Fantasy Island, Skegness – Review
By Dominic Picksley, October 2023
Fantasy Island is a curious piece of the UK’s theme park ensemble, given that its location is basically in the middle and around the edge of a rather large market, selling the typical merchandise you’d find at most seaside resorts around the country.
Among the bargain-hunter tourists, who flock to the Skegness venue (it’s actually in Ingoldmells, just a short drive north of the popular town), are the thrill-seekers who are lured to the Lincolnshire coast – many from South Yorkshire – by the prospect of riding Odyssey and Millennium, two of the best rollercoasters in the UK catalogue.
Indeed, Odyssey is the most expensive coaster ever built in the country, costing a cool £28m when it was constructed at the beginning of the 21st century. That was one hell of an investment for a venue like Fantasy Island, but it ensures the attraction constantly remains at the forefront of theme park enthusiasts’ minds. It’s a suspended looping coaster (SLC), rising to a height of 167 feet, nearly 3,000 feet long and featuring five inversions. It is a beast.
It looks an imposing presence as you get closer to the park and although it’s not the smoothest of rides, like most SLCs where you dangle rather then be seated, it’s still a breathtaking experience, one my children, Ben and Amelia, loved.
“Relishing the experience”
Luckily the queues were short the day we ventured there and after we grabbed our wristbands – they have three sorts depending on how old you are, starting with Little Explorer, then on to Adventurer and finally Discovery, and you can have unlimited rides once purchased – they hopped on Odyssey a few times, relishing the experience of being thrown around for two minutes.
Millennium is another impressive coaster, with two vertical loops, and this one circles the park, so you can get a good look around.
Sadly, though, my worst fears came true when I joined Ben for a ride late in the day and all was calm as we were pulled up the steep incline only for the train to come to a sudden halt.
And there were stayed for half an hour, nearly 150 feet up in the air, while engineers frantically worked below us trying to get us moving again. We were joined by a comforting presence on the gangway beside us, with a staff member ensuring us we’d be on our way before too long and to just “enjoy the view”.
“A bit precarious”
In what seemed an eternity, with the crowds down below looking up at us with sympathy, he then told us the plan was to get us out of our carts with the aid of harnesses if we failed to get moving.
“That’s a bit precarious,” I noted to my son, “at least you’re the right side, it’s a long way down on my side.” He had been fine up until this point. Thankfully, the train soon jolted into action and we sped off down the track, with one rather forlorn parent desperately hoping for an incident-free journey back to the station.
“It could have been worse,” said Ben, “we could have got stuck upside down.” Small comforts and all that. The staff at the station were great, though, endeavouring to make sure everyone was okay before they departed.
The entrance to Millennium is situated in The Pyramid, a building in the centre of the park that doesn’t look all that big from the outside, but is the proverbial Tardis inside.
“Another world awaits”
Full of amusement arcade machines on the ‘ground floor’ you then head up various steps and another world awaits amid the dimmed lights, with more rides and attractions… and it’s incredible how much there is to do in there.
It reminded me a little of Lalandia, a terrific indoor attraction in Billund, Denmark, which houses various attractions under one roof.
Ben dragged Amelia and I to The Guardian, a four-seater robo-coaster that takes you on ‘a quest’ – you sit in front of a screen and are moved around to make you think you’re actually on a journey. And despite the long wait, it was pretty decent.
There’s also a water dinghy slide in The Pyramid, Mystical Dragon Mountain, while you can go for a serene boat ride around the Seaquarium, a balloon ride and also take a trip on Toucan Tours, and much more.
Unfortunately, Wild River Rapids was closed for the day, but my children ticked off another rollercoaster as they enjoyed a noisy whizz round on Rhombus Rocket.
Getting stuck apart, it proved to be a terrific day of adventure, rounded off by some traditional seaside rock. You can’t beat it.
Fantasy Island, Sea Lane, Ingoldmells, Skegness, PE25 1RH
For full opening times and prices visit: fantasyislandresort.co.uk