2013 Run-down

Welcome to a run-down of my 2013 season! It's been a fantastic year for me, not many new credits to notch up on the count by some unique experiences and plenty of revisits to parks I'd long intended to explore more thoroughly. So here we go:

1. Roller coaster of the year
I think it would have to be Troy, as I go by which coaster I've just wanted to ride over and over again and Troy I did 10 times in a row without actually getting off the thing! As good as I remember it being, which is always fab when things are still as good as you remember them being.

I also want to mention Oblivion. I've always adored this short but sweet beast but 2013 seemed to have given the coaster a new lease of life and left me feeling breathless on the brake run over and over again this season (due to many revisits trying to get on the stupid Smiler).

2. Water ride of the year
I found a new love for water rides this year. I've always been fairly hesitant of them because they're wet, but this season I've had some really great moments on water rides. Top mentions go to Valhalla at the Blackpool Live in July because the reactions of the Valhalla virgins on the boat were spectacular and Vonkaputous, firstly for having a silly name and secondly for being a silly but highly enjoyable ride and thirdly because it counts as a cred <3

3. Flat ride of the year
So the 'big' new kid of the block in terms of flat rides seemed to be the Zamperla Air Race, one of which I had the pleasure of riding at Tivoli Gardens earlier this year. The thing looks absolutely gorgeous, because why wouldn't it, it's Tivoli but secondly it was surprisingly enjoyable! I don't usually divulge in the spin 'n' spew variety of flat ride but I made the exception for this one and I was not disappointed, top marks!

Mention for the 'rare' flat ride cred that I gained at Wonder Island in St. Petersburg, Russia this year in the form of rocket on a stick that became infamous after one of the wires detached leaving riders crudely dangling in the air. It was probably the second most scared I've been on a ride this year, and rightly so I'm sure you will agree!

But my overall favourite favourite flat ride of the year goes to Mystery Castle at Phantasialand. Such a re-rideable, fun, intense and scary ride is hard for a hardened enthusiast to come across these days and after so long I find that Tower of Terror just doesn't cut it for me any more in the fear factor department, and Mystery Castle definitely fills that void. Loved it this season.

4. Park of the year
Now, my favourite theme park ever is actually, thinking about it, probably Epcot. However, my visit this year involved a disgruntled family, pissing rain and a lovesick me partly wishing the holiday was to get back to see Conor, as mad as that was, so I feel those things factored into my not enjoying the park as much as I usually would. The park I had the most fun at this year, and more importantly for me, felt the most park 'magic' at, actually turned out to be Phantasialand. I'd visited before back in 2011 but the place was stupidly busy and I did not get a chance to explore the park properly. This visit not only stretched out over two days but also involved a stay at the park hotel Hotel Matamba and I have to say my visit rivalled Disney, really enjoyed Phantasialand this year.

5. Scare-maze of the year
Not *exclusively* a scare-maze but more a combo of dark ride and scare attraction, Hobs Pit X-Scream at Pleasurewood Chills absolutely blew me away. I had visited this park a handful of times over the past few years both with CF and on random trips for myself and therefore had a fairly well informed level of expectations for their Halloween event. I couldn't have been proved more wrong, and the park's signature 'new for 2013' attraction was the biggest shocker of all. A perfect blend of dark-ride, modern and sophisticated scare effects and down right gore-factor lead this to be my favourite scare attraction of this year.

6. Biggest disappointment of the year
A few for me unfortunately =[ 

Firstly, The Smiler not being open on 'opening day'. We'd been geared up for so long and to be let down like that was just.......shit.

Secondly, missing the Cheetah Hunt cred for the second bloody time in 2 trips to Florida, but this time due to the dismal weather we got during our visit. I was in the queue and everything =[[

Thirdly, the stupid music not working for Conor's first ride on Rock 'n' Rollercoaster at the Walt Disney Studios in Paris. One of my earliest coaster memories involves my first ride on this coaster and the pure exhilaration I felt which, after many a re-ride, can only be put down to the combination of music and acceleration, as opposed to the acceleration alone. I felt absolutely gutted as we were farted into what, without Steven Tyler screaming in your ears, amounts to a slow meander around a crap shed with lacklustre light effects. 

7. Most surprised by
As previously mentioned, Hobs Pit, but also White Lightning at Fun Spot Orlando (I think, might be USA, can't remember). What a wicked little piece of wood. I made my mum ride back row with me which added to the fun, and it really sucked that the thing was $9 a pop!

9. Best dark ride
Maus au Chocolat was under construction the first time I visited Phantasialand so suffice to say I was fairly excited to finally be on it. I love rides that break the stereotypical and increasingly tiresome genres one often finds in theme parks and Maus hits the nail on the head with its unique bakery themed setting. It’s just stupid, silly fun and extremely re-rideable, I adored it!

10. Most memorable moment
Conor's reaction to riding Hex for the first time, Conor's reaction to Winjas and Richard falling over and covering himself in water balloons at the Finland Live in July.

10. New for 2013 ride you wish you could have been on
Has to be Outlaw Run doesn't it, oh well, 7 months to go.

Also Mystery Manor because it actually looks like the best thing ever!

And that’s my 2013 in a nutshell! It has been a fab and enjoyable year, not without its disappointments but all in all I was call it a success. Bring on 2014.