Hi guys. By this point, I'd imagine many of us have been visiting parks for years; we've seen some of the best stuff we'll ever see. But even though some of us have come so far, are there still coasters and parks that will always mean a lot to you, no matter how far they may slide down your top 10 list? This doesn't necessarily have to be your favourite coasters or favourite parks, but the ones that will always have a special place in your heart for certain reasons. So, I'll get the ball rolling with my personal choices in terms of both coasters and parks:
- Runaway Mine Train at Alton Towers - The first coaster I ever rode! I'll always have a soft spot for this 1992 powered classic no matter how many coasters I may eventually ride! It packs a surprising punch given its speed, and I'll always remember how I laughed going round the helixes and corners for the first time!
- The Smiler at Alton Towers - Even though it is not a specific milestone to me, The Smiler is a large part of why I am a theme park enthusiast. The construction of this record-breaking ride was the very thing that brought me into this wonderful community in the first place, from when me and my sister heard of SW7's construction back in June 2012 and Googled the ride to get a better idea of what it was going to be. I then went back to it in early 2013 and followed the late stages of construction before finally riding it in September 2013! That first ride on it also represented one of the first rides I was properly apprehensive about at the time; Alton Towers' PR machine worked a little too well on 10-year-old me, as I was genuinely concerned that I'd get marmalised at the time!
- Mako at SeaWorld Orlando - I know I said above that the rides that mean a lot to you didn't necessarily have to be your favourite coaster, but I'd be lying if I said that my first ever ride on Mako back in August 2016 wasn't one of the most poignant coaster experiences of my enthusiast journey! I actually remember being quite nervous going up the lift hill, as I'd never experienced anything like it before and I'd never had such exposed restraints on such a large coaster before! But as soon as that phenomenal first drop yanked me out of my seat for a sustained period of awesomeness and airtime, I knew that Mako would be a special ride for me. I know I'm going to get criticised for this, as Mako is a B&M hyper and B&M hypers apparently don't have ejector, but Mako's airtime felt closer to ejector than anything else I've experienced to this day! I was literally almost standing up for a good 3 or 4 seconds over each of the airtime hills, and it was blissful! I'd been on coasters that had wowed me before and I'd obviously had number 1s before, but Mako was the first coaster where I'd ever come off with an overwhelming WOW feeling, and that's why it means so much to me!
- There are probably many more, but those are some of the particular standouts!
- Alton Towers - The first theme park I ever visited, and still arguably my favourite to this day! It's the theme park I grew up visiting and I now know the place like the back of my hand! I know that "magic" is a cliched term often used in relation to Disney parks, but I'd say Alton Towers provides me with more magic than any Disney park I've been to, despite how amazing they can be!
- The Universal Orlando parks - I know that Disney is the main draw of Central Florida for most tourists, but until our 2019 visit where we properly did Disney for the first time, every Florida holiday my family and I went on had to include Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure in some capacity! Those parks have some of the best rides I've ever experienced and hold some of the best memories I've ever had with my family, so they will always mean a great deal to me! To be fair, I could probably include all the others in Florida too, but Universal in particular stuck out to me as we've visited it on all but 1 of our Florida holidays!
- As I said for coasters, there are probably many more, but those are some of the particular standouts!