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Flamingo Land Resort, 22nd August 2009
Jayne
post Aug 24 2009, 12:53 PM
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So, went to Flamingo Land over the weekend for the first time. The headline being its a lovely park with lots of nice theming on many rides (Kumali, Voodoo and the outside of Mumbo Jumbo) but with lots of operational problems.

The website announces that the ticket booths open at 9.30am, rides at 10am. Being so enthused to be visiting a new park, we got there at about 9.10am. Except we couldn't get in. In our confusion, we weren't sure if the line of cars in front of us were parked up or just queuing for the car parks. After asking a very sarcastic security guard what was happening, it turns out they don't let any cars in until 9.30am at all, unless you're staying at the holiday park. Flamingo Land is right next to the village of Kirby Misperton, and there was a real risk of cars queuing up back into the village. They did open the barriers at 9.30am though, and the rush of cars getting in is an accident waiting to happen.

Tickets are normally 23 but ECC members enjoy a 5.50 discount. I got three people in using my card.

The park is massive - we didn't make it around the zoo or to the rides at the very bottom of the park. It was a very busy day. Queues for Mumbo Jumbo and Kumali were topping out at about 1hr15m
Here's what we did do:
Mumbo Jumbo - x2 (SPOILER ALERT! Highlight if you want to read on):A very fun, if not rather short, coaster. Great mix of fast and slow "will we stall?" moments. Very small footprint too so many parks could easily install a similar ride without using much space. Would be great in the dark (Graeme mentioned the Black Hole tent would be a good location and he's right). Needs some more ride theming and music but the ride entrance and station were themed really well. There was some real issue with dispatching cars quick enough though, as there was only ever one on the track before the next one went out. And seeing as the cars are only for four people, it makes for awful throughput. Additionally, no one had appeared to clean the queue of rubbish from the day before, as there are no bins in the queueline. And there was some downtime early afternoon for about an hour and a half. It took staff an hour before deciding to evacuate the queueline.
Kumali - On the front row, it was far superior to Infusion at Blackpool. I was braced for a proper ear bashing but it didn't arise! Others further back on the train didn't seem to be so lucky though. Again, poor throughput due to only one train, it was taking an average of 3.5 mins to get a train out, round, unload, load and dispatch again. There was a train sat on the transfer track too. One of only a couple of rides/areas to have themed music coming from the station.
Velocity - Very bizarre to be in that riding position, and I think it spoils the fun a bit by having your legs clamped down as such. Part of the enjoyment of airtime is to have your whole body rise up. However, I still rather liked it, it was like the tom boy sister of Rita. Quicker loading than I expected, but still, only one train operation.
Corkscrew - Strange to be in an original train, with the original canopy over the station! I don't think the helix is as low on Flamingo Land's Corkie than our late Alton love. Still has a nasty shudder on it which means everyone comes off with a headache.
Cliff Hanger - really good shot and drop tower, shame its lighthouse cladding had to be removed. Great views from the top.
Flip Flop - an extremely fun Fabri Top Swing, possibly a cheaper and more reliable alternative to Thorpe's Rush.
The Navigator - Loved this Mega Disk O! Great fun.
Cycle monorail - Fancied a quick cycle around so took a little trip on it. Good job it wasn't any longer, tiring and didn't feel very secure!
Spongebob Squarepants 4D - The pre-show was awful, a dark room with a telly at one end, whilst being bombarded with some high pitch sound (probably just operational noise from the cinema) going through everyone for 10 minutes. Bad. However, the actual 4D show was fab despite being short. Bubbles and water jets, and seats that rocked so violently (yet suitable to what you were watching) you had to wear a seatbelt in. Best 4D show I've watched so far.

Merchandise - not the best. Ride photos were cheap at 4 each if you bought two at once. My photo keyring was a bit naff but hey. The Mumbo Jumbo t-shirts and hoodies weren't the best of quality, looked like they'd ironed them all on during the off season. On board video was available, and seemingly working, on Kumali.

Food - long queues for food, and quite expensive. We opted to snack, then went for something more substantial after leaving the park.

Staff - the op on The Navigator was the only one who spoke and was chatty to us all day. Otherwise they were dull as dishwater and not very welcoming. We saw staff having meetings in the courtyard area opposite Cliff Hanger - very unprofessional, one guy just sitting around after Mumbo Jumbo broke down, and an operator on Kumali doing Sudoku rather than watching his screens or paying much attention to the fact a train was in and he needed to press his unlock restraints button. Was also a bit unprofessional to see engineers and staff distributing stock in main public areas.

Verdict - we would have had a better day if 1) staff were happier, 2) rides running at full capacity, hence shorter queues, and 3) less confusion about parking/getting into the resort.


This post has been edited by Jayne: Aug 24 2009, 12:57 PM
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