UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
Pennywise
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Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:48 pm

Why, hello there, it been almost a year since my (much-loved, highly praised, incredibly good) Florida Trip Report (and yes, I'm going to keep plugging it, it took me frickin' ages). I feel that, considering that I haven't made a half decent post on here since then, it might be worth doing another one... a trip report, naturally, and written in a style which makes me seem so full of myself, it's actually physically challenging to read... but it has photos, so it's all good. ;)

So, yeah, better get on with it... Oakwood is either grossly underrated by members of TTF, or (relatively) uncovered ground, in my view, certainly I get the impression that more of this forums members have covered the likes of Florida and Europa Park than have this middle-sized family theme park in Wales, and it's a place which if you haven't visited it before then I'm going to struggle to capture it in this TR, as a theme park it's hard to describe.

My trip was on July 17th 2011, the park's 3rd day of "Summer", meaning extended opening until 6pm. With this in mind we expected a relatively busy park, perhaps queues of up to an hour for Speed and Megafobia, and with this in mind we arrived nice and early, 20 minutes prior to opening... and, yes, we were the first people there. :P

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We were greeted by a sign which stated that Drenched wouldn't be opening until 2pm today, Waterfall would be closed all day and Brer Rabbit / Spooky 3D and Pirate Ship / Treetop Coaster would be running on a half-hour rota. All of this we had expected, and to the park's credit is clearly stated on the website. 20 minutes later, and with a minuscule crowd now gathered outside the entrance the entrance booth staff turned up, swiftly followed by the train which takes people into the park.

We paid. We got on the train. We got movin'. Drenched and Speed peered above the skyline (Megafobia is very well hidden, and can't be spotted from outside the ride area, really), the train ride itself is pleasant enough, passing through greenery, and past the hideous looking "Clown Coaster". The first downer of the day came as we came to get off the ride, green paint from the seats had rubbed off onto our clothing, which is really pretty appalling, damnit Oakwood!

So, we headed... I don't want to say that we ran... but we moved at a brisk pace, towards Speed, which we hadn't yet seen test. The ride operative (and that's operative, singular) saw us coming and opened the ride gate. First ride of the day, Speed front row, nice! Though we had to wait for a couple of minutes for others to join us, it was fast becoming apparent that Oakwood was not going to be busy today, a view backed up by Speed being on one car... one car!? Imagine SAW running on one car... actually, don't, it may be too much for some of you to bare.

Speaking of SAW, it is inferior. Speed is an absolutely wonderful coaster for a park like Oakwood... the first drop really packs a punch, the the air-time hill which immediately follows is sublime, enough to match Megafobia, which we'll come onto later... after that... my love for Speed find of fades. There's a rough overbank, and a bland loop, and a break run... and a pleasant enough inline-twist... and a helix... but you can't help but feel that the ride ends after the air-time hill. 7/10.

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Speed was still walk-on, so we rode again, back-row this time... the initial drop packs less of a punch on the back seats, and the beginnings of a headache from the slight roughness which dominates the second half of the ride was beginning to come on, so we decided to check out the nearby Bounce.

As a fan of drop towers, but somebody who finds Shot 'n' Drops to be insanely dull, this was an alright attraction, it which you get a little bit of both... but neither section is especially great. After much faff with the ride-op waiting for as many people as he could before he sent the ride, this was perhaps one of thel longest waits of the day... no, really... it was perhaps 10 minutes.

Duuuude... we're waiting!
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You shoot up into the air... yawn... nice view though. Bounce around for a little bit and then return to earth. The ride stops for a little bit, as if deciding whether or not it can be bothered to complete the second half of the ride, and then slowly lifts you into the air for a proper tower drop. It makes your stomach go a little bit, but pales in comparison to Detonator or Apocalypse. 6/10.

Next up was Treetop Coaster, which had just woken up for it's 10:30-11:00 shift. Back row was shotgunned by moi, but we once again had to go through the gruelling process of waiting for the train to fill. This is what I want for Th13teen's outdoor section, and I want it now! Sure, it crawls over the hills, but due to the long trains, the back row can reach pretty impressive speeds going downhill, and there's plenty of potential for air-time. Not only this, but the woodland surrounding the ride is dense, and means that the coaster is totally unpredictable. 7/10. A re-ride followed.

We decided to head of to Megafobia... because it was basically the only ride left that we wanted to do... so why not head to it now? :P Walk-on and waiting for riders, as expected, our first ride on it was back row... as it should be.

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Now, my experience of woodies is thin... not completely pathetic, but I'm certainly not going to be boasting about it. Blackpool's woodies, Gwazi, and Yarmouth's beautifully named Roller Coaster pretty much covering it... what I can say, is that this absolutely blows all of them out of the water... AND it has sheep!

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I'm going to struggle to describe it here, as I knew that I would be... but take a stereotypical wooden coaster... and tone down the roughness a lot... and you have it. Lots of air-time... LOTS of air-time... and it in itself is reason enough to visit Oakwood. 9/10.

... and, hell, my whole family liked it, too, and as far as coasters are concerned, the same can't be said of any...
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A re-ride was warranted.

And another.

And another.

And another.

And another.
And another.
And another.
And another.
And another.

And a mug.
And a t-shirt.

Next up was Snake River Falls, a dinghy slide which was actually rather excellent, if you can ignore the filthy state of the boats and the fact that, though the slides aren't especially wet, you will be sitting in a puddle of water at the end of it. Still, there are 3 different slides (4 in total), and they're all great fun. 8/10 A total of 5 rides were had.

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We then returned to Speed for 4 more rides on that... and then lunch. Most places were closed, which was fair enough considering that the park was completely dead, and the place that was open was perfectly pleasant. I tucked into a jacket potato, alongside a bottle of Mountain Dew.

By the time we had finished it was 2pm, and Drenched has just opened. One thing that I will say... is that they're bloody well taking safety seriously on this ride now! 8 ride ops, compared to the 1 on every other attraction. Over-the-head restraints, seatbelts, a safety announcement which everybody must listen to before riding... it was actually laughable.

The ride itself is Tidal Wave, but not quite as wet. 5/10.

Onto the Boating Lake which was, well, a Boating Lake... you pedal around it... there are some nice views of Megafobia. 6/10. And the Pirate Ship, which was pretty poor really. 4/10. And Plane Crazy... which is like UG Swinger, but with an extra dimension to it, which is hard to explain... check a POV...

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The final three attractions were the three most fun, for entirely different reasons...

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So, so laughably bad... not only that, but borderline unsuitable for young children. Loud rock music and drunk rabbit dancing on a table dominate the final scene... not that I was allowed in... "No entry without a smile" stated a sign near the ride's entrance... shame... 3/10.

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It did get worse, however... "Please put on your 3D glasses" states the queue line video, as you enter the ride's "station"... "Where are the 3D glasses?" I asked... "There are none" replied the ride-op... in a flat, calm voice which indicated that he thought that I was a complete prick for asking. He can join the club, I suppose. ;) The ride is pretty much Blackpool's Ghost Train... but with bits that obviously should be 3D but aren't... 2/10.

And, finally... Bobsleigh! Oh my god I loved that ride! Having never been on one before... I was actually quite scared at the prospect, and overused the break on my first go... but eventually the need for an adrenaline rush overcame me, and I found myself racing down the track. 10/10...

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Aaaaand... the train out of the park. If you enjoyed this trip report, yay! If you hated it... then I hate you. If it feels a little rushed, it is, get over it...

In conclusion, yeah, I'm that awesome, I would strongly recommend Oakwood as a day out. Like I stated previously, Megafobia in itself makes it worth a visit... the park was absolutely dead, so that helped me to like the place... but if it's that quiet on a Sunday in July then I do worry for the park's future...

:D
 
CoasterCrazyChris
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:14 pm

I have been to Oakwood many times over the years, and once each year for the last two. As you say, it is a very odd park indeed, firstly because they have two of the countries best coasters and one of the most thrilling water rides ever...located in a park with nothing else more than basic attractions you'd find at places like Crealy or Woodlands. Secondly, because it refers to itself as a theme park when it is anything but.

Great TR, but please, don't refer to Hydro as "Drenched". :wink: Ta.
 
Rowe

Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:30 pm

Nice review, enjoyed reading it! It's good to see more about it as I haven't seen much on the park despite several mentions by TTFers.
 
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Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:55 pm

Good review.

I was on park today and got talking to one of the managers. Apparently Sundays and Mondays are the parks quietest days as most visitors are on holiday in the area and Sunday/Mondays are known as "change over days" for most holiday parks and hotels. Same goes for other parks such as Flambards down south.

I was told yesterday the woodie had a 2 1/2hr wait and today 15mins!

Also heard some interesting news about the parks future but that's for another day :-)
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Adam James
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:40 am

Nice report D4n! :) I particularly enjoyed looking at it as i've not yet been to Oakwood, and after next month it will have the only wooden coaster i'll have lest to ride in the UK :)

Plane Crazy looks pretty much like the Mistral that was at Southport's Pleasureland before the park sold it to the Dreamland cause. always quite enjoyed it as you could make your ride as wild or as tame as you wanted by using the fin at the front of your plane - but I guess I'll have to venture to the park to experience it once again.. :D

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Jonny.F
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:52 am

Great report, was a very good read :) Oakwood really does sound like quite a special little park, shame about the lack of investment however as it does seem to have quite a bit of potential, especially with Megaphobia and speed. I remember very little from my trip about 7 years ago (apart from that we went a week before the infamous Hydro accident) so it was nice reading about it again.

:)
 
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mattbailey
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:31 am

I was at Oakwood at the end of June.

A few observations by me:

1) Spooky 3D had glasses a few weeks ago. (Not that they made any difference at all).

2) Waterfall was also closed on my visit, with the same rides on rotation.

3) I agree with all your comments... except IMO Drenched/Hydro is a lot wetter than Tidal Wave. (Agree on the ott safety tho).
 
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:22 am

The investment in oakwood is a sensation.

Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk
 
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Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:29 am

I still wonder why drenched always only runs 1 train, I think they need another block after the drop, queues can be massive on that ride.
 
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ThrillJunkie
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Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:02 am

Spooky 3D really needs some TLC the whole ride looks dated and tatty.

The Water Fall is getting some attention over the winter so hopefully it will be back in full operation next year.

For H&S Hydro can only run 1 boat. Personally I think this is enough as I've never seen Hydro with a queue.
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Magrathea
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Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:49 pm

Another gripe I have with Spooky 3D is that the normal glasses have been replaced with ones you have to hold up to your eyes. The strain of doing this throughout the ride outweighs the satisfaction of seeing the 3D :P.
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Pennywise
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:15 pm

"Magrathea" wrote:
Another gripe I have with Spooky 3D is that the normal glasses have been replaced with ones you have to hold up to your eyes. The strain of doing this throughout the ride outweighs the satisfaction of seeing the 3D :P.


... still better than not having the glasses at all. ;) :P
 
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:04 pm

"ThrillJunkie" wrote:
Spooky 3D really needs some TLC the whole ride looks dated and tatty.


That ride is pretty large inside.

If they drafted in Wardley again couldn't he work his magic once more...imagine a New Orleans style haunted house with a swamp queueline..

I know Aspro own the place now but didn't he work on Megafobia's layout?

:)
 
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:27 pm

Great report :clap:

I really want to go to Oakwood :(
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MY HAND IS A DOLPHIN!!! >:O
*Honest Cint!*
 
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ThrillJunkie
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Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:34 am

"CoasterCrazyChris""][quote=""ThrillJunkie" wrote:
Spooky 3D really needs some TLC the whole ride looks dated and tatty.


That ride is pretty large inside.

If they drafted in Wardley again couldn't he work his magic once more...imagine a New Orleans style haunted house with a swamp queueline..

I know Aspro own the place now but didn't he work on Megafobia's layout?

:)[/quote]

To my knowledge the only ride in Wales Wardley has had dealings
with is The Log Flume at Barry Island.

I always thought that Megafobia was designed and built by a company called CCI (Custom Coaster International) who are sadly no longer trading which makes this coaster unique.
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thefatone
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:34 pm

Oh this trip report makes me want to visit again.

As for the park being busy, I'd love to see it. Love it.. But no thanks, part of it's uniqueness is that noone goes there and it somehow manages to survive.

It says a lot when you notice from the pictures that they've got new logos/signage for Brer and get slightly excited to see they spend money on that park!
 
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Re: Oakwood Theme Park - 17th July 2011

Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:43 am

I have been to Oakwood meny times over the years as i have relatives in whales i got one ride on megathobia the last time i was there (2005 or 06 when speed came out)

I also have a tale about the day of the hydro death as my realtives were there on that day and were watching hydro my cosuins wanted to go on but my uncle said no and they left. As they were leaving ,
my uncle turned around to hear screams and a teenage girl fallout of hydro :( :!:

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