On Saturday 5th December, I took a trip to Chessington World of Adventures for their Winter’s Tail event. With the UK currently in a tier system, I was fortunate to be able to travel up and experience what was going to be my final theme park fix of 2020. Considering this year has turned into a real topsy turvy year, I’m glad I’ve managed to get my theme park fix throughout the final 6 months of the year. Very grateful for that!
I’ve visited Chessington’s winter event over the last few years and it’s been the perfect excuse to get into the festive spirit. The park itself is adorned with Christmas decorations and lights, it’s a truly magical experience for everyone. Arriving around 1.30pm, it was obvious that I wanted to have a little peek of the construction of both Blue Barnacle and ‘Croc Drop’. There’s been plenty of changes over the last 4 weeks or so since I was last at the park for their Halloween season. You can check out the latest updates on Chessington Buzz and Theme Park Guide.
As I was wandering around the park, I have noticed a number of photo spots this year including the giant Nutcracker prince located at the entrance to Wild Asia. Perfect for Instagrammers wanting to get that shot for the ‘gram! There are a number of rides open throughout Winter’s Tail including Vampire, The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure, SeaStorm, ‘Jingle’ Bus and so much more. There’s a lot to keep families and enthusiasts entertained. It was a given that I would get a ride on Vampire at night – well, two rides as it was freezing cold!
I took a stroll into the Magical Christmas Kitchen, located in Wild Asia (former spots for Halloween scare mazes Spyders, Curse of the Lost Tomb & The Krypt). This was a really cute interactive walkthrough with several decorations. So many photo opportunities can be had within here. With the current COVID restrictions, you are required to wear a mask when inside this attraction as well as using the hand sanitisers when you first enter. Also, children will be able to claim a free cookie at the end of this walkthrough. Fear not adults as you can collect a hot drink and snack from Vegan Street Dogs outlet in Mexicana. The hot chocolate was perfect for warming up my cold fingers!
You can also walk through the Father Christmas Grottos and meet the main man himself. You may even bump into an array of Elves too. Once you’ve met Father Christmas/Santa, you’ll then receive a golden ticket which gives children the chance to pick out a toy, a reindeer or polar bear, within the Toy Workshop. A truly exciting opportunity for the kids to get into the Christmas spirit.
I also couldn’t forget the new ‘The Wild Christmas Panto’. A pantomime with a twist when you’ve got the Gruffalo involved. Located on the Mane Stage, it’s a great way to split up your day whilst you take in all the Christmas goodness around the park. The pantomime itself may not have been made for me but I couldn’t help but join in with all the actions and saying ‘Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is!’ Alongside this, there are several areas where festive singers are around the park singing your favourite Christmas songs. Perfect way to build up the atmosphere around the park plus the singers were fantastic, highly talented cast this year!
All in all, it was a truly wonderful, festive day at Chessington World of Adventures. If you’re looking for a festive day out in the Surrey, then Chessington is the perfect place to go to.
From my top 5 most anticipated B&M coasters, I bring to you the next blog instalment featuring one of the more ‘out there’ and experimental type of rollercoaster manufacturer in my eyes: Intamin. With the likes of Taron and Expedition GeForce as key coasters I’ve loved along my travels across Europe, I can’t help but want to explore more of the Intamin offerings around the world. Whilst I will always remain a faithful fan of B&M, I can’t help but find Intamin’s latest creations grabbing my attention.
So, which Intamin coasters are my most anticipated?
Note: this list is in no particular order.
After riding other Intamin Blitz coasters such as Taron and Cheetah Hunt, I’ve always been fascinated as to what the next instalment of Blitz coasters could become. Taiga came along in 2019 with its gorgeous blue track and unique style train design. Located within Linnanmäki in Finland, it’s definitely given me a good excuse to get a trip sorted back to the Scandinavian countries. Plus reading the reviews from several people within the theme park realm just makes me want to find out what Taiga is made of – wonder if it’ll make it into my top 10?
Flying Aces, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
So, fun little back story. I didn’t really know much about the Dubai parks until my brother took a trip out to Dubai a few years ago and decided to take a trip to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. Me being a typical theme park geek was extremely jealous and ever since, Dubai/Abu Dhabi has been on the bucket list for a very long time. So it’s not surprise that Flying Aces and Formula Rossa are included on this list. Flying Aces has one hell of a quirky layout that looks to throw you all over the place. Bring it on I say.
Formula Rossa, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Top speed of 149.1mph in 4.9 seconds… Fastest rollercoaster in the world and I WANT IT. Is it bragging rights? Maybe. Is it a bucket list coaster you want because your brother got the cred before you? Yes. I’m not even ashamed to say that. Of course the coaster itself looks insane and videos don’t really do it justice in my eyes. I want to be there and experience the sheer speed of Formula Rossa for myself, just might take me a few years until I can get a Dubai trip penned in.
Maverick, Cedar Point
Cedar Point is top of my list of US parks I want to visit. Whilst the number of coasters is a huge draw to up my coaster count, there’s a couple of coasters here that have been on my radar for a few years. Maverick is, surprise surprise, an Intamin Blitz coaster that’s been highly regarded within the theme park realm. So it’s not a surprise that I’ve added this to my list. Maverick has a cool layout but looks pretty relentless with some fast transitions.
Velocicoaster*, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
*Not the confirmed name as I write this post.
This coaster went up real quick ey?! Following the construction of this new coaster on YouTube and Twitter has certainly given me lots of excitement for next year’s trip. And it’s definitely helped to beat some of the boredom with the 2020 lockdown. Some of the inversions and transitions that you can see during the construction look insane, this is one coaster everyone needs to watch. Plus once all the theming pieces are in place too, I think we’re all excited to see the finished product.
I’m also going to make a special mention to the new coaster coming to Walibi Belgium in 2021 too. That thing looks bloody epic and I hope to have a Belgium trip planned next year – provided COVID-19 behaves and doesn’t disrupt plans too much.
Since travelling abroad has become a somewhat far distant reality for me (and many others) at the moment, I can’t help myself from pining for new theme parks to explore. From staring at Coast2Coaster looking at the next cluster of parks I want to travel to, there’s always a bucket list of coasters that I want to add to my coaster count.
So guess who thought it would be good to write up a little series on my blog about my 5 most anticipated coasters – segmented by coaster manufacturer? Yep, that’s me. My blog has slowed right down at the moment due to no real travel plans, so it felt right with my 100th post to start up a little series of blog posts.
B&M has to be the first manufacturer since I’m a sucker for their coasters. They’re smooth, fun and photogenic – I could spend a long time taking photos of stunning B&M coasters, hello Fenix! Not only that but I’ve always had a big infatuation with their rides since I was a kid. Nemesis at Alton Towers has always played a big part in my journey to hitting up the ‘big boy’ coasters.
There are also some great hidden gems in the B&M world which provide a punch. No matter what, I’ll always have a soft spot for B&M and nothing will change that.
So, which B&M coasters are my most anticipated?
Note: this list is in no particular order.
Alpengeist, Busch Gardens Williamsburg
This B&M invert has been on my mind ever since I discovered B&M inverts existed so effectively after I rode Nemesis for the first time. I’ve seen a lot of good reviews of Alpengeist and can’t help myself from swooning over this coaster. Not only does the layout look exhilarating but the colour scheme is great for the theme of this coaster. Hopefully I’ll have a US road trip booked so I can head on over to Busch Gardens Williamsburg over the next couple of years.
Daemonen, Tivoli Gardens
Now I wouldn’t normally go for a Floorless B&M as one of my most anticipated coasters but this one in particular intrigues me. Not only is Daemonen located at Tivoli Gardens, my most anticipated park that I want to travel to in Europe. It also has some stunning photo opportunities that make me want to get my Canon camera out and spend so much time photographing the coaster.
Mako, Seaworld Orlando
As soon as Mako was announced I wanted to head back to Orlando in a hurry – obviously I decided to hold fire since there’s been so many fantastic new additions within the Orlando parks. I loved Shambhala at PortAventura so it’s no surprise that I eagerly anticipate this to be the same or better. Roll on next year when I should have the chance to ride Mako (provided the COVID-19 situation improves!)
Thunderbird, Holiday World
So who else in 2015 was curious when B&M announced a launched Wing coaster? Cause I certainly was. The colour scheme is so cool – that orange track is the perfect contrast against the teal-style blue & yellow train. Again another coaster located in the US that is on the bucket list so no surprise that I’ve included this coaster on my most anticipated B&M coasters list. Plus the way Thunderbird winds through the landscape, it’s only made me more excited to see how this rides.
Finally, Katun has certainly been on my list for a fair few years. The Italian parks have always been on my radar when looking at cred road trips, just a shame they are all far from each other so takes some extra planning. I’ve read reviews from people saying Katun is intense and a pretty cool B&M invert. Since this type of B&M coaster is my favourite, I really hope to see how well it rides when I get the chance to head over to Mirabilandia over the next couple of years.
Skyline Park was a park that presented itself as something that could’ve been built in RCT. It was spacious. There were 7 creds to grab plus some other flat rides to explore. This was the next park on our German road trip in June 2019. I didn’t have high expectations but after visiting Bayern Park, I was expecting something on the same level. I was very wrong. Sometimes a little research does help!
Before I begin this post, when I say interesting rides, I mean memorable but maybe not for the right reasons.
Overall park expectations
As I said above, the park layout reminded me very much of a RCT park. The rides and coasters are all spread out across a big space. Our plan of attack was to head towards the back end of the park where Sky Dragster was and work our way back to the park entrance. This definitely worked well for us as the longest queue of the day was for Sky Dragster – low throughputs so it was a painful wait.
The park is split into different sections with a small cluster of rides but generally, there were no trees/fauna dotted about the park. When you’ve travelled to Bayern Park first, it can feel a bit like a downgrade. Unique creds and rides can be a good way for a park to bring in the guests but if you leave out theming and landscaping, they may be left disappointed, in my eyes.
Whilst I am all for parks having their unique style, open plan theme parks can look a tad bland. Adding a bit of theming can bring some atmosphere to an area. I view theme parks as a place for escaping reality and placing a bunch of coasters/rides into a open plan space will only do so much. Skyline Park has more potential with the unique creds it has in the area. And here are five in particular that I remember well.
This was a popular ride that would feature in my RCT creations as a kid. Why? Because it’s rare and unique. Caripro coasters are few and far between. The only other Caripro coaster I’ve ridden is a BatFlyer at Plopsaland De Panne in 2013. It’s been a while but I remember Vleermuis being fun and somewhat awkward to get in and out of the ride.
Sky Rider is a fun experience where you sit on the ride inwards. Not sure why but I’m not a huge fan of this seating arrangement. Yes, it’s a rarity but I don’t feel there is any real benefit to the ride experience. Caripro are renowned for their unique style of coasters but I wish they thought more about the logistics of riders getting in and out of the ride train.
The Ghost Train. Oh boy. Where do I start? I’ve ridden a fair few ghost trains over the last few years. Some have been good. Others, not so much. This one on the outside, had a lot going for it. It looked big and a little daunting. So you’d be right that I was a little bit nervous as I stepped aboard the ride vehicle.
Well… it wasn’t scary. It wasn’t thrilling. It was disappointing to say the least. It was coming to the end of our day at Skyline Park so I was hoping this ghost train would give us a good final farewell. Sadly, that wasn’t meant to be. For a large ghost train, I was expecting more to it including some actual jump scares. Disappointment galore.
Following on the list of ‘unique’ creds at Skyline Park, we’ve got Sky Dragster. This Maurer Spike Dragster coaster is the only one of its kind in the world – although I believe one is being planned (or built) on a cruise ship. Do correct me if I’m wrong. Since there’s not much talk about this coaster, I had no idea what to expect.
First off, it has VERY slow throughputs. It says a lot that this was the first ride of the day and we queued for around an hour if I remember correctly. It may have been less but effectively, the park was dead and pretty much all rides were walk on… apart from Sky Dragster. I wouldn’t say I came off the ride feeling anything other than, ‘well, that’s different’. It’s okay and definitely a rare cred to have on your coaster count.
My first view of this coaster was dread. When I see a coaster that not only looks different from your traditional style coasters, I can’t help but find myself thinking the worst. I had no idea how this was going to ride or whether I would enjoy it. Safe to say, I did not enjoy it. I’ve never ridden a Maurer SkyLoop before so I had no idea what to expect.
The ride effectively starts by ascending up towards the first ‘corner’ – say hello to major hangtime which I despise! – and then gravity takes hold as it winds along the track back towards the station. Sometimes it does go through twice – depends on which SkyLoop you ride, there’s 10 to choose from (according to RCDB) including Sky Wheel.
Wherever I go travelling, I’ll always make sure to give any local log flumes a go. They’re becoming a dying breed in the UK, especially with the loss of Loggers Leap at Thorpe Park and The Flume at Alton Towers. This Wildwasserbahn was impressively long and a fun experience.
I believe this is a travelling model (correct me if I’m wrong.) The experience as a whole was fun. Plenty of lifthills and drops to keep you feeling the anticipation of getting soaked. Located next to Sky Dragster at the top end of the park, I’d certainly recommend giving this a go when visiting Skyline Park. It’ll be one of the only ‘good’ rides at the park.
Have you visited Skyline Park before?
What rides & attractions are you wanting to try out?
On Monday 10th June 2019, Jared and I started off our German road trip with a visit to Bayern Park. Whilst trip planning, we wanted to tackle the southern German parks with the help of Coast2Coaster. I didn’t do much research into the park itself and to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t. Bayern Park has a lot of German beauty that makes this a quiant place to visit when in the Bavaria area.
As we drove towards the park from our hotel in Munich, the entrance is very understated. First impressions for me were: ‘Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m going to like this park.’ Little did I know that there was a lot more beauty to the park once you set foot inside. Sometimes the phrase, don’t judge a book by its cover runs very true. A park with a understated entrance doesn’t mean this is going to be a ‘disappointing’ park.
As you walk inside, the entrance area has your typical shops – perfect for nabbing guests to spend more money on gifts and merchandise before they leave or enter the park. Great sales ploy. Anyway, onwards to the park.
The park overall in terms of beauty & landscaping, it’s up there as one of the most beautiful parks that uses the natural landscape so well. It looks understated but honestly, the rides work so well within the trees/fauna. It’s nice to step away from a park that uses themed buildings to create a more closed in atmosphere. And let’s not forget about how beautiful German architecture is.
First stop for us was to grab the creds. The park is currently home to 5 creds – depending on what you class as a cred. There are 2 Butterfly creds, 2 Zierer Tivoli coasters and a Maurer Launch coaster. Since I was going to be getting my 350th coaster here in the park, I wanted this to be Freischütz. Okay, sometimes it’s fun to let your key ‘milestones’ be random but not for me. Besides, 350 isn’t a big milestone but I’ll still shout about it.
Butterfly coasters are renowned in European theme parks. I don’t really see the appeal other than to tick them off as a +1 for my count. These are self operated by simply closing the gates, sitting inside the ride, pulling down the bar & pressing the start button on the ride itself. You go back and forth until the ride comes to a stop. Simple & easy creds to grab without queuing too long. Yes, Jared and I did get some strange looks from the locals but we didn’t care.
Why the park needed two Butterfly coasters? I’ll never know. One is big model & the other is your traditional small model that you’ll see in other parks around Europe. The big model was located inside a building, ‘themed’ to space so I guess it had that going for it. And aptly named ‘Star-Shuttle’. Otherwise, it was two creds to easily grab within the first 30 mins. You’ll also be pleased to know that these are located towards the front end of the park.
Next up was to tick off the two Zierer Tivoli coasters. Again, the park seems to like having a ‘big’ version & ‘small’ version of the same manufacturer. The small version, called ‘Froschbarn’, is a standard layout that’s perfect for young kids. If you’ve been to Paultons Park, the ‘Dino Chase’ coaster is the exact same layout. Short but sweet little cred that’s hidden in the trees. Must admit, the natural vibes of this park were very welcome.
One thing to note about Bayern Park, it’s hilly in places. As you travel downwards, you’ll find the second Zierer Tivoli coaster. Again, the ride blends in well with the natural landscape. I don’t know if it’s just me but I love being surrounded by trees & natural fauna when visiting a theme park. Don’t get me wrong, buildings can work well to disguise open spaces but I love a natural landscape. You can guess that I was the player of RCT that liked planting bushes and trees wherever I could.
The imaginative name of ‘Achterbahn’, the ride layout is a fun layout winding through the trees. The perfect next step up for young kids/thrillseekers. Zierer Tivoli coaster may not be my most favourite coasters but I have a small soft spot for them. I grew up with riding The Stinger/Cat-O-Pillar coaster at Paultons Park so Zierer Tivoli’s were a huge part of my young coaster enthusiasm.
Last but not least, my 350th coaster cred was… Freischütz. Surprisingly, this Maurer X-Car Flying Launch coaster was very enjoyable. The launch packs quite a punch, especially when sat in the back row. Not gonna lie, I don’t like the actual cars/seats themselves as they are ridiculously big and the restraints are super heavy to pull down yourself. I saw many people struggle to pull down their restraint so don’t feel embarrassed. The ride staff will help you out.
The music in the station was funky as hell. If there was one thing I could take away from the ride, it would be the music choice in the station. Random, I know. This park is very pretty yet it doesn’t have any true ‘stand out’ coasters in the park. Freischütz is fun with a great launch but nothing to shout about. Before I forget, the ride entrance is very well hidden. More so if you are located at the bottom end of the park near Achterbahn.
The park is almost split into 3 sections. Upper, Mid & Lower sections. The upper section houses the 2 Butterfly creds and a couple of flat rides including a beautifully decorated chairswing. The mid-section houses Freischütz (this is where the ride entrance is) & Froschbarn. Finally, the lower section houses several rides and attractions including Achterbahn, a Wiegand powered coaster (something we missed entirely!), log flume, rapids and more.
Considering we weren’t planning to spend all day at Bayern Park, I’m glad we did. Despite the humidity being ridiculous, we had a great day with some funny moments. One particular moment was riding the log flume. This was your standard travelling log flume layout that takes on the same style as Raging River Ride at Paultons Park or what you may commonly find at funfairs. The ride was not overly wet but as we plunged down the final drop of the ride, we almost capsized!
And with this, both Jared & I got more than we bargained for. More so for Jared who ended up getting soaked on his left side. Yes, I was wetting myself laughing. It happened so quickly that we didn’t know why it happened. Either we put too much weight on one side of the boat or the run off from the final drop was shorter than anticipated. Who knows? It was hilarious.
Next up was the Rapids ride. Again, another travelling style water ride that picks up a fair amount of speed as you travel along the trough. Fun with a few splashes here and there. Not a soaker even though on this particular day, we’d love a splash of water to cool down. Plus, in the station area, your bags are put onto a conveyor belt so as you exit the ride on the other side of the station, your bags will be there ready for you. I think this is a genius idea and more parks should use this for bag storage.
Granted we didn’t really explore the park to its whole extent. The lower part of Bayern Park doesn’t just have rides. There are animals too. From lynx, deer, pygmy goats & so much more. Gutted would be an understatement but this proves that some research may have helped. This would’ve helped us to understand more of the layout of the park too. Planned out what rides we wanted to do etc. Obviously our original intention was to grab the coaster creds, who can blame us right?
Aside from missing out a fair chunk of the park, we had a lovely day out at Bayern Park. Would we visit again? Probably not unless they build another coaster to a similar scale of Freischütz. The park may not be large in size but it’s a great park to include as part of a large road trip within the Bavaria area of Germany. This is how we did it and we don’t have any regrets going. Overall the park is beautiful and has some fun rides within.
Have you visited Bayern Park?
What are your favourite rides/coasters at the park?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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’…
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?