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Winning by Default: Paultons Park 08.05.2021

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
My favourite Service Station is Cobham Services just off the M25. But, tell you what, now they've built Tornado Springs, Paultons Park definitely comes a close second.

Now, here's something I have stood by since riding Juvelen at Djurs Sommerland:

Family friendly doesn't have to mean bland.

Family rides can be awesome. Dwervelwind, Mine Train Ulven, Th13rteen, Colorado Adventure, Big Thunder Mountain, Schlange Von Midgard...I thoroughly enjoy a great family coaster.

So...why didn't I enjoy Paultons?

I think, it's because none of their rides have the wow factor, as I discovered on my recent weekend visit with @Coop.

I'm not talking about inversions, drops, and forces when I say Wow Factor. I'm just talking about fun, when you come off smiling. Blitz Bahn, the bobsled at Toverland for example, has the Wow Factor. You always want another go round.

The same cannot be said for any of the rides at Paultons, especially their newest addition 'Storm Chaser.'

Obviously, Paultons' Storm Chaser is not my favourite Storm Chaser. That trophy goes to the thigh destroyer at Kentucky Kingdom.

In terms of weather-themed creds I've ridden, this new Mack spinner sits comfortably in the 'Bad Weather' tier, somewhere behind Tornado at Bakken and Tornado at Saarkeniemi. (Sub question: how many weather-themed creds have you ridden?)

But alas, it is unfair to compare a family spinner to these bigger rides just because they're all themed to weather.

Let's pick a fairer comparison. Dwervelwind at Toverland. Dwervelwind has a beautiful on board soundtrack, a gorgeous ride station and a great layout. Storm Chaser has no on board audio, a bland ride station and an average layout.

Why were we all so disproportionately excited for Storm Chaser I pondered, as we spun through the final helix...? Because it's "good for the UK."

Paultons Park isn't good. It's good for the UK. If this were a park in Germany, we would cred run it in 2 hours and never mention it again. I mean, Germany is home to genuinely excellent family-friendly parks like Karls Erlebnis Dorf for a start. I'd much rather go there than back to Paultons. It's magical.

It was a depressing realisation, when Coop and I tried to think of a better themed current land in the UK than Tornado Springs and couldn't.

Of course, I appreciate the effort that Paultons have put in. But the fact that a tiny Route 66 themed area is all it takes to be the best in the UK now is disappointing. The lack of themed lands elsewhere makes Paultons a winner by default.

My favourite thing about Tornado Springs was the Tornado Fries. I loved how they took something as simple as a Curly Fry and blended it in with the theme. That's how to make a potato look deliberate!

Cyclonator was intense but not re-rideable.

The new area has a dad rock soundtrack, which actually made a refreshing change from the soaring symphony tropes of IMA score which seem to permeate the air of every park nowadays. (I'm not complaining, I adore IMA, it's just nice to have some variation)

The mini drop towers were the best new addition - more airtime on those than on Magma!

Moving on. My favourite part of Paultons is easily the trippy Cat-O-Pillar area.

Here's what you ordered online:

20210517_223331.jpg


And here's what arrived:

20210517_223343.jpg



Some of these nightmarish mashed together animals are puns - "a bee-ver" for example - but some are just weird. I liked this inconsistency, it kept me guessing.

Looking at these horrific contraptions and trying to decipher what their names were was the most immersed I felt all day in the park.

20210517_223556.jpg

Dandylion?

20210517_223543.jpg

Woodmouse? Eye-pod?

20210517_223531.jpg

Flyger?

Answers on a postcard please.

Anyway. The dinosaur area is also "good for the UK." Despite both Vekomas being a walk on, we rode them once then forgot about them.

Peppa Pig World is easily the best section of Paultons because it's the only bit that feels fairly substancial.

Got a Peppa Pic to make my 2 year old niece jealous.

IMG_20210508_220317_065.jpg

Then we headed into the non-themed zones. The concrete, the bland rides, the travelling log flume, the lack of cohesion. This still makes up a large part of Paultons.

Cobra was probably the most exciting cred of the day, but even that falls short on the fun factor.

You only have to take a look at the similar Gerstlauer Bobsled at Belantis to see how to elevate these rides to something special. Hopefully Paultons will do this with Cobra in the future.

Paultons is commended for knowing it's audience and for bothering to build and theme new lands. But in reality, that is simply what every theme park should be doing. Paultons do their job, whilst many other UK parks don't. I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the day when this isn't the best we have to offer.

It's just. so. bland.

But hey, the parking was free and I got a sausage roll, just like at Cobham Services.
 
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Nitefly

Mega Poster
Cheers for the good read. I too thought that there was something ‘bemusingly nightmarish’ about those ‘critters’. Likewise, I also took mild bemusement from the below (found in Peppa Pig world)...

NHl7BOR.jpg


... some unintended, uh, ‘Alien’ vibes going on there, I think 😅
 

Benenen

Hyper Poster
Serena you've eloquently captured my slight disappointment with Paultons. I haven't seen Tornado Springs yet but in terms of scale and hardware the park is a league below the Merlin stuff. Yes Paultons is better run and leaves a nicer fuzzier feeling but on a quiet day I'd rather visit Chessington where there's better coasters, an actual water ride, dark rides, decent soundtracks, etc. I want to adore Paultons and I probably will in 5 years time but as of now it's not there. It is a lovely park though, I do like it a lot.
 
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