My Least Favourite B&M Coasters

My Least Favourite B&M Coasters

Another controversial post is due, and yes, I’m tackling my bae of a manufacturer, B&M. I love B&M coasters. That has never changed but that doesn’t mean that I have ridden certain B&Ms and not enjoyed them as much as I would like. I am biased towards B&M, always have been. When I visit a new park and it has a B&M, I squee at the thought of riding ‘perfection’ – if that exists!

I have ridden a small handful of B&M’s in my time and there have been many which I’ve loved and will ride and ride again. But there is a small cluster which is on my list of maybe ride once during a trip, even if it is a return trip after I have got the cred but is not enough for me to want to ride again and again. Everyone has their preference for ride enjoyment and these B&M just didn’t make the cut for me.

MANTA | SEAWORLD ORLANDO

Manta, Seaworld OrlandoSource

I really wanted to like Manta, I really did. I don’t know if I found it too intense for me. I love flying coasters, Air/Galactica at Alton Towers, is a favourite of mine but Manta… I wasn’t overly impressed and didn’t get the hype. I love the colour scheme, don’t get me wrong, but that pretzel loop just made me feel uneasy for the rest of the ride experience, and it is probably going to be a one time ride when I next visit Seaworld, Orlando.

DRAGON KHAN | PORTAVENTURA

Dragon Khan, PortAventuraSource

I just get flashbacks to when I had stupidly bad sunburn and with it being hot when I last visited, I was sticking to the hard, plastic restraints which really made me hate the ride experience. Yes, self inflicted I know but I do also find that sit down B&M’s are not a huge favourite of mine in general. Again, it could be down to intensity but it just doesn’t do it for me when it comes to sharing my love B&M. Especially when it is next door to my bae, Shambhala.

KRAKEN | SEAWORLD ORLANDO

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You know what, I still can’t quite put my finger on why I don’t particularly like Kraken. Yet, I just don’t feel a need for riding it repeatedly. It’s very much a one-time ride per visit to Florida. For me, every time I have ridden Kraken, I don’t have that feeling of ‘wow, that’s a good ride’ – and that’s not me saying it’s boring because it isn’t that. I just don’t really find it exciting for me as a coaster, especially compared to other B&M’s I have ridden. I’ll give Kraken some credit, the colour of the track is fab.

BARON 1898 | EFTELING

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Okay, I know that this ride is in my top 10. Whoa, say what? Let me explain. The coaster layout of this ride is somewhat meh. It’s a short layout which in my opinion, I wish it was a bit longer. You cannot deny that the theming of this ride is what makes it into a truly wonderful experience but if I were to strip it of its theming and storyline, this ride would be pretty average and it wouldn’t do much for me in terms of enjoyment. The theming is part of the reason why I have made it my number 10 coaster – as my personal opinion, I rate rides based on the whole experience.

SILVER STAR | EUROPA PARK

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Oh Silver Star, you tried to be awesome but instead became a bit of a mediocre ride. Maybe I set my expectations too high and ended up disappointed when I rode you. It’s a personal preference for me but I just feel like Silver Star isn’t quite as good as it should be. You know, when you look at a coaster and it looks awesome but then you come to ride it, and you end feeling disappointed and sad. I don’t really want to compare Silver Star to the likes of Shambhala as both are two different ride experiences, but I really wanted to love Silver Star like I do with Shambhala. It’s somewhat fun but I wouldn’t be rushing to ride it all the time – especially when you’ve got Blue Fire or Wodan at Europa, which in my opinion, are better! I just didn’t get the love for it compared to other B&M’s I have ridden.

Are you a lover of B&Ms? Are there any that you feel are your least favourite from the bunch? Let me know in the comments below.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

My Favourite Walt Disney World Rides

My Favourite Walt Disney World Rides

I was having a little look on Timehop earlier today and it was THREE YEARS AGO that I was last at Walt Disney World… That’s crazy but all those memories I will treasure forever! I am looking to return in the very near future so don’t worry, I will have a Disney trip planned soon. But it got me thinking about Walt Disney World and how many rides and attractions there are. Since I have visited Orlando twice in my life – 2002 and 2015 – I now have a good idea of my favourite rides and attractions, and thought I’d jot them down in a blog post for you. Here’s my favourite rides and attractions in WDW…

TOWER OF TERROR | HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

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“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into…The Twilight Zone.”

This one is pretty much a given to be honest and don’t really understand those who do not enjoy this style of ride. It’s so fun and the anticipation of when the next drop or rise is going to happen makes this ride a firm favourite. The Cast Members are so fantastic in their acting, being the oh so creepy bellboys/bellgirls as you venture into your lift that would take you into… The Twilight Zone.

EXPEDITION EVEREST | ANIMAL KINGDOM

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For starters, simply looking at the exterior of this ride just shows how exciting it is going to be. As you journey on your speedy train through the Himalayas and ignore the warnings of a ferocious Yeti – they’re not real, right? With a lot of fast and quick turns and a surprising backwards section for the unsuspecting rider, it is an incredibly fun coaster for the whole family. Try going on Single Rider when the queues are long as you’ll be able to get on it much quicker and even do some re-rides!

SPLASH MOUNTAIN | MAGIC KINGDOM

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Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, My, oh, my, what a wonderful day, Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way, Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

I fell in love with this ride from the moment I first rode it in 2002. As you wind through the story of Brer Rabbit in a log boat and listen to the highly addictive soundtrack, it’s easy to understand why this ride is so fun. It is also a firm favourite for those incredibly hot days in Florida where all you want is to be soaked with water – which this ride is perfect for. The one thing that fascinates me about Disney is the amount of care and maintenance for the animatronics, especially when they are mostly ‘furry’ like cuddly toys and right near water and potential splash zones. The upkeep is so good!

TEST TRACK | EPCOT

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Many people I know won’t rate Test Track highly, but it has always stuck to me as one of those rides that I’ll never forget. I love the sheer speed of the ride and the fact that you are in some ways a test dummy of your own car – the fact you can make your own car is fab. I love the different test sections at the beginning of the ride and with screens to show how each car has ranked – it’s all connected to your magic band which makes it even more fab! Seriously, it’s worth a ride and again, make use of Single Rider if the queues are long.

HAUNTED MANSION | MAGIC KINGDOM

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I have such a soft spot for Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom. Not just because it is a shady ride with Air Con, so you can cool down from the heat of the Florida sun, but it is a brilliant dark ride. It is not one to miss out when visiting Magic Kingdom. Who wouldn’t love to venture inside a spooky house and meet some fascinating ghosts, both inside and outside in the graveyard. The theming in here is truly wonderful and it starts as soon as you enter the queueline – maybe you could find the cursed engagement ring somewhere on the floor?

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD | MAGIC KINGDOM

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I love Big Thunder Mountain, ever since I was a kid. And it truly is the wildest ride in the wilderness. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s fab. The fact the ride twists and turns through the mountain creates a real ride experience. The little airtime hills, the theming throughout the ride and station area – you feel so immersed as if you are within the desert. The great thing about Disney rides is how you forget you are in a theme park, you are taken in to the storylines and the theming. This is why Big Thunder Mountain is a real MUST DO coaster at MK.

Disney do some bloody good rides and attractions, so much so that I have too many favourites. This is just a small handful of the rides I MUST do when I visit Florida. Let me know if you want me to do park specific rides and attractions. All this Disney is just making me want to plan a full on Florida trip right now *looks at flight prices*

That’s all for now.

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Favourite Water Rides

Favourite Water Rides

‘Flowing through Rapids, whooshing on a Dinghy, coasting on a water coaster, these are a few of my favourite things…’

Deary me, sorry for getting slightly musical there! Following on from my Favourite Log Flumes blog post, I thought I’d write about my favourite water rides. There’s so many types of water ride out there that I’ve decided to just make one list on here. Along the way, I have travelled to a fair few theme parks and there’s been a few water rides that have really caught my heart. They are the perfect way to balance out attraction line-ups at any theme park and with it being Summer right now, great for the hot sunny weather.

As I started writing this, I thought the list was going to be short and sweet. And it has grown quite massively so I have had to keep things rather brief before I bore you too much. So, let’s crack on with my favourites! Note: These are not in any particular order.

Valhalla | Blackpool Pleasure Beach

This ride. Everyone knows Valhalla. If you don’t, you are not a true geek. I’m torn between loving this ride and hating it purely for the insane wetness levels that is achieved. And for a place like Blackpool, it just doesn’t seem to be the best place for such a soaking wet ride. And I don’t really believe there has ever been a person who has managed to come off ‘bone-dry’, even ponchos don’t keep you safe! Pack some flip flops, protect your bag and possessions (or find a locker!) and just immerse yourself in the experience and brace yourself – YOU WILL GET SOAKED!

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Journey to Atlantis | SeaWorld Orlando

This ride is certainly an interesting one. Part dark water ride, part water coaster. I love the theatrical elements of this ride within the dark ride section. As the rides name suggests, it is your journey to the mythical land of Atlantis, which has a few secrets of its own. Now, I haven’t been on this ride since 2015 so I know the storyline has changed away from the ‘evil Siren Mermaids’ who trick you whilst on your journey. I personally did like this element but can understand this might have been quite scary for the children. Anyway, this ride is great – especially the fun little coaster section towards the end of the ride!

River Quest | Phantasialand

You haven’t experienced a good rapids if you haven’t ridden River Quest. It is EPIC! I won’t be giving out spoilers simply because you need to experience the ride to find out the wonder and surprises in store. The theming around the ride is incredible, just like the whole park tbh. But River Quest has that special beauty about it that makes us geeks praise it so much. You MUST ride this when you make a visit to Phantasialand, just prepare yourself for a soaking.

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Pirates of the Caribbean | Disney Parks

I enjoy this ride very much. Just having the ‘Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me’ soundtrack playing is enough to get you in the mood. I also enjoy the DLP version as it has that super cool interaction with the Captain Jack’s – Restaurant des Pirates or formerly known as The Blue Lagoon restaurant. As you travel through the seas, and encounter a variety of pirates along the way, you could be in for a splashing time! A must-ride at any Disney park – I mean, hello, Shanghai Disneyland’s version just looks out of this world.

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Traitor: Boat Ride to Hell | The London Dungeons Tooley Street

I did write a blog post last year about what I missed from the Tooley Street, click here to read, and this attraction is on that list. The first time I went on this ride, it was truly terrifying. The natural darkness of the railway arches that housed The London Dungeons just made this ride even more scary. Plus, as you travelled through Traitor’s Gate, and upwards towards the drop before returning to earth, backwards. As a kid, you’d be very scared – unless you were a tough cookie in which case, props to you!

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Waschzuber-Rafting | Erlebnispark Tripsdrill

The one thing to note about these Rapids, they are hard to find! You could easily miss these if you didn’t know they were around. And it is honestly so worth doing as they are not only crazy, but such fun to ride. You have a potential to get wet, as you do on a Hafema Rapids – just look at River Quest. Although this ride doesn’t have the same crazy, steep drops as River Quest in Phantasialand, they are just as good. Make sure you don’t miss out on riding these.

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Jungle Cruise | Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

I love, love, love this ride so much. If anything, the gags will make you crease up laughing every time – even if they can be bad at times! Learning about the history of this ride, the jokes and gags were not a part of the original ride in Disneyland California. It was a more educational ride through the ‘jungle’. I’m so glad they added jokes in as it becomes a light-hearted attraction that is fun for the whole family.

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Krokobahn | Familypark Austria

I’m laughing to myself just thinking about this ride. You’d think that the staff would say, 1 adult per boat, since you know, this is a mini flume ride. Let’s just say that the operator wanted to have some shits and giggles, watching 2 adults ride this flume ride. Yes, the boat was struggling to carry us along. Yes, the lift hill creaked like crazy as we travelled up it. Yes, we got stuck at the bottom of the drop and had to use our body weight to drag us along. It was bloody hilarious and if you ever have a bunch of friends with you, give it a go. You will get soaked too.

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Popeye’s & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges | Universal Islands of Adventure

There’s not really much to say than in the Florida heat, this is a very much needed ride. Basically, wear your swimming gear underneath your clothes, bring a pair of flip flops and embrace the wetness. No matter how many times I have ridden these rapids, I have always come off soaked – even more so than the likes River Quest – and that is saying something.

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Jurassic Park River Adventure | Universal Islands of Adventure

Like Jurassic Park? Love Dinosaurs? Love a water ride? Then you’ll love Jurassic Park River Adventure. It starts off a gentle ride that looks fun for all the family, and with the classic Jurassic Park theme playing, you are taken away from reality and into a different world. And these sorts of ride that are immersive are what I love and want in a theme park! But wait, all is not as it seems as you travel further into the depths of the ride and something seems a bit amiss. You never know, you might see a mighty big T-Rex…

Grand Canyon Rapids | PortAventura

Ever get bored of the Rapids in the UK? Well, you’ll be in for a good treat when you try out these rapids. They are fast moving and will get you wet – perfect for that Spanish sunshine. This was my first real experience of trying out a rapids in a foreign country and my god, they make our UK rapids laughable – yes, I’m looking at you Rumba Rapids!

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Special mention to… Wildalpenbahn at Wiener Prater

I didn’t ride this (and yes, I wish I did now!) but let’s just say, watching your friends spin like crazy and hearing their ‘screams’ from the top… it’s an interesting experience in itself.

There’s plenty on this list that have given me some very fond memories. What are your favourites? Are there any I have missed that’s worth a mention? Let me know in the comments below.

That’s all for now.

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Favourite Log Flumes

Favourite Log Flumes

In light of Tiger Rock opening at Chessington a few weeks ago, I thought I’d write about my all-time favourite log flumes (that I have ridden so far). I am not as well travelled as other enthusiasts but I’m sure I’ve been on enough to make a small list of favourites, both current and past log flumes.

I don’t know what it is about log flumes, but they are so fun to ride and should be a staple at any theme park. The drama and anticipation of knowing who is going to get a ‘soaking’. Or the magic and beauty of theming to add to what could be considered a bland ride on its own. Everyone loves a good flume, young and old. So, let’s crack on with my favourites…

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CHIAPAS DIE WASSERBAHN | PHANTASIALAND

I get excited just talking about this ride, and those who have ridden it or visited Phantasialand in the last 4 years will know why. The area of Mexico is transformed into a colourful plaza, filled with the intoxicating theme of Chiapas created by the musical geniuses, IMAScore. I’m not going to lie, as I’m writing this, I’m listening to this soundtrack. I bloody love it! Anyway, back to the ride itself. In general terms, it’s a damn good log flume ride that can at times give you a bit of a soaking but in my opinion it’s worth it. The transitions in some parts of the ride are mental, that sideways turntable, how quick does it need to push you across? There’s the indoor section with the crazy but catchy Templo Di Fiesta theme. Oi Oi Oi Oi! It is visually stunning – like, so stunning you can’t stop staring at it. Especially on a hot Summers day when you are practically immersed into the land of Mexico. I could talk about this ride for ages! Go and ride it, now! And buy the soundtrack… you know you want to.

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DUDLEY DO RIGHT’S RIPSAW FALLS | UNIVERSAL ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

The one thing I love about Florida water rides is that because the climate is so hot and humid, you don’t care about getting a soaking. This ride does just that! To be honest, you don’t really need to understand the story line on the ride – well, at least that’s what I think. As you twist and turn throughout the long layout, both inside and outside with a few drops added in, it’s very much a case of when is the next soaking? I love this ride and will always be a firm favourite at Islands of Adventure.

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SPLASH MOUNTAIN | MAGIC KINGDOM, WDW

My bae. My love. I still remember going on this ride when I first went to Florida in 2002 and I bloody loved it. The soundtrack ‘Zip – A – Dee – Doo – Dah’ is fun and cheerful, and a good sing-a-long for the whole family. I always love Disney animatronics, especially with the likes of Br’er Rabbit and his friends. Almost makes you wonder how much care and maintenance is required for a water ride mixed with the furry animatronics. This is why Disney is so visually stunning and their rides kept in tip top condition. This ride is similar in concept to Dudley Do Rights Ripsaw Falls, where the ride travels indoors and outdoors of the ride building. I love this idea of mixing both indoor and outdoor elements on a ride, giving riders a chance to not only be immersed in the experience, but at the same time, get the best of both worlds with the fresh air and sunshine (or rain, depending on the weather, especially in Florida!)

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BADEWANNENFAHRT ZUM JUNGBRUNNEN | ERLEBNISPARK TRIPSDRILL

Oh, Tripsdrill. You are a one of a kind park. So much so that you have created a flume that is about the ‘Fountain of Youth’ and includes nudity. When I first went on this ride, I had an inkling that there was going to be some ‘boobs’ involved but I didn’t quite anticipate how many. Essentially, this flume is a journey to the fountain of youth, in a bathtub flume boat. Like with the rest of the park, it is a fun ride and something not to be missed whilst visiting the park. Plus, there is the added element of G’Sengte Sau twisting above as you travel around the ride, adding to the ride experience. I always praise parks that have rides interacting with each other.

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LOGGERS LEAP | THORPE PARK

My first ever memory of Loggers Leap is that first tunnel and drop. Going into the unknown and then before you know it, down the first drop that did get you quite significantly wet! Travel towards the edge of the park, and say hello to the ‘Canada Creek Railway’ as you pass by, then it is the big climb up towards the big second double drop. One thing I always find with these kind of drops is the airtime, I used to fly out of my seat if I didn’t hold on! RIP Loggers Leap. You were a good, fun ride at Thorpe.

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FLUME RIDE | LISEBERG

This ride isn’t anything special in terms of layout in my eyes. Just your standard Arrow log flume ride that has some interaction with rides in the area including Lisebergbanan, and a large lift hill – you can wave at the Operators in their Op cabin on the hill! It’s the multi-drops at the very end of the ride that I remember so well and is why I enjoy this ride. If you have ever ridden this log flume at Liseberg, you will know and understand what I am talking about. The second to last drop has an extra mini drop. It’s so random and unique from your typical log flume drops, that why I love it! Plus, if you have a full boat, prepare for a soaking!

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TIGER ROCK | CHESSINGTON WORLD OF ADVENTURES

Of course, I must make a mention to the beautiful newly rethemed area of Chessington, Land of the Tiger and Tiger Rock. It is stunning! The interaction with the tiger enclosures is perfect for this ride. As you meander through the land, it is exactly how I want a log flume to be at a theme park. A good length log flume that interacts with a whole area of a park. The tunnel has special surprises in store for riders – Spirit of the Tiger awaits you and you can’t deny the Tiger head rockwork above the final drop is the icing on the cake to a beautiful ride and area. The ride itself, on its own, is basic with a small first drop into the tunnel and a large final drop but with the theming, it is a whole new experience. It’s fits in with the ride line-up for Chessington as a whole.

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DE BOOMSTAMMETJES | PLOPSALAND DE PANNE

I almost forgot to add this one to my list! I only have vague memories of riding this log flume back in 2013 but with the ride being a simple layout with two drops and a themed station area, it’s worth mentioning how fun this ride is. Again, there is ride interaction with ‘Draak’, the Mack powered coaster, which is always a plus for me when it comes to log flumes. I love how simple the layout is and how the area being overgrown adds to the ride area – never really knowing what is around the next corner.

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BACKSTROKE | TOVERLAND

Ever seen a turntable on a lift hill? Nope, neither did I until I first visited Toverland in 2013. I love how for a very family friendly theme park, the queueline and exit area is pretty much right next to the trough. You could literally touch it! Then there’s the fact that the ride doesn’t have bends at the corners, once you climb up the second lift hill, there’s a second turntable that turns the boats to the outdoors drop. It’s a incredibly fun and cute flume ride for the park, with a both an indoor and outdoor section. Highly recommend if you are visiting Toverland.

Feel free to check out the POVs for each ride – of course, if you don’t want spoilers then avoid watching them!

What are your favourite log flumes?

Are there any I have missed out that is worth mentioning?

Leave a comment below!

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

A Tigerrific Event at Chessington

A Tigerrific Event at Chessington

 

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Apologies for the long delay on writing this!

On Saturday 28thApril, I was very kindly invited to the Media Event for Land of the Tiger/Tiger Rock at Chessington World of Adventures alongside Chessington Buzz – go give them a follow on social media, links will be below! Honestly… I was impressed.

The whole area has been transformed into a completely new land with four new additions to the area, Amur Tigers. If you think this is just a glorified retheme, you are very much mistaken. It has been done very well and exactly what was needed for an area that was looking extremely tired and somewhat dated.

 

As you enter the Land of the Tiger, the first vantage point is the new ‘Land of the Tiger’ entrance where you might get a chance to see the Amur Tigers in their new home. There is a bridge for them to cross right above you as you walk under! Great for taking photos of the four gorgeous Amur Tigers, Tsar, Kyra, Olga and Kalinka.

Once you have walked under the bridge, you are met with Tiger Rock’s final drop and the impressive new tiger face rock structure. It looks amazing at first viewing! Compared with what used to be Dragon Falls, it is very much a fab improvement – especially when the Buddha heads rockwork at each side of the drop was removed in 2014.

One thing you might notice from this area is the fact the pathway that used to run from Mystic East towards Tomb Blaster and past Peeking Heights is gone. It is now part of an enclosure for the Tigers. In a way, it is a shame that this path has been removed as it was a good access point to the area from Forbidden Kingdom. However, I feel they have made good use of the space for an enclosure.

 

The enclosures are very sizeable for the area with plenty of space for the Tigers to roam around. We noticed during the event and from the Zoo team that the Tigers are following the boats as they go past certain parts of the enclosures – in particular the section where you come out from the tunnel after the first drop towards the second lift hill. Since this event was the first time guests have been on the ride, the Tigers are fascinated by people going past in the boats. It was very cute watching them!

The main path around and towards the entrance to the ride is very much the same. The ‘famous’ Buddha still stands which in some ways fits in with the area, but I did find it looked a bit tired. As you head down towards the Food and Beverages units in this area, the original signs are still in view – hopefully these will be changed to fit in with the new theme as it is only a reminder of the old Mystic East area. I guess this is dependent on whether these outlets are going to be opened. I personally feel the area should be completely transformed, including all signs allowing guests to be completely immersed in the area.

 

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Walking past the Buddha area, you’ll get a chance to see the ‘new’ tunnel. You wouldn’t think the Dragon was here! On the surface, it is nothing special… until you go on the ride and see some pretty impressive features and effects – but I’ll get to that later. Some people might think the Dragon was more impressive than the tunnel and, in some ways, I agree. I was expecting more from the tunnel but you need to remember that we are now within Land of the Tiger. You don’t want to saturate the area with too many ‘Tiger statues’ etc. Of course, it is down to personal preference how the area should look.

As you edge closer towards the entrance plaza, the buildings in this area have been repainted in vibrant colours. My main worry… How long will this paint last before it becomes faded and tired? I hope it will last in order to keep the area looking fresh and colourful. Another thing worth noting is the fence as you head towards the entrance plaza, past the tunnel has also been given a lick of paint – bright orange!

The actual entrance of the ride still holds the same framework but with a fresh lick of paint and the added addition of a 3D style Tiger Rock logo, it is looking great! The orange and black tiger stripes adds to the whole entrance. In some ways, you don’t need a big fancy pants entrance to be impressive. The best part is still to come!

 

The station is quite simply… AMAZING! I didn’t know what to expect or what Chessington was going to come up with. I am extremely impressed! The mural on the onload side of the station is simply sublime. The purple UV style lighting, the cutouts of the tigers and bonzai style trees… the whole thing was mesmerising. I couldn’t stop looking at it, it was that beautiful. Plus, as you venture up the stairs and work your way round the top part of the station, you’ll notice a geometric style tiger head at the end as riders pass under to start their journey on the ride.

Want to know another great thing about the station? There is a lighting show within the station that is shown every 5 minutes, perfect for the busier days when you are waiting in the station. Keep an eye out! *wink wink*

Despite the ride layout being the same, there are some cool effects within the ‘basic’ tunnel. At first glance as you enter the tunnel, there is nothing but darkness. As you weave through the ‘s-bend’, there are impressive murals to your left which show off some tiger heads in UV paint. In essence you are to become one with the ‘Spirit of the Tiger.’ Might not sound impressive until you turn the final corner and see a mighty tiger head shaped boulder with lights and smoke effects. Truly a ‘WOW’ moment for all guests and fans alike!

 

What can I say, I enjoyed my experience within the new area and a massive thank you once again to Chessington for putting together a fab event. Land of the Tiger and Tiger Rock open to the public this Saturday 5thMay so why not go ahead and pop down to Chessington World of Adventures.

Follow Chessington Buzz on their social media channels below:

Facebook: @ChessingtonBuzz

Twitter: @ChessingtonBuzz

Instagram: @chessingtonbuzz

That’s all for now…

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Keep this ‘Icon’-ic date in your diary!

Keep this ‘Icon’-ic date in your diary!

ICON Dare to Ride

On this wonderfully hot day in the UK, Blackpool Pleasure Beach has announced their opening date for the new Mack Launch coaster, Icon. I’m very excited for this…

FRIDAY 25TH MAY

All the geeks are going to be flocking to Blackpool this year to ride it, and I will be one of those geeks. Sadly, I won’t be there on opening day but I will certainly be planning a trip to get myself on Icon, considering I went last year and had a good day out. And the only real construction back then was the footers and groundwork. Exciting much!

I have been watching the testing videos and construction of this ride, and I still can’t believe that a Mack Launch coaster is going to be here in the UK. If you haven’t seen my top 10, I do love Helix at Liseberg and must also make a special mention to Blue Fire at Europa Park – basically, I enjoy a good Mack Launch coaster!

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And it would seem I am not the only one excited about Blackpool’s new addition. Speaking on the impending launch, Blackpool Pleasure Beach Managing Director Amanda Thompson OBE, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with calls and e-mails from people all over the world wanting to know when ICON will open to the public.

“I’m so excited to be able to answer and confirm 25thMay! We can’t wait to invite those who dare to ride to Blackpool to experience this truly incredible ride.  ICON promises to set hearts racing.” 

I can’t wait Mandy! See you soon Blackpool.

ICON soars through the lift hill of the famous Big One rollercoaster

Who is heading off to Blackpool Pleasure Beach for the opening day? If not opening day, when are you planning to go? Let me know in the comments below.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

 

 

 

Nemesis Inferno is just as good as Nemesis

Nemesis Inferno is just as good as Nemesis
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Ooooh, controversial post time. Well, it’s not going to be too controversial but I’m sure there are a few geeks in the theme park community who might say I’m wrong for thinking this. Before I begin, I rate Nemesis much higher than Inferno, however I think it’s very underrated out of the 2 B&M invert’s in the UK.

Personally, I love riding Nemesis Inferno and I don’t see why people should knock it down just because part of its name is shared with pretty much the UK’s top coaster, Nemesis. I love the ride experience of Inferno, that first drop into the volcano was the main draw for me when I first went on the ride in 2003. The smoke, the red lighting, that B&M roar echoing inside the tunnel, what’s not to love about that!

The volcano makes a great theming element to the ride – okay, it’s looking a little worse for wear now but back in 2003, it looked great. I was so excited to have a B&M invert at one of the Southern parks, saves me a long and sometimes tedious 3-and-a-half-hour drive to Alton Towers for Nemesis!

 

 

 

The queue line doesn’t really have much to be desired but in some ways, you can imagine yourself walking in the jungles, whilst you see the ride in its glory above you. The great thing about the landscaping of the queue line is the parts of the ride that you can’t really see – adding to the anticipation of what is to come, especially with the final helix before the brake run.

Back to the ride experience, I have already explained how good the first drop from the station into the volcano is. Most other B&M inverts have your standard exit from the station into the lift hill – Nemesis Inferno does it differently. Once you reach the lift hill after you wind through the volcano tunnel, your adrenaline really kicks in.

 

 

 

The whole ride experience is great, the loop, the zero-G roll, the intertwined corkscrews and that final helix. It’s nothing too thrilling compared to other coasters in the UK but it can certainly be up there with the ‘big boys’ of the UK coaster collection. One of my all time favourite ride experiences on Nemesis Inferno was during Fright Nights in 2012/13 (I can’t really remember the exact year!) and it had been running all day whilst raining, honestly… IT WAS BRILLIANT!

I always find that coasters, each ride experience is different because it all depends on the weather, how long the ride had been running for etc. Trust me, Nemesis Inferno pretty much showed me that evening that it could pack a punch and be up there with it’s older counterpart, Nemesis. Perhaps that is why I do enjoy the ride, and the fact is a B&M (B&M fangirl right here!)

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Let me know what you guys think of Nemesis Inferno. Do you like it or do you loathe it? Feel free to leave a comment below! You can find Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park – open season is here so why not go and give it some love!

Thorpe Park, fancy giving it a fresh lick of paint… *wink*

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Feed the Flames at Alton Towers

Feed the Flames at Alton Towers

IMG_2315Guys, I did it!

I went on the Wicker Man, after admiring the ride in a blizzard two weekends ago. And boy, I am impressed.

Alton Towers have done themselves proud to make this ride a great addition to the line-up. I would even put it up there with Nemesis, and that is saying something! It’s definitely been a long time coming since we got a woodie in this country. GCI (Great Coasters International) do make some impressive wooden coasters: Troy and Wodan, I am looking at you. I was very much looking forward to experiencing this for the first time.

 

“FIRST IMPRESSIONS – WOW!”

Obviously, I have already admired the coaster in it’s ‘glory’ whilst the snow fell very hard during ‘opening’ weekend. But when you have the audio in the area as well as the effects of the theming element, you start to feel immersed in the experience. The theming of the fences in the area and the Wicker Man entrance sign – LOVE IT! Also worth noting that the area does get very smokey.

The theming details inside the building was fantastic, the walls are made of actual wicker! It is just like being transported into another realm – and as a theme park enthusiast, we like this sort of immersion and detail. The flame effects of the fire torches are a nice touch too. Once you get into the pre-show area, I enjoyed it. I’m not going to post any spoilers but seeing the reactions from the General Public, it really adds to the anticipation and enjoyment of the experience.

Now don’t get my started on THAT station. In a good way I might add! Honestly, it was on par with some European parks in my opinion. Seriously, Merlin has done a great job with this ride and really making it as detailed as possible. The lighting within the station, I do like me some good lighting at a theme park.

 

“GREAT JOB TO THE RIDE TEAM!”

One thing I did notice that affected throughputs is the number of guests that are perhaps a little ‘large’ for the ride. Not too sure why this is a significant problem – certainly didn’t see this as a problem at European parks with the likes of Troy at Toverland and Wodan at Europa Park. Unless I am very much mistaken, please do correct me if I am wrong.

Hopefully with the addition of the test seat, this may help to avoid this issue becoming a significant. I must praise the ride team for doing their utmost best to get every guest on the ride but sometimes, safety does come first. Fab job guys, despite the breakdowns that the ride experienced during the course of the weekend, you were amazing!

In total I managed to get 7 rides on Wicker Man across Saturday and Easter Sunday, that just shows you how much I enjoyed it. I managed to get myself as close to the back as I could and front row – I think riding towards the back gives you the best chance of airtime however I did enjoy riding front row, just to experience all the elements coming right at you.

 

Just one more thing, that downwards S-bend after the second airtime hill… FAVOURITE ELEMENT OF THE WHOLE RIDE. 

I didn’t get a chance to go in the main queue line, and I know there are some good theming elements and photo opportunities of the ride but I hope to go through it at some point when I make a return trip. Yep, Alton Towers has given me more reason to make a return visit before Scarefest! I actually cannot wait to ride this in the dark – yes, I have seen some spoilers of the lighting within the area and WOW, October can’t come around soon enough.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

 

 

My Favourite Woodies

My Favourite Woodies

Since us UK geeks are getting incredibly excited about the Wicker Man opening next weekend (although some have been lucky enough to ride it already!), I thought I would dedicate a blog posts to the other woodies I have ridden. My first real memory of woodies was back in 2002 when I went to Florida and rode Gwazi… yeah, that ride was interesting to say the least. Now that I have ridden a good few woodies that are absolutely great, here’s a list of my favourites.

 

Wildfire | Kolmarden Zoo

My babe! This ride is just fab and you really need to get yourself to Kolmarden just for this. Wildfire ticks all the boxes for me. The inverted zero G stall element is my favourite part of the ride, quite simply for the fact I was like “What the hell?!” when I first rode it. The ride has everything you need for a thrilling coaster that is fun for all the family and I think the on-ride photo above proves that!

 

Troy | Toverland

This used to my all time favourite woodie before Wildfire came along, but you cannot deny that this is still a favourite among the theme park community. I heard great things about this before I even ventured to Toverland in 2013 and yep, it did not disappoint. The sheer speed of the ride is enough to keep me wanting more – especially if its a hot day.

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Tomahawk | PortAventura

Awwww, Tomahawk was a beaut to ride. I can’t really explain why I prefer this over Stampida. I think it’s the fact that the ride is so fun to ride and you got some real good airtime!

 

Joris En De Draak | Efteling

Joris is another favourite of mine, not quite at the same level of Troy and Wildfire in my opinion but I won’t turn down a ride on it when visiting Efteling. For some people, they do rate Joris over Troy. For me, Joris is more family orientated and with the racing element, it adds to the fun of the ride – especially when you are on the winning train!

 

Twister | Grona Lund

Grona Lund is insane enough with the whole compact nature of the park but Twister… Despite the fact that it doesn’t look like much, I really enjoyed the ride! Don’t be deceived into thinking it won’t be thrilling because of how small it is, honestly it is worth the queue! Plus, you might find a few recognisable images of woodies in the queue line.

 

White Lightning | Fun Spot Orlando

Go to Fun Spot on a quiet day and you can just re-ride White Lightning. Those bunny hops give you plenty of airtime – like seriously. I honestly would return to Fun Spot just to ride White Lightning again.

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Wodan | Europa Park

Okay, I have to say that I have ridden Wodan when it was running ‘slow’ and didn’t rate it highly. However, like with all coasters, when they have been operating for the whole day and if it’s been a hot day, Wodan pretty much packs a punch. I didn’t think it was going to show me that it can be just as good as Troy but it did. Don’t judge the ride if your first ride is slow, wait until the end of the day and it may just surprise you!

 

Megafobia | Oakwood

Probably one of the most iconic woodies we have in the UK (or Wales to be exact) at the moment. I can now see why all the geeks rave about this ride, especially as John Wardley designed it too! Back row is insane on the ride, I just wish it was closer to home so we could all give it more love.

Despite not being a huge lover of woodies, I have ridden a few that have shown me that they can be fun and thrilling. Maybe my early memories of Gwazi put me off for a while! Here’s to next weekend where I get the chance to ride The Wicker Man. Hope to see a few of you there!

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Air > Galactica

Air > Galactica
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Remember this whole craze that has been growing in the theme park industry, virtual reality being added to a rollercoaster? Yeah, I hate it. There, I said it. I hate the idea of it. I wish it would go away and never come back. I’m not too sure if many other enthusiasts share the same opinion, but I just don’t get why it is something to be considered.

My only real take on this is Galactica at Alton Towers and maybe in a similar way, Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at Thorpe Park, but I just don’t like the idea of wearing a virtual reality headset. As a glasses wearer, it’s a pain in the arse! I understand that with the way technology is advancing so much these days, it’s nice to try out new ideas BUT why not just keep the two things separate?

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With regards to Galactica, I really enjoyed Air. I have a soft spot for B&M flying coasters and yet it was decided to add VR to what was a throughput machine. Now, there is long waiting times and the faff of the VR headsets – cleaning them etc. It’s a pain in the arse. I have experienced the VR on Galactica, and as much as it is impressive they turned it into a space theme, I don’t like the fact they have ruined a practically good coaster to begin with.

I miss Air! I’m probably in the minority that really like the ride. Okay, it’s nothing thrilling or intense but it doesn’t need to be – other B&M coaster types can do that for you, look at Nemesis that’s next door! It was designed to give you that flying feeling, a chilled out ride experience. The VR takes that feeling away from you – it’s a gimmick.

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As a personal opinion, I don’t like gimmicks unless they really do work the ride. Galactica, I’m sorry, is one big gimmick. I like that you have the option to ride without the VR headset, and after my first experience of Galactica, I have since ridden without VR. I enjoy the coaster as it is and nothing is going to change that.

Maybe the only positive addition with Galactica is the portal. Don’t get me wrong, the way it is lit up at night is impressive – doesn’t change the ride experience though. I’m waiting for the day when the VR gets taken away. You don’t need VR on a coaster to make it better. Big bosses, stop ruining perfectly good rollercoasters with it!

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS