2021 – Summary

Still rubbish.


On a personal level I’ve found this year significantly worse still. Though 2020 came as more of a shock, I still remember the optimistic days of thinking we’d be right back at it again in 2021. Instead it was just one long drawn out tease that sapped away any real hope of that being anything close to true. I came within a week of hitting yet another new longest drought of not riding a new coaster, at 183 days between the two seasons. As I sit here writing this, I worry that soon enough that figure will be threatened once more.
The major US trip that was deferred from last year got stressfully re-planned and re-booked 3 consecutive months in a row based on vague promises that were never delivered. It was of course cancelled once more and the outstanding balance still looms over us to this day. As summer drew to a close it became clear that we had to take matters into our own hands again if we were to keep this hobby alive and kicking.
And admittedly that part went extremely well, with the longest and most intense European road trip of all time doing all of the heavy lifting for 2021, finding some highlights in old parks and new. While I’d usually prefer to spread the load a bit throughout the year, the grab it while you can attitude seems to be the most successful in the current climate. But how successful was it in terms that matter; numbers?

Better. That’s 134 new rollercoasters for me, which is a fair amount more than last year even with the pre-covid headstart that it had. Better still, there were 49 new to me park visits, which even manages to top 2019 in terms of raw establishments visited, quality varying greatly of course. Ah, 2019, those were the days.
Something not included in these graphs is the fact that I managed to spend 34 days of this year visiting theme parks. That figure just sneaks past last year and spending over a month doing what you do best on an annual basis is always something to be pleased about.

Now that quantifying everything has made me infinitely happier, let’s talk about some highlights.

Favourite Coaster in 2021

Honourable mentionsLuge Lou Bac Mountain, Abyssus (Energylandia), F.L.Y. (Phantasialand) and Kondaa (Walibi Belgium)

The clear winner for this year and the rollercoaster that has had by far the biggest impact on me in what feels like forever was the Ride to Happiness. It delivered on so many levels ranging from intensity to re-rideability and the overall presentation of the attraction just struck a chord with me that makes the whole experience just that little bit more personal and special. I was scared by how good this ride was, the thoughts it put into my head while thinking about how to even rank it. That probably only happens a handful of times in the life cycle of an enthusiast.

Favourite Dark Ride in 2021

Honourable mentionsLe Kinétorium (Jardin d’Acclimatation), Vienne Dynamique (Futuroscope), Volcans Sacrés (Vulcania) & Popcorn Revenge (Walibi Belgium)

After narrowly missing out on a top spot 6 years ago, Efteling are back with a win. The competition might be a little lighter this time around, with no signs of five-time winner Disney or my secret love Fantawild, but let’s not that let that detract from how good Symbolica was. The magic of the park combined with the magic of the trackless ride system results in an effortlessly joyous experience. I only wish we had taken the time to visit it much sooner when all of the special effects were operating to their fullest extent.

Favourite Park in 2021

Honourable mentionsVulcania, Duinrell, Plopsaland De Panne & Walibi Belgium

I’m going to break my own unwritten rule here, because I can. In spite of all the cold, hard numbers pointing to this being a stronger year than the last, I’m looking at the list of all the new-to-me parks visited this year and feeling very little inside. And this is a very important factor for me when it comes to ranking theme and amusement parks – a sense of longing. Do I miss it? Do I want to go back there right now? How did it make me feel?
What made the numbers up this year was an unhealthy amount of flying visits to short-stay establishments, with the primary purpose being to bolster the count. It’s the nature of the beast for what I do with my free time at this point, but I’d much rather give the honourable mentions to parks that have significantly improved during a revisit (the Belgian beasts) than to somewhere based solely on having not been before, which has honestly never been an issue up until now.
The place that invokes the strongest emotional reaction for me this year is Fantasiana. It made the mentions back in 2016 up against some incredible hard hitters. In 2021 it stands out from the crowd as a true gem of a park that in my eyes can do no wrong.

Favourite Cred Hunting in 2021

Honourable mentionsFinally getting into some Gullivers parks and Meeting Mr. Anatolia Parc

And here’s where we truly celebrate the bolstering of the count, the times when the process of visiting far outweighs any genuine reasons to like the parks involved. On a trip that went harder than ever before, there was one particular day with unrivalled intensity. We visited six different establishments in the space of around 15 hours (and over a height differential of 2000m) and in the process set a personal best for riding the most new rollercoasters in a day – one that’s infinitely more satisfying than being achieved in a single large park.
The record could of course be broken again in a much more pedestrian fashion, if I ever even make it to Cedar Point that is – let’s see what 2022 brings to the table.


2020 – Summary

Rubbish.


Actually, to be fair it was still surprisingly successful in terms of theme park enthusing. I started out the new year in China, while the upcoming apocalypse was kicking off around us on a local scale, so that led to a sneaky two week headstart. Obviously it all went downhill in March, with the spring (Poland) and early summer (USA) bookings taking the hit.
I experienced my biggest coaster drought since starting to take this all seriously back in 2015, at a total of 190 park free days, which was eventually broken with some shameless local cred hunting. The itinerary that saved it all from total despair ended up being the fortnight driving across Europe, again with everything closing around us. The trip provided me with my 1000th coaster in spectacular fashion and, masks aside, delivered the perfect dose of escaping reality that this hobby does so wonderfully.
The important question though, how does this look when presented in numbers?

Not bad at all considering. That’s 109 new rollercoasters for me, which is down by about half on the previous three years but still an increase of over 10% on the overall count, something that is inevitably going to slow down over time regardless of global pandemics. Better still, there were 42 new to me park visits, only 5 less than in 2019, though that can mainly be attributed to a significant difference in the scale of said parks – no US monsters in there sadly.
Something not included in these graphs is the fact that I still spent 30 days of this year visiting theme parks. One whole month out of 2020 doing what I love – I’ll take that.

Now that quantifying everything has made me infinitely happier, let’s talk about some highlights.

Favourite Coaster in 2020

Honourable mentionsHarpy (Xishuangbanna Sunac Land), Duelling Dragon(s) (Guangzhou Sunac Land), Dynamite (Freizeitpark Plohn) & Hyperion (Energylandia)

No doubt about it for me, Zadra the massive RMC at Energylandia takes the top spot. It took two long, intense days to become fully acquainted with the experience on offer here but this truly is a spectacular ride with powerful pacing and a bit of every sensation thrown in for good measure. My favourite individual coaster lap of the year would also have been found on this thing, on the second day, just as the sun was setting and even with the deeply unpleasant sensation of getting swarms of tiny bugs stuck under my eyelids. Top tier coasters are able to earn their respect in the most unusual of circumstances.

Favourite Dark Ride in 2020

Honourable mentionsMyth (Visionland), Hero of Malacca & Meeting in Ha Long Bay (Fantawild Asian Legend) & River of Tales (Oriental Heritage Changsha)

I’ve had almost an entire year to sit on this one now and I think I’ve finally settled on the decision that Magic Gallery at Oriental Heritage Changsha is my new favourite dark ride, of all time. Everything about the experience, from the initial setup of not knowing what it was, throughout the spectacularly long and detailed presentation of onboard events and finishing up with the complimentary cup of tea upon exiting the car, was so well tailored to my personal tastes. I get both excited and emotional just thinking about rides like this now.

Favourite Park in 2020

Honourable mentionsColourful Yunnan Paradise, Xishuangbanna Sunac Land, Oriental Heritage Changsha & Energylandia

It’s not time to get off the Fantawild train just yet. My visit to Fantawild Asian Legend this year reignited my passion for the franchise in spectacular fashion by combining a multitude of their amazing dark rides, all reimagined with new themes and storylines, plus a copy of one of my favourite rollercoasters on the planet (something I’d usually despise but I’m just thankful for the opportunity to ride something that good this year). Out of all the overall days of park experiences this one was just so densely packed with joyous moments of discovery from start to finish that it simply has to take the number one position.

Favourite Cred Hunting in 2020

Honourable mentionsBlasting in and out of Barry Island & meeting Mr. Park Kolejowy

It’s good to remind myself the stupid lengths that we end up going to for entertainment every once in a while and that was perfectly summed up this year by riding all 5 coasters in the Karls Erlebnis-Dorf chain across 4 of their parks in a single day. Netting just shy of 1000km of driving across 15 hours on the most ridiculous route from Poland to Hamburg, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re clinically insane.
But it’s a lot of fun and that’s what really counts.

See you in 2021.


2019 – Summary

While tinkering with the format for my end of year summary I figured I’d do a bit of a catchup session on the previous 5 years, a fun look back on all the experiences that came before the inception of this site.

2019 feels big in a different way. A lot less frantic, a lot more dense. Of course having spent the new year in California, things kicked off with a strong start through more American adventures. Having acquired the ridiculously cheap season passes for both the Cedar Fair and Six Flags chains and being suitably hooked on the US coaster trip lifestyle, we decided to attack the other side of the country only a few months later.

With the usual routine broken I was back in Singapore in summer rather than winter and took the opportunity for what felt like a somewhat desperate attempt against some unfinished business and I finally bagged my most elusive coaster of all time in China before a whirlwind stint in Japan. The nature of that particular journey highlighted, scarily, that all-new trips were becoming harder to plan and this became even more evident when selecting one more big European adventure for the year. It ended up as an unusual mix of nations, Finland being driven by an exciting new opening and Italy by being the largest country as yet unexplored by us.
Numbers please.

There we go. Another record breaking year with 230 new rollercoasters for me, a surprise that can definitely be attributed to the sheer quantity of coasters per park in the USA compared to the rest of the world. For similar reasons, park visits were down rather significantly at only 47 new ones, doing more than 1 a day just isn’t practical in some places and could even be an insult to certain quality coasters. Similarly, the number of days spent in parks was back down to 48, which is still a very satisfying amount and I’m just delighted that one of the records was still broken. I’ve set the bar too high for myself.

Now that quantifying everything has made me infinitely happier, let’s talk about some highlights.

Favourite Coaster in 2019

The biggest year yet (again) deserves a larger list, leaving some of these off would just be too painful.

Honourable mentionsTwisted Timbers (Kings Dominion), El Toro (Six Flags Great Adventure), Wicked Cyclone (Six Flags New England), Lightning Rod (Dollywood), Wood Coaster (Knight Valley), Hakugei (Nagashima Spa Land), Taiga (Linnanmäki) & Untamed (Walibi Holland)

Dense was the correct word to use earlier, with so much quality going into the coaster list – 10 spots in my current top 25 were rewritten over the space of 6 months. In a year dominated by RMCs, one incredible Intamin creation took the crown. Skyrush at Hersheypark wasn’t an instant hit for me, but once the sun went down we strapped ourselves in for the most intense marathon of our coasting career and the ride completely came into its own. It’s difficult to do justice to just how terrifying this attraction is even to the most seasoned of enthusiasts, but know that it had the most profound effect on me.

Favourite Dark Ride in 2019

Honourable mentionsCalico Mine Ride (Knott’s Berry Farm), Radiator Springs Racers (Disney California Adventure) & U-571 Submarine Simulator (Movieland Park)

Disney does it again with the reimagining of a previous winner on these lists. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney California Adventure is a fresh overlay for the well known Tower of Terror attractions and I want to say I was skeptical about this move when the news was announced but the truth is I didn’t pay any attention all. It worked better than I could have ever hoped for anyway, with the combination of a completely unforced narrative, out of this world theming and a franchise I’m massively into resulting in what I consider to be Disneyland’s finest attraction to date.

Favourite Park in 2019

Honourable mentions Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Disneyland (California), Linnanmäki & Etnaland

I’ve never been more at peace in a park than I was at Dollywood and my time spent here managed to completely change my perspective on theme parks. Sometimes the attractions don’t even matter (though Lightning Rod helps of course), all you need is some beautiful scenery, a relaxed atmosphere, good food, country music and (never thought I’d be saying this) a rocking chair. There’s a very unique and specific combination of factors going on here that reached me on levels I didn’t know existed and the result is first class.

Favourite Cred Hunting in 2019

Honourable mentionsA tribute to Misaki Park & discovering Parco delle Stelle

Never have I needed to be more persistent in the acquisition of a ride than for Wood Coaster at Knight Valley. I’ve already covered the story several times on here but what cannot be overstated are the levels of ‘cred anxiety’ (yes, there is an accepted medical term for it) that planning for and travelling to experience this attraction created within me. That’s not something to be celebrated at all but mercifully, mercifully, new lows can lead to new highs, the drama paid off and gave me a new top ten coaster for the collection. Now that does deserve a win.


2018 – Summary

While tinkering with the format for my end of year summary I figured I’d do a bit of a catchup session on the previous 5 years, a fun look back on all the experiences that came before the inception of this site.
With no sign of slowing, 2018 was another big year, with by far the biggest East-West and North-South spread across the globe (maybe I should start doing maps in these too).

It began with our first foray into the Southern Hemisphere thanks to some particularly exciting coaster news down under. A return to Spain kept the early season blues away and then I made one final use out of my Chinese visa with a reasonably successful revenge trip to certain regions. It’s actually thanks to work that this became the strongest year yet for number of new coasters – a conference in Abu Dhabi gave me a few days to sneak away and nab a chunk of the UAE’s theme park offerings.

Our France game got stronger in the summer, now that we had become fully accustomed to dealing with the usual Chunnel nightmares and then as if the year wasn’t insane enough, another dream trip to Korea and Japan? Yes please. A revisit to Liseberg and Helix? Yes please. As I approached 700 coasters I had still managed to avoid setting foot on the shores of the USA, a streak that was finally (and thankfully) broken with the New Year spent in California, a New Years eve at Magic Mountain no less. How well will that help the numbers along?

Very. There were 223 new rollercoasters for me, no way this total is ever going to do anything as significant as doubling again but it’s still being beaten year on year and that’s satisfying to watch. The rise in park visits was even more significant, with 72 new park visits in total, a clear sign that there were less coasters on average per establishment than before. I mentioned a future goal in the previous entry of this series and it came true (a foreshadowing cheat), starting and ending the year on such significant trips saw the number of days spent in parks total rise to a record 64, over two months of the year doing what I do best!

Now that quantifying everything has made me infinitely happier, let’s talk about some highlights.

Favourite Coaster in 2018

The biggest year yet deserves a larger list, leaving some of these off would just be too painful.

Honourable mentionsDC Rivals Hypercoaster (Warner Bros. Movie World), Jungle Trailblazer (Oriental Heritage Wuhu), Wooden Coaster – Fireball (Happy Valley Shanghai), Flash (Lewa Adventure), Flying Aces (Ferrari World), Eejanaika (Fuji-Q Highland), Railblazer (California’s Great America) & Joker (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)

Sneaking in, literally on the last day of the year, is Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain. It may not have even settled in my mind how highly I would rate this coaster by the time I left that night but a strong session with it just one week later would strongly secure the spot at the top of this already immensely stacked group of attractions. The very first lap in the dark was unreal and exactly the type of moment that this post is all about.

Favourite Dark Ride in 2018

Honourable mentionsDragon Gliders, Hotel Transylvania & Shrek’s Merry Fairy Tale Journey (Motiongate) & Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (Tokyo Disneyland)

It was likely inevitable that a visit to Tokyo DisneySea this year would put something at or near the top and though expectations weren’t quite met overall, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull takes the crown. While nearly all the major attractions at the park had incredible visuals and an atmosphere in and around them, the only one to truly compliment that with a gamechanging onboard experience were the wildly out of control tomb raiding expedition vehicles found within this masterpiece. Vast open areas of gorgeous theming, mind blowing special effects and moments of pure hilarity put this ride straight in amongst the greatest of all time. I’m upset we didn’t get a second go – that damn typhoon.

Favourite Park in 2018

Honourable mentionsNigloland, Parque Espana, Yomiuriland, & Tokyo DisneySea

Motiongate caught me totally unprepared. I’d never really read anything positive or negative about the park and spent so much of the trip planning either dwelling on work or quirks of a cultural nature so I was nearly knocked of my feet on several occasions at the staggering beauty of this park. It has a fun and varied coaster lineup with nothing exceedingly special, but what makes this place is the dark rides (just look at that honorable mentions list), the areas in which they are housed, the atmosphere, the friendliness of the staff, the food, the lack of queues… I could go on. It ticked all my boxes and I fell in love, hard.

Favourite Cred Hunting in 2018

Honourable mentionsMany Dubai Malls & Overambitiousness around Nagoya

Persistence in the face of adversity is becoming a running theme for this category and this time it was the weathers fault (another running theme in general). It was a low moment for the hobby to arrive in Barcelona and drive to the top of a mountain only to find the first park of the trip completely rained out and abandoned. The wounds were still sore after a second failed botched attempt at Wood Coaster in Shenzhen a couple of months prior and I remember specifically saying in despair as we headed back to the car – “we just can’t go anywhere any more…”
Thankfully we proceeded to have a pleasant evening in Portaventura further down the coast and then took a significant chunk out of our following day there to drive all the way back up here and have what turned out to be an even better evening at the fabulous Tibidabo. It may not look like much by cred alone, but the desperate need to go and catch ’em all is the perfect way to stumble onto gems like this.


2017 – Summary

While tinkering with the format for my end of year summary I figured I’d do a bit of a catchup session on the previous 5 years, a fun look back on all the experiences that came before the inception of this site.
The upwards trend continued in 2017 and it was the year in which Asia truly became my second home for this stuff. Closer to actual home in Europe there were a fair few weekend hops to various regions for either exciting new ride openings amongst familiar surroundings or the odd fresh getaway like Spain for the first time.

Even though it was only a 50% success rate on actually achieving major coasters during my first two days there last year, I was now hooked on the idea of exploring the depths of China for all those other masterpieces that had cropped up under most people’s radar. Acquiring my first tourist visa allowed me to go at it with full force across two separate visits (and it wouldn’t stop there). In between those was the dream trip that had been brewing in our hearts for some time, to the nations of South Korea and Japan. This was special for other reasons but of course there were plenty of amazing parks and attractions to be found along the way.
How many though?

Lots. There were 205 new rollercoasters for me, breaking that two hundred barrier in a single year seems almost overwhelming in the current climate and it nearly doubled the overall count yet again. The rise in park visits was proportional, with 56 new park visits in total. Counting the number of days spent doing this has now become a staple and saw a new high of 52 days, nearly one for every park. This stirred some future goals – it would be nice to hit 2 months out of 12 having fun like this in a single year wouldn’t it.

Now that quantifying everything has made me infinitely happier, let’s talk about some highlights.

Favourite Coaster in 2017

Honourable mentionsFlying Dinosaur (Universal Studios Japan), Extreme Rusher (Happy Valley Beijing), Fjord Flying Dragon (Happy Valley Tianjin) & Jungle Trailblazer (Fantawild Dreamland Zhengzhou)

My passion for wooden coasters was surely born this year, with Python in Bamboo Forest at Wanda Nanchang leading the way. Not only that it was the perfect demonstration as to why all the trials and tribulations I was finding through exploring China were totally justified. World class coasters and having them all to yourself with an empty train don’t often come hand in hand, but when they do it’s a truly magical experience (or ten).

Favourite Dark Ride in 2017

Honourable mentionsJinshan Temple Showdown (Oriental Heritage Ningbo), Legend of Nüwa (Oriental Heritage Jinan), Dragon King’s Tale & Qin Dynasty Adventure (Fantawild Dreamland Zhengzhou)

Looking back, there’s a slight injustice here and the beginnings of Disney being knocked off the top spot for dark rides. But I just can’t look past the negative experiences that littered the day at Oriental Heritage Ningbo and luckily I’ve been to enough other Fantawild properties in future years in order to truly appreciate their game changing dark ride/show hybrid.

This does mean however that the star of 2017 to me was Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure at Shanghai Disneyland and there’s no shame in that at all. It feels like the park was the talk of everyone that year and in particular how they had stepped up their dark ride game for this franchise and this is no exaggeration. The upgrade in vehicle moments and special effects combined with the seamless blend of physical sets and disorientating screen sequences is mind bogglingly good and I undoubtedly became more hooked on dark rides than ever before thanks to this marvellous creation.

Favourite Park in 2017

Honourable mentionsChimelong Ocean Kingdom, Everland, Oriental Heritage Jinan & Fantawild Dreamland Zhengzhou

Days at a park don’t get much denser than at Universal Studios Japan. It felt like there was so much to do here and I just got swept up in it all, time flying from start to finish, though still having the perfect amount with which to do everything we wanted and then almost having an out of body experience in the process (mainly due to tiredness). Throughout the year Fantawild was teaching me that world class rollercoasters and dark rides don’t have to be mutually exclusive and then Universal delivered not one, but two of those coasters (both of which happened to provide the strongest experiences amongst their respective types), along with their top end staples like Jaws (last one left!) and Spiderman.

Favourite Cred Hunting in 2017

Honourable mentionsThe Joyland service center & BillyBird or bust

In a pastime that was becoming increasingly stressful for missing out on big named coasters, costly backtracking and occasionally what felt like general time wasting, there was one particular trip that subverted it all with the best added bonus imaginable. A last minute, on the spot decision to combine the Danish Sommerland cred runs into a single day opened up an opportunity for an insane bomb down the autobahn to revisit the gorgeous Hansa Park and see Kärnan in its already upgraded glory – something that had never even been conceived of upon planning this weekend away. Every once in a while a bit of haste in this hobby pays off.


2016 – Summary

While tinkering with the format for my end of year summary I figured I’d do a bit of a catchup session on the previous 5 years, a fun look back on all the experiences that came before the inception of this site.
After 2015 lay the groundwork for going at this hobby a bit harder, 2016 was the explosive result of making that a reality with a total of 7 international trips (thanks Wildfire) evenly spread throughout the year

As well as bookending the year with 2 revisits to Universal Studios, I finally began to take advantage of the geographical positioning of visiting Singapore every winter by branching out to both Malaysia and Hong Kong, also dipping my toe into China for the first time. The original ‘pure’ rollercoaster roadtrip with Mega-Lite took us to Germany and, addicted to the fast paced nature of bombing down the Autobahn for theme parks, I would end up back there thrice more before the year was out. The other addiction manifested in the fact that I couldn’t resist taking Mega-Lite on extended versions of 2015’s Scandinavia and Netherlands trips, any excuse to return to Helix, Liseberg, Tivoli Gardens, Efteling… basically everything I loved about last year. How did this affect the numbers?

Massively. There were 157 new rollercoasters for me, over three times the amount from the previous year and more than I had ever ridden in total beforehand. This was thanks to 39 new park visits in total and let’s not forget that doesn’t even include the revisits. Something else I started keeping track of this year was the amount of days I spent inside theme parks, a sanity check in a way for how much personal time was being invested in this passion project. This year it hit 46 days – a highly satisfying month and a half of hobbying.

Now that quantifying everything has made me infinitely happier, let’s talk about some highlights.

Favourite Coaster in 2016

Honourable mentionsBullet Coaster (Happy Valley Shenzhen), Schwur des Kärnan (Hansa Park), Piraten (Djurs Sommerland) & Wildfire (Kolmården)

The reign of multi-launch coasters continues with Taron at Phantasialand taking top spot for the season. 2016 was a big year for Europe, seeing the unveiling of several attractions that changed the scene over here and this unprecedented mess of tangled track was no exception. As part of the extended Netherlands trip of late summer, we couldn’t help but pop over the border for a day in anticipation of how good the attractions of Klugheim looked and the ride itself did not disappoint.

Favourite Dark Ride in 2016

Honourable mentionsPirates in Batavia (Europa Park), KnightsRide Tower (Fantasiana), Maus au Chocolat (Phantasialand), & Challenge of Tutankhamon (Walibi Belgium)

On the dark ride end of the scale, the Disney streak continues this time with Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland. It’s no exaggeration to declare this is one of the finest attractions ever created. It oozes atmosphere even from the outside and the original, tailored narrative is a refreshing twist on the usual haunted house type affair. Trackless technology brings an extra sense of wonderment to the whole experience and I now miss this ride terribly. We’ve been apart for far too long.

Favourite Park in 2016

Honourable mentionsHong Kong Disneyland, Hansa Park, Djurs Sommerland & Fantasiana

What? Better than Disney? It might be down to the weather but I feel like I got a lot more out of our visit to Europa Park. There’s so much going on here, with endless lands of interesting attractions. It felt like a really big moment in our blossoming enthusiasm to conquer the capital of European theme parks, on that inaugural coaster laden trip abroad and to have the sheer quantity of high end coasters like Silver Star, Wodan, Blue Fire and Eurosat all blow our inexperienced minds of the time, in a single day, was particularly special.

Favourite Cred Hunting in 2016

Honourable mentionsHeide Park: The Revenge & Mopping up many Munich parks

This feels like cheating a bit but to be honest in my rookie days of the slightly more obsessive cred hunting, things went wrong. So although it’s amusing to look back on and write about those moments now, the fun wasn’t always there at the time – an outlook I’m striving to improve on as the years go by.
This particular day showed new levels of dedication to the cause by us making phone calls, cutting short another visit (to the best park of the year no less) and spontaneously jumping in the car to go and desperately reclaim a sorely missed opportunity from earlier in the trip. Expedition GeForce is a legend of the coaster world and we simply couldn’t let it slip through our fingers.


2015 – Summary

While tinkering with the format for my end of year summary I figured I’d do a bit of a catchup session on the previous 5 years, a fun look back on all the experiences that came before the inception of this site.
I first started going out of my way for theme parks on international trips back in 2015, it was the year that made it clear to me how much more I needed to see and do and I’m fairly certain by the end of it I had cooked up my first spreadsheet and begun the devilish task of counting coasters.

It began lightly with a couple of parks in the Netherlands, in the dying embers of my travelling abroad for the sake of some nonsense sightseeing. A revengeful return trip to my first Disney resort followed, to make up for that misspent visit in my youth. We started to dust off a few more domestic parks because they were there and the year was capped with a game changing shuffle around Scandinavia.
How about some stats?

The leap is evident. There were 44 new rollercoasters for me, four times the amount in the previous year and nearly double for the overall count. It may not seem like much to me these days, but there were also 9 new park visits in total and prior to this moment I had never been more adventurous than two in a year (clearly a wasted childhood), so that’s huge.

Now that quantifying everything has made me infinitely happier, let’s talk about some highlights.

Favourite Coaster in 2015

Honourable mentionsGoliath (Walibi Holland), Joris en der Draak (Efteling), Big Thunder Mountain (Disneyland Paris) & Balder (Liseberg)

It’s amazing to think that Helix at Liseberg, my favourite ride of 2015, has stuck with me all the way to the present day. I suppose it shows how monumental a shift it created in my experience of what rollercoasters could do to me. I can’t guarantee the specifics, but it’s likely the most significant contributing factor to why I started counting, documenting and then desperately searching for more and more rollercoasters, wishing for another to be this good again. And honestly there hasn’t been one. It’s been a phenomenal journey, but I’m still holding out for that Helix beater.

Favourite Dark Ride in 2015

Honourable mentionsFata Morgana & Droomvlucht (Efteling), Phantom Manor & Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland Paris)

Beautiful scenery, tranquil settings and gorgeous music are all well and good for a dark ride, but The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disneyland Paris Studios showed me how combining an intensely themed experience with the thrill of drop tower hardware could be simply out of this world. I’ll never forget both the personal joy I had and the shared joy of every other rider surrounding me on this attraction once it got going. The ridiculous sensations those drops create are absolutely infectious.

Favourite Park in 2015

Honourable mentionsWalibi Holland, Efteling, Disneyland Paris & Tivoli Gardens

Liseberg strikes again. As with Helix, I’m still more in love with this place right now than I am with anywhere else I’ve been since. No other park has quite captured the magical combination of the attractions spread across this hillside and the profound effect it has on me from simply being there. Watching this park continually improve and flourish year on year since my first visit makes me feel like a proud supporter. They just know how to delight me.

Favourite Cred Hunting in 2015

A visit to Pleasurewood Hills and Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach appears to be the first time we ever did two parks in a day but it’s not particularly applicable to the award. I even took a lap or two on a Wacky Worm here that I didn’t need for the count. The true danger of the concept of creds had not yet manifested itself in my brain, so that’s something to look forward to in future parts.