Plenty of work took place over the 2008/09 closed season, with the refurbishment of the Skyride, Corkscrew’s deconstruction and general maintenance around the park. However, the most notable developments included the demolition of the 3D Cinema tent ready for Sharkbait Reef in Mutiny Bay. There was also the refurbishment of Cred Street, which would become Cloud Cuckoo Land ready for the new season.

This update starts with images taken from the roof of the Towers, with views of a quiet Towers Street, Mutiny Bay during its first closed season, and across to the former site of the 3D Cinema which had by this point been removed, with the new building for Sharkbait Reef already under construction as seen by the green roof. Containers labelled ‘Sealife’ had been delivered to the staff car park.

With the theme park partially open for the winter season, it was possible to see the restoration work happening to the Towers, with work being carried out on a retaining wall which saw its top being re-laid. Another restoration project was the replacement of the Conservatory’s windows. Inside is pictured a temporary wall dividing the Conservatory from the Drawing Room. The remains of 2008’s Terror of the Towers scare maze could still be seen in the Drawing Rooms.

In further views from the top of the Towers, it could be seen that retheming work had already begun on the Cred Street Playground, with the front clad in scaffolding. At this time, the lift hill was still standing on the recently closed Corkscrew. Elsewhere, all was quiet in and around X-Sector, although the area’s sign had been removed, presumably to allow maintenance vehicles access to the area.

Skyride was awaiting its new carriages for the 2009 season and the remains of the Ug Swinger could be seen sitting by Rita ready for its relocation. On our way out via the Woodland Walk, we took a quick look at Forbidden Valley with The Blade still standing and it also possible to catch glimpses of Ripsaw and Air.

In this brief update from the roof of the Towers, it could be seen that the railings along Hex’s exit path were receiving a fresh coat of paint. Sharkbait Reef, the new Sea Life centre, could also been seen as coming along nicely. We could also see the first evidence of what would be Cloud Cuckoo Land, as the theatre got a lick of paint. Finally, something was now missing from the skyline of Ug Land with Corkscrew finally no more.

This update was captured during the theme park’s February Half Term event. In X-Sector, Oblivion was the only ride operating, with Submission along with Enterprise still closed for their winter maintenance. Little had changed at the Meltdown after the departure of KFC and Pizza Hut, although the fence at the back suggested the restaurant may have an outdoor seating area.

Around what was formerly Cred Street, we spotted an advert for Sharkbait Reef on a board that was yet to be updated to reflect the area’s retheme, as well as capturing a look at how the new area was coming along. At the nearby Skyride station, it was evident that changes were taking place across the Skyride system. Although the area was not accessible, it was possible to see that the Corkscrew had gone, as had the Ug Swinger, leaving Ug Land quite empty. However, anticipation was building for the start of SW6 construction. From the other side of what was becoming Cloud Cuckoo Land, we could see the fresh new paint job on Driving School, along with the first signs of the newly rethemed Ug Swinger, with it possible to make out the toadstool that would be its operating cabin.

Elsewhere, Mutiny Bay was another area that remained closed during the event, with none of its rides operating during its first winter at the Resort. Whilst it was closed, the resort did take the opportunity to repaint The Flume’s queue line. The area between Mutiny Bay Shoppe and Eastern Express had begun its radical transformation for Sharkbait Reef, with posters for the new attraction containing a slightly modified logo on the construction fences.

In Katanga Canyon, the Congo River Rapids remained closed, and with the trough drained the ride’s storage reservoir was looking very full! The departure of KFC & Pizza Hut meant that the area’s unit had started its transformation into Explorers Pizza and Pasta. In another change, based on the vending machines, it looked like Tropicana’s sponsorship had ended to be replaced by Minute Maid.

Over in Forbidden Valley, Nemesis was closed during February Half Term for some extensive maintenance and TLC. Meanwhile, Ripsaw was in its mid-winter wrapping. Signage in the area provided a first look at the 2009 Annual Pass and its prices. At the nearby Skyride station it was also possible to see the installation of the brand new Skyride carriages. Having been missing from their usual closed season location, the boats for Congo River Rapids were spotted backstage by Duel.

In our final on-park updates, a new feature had appeared in the Old Macdonald’s Farm toilets and baby changing rooms. Other signage around the park included Scarefest 2009 adverts, a poster advertising Cred Street’s retheme to Cloud Cuckoo Land, and the brand new water park map in the theme park entrance plaza.

Outside of the theme park, supplies and waste relating to the construction of Sharkbait Reef could be seen, as well as van for an aquarium company. The old Skyride gondolas joined the Splash Kart track in the car parks, and The Flume boats were being stored behind Duel, along with the Congo River Rapids boats seen in the distance.