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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Tulley’s Shocktober Fest 2018 | 5 Not to Miss Mazes

Tulley’s Shocktober Fest 2018 | 5 Not to Miss Mazes

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I was kindly invited by Tulley’s Shocktober Fest to their press event last Friday, boy was I excited to be returning. I visited for the first time last year and it did not disappoint! I couldn’t wait to get back and revisit all my favourite mazes, including Chop Shop and The Colony. What a way to start off my Halloween season, especially as I visited Thorpe Park for their press event last Thursday, I couldn’t wait to explore more scare mazes!

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THE CELLAR IMPRISONED

Okay. I went into this maze expecting it to be lacklustre like it was last year. Boy was I proven wrong! This mazes has seriously upped the ante when it comes to scares. At one point I thought I was walking through some material/netting and it ended up being an actor’s hair on my face… yes, she was quite literally right above me. There have been some changes to the layout of the maze which were very much welcome but some of the strobe style sections of the mazes really got me good – the actors knew just how to work the room and get me good! Possibly my second favourite maze of the night!

Located near the main entrance to Tulleys, it can be easy to be missed. Simply look to your left as you walk in to the park and you will see it in the marquee. Don’t miss this off your list of mazes to go into, you will regret it!

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THE CHOP SHOP

Probably the classic at Tulley’s. Everyone who mentions Tulley’s will refer to Chop Shop and how you cannot miss this, and believe me, I know why. I didn’t have a great run through when I went on Friday – actors didn’t seem to make use of the space to give us some scares and it seemed a bit bland – but based on last year’s experience, I know how good this maze is. If you have a significant fear of chainsaws, this may not be the maze for you. I didn’t like them last year and now I can’t get enough of them in mazes, no fear whatsoever – even when there’s like 4/5 actors in one maze with them. 😉

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THE COLONY

Ever wondered what it’s like when you go through a maze that last for over 10 minutes? Go through The Colony and you will find out. Honestly, this was by far the best maze I went through last Friday. It is pretty much a must do maze – do not miss out on this maze. The actors have plenty of space to scare you, and they really do make use of the space. Plus, they can target you multiple times in such a short space – there’s a ‘chicken-coop’ style section where you could get scared a good 4/5 times. The theming in this maze is insane… except for one very blank and bright shipping container… not overly impressed with that. I’d like to hope that will be themed and be dark as it really spoilt the immersion of the maze. Otherwise, it was still one of the best mazes at Tulley’s.

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HORRORWOOD HAUNTED HAYRIDE

Horrorwood, get it? Hollywood but more creepy and horrifying… Think of this attraction as a Hollywood movie set tour gone wrong where you are transported with the help of a tractor and trailer. Not only is this the perfect way to enjoy a sit down attraction to give your feet some rest, you can get really up, close and personal with the inhabitants. Last year was the first time I tried a scare attraction of this kind and I wasn’t disappointed. This year? Even better. One of the highlights had to be the bloke in a jeep that decided he was going to chase us down the track whilst belting out his horn at us! That made me jump plus it was so unexpected, that is what made me love it. Word of caution, if you aren’t a particular fan of Chop Shop, you might find the finale one step too far – although I would say fight your fear and do it just once. 😉

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TWISTED CLOWNS 3D

Clowns. Check. 3D Glasses. Check. Disorientating walls and figures. Check. I do not have a clown phobia nor do I find clowns scary, so this maze isn’t really scary in my eyes. It is so much fun though. The intricate detail with the UV and 3D style paint – sometimes it’s hard to figure out what is a wall, a manniquin or an actual clown. It’s disorientating and pretty damn hilarious. You might be thinking, why is this a top 5 maze if it isn’t scary? Purely for the experience in itself, it is incredibly unique. Come on, there’s a clown on a bungee swing that literally leaps out at you and a trommel with 3D paint so you never quite know which way is up… or down. It’s fun!

It can be easy to miss, simply head down from the main entrance towards Colony and Chop Shop, and to your left is a victorian style house with a balcony and clock. Just underneath and tucked into a corner is the entrance to the maze. 

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DODGEMS

I wanted to make a special mention for the Dodgems. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from these and as we were kindly gifted our VIP wristbands, the rides were included. Boy, were we in absolute awe of this ride. The smoke effects literally caught us all off guard and made this a bloody hilarious experience. I don’t think I have cried laughing so much on a dodgems. There were 6 of us in our group and we had no limits to how much we were going to bump into eachother, it was lethal at times! The bruises on my legs show how much fun we had. Honestly one of the highlights of the night!

You can do all the 8 mazes in one night however, if you are heading towards peak time i.e. October Half Term, the fastrack option will be perfect for you! Besides, I may have had a hard time choosing just 5 mazes (and 1 ride!) that you must do, just do them all! Each maze is unique in its own way and you’d be a fool to miss out on any of them plus don’t forget to experience the Circus of Horrors whilst you’re at it – located right next to The Coven of 13 maze.  Thanks Tulley’s for a truly fantastic night!

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

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.

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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.

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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 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

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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

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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

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

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

Pros and Cons of a Solo Theme Park Trip

Pros and Cons of a Solo Theme Park Trip

Here’s the scenario, you’ve got a day off (yippee!) and you’re thinking, ‘What do I want to do today?’. That little voice in your head is telling you to go to a theme park. Great idea! Let’s see who is available to join you. Disappointment ensues when they all say they’re busy. ‘Dammit!’ What to do ey?

You could chill out at home, spending you day off wishing you were at a theme park…

Or you could make a day of it and make it a solo trip?

In a situation like this, it can be incredibly daunting to travel to a theme park by yourself, especially if it is your first time giving it a go. Here are the pros and cons of visiting a theme park as a solo traveller!

PRO: You can plan the day how you like it

That’s right. You have the freedom and flexibility to enjoy the day, however you want. You don’t need to worry about frequent toilet breaks (if you have those sorts of friends!) or worrying about wanting to re-ride a ride without your friends. If you want to go ahead and spend all day whoring your favourite coaster, you do that. Love photography? A solo theme park trip can give you the chance to walk around the park at your own pace and take as many photos as you feel like you are ‘dragging your mates’ around the park with you. You want to try out a brand-new food outlet, go right ahead. Sometimes it can be like a breath of fresh air to enjoy a theme park by yourself.

CON: First time moments can’t be shared – unless over social media

If you are visiting a theme park for the first time, those first-time moments can’t be shared in real time. Grabbing that first-time cred? You can’t truly share that moment with  no-one around. Yes, in this day and age, we have the power of technology and social media, but it’s not really the same, is it? Nothing beats getting a cred with your friend (or other half) and seeing your reaction – especially when it bloody good cred too.

PRO: Single Rider Queues are the best!

Whenever you are travelling solo, you have the power to use single rider queues and make the most of your day. You don’t need to worry about stupidly busy queues as you can simply bypass this and walk straight on (not always guaranteed!). Of course, if the theme park you visit doesn’t enforce single riders or even have them, you will have to join the queues. Just keep yourself busy with your phone or why not be funky and bring a book?

CON: You don’t have a photo buddy

Now, you might be thinking, a photo buddy? I am on about that faithful friend or ‘Instagram husband’ who takes your photo. You’ve found a fantastic spot for a photo opportunity, but wait, there is no dedicated photographer in sight and you’re on your own. Your only option, to take a selfie. And it’s never quite the same is it? Selfies only work for certain opportunities, not all of them. And before you say it, a selfie stick is not really a good alternative – unless you want to risk your phone being stolen… No thanks!!

PRO: Appreciating the parks in their entirety

As a geek, I know that I want to see an entire park, especially if it is a new park! Now, I don’t mean, ticking off the creds and having a small walk into each area. I want to explore the beauty of a theme park – unless the place is truly awful, in which case it would be a quick cred grab. Sometimes, if you have friends with you, this is not always easy to experience. They may not share the same values as you and will be focused on riding the coasters/rides. As a solo traveller, you could find areas that you never knew about before. Take as many photos as you want.

CON: It can be lonely…

This point is a given. You cannot truly avoid the loneliness of travelling solo, no matter how hard you try. Not to get too science-y or technical, but as humans, we are sociable creatures. We thrive on interaction with other people and chatting with strangers is not quite the same as chatting with your mates. Of course, that doesn’t mean to say that you are cut off, you do have your mobile phone on you. However, think about those parks that are secluded – phone signal won’t be great which can make communicating difficult to achieve. And if you are in a foreign country, there is the difficulty of the language barrier. Always a good excuse to learn a new language though? It’s not all doom and gloom, make the most of chatting to the ride hosts/ops or if you’re feeling brave, chatting to people in queue lines if you find a friendly face. You never know whether they are a solo traveller too!

This is a small list off the top of my head, do you have any other pros and cons when embarking on a solo trip? Let me know in the comments!

That’s all for now.

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Waterpark Wish List

Waterpark Wish List

Following on from my favourite water parks blog post, I thought I would compile a list of water parks that are on my wish list to visit. There’s so many fantastic water parks all around the world, and since I love to travel, I’d love to go and explore these places! As I said in my previous water parks post, a water park can be a great addition to your holiday planning. It is the perfect way to break up your trip and enjoy a new adrenaline rush away from rollercoasters.

Let’s crack on with my waterpark wish list…

Siam Park, Tenerife
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Siam Park | Tenerife

This has been top of my list for quite a few years. Having never visited Tenerife before, even us theme park geeks need a chill holiday from time to time. And with the bonus of Siam Park, there’s plenty of reason for me wanting to go. With so many attractions available and watching all the vlogs on YouTube just makes me crave a trip here even more.

Aquaadventure Waterpark, Dubai
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Aquaadventure Waterpark | Dubai

I mean, it says it is the ‘best water park in Dubai’ – don’t need to be convinced anymore now, do I? And from the photos and videos I have watched of this place, I can see why everyone wants to go.

Tropical Islands Resort, Germany
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Tropical Islands Resort | Germany

I believe I have got the right name for this. Honestly, I just want to see what it is like since it an indoor water park, inside an airship hangar. That is purely the main reason for me wanting to go.

Rulantica @ Europa Park, Germany
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Rulantica @ Europa Park | Germany

Okay, it isn’t open yet, but I must include this on my list because it will be open in 2019. I cannot wait to return to Europa Park and explore their new theme park. It will be the perfect addition to their resort and following the construction is making me even more excited.

Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando Florida
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Volcano Bay | Universal Orlando

When this was announced, I just knew that this would be a must-do when I return to Florida. Seeing the photos of this place and watching, once again, more YouTube vlogs, I just had to see what all the attractions are like. The volcano centrepiece in the park is just, INCREDIBLE.

Aquaadventure Atlantis Waterpark, Bahamas
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Aquaadventure Atlantis Waterpark | Bahamas

Now, I remember seeing this place in a film from the Mary-Kate and Ashley days. If you have ever heard of their film, Holiday in the Sun, then you will know exactly what I am on about. As a kid, this place that became a bucket list item since I was a young girl. And to this day, it is still very much on my wish list! The slide, Leap of Faith, that goes through the shark tank is so fab, but daunting at the same time!

Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
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Yas Waterworld | Abu Dhabi (UAE)

Basically, if I’m ever making a trip to Dubai/Abu Dhabi, this will be on my list of places to visit. Plus with a name like ‘Yas Waterworld’, makes it so fab.

These are just some of the water parks on my bucket list that I really want to visit! It won’t be a surprise if this list does grow in the future as I discover new parks that I want to visit – and maybe find myself a money tree that can help me to travel more than I already do… One can dream. Are there any water parks that you think should be on my list? Let me know in the comments below.

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!

Blackpool Pleasure Beach - ICON_for media

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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