Discussion in 'CoasterForce Live' started by Hixee, Jun 24, 2018.
Let's hear it!
Icon was fab and half of us are camping out hungover in Spoons. Great weekend as Blackpool usually is.
It was a great weekend, fab to see everyone. Still feeling a bit dodge after Sat night! Looking at getting my photos sorted tonight.
As I said, fab weekend! But before we all got together for Blackpool, I decided to try take two of Alton Towers on my free snow day ticket. Chauffeured by Rachel, accompanied by Plod and Peep.
This is Alton Towers. At Burton on Trent station, it is illustrated by a ride it no longer has
We're here for the Wicker Man. Not sure what my expectations were, but they were certainly exceeded. It's short but has some fearsome forces in places. Strong 6 in the front, strong 7 in the back, I reckon.
It's also very photogenic, as Peep demonstrates here
Of course, there was also Hex times. Still my favourite Mad House, and there seemed to be more strobes than before, which is always good. On the exit, be sure to nip into the chapel, because it's a hidden bit of loveliness
Despite the negativity around Alton, I will say the staff seemed friendly and on top of operations on Friday. Rides were running well too! I still maintain that The Smiler is not that bad (apart from the yucky corkscrews at the end).
We left Alton and missed much of the traffic up to Blackpool. Owain entertained as usual with his eclectic road trip playlists.
Owain needed to have a moment on the beach
Saturday started as we continued throughout the weekend: in Spoons! I joined the mob meeting up in front of the Icon gift shop watching the PBE/CF group doing their ERT session.
This is Ian. Ian enjoys roller coasters and making small talk with Amanda Thompson
This is MouseAT. You can tell this is MouseAT because he is wearing a fleece and very much enjoying Icon
My favourite thing about Icon is how easy it is to find angles to take amusing photos of rider's faces
The group started off with Icon because of course we did. Though the group as a whole was on average luke warm, I will put my name in as a fan. Flying over various other rides helps (the dance over Big Dipper's brake run wouldn't work without it), but it's got enough strong airtime moments in that Taronesque way that tries to rip you out the seat. Yeah, the launches are poo, but as a whole, I think it works. Great job, Blackpool!
This is Peep. He is a photographer, as you can tell by the fact that this is the second photo of him holding a camera in this report. On the left is the Icon station building, which is ugly and boxy
Headed out for the Big One, but that had amassed a huge queue (can you use queuge as a noun?). We reverted to doing Grey (old grey) instead.
This is Conor, Chris and Witchfinder. They are contemplating life while they are stuck on the brake run
Lord Morton doesn't want to be part of our group, or might be doing the toilet dance
Revolution is still amazingly fun for the buckets of airtime on both drops. The group moved around the back of the park, ticking off Nickelodeon Land (getting spited by Dora) and grabbing Rollercoaster (I'm still not calling it Nickelodeon Streak), Wallace and Grommit, before heading Nash-way.
The Wallace and Grommit shop sells cheese hats and I demand my modelling fees
This is Jordan and Richard. They inform me that there are still many Pokemon around Blackpool
This is The Grand National. It was very painful today and I did not appreciate the airtime because I was trying to avoid debilitating spinal trauma
This is CSLKennyNI. He and the group are not amused by Blackpool's wonderous fountain to their left. They are certainly not happy about the lack of any mice to their right
During the lunch break, half of us plodded over to Spoons (of course) and some of us headed to South Pier for the new Wild Mouse cred.
If you like extra spinny Wild Mice, you'll love this. Luckily I was sober, unlike the poor sods who decided to do this tomorrow
This is a cheap plastic cow painted as Spiderman because why not. Here, jayjay demonstrates a physical defect
The plan here was to look at Impossible on the way back because I've not done it and it's always just sat there. Since the queue for the ride bit at the end was burdenous, I only got the walkthrough bit done. Sad times. It's a bit poo, really.
This is why we can't have nice things
We came back to nab the Big One after lunch. I made the fatal error of sitting in the back row, and now having recovered from Grand National, it proceeded to throw me around far too much for my liking. One of the worse rides I've had on it. Steeplechase was preferable on this day.
This is an exceedingly ill advised support
Always time for more rerides on Icon.
This is Dan in yellow. He either loves Icon, or is so bored that he's just looking for cameras to pose to. In this photo, Peep is not holding a camera, but the ride-ops told him he could hold the lap bar as if it were
This is a sundial. It is made of stone
These are geologists. When presented with stone, they must drop everything to inspect and analyse the stone. Jordan thinks it is sedimentary, but Sue thinks it is metamorphic. What a crazy misunderstanding!
On the front left seat is up and coming superstar Serena Cherry of the metal band Svalbard. She thought Icon is the best roller coaster in the UK
The day was going quicker than it usually does, so we had time to tick off a few lesser ridden items. Derby Racers and Flying Machines are a couple of great little historic rides. Some of us grabbed River Caves where our boat were told off by the tannoy for leaning too far to the right (and Dan wasn't even in the boat)!
Valhalla to finish us off. I didn't bring a change of jeans, so employed the "coat as a skirt" technique to great effect. Speaking of effects, it seemed light on them, which was a shame. Not short on the water though, as per usual.
Blackpool's always a nice relaxed day with CF. Icon was better than I expected, and it was nice meeting up with some of the PBE lot as well. Thanks everyone!
It's been over ten years since I did any sort of meet up with CoasterForce so to be able to organise a joint ERT on Icon with Ian was great! I enjoyed the fact that we did a couple of ride takeover's on the Big One and Valhalla after the ERTs, I am not really a Valhalla fan but watching everyone getting soaked on it and having fun was great to see!
I did a PBE vlog from the day, the Icon ERT stuff takes up the first 7 minutes and some of you are probably in the video riding Valhalla towards the end.
I am unlikely to make anymore CF Live trips this year but next year I'll be doing my best to catch up with you all more often.
I’m actually in the picture of Icon coming out the first launch into the airtime hill on the second row with the Icon top on... Pulling that ridiculous face!
Was great to actually get to meet so many members and put faces to user names, considering I’ve only been on here for about 7 years now!
Was an excellent day from start to finish! I managed 8 rides on Icon during the ERT what I don’t think anyone else matched and then 16 rides on Avalanche what I know definitely wasn’t beaten!
Thank you all for a splendid time!
Biggun was awful on my trip a couple of weeks ago - felt almost as bad as a volare or SLC!
Icon's pretty sweet though, and i <3 steeplechase!
Snapped by the coaster-paparazzi (a somewhat niche market I would think)...
Since it's been a week since the Live....about this time last week that lady was singing her mothers funeral song at a karaoke.....(while she was there mind you)
Great weekend, lovely to see everyone again! Always good laugh going to Blackpool, even better when the weather was good as well!
- Icon (styled by Amanda Thompson) was alright in the morning, had 3 rides at the back row, front row and back row-ish. It got better during the day and the last ride was a lot better than the morning, about 6/10 in the morning and 7.5/10 in the late afternoon. I enjoyed it, certainly was fun, but just wanted a little more from it, not much, just to make the airtime better and snappier transitions. The music is 10/10 though, really adds to the build up, shame about the exit path!
- The Big Dipper wanted to snap my back in half and break my nose on the first drop, awful ride on it, never known it that bad. Same goes for the Nash, I love the ride but my word are those two getting bad at the bottom of each of the drops.
- The Big One was rougher than I remember, the drop was ace as always, think enjoy it because am bricking it in the queue and on the ride. Mack Hyper with steeper hill and better ride in future? (one could dream)
- Valhalla <3 love it!
- Going on the River Caves and having to rescue the boat in front of us because they listed too far over and got stuck.
- Having a diet of Whetherspoons all weekend, never want to see Spoons food for a while now!
- Still love Steeplechase, be lovely if the new S&S cars make their way onto the ride to keep it going.
Totally listening to the Icon soundtrack as I type this! What a fab weekend. We've all been to Blackpool loads but there's no one better to share the tacky charm with than CF <3
Just imagine my surprise when Icon turned out to be great. After initial underwhelming reports from the media day, I queued with low expectations. For the most part, I find Mack coasters....just nice? Pleasant? I've yet to ride one that truly blows my socks off. But I'm starting to think that's not their aim. Maybe Mack want the socks to remain firmly on. Hey, they're not Intamin. They're too reliable for one (which is something I've discovered that I value quite highly in new coasters this year )
Opted for a front row ride in the morning and it was bloody lovely. The mist! The top hat! The overbanks! More mist! Hang time! It's such a balanced, all-rounder. Safe to say, Icon's GCSE results would be above C across the board.
Airtime - B
Smoothness - A
Launches - C
Inversions - B
Operations - A
Near Misses - B
Comfort / Restraints (double award) - AA
Soundtrack - B
Sure, no outstanding A* achievements, but it's 'jack of all trades' approach still plugs a gap in the UK's rollercoaster CV. I mean, what other UK coasters do so many things this well? Icon is so...so....wholesome.
It's great. It's even more great when you ride all the other coasters at Blackpool afterwards for context. Jesus Christ!
I'm amazed I still have a spine after Grand National in the back row. Even The Big One felt excessively jolty. Not going to lie, I didn't enjoy the other coasters at Blackpool this time. Stupid sexy Icon, making them all look bad.
Needless to say, I had a way better time faffing about on the dark rides.
The Dora boat ride is fun and it has on board audio with a silly song!
River Caves in genuinely atmospheric!
VALHALLA IS THE BEST DARK RIDE IN THE COUNTRY!
You know what else is nice about Blackpool? It's a warm sunny Saturday in June, but you never queue for ages, which makes the day feel far less exhausting. In fact, the day flew by. It wasn't long before we were heading back to Icon to grab a couple of last rides before the park closed. Having had 7 hours to warm up, it was now ranking as one of my favourite coasters in the UK.
Well done Blackpool, well done Icon. This is absolutely how to do a new UK ride. No gimmicks, no secrecy, just pure quality.
It was lovely to see everyone and have another gross night out in a karaoke bar, followed by a day of +1's, ghost trains and watching people watch football. Thanks to everyone for being so welcoming to Rob, he also had a wonderful time. See you in Poland?
I only attended during the day due to having to get home for 5pm, so I sadly missed out on the drunken fun in the evening.
Got to the park just before opening and already had my wristband which was sent through the post earlier in the week with some very detailed instruction on how to put it on. Made my way to Icon for the meet-up and as Icon was down, I joined a small splinter group mainly consisting of those that had done the ERT. They wanted to get on Steeplechase before the queues built up and as the yellow track was a +1 for me that seemed like a good move.
So I got my +1 and then we headed to The Big One, where what looked like an easy 10-15 mins queue turned into more like 40 due to them adding the second train and gradually removing the sand bags each time it came back to the station. I find this completely unacceptable as the ride didn't open till 10:30 anyway so they should've been doing this before the public arrive. Anyway, we finally got our ride at the back and it was pretty terrible. The drop is still pretty scary as you get yanked over the top of the hill by the front of the train, but after that is just rough and generally meh.
After that we met up with the main group again and did Revolution, Nick Streak and Wallace & Gromit. I think all that has already been covered above. Then everyone went to do Big Dipper, which I couldn't be arsed with because it is boring, so I took the opportunity to nip off and ride Icon. Got to love the operations on this - the queue was way outside the station building but I still only waited 10 minutes for a second row ride. It was around midday at this point and it was running pretty good - I got a bit of ejector and floater airtime on the first hill on the second row
I then dashed back and joined the group for a ride on Grand National, fairly near the front. Definitely rough as but good fun, especially as half the group was on the other train.
Here are four goons going for an extreme spinal adjustment!
That brought us to lunchtime and most of the group headed to the pier for the Crazy Coaster...
It was a spectacularly spinny and revolting specimen, made a little bit more fun by the precarious end-of-pier postioning. Second +1 of the day and fun to experience it with fellow goons as I usually end up doing these things alone
This is my "happy to ride JASSM" face
Lunch in Wetherspoons was fun as I got to chat to a few people I'd never met before. I'm not sure the food agreed with me though as I had a pretty upset stomach a day later, though it could've ben due to all the painkillers I was taking for some pretty bad toothache that weekend.
After lunch everyone met up at The Big One, which had a big queue that I wasn't going to stand in given I'd already ridden it once and had to leave in the next half hour or so. I made my goodbyes and headed back to Icon for another ride, grabbing Sue and Chris along the way, who also didn't fancy The Big One. Icon was down again, briefly, but again the queue was eaten once it reopened. I went for back row this time whilst the other two went for their first front row ride of the day. Back row was good but it just confirmed to me that I prefer front row on these kind of coasters. Overall it's a great ride as I've already stated in the main thread for it - not super intense but smooth as silk and lots of fun.
Here are @Mysterious Sue and @Chris Brown on their first front row ride.
And this is them hitting the second launch but I timed it wrong due to all the mist
That was it for me. The rest of the group was at the exit when we got off Icon so I made my goodbyes (again) and headed home. Overall it was a fun day. I'd like to have stayed longer and enjoyed more fo the social side, but it was nice to meet up with the folks I'd met before, and also to meet a few new faces and chat to them in the queues and the pub. In retrospect I regret not having the chance to ride Icon with more of the group but time was my enemy a bit in that respect. Coasters-wise I have to agree with @Serena that Icon has made everything else at the park seem pretty dreadful. They really need to do some work on the woodies in particular.
Hope you all had a good time and I'm looking forward to the next meet. Sadly I don't think I'll be be doing Poland (gutted ) but one day of Ghosterforce is definitely on the cards.
Well this is massively delayed but I'm here to finally put some text and images to my experience at Alton Towers and Blackpool...
It was a stupidly early start so Rachel could drive Plod and I all the way up to the Towers in time for opening, picking up a JayJay along the way. We had a bit of faff sorting tickets to get in because we visited on a burdenous school trip day. Considering this the queues weren't too bad throughout the day, which was nice. Trying to be efficient with our day (and a silly 4pm close) we opted to grab the skyride over to Thirteen in the hope for a shorter queue. Seeing Wickerman from above was interesting but my expectations were still pretty low.
The operations on Thirteen were pretty efficient which was nice. I think it's a fine family coaster and the drop was pretty good. It was then time for a trip into the Towers for Hex. I don't think I've ridden this enough to notice any upgrades but everyone else seemed pretty pleased with the latest closed season maintenance.
We opted to then walk down to Wickerman in the hope the main rush had died down. The sign said 40 minutes but it went by pretty quickly as we soaked in the new land of untreated wood fencing.
I was over the moon that all of the effects seemed to be working, I would have been pretty bitter if there was no fire effects on the Wickerman. The ride itself is fine, I guess? I'd heard great things about the pre-show and I have to admit I was pretty disappointed by it. I liked the initial projection set up, quite reminiscent of Hex, and then it just builds up to something pretty underwhelming (and imo, poorly executed). To then be poorly pushed into the tiniest station load area they could have cobbled together with no choice on where you sit is just a bit sad. I'd like to point out that despite the dreadful TV screen fire effects inside the wickerman I do really love the simple fire effect on the station wall.
I think the coaster has some decent moments but it was certainly feeling a bit slow, I think we all thought that it would certainly get better towards the end of the day.
We then headed into the woods to check out the newly painted Duel with its new soundtrack. I am not a fan of the new music, it felt like it was made for something completely different. Surely the soundtrack should match what you're seeing/adding atmosphere - this just distracted me. A lot of areas felt unfinished and I think for the bits that were I couldn't tell a difference (but it has been years since my previous visit). After that it was onwards to the Valley for some Nemesis action. Yet another ride with excellent operations and it rode extremely well.
We then headed over to CBeebies for the Octonauts cred as some of us still didn't have it. The queue was slow and in the sun which was unpleasant. I think the heat was certainly getting to us by this point but we were in high spirits as the park hours had been extended by an hour!
It was then time to get back on the Smiler (my first go on it since opening year!) which was mainly fun, enjoyable but the kink in one of the last inversions is pretty gross.
It was then back over to Wickerman for one last ride of the day. It was certainly running better than our earlier ride. I think it's a fine coaster with some great moments like the twisty triple down but it also has lacklustre moments like the unbanked corner of sadness. It's fine, maybe in a few years I'll appreciate it as more of a decent filler in amongst the rest of the park's lineup.
We then had another long drive up to Blackpool where we checked into our weird AirBnb near the park, met some fellow goons in Spoons (Spoons count #1) and then Plod had a moment by the Sea...
The day of the live, it had been a while since my last one and my first time in Blackpool for a very long time. We met fellow CFers at the Spoons for breakfast (#2) before a few of us headed over to the park entrance for ERT on Icon with the Pleasure Beach Experience.
We managed quite a few rides in the ERT despite the faff of going along the massive exit and back round to the main entrance. Sat on the final brake run in the station at the end of the ERT due to a break down was quite amusing. Felt a bit sorry for the PBE group as it ate into their Avalanche ERT sesh.
I think my opinion on Icon has changed a lot, especially over the course of the Live and our several rides throughout the day. In the end I think it's an ok ride, a brilliant addition to a park I'm not really fond of, and like Wickerman it has great moments and sad moments. I think that little bit at the end could have been saved with a little inline twist or something - at the moment it's a fairly bitter ending. I really love the in-line twist that then dips into the misty tunnel and then straight into the better second launch, a great combo that got better as the day went on.
As the last of us got off we met up with the rest of the group. It was great seeing so many familiar faces - some I haven't seen in a very long time. We joined the now very long queueline of peeps waiting for Icon to officially open for the day so the rest of the group could ride.
We then joined quite a short queue for Revolution. This was my first time seeing the new colour scheme in person. I think I miss the crazy orange. I forgot how intense this thing is though, I really like it.
We then popped into Nickelodeon land for the Orange one. It was quite a fun coaster, more so than I remembered it being.
It was then time for Wallace and Gromit, my first time doing this rethemed dark ride. I quite liked it, bit weird that scenes seem random rather than connected with the scenes from the same episode. I liked the rabbits towards the end. It was then over to Big Dipper. I did not enjoy my ride on this, more painful than enjoyable. Then it was Grand National where I was in for more abuse to my spine, very unpleasant experience overall. So I was glad it was time for a break for lunch. I joined the smaller group that went to the chippy down the road rather than another Spoons. I do regret not going to grab the South Pier spinner though, leaving it for the next day was a mistake (more on that in a mo).
Back in the park and we headed over to Dora's World Voyage which had an annoyingly catchy tune where we learnt several ways to say hello. Quite cute.
The Lion likes to admire the creds
We then met the rest of the group outside Big One where we also met back up with the PBE. Altogether it was a very large group, we certainly added a big wait time to the ride. I rode at the back and it was simply gross, the first drop is great and terrifying but after that it varies between boring and painful. Meh. Some of the group went on Steeplechase, I went to check out the new merch shop by Icon. A lot of the stuff is quite nice.
It was then time for another go on Icon. As the day went on it was certainly getting better but only marginally.
The exit for Icon is silly
We then headed over to Derby Racer. I'm not too keen on this so decided to take some shots of the others enjoying this classic ride.
Some of us then rode the flying machines. I've never ridden this so was quite glad to finally get on. It was very windy on this ride, was pretty cold by the time we got off which was unexpected. Those in the group brave enough then joined most of the PBE group on Valhalla. Most peeps got off pretty lucky, apart from the PBE fat boat and Jordan's shoes deciding to make soap a thing.
We all then headed back to Icon for one last ride of the day. It certainly showed that it was the best ride in the park now, even if it is rather mediocre on an international basis. So a great addition to the park and I think they've done well to get such a long coaster in amongst everything else.
It was then time to say goodbyes to the folks at PBE (great to see Scott again after so many years!) and Lord Morton, freshen up at the bnb and then meet everyone back at the Spoons for round 3. I think Jordan and Connor getting their mates to send random items to the table was very amusing but that mixture that I drank may have had a hand in how the evening went. So thanks for that, the evening was an absolute blast. Who knew singing along to High School Musical and randomly being given a Santa hat for Mariah's 'All I want for Christmas' while everyone sings along as loud as they can - in June. Amazing night and totally worth the gross hangover the next day and missing out on the spinning coaster.
It was back to Spoons (#4) for a recap of the evening shenanigans and then off to grab the cred and a walk up to Treasure Island for the ghost train. Was a lovely day and a nice way to walk off the hangover before the massive drive down south.
It was an amazing weekend, massive thank you to Rachel for the insane amount of driving. Thanks to Ian and Scott for organising the Live and ERT. Was great to see everyone!
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