Could this become Europe's best wooden coaster?

February 16, 2018, 9:01 PM

England's Alton Towers is hyping its new £16 million Great Coasters International woodie, Wicker Man. Check out the new photos:

Where do you see Wicker Man ranking among other wooden coasters in the UK and Europe?

Replies (8)

February 17, 2018, 2:24 AM

There isn't a great deal of competition to be honest as there aren't many wooden coasters in Europe. I've ridden Megaphobia at Oakwood Park and all of Blackpool's offerings, although to be honest every single coaster at Blackpool is rough as anything and thoroughly unpleasant to ride so frankly Wicker Man hasn't got much competition in the UK.
With the exception of Nemesis Alton Towers'coasters are rarely the best of their kind but they are usually unique in some way and generally speaking well designed. Wicker Man will be short but probably intense and if (big if) the fire effects stay working it could be quite spectacular to watch and experience. I suspect it will be a good 'solid' coaster that punches above its weight because of it's setting and design.

February 17, 2018, 7:15 AM

I agree with what David said. Also, I can’t see the fire effects working for long. For a start the park isn’t open in the dark and with the often damp windy uk weather I can see problems keeping them running. Such effects are expensive and AT is not going to keep them running ( if they do keep functioning) during the quieter times. I would see them more as a launch gimmick but they won’t be there after year one

February 17, 2018, 8:20 AM

If you're looking to exprience classic woodies, Blackpool is the place to go. You've got the Big Dipper and the Grand National for everyone, plus the Nick Streak and the Blue Flyer for younger guests. Steeplechase is also a great classic experience.

That said, Wickerman is looking amazing, and I'm hoping I can talk the wife into a trip to the Towers this year.

February 17, 2018, 9:07 AM

IMO this ride looks lame compared to most GCI's. The RMC is Sweden still looks like by far the best woodie in Europe.

February 17, 2018, 4:25 PM

It will be interesting to see how the Wicker Man fares in what is the UK’s premier theme park. It will be a good edition. Although I disagree with David on only calling out the Nemesis as ”best of a kind” I do agree it’s a great inverted, but for sheer mayhem and fun I put The Smiler at #1 for my favorite ride in the UK. 13 is pretty darn good as well. AT has great memories for me as it was the park that got me hooked on riding roller coasters. I was there in the spring of 1980 riding what was then an amazing ride ... the corkscrew :). It’s sad to see the blue section at the front gate. They should have kept it running like CP has.

Edited: February 17, 2018, 9:20 PM

I can't speak from direct experience, but based on my experience on nine different GCIs, Wicker Man looks like more of a family coaster with good theming rather than a truly outstanding wood coaster. Intensity-wise, it looks more thrilling than InvadR, but probably in the ballpark of American Thunder at Six Flags St. Louis rather than being on the same level as Apocalypse, Lightning Racer, Thunderhead, or Mystic Timbers. That said, I do think it has a fair shot at being the best wood coaster in the UK, as there aren't too many noteworthy wood coasters there (Grand National is probably the main contender for that title). If Europe is taken as a whole, however, I can't picture Wicker Man being preferred to fellow GCIs Wodan and Troy, not to mention some of the other highly-rated European wood coasters (Balder, Wildfire, Cu Chulainn, and Colossos in particular).

February 18, 2018, 12:53 PM

It looks fun but definitely more of a family coaster which isn't a bad thing for Alton Towers as it was originally meant for families. I love the park and think that wickerman will be a great new addition but, I feel like they should have used the money to revamp the rest of the park because duel needs a redo and nemesis sub terra hasn't been open for ages. Plus I don't care what people think but, it'll never be as good as the flume was. Long live the rubber ducks and bath tubs.

Edited: February 19, 2018, 7:13 AM

Jack - Duel is actually getting quite a thorough refurb and refresh at the moment. New lights, new soundtrack... should help a lot.

I'm very happy with how Wicker Man is looking. Yes, it's not going to deliver an experience on the level of Troy or Wildfire, but it's worth remembering that it *intentionally* hasn't been designed to do that. Much like when they opened Thirteen, it's a family coaster being hyped to broaden its appeal beyond just families. The fact that John Wardley has been involved in its design is enough to keep me satisfied that it'll deliver an experience beyond the basics.

AJ - worth keeping Tonnerre de Zeus at Parc Asterix on that list, too - it's definitely one of our best.

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