Thorpe Park July 2013

Thorpe Park: A trip report.

From Alan Hiscutt
Posted July 3, 2013 at 10:20 PM
So this past Tuesday I was at Thorpe Park, one of the top 3 theme/amusement park attractions in the UK, in my opinion. Thorpe has always ranked just below Alton Towers in my book, and this past trip did nothing to change that. Still a good day out, perhaps not as exciting as Alton Towers but there is enough there to warrant an annual pilgrimage to the old quarry.

Arriving early, the park isn't supposed to open before 10 but being old hands at this, I knew that the guys on the gate will let you in early if you ask so we were in by 9.20 and straight over to Swarm as we figured the backwards element (new for this year) would only get longer as they day went on. Anyway, The Swarm is the UK's first winged roller coaster is pretty damned awesome. The theme is nicely executed, even if I felt it is a little thin on the ground, Burnt out emergency vehicles and a crashed airplane and downed helicopter give a good feel to the area. The ride, like I say gave a good rush. The first drop is great with the dive through the smoking airplane straight off gives you the idea of racing through a warzone.

Rode it forwards this first time and I loved it. My girlfriend says she prefers it to anything else in the park.

After we left the Swarm, it was a quick wander over to the Flying fish, a kidder coaster that despite its lack of speed and theme is still a ride I always hit. Nostalgia more than anything else.

Storm Surge was next on our list and I remember riding this years ago in Cypress Gardens but it always seems higher at Thorpe, yet I cannot explain it. Anyway, this is a nice, gentle boat flume that ends with the obligatory splash at the end. Nothing special but still fun.

Next we noticed some crowds starting to form so it was over to Saw:The Ride. Only to queue for 20 minutes for the ride to close for maintenance, but they assured us this would only be for a short while, however, this would be a popular theme for Saw this day. Queue, break down, go else where, open, Queue.... Anyway, seeing as our Saw plans were on hold for now, over to X. Formally No Way Out and one of my fave indoor coasters. It used to go backwards but no longer does and the whole computer virus theme has vanished. Instead your presented with a more Rave like ride, lights, loud music, strobe effects. It's still a good ride, but the fact it is far more visible and goes forwards means it has lost its edge these days. One day, I can see it moving outdoors where it will join the flying fish as a kiddie coaster and just like the 'Fish, I will remember the days when it was a dark coaster, full of thrills. (NB The flying fish was once Space Station Zero and felt amazing - hence my nostalgia trip)

From X it was time for Nemesis Inferno. I never liked this ride, for reasons I have yet to fathom, it seems forced, yes, its a good ride, has some nice elements, the teardrop always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling but it feels forced. My Girlfriend says I am stupid and should just enjoy it, I agree but yet, I always think if they are going to get rid of a ride I hope its this one. Its a fun thrill ride, suspended coaster, nice speed, not particularly high but is considered one of their main attractions.

After Inferno and a coffee break due to the weather taking a turn for the wet, back to the reopened saw for it again to close down whilst in mid queue so we hot footed it over to Colossus and yet again I wonder? Is the pain worth it? I guess so cos I wouldnt go to Thorpe and leave it out. Although the 80 minute wait was a little annoying, it was an advertised 45. For those of you who have not had the pleasure, Colossus is great. Apart from the pain which will follow, the 10 inversions are great and the way you spin over the walkway is brilliant fun, still a great ride, despite the Smiler taking its record. The 48mph listed feels a lot faster and the 98 foot peak takes even experienced riders breath away. I love this ride and I cant wait to go back next year and ride it again.

After some lunch it was back to try Saw again, only to find it was closed due to cleaning (code for someone vomited on the ride) and we again left wondering if today was going to be our day.

So next we hit Rush. Well, I didn't. I missed it out due to the urges to find a bathroom and finding my girlfriend and her sister had already joined the queue. For those unfamiliar, Rush is a Giant swing ride, reaching a height of 75 feet and 50 mph. It was once the tallest ride of its type in the world but what makes Rush great is the lapbar restraint instead of an over the shoulder one. I have ridden it in the past and can say its a good thrill but after 4 swings the ride starts to slow down so its a pretty brief one.

Rush down, we planned to go to Vortex and Quantum but news had filtered through that Saw was once again up and running. This turned out to be yet another false dream as yet again, some ingrate had deposited their Burger King inside the dark section of the ride. So, we opted to go to Loggers Leap.

Once the tallest Log Flume in the UK, Loggers Leap goes unloved by many, it has little to no theme to it, the area Canadian Creak itself is largely barren and the tones of Dolly Parton do little to spruce up the queue area for what is actually a nice twin drop climax. As usual I hid behind the person in front to avoid the splash which this year seemed feeble to previous years but still, another one of my "I loved this ride when I was kid so I will ride it no matter what" rides.

Seeing as we were already wet, we opted to try Depth Charge, a 4 lane dinghy race down a slide. Again, nit one for you thrill junkies but good fun and the 4 of us who went still rate this as one of the most fun rides in the park due to the fact we like to race each other and see who can win. On this occasion it was my mother in law to be who took the crown much to my displeasure, my 4 year winning streak gone.

To drown my sorrows it was time for the rumba rapids. This ride once upon a time had me laughing the whole way round, and when it was Big Thunder River, it was my fave ride in the park, but times have changed and other river rides have surpassed it in terms of drops, soakings, theme, speed and everything else you want in a river ride. I honestly think I found the first "Ill skip this next year" ride on my list.

By now, the rain was falling, we had yet to ride Saw and time was ticking on so we cheated, Fast Track passes for Swarm backwards and for Saw, By god I WILL ride that today!

After a brief stop for another coffee and to laugh at the idiots stood in soak zone for tidal wave we headed over to Swarm for a reverse angle look.

I prefer the forward facing version but the backwards ride was nice, the thrill was still high, the speed felt the same though and I think you do see more of the props going backwards but overall, I don't think its better, just different.

So, finally we get on Saw, its great, It was Great 3 years ago, it was Great 2 years ago and last year. I love this ride, its a great ride, one that could be picked up and plonked in any theme park anywhere in the world and it would drawn crowds. The dark vertical drop always catches me, the way the crossbows are fired (not literally) that 100 degree drop into an immelmann is just brilliant. For that one section alone, I think John Wardley is a Genius.

So Saw finally in the bag, it is worth noting that they no longer do DVD's of Saw The Ride which was annoying as last year we said "We'll get one next time"

We took the short trip across to Samurai, a Mondial Top Scan ride, I sat this out not for any dislike of the ride but I did not fancy the 30 minute wait so i wandered off whilst the rest of party enjoyed the 5 armed arm throwing them around. My girlfriend says its great fun, I remember it last year and have to say it did actually make me feel ill, but then our arm was rocking a lot and I had just eaten so maybe it was combination of things, However, the ride is over in just 2 minutes and does just what youd think, throws you around at up to 60 feet in height and roatates around a central pillar.

Finally we hit Tidal Wave. Its essentially a water drop without the whole log flume trimmings. Incidentally it has the same drop height as Jurassic Park in IOA but the tidal wave is much more likely to leave you needing a towel...or 3.

So, that was Thorpe Park. We missed out Quantum, Vortex, Zodiac, Detanator and the Slammer but we have all ridden those rides several times and didnt feel the need to revisit them.

You may be wondering what happened to Stealth. Well, as far as I could tell, there were some cables hanging down from the top hat and there were several maintenance peeps wandering around the area, no cars were tested during the day which makes me wonder if this is somehow connected to the Launch Cable break on Rita at Alton Towers a few weeks back? No news on the regular sites but someone did say that the brake fins had failed on a test run in June. Any light on the subject would be appreciated.

From Bradley Keith
Posted July 6, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Thanks for the highly detailed report! Thorpe is one of those parks I don't really know much about but want to visit it one day. I can't tell you anything for that reason about Stealth but Intamin has had problems with every one of their accelerator coasters, I'm pretty sure. Not at all surprised to hear it's down. The launching system is so extreme problems are pretty much just something the park has to put up with... a lot...

I'd hate to point out one thing you said in the whole report but anyway: Nemesis Inferno? I agree that it seems "forced". At least, I've never ridden it but I totally know what you mean. It's still a relatively new ride, and it seems hard to imagine a B&M getting torn down (though some have been relocated) so let's not be that harsh on the inferno. :) (I know you aren't saying they'll ACTUALLY tear it down).

I say the first to get the axe are the older B&M standers. They just aren't fun at all and feel like a ride on a TOGO stander, just plain old and not fun like roller coasters are supposed to be. (Like Vortex at Carowinds in North Carolina). Hats off to Six Flags for saving Iron Wolf and making it decent again.

I have no idea about how closely you follow American parks, so, I'll stop there.

From Alan Hiscutt
Posted July 6, 2013 at 5:54 AM
I know its going to be there for a while and I cant put my finger on it but something doesnt feel right with it. I try to follow as best I can with what happens over the pond but its hard, you guys have a dazzling array of parks compared to us, although we do have a few untapped treasures, Crealy and Drayton Manor being two of them.

From Chad H
Posted July 6, 2013 at 12:03 PM
I was there at the back of may... Unfortuantely i didnt quite have the time to file a trip report. Stealth was working at the time.

We missed out X cos I remember it being a bit crap, then heard they mixed it up w bit with a slight retheme, but from the sounds of things still sounds completely missable.

Although I was there on a weekday, not in school holiday season, I didnt understand the lack of love for Colossus in the queulines - it was basically stright on all afternoon, whereas there were long queues for Nem Inferno, Swarm and Saw.... To me Colossus and its 10 investions is the pick of the park.... Especially if you can just walk on.

From Alan Hiscutt
Posted July 6, 2013 at 1:28 PM
Totally agree colossus is amazing. Although being a film junkie, Saw just takes it as top ride for me. But anyone who likes coasters must ride Colossus. It is amazing.

This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.