FRISBEE and MAGIC rides, new for 2018 at Fantasy Island


Fantasy Island UK are preparing to open two new thrill rides for the 2018 season. ‘Frisbee’ and ‘Magic’ are both now built up ready for opening on 17th March, but if you can’t wait that long then read on to see what is in store!

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Built by HUSS in 1994, the Frisbee is one of the original pendulum-swing type rides. Unlike most of it’s modern day counterparts which are powered by a motor at the top of the A-Frame structure, the HUSS Frisbee is tyre-driven from beneath the ride car.

Also unlike many of its modern counterparts is the shear size of this thing. It’s massive. Transportable rides of this size are scarcely seen in the UK these days, with the favour being placed on rides that can be folded down onto one or two trailers in a very short amount of time.

This particular ride was built in 1994 and travelled Germany under the ownership of Rudolf Robrahn. It was bought by James Mellor in 2014 where it opened at the Dubai Global Village before making its way to the UK in time for Nottingham Goose Fair 2017 and now the 2018 season at Fantasy Island Theme Park.

 

MAGIC

Hey hey hey.. it’s Magic! And this is the one we’re really excited about. Check it out;

Magic is another HUSS ride, this one built in 1993. Like the Frisbee, it was bought by showman and owner of Fantasy Island James Mellor in 2014 and spent some time in Dubai before coming to the UK at the end of 2017.

It really is a treat to see a Magic in the UK. Whilst the Frisbee is impressive, it is a ride type that generally everyone is well aware of and to some potentially nothing unique. A ‘Magic’ on the other hand is something I’ve only ever seen before overseas. It certainly seemed to be popular at Nottingham Goose Fair, attracting large crowds throughout the Friday evening of our visit.

In a world where travelling rides are getting more and more intense, it sometimes feels like manufacturers and owners have lost sight of the importance of making rides fun and enjoyable. Magic seems to be the perfect level of fun yet still a very thrilling experience. More like this please!

Fantasy Island reopens for the 2018 season on Saturday 17th March 2018.


Apologies for the delay, here’s an UPDATE!


Hello!

Just a quick message to let you know that we are very much still active, particularly on our YouTube channel. We’ve just updated the site to include all of our most recent videos so be sure to check them out here.

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Why the lack of website updates?

Well, thanks for asking! We’re working hard to produce HTR V2 – a simpler, cleaner site that puts more focus on our original content and makes it far easier to manage and view. Stay tuned for more information regarding the launch date!

Thank you for your continued support. Our YouTube channel is nearing 3000 subscribers and 2 million views – we couldn’t be happier to have you all on board and enjoying our content! Apologies for the brief post, until next time – Hold Tight!


S&D Leisure to debut Xtreme Top Scan at Truckfest


S&D Leisure Rides have announced that their newly-purchased Mondial Top Scan ride will make it’s UK debut at the Peterborough Truckfest 2016.

Xtreme at the Great European Carnival, Hong Kong. Photo by S&D Leisure.

Xtreme at the Great European Carnival, Hong Kong. Photo by S&D Leisure.

Named Xtreme, the ride was purchased by the Manchester-based firm back in November 2015. The ride spent it’s first few months under the new ownership in Hong Kong at the Great European Carnival where it operated from December through to February.

Xtreme looks like a brilliant addition to the UK lineup of travelling rides, with a striking colour scheme and new LED-lighting that was installed whilst the ride was out in Hong Kong. Originally built in 1997, you may recognise it from it’s days travelling in Europe under the ownership of Austrian showman Fam Rieger.

Xtreme loads making their way to the UK. Photo by S&D Leisure.

Xtreme loads making their way to the UK. Photo by S&D Leisure.

Truckfest will take place on the 1st and 2nd May 2016 at the East of England Showground, Peterborough. Tickets cost £17 per person when booked in advance or £20 on the day. Visit the website for more details.

Can’t wait until Truckfest? Take a look at this video of Xtreme’s first ride under the new ownership of Stanley & Krystal Reeves!

Videos and photos in this article taken by S&D Leisure Rides. Click here to visit their official page.


The beginning of the end for Olympia Looping?


After 26 years of travelling, it has been announced that Olympia Looping will spend the majority of the 2016 season permanently based at Wiener Prater, an amusement park in Austria.

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Olympia Looping is arguably the most iconic rollercoaster in the world. Show your non-coaster friends a picture of it and chances are they will have heard of it already – some of them may have even ridden it.

The ride made it’s debut on 17th September 1989 at the Munich Oktoberfest, holding the record as the largest portable rollercoaster in the world. Occupying a plot of 85 metres wide by 36 metres deep, the monstrous structure weighs in at over 900 tonnes.

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It was back in 2014 that rumours began to circulate suggesting the uncertainty over the future of the ride. Rapidly increasing operational and transport costs have left owner Rudolf Barth feeling that it is not feasible to continue travelling the ride.

“[In 2013], when we went from the Oktoberbest to the Bremer Freimarkt, the transport alone cost us 80,000 euro.” Says Barth in an interview with Aachener Zeitung. “After 16 days, we were left with only 20,000 euro. It’s not worth it anymore” 

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26 years have passed since the ride first opened, and yet the ride remains as popular as ever. The news of the ride entering semi-retirement has left fans questioning – will we ever see a ride like Olympia Looping on the travelling circuit again?

Quite simply – no. Probably not. In today’s money, a new Olympia looping would be worth approximately 25 million Euros – an investment that you just wouldn’t be able to earn back in the current climate.

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It’s not all bad news

But, we must remain positive. Olympia Looping is still in Europe, and still under the ownership of Barth. The ride will be open from March – August 2016 at Wiener Prater and will then be travelled to Munich for Oktoberfest. What Barth has planned for the coaster post-2016 remains to be seen, but we can hope!

Check out this great on-ride footage from our friends at UKRides.info


Mellors Group purchase Fantasy Island


Following a rough few years for Fantasy Island, the park has been bought by the Mellors Group. 

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The 41-acre resort, situated in Ingoldmells Skegness, comprises of a Theme Park and Holiday resort. Following the news that the park had entered administration in August 2014, today’s announcement of the Mellors Group purchase comes as a welcome surprise.

Mellors Group Events is run by UK-based travelling showman James Mellors, who has built a fantastic reputation over the years providing rides for major events including the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and the Nottingham Beach, as well as running a park in Dubai, coincidentally also named Fantasy Island.

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James Mellors, Managing Director of the Mellors Group said:

It is a very exciting time for our company as we have seen strong growth in our events business throughout the region and abroad. We pride ourselves on delivering the highest standard of attractions and we have some interesting investment plans and new rides for Fantasy Island in the near future.

Fantasy Island reopens for 2016 on 12th March. Naturally, we are intrigued to see what Mellors has in store. Could we expect to see some of the park’s rides at travelling events in the future, or maybe even a permanent home for his Ice Mountain coaster?


Mack Rides reveals new BigDipper train for Walibi Holland


Mack Rides have revealed their latest coaster train concept – The BigDipper train.

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The new train will be used on the Lost Gravity coaster, new for 2016 at Walibi Holland. Mack rides boast that the BigDipper car is capable of navigating tight transitions that are not possible with other trains.

“Extremely sharp turns, massive airtime and floorless outer seats with our comfortable lap bars will let you enjoy Lost Gravity!” – Mack Rides

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This certainly looks to be Mack’s take on the Gerstlauer Eurofighter, with the added benefit of the winged outer seats and the fact that Mack seem to actually be capable of producing decent rides.

Lost Gravity will open in 2016. The photo below (from Walibi Facebook) shows a bit of what you can expect from the new coaster.

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New Log Flume for Barry Island Pleasure Park


When Barry Island Pleasure Park re-opened in 2015, a fresh breath of life was injected into the iconic park.

Under the new ownership of Henry Danter, the park’s future once again seemed much more positive, with a focus on bringing in more rides and restoring the park to it’s former glory.

Speaking in 2015, Henry Danter promised that “By next season there will be more in Barry than anyone can imagine or have dreamed of, it’ll be the best park in Britain.” – and it looks like Mr Danter has stuck to his word!

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The iconic flume that stood in the park from 1980-2015

For many people the essence of the original Barry Island was captured through the old and somewhat iconic Log Flume ride. The water ride, manufactured by Reverchon, operated at the park from 1980 until 2009. By the time that the Danters took over the park in 2015, the ride was sadly beyond repair and the only option was to remove it.

Whilst the demolition of the flume was not a popular decision amongst long-term fans of the park, Mr Danter promised a replacement in the future. Fast forward to 2016, and he has delivered on the promise.

New flume arrives at Barry Island in 2016. 

New flume arrives at Barry Island in 2016.

Pirate River Arrives

On 2nd February 2016, Barry Island announced the arrival of a new Log Flume ride. Whilst not set up yet, the pictures that the park has released suggest that the ride is another Flume from the Reverchon group, quite possibly the model that was previously travelled by Buwalda in Europe. The ride features two drops and follows a layout that you will be familar with from other flumes in the UK, such as the Zambezi Watersplash at West Midland Safari Park.

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Image source: Barry Island Facebook

Whether or not this new ride will incorporate mountain theming elements similar to it’s predecessor is unknown, but we are sure the ride will look fantastic with or without it.

Barry Island opens daily from 12pm-6pm. More information can be found on their official website. We wish the Danter Family all the best for the 2016 season at Barry Island.

Take a ride on the Pirate River, under the ownership of Buwalda. Video by Kirmesmarkus on YouTube


All Aboard Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at Thorpe Park


Following months of rumour and speculation, Thorpe Park have today revealed further details of their new-for-2016 attraction. Derren Brown’s Ghost Train aims to re-invent the concept of the ghost train and has been in the making for over 3 years. But what can we expect?

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“People can expect a heart stopping experience that includes grand illusion, live action and special effects, that will completely re-write the rules of what theme parks can do”

– Derren Brown

What exactly the ride is or what it will do is still shrowded in mystery. What is known is that the 13-minute ride experience will be made up of five multi-sensory experiences, one of which being Virtual Reality and using the HTC Vive headset.

Housed within a massive (2306 sq-metres) Victorian-themed warehouse, the attraction’s focal point will be a full size railway carriage suspended 3 metres above the ground using iron chains. As guests enter the “seemingly innocent carriage, it soon becomes clear as sights and sounds fill your senses, that you will come face to face with what lies at the end of the line.”

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Derren Brown is keen to keep the contents of the ride a mystery, and as he does with his live shows, is asking that anyone who tries the ride keeps the secrets to themselves so as not to spoil it for others. What we do know is that the experience will not be the same for everybody. Derren Brown’s Ghost Train will feature 12 possible routes based on decisions that guests make leading them to one of two possible different endings.

According to the statistics we have each “train” will hold 60 people. What exactly this means we are unsure, but expect that it relates to the size of the groups that are batched into the attraction and does not neccessarily mean that you will progress through the whole ride in groups of 60 but will likely break off into smaller groups.

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“This is the reinvention of the ghost train. It is something very different. It is the first of its kind and, without sounding too arrogant about it, I think it will change what theme parks will be doing in the future.”

– Derren Brown.

Derren Brown’s Ghost Train will open in spring 2016.

http://www.mindswanted.co.uk


Efteling to open Symbolica Dark Ride in 2017


Dutch Theme Park Efteling have announced their latest project to be a €35 million dark ride named Symbolica: Palace of Fantasy. This family attraction is due to open in 2017 and will be the largest and most expensive Efteling attraction built to date.

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“Visitors are invited to rediscover their imagination on an adventure through the magical, hidden rooms of the Palace. A maximum of six people will step into a carriage and then choose one of three different routes. Each route will offer a different adventure with interactive elements through the Palace of Fantasy.” – Efteling.

Whilst not confirmed, it is now believed that the ride system will be trackless with spinning powered cars. This is contrary to original rumours that the ride would feature robotic-arms from Vekoma. The trackless system is likely to be from Dutch company ETF Rides, who have previously worked on projects such as Maus Au Chocolate at Phantasialand and Challenge of Tutankamen at Walibi Belgium. ETF Director Ruud Koppens has said that he is unable to comment at this time. Pictured below is an example of a trackless spinning car from the company.

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Efteling’s new dark ride was first rumoured in 2012 under the alternative name Hartenhof but saw various setbacks, including the announcement and opening of Baron 1898 in 2015, a B&M Dive Coaster. Symbolica, is however, very much happening; with the construction site already fenced off and early groundworks taking place. The ride will be located in the centre of the park at the end of the main promenade, and it’s large building will surely be a fantastic focal point for visitors.

We will keep you updated as this story develops. Featured below is a video of a trackless ride car from ETF in action, a product the company call the “Xperience Mover”. Exciting stuff!


Alton Towers to open Galactica Virtual Reality Rollercoaster


Alton Towers have today announced that they will be launching a new ride experience in April 2016. Named Galactica, the attraction will be a retheme of the existing Air rollercoaster and is being billed as “The world’s first rollercoaster fully dedicated to Virtual Reality”.

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Once onboard, riders will be equiped with ultra-lightweight VR headsets which have been developed in the UK by Figment Productions. The visuals in the headset will be precisely syncronised to the ride’s movements and will also allow passengers to tilt their heads and explore the virtual world around them.

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As you can probably guess, the theme of the Virtual Experience will be Space Travel. The story revolves around a fictional space tourism company named Galactica. As the rider, you are the “Galactanaut” and will embark on their first space mission.

How much will it cost?

Alton Towers have confirmed that there will not be an extra charge to ride Galactica.

Do I have to wear the VR Headset?

No. There will be the option to ride without.

Will it make me sick?

Maybe. It’s been a concern for many during the rumour stage, but today’s announcement stated that the old Air restraints will have shoulder straps that make it difficult to move your head left or right, reducing the need for the VR headsets to track the body’s movements as well as the coasters’. You will however be able to tilt your head up and down and explore the virtual world that way.

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Will I end up with other people’s sweat and germs all over my face? 

In theory, no – Alton Towers have confirmed that the headsets will be washed after every use.

I am a moron and would like to take my headset off mid-ride and throw it at a nearby spectator, will this be possible?

No. The ride will be scumbag-proof, with a custom tethering system that will never allow the headset to fall off your face.

Galactica is set to open in April 2016, alongside the recently announced RollerCoaster Restaurant where guests will be able to have their food delivered via rollercoaster. If you can’t wait that long then be sure to check out the teaser video posted below.

All images in this article from official Alton Towers press release.


Churchdown Funfair Extravaganza – 16th January 2016


The annual Churchdown Funfair Extravaganza is fast approaching, and will take place on Saturday 16th January 2016. The event is one of the largest of it’s kind and features over 60 model rides, a display of showmen’s transport, slide shows, sales stands, photo displays and of course a licensed bar!

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When: Saturday 16th January 2016, Open from 10.30 – 17.00

Where: Churchdown Community Centre, Parton Road, Churchdown, Gloucester, GL3 2JH

Price: FREE, with donations gratefully accepted and donated to the Fairground Heritage Trust.

This year’s show will feature Michael & John Molden’s latest Meccano model of the Haunted Mansion ghost train as well as Tom Langham’s 1/8th Scale Dobbies. Trophies will be awarded to the best models various categories.

Can’t wait until the 16th? Take a look at our video of a past show below!


Reverchon’s new Swinging Drifting Coaster


After years of success with the Spinning Mouse Coaster, rides manufacturer Reverchon have developed a new coaster concept for the travelling fairground industry – the Swing Coaster. This innovative new ride features four-seater cars with seats that swing freely as they navigate the sharp, unbanked corners of the coaster’s course.

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The seats are arranged back to back, offering riders the chance to enjoy the ride both forwards and backwards, depending on how much sloshing around their stomach’s can take. The image above shows the new cars being tested on one of the old Mouse coasters, suggesting that the track of the new ride is of the same guage as other coasters from Reverchon, and perhaps hints that the swing cars could be available as a retrofit to existing Mouse coaster owners. Despite this, the new ride will have it’s own layout to really exploit the swinging motion, which comes as a refreshing change from the standard zig-zag layout that has become a staple of the travelling fairground scene.

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The first one to be built, which shares a similar footprint to the spinning mouse coasters, will travel in Europe under the ownership of the German firm FTE Ahrend. It will feature 8 cars, travel on 8 trailers and take approximately 12 hours to set up with a 60ft crane.

A video of the new ride testing has surfaced on Facebook and it certainly looks interesting, with a much wider swing angle than we had originally expected. Take a look for yourself by watching the two videos below;

ONRIDE POV VIDEO

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OFFRIDE VIDEO (Shows the swing cars testing on the track of an old Spinning Mouse Coaster)


Thorpe Park release teaser video of Derren Brown dark ride


The one thing that the UK Theme Park industry is good at is keeping a secret. Thorpe Park is no exception to this trend, with their new-for-2016 attraction shrowded in mystery. Today the park have released a new teaser video featuring life size victorian dolls and the London Underground. This certainly hints towards a dark, creepy theme.

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So, what do we know already? The ride will be indoors – a ‘dark ride’. It is likely to involve multiple parts/rooms as well as a ride element and the whole experience will last for around 13 minutes. Derren Brown has been heavily involved in the design of the ride, and it is rumoured to be Merlin Attractions’ biggest investment in a single ride to date.

Brown said:

“First and foremost it’s a theme park attraction, the psychological part of it is a layer to it but its ultimate reason for existing is to thrill. So, it’s a theme park attraction that I’ve come up with over the last three years, working with the Thorpe Park guys trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

“IN A WORLD’S FIRST DERREN BROWN THE MASTER OF MANIPULATION PROMISES TO TAKE YOU ON A JOURNEY INTO DISTORTED EXISTENCE. PREPARE TO LOSE YOUR MIND WITH A PSYCHOLOGICAL ATTRACTION LIKE NO OTHER.”

For more information, visit https://mindswanted.co.uk


S&D Leisure tease of Top Scan purchase


S&D Leisure have today posted a teasing image that would suggest that they have purchased a Mondial Top Scan. The firm, who are also responsible for the AtmosFear Loop Fighter, posted this update to their facebook page;

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The teasing image shows Stanley Reeves at the controls of what looks to be Reiger’s Xtreme, a Mondial Top Scan. You can see the ride in action under Reiger’s ownership in the video below, courtesy of PasVids on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j2CM29XspY


Confirmed: S&D Leisure purchase Top Scan ride


Following our post earlier today speculating that S&D Leisure had purchased a new ride, the firm have now confirmed that they have indeed bought a Mondial Top Scan; namely the Xtreme that was previously travelled by Rieger.

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When exactly the ride will make an appearance in the UK we do not know, as it has been announced that it will debut under its new owner at The Great European Carnival, Hong Kong in December 2015 – February 2016.

We wish the new owners all the best with the new machine.

Watch the ride in action in the video below by 95dom01on YouTube.


Paramount Theme Park one step closer to becoming a reality


London’s Paramount Theme Park has been a talking point in the Theme Park community for quite some time now. In fact it was back in October 2012 that the project was first announced, receiving rather a lot of sceptical feedback from enthusiasts who were sure that the park would never actually be built. Now, almost 3 years on, the developers behind the project have bought their first 18 acres of land.

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In a statement released on 13th July 2015, the developers said:

“London Paramount is pleased to announce that it has completed the purchase of the sites known as Bamber Pit and Sports Ground in Swanscombe in the latest move to bring forward the London Paramount Entertainment Resort Project in North Kent.”

This is the first outright land purchase by the developers, and suggests that there actually may be a real chance that the park becomes a reality.

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This is all well and good, but we can’t help but wonder what exactly the “Resort” will entail. There seems to be a large emphasis on the park being an “Entertainment Complex”, stated to include a theatre, cinema, as well as retail and events spaces. How many rides there will be remains unknown, however the above concept art does suggest that there will be very heavily themed areas.

The project is estimated to cost £2billion and will be located on a former landfill site and sports ground on the Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent, London.

So what do you think – will it happen? Let us know below.


A walk around The Enchanted Village


“The Enchanted Village” is the latest accommodation offering from the Alton Towers Resort, complimenting the existing Splash Landings and Alton Towers Hotels. Opened on the 18th April 2015, the village consists of 120 lodges and 5 luxury treehouses.

We went down to the village for a walk around on a sunny afternoon. First impressions were very good. On entering the site the first building you see is the Crooked Spoon restaurant – also part of the development. This building is beautifully themed and features a soundtrack from IMA Score, who have become somewhat famous for their fantastic theme park soundtracks in the last few years.

Walking further in and you quickly become surrounded by the accommodation. The lodges are all laid out in clusters, with each cluster facing inwards towards a grassy patch with some kids play equipment in – promoting a cosy family feel. The area does feel very immersive to walk around, with plenty of little things to see and do. Step inside one of the lodges and this is what you can expect to find:

Each lodge comprises of a main room with double bed and TV, a small kids room with bunk beds in and a bathroom with bath/shower and toilet. The size is marginally larger than a standard hotel room, but to be honest any bigger and the cosy feel of the lodge could well be lost.

If, however, you really want a slice of luxury, then maybe a Treehouse is more suited. The Enchanted Village has five unique Luxury Treehouses which sleep up to eight people. These top-end lodges include their own private hot tubs, but do come at a cost of around £1000 per night.

Take a look at our video below to see the Enchanted Village for yourself!


The FIRST EVER Hold Tight Riders blog post


Hello. Welcome.

It seems as though you’ve landed yourself onto my blog, which – at the time of writing – is a fairly blank page with some text boxes littered about. I can assure you, however, that by your next visit there will be a generous splooge of rollercoaster on offer. I’ve been threatening to create one of these for some time now, so in the words of Ant and Dec – let’s get ready to rumble.

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“Tell us about yourself?”

I like rides.

“oh…”

Yep. Bit of ride geek.

Captured at a young age by the smell of diesel and hotdogs, I was destined to spend a lot of my life at the fun fair. Being brought up with an equally enthusiastic father meant that a maximum amount of pure ride-geekery would unfold.

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But the story didn’t end there… (Bonus points to anyone who can tell me where that reference is from!)
Theme parks entered my life pretty big time about six or seven years ago. Kind of.. They have always been an interest of mine, as is proven in many-a-family video documenting days out to Drayton Manor and the like, it’s just that it wasn’t until I was 14 that I decided that I wasn’t a wuss anymore and actually rode my first ‘proper’ coaster – Rock N Rollercoaster in Paris. The main reason for this was of course a good ol’ dose of peer pressure… But all shitting myself aside, I’ve not looked back since.

“What can I expect from your blog, huh?”

Essentially, I realised that I enjoy reading people’s opinions/reviews/general chitchat about this kind of stuff, so I thought I’d give it a go myself.. maybe I can even make you laugh whilst you read it.

Here’s some bullet points, partially to make it easy to see what you can expect, but mainly because everybody loves a good bullet point.

  • Theme Parks
  • Fun Fairs
  • Photos of rides looking all sexy
  • Running out of bullet point ideas, realised it’s best to put them all in one point:
  • THEME PARK/FAIR/RIDE REVIEWS & PHOTOS & VIDEOS. SOME LAUGHING, HOPEFULLY. A FREE iPAD. lol JKS, no iPad.

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Anyway, my dear reader. It is now 1.50am, and whilst I am glad that we’ve finally begun our blogtastic journey together, I should probably head to bed. I look forward to speaking soon.

Thanks for reading.