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GF2021: Bigger, Longer & Uncut - Trip Reports

Ian

From CoasterForce
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Tell us how you got on!
 

Will

Strata Poster
It's only just occurred to me that I only actually rode one coaster today and THAT was the old Mine Train! Downtime issues were obviously very real, but I honestly didn't notice.

After all this time, it was wonderful to see so many old faces (and a fair few new ones) and have a long overdue catch-up - despite how much free time I've spent pratting about on the forum this year, I'd forgotten just how much I've missed being a part of CF.

The downside is I'm MASSIVELY out of practise at any kind of social function or large group of people and that really started to catch up with me towards the end of the day - I admit I feel physically and mentally exhausted now and I'm very glad there's an extra hour of tonight to recover :)
 

caffeine_demon

Strata Poster
Nice colouring!

Anyway, was great to be back at a live, good day, despite rattlesnake being down all day, and dragons fury going tech for most of the afternoon.

Hope my pleasurewood hills beastie foldable water bottle faffle prize went down well!

Anyway, just gonna finish by saying creepy caves was outstanding!
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Coasterforce Lives are back!!!

Great couple of days, really grateful for the effort that Serena and everybody else put in!!! Thanks to your planning, we got plenty done and keeping us entertained and busy in some of the longer queues, made the day thoroughly enjoyable.

Congrats to the ‘pew pew’ king, I really tried to get a good score… But that score was just untouchable!!!

Really hope 2022 can mean a return to more regular meets… Mini meets and trips these last 2 years have been great, but it’d be nice to get some proper ones back on the calendar, even if only UK… (lets face it, the UK look to have given up managing the pandemic altogether!)

Hope everyone has a great time at Thorpe today!!!

P.s nice little bonus at the end… ;)
 

davidm

Strata Poster
Hello yes thank you everyone for a nice fun weekend, despite the miserable weather at the start of both days, despite burdenous queues on both days, despite shocking ride availability at Chessie, despite shocking food availability at Thorpe, despite maze breakdowns at Thorpe (seriously, how does a maze even break down?), despite people continually managing to get in-between our groups in a queue, despite Merlin money grabbing fast fastpasses making stand-by lines terrible, despite people pissing themselves on Inferno (not us) almost making us miss booked times, despite awful muddy car parks at Chessy and the Mad Max escape from Thorpe's car park and despite 3 nights at the infamous Tolworth Travelodge... I had a very nice time. 🙂
 

nadroJ

CF Legend
I have a few stupid photos I took across the two days which I'll share when I get round to it but urgh, I am absolutely exhausted. First Live since I believe Thorpe opening 2019 for me, so 2.5 years which is crazy to think! Suffice to say the pandemic seems to have taken its toll on my resilience to standing around for hours chatting **** about theme parks in the freezing cold!

A fab two days - massive shout out to Serena for sorting everything and for providing endless streams of silly entertainment. Would've been nicer if more people got involved from that perspective given the effort that was put in to keep everybody occupied in the queues but it is what it is. Was fab to see everybody again, especially the more old school CFers!
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
massive shout out to Serena for sorting everything and for providing endless streams of silly entertainment. Would've been nicer if more people got involved from that perspective given the effort that was put in to keep everybody occupied in the queues but it is what it is.
Honestly, without those games in the queues it would have been horrendous queueing on Saturday 🙈

Did I miss something? Everybody got involved on Saturday, or were things a bit different at Thorpe?
 

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Running a Live during a pandemic was perhaps a strange idea.

I saw CFers meeting up and going on their own cred runs this year, so I thought the time was right to dive back in. In hindsight, I'm not so sure it was.

A whopping 15 people couldn't make it at the last minute (myself included, as I could no longer attend Tulleys) which highlights how difficult it is to make plans right now. You never know when Coronavirus might mess everything up for you, and I'm sorry to all of those who could not attend.

I felt super anxious about running this live. I couldn't sleep the night before Chessie. I was up for hours making and printing Paranormal Activity Packs and fretting that I had made enough fun stuff for everyone.

As the first live in nearly 2 years, I was worried expectations would be high. I was concerned about how busy the parks were going to be. I was thinking about how to ensure that everyone felt welcome in a large group after a year of isolation.

My plan for GhosterForce was to split the group into three teams. Team Vekoma. Team B+M. Team Intamin. This was to try and make things less cliquey, and help shy people get involved.

At Chessie, people were assigned their teams via stars on the fabulous name badges provided by @Slayed - thank you @Slayed !

First up, a quiz based on each manufacturer for each team. Getting people to stand in their teams was hard and I eventually had to resort to reading questions individually to various team members throughout the Bubbleworks queue.

Perhaps I should have explained it better. But that team spirit, camaraderie and sense of friendly competition I was hoping for didn't materialise.

I had next prepared a game of Just A Minute: Forum Topic Edition for each team member to win points during the Tomb Blaster queue.

Then, a crown was awarded to the person who scored the highest on Tomb Blaster. Thank you to Nic for getting involved and wearing the shoddily made crown with pride!

Team Vekoma were well in the lead. I wonder how many people were interested enough in the Team Competition to know this though...

I had made Cred Head: Forum Members edition which most people refused to do in the Tiger Rock queue.

The left side (FORCE!) of Blue Barnacle won the shouting match. Largely due to my side (COASTER) not really trying and me feeling like an absolute idiot shouting "Coaster!" every time the ship rose.

Don't get me wrong. Chessie was a good day and we had some laughs, but breaking the ice was proving a difficult task at points. I was starting to worry that no one was having a good time and that no one likes my Lives. Were my games annoying? Did no one care about the teams aspect? Did no one want to see how many CFers we can fit into various themed objects? I felt like I was pulling teeth everytime I tried to generate some fun.

Eternal gratitude to @SaiyanHajime for pulling a few strings and getting us on Vampire quickly at night. I think we are all very pleased that we did not have to endure that 100 minute queue! Thank you Joey!


The morning of Thorpe was stressful. Ticket faff. The weather absolutely ruining my costume in 5 minutes. The meet up area being closed off. The rides being closed. Shame most people didn't dress up, but I understand the weather was off putting for that.

Here's where I should mention the Activity Packs. I make these so that people who don't know everyone have a way to get involved. I sit there trying to think of all the ways I can try and put a smile on a Live attendees face. So it stings a bit when I try to hand them out and people just say no, without even looking at it. I made it for you.

Previously, those activity packs have generated discussion and laughs in queues. I was sad to not hear anyone mentioning it once all weekend. Maybe I just missed that. I do have bad hearing after all.

Thank you @emoo for posting your beautifully coloured-in chainsaw. That's lovely to see. I'd love to see how many garlic bread slices people ate at Pizza Pasta too as I think I'm in the lead on 12 slices! 😂

The team games planned for Thorpe Park involved a Drawing version of Chinese Whispers where one person draws, the next person writes a caption etc... This proved hilarious at Port Aventura. But again, lots of people didn't want to play or even seem interested in watching others play. Scarletts fab captions had me howling with laughter, I must say! I realised I couldn't award team points for this game as not enough people played.

Another game I had prepared was Hoops I Did It Again. Where CFers have to eat the number of inversions on a coaster in Hula Hoops off paper plates without using their hands. God forbid whoever gets The Smiler! Thanks to the 4 people who played 🙃 No team points for this round!

Okay. Clearly Hoops wasn't a hit. Let's try Coaster Charades. This went a bit better but I felt like I was having to beg people just to have a go. Aren't Lives all about making a fool of yourself with fellow enthusiasts or have I got this wrong?

I spent £17 on various glowsticks (glasses, ears, sticks, fun shapes etc) no one said a quick "thanks" when I dished them out.

Thank you to everyone in my Creak Freek group for being understanding and reasonable when the maze ceased operation. If you email: customer.services@thorpe-park.co.uk with your digital Creek Freak ticket attached they will be able to arrange stuff for you. Alex and I went to Guest Services at the end of the day and got 3 free fast tracks to use next year so it's worth doing :)

By the time we had ridden Swarm I had fully given up on all my efforts and felt so deflated that I didn't even want to be in the group photo.

Joey, Scarlett, Alex, Tom, Barry and I went off to ride Detonator and Stealth at night and that was the highlight of my day at Thorpe.

I don't want this post to sound negative. I did have a fab day at Chessie and there were some fun times at Thorpe. It was lovely to see everyone and I appreciate the effort everyone made to come along, because doing stuff isn't easy at the moment.

FYI, the Mystery Prize for the Winning Team was a framed photo of...Mystery Castle! It was a MYSTERY prize! I'm going to award it to myself for making an effort.

In conclusion, I had a nice time overall and there were some great moments - but there was definitely some room for improvement. Let's really put the enthusiasm back into coaster enthusiasts next time!

Some photos:

20211101_111344.jpg

20211101_111355.jpg20211101_111405.jpg20211101_111416.jpgIMG-20211101-WA0003.jpgIMG-20211101-WA0007.jpg20211101_111428.jpg20211101_111438.jpg20211030_224833.jpg
 
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Will

Strata Poster
That ****ing scare-actor has obscured me in the Thorpe photo... :D

Anyway - @Serena - do not, for one single solitary second, put yourself down - I like to think myself fairly eloquent, but I can't express in words how grateful I am that last weekend took place. I know I was sat at the back having a fag when the glowsticks were being handed out, but that was partly because I realised that this sentimental old twat was having to wipe away a few tears just watching everyone.

Tulleys, I confess didn't feel like part of a Live (due to the very low attendance from us and the very HIGH attendance from everybody else) - but I really wanted to go anyway and I had a good night, as well as the fact that it gave the folks who had a lot of travelling to do something to do the evening before the main meet. Best Halloween attraction I've done this year, though because there were so many mazes, I forget which were the highlights! I wish I'd been able to get away a bit earlier though.

I admit I'd totally forgotten the team aspect of the games - this was a good idea to help include newcomers, but at the same time, everybody's going to naturally gravitate towards their closer friends/acquaintances, especially when it was SO long since we'd properly seen each other. I did give myself a bit of a telling off for not doing enough mingling at Chessington. Charades was fairly entertaining and I really enjoyed cred-heads (despite the slight awkwardness when I realised who was stuck to my forehead!) and you may have noticed we inspired a lot of non-CFers in the queue to start playing their own version. The Chinese Whispers in the Inferno queue ended up being hysterical for those who were paying attention - sorry I managed to ruin the first game at Stealth!! I'll forgive anyone who didn't fancy playing the Hoops game on camera, but as long as I'm in a good mood, I've never had a problem with looking like a prat on a meet. Speaking of which, I'm fairly confident I ate more garlic bread than you - the moment when we walked out of Room on the Broom, sniffed the air and tried to work out which one of us the lingering scent of garlic was cracked me up.

I did have concerns (that I was too scared to voice!) when I originally saw the dates, but (aside for the HOUR for a kebab at Thorpe) I didn't really notice the length of queues or busy-ness of the parks - I guess it helps that there were a few people present I could probably talk at solidly for at least 24 hours... I'm pretty **** at reading moods, but I could tell you were nearing the end of your tether after the Creek Freak debacle and hope I managed to cheer you up at least a tiny bit in the Swarm queue - you and Alex (and his ludicrous costume) are also great queue line companions :)

I think the best compliment I can pay is that halfway through the Chessie day, I voluntarily agreed to my first visit to Thorpe since 2015 (thank you so much, Joey - and Jordan for the maze ticket) and proceeded to have the best day I've had there in nearly a decade.

I'll try and write some better recollections when I've put my head back in the correct order, but for now, here is a picture of a scary creature befriending a lion:
IMG_0930b.JPG
 
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SaiyanHajime

Strata Poster
Serena you did awesome and everyone had a great time! You really shouldn't beat yourself up about prepping and people not getting involved. CF Lives are different for everyone and I think the low turnout just made it look like less people than usual were willing to participate, when it was probably the normal percentage. I'm always boring and just want to chin wag.

One good thing about the small group is how little faff there was. Swings n roundabouts!

Scarlet is so glad she came after all for the Sunday! She had s lovely time.

I don't really have a highlight, everything was fun. :) Swarm at night was awesome - I don't think I've ever enjoyed it that much. And us making a queue faff for terrible coffee LOL

I liked the coaster heads up game a lot! I the forum users version is tough cuz I barely know anyone's username 🤣

The activity sheet guess the username game is just impossible for me, but when other people got them I was like... Ooooh! I'm stupid. And bad at this. My brain just does not work that way at all. Scarlet did my activity sheet and enjoyed it.

I feel very post GhosterForce today. 😪

Everyone praise @uwurawrus for being a speedy attendant for us at Scorpion, Tomb and Vampire!

I had a lovely 13th birthday weekend.
 

nadroJ

CF Legend
Some photos/videos!

Awesome name badges from Slayed - the nostalgia was real.
Name Tag.jpg

Vadge is queen of Tomb Blaster!
Vadge Crown.jpg

Old habits die hard. Nobody is safe.
Bin Hood 1.jpg Bin Hood 2.jpg

A totally **** photo of the faffle (kicking myself for not donating THAT mug for everybody to boo at...)
Faffle.jpg

Ian is a whore...

Ian Is A Whore.jpg

One of the funniest moments of the day...random non-CF Luigi spots CF-Yoshi
A Chance Encounter.jpg

'Absolutely **** and entirely forgettable...'
Joey Forgets About GForce.jpg

And some goons enjoying a night ride on Saw...
Saw Goons.jpg
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Well… Just goes to show how much of a daydream I walk around in sometimes!!! I thought chessy was great, and without yours (and other’s) efforts @Serena, it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as much fun…

I genuinely enjoyed the games, I don’t enjoy being absolutely s**t at them, but that’s another story and completely besides the point 🙈😂😂😂 Who knew that talking for a minute was hard, even for someone that barely shuts up!!!

My favourite was the heads up game… I can be somewhat useful in that, even with very little goon knowledge!!!

The faffle was good fun! Although I do have one complaint… @emoo and I were told by someone (mentioning no names mushroom) to bring actual ‘tat!!!’ Some of those prizes were amazing!!! We were very nervous of our prizes being pulled out 🙈😂😂😂 (Ben had actually had to lend me mine as I’d left my original offering in the car, but it was no better)

@Serena this is directly aimed at you… I am extremely grateful and appreciative of the effort you put in, without which, given the state of ride availability and queue times on Saturday, the day would not have been the great day it was. I think, as a relative newcomer to CF lives, at first I struggled to understand the structure of CF lives. But now I’m starting to learn the important difference between a CF live, and the other coaster group / club meets I’ve attended in the past… Whereas they are all about the rides, re rides, perks, hardware etc etc… CF lives are so much more than that, they’re all about the people, the games, the silliness, the group, the social fun!!! The hardware is secondary… You (and those others that help) make that so… And I think it’s incredible… Thank you for your hard work.

Of course, the same goes for anybody else who helps and contributes, I don’t know you all well enough to know your names yet, but just know it is appreciated… The badges were awesome, I’ve put mine safe :)
 

caffeine_demon

Strata Poster
Had a good but exhausting couple of days. Did enjoy the activity pack, maybe should have done another heads up thing, but always find interacting hard..

Will write more when I get home..
 

chainedbanana

Hyper Poster
Thanks Serena for Organising!

Chessington was a lot of fun, thanks for the pack, I always appreciate them, It was raining when first handed out so I squirrelled mine away in my bag until later, but I do love them - and a nice souvenir of the day too!

I was also SCREAMING on blue barnacle - but we were certainly outnumbered - but i appreciated the efforts of some of the bemused GP on our side - trying to join in - just not with the right words/noises lol.

There was a good turn out - and with the extra 15 people would have been pushing 40 members.... and although that sounds cool could have been a logistic nightmare, was like herding cats as it was (it always is really).

The weather was also a dampener....it's one of those things no one can control, but does have an impact! and the queues were pretty full. I was just happy to be there!

Please don't be despondent - things can only get better as the song goes
 
@Serena you did a great job and huge thanks for all the effort you put in, it's most definitly appreciated and the event wouldn't of been half as much fun without everything you did.

Tulley's turn out was of course low but the 3 of us that did go had great fun, although leaving the car park at the endof the night was a complete nightmare.

The queue line games were fun, cred head is always a laugh, though as sonmeone who strugglees to rememner names at the best of times, the forum member version runs the risk of getting stuck with someone you don't really know and have no hope of guessing.

It's difficult organising games when you're in a bg line as well, as the front and back sections arent really going to be able to play together.

The teams idea was good to try and break up the clique's and get people involved more (team Vekoma FTW), but breaking up the cliques is hard. Perhaps it could work better next time if a loudmouth team captain was asigned to each team to get them to rally together for group questions or activities. Team intamin here, team B&M here etc etc.

You've obviously put a huge ammount of effort into the organisation of all this @Serena and once again it's super appreciated. It doesn't have to be a solo project though and I'm sure if whoever organises the next live asks then others would be happy to pitch in to bring stuiff or help with queue line activites. Be that bringing a bunch of glow sticks, a bunch of pens or crayons, writing names for charades or cred head, or making a quiz etc.


I had great fun this weekend though, it was brilliant to see people I hadnt seen in ages and whatever negatives there were were far outweighed by the positives.
 
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Ian

From CoasterForce
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
I think, as a relative newcomer to CF lives, at first I struggled to understand the structure of CF lives. But now I’m starting to learn the important difference between a CF live, and the other coaster group / club meets I’ve attended in the past… Whereas they are all about the rides, re rides, perks, hardware etc etc… CF lives are so much more than that, they’re all about the people, the games, the silliness, the group, the social fun!!! The hardware is secondary…
Wonderful way to sum up a CF Live. Take theme parks and coasters as seriously as you want, but riding only takes up about 5% of the park time. Rest of the time
is observing and commenting. The opinions and personality you have on the forum, you bring to life in the queue line. Theme parks are a social thing and a shared experience imo and that’s the focus we try to bring to the Lives, which may not be everybody’s cup of tea. I really wish I could’ve made it. What Serena lined up sounded right up my street and is above and beyond what I would’ve done. Cheers, Serena.

Please keep photos and reports coming.
 

SilverArrow

Certified Ride Geek
Firstly I'd like to say that I had a really good time and it was lovely to see so many people I hadn't seen in ages and meet new people! I definitely made the "nature is healing" joke to someone over weekend because CF lives were finally back! I was expecting it to feel a bit different because of the time gap, the mix of people that was a bit different to the last lives with less "regular attendees" due to various inconveniences combined with a mix of old and new people plus the weather and crowds etc. It was indeed a little different but that's not to say it wasn't good at all. I've been around a while now but even I hadn't done a UK ghosterforce before so I think a lot of people were a bit out of practise. Thanks to Slayed for the badge, they were fab!

Thanks for putting all the work in to organise the events Serena. It certainly doesn't go unnoticed! The faffle was great, I love cred head, the CF member one cracked me up, along with the Chinese whispers picture round and cred charades. Apparently Fujiyama is quite hard to act out! Who knew! I was looking forward to some more weird nerd questions from the team rounds to flex my random fact knowledge but not to worry. I apologise for my lower volume of noise on the pirate ship but my cold was a bit limiting still. I enjoyed laughing at the randomers joining in with random sounds though! 😂

I would agree that when you get past about 10 or so people you need more than one person to organise and herd (as chainedbanana said, like herding cats! 😂) people so maybe in future other team members or members keen on helping with games can pitch in and help organise and motivate people. I expect Ian or Mysterious Sue would have been on board with this had they not been spited for covid reasons for example. My lack of pen hindered me with my activity booklet a bit so next time I shall definitely try and remember one! I used to organise photography society events at uni and it was always hard work trying to work out what would go down well with people, it's definitely not you at all!

I was also a little disappointed by the lack of costumes but I did have a hard time trying to find something fitting for the theme that I could make and coupled with the fact I had to swim down the motorway to get to the park I understand why some opted out. I enjoyed dressing up anyway so that was fun and nice to finally do after hearing about past events and costumes!

All in all I think it was always going to be a bit strange and the outside factors didn't help at all but I had a very good weekend, thanks everyone!
 
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