Jubilee Odyssey – Fit for Royalty?
This week UK Park News was invited to visit Fantasy Island Ingoldmells, the home of the UK’s tallest SLC (Suspended Looping Coaster) manufactured by Vekoma (Netherlands). At 167ft tall – the striking red & white track can be seen across the ¬†east coast landscape for miles around. With Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations this weekend, it’s perhaps rather fitting that we visited the park ten years on from when the attraction first opened on 25th May 2002, so named to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee of 2002 – celebrating 50 years on the throne.
Although now the attraction is listed on the official Fantasy Island park map simply as “Odyssey” we thought we’d write an article looking back at the ride to commemorate Her Majesty’s now 60 year reign as the Queen of England. The original plans for Odyssey boasted a mammoth 265ft initial first drop, making the would-be coaster the tallest of its type in the world at the time. Sadly, due to objections from local residents, the design was shelved in favour for a more modest 167 ft initial drop, some 98ft less.
With a reported total construction cost of ¬£28m – Odyssey remains to be the most expensive roller coaster ever built in the UK, with other parks such as Thorpe Park spending ¬£20m on their 2012 attraction the Swarm, and Alton Towers spending ¬£15m on 2010′s Th13teen roller coaster. Following opening by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent in 2002 – a combination of design problems and high coastal winds caused the train to stall (not completing a full circuit). With a requirement to quickly resolve this, parts of the track’s inversions were lowered, once again allowing normal operation.
Jubilee is situated amongst a variety of other rides and attractions at the park including “The Millennium”; another looping Vekoma roller coaster in addition to many other rides and attractions such as “The Rhombus Rocket” – a fun mine-train coaster for all the family to enjoy, “The Volcano” – a 200ft S&S Shot Tower Ride, “The Beast” – a travelling Mondial Top Scan and many more. The park is also home to Europe’s Biggest 7 Day Outdoor Market where you can buy anything from a water pistol to an iPhone!
Beneath the many supports for Odyssee is home to pay-to-play Go-Karts which offers some fantastic views of the track. Odyssey stands 167ft tall and takes riders up to speeds of 67MPH pulling 4.8G through 5 twisting inversions and 2924ft of track in under 3 minutes. The ride costs ¬£3.50 per person if paying by the park’s “Live Card” (a pay as you go riding barcode system) which when compared to the cost of riding Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool (¬£7) is¬†comparatively¬†good value. The park also offers a ride all day wrist band with prices ranging from ¬£10 during low season through to ¬£20 during high season and bank holidays.
Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row making a total of 20 people. After boarding, the train exists the station and makes a left before ascending to its highest point of 167ft, giving fantastic views of the east coast. In no time at all the train plummets down a 141ft 60 degree twisting drop, straight into a huge 124ft vertical loop – one of the highest in the world, followed by two more inversions in quick succession as riders are hurtled around a Cobra Roll.
With only a few short seconds of respite, riders are tossed into a Horseshoe (over banked) turn then down into a 4th inversion – a sidewinder – a cross between a standard loop and a corkscrew. Next up is another turnaround and a final left turn before negotiating the last inversion; a corkscrew, then into the brakes.
Jubilee, or Odyssey as it seems to now be named, looks immense on the landscape, and the ride experience certainly lives up to the impressive sight. In all honesty, steel Vekoma roller coasters are not our favourite type of ride here at UKPN, but Jubilee offers an exciting, exhilarating and unique ride experience which has become one of our favourite Vekoma coasters.
We’re sure if Her Majesty liked riding coasters, she’d certainly enjoy the Jubilee Odyssey experience!
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