London Undergound and a bus for the Selsey worm.
And they say I'm mad.
A couple months ago it was written off as 'too much effort' but look where we are now. Time flies, and standards lower just as quickly.
Part 28: Oakwood Theme Park
Travel notes: Drove, was part of a holiday in South West Wales which'll be up at some point.
They call Oakwood the eighth wonder of the world; a place of magic and wonder that few souls have ever heard of before. Home to what will be by far the biggest creds of the year as of writing this (not difficult), it's a place I've been anticipating for the past couple months (or alternatively, ever since this Wales holiday was announced). I've heard about how this park is incredible, I've heard about how this park is godawful.
Let's get straight to it.
Something I've never heard, and something no one ever talked about, is that you can hop on a train
to get to the park which offers a lovely scenic ride further down the park. Nice discovery right there.
Let's get the crap out of the way now. #129 Creepy Crawler
started off nicely as I was called forward walking straight past two trains worth of a queue as there wasn't a soul who was in a group smaller than three, so I got on very quickly.
Glad to have it over and done with though, it's a bit crap indeed. The valleys are quite uncomfortable and not really in the good way, but admittedly it does have its alright parts such as the 'crossover' bit and the helix five seconds after which was quite good. It shares some similarities with its Wicksteed counterpart, but unfortunately Wicksteed outshines it in almost every aspect. I like not holding onto the restraint, and my arms were shuffled absolutely everywhere during the ride, so I think that's my fault. Got some souvenirs of the ride in the form of some marks. Masterpiece.
Up next wasn't a coaster, but instead the skycoaster Vertigo
. I did a different version to this back in year 6 on our PGL trip which was a permanently upright swingset instead of lying forwards, but other than that experience 9 (?) years ago this stuff is a stranger to me.
When you're ready to be lifted, a surprisingly terrifying part is where you have to fall forwards in order to get yourselves into the lying position which was scaaaaary. The actual lift itself is full of yourself questioning what you're doing with your life, when suddenly you stop ascending and hear a "THREE, TWO, ONE" shout from one of the ops.
Then the cord is pulled. The two initial swings had me screaming for my life, but everything else was fine. It's an incredible experience, and again I have to reemphasise just how good those first two swings are. Eventually we slowed down, waved to passing strangers, and made conversation with one of the ops while we slowed down. The following conversation once we were actually finished went like this:
Op: "So how was it?"
Us: "It was alright, yeah"
"Yeah it was really good yeah, I really enjoyed it"
Think the correct word for us was 'speechless'.
Anyway, that's done. Next up was Waterfall
, and in comical timing we walk up to it right as someone blunders in majestic fashion, utterly drenching them. Good sign. The queue was spent watching every single person, and seeing the around 35-40% chance of a blunder. Love it.
I was in the group who managed to survive but walked off with a soaked shirt and shorts. Welcomed it because it was boiling. Everyone else in my group survived, but I'm not sure if I wanted to see at least one le epic failness.
Up next was #130 Speed
, and four of the five people in our group decided to take it up. They turned to me to ask how bad it was, where I stuttered because I intentionally hadn't done research on it in order to go in with an open mind. The general consensus with Gersts in our group is we love Rage but they hate Saw.
The drop was filled with the loudest any of us had ever screamed (again) with some funny sounds spawning from our mouths over the powerful ejector hill and the questionably shaped overbank which I was able to brace for. The loop was the most unremarkable part of the ride and we got our way to the midcourse. One almost-hangtime filled roll later, we got to the finale with me almost seeing stars on the helix and hitting the brake run highly impressed.
The rest of my group was not impressed. In a horrifyingly comedic fashion I somehow managed to get by far the smoothest ride of them all, with the rest of the group reluctant to talk about it and downing water and Pringles before moving out of the area to somewhere with slightly less Gerst roar.
Despite their experience we immediately soldiered onto #131 Treetops
as one of them feared that a long break would put them off rides for the rest of the day, so we had to ride that high while it was still there. Everyone made their way to the front but the operator seemingly noticed my Storm Chaser shirt and told me "the back is faster" so I made my way to the furthest back row that was empty.
These Tivolis are good fun, I think I'm enjoying these double figure eight models more than the average Zyklon these days. Love the location too.
Their Huss tower had an interesting mechanism where you could vote for either a three launch mode, or a drop tower segment before a couple more launches. Unfortunately I never rode it as I simply just had other stuff to do, but will definitely give it a try if I ever find myself here again.
The most intriguing thing I noticed is that all three launches go up to the same height, which leads me to think this exact model could have been inspiration for the launch towers in RCT and Parkitect.
The "other stuff to do" included this water slide. I did the indoor one, Snake River Falls (Cobra)
, and it was quite spooky. Inside those tunnels is complete pitch black darkness where you have not a clue as to where you're going - good slide.
After Cobra I realised that I'd walked straight past Neverland which housed #132 Crocodile Coaster
, which left me as speechless as Vertigo did.
After this, two of the party had to dip out to leave the Wales holiday early as they prefer shorter getaways. They got on the park's Bobkart before leaving, which was "alright yeah".
Real deal now.
The woodie had been looming over us all day, I was intentionally leaving it till last so I could give it all the time in the world for it to warm up enough for it to be good. I was clueless on what the layout was, first time I've gone into a coaster blindly and legitimately not knowing a sniff of what it did since Family Star back in August of last year.
I hop into the back seat of #133 Megafobia
, a coaster I was anticipating for a good couple weeks to be the Olympia dethroner and the new number one becomer.
I throw my hands up on the top of the first drop, and get harshly slammed downwards at the bottom of the drop.
It's a brutal ride, let me get that out of the way immediately. There are slams at seemingly random spots with no pattern though with a few runs you can start gathering where they are as they still have consistent locations. Despite that, Megafobia sits proudly at my number one spot.
It's a brutal, unrelenting, merciless gauntlet that literally does not let up until the final brakes. It's an exhausting drug where I hit the brake run thinking "that's the last ride of the day for me" but one Capri Sun later I'm running back in the queue making a beeline for the back row for another lap where the process repeats word for word.
I came off my first ride speechless and in silence (same thing, really). All I could sputter out was "I'm doing it again, that's my new number one".
My onride photo of my first ever ride explains everything - not knowing what to do with my hands: hold on for my life or throw my hands up until the next time I get thrown?, and a face that expresses seven different emotions. It's an abusively incredible ride and I didn't even sit anywhere near the front on any of my four rides; back row supremacy is where it's at.
Rides two three and four I was getting slightly more used to the ride, well the first half of it. That second half of the ride is a chaotic rumble of sheer mayhem that I simply just cannot put into words, and when the brakes hit your jaw is just open as you try to process what the hell just happened.
Despite everything it throws, it's an impossibility to not want to just throw your hands up as nothing stops it from roaring through a fantastically done layout and you have no clue what's coming up next. In my eyes, perfection.
It's going to redefine what parks I want to go to next. The sheer power of Megafobia made me realise I'm not ready for the likes of Zadra or Ride To Happiness. It's going to all be far too much to take in, and I'll be regrettably tapped out after two rides on them. The insanity of Megafobia made me realise that my number one needs to be something that builds up slowly, and can't be an obscene jump in intensity from number two.
Megafobia made me realise just how good coasters might be. If any reasonably well travelled person has this at #56 or whatever or is even remotely underwhelmed by this ride, then there's so much more to coasters than what I originally thought. I gotta pace myself. Wildfire's going to have to wait a little longer. Untamed's going to have to wait a little longer. Lech's going to have to wait a little longer.
And I still need to do it when it rains.
I wish I could've done it more but I've got some additional box ticking to do (don't worry, it's the good type of box ticking). Bobsleigh
was my first taste of a Bobkart, and wimpy me had to slow down on the corners. I admittedly would've gone full send (or at least would've tried) had there not been a sign telling me there's risk of me flipping the car if I take a corner at five hundred mph. Either way, fun.
The finale of box ticking was Skull Rock
, a pleasant end to the day on another soaking water ride. Perfect way to round things off...
...but with 20 minutes until ride closure I wanted a quickfire round. I absolutely aced my second run of Waterfall with a perfect skim with my phone in my pocket, and solidified my opinion of Speed, though this time the jolly up to the midcourse from the loop was rather rattly. Other than that, it was smooth and retains its high placement.
Megafobia had closed ten minutes early to an "Oh well" from me as I made my way back to the entrance and back on the train.
Oakwood was a brilliantly fun park. It was nothing like I was expecting, and it's immediately jumped into being one of my favourite parks. Too bad it's in the middle of nowhere then.
I do hope this park stays with us for a long time.