Top 6 Defunct Rides I Really Miss

After almost thirty years on this earth and close to as many years visiting theme parks, it's obvious to note that many an iconic and beloved attraction has come and gone over the years. I'm usually quite logical when it comes to thinking about rides - I'm sad when a ride I love is announced to close, sure, but I usually get over it pretty quickly and am thankful for the memories I have rather than lament those I could have made riding it in the future. That said, with channels like Defunctland and Yesterworld on YouTube I've sometimes found myself sat there thinking aww, I actually really miss that ride. Take a nostalgic trip with me down memory lane this evening as I count down my top six defunct attractions that I really miss. 

This is one of those classic old school Chessington rides that I didn't realise had such an impact on me until years later. There was a huge gap for me visiting the park between being a literal actual child and an enthusiast - I revisited the park as an adult for the first time in 2008 and I'd say it would have been well over ten years before that that I last visited the park. As I approach Tomb Blaster on my visit that day the memories all came flooding back to me - the mummy playing an electric guitar, the huge, terrifying set pieces, the crazy music, it was all etched in my mind so crystal clearly that I was almost overcome with nostalgia. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely adore Tomb Blaster (I love a shooting dark ride me!) but it was definitely strange re-riding it after such a long time in a slightly different but still familiar state. It made it feel like my memories had all just been a dream. 

I was lucky enough to visit Islands of Adventure in its opening year and in the run up to that holiday I remember obsessively poring over travel catalogues, staring longingly at this mysterious roller coaster concept themed around dragons. To my seven year old eyes the entire thing seemed too massive to comprehend existing and it was absolutely top of my list of 'must-rides' for our vacation that year. Sad thing about being a tiny seven year old who's into theme parks and coasters is that the majority of the time you're too short to go on the things you want to most, so the whole thing ends up being a torturous experience. Our first visit to the park the closest I got to riding was waving my dad goodbye as he joined the queue and all I could do was wait the other side dreaming about what the ride would be like. Luckily we revisited a few years later and I finally got my chance - what an absolutely blast! The theming of the queueline was like nothing I'd ever seen and completely did its job in immersing me into the medieval tale of two dragons duelling around a ruined castle, slaughtering any knight who dared try get near enough to tame them. 

Anybody who rode this coaster while it still duelled knows what an incredible coaster experience it was. As stand alone rides they're both excellent coasters but nothing matches that rush of adrenaline you feel riding front row as you see another train hurtling towards you before swooping upwards at the very last second. Hagrid's is an absolutely BLAST but Duelling Dragons it ain't. 

Nothing has traumatised me more than opening social media that day to see the photo of a pile of smoking rubble where the iconic Wild Mouse coaster once stood. I remember it so vividly, that unmistakable feeling of overwhelming and all consuming devastation. I've never felt anything like it, and over a coaster! I remember Conor asking why I was so upset as it was just a coaster and it was so hard to put into words just how crushing it was knowing not only would I never get to ride this insane piece of machinery ever again but I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. More gutting still I had visited the Pleasure Beach that summer and foolishly skipped out on riding the Mouse as it had a pretty long queue because hey, it'll be here next time. WRONG. Gutted. 

Another devastating one - I always find it hurts more when we lose a weird one because you know that there will likely never be anything else like it because it was so fucking crazy and weird, and that's exactly how I feel about Transdemonium closing. Look, I love Parc Asterix and I am certain there were some very good reasons that lead to the closure of that attraction, but damn it was an awesome ghost train. Truly unique not only in its narrative but in its visual style as well - truly disturbing and creepy which is actually quite hard to pull off as those of us who have ridden our fair share of corny funfair ghost trains can attest too. The whole thing has this really macabre pseudo Tim Burton vibe to it and urgh, it was just so weird and fucked up. RIP you weird little ride and may you not soon be forgotten. 

This was another one of those rides I didn't realise I loved so much until it was gone. And I am for sure excited for Runaway Railway but being the movie nerd I am there was something really special about The Great Movie Ride. I adore the old school Disney attractions that were essentially a bunch of crusty of animatronics in a set, but especially when they're iconic film sets. Honestly I'd have paid good money to be allowed some alone time in that Alien scene - easily my favourite section of the entire ride (mostly because it made all the kids cry mwahaha). 

Ending with an icon obviously and yes I KNOW I can still ride it in Japan but let's face it, it's not the same when you don't understand the skipper's quips - that's the best part. I adored every inch of this ride - the fact that it is absolutely terrifying and THAT FUCKING BOATHOUSE scene will haunt my nightmares for years to come but also the fact that it just should never have existed. Those who've seen the countless YouTube videos and know their Universal parks history know what an absolute mare the park had with getting this thing to work in the first place but the fact that they actually eventually pulled it off is a marvel - everything about it is just so HUGE. The fact that the open bodies of water you travel through are so big always really gave me the creeps because even thought yes I know the shark is a robot but it still feels like I don't know where he's going to come from. Also FIRE EVERYWHERE. Urgh, I'm so sad it's gone even though Diagon Alley is incredible. 

Yeah yeah, I know sometimes we have to swallow the bitter pill and say goodbye to old favourites for reasons, whether that be operational issues or to clear some space for something newer and bigger and better but like I say, at least I still have the memories of all the times I DID get to ride those incredible attractions and thank god for YouTube channels devoted to wallowing in nostalgia so I can get a hit when I need it. 

Talk later xoxo,