Hyde Park Winter Wonderland has been running for several years now, and has developed into the largest winter fun fair in Europe. I'd hoped to attend last year, but elected not to travel after serious crowd control issues occurred at the site on the weekend before my planned trip. This year I decided to visit with my girlfriend Megan on a Sunday morning, with the hope that things wouldn't be too crowded. This worked out fairly well, insofar as we didn't have to wait more than five minutes for any of the rides.
It's worth noting that some of my criticisms from my last visit still apply, including the demented ticketing system and the overall cost of rides, which have become even more expensive over the years. Having said that, there's no doubt that the ride owners have chosen prices that the market will bear, and it's hard to fault them for doing that, especially when you factor in the cost of moving major continental rides to London.
There were four roller coasters at the show this year, all of which I'd ridden before. Buwalda has added some new theming to his London City Coaster, and the newly renamed Alpine Coaster looks particularly nice with its elaborate Christmas trim. I'm given to understand that the organisers at Hyde Park will only allow really major rides to operate without festive theming; everything else has to have seasonal decorations to be considered for the event.
The Christmas Coaster was present once again, and as usual it was pulling in the crowds despite the fact that it really isn't much of a ride. There were also plenty of people hanging around Santa's Flying Sleigh, which appeared to be doing a roaring trade. For us, however, the primary draw was always going to be the Wilde Maus XXL, open for only the second time after its debut at the Hamburger Summerdom last year. There's not a lot to add to my previous trip report, except to repeat that this ride is absolutely fantastic. I think I prefer paying German fair prices, though!
We also rode the Giant Wheel, the Power Tower 2, and the Alpen Hotel. The latter was new to me; an impressively large fun house, linked to several small shows that were great fun if a little hard to describe. With the various rides completed, we concluded our visit with a stop at the Ice Kingdom, a collection of incredibly detailed ice sculptures – and an ice slide – all created specially for the Winter Wonderland event.