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Mopping up UK credits- Great Yarmouth, PWH, Oakwood, Brean, West Midlands and more

SilverArrow

Active Member
Next up, after visiting one of only two Dennys in the UK (we might not have got to the US but at least we could have Dennys) we proceeded to Coney Beach Pleasure Park down on the coast in Porthcawl.

I am not going to lie, I was expecting either absolute rubbish or us walking up to a closed park fence that fenced off absolute rubbish, but I was wrong!
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Ok I mean it's nothing spectacular but here me out! First up let's get the cred talk out of the way. There are two credits here, a caterpillar and a go-gator. We got the Caterpillar fine and then lost all our confidence in asking the man at the Go-gator whether we could ride. I attempted to join the queue and he shook his head at me. Ok, he looked a bit scary so I wasn't going to argue and it's a Go-gator so no great loss. +1 anyway for our time!

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Now onto the better bit. I love a good afterburner so insisted on riding the one here as it looked like it ran a good cycle and most of the others joined for the ride!

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It had fab views over the beach and a really long cycle. Ended up riding it twice!

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There was a ghost train with an interesting facade. Can't remember whether this was any good or not though.

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A load of us did this and it was fab, forwards and backwards and then a random snow effect! I think I laughed the whole way seeing everyone else bob around!

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There was an interesting sign that read "Attention, this ride will stop in an emergency, crying is not an emergency"!

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Whilst I waited what seemed like forever on the twister/sizzler I papped some of the crew on the swings, including MouseAT kicking back on the left!

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All in all this was a nice little stop off that's I'd definitely recommend if you fancy doing a few extra rides before or after visiting Oakwood!
 
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MouseAT

Active Member
After filling up with a decent, yet somewhat greasy burger at Denny’s in Swansea, the first challenge of the evening was trying to find my way over to Porthcawl, and find both the park, and somewhere to park my car. Somehow, I managed to mangle my SatNav settings, and ended up making a short detour northward to a Tesco car park in nearby Neath. After realising and correcting my error, I finally arrived in a fairly busy Porthcawl, around 10 minutes later than originally planned. After finding the park itself, I parked up just over the road, and waited for the others to show up.

Coney Beach is pretty typical of your medium size seaside fun fair, with a couple of bland, bottom tier roller coasters in the form of a Nessi and a Go Gator, and a pretty decent variety of your typical, spinning flat rides, most of which I wouldn’t go out of my way to pay for or ride. Ordinarily, this is the sort of park where I’d be in and out in around 10 minutes, and then heading back to the hotel bar. However, with the +1 out of the way, an operator-induced spite on the Go Gator, and a couple of hours remaining before park close, the idea of getting some additional flat rides in had been planted, and I was absolutely game.

So, Beach Party. I love afterburners, and this was definitely one of the better ones. With manually operated restraints (so that you can actually leave some space to float, and not have the OTSRs pressing you down into the seat), fast, high speed swings, and a constant, rapid spin, this one ticks most of the boxes, although with the sustained spin throughout the ride cycle, I’d be cautious about twice in quick succession. I seem to remember one of the ride ops being a bit blasé with regard to his own safety, though, walking inside the ride area whilst the ride was operating, and standing on the hinged floor under the ride whilst it was rising and lowering at the start and end of the ride. Rather him than me!

There was a ghost train with an interesting facade. Can't remember whether this was any good or not though.
I REMEMBER IT BEING RATHER LOUD!

Fantasia, then. Lots of bobbing up and down whilst going in circles and being pushed into the outside of the car. Everything seemed remarkably sane to begin with… and then we discovered around halfway through the ride that they just hadn’t hit the button for ludicrous speed yet. Cue several more minutes of the ride trying to outpace Spaceball 1. As fun as it was, I think by the end it was pretty much on the upper limit of my tolerance for both going in circles, and for lateral Gs. It was worth doing once for the experience though.

I know a few of us rode the wave swinger after this, as they’re normally an enjoyable, yet chilled experience. I also remember SilverArrow having a ridiculously long ride on the Sizzler – I spent a while trying to take photos (unsuccessfully due to the fading light and me forgetting to switch the camera into manual mode), then walked halfway across the park in search of toilets, and by the time I got back, the ride was still going. They certainly don’t run their flat rides by half measures here!

By this point, most of us had run out of ride tokens, but SilverArrow and Fi still had just enough for a final ride on the afterburner before leaving the park. Cue a short drive back to Cardiff, a short drinking session in the hotel bar until last orders were called, and then all of us heading off to bed, exhausted, but thoroughly entertained.
 

Howie

Active Member
Denny's though! ?
How did it compare to the 'Murican ones? Love a Denny's, me. I know it's not exactly haute cuisine, but .. y'know.
Murica! ??
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Denny's though! ?
How did it compare to the 'Murican ones? Love a Denny's, me. I know it's not exactly haute cuisine, but .. y'know.
Murica! ??

I had the superbird, which was a grilled turkey sandwich that they do in the US and it was good. I've definitely had the turkey club in the US before (found photo evidence) and the menu seemed to be spot on for those two things. You don't seem to get turkey as much over here so made a nice change. The others had burgers or pancakes so they could tell you about those. I thought it was good and something a bit different! The menu seemed to have a lot of the same things as in the US and wasn't as limited as could be expected. The other one is near Glasgow so those are your options!
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
I realised a while back that this thread was not complete so seeing as it's closed season now, I might as well finish it!

The next day it was time for more creds! First order of the day was Barry Island!

The website said the park was opening at about 10 or so, so we decided to get there relatively early (this helped with parking) and mop everything up early as we had a number of stops that day.

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Turns out half the staff hadn't even turned up yet and they were sort of aiming for 12 to open if they felt like it. Great. This was going to be a day full of surprises!

So we went and looked at the beach (and some had snacks) until the park finally opened. Well, sort of. It was very hit and miss. I think we did Beastie first as the larger credit wasn't open, well old Beastie from Alton Towers. I already had this cred but did it anyway for nostalgia (and to finally get on a ride!) The lapbar then got stuck and I had become a contortionist to climb out of the car. That definitely worth the hassle haha.

Then I think we did the ghost train. This is a vintage style ghost train with a really nice facade. Unfortunately the inside isn't quite so exciting.

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The larger credit, Cyclone still wasn't open so next up, I nervously forced everyone onto the Gravitron. I had avoided doing a number of these in the US due to fears that they would be awful but, with the only UK version in front of me and the knowledge of no known possible timeline for entering the again US I knew it was time to face the fear!

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This specific ride used to be at both Alton Towers and Pleasure Island and was the only ride of it's type to be made by Vekoma. It was super weird but actually really fun! I filmed a POV so if you want to see various Cfers float up a wall check it out here:


I then persuaded everyone to go on the old school orbiter which had one of the longest cycles known to man. I was wondering how many people were going to kill me when we got off as I went round. I think a couple of people were a bit green after this! ?

Right just one more credit to go then. Well. After lingering around like a bunch of flies for as long as possible the staff confirmed that the ride would be down for a while and may open sometime later. After the late opening saga and having spent way longer at the park than we had anticipated we made the decision, after waiting for as long as possible, to use our Cyclone tokens on the big wheel instead so that we could carry on with our journey.

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I think the most disappointing thing was that we'd have to come back if we wanted the credit, but at least there were some other good rides to do again if we ever did. The park is unavoidably on the way to Oakwood from the south so if Oakwood ever gets anything new (so likely never) we'll have a +1 for the way. I think this has been my worst spite of the year so I guess I'm not doing too badly! Oh well!
 

MouseAT

Active Member
Ah yes, Barry Island... where we all showed up to discover that Barry hadn't bothered getting out of bed yet!

Still, we got a fairly chilled morning out of it, at least, and a few miscellaneous flat rides, even if we did get spited by the potential +1. I have to say, the Gravitron is still a personal favourite. I'd experienced the nervousness before riding this particular one for the first time back in 2014, when a few CFers had a day out at Pleasure Island, so I definitely remember the feeling going in. That said, it's really difficult to adequately describe the sensation of riding a Gravitron, at least beyond "There are strong forces pushing you into the wall, but it's not disorienting unless you look sideways, at which point it feels like somebody just rolled you down a hill, so keep looking ahead and you'll be fine". You can see Fi slide up the wall in the POV, but because the whole room is rotating and there isn't really a decent point of reference anywhere, the ride movement and forces really don't come across on camera.

I then persuaded everyone to go on the old school orbiter which had one of the longest cycles known to man. I was wondering how many people were going to kill me when we got off as I went round. I think a couple of people were a bit green after this! ?

Ah yes, that delightful thing. It wasn't so bad when it was running at a relatively low angle, as it was straightforward enough to keep a point of reference as the ride was rotating, but once the angle started to increase and the ride itself started to block your sight lines, it definitely managed to mess with my sense of balance a bit. I'm not entirely sure I was walking in a straight line when I got off at the end of the ride cycle.
 

MouseAT

Active Member
Well, I guess somebody should bring up Weston-super-Mare.

After sticking around in Barry for longer than intended, we eventually made it to Weston-super-Mare mid afternoon, found a space to park on the side streets, and had a wander down to Funland for a nice, easy +3. It was the typical unremarkable +3 of a Go Gator, caterpillar and spinning mouse that's typical of your seaside park, but the rather unique site, with its entrance building and enclosing wall certainly gave the place a bit more character than your typical seaside fun fair. There's a reasonable line-up of flats, so some scope for sticking around for a bit longer if you weren't on the clock, but we had other places to go and things to ride, so our visit was limited to grabbing the creds and moving on.

Whilst we were in town, we also decided to check out the Grand Pier, which in addition to looking impressive, is also home to both an interesting ghost train and a robot arm. The ghost train is certainly different; The cars are enclosed cages, the ride has a far more claustrophobic feel than most other ghost trains, and it's the sort of ride that makes good use of modern effects and technology to create the atmosphere, rather than focussing on loud noises and jump scares. I personally don't consider it to be amazing, and it's not something I'd go out of my way to re-ride, but it's certainly interesting and different (in a good way), and worth checking out if you're in the area and that appeals to you. I'd probably have considered riding the robot arm as well if we'd had a bit more time to spend, since I've only ridden one once before, but time was not on our side, and Brean was still on the cards, so we headed back for the cars and prepared to get on the road again.

Despite already having all of the Brean creds, I'd originally planned on having a trip down to the park with the rest of the group. Astro Storm is fab, as is their ghost train, and I was definitely game a few rides with everyone, and taking a few photos before heading home. However, 5pm was fast approaching, I'd only managed around 3 hours of sleep the night before, and I had around a 5 hour drive home ahead of me, so I reluctantly made the call to bow out early, and begin the long journey northwards.

So ended MouseAT's longest coaster trip of 2020. That said, after that fantastic weekend, it was pretty much guaranteed that there would have to be a follow-up, which would soon involve me getting pulled into another Facebook trip planning thread:

SilverArrow said:
omg guys there's a tagada
we have to go do that
they're rare and mental
MouseAT said:
That looks like a terrible idea, and we absolutely should ride it

Yep, when that's part of the plan, you know everything's going to end well.
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Ah yes, Weston-super-mare was fun. Funland let us on the go-gator, much to our delight but Fi decided to try the front seat which she then almost got stuck in forever! 😂 It was interesting seeing how they'd used the old Lido space to create an area for rides. There was both a go-gator and wacky worm to enjoy, along with a wild mouse. All the greats!
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Success!

Up until a few days before the trip I had no idea that the Grand Pier had a ghost train! Chainedbanana luckily knew so we all plodded along the seafront in the sun to investigate and ride it. It was really unusual! The inside of the main pier building is multi-level and crammed with loads of arcade games, the robot arm ride, go-karts and more. I had no idea any of this was there so it was a nice surprise!

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Then we unfortunately had to say goodbye to MouseAT and we went on to Brean.

Now, I had heard some bad things about Brean but I was feeling quite optimistic about it. Unfortunately I was wrong.

Our first obstacle on the Brean cred challenge was to get hold of tickets. After waiting in line for what seemed like 30 minutes where families in front of us were having very in-depth discussions about which tickets they should get for their multiple children we started getting anxious. Someone then complained and opened another Kiosk and we split up to get to the front faster. Finally after what seemed like an eternity of faff we had our tokens. Great, we thought, that was the last of our problems. Oh no.

I was super keen to get on Astrostorm so we did that first.
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What a fab coaster! It lived up to all of my retro indoor space coaster dreams! Not quite as good as black hole but was good fun. So glad to finally tick this off my bucket list!

It was downhill from that point.

Both the Caterpillar and Crazy Mouse coasters had really long queues and terrible operations. There was a distinct lack of social distancing in the queues as well as a general sense of disorganisation. We finally got these credits with about half an hour or so until closing with one credit still to do. Crazy Loop, the pinfari looper. What could go wrong!?

Well.

We joined the queue with about 25 people in front of us or so and about 15/20 minutes or more left before close. The coaster was running one train but we thought it was fine, we're in the queue, we're here. Well. No. The operations were one of the slowest I'd ever seen. The single operator was having to push the train back into the station every time it came in and he wasn't in a rush. I feel like if they have to push the train from offload to online perhaps they should have a second operator? Not sure what's the norm for these rides. At about 15 mins to close the operator hopped over the barrier and closed the gate to the entrance to the ride. Which sounds reasonable if this is park policy, except that this cut the queue in half. A number of people, including us, who had all been waiting over 15 minutes already for this crappy ride had just had the gate closed in front of them, with 15 minutes or so left to go of park operations. The operator then continued running the ride, but this time at an even slower pace.

We were fuming.

Discussions were had and it was decided we were going to go full Karen and make a complaint. After all we'd travelled all the way here, had been in the queue well before close, the operator was running as fast as a snail and the whole park had been a complete shambles really. NathanP and Fi stormed off to guest services whilst Chainedbanana and I stayed in the queue and along with a number of other angry people stood our ground defiantly in the queue behind the closed gate despite having been told to leave by the op. Tensions were rising. I had little faith in our plan and was getting more and more frustrated at the idea of having to come back to ride this awful ride at this awful park when I noticed something on the horizon.

It was Fi and NathanP, faces stern as anything, storming back to the ride accompanied by two managers with equally disgruntled looks on their faces. I started freaking out. Oh man, this was going to be a scene!

The main manager came up to the ride op and asked him about what he had done before declaring in front of everyone there that he must let these two people (Fi and NathanP) on the ride. They chimed in and pointed to us saying that we were with them. After an excruciatingly embarrassing second or two it was decided that we would join them, alongside a couple of other families who had stuck it out in the reject non-queue. The manager counted through as many as he thought could get on in a few minutes, ushered us into the proper queue area and shut the gate behind us. Horray! The ride op got a telling off about his terrible throughputs and gate closing before we thanked the managers and they left us to ride the ride.

At about 5 minutes past close we stepped up to the now pretty grumpy op as the final people to board, knowing full well he knew we had complained about him. Talk about awkward. I had been praying this whole time that the ride didn't break down or that there wasn't some kind of booby trap that he had set for us! Luckily we were dispatched and off we went. Thank goodness, such relief! Well, it would have been if my restraint hadn't unlocked a notch (or worse wasn't planning on testing it at this point) at the top of the drop!! I spent the rest of the ride with my feet pinned into the corners of the car, hands gripping on to anything that wasn't the restraint. I was NOT going to die on this ride after all that it had put us through!!

Thankfully we survived and got the credit. It was absolutely horrendous. Thanks to Fi and NathanP for saving the day!
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Our nemesis.

I've since been told that the ghost train at Brean is quite good but I really can't see myself going back any time soon! If I do I'll be riding Astrostorm and not Crazy Loop! To be fair to the park the managers were good and helpful. Hopefully we just caught the park on a bad day. Perhaps they should extend the Crazy Loop queueline so they can close it behind the whole queueline? I would definitely recommend getting there early in the day if you can to guarantee that you get on everything.

And with that experience it was the end of our Wales trip! Thanks for reading!
 

Nick13

New Member
I had a similar experience at Brean last year where the ride op disappeared for his 15 minute break and left everyone stood there in the Crazy Loop queue wondering what was going on. Ended up waiting well over half an hour for that awful ride.

Then we got back to the car 10 mins late and received a £60 fine in the post a couple of weeks later! I won’t be visiting that hellhole again anytime soon!
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
I had a similar experience at Brean last year where the ride op disappeared for his 15 minute break and left everyone stood there in the Crazy Loop queue wondering what was going on. Ended up waiting well over half an hour for that awful ride.

Then we got back to the car 10 mins late and received a £60 fine in the post a couple of weeks later! I won’t be visiting that hellhole again anytime soon!
Oh no!! That's awful!
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Crazy Loop seems to have a knack for causing cred anxiety. I still have nightmares about it breaking down as soon as we tried to ride it and then having to sit on a bench, in Brean, for at least a couple of hours (regularly topping up the parking ticket) in the hope that they fixed it before close.
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Crazy Loop seems to have a knack for causing cred anxiety. I still have nightmares about it breaking down as soon as we tried to ride it and then having to sit on a bench, in Brean, for at least a couple of hours (regularly topping up the parking ticket) in the hope that they fixed it before close.
Ew. So glad I never have to ride it again!
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Now we have the next trip. The midlands!

I had been wanting to get to Dudley Zoo for a while (read about 12 years), mostly for it's zoo history but it turned out that the zoo also has a +1. This sparked the formation of another trip plan and soon we were off on the road again!

First up was Dudley Zoo. Now, as I've mentioned this zoo has a lot of history to it and my main interest, besides the animals, was the zoo's modernist architectural features. The zoo contains 12 modernist buildings designed by the Lubetkin's famous Tecton group. Think art deco reinforced concrete geometric shapes. Not all are fit for their original purpose anymore and some have new purposes but all 12 are listed. I find their concepts and style interesting, especially within the context of tourist attraction design so I geeked out on all the signage and took a million photos.

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The whole zoo is on a big hill and includes a 1950s chairlift up the side of the hill.

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It was closed due to the pandemic, which to be honest, I was slightly relieved about as I knew I'd have to do it if it was open and it looked a bit precarious!

If quirky modernism or 50s chairlifts aren't to your taste the zoo also offers another slice of history, this time from a completely different era. An 11th Century castle!

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The actual castle was closed due to the pandemic but you could go into the adjoining manor house's cellar and view lots of nocturnal and creepy animals such as leeches and bats. There are also animal exhibits in the castle and house's moat which was interesting. There is a good range of different animals to see at various levels on the hillside such as big cats, giraffes, orangutans, penguins, sea lions, small mammals, birds, reptiles and more.

We had left the credit until last, mostly due to the one-way system but also to ensure it was open and we didn't have to keep going up and down the big hill more than we needed to as it was quite a trek. The rides which are all clustered near the entrance all appear to be run by external showmen so they cost a little extra to ride.

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The coveted plus one.

I must say I do like it when they have the apple. It adds a little bit extra!

I'd definitely recommend Dudley Zoo if you're interested in animals or history as the park has a unique mix of both with the added bonus of a credit. Alternatively perhaps if you're doing a credit run you might be inspired to check out some of the other things the park has to offer. I really enjoyed the visit and was glad to finally tick it off my bucket list!

So that concludes the first part of day 1. I was now on 599 credits. What was my 600th coaster going to be!?
 

Freakedoutjelly

New Member
I had a similar experience at Brean last year where the ride op disappeared for his 15 minute break and left everyone stood there in the Crazy Loop queue wondering what was going on. Ended up waiting well over half an hour for that awful ride.

Then we got back to the car 10 mins late and received a £60 fine in the post a couple of weeks later! I won’t be visiting that hellhole again anytime soon!
Oh... the memories :rolleyes:
 

MouseAT

Active Member
On to the West Midlands, then. As plans go, it started with a perfectly sane idea.

More specifically, it started with @SilverArrow dropping me a message, mentioning that a trip to Dudley Zoo and West Midlands Safari Park was being planned, and was I interested in joining in? Another fun weekend away with an awesome bunch of people, two places I’d not visited before, and a few creds to boot? Absolutely, sign me up!

So began the planning process, which includes all of the routine stuff (when are we going, where are we staying etc.), as well as the really important questions, such as “is there anywhere else nearby that’s worth visiting once we’re done with the Zoo/WMSP, or do we just have a relaxing afternoon in the pub?”. We’ll get to the outcome of that particular discussion later.

Dudley Zoo was the planned starting point for this particular weekend, and as the zoo was operating with COVID restrictions in place and a timeslot system for entry, we all agreed on a late morning entry slot, allowing us all plenty of time to make the drive.

I don’t visit zoos very often. I’m not usually near them, and on the rare occasions that I am, I usually have other priorities. That said, I do enjoy the occasional visit to a good zoo, and I was impressed with what Dudley Zoo had to offer. The site itself isn’t that large, but excellent use has been made of the available space, with paths and animal exhibits circling around the hill and castle. I reckon we spent somewhere upwards of three hours here, and that’s despite both the castle interior and chairlift being closed to visitors.

Ordinarily, we’d probably have gone straight for the cred on arrival to alleviate any cred anxiety, but the zoo was operating a system of one-way paths, and the ride area was located along the route leading towards the exit, so we instead started making our way up the hill towards the buildings and animal enclosures. I had my camera out, and was having a crack at animal photography as we made our way around. I’ll not post the photo links just yet, but they’ll follow in due course. For those of you that haven’t seen the West Midlands photos yet, I’m not about to spoil Emily’s choice of cred no. 600!

The zoo’s history is well documented via. a series of signs located around the site. There’s a lot of information about the Tecton structures, as well as the various animals that had formerly been housed within them, including a killer whale named Cuddles that had lived at the pack back in the 1970s.

I’m a little disappointed that the chairlift wasn’t operating, as it looked both interesting and unnerving in equal measure. Unfortunately, it’d be difficult to operate with adequate social distancing measures in place, so hasn’t been operating during the pandemic. Photos are quite deceptive, and both the hill and chairlift seem bigger and steeper when viewed in person!

I was also a little disappointed by the lack of food options when we visited. That’s not really the zoo’s fault; Most of the food outlets are indoors, and therefore were either closed, or had massive queues due to social distancing requirements. There’s a small retail park just across the road from the zoo with a few restaurants and fast food outlets, though, so it’s not as though there aren’t options in the area. It’s just something to bear in mind if you visit around meal times before daily life and restaurant capacity returns to normal. Suffice to say, it was approaching mid afternoon by the time we’d finished with the zoo and were able to go somewhere for lunch.

As for the cred? Big apple, complete with actual apple. One and done.

Overall, Dudley Zoo gets a big thumbs up from me. It’s interesting, it’s quirky, and it’s got enough to keep you occupied for a good few hours. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to allocate half a day or so for a visit here, and take your time. I wouldn’t try to quickly cred run the place, as I feel it’s worth far more than that.

Once we’d finished with the zoo, it was time to head over the road to our hotel, get ourselves checked in, grab something to eat… and then it was time for us all to join Emily in search of her 600th coaster.
 
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SilverArrow

Active Member
It's time for the next instalment! This time you get to find out what fantastic 600th credit I get. Much excitement.

So we'd finished at the zoo mid afternoon-ish and after having some food decided to head over to a fair at the shopping centre in Merry Hill down the road. Now; I could have waited until the next day at West Midland Safari Park to get my 600th credit as I still needed 2/3 creds there but a-creds-a-cred right and this was 2020, the year of cred drought so I wasn't going to turn down an opportunity to boost the stats.

The fair had quite a range of rides. There was a particular ride here that I was looking forward to taking people on. More on that later. It was credit time. I had the choice of two fine machines for my plus one. A wacky worm, or something I can't say I've seen before. Obviously variety is key here so I naturally opted for the ride below as my coveted 600th credit.

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What a beauty.

I was half surprised that adults could even ride it. Pretty sure we had to ask first! 😂 Some nice portaloos as background theming as well there. This credit had it all! Despite the credit whore shame I was still really pleased to reach my optimistic target of reaching 600 credits (which required about +37 credits in 2020). In fact, this seemed like the best time to get this credit.

Once I had absorbed the glorious moment it was time to ride some other rides. Obviously the wacky worm needed to be done as it was one we hadn't done. More shame was to be had when we got the classic operator shove out of the station, but again a-cred's-a-cred in 2020!

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Second one of these in a day!

Next it was onto the other rides and the one I'd been waiting to take people on! The infamous Tagada! There are a few of these rides travelling the UK but they're not that common and are banned in a number of countries due their high injury rate from their lack of restraints and bumpy nature. That's pretty much the whole point of the ride. You have to hold on otherwise you'll end up on the floor or in a stranger's lap! This was my second ride on one so I got to fully enjoyed the laughter and terror on my victim's faces as they experienced this ride for the first time.

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I took an off-ride video which is here if you'd like to see what the ride is like (1 min onwards shows the main event):

It's one of those rides that you just laugh your way through. Utter chaos and madness.

We did a few other rides, including me being bag lady whilst everyone did the Rotor. I had decided that my next centrifuge ride after braving the Gravitron in Wales was going to be a Round-up and then maybe I'd work up to a Rotor as they look like the most sickly and claustrophobic of the lot.

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Everyone proceeded to come off a bit green and wobbly so I had no regrets with my decision!

The fair was a nice bonus to end the day with. Next up was West Midlands Safari Park the next day!
 

MouseAT

Active Member
As promised, I’ll start this post off with a link to my pictures from the West Midlands weekend. You can find them all at http://mouseat.co.uk/albums/august-2020-west-midlands.

Whenever you have a bunch of goons planning a trip to smaller parks, the conversation inevitably turns into “what else is there in the area?”. We all knew that we’d be able to see everything Dudley Zoo had to offer within a few hours, and so the search began to see if there were any nearby creds that we could pick up. Somebody noticed the fair at Merry Hill, then a few trip reports were found on YouTube, and before we knew it, ideas were forming.
  • Two creds; A low to the ground oval thing, and a wacky worm, this time sans apple? Yay for a +2.
  • Vile spinning things that put the “spew” in “spin and spew”? No thanks, but present and accounted for.
  • A rotor, something I’d never ridden before, but that's closely related to the awesome Gravitron? Well, I'm up for trying one!
  • A fab spinny and bouncy ride that looks like pure madnesss. Pure, unadulterated mechanical stupidity. I’m sure that’ll end well. Let’s do it!
Yeah, that all sounds like the basis for a great plan.

We started with the creds; Emily got her 600th, we grabbed the Big Apple in case it started feeling spiteful, and then moved on to the flat rides.

The rotor was definitely one of the more notable rides I’ve done. They’re intense, they’re forceful, they’re a little disorienting, and whilst I wasn’t feeling unwell by the end of the ride, I think all of us who decided to ride were a bit unsteady on our feet as we exited the barrel. It was an interesting experience to say the least, and not something I’d be keen to repeat on a regular basis, but given they seem to be fairly rare these days, I’d make the effort to ride another if I come across one on my travels.

Then there’s the infamous tagada, a ride so mad that it gets filed under “WTF, I don’t even…” There’s spinning, there’s ejector airtime and there’s being constantly launched into your fellow riders, all the time grinning so much that it feels like your face is about to melt off. The whole ride is just insane hilarity from beginning to end, especially when riding with friends, and I’d definitely recommend that everybody ride one at least once if you get the opportunity.

The remaining flat rides were mostly a bit of fun, but weren’t particularly memorable overall. We all ended up riding slightly different subsets of the remaining rides, and by the time we’d used up our remaining ride tokens, we all pretty much ready to head to a nearby Nandos for a few hours of food, drinks and random conversation, followed by a round or two of drinks in the local pub. With a successful first day behind us, it was time to turn in for the night, and get some much needed rest before our visit to West Midland Safari Park.
 

MouseAT

Active Member
Sunday morning rolled around, and it was time for what, weirdly enough, would be the most theme park-like attraction of the weekend: West Midland Safari Park.

Coaster wise, there’s the fairly typical +3, consisting of a big apple, roller skater, and spinning mouse. There’s also Venom, a well-regarded Fabbri drop tower, and a reasonable selection of water and flat rides to round out the selection. If you’re planning on riding more than just the coasters, wristbands are available, and it’s worth checking to see if the park is offering a discount for pre-booking them along with safari park entry. There’s also a bunch of interesting animal attractions, and the safari itself.

Getting in to the safari park can take a while when it’s busy, so expect to spend some time queueing in your car. From the entrance, it was clear that the drive-through safari was already packed with vehicles, bumper to bumper, and staff at the entrance booths were advising us to park up, visit the walk-around attractions, and save the main safari until later. We were here as much for the rides as we were the drive-through, so that worked for us.

The first thing that’s apparent on entering the park is the attention to detail. Effort has been made to theme just about everything, from the rides to the restaurants and animal enclosures. Even rides such as the basic travelling log flume have been themed, and their ghost train, whilst not great, has an African witch doctor theme which I can’t recall being attempted anywhere else.

Once again, I’d advise against trying to cred run this park. Take your time, ride anything that interests you, and make the effort to check out everything that’s available to see. You can definitely spend a big chunk of the day at the park, especially if it’s moderately busy, so plan accordingly. I reckon we must have spent at least four hours in the walk-around areas, and that’s without seeing the sea lion show. We’d intended to check that out as well, but with social distancing measures in place, capacity was reduced significantly, and unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the queue in time to get seats for the show. At least that’ll be something new to check out if I’m going to be back in the general area, and fancy a return visit.

It was late afternoon by the time we were ready to return to the cars, and experience the drive-thru safari. Earlier in the day it had looked horrific, and would probably have taken 2-3 hours to get through. By around 3:30pm, it had quietened down, and we were able to get through the whole thing in just over an hour. As Fi had kindly offered to be the designated driver to and from the Merry Hill fair the previous day, I offered to return the favour and drive everyone through the safari so that we could experience it as a group. If you don’t particularly want to take your car through, or if you arrive without a car, I believe the park offer bus tours through the animal enclosures as an alternative. There are no monkey enclosures here, so antennas and windscreen wipers are probably safe, but you should expect to have to manoeuvre around the odd zebra or ibex on your way through.

The park sells animal feed, so the animals will normally come up close to the vehicles as they pass through the safari area, although they’re quick to figure out which cars have food for them, and will quickly move on from the ones that aren’t feeding them. There’s an excellent selection of animals, and many of the enclosures have some sort of themed structure within them. Some areas were closed off for redevelopment during our visit, which is encouraging. It would be very easy for a park such as this one to get complacent, assume that they’ve got all of the attractions they’d ever want, and just focus on maintaining the ones that they already have, so the fact that they still seem to be dedicated to improving areas of the park gets a big thumbs up from me.

By the time we were done with the Safari, it must have been getting on for 4:30 in the afternoon. We’d had a lengthy, fulfilling day out at West Midland Safari Park, but there was still one remaining cred to get in nearby Stourport-on-Severn before we went our separate ways.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you guys had a nice day, and I’ll admit I’ve really enjoyed reading all of these trip reports!

I went to WMSP for the first time myself last October, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by it for what it was! I’ll agree with you in saying that the park is pretty nicely themed, and when I was there, it was also very well decorated for Halloween! In terms of attractions; I did Monkey Mayhem, Rhino Coaster and Venom (I couldn’t quite bring myself to ride African Big Apple...), and while I didn’t enjoy Monkey Mayhem (I’m not a fan of Reverchon spinners at all), Rhino Coaster is fun enough for what it is, and Venom was a huge surprise, actually becoming my favourite UK drop tower (although I suppose it wasn’t that huge of a surprise given that I absolutely love Detonator too...)!

Based on my experience at West Midlands, I think Drayton Manor is in very good hands, personally!
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Ah yes, West Midland Safari Park. Nice report MouseAT!

I had been before but only had one of the credits so was pleased to finally mop up the rest. The park is safari themed, including the rides and restaurants so it's more immersive than some animal attractions and feels very theme park-esque in places.

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The themed entrance building

I definitely second the ride wristband idea as there's quite a few rides to do and you can go around at a nice chilled pace. The Fabbri drop tower Venom was vastly more intense than any other other rides at the park and really punched you down to the ground! Don't let it's height fool you!

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Once you drop, you really drop!

We had a chat with an enthusiast staff member on Black Fly which was nice. I seem to remember getting quite wet on the log flume and then even wetter on the portable rapids. The spinning mouse was quite spinny too I think.

In terms of other things to do, the park has both a dinosaur and prehistoric animal walkthroughs that are well-done and a bit of fun. You don't always see the latter in parks.

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A lovely bunch

There's also some other animal exhibits and of course the show that we missed. There's quite a lot to do in the walk-around area.

Then of course there's the drive-through which, as Mouse has explained, definitely works best (at least during the current times) when done later in the day as it's a lot less busy. In terms of drive-through safaris, I'd say it's one of the better ones I've done (which is a few). You've got all the usual smaller hoofstock plus giraffe, elephants, lions, tigers, cheetah, rhinos etc and it's nicely laid out. Some bits even have some theming. If you're lucky enough you can catch the local steam railway trains going past the elephant paddock as well but we didn't see one that day.

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Just one lot of the many furry road blocks we came across

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Giraffe

The expansion looks interesting, I think it's for safari lodges overlooking the drive-through. I know the park have had a number of rumoured big plans for the future in the past such as a water park and hotel. I'm not sure what is still on the table but it's definitely a park to watch as I think they seem to have big plans to create a resort destination.

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A look at the work being done for the safari lodges from inside the drive-through

All-in-all West Midland Safari Park is a fun and varied day out and has a nice mix of rides, attractions and animals that will suit all ages!


We then popped along to Treasure Island in Stourport-on-Severn on the way home which was a very odd place. There were random ride parts strewn around and an odd abundance of plastic models.

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????

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The cred in question.

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Don't think this had been open in a while!

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🤔


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As you do.

Very much a one-and-done stop but a +1 is a +1 and it rounded off a fun trip to the midlands! I think that finishes my last post in this mega-thread so hopefully it's been mildly entertaining! It's been nice to spend some time looking back at last year's escapades over the extra-long closed season!
 
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