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The 2021 Coaster Hunting Mission: Part 13/15

RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Welcome.

Here's a collection of EVERY theme park trip I did in 2021 where I rode at least one new coaster - I'm doing this to improve my writing with future trip reports especially if (hopefully when) I go international.

Part 1: Southampton Coaster Collect (Paultons Park)
Part 2: About as British as You Can Get (Wicksteed Park)
Part 3: Water, Plus-Ones, and Overdressing (Clarence Pier & South Parade Pier)
Part 4: Do What You Came Here For, Then Go (Hemsby Fun Park)
Part 5: Closure, then Closure (Pleasurewood Hills)
Part 6: I Don't Know What to Title This (Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach & Banger Racing)
Part 7: Another Fun Park, and a Really Wacky Worm (Joyland Children's Fun Park & Pettitts Animal Adventure Park)
Part 8: The Big Shridgerider (Cornwall Sightseeing & The Big Sheep)
Part 8.5: The Big Shridgerider (The Big Sheep & Beechfield Play Area)
Part 9: Botton's Displeasure Island of Funtasy (Botton's Pleasure Beach & Fantasy Island)
Part 10: Third Time's The Charm (St. Nicholas' Park)
Part 11: I Waited Six Years For It (Stevenage Fun Fair)
Part 12: We Drove 90 Minutes for a Pinfari (Pavilion No-Fun Park & Clacton Pier)
Part 13: Airborneeeeeeee (Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Part 14: Whoops, I Forgot One (Hyde Park Winter Wonderland)
Part 15: A Crazy End to the Year (Legoland Windsor)
Part Final: Summary, Looking Back, and the Future

As of January 2021, I was at 84 coasters (I'm not goon-y enough to call them credits, I think). This graph shows 82 but I'm sure the difference won't kill anyone...

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Part 1: Southampton Coaster Collect
Diving into a brand new park
April 2021: Southampton, UK. A once-small family owned family park has just opened a massive American themed area about tornadoes, storms, and farmland. I've never been to this park before. And so begins a mission to Paultons Park.

Went on a weekend. Go to Waterloo station which is easily accessible via the Underground, and in central London too. Get a train from there to Totton - don't listen to those who tell you to go to Southampton Central. Totton is infinitely closer to the park than Southampton Central station is, and there's a bus stop right outside the station that will take you to the park. In this case the bus went straight to the park, though I've heard that it's known to not go there and stop at a pub known as the Mortimer Arms instead. Talk to the guy driving the thing and see what he says - if he says "no park", then prepare for a pretty hefty walk from there to the park. There is nothing interesting to look at on the bus, though on the exact road that goes to the park you can see the park's skyline extremely well. Unironically gives Thorpe a run for its money. The bus operates a double decker service, but brace for young loud children.

Being admittedly clueless about whether a bus takes you from the park to the station, I just taxi'd my way. While there were no changes on the way there, there was one change on the way back but thankfully this change is right at the beginning. Approaching Waterloo you can see Thorpe Park's skyline, and both ways you can see the millions of golf courses across the Surrey area and the madmen golfing at six thirty in the morning. You also cross over a bridge near Southampton with great views of water. You can also get very short glimpses of the London skyline - most notably the Shard.

The skyline comes into view and I'm making it no secret to the others that I'm ridiculously excited. I see Storm Chaser, I see Cobra, I see it all.

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If we really wanted to be efficient, we could do the low capacity or largest queue rides first - that means we start with Cobra and Pterosaur. That means I start with those, right?
...Right?

Nope. Cobra opens at 12.

#85 Storm Chaser to nobody's surprise was the first ride of the day. Why strive for efficiency when you can just cross out the best part of the day first? As expected it might as well be my favourite themed area in a park I've been to, and hell I've been in the OzIris plaza. Being one of the first few people on the train, we disengaged from the lift and off we went through a ridiculously fun but short layout. I almost admire the fact that the ride's short because it "knows when to end" and doesn't allow the train to lose all of its speed. Admittedly when we pass the double helix of death and onto the figure-eight bit I have "this is the end" in my head. I think I came off my first ride wanting more, but at the same time I was satisfied with what the ride was. It's beautifully presented and doesn't do any more than it needs to. I think a ride being "too short" would be one that provides a kind of 'incomplete' experience. It's why I don't classify Oblivion as too short; it doesn't need to do anything else past the drop in my eyes. Either that or I'm too inexperienced with riding coasters.

However I think a ride of this intensity being short is perfect for the park, because if it's overwhelming for a younger guest, then at least it's done quick.


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After three rides I was ready to move on with my day, saving Cyclonator for Cyclolater.

#86 Cat-O-Pillar was my second Tivoli Medium, and this time I knew to sit in the back. Good whip over the first drop and then you wait for the coaster to dawdle around the rest of the course doing nothing. One of those coasters where you do a slight 'weee' between moments of awkward silences.

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Before moving on we stumbled across this strangely beautiful area of the park:

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And <insert joke about a certain UK park duo that are both named after flamingoes>

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And now we're back to coasters. #87 Velociraptor was shockingly really fun and much much better than Accelerator. I actually rode this three times trying to get a good ORP but gave up in the end - I got a good one from Cat-O-Pillar anyway. I also got to try out different rows, I think I prefer the back but the front gets you quite high up the spike. With these parks where everything here is a clone of some sort (not that I'm complaining, they do fit in the park extremely well), it feels strange writing paragraphs about these when in a few years time I'd say "#589 s'alright, #590 is okay at best moving on" for the same rides at different parks. You get what I'm saying?

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#88 Dino Chase was my first Tivoli Small and it was a blast. On the flipside I really don't have anything to say about this ride other than 'really fun and themed really well'.

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Now bring back the paragraphs. I'm kind of speeding through these coasters because that's exactly what I did on this trip. And this is where we made a mistake. It's been a good while since we've had something to eat, and we entered the queue for #89 Cobra. We were starving, the line was an hour long, we had no clue how long the queue actually was and with each switchback we sighed in pain. It was a very tight space too. Not a highlight of the trip at all. Miserable queue aside, when it was our turn we had the pleasure of seeing a group of people get booted off the ride for queue-jumping which brought a smile to our faces. And now it was time for the ride where we put all of those problems with the line aside because this is one of the most God damn fun rides I've ever done. The second we disengaged from the lift we were in hysterics. We had NO idea how hard these elements were going to hit. From the helices to the hairpins to the hills, we had such a good time on it. Forget the claustrophobic cattlepen, forget the fact that there's next to nothing in our stomachs, we enjoyed ourselves far too much on it. Too bad I forgot how to do my "ORP pose" and it turned out terrible but forget that.

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Before the last new coaster of the trip we had one singular sausage roll and then something happened that I completely forgot was scheduled for today. During this break we remembered that they're doing a minute's silence to celebrate the life of the recently passed Prince Philip which actually ended up in them temporarily pausing operations of every ride in the park - I admire the level the park went to for the respect. Surprisingly the majority of people did stay silent to commemorate. I remember specifically watching the log flume pause operations as it stopped the waterfall of the drop and stacked all the boats, then resumed after it was done.

With the second blow of a whistle everything was back up and running and it was time for #90 Flight of the Pterosaur. It was a queue just as long as Cobra but ten times less grim. At least I had something to lean on. Fun ride, great restraints, good finale.

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With that the day was almost over and we finished it with a day on the very forceful Cyclonator and a finale run on Storm Chaser.

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Now bring on the worst part of the day. Here comes an endless assault of mistakes. Because of my final lap on Storm Chaser we had absolutely no time to book a taxi and get the hell out of the park to get our train. We did not have a flexible ticket. If we missed it, we would have to pay full price for another ticket then wait an hour at the station on top of that. The time in the gift shop was chaos as we experienced the most indecisive customers of our lives directly in front of us. I looked for ANY empty desk but had to wait it out for what felt like minutes.

Our turn. Let's buy the thing and go.

Right now where the hell is our taxi? They said they're here but their car is blending into literally every single other vehicle in the car park; it's impossible to identify our ride to the station. We looked around for a good five minutes and BINGO! We found him. Into the cab at speed. When we arrived we thankfully had a good few minutes to spare and we were starving so I opted to pop to a nearby efficient takeaway restaurant who can usually prep our food in seconds. You can probably guess what happened. After apologising profusely to the poor dudes in the middle of prepping food for a guy who can't take it (I paid before they started making it) I ran off back to the station.

With that kick in the teeth we hop onto our train without our food and reminisce about the better parts of the day, for example not the takeaway chaos, and finally eat something proper back at Waterloo.

I’ve never been good at leaving.

------------

So Paultons Park, needless to say, might be one of my new favourite parks in the UK (daring today, aren't we?). After just one visit it does seem a bit silly how I can just determine that so quickly but man the place is just a vibe and a half. Notable attractions I missed out on included the Dinosaur Tour Co., the 4D cinema, Trekking Tractors, Buffalo Falls, literally everything at Peppa Pig World, and apparently this 70something year old water mill. Didn't mention it but that zoo section in the transition point between Critter Creek and Lost Kingdom was nice to exist in too, but no photos as they came out terribly.

Ride Ranking: Storm Chaser > Cobra > Cyclonator > Flight of the Pterosaur > Velociraptor > Cat-O-Pillar > Dino Chase

Up next - Charles.
 
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RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 2: About as British as You Can Get
Almost.

July 2021: Kettering, UK. Plus three, a very good looking water ride, easy job done. Why have I been delaying my next coaster run for so long? Enough with the Thorpe revisits and putting off the inevitable, I'm inching ever closer to a three digit coaster count and I have to get out to new parks in order to get there. The next park on the agenda isn't a cross-off of everything left at Blackpool, it's not disturbing the grass blades of Oakwood, and it certainly isn't throwing fifty pounds at a taxi both ways in Yorkshire. It's...

Wicksteed Park. Certainly an odd choice but it's close enough and a doable trip for the next step in the mission.

Strap yourself in, this is a good one. Bus down to my local train station, get on, change a couple stops later, then ride the rest of the way up to Kettering. From there it was a 25-ish minute walk to the park, and for reasons I'll get into later, ended up taking over 40 minutes. And I'm a very fast walker. There are bus services that run by the police station which is your best bet if you don't want to walk, more than a few stop just outside Wicksteed. Nothing interesting to look at on the walk really, but before the bus station you do pass by a really nice church and perhaps into a dodgy dead-end alleyway right next to the church path. After that it's just neighborhoods and neighborhoods until you reach the park. Same thing in the reverse direction.

However, on the way there, I decided that I wanted to do the easy route which involved skipping most of the walk with a bus service. I decided to wait it out at the bus stop by the police station, but with Maps telling me the bus is five minutes late, and with a car deciding to park itself in the bus stop in a way where I have to walk out into the middle of the road to hail the bus I need, I decided to walk to the next stop, and that's right when the bus I need appears. Eh, no big loss, the next one's in a couple minutes anyway and that goes to where I need to be as well. At the next stop I wait it out a good few more minutes, and this one is also five minutes late according to Maps. I stick it out until seven minutes then give up and just walk for the entire rest of the journey. Of course a bus appears right when I'm far away enough from any bus stop for me to not be an inconvenience. I don't care anyway, I've decided that I need the cardio.

On the way back I didn't even bother with a bus. Just walked the most direct pedestrian friendly route possible.

Seeing the tip of their Waveswinger is their way of telling you "you're here". While walking I glanced at their car parking information for no reason other than "I want to read the text while I'm walking" and they have a pretty interesting way of doing things around here. Instead of an annual pass for unlimited rides all year, instead they do an offer for free car parking all year. It's not something I've seen before, and it's something to think about.

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After being distracted by farm animals I was looking for the first coaster. I think it's around here somewhere. I look to my left through the fence and Clown Coaster jumpscares me. I was NOT expecting it to be there. Seeing the ride through the fence I head in.

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I had arrived for just after 1pm and I'm lost instantly. I have to ask the op where the wristband booth is, and right there and then my day almost came to an end right before it even started.

"I don't know if they're still selling but you can check :)!"

Fearing the worst I'm pointed in the general direction of the ticket booth which I somehow manage to walk straight past despite literally being told where it is. Nevertheless, I find it and thank God they're still selling wristbands. I buy my wristband, the poor operator for #91 Clown Coaster has to put it on because I still have no clue how wristbands work, and I'm on.

It was alright. I think I forgot how kiddie coasters felt because I vividly remember thinking to myself "huh, I was expecting this to do a lot less". Still not the worst coaster I've done.

Moving on.

This park's layout is pretty funny and unique. Imagine an equilateral triangle where the center area is filled in with grass. At the top corner of the triangle is the area with Clown Coaster, goats, birds, and millions of family flats and coin operated rides. At the bottom left corner is the Thrill Zone which has two coasters, a log flume, some funfair flats and games and food and whatever. At the bottom right corner is the water chute where a Nautic Jet was and antique cars trundling around too, flexing on the Nautic Jets by existing. At the center of the triangle is a mini train which does a round trip of the park.

You actually can't see either of the other corners at all from the top corner. It took me a while of walking down to even see the Thrill Zone, but eventually I was there.

It's Tivoli Time! My second Tivoli Small #92 Ladybird is decently fun for what it is, better than Dino Chase in terms of the hardware, and my second oval coaster in a row, a record I'm convinced I will never beat.

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To my utter shock, I saw the first Pinfari I've ever seen to fully utilise the separate load/unloads to their full potential and RUN THREE (!!!!!) TRAINS on it. #93 Dinosaur Valley is a fine contraption with valleys that ride strangely, oddly reminiscent of Big One, and a fairly intense helix to round things off. It really was not as bad as I was expecting but the restraints destroy your shoulders if you have a leather jacket on.

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Against all odds I decided to reride it. I rerode a Pinfari - yes I just did that, no I do not regret it, yes it was fun.

With all three coasters acquired I could just get up and go. But I'm interested. What else does this place have to offer?

They have a water chute. Water Chute is almost 100 years old and it does exactly what it says on the tin. I gave this a go loads of times and the back is much wetter than the front. The front is almost entirely dry and it's more or less "for the experience of riding it if you don't want to be wet". Still it's a fantastically fun ride from the dropping down that feels like forever, splashing into the pond, sitting around while you're pulled up, and being pulled up. It's wacky and it's great. Probably (absolutely) the best ride in the park. Worst part of the ride is that there are thousands of lilypads and no frogs to be seen anywhere.

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The rest of the day was bouncing between Water Chute and Thrill Zone. Few rides on Water Chute? Dinosaur Valley time, and a shameful reride on Ladybird. Wait, they have another water ride in the Thrill Zone by the name of Rocky River Falls, this one apparently built by the legendary WGH Transport of Rhombus Rocket fame. Wetter than the Chute, but the Chute is better.

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And then I hopped on Wicksteed Park Railway:

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and Mr. Wicksteed's Classic Cars which I don't have a (good) photo of.

Before I round off the day here's a collection of photos:

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To end off the day I grabbed one last ride on Dinosaur Valley before forcing myself out of the park against my own will, but not before a rather touching and emotional ending. As I was leaving I went to the animal zone which had an aviary which shut a few minutes before, so I had a bit of a trundle around this garden. This garden really couldn't have given a better ending to this day - it was a tribute to those we lost along the way who had close relations to Wicksteed Park, and the grand founder, Charles Wicksteed himself. They had statues of his pet dog, and benches littered around the area with countless names.

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Damn. It hit the feels, and I walked off back to the station.

If I was in the next Chapter of this coaster hunting business, I would've picked up the +3 standing around at Kettering Feast Fair but A) I was tired to hell and back, B) I didn't even see the fair and couldn't decipher where exactly it was, and C) I would've gotten carried away on the very rare flats they had and throw up instantly which is something I do not want when I'm going solo. I think I found something just as worth it though, say hello to Garfield Street.

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I got on the train back, went to a place that held a Euros match (which we absolutely dominated), and had quite a few stories to tell of what I did earlier today. You know those days where you go to a park, and it really feels like you were never there despite you literally having done it earlier today? Yeah, I felt that. Doesn't mean the park was forgettable - I get the feeling all the time.

So how British was it?
-Late buses.
-Drivers without a care in the world.
-A Waveswinger at the entrance.
-Pinfaris and Tivolis.
-A British based manufacturer.
-Actually looks like a nice park.
-Millions of ducks.
-Extremely friendly staff.
-Watched our team dominate a team in a massive football tournament at the end of the day.

Only thing I'm missing are tea and queues.

Ride Ranking: Water Chute > Dinosaur Valley > Rocky River Falls > Wicksteed Park Railway > Ladybird > Mr. Wicksteed's Classic Cars > Clown Coaster

Up next - watr.

Oh and a quick fun fact: the parts "Embarrassment" and "Double Trouble" are trips I haven't been on yet - let's see if I win the race against time to get to those places before the end of the year.
 
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RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 3: Water, Plus-Ones, and Overdressing
Witty subtitle goes here

August 2021: Portsmouth, UK. Three +1's are waiting for me on another relatively simple there-and-back trip. A similar story to Wicksteed, I come down here to ride three coasters that are "just okay", reride two of them, then leave. In the case of Wicksteed we had a good and unique ride, here we don't. At the same time this felt like the polar opposite of Wicksteed in being significantly more urban, significantly less interesting rides, and significantly less nice to be in.

Sadly a lot less interesting than the Wicksteed task. Underground to Waterloo, and then no changes until we get to Portsmouth & Southsea station. From there it's a 15 minute walk to Clarence Pier, do stuff there, leave, and then a mighty 30-40 minute walk down to South Parade Pier. Ride the Wacky Worm. Leave. Couple rerides at Clarence. Leave. Go home while having no signal for half the train journey. "How was your day?" "Something to do, really." "Yeah I get ya." Never talk about it again. Hop on CarX with friends with Man of War in the background.

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The second I left the house was when I made a fatal mistake. I brought my leather jacket because "the Underground was going to be cold". And while I was correct, a major issue arised: I have this damn jacket for the entire rest of the day because I refused to be a bit below warm for half an hour. And it's going to be absolutely boiling for, I forgot how long I spent here, 4 hours? Yeah, I made 7/8 of my day miserable because I didn't want 1/8 of it to be. Think I need to retake an IQ test.

Nothing interesting happened on the train (and for the rest of the day) as this was a solo trip so let's skip to the good bit where I discover the real life of Portsmouth. It's extremely touristy and at points I thought "I feel like I'm visiting this country" but at least it's actually informative - I used every map I could find to locate myself closer towards Clarence Pier.

I'm now really feeling the consequences of having this stupid jacket and it takes me far too long for me to get to a place that processes my wristband. Not their fault, it's just I was delaying that so much because I didn't feel "ready" for the rides at the time with how hot it was.

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Coasters.

#94 Tidal Wave is what I like to call a spinning Wacky Worm because it literally is. Sadly the final row was shut off so I had to take the second to last row. Provided a good pop of air on the drop but it's not enough to save the coaster. You go through the first bit anticipating the drop, then the drop, then the rest of the layout thinking "that drop was alright". Cat-O-Pillar Syndrome as I call it.
Pros: The funny drop
Cons: The turn after the funny drop does absolutely nothing

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#95 Mad Mouse is a Zyklon with comfort collars. I was expecting them to be hideously uncomfortable - they weren't. I was expecting it to trim to hell - it didn't, but the final brakes were hilariously abrupt.
Pros: Nice location I guess
Cons: Just give me a lap bar

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Rerode Mad Mouse then decided I'd had enough of the park. It was far too hot to try any of the flats (blegh, leather jacket) and the log flume looked like it had an hour-long wait so I decided a better option would be that walk down to South Parade Pier.

Walk was uneventful but that's how I like it sometimes. I'm sweating to death I want to get from Point A from Point B... ...unless I come across a super cool castle. Neat. Now I'm even hotter - damn, if I wasn't already ;)

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Finally reaching South Parade Pier I buy exactly enough tokens for one lap on #96 Happy Caterpillar then ride it. To my absolute shock this was the best Wacky Worm I'd done so far. Not only was it my first Wacky Worm since 2018, it was also damn good. It didn't trim in the station and that's all I really needed. It was ridiculously fun.
Pros: Actually genuinely fun wacky worm
Cons: Seagull remnants on the track ruining my shot

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With that I'm off, take a couple photos, and I'm on my way back to Clarence.

Wait, one more look at the castle.

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That was cut short pretty quickly by the deathly heat booming down on me, I had to get out of there quick. Back at Clarence the glorious back row was finally open and it provided a shocking pop of ejector. Really fun but still doesn't save the ride.

After one more Mad Mouse reride I did the Twister and Waltzer with a moment of "what the hell am I doing with my life?" and "damn I need buddies on my next trip" in between before leaving, but just before I bought some biscoff donuts which were terrible. Pret-A-Manger back at Waterloo comes to save the day for the second time running.

Before I round things off, here's some things I found along the way (I was expecting myself to have more photos):

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Wasn't sold on the whole place but who the hell goes down to Portsmouth for roller coasters? Eventually I'll have to return to get down to the Isle of Wight for the Chine and the Cove. The war memorials were interesting though and I'd quite fancy having a further look at them, but I won't be overly fussed about missing the rides. I also missed this walkthrough of the Mary Rose thing and an alright-looking aquarium so I'll see how next time pans out. If I go with friends or family next time, and they point out "hey it's a roller coaster", I'd pay to see the shock on their faces when I probably end up turning it down in favour of other things. Unless they want to do it too. In that case who would say no?

I think my impressions of this place have been harshly mashed by The Leather Jacket and I've been needlessly bashing this place, but my first impressions are my first impressions.

Ride Ranking: Mad Mouse > Tidal Wave > Happy Caterpillar > Waltzer > Twister

Up next - rewriting.
 
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RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 4: Do What You Came Here For, Then Go
The current song I'm listening to is Burn the Witch by Radiohead
Quick note: I've decided to separate each day into its own post. Part 4: Hemsby Fun Park, Part 5: Pleasurewood Hills, Part 6: Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, Part 7: Joyland Children's Fun Park & Pettitts Animal Adventure Park.

August 2021: East Anglia, UK. To my shock I found out I'm going on a five-park trip to the Great Yarmouth parks and I'm so excited. This is my largest "dedicated to parks" holiday ever (second place is Southport Pleasureland, the water park next to it, and Blackpool Pleasure Beach).
Day 0: Hemsby Fun Park
Day 1: Pleasurewood Hills
Day 2: Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach & Epic Banger Racing
Day 3: Joyland Children's Fun Park & Pettitts Animal Adventure Park


No travel notes as we drove there.

Five minutes from where we were staying was a tiny plus-one at a place I'm honestly not overly keen on. In this place is Hemsby Fun Park. Exactly a year ago we were back in Great Yarmouth for successful coasterless sealwatching and accidentally stumbled into the town of Hemsby while adventuring at the end of the day. Unknowingly we drove straight past this park and I didn't even notice.

Attempt 2. We just arrived at our place to stay for the next few nights and the park shuts in twenty minutes. So we need to get there, quick.

The task was to get in there, ride the coaster, and get out which is exactly what happened. Whoops, the park actually shuts at ten, so we had an hour and twenty minutes to get there, but if we knew beforehand we would've probably delayed the drive there by an hour and settled down far too much to want to get back up.

I was with a friend who, upon seeing what we were about to ride, burst out laughing which was honestly understandable.

#97 Caterpillar was questionable but not very shameful. I think the shame will come soon, but just not now. Sorry, I really don't have anything to say about this park. We're not the target audience!

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And with that we were gone. The park honestly felt like an extension of some sort of caravan park. The Waltzer looked incredible but my friend can't stomach those, so we skipped it. I think the total amount of time we spent in here was around ten minutes, tying South Parade Pier for the shortest time I have ever spent at a park. After we left we got a kebab where I put on damn near every topping I could find, and finished all of it. Writing this in my spinny chair, my playlist is now playing Revolt of the Atoms by Enter Shikari. Did you know that when truth gets left untouched, it accumulates like dust?

And another update with the mission: The part "Double Trouble" will be removed due to extreme faff with travel that I need a lot of time to look at, but I'm still adamant about getting "Embarrassment" to happen before year end. Trust me. I promise next year will have more of a sense of direction.

Ride Ranking: Caterpillar

Up next - really happy.
 
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RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 5: Closure, then Closure
I need to update this more often than once a week

Day 1
I've visited this park in the past before - I'd like to assume at some time around 2013. This was in the "I liked roller coasters but didn't make a valiant effort to ride everything in the park" chapter, a chapter that went on for far too long and I only force-ended this chapter at the tail end of 2020. For this reason I have way too many coasters that aren't in my count because I decided to willingly skip them in the past. Had I never skipped any coaster in my life, my #100 more than likely would've been something at Paultons. I think I'm down fifteen coasters from skipping them due to those trips being in the dreaded "why complete a park?" chapter.

Pleasurewood Hills was a park that was a victim of this chapter. I skipped Egg-Spress (which was known as Snake In The Grass at the time) and didn't care about it. I barely acknowledged the Schwarzkopf that was closed for the day and didn't care about it. I rode Wipeout, watched a magic show, did a chairlift, rode their Kite Flyer, did a log flume, then left. With the news that I was coming back to Pleasurewood, I was ecstatic. Not only because of the +3 I was about to gain, but because of one of them being a very special ride at least to me.

Waste no time, let's just cut to the chase. The Schwarzkopf is shut. Damn it. I still have four hours left of the day, I'm sure they'll open it soon. The ops seemed positive on the ride opening later in the day anyway, so I walked off for other stuff. Such as #98 Marble Madness. From experience of the mirrored clone at Chessington I had high hopes of this thing being good; said high hopes were completely eradicated when I noticed some depressingly harsh trims everywhere.

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A miserable hour queue later, I'm on and it's terrible. When you're done with the hairpins, you might as well just call the good bit of the ride done - hard trim after hard trim kills any speed the ride gains and provides for an uncomfortable experience full of wasted potential. No airtime, no speed, come on you guys can and will do better than this. Depressing seeing such a stark contrast in quality when comparing this to literally anything else in the park.

With the rubbish part of the day gone I check up for a status update on the Schwarzkopf. Still shut and the ops are starting to feel unsure of whether they can open it. Not a good sign. "Although there's an engineer in the ride area right now" was what I needed to hear in order to bring my hopes back up.

Being in the area I did their drop tower, Jolly Roger. It has a surprisingly powerful drop because I had a restraint gap, and as a result the drop felt three times longer. I got the side directly facing the Schwarzkopf so that's a plus. Better than Hangover.

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I reminded myself of how strange this park's layout is, getting from the drop tower to the Boomerang is no short walk. Either way, I got on Wipeout in the back row. This thing is very intense and the backwards portion did get to me a bit, wasn't expecting that much power. Did 11 year old me just brush this off as being another Tuesday? I don't remember it being that intense. You know what a boomerang looks like, but here's proof that I at least looked at it.

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Either way it was time for #99 Egg-Spress which I evaded in the past. I always enjoy these Tivoli's without fail, and this one is definitely up there for one of my favourites from the manufacturer. It'll be tough to top the dynamic duo in Southend though. I'm honestly surprised I didn't do this more than once.

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Did Wipeout again in the front row, this time with a friend who fell behind and arrived late. I survived, he didn't and was almost down and out after only one ride. Then we held a parrot, and going back to the other side of the park I glance at the Schwarzkopf through the trees, catch a train testing, and I'm far too happy.

Oh boy.

I rerode Jolly Roger with the buddy, I got stapled, and now Hangover is the better ride. Don't reride something if you get a restraint gap first time - you're only setting yourself up for disappointment.

Guess it's time now, isn't it?

#100 Cannonball Express.

You, can, probably, tell, that, I, really, enjoy, this, ride.

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And here's some footage of me (back right) on the ride:


I come off with literally the biggest uncontrollable smile I have ever had at a park. "I'm guessing you liked it?"

With that done, I saw a sea lion show which was great fun but it's not Cannonball Express is it?

Rerode Cannonball Express as I loved it to death, but there was a haunting thought in the back of my mind that the first ride was just a fluke. Nope, still as good as ride one. It's just a good ride.

Left and went to the Harvester for a steak sandwich.

I kind of wish I had more time to spend at this park, there's so much that I had to miss out on but if Cannonball is open, that's where I'll be staying for the entire dayy. I hope this ride stays alive for as long as possible, I truly do. At this point, any more praise I give this ride would just be rewording of what I've already said but this ride really does deserve what I say about it. Man, I haven't had a ride hit as hard as Cannonball did in a very, very long time.

Goodbye, Pleasurewood.

Ride Ranking: Cannonball Express > Jolly Roger > Wipeout > Egg-Spress > Marble Madness

Up next - not that.
 
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RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 6: I Don't Know What to Title This
What a day

Day 2
I've visited this park in the past before a few times - I believe this is one of the first parks I ever did. I'm lead to believe that my first ever park was Funland Hayling Island which I have no recollection of, but I'm not sure if I rode anything coaster-shaped there. My last visit to this park, being Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, the legendary Evolution and Mulan was there. I think I was tall enough to do them both, but unfortunately I skipped both of them. :/. We stopped visiting due to an issue with insects that was bad enough to break the tradition of going there. Also it's far away as hell.

Despite what was happening today, I wasn't able to muster up much excitement for the place. There were two new coasters, either one or two of them being plus-ones depending on how experienced you are with the hobby. Family Star is a strange contraption, a mouse who Fabbri gave life to. The other is Whirlwind, which will be the first of hopefully (?) many SBF spinning figure-8 two loops. Due to a miscount I mistakenly thought Cannonball Express was #99, and was planning on Family Star being #100. Misery-guts-me had a couple issues - the timed slots system they had in place. It's the middle of August, I'm not sure why these are still here? They put so much unnecessary stress onto the trip and I have to be really selective over what I should and shouldn't ride. My second issue, I feel terrible, mainly down to a harsh lack of sleep. So the spinny fun rides (mainly Reverse Time and Lightning 360) are off the cards all day. Pretty sad.

Little fun fact... I saw this park on my coasterless successful sealwatching trip in 2020. And by seeing it, we drove past it after it closed and straight into (and straight out of) a random car meet thing.

Day time.

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As I was waiting on others to arrive to celebrate my """100th""" coaster, I do a few laps of Roller Coaster. It's still really good fun, there's a great pop of airtime on one of the hills, and that dive into the structure is still as epic as ever. I'm almost scared of Rutschebanen killing this ride for me, but it's nice to enjoy this scenic railway while I haven't gotten that coaster yet.

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Wandering around doing nothing for a bit, we next head to Log Flume which is across the road for some reason. Its brutalist structure is pretty iconic - did you know apparently it was supposed to be built around a mountain? Did you also know that Djurs Sommerland has a clone of the hardware? Onto how it rides, it's definitely a soaker and the drops are great. I hope you like the taste of sea water too.

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From there it was a good few more rides on Roller Coaster and then we have everyone. Would've spent the time on other stuff if I wasn't feeling so anti-flat ride for absolutely no reason. Didn't make much of an attempt to try to get on the flats anyway; I very clearly fall for these old coasters so I'm not against riding the woodie a million more times.

Up next was #101 Family Star, which we celebrated as being my one hundredth roller coaster! Wasn't sold on the hardware honestly and ends far too soon, but we made a big deal out of it and that made it all worth it. Was a pretty funny ride though from the wacky lift to spinning outwards around the corners.

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After that it was time for #102 Whirlwind which was... fine. Was expecting it to be less offensive. Forgot how many circuits it gave. Have to say, those seats are pretty comfortable.

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It's time for next level massive faff. The time slot stuff was starting to cause some pretty bad chaos. as we had no real game plan on how to end the day. In the queue for a final back row ride on Roller Coaster we were quickly trying to pull together an idea of what to do, as when we got off, we had five-ish minutes left of our time slot. We finally got a plan, which was for me to bomb it to Lightning 360 then bomb it again to Log Flume for a final ride with everyone. We kicked this plan into action after our final ride on the big blue wooden scenic railway.

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After getting off I ran to Lightning 360, got into the seat, and was about to pull my restraint down... No, I can't do this. I cannot do this, I don't know how strict they are with time zones I don't know how long the cycle lasts I might just throw chunks on the third rotation. I hop out of my seat against my will, "I don't know if I have any time left in my timeslot" to the operator, and get it down to Log Flume.

In the queue for Log Flume, the park throws a final "Hahaha" at you, as I look at the cycle from Log Flume's queue I see it going down to end already. We ride Log Flume and it's still a soaker, so nothing changed then! We come back to the station to see someone who looks like they just entered the queue get their ride. I could've made Lightning 360 work but I decided to play it safe. I don't really know if I would've changed what I would've done in this situation.

As we leave the park we see around ten groups get turned away from entering the park because the time slot is done and the next one is in half an hour. I still really don't understand why they have these time slots in place. They cause incredible amounts of faff and just inconvenience paying customers who don't know said time slots exist.

Didn't ride this but took a photo of it, already have the credit, think it's #3 or something. Whether that's my third favourite coaster, or the third coaster I've done, is up for debate. Either answer is acceptable.

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We left.

After grabbing something to eat at a nearby cafe we see work being done to Log Flume's conveyor belt lift, then after our break we go and see cars crashing into each other. Might've been the highlight of the whole trip. Even with Cannonball Express as a serious contender, old man is taking second place.

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Not the greatest park trip in the world; every single issue could've been fixed with polo mints (to combat my flat ride troubles), and the destruction of those time slots. I do not have an issue with time slots for when you can arrive as long as you can stay until close, but only giving me three hours at the park puts a whole load of unnecessary chaos onto the trip.

We all had a good time in the end though.

Ride Ranking: Roller Coaster > Log Flume > Family Star > Whirlwind

Up next - kiddie coasters galore.
 
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RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 7: Another Fun Park, and a Really Wacky Worm
...

Day 3
Today we were going home, the end of an epic trip across the parks across the East Coast. Unfortunately we had to sacrifice a trip to the Ness Point, the most easterly point in the country, in favour of parks but I'm sure it won't have eroded by the time we're inevitably back for copious amounts of rerides on a coaster I'm sure all of you know about by now.

Due to the banger racing we missed out on Joyland Children's Fun Park yesterday, the place where I've been led to believe has my first ever roller coaster. Today I'm getting another shot at visiting. Not much else to say so let's get to the point.

I get to the park and it is comically small, a lot smaller than I thought it would be. Each ride is £1.50 and I could barely scrape together any cash (out of 'not wanting to' get any from an ATM because they all demanded £1 to give me my money). Frantically trying to get £3 so me and a buddy can ride Tyrolean Tubtwist, we finally get what we need.

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It's an awesome ride. It's absolutely comical. It's so, much, fun. I completely forgot it wasn't just casual uninterrupted spinning on the way down, turns out it whips and throws you side to side via controlled wheels or something I don't know. We were in hysterics from start to finish. How do I not remember this park at all?

Up next was not the Snails because we didn't have time which I was pretty sad about as it did look like it had a great drop halfway through, and in a way I kind of wanted to just (re)ride everything there. But no time. It's Spook Express time instead. I'm only calling this my second ever roller coaster because of a photo we took of the ride's hill structure thing from across the road after our trip. There's zero proof that I actually did ride it, but because of that photo, I'm assuming I did.

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Hey look, another image copypasted from East Coast Adventures. Only a couple more unoriginal stuff to go.

In the station a friendly man with a huge camera takes a photo of you and gives you a sticker for both bragging rights and remembering your number to buy your photo. Only until after I got off the ride I realised that I didn't even look at my photo. I was already at the bottom of the exit when I realised "wait, the dude's showing the photos in the station" but I was too far down to go back up. Here's the sticker instead.

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After that we left.

But it's not the end of this post yet... we still have one more park to catch. This one is Pettitts Animal Adventure Park, a (what was originally going to be) a quick there-and-back trip. Arriving with 40 minutes left of the day, we were ready to catch some coasters.

#103 Rocky Roller Coaster was not good at all, but might be another new manufacturer cred. Captain Coaster states this ride to be manufactured by abc rides but rcdb is not so sure on the whole thing. Someone else says it's "similar" to Supercar, but they're not sold on it being a Supercar because they were around in the 1930's and this one apparently only opened in 2002 with no real records of it being elsewhere. A very mysterious ride that provides absolutely zero leg room. Worth it for the possible retro factor.

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I then stumbled across #104 Crazy Caterpillar which I gladly took the back seat off, and I was so happy that I did that. This thing THROWS you down the drop, and I had to brace for it every single time. I didn't go full ragdoll mode on it and I had three attempts to do so, I kind of wish I did now. For that reason it stands as my number one Wacky Worm. I forgot how the restraint system worked and the operator had to lift it for me, where I said "I've done 104 of these things surely I know how this works?" where we had a great conversation about coaster enthusiasts. Apparently a lot of enthusiasts come down here for the coasters, and the dude was convinced I was German because of my voice, where I had to then break the horrific news that I was unfortunately British. We then wished each other a nice day and parted ways.

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With some time to spare I had a wander around the park which was actually really well presented. I would've spent longer here if I had the chance, which has become a recurring thought into every single park of this trip.

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With that it was the end of a fantastic trip down to several parks within this part of the country. It allowed me to dip my toe into what large road trips would be like, and it's definitely a very interesting and very fun thing to do.

Then driving home we ended up in a terrible traffic jam on the M25 which was a nightmare, and broke the record for the longest single amount of time I've spent in a car.

The end.

Ride Ranking: Tyrolean Tubtwist > Spook Express > Crazy Caterpillar > Rocky Roller Coaster

Up next - back on the road.
 
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RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 8: The Big Shridgerider

September 2021: Cornwall, UK. I'm spending a well deserved holiday in a lush cottage with free roaming farm animals dotted absolutely everywhere. This area of the country is littered with tons of small coasters, and I took note of each of them. Little did I know that the place we booked had the closest park, that we haven't been to before, at an hour's drive away so they were off limits from day zero. They'll go back on the cards when I start driving. All of them. The parks we've done before were The Big Sheep and The Milky Way. I was missing one coaster from each of those parks: Big Sheep I was missing their Tivoli, Rampage, since I visited when it was under construction. Milky Way I was missing Cosmic Caterpillar out of "not wanting to" (gah, pre-enthusiast days). Ironically Big Sheep and Milky Way were the two closest parks to us, so once again they were the ones we were going to visit if a park day opportunity popped up.

In other words, I was going to experience a "normal person holiday".


We got up at 4 in the morning to see Stonehenge during sunrise on the way down. People might call this landmark comically overrated but it's a matter of "you need to visit at dawn for it to be good". You can pay to get a closer view of them, but this is what you can get from the free path.

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There are loads of sheep too. More of them later, get excited.

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And the surrounding farmers know where they are, and stack their hay like rocks. Pretty amusing, but no photos. Imagine hay stacked like your first ever attempt at a Minecraft skyscraper.

After that we went further south down to Glastonbury and climbed to the top of the Tor, a massive hill with some castle thing on top. Since the Glastonbury festival was only recently before this trip, I liked to play a game called "try finding where the Glastonbury Festival field was by looking for the dirtiest field you can see". Then imagine the world's steepest alpine coaster going off the steep end of the hill. For viewing pleasure I'll once again group together all views from the Tor and of the castle thing:

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Enough of that.

Since I'm down with a bit of a cold right now (just a case of the sniffles, nothing major) I'll now let the photos do the talking of our tourism stuff...

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Bet you weren't expecting this, but I actually really enjoyed my time here even though there were little to no coasters. The more you know, I guess.

Day 5

Park time!!!!!!!! Our first park of the day was going to be The Milky Way...

Closed on September weekdays.

More like The Milky No-Way.

Instead we headed straight for The Big Sheep. Even though Rampage was spiting all day due to rain, and being my first non-kiddie spite since Odyssey some time in 2014, I still managed to have a blast...

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First up was Twister, their Waveswinger variant which span really fast as compensation for not being able to do that tilt-y movement thing all the other ones do.

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Up next was the fantastic Tractor Rides which gave great views of a roller coaster that you won't see any photos of because it spited.

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I saw a depressed speaker on Train Ride that decided being on a fencepost just wasn't for him:

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Let me remind you of their excellent pun game...

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Did some tractor ride that isn't appearing on the park's online site which was incredbly funny and had relentless comedy from the driver from start to finish and I got no good photos, because I was recording the audio.

In the fields they have great singers like Breet-a Ora and Lady Baa-Baa and Baa-bara Streisand, really fast racing drivers like Jensen Mutton and Lewis Ram-ilton, and collectively they all have a great sense of humour - they're a laughing stock. And that's only a miniscule fraction of the jokes they have - better keep things spoiler free. Anyway, too much text... not enough images...

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And the part where they just go all out with the puns in their legendary safety notice, but wait!

Due to the 30 image per post limit, this part has to be cut off early. The next section of this part will be in a separate post most likely tomorrow.

I do apologise for being significantly less upbeat in this part, but I did want to get this out sooner rather than later. This part was going to be image-centric either way.

Up next - a playground.
 

RobCoasters

Mega Poster
I've just binge read all of these. Great set of trip reports, sir, thanks for posting. 👍
Thank you! I'm planning to do this thing again this year, I wish everyone a good time while they're bored at work or stuck in the bathroom or having a sleepness night - perhaps all three...

----

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Rerode Twister then left. Ironically it stopped raining right when we left, but still wet track most likely wouldn't have reopened the ride. I forgot to mention that right when we were coming in to the park, we saw ORP's of empty trains at admissions so clearly it was running earlier in the day, but we didn't arrive before it started raining. Rampage spiting gives me another excuse to visit this park, and I would happily happily return.

A few months ago, a theme park channel uploaded a vlog of them going about Cornwall, and on their day of The Big Sheep, they managed to discover a legendary and very rare thing.

It was at a park known as Beechfield Play Area.

And the ride was known, as the #105 RidgeRider.

In a shocking turn of events, I was finally going to ride a roller coaster. In the beginning it couldn't even make it over that turn, but it just needed to warm up. After far too many laps I finally was able to make it go around, and after a total of around 20 runs it managed to start going back up! I had to drag myself away from it after 25 runs but it was fantastic fun.

Instead of an image, here's a fancy montage of my experience with the best coaster,

Ever.

(for those interested, here is the music I used)

Left.

Ride Ranking: RidgeRider > Tractor trailer thing > Drivable tractor thing > Twister > Train thing

Up next - caravans.
 
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RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 9: Botton's Displeasure Island of Funtasy

October 2021: Skegness, UK. The mission continues.

From Kings Cross St Pancras which is a pretty well linked Underground station, I got on a train that went down to Grantham, I think called the LNER. At Grantham it was an uneventful 51 minute wait where I managed to walk entirely up and down all of the platforms several times. I waited for a two carriage train that went down to Skegness (I wish I got a photo of this two carriage train). From Skegness to Botton's Pleasure Beach it was a ten-ish minute walk with a bus service that goes right from the station to the park too. From Botton's to Fantasy Island it's that same bus service right up to the park. From Fantasy Island to Skegness station it's also relatively simple, just the park's station to the train station. From Skegness it's another change at Grantham with around a twenty minute wait for an LNER train back down to Kings Cross. You could shave ten minutes off this waiting time by getting a non-LNER train but I didn't risk it and saw absolutely no point anyway.

At Skegness it was a ten minute walk to Botton's Pleasure Beach, and right next to the park is a log flume and assault course where I genuinely wasn't sure if they even belonged to the park (I think they operated separately, thinking about it). I'd anticipated this park to open at 10, and I had arrived for 10:45 but nothing was running and Rockin Roller had covers over the cars.

I'm about to enter the park and I spot a big blue sign in front of closed gates: turns out the park's online site "forgot" to tell me they open at 12. Nice. After standing around doing literally nothing for an hour, they show their face and open up.

#106 Queen Bee is what people called an inverted Wacky Worm, but on the goon side of things, it doesn't follow the layout of one "enough" so I'm within my rights to not call it one. (Tidal Wave isn't either.) It was okay, and the best part of the ride was the water dripping from the giant honeycomb onto me.

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Next up was #107 Runaway Train. Apparently this is the only coaster Meridian ever built unless some buddies are travelling and never resided in a park that RCDB lists. Going over the station reminded me of Blizzard, my all time worst coaster. It goes around a rock so I'm within my rights to call it a Big Thunder contender. Runaway Train was okay, and the best part of the ride is that it doesn't trim outside the station.

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Next up was #108 Big Apple. This is by far the worst Wacky Worm I have ever done. If the ride ever goes above walking pace it is trimmed to oblivion. Even though it's a kiddie coaster, even the youngsters looked sick of the trims so I'm within my rights to call it terrible. Big Apple was not okay, and the best part of the ride was getting off and logging the cred into my spreadsheet.

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Next up was not Rockin Roller. It was not open and it's not at a park that's really worth spending another hundred quid to get back to, so I'm within my rights to call this a spite. This was not okay, and the best part of the ride was nothing. Fear not because that money also went somewhere else. Not feeling great enough to do the flats as I was just on a train for five hours, I leave and get a party bus to Fantasy Island.

Side-note: when I was writing this, I completely forgot I did their Ghost Train which says a lot about the quality of that then.

We're there...

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...and I'm lost. Where do I collect my wristband? Why did Odyssey just evacuate its queue? Why are there three thousand people here? Second impressions of the park were awful to say the least and all I wanted to get done was getting my wristband scanned then credding their temporary worm.

Eventually I find one by Volcano then go back to Odyssey, and then discover a wristband collecting booth directly outside Odyssey. Nice.

With Odyssey, the only reason I came here, off limits it was time for #109 Family Roller Coaster. Stupidly I take the front seat for no reason. Should've gone for the back.

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With Odyssey still off limits I'm losing the will to be here so I trundle into the pyramid to try and find something, anything, good. I stumble across Mystical Dragon Mountain which might take the award for the lowest throughput ever with, if I had to hazard a guess, 60 people per hour. Fun waterslide though.

I've finally achieved happiness when I come out of the pyramid to see #110 Odyssey open. I take row 7 and, to my shock, it's a fantastic ride. They had the last four rows shut off for whatever reason so I was second to back seat. Successfully unspited!

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Is this really a bad ride? I thought it was great! Good first drop, nice inversions, intense sidewinder and a great corkscrew at the end. I was ridiculously happy to finally have the UK's rarest cred and it only took me two attempts. No issue with the restraints either, in fact I really like them. One more ride, and since I'm a single rider I get called up to rows one and two to fill an empty seat every ride. I would've kinda liked to get row 8 to see what the commotion is about but if you get called to the front, nine times out of ten you go to the front.

I was still knocked out enough to not feel like doing any flats which was something against my will, I would've loved to try Magic or Sea Storm. Instead I ride Log Flume which creates a highly impressive splash but doesn't get you a drop wet.

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Up next was Rhombus Rocket which goes so fast and blows every single other UK powered coaster out of the water. If you rank Alton's one over this, I respect your opinion but I also think you've gone mad.

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I also did Volcano the Blast Tower which had an astonishingly intense (for me) launch and was also good fun.

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And then up came North Star Flyer which was one of the scariest rides I've ever done. Back in Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2016 this thing went up, spent literally four seconds at the top, then came down. This thing kept me up there for at least four minutes. Some kid behind me was enthusiastically chanting "PUT YOUR HANDS UP" I ignored his chant and gripped the chains hard. I wouldn't not do it again, just might've come at a bit of a surprise for me. Unironically scarier than Odyssey. After a trip in December this year I learned that my fear on drop towers and star flyers and the tops of Speed 32s actually massively fluctuates depending on how dark it is outside. Bright and you can see everything? Bricking it. Dark and can't see anything? Fine, all good and chill. Spooky n scary in the day, but won't put me off from doing it again.

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The day ended with two more rides on Odyssey after a sudden phone call talking about coasters in Wales. A promising sign for the future...?

Anyway, Odyssey still good.

And after that, I left.

I was happy about not using my scare maze wristband because I bought that in case of Odysspite which thankfully never happened. This day could've gone much differently.

And after literally running for the bus, I hopped on and was soon on the train back home.

Successful day despite Spitin Roller, and Spinning Racer leaving to buy some milk. I got on the one I wanted to do the most. I skipped Millennium this time around because I've done it already, wasn't overly bothered on doing it again, had at least an hour queue and Odyssey was open. Didn't even try talking to the op about getting on the forbidden coaster in the pyramid.

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It's a good place when the standout is open and there aren't three million people on park. Thankfully those crowds I mentioned earlier dispersed pretty quickly.

Ride Ranking: The Odyssey > Rhombus Rocket > Volcano the Blast Tower > Mystical Dragon Mountain > North Star Flyer > Queen Bee > Runaway Train > Family Roller Coaster > Ghost Train > Big Apple

Up next - one in three.
 
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RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 10: Third Time's the Charm

May 2021: Warwick, UK. I'm in the area for reasons unrelated to coasters and I'm ten minutes away from a plus-one. Unfortunately we can't make the trip.

July 2021: Warwick, UK. I'm back in the area for reasons unrelated to coasters and I'm still ten minutes away from a plus-one. Unfortunately we still can't make the trip.

October 2021: Warwick, UK. I'm once again in the area for reasons unrelated to coasters and the opportunity to grab the plus-one has finally arisen.


St. Nicholas' Park was the game and #111 Runaway Train was the name. Was alright.

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The park is aimed at very young children so we were done after one ride, and could've been done there and then, but we elected to do a round of 18-hole mini golf which I failed to take any photos of. There were three people in my group, and unsurprisingly I got last but I'm within reason for getting last - one person I was with had retired, and the other often went for rounds of golf in his spare time. I'm literally within walking distance of a humongous mini golf course which I still haven't visited yet; perhaps this could be the motivator to go there. In one of my "do nothing" days, why not go down there for a couple hours?

We then left and managed to leave less than five minutes before our hour-long stay at the car park was up. Warwick Castle was essentially within seconds of St. Nicholas' Park, but we weren't in the area for that so that was off limits from the very start.

Ride Ranking: Mini golf > Runaway Train

Up next - patience and surprise.
 

RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Not overly keen on those massive title cards anymore...

Part 11: I Waited Six Years For It (Stevenage Fun Fair)

Stevenage, UK. I'm in the area to ride a flat ride that refuses to go somewhere that's local to me, and as a result I haven't ridden one. I haven't even seen the damn thing in six years.

You can probably guess what we found out of nowhere, as there's a reason you're reading this. The well-travelled Wacky Worm #112 Family Coaster was here after I missed it at Hyde Park in 2019 and also at the Blackheath Breakout Fair that became my first cancelled trip of 2021 out of a horrific lack of planning, Of course it was the first ride of the trip. It ain't no Pettitts but it's not as speedless as Botton's.

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Time for the real deal. Superstar was the reason I came here and it was absolutely worth it. It was a truckload of fun, and while the ride cycle wasn't as long as other Superstars (3 rotations of the boom, with a hangtime section halfway) it still managed to become one of my favourite flats. It's so addictive and satisfying to look at as well.

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The rest of the night consisted of running down all but three of the flats, plus a dark ride. It's a Small World managed to break itself and the op had to come in to push us to get it going again, the Waltzer ran a consistent and fantastic spin, the Twister ran in both directions which was comical, and Freeway was a decently fun musik express that ran at a good speed.

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After a once-in-a-lifetime reride on a Wacky Worm we were out. I'm not joking when I say that was one of my favourite fairs of all time. Great staff, good vibes, and fantastic presentation of everything. Nothing will beat Carter's Steam Fair though.

Ride Ranking: Superstar > Waltzer > Freeway > Twister > Family Coaster > It's a Small World

Up next - contemplating life.
 

RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 12: We Drove 90 Minutes for a Pinfari (Pavilion Fun Park? & Clacton Pier)

To celebrate my 20th birthday I went down to Clacton Pier with a good friend to ride their recently opened Pinfari ZL42, Looping Star. This replaced Stella's Revenge which is added to my (currently) tiny pile of creds that were either relocated or bulldozed. It was essentially a 90 minute drive both ways for basically a +1, but being sane people we were fine with the idea of chilling around the area and not leaving immediately after acquiring the coaster. This label of 'sane' won't be sticking around for long... I don't know how long, but soon it'll be on borrowed time!

We arrived and walked up to Pavilion UnFun Park to get my buddy on Gold Mine for a laugh, but we momentarily forgot the off season existed and were greeted with closed gates. No big loss so we headed to the main event, Clacton Pier. The two parks simultaneously had their own Ferris Wheel at some point in the summer (heated competition in British form) but both decided to pack it up for the winter.

Of course the first ride we did was #113 Looping Star and I'll let East Coast Adventures do the talking here.

1) Get in the queue.
2) Scan your card.
3) Go in an empty seat (lucky us got the very back).
4) Realise that the cars are criminally cramped like they put altered Go Gator trains on a ZL42.
5) Literally have to cross my legs to fit in the car comfortably.
6) Pull down the restraint.
7) Find what may as well be the shortest seatbelt I have ever seen (bear in mind I am essentially the definition of "average height size and weight").
8) Realise that you have to pull down the restraint almost as far as it goes, and pull the seatbelts as much as they go in order to connect the two.
9) Realise that it's not as uncomfortable as it sounds.

I didn't even think about the restraints during the ride. It's ridiculously fun for some reason. The first drop is super punchy, the loop is the least intense part of the ride, the transition into the crest of the hill after was fun, and the helix was oddly intense but not "Storm Chaser facing downwards" intense.

Hit the brakes.

10) Remember that the cars are criminally cramped like they put altered Go Gator trains on a ZL42.
11) Forget that the seatbelts require two buttons to be pushed to unlock them so I press down on one button and question "why isn't it unlocking" while the restraint is completely in the way of what I'm trying to look at.
12) Buddy reminds me that there are two buttons after he casually gets out.
13) I'm an idiot.
14) Get off and laugh about it and discuss riding it again later.

That was really funny. I know it sounds like a terrible ride but every part of it I enjoyed quite a bit. The restraint faff was a blast and I'm sure people got some "pffft"'s out of me being completely unable to get out of the seat. It might be my second favourite Pinfari too, but nothing's gonna beat Crazy Loop let's be honest.

It's 100% an upgrade from ol' Stella. Wasn't willing to do that more than once a day, this one I wanted to get straight back on despite me having done four of these now.

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It was now time for the Go-Karts which the op gave us loads of laps on. I was dominating the race track so I decided to take a corner on the outside to let my buddy pass turns out I just let a random guy past and my buddy was slightly further back. So now I'm competitively trying my hardest to get back into first (which I succeed in doing). My buddy ended up having not a go-kart but a slo-kart and he was lagging behind pretty badly; I'm sure if I was given twice as many laps I would've lapped him eventually with an incredibly smug look on my face. I saw him finishing up a lap while I was halfway through and he was utterly depressed about not having a kart as fast as the others. We decided to be reasonable people and not comment to the operator about it. To be fair he probably noticed, but it would've been nice if he said something about the aforementioned slo-kart beorehand.

After a food break we did the Twister which ran an alright cycle, not "random local fair a 40 minute walk from my house that I only went to once in the week it operated" levels of unfiltered chaos but not "small fair that I went to for their loop-o-plane, with a sizzler that did a five minute cycle at what felt like 20% speed" slow. The fun part is that with a buddy you can just talk about completely off-topic blab during the ride. That was fun and made the ride a lot better.

We also did the Dockside Dodgems which were some of the most fun we've had on any Dodgems, and met a terrifying animatronic reindeer before sweating out a Piano Tiles arcade game, giving the tickets to someone who wanted them, and air hockey in the arcade. No golf - no time for golf. Devastated.

Going to the edge of the pier we found Waltzer cars and then after standing around for a bit questioning life we went back. At the edge of a pier you get some utterly random thoughts come to mind and we came back down the pier as new and different people.

We rerode Looping Star which was just as faffy as the previous time but still good fun. Further in the front is MORE intense than the back and I was surprised by that, especially an unexpected massive "???" at the top of the hill after the loop. Not sure how to describe it.

And after being denied for a third ride (it was ten minutes before closing) we ended the day with another ride on Twister who had a more forgiving operator. We tried ending it on the wacky worm but I think they somehow managed to break it and it was unmanned for the last hour of the day.

So, it was good. As much as I complained about Looping Star's restraint system it really isn't that bad at all. If anything I overexaggerated it for comedic effect (but still somewhat loyal to the true experience) and both times we came off the ride laughing with how short the seatbelts were. So it was more funny than annoying. I know I'm repeating myself over and over with this, but I wanted to make it clear that it is not a day-ruiner, just adds more flavour to the experience. I skipped the aquarium as we were ridiculously short on time, the Paratropper was straight-up gone, and the log flume wasn't running as it was undergoing winter maintenance.

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Top 10 park for me.

Ride Ranking: Looping Star > Twister > Dockside Dodgems

Up next - propellor thingy.
 

RobCoasters

Mega Poster
Part 13: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

London, UK. A truly massive funfair has returned to Hyde Park, and it brings two new coasters, brings back a ton of world-class travelling rides, and a few newcomers in the flat ride department too. This is pretty easy to get to so I visit on the first Saturday of the event while being completely oblivious to the existence of Preview Night simply because I had no clue how to book it. Would've saved hundreds. Turns out that the official online site doesn't hold preview night tickets, and they are sold separately. Was told about a week late but I now know to keep that in mind for next year. Bring us more of those beautiful Schwarzkopfs next year please. Or just general travelling coasters... they always move around by far the most intriguing rides on the market generally. Who doesn't want Drifting Coaster or Hollenblitz or some Jet Star? And the flats, oh the flats... I need Breakdance and Bayern Kurve in my life!

Underground: Northern Line to Leicester Square OR Kings Cross St Pancras, change for the Piccadilly line to either Green Park (for a ten minute walk beforehand) OR Hyde Park Corner (to just get straight to the point). If you're coming in from the Edgware zone on the Northern line, I highly recommend you do the Kings Cross change for a slightly higher chance at nabbing a seat.

First up wasn't something new, it was €uro Coaster. I wanted to do this since it was such a long time since I last did it, and I loved it when I was younger. These days it's the definition of "nothing to say about this ride". Has a couple good drops, but every coaster has that.

Real deal now. #114 Heidi the Coaster was my first coaster to offer onboard audio, and was also my first of the new modern Reverchon mice. Three differences I could spot: really fast lift hill, spinning is unlocked earlier, that thing before the double up is now a banked 180 curve. Except that there's no double up which I was pretty sad about. I was sat next to a Russian couple who were talking about complete nonsense and not particularly enthralled by the hardware.

Yes, this is literally the best photo I took of this ride.

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Up next - my current #1. The coaster with an identity crisis, München Looping, is still hauling at #1. The station is still a free-for-all but the bloke who takes your ticket does a good job with making people go for the front. I went for the back, and it's still oh so good. You know what this ride does. Loops are intense as hell, final helix is great, and the high speed turn into Loops #2 and #3 is chaos.

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Side note: It wasn't until much later that I realised the front was actually better than the back! I was all "no chance I'm doing the front" until enough people convinced me to try it, as they all praised the front seat for being much better than the back. Turns out they were right; apparently ever since the ride was "nerfed" in 2018 (I think it got a repaint and new wheels) the front decided to start running more intense. Ever since I found out for myself, every single sequential ride was in the front and I can see myself doing this if I ever get the chance to ride it again.

After that I knew to get a sneaky +1, #115 Santa's Runaway Train. Oval, back seat, interesting laterals. The second smallest coaster I have ever done, unsurprisingly, isn't the worst.

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Side note #2: If you happen to find this, avoid the front. For some reason the front has a pretty questionable rattle, me and a buddy found this out the hard way when we rerode this for a joke. Make sure you try to get the back seat as it's much smoother over there!

Oh.

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That.

This thing dominates the skyline in every single way it can. At times the monster doesn't even look real, but I can no longer stay away. It's time. The music booms as I'm in the queue, and now I'm on.

It takes me to the top and we wait for the bottom to unload, and the next 2-3 minutes was legitimately one of the scariest things I've ever done. I know the safety of these things damn well and I'm bricking it. Since the weight was slightly uneven, my side tilts to face downwards. I swear if those little metal grab bars to the side of your seat didn't exist, I don't know where I would've been. I clench them as hard as I clenched the chains of Fantasy Island's Star Flyer. I think I was actually almost frozen in shock, though focusing on one single thing that doesn't move can ease the mind a lot.

What happens after instantly makes the waiting all worth it. Like, within actual seconds. This thing THROWS you for the first half. When you're diving down, you're rocking in a beautiful motion and flying up you gracefully transition upwards ready to do it all again.

Towards the second half of the ride the seat rotation became almost entirely controlled, locking at the bottom and unlocking when you're upside down. This makes your seat follow to around 85% the motion of the main arm. The intensity sliding down for the second half doesn't detract from how much (redacted) FUN the ride is. Like, when we slowed down and started to prep up for unload I was in awe. Thanked the poor op around three times with two thumbs up, then trundled off. Yep, this is my second favourite flat ride of all time. And the wind in your face. The WIND in your face. I love it so much, and really gives you a serious sense of speed.

So when's it coming back to the UK?

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Side note #3: I rode this two extra times on my visits. Some additional thoughts: in my eyes, going backwards is better than going forwards though I don't think I've done either side enough (once forwards twice backwards) in order to form a better opinion. The more I rode this, the more relaxed I became on it and eventually came to let go of those friendly grab bars and throw those heavy metal fingers (index and ring finger up) for the ride, even having a casual conversation with my buddy while waiting at the top. I found the ride to have Starflyer Syndrome where the ride becomes considerably less scary when it's dark outside.

I spent two more laps on the (unfortunately) back seat of München before I had to leave due to time constraints. I'll definitely be back, especially for you Airborne.

Wait.
Wait.
Wait.

Doing a bit of investigation as I got home, I was convinced that one of the spinning mice was a coaster I already had because I thought I did the exact one at a summer funfair - The Beach at Brent Cross to be exact.

Well, I'm wrong. They're different rides. I'm missing a cred from the fair I just went to! And if I don't do my research for trips that won't be an easy return, I'll be down numbers that so easily could've been ridden.

Stay tuned.

Ride Ranking: Airborne > München Looping > Heidi the Coaster > €uro Coaster > Santa's Runaway Train

Up next - a fast clock who's still hungry after dinner.
 
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