Fantasy Island: 12th September 2020

Discussion in 'Your Trip Reports and Plans' started by AstroDan, 13th Sep 2020.

  1. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
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    It seemed absurd that having travelled to Asia, North America and Europe to ride the biggest and best that, after all these years, I had never made the drive (slog) over to the East Coast to ride Millennium and Odyssey. I have been meaning to check them out for some years, but the opportunity had never presented itself. Cue: Covid-19 making those last minute trips to Alton Towers impossible and therefore the chance to make a plan for Ingoldmells.

    I guess the fundamental reason why I hadn't visited the park before was twofold. 1) Well, frankly, it didn't look great - just a basic seaside amusement park with a trashy market next door and 2) The risk of Odyssey being closed due to a breeze. Thankfully, the weather on Saturday was great and all rides operated all day except Volcano and the indoor water slide, both of which were closed.

    The park was open 11-6 and we arrived at 11.45am. More than enough time to experience all attractions (at least, all those worth checking out!).

    Overall, the park is your typical trashy British seaside amusement park. However - it is clean and tidy, and many areas do look reasonably fresh. The indoor "Pyramid" section of the park is also unexpected: well themed, nicely lit - in fact, it's more immersive than the indoor sections I have seen at several more "major" parks abroad (Toverland, Plopsaland). I compared old photos of the Pyramid and what they have done is a triumph.

    The Covid-19 situation in the park is a horror show, however. Whilst masks were to be worn on a small number of larger rides, for the most part they were not required. Nor were they required in queue lines. Nor were there any form of consistent markings on the floor to aid social distancing, and where there were markers, this was not enforced in any way whatsoever apart from signs "You Will Be Removed if you do not distance" - well that was a pack of lies. Staff weren't all in masks, in some cases staff were physically taking me by the wrist to assist with scanning the wristband... astounding. I also didn't see rides being wiped down at any stage, and distancing on the rides was questionable at best (especially given most rides did not require a mask). Many tables and seating areas were filthy, with no obvious cleaning taking place. With the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in the UK, it won't be long before these attractions will *have* to enforce it or face being shut down. I have been to 15 parks in the UK/Europe during 2020 and Fantasy Island was the weakest in terms of any form of Covid-Security.

    Millennium, the large Vekoma looping coaster is inoffensive yet hopelessly dull. The smoothness is hugely welcome yet the layout does little. Forgettable.

    Odyssey felt shorter than I expected, however equally - whilst you have to "ride" the coaster, it was nowhere near as offensively rough as anticipated. In fact, the speed and scale of this thing is almost obscene. I actually really liked it, even if it started getting a bit much by the end of the day. Four rides on this thing and it's definitely my favourite SLC (although Kumali remains the best first drop due to its intensity). The trains on Odyssey are far superior than other (old) SLC trains, too, without the ghastly shoulder crushers. A definite OOFT rollercoaster.

    Ice Mountain I had already experienced at Hyde Park. We sat well and got a crazy spin. This coaster is also very fast for a Reverchon spinning coaster. However, inside was a little lacklustre. It could use some enhancement...

    We also rode Rhombus Rocket, the WGH powered coaster - which is fine! Shame it sort of slows down in places. Magic was also hugely enjoyable (I love those Huss flat rides). The Seastorm felt a little old/run down, Seaquarium was a novel little dark ride although I can't decide if I liked it or not! We also rode Techno Jump which was a barrel of laughs. The Log Flume was a one drop wonder but perfectly inoffensive. Toucan Tours was also an inoffensive monorail attraction inside the Pyramid.

    For £25.00, I can't particularly complain given our 15 rides during the day. However, I would also say that having visited and given the distance, I have no reason ever to return. That isn't to say the park had anything inherently wrong with it, it's just... nothing there really would warrant the return vs. the 3 hour drive needed. Of course, should they install something of an equivalent scale of Millennium/Odyssey ever again then perhaps I would go back... but for now - it can go in the memory bank of a park completed, after many years of wanting to.

    The fact is, MPeople's Fantasy Island didn't perform too well in the charts in spite of having some quality lyrical work sprinkled within - reaching a measly #33 in November 1997 and, well, the park's fate is somewhat similar in my own chart. Some decent attractions sadly don't make up for what it is, in truth, a middle of the road amusement park in a slightly trashy seaside town.

    Still, love Heather, in spite of the fact that, like the park, some of her vocals in the first verse are slightly out of time.

    :)

    PS: Bring Back TOTP.
     
    Last edited: 13th Sep 2020
    Ian, pluk, Sazzle and 13 others like this.
    Posted 13th Sep 2020
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  2. Sazzle

    Sazzle TS Administrator Team Member

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    Have I ever told you, I love you? That report was quite frankly a delight, enjoyed on a gloriously warm September evening sat out in the garden. A better place...?

    Although my childhood was spent making annual trips to Mablethorpe, “Jinglebells” was always just a quick morning visit for a whizz around the tat shelves of the market before retreating elsewhere.

    I remember visiting one year to find Odyssey construction and feeling VERY excited when I got my 35mm film developed showing the half built track. A true geek, I thank you.

    I remember it stalling the year it opened, swiftly followed by some reprofiling and retracking!

    Great memories brought back by what is a very fair and accurate write up!
     
    Ben, Ian, Burbs and 1 other person like this.
    Posted 14th Sep 2020
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  3. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    Location:
    Im Turm von Mystery Castle
    Favourite Ride:
    Steel Vengeance
    Saturday was my 2nd visit to FI, my only previous visit was in 2017. The ride line up in the fairground area has changed quite a bit since then - Amazing Confusion, Beast and G Force have all gone, with (respectively) a Starflyer, Magic and Tea Cups as replacements. It's a bit of step backwards in terms of thrill rides but at least Odyssey was open this time.

    Odyssey is an oddball. Massive for an SLC and using a non-standard train, I wasn't really sure what to expect from it and I was pleasantly surprised (albeit with low expectations). Whilst not as well engineered as a B&M invert, it doesn't bash you around too badly and rides much better than a lot of standard SLCs I've done. Unfortunately the layout isn't really that great - a lot of it is taken very slowly and the layout feels short (probably due to the speed of the first half, as it's about a third longer than a standard SLC). I came away feeling somewhat indifferent toward it, which I hadn't expected.

    Millennium is another strange one. The original entrance was on the pavement outside the park but access is now via the pyramid with the entrance and exit running parallel. Whilst the new entrance looks better, it means the air gates sit abandoned on an unused side of the platform and loading is now extremely inefficient - for a coaster in a pay per ride park, this seems a strange choice. The ride itself is somehow the smoothest vekoma Mk1200 ever built but the layout offers very little in terms of thrills - the highlight being the final helix where it briefly wakes up a bit.

    A key area of improvement since my last visit is the interior of the pyramid. It's now much darker and more atmospheric - they seem to have blacked out the windows in the roof and installed additional coloured lighting. The juxtaposition between the indoor and outdoor areas is now even more pronounced, just a shame there isn't more for adults to in the pyramid - most thrill rides are outside so that's where the bulk of your time will be spent.

    I don't have a lot to add to Dan's reviews of most of the other rides. I also feel that I don't particularly need to make the long journey over there again anytime soon. There's nothing that really stands out that would justify it and I don't think they're likely to add another coaster on the scale of Odyssey in the near future.
     
    djtruefitt, Dan, Matt N and 2 others like this.
    Posted 17th Sep 2020
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