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Photo TR: Dons Epic Europe Trip

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Hey guys, I just got back from our looong Europe trip and decided to post a day by day TR with Photos!


Our trip started with a few days in the UK before flying out to Budapest to start the ECC Coaster Rhapsody trip through Hungary, Austria, Italy, and a special bonus of 10 miles in Germany!

After that we flew out to Paris for our first trip to DLP and even found a few hours for Parc Asterix as well!


All in all is was a GREAT trip and also our first in Europe. We already can't wait to go back.


Heres Day 1:


We landed in London Heathrow at 10:30am and picked up our rental car for the next few days. We ended up with a nissan micra, a super small 4 door automatic which was actually really roomy inside.


Thorpe park was our obvious first choice since its less than 20 miles from the airport so we headed there and arrived just after 11.


Thorpe was a pretty fun park for only having 3 coasters. Being july in the UK meant that there were loads of school kids in the park but lines thined out by the end of the day.


Collossos was first and we waited about an hour. I've been looking forward to this coaster for awhile so it was really cool to finally ride it. First thing I noticed was how small a footprint is actually has. A 10 looper B&M wouldve taken up half of the park, but collossos is pretty compact.


The first course is nothing really special, it feels alot like CA Screamin' with a cobra roll actually. Thankfully it has the same restraints because it would be pretty painful with the new Intamin ones.


The heartline rolls are pretty cool though. They wern't uncomfortable at all really. Theres no zero G moments, just alot of hang time. The very last one though is pretty cool because of how close to the ground you get. Overall I thought the ride was pretty solid.


Nemisis Inferno was pretty damn good actually. It has a cool prelift course through a misty tunnel, then a very twisty layout. Much like the other Nemesis (but to much less degree) it uses the terrain a bit for some cool fly bys.


Let me talk about X:No Way Out for a bit. I have to say I was rather dissapointed with this coaster. I knew very little about it going in but I was pretty hyped for it after hearing it was a bit unconventional. A backwards ride in the dark with very long block brake stops isn't really that great. Does anyone know if there were ever any effects on this ride at all?


Anyway, we were able to hit the 2 new flats ,Rush and Slammer, and collossos again after the kids left at about 4.


Enough of me, on to the pics!


That shot of Collossos that evryone has


X:/ Waste of Time


Awesome Invert!


Insert 70's rock joke here


Monica was too busy making out with sign to pay attention to me


I waited here for an hour and no one proposed to me...grrrr


Pencil Sharpened: THE RIDE


Collossos is super twisty


Yeah! Our first UK park!


Monica says "What up from H'Row!"


My first 20 quid! Unlike Canada, their money has some chick instead of a duck

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Yeah Thorpe pictures are gonnna be kinda overshadowed by Robbs... Man I want to ride Rush... They were testing it the whole day I was there and it was due to open in 1 week...


Sigh... Still I got on a huge amount of the rides around the park anyway.

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I'm glad you guys are enjoying the pics. I'm doing these from work so I have to fit these in between patients. The midday rush is just about over so I'll throw up some more pictures.


Day two, Mission:Blackpool


After Thorpe closed at 5PM! (stupid tussaud hours!) we drove up to Blackpool. We made it up there at around 930 and checked into Big Blue, BPB's official Hotel.


The hotel room was nice and they let us park for free, but when I opened the window OMFG there were no less than 9 coasters directly outside of our room!


Now I'm sure we all have heard how cool this place is but I was still totally blown away. If Kennywood, Knoebels, and Cedar Point had a threesome, Blackpool would look over and be all "I've been doing that for like 100 years, wankers"


It's like everywhere we went at the park their was a new darkride, or coaster, or crazy walkthrough, or darkride that turned into a coaster, or walkthrough that turned into a darkride and exited by a coaster. The place is absolutely incredible.


Even the Arrow coasters are good there! I didn't think The Big One was rough at all! Especially compared to Desperado and Magnum...ewww, Magnum.


There were some rides and coasters we didn't even discover until the second day.


Enough sucking up, onto the pictures:


Me and my award winning shot of the Big One's drop shot on location in front of Pizza Hut.


This is probably the worst upcharge minigolf course I've ever seen. Later in the day it was PACKED too...weird.


The first of many European Towers I didn't want to pay to go up in, and the Blackpool strip


We even had time to pick up the "other" Blackpool credit at the South Pier


There indoor coaster actually had stuff to look at! No random darkness. Also it looks af if they had a skyway at some point. I wonder what happened?


There ticket booths had some pretty intense themeing. I tried to open it up to find the smaller one inside but felt weird about grabbing its midsection


Gifts were available for all ages


But the ride was even better. You hear that Malestrom!!


Dude! The Valhalla gift shop was awesome!


I never did get to try an IRN-BRU, even though they were available in diet


Plenty of softdrink themed rides here, and a maze in the distance


The view from our hotel room window. Did I mention the windows in hotels here open all the way? I could've leaped onto a Big Dipper train from here!

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Man it has been way too long since I was at BlackPool. That place was amazing. Most consistent themeing I have ever seen. Asphalt everywhere and gaudy buildings as far as the eye can see. Still the rides kicked ass.


Tell me you went on Steeplechase and the Wild Mouse... Those are some of the most memorable things there. The wild mouse because it has some seriously close head choppers and the steeplechase... well if you went on the steeplechase it is obvious. The funny thing was that there was this red haired guy who looked like he had worked in a factory every day of his life pushing the horses out when I went... Completely the stereotypical image of blackpool from what I have heard...


Anyway glad you had so much fun. Can't wait to see more pics. BTW do you have any better shots of some of the classic rides at Blackpool?

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^Mmmmmm... unsweetened Fanta... I've always wanted to go to British parks, to see all the differences... and to have fun at unbelievable lawsuit-accommodating rides, including the obstacle course of death!


Danny "Most pathetic mini golf course ever, though..." Smith

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Oh man, the wild mouse...Let me just say that that ride has hit the top of my wood coasters list. Our second day I believe I rode it 6 times in a row. It helped that queues for it woern't more than a few minutes.


I have some more Blackpool pics I'm going to post later. All in all I took just over 2150 pictures so it take a while to sort through them. Plus I just flew in yesterday so it's also my first time seeing them as well.


I also rode the crap out of Steeplechase. Having grown up at Knotts I have a great respect for this ride. It was great waking up every morning to Big Ones midcourse and all the little horseys going around the track.


Oh, and some of the employees looked like they walked right out of the industrial revolution! All cockney'd and what what. Plus they had some great homemade cockney dock worker tattoos. Nice buch of blokes though.


More pictures in a few minutes..



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Fantastic Pictures! about the skyway.. it closed in about 2001 i think but they didnt take down the cable down till 2003! also if you went on the monorail you would have seen a side friction water coaster (vikingar) that has been closed since about 2003 i think. Blackpool is a pretty good park and one of the best in our little country (along with alton towers!) the wild mouse is ok but the grand national is alot better !

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It looks as if they are working on that water coaster/shoot the chutes in the back of the park. It closed in 2003 huh? From the looks of it I would have guessed it'd been closed since 1903!


As for the wild mouse, I don't know if you've ridden any american mice but there all pretty much braked to death. Wild Mouse OTOH HAS no brakes! plus there are several points where you can reach out and touch other parts of the course while cars are running.


Once I started to learn how to ride it I was able to do Motocross tricks on some of the hills! For pure fun Wild Mouse and Rollercoaster topped the list for me, but then again I'm not used to coasters with no restraints! :o


Day 3:


Origionally we had planned on doing some rides at Blackpool in the morning then spending the rest of the day at Southport Pleasureland. However, given the amout of sheer joy we were having we decided to spend another complete day at Blackpool!


I know for an absolute fact that we'll be going back to BPB so well get to Southport eventually. In the mean time, more pics!


Oh Valhalla, why do you make all other water rides suck?


I'm told this rides foundation sits on the same sand it was built on over 100 years ago!


The other Noahs ark, and completely different from the one at Kennywood


The Mouse travels over several buildings, If you fall out of your car don't worry, there are plenty of sandbags and 20 foot drops to break your fall


Man this ride is awesome


I can't believe they let me ride this!


Me and this cool little Ice Cream snack went around the park meeting people


Our cute little Nissan


Big Blue!


Here is a shot from the monorail of that old looking chutes ride they are refurbing


As you can see racial sensitivty abounds in the UK


This room was unavailable due to the dead hooker in the bathtub


We were thinking about staying here next time since its so close to the park ;)


5 of the 7 rides I got that day was in Fergie for some reason. I guess pink mice cars like me


In the Norge' Norge' Norge' Norge' Norge' room...


Avalanche has a great curvy layout


the Weiner ride


Another Awesome Mack Bobsled

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Looks Like You Had Fun! It was unfortunate that you missed Southport its actually the closest park to me and quite a nice park. it has a pretty insane wild mouse there too! (king solomons mines) but blackpool is definatley a better park than it!

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Day 4, Alton Towers


This was probably the park I was looking forward to the most. We stayed at a Hotel pretty close to the park on the a50 but even then it is still a drive to reach the park.


You have to drive through these small villages with very narrow streets to get there. Imagine driving down international street in the USH backlot with two way traffic. I don't know how the busses make it.


We got to the park way before opening because I knew being july that alot of schools take end of the term trips here. The gates opened about 45 minutes before the rides so we got a good spot in the Rita queue and waited until 10am for the rides to open.


Rita being new was a huge draw so I'm glad we went there first. We waited about 15 minutes once it opened and then got a quick one train wait on corkscrew (In the front).


As for my Rita review, well...it sucked. The ride itself was pretty fun but I would't recommend a special trip just for it. The launce is just as intense as the others just very short, only 60mph. The course is essentially an elaborate figure 8 into the breaks. What really kills the ride is the restraints. Instead of really enjoying the yummy intamin transitions I kept hitting my neck on those stupid flat bar shoulder straps. grrrr.


If ever a ride needed lapbars only its this one. Now I only rode once due to crowds and it was near the back. But I have ridden Stormrunner in the rear or the train and don't remember it being quite that uncomfortable. I'll definately give it another chance but I really wanted it to be good.


We walked right onto Hex after that and we were both really shocked to see how much of the queue is in the actual castle itself. After Hex we took a quick trip through the castle itself on the way to Oblivion.


The school kids were out in full force so I was trying to get the low capacity rides first but we finally caught up with them at Oblivion. And it only got worse from there.


Hears the story: after wainting an hour in the oblivion queue (with a posted 10 min wait time) we finally make it into the station. I'm at the gate for the front as my train pulls in, stops, unloads, then nothing. The unload area emptied, the trains left the station empty, the trains on the brake run emptied, and the ride op turned to us and said they now have to empty the entire queue.


Evidently, some asshat had left a bag unnattended at or near the exit ramp and due to the recent London Bombings they weren't taking any chances and cleared out the entire X-Sector of the park.


I completely understand why they cleared out the area. I'd rather miss acredit than be blowned-up. But it just seemed so unfortunate that I happened to be at the load gate, for the front, after waiting an hour that this had to happen.


Luckily the rest of the park was still open, but after the time wasted at Oblivion it was getting to be 1pm and the park closed at 5 (damn tussaud hours) so I was becoming a little concerned about the rest of the day.


We decided to just go for the coasters we most wanted to do and headed for Nemisis next. After a single rider wait of about 40 minutes Monica and I actually rode together in the back row.


Wow Nemises kicks total ass. If you've see video you know what this ride does. And it does it really good. I had high expectations for nemesis and it totally lived up to them.


We went over to queue for Air and the op at the front said it had been having problems and the queue right now was massive. He also said that the park hours had been extended untill 630 (YES) because of the massive crowds/bombs in the park. He told us that as long as we queued by 6:29 we would get to ride so we went off and rode the mack powered train (15 min) and Spinball Wizzer (40 min) and the kiddie (0 min)


Lo and behold after Spinny I noticed Oblivion was open! It was about 445 and most of the kids had left so the queue only took about 15 min. We also got front row (YAY)


I'll just say real quick that I liked Obli as much as SheiKra. It doesn't do as much but what it does do it does much better than shakira.


After that we had just enough time to walk onto Air and Nemisis one more time. We ended up having a really good day and we were able to ride all the coasters, but we were really fighting all day in order to do it.


I've gotta run real quick but I'll put up the pictures in about 30 min for those of you playing along in real time.


-Don "Ignore any typos, I'm trying to do this as quick as I can" Garrison

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Here are the Alton Towers pics:


Can we go back NOW please!?


Pretty much the best park of the ride


Some german spinner goodness


Attn Magic Mountain: Build this plus 1 pretzle please


I'm pretty sure that this was the mad bomber


pretty much the greatest ride ever made


Totally looks like your going to kick that eyeball


Dude, how sweet is Nemesis? Look at that drop!


If your handicapped and really evil your in luck!


I'm a Zombie guys with crap in my mouth, please go on my darkride!


For some reason alot of the oblivion merch was homoerotic


Finally we get to ride Oblivion


Dude, awesome! remember, this is my first time seeing these pictures too.


It was hard to take a bad picture of the castle


Rita: All bark and the restraints bite!




We started our day with Rita: QOS!


OMG dude, a castle!

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Here are some pictures leaving england and arriving in Budapest


Monica really liked it, and thats all that matters


They had this huge plaza in the middle of town


Mr. Hungary, Bela Legosi


We decided to do a photo shoot by this awesome walkthrough attraction in the park


I checked and this isn't a medieval times restauraunt


This was the first day of the ECC trip. They dropped us off in this nice city park which was a short castle strewn walk from Vidampark


Are you sure we aren't on a backlot?


The city is an interesting mix of new and very old buildings


Among the top 5 places I never thought I'd ever get to: Budapest Hungary


American gangsta' in Budapest, dag yo


Nuclear Power anyone?


Roundabouts are pretty straightforward. I don't know why americans has so much trouble with them


Make sure you sit on the correct side of the car as I demonstrate thusly

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Psycho Eastern European Park #1 Vindampark, Budapest


Vindampark is one of those small parks you find in major citys. They have 4 coasters, most noteably a Schwarzkopf looping star (from Dreamland, Margate) and a pretty old Senic Railway (not from Dreamland).


They lady who ran the park showed us around a bit (forgot her name, sorry!) and let us ride Hullamvasut (Who-Lam-Va-SHOOT) the Senic Railway and the Looping star before turning us loose in the park for a few hours.


Hullam was my first SRailway and it was actually pretty fun! Each car had a leaf-spring suspension so you really got bouncing as you went along. The Looping star was pretty standard Swarzy, which is to say quite good.


The park is operated with a small general admission charge and then every ride is one to two tickets I believe. We each got a 20 ticket book from the club and free admission. Plus monica found half a ticket book in a bathroom so we had more than enough to hit the coasters as well as there strangly large amount of darkrides.




We had enough time left over to explore the city before we had to return to the hotel. Dinner was at a Hungarian McDonalds.


I wonder if we'll ever get Doritos Latinos in the states? For some reason though BBQ flavor doesn't transfer well to a corn chip


If ANYONE knows where I can get this shirt PM me


This breakdance had inner city themeing


"Give me some cheap prizes"


"Let me on or I'll stroke my 9mm" seemed to work pretty good


How do you say "Credit Whore" in Hungarian?


They had this strange fairy tale themed tunnel of love type boat ride


I like 'em long and swoopy


Oh yeah


The ride actually takes about 5 minutes to navigate is long course


Oh and did I mention, I'm all about coasters and riding in cars with suspention


Hullamvasut sits right next to a blvd near the back of the park.


Yeah, first park of the ECC trip!

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