Friday, 30 March 2018

The Walking Dead: The Ride - VIP Launch and Review *SPOILERS*


It’s Friday, the day after The Walking Dead: The Ride press launch, and I’m still feeling achey. I’m still in awe I got an invitation to go - little old enthusiast me! But I am so, so glad, and I’m my opinion, it was really worth the wait.

This IS going to contain spoilers for The Walking Dead: The Ride, so read with caution, cos if you read you’ll probably survive. There are no pictures or videos from inside the attraction though.

First of all - the Facade. Gone are the days are the booming house music (Sandstorm I’m looking at you) and here come the echoey, dark sounds of IMAScore. The watch tower is a really good touch, would love to climb up it one day and get some good shots of the park, like a coaster climb but... not on a track? The entrance is also beautiful too, yeah we can make comments about desolate theming being a ‘thing’ but when you do it that well I ain’t complaining! The bag hold is actually outside the attraction now, this way it keeps the inside a secret, which is another reason why I have no pics from inside because my pockets are small and my phone is big. The hosts are in costume, which is such a positive for me because as much as Thorpe blues are fine, doesn’t really work alongside a themed attraction.

You get batched in groups of 20 and ushered into a ‘Pre-show’ element. CCTV is shown on the screens alongside a Survivor who talks about getting you to safety - then all hell breaks loose. We’re shouted at to go through the doors quickly as Walkers have infiltrated the surrounding areas - panic arrises and I nearly slip over. Throughout the corridors that were once graced with fab neon lighting and the sound of bass, now comes blood staines walls and fake doors leading to ‘other’ places of the building, the lighting is red and my personal fav thing is the audio. Down each corridor it’s different, so when you go past it’s like the story is advancing which really gets you immersed like a proper zombie invasion. Just before you reach the boarding station, there are documents and X easter eggs EVERYWHERE. Make sure you have a good read of everything on the notice boards, and look out for funky car plates. 

Now, onto the ride. Let it be known that the track has NOT changed. I’m not too sure why people thought this initially, but no, it’s the same classic X layout, but the way they’ve used the track is so clever. As you embark up the lift hill there are warning lights everywhere and loud sirens, it’s completely chaotic and I  L O V E  it. The first section honestly wasn’t too eventful, I’m assuming some effects were turned off and tweaked during to get full ride capability on. As you zoom past corners ‘Walkers’ are lit up and sound effects play as you come across certain sections, there’s a screen which shows a survivor shooting at Walkers alongside some more mannequins clawing at the screen below you. Now comes my favourite part - the brake section. This. Bit. Shat. Me. Up. You’re halted, unlike before when you’d slowly come round the banked corner and fly off, and to your right there are screens of windows, slowly steaming up with Walker breath. A familiar voice is trying to restart the car, you jilt forwards but stall a few times whilst the ‘glass’ continues to crack, before you’re suddenly launched off into smoke and red light. Now I was screaming horrendously during this bit (check out my ride pic - lol) and just as you think it’s all over, you’re greeted by more bloody Walkers. Leave me alone!!! I hate you mannequins!!!! Satan!!! 

As you reach the exit station, the hosts tell you to leave quickly as there’s an exit to your left, as everyone fumbles out you exit into the old bag collection room. More dead walkers are lying around, the lights are flashing, I am crying 5ever, and actors bumble around scaring the living (nightmare) daylights out of everyone. I really hope they take on board the amazing feedback from the actors, I feel like without them it would’ve been very anti-climatic? It really was the cherry on top to such an amazingly themed ride, so plz, actors! There’s a section just before you leave too which resembles the 2017 Platform 15 tunnel. Rope in the eyes. Send help.

So - my thoughts. I really loved it. I never really rated X that much, and I love horror themed rides. Even if you don’t watch The Walking Dead you’d still understand what was going on, there’s enough leverage that if you’re a fan you’ll love it and if you’re not, you’d still love it. The theming is incredible - I’d love to see some more effects at the start of the ride, but overall, very scary, it made the scare actor cry. Top tip is to definitely sit on the right hand side when you first go on to get the real traumatising experience!

Speak soon,


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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Why I love being a Theme Park Enthusiast

As much as I hate labelling myself one, I am a big Theme Park Enthusiast. All my time spent holiday planning is based on parks, I talk about parks like it's my second language and it's one of the things I'm most known for within my friendship group. We're all quick to moan about things and the 'community', but I thought I'd brighten up the start of open season by chatting about why I LOVE being a Park Enthusiast.

First timers
One of the most *~*~MaGiCaL~*~* things about taking someone on a coaster they've never ridden before is their reaction. Watching someones face light up as we hit dispatch and seeing their initial reaction is something so heartwarming? One of the most wholesome things I've ever experienced was back at Paulton's Park and sitting in front of a girl who was about to embark on her first coaster - the mighty Cat-O-Pillar. She LOVED it. I felt gooey inside. Gross.

Being the know-it-all
Some people might hate it, but I secretly love being the person people come to when they have park queries. Being able to chat shit about my fave places and my fave coasters to someone who isn't as educated as me but wants to learn tips and tricks? Really makes me realise how much I LOVE being a geek. It's that power trip you get when you tell someone the best place to sit on Nemesis - all their trust is in you. 

Coming together in times of trouble
The beast from the East really blew us over (literally) this weekend. Wickerman opening didn't open, and despite the snow closing all big rides, everyone just kinda rolled with it? I was watching from afar because work, but so many people I knew were there, and rather than moaning over something that no one can change, they just took gorgeous pictures, vlogged and rode Hex! It's easy to feel disheartened over it, but the amount of enthusiast geeking out was really cute to see. Onwards next weekend!!!

Making lifetime friends
Oh, jesus, gross (if you know you know) I hate being nice but this is such an important part. I've literally made so many friends and met so many new people just through being a coaster geek, I've been part of forums, meetups, met my boyfriend through this, and even met people I look up to. It's a niche hobby, so finding others that really understand you can be hard, but in this community everyone gets it! There will always be fights over 'what's best' and unnecessary drama for literally no reason, but so many positives come from this. I've achieved so much in the last year from being around positive park peeps, and I'm super excited to see what's coming.

Getting to go to incredible places
Lots of people spend their holidays in the sun or snow, getting a tan or going shopping and having a chill time. What do we do? Get blisters just to ride a zoom zoom fast machine, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I love gushing about planned trips and holidays to people, for some reason it's so much more exciting than going on a sun getaway? People are super involved, and in the end you get to go to these amazing parks in amazing places. Germany is such an incredible place, and when I was at Europa I got to explore for a few hours a day and fell in love even more. 

These are just a few reasons I love dedicating my life to a life of inversions and headaches, but it's so worth it. Why do you love being a park enthusiast? Aside from the obvious one of getting to ride a shit tonne of B&M's...

Speak soon,

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Monday, 5 March 2018

Theme Park Travel Anxiety

I am an all around anxious person, I get anxious over the weather, my food, driving, breathing. It's all very dramatic. Going on holiday is always a stressful time for me, but especially when it comes down to Theme Parks. Normally I'm fine with UK ones, it's just a stress about how long the drive is and how much parking is, but for some reason recently I've become and absolute Gremlin when it comes to any sort of travelling to parks. I've also recently discovered that a few other friends suffer from this too, and I'm going to whittle it down into one relatable post.

Money
For some reason, I'll spend like an idiot with £'s, but when it comes to converting money I lose all sense of what money actually is? Like, I'll go to Europe and have a panic attack over what a cent is and then I move savings into my account even though I have more than enough money. But at the same time, I also think of it like it's Monopoly money??? 5 euro for a biscuit with Mickey Mouse ears? Bargain.

Tickets
This is one of the worst things for me, I always think I am buying the wrong tickets and have to re-read 20 forums just to reassure myself. Luckily when it comes to European and places in the USA, it's all in English, but I've looked at Asian parks and more rural parks before and just given up hope of going. It truly stresses me out thinking I've messed up THE most important part of  a Theme Park trip, and when I don't understand if certain rides are included in entrance fee, a part of me dies.

Travel/Getting there
I'm literally mid panic attack thinking about this. I am a very anxious traveller, whether it comes to trains, cars, flying, boats, horse, whatever. I've only been driving for 2 years now, but I have mini meltdowns in the car on a daily basis and car parking really stresses me out. So many signs, yet so little understanding on my part. Going abroad really gets to me too, transfer, trains, tubes??? What do I need to DO to get this beautiful cred? I previously was really ill on a train to PortAventura before, which really doesn't help long journeys on transport i'm anxious about. I'm taking a big step this year by driving up to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which is a hefty drive if you're from the South. 

Language Barrier
Getting lost? Bad. Getting lost in an unfamiliar place where no one can understand you? Even worse. Now before I go to parks I try my best to learn a bit of the lingo as I don't want to seem ignorant, but I am terrible with languages. I can understand German, but I don't speak it, which is a really big help when you're stuck on a German road, right, right?????? Google translate is a lifesaver but also a very vague life saver, one minute you're asking where Dæmonen is, and the next minute you're asking how to eat a rollercoaster. Relatable content.

Surprisingly enough, none of these are ride based (aside from water rides, but that's for another day when you can all mock me) as I don't get new coaster anxiety? I used to get it really bad, but the worst I'll get it these days is if I think that someone in front or behind me is going to vomit. When it comes to things like packing I'm pretty on the ball because I'm a control freak and need to make a list at least 2 weeks before I go travelling. Is there any type of anxiety you get when travelling? Let me know, I'll see if I can help ease some nerves! I can't take my own advice but I'm good at giving it to others...?

Speak soon,


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