This morning I left early and I travelled to London without much incident. Checked into my hostel then headed for Adventure Island which is in Southend-on-Sea. This was the first park on the trip that I visited alone. Something I was going to have to get used to for later in the trip.
It was a nice enough park - kinda reminded me of Codona's and Margate mixed together. The new coaster there is Rage. It was my first Euro-fighter coaster. It has a vertical lift-hill and a 97 degree drop. It was nothing too special and a little shakey at bits but the lift hill and first drop were very good. It really is a great coaster for the park. The other three credits are basically oversized kiddie coasters but credits nonetheless.
I always seem to really enjoy seaside parks for some reason. Must be all those childhood visits to Blackpool.
Time for the first solo park of the trip!
Rage is one of only a few new coasters in the UK this year.
To be honest it's nothing spectacular and a little rough.
But it does have its fun moments.
Adventure Island also has a few random kiddie coasters.
Sadly this Pinfari didn't have the slight moment of airtime that the clone in Aberdeen has.
Rage is pretty much the only "big ride" in the park.
Adventure Island is a small park but I still quite liked it!
Thanks everyone for the positive comments! Keep 'em coming!
PART FIVE: THORPE PARK (& LONDON EYE)
I spent two and a half hours at Thorpe Park on this morning... It wasn't the best.
Got there and got my annual pass made up and then headed to the park. First thing I see is a big sign says "Stealth is closed today". Great, the first Intamin of the trip is closed hopefully this isn't a bad omen. Luckily I already had the Stealth credit, but still, I fancied another ride to help compare the launch to Dragster and Kingda Ka!
Anyway I get into the park and go to get a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo to put some bits and bobs in but I don't have a fifty pence piece that the fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo takes. So I go around the various shops and arcades asking various staff members if they can give me change for a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo. "No", "no", "no" was my response for fifteen minutes! I finally found a staff member in Burger King who helped me out. So after being first into the park with my annual pass all momentum is lost because everyone else has now taken over me. If you asked a cast member in a Disney park for change and they couldn't help you then they'd stay with you until they had found someone who could help you. The Thorpe staff just didn't care. I was pretty pissed off.
Anyway, I rode Nemesis Inferno twice. Once in the front and once in the back and I still think it's a great little coaster. Not as intense as its Alton sister but it still has some good forces.
Colossus was worse than last time. It's just so rattly I can't enjoy it. Suffice to say one ride was enough. X:\ No Way Out is still as WTF as ever. I Rode the powered coaster too which I didn't do last time.
By 12 I'd had enough of the chavs, the staff, the heat and the lack of rides that excited me. So I left.
Seeing as it's free with my annual pass I hit the London Eye in the afternoon. Nothing too exciting but some really nice views, especially since it was such a nice day.
This the last park on my trip that I'd visited before. I've heard of lot of people say Thorpe Park is like a Six Flags park...
With signs like this I can believe that!
I was hoping that dead Intamins wouldn't become a theme for the trip.
Thankfully Stealth being closed isn't too much of a downer with Nemesis Inferno next door!
This was the first of five B&M inverts on the trip for me.
It may be a shadow of the original Nemesis but its still the best ride in Thorpe Park!
The opposite is Colossus, which may well be the worst ride in the park.
Thorpe brought back their powered coaster this year...
Which is also much better than Colossus.
Two hours at Thorpe park was plenty. Time to try something else...
Like the London Eye!
You go up really high in your "pod".
...and look about London.
On a clear day you can get some really cool views.
Great report so far Divv: I found Thorpe Park a let down this year, not bothered with "chavs,pikies,hoodies or all the other silly names which people are called" in the Q lines as long as everyone is normal and do not try to Q jump, shouting etc.
With hiring younger staff below 30 years old, customer service and quick ride turn a-rounds do not exsist anymore, the Ops go at their own pace and everyone q's longer.
The best Ops were on "Inferno", very fast and quick to unload and despatch the trains. Makes a chance for once..
"Roller coaster design is a science, as well as an art: a state of pure bliss".
^ Having visited four Six Flags parks and Thorpe Park in the space of 26 days I can tell you that Thorpe Park does feel like a Six Flags park. I'm not sure exactly what it is. Maybe the way the rides are just set down on the flat ground, the staff and general atmosphere. It just has a Six Flags "feel" to it. At least that's what i found.
Anyway, onto to the portion of my story which you just HAVE to read!
PART SIX: THE JOURNEY FROM HELL & CONEY ISLAND
This is where the real fun kicks in!
When planning the trip I managed to find what I thought was an ingenious way of getting to Cincinnati which would have me paying about £350 - £400 less than the other people from the UK who were on the Midwest trip. Basically this was my plan:
11am (BST) - Flight Leaves Gatwick for JFK via Bermuda to some drop people off.
4pm (EST) - Flight arrives at JFK
7:30pm - Fly JFK to Chicago
11:30pm - Megabus from Chicago to Cincinnati
7am - arrive Cincinnati
Of course I had contingencies in there had I missed any of these connections. Namely, the Greyhound which I could get from New York to Cincinnati at 11:15pm or from Chicago to Cincinnati at 3:30am. Looks like quite a journey, but it seemed doable to me, especially since I was saving so much money by doing it this way!
So I get up at 6am (UK time) on the Wednesday morning, I get some breakfast and take my time in heading to Gatwick. I get to the airport just after 8am where I get told my flight has been delayed an hour. Ok, it's gonna be a little tighter getting my connection but I figure I'll still make it. 12pm comes and goes and still no one is getting on the plane. At 12:30pm an announcement is made that there is a technical fault with the plane which should be resolved shortly. We get onto the plane at 1pm, and wait... Finally at 2pm the plane takes off.
By this point I realise that there's a pretty good chance I'll be missing my connection so decide not to sleep on the plane in the knowledge that I'll be spending the night on the Greyhound from New York to Cincinnati and I'd much rather sleep during that fourteen hour journey.
Eventually we arrive in Bermuda, where everyone has to get off the plane for security reasons, fair enough. Whilst we're in the Bermuda airport they find the same technical problem in the plane. I end up sitting in the Bermuda airport for two hours. By this point I'm just hoping I get to New York in time to get this bus.
At 9:30pm (US Time) I arrive in New York. I managed to get through security pretty quickly and head straight for the subway to get to the bus station on 42nd Street. I get there about 10:30pm and go ahead and buy my ticket for the Greyhound. It's supposed to leave NYC at 11:15pm and I've to change buses in Pittsburgh with a 55 minute layover there before arriving in Cincinnati at 2:15pm. 11:15pm comes and goes with no sign of the bus and just a lot of angry passengers. Once it hit 12:15am I realise I'm not gonna be making my connection and am going to end up stuck in Pittsburgh waiting for another bus causing me to miss the start of the TPR trip. At 1am I decide to head back to the airport and get a flight since the bus still has not appeared. Bear in mind this is the first time I've travelled outside the UK alone and my first time in the U.S. in nine years.
So I get the Subway back towards the airport, although it turns out that there was works on the line near the air train station and so I got kicked off the train a few stops before the air train station. Shit. It's now 2am so I've been awake for 25 hours. I've been kicked out the Subway somewhere in New York. All I know is that it's Brooklyn or Queens and I really don't want to be stuck in the streets of either at this time of the morning. Luckily some bin man comes up to me and realises that I'm lost. He tells me I've got to walk a few blocks to get to the air train. That sounded like fun! Thankfully a little Asian man overheard our conversation and offered to walk me to the Air Train station. I couldn't have been more thankful. He walked me all the way to the station, right past some very undesirable looking people on a few occasions.
I eventually get to the airport about 3am where naturally everything is closed. So I start trying to get a hold of Delta on the phone since I know they have a flight going to Cincinnati at 6am. I didn't manage to get a hold of anyone at Delta until 5:30am. When I do I'm told that I can get on the 6am flight, although it's gonna cost almost $800. Ouch, but at this point I'm willing to pay anything just to get out of New York! She takes my card details and all that jazz, we're looking good. Then she tells me its actually too late to get on that flight! What a tease! The girl then tells me she can get me on another flight that gets into Cincinnati at 3:15pm which I told her was no good to me and ask if there's any connecting flights she can get me on which would get me there earlier.
After a few minutes she tells me I can get on a flight to Columbus leaving at 9am arriving just after 11am and then an onward flight which leaves Columbus for Cincinnati at 11:40am and arrives at 12:30pm. The connection time sounded pretty tight to me but the girls assures me that should make it ok. So I go ahead and pay almost $800 for these flights and check in for my flight leaving at 9am.
So I'm sitting in the departure lounge right next to my gate and watch every flight of the morning leave right on time. Things are looking good. Then it hit 9am... A announcement comes over telling the passengers to Columbus that our air hostess has not shown up for work this morning so the flight will be delayed until she shows up! I couldn't believe it, how much bad luck travelling can one guy get?! Finally at 10:30am the hostess shows up and we get under way. Although I've resigned myself to missing Coney Island by this point because there's probably no way I'll be able to get on a flight to Cincinnati arriving before 3pm (which is when the bus was to leave for the bonus park). I finally arrive in Columbus just after 12:30pm and find out that the same air hostess was actually supposed to be on my second flight! So that flight hadn't left yet - finally a little luck!
I got my flight and arrived in Cincinnati somewhere around 2pm. I went for the long walk from one side of the terminal to the other where I found the TPR people waiting to greet me. I'm sure Elissa asked me if I had come by bus. Instead of telling the whole story I think I replied that I had "just decided to fly" - sorry Elissa, I just really didn't feel like retelling my story at that moment. By this point I'd been awake for 37 hours, but I think the excitement of actually making it through that whole ordeal was keeping me going.
I was finally on the Midwest Trip! At 3pm we left for the bonus park which was, as expected, Coney Island. The park looked pretty cool for what it was but I only rode the coaster because I really didn't feel like riding anything else after what I'd just been through. Funnily enough we managed to break the coaster which wouldn't leave the station for some reason. We got back on a few minutes later though.
After riding the coaster I found Nadia, the only person I knew before the trip and told her my story, she looked pretty shocked.
After Coney Island we headed to the hotel where a bunch of us went to Olive Garden for dinner where I became a member of the Hooters Crew. Thanks for letting me in guys!
Oh yeah, we also had some fun in this little place in the hotel called the Pegasus Room! I think I got to bed about 2am (7am in the UK) meaning I'd been awake 49 hours!
I only took two pictures during my journey which is kinda sad, since it was so epic. But whilst going through all that taking photos wasn't really on my mind.
There's my plane at 11am at Gatwick Airport...
37 sleepless hours later... finally I'm in Cincinnati.
Our bonus park was Coney Island...
which had a credit for us all to enjoy.
And enjoy it TPR did.
After the park some of us headed to Olive Garden where I enjoyed this interesting contraption.
But the real fun started back at the hotel...
The Dutch boys show everyone the best places to find porn online.
Of course Drew likes us posting interesting photos of him, so I'll do that now.
Here's another one for you, Drew!
And one final picture. From the longest day in my life! But at least it had a happy ending!
Divv, that was 1 helluva journey you had, and like I said to ya at Olive Garden that made my lil plane delay so so insignificant hehe!! Mr Miagi came to your rescue though at least
Also, I'm sooooooo chuffed you've got pics showing the full extent of the most amazing room: Pegasus room, there was so much to do in that tiny room and even it's own special "restroom". So much fun was had in that little room, "meet you in there" to everyone!!
So many memories of that first night too, was brilliant!! Lovin the updates!!
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