Trip Report: Frightwater Valley – 31 October 2010   3 comments

I went to Lightwater Valley on 31 October for their Halloween event, for which they renamed themselves “Frightwater Valley”. Two of my friends from the RCCGB had decided to join me.

I have to say that from the moment I left the car park I was impressed by the effort that had gone into transforming the park – even to the extent of having three staff members dressed up to greet the arriving guests. The following pictures were taken before I even got to the ticket desks.

After buying my ticket, I entered the park itself to finds the themeing (and staff in character) continued. My friends had been delayed, so I took the opportunity to get some photos.

My friends had arrived, so I suggested that we head straight over to Raptor Attack – since I know that ride has a low capacity and that the queues soon build. (My friends were eager to ride the Ultimate, but I could see that the blue train had not made it back to the station after the test run so there was little point queuing at that time) Raptor Attack was walk on, which meant we could take our time in the tunnels and appreciate the theming. The downside was that the ‘live’ element had not started, and when we returned later the queueline was pretty horrendous – so I can’t comment on the live element of that.

Immediately after that my friends could contain themselves no longer 😆 So we headed for our first ride of the day on the Ultimate. Since it was early in the day and we ended up in the middle of the train that ride was quite slow and not too rough at all.

Next up was the Ladybird. I know it’s a junior coaster, but it’s still good fun.

Then it was on to the Twister, which was spinning pretty well, and then headed for the Eagles Claw before lunch. Unfortunately, this was a low point of the day for me since Eagle’s Claw was being run on a shortened setting because they were expecting a busy day. It was still a good ride, but I know that it is usually so much better. My friends had never ridden it before, but commented that the cycle was too short. (I later learned that they had 6500 through the gates on Sat and over 4000 on Sun. Apparently those are very good figures for Lightwater Valley)

For some strange reason, a Waltzer occupied the space where Whirlwind stood in the summer. It seemed a very strange change to me. (I know that Whirlwind was only there for part of the season – but what a strange replacement. Especially since it lacked the staff on the platform to give the extra thrill that sort of ride requires)

Anyway – lunchtime 🙂 In my opinion, the best place to eat is the small cafe / coffee shop within the entrance building – and I convinced my friends to join me there. I had a full English, one friend had a bacon and sausage sandwich with a side of chips and the other had a plate of chips and gravy – and we were all happy with what we got.

I’d decided to have my face painted, to get into the Halloween spirit, and I was more than happy to pay £2.50 to have it done. (Prices that day seemed very reasonable). My friends went off to ride the chair-o-plane while I was having done that – and one described them as “Most intense chairs I’ve ever been on! ” and the other as “Evil Chairs”. I did not ride them myself today, but from past experience I know that they are very good. By the time I re-joined them they were queuing for the dodgems.

After that it was back to the Ultimate, where we got near the front and because it had warmed up somewhat got a rather faster ride with characteristic roughness. The queue time was about half an hour by now, so it was straight back round for another ride. (Disclaimer: My friends had not been to Lightwater for a number of years, so were much more keen to ride the Ultimate repeatedly than I was. But it’s good to be sociable 😉 )

By now it was about 3pm, and we knew that we needed to be back at the Ultimate by 4.30 to ensure that we got to ride it. My thanks go to Nathan for the information that the queue would be closed to ensure that the ride did not operate after 5pm. So we headed off for the Twister as the nearest big ride (discounting Raptor Attack because of the length of its queue) and managed to get back to the Ultimate with barely enough time before the queue closed.

One of my friends was speculating as to why it had to close so early. I passed on the information that Nathan had provided about the difficulties of evacuating the ride in the darkness. She commented that it had been running fine all day, so why should they expect any problems now. Anyway, we set off on the last train of the day (from a station with no lighting at all) trundled up the slow lift hill and through the first part of the ride with some nice pops of airtime and onto the second lift hill – where the train came to a halt!

After about 5 minutes maintenance turned up, to tell us that the lift hill had tripped out, but he should be able to get it going again shortly. He said that operations would be along to talk to us, and went off to do what he had to do. Operations came along, and had to calm a small group at the front of the train who wanted to be allowed off. Fortunately, they were successful in that, and a few minutes later the lift hill restarted and we rode the second half of the Ultimate in complete darkness. It was fun 🙂

We then dashed off to where the fireworks were to be set off, arriving about 5 minutes after they started. It was a very good show, with a spoken story and a good programme of music. My only criticism was that the story teller had a very deep voice, and there were not enough loudspeakers to be able to hear it clearly. But that really is a minor gripe. Most of the fireworks were airborne, as one would expect in such a display, but they still included quite a lot of variety to keep it interesting – with a strong finale.

After that, we headed off to Dracula’s Labyrinth – their horror maze. This takes place within their permanent maze, but only opens at dusk since it is in the open. It was a good thing that we did, because one of the managers soon came and stood behind us to tell anybody else who arrived that the queue had been closed. We chatted to him while we were queuing and learned that the maze was occupied by a mix of actors and park staff. When we did get into the maze, their were literally people coming at us from all angles – including at ankle level, and one person who was hanging over the top of the tall fences. I have trouble deciding whether I think it or Tower of the Terrors was the best maze I have been in this year.

I had a really enjoyable day there – it just didn’t seem long enough.

I would have liked to ride the Frightwater Express, apparently there are actors along the way to scare the passengers. And I would have liked to visit Raptor Attack again later in the day, to see if there was a live element (and to find out how good it was). And, of course, I was very disappointed that Eagle’s Claw was not being run as well as it usually is.

But those are all small things. I had a really great day out at Frightwater Valley – and would like to commend everybody involved for the effort that had obviously been put into the event.


3 responses to “Trip Report: Frightwater Valley – 31 October 2010

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  1. I’m still working on the report from the Germany trip.

    But I have some reports on a forum which has changed to a new platform, and I am adding those onto this blog to ensure they remain easily accessible.

  2. That guy hanging over the top off the tall fences in Draculas Labyrinth was me!

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