Festival of Light Review | Longleat Safari Park

Festival of Light Review | Longleat Safari Park

On Saturday 16th November, I finally visited Longleat’s Festival of Light event. After many years of wanting to go, I planned ahead this year & tickets were booked for my birthday weekend. I couldn’t wait. If you’re a theme park geek like myself, this is a perfect closed season trip to undertake. Longleat Safari Park is located just outside Warminster in Wiltshire. Right opposite Longleat Centre Parcs in Longleat Forest. There’s a lot to see and do at the park. And with the Festival of Light event, it’s clear to see why it’s so popular among guests. Of course any event has its high and low points. So let’s crack on with my full review of Longleat Festival of Light.

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Highlights from Longleat’s Festival of Light…

Beautiful Lanterns

I was in awe at the number of lanterns they had. Considering there were probably around 100 different lanterns in total! I thought they had a dedicated area for all the lanterns. Nope, they were dotted everywhere. This actually made it into an all-encompassing event where you truly felt immersed in the park. Nothing impacted the areas near any animal enclosures which was great. You can tell they’ve worked hard to ensure this event flowed as well as it could. From 4.30pm, the lanterns were turned on and it truly felt like a winter’s event. The theme for 2019 was Myths and Legends. Regardless of whether a theme is your favourite or not, you will still have a fantastic time regardless.

Safari Park & Animal Encounters

The Safari Park is an expansive area with a wide range of animals to see from the comfort of your car (or from a VIP truck – there is an extra charge for this). It’s best to allocate at least 3 hours for the Safari. Not only does it cover a vast area of land, but there’s also a stop-off point in the African Village featuring a shop, toilets, cafe and Lemur walkthrough. Not only that but once you’ve exited the Safari Park, your day doesn’t end there. There’s plenty more animals to encounter including Crocodiles, Bats, Koalas, Lorikeets and many more. Plus, there’s a Jungle Cruise located towards the back end of the park. Sadly we didn’t get to go on this during our visit as the queue was horrifically busy. Fingers crossed we can go on this on our next visit!

Projection Mapping

The projection mapping on Longleat House is new for 2019, and boy, I’ve seen projection mapping done really well along my travels. This is up there as one of my favourites. The facade of Longleat House is beautiful enough on its own but the projection mapping at night really adds to the atmosphere. It can be easy to miss if guests aren’t heading towards the front of the house once the lanterns have been turned on. Projections on the house included star constellations, mythical creatures and legends. It was beautifully portrayed and I couldn’t stop watching (and taking photos). If you are heading to Longleat Festival of Light this year, do not miss this!

Pizza Piazza

There’s plenty of eateries around the park which is very important when it comes to feeding the family. One place that delivered high-quality food, fantastic customer service and an all-round great experience was Pizza Piazza. This place was quite hidden without the help of the park map. Serving a fab range of Pizzas & meal deals. It’s perfect for families on a budget. The average price was around £10 for a Margherita Pizza, £14 for a Texas BBQ/Meat Feast Pizza and £2.50 for either a soft drink or hot beverage. Meal Deals were also available from £15 to £25 depending on your group size. The food was high quality and incredibly filling, highly recommend. If you’re on the move, you can have a takeaway which I think is fantastic for families/groups on the move or if you can’t find a table to sit at during busy periods.

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Lowlights from Longleat’s Festival of Light…

Too busy

Okay, I understand that this event has grown in popularity over the years. Saturday’s visit was incredibly busy. It was very difficult to enjoy the experience without getting in people’s way or trying to manoeuvre the crowds. I’m not a huge lover of crowds anyway and can get very overwhelmed in these situations. However, there was a distinct lack of crowd control. Having more marshalls in different places to help ease congestion. A lot of people were standing in the way or stopping in awkward spots. Consequently, this meant us photographers couldn’t get the shot we wanted. If you are a family with young children, please keep in mind how busy certain areas get. If you can, please keep your children close at all times or try to wait until a quieter period.

A lot to cover in one day

Take it from me, you’ll need a plan to make the most of your day at Longleat. We arrived at Longleat around 12pm so didn’t get a full day at the park. Longleat opens at 10am, Safari Park opens from 9.30am. There is a LOT to cover if you really want to make the most of your visit. Aside from the Jungle Cruise and Longleat House, we still covered at least 85% of the park. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking to attend in the future. The main Festival of Light event gives you around 3 hours to walk the park and see the lanterns. The lanterns are switched on around 4.30pm. I believe this is ample time to take photos and see them all. With plenty of planning before your visit, you’ll be able to enjoy everything that Longleat has to offer.

Lack of signposts

For an event that becomes incredibly busy at this time of year, the signposts around this park are either too small to see or lacking in different areas. Whilst you have a park map to guide you, it’s still tricky to find what you are looking for. The layout of Longleat Adventure Park isn’t very logical in my opinion. There’s a lot of different walkways that steer off the main path. Some places seem hidden away so make sure you have that park map handy! Some temporary event signage to guide people around the park would help massively. This would help with the crowd control as there were a lot of people stopping in the middle of pathways looking lost. Given the number of guests on park, this caused a lot of congestion and didn’t help with the flow for people who were looking for shops, toilets and food places.

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Despite the lowlights, I had a great time and would definitely recommend this event for anyone who’s looking for a weekend day trip with family & friends. Travelling from afar? There’s plenty of places to stay in the nearby area including Warminster, Salisbury and more. If this is your first time, enjoy it and make sure to allocate at least 3 hours for the Safari Park – it’s big!

Longleat Festival of Light runs on selected dates from 9th November to 5th January 2020. Hurry, tickets are selling fast and you don’t want to miss out on this amazing event – buy tickets on their website or find out more about the Festival of Light here.

That’s all for now!Lottie xoxo

 

Dr Fright’s Halloween Nights 2018 | Review

Dr Fright’s Halloween Nights 2018 | Review

Oh boy, where do I even begin with Dr Frights? One word, brilliant.

The atmosphere was fun and the low lighting within each attraction and queue line added to the suspense and anticipation, making you feel uneasy at times, not really knowing what to expect from each of the mazes.

Some pros of the night included the batching of groups. Forget these crazy batching levels of up to 15 people – it is the number of people in your group. So, if you are a group of 2, that is your group size. This is a big perk for me as the actors can really get plenty of jump scares in. Plus, there’s a simple traffic light system at the start of each attraction – ‘wait for the green light’ – which is your cue to begin your journey into each of the mazes. This was great as it meant you had a good enough gap between groups – I wish this was a system used at scare mazes at the Merlin parks.

Not only are there scare mazes, there is a bar area within the marquee area that you can venture to. However, the biggest thing to note is that you MUST complete ALL FOUR MAZES before you can enter this area. I really like this idea as it helps to keep those who can get really drunk and spoil the mazes. It provides some peace of mind that the actors aren’t going to be at risk with drunken people. Great idea Dr. Frights, I feel this worked really well to keep the event fun and enjoyable for everyone.

So let’s crack on with the reason for visiting Dr Frights, and talk about my thoughts on the mazes.

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‘Karloff’s Movie Theatre’ welcomes you to step inside scenes from your favourite scary movies. Come face to face with the most feared characters in horror, including Freddy, Jason and Michael plus many more. This a brand new version of the constant fan favourite!

First maze of the night and it definitely set the scene for what was going to be an epic night. Essentially you walk through some of the famous Halloween horror films including Freddy Krueger, Pennywise and Michael Myers. The set pieces in this maze were impressive, it really felt like you were a part of the films – and as someone who isn’t a huge fan of horror films – I really enjoyed this maze. The actors made good use of the space to really get those jump scares in. Definitely a good starting point if you are new to the event!

WhatTheHell

Do you like human sacrifices? Blood rituals? Banging tunes? Axe wielding bunnymen? Then you’ll love the ‘5 Point Temple’. An abandoned chapel converted into a twisted satanic nightclub by a bizzare and deadly cult. This maze doesn’t get it’s name for nothing. It will mess you up!

After a good start to the maze line-up, I was expecting the same level of jump scares as Hollywood Horror 3. The title says it all really, WHAT THE HELL? In my opinion, this was the weakest maze of the night for me personally however that is more down to my personal preference of a maze having a storyline or contingency within. The randomness did make me chuckle a lot, especially with the likes of seeing Santa halfway through, what the hell was that about? The actors were on top form and really added to the experience. There were moments I caught up with the group ahead of me therefore I could tell where the scares were – one of the good things I found were some of the actors making the most of the area they had including following me at various points.

ShockTherapy

Step inside the haunted corridors of ‘Heavensgate Hospital’. Escape a psychopathic doctor and his legion of nightmare nurses that stalk the building. This is an extremely intense, adrenaline fuelled experience like no other. You have been warned!

Now. If there’s one thing I have a soft spot for is hospital style mazes, especially with the likes of Asylum at Thorpe Park many years ago! I didn’t know what to expect, but it really did impress me thoroughly. There were plenty of moments where the actors really got me, especially in the first scene with the bed and one patient grabbed my ankle as I walked past! I wasn’t expecting it at all but it’s those moments that make a maze for me. Of course, with any sort of hospital style maze, there’s going to be a strobe maze. Say hello to Asylum’s baby brother/sister. It was trippy. It was disorientating. And the actors knew exactly how to get you, I had two actors with me at the end of the maze singing Ring a Roses in my ear! Fantastic work and best maze of the night for me.

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The carnival has come to town and has set up shop on ‘Mumma Beef’s Farm’! Witness a blood soaked showdown like no other as killer clowns take on cannibal hillbillies in a twisted game of murder and mayhem. The rules are simple, whichever team kills the most carnival goers (that’s you) wins! Let the game commence!

I knew there was going to be a chainsaw in one maze at Dr Frights. And I was not disappointed. This maze was fantastic and I loved walking in to see the majority of the maze – almost like giving you a false sense of security. Each section is split between clowns and hillbillies. I really liked this as you didn’t know who to expect around each corner. As I only really noticed at different points in the maze, you will get split up from your group. I was held up at one point but once another group came along, I was allowed to ‘leave’ so to speak. I have dealt with mazes where you are split up, Sub Species, I’m looking at you, and it doesn’t phase me. Basically, ‘meet you at the exit’ is said among my group. As you wind around the maze, you can hear (and smell) the chainsaws as you approach the end of the maze. I have certainly gained a sense of bravery towards chainsaws now so they don’t phase me too much. HOWEVER, when there’s two quite literally on my arse and feeling the heat on my hand, that’s enough to send me running out of the maze. It has to be up there as one of my favourite mazes I have done this year alongside Shock Therapy.

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Overall, I had a truly fantastic experience at Dr Frights. The maze line-up was strong and there were plenty of scares along the way – something that has been lacking at different scare events I have done. If you have time to visit Dr Frights, do it. You seriously won’t regret it. You can still book tickets for the event this year, both online or on the door (cash only). The event has several nights available, from 25th October to 31st October (closed on 29th October.) Based at White Nurseries, right next to the A45 near Northampton, it is easily accessible via car with plenty of free parking right outside the event. The venue is all indoors so come rain or shine, you can still enjoy all the attractions. There is a food van and bar area where you will be able to purchase food and drink as well as toilet facilities. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

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!

21. und 22. April: Eröffnungsfest für die Wildalpenbahn im PraterSource

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

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

Feed the Flames at Alton Towers

Feed the Flames at Alton Towers

IMG_2315Guys, I did it!

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

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

 

“FIRST IMPRESSIONS – WOW!”

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

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

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

 

“GREAT JOB TO THE RIDE TEAM!”

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

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

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

 

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

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

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

 

 

The pros of visiting a theme park in the rain!

The pros of visiting a theme park in the rain!
1173659_10151845367364800_1508483313_nYou’re a true theme park geek if you can work out where this photo was taken! *wink*

It’s worth noting that as I’m writing this post, the weather outside is beautiful, blue skies and glorious sunshine. It’s not hot by any means, come on, it’s still February. Doesn’t really make sense, right? Trust me, I was thinking about the weather, and how much I want to be at a theme park – closed season, winter, boredom have taken their toll and now I’m craving a theme park trip – and I thought, let’s write a post about why you SHOULD still visit theme parks even when the weather is a bit miserable.

#1 Queue lines are SHORT!

Generally, I have found that theme parks can be so quiet when the weather is raining (or if rain is forecast for the day!) It puts most people off venturing outdoors and it’s perfect. Queue lines are manageable. Of course, if the weather is torrential rain, there is the high chance a coaster or ride will shut until the weather subsides or clears up, but most of the time – especially in the UK, you can still ride the coasters in the rain. Might be a bit painful but no pain, no gain?

#2 Quiet theme parks means more re-rides

You know when you visit a park and there’s that one ride you just want to re-ride all day. Okay, if the weather is raining or what not, you might want to think twice depending on the coaster (those launch coasters hurt in the rain people!) BUT there’s nothing stopping you from doing what you want to do. And if you have a 5-minute queue, you want to make the most of those re-rides. I know I would, within reason of course.

#3 Good excuse to immerse yourself with dark rides

Depending on which park you’re at, you could spend the entire day sheltering from the rain with dark rides. I can’t resist a good dark ride, even if it is nice to have a sit down for a few minutes. It’s also nice to take in the ambiance and immerse yourself in the experience. Unless it is a truly awful dark ride, Giester Rikscha I’m looking at you, in which case just spend your time laughing at how awful the ride is. If you’ve got geeky friends, talk about how much it needs improving or what you would change.

#4 It’s fun!

I don’t know about you but I swear you can have more fun in the rain at a theme park than when it is sunny. Could just be me, hey ho! I tend to find it more fun when it starts raining at a park. The panic of where to go next without getting too drenched, or the feeling of quick thinking about which ride you want to go on next – do you brave riding a fast coaster with rain pelting on your face or do you choose the safe option and shelter in a building. If you’re feeling crazy, why not do a water ride? There’s nothing to stop a water ride from shutting in the rain – unless you’re Storm Surge at Thorpe Park.

If these reasons aren’t enough to get you out when it is raining then you do you. Rain won’t ever stop me from visiting a theme park – I’ve had some good times in the rain, and some painful times – try riding Stealth at Thorpe Park front row in the heavy rain, then your face will feel pain! Although having said that, I could tell you to try riding Joris en de Draak in Efteling, in the cold, in the heavy rain… Now that was an experience. Photo proof below of me ‘hiding’ the pain. It was fun, honest.

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That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Center Parcs Woburn Forest | A weekend in the forest

Center Parcs Woburn Forest | A weekend in the forest

CenterParcsTitleIt has become a tradition with my family to make a regular holiday to Center Parcs. I have grown up with the place, remembering one of my first visits to Longleat Forest when I was a youngster – I’m pretty sure I’ve been to Elveden Forest when I was a baby, but I can hardly remember that! It is one of my favourite places to visit and honestly, I will be taking this tradition with me (yes, I have converted my boyfriend into enjoying Center Parcs too!)

In 2014, Center Parcs expanded their ‘portfolio’ of holiday villages by building a new one in the heart of Bedfordshire, now known as Woburn Forest. I was lucky enough to visit in it’s opening year (twice, I might add!) and to see how well it has expanded and grown is amazing. Despite the expensive nature of Center Parcs, you can’t deny that you get quality.

I was incredibly excited when my parents told me we were going for a weekend break for my brother’s 30th. I can only hope my 30th ends up being just as awesome! I get those excitement butterflies in the stomach once I see the signs for Center Parcs, like with any holiday destination I travel to.

I chose the location of our lodge – yep, I’m the girl that plans where we stay – and it was absolutely ideal! It was the perfect distance from The Plaza and Village Square. Plus having a lodge on the edge of a row was also ideal as you have the privacy away from having neighbours either side of you. Perfect for my family! We stayed in a three bedroom Executive lodge. There is a range of lodges to choose from including Woodland Lodges to Exclusive Lodges. You can enter your lodge at any time from 3pm, and you do have the option to enter your lodge early by adding it to your booking.

Honestly, the best thing about Center Parcs is the freedom you have to do what you want, when you want. You can choose the activities you want to do, there is no time limit on when you need to book (ideally, book as early as you can as many activities get booked up quickly!) We ended up playing Table Tennis & Bowling on the Saturday and Badminton on the Sunday.

The weather was a real mixture, WE HAD SNOW! Seriously, me and my family have always wanted to visit Center Parcs when it snows, and the weather didn’t disappoint. Of course, with it being January, rain was also on the cards too – which meant every Indoor activity including the Subtropical Swimming Paradise was very busy! Sadly, we did not get a chance to explore the swimming and the Rapids but I have done them before. Besides, I was happy to have one hell of a chilled weekend away from the stresses of real life.

When it comes to food, again it is up to you. You can eat out at the range of restaurants own resort, bring in your own food or buy from the ParcMarket which is Center Parcs’ supermarket! Be warned, it is VERY pricey compared to your average supermarket. TOP TIP: There is a Tesco in Flitwick which is approx. 5 min drive from Woburn Forest so you can always stock up before you arrive.

There is also the choice of getting a takeaway from the Center Parcs Dining In service. You will be spoilt for choice as there is so much to choose from, Chinese, Indian, Pizzas, Fajitas and more! In the end, me and my family ate out at the restaurants for two nights (Strada – Friday night and Huck’s – Saturday night) My parents went to Las Iguanas on the Friday night which is a new restaurant for Woburn. On the Sunday night, since the weather was VERY cold from the snow and rain, we decided to have a night in and ordered ourselves a Dining In Takeaway. I had the Fajitas and they were delicious!

Some people will say that Center Parcs is so expensive, and yes, it can be pricey but it is SO worth it in my honest opinion. You make the holiday as active or as relaxing as you want. There is plenty to do and you won’t be short for choice on where to eat. If you are in need of a staycation then Center Parcs fits the bill perfectly. I had such a fab time and can’t wait to make a return visit soon – hopefully won’t leave it for 2 years but we’ll see!

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS