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It was a little torturous waking up practically inside Blackpool Pleasure Beach and not being able to go inside... but we had other things to do. Day 6 was sort of like Christmas Eve--the big day was coming, but there was plenty to keep us occupied in the meantime. This was meant as a "credit whore" day, sort of doing due diligence to make sure we covered all the "other" coasters in the area--but it turned out to be one of the best days of the trip! Our adventure began in Camelot....

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TPR members and roller coasters... just like lemmings off a cliff!

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Hey, it's bigger than Disneyland's!

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"Switch off before closing."

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Hey, this is bigger than Disneyland's too!

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And I ain't lion!

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Hey, their zoo has a dragon!

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Look, they sent a go-kart for us!

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"Yeah, I mean, I'd like to thank God, my mother, Intamin and all the members of Club TPR. And especially my daughter, Kristen, and my wife, Elissa... we did it, baby!"

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First up: ERT on Knightmare!

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All aboard the train! Those who had ridden this coaster in Japan said it lost a little something in its move to the UK... but I thought it was great!

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Then we had ERT on Whirlwind!

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Camelot had a lot of odd little kiddie flats.

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Case in point!

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It's like a peppermint with arms!

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Itt seems like every park in the UK has one of these kiddie driving school attractions.

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Oh, now this should be good!

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This was much scarier than anything inside!

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Our doom buggy awaits!

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Smuffy's Dungeon may not have been that scary... but this trail would make a perfect Halloween haunt!

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It's the diesel dragon! Hooray for gasoline-powered coasters!

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Caterpillar Capers was your standard-issue Wacky Worm...

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...with dragon trash can theming!

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If only they actually gave you lances on the bumper cars....

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A pirate ride in the middle of a Medieval-themed park? Why not!

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Camelot is home to not only one...

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...but two water rides!

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It's kind of like if Hogwards had a University of Phoenix division!

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No, Merlin, I will not touch your big coil!

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Best hot dog in the world? We'll see about that!

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The hot dog was OK... but the sweet mustard on it was fantastic! Unfortunately, other Rollovers I had during the trip weren't as good without it (and the one at Lightwater Valley was... well, no mustard on Earth could have helped it!).

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I guess this is the gate you go to if you ride Whirlwind too many times! Southport Pleasureland coming up next.

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When I joined Club TPR early in the year, I received a download of my choice from the TPR library, and in preparation for the UK Trip, I chose... yeah, you guessed it, the UK Coaster Expedition DVD. One of the neatest-looking places on that edition was Southport Pleasureland, what with its human roulette wheel. I've always wanted to try one of those!

 

Sadly, Pleasureland closed down before I got the chance to go there... but that didn't stop New Pleasureland from cropping up in its place! Instead of a permanent amusement park, New Pleasureland is more or less a resting ground for carnival rides when they aren't out on the circuit. Because different rides at the "park" are owned by different companies (and ever-changing, at that), not all of them were open, and we weren't able to get all the credits there. That said, the one company that did have representatives on the premesis treated us like kings (and queens)!

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Sorry, folks. Park's closed. The moose out front should have told you.

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Oh, this looks promising!

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In the UK, even the closed, abandoned amusement parks still have miniature golf courses!

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At least they still have a miniature railway. Maybe we should ride it.

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Um... on second thought, maybe not.

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This was the main reason we were here: the world's scariest Wild Cat!

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The guy on the left made sure the safety restraints were in place--and by that, I mean still attached to the car, not necessarily locked or buckled. The guy on the right pushed the car onto the lift hill (no, really).

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This was taken sometime after the first car got stuck on the track....

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Ah, nothing like a hot cup of coffee and a shirtless early morning walk through the midway!

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What do 101 Dalmatians, Fred Flintstone's car, a pirate ship and a pair of carousel horses have in common? They're all part of this train!

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Much like Camelot, this place had some really funky kiddie flats.

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that unlike Camelot's, none of them were licensed!

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Well, if both Superman AND Santa Claus say this Ferris wheel's good....

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Elvis and the Dragons? Sounds like a new Adult Swim show to me!

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This carousel was my absolute favorite when it came to licensing issues. Not to say U.S. carnivals don't bend copyright laws sometimes, but as over the top as it is in the UK, I've got to suspect it's harder to win an infringement suit over there.

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"Hi, I'm Barbie...

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...come ride my Soviet tank!"

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It's the oil spill rapids ride!

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Abdul's Dilemma? His ride's not open.

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On the plus side, the Pleasureland Pavillion still looked in top shape.

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And it looked like they were trying to retrofit a ghost train into what I think someone said was the old funhouse building.

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No Happy Caterpillar for us today :(

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But we did get to ride some rides. It took them a few minutes to get the Ski Jump going, but once they did, it was insane!

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We also got to ride the officially licensed (um...) Spider-Man trabant.

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Some of us even got bonus "rides"!

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And then there was the bumper car takeover!

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Remember, it's all fun and games...

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...until someone gets hurt! Up next: the surprise hit of the trip--Gulliver's World!

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Apart from the fact that the picture of me looks like the long-forgotten ghost of a pi$$ed-off Southport carnie is punching me in the stomach for daring to bounce on the kiddie trampoline, great TR! It wasn't the first time I'd been to Camelot - I vaguely remembered some of it from when I was 6 or 7 - but New Pleasureland was a first, and just like you, I was disappointed that I didn't get there sooner (and I have much less of an excuse than you, actually living in the same country as I do). Not so much for the funhouse, although that would've been neat - though I probably would have gone flying something ridiculous if I had a go on that lazy susan of death - more for being able to see another classic example of old-time British amusements, that isn't Blackpool (who were partly responsible for the stripping of Southport, as I believe).

 

But we had a good time; the Wildcat was good, despite the interesting difficulties, and the bumper car takeover was brilliant, especially with Robb assigning targets each round.

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Our last stop of Day 6 was Gulliver's World in Warrington. Some people were a little skeptical about spending so much time at a kiddie park--especially one that doesn't usually allow adults without children. However, Robb and Elissa convinced them to make a special exception for us, and I think that for many (maybe all) of us, it was the surprise hit of the trip! There was so much to do, it would have been fun to have spent a few more hours here. What's the last U.S. kiddie park you visited that you could make that statement about?

 

Anyway, enjoy the photos!

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Behind this unassuming building lies literally hours of fun for all ages!

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"Hi, I'm Gulliver. And behind me are my Lilliputians!"

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"Hi, I'm Gully the Mouse, not to be confused with Gulliver. The park may be named after a fictional literary giant, but I sell more merchandise!"

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And that's when things started to get strange....

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Pretty! It was around the time I was taking this shot when they announced over the park's speaker system, "Attention parents: Please note that there is a group of roller coaster enthusiasts visiting Gulliver's World today. Please do not be alarmed if you see them unaccompanied by children" or something like that. I've never been with a tour group before that required its own special advisory!

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That's two castles today that have been bigger than Disneyland's!

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There were lots of fun little unattended attractions like these throughout the park. How many seconds do you think they would last in the U.S.?

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First stop: Wild Mine Ride!

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OK, enough with the wild mouse. Time for some Tomb Raider!

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Hey, I don't see Lara Croft anywhere!

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Behold: the entrance to Catastrophe Canyon...

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...AKA the raft ride with a smoking Easter Island head!

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And let us not forget the Stoned Tractor Ride!

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"Hey! This TR is awesome!"

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Look! We found the Lost World!

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OK, seriously, how lost is the Lost World when they have a train that takes you right there?

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"Grrr... we escaped from Drayton Manor, but we didn't get far!"

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Aww... but I wanted to see dinosaurs breed!

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Teacups themed as hatched dinosaur eggs? Neat!

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Now we know how the dinosaurs really died... malaria!

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The Flight of the Pteranodon looked pretty cool... but we had limited time and a bunch of amazing attractions to check out before we moved to the "B" list. (We never made it to the "B" list.)

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This is where all the T-Rexes come to chill after a hard day at work.

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Carousel of Evolution? Oh, we've GOTTA check this out!

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Mouse in a space suit, preparing to time travel? Cue the music!

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"There's a great big beautiful tomorrow, one where all the dinosaurs are dead...

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"...there's a great big beautiful tomorrow, because man evolved from them, I said!"

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Thankfully, Mike talked me out of standing in line for the Dino Safari Tour. That gave us more time for...

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...The Count's Haunted Mansion!

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I ain't afraid of no ghost!

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OK, so in the middle of this friendly little kiddie park is The Count's Haunted Mansion, AKA the Ghost House, a walk-through haunted house featuring some of the most demented, piss-your-pants scary dioramas ever witnessed by mankind. And then in the middle of it all, they have these fluorescent orange phrases... that don't entirely make a lot of sense.

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That must be how they spell it in the UK....

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I think I saw this on the menu back at Sipson Tandoori!

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Not to be confused with "Super Loo"....

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Oh, look! Happy stuff upstairs!

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Holy crap! That's not happy stuff! That's a devil with a bloody knife!

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"You think that's disturbing? You ain't seen nothin' yet!"

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Forget the dude burying the skull... whose hand is that!?

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Dinner is served!

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"Hey, you're not Edward!"

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"Hey, kids! When you're done in here, go ride the carousel! It's fun!"

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Oh, and did I mention that throughout the entire walk-through, the grotesque images were interspersed with dioramas depicting drunken monks? WTF?

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This seems familiar somehow....

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The card maze looked like a pretty fun little attraction for the 7-and-under set.

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Hurry! We're late...

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...for the antique car ride!

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Come, let's visit our friends Ben the Depressed Bunny...

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...and Dora the Mersplorer!

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Yay! Wild West town!

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Somehow, their peek-ins weren't quite as good as the ones at Knotts....

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Hey, my fiancee works for Wells Fargo!

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Adventure Fort! Hmm... that must be code for...

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..."coaster credit!" (Except this one may have been powered--I don't remember.)

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I loved that they actually had Calvary officers in the turrets. I also loved that they only bothered to build them from the waists up!

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Those of us who watched Saturday morning television or participated in elementary school gym class during a certain era will appreciate these.

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Hey, they moved the entire attraction here from Florida!

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Step right up, folks! See the wild tricycles!

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Did I mention that Gulliver's had some... interesting attractions?

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Eww....

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Random pirate ship!

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If there are only two people on the ride, and they're both TPR members... does it constitute a TPR "takeover"?

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It's like a ghetto Fun Town Fire Academy!

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Meanwhile, Michael Jackson lies in repose.

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Who here remembers the part in "Gulliver's Travels" where Pluto and the flying dragon totally saved Dorothy from the Wicked Witch of the West?

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Awwwww....

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As the park prepared to close, TPR gathered here to wait for ERT.

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The place sort of had a "Blue Bayou" vibe going for it.

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Some people are easily amused!

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Tiny chairs!

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I think this thing escaped from the Ghost House!

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While waiting for the park to clear, we feasted on traditional English tea and biscuits.

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OK, so let me get this straight... digestive biscuits don't really aid in digestion, and bourbon creams are really chocolate? WTF, England?

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And finally it was time for ERT on the most insane kiddie coaster ever... Antelope!

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The park built this entirely in house. And I don't mean just the model, but the coaster itself!

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Noted!

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OK, Antelope (named for Gulliver's ship) was undoubtedly the roughest coaster I've ever ridden... and I've been on Predator at Darien Lake! During the first go-around, I honestly thought my sternum may have been fractured... and then they didn't unlock the restraints when we returned to the station and sent us around again! It was the most painful ride of my life. Fortunately, the majority of the soreness ended by the time we got back on the bus, and I was better--if badly bruised--by the next morning.

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They have no clue what's about to happen to them!

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They paused ERT to grease the track!

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Now it's rough AND fast!

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But enough about my pain. The Antelope's photo station doubled as a crepe station... and that's where we met the famous Pancake Girls! They definitely made ERT more interesting!

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And they made some darned fine crepes, as well! This one was flavored with lemon juice and sugar. And the knife and fork were made from wood!

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It made a tasty snack for the ride back to Blackpool, where we gathered for dinner at The Grill.

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The restaurant's interior was awesome!

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The chicken was good... but it didn't come close to the oversized American portions to which my overgrown stomach has become accustomed.

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Thankfully, the lemon tart dessert, coupled with some snack exchange leftovers, helped fill the void!

 

Up next: A massive, multi-part report from one of the greatest parks in the world--Blackpool Pleasure Beach!

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OK, so here's the deal: Blackpool Pleasure Beach played an enormous role in my wanting to do the UK Tour in the first place. Did it live up to my expectations? Can we say, "Knoebels of the UK"? Our day at Blackpool was one of the most amazing of my life, and I wouldn't have traded it for anything! Brace yourselves for a massive four-part TR, starting... now!

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Nothing like a hearty UK breakfast to prepare for a marathon day at one of the world's most amazing parks!

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First up: ERT on the Pepsi Max Big One!

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Going up (and up and up and up...)!

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But enough of that.... The No. 1 reason I had wanted for years to visit Blackpool was to ride the Steeplechase. And remember how I said Blackpool seemed a little... stuck in the '70s? Look at that sign! It's awesome!

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This ride sure has a lot of restrictions!

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Steeplechase ERT? I think I can die now!

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OK, if you haven't figured it out by now, this portion of the TR is going to contain A LOT of Steeplechase! So if you don't like Steeplechase photos, scroll down now. There's plenty more Blackpool to see there!

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It's just like Coney Island in the '20s... only with more safety restraints!

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Gentlemen, start your horses!

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Well... at least they're not riding bareback!

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Everyone has fun on Steeplechase!

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Requisite Mike Moody photo!

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I rode a total of 17 times... and I only lost once! You've got to know when to lean into the turns.

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More plastic sheep!

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Blackpool is chocked full of these little oddball touches that make it so enjoyable.

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That's one heck of a go-cart!

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WTF?

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Well, what do you know? Mike Austin was right! Frankfurters are rubbish!

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Swamp buggies? Does England have swamps?

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It's like if "It's a Small World" was comprised entirely of ethnic stereotypes (which it kind of is, I guess).

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AKA the Backlot Stunt Buffet.

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Hey, this looks a lot like something I saw last year at Universal Studios Hollywood....

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I can't decide whether Mike's assessment of how much I would enjoy this ride was a good thing: "You'll like it. It's really politically incorrect!"

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He was right on both counts!

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Apparently the "Tunnel of Love" sign was added to suit the needs of a UK soap opera filming on location... and Blackpool being Blackpool, they just kind of kept it.

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Can't have a British park without cheesy fiberglass dinosaurs (that's a good thing)!

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Don't look into the eyes of Mara!

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"I liked the River Caves thiiiiiiiis much!"

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I spy a credit!

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And now you know.

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Did I mention it was one of the world's last wooden mice?

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Actually, the cars made it seem more like a wild Zhu Zhu Pet!

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That's one heck of a souvenir!

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This was an awesome credit!

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Even the station was amazing!

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Noted!

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Wheee!

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I sat out Infusion (inversions and I normally don't agree), but I enjoyed taking pictures while waiting for the rest of the group.

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Ah, that's more my speed!

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I never really understood the whole skeleton spider concept... but whatever works!

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Fun fact: "The General" was the train pursued in the Great Locomotive Chase of the Civil War (and 1956 Disney film fame). And the "97" was the mail train involved in a deadly 1903 accident memorialized in a popular folk ballad recorded by the likes of Woodie Guthrie, Johnny Cash and Boxcar Willie.

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Check out Slimer!

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The Ghost Train's exterior was full of detail!

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Na na na na na na na na... Bat!

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"That was... interesting."

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Not to be confused with the "curiousness" of the "Alice in Wonderland" ride.

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We got to ride with the March Hare!

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And the rest!

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"Come play with us!"

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Is it just me, or does the tortoise look like he's vomiting blue goo?

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This is how I know what day I visited Blackpool!

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The Flying Machines were really cool! This type of ride was a staple at many U.S. parks in the '30s and '40s, but nearly none are left today.

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It's just like the Golden Zephyr at Disney's California Adventure... only authentic!

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These things go a lot higher--and faster--than it seems from the ground.

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Woooo-hoooo!

 

Next up: lots more Blackpool!

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^^To be honest, I probably woud have missed it, too, had it not been on Mike Moody's radar. It didn't really stand out among all the flat rides.

 

Enjoy the second installment of Blackpool Pleasure Beach!

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What's that over there? Could it be one of the only two Noah's Arks left in existence?

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Um... no. Blackpool gutted its historic Noah's Ark, leaving Kennywood's as the last complete one on Earth. Its shell remains as the park's main entrance. They opened a back gate for us during ERT, so we didn't get to see the entryway in all its glory until later in the day.

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Defunct theming!

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Though it's a shame that Blackpool got rid of one of its most historic attractions (park management told us it was due to the liability issues related to walk-through attractions), it's nice that they at least kept the facade.

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Noah was a cop? Who knew?

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This is how the ride looked back in the day.

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It still rocks thanks to this mechanism, on display at the little museum inside. And we all know how much I like amusement park museums! Unfortunately, this one didn't feature much (yet) besides the rocking mechanism and a few old photos.

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Anyway... there are other historic attractions to be ridden! Witness the Derby Racer!

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This is one of only three operating derby racers left in existence, the others being at Cedar Point and Rye Playland. I don't know how the ones at Rye Playland are, but I was a little let down to see that Blackpool had fixed their horses in place so as not to move back and forth in a "race" as was intended.

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But Mike didn't seem to mind!

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Neither did John!

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After awhile, I split off from the group to do some solo exploring. Mike strongly encouraged me to check out this restaurant.

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Well that's pretty cool!

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And here it is!

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The restaurant was made to look like nighttime in the U.S. South. Sound familiar to anyone who's ever been to Disneyland?

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They even have a water ride running through the restaurant. This is the Blue Grotto section of the River Caves.

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"Hey, where's the shack with the guy playing banjo?"

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But this was the real reason Mike encouranged me to visit: a look at the park's old Gold Mine dark ride, which was closed during our visit.

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Too bad. It looked like a really fun ride, similar to the Calico Mine Train at Knotts.

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"Sorry you didn't get to see our glory hole!"

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Oh well. I got a souvenir photo, anyway.

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Speaking of trains....

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Check out the wildlife along Beaver Creek!

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I like candy!

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Space Invader 2 was another closed ride I think I would have enjoyed. Apparently it is (or was) an indoor bobsled coaster--sort of a Space Mountain lite.

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This would go over well at some parks in the South!

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More groovy '70s lettering and a shot for our good friend BeamerBoy.

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Gratuitous shot of Irn Bru Revolution: check!

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These coin-ops looked pretty cool. I'm always in favor of innovative new games.

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The Chinese Puzzle Maze was on my list of things to do.

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Wait? You get wet in this maze? With this in mind and estimating the time it would have taken to go through versus time I could be riding other rides, I chose to skip it. Good thing; even without it, I barely got done everything else on my "must do" list!

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Another carousel with cool old marquee signage.

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At the beginning of the day, Robb told us to take a good look at Beaver Creek. He couldn't say anything at the time, but he knew about the impending Nickelodeon takeover.

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Beaver!

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Not sure who this was supposed to be... but whoever he was, he's gone now!

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Not sure who this is, either...

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...but after doing some research, I suspect he has something to do with Eddie Stobart, much like this convoy ride.

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Hey... didn't we just see you at another park?

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Tetley? Teacups? Makes sense!

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Time for another credit!

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When I walked up with my TPR name badge on, the operator said, "Another one of you!?"

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I guess this is the Blue Flyer now?

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Too bad Roller Coaster wasn't open during our visit.

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At least the Nickelodeon deal gave it a new lease on life as the Nickelodeon Streak.

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Awesome tables!

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I wonder what's so magical about these dragons.

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Oh! They're so magical that they disappeared!

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There's something very familliar about that name....

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Now opening for Kiss....

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Here comes the choo-choo to take us to Happytown!

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This ride was sort of like Disneyland's "America Sings." Only without the "America."

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"Hi, I'm Tracy Tree!"

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Apparently this ice skating show was Blackpool's big attraction for the year.

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And we'll end this update with Tango Ice Blast: The Ride!

 

Up next: even more Blackpool Pleasure Beach, including some cool behind-the-scenes action. Until then!

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On to part three! But before the photos, I want to say a BIG thank you to Robb and Elissa for putting this day together for us! I mean, Blackpool Pleasure Beach on its own would have been awesome, but add to that ERT on three major coasters, a backstage tour of Grand National (which, essentially, was a backstage tour of the park's central operation), meal vouchers and then an amazing show that evening? This day definitely made it into my top three TPR trip days of all time... and that's a pretty tough list to crack!

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I was having so much fun that I almost didn't make it back in time for the backstage tour of Grand National!

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These gentlemen led us through the "foribdden" areas and answered our questions.

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That's a lot of storage containers!

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And now, here are some pictures of Grand National for you to enjoy!

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It's just like a movie studio!

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Fun fact: Pleasure Beach's horticulture department is located inside Grand National!

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Employee bicycle parking!

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Oooh! Exclusive employee dining (I assume)!

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Valhalla show building! But we'll get there later....

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Impossible was... less fun than I had hoped. Don't get me wrong; it was good for what it was. Except I was envisioning more of a full-blown funhouse rather than a miniature science center.

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At least it had funhouse mirrors....

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Much like in all the Haunted Mansions, this fellow turned to look at you no matter where in the room you walked.

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Look out belooooooowwww!

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Swan or squirrel? You decide!

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Yep, this is a science center all right!

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I skipped the haunted swing ride at the end of Impossible in the interest of time. I considered skipping lunch, as well, but by this time it was mid-afternoon, and I was starting to feel pretty hungry. And we had meal vouchers, so I figured I'd grab something and go. Unfortunately, the tastiest part of this burger was the toothpick used to hold it together. But hey, I got a bendy straw!

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Trauma Towers sounds like the type of walk-through "funny" haunted attraction I absolutely would have loved!

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Unfortunately, today the building merely serves as a photo kiosk and dryer for the jumping fountains in front of it. (Yes, you can buy a photo of your child or yourself playing in the fountain.)

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During our backstage tour, park management told us this attraction probably will not be comig back due to liability issues. Thankfully, there were still a lot of great details to see from the outside.

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I'll have the carnal stake, please!

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With limited space to work with, Blackpool took its kiddie cars vertical!

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This was another attraction I skipped in the interest of time, but I would have loved to have ridden it... assuming they let adults on in the first place.

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One more coaster to ride!

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More cool theming!

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There's something very "Matterhorn" about this decor.

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This was a fun ride! Sort of makes me hope Flying Turns opens... someday.

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Look out below!

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What would a Blackpool TR be without the Avalanche Bears?

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The Laughing Man was really cool--sort of like a generic Laughing Sal.

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I wonder if he originally was found in here somewhere.

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Have I mentioned how much I loved the retro '70s-style signs throughout Blackpool?

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This was pretty cool, too. I think the crowd moved and cheered whenever a car went by.

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Since I hate walking around in wet clothes, I walked back to the hotel (wish that back gate had still been open!) to change into a spare set of clothes and shoes I brought with me especially to ride Valhalla. On the way, I saw this! Now, upon doing some research, I learned that "ABC" doesn't stand for "American Broadcasting Corp.," but "Associated British Corp.," and that the company went out of business in the late 1960s. So is this more Blackpool retro-ness, or am I missing something?

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"Please bring me back!" lol

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And now, time for the wettest flume ride in amusement park history: Valhalla!

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This was a very cool ride! Fire! Ice! Amazing Audio-Animatronics! Unfortunately, I got stuck with a boat full of rowdy Spanish teenagers (they knew only two words of English, apparently, and one of them was "you"). One of them elbowed me in the nose on the last drop, and that stung for a little while after. But it was an amazing ride, nonetheless! And despite wearing my trusty TPR poncho, I did indeed get soaked through and through.

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And what better way to conclude the day than with ERT on Grand National?

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We see you, red train!

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Grand National is one of only three mobius loop racing coasters left in the world. And because the track's sides are in close proximity, it's possible to do this!

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The coaster is really amazing...

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...but don't take my word for it!

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We had a small window of time between the end of ERT and the park's closing. Robb encouraged us all to visit Robin Ross, the "Voice of Blackpool" at the in-park radio station, Holiday Rock FM, at some point during the day, so Mike and I took the opportunity to do so. I used to work in radio myself, so it was especally fun chatting with Robin about the state of British radio versus American radio.

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Just like Dionne Warwick!

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We also made time to stop by a gift shop on the way out. The K'nex models here were pretty great!

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I had never seen this one before.

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"Wrap that Euro-Fighter up to go, please!"

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Ohhhkaaayyy....

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I'll have some pop, sweets and crisps, please!

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On the way back to the hotel at park closing, Mike took John and me into a restaurant called Mr. Chippy for some "proper" fish and chips. These are them.

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Yes, Styrofoam box, I WILL do the right thing!

 

Up next: A special tribute to "Beyond Belief!"

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OK, so to keep us occupied during our final evening in Blackpool, Robb and Elissa arranged for us to attend a show at the Horseshoe Theatre called "Beyond Belief." And it was! I feel sorry for anyone who missed this special performance because words can't even come close to doing it justice!

 

I'm going to describe what I remember of the show seven months later, and hopefully some of the others who attended can help fill in the blanks.

 

The show began with two attractive women dancing on stage, followed by the introduction of magician Richard de Vere. The headliner, he opened his portion of the show by delivering a five-minute monolog about TPR and how wonderful it was that all these roller coaster enthusiasts chose to come to Blackpool to help stabalize the sinking economy. Then he did some magic that mostly involved disassembling and reassembling the girls as lights flashed and techno music played. They wore lab coats in one scene.

 

Eventually, de Vere introduced a St. Bernard named Schnorbitz, which apparently was once owned by his mentor, famous British comedian Bernie Winters. He proceeded to ride Schnorbitz, then dry hump the dog from behind. I think someone from TPR got a photo of that; I wasn't sure whether photos were allowed, so I didn't take any once the show started (I kind of wish I had). We were told that Schnorbitz had a girlfriend, a small dog named Schnookie, and there were some sex jokes there. And then some guy named Marc sang a song.

 

Moving on to the second act, a large woman named Mia Carea came out on stage and pretended (?) to be drunk as she delivered a bunch of jokes about how all the guys wanted her. She especially picked on Josh ("Jash") from our group, and that became a running joke for the rest of the show. She also came out into the audience and drank some guy's glass of wine in one gulp. Then de Vere came back on stage, caught an overweight woman supposedly getting up to go to the rest room (some of us thought she may have been a plant--most of us weren't sure) and called her up on stage. Then he proceeded to turn her into a teddy bear wearing the same color dress she had on as a human.

 

Following intermission, de Vere and Carea came back on stage as dolls in a spoof of a 1950s British children's show most of had never heard of called "Watch With Mother" (thanks to Mike Moody for explaining that to me). They spent 15 minutes or so making jokes about toys including a "giant chopper" and "big red engine" (which wasn't even red!), then Marc came back on and sang another song, this time with his shirt unbuttoned to his waist. I seem to remember something with the girls dancing some more and maybe more magic, and then de Vere called a Scottish pre-teen dressed... um... unsuitably for her age to the stage and got her to tell a story about her drunk father and Santa Claus. I think there was some other stuff that happened... then at random, the woman who got up during intermission and was never seen again suddenly appeared wearing a bootleg Superman costume. De Vere "hypnotized" her to think she really was Superman, and then he made her levitate. And I think that was the end of the show.

 

It was very weird, very random and very... TPR! A great way to end our time in Blackpool!

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AKA the show that lives up to its name!

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The theater was located in this awesome steamboat-shaped building.

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More vintage '70s style in the lobby!

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This is where the action happened! Once the show started, that is.

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Even though I had never heard of Schnorbitz, apparently he's pretty popular in England--he even had his own trash sucker at Pleasure Beach!

 

Up next: Lightwater Valley!

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I think the most amazingly odd part was when de Vere introduced Schnorbitz by singing The Mickey Mouse Club March with slightly altered lyrics - and the theme to the early '90s Chipmunks movie spoof cartoon also featured at some point.

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^That's right! I forgot about the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" theme, but I do remember the Mickey Mouse/Schnorbitz theme:

 

"Who's the biggest hound around that's here for you and me? S-C-H, N-O-R, B-I-T and Z. Schnooooorbitz! Schnooooorbitz!"

 

I also forgot about the part that came right after Schnorbitz's bit. He made a joke about humping the dog, and everyone was laughing, and suddenly he got VERY serious and said something like, "I know we're having lots of fun out here tonight, but in hospitals around England, children are dying." Then made an appeal to all of us to donate to the Schnorbitz Fund for sick children. Then, as suddenly as the seriousness started, it was "Oh, here's another joke!"

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Great coverage of Blackpool! A lot of stuff I had never seen in any report before. It makes me wonder how much more there really is at that place. It also makes me realize I REALLY need to visit!

 

And thanks for the shout, too!

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Day 7 (I thought Blackpool was Day 7, but apparently I was off on my numbering, so I'm getting back on track here) took us to three parks... though only two were on the schedule! First up was Lightwater Valley. Enjoy!

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We're heeeeere!

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Hey, wait... is this an amusement park or a flower shop? (Both, apparently.)

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I'm not sure why, but I really liked the ticket windows.

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This is called The Ultimate. At one time it was the ultimate longest roller coaster in the world (in second place now). It may be the ultimate slowest roller coaster in the world. Some say it's the ultimate roughest coaster in the world, but I actually kind of enjoyed it.

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Oh, and did I mention we had ERT on it?

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This was the train that (barely) took us up the lift hill. From there, there were a couple hills, then a LOT of low-to-the-ground flatness as the train meandered through the forest. It was almost as if after the first hill, the builders kind of gave up and just started laying train track.

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Up next was the newly re-themed Raptor.

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I understand that until shortly before our visit, this used to be "The Rat," which simulated a visit through the sewers. Let me say that the park really outdid itself on the re-theme. Things like these oversized newspapers really added to the "Fossils were found at this mine, and now it's a tourist attraction" story.

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Again, great theming, which was carried out throughout the ride (a Wildcat in th dark, dressed up with dinosaurs munching on scientists' body parts). This was close to Disney level.

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I assume this was left over from The Rat, but you had to duck and crawl through this hole to get to the inside portion of the cue. American lawyers would be all over that the first time someone strained their back bending over or bumped their head standing up!

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At the end of the ride was a dinosaur paintball range!

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This Crazy Mouse looks almost tropical!

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Buckle those seat belts! It's going to be a bumpy ride!

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Wheee!

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Here we have the Ladybird...

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...AKA my 100th coaster!

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"Hey, everyone! Let's check out some flat rides!"

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I guess I've seen portable flume rides before...

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...but this one struck me as being especially "temporary" looking.

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Genie-themed teacups? Sure, why not?

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Makes as much sense as dragon boats...

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...or flying camels!

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That means it's covered in spicy sauce!

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At least they added some plywood cacti to look at during the kiddie train ride!

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Plenty of cars at Lightwater, both new...

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...and vintage!

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Here's another one of those coconut shy games. I almost wish I had played one (but not at the equivalent of nearly $5 U.S.).

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This should get me some props from the general area of Alabama....

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"This way to the Wave!"

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OK, this may seem a little ghetto... but I thought it was kind of fun!

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Follow the path between the fences!

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Yay!

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Lightwater had skatekarts (AKA Roller Racers), too!

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Let's stop in here for some lunch!

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This is where I had the cold, gross hot dog I mentioned earlier in the TR. Maybe I should have tried the chunky egg mayo instead!

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This is a flapjack. Apparently the term means something entirely different in the UK than it does in the U.S.!

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Cool waterslides at the park, as well.

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Hey, maybe that'll get the taste of that nasty hot dog out of my mouth!

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This was pretty good! It was kind of like Nestle's version of the "99."

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Why, yes I am!

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The park had some other really nice rides, as well, like these flying chairs.

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Supposedly, this Ferris wheel was a fairly recent addition.

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Apparently the park also had a mine ride at one time. No more.

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Swan boats!

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This carousel wasn't that old, but it sure was ornate!

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See?

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Bumper cars!

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True to other UK parks, Lightwater had some funky kiddie rides.

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Check out the Octopus!

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Is it just me, or does that strong man look like he has some sort of unpleasant disease (or really bad acne)?

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And then there was my favorite, the Clown-A-Round.

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1. What is that clown doing to that poor horse?

2. Is the horse really a clown dressed as a horse?

3. Why is the horse named "Bimbo"?

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After riding everything of interest, Mike and I had some time to kill before departure, so we decided to take a ride on the train.

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They bite.

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POV shot!

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It's magical!

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In some parts of the U.S., this would be considered racist. In others, it would be the most profitable attraction at the park!

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Na na na na na na na na Pac-Man!

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Maybe I would have had a better lunch had I eaten at the Munchbox!

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My favorite food stand at the park, however was "Snack in the Mouth!" It's become a running joke when my stepdaughter-to-be says she's hungry for me to respond, "Would you like a snack in the mouth?" She always says "No!" for some reason....

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And finally... yep, you guessed it: Crazy Golf!

 

Coming up: Flamingoland!

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With regard to the swing at the end of Impossible, I don't remember there being much of a line when we were there - to my memory, it was more weird operation, as I think we stood/sat in the holding pen for about five minutes, with literally zero suggestion that we'd be getting on anytime soon. It got to the point where it was just us (Jason, John and I think a couple of other TPR'ers) and a Japanese family, and we couldn't decide whether it was actually running or not, so we just left via the emergency/chicken exit.

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^Was I with you and John when I did Impossible? Maybe I was. I was thinking I was there by myself. I know I passed Stacy and Cameron in there at one point, as they're in the background of one of the photos I didn't use.

 

That's basically the same setup I remember, only there were a lot more people in the room. I asked the attendant what the ride was and how long the wait was, and he said it was a haunted swing but had no idea on the wait.

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Actually, yes, I'm pretty sure you weren't with us - it might've been John and a couple of other guys, but it was definitely quieter than it sounds like you experienced, and I don't think we even saw an attendant to ask.

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Happy New Year, TPR! The second part of Day 7 (the real Day 7) took us to Flamingo Land. Enjoy!

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Welcome to Flamingo Land!

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Everyone off the bus!

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Noted!

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First up, the Zamperla Mine Train, the second-roughest coaster of the trip behind Antelope (no, really).

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Some people in this picture are smiling. They're faking it! How is it even possible for a kiddie coaster to be this bad?

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Fortunately, the park also had plenty of good coasters, too. This way to Velocity!

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The park touts this as the tallest, fastest launched motorbike coaster in the world and the only one in the UK. Whatever. It was an awesome ride!

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Standard-issue Wild Mouse... though the decor was kind of intersting!

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The UK's only Vekoma Corkscrew. Go Vekoma!

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The park also had plenty of flat rides. Flying chairs, anyone?

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No? Then how about riding in a clown's lap?

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Cycle Monorail!

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Sky Flyer goes hiiiiiiiigh!

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It's a wagon wheel. Get it?

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Spice Land>Disneyland.

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Maintenance!

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Watch out for Desi!

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What's the difference between a carousel and a merry-go-round?

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Sam says: "Does it really matter?"

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Cliff Hanger? Seems more like cliff dropper to me.

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Let's go visit Professor Bubbles!

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Hmm... somehow, I don't think he teaches at an accredited university.

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The arcade was covered with examples of what Mike called "British seaside humour."

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It fell off!

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Rock Slide and Rockin' Tug... because they're both part of a big rock! Get it?

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An American diner? I feel right at home now!

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Fun fact: The cars in "Wacky Races" don't actually race. They're on a guide track so they can't pass.

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This was a very cool little dark ride. Sort of like "Monster Babies."

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"Only 'happy' people allowed!"

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"Hey, shirtless dude! Turn around! I can't see whether or not you're happy!"

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The Little Monsters had their own little themed area in Flamingo Land, including this science center-like Exploratorium.

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More like "tomb sweet tomb."

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Lots of cool little photo ops in this building.

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"Come! Watch my blood digest!"

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Raise the roof, Wolfgirl!

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Oh, that wacky Go Gator! Look at him go!

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The Helitoys seemed like a pretty neat little kiddie ride.

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This was another one of those kiddie tractor rides that seemed to be so popular in the UK. Funny how most major parks over there seem to have them, but we've (or at least I've) never heard of them in the U.S.

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The park had several kiddie carousels, including this one with a jungle theme.

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Because it's painted like a cow! Get it?

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The Zoo Monorail took passengers on a tour of many of the park's animal management areas. But since I apparently didn't take a picture of that, here's another of the People Moover!

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Monkeys are always fun.

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It's just like Kilimanjaro Safari!

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The triceratops for the 21st century!

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OMG! That lion looked into Medusa's eyes!

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But hey, let's get back to the rides, shall we?

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Look! We found the Lost River!

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Turns out it goes through a Wall's Ice Cream building!

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Another UK park, another kiddie "driving school" attraction.

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Flip Flop flips... and flops. It also spins, but "Flip Spin Flop" wouldn't have made as much sense.

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What, are we in Dollywood now?

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Fittingly enough, this British Splash Battle was themed to yellow submarines.

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The kiddie water play area looked pretty fun!

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Shouldn't that be "The Jolly, Jolly, Jolly Sailor Restaurant"?

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Already seen it!

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I don't remember what the thing on the right was called, but it had sausage inside. The thing on the left was a bacon-cheese twist. Both were equally delicious!

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No Cable Cars for us today. The sky ride was down (I think).

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They called their train the Daktari Express. I wonder if they realize "Daktari" isn't really an African region, but Swahili for "doctor" and often associated with veterinary medicine?

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"I'm Crazy Combat! Gimme some bullets!"

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Noted!

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Our day at Flamingo Land ended with ERT on two coasters, starting with Kumali.

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I don't know why, but I was kind of impressed they went through the trouble of adding African accents to the supports.

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Our final ERT coaster of the day was Mumbo Jumbo.

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Just look at this crazy, space-saving design!

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Here we go!

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"Mumbo want more pictures of TPR riders!"

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Whatever you say, Mumbo!

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Next up: Fantasy Island!

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