Weston-super-Mare, the gift that keeps on giving. I’ve visited the Funland park three times already since they came on the radar back in 2018, picking up 4 creds along the way. They’ve got a very high rotation rate of new rides and sure enough for this year again, it was out with the old and in with the new – 2 coasters gone, 3 more in their place.
An unpleasantly early Sunday morning start got us to a nearby multi-storey car park just as the rides were due to open, where we spent far too long attempting to pay for parking via apps, websites, texts and phonecalls as, although this is the 21st century, card payments were not an option.
Funland Theme Park
A quick lap of the establishment told us how many tokens would be required, some quick maths told us the most cost effective way of purchasing as the pricing changes with scale and then it was time for the day to begin in style.
The confidence with which we approached and boarded #1 Runaway Train, along with our having some shameless Liseberg apparel on display, appeared to have caught the eye of a local enthusiast who was also here for cred hunting reasons and took the opportunity to piggyback on the reduction in potential embarassment that comes with safety in numbers when riding such undersized creations. I had done one of these models before, but didn’t quite remember how limited it was when it came to the legroom department and the extortionate number of laps we then received was quite the endurance test for the knees.
Now that our mutual goals had been established, we headed for #2 €uro Coaster. Not the famed travelling Inverted wild mouse that’s a regular at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, but rather a Zyklon Galaxi that’s toured through Asia as a tantalising glimpse into what quality of rides Europe has to offer. The shoulder restraints felt highly unnecessary for one of these, but it rode smooth like butter.
Last up was #3 Crazy Coaster the SBF Visa spinner (two loop edition) that brought back bittersweet memories of the trip that contained 4 of these bad boys. Summer 2020 feels like a lifetime ago.
It was upon his departure that it suddenly occured to me – that lone cred hunter from Bristol could have been the legendary Hixee of Coasterforce fame, and it turns out I was right. It’s a small world after all.
Pure cred hunting can lead to many oversights, one of which would be the Grand Pier just down the beach here that doesn’t have any rollercoasters. They’ve got a robot arm flat ride that they claim is the ‘smallest coaster in the UK’, but my imagination just can’t stretch that far. They do happen to have a dark ride though – another attraction I would never known about were it not for the DRdb.
The House of Horrors Ghost Train was due to open upon our arrival and has a big red ‘call attendant’ button on the entrance turnstyle. I expected it to be a setup to some form of jump scare but in actuality the staff member hadn’t actually arrived or even started the thing up yet.
The cars are unusual contraptions, sealing riders inside intimidating looking cages for that extra fear factor I guess, though I doubt this one could go too hard with the advertised ‘PG’ rating on the signage. This ghost train was far more detailed than the one from my previous excursion that I declared at the time to be the Wacky Worm of dark rides, though it was still pretty standard fare in the grand scheme of things.
Perhaps it’s the Vekoma Junior of the dark ride world.
As our itinerary for ride establishments was already halfway complete within the first hour and a half it seemed appropriate to do some general sightseeing of some things in the area I’d never before taken the time to visit. First up was Cheddar Gorge, just 30 minutes in from the coast, with some great natural scenery intersected by a winding road.
I do particularly enjoy tourist attractions that can be experienced entirely from within the comforts of one’s own car, and this was no exception.
Next was the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Though you can drive across it, it seemed more fitting to actually use our feet for this one and soak up some views, despite the ever increasing unpleasantness of the heat.
I’m just not used to sunlight (or the outdoors) any more.
After a leisurely late lunch we headed over a much bigger, though far less historically significant, bridge (the Severn crossing) and into Wales. I wasn’t keen on returning to Barry Island so soon after the travesty of my last visit (it got the job done at least), but I was the only one of the party who already had the Zyklon cred and then, yet again, I noticed that they had a ghost train.
Barry Island Pleasure(?) Park
The same police riot van was in place exactly as before, though disappointingly no youths were being bundled into it and I was unable to park (for free) knee deep in fish and chips on this occasion, instead getting stuck up a dead end of a road with several other cars and having to perform amazing reverse manoeuvres while dodging the general unsightliness of the surroundings.
Yet again it was in and out as fast as humanly possible, not helped by, in the 21st century, a token machine that declared it could accept ‘all major credit cards’ refusing to accept any of our major credit cards. With coins sufficiently distributed I took to the second Ghost Train of the day which appeared to have rather similar cars to that one in Mablethorpe from a few weeks ago. The layout was at least different inside, it lasted a bit longer and had somewhat more going on, though it wasn’t the most impressive of the day.
The final stop of the tour was Porthcawl, another place I had no particular desire to return to (a general feeling shared amongst all South Wales amusements it seems). It had at least been a couple more years since the last visit however and there was a far worthier prize on the cards. A shiny new Wacky Worm AND yet another Ghost Train.
Coney Beach Pleasure(?) Park
It appeared that disaster had struck as we entered the car park for this one, with Walibi Holland levels of queues and depravity attempting to merge into a single line and leave the premises for the day. It was too late to react, we’d made our bed as soon as we turned in. Looks like we’ll be sleeping here overnight.
They’ve added a queueline and ticket booths to the entrance here in what I assume was an attempt to alleviate the crowds. The rule appears to be that you have to pay to get in and walk around, though unless you walk up to the desk and actively channel what a great man once declared on a bench outside El Toro (‘I don’t like riiides’), you can just buy whatever tokens you need there and get in with those hassle free.
I was concerned at the sight of the decoration for this #4 Family Roller Coaster, that crude painting of the Ladybird from A Bug’s Life looks far too familiar and, not for the first time, I began to question the validity of this whole travelling, counting nonsense (still fun though). Subtle differences on deeper analysis at least, the one I recall was actually at the first park of this report, Funland, back in 2018, and didn’t have an op box, whereas this one does. It appears Güven Lunapark are knocking out these facades on a mass production scale and I, for one, welcome our new worm overlords.
This Ghost Train has been kicking around for an impressive number of years. The very open 4 seater cars must have had a few overhauls in that time.
It was dark, there was luminous paint, there were obnoxiously loud noises. There’s no real narrative or anything in the way of sensations to these, so I’m struggling to say anything much about them. I’d rank it middle of the three today.
There we go then, another +4 (and +3 on the ghost trains). I suffered for it though – still sunburnt, achey and bruised, clearly I need to warm my body back into these types of excursions, particularly if it ever comes to multiple days of it.
If that even happens this year…