2018, Southport. The Pinfari looper wasn’t ready first thing because of ‘health and safety stuff’ and ‘the rain’. We camped it out far longer than necessary to eventually be told “Got problems with the brakes, probably won’t open today.”
Let’s give that another go then.
Fast forward 3 years and exactly the same thing happened. This time the park is paid entry rather than per ride, so it stings just that little bit more.
Luckily they have added one other cred in the meantime, one of these littler Pinfari things that used to live in Scotland – seems they’re all gradually defecting.
Not sure why it’s called #1 The Rocket, I guess because just plain old Roller Coaster was already taken. The station had an interesting feature in the form of some discarded seatbelts lying on the platform. Some seats had them, some didn’t, the restraint is hilariously awkward (but at least not over the shoulder) and off we go.
It isn’t the first of these I’ve ridden this year that’s surprisingly smooth for what it is. How are they managing it?
With no signs of life from the looper, the only other thing to get some money’s worth from was the Ghost Train. Being Halloween season and all that, it was rather popular and attracting a sizeable queue. The ride host was having a great time entertaining guests with a fake bloodied hand, throwing babies into the crowd and generally being a bit of a legend.
Inside the ride itself there were also a couple of roaming scare actors, which I wasn’t expecting, so that managed to be quite effective in getting to us. Makes me think it’s something that this type of low end dark ride could do with on the regular, to make it stand out a bit.
As the rain set in and the train for the spiting coaster wasn’t even parked in the station, with no one around, it was time to give up on it yet again. Although some staff claimed ‘it may open later’, something which we’ve heard far too many times, they had already cancelled their fireworks and late opening hours so it clearly wasn’t going to be worth sticking around, particularly when someone was waiting for us at another park.
In better news we had once again achieved some success thanks to our new best friend at Gulliver’s Milton Keynes. He put us in touch with the relevant people at the Warrington establishment who were happy to receive us for the afternoon and escort us to the coasters.
Upon arrival, our contact had gone AWOL, but the admissions staff appeared to have been briefed on what was happening and so yet again, we ended up with free roam of the place.
First port of call was a somewhat momentous achievement. #2 Antelope was that all-elusive final wooden coaster to complete the UK set for me, in fact I’d have every operating woodie in Europe now were it not for a certain spite over in Madrid.
The layout looked quite good for what it was, though somehow it manages to ride hilariously poorly for the size. The first drop was punctuated with a highly vigorous to-and-fro pumping motion as soon as the train gathered any speed, shaking us all about in a purely comical, yet not painful fashion. The first turnaround was taken at incredibly slow speeds, crawling around like an overly exaggerated version of my regular playful mocking of Balder.
This cycle continued throughout the rest of the ride. Gain speed, shake violently, slow to a crawl, including during such highlights as the double up, the double down and the bonus straight at the end. Terrible ride, but it made us laugh a lot and was a ton of fun for it.
With the park having sold on numerous coasters over the years (an astonishing 4 of which I’ve managed to since pick up in their newer homes), the only other one required here was the well named #3 Wriggler. Took a while trying to find it, eventually doing so and racking up a couple of proud laps on yet another Wacky Worm for the season.
Time to check out the dark ride selection. Sadly the Gilly Princess Ride was out of action. Doesn’t look like a gamechanger, but would have been nice to experience it for research purposes.
Temple Raider was going strong at least, though we sadly narrowly missed out on their Halloween overlay timeslot, with many costumed scare actors pouring out of the ride whilst we stood in the queue.
Which resulted in a rather humble affair, it could have done with a few scares. The ride had guns at some point though they appear to have been removed and you can still spot the targets as you travel around some generic ‘temple raiding’ type scenery. Nothing special, but rounded off the visit nicely.
And so ends the day on a not too unhealthy +3. Not the greatest of successes but I’ll take what I can get at this point and this time of year.