Welcome to Cupcakes and Coasters! Part Three

Right, I'm determined to keep this to three parts - so let's crack on with the final chapter! Picking up where we left off in Part Two...

But not before, yep you guessed it, more cred-whoring! If I'm not mistaken I believe this is the year I finally managed to ride every coaster in the UK before more spiteful Big Apples popped up in obscure car parks across the country and ruined my perfect score. This included a trip to the South Coast where we literally begged the manager of Adventure Wonderland to let us in to ride, scouring Southport for any poor coaster that'd been recently dumped there and rounding things off with a ride on the newly refurbished Scenic Railway at the ever Instagrammable Dreamland Margate.

It took me a week to dye my hair that colour. True story. 

We also took our cred-whoring international, with an epic trip through Germany, Belgium and Netherlands, including a return to my beloved Phantasialand, some absolute shit-holes solely for the purpose of bumping up my count and my first visit to Movie Park Germany, which I absolutely fell in love with and has one of the best rapids I've ever ridden.

Sadly it's not actually possible to walk the loop David-Bowie-in-The-Labyrinth-style

Then before we knew it September was rolling around and we were jetting off for my first ever taste of Asia with on our Japan trip. I'd been pretty much obsessed with the Japan parks ever since reading a Theme Park Review trip report from one of their trips back in the early noughties. The place had everything I loved in theme parks - cute characters, inexplicable weirdness, amazing food and incredible coasters. Japan is a pretty stacked place when it comes to theme parks, and whilst I could easily have spent an entire month out there trying everything out, we had to squeeze everything into two weeks.

May have left one of the group trapped at the train station gates to run and get this photo...

The birth of the ironic peace sign that has now become staple. I hate myself.

We opted for a 'best of' tour - hitting up parks from Tokyo to Nagoya to Osaka. Being kawaii in Harajuku, getting an exhilarating view of Tokyo on Thunder Dolphin, taking in the breathtaking sights of Mt.Fuji at Fuji Q Highland, getting engaged at Tokyo Disneyland and walking around with our mouths permanently agape at the obscene Tokyo DisneySea, getting nostalgic on Jaws at Universal Studios Japan, ticking off our bucket lists on Vanish Coaster and ending our trip ascending the lifthill of Steel Dragon 2000 whilst fireworks lit up the sky behind us. The perfect end to a perfect trip - Japan really is like no other place I've ever visited. Yes the theme park industry has somewhat stagnated over there in recent year but it really is a place that has to be seen to be believed. There's just so much weird wonderfulness to take in and I'm already planning to return!

We ended 2015 with yet another visit to Germany, this time revisiting Europa Park for their Halloween Horror Nights and ticking off a few more of the Bavarian parks including LegoLand Germany, Skyline Park and also my first ever visit to Oktoberfest to ride Olympia Looping and Hollenblitz! I absolutely adore visiting these lesser known parks as I often find there's a lot of unsung awesomeness to be found.

No shame. Ever.

Doing the blogger thing.

I began 2016 as I usually begin my season - cred whoring in the UK! We actually paid quite a lot of attention to the UK this year, including multiple visits to Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington as well as some of the smaller parks towards the Welsh coast and taking in the impressive new Lost Kingdom land at Paultons Park. I love watching UK parks flourish and always make the effort to check in and see what's going on.

I don't think my hair will ever look this good again. This makes me sad.

Apparently only me, my brother and the lady in the back row know what you're meant to do here...

It was also Conor's first ever visit to Orlando when we visited in May. We did all the standard Orlando stuff you'd expect - which is fucking incredible as you'd expect. There's nothing I love more than taking somebody I love to ride all of my Florida favourites for the very first time, and I had an absolute blast watching Conor's reaction to all of the awesomeness.

Late August we jetted over to fabulous Sweden to get reacquainted with the incredible Helix at Liseberg. Always a great time at this park but I couldn't help but think we should have left it a tiny bit longer after visiting just a couple of years previously in 2014, however it would have been rude not to pop in whilst we were visiting for the true reason of our trip - to ride Europe's first ever RMC in Wildfire at Kolmarden.

Unpictured - the rest of CF heckling me for posing for this photo
I bloody LOVED Kolmarden. Anybody who's a regular to my blog knows I'm a bit of an animal nutter and seeing the lush exhibits and the unique display of animals at this park was incredible. I was a little nervous to ride Wildfire. Since riding a buttload back in 2014 I still held the likes of Iron Rattler and Outlaw Run in very high regard, and it's always been a bit of a thing that a lot of the time European coasters just can't live up to their American counterparts. And sadly this was the case with Wildfire - it's not bad by ANY stretch of the imagination and the zero-g stall is obscene but it just left me feeling a bit meh as opposed to the others I'd ridden a few years previous.

2016 was the first year we'd had a hardcore Halloween itinerary too - we hit up all the usual Merlin events as well as finally ticking off some UK events I'd wanted to visit for ages including Dr. Fright's Halloween Nights and the outstanding Xtreme Scream Park. We also hit up that holy trio again in Efteling, Toverland and Phantasialand - and that meant one thing - TARON.

The best of the Phantasia dragons, obv.

Blood fountains and pumpkins. My happy place.
I know it's dramatic to say, but I really do think riding Taron changed my life. Not only will the memory of evening ERT on the thing with all my favourite people stay with me until the day I die, but I genuinely can't remember feeling anything quite as euphoric. It's just....everything. It's just so unbelievably good that I often find it hard to put into words how much I love this coaster. The music, the theming, the feeling of riding it, it's all just so wonderful. Total adoration.

We also finally visited the other Fright Nights - the one at Walibi Holland! I only actually went in a couple of scare attraction but that didn't matter. The event was easily the best Halloween event I'd ever visited. The entire park just oozes Halloween, the scare actors and costumes are world class and the scare zones are so good that you don't even have to pay the extra to do the walk throughs to get the most out of your visit. Bloody fantastic.

We rounded off the year magically with a visit to Disneyland Paris at Christmas - our first visit for this event since Conor's first Disney park back in 2013. It was incredibly nostalgic for us and we had a lovely relaxing time just taking in all of the magic!

Look how cute we are!
And with that, I feel that that brings us very much up to date. 2017 was the first year I wrote a blog post for every park I visited, so I urge you to check those out if you're feeling extra nosy!

Writing this has been such a humbling and enjoyable experience. I hate to gloat (lie, I love to gloat) but I really have lived the most fantastic life, and I don't intend to put the brakes on that as we dive into 2018. Bring. It. On. And if you have any questions about any of my park visits over the years, you know where to find me!

Fucking smokers, ruining my epic Valhalla photo...


Talk later xoxo,

CONVERSATION

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