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

Bayern Park: 350th coaster and Bavarian beauty

Bayern Park: 350th coaster and Bavarian beauty

On Monday 10th June 2019, Jared and I started off our German road trip with a visit to Bayern Park. Whilst trip planning, we wanted to tackle the southern German parks with the help of Coast2Coaster. I didn’t do much research into the park itself and to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t. Bayern Park has a lot of German beauty that makes this a quiant place to visit when in the Bavaria area.

First impressions

As we drove towards the park from our hotel in Munich, the entrance is very understated. First impressions for me were: ‘Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m going to like this park.’ Little did I know that there was a lot more beauty to the park once you set foot inside. Sometimes the phrase, don’t judge a book by its cover runs very true. A park with a understated entrance doesn’t mean this is going to be a ‘disappointing’ park.

As you walk inside, the entrance area has your typical shops – perfect for nabbing guests to spend more money on gifts and merchandise before they leave or enter the park. Great sales ploy. Anyway, onwards to the park.

The park overall in terms of beauty & landscaping, it’s up there as one of the most beautiful parks that uses the natural landscape so well. It looks understated but honestly, the rides work so well within the trees/fauna. It’s nice to step away from a park that uses themed buildings to create a more closed in atmosphere. And let’s not forget about how beautiful German architecture is.

First stop for us was to grab the creds. The park is currently home to 5 creds – depending on what you class as a cred. There are 2 Butterfly creds, 2 Zierer Tivoli coasters and a Maurer Launch coaster. Since I was going to be getting my 350th coaster here in the park, I wanted this to be Freischütz. Okay, sometimes it’s fun to let your key ‘milestones’ be random but not for me. Besides, 350 isn’t a big milestone but I’ll still shout about it.

Cred grabbing

Butterfly coasters are renowned in European theme parks. I don’t really see the appeal other than to tick them off as a +1 for my count. These are self operated by simply closing the gates, sitting inside the ride, pulling down the bar & pressing the start button on the ride itself. You go back and forth until the ride comes to a stop. Simple & easy creds to grab without queuing too long. Yes, Jared and I did get some strange looks from the locals but we didn’t care.

Why the park needed two Butterfly coasters? I’ll never know. One is big model & the other is your traditional small model that you’ll see in other parks around Europe. The big model was located inside a building, ‘themed’ to space so I guess it had that going for it. And aptly named ‘Star-Shuttle’. Otherwise, it was two creds to easily grab within the first 30 mins. You’ll also be pleased to know that these are located towards the front end of the park.

Next up was to tick off the two Zierer Tivoli coasters. Again, the park seems to like having a ‘big’ version & ‘small’ version of the same manufacturer. The small version, called ‘Froschbarn’, is a standard layout that’s perfect for young kids. If you’ve been to Paultons Park, the ‘Dino Chase’ coaster is the exact same layout. Short but sweet little cred that’s hidden in the trees. Must admit, the natural vibes of this park were very welcome.

One thing to note about Bayern Park, it’s hilly in places. As you travel downwards, you’ll find the second Zierer Tivoli coaster. Again, the ride blends in well with the natural landscape. I don’t know if it’s just me but I love being surrounded by trees & natural fauna when visiting a theme park. Don’t get me wrong, buildings can work well to disguise open spaces but I love a natural landscape. You can guess that I was the player of RCT that liked planting bushes and trees wherever I could.

The imaginative name of ‘Achterbahn’, the ride layout is a fun layout winding through the trees. The perfect next step up for young kids/thrillseekers. Zierer Tivoli coaster may not be my most favourite coasters but I have a small soft spot for them. I grew up with riding The Stinger/Cat-O-Pillar coaster at Paultons Park so Zierer Tivoli’s were a huge part of my young coaster enthusiasm.

Last but not least, my 350th coaster cred was… Freischütz. Surprisingly, this Maurer X-Car Flying Launch coaster was very enjoyable. The launch packs quite a punch, especially when sat in the back row. Not gonna lie, I don’t like the actual cars/seats themselves as they are ridiculously big and the restraints are super heavy to pull down yourself. I saw many people struggle to pull down their restraint so don’t feel embarrassed. The ride staff will help you out.

The music in the station was funky as hell. If there was one thing I could take away from the ride, it would be the music choice in the station. Random, I know. This park is very pretty yet it doesn’t have any true ‘stand out’ coasters in the park. Freischütz is fun with a great launch but nothing to shout about. Before I forget, the ride entrance is very well hidden. More so if you are located at the bottom end of the park near Achterbahn.

The park is almost split into 3 sections. Upper, Mid & Lower sections. The upper section houses the 2 Butterfly creds and a couple of flat rides including a beautifully decorated chairswing. The mid-section houses Freischütz (this is where the ride entrance is) & Froschbarn. Finally, the lower section houses several rides and attractions including Achterbahn, a Wiegand powered coaster (something we missed entirely!), log flume, rapids and more.

Noteable mentions

Considering we weren’t planning to spend all day at Bayern Park, I’m glad we did. Despite the humidity being ridiculous, we had a great day with some funny moments. One particular moment was riding the log flume. This was your standard travelling log flume layout that takes on the same style as Raging River Ride at Paultons Park or what you may commonly find at funfairs. The ride was not overly wet but as we plunged down the final drop of the ride, we almost capsized!

And with this, both Jared & I got more than we bargained for. More so for Jared who ended up getting soaked on his left side. Yes, I was wetting myself laughing. It happened so quickly that we didn’t know why it happened. Either we put too much weight on one side of the boat or the run off from the final drop was shorter than anticipated. Who knows? It was hilarious.

Next up was the Rapids ride. Again, another travelling style water ride that picks up a fair amount of speed as you travel along the trough. Fun with a few splashes here and there. Not a soaker even though on this particular day, we’d love a splash of water to cool down. Plus, in the station area, your bags are put onto a conveyor belt so as you exit the ride on the other side of the station, your bags will be there ready for you. I think this is a genius idea and more parks should use this for bag storage.

Granted we didn’t really explore the park to its whole extent. The lower part of Bayern Park doesn’t just have rides. There are animals too. From lynx, deer, pygmy goats & so much more. Gutted would be an understatement but this proves that some research may have helped. This would’ve helped us to understand more of the layout of the park too. Planned out what rides we wanted to do etc. Obviously our original intention was to grab the coaster creds, who can blame us right?

Aside from missing out a fair chunk of the park, we had a lovely day out at Bayern Park. Would we visit again? Probably not unless they build another coaster to a similar scale of Freischütz. The park may not be large in size but it’s a great park to include as part of a large road trip within the Bavaria area of Germany. This is how we did it and we don’t have any regrets going. Overall the park is beautiful and has some fun rides within.

Have you visited Bayern Park?

What are your favourite rides/coasters at the park?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Top 5 Energylandia coasters you can’t miss

Top 5 Energylandia coasters you can’t miss

In October last year, I boarded my flight to Krakow in search of coaster creds in Poland. I had to get a trip booked in after the announcement of Zadra’s opening date. Flights were going cheap for late October so had to get them booked, didn’t I? Visiting Energylandia for the first time was a bizarre experience for me. I had previously watched Jordan’s vlogs from her trip in April and knew it was a park I wanted to visit. Just not as soon as I did. I was very eager to tick off the 15 creds and there were at least 5 coasters at Energylandia that I couldn’t miss.

Cred anxiety is a known thing. Were we were going to get spited by a major coaster? Was the weather going to take a turn for the worst? Thankfully it was like a UK summer heatwave all over again! Energylandia as a park reminded me of a RCT (Roller Coaster Tycoon) park. Coasters dotted all over the place, with the odd bits of theming added in. The layout made no sense without the help of a park map. It was somewhat confusing but once you get your bearings, you know exactly where to go.

tall wooden rollercoaster with blue sky
tall green water coaster with blue sky
bright multicoloured rollercoaster for children on green track
chairswing ride with flowers and bushes neatly placed around ride
top 5 energylandia coasters

With 15 creds to grab, it seemed fitting to pick out my top 5 coasters at the park. There’s a lot of kiddie creds and that’s not an understatement. I know some people aren’t hardcore ‘cred whores’ but there are some solid coasters in the line up. Aside from the obvious reason for my trip in the first place. Can you hazard a guess as to which coaster? Anyway let’s crack on with my top 5 coasters at Energylandia you can’t miss!

wooden rollercoaster going through inversion with pumpkin statue to right

Coaster #1: Zadra

It was obvious that this would be number one for me. I loved Zadra, a LOT. From the moment you leave the ride station, you knew this ride was going to pull out all the stops to be an incredible ride. It had the speed, the forces, the inversions, the whole package in my eyes for a world class coaster. I’d love to be inside the mind of Alan Schilke when he comes up with the concepts for his coasters. Zadra is a force to be reckoned with. The whole area around the ride is stunning – just be prepared to walk in the ridiculously long queue line to get to the station!

race car style rollercoaster on red track

Coaster #2: Formula

I’m gonna just put it out here now and say that I didn’t think I was going to love Formula as much as I did. For a compact layout, it packs a punch even with the launch at the beginning of the ride. It’s a fun ride that is pretty intense in places (not as much as Lech coaster in Legendia though.) I cannot wait to see what else Vekoma is going to come up with in the future as I’ve been very impressed with Formula and Lech Coaster in Poland.

tall rollercoaster on black track with lights on side of lift hill

Coaster #3: Hyperion

Now, I know some people who’ve ridden Hyperion are going to wonder why I’ve put it beneath Formula. Hear me out. Overall, Hyperion is a good coaster as it packs in some cool airtime moments and whips you round the ‘Dive Drop’ element after the first airtime hill. Yes, I rode Zadra first and probably got completely spoilt by how amazing it rode. BUT I just felt like there was something missing from the whole ride experience – even after 4 rides, I still came off Hyperion feeling flat and unimpressed.

top 5 energylandia coasters

Source

Coaster #4: Dragon Roller Coaster

There’s not a lot to say about this coaster other than it is fun. I have a huge soft spot for these new style Vekoma suspended coasters. Flight of the Pterosaur at Paultons Park, Orkanen at Farup Sommerland & the list goes on. I believe this is the same layout as Orkanen at Farup Sommerland – don’t quote me on that. They incorporate the water element to the ride really well. The dragon head was beautiful to look at and worked so well as a near miss element. It’s a basic suspended coaster that is fun for the whole family, cool ride layout with some fun turns and something I consider to be re-rideable – if you need to waste some spare moments on a quiet day.

mayan temple building with rollercoaster to the left

Coaster #5: Roller Coaster Mayan

Say what? A Vekoma SLC is in this list? Oh yes, people. This SLC has the new trains and restraints from Vekoma and blimey, you can tell the difference. As with any SLC, it isn’t what I call silky smooth. However our first ride on Mayan was very good. Baring in mind the temperature reached highs of 25 degrees so the ride had plenty of time to warm up. This is where the painful reminder of SLCs came back in focus. The new restraints didn’t give me too much of a headache, thankfully! I did still felt sore and battered after my second ride later in the day. Whilst this is my favourite of all SLCs I have ridden so far, it still provides with that raw old school Vekoma roughness that we all know and ‘love’…

girl posing in front of massive pumpkin
rollercoaster through loop on red track
wooden rollercoaster with red topper track
formula red rollercoaster track during sunset
top 5 energylandia coasters

I can’t wait to return to the park over the next few years. I’d love to see how the park develops, plus I’m intrigued by the new Vekoma Shockwave, Abyssus, opening in 2020.

Are you planning a trip to Energylandia this year?

Visited Energylandia, which rides are your favourites?

What are your top 5 coasters at Energylandia?

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

My top tips for visiting Energylandia

My top tips for visiting Energylandia

Energylandia is a theme park near Zator in Poland and is the next major park on all theme park enthusiasts hitlist. This includes the exciting Aqualantis area coming to the park featuring Abyssus. With Zadra opening last year (2019), it’s no surprise that everyone wants a piece of this RMC. It’s amazing and you should definitely ride it! Energylandia is a fairly easy park to deal with from my experience. So I’d thought I’d compile my top tips for visiting Energylandia. I hope that this will help any of you who has an upcoming trip planned.

So without further ado, here are my top tips for visiting Energylandia.

My top tips for visiting Energylandiaracing rollercoaster on red trackwooden rollercoaster with pumpkin at energylandiaMy top tips for visiting energylandia

Top tip #1: Locker System

There is a very clever locker system that is in place at Energylandia. Not only is it inexpensive but it’s super easy to deal with. If I remember correctly, they cost around 5 PLN which is the equivalent of around £2, making it super affordable. You receive a wristband which has a barcode you scan, and the computer system assigns a locker number for you. These lockers are placed within the queue lines of certain coasters including Zadra, Hyperion, Formula etc.

It’s a simple concept. You get a locker, place your belongings inside and then collect your items once you have ridden the rides. Easy to follow which means taking bags with you on park won’t cause too much faff. I’m an anti-faff kinda person so this was ideal! And for anyone wondering, you can change the language to English. No need to worry about working out the Polish translation when claiming your locker number.

Pro tip: Beware that you will need to ensure you collect all items after you’ve ridden the rides as you won’t be able to collect them again once the locker doors are shut. And no, there is no guarantee you will get the same locker number again once you’ve scanned the wristband.

Top tip #2: English Language Barrier

Trust me when I say this, every staff member we came across on our trip spoke great English. Yes, some members of staff might have broken English but you can still make small conversation with them. At all the shops, food outlets, even the Entertainment staff spoke fantastic English. Of course, learning the basic Polish will get you far but don’t fear if you haven’t managed to cram in a late night Polish lesson via Duolingo. You’ll be fine and the staff are extremely helpful too.

Top tip #3: Plan your route

Energylandia is a very big park. You don’t really appreciate the size of it until you are actually there. You’ll soon realise that whilst Hyperion is right next door to the entrance to the park, Zadra is a good 10 minute walk to the back of the park. It’s definitely worth understanding the layout of the park and working out a route of attack in order to tick of the creds. Pro tip: Almost all kiddie creds are located in the central area of the park and worth ticking of in one go!

Top tip #4: Food prices

You will find that Poland is incredibly cheap. This is perfect for anyone on a budget as you won’t need to scrimp and save too much. If you’re worried about the cost of food in Energylandia, don’t fret. For 2 people, we bought 2 meals plus drinks for the equivalent of around £10 – bargain I say! The portion sizes are generous and great value for money in my opinion. Pro tip: Don’t worry about getting any cash out in Poland as most places in Energylandia took card – and contactless worked a treat over there!

Top tip #5: Use the park map

Following on from point 3, make sure you grab a park map. I know some people love to collect maps and there’s nothing wrong with that, but Energylandia can be a little bit of maze unless you’ve travelled to the park before. The park map is the best way to figure out the pathways you need to find the ride entrances. One particular case was with the Viking Roller Coaster entrance – we found the station but had trouble trying to find the entrance to the queue. Pro tip: Before you start making your way to a particular cred that is in your sightline, study the park map for your route to the queue line entrances. Some are pretty concealed and not where you expect them to be!

Top tip #6: Plan order of coasters

Last but certainly not least, you will need to PLAN the order of which creds you’ll get first. Why do I say this? Well, it is commonplace in Energylandia for ride staff to wait until they have filled an entire train of people. If you’re planning to visit on a quiet day like we did, you will soon learn that you may be waiting around a while. Of course, they don’t wait until every seat is filled as you would end up with some very grumpy guests. But be prepared for a slight wait before you get on the ride.

Pro tip: Whilst the temptation to get on Zadra, or the brand new Abyssus for 2020, is extremely high. Just a reminder that these are located at the back of the park. Trust me when I say you’ll be waiting a long time until more people actually reach the area to get on the rides with you. Be wary of what I said above about how it’s a good 10 min walk from entrance to Zadra… Start near the front of the park and work your way around since they don’t like sending half empty trains!

I hope my top tips for visiting Energylandia has given you some insight into how the park works. The park can be overwhelming but it is simple to navigate. Hopefully this post will help you to have a stress free experience on your travels. Of course, if you have already visited Energylandia before, and there’s some tips I have missed, feel free to write them down in the comments below.

Already visited Energylandia, what is your favourite ride/coaster here?

Planning your first visit, what is your most anticipated ride/coaster?

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

My trip to ZSL London Zoo | Review

My trip to ZSL London Zoo | Review

Two weeks ago I took a trip to ZSL London Zoo and had a lovely time experiencing what the zoo had to offer.  Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house during January and enjoy the cool sunshine. Or maybe that’s just me? To be honest, most of the animals wanted to stay inside in their warm indoor enclosures. Likewise I don’t blame them one bit and can totally relate. January is that closed season lull for us theme park enthusiasts. All we want to do is hide away until the theme parks officially open again.

Anyway, a key goal of mine in 2020 is to visit more Zoos. My particular favourites in the past have included Kolmarden Zoo, Marwell Zoo and Chester Zoo. It’s always been on my list but I knew I needed to make a trip to ZSL London Zoo at some point. The zoo itself is located in Regent’s Park near Camden. Consequently it’s very easy to get to via the Tube. Don’t fret about the distance as it’s a simple 10-15 min walk from Camden Town tube station. We did have to use Google Maps to make sure we were walking in the right direction. Typical tourists ey! It wasn’t long till we arrived at Regent’s Park and saw the rather understated entrance to the Zoo.

So, how was ZSL London Zoo?

ZSL London Zoo isn’t a massive zoo. However after my visit to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in October 2018, I expected more. I shouldn’t have tried to make a direct comparison. Subsequently I ended up feeling a bit disappointed from my visit. Just to clarify there were plenty of animals to see including Tigers, Lions & African Wild Dogs. In case you weren’t aware, I’m a huge lover of big cats! Some of the ‘theming’ around the enclosures were beautiful to look at. Rainforest Life was a brilliant exhibit as it gave you a chance to see both the daytime & nocturnal Rainforest animals of Madagascar including bats!

Personally I felt a bit underwhelmed of the whole day. This wasn’t helped by the long arduous journey to get into London. Rail replacement bus services are a nightmare at times! What normally takes an hour to get to London Waterloo, took double that time. It was bad planning on our part so I’ll remember that for next time! Sadly this meant we only had about two hours to explore the Zoo fully. Not enough time in my opinion. Most reviews I have read said that this was one of the best Zoos to visit in the UK. I didn’t get that vibe! In conclusion I think a return visit is what we need for this Summer. We had a lovely time and would love to go back to see more of what the Zoo has to offer.

Find out more information about the Zoo through their official website here.

Have you ever visited ZSL London Zoo?

What are your favourite Zoos in the UK?

And just for fun, what’s your favourite animal?

trip to zsl london zooflamingoes in a pondtrip to ZSL London Zootiger sleeping on platform in enclosuretrip to ZSL London Zootrip to ZSL London Zoolion lying on the groundtrip to ZSL London Zoomonkey sitting in the treetrip to ZSL London Zootwo lemurs sitting on perchafrican wild dogs eating their lunch

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

Packing for my New Year holiday

Packing for my New Year holiday

I’m heading off to Gardaland and Europa Park this Thursday to see in 2020 – my first time abroad during this period. It’s certainly going to be a new experience for me having always stayed in the UK and avoided booking travel during the Christmas holidays. There’s a lot of things I am looking forward to experiencing including Europa Park’s Winter Season event and my first ever visit to Gardaland. So what exactly am I packing for my New Year holiday?

I am travelling with RyanAir using hand luggage only. Sounds like an impossible task right? Not really if you plan well when it comes to your clothes and toiletries. Not gonna lie, I’ve travelled using hand luggage for various trips to Europe in order to save costs on luggage, and sometimes travelling light can save you a lot of hassle. Whilst some people might wonder how I do it – whether through the fact I am a woman, or some people might call me crazy in general and can’t fathom the thought of travelling hand luggage only. I’m here to tell and prove to you it can be done.

packing new year holiday passport

So what exactly am I planning to take?

Before I even start getting the suitcase open and chucking clothes into it, I actually plan out my outfits for each day of my trip. This not only helps me to avoid overpacking but it actually helps when I am out travelling. Ever feel stuck trying to figure out what outfit you want to wear each day? You won’t have that issue any more! I will write down my list using the Notes app on my iPad. With this trip in particular, there’s going to be lots of theme park days so obvious choices will be t-shirts, leggings, shorts/skirts etc.

Mix and matching outfits is the key part to packing light with hand luggage. I also have a few evening meals planned so nicer outfits are required, whether that is a nice top paired with leggings or a nice dress with tights. Ensuring outfits are easy to fold and don’t take up too much space, like thin cotton t-shirts or dresses, will really help to ensure you can take the basics with you without weighing down your case.

packing new year holiday hotel kronosar europa park

Top Tips:

#1: If you can make some outfits split into multiple uses like transitioning from daytime to evening, this can really help with space.

#2: Packing cubes. If you haven’t used these before, buy some from Amazon – they are not even that expensive, but please give them a go. They have changed the way I pack my suitcase for any future trips. They really help to utilise the space in your case better – ideal for hand luggage trips.

#3: Having a designated travel outfit can really help avoid overpacking. Wearing bulky items when travelling will save you lots of space in your case – this includes hoodies & coats.

#4: Toiletries & make-up? Try to take the bare minimum and avoid anything that is liquid based. That 100ml limit and one liquids bag can be a pain in the arse but you can make it work – stick with eyeliner pencils, lipsticks, powders etc.

packing new year holiday europa park logo on floor

My packing list as follows…

Clothing

  • T-Shirts x5
  • Jeans/Jeggings x1
  • Shorts/Skirt x2
  • Leggings x1
  • Dresses x5 (Including NYE dress!)

Layers & Necessities

  • Underwear x9
  • Bra x1
  • Thermals x1 (Top & Bottoms)
  • Tights x2
  • Socks x4 (Thick socks mostly cause who wants cold feet when walking around a theme park?)
  • Scarf, Hat, Gloves
  • Leather Jacket (Evening purpose)
  • Superdry Jacket

It’s pretty basic but it’s amazing how I can fit 9 days worth of outfits in my carry-on suitcase without going over the 10kg from RyanAir. It’s not magic, it’s practical and sensible packing!

Have you travelled abroad only using hand luggage?

How do you pack? Do you create a list?

Do you shove everything in and hope for the best? What works for you?

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, see you all in 2020!

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

2019 Review | My Highs and Lows

2019 Review | My Highs and Lows

Christmas is fast approaching, and 2020 not far behind. It’s a good time for me to write up a 2019 review, highlighting the highs and lows. It’s been a rollercoaster year for me. I’m hoping for a more positive year in 2020. Fingers crossed I can make that happen!

Like a rollercoaster, the beginning of the year started off with hope and positivity through my work and general life. I felt ready to take on the year head first. First of all I wanted to continue to gain more experience within Marketing. Secondly I had some great holidays booked to Europe which always gives you motivation to go to work, right? It was shaping up to be a great year from start to finish. Then Summer came around and I lost my motivation. Through my job, my life and I felt rather helpless over my general health. This left me neglecting my blog, the people who’ve stood by me all the way and who I am as a person. This probably explains why I ended up very ill between October and November. Crazy how stress & general illness can get to you.

I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I wondered where I was heading from a 27 year old to a 28 year old. It’s so easy to get scooped up into other people’s lives and think, why am I not where they are: moved out of the parents house, married with my soul mate, enjoying lots of holidays, earning a reasonable salary based on my age & gaining more work experience? Consequently I’m now ending the year taking on the mistakes I have made. I’m learning from them and trying to fight my way back to where I was at the start of 2019. I’m ready for whatever 2020 throws at me and to embrace a better version of me (with the addition of hearing aids!).

Aside from my self reflection & low points, there’s been some key memories from 2019 that has made this year a jolly good one…

2019 review highs and lows heide park horizon

Favourite Theme Park: There’s been a lot of theme parks I have stumbled into this year, both revisited and brand new for me. It’s been one hell of an adventure and I’d love to hope that 2020 will be in a similar vein – even if its one major trip abroad, I will be happy. So which theme park was my favourite from this year? It has to be Heide Park. The park is certainly one of the prettiest parks I have visited under the Merlin portfolio, a lot of beautiful scenery around and the lake gives some great views of a coaster horizon. Plus, there’s Colossos & Flug Der Damonen which were fab in my eyes. If you are heading to Hamburg, make sure to tag on a day trip or two to Heide Park.

2019 review highs and lows zadra wooden rollercoaster energylandia

Favourite Rollercoaster: Well… I’ve gained well over 100 new creds this year, and a few have been some pretty solid coasters. So which one was my all time favourite? Zadra. It has to be Zadra for me. There is not a single ride I have ridden that compares to it. It was phenomenal to ride. The airtime wasn’t painful compared to Untamed. The sheer speed from start to finish was pretty damn impressive – and it maintained this throughout the day, even to the point it was incredibly fast. Anybody who is going to Energylandia in 2020 are in for a treat.

2019 review highs and lows longleat house

Favourite Visitor Attraction: Away from theme parks, I’m an avid traveller so I enjoy exploring an array of visitor attractions around the UK. From Moors Valley Country Park to Longleat Safari Park, I’ve explored some pretty cool places. I’m hoping to go exploring even more in 2020. So my favourite place to visit was Longleat for their Festival of Light event. It was a magical experience to see all the lanterns and explore the Safari Park – always a plus when you’ve get the chance to see Amur Tigers, Lions, Wolves & more.

2019 review highs and lows meeting john wardley

Favourite Memory: Meeting John Wardley will forever be my absolute favourite memory from this year. I fangirled a lot. I can now tick this moment off my lifetime bucket list. You know that list of celebrities you’d love to meet. It was a fantastic opportunity to have chat with him about his passion for rollercoasters. He was a truly humble and inspirational guy to so many people in the theme park community.

2019 review highs and lows rock of ages mayflower southampton

Favourite Musical: Rock of Ages was a true delight to watch. The film has always been a guilty pleasure of mine so as soon as I saw it was heading to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, I had to buy tickets. It had the jokes & gags to get me belly laughing. Likewise the actors & actresses singing ability were incredible. If it comes back on tour, I’d happily watch it again, and I think you should too.

What have been your highs and lows of 2019?

What has been your favourite memory from this year?

Any new theme parks or rollercoasters you’ve ridden that’s been a tick of the bucket list?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

 

Chessington World of Adventures | Winters Tail Review

Chessington World of Adventures | Winters Tail Review

There’s nothing better than getting into the Christmas Spirit this December with a festive trip to Chessington World of Adventures for their Winter’s Tail event. I had a great time visiting the event last year. It was only right that I return this year. Even if just to get my Vampire fix and enjoy the delights of Chessington dressed up in Christmas theming. So let’s crack on with my Chessington Winters Tail review.

There’s a lot to see and do, even if the majority of the theme park is shut for the winter. The main highlight of this event is for kids to meet up with Father Christmas in his Grotto. And if they’re really good, they might receive an early Christmas present! The way Chessington does this is through winding around the many Grottos with Santa’s elves guiding you along the way is both magical and fun for all the family. Beware that this can get extremely popular with families! It’s going to be very busy throughout the day, even if you arrive at your allocated time slot.

Another special feature of Winter’s Tail is to visit The Gruffalo Kitchen for some cookie decorating. I do have a small soft spot for baking – even though I don’t bake as much as I would like! Having this opportunity to be creative and decorate cookies is one of the best ways to get into the festive spirit. Regardless of how old you are, it’s certainly adds that extra special treat to your day. Located to the left of Pizza Pasta Buffet in Adventure Point, this will also get very busy so ensure you allocate enough time during your visit to do this.

At 1pm, 2pm, 5pm and 6pm, you can get your dancing shoes on and join in with the Gruffalo and Stick Man Christmas Groove. Located in the Gruffalo Arena, I find Chessington do a fantastic job with their shows throughout the year. This was no exception. With a host of familiar and catchy Christmas songs to get you in the mood, it’s one to watch during your visit to Chessington Winter’s Tail. Plus, I thought it was even better compared to last year, the storyline was easy to follow and the interaction with the kids was perfect. Fab job by Chessington’s Entertainments team.

Did I forget to mention that there are a selection of rides open too? Last year, they announced Vampire would open throughout November & December for the first time during winter. I secretly fangirled and knew I had to visit. And of course, Vampire is back open this year – a perfect way to get those final nighttime rides in before 2019 ends. The area of Vampire was perfectly lit up to get those perfect shots – Chessington does a great job with nighttime lighting so fellow photographers, get your cameras at the ready.

Other rides open during Winter’s Tail include:

  • The Gruffalo River Ride,
  • Tiny Truckers,
  • Room on the Broom – a Magical Journey,
  • SeaStorm,
  • Adventure Tree Carousel,
  • AMAZU Treetop Adventure
  • Plus you have the Zoo & SeaLife open to explore!

I hope my Chessington Winters Tail review has given you a good insight into the event. So why not get yourself over to Chessington and have some festive fun at Winter’s Tail. It’s advised to pre-book your tickets, prices are from £18.50 for non Annual Passholders, and from £18 for Annual Passholders. Granted paying extra for a seasonal event can put people off but honestly, it’s worth it to get into the Christmas spirit. And I’m sure your kids will love you for it too, parents! You can find out more information & book tickets on Chessington’s website.

chessington winters tail review chessington winters tail reviewchristmas tree and chessington adventure tree carouselchessington winters tail review gruffalo kitchenchessington winters tail review christmas decorationschessington winters tail review santa sleighchessington winters tail review safari skywaychessington winters tail review gruffalo posinglogo on groundgingerbread familychessington winters tail reviewrhino lights statue and santa sleighsantas sleighlights and christmas wreathchessington winters tail review

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo