Codona's Amusement Park is located in Aberdeen, a pleasant town to be sure but hardly the centre of the tourism universe. We had been in the place for no more than five minutes before one of the staff members came over to tell us off. Apparently taking photographs of the various attractions found within is against the rules. I have come across many bizarre park rules in my time, but a ban on photography makes Six Flags regulations seem like the height of logic. The rule is even more nonsensical when you consider that the park sells custom branded disposable cameras; perhaps they come with a caveat advising that they must not be used within the park?
The most interesting coaster in the park was the one we went for first, the Crazy Train (#507). This is one of three operating installations of the Pinfari MMM29 coaster, and it is in my humble opinion the best model they ever produced. As with the other model I'd previously ridden, the train runs smoothly even in the back seat, and the compact footprint makes for an enhanced sense of speed. Better yet, this installation is operated with riders getting two circuits per go, enhancing value, although it would probably work better if it didn't take thirty four seconds (no exaggeration) to get from the brake run back into the station again where the train could be dispatched for the second time.
The park, however, does its utmost to stop people riding their star attraction, with a load time of exactly six minutes by my stop watch. During this time, the operator did not check rider restraints, and there was a queue (a short one, to be sure, but a queue nonetheless) of people waiting to board. Perhaps this is the reason the park does not want photography, as their operational efficiency is not something that would encourage visitors. We had purchased two hour unlimited ride wristbands, which began to look less and less impressive as the time clicked on.
Loading on the kiddie coaster, the Big Apple (#508) was only marginally more impressive, with a total time of four minutes, again with a queue. To be fair, one row of riders chose to disembark, which will always slow things down, but nevertheless it is hard to figure out exactly what the ride operator was doing. The coaster was an interesting challenge for me to fit in, with no knee room whatsoever. Martin put things quite well; You'd think this ride was designed for children, wouldn't you? It is impossible to say whether it was due to the weight in the train or due to dodgy maintenance, but for whatever reason the train overshot the station when our ride came to an end, with three rows of riders out on the track. It is normal procedure on many such rides to push the train out on to the circuit to get it going, but never before have I seen a case where the train had to be pushed back into the station at the end.
The third and final coaster, though named after one of Schwarzkopf's finest designs, was another Pinfari. Looping Star (#509) had the fastest load time of the three coasters in the park, a sluggish two minutes per train. We rode twice, once at each end of the train, and in all honesty I'm really not sure why. Once would have been enough; the older Pinfari designs are an acquired taste, one which I have not managed to acquire.
In defiance of stupidity, we all took our cameras out again when riding the Grampian Eye ferris wheel, careful to disguise them again as we passed the base. From here we could see that the White Water log flume had opened, and Martin suggested we should give it a go. As the standard portable version (with plexiglas shields), this was never going to be a dry flume. It wasn't even particularly exciting; all it really served to do was to leave me squelching around in a wet shoe for the remainder of the day. I should have known better.
The Splash Canyon dark ride was a very odd experience. The front of the building was covered with advertisements for different brands of cigarettes (highly appropriate in a children's park), two Irish street signs, four vehicle license plates showing the same registration (IAZ 8555), and a warning sign which proclaimed importantly that "It is dangerous to remove your seat belt". If anyone from the park is reading this, I would really appreciate an explanation as to why. If nothing else, the belt was very loose on me, and would not act as a restraint device even if I wanted it to. The experience itself was short, dull, and evidently very low budget. The last scene had the word vampire, presumably for those who couldn't figure out what it was that they were supposed to have been scared by. This didn't really work, however, as the effect was hampered somewhat by the word being spelt incorrectly.
There was nothing else of consequence in the park for us to ride, so we finished up our visit with two more rides on Crazy Train. The ride had warmed up quite nicely and was running faster than earlier in the day, even if operations were just as slow as before. Before leaving the area, we went for a walk through the fields outside the park, where there were plenty of opportunities for photograph. The staff member who had chastised us earlier looked on in consternation, but as we were now on public property there was nothing he could do. Don't get mad; get even!