August 2019 Travels | Overview

August 2019 Travels | Overview

So… hey there again! It’s been a long 4 months since I last wrote a blog post on here. Yes, I know that’s incredibly bad of me and I should be more motivated. In all fairness, I completely lost touch with writing and other stuff has been going on behind the scenes. So here I am, writing a blog post again. Yay! And more importantly, writing an overview of my August travels.

Where on earth is this year going? It’s September already and we’re now entering my favourite time of year. Hello Halloween, my birthday and Christmas. I cannot wait. Plus, I’m even more excited because I’m off to Germany/Netherlands/Belgium NEXT WEEK! A week of theme parks is just what I need right now. Hopefully I’ll reach my 400 milestone on my coaster count. Big questions is, what will be my 400th coaster? Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to in my August travels overview.

CARTERS STEAM FAIR

I’ll say this now, I’ve never been to Carter’s Steam Fair before! I’ve always seen it advertised, yet never made an attempt to visit. So, I decided to visit on Saturday 31st August in Basingstoke. I was really impressed with how quaint and cute the funfair is. A small collection of rides run via steam engines, this was so cool to see. Even better if you’re into the engineering behind that. I tried my first ever ‘Whip’ ride. Boy, that was a right laugh. I get why they call it the Whip now. I also took a ride on the Chairswing – fairly nippy for a small ride. Best part was seeing the place lit up at night. Perfect for photos!

MEETING JOHN WARDLEY

This was possibly the best moment in August for me. Coinciding with Nemesis’ 25th anniversary year and National Rollercoaster Day, John Wardley did a series of meet-and-greets on 16/17/18th August at Alton Towers. Since I’m a theme park enthusiast, this is one of those bucket list moments I had to complete. I fangirled quite a bit when queuing up to meet him. He was so humble and down-to-earth, it made the whole experience worthwhile. I can now die happy, knowing I can tick this off my bucket list!

NEW CREDS

I always take a break from Merlin parks during the Summer. However I did make some time to go and grab a couple of new creds in the Birmingham area. No shame in riding a Wacky Worm or SBF Visa spinning coaster, right? Yeah, there were a lot of families around but who cares. Since I’m aiming to hit my 400 milestone on my cred count this year, it was fitting for me to grab as many creds as I can. Especially before my holiday next week!

August was pretty damn good if I do say so myself. I’m sure September is set to be even better, with a lot of potential highlights to come. We’re slowly edging towards the best time of year. Am I right? Give me those Autumn vibes please.

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

Theme Park Enthusiast Annoyances

Theme Park Enthusiast Annoyances

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I feel like this is a subject that isn’t really touched upon within the enthusiast world or if it does, it turns into a massive discussion/debate (I’m making a massive assumption here!). Anywho, I have been a long-time enthusiast and have observed how the community, as it were, has changed. And there are some negative points that I feel like sharing. Judge me all you want, maybe some enthusiasts might relate?

Anyway, let’s crack on with this post.

#1: When competition gets out of control

Yes, I am talking about the people who are so hellbent on making out they are the best enthusiast who has ridden x number of coasters and been to x number of places. And I mean, the bragging enthusiasts. Yes, you have ridden the best rollercoaster in the world or you have ridden 1000 coasters around the world. Well done! Just tone down the bragging about how ‘amazing’ you are for achieving it. Also, just because someone may have 100 creds and you tell them they need to get out more, understand that we all have different lifestyles and financial situations. We’ll get there eventually, and if you don’t care about cred grabbing, you do you. This is your hobby, so make it your own.

#2: Opinions are no longer listened to

A healthy debate on social media is perfectly fine. We are all human are we not? But if you are seriously hellbent (this word, again) on dragging people down because their opinion is different to yours, take a second to just think about how much of an idiot you are making yourself out to be. Everyone is different. We all think differently. We all have different tastes and OPINIONS. Allow everyone to discuss these without turning it into a crazy discussion about why someone is wrong. Opinions are not facts. Understand the difference before you knock someone down, especially on social media. We all know we have comfort behind a computer/phone screen.

#3 Cliquey groups

This is something that I know cannot be avoided. However, if you have newcomers wanting to join in on meet-ups, this can put them off majorly. I remember going on my first theme park enthusiast meet up back in 2012 and I was not even remotely put off because everyone made an effort to welcome me to the group. Yes, it is incredibly nerve-wrecking but there are nice people in the group! You will be able to spot them as they will generally be your first point of contact.

#4 My hobby being judged by those not ‘in the know’

This is a bugbear I feel we all can share. We live in a judgemental society, I get that. But at least, let me live my own life and have my own hobbies that may not fit the ‘mould’ as it were. I love theme parks. I enjoy learning about the engineering behind rollercoasters. That is who I am and I am not going to change just because I have chosen a hobby that isn’t what ‘you’, the general public, believe is not ‘conventional’.

#5 EXPENSIVE HOBBY!!

This one is pretty much self-explanatory. It is expensive to go to theme parks but I know that it is achievable if you budget well and get the best deals when it comes to travelling abroad. Yes, I envy those who can travel around the world for theme parks but at the end of the day, I will get there myself and it will be fab! At the moment, I am trying to save up to go abroad again as I am really missing visiting parks in Europe and I want to explore Asia and America too. Sometimes, you need a bit of patience, and a money tree… And to those naysayers… yes, I know it is expensive but who cares. It’s my hobby, not yours.

These are just a few of my annoyances as a theme park enthusiast, maybe you have some of your own that I have not included? Leave me a comment below.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

6 things you must do at Chessington

6 things you must do at Chessington

I have been visiting Chessington a lot lately. Despite it being something to do at the weekends, I just have that certain bond with the park. Having almost grown up with the place, with my first visit back in 1998, I still enjoy making a trip here. Having a zoo and theme park in one place, there is plenty of stuff to do for both adults and children alike.

If you are ever in the area or a Merlin Annual Passholder, it is worth a trip! I believe there are 5 things that you must do when visiting the park. Read on to find out more!

 

#1: Visit the Zoo

Not only have you got the theme park, you have a very sizeable zoo to explore. From Trail of the Kings to Wanyama Village to the SeaLife Centre and more! I love visiting the Zoo, even if the park is rammed, it is a perfect way to get away from the hustle and bustle and watch the animals. There’s so many you can see including Lions, Tigers, Gorillas, Giraffes, Sealions, Zebras, Meerkats and more. Don’t ever miss out on the Zoo on your visit. It is worth having a nice stroll around.

 

#2: Ride the Vampire

This is a classic at the park and one of my favourite rides here. It may not be the same as it was with the old trains, but it is still fun. The purple trains are fab – don’t diss them – and I love having the feeling of your legs dangling on a suspended coaster. There is also that turn around coming out of the tunnel, still packs a punch! Yes, it may get pretty long queues throughout the day but out of all the rides at the park, this is a MUST.

 

#3: Grab yourself a Nitrogenie

If you are an ice cream fanatic, then you will LOVE Nitrogenie. Simply for the fact that not only it is so deliciously good, it is made with Liquid Nitrogen. The fact you can watch your ice cream being made through the window is fascinating. There’s plenty of flavours to choose from and with the latest addition of making milkshakes, this is like a go-to place for ice cream/milkshakes. Treat yourself everybody!

 

#4: Visit Tiger Rock and Land of the Tigers

Now that the new area has been opened to the public for a couple of months, you’d be daft not to head towards this beautifully, colourful place. Not only that, they have got 4 gorgeous Amur Tigers in the area. The tiger rock feature above the final drop of the log flume is so fab – it’s literally a picturesque hotspot. And the music of the area is so calming that you could just spend the whole day wandering around there – okay, maybe not the whole day!

 

#5: Walk through Lorikeet Lagoon

Now, I’m fully aware that this attraction is open on peak days but this is something you need to tick off your list if you visit Chessington. And it is highly recommended to buy some of the nectar too – you will soon learn how popular you become with the Lorikeets! Plus, some of your money goes towards the Chessington Conservation Fund so it’s for a good cause. I love the interaction with the Lorikeets – not just for the fact that they are bloody gorgeous to look at – it’s a fab experience for both adults and children. Great photo opportunities too so if you want to make some great memories, give this attraction a visit!

 

#6: Try out Not Dogs!

I may be slightly biased and say that this place is so delicious that as I’m writing this, I really want one right now. Seriously, you’d be mad not to try out the Not Dogs – it isn’t just a place specifically for vegetarians and vegans. Read my review here and you might be able to understand why I bloody love the place. Trust me, just do it and grab yourself a quick bite to eat here. You won’t regret it.

Of course, this is only my opinion. There may be things I haven’t even included on here but I honestly feel like these are truly the must do things when visiting Chessington. If I haven’t included anything that needs to be mentioned, leave me a comment below.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

My early memories of Chessington

My early memories of Chessington
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I’m going to get all nostalgic now for this blog post. I was thinking the other day about how theme parks have changed, most notably the ones that I visited as a child – and what I can still remember to this day, my memory isn’t that great ha!

I first visited the park in 1998 and have been a regular visitor since then – 20 years on! I still enjoy visiting and seeing how the park has expanded and grown over the years. Of course, I do miss the old attractions that are either no longer with us or have been changed, but it’s the perfect chance to reflect on these and how awesome the park was!

Note: I sadly don’t have many photos from back in the day for these relevant attractions featured in this blog post. *crying face*
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The Original Vampire

My earliest memory was walking through the big Vampire door entrance and feeling so nervous about the ride. As a kid, it was pretty terrifying as you look up and see the bat style trains flying over you in Transylvania. As you travelled towards the station, it was so dark you couldn’t see much, with the coffins separating each row, the massive chandeliers and of course, the organist ‘playing’ the haunting theme of the ride. Once I had my chance to ride Vampire, I loved it – and to this day I still do. I just wish I had more chance to experience the old-style trains more. Considering this ride is almost as old as me – not quite though.

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Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks

This ride was the bomb. From the pink building or should I say ‘factory’ to the sweet-smelling station and that fountain strobe finale. There is nothing about this ride that I won’t miss – it was so good. It was mad, it was crazy, it was great. The whole ride experience, as you follow Professor Burp through a tour of his factory, making all sorts of fizzy pop style drinks. It’s a ride I will not forget in a hurry.

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Terror Tomb

I managed to experience Terror Tomb before it changed its name to Forbidden Tomb and what is now known to us all as Tomb Blaster. This ride actually scared me when I first rode it. As a kid back then, I didn’t really understand the whole ‘story’ to the ride with Abdab. Then again, who does concentrate on the story when you’re a kid. Funnily enough, the only real vague memory I have is of the finale with the Singing/Dancing Mummies or ‘Jukebox Duel’. Looking back at the images some people have gathered up on the internet, it is all coming back to me.

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Samurai

Oh Samurai, you beauty! Well, back when you were at Chessington. I absolutely loved Samurai at Chessington, the black and red colour scheme, the lights, the ride cycles, everything! I remember back when the park shut at 9pm for the Summer season and seeing the lights on Samurai through the trees as we left the park for the day. And being one of the taller kids at school, I reached 1.4m relatively early so I could experience it before it moved to Thorpe Park.

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Park Map

You might be thinking, what the hell? Hear me out, I have loved park maps since I was little – that’s why I have so many at home! My favourite version of the park map at Chessington was around the 2000/2001 year mark with the coloured areas. The artwork was great and it just felt like a good visual map that had the right purpose for helping you navigate around the park. Now, obviously I don’t need a map these days cause, being a geek, you don’t need one for navigation – it’s more to add to my massive collection. 😉

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Beanoland

How could I not include Beanoland! It was pretty much like stepping into the Beano comic and everything had come to life. The Dodgems, Billy’s Whizzer, Bash Street Bus, Dennis’ Madhouse – it was a great collection of rides and attractions for kids. You also had the chance to meet the characters, I vaguely remember seeing Dennis and Gnasher. Let’s also not forget the fab Treehouse in the middle of the area which had a show where I also ‘vaguely’ remember Dennis throwing t-shirts at the crowd – if someone can confirm this, that would be great!

I don’t if it comes with age or something, but I do love being nostalgic and remembering the old times of our favourite theme parks. I’m sure there are more memories that I haven’t included in this post – like I said before, I don’t have the best memory and these are the ones that stick out the most for me. Kids these days won’t remember the classic Chessington and its array of ‘crazy’ attractions it had.

If you have any early memories of Chessington, feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if I have missed anything!

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS