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


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I loved the Mr Hyde part of The Ultimate, I know I was in the minority. I did ride it about 6 times and of course didn't have time to experience the Toad Hole. At one point by group was walking off the beaten path and we found a operating tower ride (can't remember if it was launch or drop) in what appeared to be plopped down in the middle of the woods. I remember after the UK trip asking if anyone had a picture of it and no one else remembered even seeing it.


I have no memory of that tower ride, either. I did ride the Ultimate twice and fared better the second time, probably because I knew what I was getting myself into.

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Let's move on to the home of what might be the only "good" SLC: Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo. Yes, this is the home of Kumali, which the park staff assured us was as "smooth as a baby's bottom." Much to everyone's surprise, they were right. Kumali was, indeed, an enjoyable Vekoma SLC that doesn't try to kill you. How Flamingo Land accomplished this miracle remains shrouded in mystery; perhaps they're protected by some form of Druid magic, or being as it has African theming, the power of Shiriki Utundu (which will probably mean a horrible price to pay later). According to RCDB, Kumali is a twin to another SLC at Happy Valley Shenzen, which also wasn't a "horrible" ride (but not as smooth as Kumali).


The park is also home to another good Vekoma ride, a Motorbike Coaster dubbed Velocity. This launched coaster was, indeed, quite smooth, and our ERT session on it (and Kumali) was great.


Yes, Vekoma had redeemed itself with those rides--if only it hadn't been for that Corkscrew, which was another rattly, rough, painful experience in credit whoring. These rides have always looked odd to me. The old Arrow Corkscrews always looked somewhat graceful, at least. A Vekoma Corkscrew looks like it's been squashed, as though Godzilla or King Kong had sat on it.


Let's have a look at the park as it appeared in 2006. Do not expect to see Mumbo Jumbo, the park's S&S El Loco, in these photos, as it didn't even exist until 2009. And Corkscrew ceased to be in 2011.


A theme park and a zoo? Is there an identity crisis here?


No freakin' sign is gonna tell me what to freakin' do! I got yer "yobbishness" right here, pal!


Sigh. Why did Vekoma think this was a good idea?


Yet here we all are taking pictures of it--go figure.


"Vunce you sniff my monster musk, you vill be my slave! Bleah!"


Kumali is sponsored by the makers of Johnson's Baby Oil.


OK, I made that last sponsor up. But Flamingo Land is missing a bet here.


"Shiriki Utundu! Please don't hurt us!"




"So far so good! But these are always the smoothest parts of any SLC!"


"And we don't even have a headache! What's going on?"


"What just happened? We're still alive, and without serious injury!"


Well, if you want to hurt yourself, here's your chance. Shiriki cannot protect you now!


Yes, not even the great city of Metropolis was spared the ravages of the worldwide depression. Looks like they had to move their gift shop to a lower-rent neighborhood.


I think this Wild Mouse is gone now.


"Hello, ladies!"


Velocity marked another "first" for me (and I think almost everyone else on this trip).


Yes, we give Vekoma a hard time . .


. . . but they have built some good rides.


"Well, things have reached a pretty pass, indeed, when I have to allow a blue alien to ride on my dashboard." That's all for now.

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^I think that Steeplechase is the best coaster at Blackpool, but it can be a bit unnerving (which is part of the fun). The old Motorcycle Chase (later Wacky Soap Box Racers) at Knott's was like that, too.

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^ I couldn't even tackle that one. I was so inept, from one foot above the ground I found out, lol.

Which now explains why I don't do any ropes course above...one foot level.

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Next up is a park I'd nearly forgotten about: Pleasurewood Hills. As I recall from looking through my old photos, we didn't spend that much time there. This was a rather "RCT-like" park, as it was just random rides plopped down on a big grassy field hemmed in by trees. I'm surprised there weren't any grid marks on the ground (maybe the cosmic RCT player had that switch toggled "off").


Still, Pleasurewood did have two fairly interesting attractions. One was an old Schwarzkopf coaster with an identity crisis. This ride, which is a "Jumbo V" model according to rcdb.com (if that means anything to you), was dubbed "Enigma," yet there was a sign at the entrance reading "Cannonball Express' (I presume this was its previous name). The trains looked like, well, two-car trains with question marks painted on the engine. I guess this is the UK's version of "Avalance/Hell Cat" in the Wisconsin Dells. But, like many old Schwarzkopfs, it was an enjoyable coaster.


The park's other standout attraction was Tales of the Coast, a dark ride based on local history and legend. You ride in boats on a winding river where you encounter a witch and a rather grumpy "hell hound"--all in 3D! Cheesy, but fun.


I also vaguely remember a large kiddie coaster themed to a snake. Unfortunately, I have no photos of it. Perhaps it never existed.


We don't have much time here. Best head on in.


Hmm . . . "Pleasurewood" sounds like some British euphemism for male masturbation.


"Holy nomenclature, Batman! I thought this ride was called 'Enigma'!"


"That's right, Robin! The 'Cannonball Express' sign is obviously some sort of joke."


"Wait--a joke and an enigma? What could it mean, Batman?"


"Think, Robin! What's another word for 'enigma'"?


"Hmm--conundrum, mystery . . . or riddle!"


"Exactly! The Joker and the Riddler have joined forces! No time to lose!"


I did ride this thing. I did not lose my breakfast, and I remember it being kind of fun.


See what I mean about this park being "RCT-like"?




OK, OK . . . no need to be bossy about it.


Shark Tums . . . n-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!


"Welcome to Tales of the Coast, me hearties! Now, I'd love to be tellin' ye some tales, but first I needs help findin' me contact lens."


"Well, I could tell you about my trip to WalMart the other day. Now there's a hair-raising tale, especially when you factor in the fellow who was wearing purple leggings and leopard-skin tights so form fitting that you could see his whole . . . wait! Come back! I'm not finished!"


"Grr. Woof. Woof. Grr, I tell you."


I guess these cars served England with pride in the last few wars.


Perhaps England fought a war with King Triton or the Lost Continent of Atlantis.


Ugh! This car has a bad case of crabs.


"We're taking the sky ride to avoid coming in contact with crabs."


Look! It's a retired Canadian postman and a woman from Manchester! Now there's a sight you don't see every day. That's all for now.

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...Especially when it's that dark!


Great look at Pleasurewood Hills, Chuck.

I wonder what their "new haunted mine" attraction is like.

I believe it replaced the 3D boat ride with it's lovely neon paint.....fumesss.


Awwwwm ain't me and Lou somethin'? A bit of leg

to show there too, to scare the kiddies away, LOL.

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Great stuff Chuck! That was the demon slide that gave me massive wood burn on my arms and legs! This was the day where we went to 3 parks, Pleasure"woody" Hills, Joyland and Great "Yourmouth" Pleasure Beach. I think we left Pleasure"woody" Hills before lunch. It was a decent place and I remember that almost every ride had 2 names for it. It had an identity crisis.


Jimmy "No Snake in the Grass Pictures Chuck!!!" Bo

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Next up was the UK's version of the Jersey Shore: Great Yarmouth. We hit two traditional seaside parks within walking distance of each other. Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach was the home of the cleverly named Roller Coaster, and it was my first ride on one of those oldtime "Scenic Railways" that required a brakeman to keep the train from hurtling off the track and into the sea, where, no doubt, hungry sharks schooled, awaiting their supper . . .


OK, that was a bit too dramatic. Anyway, Roller Coaster was a fun experience, even if it won't be setting any speed records.


Pleasure Beach also featured Snails and Fairy Tales, a very "ghetto" version of a Disney dark ride. Part of the ride was outdoors and consisted of mostly painted cut-out scenery, while the indoor portion was a bit more elaborate (if that's the correct term to use). The park's Haunted Hotel ghost train was old school and fun, though, and I thought the crazy cycle on their Scrambler (called "Twister") would never end. There was a "3D" fun house, too.


The neighboring park, which you could reach by walking or riding in a horse-drawn carriage, was called Joyland. There were a few unusual old rides here, such as the Tyrolean Tubtwist, a "Virginia Reel" type of ride, which led to the inevitable "is it or is it not a credit" debate. (Answer: It's powered, so "no." It also made me feel a little ill from the spinning). The Snails ride also sparked some controversy, but, no, it's more an outdoor "dark ride." But the park did have one legitimate kiddie credit: Spook Express. It was, indeed, an adventure in exquisite horror, and was probably a bit scarier than the park's ghost train (which also ingeniously named "Ghost Train").


Follow me.




"Please note that we are not standing whilst the car is in motion. Thank you."


"Dur . . . can I pet the snails, George?"


Life ain't easy for a snail named "Plod."


"Yay! I'm not riding stupid Plod!"


You know, the whole story "Jack in the Beanstalk" is sort of like "Breaking Bad." Jack starts out as a normal kid, gains a sense of power through some magic beans, sneaks into the Giant's castle, steals some stuff, then murders the poor bastard. I'll bet this little creep now provides all the meth in Fairyland.


"Under the sea . . . just pretend you're under the sea . . ."


King Triton would like you to buy this watch.


OK, I know this looks like someone puked all over a potato. But the curry-chicken sauce was quite tasty, and the spud was cooked perfectly.


The Scooby Gang is about to check into the Haunted Hotel--but will they check out?


"I think I'm missing my spleen. Can you see it anywhere?"


"Pull my finger!"


"Uh uh. I know where that finger's been, and it ain't pretty."


OK, kids--how many of you know what this is?


Why walk to Joyland when you can ride in style?


Not a credit. Sorry.


"Where? Where can I find the entrance to Spook Express! I shall go mad if I don't find it!"


"Up here, chowderhead."


The horror . . . the horror . . .


Yeah, the theming of this coaster is a bit screwed up.


"I do not like this snail ride. I must be riding Plod."


"Yay! Bestest ride ever!"


"OK, second bestest ride ever!"


And then Dracula sucked out my brains, which certainly explains a lot. That's all for now.

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I thought Joyland was amazing, with how many rides they fit into that structure.


Great setup with the coaster, the dark ride, the cars...and those snails. And yes, I posed for that "book cover" there.

Well, this is a Shameless TR, right? (o;

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My lasting memories of that day.


Some kid spitting from the sky ride on Casey and Casey following the sky ride and pointing this yobbish behaviour to the ride ops.


Having my Ghost Train car stop in complete darkness and then having Southern Steve's car crash into mine was awesome and scared the crap the crap out of him.

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^Let's see how much you remember about Thorpe Park, our next stop.


I knew nearly nothing about Thrope back in 2006, except that it was the home of Nemesis "Not Nearly as Good at Alton's Nemesis" Inferno. I'd also heard that the park tended to be very crowded, and that the crowds were often rather, to use Lightwater Valley's term, "yobbish." Well, the park was indeed very crowded, and I did find the crowd to be slightly more yobbish than, say, at Kings Dominion. Operations were not exactly top-of-the-line, either.


But I did think it was fairly nice looking park, and that they had paid some attention to theming their rides, particularly Nemesis Inferno. But this was the home of the driest rapids ride I've ever experienced, and I was rather amazed at all the guests who stood up to avoid the ride's waterfalls. This is a pretty dangerous, foolish thing to do on a rapids ride; then again, as I recall, the rafts never got anywhere near the falls, so standing up to avoid getting soaked was hardly necessary. (To be fair, I saw standing up on rapids rides in a lot of European parks in 2008, too.)


But Thorpe Park had a number of good points, too. As I said earlier, some of the theming was pretty well done. Tidal Wave, the park's big Spalsh-boat ride, was tricked up with a nicely done flooded-town set, and Nemesis Inferno had a cool run to the lift hill through a "volcano." Although I agree that Inferno isn't on the same level as Alton's Nemesis, it's still a very good B&M inverted coaster. Detonator is a good Shot Tower, and Rush, the park's huge Screamin' Swing, is plenty of fun. Thorpe is also where I experienced my first-ever Intamin launched "Top Hat" coaster, the oddly named Stealth (which was themed to racing, as I recall). And let's not forget X:/No Way Out--an enclosed Vekoma coaster that was so weirdly bad that I found it rather endearing.


However, I am not a fan of Thorpe's Colossus, an Intamin 10-inversion coaster. This was a rather painful experience, at best (a lot of the group liked it, though).


I guess Thorpe is sort of the Six Flags of the UK--not a "destination," but a good "regional" park.


Let the "yobbishness" begin!


Thorpe wants your gently used gum. It's for the children.


How you doing there, Pete?


You sure everything's OK?


I am Colossus! Fear my wrath!


Well, Colossus took out its wrath on my ears, jaw, and other parts of my head.


But what can you expect from a ride next to "Hell Gate." (It would seem that Hell has ice cream.)


I actually saw a poor guy lose a cell phone here. He did express his displeasure in rather yobbish terms.


This was one of the smoother parts. I think . . . I was in pretty rough shape by then.


Beware the coaster-enthusiast-eating plants of Thorpe Park! They eat riders and crap out gravy!


Ah, I thought X was kinda endearing--like a friendly, ugly dog that nobody wants.


I had no idea doors could be frightened.


OK, what's the big deal about Tidal Wave?


I mean, you go up, you come down . . .


. . . holy crap!


Seriously--does this look very "stealthy" to you?


Watch out! Stealth is sneaking up on you!


I consider this to be a pretty solid B&M invert.


It does look pretty durn cool as it hurtles over the crowd.


As you can see, I rather like the theming of this ride, even though it isn't as quite as cool as Nemesis at Alton.


It's not as good as the Batman clones, but it is better than Alpengeist.


No, I wasn't about to light up, Andrew, but thanks for the reminder not to.


"Looky! I can drive a real car!"


Photobombing before it was a "thing."


Well, time to head out. Goodbye, Nemesis Inferno.


Good riddance, Colossus.


Oh, I just love that doll British humor. That's all for now. Coming up next, a few days in Norway and Sweden.

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Ah yes, I remember Thorpe well.....


FInding the Canada Creek sign - X/No Way out - Colossus (my first actual headache form any coaster), 4D fun movie "Pirates', and....


The Stealth coaster was my first what-that-kind-is of coasters, lol.

Didn't get a roll back, but then, that paled to our one-of-a-kind adventure called....


The TPR Bird Murderers


One of those only-in-a-TPR Tour kind of moments. To those who don't know, one of

Stealth's trains (one I was on in fact) obliterated a bird who decided to rest on the

coaster's tracks. Bad move. Dead bird. And I thought it was pieces of paper flying all over

and around us. Didn't realize it was the feathers, lol.


I loved it, being able to take a pic with my country's name in a sign. Thanks Thorpe!

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^Thanks for bringing up the bird incident, Bill, as I'd forgot to mention it. I remember standing in the station, when feathers drifted down upon us from on high. The poor bird's corpse was in two pieces, as I recall--one on the walk way, the other strung over a chain-link fence.

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