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Nitefly’s Neapolitan Adventures (Chapters 1-3)

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
Ahoy, weary traveller.

I’ve recently visited a couple of parks, with another trip upcoming at the end of this month. These parks are not *fresh* experiences and I’m quite conscious of repetition from other reports. At the very least, these trips don’t feel like they each warrant their own obnoxious thread. Yet, there are some experiences that, in isolation, may be readable. If only there was some way to somehow condense these three vignettes into one consumable portion.

Enter the 'Neapolitan':

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As anyone who’s ever been served ice cream at Nan’s house will tell you, a bowl of 'Neapolitan' sounds like a good idea (certainly compared to any choc-ice alternative). Of course, all you are left with is a pining for something better. Or perhaps wishing that you had nothing at all.

Enough foreplay. I’ll now give my usual polite warning for crass language and other content that may be considered crude.

Hold tight. It’s about to get… spicy.

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Chapter 1: Energylandia (Dawn of the First Day - 3 days remaining)

My trip to Energylandia was notable to me, in part, as I would be forsaking my loved ones and be joined by two non-enthusiast friends, whose arms I had managed to twist to an impromptu jaunt (perhaps in part due to the promise of Saturday night mad-lash in Krakow the following day). This gave the whole experience a different flavour: a bit less ‘frolicking with animated Disney birds’ and a bit more ‘farting in a tent at year 7 camp’.

We stayed at Western Camp, obviously. Using a ‘ride-hailing-app’ to and from Western Camp / the airport / Krakow was cheap and recommended. The other caveat is that ride-hailing from Energylandia is not necessarily immediate, so I wouldn’t rely on that if you have an early flight. Our late night flight to Krakow cruised in with plenty of time to raid the McDonalds before closing, ahead of hitting Energylandia the following day. I was supremely excited by the outline of Hyperion in the distance, although my friends were at this point disinterested. Fools!

The cabins at Western Camp are a mixed bag. At face value, delightful. Yet, no sound proofing whatsoever. The biggest downside though was the perpetual alien abduction. Seriously, who though it was a good idea to have this monstrous green light beaming down on your bed?!

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I kept waking up intermittently and thinking I was hunting down Agent Starling. I genuinely could have read a book with no additional light. It was ****ing insane.

Time passed and I was now in the early hours. With airport beers, the late-night McDonalds and E.T. all doing their best to keep me awake, I descended into a Lovecraftian madness. A cacophony of laughter grew and the room span round, whilst I helplessly tossed and turned. Was I really at Western Camp, or was it all a dream? In my agony, I suddenly realised that pancakes are called pancakes because they are cakes made in a pan, causing tears to grace my pillow. What else didn’t I know...?

Several sleepless hours and Aristotle-like revelations later, I woke up feeling like I’d been on an all night bender. The room already smelt like **** and crisps. The situation was not improved by the generous spraying of Lynx deodorant. I hid under my pillow from the Swedish House Mafia, who were already tongueing my ears via a naff portable speaker.

Nothing could dampen my spirits for the park itself though. Nervous gasps erupted from my companions as they saw Hyperion in the daylight for the first time. There is a special sort of excitement that is generated by the opportunity of sharing a passion and I immediately went into full enthusiast mode, telling them all about the excitement that lay ahead of them.

Nitefly: “Oh man, I’m so stoked for today, you guys are going to get to go on Zadra!! It’s an RMC!!! :)

Friend A: “RMC?”

Nitefly: “It’s a special type of rollercoaster - the best ever made!!!”

Friend A: “What does it stand for?”

N: “Rocky Mountain Construction! They only started making them about 10 years ago, when they converted a famous wooden rollercoaster in Texas. They are known for taking old wooden rollercoasters and making them into ‘hybrids’, using wood and metal. But more importantly, they do manoeuvres that are really extreme, way crazier than any rides before them… so much airtime! Airtime is what it’s called when your bum is out of your seat. They really perfected it. Since their originals, which had a special topper track time, they then started deploying a new type of track called “i-box” and that’s what we’ll be riding today and -“

A: “WAIT….. RMC…. you mean… the Rocky Mountain Club?!”

N: “Uh… I…. didn’t say that?”

Friend B: “Yeah, you did. That’s what I heard. RMC: the Rocky Mountain Club.”

A: “Sounds like a goooooooood club.”

N: “…..”

B: “How much does it cost?”

N: “… what?”

B: “Club membership. To the Rocky Mountain Club.”

N: “….”

A: “Must be expensive when there’s only one member.”

B: “Ha yes. One member of the Rocky Mountain Club!”

A: “More like… the Rocky **** Club!”

B: “No, the ****ty **** Club!”

A: “Yeah, the SSC!”

B: “Haha yeah! SSC, SSC!”

A+B (chanting and dancing around Nitefly): *SSC! SSC! SSC! SSC!*
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Energylandia is without a doubt the greatest and ****** park in Europe. If Limp Bizkit’s cover of George Michael’s “Faith” was a theme park, then I have no doubt that Energylandia would be it. We trotted passed the tat and over to RMF Dragon, which I promised would be a decent ‘warm-up’. Wowzers, what a truly outstanding ride this is, for its size and type. All smiles and laughs from all on this. It’s a shame that this is buried at Energylandia and sort of forgotten about.

Then it was time for the big boy: King Zadra himself. Both friends found themselves in a state of awe and nervousness as we approached. Even I felt a little nervous: Zadra is a spectacle to observe, let alone ride. And, oh boy, what a ride. WHAT A ****ING RIDE. YES! Zadra’s delivery was of the absolute highest DPD standard, leaving all other coasters looking like a pathetic Hermes effort. My second ride on Zadra (on the front row, later in the day) was so strong that I don’t actually think that any ride will ever top that specific ride. It was outrageous in and of itself, but there was something particularly memorable about having a non-enthusiast totally convinced by the supremacy and cheering with you all the way; the SSC most definitely has at least two members now, you’ll be pleased to know. This second ride was so special that I opted not to have a third - why challenge a perfect memory? Intriguingly, the other friend (who typically spends his spare time jumping out of planes and is currently learning to paraglide) had bailed on riding Zadra a second time, as it was too much for him the first time. I’m pretty sure that this has something to do with ‘beers’, which is a subject I will revisit later.

Round the corner we went to Abyssus, which I was seriously excited for. A sprawling long coaster, similar to Lech, with multiple launches? On paper, I may as well have had Abyssus tattooed on my face before I’d even ridden it. Alas, this ride really wasn’t for me. Not on this visit at least. About half-way through the ride I started feeling quite ill and the ride just kept on going and going to the point where I was willing it to end. Abyssus wrecked me and I have no doubt that this was in part due to consumption of alcohol the night before and dehydration. But, as I will expand on in Chapter 2, I definitely react negatively to perpetual slow but notable shifts in positive forces - not dissimilar to a boat bobbing on the rough seas, if you’re ever unfortunate enough to have experienced that. Abyssus definitely had that effect on me. Give me longer more drawn out forces and sensations, or shorter doses of stronger ones. Either way, less in-the-middle ‘wibbling around’, please. I was not more enamoured on my second ride. There is nothing really that stands out and (whilst I hate to say this) it almost felt like ‘a coaster for the sake of a coaster’. I was so indifferent, I questioned whether I was simply bored of coasters in general (although my second ride on Zadra later on put a swift end to that heresy). Post-Abyssus, a delicious snickers ice cream had the effect of a Senzu bean and I was back on the ride wagon… until the backwards section of the new junior boomerang made me question my life choices once again.

Beyond that, there is not much to say about the new ‘Aqualantis’ area. It’s a step above the usual Energylandia tat when it comes to theming, but it’s not particularly notable.

Other highlights / lowlights in no particular order:

- Hyperion is an absolute monster and the sensation of speed makes the front row the go to row. In fact, the same is true of Zadra. Having done both the front and back of Zadra, Hyperion and Abyssus all on the same day, the rule of thumb was cemented in my mind that the front row is typically always superior, particularly for the sensation of speed and general aesthetics. Indeed, airtime is also often superior in the front as you are ‘pushed over’ the hills. Sure, the back has it’s moments, but front row all the way. Oh, go on then have a photo:

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- The lift hill on Speed is terrifying and the ride itself is a riot. We got absolutely soaked, to the point where we even used a ‘drying booth’ to soften the blow.

- The haunted / monster house thing is absolutely ****. Monsters and ghouls I get, but why do generic transformer clones suddenly make an appearance? Why are the models all so tatty? Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?!

- Some cheeky crack-smoker we met in a queue genuinely thought that Mayan was the best ride in the park.

- Mr. Extreme Skydiver's favourite ride ended up being Abyssus. Huh.

- Oh yeah, 'beers'. We all died from being dehydrated and it was a fairly 'low ride count' day when it came to the coasters. I don't think I'll make that mistake again. It probably blighted Abyssus for me on that first ride but, still, my second 'fresher' ride on it was also disappointing, so I left the park with a less than stellar view of Abyssus.

I’ll wrap up by saying that I wasn’t putting up with that green light for night two; I wanted some rest before heading to Krakow in the morning. I showed reception the above photo to which they agreed to deploy a technician. This was their solution:

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Actually, I take that back. It was my solution, since at first they didn’t think to use the pamphlet at all. Regardless, at 4am the whole thing fell off the ceiling and illuminated me once more. Now, if you look closely into my cold, dead eyes... you may well see that green light shining back at you.

Chapters 2 and 3 upcoming soon. Thanks for reading.
 
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Matt N

CF Legend
Great report @Nitefly!

Glad to hear that you had an enjoyable visit to Energylandia, although I'm sorry to hear that Abyssus didn't do it for you. I'm hearing quite a few rather non-plussed reviews of Abyssus now, and I'll admit I'm rather disheartened given that the hype was so high for it during construction.

Out of interest, is this Neopolitan blend of adventures only from within Poland, or did you go elsewhere?
 

Will

Strata Poster
Enjoyed that - laughed out loud at least twice, and I feel your pain - my only visit to EL was whilst feeling the worse for wear after a misspent previous evening - exactly why I intend to be a good boy and go to bed at 10:00 when I visit in a couple of weeks.

I too am sad to read the many unfavourable reviews of Abyssus as, like you say, on paper it seems brilliant. I was arguably looking forward to it more than Zadra, as (based solely on Untamed) I'm not the biggest RMC fan. I guess I'll have to draw my own conclusions :)

Also, my mind turned SSC into SLC, so I'm possibly even more of a goon!!
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
@Matt N - Thanks. It’s intended to be an amalgamation of unconnected trips and the other parks to be ‘featured’ are not in Poland. If you’re keen to know where I went to next ahead of my updates, my recent posts will have given it away.

@Will - If you haven’t been on Zadra yet, you are hereby obliged to have a post-3pm front ride row (and likewise on Hyperion). Truly sensational.
 
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Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Another hilarious trip report @Nitefly! You comparing EL to Limp Bizkits cover of Faith had me in stitches. And I'm glad you found a Senzu Bean in the form of a Snickers ice cream!

Oh how I empathised with your green light situation. The first time we did a CF live to Poland, we stayed in a similar camp where no one could sleep because the wind was causing conkers to fall onto the metal roofs of the chalets all night. It was so loud, every time a conker hit I thought we were under attack. No one is allowed a decent nights sleep before EnergyLandia!

I completely agree with you, Hyperion and Zadra are best in the front row. I've had some astonishing front row rides on both of them!

Looking forward to the next installment of neapolitan ice cream!
 

Will

Strata Poster
Eurgh, the pine cones of doom!! :D They really were just constant throughout the night, it was ridiculous!

Knew there was a reason I didn't fancy staying at one of the nearby camps this time around :)
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
Chapter 2: Phantasialand (Dawn of the Second Day - two days remaining)

*Suggested music for your listening pleasure*

For this trip, Mrs. Nitefly would be joining me for a two night stay at the much hyped ‘Hotel Charles Lindbergh’. I’m very pleased to report that Phantasialand have absolutely smashed it out of the park with this one. We had the most wonderful time.

Well, we did, but only from when we got there. If Stansted is the ‘final boss of **** airports’, especially travelling from Bristol, then Cologne-Bonn is the ‘secret hidden final boss of **** airports’. It took nearly 90 minutes to get through passport control, which was longer than the ****ing flight. Using a ‘ride sharing app’ from CB was not particularly easy either due to a lack of signal and drivers. The driver then ignored (or did not follow) the instructions given to us by said ‘ride sharing app’ and we spent perhaps 15-20 minutes tracking him down. By the time we found him, it was close to 9pm and still a 30 minute journey to the hotel - surely too late for our much anticipated 3-course dinner. “You went to the wrong pick-up place” he chuckled, causing me to silently resemble a Francis Bacon painting in the seat behind him.

HCL was therefore a sight for very sore-eyes when we arrived. The gentleman at reception (in a well-themed uniform) cheerfully greeted us as aeronaughts and reassured us, without prompt and to much relief, that we had plenty of time to get dinner at the restaurant. He then enthusiastically and 'in character' talked us through the most absurdly elaborate and (relatively) beautiful collection of tickets and pamphlets, which all folded away into a neat little pack that was most pleasing:

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At some point during this animated monologue, I could feel myself welling up.

I thoroughly recommend arriving at HCL at night, as it’s all a little mysterious and magical. Finding our room and seeing Rookburgh and Fly for the first time, all illuminated, was supremely exciting and we both had a giddy, childish sense of anticipation not dissimilar to arriving at, say, one of the Universal Studio’s hotels in Florida and perusing City Walk ahead of your first day at the parks the following morning.

The room itself (with its two single beds) was fun and quirky as expected yet surprisingly plush and comfortable, so in that regard absolutely nothing like a ‘Shark Hotel’ sweatbox. I particularly enjoyed the decent shower room, although Mrs. Nitefly protested that the mirror was comically high (of course, being a giant I ignored her complaint with a hearty condescending laugh). If you get the opportunity to visit, I do recommend reading the cute ‘hotel FAQ logbook’ written in first person in the form of an aeronaught’s diary (!) when taking some downtime, as it’s little details like this that really add to the feeling of an ‘experience’. The 'diary' informed me that the pod had cycled air that made it feel like ‘sleeping outside’…. upon reading this I realised, to my amazement, that - yes - the air was beautifully fresh in the pod. How fun! The 'diary' also provided a mysterious phone number 'direct to the host' for matters 'too sensitive for or beyond the competencies of reception'. What the **** is this number? Dial-a-nosh?!

The theming around the hotel and all of Rookburgh is absolutely insane and it must surely be one of the most well themed experiences on earth. If you’ve ever walked into Diagon Alley at Universal Studios in Florida and thought “wow!”, you’ll know the ballpark I’m speaking of here. In fact, we both agreed that we preferred it to Harry Potter areas in Orlando. The bar and restaurant areas were on point; fun and quirky, yet also quite plush. Even the pool table, platform and cues felt surprisingly premium. The menus for the bar and restaurant were in the form of delightful themed newspapers (albeit in German). As for food, the evening offering was on point for what it needed to be and as perfect of a balance between ‘fun, tasty, speedy and filling’ as I could want. In addition, the breakfast was surprisingly decent. I was very impressed.

If I were to reach for something to criticise, for the sake of trying to curb my ‘first romance’-esque gushing, then it would be some of the music choices in the restaurant and bar areas. The chirpy jazzy brass music (during breakfast) would have driven me crazy outside of the themed steampunk aesthetic (in which I admit it was quite fitting) whilst the ‘80s pop-rock’ in the bar at night (think Journey, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams) was a little safe and occasionally jarring with the aesthetic. Otherwise, all sorts of strange noises and creaks were playing out of speakers in the hotel stairwells, which made me feel like I was on a submerged, solitary submarine (a sensation that I evidently enjoy).

Here are some snaps:

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It really was just fabulous and in particular a real treat to see it all now, looking as ‘fresh and premium’ as it did. A further cherry on the cake was that the customer service was consistently excellent (not only in the hotel, but in the park throughout our stay). In addition to the wonderful greeting at reception, all other staff were very friendly, completely at odds with our woeful experiences at the Ling Bao hotel last year. On one particularly memorable occasion, a waiter brought over a colleague to help with translations, immediately causing me to profusely apologise for being an idiotic ‘English-only’ person. The response was an immediately an unreserved and unnecessarily warm response along the lines of: “Oh no, please, don’t be silly! We are absolutely delighted to have you here!”. Redeemed.

The asking price for a mid-week two night stay in an ‘aeronaught pod’ for was ~£650 (with breakfast and a 3-course dinner for each night, plus 3 days worth of park tickets - although we only ever intended on two days in the park - and 3 ‘front of line’ access cards for Fly which could be used on any day). Taking into account the park tickets and evening food, I do not think that this pricing was aggressively more expensive than the other on-site hotels. It was certainly a much more fun experience than Ling-Bao and, my ultimate statement of approval, we would both love to stay there again.

Hotel Charles Lindbergh, you were truly excellent - *claps enthusiastically*

Fly itself is much harder to rate. I still don’t really know what to make of it. Aesthetically and in concept, it is perhaps unbeatable. Yet, after our first ride (which was admittedly at the end of the first day after we has already taken a bashing), we both quite sick and exhausted. “There’s no way I’m going straight back on that” was my very first comment on the brake run, which was followed by strong agreement from a very dizzy Mrs. Nitefly, who almost never suffers from any sort of ride sickness. Our second ride on Fly, which was our first ride on day two, also knocked us for six and left us wondering whether we could stomach a third. We nevertheless gambled a third voyage as our penultimate ride of the trip. The gamble paid off and for some reason this was really good and by far our favourite of our three rides on Fly. Perhaps it was due to stronger forces on the back, which are less seasick-inducing than on the middle of the train. Separately, a looser restraint led me to having increased weight on my shins, which was quite uncomfortable, so it’s worth experimenting with a tighter chest restraint for your own comfort. My experiences with Fly and Abyssus have certainly tested the hypothesis that ‘a longer coaster is better’.

Other highlights / lowlights / thoughts in no particular order:

- Our first day in the park (a Thursday) was chock full of horrible schoolchildren, many of which were added to my deathlist further to queue-jumping or just general ****ish behaviour. As I explained to Mrs. Nitefly at our romantic dinner that evening, I didn’t necessarily want them to die painfully, but it was very important that they all died whilst knowing, in their final moments, why they had died. Mrs. Nitefly nodded and smiled sweetly (in appreciation of my nuanced consideration).

- Mystery Castle is a superb drop tower. I definitely recommend the shorter ride cycle in the morning for your first experience. Without wishing to spoil it for others:

I think it’s the acceleration during the ascent that makes it for me. It really caught me off guard even though I knew it was coming (from my last trip). This unexpected scare then conjures anxiety for the remainder of the ride and increased fear for the drop. As you may know, there is a ‘shorter’ morning cycle and also a ‘longer’ afternoon cycle. The shorter ride is superior. With the ‘longer’ cycle, the ride seems to just faff around and almost feels as if it broken down, which ruins the shock of the ‘lights out.... and uppp YOU GO’.

- Tikal, the junior drop tower, is hilarious. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much on a ride as this one. These smaller drop towers have become must-dos for me and the cycle on this one is particularly great.

- I mentioned this in my previous trip report from the park, but the front row of Colerado Coaster is a bizarre experience. Because of the length of the trains and the layout of the track, you end up meandering down the drops and accelerating up the hills, which leads to an amusing and wild ride.

- Hot off the heels of Zadra and Hyperion, I was surprised to find that Taron and Black Member were both just…. sort of a thing. The Polish giants are in a completely different, superior league, than even these premium offerings. Clearly, size matters (*gulp*). Of course, Talocan and Chiapas are both excellent and top tier in their respective ride categories.

- I think that the sum of Phantasialand’s coaster offerings suffers slightly from having three ‘major’ coasters deliberately designed in-part to be of the “exciting near miss variety”. Each offers (as I know in the case of Taron, but as I presume in the case of both Fly and Black Mamba) exceptional front row experiences, but that design choice offers limited benefit in the remaining rows.

- One poor lady on our River Quest raft got an unholy devil’s dunking. Her jeans went from light blue, to entirely dark blue. I could barely believe how soaked she got. River Quest is surely one of the most aggressively wet water rides out there.

- Phantasialand has some really crap merch and a rubbish shop. Every so often, the silent speakers would whisper “chiaaaaapaaaaas” - which seems like it should have been changed several years ago. I've also never seen these rare Phantasialand dragons that were plastered all over the merch. Actual dragons are rarer. How odd is this t-shirt??

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I don't get it.

- Mrs. Nitefly activated an infinite-acceleration-cheat-mode on the slide at the end of the funhouse due to her lycra leggings, which in turn caused me to look like the chap on right of the below image (which for some reason is located on the funhouse floor) as she bowled over several adults. Strike!!

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All in all, a fabulous time at Phantasialand.

Part 3 will land in the upcoming weeks. Thanks for reading.

~~~~~

Edit: Having read and approved of this report, Mrs. Nitefly fixed me a Campari with a snake garnish as a treat. Not a bad reward for a hard night's reporting.

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Cheers *raises glass*
 
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Matt N

CF Legend
Great report as usual @Nitefly! Glad to hear Rookburgh blew you away, and that you had a nice time at Phantasialand!

With regard to FLY; sorry to hear you were a bit underwhelmed. Given your seemingly very high opinion of the notoriously intense Lech Coaster (your #3 according to your recent post in the top 10 thread?), I’ll admit that I find it very interesting that you seem to have found both FLY and Abyssus a bit too much for you; I was under the impression that Lech was more intense than both based on reviews, but do you feel that FLY and Abyssus are more intense than Lech? Or is it due to something different (for instance, the types of forces)? Having never ridden any of the 3, though, I wouldn’t know!

Your wife’s funhouse incident reminds me of something that happened to me in the Wilde Maus XXL queue at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. While there wasn’t a slide, the ride had a funhouse-style queue, and there was a sliding bit of floor that slid a lot more quickly than I was expecting, and I slipped and nearly bowled over the poor woman directly in front of me! It was incredibly embarrassing…
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
@Matt N I wasn't 'underwhelmed' with Fly in the conventional 'it was bad' sense. It was more that the experience made me feel quite 'coaster-sick' and was generally far more uncomfortable than a typical coaster. It was telling that Mrs. Nitefly felt similar as she is usually the one rolling her eyes at my requests for a sit down and a rest.

The back row was, for some reason, far more bearable. Expanding on what I said above, I assume that it's a prolonged duration of middling, 'to-and-fro' forces (vertically and horizontally) that made me feel queasy on both Fly and Abyssus. That sort of lurching, 'bobbing in a boat' / 'riding a camel' vibe, you know? I don't think I can tolerate that for longer periods. Fly was then really quite forceful and thrilling in the back, pushing us into the restraints and giving us notable airtime. In that seat, it was far more tolerable to both of us and a much better ride. Mrs. Nitefly went as far as saying that the ride had 'redeemed itself'. We nevertheless both detested the 'barrel roll' inversions in any seat - blergh.

Meanwhile, Lech turned up the thrill dial to 10/10 for the shorter duration with strong forces throughout, but somehow I survived 9 rides (back-to-back, pretty much) on Lech over an hour or so. Absolutely no coaster sickness from me on that... but at that point I had already been theme parking for a solid week. Maybe I had grown accustomed. I am curious how I would handle Lech now.

In summary, my biggest take from Fly was that it made me feel ill which limited my ability for re-rdes. Even then, I enjoyed Fly more than Abyssus (in ride experience, aesthetics and concept) and clearly the seat choice and the harness tightness makes a bigger difference on Fly than on other rides. I would go for 'maximum staple' with the chest harness to avoid unpleasant sagging at the knees (i.e. excess weight on your shins) when in the 'flying' position.

Abyssus was 'underwhelming' in a conventional sense, unfortunately. A super-long, queasiness-inducing, diet-coke version of Lech. If you compare these videos back to back you'll see what I mean:



Get yourself out to Poland and test them for yourself :)
 
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Satanspropaganda

Roller Poster
If Limp Bizkit’s cover of George Michael’s “Faith” was a theme park, then I have no doubt that Energylandia would be it.
This is quite literally the best summary of Energylandia anyone has ever given. I broke two ribs when seeing Limp Bizkit play that song, 10/10 would go back for more.
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
Chapter 3: Alton Towers (Dawn of the Final Day)

Nitefly: “Is it coming now? Yes......?"

Mrs. Nitefly: "....Yesssss!”

Together: “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!!!” \o/

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It was all kicking off in the Nitefly-mobile when the M5 slug building came into view. After all, for a Nitefly, being this far north can only ever mean one thing.... adventure. Our final travels of the season would see us visit Alton Towers for 2 days over the Halloween weekend. Huzzah!

For our accommodation, we stayed a couple of nights at the Dunscombe Arms, a truly delightful Michelin Guide gastropub located a mere 10 minute drive from the park. Our room was in the 2018 built ‘Walnut House’ and it really was very nice indeed (featuring a delightful 'wet room' with a walk in shower). There are cheaper offerings in the vicinity but if you do fancy something a little fancier than the norm as a treat, or something truly relaxing to offset a bustling theme park, I would definitely recommend it.

Our room did have a couple of notable quirks. First, the room brochure had a section advertising Alton Towers:

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My face reading that:

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As there is no mention of the Smiler and an amusing emphasis on Sub Terra, I’m guessing… 2012.

Secondly, the wallpaper in the second toilet was comically miserable:

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“I’ve never seen anything like this….”, I thought to myself (as I concluded a particularly gassy poo).

I do wish to make a point of comparison with accomodation: the price for a standard room for two nights at the Alton Towers Hotel, for the ‘Halloween weekend’ in 2022 is an astonishing £707. What the flying **** is going on there?! Who is paying that much for such awful accommodation! Please do resist the temptation to spend hard earned money on the utter dross offered by Alton Towers when there are spectacular alternatives nearby for a significantly cheaper price.

As some of you may know, staying close to Alton Towers (but off the main roads) does lead to some Sat Nav fun. On one drive, we were taken to the park via Wooton Lane which is immediately to the left of the park's main entrance. There must surely be some sort of hunting venue nearby, as this road was chock full of hundreds of game birds (pheasants etc), who enjoyed playing chicken with the Nitefly-mobile and brought us to a standstill. The horn was a-honking. The headlights were a-flashing. But little progress was made. The best tactic to move the offending birds, that I can offer you, is to wind down your windows and bellow a mightly"MA-REEEEEEEEP!".

A final 'non-park' thing. Being in the area at Halloween, we set aside time to go and see the chained oak tree (of Hex fame) for the first time. This was super easy to get to: a 5 minute walk from the Dimmingsdale Valley and Furnace Forest Car Park', itself a 5 minute drive from Alton Towers. Really worth doing.

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Now, the park itself. Scarefest (being Alton Tower's Halloween offering) is generally an excellent time to visit, subject to the below point re: queues. The opportunity to have night rides, together with the ‘spooky’ ambience and decoration, is really rather good. Plus, it’s worth remembering that a 2-day pass works out at around £25 each a day without the need for voucher faff or an annual pass. Unfortunately, the standard queues were miserably long all weekend, particularly with the Smiler and Hex both being closed, Thirteen being shut >50% of the time due to rain, plus it being actual Halloween and the weekend of a school half-term (!). If I'm honest, it was a ‘fast-pass or go home’ affair. So do factor that in.

Highlights / lowlights / thoughts in no particular order:

- As per last year, Wicker Man at night was pretty darn fab. Likewise, the illuminated garden walk was brilliant.

- I have a new suggested tagline for Thirteen: “If you go down to the woods today… it better not ****ing rain.” Here’s the deal with the new operations: when a millilitre of rain graces the park, Thirteen stops. Once desert-like conditions have recommenced, a 15 minute countdown begins and only after that do they start testing cars. The whole thing takes about 25 minutes from when barely detectable light drizzle ceases. So long as this policy is in effect, I would definitely check the weather before joining a long queue for Thirteen. It must have been utterly maddening for anyone in the 90+ minute outdoor queue.

- We had additional companions on the first day and a friendly competition was declared in the queue for Duel: the two girls in the front vs. the two boys in the back. It quickly became apparent that my blaster (in the back) was broken. Unable to accept defeat, I quickly channeled my inner Rocky and stretched with all my might to use the spare gun in the front middle. I ****ing dare you to try it. Stretch Armstrong would see me and be like "GOD DAYYYMMMMMN!". Notwithstanding the increased difficulty, thanks to my sharpened ‘House of the Dead 2’ skills I was able to smash the girls’ scores combined - hurrrghn!!! I took great joy in mansplaining my secret techniques to an infuriated Mrs. Nitefly, giving her all the fuel she needed to absolutely smash my score during our private battle on the second day. Arse.

- I was finally able to get a ride on Gansta Granny which surpassed my low expectations. The use of screens (of which there are many) wasn’t particularly bothersome, perhaps due to the basic animation-style. The ride was quite long too. It’s not definitely not in the same category as, say, Snorri Touren, but overall not bad.

- It has no ‘exotic and hard to get to’ Japanese appeal, it’s not new and shiny, nor is it a ‘stats legend’… but my god, Nemesis is an absolute beast of a roller coaster. What a ****ing ride!!! Nemesis is so goddamn good, I feel like I could write an essay on its supremacy. I always insist on the front row (anywhere else seems rude) and, once more, I left the ride in awe. There is just something about its ominous theme and music, plus the way it sits in the ground and its general design, that makes me think: “masterpiece”. The only other ‘ride package’ that conjures such a sense of awe in me is Tower of Terror (in Orlando). My one minor gripe is that stupid voice in the station that needs to be turned off.

I always notice new things about Nemesis and this occasion was no different. I’ve always known that the first helix was tight and intense, but it’s never really dawned on my just how steep the decent within that helix actually is. Look at the height difference of the track going in and out of the element:

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That’s ****ing insane! No wonder I’m often greying out as I’m yanked up and over the station. Nemesis, I hereby grant thee entry into my ’S-grade’ coaster category (putting an end to that category being exclusive Polish). Congratulations. You earned it.

- Flavio’s Fabulous Fandango is a fun ride (and it looks amazing at night) but has cosmically **** operations. I think there is consistently only one cycle about every 10-15 minutes. Because of the rapidly re-filling ‘accessibly queue’, which got priority access, this was by far our longest wait of the trip. Sort it out, Alton.

- Mixtape is sensational. It amazes me to say that, as it stands, it’s genuinely one of the best rides in the park. I just could not stop laughing. Again, looks fabulous at night. A riot and a complete smash hit.

- Our Day 1 companions were not ones for scare mazes, nor could we really be arsed, so we only ended up doing just the one over the two days: Darkest Depths. Eh, it was OK, but not as good as last year. For one, I’m pretty sure that last year they didn’t have the obnoxious ‘vomit’ smell pods on the go. Who on earth thought that was a good idea? The first half of the maze stank like someone had been sick down the back of a hot radiator that had been left on overnight.

- For the first time in many years, I ventured onto the much feared teacups/barrels (Marauders Mayhem, I believe). I fared OK, but there was an absolutely bizarre series events involving a set of I'm guessing 10-12 year olds. About 10 of them ran to a barrel and launched themselves in. I mean, full on threw themselves headfirst with force over and into barrel, ending up packed like clowns in a clown car, all over the place. "Please note that only 5 people can be in a barrel" the tannoy calmly announced. The clown car showed no signs of unpacking. Eventually the poor ride op. got all but 5 of the pests to leave. However, when the ride finished, the barrel unpacked in a similar fashion... they all jumped out of the barrel (over the side of it) before the ride had finished moving and then launched themselves over the side of the ride’s walls! "..... what are you doing!?!!?" asked the tannoy in dumbfounded disbelief as they sped off in a flurry of rebellious swear words. I think this might be my favourite sort of mischief maker; the sort that is so hellbent on causing mischief, that they will look to cause minor nuisance even if it results in their own personal injury. Godspeed.

In summary, a wonderful time was had by all, once more. When the time finally came to head back home, this time via a more direct route, there was still a little something to look forward to and kick off about...

Nitefly: “Is it coming now? Yes......?"

Mrs. Nitefly: "....Yesssss!”

Together: “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!!!” \o/

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~~~~~

That just about wraps up this final chapter and the end of the 'Neapolitan Adventures'. Next year will hopefully bring about some fresher experiences to report on, but I hope you enjoyed it for what it was. I offer you my best wishes for your next theme park season.

Thanks for reading.
 
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Benenen

Hyper Poster
Nitefly, you've gone and done it again. Awesome report, your writing cracks me up. Already can't wait to hear about what you're up to next season.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Brilliant stuff, thoroughly enjoyed that!
 
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