Attraction Review: Adventure Island

Yay, the 2017 is in full swing for most of us now and last weekend I visited my first 'proper' park - Adventure Island! I hadn't been to the park since 2013 where Conor rode Rage as his 100th cred. Since then he's now been on over 400 so it's fair to say we've been busy since then. The park had added LOADS since we last visited, and with the rest of my local parks not quite open yet I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity for a little trip down memory lane to the Essex seaside. 

So, a little personal background on my relationship with Adventure Island. I've been visiting since I was a tiny baby with barely a coaster credit to my name. Back then the park was known as Peter Pan's Playground and was where basically everybody in Essex spent their summer holidays. I'd say that visits to this park were definitely to blame for some of my enthusiasm, I can still vividly remember attractions like the Fantasy Dome and Space Chase even now, so it definitely had an impact on me! I don't keep as up to date as I'd like with what's happening in the park, but it's definitely a place I'll always have a soft spot and wish the best for.

Onto our visit then. Annoyingly the day we chose to visit was a little dreary. Even more annoyingly is that the days either side of our visit were blazing sunshine so slightly irritating but what're you gonna do? The park was mostly empty when we arrived, so we grabbed our wristbands and spent a little while hanging out taking a few pics of Rage whilst we waited for our friends to arrive. Taking pics was especially difficult seeing as everything was (rightly) running on one train with dispatches every 5 minutes or so!

Annoyingly my camera memory card decided to disintegrate, but Conor saved the day and ran into the nearby shopping centre to pic me up a new one, what a babe! Whilst he was off doing that my friend Rachel and I took a spin on Green Scream. We were chatting about how when we were younger this was THE big coaster at Adventure Island and reminiscing about how terrifying it was! I'd say that because of Adventure Island's unique use of space (ie, shoving everything on stilts) makes everything higher and therefore feels a lot bigger and more terrifying than they actually are - great for kids riding the bigger rides for the first time!

I wanted to check out the new-for-me Adventure Inside attraction. When we visited back in 2013 this area was kind of a limbo, existing to connect the two sections of the park either side of the pier containing a pirate ship walk-through thing and...not a lot else. What a transformation it's undergone! The park have made incredible use of the space and it now contains an arcade filled with state-of-the-art arcade games, a pirate ship, a mini drop tower and bounce and spin kids flat ride and a HUGE soft play area. 

Not only is it absolutely PERFECT for days like the one we visited where it was drizzling a little it also bridges the two sides of the park perfectly and provides weary parents a place to hide and drink coffee. I was seriously impressed with this area, we only rode the drop tower as I felt slightly awkward about entering the soft play area without kids, but it was clear everybody was having an absolute blast and it was easily the busiest and most buzzing area of the park all day.

Next we pottered over towards Adventureville as I was keen to try out one of the UK's newest dark rides. First lap round I just thought ah OK, this is cute, little kiddy ride with some slight nods to the likes of the Bubbleworks throughout, adorable. Then we went round for a second lap and I rolled my eyes. Really? Then, joy happened. I'm not going to ruin it but it completely caught me off guard and I laughed the whole way round. Also LOVE the SFX on board the train. It's little touches like that that really make an attraction memorable!

Of course no trip to Adventure Island is complete without a whirl on the classic American Whip, still going strong after pleasing patrons for decades! I love this ride, it always makes me think of olden day theme park photos where everybody is dressed in their best and laughing in black and white. Classic theme park thrills never get old!

I think we had a whip round on some of the coasters. They're all not really anything to write home about on this side of the park - more for the younger thrillseekers but again, I'll always say that Adventure Island make excellent use of space and do a good job at making their smaller coasters appear a lot more imposing than they actually are - I was a little nervous as we ascended the lift-hill of Mighty Mini Mega! 

We also rode the Disk-O whilst we were in front of it. I love the versions with the hump in the middle but hadn't ridden the classic style in a while. Then I remembered why. Spinny things are just not my bag and I'd forgotten quite how vom-inducing this thing is. Mistake. 

Everybody knows the best rides are on the left side of the park as you face the sea, so we headed back over and finally joined the queue for Rage. As I said earlier, it was only running one train as the park was mostly empty so we queue about ten mins. What I always notice when I visit this park is how enthusiastic the staff are. They're constantly engaging everybody in the queue, chatting and genuinely enjoying themselves. It's fantastic to see, makes the queue fly by and creates an atmosphere even on emptier days like this one! As for Rage...yh, I'd forgotten how jolty this thing is! It's great for the size of it and a fab started coaster for anybody looking for something slightly more thrilling but I'm sorry to say I only managed one ride before calling it a day and retiring to take pics whilst the others took a few more laps!

Whilst we were in the area we took a ride on Sky Drop. These always have such a weak drop that it catches me by surprise, but I guess it's a nice place to have a little sit down with a good view of the park! It's such a weird place for a ride too, feels really out of the way and like you expect to see somebody roll past with a bunch of recycling bins or something. I also noticed a huge building with a kind of creepy cottage facade. Anybody know what this is? I'm assuming it's a seasonal attraction space but I've never visited for these events so have no idea?

Conor then decided he wanted to punish himself so took a spin on Time Machine. For those who don't know, this is an in-house built flat ride and basically it's pure evil. If you love a good spin and spew, you'll LOVE this. I rode it once and literally saw into the future (maybe that's where it gets its name?) Conor swore that it wasn't as bad as the first time he rode but the way the colour drained from his face said otherwise...

Next up it was time for Over the Hill! I've gushed about this dark ride before, and was really excited to get back on it. I love the design of the animatronics, they always feel kind of Tim Burton-esque to me, which I absolutely adore! Sadly it seems like this ride has seen better days and is in desperate need of some TLC - lots of the effects weren't working and many of the models were missing extremities. The ending (no spoilers don't worry) was still as fab as ever but could definitely do with a little tidying up to bring it back to life. Shame really.

Lastly we took a plunge on Tidal Wave. Why did I forget how soaking these water slides are? Conor and I shared a boat and we got absolutely drenched, not my favourite for a drizzly day like this one! Still love how the park went to the effort to add theming, not often something you see on a clothes-on water slide!

After this we grabbed some donuts (you can't NOT have donuts at the seaside!) and ice cream and called it a day. Despite the weather doing its best to dampen our spirits, it was fab to get back to Adventure Island. I feel like it's the one park in the UK that doesn't get nearly the amount of love it deserves and I'd really encourage everybody to take the time to go and visit. If you love classic seaside style theme parks you'll absolutely love Adventure Island. They have some of the best staff in the world and if nothing you'll leave the place with +5 coasters to your count!

Talk later xoxo,


  1. Hey! I was searching for some information on the Fantasy Dome and after a while I stumbled upon your blog. It's so nice to see Adventure Island get some recognition. I live in Suffolk and every now and again we go down to Southend and Adventure Island is always on our list of places to visit. Recently me and a friend have been researching thr fantasy dome as the lack of information online interests us. We have a few pictures of the characters around the park (after the dome had shut) but no actual pictures / information about the ride itself! Funnily enough this all started with my visit to the park in 2015. Near Sk8boarder there was this display cabinet which had benches attatched to it which contained almost creepy fantasy looking characters inside of it , also including signs with information about some old ride which I assumed was the fantasy dome.I'd love to hear about your expirience with the ride! It's so good to hear that someone has recently mentioned the dome as it was starting to worry me. It's almost as if no one remembers at all. You can email me at if you would like. I would love to share my pictures and hear your stories!