Britain’s 5 Worst Theme Park Rides
Despite the British Isles being very small in the grand scheme of countries, we are proud to be the home of many fantastic parks and roller coasters.
Names such as Nemesis and Megafobia are thrown around frequently on top 10 lists, and it seems we will be welcoming even more additions in the coming years. But amongst these great rides are some truly rotten pieces of work. Whether they’re poorly planned, out of date or simply have the bad luck to be absolute rubbish they are rides to be avoided, although it might be worth trying them to see just how bad they are.
5. Green Scream at Adventure Island
There’ll be no screaming on this boring crocodile
It’s harsh to pick on a family coaster like this I’ll admit, but Green Scream has the potential to be a top class kiddie ride. There’s no obligation for a ride of this size to deliver us any thrills, but it falls down on so many other levels. Adventure Island is a fantastic park; there is barely any space, so expansion is tough, and it is home to some great rides including Rage, a Gerstlauer Eurofighter, a Zamperla Disk’O and the wonderfully themed Over the Hill to name just a few. There are also 2 fantastic coasters just for the little ones, Mighty Mini Mega and Barnstormer. These rides are tiny, but still pack a decent punch, especially a fierce little helix on the latter. Green Scream is the largest of the family rides, and offers absolutely nothing. The queue is slow moving, and once you’re on the ride you could pretty much walk the track faster; the train is quite possibly the longest in the world; it carries about 40 people, and as a result you never move beyond about 10mph. On top of this the ride is slapped down over a pretty large area, wasting space for future, far better additions. Adventure Island isn’t the wealthiest of parks, but it seems insane to me to keep Green Scream. It could easily be sold to a lesser park, and the area could be used for a larger attraction.
4. Millennium Roller Coaster at Fantasy Island
A square is never the best idea for a layout
150ft tall, 56 mph and 3 inversions: this sounds pretty good! OK, it’s a Vekoma, but actually, it’s pretty smooth. So what’s not to like? Well Millennium Roller Coaster is one of the greatest yawn-fests in theme park history. Fantasy Island has a decent amount of space to work with, yet for some reason the coaster is built around the park’s building complex, so it takes the shape of a square, which is never a great layout. After a nerve wracking lift hill you plummet what feels like 20ft into the first loop, which you crawl around, there is then a sidewinder, which does nothing more than to change direction, and another loop. A hill follows before the final helix and the station. The ride is filled with tedious, straight track and its clear little effort was put into it. With its height it has so much potential – just look at its bigger sister Jubilee Odyssey, which despite being rough is incredibly powerful – but it feels like nothing more than a train ride. It also has the misfortune to be in Fantasy Island, which is poorly maintained and, to be honest, hideous. This all combines to make a great ride on paper, a poor ride in reality.
3. Submission at Alton Towers
Looks can be deceptive
The only non-coaster ride on the list, Submission is a Chance Double Inverter. It is located in the best park in the country, and one of the finest themed areas in the park, X-Sector, which is home to Oblivion, the B&M Diving Machine. Submission looks good; it is tall, angular, and its symmetrical motion is nothing less than enticing. But only when you step on do you realise what you’re in for. The restraints close automatically, and then a bar squashes the restraint onto, crushing your chest, and if you’re a man, even more. You are then spun backwards and forwards, head over heels. Looks are deceptive, and there is absolutely no free spinning, which means there is none of that ‘falling’ feeling as you’d expect. You’re simply wrenched to and fro, occasionally being held upside down in agony. I’m no masochist, and many often find the pain funny, but I simply can’t see the attraction of such an evil piece of machinery. To be fair, with Alton Towers’ height restrictions there’s not much that could replace it, but surely nothing would better than this.
2. X: No Way Out at Thorpe Park
If there were only no way in
This ride is the stuff of legend, and is known across the globe as one of the most bizarre, and terrible coasters anywhere. When it debuted at Thorpe Park, it was the largest attraction. It dwarfed the only other coaster, Flying Fish, and it’s novelty of being in the dark and backwards (a world’s first, unsurprisingly) made a reasonable ride. But whereas the park has come on in leaps and bounds, this pile of trash has stayed firmly still. 14 years on since its status as the ultimate ride at Thorpe Park, there are now 4 huge roller coasters, 7 flat rides and 4 water rides. So it’s out of place, but what exactly makes it so terrible? As you enter the building it seems like you could be in for a nice surprise; there is thumping music and as the train pulls into the station, backwards of course, you are instantly disorientated. The lift hill is even pretty fun; it’s fast and very steep. But this is where it all ends. Effectively you cycle downwards via a long helix with 2 horrible stopping points en route. There is no chance to pick up speed as you are stopped by the unnecessary brake runs, and there are no signs of the not-too-shabby theming in the queue. The ride suddenly ends, and all you can think is: What? The pyramid in which X is housed could be home to something great and much more aptly themed since it is in the Lost City area; hopefully with Thorpe’s current renaissance the park will realise the error of its ways and remove it.
1. G Force – Drayton Manor
The park should realize the error of its ways and remove it
Drayton Manor was the park of my youth, and having not been there for 6 or 7 years I was psyched for my trip in 2007. I hadn’t been on Shockwave, Apocalypse or G Force before and I was looking forward to a good day of riding. I loved the day out, everything was running fantastically and for such a small park there are some real gems. Oh, apart from one ride. I had heard many things about the Sky Loops by Maurer-Sohne and G Force’s layout was, at that point, the most exciting X Car layout, with 2 more inversions on top of the intriguing lift-loop. The refreshing, techno queue was also a welcome surprise; it really keeps the blood pumping fast. As we stepped into the comfortable, arm chair like seats and set off I knew it would be something special. I guess I was kind of right? There is a little pop of airtime as you go down from the station the lift, but unfortunately this is the highlight of the ride. The trains are so comfortable that you don’t feel anything. The lift hill is weird, but nice. The drop is fine. The two following inversions are ok. And then that’s it. For such an impressive looking ride, it’s just incredible how bad it is. You can’t even laugh at the pain, because there isn’t any. There is simply no point in going on it; you may as well just be sitting down on a park bench the whole time. Being at the front of the park, it gains massive queues, so take my advice, ignore it; it sure as heck ignores you.