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ACE Preservation Conference 2015 – Washington State Fair, Oaks & Enchanted Forest

Last year I had the opportunity to go on a comprehensive tour of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alberta and British Columbia that included 10 amusement parks, 2 fairs, 6 national parks and sightseeing in 2 cities that I covered in an extensive photo trip report here. But the one thing that we could not include was the Washington State Fair, which only operates during the fair in April and September. As it is the home of a 1935 John Miller wood coaster, this was a must visit for me to eventually get to in order to meet my goal of […]

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ACE UK! 2015: Overview

One of the most anticipated countries to get to in my coaster travels has been the United Kingdom, so it was with great excitement that I embarked on ACE UK! 2015, an 11 day journey to 14 parks and 72 coasters (not all of which we got to ride), along with 5 days of planned sightseeing and visits to 2 additional parks with 7 coasters with a few friends. I have posted all of my photo trip reports and they can be accessed from the following links: Prologue: London Part 1: Paultons Park & Stonehenge Part 2: Oakwood Theme Park […]

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ACE UK! 2015 – Epilogue iii: Brighton & Brighton Pier

We originally had an ambitious day planned for our final day in the U.K., but a number of circumstances conspired to chip away at our plans until we only accomplished two of our original five stops. First, we cut a morning tour of the City of Winchester for a later start. We then decided to go Brighton first. Unfortunately for our schedule, our earlier arrival at Brighton coincided with the city’s Gay Pride Parade, so many streets were closed and parking sparse. After a frustrating hour of dead ends, reroutes and seeking an ever elusive parking place, we finally found […]

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ACE UK! 2015 – Epilogue ii: Tour of The Scottish Borders

Tour of The Scottish Borders On Friday, July 31 we crossed the border from England, with its rolling hills, into Scotland, with its more mountainous terrain. We drove through Jedburgh, viewing Jedburgh Abbey from the road. We would be doing about half of a Tour of the Scottish Borders recommended by my Eyewitness Travel Guidebook on Great Britain. Our first stop was Dryburgh Abbey located along the Tweed River. Considered Scotland’s most evocative monastic ruin, Sir Walter Scott is buried here. We spent a while walking among the ruins, imagining monastic life centuries ago and pondering the fate of this […]

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ACE UK! 2015 – Epilogue i: Lightwater Valley and Hadrian’s Wall

Lightwater Valley When trying to decide what to do on the additional 3 days at the end of the trip, a number of options came to mind. While we were mainly looking at sightseeing options, there was one park that was not a part of the ACE trip that I particularly wanted to get to, more so than several that we visited. Time limitations prevented a visit to Lightwater Valley on the official trip, but we decided it was worth the near 4 hour drive to get there. So Wednesday night we rented a car and Thursday morning, July 30, […]

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ACE UK! 2015 Add On – Part 10: Thorpe Park

Thorpe Park On Wednesday, July 29 we left the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow for the final stop of our trip, Thorpe Park in Chertsey, Surrey, England. Operating since 1979, this unique park is surrounded by lakes, making it a series of islands. Merlin has made this its thrill park, adding lots of big coasters over the last few years. While divided into themed sections, the theming is not always clearly defined. Even so, theming of individual rides is quite elaborate. I will review the park by themed section. We were given 5 Queue Busters, although the park was not that […]

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ACE UK! 2015 Add On – Part 9: Dreamland & Adventure Island

Dreamland On Tuesday, July 28 we left the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow for our much anticipated trip to Dreamland in Margate, Kent, England. Having operated from 1863 to 2006, the park sat closed since then until its exciting reopening on June 19 this year. While known as Hall by the Sea from 1863 to 1919 and Bembom Brothers Theme Park from 1981 to 1989, it has spent most of its years as Dreamland. The oldest coaster in the U.K. and one of only 9 scenic railways in the world was the stimulus to get this park reopened. After a 2008 […]

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ACE UK! 2015 Add On – Part 8: LEGOLAND Windsor & Chessington World of Adventures

LEGOLAND Windsor On Monday, July 27 we drove the short distance from the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow to LEGOLAND Windsor in Windsor, Berkshire, England. Operating since 1996, this park is only a short distance from Windsor Castle, which you can see clearly from the park. While we had several issues with coasters during the main trip, in the end they all opened before we left the park. But that was to be different on this add-on trip. We had already experienced one closed coaster at Drayton the previous day, but what we would encounter today would be the single highest […]

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ACE UK! 2015 Add On – Part 7: Drayton Manor

Drayton Manor On Sunday, July 26 we headed from Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow to Drayton Manor in Drayton Bassett, Staffordshire, England. Operating since 1949, this is a midsized theme park. It is divided into themed areas, but the theming is somewhat limited except in a few sections. I will review the park by themed section. While we had rain most every day as you would expect in England, this was the only day that it rained pretty much the whole day. PEEL PLAZA This is outside the park near the Drayton Manor Hotel and has Crazy Golf, miniature golf, for […]

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ACE UK! 2015 – Part 6: Joyland, Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach & Pleasurewood Hills

Joyland Amusement Park On Saturday, July 25 we expected to have our most challenging day of the trip as we had 3 parks and 10 coasters to get in over 6 hours. We drove from Park Inn By Radisson Petersborough to Joyland Amusement Park in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. We arrived at about 9:45, but the park let us come on in and begin riding. This is a very small children’s park, but it is amazing how much they fit into such a small space. Tyrolean Tub Twist: (Horace Cole, Wood Powered Junior Virginia Reel, 1950) The debate will rage […]

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