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Chuck's Shameless Nostalgia TR: TPR's 2006 UK Trip


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I got into the whole "coaster enthusiast" thing a bit late. I was never a member of ACE, or any other coaster-related group before 2005; hell, I didn't even have a BGW season pass, and I'd been living in Williamsburg since 1984. And I'd never enjoyed a coaster ERT session until 2006--when I joined Theme Park Review for its first "official" trip in the UK.

 

I had no idea what to really expect. Although this was the second time I'd visited the UK, I'd never met any of the people I'd be traveling with face-to-face. All I knew I picked up online in the UK Trip board.

 

The result?: I met a lot of great people and had an excellent time! And I've been traveling with TPR ever since: Japan, Europe, Scandinavia, Mid-America, Australia, and China.

 

I never posted a "proper" UK trip report. I was pretty new to the site then, and so many were posting great photos and TRs, that I decided to do something a bit different. So, I wrote two TR's focusing on some of the "details" of the trip: the "Dark Rides of Blackpool" and the "Guilty Pleasures of the UK Tour".

 

But being as I'm not taking an international TPR trip this year (I'm doing Mini New Hotness, instead), I was feeling a bit nostalgic. So, I went through my old UK Trip photos, and decided, what the hell. Maybe I can put together a look back at TPR's first big tour.

 

So, let's set the Wayback Machine for the summer of 2006--a jolly, jolly, jolly time, indeed! But a few caveats:

 

1. My memory is probably a bit faulty over what exactly happened and when. If this bothers you, well, that's unfortunate.

2. I didn't take as many photos back then as I do now, which may not necessarily be a bad thing.

3. I'm going to look at least 8 years younger in these photos, as will others.

 

Let's start with the day zero (the first such day in TPR history, I believe) and day one: Legoland Windsor and Chessington World of Adventures.

 

As I recall, the whole Legoland visit came about by accident. Word got out that Robb, Elissa, and few others were planning to hit the park a day before the trip officially started, and others became interested. So, Robb and Elissa arranged for a bus, and most of the group descended on an unsuspecting Legoland Windsor. (No word on whether the Royal Family was in attendance at the nearby castle.) This was my first visit to a Legoland park anywhere, and it was a great day.

 

Chessington was where the trip actually began, and TPR kicked it off in high style with ERT on Vampire and Dragon's Fury. Then we had the rest of the day to explore this nice, quirky theme park. It was the home of my 50th coaster (a rather painful wild mouse called Rattlesnake).

 

Let's have a look at how it all started--at least for me.

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Yes, here is my poor, jet-lagged self in front of Legoland Windsor. I do look a bit beat. Notice how the photo is cropped. This is becaue my BRAND NEW memory card became "corrupted." (I think it did a bit too much pub crawling and fell in with a bad crowd.) So, quite few of the photos became scrambled. Fortunately, my older, smaller memory cards survived.

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My very first UK coaster, Technix, which you can now ride at Legoland Florida.

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Me confronting my first "whilst." Yes, I'm easily amused.

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Spot the TPR member in this photo.

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This was my first experience with the extreme workout that is the Legoland Fire Academy. Good thing I remembered to bring my blood-pressure medication.

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Robb shows his mastery at raising a Lego erection.

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The Lego rat on the lower right looks like it's made out of mashed potatoes. (This was on the park's flume ride.)

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Good thing this fence was there, or I might've gone all "Godzilla" on these models.

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Behold the real Windsor Castle.

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Next stop, next day--ERT on Vampire!

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This was a pretty damn cool station.

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I didn't get slapped in the face by a branch, which makes it a good ride.

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My first TPR "behind-the-scenes" photo--Robb at work.

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Dragon's Fury was a damn good spinning mouse.

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In fact, it was a bit too "good," as it made me feel a bit ill from all the spinning.

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Here is the infamous, knee-busting Rattlesnake.

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Still, I have some affection for this rough, brutal, painful ride, as it was my 50th credit.

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This was the first powered mine train I'd ever ridden: Believe it, or not!

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Why does Elissa look so happy here?

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Perhaps it's because there's a McDonald's in the park. Alas, I don't think it's there anymore. It was the best vampire's castle-themed McDonald's I'd ever seen, too.

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Bubbleworks was a disturbing ride . . .

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. . . on a number of levels. Is soap really made from distilled cow flatulence?

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Yes, the elephant-on-hippo porn was a bit hard to take.

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But the ducks did enjoy being grabbed.

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The bubble-headed guys are about to blow us.

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Noted!

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Yes, Chessington was a very nice park.

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Even the demonic Chinese hell beasts are happy there.

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This flume ride was part Chinese, part Thai . . . it was the Asian fusion restaurant of flumes.

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I wasn't quite big enough then to qualify as a sumo wrestler. That's all for now.

Edited by cfc
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My first tour with TPR, too. It was great. Really enjoyed Dragon's Fury. And I think we all enjoyed it more, that the one at Alton Towers. Vampire station, I agree, was really excellent in it's themeing. And the coaster was great too, sailing through the trees and over the heads of the GP. The walkback to that tunnel the coaster flys through was pretty impressive, too.

 

And so you can compare, Chuck, here's a couple of photos I took at Lego Land. One, uh...accidently, the other...well, we seem to have the same appreciation for miniatures, heh.

 

Great retro TR Chuck. Looking forward to more.

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How's your hairline now, Chuck? (o;

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And all my hair and beard have gotten a touch....greyer. And longer, lately.

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Awesome report so far Chuck. Looking forward to the rest. Seeing the Trip Reports from this trip is why I decided to risk it and do the 2007 Midwest tour. Like you, I didn't know anything about the people I would be travelling with other than what I learned on the trip boards.

 

Best decision ever.

 

d

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^Ask and ye shall receive!

 

Our bus ride after our day at Chessington marked another TPR "first"--that is, the first surprise park, when we made a meal-and-credit stop at Coney Beach.

 

What can one say about this remarkable place? That it may once have been the highlight of, say, the "Welsh Riviera"? That it had seen better days? Or perhaps it was at its peak when TPR stopped there in 2006?

 

Just call it a hilarious evening, and the strangest highlight of the trip. And, unfortunately, I have few photos of the that night, thanks to the "corruption" of that memory card I mentioned eariler. There will be no photos of the legendary Mega-Blitz, an old Pinfari coaster that sported sandbags strapped into random seats or on the floors of random cars for some unexplained reason. But I do have photos of the old Go Gator powered kiddie coaster, which marked another TPR Trip "first"--a rollback and forced, partial evacuation of some of our larger members. And there is always the "death ride," of course.

 

There were some rather memorable Welsh people working in the park, too. My favorites were the nice, elderly couple that ran the fish-and-chips stand:

 

Elderly Gent: You one of the Americans from the bus?

Me: Yes.

Elderly Gent: You want any mushy peas with your chips?

Me: Er, no thank you.

Elderly Gent: "Ah! Afraid it'll give you 'the wind,' eh?"

 

I think some of us chatted with them for about ten minutes or so--very sweet people.

 

Next up was our day at Oakwood--an amusement park out in the middle of Welsh nowhere. Oakwood is known for four things:

 

1. A very good Eurofighter named Speed (the first such ride I'd ever encountered)

2. A CCI woodie dubbed Megafobia (which I understand has good and bad days--I rather liked it)

3. A dark ride through a bunny orgy (which I understand is being converted to something else)

4. Sheep (they seem to graze at their leisure all over the park, particularly under Megafobia)

 

I also had another amusing conversation with a friendly local while waiting to ride Megafobia. His accent was a bit hard for my American ears to decipher.

 

Friendly Welshman: You from America?

Me: Yes.

Friendly Welshman: Wha' part?

Me: Virginia.

Friendly Welshman: Got good peaches in Virginia?

Me: Peaches? Well, Georgia is better known for peaches . . .

Friendly Welshman: Peaches! Fer swimmin'! (At this points, he starts flailing his arms about.)

Me: Oh, yes, beaches. Yes we do.

Friendly Welshman: Have fun mate! Love that Speed ride, too!

 

The place also had an alpine slide (another first for me). We also hit the Crystal Maze next door to the park, but I have no photos of that session.

 

Onward.

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TPR's rides on Coney Beach's Nessi were without incident. Little did we know what lay in store.

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The Go Gator incident unfolds.

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And here is one of the poor, wretched evacuees who survived this terrifying ordeal.

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"My god! Will someone help those poor people?"

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I'm sure Christopher Lee was paid big bucks for this endorsement.

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Safety first at Coney Beach . . .

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. . . even on the DEATH RIDE!

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I have no words for this except that mushy peas might give you "the wind."

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"ERT on Oakwood's Speed will begin shortly after Robb finishes his medley from 'Les Miserables.' Thank you."

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And as the final note of "I Dreamed a Dream" faded, we made our way to Speed.

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I hate vertical lift hills, but I love this drop, which makes the lift hill worth it.

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One odd thing about Speed is that it was fairly smooth early in the day . . .

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. . . but got a bit rougher as the day wore on. Still really enjoyed it.

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Megafobia is beloved by the Welsh . . .

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. . . and their sheep.

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I think the park's main fear is of using the "ph" spelling of "fobia."

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The park took us backstage for photos. Thanks to the sheep, you had to be rather careful about where you stepped.

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"Wave at the Americans!"

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Who let that hobo clown in here?

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Yes, this would be a common sight during the UK Trip. Well, during every TPR Trip. ;)

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I think I'll try to get a photo that isn't blocked by a group of enthusiasts.

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One flock is herded off . . .

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. . . another one is herded in.

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Yes, this happened, too.

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Hot clown-on-clown action.

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Even Homer hung his head in shame at our foolishness.

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What happens in the Burrow, stays in the Burrow.

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"I'd ask for a little privacy, but I'm too drunk to really care."

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"You fluff up the pillow. I'll set up the Web cam."

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"We bunnies drink beer out of a can--the way god intended it!"

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"Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-ah!

"Roma-roma-mamaa!

"Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!

"Want your bad romance!"

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It's good to know that Parliament has licensed the bunnies to perform.

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"OK, if I look at his pictures, perhaps he'll leave me alone."

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Can one really "enjoy" a "wimpy chicken"? Why can't this chicken stand up for itself? That's all for now.

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Wales, what an odd corner of the world. Other than The Alarm, not sure what the place is good for. I did enjoy Speed, Brer's Burrow and the Crystal Maze. But that's about it.

 

Also, was one of the lightweights that got to ride that Go Gator, which means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of life.

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I think one train of TPRs sent before my train which ended up being Elissa, Robb, Ryan and myself. Didn't they decide to not allow adults right on the spot after the TPR incident. I don't remember if another ride dispatched before us.

Edited by larrygator
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I think it only ended up being Elissa, Robb, Ryan and myself. Maybe one other person. Didn't they decide to not allow adults right on the spot after the TPR incident. I don't remember if another ride dispatched before us.

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Ah yes, here's the Walk of Shame photo. After the first person exited we still couldn't make it up the hill, so Paul got out next. I was next in line to exit the train if we had not made it.

 

Again in the grand scheme of life it means nothing. But it was a hilarious experience.

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It's never too late for a trip report like this one. These are both parks I'm dying to visit some day; lots of cool details in here I'd never seen before. And bless you for the "Ed Wood" reference. And the "bunnies behaving badly" amusement.

 

Can't wait for the next installment!

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