How To Survive The Closed Season

Ah, November, the month of the year every theme park enthusiast dreads rolling around. You get in the car after that final fireworks show, face stinging from the cold air whipping your face as you take your final ride on your favourite coaster and you drive out of the car park for the very last time that year. And that's when the sadness sets in. The looming realisation that for the next four months or so there will be no spontaneous trips to your local park, no spending all day whoring your favourite coaster, no stuffing pizza into your face at the buffet. How will you survive?!

Well never fear! The closed season ain't what it used to be and with the handy help of social media, collective boredom and cheap Ryanair flights I'm here to bring you six handy steps which will hopefully bring some light to you in the dark, dark days of the UK closed theme park season. Here's how to survive the next four months with NO THEME PARKS noooo!

You've just had yet another fantastic season of theme parking, get in! Maybe you explored some new to you parks, got to attend some opening days of great new rides, or maybe you just hung out at your local park with your favourite group of equally as obsessed coaster mates, but chances are if you're reading this you've spent a good portion of 2018 at a theme park of some description. A fantastic way of seeing away the closed season blues is to reminisce about the fab year you've had!

Go through your phone or camera and look through all the theme park pics you took on your days out - I guarantee you there'll be something in there that you completely forgot about that will have you pissing yourself laughing all over again. Have a dig through your pockets and bags and see if there's a park map or receipt that you completely forgot you even had to bring back some memories. Or, if you're feeling up to the task, maybe have a dig through all the new merch you've acquired this season and lay it all out on your bed to admire (surely I'm not the only one who LOVES doing this?)

It's easy to while away hours of time going through the memories of the year and I guarantee you you'll be feeling all warm and fuzzy about the season past once you're done.

Ah, my favourite thing in the world. Trip planning! Now, if you're me, which I am, you never really stop trip planning, even throughout the season. But that said, there's no better time to get properly stuck into planning your dream theme park trip than the closed season where you're faced with all those dark nights and rainy weekends.

I have a whole bunch of guides to planning cheap theme park getaways, but my advice is to make a list of the top places you'd like to visit. From there, look on SkyScanner to find the cheapest times to fly to said places to lock in the best deal then head to Booking.com to grab yourself some cheap accommodation and boom, your 2019 season is sorted and you'll have a ton to look forward to in the upcoming year. Of course, if you're anything like me you'll go completely mad and start planning three week trips to Asia that will most likely never come to fruition but hey, what is the closed season for if not for living your wildest theme park fantasies?!

During the season I find all of my spare time is either spent visiting parks, editing vlogs or writing about parks. I have my old favourites when it comes to what YouTube channel I'll have on in the background, but never really have time to get stuck in a good old fashioned YouTube hole of discovering new theme park content creators and videos.

There are tons of ways to do this. Check out channels that people you're subscribed to are subscribed to. Search for a theme park you're interested in and watch through the top ten videos YouTube throws back at you. Jump on Twitter and ask people for recommendations. YouTube is an absolute goldmine of amazing theme park content and the closed season is perfect for having a proper sit down to get acquainted with some fantastic new channels. Also once you've acquired some new favourites they'll provide you with yet another distraction from the fact that you won't be visiting a park for a few months and will stop you from wandering around crying waiting for it all to be over.

We call it the closed season, but realistically if you plan your trips right and you have the means then there's no reason why you can't still be visiting parks when the UK parks are hibernating for the winter. Last closed season I popped to Port Aventura in November, celebrated Christmas in Phantasialand and Efteling in December and saw in the new year at Disneyland Paris. If you time your trips right you can make sure you're doing at least one park visit a month and before you know it you're sat at the Velvet Coaster ready for Blackpool Pleasure Beach to reopen in Feb.

There are loads of parks open over the 'closed' period: Disneyland Paris, Phantasialand, Efteling, Europa Park, Liseberg, Tivoli Gardens. The list goes on and on and there are tons of options to suit every budget! Plus, seeing what these parks do for Christmas is always an added bonus alongside breaking up your closed season.

When in doubt, social media is your friend when it comes to getting your theme park fix during these winter months. Maybe it's just me, but social media seems to come alive when the parks close, buzzing with rumours and discussion of not only the season just passed, with everybody sharing their favourite moments and memories but also with excitement for what is to come. There's also usually loads of announcements to look forward to and get excited for/have violent arguments over as the parks reveal their upcoming season plans, so there really is no better time to get stuck in.

So join a Facebook group, go old school and start posting on forums, leave comments and interact with fellow enthusiasts in the YouTube comments section or join in the Twitter debate. I've honestly seen whole days just melt away from a day glued to my phone chatting shit about theme parks with my fellow nerds online and it's a fab way to keep up to date with the latest and keep the fires burning for next season!

And finally, if you're visually driven to see yourself through these dark, dark months, then there's nothing better than setting countdowns and watching the days melt away with each passing morning as you grow closer and closer to your next exciting theme park date in the diary. It's like a big nerdy advent calendar where instead of getting a chocolate with each day that passes instead you get the slowly daunting realisation of what a massive geek you truly are. It's fine we've all been there haha!

I promise you, we will get through this together! And I guarantee that before you know it we'll all be stood on the plaza outside Alton Towers awkwardly avoiding each other and pretending we don't all follow each other on Twitter. And I for one can't wait! See you on the other side.

Talk later xoxo,

CONVERSATION

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