In the last week I got a chance to get to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. I didn’t have a huge amount of time there, but I had enough time to get on a few of their best rides.Mini review:
First stop with obviously Olympia Looping. When I visited the ride was only running one train - however the queue (even for front row) was extremely short. After a less than 5 minute wait I was on. My only real issue with this ride was the odd restraint system - instead of a lap bar or over the shoulder restraint, a strange hybrid of the two is employed. If this ride was lap bar only I would have found it much more enjoyable, as the OSTRs restrict your movement and somewhat pin you down. The ride itself is very intense, even on the front row (which offers some great views). The pacing is quite relentless - it doesn’t feel like there’s any moments where nothing is happening, and the loops are nicely spread out through the layout. Overall, very good ride, but needs new restraints to be top 10 material for me.
Next was Hangover - The Tower, possibly my favourite Winter Wonderland ride. The views of London offered by this ride are spectacular, especially when you’re rotating at the top of the tower. I was pleasantly surprised by how this ride was run: you begin by rising up then dropping from half the height of the tower (a less intense drop but definitely fun), then dropping the entire distance (a more intense drop that is very satisfying). Would highly recommend this ride, even if it doesn’t necessarily top my favourite drop tower (Scream).
Following this was Wilde Maus XXL. This ride was possibly the busiest in the entire park, so get there early! The queue up to the ride is amusing, with interactive elements that almost feel like they’re trying to murder you... Anyway, the coaster begins with some larger swooping drops, which are my highlight of the ride. The proceeding switchbacks are a bit repetitive, but forceful and fun. The ending of the ride is a lot more twisted and unpredictable, but one or two points the levels of lateral Gs were a tad uncomfortable. Overall another good ride to have over in the U.K., at least temporarily.
I concluded my visit with a quick ride on Air. I found Air a fraction nauseating, but nowhere near the levels of a ride like Skyforce at Pleasure Beach. The cycle I got seemed pretty reasonable in terms of length - however, I was a little disappointed that it didn’t have any moment where you are held towards the sky and spun (as seen on Mechanica and other star shapes). The ride is pretty disorienting with lots of flipping, and is something I’d love to see at one of our major U.K. parks.
That concluded my Winter Wonderland visit. Whilst it’s very expensive due to its pay per ride operation, I’d definitely recommend visiting, especially to get the Olympia Looping credit. Photos: