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Paultons Park | Tornado Springs | New Area | 2021

Matt N

Strata Poster
Cyclonator’s pretty extreme, and the park themselves are declaring it their “first ever thrill ride”, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we did see something more adult-orientated and thrilling than anything they currently have; based on what the park said in that Q&A from a few weeks back, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see a ride that’s a step up in thrills from Storm Chaser, in the same vein that Storm Chaser is a step up in thrills from Pterosaur/Velociraptor. Maybe a Vekoma Space Warp or similar would work well, or maybe a nice, mid-size wooden coaster, of a similar vein to something like Joris en de Draak or Thunderbird/American Thunder in terms of size and thrills? Not too intense like Wodan or Troy are, but still packing a real punch and functioning as a visible step up from the park’s other rides.

A wooden coaster in particular wouldn’t surprise me, as the park has said that one was considered for Tornado Springs, and Wicker Man has proven that the ride type can be successful in Britain. As well as that, wooden coasters are great in that you can make them have a very wide appeal; you can have woodies that strike the perfect balance of being thrilling enough to have the enthusiasts raving about them, but not intense enough to put off less seasoned riders!
 
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JoshC.

Giga Poster
We're very much getting ahead of ourselves by talking about the park's next big investment, but I think the park should hold off on any more coasters (after next year's one..) for a while.

In my opinion, they need a decent water ride (the log flume is a bit rubbish), and some sort of dark ride (literally any type of dark ride would work). They are glaring holes in the park's line up for me. Their coaster selection is extremely well rounded and extending that is unnecessary at this point in the park's development. Get in a new log flume, or even a compact rapids, and an interesting dark ride and the park will improve much further.

I expect it's easier said than done, and it feels like the park are lower on space now, so I'm not sure where and how such rides could fit in. But if there's a will, there's a way
 

CrashCoaster

CF Legend
^Well, we know they are next turning their attention to the left side of the park after Farmyard Flyer, which I imagine technically includes everything to the left of Lost Kingdom. I imagine we won't see the Go-Karts last much longer, and I'm hoping for some kind of permanent water ride to go there, replacing the log flume. I'm also hoping/expecting the entire area around Cobra and Edge to be re-developed, and both rides rethemed and repainted, as well as a couple of new family/kiddie rides down that end. I reckon Magma will remain as it is, maybe a bit of painting up and a little extra theming work but that's about it.
 

Ian

From CoasterForce
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It’s unlikely the park will go any more extreme than Cyclonator. They know they’ve got to cater for a wide family age range, but the focus remains on the 5-12 year olds. Anybody more extreme is way off the mark.

The queues today were strange. There was a stampede for the new area, in particular the coaster, where the queue tracked about 35 mins. Then people migrated to Cyclonator- I queued for 25 mins at this point - but after that, queues rarely reached over 10-15 mins for anything in the park.

The park deliberately reduced the capacity today so it could cope. First day, new staff, new rides...high expectations. This focus on positive customer experience meant people were less likely to be frustrated by slow operations or long waits. I’m unashamed about my praise for Paultons...show me a UK park with it’s head better screwed on and...and... I’ll laugh in your face.
 

CrashCoaster

CF Legend
It’s unlikely the park will go any more extreme than Cyclonator. They know they’ve got to cater for a wide family age range, but the focus remains on the 5-12 year olds. Anybody more extreme is way off the mark.

The queues today were strange. There was a stampede for the new area, in particular the coaster, where the queue tracked about 35 mins. Then people migrated to Cyclonator- I queued for 25 mins at this point - but after that, queues rarely reached over 10-15 mins for anything in the park.

The park deliberately reduced the capacity today so it could cope. First day, new staff, new rides...high expectations. This focus on positive customer experience meant people were less likely to be frustrated by slow operations or long waits. I’m unashamed about my praise for Paultons...show me a UK park with it’s head better screwed on and...and... I’ll laugh in your face.
I agree that I don't think they will go more extreme than Cyclonator, which is why I think a woodie should be their next move coaster-wise. This is further evidenced by the fact one was considered for Tornado Springs. But as we've suggested, I think they should consider a water ride and/or dark ride (for post-Covid times) and a revamp of the left of the park before they get a new coaster.

On another note, how were Storm Chaser's operations, and were the new rides reliable throughout the day? Just asking because it seemed like the coaster was stacking trains every run. But I guess it is the park's first coaster to run more than one train (with the exception of Cobra).
 

Ian

From CoasterForce
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how were Storm Chaser's operations, and were the new rides reliable throughout the day?
I did see about three empty trains doing the rounds throughout the day, with occasional inconsistent dispatch. Aside from first thing, the queue was never longer than 15 mins.

One of the bounce towers was down for an hour or so. But the other one was virtually walk on.

I observed one reset on Cyclonator but that churned people through all day, with longest queue about 30 mins early in the day (the one I joined!).

Unsure if they were technical, operational or faffing public delays, but they did bugger all to the flow of the day. No sense of outrage in the air at all!
 

Niles

Hyper Poster
I like all this love for Tornado Springs and I’m happy that you all seemed to have a great day, but I thought the whole point of going was for the magnificent kugel ball, don’t tell me no one gave it a pat 😁
 

Hixee

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Open = Unstickied.

Genuinely very impressed by how this looks. Easily, without any doubt in my mind, the best UK addition this year. If Merlin gave two ****s, this'd be putting the wind up them. Unfortunately, it's clear they couldn't care less. :D

I can't wait to visit Paultons again this summer.
 

Tonkso

Mega Poster
Open = Unstickied.

Genuinely very impressed by how this looks. Easily, without any doubt in my mind, the best UK addition this year. If Merlin gave two ****s, this'd be putting the wind up them. Unfortunately, it's clear they couldn't care less. :D

I can't wait to visit Paultons again this summer.
This is what Chessington should be aiming for. Even the theme is what the Scorpion Express area SHOULD look like. Refurb Rattlesnake and add something like this and Chessington will be killing it again.

Paulton's will have a whole new land by then, come on Mancey, theme up Cobra and stick in a water ride around it. Show the big multinational how it's done.
 

Ethan

Strata Poster
Bump, but just visited Paultons today. Storm Chaser is fab, the park has a hit on their hands with this one. The overbank has a real snap to it and the helix... blimey. Really really fun and great for someone like me who is slowly finding themselves exhausted by rough, high-intensity coasters.

Cyclonator is intense but restraints are absolute poo. I'm slim and 6 foot and found them to be very uncomfortable, I can't imagine what they'd be like for someone with more meat on their bones.

Theming is fab though, really light hearted and fun with enough details for it to feel immersive. The diner also had some nice food options even for veggies like myself, so I can appreciate that. Also, something else I'd like to add is that the park was spotless, everywhere. Staff were all friendly and chatty, it was honestly refreshing. Great job Paultons!
 

Matt N

Strata Poster
Apologies for my lateness, but as some of you know, I was able to visit Tornado Springs, as well as Paultons itself, for the first time on Friday. I’ll keep this to Tornado Springs, as I did write a lengthier Paultons trip report over in the Trip Reports section, but I’ll insert a few notes about the park in general at the end, if you don’t want to traipse all the way over to Trip Reports…
The Area
Let’s kick things off with the area, and I must say; bravo, Paultons! Every nook & cranny of the area is phenomenally detailed, and you almost wouldn’t believe that the area was within a theme park getting only around 1 million guests per year! Everything is very detailed and looks like it’s been built to a very high quality, and I must say, it really does immerse you in the feel of 1950s America very well, in my opinion! I know this might seem like a strange comparison, but it reminded me an awful lot of Amity Cove at Thorpe Park, in many ways; I don’t know why, as the areas are tackling two completely different areas of America to one another, but it just did, for some reason! In terms of particular things that I think are really good; I like all the little items strewn around, like the cow sticking through Storm Chaser’s station roof, and the silos & trailers around with water coming out of them, and also all the little signs & stuff to read as well! On the whole, I think Tornado Springs is a brilliant themed area; one of my favourite themed areas in the UK, if not my favourite! It’s so detailed, and you can certainly tell it’s had a lot of time & effort put into it:
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In terms of the rides in Tornado Springs, I experienced two of them; Storm Chaser and Cyclonator, so I’ll write a separate review for each.
Storm Chaser
I’ll admit I was unsure if I’d particularly enjoy this, as I’m not usually a huge fan of all things spinny. However, I am growing rather partial to a good Mack coaster, so I was cautiously optimistic that Storm Chaser might please me based on my love of Mack coasters.

But what did I think after actually riding it? Well, after 3 rides on it, I’m glad to report that Storm Chaser was a very positive surprise for me, because I thought it was fab! The level of spinning wasn’t too excessive, and the ride was very smooth & comfortable, yet also packed surprising force & vigour in places! Not to mention, it was also very fast-paced throughout, with even the slower-looking sections feeling pretty fast when you’re actually on the ride!

If I had to pinpoint some elements that really stood out to me, there was a helix at some point in the layout that was surprisingly quite forceful, and there was also some really nicely executed s-bend sequences throughout the layout that I thought were great fun to ride! But in general, I’ve got to say I really liked the whole ride!

Overall, I thought Storm Chaser was an excellent family spinning coaster, personally! If I had to pinpoint a ranking; I’d say it’s easily my favourite spinning coaster, narrowly my favourite coaster at Paultons, and out of the 79 coasters I’ve done, I’d place it at #20 overall and #10 in the UK! I was almost tempted to go a little higher, as I did think it was great fun, but there were some rides above that spot that I didn’t really think I could justify placing SC above.

But in summary; it’s fab, in my opinion, and certainly worth riding:
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Cyclonator
Even though I’m not usually a huge fan of really spinny flat rides, I wanted to give Cyclonator a go, as I’d heard some very superlative-filled reviews before going (“best UK flat ride” etc etc) and was told I needed to try it as it was so good, even by people who say that they don’t have the greatest intensity/spin tolerance themselves.

As I said above, I do not have the greatest of spin tolerances, so was unsure if I’d overly like it, but I was cautiously quite optimistic, as these frisbee rides didn’t look to spin loads and loads, and the ride type looked to have notable similarities to Rush at Thorpe Park (one of my favourite flat rides) in that you oscillate, get a gorgeous dose of huge weightlessness at each peak and then get a great feeling of speed at each trough. I love Rush because it gives great airtime at each peak, a great sense of speed at each trough, and no nausea whatsoever, and I was optimistic that Cyclonator would be the same, just with an added element of slight rotation.

However, I’m afraid to say that Cyclonator was a bit of a disappointment for me. I’ll preface this statement by saying that this was partially aided by my rather weak stomach for flat rides, as it did make me feel somewhat strange when I got off, but it also rode rather differently to how I was expecting it to.

I’ll confess that Cyclonator was my first ever frisbee ride, and while I went in expecting a ride that had a fair bit of floaty airtime, some great speed and some light rotation, what I got was a ride that didn’t seem to really provide any floatiness, and where the sense of speed, while undeniably there in places, didn’t seem anywhere near as great as it does on the likes of Rush. The only things it really seemed to provide were non-stop positive g’s and a lot of spinning (when you’re on it, I dare say it seems more spinny than it looks), and while I know that these things appeal to a lot of people, they don’t really appeal to me, personally. Don’t get me wrong, the positive g’s and the spinning were done pretty well, but for what I personally like in a flat ride, it didn’t really wow me quite like I was hoping it would.

If you like things that are very, very intense from start to finish, and quite spinny, then I can certainly see why Cyclonator would appeal to you, but I like my flat rides a little less spinny & intense and a little more floaty & speedy, so I’m afraid Cyclonator didn’t really float my boat, personally. I found it a little too intense & spinny for my liking, and when combined with the rather unpleasant restraints (am I the only person who found them incredibly tight & restrictive?), I must say it’s not a ride I especially enjoyed. It’s not the most unpleasant or nauseating flat I’ve ridden by any means (Air Race at Drayton says hello), but when I was on it, my emotions were certainly leaning far more towards “This isn’t overly fun, and is making me feel a bit strange”, than “Wow, this is fun!”, and one ride was certainly enough for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud Paultons for trying something different, it’s seemingly very popular among most people who’ve ridden it, and I hope it works for them so that we get other more thrilling rides in the future, but it didn’t really do it for me, I’m afraid:
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Summary
Overall, I think Tornado Springs is a smashing area that certainly blew me away! Both of the main rides work really well; I thought Storm Chaser was fab, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of Cyclonator, the masses don’t lie, and it clearly seems to be a crowd pleaser! The area is really detailed, seems to have breathed a huge amount of life into what I’m led to believe was previously quite a dull part of the park, and overall, I think it’s absolutely smashing; I’d certainly recommend a trip!

As well as Tornado Springs, it was also my first visit to Paultons, and I must say, I liked the park a lot! Some particular points of interest include:
  • While Storm Chaser was my favourite coaster at Paultons, Flight of the Pterosaur surprised me immensely and shot itself into a very close second! It never looked overly interesting on POVs, but after 3 rides on it, my opinion is that it rides very well and is an absolutely stellar family coaster! It’s absolutely glass smooth, with some of the most comfortable restraints I’ve ever sat in, but is also quite fast and deceptively forceful in places; that helix into the station in particular is really quite forceful for a family coaster!
  • Velociraptor was also quite good fun, and I liked it more than the similar model at Drayton Manor, but I didn’t find the backwards section as enjoyable as the forwards section, and I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the top 2 coasters at the park, personally.
  • In spite of not being a huge fan of wild mice & coasters focused on heavy laterals, I actually rather enjoyed Cobra! Don’t get me wrong, the section with the laterals is something I could certainly do without, and I’d definitely like the ride more if it wasn’t there, but unlike your average wild mouse, these laterals only take up a small part of the ride, and the rest of it is consists of some fun helixes & turns, and some surprising airtime, and is very smooth, so certainly gets my seal of approval!
  • The park as a whole has quite a relaxed vibe. There’s a lot of more relaxing areas, such as the gardens & the watermill, that I didn’t know about prior to visiting, and the park as a whole doesn’t give off a vibe that makes you want to or feel the need to rush around it.
  • The park is also absolutely immaculate, and it’s very clear that the Manceys take a lot of pride in the park. Even the older, lesser-themed areas of the park, such as by Cobra, are very well presented and look lovely; the older bits didn’t feel as jarring as I’d anticipated!
  • I’m not sure if this is the lack of Fastrack talking, but the queues seemed to move surprisingly quickly given that the rides themselves have quite low headline capacities (Cobra, Pterosaur and Velociraptor were all somewhere around 500pph, and even Storm Chaser was only hitting somewhere around 600-700pph). Operations were excellent!
  • Even though Tornado Springs is currently getting all of the attention, I’d say I like Lost Kingdom nearly as much! The rockwork is gorgeous, the landscaping is great, and there’s a fair few really amazing animatronics! A very nice area that deserves more attention, in my opinion!
  • Overall, the park was certainly a pleasant surprise, in spite of the fact I had pretty high expectations, and I’d say that while it isn’t my favourite UK park (I personally crave a slightly more thrilling ride selection), it’s certainly in the top 5; if I were pushed, I’d say it’s probably my 4th favourite UK park, with only Alton, BPB and Thorpe being ahead.
  • If you want any advice, I’d say; don’t dismiss Paultons as being a kiddie park with mild, uninteresting rides like I perhaps was guilty of doing for years prior to visiting, because as much as they don’t have the world’s most thrilling, enthusiast-friendly ride selection, I don’t think they really need it, because personally, I think they’re absolutely hitting the nail on the head in building great family attractions that have really good universal appeal; I’m genuinely convinced that anyone of any age could go to Paultons and have a great time with the ride selection that they have. My take on the park has certainly changed a fair bit having visited for myself, and I can definitely get the hype!
 
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