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.


Big thrills at the Liverpool Pier Head Village


Thrill seekers are in for a treat this summer as three of the UK’s tallest thrill rides take residence at the Liverpool Pier Head Village.

Running from 30th June to 10th September, the Pier Head Village is dubbed as a “summer festival to remember”. Whilst we were naturally drawn in by the rides, the event also boasts live entertainment, food and drink, an urban beach and much more.

The event is beautifully located at the Pier Head, offering some incredible views to those brave enough to take on the tallest rides. These are the UK Power Tower, Around the World and Mach 5. Alongside these are a selection of family rides and inflatables, as well as the brilliant “Das Fun Schiff” pirate ship.

An event that is well worth a visit this summer. Rides are accessed via a token system, with the big rides costing between £5 and £10 a go. More information can be found on the Pier Head Village website.


WATCH: UK Power Tower opens in Liverpool


For the first time in UK fair history, an English showman has purchased a Maurer Power Tower ride. We went over to Liverpool to check it out on its opening day.

Built by German firm Maurer, the Power Tower is somewhat iconic amongst fairground enthusiasts. This is largely thanks to Ewald Schneider of Germany who famously travelled Power Tower 1 and then Power Tower 2, the latter of which has visited the UK in the past for the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.

What makes the Maurer towers special is the fact that unlike a ‘true’ free fall tower where the car is released and dropped, the car is instead attached to the pulley system even when it is dropping, allowing the ride to run long sequences with drops from different heights, pauses and fast upward travel.

This is the first time an English showman has ever owned a tower ride of this type. Bought by Peter Sedgwick Jnr, the ride will spend Summer 2017 at the Liverpool Pier Head Village.

Prior to its arrival in the UK, the Power Tower spent its early life in Germany. It was originally built in 1998 for German showman Kinzler, who travelled it under the name Freifall Turm, sporting an all-blue painted tower with yellow lights. In 2003 the ride changed hands and became known as the Action Tower whilst travelling under the ownership of Kipp. This lasted until 2007 when the Tower went back to Maurer, was refurbished, and then put into storage until today.

It has to be said that this really is a fantastic addition to the UK fair scene. The ride really does look big and imposing when stood in front of it – pictures don’t do the 55m height justice! It is also very well presented with a clean and fresh looking paint job. And of course, the ride experience itself is brilliant – riders were being treated to up to 9 drops per-cycle during our visit.

The Liverpool Pier Head Village is open from 30th June – 10th September 2017. Entry is free. More details can be found on their website.


UK’s only Alpine Coaster opens at Zip World Fforest


Thrill seekers are in for a treat as Zip World Fforest open the UK’s only Alpine Coaster.

It’s called the Fforest Coaster. And no, that’s not a typo. The one-of-a-kind downhill adventure is located in Wales, where one F just isn’t enough! Lets start by taking a ride.

Just like a traditional roller coaster, the Fforest Coaster starts with a powered lift hill which drags riders to the top of the course. The similarities end when the ‘sleds’ that the passengers sit in reach the peak and begin their downward decent. Unlike a normal rollercoaster where riders have no input, each sled on the Fforest coaster has its own manual braking system. This allows the rider to control the speed of the ride.

The Fforest coaster comes from German firm Wiegand, who’ve been responsible for many Alpine Coasters all over the world. You’ll notice that we’ve (awkwardly) worded the title of this post to state that Zip World’s ride is the UK’s only Alpine Coaster and not the UK’s first. This is because we did used to have a similar Alpine Coaster in Stoke-On-Trent. Located at Stoke Ski Slope, the ride operated between 2003 and 2007 and was around 425 meters long.

Zip World’s new coaster is over twice this length, featuring a 365 m upward lift (split into two sections) and a 710 m downhill slalom through the trees. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty tiny when you compare it to some of the German alpine coasters located on the side of mountains, but it’s still long enough to pick up a bit of speed and feel like you’ve gone on a bit of an adventure. Take a look at the layout shown in the planning document below;

The ride lasts for around 6 minutes, during which riders can reach speeds of up to a limited 25mph.

What?!

You read that correctly. The FForest coaster’s top speed is restricted to 25mph. Not gunna lie, this came as a massive disappointment. After all, Alpine Coasters are known specifically for the fact that you can ride them without using the brakes, reaching blistering speeds, all the way down the hill, whilst recording an onride video for YouTube entitled “CRAZY alpine coaster with NO BRAKES! Absolutely INSANE!”, which will then go viral and make the poster thousands in Ad Revenue. Soz Theme Park Review.

Jokes aside, it is 2017 and Health & Safety is definitely “a thing” now, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise. In fact the way in which the speeds are monitored and controlled is actually surprisingly advanced and rather interesting. Allow this diagram to explain;

Named the “Driver’s Assistance system”, it relies on magnetic eddy-current technology working in harmony with electronic sensors and control system. When the sled reaches 25mph the system automatically kicks in to slow it down. As well as limiting speed, the system acts as a spacer and ensures that all of the sleds are at least 25meters apart from each other at all times during the decent. This does unfortunately mean that if the person in front of you is a pansy and braking all the way down your sled will automatically be slowed down too.

There’s no denying that it detracts from the overall ride experience, however the safety benefits probably outweigh the lack of speed. Coupled with this, the cost of maintenance is likely to be less as magnetic brakes are non-contact and require less maintaining than traditional friction brakes.

Our verdict

But lets not get bogged down by the speed, the Fforest coaster is awesome! We really are lucky to have an Alpine Coaster of this length and quality in the UK. The setting couldn’t really be any better, with the track weaving in and out of the trees throughout the ride – the only obvious comment to make is “can we have another one that’s even longer?!”. With Zip World growing as quickly as it is and with multiple sites in Snowdonia, maybe we’ll have an answer to that question in the next few years!

It’s also definitely worth mentioning how friendly and accommodating the Zip World staff were, so thanks!

The Fforest coaster opened on 10th May and is located at Zip World Fforest, LL24 OHA. Riders must be 9 years old and 1.35 m or taller to ride unaccompanied. More details can be found on the official website.


Percival’s Waltzer – a travelling nightclub?!


One of the UK’s best presented Waltzer rides is the ‘Disco Rider’ of William Percival. A stunning sound and light-show make this ride more visually impressive than many nightclubs!

Video recorded over the course of 2016 and 2017, with footage from Stamford Fair (2016 and 2017), Nottingham Goose Fair (2016) and Loughborough Fair (2016).

Tap the photo below to open photo gallery.


Crow’s EXCITER – worth the wait?


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!


Phantasialand’s Taron is one of the world’s best roller coasters


2016 has been an exciting year for new coasters in Europe. And whilst social media has been awash with photos and videos of the latest rides, the chances are that there was one that kept cropping up and catching your eye – TARON.

Located at Phantasialand, Brühl (that’s in Germany), Taron is a multi-launch coaster from Swiss manufacturer Intamin. Unlike the UK-based Intamin launch coasters Rita and Stealth, which are both hydraulically launched, Taron uses an LSM system to propel the trains twice during the ride. And with a maximum speed of 72.7mph, Taron is the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster!

Taron is..

  • The fastest multi-launch coaster in the world.
  • The longest multi-launch coaster of it’s kind in the world (What “it’s kind” means is not specified)
  • The coaster with the fastest LSM launch in the world.
  • The launch coaster with the most crossing track points in the world (58 crossing points, 116 intersections)

Taron opened on 30th June 2016 as part of a new themed-world named Klugheim. Themed as a rocky basalt landscape with a rustic village at its heart, Klugheim also features a smaller (also new) coaster for the younger adventurers, Raik. This is a Vekoma Family Boomerang and, like everything else in Klugheim, features heavy theming.

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What makes Taron one of the World’s best coasters?

Big statement, we know. And you don’t have to agree with it. Although it is hard to justify yourself if you don’t.

Taron is the full package. It’s not hard to find a coaster that is super thrilling and smooth. It’s also not hard to find a coaster with incredibly immersive theming. What is rare is to find one coaster that combines the two of these features into one fully coherent and immersive ride.

The ride experience itself is phantastic (see what we did there?). Intamin have done an incredible job with the layout and build, resulting in a smooth and comfortable ride with bucketloads of force and airtime. The trains are a new design to that of the old Intamin launchers and feature lap-bars and a raised seating position that will feel conveniently familiar to those who’ve previously ridden a MACK Mega Coaster such as Blue Fire or Helix.

Speaking of Helix… 

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Helix (at Liseberg, Sweden) seems to be the ride that everybody wants to compare to Taron. Whilst they’re both from different manufacturers, they do share the similarities of both being LSM Multi-launch coasters with similar trains and long layouts.

They’re both great rides for different reasons – Helix has the advantage of taking the riders on a real journey through the park as its layout sprawls from one side of Liseberg to the other, but the LSM launches are more gentle nudges than anything else. Conversely, Taron’s launches are really forceful but the ride has a very small footprint so you don’t get that same sense of going on a journey.

Just to confirm though, for us Taron is far superior to Helix. Just look at it!

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We’re clearly not the only ones who love Taron. Check out the state of the overflow queue line during our visit.

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The good news is it’s really easy to get to Phantasialand. Flights are often £9.99 each way with Ryanair from London Stansted to Cologne, with public transport taking you from the airport to the park in around about 90 minutes at a cost of £10(ish). Already ridden Taron? Let us know how it ranks for you in the comments below!

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Festive fun as Winter Wonderland Stoke-on-Trent opens


Ho Ho Ho. Christmas is drawing ever-nearer. With the inevitable stress of deciding which socks to buy for your most-hated loved ones, what better way to escape in to the festive spirit than by visiting Stoke’s new Winter Wonderland?! We’ve been along to take a look for ourselves.

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Billed as “The Midlands’ spectacular Christmas destination“, Winter Wonderland Stoke is the first event of its kind to appear at the Birch Terrace car park in Hanley. It promises entertainment for the whole family, with activities including ice skating, spectacular rides, Bavarian food and live music.

On entering the site you’re instantly transported from the bleak familiarities of Stoke into a festive wonderland fit for the big-man himself. The smell of Bavarian sausage wafts up your nostrils, the jingle of Christmas tunes fills the air, and underfoot you are treated to a wooden-decked walkway to help you forget that you’re standing in a carpark in the middle of Winter.

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It really is quite impressive. Undeterred by the rain, we were pleased to see a good turnout at the Wonderland, with the ice skating rink proving very popular – even on a week night.

Thrill-seekers are certainly in for a treat. Joining the 60 metre tall Sky Swing are the Airmaxx, No Limit and Super Bowl. For the families there’s the Crazy Mouse rollercoaster, the Sizzler and the Dodgems, amongst others.

Video: Explore Winter Wonderland Stoke with us

Winter Wonderland Stoke is open from 17th November 2016 until 2nd January 2017. Entry is free, with ride tokens sold on-site. It is recommended that you book Ice Skating in advance to guarantee a slot.

Full details can be found on the official website.

Winter Wonderland Stoke gallery


Munich Looping: World’s largest transportable rollercoaster at London’s Winter Wonderland


It finally happened. After 27 years of operation, the famous Olympia Looping rollercoaster has opened in the UK for the very first time. What a time to be alive.

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Boasting five vertical loops and forces of up to 5.2G, Olympia Looping is the world’s largest transportable roller coaster. And it certainly is huge, occupying a plot of 85 metres wide by 26 metres deep (Just think how many Miamis you could fit in that space!). The coaster is most famous for its annual appearances at the Munich Oktoberfest, where it made its debut on 17th September 1989.

But it isn’t until now, November 2016, that the coaster has ever appeared in the UK. Sporting a temporary new name – Munich Looping – the monstrous ride is here to help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.

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Olympia Looping pictured at the Munich Oktoberfest 2012

Munich Looping?

Take one look at the ride in London and you’ll notice the lack of Olympic theming and new signs sporting the name “Munich Looping”. The reason for the name change is twofold.

  1. It avoids any potential copyright issues here in the UK. (Even though the loops are still clearly representative of the Olympic rings)
  2. It is believed that the general (non-geeky) public are more likely to recognise the ride as being from Oktoberfest – Olympia Looping doesn’t mean much to your average Joe.

Olympia/Munich Looping is a truly incredible ride. The fact that it all packs up onto trailers (over 50 of them!) and is able to be set up and dismantled in a matter of days really is impressive. Add to that the fact that it can run up to 5 trains at once and you’ve got a world-class coaster when it comes to throughputs.

Whilst in London the Looping is running trains consisting of 5 cars (20 riders per train), however it’s worth noting that when in Munich they add another 2 cars to each train to form five seven car trains. Mental. How many other coasters can you name that can do that?!

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A positive move for the future of the ride

Believe it or not, this time last year the future of Olympia Looping was looking very uncertain. With transport and operational costs rapidly escalating, owner Rudolf Barth was rumoured to stop travelling the ride.

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

– Barth, in an interview with Aachener Zeitung.

So to see it in London is very encouraging news. Don’t miss the opportunity to ride it whilst you still can though – when it’s gone, it’s gone. The chances of seeing anything of this scale ever again on the travelling circuit are exceedingly small. A new Olympia Looping would be worth approximately 25 million Euros – an investment you simply wouldn’t be able to earn back in the current climate.

Take a ride on Munich Looping at Winter Wonderland 2016


First glimpse: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland opens celebrating 10th Anniversary


Bright lights, festive music and the smell of German sausage fill the air as London’s Winter Wonderland returns for its 10th Anniversary. We went along to the preview evening to see what this year’s event has in store.

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Nothing marks the start of Christmas better than the arrival of a festive German market and a bunch of seasonally decorated amusement rides. The Winter Wonderland has taken place in Hyde Park, London for 10 years now. And whilst the event has grown considerably from it’s routes as a Christmas market to the festive theme park of recent years, it has still managed to retain the magical charm that has been accountable for its success.

This year’s theme is strongly focussed on celebrating the tenth year of the event. From the moment you enter the site you’re instantly immersed into a Christmas wonderland that feels comfortably familiar yet strikingly different from the events of preceding years. Take a look around and you’ll notice a variety of new shows to entertain the family, new food and beverage outlets and spectacular new rides.

Never-seen-before Thrilling rides

Thrill seekers are certainly in for a treat at this year’s Winter Wonderland. The Ice Mountain coaster, Star Flyer and The Hangover freefall tower have all returned for 2016 and make up some of the 100 rides and games in attendance. But this year’s show-stopper is undoubtedly the Munich Looping Rollercoaster. Occupying a plot measuring 87 x 39 metres, Munich Looping is the World’s largest transportable rollercoaster and features five vertical loops. It has become famous for its appearances at the Munich Oktoberfest since 1989, however this is the first time the ride has ever opened in the UK.

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Shows for all the family

But maybe thrill rides aren’t your cup of mulled-wine. Well that’s OK, Winter Wonderland has something for you too. If the festive atmosphere and the constant fear of having a pram rammed into your ankles isn’t enough to get you in the mood, Hyde Park is offering a variety of shows to cater for all tastes.

Returning for 2016 are the UK’s largest outdoor Ice Rink, the Ice Kingdom and Zippos Circus. Joining them and new for this year are The Nutcracker on Ice, Cirque Berserk (from 7pm) and The Sooty Christmas show (11am daily). Booking is essential to guarantee entry, prices range from £7 – £18.95 per adult per show. Full details can be found on the official website.

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Something to drink?

What better way to warm up on a cold winter’s night than to head into a bar made of ice?! Bar Ice offers a sub-zero drinking experience where everything you see, from the tables through to the glass you drink out of, are all sculpted from ice. But don’t worry, as well as one free cocktail, the £15 entry fee also gets you a pair of gloves and a cloak to prevent frostbite.

Fans of more traditional methods of eating and drinking will love the Bavarian Village – a huge complex featuring indoor and outdoor seating, german entertainment and Bratwurst aplenty. Also new for 2016, a range of Winter Wonderland merchandise that can be purchased either on-site or online. Items include a cuddly polar bear and a branded wooly-hat.

2016 is set to be a fantastic year for Winter Wonderland. Whilst there are fewer rides than we saw at last year’s event, what we do have this year is of a remarkably high quality. The layout has again been tweaked and removes some of the dead-ends and bottle-necks of yesteryear. But don’t just take our word for it, check it out for yourself by watching our video!

VIDEO: First glimpse at Winter Wonderland 2016

The nitty-gritty

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland runs from 18th November to 2nd January 2017. It’s open 10am – 10pm every day except Christmas day. Entry is free, no ticket required. You will however need a ticket for Ice Skating, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Nutcracker on Ice, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, The Sooty Christmas Show, Giant Wheel and Bar Ice.

Ride tickets are all sold separately and available at ticket booths across the site. Contactless payment is available on Munich Looping, Wilde Maus XXL, Ice Mountain, Thriller and the Christmas Coaster.

The best way to get to the event is using Public Transport, the nearest tube stops are Bond Street, Green Park, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner.

More information can be found on the official website.


Loughborough Fair comes alive on final night


It was fun and thrills for all the family at the annual Loughborough fair last weekend. A part of Loughborough’s history for almost 800 years, what did 2016 have to offer?

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The Loughborough Pleasure fair has been a highlight of the fairground calendar for showmen and enthusiasts alike for many years. Dating back to 1221, the fair has been a part of Loughborough’s history for 795 years.

Held in the town centre, the fair was traditionally confined to the Market Square. Over the years it has expanded to now cover most of the town, with the latest rides and attractions for the whole family to enjoy.

The 2016 Loughborough Fair

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The 2016 funfair was held between 9th & 12th November. With our visit set for the final night (Saturday), there was some concern raised having read reports earlier in the week suggesting a lack of punters on the ground. Upon arrival we were therefore delighted to see the usual crowds of excited fair-goers enjoying the latest rides and attractions.

It is certainly worth mentioning one of the unexpected stars of the show this year – that being the Super Bowl ride of Darren Matthews. Located in the Granby Street carpark, it was riding full with a queue for most of the evening. Having ridden many-a-superbowl, we were frankly shocked to see it doing so well – so gave it a go ourselves! It didn’t disappoint, going down as the most enjoyable ride on a Super Bowl we’ve ever experienced.

Return of the Top Buzz

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After a three year absence, the prime spot in Market Square was once again occupied by a Mondial Top Scan ride. This year’s attraction, named “Xtreme”, was presented by S&D Leisure Rides. The Xtreme was imported from Austria to make it’s UK debut earlier in 2016, and joins S&D’s “AtmosFear” – also at this years fair – in their thrill rides line-up.

Thrill-seekers were spoilt for choice, with the likes of Airmaxx, Mach 1 and the Freak Out all on the bill. For the families there’s the traditional Gallopers, Sizzlers and plenty of Juveniles for the little’uns.

Am I seeing double?

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Loughborough fair is one of the biggest street fairs in the UK. It is therefore not uncommon for their to be multiple rides of the same type in attendance. This year was no exception. Duplications for 2016 were; 2 Crazy Bulls, 2 Extremes and an Orbiter, 2 Miamis, 2 Gallopers, 2 Twists and 2 Rotors.

The atmosphere on the show ground was absolutely fantastic, and a delight to stand back and watch. Loughborough fair is not just for thrill seekers, instead offering something for all the family to enjoy. But don’t just take our word for it – check it out for yourself in our video below!

Experience Loughborough Fair in our latest video


Winter Wonderland hits Stoke-on-Trent [Construction gallery]


Ice skating, live music, Bavarian food and spectacular rides are set to take over Birch Terrace car park, as Winter Wonderland arrives in Stoke-on-Trent.

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The event, which runs from 17th November through to 2nd January, is the first of it’s kind to appear at this location and promises to be “The Midlands’ Spectacular Christmas Destination”.

And from what we can tell, it certainly does look to be an exciting event. Rides include the 60m tall “Sky Swing”, the Crazy Mouse roller coaster, No Limit Loopfighter and many others.

Having made multiple visits to the site over the past couple of weeks, it’s safe to say that a great deal of effort is being put in to ensure that this actually is a “Winter Wonderland” and not just a funfair on a carpark at Christmas time. The layout is well thought-out and the addition of timber-decked walkways is already beginning to transform the frankly depressing location into something much more magical.

For more information and tickets, be sure to visit the official website.


Winter Wonderland Stoke – Construction Galleries

Be sure to check back regularly as we update this page with the latest construction galleries. Galleries run in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent at the top.

Tuesday 15th November 2016

Sunday 13th November 2016

Friday 11th November 2016

 Wednesday 9th November 2016

Monday 7th November 2016

Friday 4th November 2016

Thursday 3rd November 2016

Wednesday 2nd November 2016

Tuesday 1st November 2016


Alpine Coaster UK granted planning permission


Zip World FForest are to build an Alpine Coaster in the UK. 

Plans for this thrilling downhill adventure were submitted to the Snowdonia National Park Planning Authority back in May 2016 and have now been approved.

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Zip World boast that this will be the first ride of it’s type in the UK. Whilst this is in fact not true (a similar model operated at Stoke Ski Slope until 2006), it will be the only one of it’s kind when it does open.

We’ve been having a dig through the planning application and have uncovered the following facts. The Alpine Coaster will be built by German firm Wiegand, will feature a 100m altitude, 365m lift and a 710m course down through the trees. Here’s the layout:

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As you can see, the lift is split into two parts, with a right hand bend connecting the both. Credit where it’s due, the layout does look fairly substantial and this is likely to prove a huge hit with those Coaster enthusiasts of the UK who haven’t yet been able to visit some of the Alpine Coasters out in Germany and Austria.

Also in the planning documents is an impression of the ride station, here it is:

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The construction of the Alpine Coaster is set to be completed for a 2017 opening at the FForest site in Snowdonia, Wales, which already features the Powerfan Plummet, Skyride and a Treetop high ropes course.

In the mean time, check out this video of a similar length Alpine Coaster located in Utah, USA. Snowdonia’s coaster will be approximately 3,526ft long, where this one is 3,887ft.


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.


A look at the Nemesis re-paint


As part of the Towers Loving Care programme, Alton Towers have been repainting the Nemesis track, supports and station.

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This is the first time that Nemesis has received a full repaint since it opened at the park in March 1994. The work is said to have cost over £120,000 and required the track to be shot blasted down to base metal before the new paint was applied.

The new look is certainly much more vibrant than the colours that many fans have become accustomed to, but we feel that it adds a new lease of life to the 22-year old B&M coaster.

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Is that rust on the new paintwork already?! .. No, well not real rust anyway. Following the application of the bright white paint to the track, the scenic painters moved in to add fake rust, in an attempt to save the theme that fans love the ride for.

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You’ll notice in the photo above that the nearest set of supports are jet black and shiny, whereas the ones further away are dirty and faded. This is because the supports are also part of the repaint, that will be completed in the 2016-2017 closed season.

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What do you think of the new look? Check out the video below to see the ride in action under it’s new guise!


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


Building the Faller Power Tower (pictures & video)


Do you like funfairs? Would you like to own your own ride? Do you have ridiculous amounts of patience? Then the Faller Power Tower model kit could be just for you!

This 1/87th scale model kit is based on the Maurer Sohne Freefall tower that was travelled by German showman Schneider between 1998 and 2001. The kit includes 427 plastic parts, as well as all of the equipment you need to get it motorised and moving.

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How much does it cost? 

Depending on where you look, prices for this kit tend to vary between £100 to £160. We recommend searching for “Faller 140325” on Ebay and Amazon, but can also recommend Coastershop.de – who will ship to the UK.

What additional materials/tools do I need? 

Whilst the kit contains all of the plastic parts, there are a few essentials that you will need to build it – these are:

  • Side cutters & Pliers – For removing the plastic parts from the sprues that they come attached to.
  • Sharp craft knife – For cleaning up parts after removing them from the sprues.
  • Tweezers – Essential for positioning some of the smallest parts. Don’t get too bogged down trying to find specific modelling tweezers – we used an old pair of eyebrow tweezers with no issues.
  • Modelling glue – we used Humbrol Poly Cement. This fuses the parts together, and allows a minute or two of “play” before it really starts to set.
  • Superglue – For a couple of steps you need an instant-drying adhesive.

Depending on your personal preference or experience, you may find a set of small files useful for cleaning up parts after removing them from the sprues. We started off using files and wet&dry paper, but soon found them to be causing too much visible abrasion on the parts so ended up using a craft knife from there-on in.

You will also need a 12 – 16v AC or DC power supply, as well as a vague understanding of electronics, to wire it all up. It’s fairly simple but you’ll get best results if you know how to solder and buy your own plugs as opposed to using the plastic ones that come with the kit.

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This is important!! Pictures make this model appear bigger than it actually is. If you don’t have a steady hand then this kit might not be for you. The ride car is one of the first things that you make (pictured above). Pretty much everything you see in the car is made up of individual pieces. Take your time with the instructions and you’ll be pleased with the results.

This was the first Faller kit we’ve ever built, so it’s certainly possible to go into this without any prior experience and come out with a great working model! Apparently this is one of the more fiddly kits in the Faller range, and we did experience a bit of frustration in getting the model to run at first. Be prepared to go back to the first few steps and file down plastic pulleys and add extra grease to the drive gearing to get the ride functioning.

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Easiest parts? 

Probably assembling the tower itself, as it is made up of fairly large pieces.

Hardest parts? 

Threading the string. This was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. After about 12 hours of trying I ended up screwing up the first two attempts and had to buy some extra thread – which I found in HobbyCraft. Funnily enough, the third attempt only took me 10 minutes and worked perfectly – I guess practice makes perfect.

It’s also quite easy to loose focus after building the tower and just play with it. There are still quite a lot of parts to add around the platform after this, some of which seem rather monotonous, but in the end make a great difference to the appearance of the whole model.

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Step by step (ish) photos of the build can be found in the gallery below.

Once you’ve got it all built, it’s a fantastic model to sit back and watch. The tower is fitted with read switches at the top and bottom, allowing the provided control box to know where the car is and run an automatic ride cycle. You can easily add a push-to-start button, something that we plan to do shortly.

Make sure you check out the video of the ride running, as well as the photo gallery showing the build.


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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