With today bringing me to a grand total of two whole visits for 2012, my lowest since 2009, I'm doing another trip report to milk it as much as I can! We left late, about 9, but after setting some sort of all-time record, ended up well through Stoke in about half an hour (my lawyers suggest I take this opportunity to stress we never went above 70, give or take the allowed 10%). And then got lost. Twice. Smooth. So we got there about quarter past 10, and quickly realised the park was VERY busy. To give you an idea of how busy it was, we didn't get into the park until about quarter past 11! With the Towers looking resplendent in their new for 2012 retheme. Prototyped in 2010 in nearby Dark Forest and matured on Nemesis Sub Terra, it's great to see the scaffolding theme finally perfected. And so after quite the amount of faff and fending off an upsell 10 foot inside the park, and again 14 foot inside the park, we got to Dark Forest for our first ride of the day. Dark Forest is in need of help. I know it's SUPPOSED to look worn, like an old area that's been decayed by the forest. I know Thirteen went over budget and late. But frankly, I'm shocked Merlin couldn't be bothered to pay for outdoor paint that doesn't even last two years. Embarrassing. Just like the tunnel thing under Rita. Or rather, the two fences with some planks on top, with some vines thrown on to make it 'themed'. Jesus wept. Anyway. We eventually got onto Thirteen's back car at 12:30, a full two and a quarter hours after we arrived. Good start, eh? Luckily it was running really well, it was the first time I've been on at the back, and apart from the twisty bit after the trims feeling absent and the backwards drop not packing much punch, it was really enjoyable. Went on with a first timer again, and they really enjoyed the confused little Intamin, which is really good to hear! Another BIG queue for Oblivion, always a massive kick, although until we were on the holding break, I wasn't sure if I was more interested in the ride or the building site opposite! (Nothing seemed to be happening, for what it's worth.) Now, I have been on Submission twice before. After each time I swore I'd never do it again. And yet I did. Bloody peer pressure. The usual tale of pain and discomfort, I'm still not able to fully talk about it. Flashbacks. The main reason for our lack of rides so far is simple. Fastpass. Right, seriously, what the hell? People were queueing for the things. Queuing for a ticket to beat queues. Can't make it up. Do these morons not realise that if that many people buy the tickets, it won't make the queues faster for them or anyone else. Back in the day, when they were reasonably priced and in limited supply, the system worked. If you were willing to pay a bit extra, you got to jump most of the queue, but still have a fair wait, and didn't impact too hard on everyone else. Now that many people buy them, they get rushed straight onto the ride in huge groups, making everyone wait ages, including themselves, ironically. Do people not realise they're just lining Merlin's pockets for nothing in return? Rant over. Moving on to Nemesis. Surprisingly short queue, front row, right seat. Oh god yes. Apart from the restraint being too tight, and threatening to cut me in half every time it pulled positive G force (as you probably know, that happens a lot on Nemesis, not pleasant). But anyway, as I said. Oh god yes. Running so fast and so intense. So, with the queues for Sub Terra, Air and Rita still at 70-80 minimum, we had a quick go on the ever brilliant Ripsaw and then it was on to food and my next rant... Went to Nemices Doughnuts, as is tradition, and guess what I saw on the whiteboard? You won't believe it. Well, actually, you will. Written in bright and bold board marker were the words "More upsell please". You know what, there's no rant, it's just not worth it. Balls to them. This is just too depressing. Five already. Time running out. Queues still huge. Went to see what this new Sub Terra thing was all about. Stood in single rider for a bit. Realised the main queue had suddenly dropped to half an hour. Ran back round to that. Got on about quarter to six. Short sentences stop here. More detail needed. Ok at least one more. And that one. And this one. Oh bloody hell... Back on course, I'd rode Sub Terra on opening day, and thought it was ok, so I was very much looking forward to seeing how it'd been sorted. It started off pretty much the same as last time, ride staff having a laugh with guests, we were at the front so got picked on quite a bit! Credit to staff for keeping up the effort so late into the day and so long after opening day. But that's where the similarities end. The batching video is pretty cool, other than the cringey crab. The first lift is better than it was, it was strange not waiting in the tunnel and then of course, the ride itself. The build up was much longer than in March, and although I don't quite get the egg opening in front of us and taking so long to drop, but the sequence itself is brilliant. The lights go out, get sprayed with water, lights come on, egg is open, get 'breathed' on, lights go out again, drop one at a time, lights go out, effects happen, come back up, escape. The effects were brilliant. It was genuinely terrifying. Considering last time I didn't even see the nest, just the edge of the cavern for a moment before it went black and we got a bit of water on us, this was incredible! Then the second lift was pretty cool, felt more real than the first, and the attack bit was great fun. The new scare section at the end is incredible. So, so good, perfectly rounds off the ride with a pulse-pounding, terrifying finale. Could do with one more actor, but otherwise, it's pretty faultless. Top show. I was buzzing for ages afterwards, gone up to a solid 9 in my book now. Might go down a bit with rerides, but the transformation is astounding! It's not just an awkward filler ride or terrible attempt at a testosterone fuelled Hex, it's now a full on, solid dark ride that stands up perfectly on its own alongside the other big dark rides and of course, as a separate entity to Nemesis. We had to sprint to Air to get a last ride of the day in, I think we were second last on our side, and we were at the back, which I've only done once before, but really enjoy. Really, really enjoy. I still think it's too underrated by enthusiasts in general. And that's it! Only 7 rides, no smaller stuff like RMT, Ice Age or Rapids, which is a shame, but they had huge queues like everything else, and we didn't do Rita, but as we did Rita instead of Air last time that's fine. It's the lowest ride count I've had in years, but I don't mind because we got on the main rides other than Rita, they were on top form, this new version of Terry is mind blowing, and more importantly, it was one of the most fun trips I've had, despite getting lost on the way a lot, being late, getting lost on the way home a lot, being stuck in queues, and all the other crap, it was a genuinely brilliant day. And sunny!