Year in Review 2014

My weekend in Barcelona a few weeks back marked the end of my travels for 2014 (Belfast at Christmas doesn’t count ;]) and so I thought I’d do a little review of my year regarding theme parks/coasters. I think I managed to post a report of every trip I did on here so I’ll link to them as I go through.

1. Roller coaster of the year
Definitely Helix at Liseberg. The coaster was perfect from my first ride, but that front row ride at night was breathtaking. One of my standout moments of the 2014 season and a solid new coaster to add to my top ten.

2. Water ride of the year
The Acme rapids at Parque Warner Madrid - so good we stayed on and went around for a second time! Bilge Rat Barges levels of wetness and theming alike, this is a hidden gem of a water ride. Honourable mentions to the ridiculous safari boat ride at Bellewaerde, LegoLand Billund’s log flume and the Bugs Bunny log flume at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

3. Flat ride of the year
SpinSpider at Tusenfryd - the redeeming feature of such a dire park. It is a huge frisbee type ride, plonked on the top of a hill for extra Acrophobia points. 

Alongside this I also loved the Sky Fly by Gerstlauer at Nigloland for being a bit different.

4. Park of the year
Silver Dollar City. A gorgeous park setting in the heart of the Ozarks with excellently western themed rides, a broad and differentiated selection of attractions, world class customer service, mouth watering food and tons of stuff to do between rides. I absolutely adored the place.

Runners up include Liseberg in Sweden, my new favourite city park. It has that perfect balance between a beautiful classic amusement park theme alongside modern and innovative attractions. An overwhelming sense of nostalgia from the minute you walk through the gates and writes the book on the use of classic amusement park bulb lighting.

5. Scare-maze of the year
For being different and totally over the top, Psychomanteum at Scare Kingdom knocks everything else out of the park. It dared to overstep the mark and was delightfully gruesome in its execution. really enjoyable.

Krueger Hotel at Tibidabo was also very very good. It was strange to experience a scare attraction where you spent so much time with the actors. The sets and mise-en-scene were on point and the use of classic horror monsters meant that a lot of time was saved on set up meaning much more allowance for scares!

Gasten Ghost Hotel at Liseberg was the most beautiful. Such attention to detail I almost forgot I was meant to be being scared, which is both good and bad I guess!

6. Biggest disappointment of the year
Not much spite this year thankfully. The trip to America was full of doom and gloom inducing weather report which, if the dreaded clouds had materialised, would have meant a lot of written off parks for the day. Luckily for us when we got rain it always seemed to pass meaning a whole day was never spoiled.

7. Most surprised by
Tennessee Tornado at Dollywood. A giant Arrow custom looping coaster, on paper this thing should be vile, but it was amazing. It’s just colossal and the size and speed of it make for a very impressive ride. I’m a bit upset that I didn’t get to ride it a few more times before we left because it was actually so excellent.

9. Best dark ride
Ratatouille at Walt Disney Studios in Paris takes this a mile off. The ride is incredible, everything from the Parisian square to the trackless ride vehicles to the seamless blend of 3D animation and live action sets and animatronics. It’s just a perfect perfect ride and I implore you to go visit Disneyland Paris simply to ride this ride. Amazing.

10. Most memorable moment
Driving through the Smoky Mountains between Tennessee and Carolina. That will stay with me for a lifetime, absolutely breathtaking.

That night ride on Helix at Liseberg, my definite stand out ride of the season. 

11. New for 2013 ride you wish you could have been on
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Weirdly, I haven’t heard that much hype around it and I have been purposely avoiding looking in detail at what exactly the ride is. I’m very intrigued as to what it actually is! Everything else I wanted to go on this year I made happen though so I’m quite pleased.

I’ve done so much this year that I know 2015 is going to get nowhere near it. Hopefully my trip to Japan in September will provide enough memories and new cultural experiences though. I look forward to it!