Thorpe Park mini trip report

Edited: July 2, 2016, 4:19 PM

Hi Folks,

Thought I'd share a few thoughts with you about my trip to Thorpe Park (outside London) today.

Firstly, the park continues in its quest to skew towards older guests (Teens and adults) rather than kids targeted by the other merlin owned parks near London (Legoland Windsor and Chessington World of Adventures and Zoo), the area formerly known as Canada Creek (now listed as "old town" on the map, but with the name remaining on attractions) has now only one child friendly attraction remaining in that area (canadian Rocky express, basic train themed spinner). The Log Flume (Loggers Leap) is SBNO for the entire season and hoped to return next year, probably with the new "old town" theming.

The big attraction for the Year is Derryn Brown's ghost train. For those of you unfamiliar with him, he's a mentalist/conjurer/hypnotist/brain-messer-upperer. The ride is currently in technical rehearsal. Although the ride station is well themed, I can't really tell you any more about it other than the gift shop. It did open on the day, but the wait time exceeded 2 hours (We were unwilling to stand around that long). If Wikipedia can be believed, the experience involves use of VR headsets, a live element, and takes around 15 mins. This is looking like a ride that Fastpass is essential for.

The gift shop has some odd curios. The ride seems to involve a floating train carriage (you can get your own for £50), and other interesting options included a reverse hourglass (that goes up) a three person chess set, and a book full of portrats by derryn including a creepy version of Penn and Teller.

Lastly, I am going to share some thoughts about "Angry Birds Land", or as I'd like to call it "Contractual Obligation Land", as I really think Merlin haven't tried on this area at all.

The area that is now A-B land was mostly part of "Amity Cove/Beach", a supposedly flooded town following a tidal wave, but most of Amity remains Amity to fit in the tidal wave and storm surge. Stealth also remains themed to Amity Speedway, and the "Storm in a teacup" seems to have avoided the A-B "Retheme". This means there is a big chunk right in the middle of Amity that is no longer Amity. From the park entrance to get to Amity Speedway/Stealth you enter Amity, exit into A-B land, and then find yourself back in Amity again.

The retheme itself is not to Merlin's standards. Merlin create wonderful themed experiences, not just in this park, but in the Dungeons and elsewhere. I've got two images here, one is part of Amity looking towards Tidal Wave so you can see what they're capable of, the second is a hastily repainted part of Amity with a few birds and pigs stuck on walls (and related graffiti) rather than an attempt to create a true angry-birds land. I can't help but think they were just ticking the boxes to get the Angry Birds 4D show.

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Replies (5)

Edited: July 5, 2016, 4:06 AM

Thanks Chad. I live 40 minutes from here and haven't been in years!
I am a huge Derren Brown fan so hoping to head there at the end of summer when the school holiday are over. (Having been going to see him live for more years than I can count, I have very high expectations - he's amazing!)
I think from your description the Angry Birds have taken over what might have been the Amity beach area - not sure though, what do you think? (assuming you have been before from your detailed descriptions) Not a huge loss if so.

With its pretty close proximity to Chessington I am quite glad the park is geared more towards the older theme park fan.

July 5, 2016, 7:20 AM

Much of Amity beach is still amity beach, its just about half has been repurposed to A-B land, which you need to go through to get through in order to get to Amity Speedway. Very silly IMO.

July 6, 2016, 3:00 AM

Hmmm that is odd isn't it. It doesn't fit at all.
As you say - contractual obligations. Sigh.

July 9, 2016, 9:59 PM

I think what thorpe park did was that they were trying to appeal more to a younger audience with the angry birds land. As they built their shark hotel they realised that they needed more family friendly rides to try and boost attendance because as seen by the disney parks, families will give the most money. What happened then was that they wanted a new family friendly area and an ip to help the park. Hence they went with angry birds. In the short term it helped, it showed the park was also for families. (When I say families I mean parents with younger teenagers like from. 10 and above). But as time went on it just turned into a not very well kept land with only 1 new ride installed (bumper cars) and two re themes (detonator and pirates 4D). This then didn't help much with attendance and then they realised that the park would be better off with their first target market, older teenagers and adults. So, they went with derren brown. Ultimately, a park cannot really turn to a family friendly theme when they have 5 pretty huge coasters visible from the beginning. I've always thought that thorpe park was one of the lesser of merlin attractions in terms of themes, especially when compared to alton towers. Having said this it still does have some good coasters, and I've heard that the new ride is good, but not great.

July 10, 2016, 8:04 AM

When it comes to the theming of the station I'd say they have it perfect. However, I haven't been inside to say more.

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