Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Hyde Park Fair 2005
Those that know me know that I like my coasters and spin rides and here in the UK all the parks close for the Winter so there's a lull in the riding. However, one of the travelling fair owners arranged with Westminster council to set up a fair in Hyde Park for a couple of week over the Christmas period. Wooohooo!!! I can get my adrenaline rush over the otherwise Christmas period. So I escaped work early and headed over to see what ride were there.
The fair was set up along the northern edge of the park and at night it was quite odd seeing a perfectly empty and quiet park to one side and loud music and bright lights on the other.
At one end of the strip was a large spinning mouse coaster, quite short in length and not all that spinny. It was also obvious that there weren't that many people around perhaps because it was the coldest day of the year and temperatures were expecting to hit -10. No problem with queues here!
At the other end of the strip was a booster ride which is basically a big wheel reduced to a single spoke with 4 seats at each end that tip as the ride spins round. I've ridden several of these before and at £5 a go, I gave it a miss even though it would have offered some unique views of London from the top. When I finally get around to riding the London Eye, I'll have all my views of London I'll ever need.
Between these were a number of stalls, game tents and spin rides.
This was the travelling top spin, which had the best light show of all the rides, mostly due to that big multibeam monster to the left that could be seen a fair distance away and bounced off the tree next to the ride nicely. Being smaller than most I'd ridden it was a little more intense and also the fact that with it being a travelling ride the feeling it might fall apart at any second only added to the experience. For those that don't know how these things work the outer arms rotate in a circle and the bench on which people are sit rotates too or can be locked in position. Was really disorientating when I first rode this kind of ride but I'm used to them now.
Monster was one of the kiddy coasters, kinda crap to be honest - YES I RODE IT!!
Superbowl is like a waltzer only it lifts up once you're disorientated from the cars spinning. It looks a lot scarier than it is and you don't really notice that you've lifted up because you're spinning so much.
This is the "Disney Train". Perhaps the most minimal themed Disney rides I've ever come across, and a total abuse of the brand. Certainly an entertaining attraction if only to laugh at.
Dragon is the other kiddy coaster and is no different from any other kiddy coaster. Yep, I rode this one too. 3 coasters in London - Fairground owners, you spoil us (last sentence best said in a dubbed Ferrero Rocher advert accent).
Conventional waltzers are usually the best rides at fairgrounds because the operators just love to ensure your car is spinning enough to make you violently ill. I think they left me alone as I found it not that bad to be honest.
Chaos is a baby afterburner that because of it smaller than usual size offers a more intense experience, just like the Top Spin. This wasn't bad at all but I still prefer Vortex at Thorpe Park; with these rides I definitely think bigger is better. I took the opportunity to fiddle with the camera settings to get the blur as it spun, which explains why it's also a little orange.
The obligatory fun house. Having been on a funhouse crawl at Prater earlier in the year (I think we did around 6 in a row) I'd definitely had more than my fill of these attractions this year, so I gave it a miss.
Here's the waveswinger doing an impression of those stupid little toys that the Gadget Shop used to sell that allowed you to make light patterns by spinning beams at speed.
Now this thing was the ride of the night. It's called a "move it" and it spins you round in pretty much every direction possible.
It definitely feels odd being spun vertically.
It feels even more odd being rotated whilst upside down.
The best ride by far!!
All in all a great hour spent and with my impending trip to Dublin, the closed-season is definitely looking up (and down and forwards and backwards and all directions in between). It would be interesting to know if the fair was a success. The time of year and temperature may have put people off visiting. The ride ops were doing their best to motivate people to ride, which would indicate they weren't getting the money they expected. Perhaps having been denied a decent fairground for so long, London needs to get used to it. Those that had dared the cold to attend were having a good time.
It's events like this where you realise London really needs a city centre park like Tivoli in Copenhagen. It brings people together, something that this place isn't associated with to be honest.