The 5 Interesting Rides at Skyline Park

The 5 Interesting Rides at Skyline Park

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.

Sky Rider

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.

Ghost 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.

Sky Dragster

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.

Sky Wheel

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.

Log Flume

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?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Theme Park Favourites

Theme Park Favourites

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

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

theme park favourites phantasialand

Favourite Theme Park: Phantasialand

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

zadra energylandia

Favourite Rollercoaster: Zadra, Energylandia

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

theme park favourites

Favourite Dark Ride: Dreamflight, Efteling

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

theme park favourites chiapas

Favourite Water Ride: Chiapas, Phantasialand

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

theme park favourites the beast

Favourite Flat Ride: The Beast, Fantasy Island

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

theme park favourites

Favourite Ride Manufacturer: B&M

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

Do you agree with my theme park favourites?

What are some of your theme park favourites?

Do you love theme parks?

Let me know in the comments below.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Gardaland Magic Winter Event | Trip Highlights

Gardaland Magic Winter Event | Trip Highlights

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

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

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

Gardaland Magic Winter Song

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

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

gardaland magic winter raptor rollercoaster

Raptor

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

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

gardaland magic winter oblivion the black hole rollercoaster

Italian Sunshine

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

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

gardaland magic winter il corsari exterior

Il Corsari

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

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

gardaland magic winter merlin stube restaurant

Merlin Stube

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

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

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

Have you visited the Gardaland Magic Winter event?

What are your favourite Italian theme parks?

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

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

The rides which scared me as a kid

The rides which scared me as a kid

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

The Fear of the Unknown…

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

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

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

Credit to Memories of Thorpe Park

X:/ No Way Out (1996)

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

Credit to EastCoasterGeneral

Nemesis (2001)

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

Credit to British Theme Park Archives

Terror Tomb (1998)

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

Credit to British Theme Park Archives

Wicked Witches Haunt (1996)

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

Which rides scared you as a kid?

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

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

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

My Top 10 UK Coasters

My Top 10 UK Coasters

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

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

top 10 uk coasters nemesis alton towers

1: Nemesis, Alton Towers

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

top 10 uk coasters wickerman alton towers

2: Wicker Man, Alton Towers

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

megafobia oakwood

3: Megafobia, Oakwood

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

top 10 uk coasters stealth thorpe park

4: Stealth, Thorpe Park

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

oblivion alton towers

5: Oblivion, Alton Towers

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

top 10 uk coasters vampire chessington world of adventures

6: Vampire, Chessington World of Adventures

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

top 10 uk coasters the swarm thorpe park

7: The Swarm, Thorpe Park

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

icon blackpool pleasure beach

8: Icon, Blackpool Pleasure Beach

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

the smiler alton towers

9: The Smiler, Alton Towers

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

top 10 uk coasters flight of the pterosaur

10: Flight of the Pterosaur, Paultons Park

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

What are your top 10 UK coasters?

Do you agree with my rankings?

Is Nemesis your number one UK coaster?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

5 reasons to visit Paultons Park

5 reasons to visit Paultons Park
Paultons Park Entrance LogoSource

With all the upcoming news about the new area Tornado Springs, coming to Paultons Park in 2020, I had to write up a blog post with my 5 reasons to visit Paultons Park. I can’t wait to experience the new area at my local park. Paultons Park is based in Ower, near Southampton, and is quite possibly, one of my favourite theme parks to visit. Might be biased since I’ve pretty much grown up with the park. There’s so much to do at Paultons. You’d be a fool to not give this fantastic theme park a visit. Given all the talks about the new 2020 area development, who isn’t talking about Paultons Park?! I thought I’d help out anyone who is planning a visit next year with my top 5 reasons to visit Paultons Park.

5 reasons to visit Paultons Park

#1: LOST KINGDOM

Well, the most recent development at the park, Lost Kingdom, is certainly reason enough to warrant a visit. The theming within this area just shows how much Paultons love to immerse their visitors. Let’s not forget the fantastic ride line-up within this area. Including the 2 Vekoma rollercoasters, Flight of the Pterosaur and Velociraptor. They are such fantastic rides for both thrillseekers and families with young children. Not only that, you’ve got a small range of flat rides within the area to keep your kids amused. It really is one of those parts of the park you cannot miss.

5 reasons to visit Paultons ParkSource

#2: GARDENS

Within the heart of Paultons Park is the beautiful gardens. The perfect place to enjoy those quiet moments where you need take a breather from all the action. Whilst it’s a tranquil area, there is also the opportunity to meet some amazing birds including owls, flamingos and more. It might not be on par with the gardens at Alton Towers but you just can’t beat the fact that this park houses a lot of beauty within. Definitely worth exploring when you next visit Paultons Park.

paultons-park-peppa-pig-worldSource

#3: PEPPA PIG WORLD

The investment that really put Paultons Park on the map – quite literally. If you have young children, you’re going to be spending a very good chunk of your day within this area. To be honest, there’s plenty of rides and attractions in this area. There’s even a chance to meet Peppa and her family too! Whilst it might get incredibly busy and is not aimed at the thrillseekers, it can really break up the day. Even if you just want to enjoy the theming and maybe be act like a big kid on all the rides. I’m not judging you here!

5 reasons to visit Paultons ParkSource

#4: NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Paultons Park has really turned into the park to watch. I remember the days where the park was pretty plain but had quirky features including THE best park mascot, Percy the Owl. ‘It’s a Hoot Hoot!’ will always stay with me. However, I’ve loved seeing how Paultons has evolved. Theming has become such a huge part of their development strategy and I’m loving the care and attention to detail. Tornado Springs is really going to bring the crowds in, especially with the signs of a new coaster and flat rides! I’m going to spend a good chunk of my time this year following the upcoming construction updates.

5 reasons to visit Paultons Park

#5: GENERAL PARK CLEANLINESS & MAINTENANCE

Now, whenever I’ve visited Paultons, even back in the 90s, I’ve never seen any of the rides (that I’m aware of) break down. I’ve never seen the whole park being in such a state i.e. overflowing rubbish bins etc. The gardens and surrounding park areas are always well kept and look fresh & tidy. The rides are always well maintained. I find the park always ensures they have a full ride line-up whenever they are open. Or at the very least, ensure ride reliability is as good as it can be. I can assure you, you won’t have a bad day out at Paultons Park. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s a park where I’ve never had a bad visit!

And there you have it, my 5 reasons to visit Paultons Park. If you’re thinking about making a trip to the park but unsure. Just do it. You won’t regret it at all, trust me! If you aren’t thinking about a trip here, why ever not? Wait for 2020 by all means but if you’re sat there thinking; ‘It’s a kids park’, ‘It doesn’t have any thrilling rides!’. All I can say is, you can have way more fun here than at a bigger, more thrilling theme park. Just saying!

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

What I Love About Theme Parks

What I Love About Theme Parks

1102487_10151796228949800_1475324573_oYou know when some people still don’t understand your hobby with theme parks? Yeah, that’s me. I don’t really need to justify why I love theme parks so much but maybe you want to find out why I love them so much – to be honest, 90% of my blog is about theme parks so that’s a hint… No one will be able to separate me from my love of theme parks – it’s a part of my life and it’s going to stay that way! *wink*

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My Top UK Dark Rides

My Top UK Dark Rides

I always like reading about everyone’s favourites and non-favourite rides and attractions in the enthusiast world. There are so many different variety of opinions, that is what makes this community so interesting. So, as I have already provided my top 10 list, and my bucket list rides/coasters, I thought I would start writing about dark rides. Moreover, the dark rides that I consider to be my ‘Top Dark Rides’.

Now, as I started writing this list, I was going to write a simple list of dark rides I have ridden in my lifetime so far, both past and present, and including Europe and Florida. Well, I didn’t quite anticipate the amount of dark rides I have ridden and how many I loved so much that they need to be included in this list. So I will be splitting this list into THREE blog posts. Yep, 3. So, let’s crack on with ‘part 1’ of my list, My Top UK Dark Rides.

CURRENT

HEX: THE LEGEND OF THE TOWERS

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I don’t think I know of anyone who doesn’t have a soft spot for Hex. It all begins as soon as you walk inside the queueline. The creepy darkness of the Towers adds to the atmosphere, as you are told the brief story of ‘The Legend of the Towers’ and what is to come. The narrative and story are pretty much a clever take on what is a true tale – ever visited the Chained Oak Tree? The ride hardware is disorientating to those unknown about the workings of the ride, but the theming inside is beautifully creative and can we just take a moment to appreciate THAT soundtrack. The haunting violins and orchestral theme – gives me Goosebumps every time I ride.

WALLACE & GROMIT’S THRILL-O-MATIC

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Now where can you find a ride that is quintessentially British and colourful… Any true Brit will know the stories of Wallace and Gromit – if you haven’t, who even are you? – and now there is a beautifully crafted dark ride at Blackpool that depicts all the various stories for you. From Wallace’s wrong trousers to travelling to the Moon made of Cheese! ‘Cheese Gromit!’ And do you want to know the absolute best part of this ride? You get to ride along in a giant slipper!! The fact this ride is located at Blackpool, it is just perfect for the ride line-up. It has that re-rideability where you won’t ever tire of being on it.

VALHALLA

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Yes, I did touch upon this in my Favourite Water Rides blog post but technically, it is not your traditional dark ride. There is no denying how totally awesome this ride is. Even if the wetness levels are so ridiculous, it shouldn’t be in a place such as Blackpool. Sorry Mandy! I seriously want to know what the creator of this ride was smoking when they designed this. It is completely insane with the effects, say hello to water and fire! This ride is a great water ride – and literally has every opportunity to soak you through and through. The theming just takes this ride from being a bog-standard water ride indoors to one hell of a experience. The soundtrack is truly captivating, and you won’t forget it in a hurry. Yes, I love this ride for the theatrical elements but when it comes to the wetness levels – it needs to be a damn hot day for me to warrant a ride on it. Or if I’m well prepared with several ponchos, boots/wellies and clothes I don’t mind getting drenched in.

SPIRIT OF LONDON

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I don’t know if some people forget about the existence of this dark ride, but it needs to be added to my list. Yes, it is almost like a ride that you would find at one of your typical Disney parks – an omnimover with insane amount of theming and use of space – it’s bloody huge. It is a sizeable attraction that gives you the story of London so it’s perfect as an educational ride for the family/kids. If there is one thing you should not miss when visiting Madame Tussauds, it’s Spirit of London.

THE GRUFFALO RIVER RIDE ADVENTURE

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I must say, I was very nervous when it was announced that Gruffalo would be taking over from Bubbleworks. Not to say that a retheme was needed, I totally agree, it was very much needed. But using an IP, it’s a risky business in my opinion. However, I must say I was thoroughly impressed with this transformation. The theming was very well executed within the budgets that Chessington received, and I love the interaction the elements have with the ride. Kids adore this ride, just by simply watching their reaction once they’ve come off the ride! The smells, the soundtrack and sound effects throughout the ride tell the story of the Gruffalo really well, and this why I had to add it to my list.

CADABRA

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I had to add this to my list. It is by means not a world class dark ride attraction, but I just love the ride being a part of a chocolate factory tour. The ‘Beanmobile’, yes that is what it is called, takes you on a ‘gentle ride through a chocolate wonderland full of familiar characters’. It’s quaint, has all the famous characters known to Cadbury’s and a simple dark ride that should be ridden at least once on your trip to Cadbury World.

PAST

WICKED WITCHES HAUNT

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I remember being haunted by this ride as a child. The entrance to the ride was insane with a massive witch animatronic looking down at guests as you walk into the ride queue. As a small kid, this was terrifying. That, once you entered the ride station that was dimly lit, the darkness just added to the creepy atmosphere. Unfortunately, I do not have many memories of this ride but from what I can remember, this was a true 90s style attraction that had that creepy-factor.

HOB’S PIT

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I only had one go on this dark ride at Pleasurewood Hills back in 2013. I can tell you now, it was a damn good attraction. If you loved all things spooky and scary, this was the attraction for you. It was totally unexpected for a park such as Pleasurewood Hills, that I would describe as a ‘cute little family theme park’. The ride had live actors throughout the ride and having experienced a few ghost trains with live actors, this was like a scare maze mixed with a ride. It was gory and graphic at times – no wonder it had an age-restriction! Such a shame it closed!

TERROR TOMB

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Where do I even begin with this? The crazy storyline, Abdab turning into a zombie/mummy, the ‘Juke Box Jewel’ finale, the darkness inside the ride. Yep, I don’t know why but I just have a flurry of memories of me wondering what the hell this ride was about whilst being terrorised by the scary characters! It isn’t an omnimover by any means but it didn’t need to be. You were immersed in the ride as soon as you entered the queueline, and once on the ride, you were on the journey with Abdab. Seriously, I wish this ride lasted so much longer than it did – why did it have to become an interactive dark ride? Whyyyyyy!

PROFESSOR BURP’S BUBBLEWORKS

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One thing you can be certain of, Chessington liked their crazy themes back in the day. The Sparks Group did a completely fab job bringing creativity to life, which is where Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks comes in. It was a lighthearted attraction that not only smelt absolutely amazing but it was bright pink. Within the Transylvania area, you had a ‘scary’ rollercoaster themed to Vampires yet within this same area was a bright and colourful ‘Pop Factory’, run by a mad professor! It was crazy, it was fun, it was everything you needed for a family attraction. As you float into the different areas in the ‘factory’, once again, it was a truly immersive dark ride. And let’s not forget about the fabulous fountain finale with the strobe lights – disorientating yet fantastic!

I want to say this is just a few dark rides, but I seem to have rambled on for ages! You cannot beat a good quality dark ride at a theme park – sometimes you need to remember and appreciate what is available right on your doorstep. Even though we may get spoilt by fantastic quality dark rides abroad, we have to give some love to our dark rides here in the UK.

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

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