My new American friends had planned this day in a way that to me seemed a little on the crazy side. The idea was to visit two different parks; Chessington in the morning, and Brighton Pier in the afternoon. Splitting the day between two locations was not unreasonable, given that they were only fifty miles apart. However, they didn't factor in the fact that our overnight hotel was almost two hundred miles away from the first location. To add to the fun, weather conditions were such that fifty miles of the journey had to be taken at a top speed of twenty miles per hour. Our early start was not even close to being early enough. As it was we were lucky to arrive before lunch time.
Worse yet, the park which we'd hoped would be quiet turned out to be absolutely jam packed. It seemed like most of the children in the area had chosen this particular Friday to enjoy their local park, and consequentially we were faced with obscenely long queue times. The only exception to this was actually our first ride of the day, on the powered coaster, Runaway Train. Though a non-existent queue is rarely a good sign in such a busy park, this ride nevertheless proved to be fairly decent, albeit not good enough to deserve a second go.
Our first real coaster of the day was Rattlesnake (#39), and it featured a somewhat depressing three quarter hour wait. During this time the conversation covered some of the coasters we'd be riding with the group over the next week. The amount of esoteric information my comrades seemed to have on tap bordered on the frightening. Apparently the best park on this trip will likely be Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which intrigues me; when someone mentions an amusement park in Ireland the usual name dropped is Alton Towers. We'll see soon enough anyway.
Three of us ended up waiting almost ninety minutes for our first ride on Vampire (#40). Once again the useless information was recalled immediately; this ride has apparently been refitted this year with new inverted trains which replaced the original rolling stock. Having never been on the original it's impossible for me to say whether these are an improvement or not. Nevertheless I really enjoyed it; the swinging motion of the cars seemed to amplify the sense of speed. Better yet, we were recognised as tourists by a park manager, who gave us a pass which allowed us a second ride without waiting.