About Theme Park James

Who or what is Theme Park James?

Me riding Oblivion at Alton Towers in 2016 Thanks for asking! I (for I am a who) am James, from the UK. I started a YouTube channel called Theme Park James back in 2009, named as such because I panicked when I found all the various combinations of names for theme park related channels which I could think of had already been taken. The name kinda stuck, and I've made a whole pile of videos since then.

Tell me more ...

I've been a fan of theme parks for a very long time - I grew up close to Chessington, and I used to be taken there as a toddler in the winter months to run around the paths. In those days it was just a zoo, and they used to open free for local residents during the winter. There's a clip somewhere in the BBC archives of me walking into the Chessington Circus with my Mum to watch Peter Duncan do something impressive on an episode of Blue Peter. My first ever school trip was to Chessington in about 1986, just as it was being transformed from Chessington Zoo to Chessington World of Adventures. I can remember seeing Safari Skyway under construction and being very disappointed I couldn't ride it.

Fast forward a couple of years and my Mum took me to visit the new theme park for the first time. Although Dragon River scared the pants off me, Riding Dragon River at Chessington in 1997I loved it, together with the theming, the atmosphere, the Clown Coaster, the entertainers, the Fifth Dimension dark ride - from that moment I was hooked, to the extent that I tried to build my own theme park in our back garden. To all my friends who sustained various injuries as we tried to recreate a rollercoaster by launching a plastic sledge off the top of my slide, and rope burns from the zip line my Dad helped build from the top of my tree house, I apologise!

There were more visits to Chessington over the course of the next few years, mainly courtesy of my Grandmother who lived on one of the major traffic routes to the park. As a thank you for putting up with all the cars, Chessington used to give out free tickets each year, and my Grandmother would give these to me and one of my cousins.

Aside from Chessington, there was also Thorpe Park close by, and we had Cub Scout outings there on at least a couple of occasions. That was in the days when the park was owned by Ready Mix Concrete, so the rides on offer were fairly low key compared with today's offerings - Flying Fish was the big rollercoaster back then, and we were much more concerned about getting the Black Spot from a pirate on Treasure Island than collecting exit passes. Still though, to me (in the words of the ad campaign of the day), it was the big, enormous, giant, humongous, great Thorpe Park!

What about now?

From those early beginnings, my love of theme parks developed. In the last few years I've been fortunate enough to travel pretty widely visiting parks in Europe, America and other places around the world. To add to my geek credentials, I'm a member of the European Coaster Club, which is a group of around 1500 fellow rollercoaster fans (although I'd probably class myself more as a theme park fan than a rollercoaster geek).

So what's this website then?

This website is primarily an extension of my YouTube channel and an alternative way of gathering together all the videos I make. You'll find pages for the majority of the parks I've visited - they list all the videos I've made at each park, and some of them have more information as well. I guess this will get filled out more over time! There are also pages for bigger trips I've been on, collecting the story, pictures and videos from each trip in a single place.

I occasionally get asked for travel advice, which I've tried to write for at least a few parks so far. Note that this isn't the usual "how to get there" copied off the park's official website - this is based on what I did when I visited the park. It might not be the most efficient route or mode of transport, and if I haven't visited in a while it might be a bit out of date.