Attraction Review: Tornado Springs

2020 was certainly a year packed full of postponed projects and cancelled theme park visits, among them the delay of the much-anticipated Tornado Springs - a brand new themed land coming to Paultons Park in Hampshire. Having kept a beady eye on the construction of this project for years, hearing it was delayed really took the wind out of my sails in terms of my anticipation (despite knowing this was absolutely the right thing to do given the circumstances) and as such I've really not paid much attention to it until the parks started re-opening this year and my excitement returned. A new land! With new rides! To explore! Very exciting indeed. So of course once I was safely able to do so, I made plans as soon as possible to get down to Paultons Park to check out Tornado Springs for myself. 

I'm going to break this review down into bite-sized chunks, to help me process it all properly. And as with everything I write on this here blog of mine, what you are about to read is very much my own personal opinion and you're more than welcome to agree or disagree with me in the comments. With that said, let's get into another new for 2021 attraction review from right here in the UK!

So of course we'll start with the 'e-ticket' attraction of the new land, the family Mack spinning coaster Storm Chaser. This being a clone of Sierra Sidewinder at Knott's Berry Farm and me not being particularly fussed on Mack spinning coasters (unless they have wonderfully magical on-board audio - looking at you Dwervelwind!) this didn't particularly pique my interest but I must say it certainly packs a punch. Aside from it being my 300th coaster, I really don't remember...anything at all about Sierra Sidewinder so I was surprised at just how forceful Storm Chaser was - particularly if you're sitting more towards the back of the train. 

I like how it starts off meandering a little, offering some great aerial views of the lands itself before descending into a chaotic whirlwind of twists and turns and helices. It's just a really fun time, particularly if you're riding in a position where the spinning of the vehicles ends up with you facing your friends - there's something hilarious about that happening that I can't quite explain. I DO wish it had on-board audio though, knowing how such an addition can elevate a ride so much it did feel like there was a little something missing with that omission but regardless Storm Chaser is an absolute hoot (hoot), if slightly nauseating/not very rerideable for those susceptible to such afflictions.

For me themed lands and immersion comes with buildings - I know that's an odd thing to say but without buildings a land can't feel lived in, and if it doesn't feel lived in it's not immersive. Tornado Springs has buildings by the buttload from mechanic garages housing vintage cars, to gas stations to diners and more. All adorned with various debris dumped upon them by the town's namesake tornado problem. There are little elements here and there that work fabulously to create a narrative for the town, and the more you look around the more jumps out at you. I had walked through Tornado Springs three times before I noticed the electricity pylons lining the road, and four times before I noticed the road markings on the ground. 

It's also very bright and colourful and energetic, which works wonderfully for photography which I was very grateful for. The general nostalgic American-Mid-West vibe from the vintage cars and signage (which I adored, by the way) is delightful and there are little jokes packed away here and there that keep everything feeling very light-hearted and fun, never taking itself too seriously. It reminded me of Thorpe Park's Amity Cove in that way a little bit - especially with the radio soundtrack heard in certain areas giving snippets of backstory to keen-eared listeners. 

If I had one nit-pick it would be toward the over-use of fibreglass. Most things look perfectly fine done using this material however there are certain items, hay-bales and flags for instance, that I personally felt would have been more effective had they been 'real' and could really have elevated certain areas of the land. The farmyard figures strewn around too, whilst posed in animated ways, could have benefitted from a little articulation - the dinosaurs in Lost Kingdom add that much needed movement that I felt these characters lacked a little. 

OK so we didn't do ALL of the supporting attractions - we skipped Al's Auto Academy (even though I was obsessed with the adorable mini-American vintage cars in pastel colours) and Buffalo Falls (shout out to the park for cladding the entire existing water slide to tie it into the land and having the underneath of the structure double-up as queue line space for Storm Chaser - nice.) But we DID ride Cyclonator and Windmill Towers which I'll get into now. 

OK so Cyclonator. I'm not huge on flat rides but I do make an exception for an outward-facing gyro-swing attractions so naturally I wanted to see how Cyclonator rode. The theming of this flat ride is great and is probably some of the best flat ride theming we have in the UK. I get the feeling from the blades and such that the idea is that we're some kind of giant, pendulous crop harvesting machinery? Regardless, it looks great and fits into the land wonderfully - especially with the themed supports to look like wheels and the moving machinery parts up top. This being a Zamperla iteration of the gyro-swing and not its superior Intamin counterpart I was surprised at just how good it was. Yes it didn't have the wonderful floatiness of a Loki but it was incredibly forceful and still gave that great swooping rush as you swing through. Again - not too rerideable if you're a little sensitive to nausea but fantastic fun all the same. 

Do not be deceived by Windmill Towers and its cutesy attempt to convince you it is a ride for children - these mini-drop towers pack more of a punch than you would expect. Having been a fan of the awesome Tikal towers at Phantasialand I knew what I was in for with these and given my promise to ride more drop towers this year I of course had to give them a try and yes, I can confirm they are more intense than they appear and ridiculously great fun to ride. Not something I'd spend all day riding over and over again but certainly not one to miss. 

So I mentioned the radio station soundtrack I noticed dropping in and out which I very much appreciated. As a theme park nerd I look for tidbits of narrative and story everywhere so that was a lovely touch. I do feel like overall the music in the land could have been better - this is the American Mid-West in the 50s - you have an absolute gold mine of musical options and yet from what I heard it was mostly a generic 'Rock Style 1' RCT type soundtrack, which was a bit of a shame. I hope the park will consider updating this in the future as I think it could bring an extra layer of immersion to Tornado Springs. 

We ate in the Route 83 Diner after hearing rave reviews but honestly between the current rules of only being able to eat outside combined with the fact that it was pretty busy and raining at the time I do feel like we didn't get to experience this at its best. We also made a panic 'oh crap it's lunchtime and raining and busy' decision to eat there and I near kicked myself when I walked around the corner to find the Hay Barn at the other end of the land, selling burritos and loaded fries out of a once again, highly themed establishment. Next time I guess. 


Tornado Springs is very fun and a cool, vibrant addition to the UK theme park landscape. Storm Chaser is a great first 'big' coaster for up and coming thrillseekers and the theming and storytelling throughout the land is the right balance of silly and immersive. It never takes itself too seriously and never forgets its job is to leave a smile on your face. Whilst in my opinion there are some bits I didn't personally think were fantastic, the overall vibe of the place is a pleasant and fun one and probably the best addition to Paultons Park yet (if you're not particularly huge on Peppa Pig.) I can't wait to see what is coming next. 

Have you visited Tornado Springs yet? What do you think is the best new ride in the land? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,