At the end of Day 7, Robb and Elissa had a little surprise for us: a bonus credit at Pleasure Island! The park had been closed for the day for a few hours, but the Alveys spent what we later found out to be a LOT of time going back and forth with the park's new management until an agreement was reached to open a limited number of rides just for us!
For most of us, it was a surprise until the very end. At one point, he announed we would be stopping soon for a "bathroom break." Shortly thereafter, we all saw the top of a Boomerang sticking up over the trees, and the murmers began. Then someone in the back had a GPS with the trip map plugged in (I didn't find this out until the next day) and wondered why we had passed our hotel for the night. Then we pulled up in front of Pleasure Island, and Robb announced, "This is our bathroom stop. I strongly encourage you to visit this bathroom."
Then he sort of ad libbed about how this "bathroom" had all kinds of great toilets and urinals... at which point, Erik, who works for Vekoma, very loudly spoke the single greatest quote of the trip: "A Boomerang is not a urinal!"
I know Robb and Elissa were very disappointed at the excitement level (or lack there of) during our visit there. Honestly, I can't speak for most of the bus, but I was very excited (and I know Mike was, too) about this unplanned stop, even though I refrained from riding two of the three attractions opened for us (my stomach doesn't do too well most of the time with inversions and certain spinners). I know there's a good chance I won't get back to England again, especially some of the out-of-the-way parts we visited on this trip, so a chance to visit another park there was just fine by me!
Anyway, enough text; time for pictures. Enjoy!
"To all who enter this happy bathroom... welcome!"
I, for one, was all ready to discover the magic!
Pleasure Island had a lot of interesting characters, including Tinkaboo...
...an especially Mr. Shiney!
Chair swings and the World Cup... what more do you need?
These cycle monorails are all the rage in the UK!
Hey, they really do have toilets here!
How many types of fowl do you see in this photo? I see two.
This is listed in the park index as "Hydro Max." I like to call it "The Pants Crapper."
Alakazam was grounded for the day.
No bumper car takeover here. We had better things to do!
It razzles AND dazzles!
This really was a nice park.
But this is the part most of us came for!
Looks more red to me!
Watch out for the loop!
Which one is more terrifying: Terror Rack...
...or the clown slide?
Pendulus seemed to be a real hit!
The carousel building looked really cool. Can't make a first-hand observation about the ride itself, though.
With a name like that, who wouldn't want to ride?
I think this one was called "Unacceptable Amount of Wetness: The Ride."
The park has its own ice skating rink!?
Well... kind of.
They put a lot of effort into building a clamshell-themed Tilt-A-Whirl... only to call it the "Twirly Whirl."
Hey, that's bigger than the one at Epcot!
Witness the park's haunted house... and the amazing employees who made our visit possible!
All aboard the Mini Mine Train!
Go, Mine Train, go!
This one was a LOT better than the Zamperla mine train at Flamingo Land!
No, Pleasure Island, Thank YOU!
Once we settled in at our second-to-last hotel of the trip, most of us made our way to the pub next door, where I got to check shepperd's pie off my list of foods to try while in the UK.
This isn't the greatest photo, but I think it really says a lot. There are six people in this picture representing five different countries: the U.S., England, Scotland, Spain and Germany, all here for basically one reason. Think about it: How many other organizations are you affiliated with in which something like this would even be possibile? Forget the UN--TPR brings the world together!
The first half of Day 8 took us to Fantasy Island in Skegness. Now, I know some people were a little put off by the carney atmosphere here, but personally, this was my second favorite park of the trip. I can't remember if it was Robb or someone else who said it seemed like this was a giant flea market whose owners decided to put up some coasters to attract more customers, but that assessment was dead on. And there were some interesting purchases to be made, too!
As always, enjoy the photos!
On to Fantasy Island!
At Fantasy Island, "Yellow" is code for "Funky."
Everyone ready to ride the Nestle Kit-Kat Jubilee Odyssey?
Well, too bad! It's broken. We may have it fixed later. Like 2014.
No one from TPR got to join this club today.
Oh well. It's not like there aren't other credits here!
What goes up...
...must eventually invert!
Rhombus' Rocket is one of those coasters only "special" people count. And I'm one of them!
So are they!
Most parks have a wild mouse. Fantasy Island has the Fantasy Mouse!
This mouse's fantasy was to run off to Mexico!
The Techno Jump/Jumping Frogs was the wildest bouncy-bouncy ever! After they got us all strapped in, they figured out it wasn't exactly working right, so they spun us around for a little while, they they lifted and lowered the arms for a little while, then they finally got it to sync up. All in all, it was about a 15-minute ride!
This is the Scrambler that almost killed Craig and me!
Final elaborately canopied carousel of the trip. *sniff*
Lots of "Fantasy" here!
Oh, I'll bet this is an officially licensed Disney product!
I mean, it must be, right? It features everyone's favorite Disney characters. Like Sebastian and Flounder...
...Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck...
...Huey, Dewey or Louie, complete in Junior Woodchuck garb (which is a tell-tale sign that all these characters were copied out of comic books, as that's the only medium that featured the Junior Woodchucks)...
...and even Gladstone Gander!
And just what does the ride itself have to do with Disney? Absolutely nothing!
Gotta love that carney art!
Must be a storm in the area!
Here they come!
How's that log flume treating you, fellas?
The Pony Express looked like neat ride. Too bad I was about two feet too tall to ride it!
Beware of the Beast!
What do Skegness and Arlen, TX, have in common? You can buy propane and propane accessories at both!
I shared this with a friend of mine. He might "appropriate" it as the name of his barbecue competition team this year.
So. Many. Entendres.
The outdoor section of Fantasy Island was fun, but the indoor portion was *really* cool!
Dragon Mountain was one of the neatest kiddie play areas I've ever seen.
This is basically everything the attraction entails.
With a ride as cool as Dragon Mountain, the Jungle Adventure Ride must be even better, right?
Hey, Freddo! Where to next?
Why, the Magical Seaquarium, of course!
It was basically a floating tub ride.
I'm a little embarrassed to say when I got in mine, it almost sank.
The inside of the ride was really cool. It was one of those funky dark rides with vignettes containing limited animation and a song that ties the whole thing together.
Every major park in the U.S. had at least one of these in the '70s and '80s. Today, outside of the Disney parks, they're fairly rare.
The Seaquarium also had a little fancy scenery thrown in for good measure.
This may be the most specifically named ride ever!
I had never seen a coin-op cotton candy machine before. Watching this one work was pretty neat.
Not quite as ornate as the gallopers outside....
Oooh... I like secrets!
"In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room...."
And awaaaayyyy we go!
So basically, Fantasy Island was formed by an erupting volcano...
...and these dudes liked it. The end.
Why is Mike smiling?
Because he gets to ride the Jellikins Coaster!
This way to Jellyland!
I liked the way this was themed through colored plexiglass. As far as I know, Mike and Rosie were the only two in our group able to get the credit due to the maximum height restriction. I had to ask Mike what a "Jellikins" was. Apparently it was a British kiddie TV show. Now I know how the Brits on the Behemoth-Flyer trip felt when Robb had to explain the Mr. Rogers ride at Idlewild to them!
Hey, that's *exactly* how all public works vehicles in the U.S. look!
Each of these signs is useful and important in its own unique way.
Fantsy Island offered plenty of things to do besides rides. Take, for instance, the massive Fantasy Island Market.
I generally enjoy flea markets, and this one was right up my alley. Robb warned us to be careful taking pictures inside, as apparently he had a bad experience there, so the few shots I took were on the periphery. Still, this place was great! I was finally able to find clotted cream fudge, which I had been searching for throughout the trip, and if I'd had room in my luggage, one booth had enough cheap, damaged boxes of Dairy Milk bars for me to have stocked my entire annual Halloween event at a deep discount even with the exchange rate.
As large as the market was, it still wasn't big enough to hold all the exhibitors. Some spilled out into the parking lot, where signs warned vendors they would be prosecuted unless they had valid permits.
And yes, England was still in the World Cup at the time. I imagine this booth was gone for good about 36 hours after this photo was taken.
We met here for lunch and were asked to select from a limited menu. Elissa advised us to get there a little early if we could to make sure everyone had time to eat, and I was glad I did. It took close to an hour for my order to come out--and I think mine was one of the "quick" ones!
The final "UK food" item I needed to cross off my list: bangers and mash! To be honest, the "mash" part was just OK... but the bangers were succulent and meaty!
I can only dream about how good or bad this place was. I like to pretend mimes live there.
I hope this is pronounced "Puck-a" and not "Puke-a."
Do you think they serve Pepsi?
EDIT: I just noticed the giant cigarette on the left side of the door.
Best "truth in advertising" slogan ever!
Did I mention there was another mini-amusement park across the street?
Let's see here... we have the animals from "Madagascar," Buzz, Woody, Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Mario, Yoshi, the Incredible Hulk, SpongeBob SquarePants, Tom and Jerry, Pluto, Mickey Mouse, the Big Bad Wolf and... OMG, is that Private Snafu? That's an even more obscure reference than Gladstone Gander!
I have no clue what a Wots Yoging is... but apparently it's the best (as opposed to "the rest").
Giant balls in front of the meat auction? Sometimes it's like these captions just write themseves!
Oh, did I fail to mention that Robb bought an inflatable sheep in fishnet stockings from the men's room at Castaways? My bad.
Goodbye, Fantasy Island!
Up next... trailer park ERT!
No, seriously, up next: Bottons Pleasure Beach. See you soon!
The second half of Day 8 took us to Bottons Pleasure Beach. It was an OK little park with a couple unique rides and several credits. It was a nice wind-down before the bus trip back to London. Enjoy!
Here we are!
Free admission? That's the best kind of admission!
Unfortunately, we didn't get to rat out any school kids.
We had some problems with line-breakers while we were attempting to get our wristbands. Fortunately, Robb scared them all away by telling them he'd had Mexican for lunch.
Final ghost train of the trip!
"Come on in... for the fright of your life!"
Are you ready to be scared... to death?
Be sure to remove those dangerous hats first!
The artwork outside reminded me of the designs I've seen on '60s bubblegum cards. Inside... reminded me of the clearence aisle about a week after Halloween. They clearly spent the majority of their budget on the exterior.
This '50s-themed coaster was called the "Rockin' Roller." Elissa had another name for it: "Spinning Coaster of Hot Death."
It was pretty cool to see the names they selected for the individual cars. I mean, Elvis and James Dean were naturals, but I wonder how many riders are aware of who Jerry Lee Lewis and Bill Haley are.
The best part about the cars were the large-scale portraits of each singer/actor on the back. Someone put a lot of effort into making these cars look really good.
The ride itself was pretty typical, but the theming was really nice.
This is the "beach" part of Bottons Pleasure Beach. We had the good fortune of visiting England during the two nicest weeks, weather-wise, the country had seen in something like 200 years.
Oh dear, what could this line be for?
It's *sniff* the final Wacky Worm of the trip. They called theirs the "Big Apple."
Or is it?
The Queen Bee is perhaps the world's only suspended Wacky Worm. Same exact track layout; different vehicles. Why? Because they could!
But wait, there's still another credit! The Runaway Train was another "common" coaster made better with really nice theming.
Yet another ride I don't envision myself on anytime soon!
It had been years since I had seen a Yoyo.
These were much better than the Boring Mirrors next door.
I love that absolutely no American intellectual property is safe from infringement at the UK parks. Their arcade was themed to popular Las Vegas casinos.
I won't tell Siegfried if you won't tell Roy.
Scrambler. (Hey, not all the captions can be gold.)
These "seaside humour" murals were amusing.
The ride looked new, but the murals looked old. Go figure.
Surf Rider, Giant Wheel and Pirate--a hearty trio of flat rides.
I loved how the benches apparently were made from old ride seats.
They had a sign for these "flying saucer"-style bumper cars, but I didn't actually see them there. A bit of nostalgic signage, perhaps?
This would go over well at U.S. parks.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Super Waltzer!
This was perhaps the most intense Waltzer of all time! Just watching it made me dizzy. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this the one where the ride op was manually spinning the cars as they went by to add some extra "oomph"?
Another seaside park, another seaside fortune teller.
I really liked this Pringles machine. I'd never seen one like it.
Well, now we know what they did with Nemo after they found him....
For the undressed crab, you have to pay by the hour.
Winnie the Bear!
OK... but I'll also write you in the meantime!
At the recommendation of others, I tried some HobNobs at Motorway Services that evening (and got some more of those McDonald's fried cheese things, too). They were pretty good!
With regard to the crazy-a$$ Botton's Waltzer, and to be fair to the 'never-in-America' style of operation at most UK fairgrounds, pretty much all Waltzers are spun by hand somehow, by the operator. Most Waltzers don't have the operator jumping from car to car to spin them, risking messy spun death, and I think that's where the ride at Botton's stood out.
West Coast 2009 ~ UK 2010 ~ IntimidaTour 2010 ~ Southern Japan/Tokyo Disney 2011
Our final day began bright and early at Thorpe Park, where we had ERT not only before the park opened, but after it closed, as well. Enjoy!
Wow, they really rolled out the red carpet for us!
This will become very important to know later in the day.
The park itself is a big bridge away from the entrance.
Amazing view from this side!
However, some may prefer this one more!
Cheese it! The fuzz!
Oh wait... they're only here for Saw: The Ride.
Hey, they're testing! Does that mean...?
Yep! Bonus ERT on Saw!
I'm not sure I'd trust that lift!
I wonder what that old, dilapidated barge could be for.
Another Rotary wishing well. I thought it was neat seeing these throughout England.
This hippopotamissus was part of what appeared to be a defunct kiddie car ride.
This carousel was really cool! Sure, it had a few horses...
...but it also had a bunny-helmed Viking long boat...
...a giraffe who bumped his head...
...a bear in a log canoe...
...a giant fish...
...a barrel raft...
...and even a replica rapids boat!
Here's what the real ones looked like.
What's better than a pirate ship? A swingin' banana!
This shooting gallery game was pretty neat. I had never seen one quite like it.
The Neptune's Kingdom kiddie area featured some funky rides for the little ones.
This looked like something out of "SpongeBob SquarePants"!
The fish wants you to go into his mouth!
I wasn't sure what this random caged creature was (and I think there were more like it), but I have a theory that it's some sort of pipe end that they didn't want just hanging around for kids to trip over. If so, then great job turning it into something fun!
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