Stoke’s Winter Wonderland returns for a second year in Hanley town centre. Plenty of rides and stalls for all the family to enjoy this festive season.
Winter Wonderland runs from 16th November 2017 – 2nd January 2018. You can find it in the Birch Terrace car park, Hanley.
You may have seen our Winter Wonderland music video a few days ago, well here’s a bit of bonus footage for you!
Check out some full length on ride footage of the biggest and best rides at the 2017 event.
London’s Winter Wonderland is back and better than ever! Take a ride on the biggest attractions with us in this whistle stop tour of the UK’s best Christmas event.
Munich Looping (Olympia Looping), the world’s largest transportable roller coaster is back, along with some new additions – including the 80m tall “The View” Observation Tower. Winter Wonderland takes place in Hyde Park, London from 17th November – 1st January 2017. Video filmed during the Charity Preview evening.
After what feels like a decade of waiting, the new Exciter ride of Dane Crow has made its debut appearance at the Conisbrough Ticklecock Fair.
Known to the public as “Exciter”, the new ride comes from British manufacturers Tivoli. Tivoli are perhaps most known for their Orbiter and Extreme rides that are slowly beginning to saturate the UK fair scene – so this new innovation is certainly welcome.
New? Are you sure?
Those who are familiar with their funfairs will certainly see some familiarity in the design of the Exciter. Named by Tivoli as the ‘Warp 10’, Exciter is a modernised version of the ‘Force 10’ – or Tip Top – which was originally introduced in 1980.
Whilst largely similar to the Tip Top, the USP of Exciter comes in the form of its seating. Replacing the enclosed cars of the 80’s are modern ‘dangly-feet’ three-seater cars with a bonus party-trick hidden up their sleeves – the ability to tilt.
When the tilting feature was first rumoured there was quite a lot of excitement in the enthusiast community. People began to visualise a system similar to that of the Air rollercoaster at Alton Towers where riders lie fully on their fronts, creating the illusion of flight. But as the years went by, it became apparent that there was clearly a delay with the construction of Exciter – believed to be due to the implementation of these tilting seats.
It was therefore somewhat disappointing to find out that the seats actually only tilt about 40 degrees forwards and return to their upright position before the ride accelerates to its full speed. Ah well.
Debut event – Conisbrough Ticklecock Fair
The Exciter finally made its public debut at the Conisbrough Ticklecock Fair on 13th April 2017. So what do we think?
There’s no denying that the ride is presented in an immaculate condition, as is the case of most rides operated by the Crow family. On closer inspection the attention to detail becomes apparent – from the laser-cut designs on the perimeter fencing to the Disco Smash speakers fitted to the back of each of the 12 cars. The LED lighting package is stunning, however has lost some of the impact that it would have had if the ride made its debut when it was originally intended to, due to LED lighting becoming the norm across many of the country’s rides in the past 24 months.
Was it worth the wait?
To put it simply, not really. Whilst there’s no denying that Exciter is a solid addition to the UK fair industry, it just doesn’t really tick all the boxes for us. At the end of the day the ride experience is essentially spinning in an unbroken circle for 3 minutes, and therefore somewhat nauseating to ride. Whilst the tilting seats are a good idea in theory, at the moment they’re not being utilised very effectively and go largely unnoticed whilst on the ride. Take a look for yourself in the full onride cycle below:
BUT don’t just take our word for it. It seems to be a bit of a generation thing – having read many comments on the internet it would seem that Exciter has gone down a treat with the older generation who have fond memories of the original Tip Top. To this extent, Exciter should be a big success with all ages – the oldies who remember the original and the young’uns who’ve never seen one before and think it’s something new.
It’s worth remembering that it is the Crows that were responsible for the first ‘lifting twist’ (Cyclone), and they do have to be admired for their innovative foresight – even if the final products are a little odd. What next, a tilting carousel?!
We wish the Crows all the best with Exciter and look forward to seeing it over the course of 2017!
A day out in Blackpool with friends in September 2016.
Originally made as a video to share between friends but thought some of you may enjoy it here on this channel! Includes on-ride footage and a couple of clips from the Blackpool Tower.
Front seat on-ride POV of the brand new Vekoma Suspended Family Coaster at Paulton’s Park, UK. Flight of the Pterosaur officially opened on 17th May 2016 as part of the new Lost Kingdom dinosaur area at the park.
The UK’s first Rollercoaster Restaurant is now open at the Alton Towers Resort. In this new venue guests order their food via iPad and have their meals delivered to the table on a rollercoaster track!
In this video we take a look inside on opening day, Friday 13th May 2016.
Winter always used to be a dull time for the UK attractions industry, with the country’s Theme Parks all closed and many other tourist attractions and funfairs all finished for the year. So when Winter Wonderland first opened it’s gates in December 2007 nobody could have predicted the impact it would have had on the industry.
Winter Wonderland has grown rapidly, in all senses – with each year seeing more rides, more attractions and more visitors. 2015 is no exception, and is infact the most notable shake up of the event in it’s history, with over 60 large attractions, 22 more than were present in 2014.
Situated in London’s iconic Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland boasts something for everybody, with plenty of Christmas spirit thrown in! From fairground rides to live shows, festive treats to ice skating, the event offers a huge range of entertainment all suited to the winter theme.
Whilst the event is very well dressed up, for us the heart of it will always be the fairground. With rides travelling to the event from all over Europe, this is surely the best funfair in the UK. Whilst the purists amongst you may be screaming “WHAT ABOUT HULL AND GOOSE?!” at your screens, we do firmly believe that Winter Wonderland is in a league of it’s own. Whilst Hull fair and Nottingham Goose fair are indeed incredibly large fairs in the UK calendar, they lack the coherant theme, enterainment, layout and presentation of the Hyde Park event. Oh, and did we mention that Eberhard’s AirWolf is there?!
Where else in the UK can you see a Mondial Inferno? Nowhere! This classic ride has instantly been a hit with the British public, most of whom have never seen a ride like it before. Other notable rides at this year’s event include Lagerin’s Huss Breakdance from Germany, Schneider’s new Hangover Freefall Tower, Hart’s Huss Top Spin, Mannings Capriolo 10 and Dotremont’s KMG XXL. Also new for this year is the world’s largest mobile ghost train – Daemonium.
There’s literally loads to see and do, too much to write about in one short article. Interestingly the Irvin family have actually purchased three brand new rides just for the event – these being a Waltzer, Extreme and Dodgems. Meanwhile, coaster fans are spoilt for choice with both Eberhard’s Wild Maus XXL and Mellor’s Ice Mountain – the world’s first entertaining Reverchon ride.
The good news is that you don’t need to pay to get in – you just pay for the attractions that you want to ride and/or experience. This means that you can bring Grandma along and she can happily toddle around the market stocking up on knitting needles whilst you’re busy shouting horrific swear words and pooing yourself 90 meters in the air on the Hangover tower. Prices are best described as “London prices” which roughly translates to “bloody expensive” , but hey, it’s Christmas – and it is worth it for the atmosphere alone.
Winter Wonderland runs from the 20th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016 and is open from 10am-10pm. Access is recommended via the Marble Arch tube station.
Following a lengthy appeal process, Legoland Windsor have finally recieved permission to build the Haunted House Drop Ride that they originally intended to build for the 2015 season. The attraction is believed to be very similar to the “Ghost” ride that opened at Legoland Billund in 2014, featuring a themed walkthrough that culminates with a ride on a drop tower – believed to be 10 meters tall from ABC Rides.
The ride is expected to open for the 2017 season, two years behind the original plans which were rejected in 2014 due to fears that the local area could “not cope” with the increased traffic from extra visitors attracted to the park.
Stay tuned for further updates, but in the mean time the video below of the Legoland Billund ride will give you a good idea of what to expect.
City Centre Big Wheels are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, particularly during the holiday season. Naturally, showmen are making the most of this opportunity, with more and more investing in these large rides. Abie Danter is one of the latest to purchase a wheel, with his being a 48 meter tall model from Bussink.
On first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that the ride is brand new straight from the factory, however it was in fact manufactured 18 years ago, in 1997. Previous owners of this ride are Mueller of Germany and Bird of Ireland. The wheel was purchased by Danter Attractions in July 2015 where it went under extensive refurbishment, bringing the ride to a flawless standard with a spectacular colour changing lighting display – the first of it’s kind on an observation wheel in the UK.
If you’d like to see it for yourself then head to Centenary Square, Birmingham where it will be running alongside the German Christmas Market until early January 2016.
You may remember some time ago, (well, 3 months ago actually) we embarked on a massive crazy super awesome European Theme Park and Funfair trip. You may also have heard of the phrase “good things come to those who wait”? Well – thanks for waiting.
Here are some of the photos from our trip. Some of the videos are also online, in which case please follow the links. Stay tuned for more features and write-ups from our time away.
20th July 2015
Our first visit to Tilburg Kirmes.
21st July 2015
We visited Efteling (Nehterlands) to check out their new B&M Dive Coaster; Baron 1898.
21st July 2015
Following our day at Efteling we stopped off at the Uden Kirmes; an average sized fair with nothing particularly noteworthy at, still, it was good to see the Sound Machine.
22nd July 2015
This utterly bonkers German park is set in the site of a never used Nuclear Power Plant. The star attraction is a Starflyer ride inside a cooling tower. Entry is around 15 Euros and includes unlimited ice cream, chips and drinks!
22nd July 2015
Ask any coaster geek about Movie Park and 99% of the time they’ll tell you it’s a terrible park not worth bothering with. We ignored this advice and spent an afternoon there and actually really enjoyed it!! The coasters themselves are truly awful BUT the theming is fantastic and it was a nice immersive experience on the whole with some interesting attractions thrown in – notably an indoor rapids ride and a great Gerstlauer bobsled coaster in the dark.
23rd July 2015
The best advice we ever took was to visit Phantasialand. It is without doubt the most visually impressive park we’ve ever been to, with some incredible rides with plenty of “secret” elements. This album includes some construction pictures of their new for 2016 rollercoaster “Taron”.
24th and 25th July 2015
This is probably one of the most talked about German fairs by us UK Enthusiasts, so we were thrilled to finally visit ourselves. Unfortunately the fair was closed all of Saturday due to bad weather so we didn’t manage to see everything we wanted to, but did get a few photos the night before.
25th July 2015
The final funfair of our summer Eurotrip was Duren Annakirmes. Notable attractions include the new Apres Ski XXL and Wild Maus XXL (the one that comes to London every winter)
26th July 2015
Knowing that we had approximately 3 hours to spare before our plane home we stopped off at BillyBird Park (Netherlands). This is a strange inland-beach style attraction aimed at families and young children. The star attraction is an ABC Rides solar powered rollercoaster, which was actually surprisingly fun.
And that’s a wrap! We hope you enjoy the photos and/or videos. More videos are yet to come so be sure to check back for further updates. If you have any questions about our trips and how we do them then leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you.
The “Miami” has been a hugely popular investment for travelling showmen in the UK for many years. After 22 years of service, Edward Danter Jnr has sold his Miami, the Mega Dance to James Manning and bought himself a brand new one – the Miami Dance.
The new ride was built by NottinghamUK and debuted at Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham on 16th July 2015.
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.
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.
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.
For some reason, the UK is scared of getting wood. Why exactly? We don’t know, however we do suspect it has something to do with the fact that for most people their only point of reference to allow them to form an opinion are the old rickety things at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Whilst they may seem like great rides to enthusiasts, the general public do seem to assosiate the Blackpool woodies with pain or danger. For this reason it seems that UK parks see wooden coasters as a risky investment – but this could be about to change.
Europe already houses a selection of the world’s finest woodies – ranging from Troy at Toverland to Balder at Liseberg. Whilst it is easier than you might think to fly out to these parks, it’s a timely and often costly exercise. So when Tayto Park in Ireland announced that they were building a huge wooden coaster for the 2015 season we got very excited.
The ride, named the Cú Chulainn Coaster, has been manufactured by the Gravity Group, the company behind the famous “Voyage” ride at Holiday World and features the new Timberliner trains (which, unlike standard wooden coaster cars, have wheel assemblies that can steer and provide a smoother ride). Over 800,000kg of yellow pine was used in the construction, 100 tonnes of steel and over 700,000 bolts – producing a ride with a 32 meter drop and a track length of 1082 metres. All very impressive statistics, but what we really wanted to know is how does it ride?!
Luckily we didn’t have to wait long to find out. Being members of the European Coaster Club, we received an invitation to visit the park on Thursday 4th June 2015 for the Media Launch of the ride, ahead of it’s offical opening on Friday 5th. A quick visit online and we’d booked our flights, £10 each way with Ryanair – it really is that simple. After what seemed like the shortest flight in the history of the world and a 15 minute drive in a hire car we arrived at the park and were faced with an incredible view of the new coaster.
To be totally honest, we were a bit skeptical that the ride would be any good. In photos it does appear as though it’s a fairly plain layout without much emphasis on airtime or twists. What we didn’t expect was to be proven so wrong. The Cú Chulainn Coaster is awesome.
Right from the moment we entered the queueline there was something magical about it, perhaps hightened by the fact that the wood was so new that anything you touched caused a storm of sawdust to appear. Everything looked so fresh and new, even down to the shiny red trains. Speaking of the trains, they’re strange little things! They almost look like they’re made out of Meccano, and at first feel as though the lapbars are going to pin you in too much and ruin the airtime. Again, we were proven wrong on this!
So, after taking your seat in the 24-seater train and being locked in with a lapbar that swings down from the side of the car, the train begins to climb the lift hill. The first drop is amazing, very steep and smooth without that jarring feeling a lot of woodies have at the bottom of a drop as the train’s wheels slam back down onto the track. The drop leads into a tunnel with a hidden airtime hill, which at the speed you’re going gives substansial ejector airtime and sets the tone for the rest of the ride. In pictures it may look like the track is just a giant figure 8 but you’d be wrong to assume that. This coaster has so many unique and exciting moments packed into it, and lots of airtime.
The inversion? What Inversion? There was a lot of talk about the Cú Chulainn Coaster having an inversion, with some sources even claiming the whole ride was “inverted”. Unfortunately this was just a bit of a marketting tool, the ride doesn’t actually feature any inversions but does have an overbanked turn. To be honest, this turn was probably the only disappointing part of the ride, as it was a little rough and “shunty”. Don’t get me wrong we enjoy a good shunt but it did disturb the McDonald’s breakfasts that were still digesting in our bellies. We were led to believe that this roughness was being worked on and that the overbanked turn shunt should hopefully be a thing of the past soon – there was actually work being carried out on it after our preview session ended.
The ride was due to open the next day, Friday 5th June, but in the end didn’t actually open until Saturday 6th – why exactly we don’t know, but it is assumed that it was to allow for finishing touches to be made to the ride.
Tayto Park’s new coaster is very very good. It’s smooth, it’s fast, it has lots of sudden changes of direction, airtime and it feels like a really long ride. Is it the best woodie we’ve ridden? No, but it comes close. Is it the best woodie within easy reach of the UK? Definitely. Fingers crossed that the ride is well received and that it nudges UK parks into considering wood themselves. Interestingly we did see management from Drayton Manor at the media day talking to the Gravity Group – take that as you will – but it’s promising.
The rest of the park is great! It’s small and attractions are currently quite limited, but it is clear the park is heading in the right direction. As well as the coaster, Tayto Park also opened eight other attractions this year including a Zamperla Air Race and “The Rotator” – a 360 looping swing ride. We strongly recommend that you visit and see the park for yourself. Really, it’s easier than you think to do in a day or as part of a weekend trip. We’ve plenty more to say but don’t want to ramble on too much, please do leave a comment with any questions.
Today marked the opening of the latest attraction from the Merlin Group. Shrek’s Adventure, billed as “A unique, laugh out loud walk and ride misadventure” has been 2 years in the making and is located in County Hall, London. This is the same building that houses the New London Dungeon, also next door to the London Eye and the London Aquarium – all of which are owned by Merlin.
Interestingly, media coverage of this new attraction’s opening has been fairly low-key and as a result many people are a little confused as to what the attraction actually is, who it’s aimed at and what is involved. Thankfully HTR are here to (attempt to) explain all! The official website describes the attraction as “A unique walk and ride attraction for the whole family. Step into the kingdom of Far Far Away and enjoy a brand new madcap Shrek adventure where amazing DreamWorks animation, captivating story-telling and a good dose of Donkey’s cheekiness awaits.”
It is our understanding that the set up of the attraction is very similar to that of the existing Dungeonsattractions, which combine a mix of actor-led shows with immersively themed environments and rides. Shrek features ten shows and one simulator ride. The simulator appears to be the first port of call on the “Adventure”, and is themed as a London Bus, where Donkey is your tour guide. Details of the simulator were shown on the original plans for the attraction, which can be seen below.
After the bus journey visitors are treated to what is advertised as ten shows, however the attraction’s website only lists 7 of these:
Whilst the attraction is primarily Shrek themed, as you can see the final show is a bit broader and introduces characters from other Dreamworks Films, including Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon. Perhaps this could be an indication as to how the attraction may develop over the years and expand to focus on multiple films from within the franchise.
Reviews from those who have tried it out already seem very positive, with one enthusiast saying that it’s “The best theming Merlin have ever done”, whilst The Sun lowered the tone by saying the attraction will “provide a happy ending”
Shrek’s Adventure opened on 1st July 2015 and will be open daily from 10am – 6pm. Tours last approximately 1 hour 15 minutes with prices starting at £23.40. We plan to check it out for ourselves very soon and will be sure to write a full review once we have.
“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!
We take a walk around the new for 2015 Enchanted Village at the Alton Towers Resort.
We love lego. Who doesn’t? It has been adored by millions for decades, and, judging by the entrance-figures, so has the branded Theme Park in Windsor, UK.
Believe it or not, Legoland was actually the second most visited theme park in the UK in 2014, and had over 2.2 million visitors. The only park more popular was Alton Towers (of course). Perhaps the key to success with Legoland is the combination of such a globally loved brand with fantastically themed family rides and attractions – we certainly whitnessed plenty of happy families enjoying their days out.
But forget about the families, we’re adults who aren’t ashamed to enjoy ourselves! Click on the gallery to view some photos from our most recent trip to the park.