Its been about 3 years since I last visited flamingo land and to be honest one of the last places I would have thought about visiting this year. That was until a club member on the club pleasure beach website posted a trip report and commented how much the park had changed in recent years.
Time to take dust of the AA map and take my family on the 2.5hr trip up to Yorkshire.
On arriving at the car park I couldnt see much difference from the last time I visited about 3 years ago. The drop tower still loomed above the park and the odd looking bubble machine was still present just in front of the kiosks.
There werent to many people about at the kiosks and I was lucky to walk straight up to a window and get my tickets. As with most modern parks all forms of credit/debit cards are accepted, £70 for 2 adults and 2 children on a family ticket. £19 for individual tickets.
On entering the park you go through the gates to get your tickets checked and into a courtyard.
Immediatly in front of you is a wave swinger with a childrens roundabout over to the left. This seems to be the area where most families gather with their unfolded park maps to plan their own individual days ahead.
Ok our minds were made up time to ride corkscrew and bring back some memories and add to the bruises on my ears recieved from Alton towers corkscrew a few weeks earlier.
The cars on this ride seem like they are the original Vekoma cars that came with the ride back when they bought it, they felt allot smoother than the Alton Towers corkscrew I had riden a few weeks earlier and I didnt come away with half the bruises or sharp pains inflicted on my ears. One thing the ride ops did different here was asking people with dangling earings to remove them. I havent seen this before but can imagine riding a corkscrew without first removing your earings would cause no end of pin prick size holes behind your ears.
Something else which is pleasant and you dont notice at Alton towers is the height of the lift hill, At Alton most of it is surrounded by trees so its not until your at the top of the lift that can you see anything and then its only tree tops. The Flamingo land corkscrew lets you fully appreciate the ride up to the top of the lift hill with an uncluttered view of the yorkshire country side on one side and a great view of the track on the right, which even on a miserable day can be a joy to look at. Once at the top of the hill the familiar little drop into the turn and then right again into the first down towards the first hill onward into the dual corkscrew. The rest of the ride tries to do too much to the rider round and round into the helix, round the perimeter again and before you know it back into the brakes and station. We got a few repeat rides on corkscrew due to there been no queues when we visited.
I’ll always remember the Corkscrew with a warm feeling, at both Alton and Flamingo land. It was problably my first proper experience of riding a coaster and what better way to do it. sure today we have launched, floorless, flying, diving and more modern looping coasters but the corkscrew will always be there in the hearts of many for years to come.
Quite uniqiue in the UK as its the first launched Vekoma coaster where the trains are based on motorbikes. The seating position takes some getting used to and I wouldnt like a boubt of cramp half way around.
To ride velocity you climb on the bike like you would on a normal bike, and then pull the handlebars toward you, this pulling action works in a couple of ways. The obvious reason is to give you something to hold onto, but the mechanism works in such a way that as you lean forward and pull the bars toward you a further restraint pushes against your back holding you in position, the sadistic (if they want to be) ride op can therefore further increase the crushing sensation by leaning on the bar/padding resting on your back to crush you some more.
Once loaded up you come out of the station with the sound of motorbike engines ringing in your ears to get ready for the launch, which is directly parelel to the loading station.
The launch isnt as severe as Rita queeen of speed at Alton towers, and to be honest I would have liked more speed, however it does the launch very well and before you know it your off the cable and riding up the first hill with a nice bit of airtime before diving back under a piece of track in front, the rest of the ride consists of turns and helixes before coming back over two hump banks into the ride station. Overall a very good, fun and unique ride. height restriction is 1.32 metres.
Kumali is very attractive structure with a really nice paintjob and a resemblence of traumatizer at southport pleasure turned right. I know the nerds out there will say its nothing like it but in my eyes it did. The theming in this new area will be very attractive – at the moment June 2006, the grass has bearly started growing, but you can see where the park is going with this area and im sure it will prove to be popular once full populated how the park wants it.
Ok back to the ride. They have an odd habit with this ride. They dont allow you to queue in loading bays, sure they have bays, but your kept in the queue line until the next available car enters the station and passengers alight, the queue is then open, followed by the standard height checking procedure which takes place and you enter the ride, I personally found the over shoulder restraints quite confortable and theres allot of padding around the area of your ears to keep you head relatively still and knock free during the ride. I must mention at this point the music in the ride station is very relaxed almost jamacian, even the voice which comes over when the ride has broke down is very “wait while we fix it man”, a nice touch.
ok harness on and seatbelt clipped in securely its time to hit the lift hill. Ok the ride itself in my eyes was a very smooth ride, the twists and turns over the water add to the excitement, id heard some people complaining that it comes into brakes too harshly but i didnt find this on my visit. thoroughly enjoyable is the best way to describe this ride and its a view shared by my fellow riders on the day.
Wild River Ride.
Another well themed ride at flamingo land, this ride has a couple of elements to it, firstly its a very gentle (sometimes slower than walking pace) river ride through a couple of animal enclosures, and secondly its a flume ride down a fairly steep drop which gets you soaked. The spectators also get a bit wet.
Each car and they normally run about 5 has enough seating for 20 people, with a lap restraint seatbelts and pull back safety bar (on a side note larger guests can sit at the back where they have daddy seatbelts). The loading and unloading for this ride is something I have failed to figure out, on the day of my visit they ran 5 cars, one nearly on the lift at the end of the ride, one stuck half way round then 3 in the station. As for the ones in the station, the first one sits ready to go, the middle one sits empty and the rear one has all the guests who have just got soaked on the final drop waiting to get off. As a passenger in the rear car your left wating a couple of minutes before the next car has come down the lift and turned into the station at which point they release the lead car. it really is odd, or perhaps thats just me.
The ride itself is a nice leisurely trip past the lions in an enclosure with huge glass windows, then the boats carry on round past some turtles and zebras. you stop half way round i think this aids to stagger the boats on the lift. When you finally come to the lift which is chain driven the cars glide up very slickly. Once at the top of the lift you go through and covered area then come out back into the sunlight and straight down a drop which gets you very wet, not Valhalla (Blackpool) wet, but none the same very wet. Something else I didnt notice was rain mac sellers, Flamingo land are missing out on some coin here surely. £1.50 at Blackpool im sure they cost more at Alton towers.
I couldn’t make my mind up with this ride, is it a slow relaxing river boat ride or thrillseekers splash ride, well it is both. But I feel the younger children who arent quite ready for a soaking may like the ride for a trip around the zoo to see the various animals. The problem with this is the ride has a height restriction so it prevents the younger children riding.
I doubt thrillseekers who want a splash ride arent that bothered about the animals and like me their more intrested in the final drop. If they wanted to attract thrill seekers then why not build a single drop ride, like for example Tukiti Splash at portaventura or hydro at Oakwood, then build another cheaper ride to go around the zoo for the smaller children ??
This is an odd looking attraction, the only way it can be describe is it looks like a huge spinning plate between 2 towers, the chairs are positioned on the outside of the plate looking over the edge.
its quite an odd seating position too as you straddle the seat and place a seatbelt over your lap then a support comes from the back to hold you in securely, the ride starts by spiining around and then starts to move slowly up on of the outer supports spining as it goes, then back up the other support and so on until it reaches its peak at about 30-40ft. The experience can be a little stomach churning but I thoroughly enjoyed this ride.
Wilmouse style coaster.
I didnt ride this during my visit, but its just a standard wild mouse based steel coaster
Theres another one of these rides based in Camelot in Lancashire, your strapped into a cage and flung upside down, sorry this isnt one for me and i wasnt going to go on it, just to describe the sensation for a website 😉
Kiddie rides and younger children.
Theres plenty of rides at Flamingo land to keep younger children entertained, my own 5yr old had a great time at the park. Another good feature about Flamingo land is they have the bigger rides like corkscrew, Kumali and Velocity and they ensure there is a smaller kiddie ride nearby, ideal for parents who want to ride the bigger rides the younger children can entertain themselelves while the parents can rotate the childcare.
I love these wheels, allot of parks have them these days.
Plenty as expected with a theme park there are more than enough food places.
We sampled various stalls for drinks but choose to eat in the jolly sailor restaurant which was very impressive with fast service, friendly smiles and hot/fresh food that was cooked and served quickly, the restaurant is also licensed with a decent variety of alcholic drinks available. £70 for 7, 4 adults and 3 kids isnt bad value for a theme park.
Theres also plenty of choice if your looking for theme park fast foods, burgers, chips etc..
Overall we found the staff very friendly towards visitors apart from one ride op who wasnt doing her job properly watching chlidren on the slide. one of our party asked for her name and was told to “f**k off”, I was a bit dissapointed with this and a complaint was made to park management after our trip which has now been apparently sorted it.
I also noticed on Velocity one member of staff smoking whilst letting people onto the ride, this is my book is completely unacceptable. I wasnt going to let this spoil the day though as other than this the day was great.
An excellent day out at one of yorkshires premier tourist destinations. The park has come along way in the last few years and you would expect this park to flourish even more in the next few years. The park also has a zoo, but i dont think you could do it all in one day. ill be going back in 2007 and ill plan to spend the weekend staying in a local hotel.
An excellent selection of rides to suit all age groups.
To see all the photographs took during this visit, check out the ridemad gallery.
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Thanks for reading.