourite at Chessington – the long queues it gets during peak times says a lot!

top 10 uk coasters the swarm thorpe park

7: The Swarm, Thorpe Park

Wing coasters are one of my favourites from B&M, after Inverted coasters of course. Majority of people may slate them for being too tame or unexciting, and I can understand that. However, there are some variations of this ride that actually show you can make a Wing coaster more intense – hello Fenix at Toverland. For what The Swarm provides as a ride, is something simple and fun as part of the ride line-up at Thorpe Park. It doesn’t need to be thrilling in my eyes and there are some cool inversions that add to the overall ride experience, including the in-line twist above the station and the Zero-G roll.

icon blackpool pleasure beach

8: Icon, Blackpool Pleasure Beach

I’ve already written a full blog post on my thoughts of Icon at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, but it is nowhere near as good as people are saying it is. Definitely not number one in the UK, that’s for sure. It is a decent coaster and the best one at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I can’t say I came off feeling thrilled, especially since it needs a lot of warming up to give you the better ride experience. There’s little pockets of airtime during the first half but the second half of the ride fell flat for me. The best way I could give it this spot is purely for the fact I would ride Icon over The Smiler.

the smiler alton towers

9: The Smiler, Alton Towers

Okay, I probably don’t ride The Smiler as much as some people so why is it in my top 10 UK coasters? It’s pretty decent when you look at the ride as a whole. All the elements work well together, plus you can’t deny that when the trains dual for each half, it’s pretty mesmerising to watch – and take photos of. I can’t say it’s up there as one of my favourite Gerstlauer coasters I have ridden. Depending on the train you get, it will either be a somewhat smooth ride or it can be a pretty rough ride. That final section after the Cobra Roll and 2 barrel rolls is pretty horrible to go through, even if you do manage to brace yourself.

top 10 uk coasters flight of the pterosaur

10: Flight of the Pterosaur, Paultons Park

And finally, in at number 10 is Flight of the Pterosaur at Paultons Park. I love these new Vekoma suspended coasters that have been appearing over the last few years. They’re so fun to ride and perfect for parks looking to add a ‘bigger’ style coaster for the kids/families. Paultons Park has come from leaps and bounds to be the one theme park to watch out for in the UK. Who knows, Storm Chaser that is currently under construction in the new Tornado Springs area might creep into this list next year.

What are your top 10 UK coasters?

Do you agree with my rankings?

Is Nemesis your number one UK coaster?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

2019 Review | My Highs and Lows

2019 Review | My Highs and Lows

Christmas is fast approaching, and 2020 not far behind. It’s a good time for me to write up a 2019 review, highlighting the highs and lows. It’s been a rollercoaster year for me. I’m hoping for a more positive year in 2020. Fingers crossed I can make that happen!

Like a rollercoaster, the beginning of the year started off with hope and positivity through my work and general life. I felt ready to take on the year head first. First of all I wanted to continue to gain more experience within Marketing. Secondly I had some great holidays booked to Europe which always gives you motivation to go to work, right? It was shaping up to be a great year from start to finish. Then Summer came around and I lost my motivation. Through my job, my life and I felt rather helpless over my general health. This left me neglecting my blog, the people who’ve stood by me all the way and who I am as a person. This probably explains why I ended up very ill between October and November. Crazy how stress & general illness can get to you.

I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I wondered where I was heading from a 27 year old to a 28 year old. It’s so easy to get scooped up into other people’s lives and think, why am I not where they are: moved out of the parents house, married with my soul mate, enjoying lots of holidays, earning a reasonable salary based on my age & gaining more work experience? Consequently I’m now ending the year taking on the mistakes I have made. I’m learning from them and trying to fight my way back to where I was at the start of 2019. I’m ready for whatever 2020 throws at me and to embrace a better version of me (with the addition of hearing aids!).

Aside from my self reflection & low points, there’s been some key memories from 2019 that has made this year a jolly good one…

2019 review highs and lows heide park horizon

Favourite Theme Park: There’s been a lot of theme parks I have stumbled into this year, both revisited and brand new for me. It’s been one hell of an adventure and I’d love to hope that 2020 will be in a similar vein – even if its one major trip abroad, I will be happy. So which theme park was my favourite from this year? It has to be Heide Park. The park is certainly one of the prettiest parks I have visited under the Merlin portfolio, a lot of beautiful scenery around and the lake gives some great views of a coaster horizon. Plus, there’s Colossos & Flug Der Damonen which were fab in my eyes. If you are heading to Hamburg, make sure to tag on a day trip or two to Heide Park.

2019 review highs and lows zadra wooden rollercoaster energylandia

Favourite Rollercoaster: Well… I’ve gained well over 100 new creds this year, and a few have been some pretty solid coasters. So which one was my all time favourite? Zadra. It has to be Zadra for me. There is not a single ride I have ridden that compares to it. It was phenomenal to ride. The airtime wasn’t painful compared to Untamed. The sheer speed from start to finish was pretty damn impressive – and it maintained this throughout the day, even to the point it was incredibly fast. Anybody who is going to Energylandia in 2020 are in for a treat.

2019 review highs and lows longleat house

Favourite Visitor Attraction: Away from theme parks, I’m an avid traveller so I enjoy exploring an array of visitor attractions around the UK. From Moors Valley Country Park to Longleat Safari Park, I’ve explored some pretty cool places. I’m hoping to go exploring even more in 2020. So my favourite place to visit was Longleat for their Festival of Light event. It was a magical experience to see all the lanterns and explore the Safari Park – always a plus when you’ve get the chance to see Amur Tigers, Lions, Wolves & more.

2019 review highs and lows meeting john wardley

Favourite Memory: Meeting John Wardley will forever be my absolute favourite memory from this year. I fangirled a lot. I can now tick this moment off my lifetime bucket list. You know that list of celebrities you’d love to meet. It was a fantastic opportunity to have chat with him about his passion for rollercoasters. He was a truly humble and inspirational guy to so many people in the theme park community.

2019 review highs and lows rock of ages mayflower southampton

Favourite Musical: Rock of Ages was a true delight to watch. The film has always been a guilty pleasure of mine so as soon as I saw it was heading to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, I had to buy tickets. It had the jokes & gags to get me belly laughing. Likewise the actors & actresses singing ability were incredible. If it comes back on tour, I’d happily watch it again, and I think you should too.

What have been your highs and lows of 2019?

What has been your favourite memory from this year?

Any new theme parks or rollercoasters you’ve ridden that’s been a tick of the bucket list?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo