There’s a travelling coaster called (amusingly) Shrek that’s been teasing me for months now. It first came onto the radar when it was just 10 minutes up the road one weekend, the rain was chucking down all day and I simply couldn’t be bothered to get up and do something about it. The fair it was a part of then proceeded to tour around various nearby towns, only without the coaster any more. The one (of many) that got away.
Suddenly Shrek resurfaced in Corby, of all places (had to look it up), with just one day left to go again! I was loathed to make this into a six hour round trip for something that could and should have been so simple (and yet totally would have done anyway), so had a browse of the local options to see if we could make anything more out of the adventure. Things didn’t look promising, they’re all elusive, exclusive and many different kinds of trouble around that area.
We haven’t had any luck with them in the past, but a friendly email was fired off to Gullivers with zero expectations. If all else fails there’s an attempt at Billing Aquadrome on the cards – a name that’s been floating around in the back of my mind for years without even knowing what it’s about.
Amazingly a response came back almost instantly. Of course you can come, happy to help, we’ll sort you out no problem!
Where have you been all my life?
Gulliver’s Milton Keynes
It felt like sacred ground, standing at the entrance to the UK’s largest purveyors of the dreaded ‘no adult groups’ rule, a rule that has haunted the common coaster counter for generations. A flash of our communications at the gate soon had our saviour with a clipboard appearing, who explained that while usually we’d get a chaperone for this type of visit, they were just too busy to spare anyone and so unleashed us freely on the park. Amazing.
To the coasters then. First one was #1 Crazy Mouse, in a shed, though we weren’t even sure if it existed any more because it didn’t appear on the website. It’s still here, in all it’s glory, complete with giant cat and grand piano theming. Not sure if it’s the norm, but the ride took one lap with the house lights on and then another couple in the dark for extra effect. L&T Systems at their finest.
I’d never even considered the place as anything but a cred run that can’t happen, yet it turns out they have dark rides too, making the mission twofold. Gulliver’s Travels definitely features Gulliver, though I’m not so sure about the travel part. I particularly loved the overly relaxed position of the seating on this thing and the ride system has an amusing habit of just letting empty or lighter cars tailgate those in front because they simply run that much faster.
The Silver Mine cars did the same, though this time there were more immediate distractions in the form of targets to shoot at, ones that set off various effects such as shaking rats and… shaking bats. No scoring systems, just fun, it’s the taking part that counts.
The beast of the park was having all sorts of adventures by the time we arrived, immediately ejecting hats (they were warned) on the amusingly profiled first corner. In case no one noticed, it’s been a million degrees here recently and the train was coming in too hot and failing to park in the station properly. The capacity of the ride had already been reduced in order to compensate for this, but the engineer was called and decided the best solution was to cut down to loading just 2 cars out of 5.
I’ve never done something from EOS rides, to my knowledge, and am now that much richer for the experience. #2 Twist and Joust has charm, it has clunk, it beats those SBF Visa spinners any day. I also love the minimalist attempt at theming.
The lineup is completed by an absolute staple of this game, the Zamperla 80STD. Rides called #3 Runaway Train are fast becoming the new ‘Roller Coaster 1’ too – it may not even be the last of the day. This one had so much glorious shade, it was great. It rode rather brutally too, for oversized adults on a children’s coaster at least.
With our lap of the essentials complete it was time to depart with an immense sense of satisfaction. Great stuff from Gulliver’s. Now, about those other parks…
Just up the motorway is this place. It had been sold to me as ‘pay £5 to a man at a gate to get into the ‘resort’, then rock up to the funfair bit and pray that the cred is open.’
As if things weren’t already going swimmingly enough, ‘the man at the gate’ nodded us straight through, no questions asked, no cash required.
Well now it doesn’t even matter if it’s not running (it totally does).
Of course it was open. After an amusing episode with a token machine that appeared to be dispensing hand sanitiser simultaneously with the tokens (at least we hope it was that), it was all aboard the second consecutive #4 Runaway Train. I thought I knew my Cavazza Diegos coasters when I saw them, but this one is actually from Big Country Motioneering, of ‘The Ultimate‘ fame no less.
Can’t forget about #5 Shrek though, the instigator of all this glory. If you ever see him on the road, make sure to give him a wave. He was parked up on the side of a roundabout in the middle of nowhere, also known as Corby. Disappointingly the operator just referred to the ride as ‘The Dragon’, but it’s one of those entertaining extended oval rides that begins with a backwards launch and then just keeps on going and going. It brought back fond memories of roughly this time last year, an afternoon spent in Southampton on the exact same ride type, during Covid restrictions part #17. Their one even had bubbles. What a birthday that was…
All in all another spontaneous (and fabulous) +5 from the UK. These really are unprecedented times.