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^ You're welcome any time Shawn!








I was looking forward to introducing Andrew and AJ to Alton Towers seeing as its probably the best park in the UK. Alton Towers is also home to Nemesis which is by far the best coaster in the UK and it was running awesome when we visited.


Despite it being a warm Saturday in April we managed to get everything done with relative ease. It's always great to see people enjoy these parks that you tend to take for granted for the first time. Andrew and AJ seemed quite impressed.


Onto photos...


We had great whether, an excellent touring plan and most of all loads of fun at Alton Towers! And there was still more fun to be had that night. Although I'm not too sure if any of those photos should be posted up here! I'll be back with more soon!


Nemesis really was running as good as ever when we visited. I'm glad Andrew and AJ got to experience it to its full potential.


AJ even claimed he got to ride with a really hot chick. However, we have no proof.


We all got a few good rides in to round out the day.


Having all the other coasters conquered it was time for some more Nemesis whoring!


OK Elissa, don't freak out but I'm afraid this McDonalds has turned to the dark side also.


Looks like they enjoyed it!


Yeah, I'm sure they loved this.


It was then time for me to laugh at the other six who decided to do Corkscrew.


Although I will admit that the likes of Griffon have diluted the experience a little.


Despite the fact that it's a one trick pony. Oblivions still quite a special ride in my view.


Next it was time for AJ and Andrew to complete the UK's B&M collection.


Although not worth the hour long regular queue. As I said you have to make full use of single rider on this one.


Whilst not quite up there with Dragon's Fury its still a fun ride.


Making full use of the single rider line we all got on pretty quickly.


Working our way around the rest of the coasters, we did Spinball Whizzer next.


Both the riders and onlookers get absolutely drenched.


The splash battle appeared to be quite popular.


As we were making our way round we quickly checked out the new Mutiny Bay area.


One of Dave's many camp poses of the trip.


Oh yeah. Steve was meant to be flying back to Scotland on this morning but his flight got cancelled. So instead of hanging around an airport all day he came to Alton Towers to hang with us some more!


Although as powered rides go this one is pretty good. As AJ will attest to.


Some of the losers count powered coasters so we had to ride the Mine Train.


Scott and Divv went on to disturb everyone else by rocking out to Duel's awesome soundtrack.


Scott does his best zombie impression.


We then worked our way around the rest of the park. Hitting up Duel next.


Dave, Mike and Andrew also gave Ripsaw a go whilst they were in the area. They got off rather lightly.


Sorry about that Shawn. But when we realised that when we were in the queue we agreed that we had to include that quip in the update!


Nemesis also has these blood rivers. Although they're supposed to be red but turn out pink.


Kinda like Shawn's tattoo. :p


It really has such a messed up and cool layout.


Mmmm... Nemesis...


I think AJ and Andrew will agree that its one of the best coasters around.


Nemesis was running really well today.


Finally! Time to ride Nemesis! Reason enough for anyone to visit the UK!


But the other guys seemed to enjoy it.


I'll admit, I'm not much of a fan of Air.


AJ and Andrew prepare themselves for some serious lying-on-your-back fun. No not that kind of fun!


Then it was over to Forbidden Valley for a ride on Air.


After Rita we got to enjoy the recently reopened Sky Ride.


It also has some nice airtime moments.


Rita's just a load of fun.


As do Scott and Mike.


Dave and AJ enjoy some front row Rita action.


OK, the losers finally got in. Lets go ride some real rides!


We also got Tractor ERT!


Hi losers!


Like Squirrel Nutty!


Where we get to go and ride exciting things while the others wait!


Divv and Andrew on the other hand are members of the cool club and get into the park early.


This is the Losers Group. Also known as the people who didn't have annual passes and have to wait to enter the park with the regular guests.


Yes, we're at Alton Towers!


But arrive we did! (And I even got Andrew hooked on Lucozade!)


The road to Alton Towers was a bit of a shock to Andrew and AJ. They couldn't quite believe that all these winding roads led to a huge theme park.

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It looks like they're all gone Elissa. The one near the front of the park is now a Burger King too.


Sad times indeed.

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"Nemesis also has these blood rivers. Although they're supposed to be red but turn out pink.


Kinda like Shawn's tattoo. "


HAHAHA! You're so funny Divv, you should be a stand-up comedian!


It's getting yet another touch-up this summer...2 more if that's what it takes. Next time you see it, you'll think it's the most bad@$$ maple leaf you've ever seen.


Alton looks like a great park. Good mix of coasters and other attractions to keep you busy for a full day. Nemesis looks especially great.

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Ahhh Alton Towers! Definitely the best park of the road trip.


The drive in was certainly a shock to me. I was just getting use to the whole left hand side of the road business, when the winding narrow road with coach buses hading straight for you was added. There were plenty of times when I was terrified! And who decided to put stone walls on both sides of a really narrow two lane road??? I still can’t see the logic on that, especially when se passed the bus by about 6 inches!


Once we were in the park, thanks to our handy Merlin Park pass!, I was extremely impressed with the ride line up and the efficiency of the staff at Alton Towers. They just seemed to be pumping people through the queues that day. They couldn’t figure out the single rider system as we all ended up beside each other every time we used it on Rita and Spinball.


Rita: Great ride! It exceeded the expectations I had. Forceful launch, airtime on every hill, easily re-rideable. I’ll take it over Stealth any day!


Air: I can’t see why people hate this ride. It may not be super fast, tall, or force full, but it does the job of making you feel like your flying incredible well (besides the whole on your back part). I loved the low to the ground turns, and the turnaround close to the parking lot. I wouldn’t go and say it’s an awesome ride, but just a fun and pleasant coaster to relax after Nemesis!


Nemesis: What can I say besides WOW! I was speechless after the first ride and couldn’t believe what had just happened. It definitely is one of the best coasters around, and it’s 14 years old! The trenches and compact layout were spectacular and our front row ride was just insane. It can’t be described in words, you have to ride it to fully understand the awesomeness that is Nemesis! As Divv said it is reason enough to visit the UK. As for AJ and the hot chick I’ll need to see some photographic evidence


Oblivion: A one trick pony but a good one at that! The build up of suspense in the queues was really well done with the video and soundtrack, and being able to see the drop while waiting certainly got my nerves going.


The rest of the rides at the Towers were pretty good. The mine train had a really fun layout down by the raft ride. Corkscrew was well painful, and after Dragons Fury Spinball was pretty tame. Hex was a fun and nauseating experience. I would have loved to walk through the gardens, but I’ll save that for next time, along with Charlie and the chocolate factory.


It was a great day, and then Blackpool that night was let say “Fun”, if it wasn’t for Lucozade I would not have been a happy camper on Sunday.


Divv could you bring some over in October, along with Irn-Bru? I’m going through withdrawal!

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More great photos from AT, glad you guys had a good time! Thats a well positioned upright there shielding the 'hot chick'. I suppose if you're into feet it might work for you, but otherwise....no.


I'm heading there this Friday, hopefully light crowds and lots of rides to be had.

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What I love most about Nemesis is that it just gets faster and faster as the day goes on. The late rides are better than the early rides, which are awesome to begin with.


Ive got mixed feelings of Air. Its good as long as you dont expect too much from it. Air is a good name for it, as it does have a swooshy flying feel to it.


Spinball is pretty fun for me considering I really dont like spinners much. Ive always enjoyed Rita more than alot of people I know. Some say its too dull but I think its a good launch and it does have plenty of air.


Corckscrew. Hmmm...yes, well...the only good thing I can say is that its not as bad as Tornado at M&Ds.


I dread to see pictures appearing of me 'walking like an egytptian'.


It was a rather awesome day, and cool that Steven could join us too.

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Simply put, not more McDonalds at all at the Merlin parks...


But when you have discounts at the other 'park-run' places (i.e. Pub), why bother with the fast-food restaurants?


I wanna go back on Nemmie... And what did you think of Mutiny Bay? Good idea of the approach Merlin need to take imo...

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Shawn & Andrew - we'll bring some Double Deckers over in the Summer...


Andrew was speechless after getting off Nemesis, was quite funny. You do forget how excellent it is when you have done it so many times...


Now don't know if any of you have seen it yet, and I mean it, but around the park and while we were waiting for park entry (being in the loser crowd... ), there was a random nun on a piano entertaining the crowds. Actually quite funny - the sight of it driving in front of lake past the crowds waiting to get in made me chuckle.




I'm not liking the fact that camp photos of me started at Alton Towers... I wasn't aware of that. I thought I was going to have to wait until the Blackpool update...

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Divv and I ran into the Rockin' Nun over by Spinball before the others got in to the park. It certainly is random to have a male nun on a speedy piano blasting music! Good entertainment while waiting to get in I suppose.



Shawn & Andrew - we'll bring some Double Deckers over in the Summer...


You are the best Dave! Toss in a bottle of Lucozade or Irn-Bru and you would be totally amazing!


what did you think of Mutiny Bay? Good idea of the approach Merlin need to take imo...


The theming in the area was great, although I have no clue what the area looked like pre-Mutiny Bay. Battle Galleons make the splash battles look horrible, the free floating boat concept really adds to the pirate battle feel. It looked like a ton of fun, but due to the cooler weather and a 2+ hour drive ahead of us, we skipped it.


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That nun was very odd. Much more entertaining that the two keep fit type blokes who were also working the crowds. Im sure there was a website for that man-nun. Musicalruth or something. Cant quite remember.


It was funny when he/she/it would drive her piano up and manouver it to repeatedly block folks from the hotel getting by, shouting "Hotel Blaggers!!" at them. Made us all feel just a little bit better.


Seriously though, 10am opening? Im sure it was 9:30 on previous visits. Am I just remembering it wrong?


EDIT: Damn, if I had known this I would have begged for an extra day off work and been in Blackpool on Thursday 24th as well. Derren Brown was performing there. I love that guys shows.

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After Alton Towers we headed to Blackpool where we would be staying that night in preparation for our Pleasure Beach visit the next day. Of course with AJ and Andrew having never been to Blackpool before we felt compelled to show them a little of what the place was like.


This was ended up a VERY drunken night and so what I present here is a very limited view of how it actually went. I think some things that happened that night are best left between the participants. But needless to say we had a LOT of fun!


Here's some photos...


This is the only photo of the walk back to the hotel that I will divulge for fear of dismemberment by other members of the party!


Thank goodness the Pleasure Beach opened at 11am the next day is all I can say! I'll show you that soon.


After this things become blurry.


Scott really showed everyone that he has moves!


"Hello ladies! I'm free and easy!"


We went to the 80s bar to make Nadia proud!


Then it was time for the drinking to commence!


Must... resist... urge... to... make... joke... about... Shawn's... tattoo...


Although I'm sorry Steve, it doesn't count.


Andrew and Steve tried to compensate for the missing credit by trying out "Virtual Phantom's Revenge"!


Somehow he managed to remain standing.


We made sure the ride op knew that this was a new experience to Andrew!


To make up for the disappointment of the missed credit we introduced Andrew to Waltzers.


Andrew mourns his missed credit.


This is all that remains of South Pier's crazy Mouse right now. I'm not sure if its gone for good or getting rehabbed or what.


Oh dear, that doesn't look too good.


AJ appreciated the view of "The Pole" through the telescope.


Being that we were passing by we felt that it would be wrong not to check out South Pier. I mean it has a credit!


Time for some Blackpool "nightlife".


Of course in true B&B fashion it wasn't quite perfect.


But it was nice enough and right next to the Pleasure Beach so it served its purpose well.


Where we got to introduce Andrew and AJ to the delights of "The B&B".


We've left Alton Towers and are headed for Blackpool!

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That was certainly an interesting night. I'm glad we did the waltzer before we went out. All I can remember from the ride is losing control of my neck muscles, and a blur of lights. £4 well spent!


This is the only photo of the walk back to the hotel that I will divulge for fear of dismemberment by other members of the party!


Dismemberment is a little to easy divv. I was thinking of something involving alligators and man eating pike.


Can't wait to see the photos from Pleasure Beach.

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What happens in Blackpool...STAYS in Blackpool.


That must be the most overused line of the last 5 years.


Also, haven't we all seen that non-tattoo shot already? If you were a "real man" Divv I'd see a Scottish tattoo on that arm, haha. I actually quite liked Andrew's idea of you all using pink highlighters to draw maple leafs on your arms. That would've been really hilarious.

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We searched for pink highlighters.. trust me...


Divv to local shop keeper...


"Do you have any of these in pink"


- Very wierd look by shop keeper


"No, sorry...." Nice awkward silence...



Now, I don't really remember random bus stops on the journey back so that picture is new to me... be very careful master Divv....

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Ah Blackpool. You really have to experience the place to grasp what its really like.


Luckily for us the park was very quiet when we visited so we did pretty much every coaster and dark ride in the park as well as having time to faff around trying win things in stupid games.


This was my first visit to Blackpool since Infusion was moved up the coast. I have to say it is certainly the best looking SLC I've ever seen. But unfortunately it still rides like a piece of crap. But still it looks really, really good. Valhalla also had pretty much all of its effects working which was a nice bonus and so it remains as amazing as ever.


Oh yeah and Steve got an XBox 360 for £1!!! Yeah the jammy bugger won it on the "Stacker" machine! Just goes to show that people actually DO win those things! And he almost won a PS3 on one a few hours later!


All in all it was an excellent day. Enjoy some photos...


What an amazing day in Blackpool we had! The Pleasure Beach might not be around forever so enjoy it while you can.


We certainly did!


I think he enjoyed them too!


AJ mesmerised us all as he devoured them!


AJ ordered the ribs. How the hell is he gonna eat all those?


It's really cool inside with loads of old Pleasure Beach stuff adapted for the restaurant.


After the rides closed we headed to Coasters for some dinner.


And he showed his love accordingly.


AJ had a bit too much fun on the Derby Racers.


I'm not sure if Steve will ever want to visit Blackpool again after this.


AJ helps glide the plane along.


It really is one of the staple rides of the Pleasure Beach.


Of course you can't fly all the way over to the UK and visit Blackpool without riding the 100+ years old Flying Machines!


Who needs incriminating drunken shots of Dave when you have this?


With all the other dark rides conquered Alice in Wonderland was all that remained.


Even AJ found a way into the race.


How could we pass up this opportunity?


OMG!!! It's Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 - in Blackpool!


Just remember - Mono means one and rail means rail.


How many coasters can you spot here?


Monorail POV!


The monorail afford many very cool views of the park.


Monorail, monorail, monorail...


Another fun ride. Which is in turn stacked upon many other very fun rides.


Avalanche. A ride where you get to know your friends very well.


Cue some Dire Straits.


Apparently seven people don't fit in one of these boats.


Yeah the new trains kinda ruined the ride a little but it still offers great rides in the back.


It was running really well today too. Although it did break down many times so make do with these photos.


Ah Grand National! Best coaster in the park!


Time I was getting outta here!


It's horrifying!


I told you!!!


Now when you see what's next don't say you weren't warned! It's very scary inside!


Don't mess with the water AJ!


Complete with inter-species animal porn!


Onto Noah's Ark. Another totally random but amazingly cool attraction.


It's one of the best dark/water/fire/ice/whatever rides ever!


Because we're doing Valhalla!


Time to pull out the poncho!


And won a frickin' XBox!


Until Steve took the bastard on...


Throughout the day. Everyone kinda got obsessed with the "Stacker". People got close but never close enough to winning those super prizes. I always assumed that people never really won anything.


And it was a real quiet day so we didn't have to wait which always makes things more fun!


Big Dipper is a fun ride. It has its good and bad days. Nothing spectacular though.


AJ can't even look.


No copyrights were infringed upon in the making of the Ghost Train.


But this isn't just any rollercoaster. This is... erm... Rollercoaster!!!


Steve's excited to ride Rollercoaster.


Whores, whores, whores...


Dave's enjoying this one a bit too much.


Whores, whores, whores...


Space Invader 2 doesn't quite compare to the randomness of X:\ WTF


Argh it's a soft drink overload! Revolution scores points due to its Irn-Bru association.


A surprisingly good flat ride.


Next up for the guys was a jaunt on Bling.


Steeplechase is Divv approved.


It's just pure fun. Especially racing against friends.


Lets hope this ride doesn't go the way of Blackpool's Log Flume any time soon.


The guys prepare for the awesomeness that is Steeplechase.


Let's ride some good rides!


Still as lame as ever.


So we did the Big One next.


As I said we were getting the crap rides out the way early.


Although they do have this 100% accurate scale model replica of Infusion.


Just a shame that it rides like crap.


I will say that it LOOKS great!


Yes, we're very excited to ride Infusion.


We thought it would be best to get the bad rides out the way as quickly as possible.


OK, out into the park and see if we can't find some rides.


Since we got into the park before the rides opened we gamble our lives away on the Kentucky Derby. This actually resulted in some very exciting races! Well not for AJ.


Today's stop - Blackpool Pleasure Beach!

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Ah Blackpool Pleasure Beach! Another great day on the UK road trip! Sleep in at the hotel, and start the day with a full English breakfast, minus the black pudding. AJ and I were staring at it on our plates and the others were just waiting for one of us to give it a taste. Thankfully Mike mentioned the ingredients before we could touch it. I don’t see how black pudding can be appetizing, honestly who decided to combine those things and eat them for breakfast?


Once we made it to the park it reminded me of Indiana Beach with the mash of rides and random stuff all over the place. You truly do have to visit the park to fully understand what it is like. The coasters were all great, and the lack of lines helped with many re-rides that afternoon.


Valhalla was the highlight of Blackpool for me. With all of the effects working, including the water tunnel, it is one heck of a ride. The ice room was ridiculous at first I thought it was fake ice and snow until we got closer to one of the trees and could actually touch the ice! I felt like I was back home The ponchos managed to keep me mostly dry, although one of the turns caused a massive wave to spill right on me and ended up soaking my shoes for the rest of the day.


We did so much that day that its all a bit of a blur. I'll post some comments of the rides soon.


12 laps on the Circus Clown after a night out is surprisingly the most nauseating thing in Blackpool.

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Yay, Your TR just made me very excited for my impending Blackpool adventure in a few weeks!


I'm a bit worried about the Blackpool nightlife however, I will be with a native but I've heard some dodgy things about it... What did you guys think?


Congratulations to Steve for winning an XBox - quite an achievement!


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Chrissie, We did pass a few places that looked creepy, but I didn't find the nightlife to be too dodgy in Blackpool.


We started the night off at a place called Yates's (I think that is the name) just up the promenade from Pleasure Beach (heading towards the tower). The music was ridiculously loud in there, mind you we were right by some speakers. After that we continued walking up towards the Blackpool Tower and stopped to finish the night at Reflex. It was an awesome 80's bar, great music and atmosphere inside. Not dodgy at all, and plenty of fun.


I hope you enjoy your Blackpool adventure!

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wooooh not so fast!


Actually it wasn't really fast, just normal speed posting right? For you guys maybe! But I haven't been sitting here behind my screen for a few days so I couldn't comment on everything. Reason? I just started my job at Cinevideogroup, a Dutch company that goes everywhere in Europe to cover sports, events, concerts and festivals. FUN! But long days and weird times.


Alton Towers

I really enjoyed Alton Towers, I thought it was the best park on the trip. We got in many rides on Nemesis at the end of the day which was cool.. and I experienced a true 'Running of the Bulls' (a first according to Scott) that morning after the awesome Singing Male Nun. The park is really spread out, and I would never expect it to be there after the long and terrifying drive to it. In the middle of nowhere in the UK there exist this big awesome laid out park with some of the greatest rides in the UK (if not the greatest rides).


Divv wasn't to hyped about Hex (which is inside or like, half-inside the castle), but I quite enjoyed it. The ride itself isn't very special or anything, but I really liked the myth around it (with the chained tree and curse) and how the ride portrays it in a pre-movie, theming and special effects. Divv told me the tree from the story actually exists somewhere nearby. I love a good ghost-story (the UK is the place to be for that!).


I thought Air was good. I didn't expect too much, but I love these flying coasters as we don't have them in Holland. We tried for a front seat ride (after quite a wait, what's ten more minutes..?) and it turned out to be a good choice. They're not allowed to build very high at Alton Towers, so the coaster was close to the ground, and it really felt like swooshing and zooming past everything. I quite enjoyed it.


Nemesis was awesome. What can I say that no-one has said before about this ride? Probably nothing, so skip to the next paragraph if you like. The coaster is (again) close to the ground, which makes it pretty cool (going that fast close to the ground adds to the scary-ness of it all). Also it's very compact (including the theming) which makes for a lot of foot-choppers (I like!). We had a long wait (with Burger King food, good.) the first ride, but in the end we got in many more rides on it.


I think it's a shame that there are so many rides that you actually don't really have time to check out the castle or castle grounds. Like Andrew mentioned, I would like to go back there and check all that out.


I liked Oblivion, but I don't think it was worth the wait we had for it (maybe the 17-year-old-looking-but-actually-13-year-old-girl sticking her tongue trough the fence was worth the wait). If you go for this coaster, make sure you get front seat. Get to know the station when you get to it, cause it's set up a bit weird. The drop is cool when you're in front, that's it.


Rita was fun. We made clever use of the single-riders line (well maybe not on (some of) our first go, but at least we had a front row seat). Good air in the back (in the front too I suppose), and a nice launch. I do think the launch of Stealth back at Thorpe was a bit faster (but I don't know the details!).


Hated the corkscrew. 'Nuff said.


The Dragonballs Spinning Coaster was alright, but like Divv I did enjoy the one at Chessington better. Still a good coaster!


By the way, the girl I sat next to on Nemesis... Divv, give me your photos, NOW!


Blackpool Night Out

ehh.. No just kidding.



Blackpool Pleasure Beach

My 2nd favorite park on the trip.


"Since we got into the park before the rides opened we gamble our lives away on the Kentucky Derby. This actually resulted in some very exciting races! Well not for AJ."


Stupid AJ!


Infusion was pretty good for me. A wake up call after a great night! The water effects were fun (didn't get my feet wet, but hey I'm short), and I really loved the half loop next to the station which has some sort of a waterfall in front of it. It feels like you're going twice as fast up a waterfall into an inversion. Good stuff. Didn't think it was too rough, but I have a lot of experience with El Condor down here at Walibi World (which by the way isn't as bad as it used to be "back in the day").


After that on to 'The Big One'. It has a nice 'whoooop*' to it somewhere in the first hill after the drop, but in all it's a shaky rattling machine. I really looked forward to it.. Oh my it looked sooo smooth from everywhere in the park.. but actually it was bad. I really did not enjoy that, and when it got back near the station I was annoyed that it had to go round the steeple-chase as well (the ride just kept going ).


*thanks Scott


On Avalanche Divv managed to get to know me a lot better than we both wanted to. Well, I say both, but I don't know about Divv..


We managed to get just about all dark rides and coasters in, and yes, also both kiddie credits


I quite enjoyed 'Bling' that goes up, circles, goes round, and upside down (okay that could be any ride, hehe). We had a weird moment up there where we looked at the bench in front of us which was hanging upside down. Fun stuff.


Did anyone record my awesome Monorail rap inspired by the whole Hooters Crew? No? Good.


I almost agree with Andrew that Valhalla was the greatest ride there. Loved it! The fire, the ice, and mostly all the water. Make sure that if you're in the backseat, you keep your feet up! Going up isn't a lot of fun if you have your feet down! Hehe.


The most fun ride was 'Derby Racers'! I had soo much fun with my horsie horsie! I wanted to go on it again, but the guys wanted Food. Which I thought in the end was cool too. I'm pulled a Robb on my Ribbs in that restaurant as you can see on the pics. Great, awesome day!


"Holland a sore loser as always, he was nearly there, but he couldn't manage to get it in in the end" - Thank you BpPb!

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