Sunday, 16 September 2012

RCCGB Mega-GLOW-Mania Weekend 2012

Date: Friday 10 August to Sunday 12 August 2012
Venues: Oakwood Theme Park, Folly Farm, Heatherton World of Activities
Who Went: Me and a large number of other RCCGB members, including Andy Hine, Alan Chilvers, Brian Smith, Dan, Dave Perry, Doug, Charlie and Emily, Gareth Arkell, Gareth Preece, Lucy Cosnett, Mary and James, Planenut, Ryan Hackett.

DISCLAIMER: The above is not intended to be an exhaustive list of everyone who attended. It's a small sample of attendees; mainly those I spoke to and/or rode with at Oakwood and/or Folly Farm. I sincerely apologise to anyone I've not listed. Not everyone (whether or not listed above) attended all three Parks.

The Club's annual visit to rural Pembrokeshire, primarily to visit Oakwood Theme Park. Just like last year, the visit to Oakwood was on a Friday when the Park was open to the public until 10pm, thereby enabling us to end the day with the traditional dark ERS on Megafobia. Going to Oakwood on Friday allowed the Club to also visit Folly Farm near Kilgetty on Saturday (and have exclusive use of the Vintage Funfair after closing time), plus Heatherton World of Activities on Sunday.

To make the rest of report this easier to read, I've split it into sections. Click the applicable link below to jump to the section you want to read:
Thursday 9 August
Day 1 - Friday 10 August
Day 2 - Saturday 11 August
Day 3 - Sunday 12 August

Enjoy my report at your leisure.

Thursday 9 August

Getting To Tenby
For me the weekend began with a train journey from Bath Spa to Tenby, which unfortunately had a few problems. Firstly, the 13:36 Bath Spa to Newport train actually left Bath at 13:42. Upon reaching Newport, the connecting 14:31 Newport to Swansea train was even more late-running; it left Newport at 14:48. Luckily it still reached Swansea with a few minutes to spare for the 16:00 Swansea to Tenby train, which departed on time. I finally reached Tenby at 17:37. Having reached Tenby, I went straight to the Myrtle House Hotel where I stayed three nights.

Thursday Evening
Around 7pm I went out to get dinner somewhere. Nearby I found The Three Mariners pub and asked if they were serving meals this evening. They were, so I looked at the menu. I had cottage pie with mash, peas and home-made gravy for main course, followed by syrup sponge pudding with custard for dessert. In addition I had half a pint of John Smiths Extra Smooth to accompany my meal. Altogether, a delicious meal. When I left after my meal, it was still sunny outside so I went for a walk around part of the town and along part of the south beach before returning to my hotel.

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Day 1 - Friday 10 August

Friday First Thing
Having awoke at 6:30am I had an early breakfast at 7:30am consisting of a bowl of cornflakes, glass of orange juice, beans on toast, four triangles of toast and a cafetiere of coffee. I chose beans on toast as I felt that would be a lighter alternative to a full traditional fried breakfast; important to consider before going on rides. Just before 8am the taxi which was booked for me Thursday evening was waiting outside to take me to Oakwood.

Welcome To Oakwood
After I reached Oakwood around 8:30am, other members gradually arrived. I was really excited because this was my first ever time of attending Mega-Glow-Mania since joining the RCCGB in March 2005, and indeed first ever visit to Oakwood.

Megafobia ERS
Around 9:00 the Club entered the Park to begin the day with a one-hour ERS on the famous woodie Megafobia. To avoid splitting the group up too much when so few attended, only one train ran. Even so, everyone enjoyed plenty of goes in our allotted time. I enjoyed six goes, including a back seat go with Ryan and front seat ride with Planenut.

Once the ERS ended, the Club took over Bobsleigh and Treetops. I then had time for two goes on Waterfall (one go on one slide against Brian and one go on the other slide against Dan) before the Club took over Speed. After that, the Club spread all over the Park. I rode Spooky 3D with Dave Perry and Ryan. Thereafter I rode Brer Rabbit, Circus Clown, Plane Crazy and Bounce alone.

Around 1:45 I returned to the exit with Doug, Charlie and Emily hoping for the 2pm baseball, only to discover it had been brought forward an hour and abandoned due to the heat. Back inside the Park, Drenched was now open. It was quite popular with members and the general public, presumably to cool off in the intense heat. I rode it once with Planenut and once solo.

Late afternoon I went on Bobsleigh, but due to its half hour wait had just one go. Afterwards I discovered a drop slide Skyleap, on which I enjoyed eight goes. During the evening I enjoyed all four Snake River Falls slides, Treetops coaster and Pirate Ship once each, Speed and Plane Crazy twice each, Bounce three times and another four drops on Skyleap. My final two rides during daylight were one go on each Waterfall slide; annoyingly I got my jeans wet as the sun was setting and there would be little hope of them drying off.

At dusk I enjoyed a chicken burger meal followed by two doughnuts. Also I spoke to Doug for a few minutes. After that time allowed me one more go on Bounce in the dark before the slightly delayed, but highly impressive laser and firework display.

Dark ERS
With the public now gone, the finale was our dark ERS on Megafobia. Many of us wore or held glow sticks to create a glowing effect. Doug kindly gave me two of his spare glow sticks (one for each wrist); also I wore a fluorescent yellow cagoule and held a torch on the coaster. Although only one train ran, everyone enjoyed plenty of goes. I enjoyed eight goes, one of which was with Nev. Party music completed the atmosphere.

Back To Tenby
At 11:15pm I left for my taxi back to Tenby. Around 11:45pm I got back to my room at The Myrtle House Hotel, Tenby feeling really tired.

Altogether a wonderful day at Oakwood, especially the morning ERS on Megafobia, and evening dark ERS on Megafobia. Turnout may have been lower than usual, but those who went had a fun day, also it was hot and sunny for once. It was extra satisfying for me to attend Mega-Glow-Mania for the first time since joining the RCCGB in March 2005. Not just for visiting Oakwood and trying out its rides for the first time, but also because in recent years some members have asked me why I didn't attend Mega-Glow-Mania 2005 to 2011 inclusive, yet regularly attended certain other Club trips in that time. For me it was great adding another woodie Megafobia, plus three more steelies (Treetops, Speed and Circus Clown) to my coaster count, meeting Nev, Ryan, the two Gareths, Dave Perry, Planenut and others again and also meeting Doug and his children whom I don't recall talking to on previous Club trips. Many thanks to Nev for arranging this day at Oakwood, Doug for giving me two glow sticks and Shawn the taxi driver.

More about Friday at Oakwood available here

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Day 2 - Saturday 11 August

Saturday First Thing
Having awoke at 7am, I had breakfast at 8am: bowl of cornflakes, glass of orange juice, full traditional fried breakfast, four triangles of toast and a cafetiere of coffee. Since I wasn't going to be riding during the morning I was willing to have a traditional fried breakfast Saturday. Furthermore I was able to enjoy breakfast at a more relaxed pace than Friday.

Having travelled by bus from Tenby, I arrived Folly Farm around 10:15. The public were already going in. I thought I'd have to wait outside until the official meet-up time of 11am, but by showing my letter, trip badge and membership card I was allowed in immediately. Thus I must have been the first RCCGB member booked on this trip to arrive.

I began by exploring the area around the big wheel and outdoor play areas (pirate ship, sandpit, etc.), followed by the Vintage Funfair. Just before 11:00am I met Nev. Around 11:15 I enjoyed playing on all parts of Carousel Woods indoor play structure for about an hour. After that I saw part of the zoo including the giraffes, zebras and emus. I met a few other RCCGB members by the emu enclosure.

Around 2:15pm I had a light snack at Carousel Café. Some other RCCGB members were there too, including Lucy Cosnett who wasn't at Oakwood. After lunch I saw more of the zoo, including Folly Amazonia, Okawango Delta and reindeer. Late afternoon I had a cappuccino with Nev and other RCCGB members. After that I enjoyed one go on the helter skelter before taking a rapid walk through Folly Interactive. Finally I rounded off normal opening time by playing on all parts of Carousel Woods for about half an hour.

After Closing Time
The Park officially closed at 5:30pm. For us the best was yet to follow: our Exclusive Fair Session in the Vintage Funfair. Together we rode the Caterpillar Ride, Coronation Speedway, Rock n' Roll Waltzer, Jets and Dodgem Track once each (some but not me were lucky enough to have two goes on Dodgem Track).

After a basket meal in the café we had a few more rides: Lakin Swirl, Chair-o-Plane, Gallopers and Cyclone Twist once each (however some including me were lucky enough to get two goes on Cyclone Twist). Finally we had a drink in the bar before leaving. After leaving around 8:30pm Mary and James kindly gave me a lift back to my hotel in Tenby where I relaxed in my room the rest of the evening.

Another fun day, despite being a bit tame compared to Oakwood on Friday. It was great seeing many people who were at Oakwood for the second day running, plus Lucy Cosnett who wasn't at Oakwood. I particularly enjoyed playing on Carousel Woods indoor play structure late morning and late afternoon, plus one go on the helter skelter late afternoon. Best of all were the activities after 5:30pm, i.e. rides, basket meal and final drink. Many thanks to Nev for arranging this day, including EFS, at Folly Farm, and to Mary and James for giving me a lift back to my hotel in the evening.

More about Saturday at Folly Farm available here

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Day 3 - Sunday 12 August

The final day of Mega-Glow-Mania weekend 2012. Mid-morning some members met at Heatherton World of Activities to enjoy go-karting and/or other activities available there. Nev even arranged an EGS (exclusive go-kart session) for those interested; according to the trip invitation it was billed to run from 10.00am to 11.30am. For various reasons I gave Heatherton a miss. The following outlines how I spent Sunday.

Sunday First Thing
Having awoke at 7am, I got ready and packed my belongings, I had breakfast at 8am. I had the same selection as Saturday morning including full cooked, and enjoyed it at an even more relaxed pace than Saturday. After leaving Myrtle House Hotel for the last time around 9:50am, I walked along the northern sea front, and briefly went on the beach.

From Tenby to Swansea
Having reached Tenby station around 10:45am, I caught the 11:14 train from Tenby to Carmarthen for the onward 11:29 train to Swansea, and got there around 1:15pm. Once there I walked across the city centre in a round-a-bout way to Swansea LC.

Swansea LC Water Park
Just after 2pm I went into Swansea LC for a water sliding session, and stayed in until 4:45pm. The place was busier than I'd have liked, but I enjoyed 14 goes on the Aqua Tube (closed narrow tube slide) and 6 goes on the Aqua Slide (wide open top slide). Most importantly I had one go on the Master Blaster roller coaster water slide, it's a pity I didn't have time for more goes on that. Altogether a wet and wild way to round off Mega-Glow-Mania weekend.

More about Sunday afternoon at Swansea LC Water Park available here

Rest of Sunday
Around 5:10pm I went to The Bank Statement (Wetherspoons) for a Sunday Club Meal, which included a roast meal (I chose beef) plus a drink from the Sunday Club menu. For an additional fee I added a fruit crumble and custard from the Sunday Club dessert selection. Having left Wetherspoons at 6:25pm I walked straight back to the station, whereupon I caught the 18:51 train to Cardiff Central. The onward 20:18 Portsmouth Harbour train should have taken me straight to Bath Spa. Unfortunately a problem with the train meant everyone had to transfer to a replacement train at Bristol Temple Meads. Nonetheless I still reached Bath Spa at the expected time, and home about 20 minutes later.

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Three nights' B&B in Tenby, including the delicious filling breakfasts.
Visiting two parks Oakwood and Folly Farm for the first time ever.
Morning and evening (dark) ERSs on Megafobia Friday.
Club takeovers of Bobsleigh, Treetops Coaster and Speed Friday morning.
Adding another woodie Megafobia, plus three more steelies (Treetops, Speed and Circus Clown) to my coaster count.
Light and firework display just after 10pm Friday.
Playing on Carousel Woods indoor play structure late morning and late afternoon Saturday.
Exclusive Fair Session on the Vintage Funfair rides plus basket meal in the café Saturday evening.
Water sliding at Swansea LC Water Park Sunday afternoon (particularly my one go on Master Blaster).
Meeting Nev, Alan Chilvers, Ryan, the two Gareths, Dave Perry, Lucy Cosnett, Planenut and others again; plus Doug and his children whom I don't recall talking to on previous Club trips.

Delays to the first two stages of my train journey Thursday afternoon; thankfully I managed to get my connections at Newport and Swansea as planned.
Getting my jeans wet on Waterfall at dusk Friday evening when it was starting to get cooler.
Limited choice (no beef burgers or cheese burgers) at Woody's Burger Bar when I went there around 8:45pm Friday evening.
Accidentally leaving my camera by Megafobia after the dark ERS; thankfully Nev found it and returned it to me at Folly Farm Saturday morning.
Insufficient time for more rides during the EFS Saturday evening.
Slide queues longer than I would have liked Sunday afternoon, particularly for the Master Blaster.
Only having time for one go on Master Blaster, it's a pity there wasn't time for more.
Unexpected additional change at Bristol Temple Meads Sunday evening due to a problem with the train from Cardiff.

Summing Up
Altogether fun-packed long weekend away. For me it was wonderful Oakwood and Folly Farm, and thus ride many of their rides (particularly Oakwood's Megafobia) for the first time ever. Many thanks again to Nev for arranging the trips to Oakwood and Folly Farm (also Heatherton for those who went), Doug for giving me two glow sticks and Shawn the taxi driver (Friday), Mary and James for giving me a lift back to my hotel Saturday evening. One other bit of trivia worth mentioning: I went down at least one slide of some sort Friday, Saturday and Sunday as follows:
Friday: Skyleap drop slide at Oakwood.
Saturday: Carousel Woods bumpy slide and tube slides at Folly Farm.
Sunday: Aqua Tube, Aqua Slide and Master Blaster water slides at Swansea LC Water Park.

I look forward to seeing you and everyone else on a future Club trip, whenever that will be. Reluctantly I won't be attending either day of Loopathon this year. Therefore my next RCCGB trip will most likely be the Blackpool Bash 2013.

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