Thorpe Park Trip Report 10/03/2012
I thought as i've not posted on here for a long time, I would write a quick trip report of my day out at Thorpe yesterday.
Thorpe were hosting their "friends and family of the staff" day, which is basically a dress rehearsal before they open to the general public. A friend of mine whose brother works at Thorpe rang me a week ago to ask if me and my girlfriend wanted to come along too. Miss a chance to ride the swarm? I think not! It was also our 6 months anniversary of being together so it was a nice way to celebrate.
Upon arriving at the park, I was quick to notice the skyline. Such a beautiful sight with all the coasters and rides all lined up. Swarm was looking especially sexy with its first half look drop!
We met up with the others and headed in for a 10.30 opening. They have implemented some army style scenery on the bridge with soldiers telling you to hurry up and move move move!! Walking into the dome, it was like walking into a warzone, with the lights and siren sound effects! We were planning on heading straight for the swarm, but as a lot of people had already headed that way we decided to take advantage of the minimal queues, so we went on storm surge! It was my first time on this and although fun, I wouldn't want to queue for hours for it and perhaps a mistake to ride it first thing as it was a bit cold!
After storm surge, we headed for Stealth. Tiny queue, but unfortunately big downtime. It had just reopened when we arrived and when we got to the station platform it had shut down again! 5 minutes later it was up and running with guests and we were batched onto the platform. The only part of the day I didn't like was being told what gate to goto. I saw somebody asking if they could sit at the back and the guy basically told them no, they had to go on that train in that place. Tickets were free for the day, but had I paid £30 to get in, i'd have been a bit miffed about that. So the ride was up and running and then literally the next train went and it shut down again. Taking this as a hint, we left and headed over to the Swarm.
Since not having ridden a brand new B&M since Air all those years back, all my "old school coaster geek" excitement came rushing back and I was buzzing just watching it going around. Not only that, the theming is incredible. Thorpe Park have totally pulled it out of the bag as far as theming goes. And not only the scenery. There are people walking around, "victims of a plane crash" telling you not to go on the ride. And even a priest walking around the queueline (station is located inside the collapsed church)
Having spoken to an old friend/fellow coaster enthusiast, he told me the best place in his opinion was the back and on the right hand side. So that is where we located outselves. I loved the station layout, there are obviously 2 loading sides but the theming is brilliant. Even the ride operator console is located in an upside down police major incident support vehicle!
So the ride sets off and that long climb to the top of the lift hill. once at the top and you remember the first drop, the cars in front of you seem to twist and disappear, and then you are also twisting but more quickly as the train has sped up, and you're away. The first 0g roll is fabulous. There is a lot of hangtime especially sitting on the right hand side and you feel so open to everything. I think what makes it even more so brilliant is that there is no track beneath you so you are just totally exposed to everything. The rest of the elements are great too and although I didn't pay much attention to the rest of the scenery, on rides 2 and 3 I noticed a lot more of the water effects and the near misses. The ride itself looks very slow from down below, but to be honest it feels a lot quicker. But not just that, much like Air, it doesn't need to be that quick to be a great ride.
After coming off, we had to ride again so nipped around the queue again. This time we rode at the front on the left side, which was still good (quite windy!!) but I think the back was better.
After the buzz we headed towards nemesis inferno (via the donut stall! mmmm ). Quick ride on that and onwards to SAW. Both still great rides, I love nememsis inferno, that last corner still packs a lot of g force!
Then onto the rickety colossus. I think the ricketyness (is that even a word?) has peaked. Its just as rough as previous years but hasn't seemed to get any worse thankfully!
Then onto vortex. Still love it, but the ride time has pretty much been halved!! When I used to operate it, there were no options to change the ride cycles like you can on samurai, so they must have changed it permanently! I know they had problems with the ride overheating in the control box so perhaps this has been done to help that issue? Also the restraints are still horrible! They changed them a couple of years back. They come down too quick and are too heavy. I can imagine people trapping body parts in them!
So after a brief spin on vortex, we headed over to Swarm for our 3rd and what would be our final ride. The ride had shutdown when we arrived but after waiting 5 minutes, the staff returned to their positions and the ride was reopened. This time another ride at the back right and an onride photo was purchsed.
By this time it was about 14.30. They were planning to do a park emergency drill at about 15.30 so rather than hang around for that, we decided to leave via the shops selling the mega buckets of sweets ;-).
On our way out, I managed to win 2 teddy bears in the grabbing machines (sounds like a reference to the gypsy wedding programme!!). My girlfriend was overjoyed as they were lovey dovey bears lol.
Headed to the Twynersh (local pub) afterwards and had a meal and drink and then headed home to cambridgeshire.
Had a fantastic day out. Makes a change to goto thorpe nowadays and not come away grumbling about something! Swarm really is fabulous, and the theming is brilliant too, not just on the ride but around the park. Really impressed. I hope they keep the actors all season long as they really add to the atmosphere.
Since not having ridden a brand new B&M since Air all those years back, all my "old school coaster geek" excitement came rushing back
Have to say I saw a few familiar faces and blasts from the past knocking around and everybody had the same kind of feeling. It's reignited the old school of excitement about a new coaster opening and reawakened the coaster geek inside many! Which is a truly wonderful and weirdly sentimental feeling, especially as it was ten years ago I was excited about the opening of the first 10 looping coaster!
Swarm is a beautifully executed ride, the setting is wonderfully done, the track is a smooth soaring swooshing feeling with some forces in there too. The variant of ride experience depending on which side of the train and whether you sit in the inside or outside seat as well as the standard front or back differences, give so many varying experiences it make sit very re-rideable
"THORPE PARK" have a sure fire hit on their hands, elsewhere a lot of TLC had been put into freshening up the existing rides over the winter, hope it will be a successful season for them.
* This post was modified at 3/12/12 4:34:11 AM *