What made you become a theme park enthusiast?

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Sorry if there's already a thread about this sort of thing, but I couldn't find anything after searching the forum. Anyway, my story of how I became an enthusiast is quite complicated. It all started in about May 2012, when my family and I walked into X-Sector and saw a big construction fence saying "SW7. Coming 2013." Me and my sister were intrigued, so when we got home from Towers, we Googled "SW7 Alton Towers", found a bit out about the ride and watched Nemesis94's early rendering of the ride. Fast forward to early 2013, when I wondered to myself about how SW7 was getting on. So I again Googled "SW7 Alton Towers" and found that a whole new treasure trove of information had been revealed e.g. the ride's name, the marmalisation backstory and all that jazz. From there, I followed the late stages of The Smiler's development and saw it get delayed etc. The ride's marketing worked very well on 10-year-old me, as when I came to ride the thing in September 2013, I was a tad apprehensive as I thought it would actually marmalise my body and mind :oops:. I had only just turned 1.4m tall, so it was quite scary. Anyway, after the Smiler opened, I dipped out of the enthusiast community for about a year, until I wondered how Alton Towers was doing in about March 2014, so I searched the internet and discovered CBeebies was opening in May, I found the forums and it sort of went from there. Luckily for me, my family had a trip to Florida planned for that August just as I became a fully-fledged enthusiast!

I would be interested to hear your stories about how you became enthusiasts.


TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
I went on the corkscrew at AT and was pretty much hooked from then. Then we would go every year and if there was a special occasion (SW5, 6, 7) we would go in the same season to test it. I remember queuing for hours to go on air and being so excited and it really took off from there.


TS Member
I was always petrified of rollercoasters and most of my early trips to AT were Teacups, Haunted house, Swings, 3D cinema, enterprise and the old MacDonald's farm. So my mum would offer me £10 to ride one rollercoaster and I would usually chicken out, especially when watching the thunder looper. Eventually I ended up going on the Boomerang in Pwllheli Butlins and earning £10. I quickly learnt that I could be scared to go on more coasters and earn £10 from the bank of mum. I think she realised a lot quicker than I admitted I wasn't scared as £10 very quickly became £2 a ride. However she was still happy I was trying these coasters (she could now go on them too :) ) I guess it adds a whole new meaning to credit whore.

From there it just developed to wanting go on the best rides and travel. Luckily I have a partner who is happy to do the same.


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Favourite Ride
Back when Chessie was somewhat decent park (Not in its peak, but still okay), I remember being amazed by the themeing in parts of the park including Vampire, Professor Burp's Bubbleworks and Dragon Falls and it made me just wanna come back again and again. Around 2005 I used to be able to get in for free (as a disabled person) which helped a lot. It continued when visiting Thorpe as well annually from 2005 (been going since 1996 mind) when I was old enough to go on most of the rides and loved all of them, but loved the themeing alongside Colossus and Tidal Wave. Visiting Thorpe in 2005 made me aware of their new coaster for the next season (Stealth obviously) and kept up with the construction updates and did the same thing with Saw, and that's pretty much how I fell in love with the whole thing :p

What helped as well was watching various programmes on Sky Travel about parks in the US which made me wanna visit the places and find out more.


TS Contributor
My story is fairly typical for me!

I come from a family where family holidays involved history: trips to the Normandy beaches etc. Nobody in my family is into theme parks, Disney, anything like that! I went on a birthday party to Camelot at some point during primary school, queued for Tower of Terror, then backed out at the last minute. I went to Lightwater Valley when I was 11 and the most adventurous thing I went on was the Ladybird kiddy coaster. Then I worked at McDonald's while I was at sixth form. We got the best possible result in an inspection, so the management paid for the whole staff team to go to Alton Towers for the day. I almost didn't go but joined at the last minute. Once there, I disappointed the girls I worked with by going round the park with the boys-the girls were so bitchy about it! I was a bit scared, but interested in the coasters, and went on because I fancied one of the boys! The rest, as they say, is history! I think I went on Oblivion, Nemesis, Air (which was new that year) and the Corkscrew. I wanted to go on the Black Hole but the guys I was with said it wasn't worth the (massive) queue, which actually meant I never got to ride it. I never looked back from that point though. I was a lurker on TT and then TST for a few years, on and off. Then I was doing my Masters and looking at the loads, following the construction of The Smiler. My ex-husband said I knew every time a screw went into the ride! When I handed my Masters dissertation in, in April 2013, I rewarded myself with joining the forum. Love it!


TS Member
Favourite Ride
I had always visited towers since a kid for an annual visit and what always stayed with me was the magic. Debatable, I know but there was something about the place I loved even though I was terrified of the rides back then. Then as I began to start doing rides like Nemesis and Galactica I really got into it. After watching theme park worldwide and following the transition of Air to Galactica I began reading this forum and eventually joined it. The pivotal moment for me was riding Galactica for the first time after the retheme, I thought the audio was incredible and despite the vr that they had transformed it into something else! Now I'll do all the thrill rides and I don't get too scared! Hopefully I'll be able to visit more uk and foreign theme parks in the future!


TS Member
Favourite Ride
Air / Blue Fire
Roller Coaster Tycoon.

I was sold on Theme Parks long before I'd even visited most of them.

Legoland deserves some credit as well. I was really into Lego when I was growing up. Legoland combined both my interests and so became a massive part of my childhood. I even built my own Lego rides at home.

finally made it to Alton Towers in 2004. Joined TT to follow SW6's construction which was when the real decent into madness began... ;)


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I've always been interested in engineering (most definitely because that's my fathers profession) so was always looking for 'behind the scenes' information on engineering projects when one day I stumbled upon Towers Almanac which had plenty of information to satisfy my curiosity. It just so happened I had recently visited AT. The site was a gold mine of information AT related. I was not an active member but enjoyed exploring the site and reading old threads. From this I found that there was another site very similar (and more up to date,) TT. I joined TT and was an occasional poster but not after long, the 'split' happened... I found that most of the members who's posts were intelligent, interesting and well informed had migrated to a new site, Towers Street.

I attended the very first Towers Street 'meet' and met some great people. This was the first time I'd ever done anything like it, I mean meeting people from the internet, genuinely, but was pleasantly surprised there were many others just as interested in the park, the rides and the engineering behind them as me. This only heightened my interest in AT and right from when SW7 was announced, following the construction was the most I'd ever been absorbed into a project and it was then I realized that I was a fully fledged 'enthusiast.'

TL;DR Towers Almanac.


TS Member
Favourite Ride
A few things for me -
  • Growing up in Lancashire with BPB, Pleasureland, Frontierland & Camelot on my doorstep.
  • The early internet forums, particularly Rideas
  • 'Theme Park', the Bullfrog game and later the RCT series
  • Going on holiday to Butlins in my early years and having run of a funfair for a week


TS Member
Mine is scarily similar to Rick above, starting with Pleasureland FunHouse aged four in the mid sixties, Cyclone there as a first coaster (I think), and making modelling clay fun house rides by the age of about six.
Then Blackpool and Morecambe, Morecambe being the first wristband I ever had!
Towers came along within weeks of the Corkscrew.

You lot today don't know how lucky you are with the information age...we had the very odd book and fanzine at the time, First Drop paper fanzine was it for a long time!


TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Metropolitan Line
Ah, good old First Drop. I remember the day a friend came in to school waving a copy around, squeeing with excitement over Oblivion. We aranged my first Towers visit there and then.


TS Member
It all started in 1998 (i think) when we found an offer in a local paper for the (now closed) American Adventure theme park.

This was the only park I would ever go to right up until 2004, when, in an attempt to stop me wanting to go trick-or-treating, my mom researched a load of Halloween events until she found, Gulliver's Kingdom!

On my 1st visit, I had my 1st encounter with "magic!
Lightly due to researching it on short notice, we left our house in strelly Nottingham, at around 4am, leading us to arrive unreasonably early.
When we arrived, it was probably somewhere around 7-8am. After spending 2-3 hours exploring a deserted village and playing in some empty woods and on an empty playground, we made our way to the park entrance!
The park itself was amazing, with so many hidden pathways and hard to find areas, I was utterly captivated!

This became a yearly Halloween tradition with my entire year being spent anticipating my yearly visit to Gulliver's Kingdom!

In 2008, it became clear that I was going to have to stop going, they had a rule, that you needed a child with you to enter!

After more research, my mom&dad took me to Alton Towers in the summer of 2009.
While there I found a poster advertising Scarefest, and with that, we had found a replacement to Gulliver's Kingdom.

During that Halloween trip, we stayed in the hotel for 2 nights. This became the new Halloween tradition!

In 2010 on my (now) yearly Halloween trip to Scarefest, I was sitting in the outdoor seating area of the SLH bar, thinking about the mazes. While I still don't know what "magic" is, I know that it was in the air that night, and it was strong!

The next year, I went to Alton Towers for a 2 night stay in September, during this trip, I went on the Mine Train during ERT.
It was a sunny but chilly morning, all the leaves has started falling off the trees and I was the only one on RMT, upon exiting the tunnel on my 3rd lap something clicked in my brain, that was the moment, I became an enthusiast!

Is it Strange that I remember it THIS vividly?
Favourite Ride
This thread hasn't been chat on for a while so i'll share my story.
Went to Drayton Manor when i was 4 years old and i loved it so much, i went back the next year and the next until i was 6 and then i forgot about it :eek:. 5 years later, i remembered it from an old photo my dad showed me on my phone i searched it up and then i was hooked with that park and i went to it again. I then broadened my interests to more UK parks like Towers, Thorpe, Lightwater etc. After that i heard of a park called Cedar Point when i got a book on it and then i decided had to go there and i still haven't been. Yet. :p That's basically my story. Anyone else got any others stories?


TS Member
Favourite Ride
Helix <3
First proper theme park I ever went to was Legoland in 1997, though I don't remember much of it, given I was only 4 at the time. We moved to Cornwall in 1999, and went on yearly trips to Flambards through church stuff until 2004, which really excited me at the time. We returned to Legoland in October 2000, and I can remember odd bits of it. I first ended up visiting Alton Towers in May 2003, and I think that could be where it properly started for me. Well, that and borrowing a copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon from a student teacher in my class. :p 2005 was my first ever visit to a foreign theme park, and it was of course Disneyland Paris, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The following year, as part of a school trip to Barcelona, I ended up at PortAventura, which I very much enjoyed.

2007 saw me return to Alton Towers on a day trip from Cornwall. Yes, you read that right. Cornwall to Towers and back in a day. Not fun. :p The day itself was great, if a little wet. I was also lucky enough to go to Thorpe Park that summer, with my first ride there being Tidal Wave. Well, it was absolutely roasting hot, so why not get the wettest ride out of the way when queues were short? :p The lead-up to the Towers visit is what made me find the enthusiast communities. I dipped in and out for a few years, but properly got stuck in during 2011. This was also the year when I properly started watching the Eurovision Song Contest, and entered Chat during the final that year for the first time. Later that year, I went on my first-ever meet with what was TTF at the time for the Fireworks event, and I've basically been around ever since, with my first trip to Europa-Park being in August 2012.

To say it's been (and still is) fun being part of the coaster enthusiast community is an understatement. I honestly feel really privileged to have met so many wonderful people, gone to so many different parks, and done so many things. It's also been responsible for my journey of self-discovery and becoming a more well-rounded person. I could easily go on for ages about the specifics of that and what I've learned about living in the real world from TST. :p


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Favourite Ride
Mum used to get a season pass to Pleasurewood Hills, and being under 5 we got free entry, so we'd go there and end up on a couple of rides while she could sit in the tearoom and have tea and cake. As I got older we had annual passes for Legoland Windsor which was in it's heydays, back when there were rides like Boneshaker, Muscle Maker and Rocket Racers.

The first coaster I remember being hyped for was the Jungle Coaster, which had an hours queue and was the longest I'd ever waited for a ride, remeber being annoyed by the american family that had queued up for an hour in front and then delayed us because there kids were too small!

When I was in High School I got a season pass for Pleasurewood Hils, and spent one day a weekend there most the time. Most of my days were spent marathoning Cannonball, think my record was 10 in a row and 15/16 goes over the day.

Especially the last few months I've become increasingly thankful for this community with a few people supporting me and I'm glad I'm still here to appreciate it.

(Also side note, @Matt N created this topic in 2017, feels weird that he is still ultra positive now, time flies.)


TS Member
Favourite Ride
Helix <3
Especially the last few months I've become increasingly thankful for this community with a few people supporting me and I'm glad I'm still here to appreciate it.
I'm glad you're still around to help us screw train signalling up. Bodes well for the 30th. ;) :p


TS Member
Favourite Ride
I've become an 'enthusiast' twice now.

Part 1: Lots of time spent at Thorpe and Chessington as a child. Became full on nerd during Inferno construction which I followed on Thorpe Park Guide. Joined a few forums including Towers Times.

Then got bored of it all aged 18-26ish.

Part 2: Taron blew my mind. Ended up at Phantasialand a few years back whilst on a boozing trip to Cologne, which inspired me to get back into this wonderful hobby and travel to more parks abroad.


TS Member
Used to visit theme parks loads as a child, firstly annual trips to Blackpool for holidays meant the pleasure beach. Visiting relatives on the East Coast meant I visited Pleasurewood Hills (finally returned last year). Had a singular birthday trip to Alton Towers (I was really young). Then being in the North West also visited Southport Pleasureland (the old helter skelter was amazing), Rhyl Funfair (Pepsi Cola Loop and the Water Chute!), and the local Warrington Gulivers. Plenty of trips to Camelot as well. My 1st mainland European park was Bagatelle on a school trip. Finally went back to Towers in year 11 and sixth form as well. After that I was busy with university and sort of fell out of going barring a few trips to Southport (easily accessible on Merseyrail), and a couple of trips to Towers with friends. Went over 7 years without visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach though which was mad as I must've visited every year for over a decade at that point.

The weird turning point was going round to a relatives for a birthday meal (they were turning 20), they'd already planned the 21st so they'd be in Las Vegas. However the trip starting in NYC was detouring to their favourite US theme park. Cedar Point. They started show me videos of the park and things like Top Thrill Dragster enthralled me.
So I thought I'd not been to a park for ages so went to Blackpool for my birthday, and then went back again a month or so later. And purchased a season pass for the next year. Joined a forum and met more like minded people.

Since then I've continued to visit new parks and attempt to plan trips. The most satisfying one being my solo trip to Cedar Point. A real I'll be going to America so may as well do it moment. Genuinely felt unreal that I was there at the time, nice to go back again in 2019.