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
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.
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!
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.
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!
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...
A re-ride was warranted.
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.
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...
The final three attractions were the three most fun, for entirely different reasons...
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.
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...
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...