Theme Park Insanity

Lift Hills and Thrills Sean Evans talks to Theme Park Insanity!

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Lift Hills and Thrills creator Sean Evans reveals all as he chats everything from the channel's humble origins to his days as a Hollywood Producer!

Lift Hills and Thrills is the adrenaline fueled brain child of our good friend Sean Evans – a man mostly known for his fantastic & well established movie website Back to the Movies.

In recent years however Sean’s love for the theme park industry has continued to grow.

After publishing a variety of ride and attractions reviews on his other website, he decided the time had come to give his new found passion its own separate, fully dedicated space!

Boasting everything from full ride and attraction reviews to the latest industry news, Lift Hills and Thrills delivers a very stylish and well choreographed standard of content.

For this reason we feel Lift Hill and Thrills will certainly be the one to watch in the years to come!

Sean was also given the exclusive opportunity recently to have one of his YouTube videos (click here) feature on the popular American TV show – America’s Funniest Home Videos!

We’re therefore thrilled to bring you an exclusive insight into how Lift Hills and Thrills first came to be & what drives them to bring you the incredible content they do with each and every new release!

Who is Lift Hills and Thrills and how did it first become established?
Owning a movie blog I mistakenly thought Wicker Man at Alton Towers was related to the film, so I sent Alton Towers an email regarding a sneak preview.
 
Surprisingly, even though the site wasn’t theme park related they invited me down & I covered the ride on my movie site Back to the Movies. Suddenly they kept inviting me to different events (including the Dungeons press day) and then Blackpool Pleasure Beach saw my Alton Towers content, reached out and requested the same.
 
As a result I wanted to separate the two sites and whilst I still post theme park content on Back to the Movies now and then Lift Hills and Thrills was set-up as a home for all of that content and attractions content to match.
 
The site was set-up early December 2019 and it’s blown up already! Much faster than Back to the Movies did.
Back to the Movies
Where does the inspiration for your content come from and are there any contributing factors which play a more significant role than others during the creative process?
I always set up my site from the fan perspective. My movie site is a just fans, no critics site. My luxury site is a passion for luxury goods rather than a ‘Look at my overpriced possessions’ showcase and Lift Hills and Thrills is in the same vein.
 
The content on YouTube is all the fun stuff. Merchandise, ride POVs and any fun and exciting and positive things I can share.
 
Nothing formal, just me having a laugh and speaking about the things I love.
 
The website is more news and opinion based content including reviews and discussions. There’s no inspiration as such I just find stuff I like personally and if other people read it, great, if not, never mind.
How did your love for the industry first come about?
As a kid Alton Towers was my second home but there was never a passion for coasters there it was more the love of the magic that Alton Towers brings and still brings to this day.
 
I remember riding The Corkscrew for the first time on a school trip once and even though it frightened me to my very core I grew a soft spot for the rides even though I hate heights.
 
Yes, a coaster fan who hates heights.
 
It’s only over the last two years however that I’ve been constantly going to theme parks up and down the country. Me and my friend Jim (who you’ll spot a lot in these photos) had split up from our girlfriends and had this huge two year blow out of travelling, theme parks and craziness and my love for coasters just grew each and every park we visited.
 
To this day I’m still scared of heights. I made it my mission in 2019 to ride all of the UK’s tallest coasters and got those ticked off my bucket list (minus The Ultimate at Lightwater Valley) and got myself onto a drop tower (one ride I vowed never to ride) at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
 
Funnily enough it the tallest travelling drop tower in the world. It was not pleasant and I lost a large portion of my manhood that day!
"Alton Towers was my second home"
With your Blackpool Pleasure Beach Corkscrew video recently featuring on America's Funniest Home Videos could you shed a little light on how this came to be?
haha yeah! Crazy right?!
 
So I see coaster sites posting POV’s all the time and discussion videos just sitting on chairs talking about parks. It’s not my cup of tea.
 
I don’t feel i’m at that die hard stage where I’d soak up every word of the discussion and its why Lift Hills and Thrills doesn’t have social media.
I don’t and will never consider myself an expert and social media always brings heated debates and people who claim to know it all (they really don’t).
 
Everyone has an opinion. I have enough of that with my movie site so I didn’t want that again with coasters. Besides I’m not a coaster expert just like I’m not a movie expert, I’m just a fan.
 
I’m thick skinned (you certainly have to be with movie industry folks) but I don’t want to hear speculation from fans on social media 7 days a week.
 
If I want information I speak to the parks directly and giggle to myself reading some of the speculation comments whilst I’m there knowing what’s going to happen months before it does and I’m not allowed to say a damn thing! haha
 
It’s the little things right?!
 
Anyways, I digress.
 
To avoid these sit down conversations and content such as that. I posted a stupid video of a corkscrew on board the Big One (click here to view).
 
It shot up to 10k views on a YouTube page that’s still brand new (a whopping 30 subscribers guys!) and the producers of America’s Funniest Videos reached out about featuring it on an isolation special.
 
I messaged Blackpool Pleasure Beach as they shot the POV footage, a few days later I signed off on my corkscrew footage, they signed off on the POV footage and it aired on ABC on American TV just a few days ago.
 
30 subscribers on YouTube, 5 months of the website being live and we’re on TV. Crazy.
A Corkscrew Rides the Big One!
What else do you enjoy doing with your spare time other than visiting the parks and riding coasters?

I’m always keeping myself busy.

 
In a few weeks I’m working on promotion of a movie we shot in Seattle late last year called Rucker. The movie stars Corey Taylor the lead singer of the band Slipknot. We’d worked together a good 6 years ago on a movie called Fear Clinic so it was nice to catch-up briefly again on this project.
 
I’m doing a lot of work with Disney+ at the moment, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Alton Towers are sending goodies for me to review in the coming weeks and i’m doing work with a celebrity video messaging company and promoting celebrity real estate for sale over in America.
 
It’s all work, work, work but when I have time to myself and lockdown no longer exists I can’t wait for a nice pub, a cool pint and a Port Vale match to go and see!
What would you say are your current Top 5 coasters and why?
With Lift Hills and Thrills being a UK park only site I’ll name my Top 5 UK coasters.
 
  • Nemesis – It’s a classic, it outshines its little brother in London and it seems to get better every year
  • Smiler – Batshit insanity (Can I say batshit? If not, sorry mom)
  • Stealth – It’s short and over in seconds but that acceleration is unparalleled on a UK coaster. Who the hell is Rita?!
  • ICON – It’s just such a relaxing and majestic coaster, except for when we rode it blindfolded at a Halloween event. That was insane!
  • Any Gerstlauer Eurofighter – RAGE, SAW, Speed: No Limits. I’m a sucker for a Eurofighter I love them all like children. I need a life.
"Bat Shit Insanity!"
Is there one park in particular which you have ear marked to visit the most in the years ahead and if so why would you say that is?
Cedar point would be a visit to ride Steel Vengeance and Steel Vengeance only, but for an all round experience I’m going to say Disneyland in Anaheim.
 
After watching The Imagineering Story on Disney+ I’ve been absolutely brainwashed and fallen in love with the park.
 
The classic rides the beautiful new Galaxy’s Edge Star Wars expansion. The attention to detail and overall park experience feels magical just watching from home let alone actually being there!
 
That’s certainly one on my list for when all of this craziness ends but I’ve got a trip to Vegas planned before then and a 900-foot jump off the Stratosphere Tower to brave first.
I still hate heights. I’m just a big fan of facing my fears head on.
 
If I survive that then totally Disney Land!
Which coaster would you say is your top bucket list coaster and why?

As mentioned previously Steel Vengeance for sure but Iron Gwazi is now on that list.

In fact any RMC as I’ve never been on one!

Thus proving i’m indeed a fan and not an ‘expert’ or die-hard enthusiast.

Having had the opportunity to officially work with some of the UK's most well known parks in the capacity of influencer which park would you say you have most enjoyed working with to date and why?
Alton Towers make you feel like royalty and that’s no understatement.
 
The Dungeons event was superb, we had this VIP coach drive us through the empty park from Splash Landings Hotel which was super weird (as it’s not a long walk anyways) and super cool at the same time. 
 
After the event they invite you back to the park at a later date with fast passes for you and a friend and its wonderful.
I’ve impressed many a girl with a fancy wristband taking me to the front of the queue unlimited times.
I hate queues, I want to be on the rides not standing around watching everyone else have fun so i’m a HUGE advocate of the fast passes!
 
But in all seriousness it’s so awesome to not only see these attractions early but to experience them before anyone else. It’s pretty cool.
 
So Alton Towers win for now although an influencers day at Blackpool Pleasure Beach that was sadly cancelled due to COVID-19 sounded even more incredible than what Alton Towers provided!
"Alton Towers make you feel like royalty"
We have also really enjoyed watching some of your recent 'reactions to' videos which you have shared on your YouTube channel. What first brought the idea about to do this and how do you think it has been received by your followers?
I have 30 subscribers dude. I mean it had 30 views so I guess they watched it and that’s all I can ask for! haha
 

The website is the hub of the traffic. The entire site is SEO targeted and fed through to the YouTube with YouTube acting as an extension. 

The site brought in over 5 figures of traffic this week yet clicking through to YouTube and hitting that subscribe buttons is always a challenge, even on my movie site, you get 1M views and that translates to 100 subs.
 
It’s a problem that affects the smallest YouTubers like me up to the big boys.I remember Logan Paul mentioning the other day that 94% of his viewers aren’t subscribed to his channel and he already has millions of followers.That’s crazy to me!
 
Subscribing is like a commitment, a virtual marriage if you will and everyone is extremely commitment-phobia nowadays. Myself included haha
What would you say are your main focuses for content going forwards?
When the parks are open I have a few ideas in mind.
 
Keeping things fun and unique rather than the run of the mill theme park content.
 
I’m not looking to be the next Shawn Sanbrooke. It’s unrealistic.
Shawn is the nicest and most passionate guy I’ve met to date at the press events. 
 
I’m just me.
If I can makes some folks smile or share some fun videos that people enjoy I’m all for it.
Which park are you most excited to visit post lock down and why?
Certainly looking forward to that Blackpool Pleasure Beach influencers day that’s for sure but being back at my home park Alton Towers, yes, absolutely cannot wait.
 
I’ve even gone as far as watched people play Virtual Towers Online. The detail and work the team have put into that game is incredible and it’s just fueling my desire to be back at the park.
 
Since doing Lift Hills I’ve met some really cool people through my Instagram which blends everything I do together (@evvo1991) so it’ll be cool to meet up with some fellow coaster nerds in the future.
Yes, that includes you Joe don’t worry. I Still owe you a beer or two, or three!
Where do you see Lift Hills and Thrills heading in the coming years?

With the site being SEO targeted as domains age they gain authority so naturally the traffic increases.

I just see it getting bigger and bigger. For a site that isn’t even a year old yet it’s outranking some very well known theme park sites. They have age on their site which means authority but Google’s new update puts everyone on the same level playing field which is nice.

I can see the site doing more work with more parks. Thorpe Park have expressed an interest already so they’re next on my hit list. They already know of Back to the Movies (we actually have a quote featured on their Saw the Ride page) so it helps to use that site as leverage to help my little theme park site.

Finally out of your love for movies and love for the theme park industry which would you say currently dominates your interests the most and why?
It’s always movies. I’m never away from them. I’m sent screeners every day for films that aren’t coming out until a year after I receive them. I’m on BBC radio tomorrow talking about them, i’m being sent Disney content every day. I can’t escape!
 
It’s a shared love. A wife and mistress kind of love.
 
I really need isolation to end soon. I’m going nuts.
 
Thanks for having me on the site bud! Love your work, thanks to anyone reading this who made it this far and hope to see you at a UK park real soon!

Massive thanks for joining us here on Theme Park Insanity! We have absolutely loved getting to know more about you and how Lift Hills and Thrills came to be the promising site it is today!

If you haven’t already then be sure to head on over to their official website as well as checking out their fantastic YouTube channel as well! Please find the following links to the aforementioned;

Official Website; https://www.lifthillsandthrills.com

Official YouTube Channel; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNQ7LneXkEE5R5Ja3DHWMlg

Once again massive thanks to Sean for joining us! We can’t wait for lock down to end so we can have that much needed meet up and get some coaster rides in together as well!.

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