What's new

Your most memorable journeys to and/or from parks

Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. As much as we’re all in this hobby for the theme parks themselves, some interesting moments can sometimes arise during the travel to and/or from the parks. As the old saying goes, “it’s the journey, not just the destination”! With this in mind, I’d be interested to know; what have been some of your most memorable journeys to and/or from the parks? What travel moments from journeys to or from theme parks have stuck in your mind?

Personally, I certainly have a few stories to share… some of the most memorable journeys I remember include:
  • Alton Towers (June 2019) - This was the first time my mum ever drove to Alton Towers. When my dad has driven us, he’s always come off the M6 at Stoke-on-Trent, near to the football stadium, and driven us to Alton Towers via Stoke itself, past various villages, the JCB plant and then through Alton village itself. My mum, however, had a Ford Fiesta with a rather temperamental in-built satnav, so instead of the typical way, we were directed off the M6 at Stafford and sent around various rural towns and villages in North Staffordshire, ultimately coming at Alton Towers in a southbound direction despite driving 2.5 hours north to get there… I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my mum so angry as when the satnav was directing us around the rural backwoods of Staffordshire. The last 30 minutes to an hour of the drive was punctuated by my mum angrily yelling things like “Why is it sending me through f***ing Cheadle?”…
  • Alton Towers (June 2022) - Yes, another Alton Towers drive makes the cut, and this was once again my mum driving. We had the same state of affairs driving up as the time before, but my mum was a little more at peace with it this time. However, the satnav really outdid itself on the way back; I fell asleep not long after we left Alton Towers… and when I woke up, I was greeted by more angry swearing from my mum, because the satnav had directed us towards Nottingham and East Midlands Airport. I’m sure Nottingham is perfectly nice, but when your destination is Gloucestershire, in the South West, it’s quite a considerable detour. That drive was also eventful because my nan was in the car with us while she had what was later discovered to be COVID, and was coughing and spluttering an awful lot…
  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach (August 2019) - This was an interesting journey. It had the double blow of both August Bank Holiday traffic and road works in numerous places, meaning that what is ostensibly a 3.5 hour drive ultimately took 6-7 hours. However, that’s not the only reason why it was interesting… my dad was driving, and when we approached a roundabout in Gloucester that was undergoing roadworks, he got cut up or something by someone (well, someone did something that made him angry). In a moment that has gone down in legend in my family, this made him yell out, in the angriest voice imaginable, “MAKE UP YOUR MIND, YOU T*T!”. This then sent my mum into uncontrollable fits of laughter all the way up the M5 to about Birmingham… my dad remained rather angry for the rest of the drive, as the traffic was terrible and some of his least favourite elements of the motorway were out in full force. There was lots of angry ranting about “the queue makers” (smart motorways with variable speed limits) and “the fake police” (the Highways Agency)…
  • Fun Spot Kissimmee (April 2019) - Our journey to Fun Spot Kissimmee is different from some of the others here because it was not made interesting by angry driving, but a place we passed on the way there. I was keen to go to Fun Spot to ride Mine Blower, but it’s fair to say that my family had some trepidation about going. On the way there, we passed an establishment called “Machine Gun America”, which my family were absolutely reeling at… I don’t think they’ve ever let me live that down!
But what have been some of your most memorable journeys to and/or from the parks? I’d be really interested to know!


Roller Poster
Growing up in Stoke-on-Trent and going to Alton Towers every weekend, your first two made me laugh! I think your mum needs a new sat nav!

I always remember driving past the turn off for The legendary chained oak tree as you go through Alton. There's also a really good cycling path in Alton where you can hear the screams from Oblivion through the trees.
Last edited:

Matt N

CF Legend
Growing up in Stoke-on-Trent and going to Alton Towers every weekend, your first two made me laugh! I think your mum needs a new sat nav!

I always remember driving past the turn off for The legendary chained oak tree as you go through Alton. There's also a really good cycling path in Alton and your can hear the screams from Oblivion through the trees.
She eventually replaced that Fiesta with a new Fiesta that replaced the in-built satnav with Apple CarPlay, so we now have Google Maps rather than the temperamental in-built satnav!

The normal way that my dad always goes sends us through Alton village and past the Chained Oak, and that to me is “the approach to Alton Towers”, along with other landmarks like the JCB factory. As such, it was very weird to approach the park from down a hill…


Mega Poster
Exiting Europa Park on 19th June this year after the fire at Alpenexpress. It was very surreal.

My trip from the park was on foot through Rust, and my hotel was actually near the part of the park where the fire started. Parts of the route were blocked by cordons and I saw lots of firefighters and activity. The smell of burning in the air was unusual as well.

Flash Shift

Roller Poster
I have lots of cursed experiences in my life. Often it's when returning as well. But yeah the drive to Alton Towers is always insane, I can't imagine doing this on public transport. One time my mates decided to pick me up and then someone else but they were an hour late and I was fuming. We didn't get to the park until after 11am which is lunacy to me but somehow it was fairly quiet and we easily had enough time to do everything. Even after the monorail's queue was so bad we ****ing walked all the way to the park. And it was the Sunday after Easter so it was the last day of the easter holidays for the kids. Only Wicker Man and Smiler had significant queues.

One time I went to Oakwood - the trip there was a bit dicey, but I was in Tenby on holiday so getting there wasn't so bad. It was dicey because of Storm Brian, and somehow Megafobia (and nothing else) was open. They refused to refund the tickets on the day even though when we approached the guy immediately said "You're crazy!" The trip back to my home from there was 4 hours of rain and roadworks through Wales and I needed a piss almost the entire time. I stopped at some pub in the middle of nowhere and the locals got extremely angry at me for wanting to use the loo and said I had no respect. I had to go in some dingy public toilet and use my phone as a light as the light didn't work.

Flamingoland trolled me pretty good as well - there was another storm and I drove 3 and a half hours in the insane flood weather only to have to predictably refund the ticket. If I'd picked any other day that week, it would have been fine, but it was the only day that would suit my plans. Oh and also my phone was broken and I was using a backup phone on top of this being the first very long drive in the current car I have. In the end I drove another hour back to York in the pissing rain to basically salvage the day because I couldn't be where I needed to be after Flamingoland until the afternoon. It might have been a blessing - I felt pretty rough and sleep deprived that day and I know now that if I'm like that, I'm probably going to be peaky. Maybe if I get back there in better weather I will be more up for it.

Or there was the time I vomited at Blackpool after Infusion (I'd had little sleep, like the above) and felt like I wanted to die on the entire return trip. I went to a petrol station and threw up again and said station is now known as the one I threw up at... nice. Doesn't help that to get to Blackpool you go on the M6 which is a ****ing horrible road. At least, until you get near Scotland and have passed all the important parks, and it suddenly becomes an amazing road.

This **** is why you go to Tivoli or Liseberg. Apart from getting abroad, getting to the parks is a piece of cake, both places were 10 minute walks from where I stopped at. I had only just got a new car that I had to drive to the airport a week or so before going to Gothenburg, but it was fine.


Donkey in a hat
You really gonna make me recount the misery and suffering of the pothole incident again?
Fine, if you insist.
This was the first occurence of 'The Curse of @Sandman', one of two incidents that would see us deploy the use of a rescue/recovery service. I'll bet when he gets the notification 'Howie has mentioned you in the thread Memorable Journeys', he'll know exactly what I'm on about without even reading this post, right Josh? 🙄
Me n him, on the way to Skegness for a weekend of creds and cocking about with a bunch of other CF goons, hit a pothole and wrecked not one, but two wheels on my Jaaaag.
Not just flat tyres either, proper buckled the wheels it did, 20" Selena alloys no less, worth 600 quid a pop. 😡
Not only that, it was on a sh*tty rural B road in deepest, darkest Lincolnshire, 10 miles from the nearest town in any direction, 3 hours away from home, still an hour away from Skeggy, with only half a bottle of stale water and a packet of fags between us.
This was about 8 o clock on a Friday night.
Didn't get rescued til after 1am. Didn't get home til around 5am.
Cost me the best part of 1600 quid in recovery fees and new wheels.
Didn't even get the bloody Skeggy creds.
Sh*t weekend, it was.
Proper, proper sh*t.
But yeah, definitely memorable I guess, despite my best efforts to forget it ever happened. 🙄


Giga Poster
I knew it was coming Howie.

I've still got the mental image of us desperately glugging the remainder of the recovery guy's warm, flat energy drink in a desperate attempt to hydrate. You'd have thought we'd been in the Sahara for 3 days. And to think we were still considering being towed to Skeggy after all of that. Mental.


Roller Poster
The main one that springs to mind is Summer 1999. I really wanted to try out the new Millennium Coaster at Fantasy Island and Traumatizer at Pleasureland, as well as the rides at Blackpool, which I hadn't yet done and saw as a rite of passage. We drove cross-country from Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire, to Southport, Merseyside. The traffic was a nightmare - it took about six hours just to get from the east coast of England to the west. It was well worth it though. When we got to Southport, I saw Traumatizer rising into the air and I finally got to ride Cyclone, which I loved. It's taken quite a hit since then, but I will always champion the potential of that park.


Mega Poster
Heide Park, 2019. Exit park, expect to have to wait an hour anyway for Flixbus to get their asses over to the park. It's raining, jacket drenched. It's colder than any other day.

Notification from the flixbus app: "bus delayed by 27 minutes". Wait 27 minutes extra, followed by "Line 085 to Hamburg is approx. 50-60 minutes late.". Waste all battery on youtube to keep me company while occasionally getting up to do jumping jacks so I don't freeze. The bus FINALLY comes, it's pretty much full. Ask a woman in broken German if I can sit next to her, she answers kindly that of course. Immediately pass out.

All to be taken in stride, I didn't get harmed at the end of the day so. A new experience! And I got the DB experience without taking the train.


Strata Poster
2006, La Ronde.
Made the 5 hour drive from Boston to Montreal to visit La Ronde to ride Goliath with my friend. It was near the end of summer but not the end of the season, I think it was a Tuesday. Got all the way to the park entrance, and found the park was closed for the day. 🤦‍♂️ *awkward*
Canceled our hotel for the night and just drove back home. Made for an interesting time at the border crossing. 'How long were you in Canada' 'uh, 3 hours?' 🤷‍♂️
We ended up making the drive back up....that next Friday, and successfully visited the park, and again had an interesting exchange at the crossing....'when was your last visit to Canada?' 'Uh, 3 days ago?' 😐


Mega Poster
My most recent park trip last week was to Walibi Holland and, this being the Netherlands, the only convenient way was to cycle! So we rented self-locking bikes from our hotel, breezed through the 50 minute ride through the countryside on perfectly smooth cycle lanes, stopping every now and then to explore the trinkets on the way, and could lock them up 100m from the park entrance! It was probably the nicest commute to a park I've ever had...

...the way back ended up being a 3 hour nightmare due to a solo maccies rendezvous on behalf of our group leading to a 20km diversion in a storm with no phone, just half-remembered directions, after being on the move for 18 hours. This was easily the worst commute FROM a park I've had.
Last edited:


Strata Poster
Couple of weeks ago I hitched a ride with a couple of random Dutch dudes after a visit to Toverland, on my way back to Utrehct.

For context, the rail line near/through Sevenum (local town near the park) was undergoing maintenance, so they had a couple of shuttle buses connecting you to town from the next train station in operation. Was fine in the morning, but the first shuttle bus in the evening was ten minutes late, which meant I would've missed my train connection back to Utrecht. Luckily these other two dudes were trying to make the same train, so one of them called his mom and told us "I gotchu." So we got a ride directly to the train station with time to spare.

Went from an "oh f***" moment in the middle of a foreign country by myself to probably the coolest cultural experience I got from that trip. Led to some cool and funny conversations with some locals. When they realized I was American they were like what the hell are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere. "Well, creds..."


Roller Poster
Exiting Europa Park on 19th June this year after the fire at Alpenexpress. It was very surreal.

My trip from the park was on foot through Rust, and my hotel was actually near the part of the park where the fire started. Parts of the route were blocked by cordons and I saw lots of firefighters and activity. The smell of burning in the air was unusual as well.
Bet that was quite the experience


Roller Poster
I had been at Cedar Point with a buddy for Halloweekends back in the early 2000s. We were driving home to Columbus, coming down Route 4 (2 lane road through cornfields with a small town every so often) close to midnight. At one point, we had construction on the main road, so we were sent about a mile down a side road to this 1.5-lane road right through the middle of a cornfield in the pitch dark. It was like something from a horror movie. Luckily we didn't encounter any vehicles coming toward us on this nightmare stretch of road.

About 30 minutes later, I had started dozing off a little. I definitely had started to swerve and ended up getting pulled over by the cops. I wound up spending about 30 minutes outside of my car in the 40-something-degree weather wearing jeans and a t-shirt doing every conceivable sobriety test they had, including standing on one leg. They noted that I was having trouble standing on one leg because I was shaking so much, yet apparently didn't think of the fact that I was simply shaking because I was freezing. At one point, they had told my friend that he might need to drive my car because they might take me to the station for a breathalyzer test. They were just convinced that I was drunk and couldn't possibly be something like exhaustion from driving and riding coasters all day. It was one of the craziest experiences I have ever had on the road.