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Nitefly fears for his life at Paultons Park (and more!)


Mega Poster
**Usual warnings of self-indulgence and language**

Whenever I think of Paultons, I think of this disturbing advert from my childhood.

My impression was that the park was so bad they had to use CGI to make the paid actors look happy. As such, I certainly never asked my parents to take me there (always preferring the thrills of, say, Alton Towers). Now, as a fully grown man-child and theme park enthusiast, I would embark to Paultons Park to taste its exotic and exquisite fruits for the first time. This being a so called 'family park', I invited Mum and Dad to join me. Of course, Mrs. Nitefly was also in tow.

Arriving at Paultons, I was quite impressed with the modest coaster and ride-full skyline. Pleasingly, as this was a non-term weekday, Paultons was deader than corduroy. The crowds were so light that operators frequently needed to wait for riders to run the rides (even on Storm Chaser). I actually thought that most of the rides were down due to their inactivity, but only 'The Edge' and its mini-version were not running that day. Almost every single ride was therefore an instant walk-on for me... with the exception of the tractor ride which had a barbaric 10 minute wait. Clearly, a weekday like this is the way to go. I was not really in it for Peppa Pig World, so my comments do not apply to that.

Mum and Dad would be arriving a little later so we headed straight for Tornado Springs. It's been said a lot already by everyone on all the various vlogs and reviews but, with all sincerity, bravo *applause*. This area is truly outstanding and feels like a labour of love. They have gone above and beyond, blowing the Merlin parks out of the water. Look at all that beautiful shrubbery underneath Storm Chaser, phwoar!!

We hit Storm Chaser first. Very pleasant and fun indeed, nowhere near as intense as something like Dragon's Fury at Chessington. It really is a great 'centrepiece' attraction for the area and the queue area and details etc are of a borderline 'Floridian' standard. Great. We then did our possible favourite ride of the day, the junior Windmill drop tower. This was absolutely hilarious and we were laughing heartily the whole ride. It goes to show that the ride doesn't need to be big or expensive, or even long, it just needs to be a good time. We then hit Buffalo Falls (which was practically identical to Depth Charge at Thorpe Park for all intents and purposes) - short and sweet, very pleasant although I would say a simple slide-ride like this probably isn't worth any sort of considerable wait.

At this point, Mum and Dad arrived... and the vibe of the day and my attitude to it changed considerably. Now, don't get me wrong, I ****ing love Mum and Dad to bits (and enjoyed their company) but there is definitely something to be said for having an awareness of the impact of a bigger group with a variety of preferences. Everything becomes slower, with more toilet breaks and 'general ambling'. I'm quite used to blitzing around a park and doing Mrs. Nitefly and I please, without faff. They weren't particularly bad at faffing or anything, it's just something that I had overlooked as being 'a thing'. I think both Mrs. Nitefly and I gained an appreciation of how 'streamlined' our usual experiences are with just the two of us. Also, there is just something about the presence of Mum and Dad that makes me unduly act like a grumpy, eye-rolling teenager. Their overly good nature and inoffensive mirth has fuelled my rebellious tendencies and even as an adult I found myself occasionally cringing at their harmless activities. I think this means, in-part, that I need to grow the **** up, but do beware of this when inviting family members and employ 'active annoyance management' as necessary.

But by far the most frustrating part of sharing theme park experiences with them is that they seemingly refuse to allow themselves to have fun on the rides. I wanted to specifically comment on this because it drives me absolutely ****ing bananas and I can't be the only one who's subjected to this bull****. They have a sort of phobia of what they "don't know" when it comes to theme park rides. Their default position is that they will not go on any ride (other than toddler friend rides) because they are "too scary/thrilling" and the language used is that rides are "better or worse" on the "scary scale". When they go on any ride, they will always like it. I remind them of this. But yet they refuse to ride because the rides are too intimidating. They will happily go on the Harry Potter rides in Florida (including Forbidden Journey) and rides like Big Thunder Mountain (my Mum's favourite ride ever) but will then refuse to go on, say, Flight of the Pterosaur. It defies all logic and reasoning. Granted, it shouldn't affect my enjoyment of the day and I shouldn't care, but I do find it deeply frustrating and I would also say beware of subjecting yourself to this when visiting a park with non-coaster nerds.

Upon their arrival, we had brunch from the Tornado Springs diner and this was really good - I would recommend it. I had a super gluttonous waffles and syrup with bacon and fried chicken. Mrs. Nitefly had the pancakes and the others similar. All options were tasty and there was ample outdoor seating in the shade or in the sun.

Not quite feeling up to Cyclonator on a full stomach, we did the aforementioned tractor ride and Dad headed off to Peppa Pig World to get a photo of Peppa (cue much teenage distress from me). It was then time for a second ride on Storm Chaser and to my delight, Dad opted to ride. The ride was moderately more intense than the first time and he enjoyed himself, although he then immediately declared to Mum that she definitely wouldn't like it, putting her in an absolute ride lockdown for the rest of the day. Just, why say that!?! Clearly his intense fear of recommending something that she might end up not liking cannot be overstated.

After spending £10 trying to win a Snorlax toy (and failing) we then headed over to the Cat-erpillar Coaster area which was a very average and unremarkable ride, although the animal mix-ups were quite wacky and amusing... more absurd and strange than you would think for a child-friendly area.

Next, a walk through the gardens and birds area. We all really enjoyed this and I'd recommend it. They have an abundance of Acers which looked very pretty and some of the birds were astonishing - particularly the hornbills which looked truly dino-riffic.

Then, Lost Kingdom. That dinosaur that jump scares (and sprays water at) you on the jeep ride scared the waffles out of me for some reason that I can't put my finger on since, on paper, it is so harmless. I imagine he may have ruined a few lives. Flight of the Pterosaur was absolutely fantastic, massively exceeded my expectations with some good minor thrills and pleasing meandering. Velociraptor and the other dino-coaster were OK but I find the junior boomerangs just 'sort of a thing' and I would far rather a ride that just goes forwards the whole way. Going backwards is not a very exciting gimmick for me on a short ride like this. The dino models in the area were fun.

For lunch, we had a burrito from the stall in Tornado Springs (as the diner was quite busy). This was OK. The burritos lacked any rice, which I'm not sure if it was a ‘mistake’ or just temporary. They aren't very filling so you will need to supplement with other food.

Onwards to the western part of the park. Yeah, in the shadow of Tornado Springs, this area is truly dire from an aesthetics perspective (if you are hungry for theming) but I completely appreciate that this is because how the park has developed. Cobra was nevertheless pretty fun, as was Magma, although we actually preferred the smaller Windmill drop-tower closer to Storm Chaser. We then managed to coax Dad onto Flight of the Pterosaur... Mum was tempted further to Mrs. Nitefly's glowing review and our insistence that she would, in all likelihood, enjoy it. Again, Dad enjoyed himself but immediately declared "I don't think you would like it", making Mum retreat into the comfortable safety of 'never experiencing anything ever'. My ****ing face.

The final major thing to do was Cyclonator. Having felt quite queasy on Kobra at Chessington, I was a little cautious on this, but I survived from that perspective. This ride is definitely the most intense of the park and up there with the likes of Samurai as a forceful and thrilling flat ride. I would say the ride was excellent, but mid-ride, there was a very notable (and loud) *CRUNCH/CLICK* sound from behind my seat. The ride was still cranking up at this point and I became extremely conscious of my own momentum and what might happen should I be catapulted from the ride together with my seat. I was therefore legitimately frightened and quietly holding on for my life to the sound of Mrs. Nitefly's laughter - she didn't hear the sound. It has been many years since I have been frightened on a ride but that sound really threw me. I then found myself with a dilemma: do I mentioned anything to the ride staff, potentially making them close the ride as a precaution, or do I just get on with my day on the basis that it was a normal/expected/tolerated noise? I opted for the latter - you do have to assume that these things have been safety tested to death ( ....that sounds wrong) and it's far more likely I was spooked by something utterly harmless than there was anything seriously awry.

How funny that Paultons Park ended-up frightening me more than anything that Alton Towers has ever thrown on me.

We ended the day with a ride on the train and a sundae from the treat stand in Tornado Springs, which was a decent size and I would recommend.

All in all, a good day out and I would recommend a visit. Paultons is definitely onto a winning thing with their themed areas and I really look forward to visiting to experience what they have to offer in the future. I'd say that thrill-seekers should only bother visiting on a quieter day and keep in mind that many rides are quite mild.

Thanks for reading.
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Mega Poster
Thank you for bringing that nightmare-inducing advert into my life, it's excellent.
But wait, there’s more!

As a completely unrelated aside, this is where I take that aforementioned phrase from...

I wonder how many children watching Cartoon Network were begging their parents for a Penalli Pen. So many extras! 🤩
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Hyper Poster
Loved this trip report, mainly because of your parents' antics 😆 Thanks for sharing a fairly unique perspective on a theme park trip!


Hyper Poster
I would say the ride was excellent, but mid-ride, there was a very notable (and loud) *CRUNCH/CLICK* sound from behind my seat.

We experienced the exact same thing yesterday...twice!! To me it sounded like the restraint clicking down to a tighter fit...? maybe?