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More bites of Giant Peaches?: 2018 - Oakwood

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by HeartlineCoaster, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. HeartlineCoaster

    HeartlineCoaster Well-Known Member

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    It’s been a big year for the UK and as I’ve been taking the time to report on all the local Wacky Worms it seems rude not to put something together for the big boys.

    Icon

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    I’d tried to distance myself from the hype surrounding this ride somewhat for the last year or so. In trying not to let it sink in that my favourite ride type was coming to the UK, it eased the expectations and even by the time I was sitting down in the thing, it hadn’t quite hit me.
    But here we are in a sexy Mack train, sitting on a launch track, in Blackpool. What.

    First impressions were good. Nothing was overwhelming, but it felt like a solid layout that had somewhat more to give... and give it did.

    Kept going back to it throughout the course of the day and it only ever got better. I soon came to the selfish realisation that regardless of how well this thing goes down in the country, for the public, for the park, whatever, this ride is exactly what I wanted for the UK.
    This isn’t purely down the ride itself, but also the park it’s located in. I’ve already mentioned the easy-going atmosphere, but this place is just well run and packed full of attractions in that you can really get the most out of your day there. Queues don’t get huge, operations are great.
    It was a gorgeous weekend, we didn’t even arrive for opening, but had done all the rides bar a couple of breakdowns by lunchtime. Icon never got above 15 minutes, but it can’t physically hold a queue of more than about 20 minutes.

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    Why does this matter? Because Icon is ridiculously fun and re-rideable. Something that has been missing for me in this country, personally, forever.
    I’m very happy to say it’s my new favourite in the country, and that it's gone to somewhere that really lets you make the most of that.
    Nemesis had that crown before, and it’s great, but it was never a ride I’d want to do 10 times in a day, even when the UK scene was all I had.
    Merlin parks are forever falling out of my favour as the queues and operations get steadily worse. It’s a struggle to turn up to those places on a whim and have either an overall good time or spend some time whoring something you love. Even if they did get something as good as this I just feel it would be harder to enjoy and appreciate. When I do turn up to them, the time investment is rarely worth the return for me, and that’s a much more significant factor when you’re dealing with your ‘local’ parks.

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    Enough sidetracking. Back seat is where it’s at, all the key air time moments are enhanced by that position and it’s those moments punctuating the other things going on that make this style of ride special for me.
    The first hill is crazy good with it’s sharp entrance and exit, separated by a slow drag over the crest.

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    Many twisty turny bits follow to keep you amused, never too repetitive and always with at least some purpose.

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    The gentle downhill inversion is glorious, something Mack have always managed to nail for me. Then it gets a little wild and kicks you down into the second launch and you’re soon being dragged through another sexy inversion.

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    More twisty turny bits including one bit of the ride that stands out with some strong positive force, another tick for variety, keeps you happy all the way into the brakes. I even appreciated the way it hauls arse out of the brake run into the station, coming in hot.

    I’ve fallen for the soundtrack now I’ve heard it in person. Found myself singing it quite often throughout the day which is always a good sign. Should be a worthy addition to the playlist.

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    The entrance and queue is decent. I like the way the pathway follows inside the supports for a while. The fact that Grand Prix is mincing along the fence next to the queue makes me laugh.
    Station is decent. Looks like a bit of modern interior design, the phrase ‘those mirrors will just open up the room’ must have been said at least once. They’ve adopted the free-for-all row allocation strategy which I know and love, the staff sometimes got annoyed by this, but I hope it sticks. Bag holders and wall that is built into the transfer track and moved with the train also makes me laugh.
    Exit is a bit lacking. The plain black walls are too high to enjoy views as you pass between the two launches, the floor is already collapsing and the stairwell is boring.

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    Minor ride nitpicks:
    Mist in the tunnels was off already.
    That wonky hill doesn’t kick as much arse as some of its rivals and is a bit unbalanced in that it’s tailored towards the left half of the train.
    I didn’t really feel, appreciate or even notice the interactions and near misses that seemed like they would be a huge part of this experience. Maybe I was wrong earlier and I was overwhelmed, the whole time.

    As already mentioned, there was plenty of time to enjoy all the other stuff on park, including time to slither out to the car for some Valhalla preparation and grab a bonus cred on the way!

    South Pier

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    Reverchon Spinner. £4 a pop.

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    The true highlight of the day.
     
  2. HeartlineCoaster

    HeartlineCoaster Well-Known Member

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    Wicker Man

    Keep meaning to write something about him, so let's get it out of the way.
    In the words of my favourite trip reporter - was it worth it man?
    Not particularly.

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    I'd also tried to distance myself from this, though it was hard to avoid the general air of 'its Merlin and look at the size of it, it's gonna suck', even though GCI have never steered me wrong. Then it opened and I heard some rather superlative reviews, so maybe this distancing thing didn't work so well.

    First impressions were awful anyway. Turned up on a whim while I was working in the area, something I've learnt to never do again with Alton (which all links back to what I was talking about with Blackpool above). Park was running like absolute crap, all I did in 5 hours was get 1 lap of Wicker and forced onto Rita with some free fastrack, hated it. Queued 2 hours to find best part of the experience was the pre-show and the coaster was crap.

    To give it a fairer shot, went again on the originally planned date for a full day at the park.

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    It's slightly better in the back at least. From there the first drop and hill do a little something to you. I'd describe the rest of the layout in enthusiastic detail, but I can't find the words, just a few ramblings.
    Have some pictures instead, as I'm sure you've not seen any before.

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    Pre-show was broken by my third go, so there goes the best bit. I do really love all the wording in the story, as well as the moment the face appears out of the darkness. Shame the ride doesn't live up to that.

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    Oh and what's up with that wasted opportunity of a brake run? Someone phone up Universal and order a roof on fire.

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    So all a bit underwhelming and a non-event to me. Hopefully I'll learn to like it for what it is over time. Hopefully it's significant for the UK coaster scene or whatever, but selfish thoughts come first: meh. Rather ride Thirteen. Or go to Blackpool.

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    Did the new Duel to see what the fuss was about. Taking away the old music was an awful decision, but it will forever live on in the playlist. Wasn't particularly bothered by the 'visual' changes.

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    That visual change bothers me more for instance.

    Did actually manage to have a decent day at the park overall, so it can be forgiven for the previous shambles. Bothered to stay the whole day, which is a good sign, and got plenty done with minimal hassle.

    Need to find another excuse to return and justify the burdenous season pass, but we'll see about that.
     
  3. HeartlineCoaster

    HeartlineCoaster Well-Known Member

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    Had a bit of a crap time at Oakwood, but some stories have to be told anyway.

    Work lumbered me with a morning free in the arse end of Wales, so thought it would be rude not to pop in, mostly because I'm far more shameless than I once was and it would be a +3 for me.

    Oakwood Theme Park

    Turned up bright and early before opening thinking this’ll be a breeze. Staff were arriving later than me and were confused by my presence. Sat it out until a few minutes prior, by which time a crowd of 20-30 people were ready to roll.

    Had a completely free run of the place for the first hour and hit all of the smaller creds in this time.

    Circus Clown was tested and opened for me, on request. Good start.

    Highlight of the day – I broke Crocodile Coaster.
    It completed the first lap without a hitch (that’s the +1 sorted), but as it was picking up some speed through the second lap, sparks began to fly and some black smoke wafted up in the vicinity of the trains contact with the power rail. Operator hit the E-stop upon seeing this and ran off to get a manager telling me to stay where I was. I thought to myself, sitting about 2 inches from the floor, 'if I see any more smoke I ain’t staying.'
    He returned and had a quick chat about his procedures and what we thought had happened, can’t fault him at all for how the traumatising ordeal was handled. Manager and some engineers arrived shortly afterwards and coaxed it back into the station.
    That was fun.

    Didn’t know Creepy Crawler (I do admire all this alliteration) had a little themed queue with some fog and an animatronic. That was cool. Ride wasn’t. M&Ds must have given it a hard time.

    Even though they were posted as also opening at 10 at the entrance, Speed and Megafobia did not open during this time.

    So I sat on a bench for half an hour outside Megafobia and waited. By the time it had opened, a couple of hundred school children had rocked up to the park and after getting my first lap, the queue was instantly up to around an hour, with painfully slow one man operations, half the rows closed off cos they’re broken and 10 minute dispatches.

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    I’d been told this woodie was on its A game recently, but it was pretty much how I remembered it – meh.

    Sucked up one more wait just to prove a point, then got annoyed and sunburnt and promptly left.

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    Who needs Coasterforce when you can have Castleforce?
    This is Pembroke Castle. One for the count.
     
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  4. CookieCoasters

    CookieCoasters Well-Known Member

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    Only just happened across these reports this evening; couldn’t help but chuckle at the below after just visiting today:


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    Clearly a Funder Park staple. If only he could pass you a token then the owner would never have to come back from his break.
     
  5. jayjay

    jayjay Well-Known Member

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    Now you mention it, I vaguely remember the dog from when we went, unless my mind just fabricated a memory.
     
  6. HeartlineCoaster

    HeartlineCoaster Well-Known Member

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    Think he'd rather beat us up than give out tokens.
     
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  7. Hixee

    Hixee Moderator Staff Member Moderator CF Award Winner 2016

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    Or sell you car insurance...
     
  8. HeartlineCoaster

    HeartlineCoaster Well-Known Member

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    Oh... no no no no no no no. But Churchill is a smiley fellow.
    Oh yes.
     
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