Welcome to Cupcakes and Coasters! Part Two

Right, strap yourselves in - it's time for Part Two. This is where things get really interesting! If you haven't already, I suggest checking out Part One first otherwise this part isn't going to make a ton of sense...

Smiling like we mean it at Disneyland
The trip was an epic three-weeker made up of two parts: we'd spend the first 10 days in Cali, taking in all the glamour (lol) of Hollywood and the parks in and around that area before jumping on another plan to Boston to meet up with a bunch of the CoasterForce lot to embark on the East Coast portion of our trip. That trip was absolutely life-changing - California especially. From walking through the gates of Six Flags Magic Mountain, a kind of coaster mecca, which was almost overwhelming to taking my best friend to his very first Disney park and watching him fall in love with the place just as much as I had. The best time of my life.

Legit shitting myself in this pic prior to riding and realising it's actually not too bad...
The East Coast was my coaster trip of dreams - 10 days of nothing but non-stop excellent coasters. You'd think after that long the effect would kind of wear off, but my go it really doesn't. Intamin airtime machines, old school classic ACE white woodies, more B&M hypers, piece of shit SLCs and of course, my beloved SkyRush at Hersheypark. Never had I before experienced such mania on a coaster, such fear for my life and such a feeling that a ride was genuinely trying to kill me. And it was YELLOW for fucks sake! It's still my number one to this day because I haven't ridden a coaster since that made me feel quite like that.

I think...AJ likes Ka yes?

Knoebels let us walk the tracks of Flying Turns. Still don't have the cred...
I ended 2012 with another 'theme park pilgrimage' as I like to see it - finally getting my ass to Europa Park! It was big, it was full of more rides than I could ever imagine! It was...a total let down to be totally honest with you. Not that it's bad in any way, quite the opposite, but going on what the coaster community had been going on about for all those years you'd be easily forgiven for believing that Europa Park is the theme park equivalent of the second coming of Christ. Which...it ain't. Still good though!

2013 was more Europe and UK. Headed to Scotland and swept up the parks there, including a ride on what is probably one of the worst coasters in the world in Tornado, a Pinfari made of nightmares which sparked the phrase 'tactical Nurofen' which is still an in joke in my friendship group to this day.

Fun fact, the control booth of this coaster set on fire shortly after we got the cred. True story.
It was also the year that saw me return to Scandinavia on yet another CF-Live, this time to gorgeous Finland! The memories I have of this meet up are mostly blurry due to the large amount of alcohol consumed throughout the short amount of time we were there, including probably the most hungover I've ever been at a theme park. I remember that headache so vividly.

That's me front right. I am extremely hung over.
Finland was wonderful - there was nothing incredible there really when we visited but it's always great to visit some bucket list parks and that happened for me with our visits to Sarkeniemmi and Linnanmaki, two parks I'd heard so much about in terms of how weird and wonderful they both were and they definitely did not disappoint. We also visited an indoor park which had a coaster-on-carpet, which I found absolutely hilarious and rode about 12 times, simply because I could.

Prior to this jaunt to Finland a small group of us finally got out act together and braved the parks of Russia, still one of the most unique and fantastic places I've ever been to - both for parks and for culture. The terror of climbing the spike on the utter monstrosity that is Pax's Cobra (they definitely nailed the one-rail design for RMC FYI), battled our way through the language barrier to exchange money for ride tokens and collectively shit our pants on the terrifying rocket ride at Wonder Island, notorious for leaving riders dangling in mid-air just years previously.

And of course, 2013 was the birth year of a little theme park blog called Cupcakes and Coasters! It was a little crude in its primitive state with photos taken on an old iPhone and graphics made in paint, but it got the point across and was the first small stepping stone into creating something I truly love. If you fancy a laugh and a cringe, I urge you to scroll back to some of my original posts that are still hosted here. They're...interesting to say the least!

2014 was an absolute game changer when it came to my coaster count. It's still my best year to date with loads of creds obtained. We kicked the year off in a chilly Spring visit to the Madrid parks, and for some reason I decided it would be a good idea to dye my hair orange. I wasn't impressed with Parque Warner Madrid, save for the pretty excellent Looney Tunes themed rapids, although it was my first experience of a B&M Batman clone outside of the US.

Goons in their natural habitat.
We also visited Parque de Atracionnes de Madrid on that trip, where my hatred of Maurer Sohne Skyloops was solidified when we were stuck upside down on Abismo for a gut-wrenching 13 seconds during an ERT session. Abysmal more like *ahem*. Stupid place.

Conor and I followed this up with a mini-trip over a Bank Holiday weekend to Belgium and the Netherlands hitting up Walibi Belgium, Bellewaerde, Duinrell and Drievliet where I nabbed my 500th cred! Drievliet is an absolute dive in a weird Dutch car park, Duinrell is absolutely stunning, set in a woodland holiday park, Walibi Belgium is...well it's a Walibi park...and Bellewaerde. OMG. Easily one of the most underrated theme parks in Europe, well-maintained, well themed with loads of really cool animal exhibits and fun rides. Fabulous.

Fat boy fail - abandon ship!
We spent Easter that year as we had every year for the past few - cred-whoring in the UK! This time it was a rainy visit to the Isle of Wight and finally visiting a Gullivers park after years of sulkily driving past their brown signs on the M1. They're...not very good, we broke their log flume by overloading the boat leaving Conor with no option but to abandon ship into the bushes.

And then it was time. The big one. The follow up to our giant 2012 trek across America, only this time there were more miles, bigger coasters and hotter chicken wings. Starting in Houston Texas we hit up the piers and boardwalks including the highly underrrated Boardwalk Bullet, stayed up way past our bedtime and almost had to pull into a motel due to sleep deprivation, rode our first RMC in New Texas Giant, got abused by waitresses at Dicks Last Resort restaurant, saw where Kennedy was assassinated, rode ANOTHER even better RMC in Iron Rattler, wondered where the fish were at Sea World San Antonio, cred ran and got the help out of Worlds of Fun, had dinner with some old friends in Missouri, ate IHOP in Branson, fell absolutely in love with and rode and EVEN BETTER RMC in Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City, became kids again at St. Louis City Museum, discovered the country music scene in downtown Nashville, fell in love all over again at Dollywood, got abused by Christians at Six Flags Over Georgia and saw the whole trip off by meeting the Coca Cola Polar Bear at Coke World in Atlanta. And breathe. Absolutely trip of a lifetime, we were dead when our plane drew into the runway at Heathrow but I wouldn't change a second!

Silver Dollar City baby!

Our waitress at Dicks was a cunt and we loved it
But it wasn't over for 2014, oh no! No sooner had we landed in the UK we were jetting off again, this time for some more Scandi action with a Swedish double-whammy and my first taste of Liseberg and Grona Lund, with a visit to a lesser known park called Skara Sommarland for an example of true theme park weirdness on Tranan - an S&S contraption that must be ridden to be believed.

Bla Taget is an interesting Ghost Train to say the least
The finesse and high-class style of Liseberg contrasted with the wacky madness of the cramped Grona Lund makes for the perfect yin-yang coaster trip. I rode Helix, hoping it would be better than the disappointment that was bluefire - and it was! But not life changing by any means, sorry fanboys!

Come on 2014, is that all you've got? Well, no actually. For my birthday that year it was time to head back to Germany to revisit Heide Park for their new B&Ms and finally get my teeth stuck into Holiday Park and Tripsdrill. Tripsdrill was absolutely wonderful, we visited on a gorgeously sunny October day, the park was full of pumpkins and haybales and I was living my best Halloween life. Holiday Park...not so much. Sure, Expedition GeForce was fun, but after riding Superman back in 2012 it was nothing life-changing for me.

Spooky fun at Heide Park
But wait, there's more! We ended 2014 with a trip to PortAventura for their Chrismas event and for some more rides on the wonderful Shambhala. I'd ridden this back in 2012 (somehow I forgot to add that in - too many park trips to count!) Riding Shambhala at night during that visit surrounded by the people I love, experiencing that mega airtime over and over again in the cold winter night is a memory that will stay with me forever - the very definition of happiness.

Hands up, who likes B&M hypers?
Just looking back through my Coaster-Count list, apparently we visited Nigoland for the first time that year too? How the hell did we squeeze that in?! Oh well, apparently that was a thing - shows how much of an impression it made upon me. I actually really like that park too!

Surely...2015 couldn't top that epicness? Well, we had a little trick up our sleeves called Japan...

Bollocks...this is reeeaaallly long. If you're still there, I apologise, but also sorry not sorry because I'm clearly really enjoying writing this. I guess I'll split here again and resume with a final part three that I promise I'll try really hard to keep succinct.


Talk later xoxo,

CONVERSATION

2 comments:

  1. I'm loving these, as someone who can't get out there much (due to having less than willing siblings/parents) and being too young to drive, my bucket list's getting ever bigger!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes to the Europa park comments ��

    ReplyDelete

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