2021 Season In Review

OK, I'm going to do my best to keep the tone positive for this one, but obviously as I'm sure is the case for many of you, 2021 didn't exactly go to plan. I started the year extremely optimistically, with a host of plans I was sure would go ahead this time, but alas, COVID had other plans and thus we found ourselves in another year of just muddling through and being thankful for what few trips I was able to squeeze in. Usually for me these reviews are looking back at exciting new things I've ridden and places I've been, but there sadly isn't a whole bunch of that this year. Ever the optimist, I'm praying 2022 we see some semblance of normality resuming, but until then, here's what 2021 looked like for me!

My lowest addition to the coaster count since I began counting back in 2010, a measly 13. But honestly, I'm glad of even that considering I didn't really go anywhere new! Plus, I hit my 1100 milestone so I will absolutely take that given the circumstances. 

Another weird one as I would say technically I didn't go to any new traditional theme parks. But as 2021 wasn't exactly a normal year I'll make the exception and say three:

Diggerland Kent

Loro Parque

Siam Park

A water park, a zoo and a family entertainment centre. Lord have mercy!

Not that there's been much competition in terms of new coasters I've ridden this year, but undoubtedly it's F.L.Y. at Phantasialand. I never thought I'd enjoy a flying coaster as much as I enjoyed this but it really is spectacular. You can read my full review here if you want to know my detailed thoughts but yh, it's really great and I'm really hoping to get back to the park in 2022 to take Conor to experience it. 

Difficult to answer because the substantial new stuff I rode this year was all good and the other stuff was just kiddie crap that I tend not to 'rank' because it's not exactly a fair comparison. I guess I'd say Roller Coaster at Dunes Leisure because I had to ride it by myself as Conor couldn't find a parking space and it was one of the most embarrassing cred experiences of my life. 

Easily the Halloween overlay on Movie Park Studio Tour. Our park contact kept mentioning about going back to ride it again after dark, and I kept wondering what she meant given the coaster is mostly indoors. But wow, this overlay is absolutely nuts. I've gone into full detail in my attraction review here, but it bears repeating. It is just so impressive how quickly they turn the overlay around (it's in 'normal' mode during the day, even in Halloween) and how substantial it is. It's not just a bit of blood and gore and a spooky soundtrack - the whole narrative of the thing changes and major special effects are completely different for the overlay. It's just so fun and seriously shocked me with the attention to detail. 

Once again it was an Oktoberfest event, at a park I've gotten very well acquainted with this year. Not Thorpe this time around (although we did have an excellent day at Thorpe's event this year) but Towers! We went on a Sunday and expected it to be fairly busy but found a pretty quiet park, lush weather, excellent entertainment and smashed out a phenomenal ride-count whilst still somehow managing to make time to take loads of photos, have a few beers and chill out in the event areas. This was the second year for each event and they just get better and better. Can't wait to see what their 2022 iterations look like and I'm hoping to get back to both in September! We ended the day with three back to back rides on Wicker Man if I recall, and that thing is hauling ass this season so it was. spectacular way to end our visit - slight smell of bonfire lingering on a brisk autumnal evening. Theme park perfection. 

Sadly nothing really stands out this year as we didn't go anywhere too exciting. I think probably the Marco Polo pasta thing Rachel and I had at Uhrwerk in Klugheim. It's a properly nice, sit-down restaurant with HUGE portions and great beer with even better views. I would highly recommend making a stop there if you're visiting Phantasialand any time soon!

I didn't manage any 'big' theme park trips this year, but the three days spent at Disneyland Paris with my sister, nephew and best friend Alex in November was really special. Just being back in a Disney park was absolutely magic - the Christmas decorations were just out, we got to see some parades and my 2 year old nephew on some Disney classics (he's now obsessed with Phantom Manor, my work here is done!) Spending time with loved ones making memories like that in magical places is something I've really felt robbed of as a result of the pandemic, so I'm very glad we were able to squeeze this visit in before everything flared up again over winter. 

We had a bit of a nightmare getting to Cologne airport in October. We had a late flight anyway that would have landed around midnight local time. This was delayed by about an hour, and we then spent 40 minutes waiting on the plane to be able to take off. The other end was chaos, with a huge queue through passport control. We then had faff finding our cab driver the other side, before finally not being able to digitally access our room keys for the hotel the other end. I think we ended up getting to sleep about 4AM - luckily Movie Park Germany was open until 10PM so we decided a later start would be in order so we didn't ruin our day and it ended up fine in the end but we were all pretty exhausted by the time we finally hit the hay. It was one of those 'everything goes wrong' moments that you just have to ride the wave of. 

Entering Rookburgh for the first time for sure. I promise I will get around to editing the vlog in January, but essentially the first ten minutes of us entering the new area in Phantasialand is me going 'wow, wow, wow, wow' over and over again. It was just such a long time coming - having followed construction of the thing for over five years and having visits delayed because of the pandemic it didn't feel real to finally be experiencing it for myself. A really magical moment made even better by the fact that the whole area was covered in a low laying autumn fog with sunlight piercing through at any given moment, giving an awesome cinematic glow to amplify the already impressive theming. It'll stay with me forever, and is a moment I'm so grateful for given how the rest of the year panned out for me. 


Another year as a theme park enthusiast in a global pandemic in the bag then. I'm praying we have more luck in 2022, but looking back I'm pleased to see that it wasn't a complete write off. I didn't get to as many new places as I would have liked but I visited the UK parks a ton of times so it wasn't all bad!

Tell me, what did you get up to in 2021? What were your standout moments and best coasters or rides you managed to get on this year? I hope you managed to have some fun, despite everything. 

Talk later xoxo,


  1. That was a great wrap up. You were able to find some new adventures and maintain an overall positive outlook during the year. Have an absolute blast in 2022. Thank you for all your posts and info this year.