Rainbow Park wasn't part of the original itinerary for this weekend, but a late review of our route revealed that we'd be passing within a few miles of it, and Martin was kind enough to agree to the short detour for my benefit. His only concern was that the park might not open at the advertised 11:00am, but he need not have worried; we arrived ten minutes before the appointed time and things were already coming to life. We used the few minutes of waiting time to explore, and discovered a rather splendid children's train ride starring Sponge Bob, Winnie the Pooh, and Thomas the Tank – if anyone from the park is reading this we recommend the name "Scooby Doo: The Ride".
Sea Dragon (#2700) looked from a distance like every other Super Nessi. It was only up close that I spotted a unique feature so unashamedly British that it was all I could do not to laugh. The interior of each car was adorned with an enormous bright yellow safety warning that was large enough to be read from ten feet away, and similar notices adorned the entrance and exit to the station. I found myself thinking of Denis Leary's rant about making the warnings on cigarette packets bigger because people obviously hadn't realised that they were dangerous yet. The ride itself was fine if not particularly memorable; I enjoyed three pleasant laps.
I also took the time to do a quick spin on the Ghost Train, known until very recently as Nightmare. The interior was surprisingly good, though I'd have enjoyed it more if there hadn't been strobe lighting on almost every scene.
23rd June 2019
Fantasy Island is a free admission amusement park near Skegness, a seaside resort on the east coast of England that has seen better decades. When I last visited back in 2004 I described it as being almost completely devoid of charm, and the wider public apparently agreed, as the business went into administration in 2014. After two years of uncertainty it was rescued by Mellors Group Events, and that seems to have marked a new beginning; though still somewhat rough around the edges the place no longer feels like it would be improved by a direct hit from a meteorite.
We had a limited time window available to us, and as such we decided to eschew wristbands in favour of individual ride tickets. Martin was still having problems with his shoulder, and decided that the bigger coasters were not worth the risk. That was how I found myself on my own in row two of Millennium, a ride that I'd describe as a modern Scenic Railway without a brakeman; a gentle aerial tour of the park punctuated by three pleasant inversions. The track has recently been repainted from yellow into a light purple, and the new shade looked absolutely great in the mid-afternoon sun.
Our second hit was Ice Mountain, a themed tent containing a spinning coaster that was introduced to the world at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland at the end of 2013. The exterior has been built up around three different physical mice over the years in a move not calculated to please coaster counters; the machine in it today was the former Fantasy Mouse, which I'd ridden both in its original guise and under a temporary rebrand at Dreamland. The operator didn't have the right machine to deduct money from our smart card, and thus we ended up riding at no cost. The ride was fine, but daylight was flooding into the interior rendering the theming utterly pointless.
The unexpected free rides meant that we had £10 (~€11.13) of spare credit to burn. I used half of it for a front seat on Millennium, and then decided out of morbid curiosity to drop the other half on row two of Odyssey. This was a tactical error; though the first drop was great and the layout superb, the tracking was on the far side of dire. This was a particular shame, because I felt that the coaster could be a contender for one of the best in the United Kingdom if it didn't ride like someone had deliberately sharpened the wheels. If anyone from Mellors is reading this, perhaps it is time for an upgraded train with some shock absorbers?
23rd June 2019
Martin scheduled in a brief stop at Dunes Leisure in order to ride a travelling Wacky Worm placed there for the duration of the 2019 season. We were heading in that direction when I spotted a small child boarding the powered Runaway Train, and it seemed prudent to piggyback on her dispatch rather than seeking my own. To my surprise the friendly operator clocked me as a coaster enthusiast and refused money for an unusually lengthy cycle that comprised at least thirty laps; we went forward for a while, backwards for a while, and forwards again before coming to a controlled halt. There was absolutely no problem fitting in the car; in fact I suspect that all but the most corpulent enthusiasts would be able to ride without issue.
Moments later the day became even sillier; the operator on Roller Coaster asked where we were from, and when I admitted that I was from Dublin and that I'd experienced his ride there fifteen years before he thought for a few moments before asking are you Bannister? I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or embarrassed at his correct guess, so I decided that it was simplest to plead guilty as charged. I've accomplished plenty of bizarre things over my nearly four decades on this planet, though I never thought for a moment that I'd be correctly identified by a showman I'd never met.
With both ticks out of the way we wrapped up our visit with a lap on the Ghost Train, a respectable ride that proved far better than the unassuming exterior might have suggested.
23rd June 2019
A small funfair can be found close to the entrance of Golden Sands Holiday Park, a caravan site located roughly one mile north of Dunes Leisure. Though officially accessible only to residents we found a car park in close proximity (53.3583, 0.2489) and wandered in unchallenged through a side entrance. Unfortunately it was to no avail; the Dreamy Dragon powered coaster was off limits to adults today. We spotted a parent being refused permission to accompany their offspring, which we took as our cue to head for the exit.