15th September 2023: Thorpe Park
Hi guys. Today was an exciting day; it was the day of my dad’s trip to Wentworth, and thus my now annual solo trip to Thorpe Park! I know I’ve been to Thorpe Park many times, but I always look forward to my solo trip there, so I was excited for today!
My dad and I left Gloucestershire at around 7:25am this morning, and even with a stop for petrol and a stop at Reading services, we made it to Thorpe Park by around 9:30am. After making brilliant time, I was then dropped off by my dad, so I bade him goodbye before making my way into the park ready to wait for the 10am opening time:
When opening time came, I decided to deviate from my normal strategy of starting with the Stealth/Inferno end of the park and take a gamble on a different strategy. As such, I started on…
Colossus was on a near walk on queue, so I decided to have a go on it before a queue built up (it’s a low capacity ride that often generates long queues later on). This queue took merely 1 or 2 trains, so I was on the ride in very little time. I was interested to see how Colossus felt having done Sik, its modernised clone at Flamingo Land, last month. But how was the ride? Well, it did feel notably inferior to Sik, but with that being said, that ride was probably the best I have ever had on Colossus by some margin! Don’t get me wrong, Colossus still isn’t a favourite of mine due to the uncomfortable restraints, a sequence of repeated heartline rolls I don’t overly like (and this sequence was definitely less enjoyable than on Sik for me), and some roughness, but the roughness was nowhere near as overbearing as it normally is; I was sat in row 13, and it was a bit rough in places, but it did not provide nearly the same degree of pounding as it normally does, and today’s ride definitely shot Colossus up a fair few spots in my rankings:
After my ride on Colossus, I had a ride on its neighbour…
Saw: The Ride
Saw was on an advertised 10 minute queue, so I decided to give it a go. My original plan was to use my secret weapon, the Single Rider Queue, to bypass this and take a gamble at reducing my queue time, but this was closed, so I had to get into the main queue. By the time I’d gone into the SRQ (which had an open entrance and 2 other people waiting in it), been ushered out by the operator and gotten into the main queue, the advertised queue time had gone up to 20 minutes, but this was slightly overstated, as I only waited for 15 minutes or so. The queue is besides the point, though; how was the ride? Well, as with Colossus above, that was possibly the best ride I’ve ever had on Saw! I was seated in the back middle seat, and the ride was a bit rough in places, but certainly not as headache-inducing as it has been in the past. There was also some absolutely brilliant airtime, and overall, I came off Saw pretty headache-free this morning! While I would still like it if the ride were smoother, my ride this morning was certainly not nearly as rough as Saw has been in the past:
After my ride on Saw, I headed east to ride my next coaster…
Nemesis Inferno was on an advertised 10 minute queue, so I decided to take a ride on it. This queue time estimate ended up being broadly accurate, with my wait being around 10-15 minutes; it’s always great when that happens! So, how was the ride? Well, I thought that it was thoroughly great; I rode in row 5, and I thought that the ride was fast and intense without being excessively intense, and it was also perfectly smooth, with not a modicum of headbanging anywhere! When a ride is fast, smooth, and just the right level of intense, what more can you ask for? Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my ride on Nemesis Inferno; I’ve always found it a thoroughly decent coaster, and today was no exception:
After my ride on Nemesis Inferno, I headed to another coaster situated nearby…
Stealth was on an advertised 15 minute queue time, so I decided to take a ride on it. The queue time was accurate or possibly a little underestimated, taking only 10-15 minutes to get to the station. Operations were absolutely excellent on here, with a number of consecutive dispatch intervals as quick as 75-80 seconds being attained! As the queue was overstated and I was doing quite well on the ride count front given that I had only been riding for just over an hour, I decided to wait for a little additional time and ride in the front row of Stealth for the first time since my only prior front row experience in 2020, where I got it by chance in batching. So, how was my first front row Stealth ride in 3 years and only my second ever? Well, I have to say that the front row firmly lived up to my memories; it was absolutely fantastic, and it reinforced my prior view that front row is easily the place to be on Stealth! The sense of speed on that launch is absolutely ridiculous in the front, with the combination of the unshielded wind in your face and the view of that track being devoured at a phenomenal rate making the ride feel every single bit of its 80mph top speed, and perhaps surprisingly, I’d also argue that the airtime is stronger in the front, with the airtime being sustained for the entire way over the top hat rather than only dropping out of it like it is in the back and the braked airtime hill being notably more potent in the front. As an added bonus, it also seems slightly smoother in the front! Overall, I absolutely loved my experience of front row Stealth; it was absolutely fantastic:
After Stealth, I went for a ride on the final big coaster I hadn’t yet ridden…
The Swarm was on an advertised 15 minute queue time, so I decided to have a ride on it. This queue ended up being slightly underestimated, with the queue ultimately taking around 20 minutes. I must say that operations were absolutely brilliant on here; there were numerous cycles where there was mere seconds of stacking, and dispatch intervals as quick as 90 seconds were being attained for numerous dispatches in a row! So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in the back right inner seat, and it was a fairly decent ride; there was a very good sense of speed and some great inversions, and it was relatively smooth as well! However, it's not an absolute favourite for me anymore like it used to be. I'm generally finding myself a little less keen on some of the ride's more brain-draining moments of sustained positive g's, most notably the helicopter helix, with time, but my main bone of contention with The Swarm these days is its vest restraints. I'm not a fan of them at all; the rigid vest and the way they tighten throughout the ride do make these restraints detract noticeably from the overall experience. Nonetheless, my ride on Swarm was relatively decent, with all things considered; I'll be intrigued to see how Mandrill Mayhem compares in 2 days' time:
As I had already managed to have one ride on each of Thorpe Park's big 5 thrill coasters by before 12pm, I decided to stray away from the coasters for a little bit to go and ride...
Detonator was on an advertised 5 minute queue time, so I decided to take a ride on it. This queue time proved relatively accurate or slightly understated, as the queue took 5-10 minutes and a couple of cycles overall. But how was the ride? Well, I'm a big fan of a drop tower, and Detonator is a very good one, in my view; that drop is so punchy, and you get a fair degree of airtime for such a small tower! Overall, Detonator is a brilliant drop tower that I absolutely love, and today's ride was no exception; these Fabbri towers are a real guilty pleasure of mine:
After my ride on Detonator, I decided to sit down for 15-20 minutes to have a drink and eat lunch, timing the throughput of Colossus as I ate. After my sit down, I headed to another flat ride in the immediate vicinity of Colossus...
Rush was nearby and on a 10 minute queue, so I decided to have a go on it. This queue time was pretty accurate, with the queue taking 10-15 minutes overall. So, how was the ride? Well, despite not generally being a huge fan of flat rides, I'm a big fan of an S&S Screamin' Swing, and Rush was fantastic; there was an excellent sense of speed and nice acceleration in the troughs, there was nice sustained floater at the peaks, and the ride was thrilling without being overly nauseating! I was also intrigued to see how Rush stacked up after having ridden Serengeti Flyer, the giant Screamin' Swing at Busch Gardens Tampa, earlier this year, and while Rush was not quite as impressive as its giant sibling over in Florida, it still offered a fantastically enjoyable experience in its own right, in my view. Overall, I loved Rush; I thought it was a fantastic flat ride, and I thoroughly enjoyed its airtime and speed:
After my ride on Rush, I headed over to Stealth for two back-to-back rides, as the ride was on an advertised 5 minute queue time which turned out to be pretty much walk-on. When my favourite coaster at Thorpe is on a queue that short, who would I be to resist a ride or two? I took a ride in the front, as well as a ride in the back, and both were absolutely fantastic, although as I inferred earlier, the front row does usurp the back row on Stealth, in my view:
After my two rides on Stealth, I headed over to The Swarm for a reride on a 10 minute queue. This time, I was seated on the row 5 outer right seat, and similarly to earlier, it was a pretty decent ride. It was perhaps a little less smooth, but in fairness, it was notably smoother than I'd previously remembered the ride's outer seats being:
After my Swarm reride, I headed for a reride on Rush on a 5 minute queue. As with earlier, it was a fantastic flat ride with great airtime and speed:
After my reride on Rush, I headed to do an attraction I'd never done before for the first time...
Vortex was on an advertised 5 minute queue time and looked to be pretty much walk-on, so I decided to give it a whirl. Despite having visited Thorpe Park numerous times before, I had somehow never ridden Vortex before today, so I thought I'd finally give it a try. Despite controversially having not been a huge fan of the two other gyroswing-type rides I've done (Cyclonator at Paultons and Maelstrom at Drayton), I was interested to try Vortex, as I'd never ridden a KMG Afterburner before and I know these are slightly different to a regular gyroswing. So how did I find the experience? Well, I'm afraid to say that I still wasn't a massive fan. In my view, it suffers from exactly the same flaw as the other two gyroswings I've ridden in that the spinning makes it a little bit much and ruins it. There was some fair weightlessness and speed in places, but it wasn't as potent as on a ride like Rush, and when the ride properly got going, this seemed to disappear in favour of intense spinning, and as someone who has quite a weak stomach for spinning flat rides, I didn't personally find that overly enjoyable. Overall, Vortex is similar to other gyroswings in that I can see why people like it, but it's not really for me:
After Vortex, I decided to head and try out another flat ride that I hadn't done in a long time...
Samurai was on a 10 minute advertised queue time, so I decided to give it a go. The queue looked to be a cycle or two long, but as I was a single rider, the host ushered me onto the cycle that was about to go pretty much as soon as I joined, as there was a spare seat; it's always great when that happens! But how was the ride? Well unlike Vortex, I had done Samurai before; it was one of only two rides that I did during a school trip to Thorpe Park in July 2018, with the other being Rush. At the time, I thought it was pretty decent and not too nauseating, and when I first rode it, I even considered that I might have preferred it to Rush out of the two flats I did that day. With this in mind, I was intrigued to see how it stacked up after over 5 years. I'm very sorry to say, however, that my recollections could not have disagreed more with the experience I had today... because I'm afraid that I personally found Samurai absolutely vile. Today's experience moved it down considerably in my estimations and has it in close competition with Air Race at Drayton Manor for the title of the most sickeningly vile flat ride I've ever done. It was horribly jerky, it did that horrible slow flipping like Air Race does (where I swear I can physically feel stuff moving around inside my stomach), it had horribly long periods of inverted hangtime, and overall, I'm sorry to say that I didn't like it at all. Overall, I did not enjoy Samurai, and I'm afraid that it did not live up to my relatively positive 2018 memories of it; I'm not sure if something has changed with the ride or if I've simply grown more fragile over the last 5 years, but for whatever reason, I just didn't like it at all today, I'm afraid:
After getting off Samurai, I felt a little worse for wear and needed a sit down, so I sat down in Angry Birds Land for 15-20 minutes or so to eat a snack out of my bag and have a drink, timing the throughput of Nemesis Inferno as I sat. After my sit down, I headed for a reride on Detonator with a 5 minute queue time, which was just as awesome as it had been earlier; that punchy drop never gets old!:
After my ride on Detonator, I headed back over to Stealth for two more back-to-back rerides on a 10 minute queue; I had a ride in row 9 and another on the front, and both were absolutely fantastic, with a phenomenal sense of speed and great airtime:
After my two rerides on Stealth, I headed for another reride on The Swarm on a 10 minute queue time. I was seated in the row 3 inner left seat this time, and as with earlier, it was a thoroughly decent ride:
After my ride on The Swarm, I headed over to Nemesis Inferno for a reride on a 10 minute queue. I was seated on the back row, and as with earlier, it was a great coaster, with excellent speed and some good inversions:
After my reride on Nemesis Inferno, I headed over to Saw for a reride on a 10 minute queue. I was seated in the back edge seat this time, and similarly to earlier, the ride was very much on the smoother and more enjoyable end of the spectrum as Saw goes; the ride had some excellent airtime, and I exited relatively headache-free!:
After my ride on Saw, I headed back towards the rest of the coasters, but the attendant of Rush saying "there's no queue here; you can get straight onto the ride!" was too much to resist, so I had a walk-on reride on Rush. Once again, it was fantastic, with great speed and airtime:
After my ride on Rush, I had a brief sit down with a bottle of water and a Magnum before heading back over to Stealth, where I had two further back-to-back rides on a 5 minute queue. I had one ride in row 9 and one ride in row 8, and both were just as fantastic as ever; Stealth is such a fantastic coaster, in my view:
After my two rides on Stealth, I headed over to Detonator for another reride on a 5 minute queue. It was a fantastic drop tower once again; that punchy drop and awesome airtime just keep on giving:
After my ride on Detonator, I had my three final back-to-back rides on Stealth for the day on a 5 minute queue. I had one ride in the front, one ride in row 5 and one ride in row 7, and all three were absolutely fantastic! On a side note; I clearly wasn't the only person hammering Stealth today, as the ride operator gave a shoutout to a couple who were having their 20th consecutive ride on it on one of my last rides:
After my final rides on Stealth, I had three back-to-back rides on Nemesis Inferno on a 5 minute queue which turned out to be walk-on. I had a ride on the back row, a ride in row 5 and a ride in row 6, and as with the earlier two rides, all three rides were great, with great speed, intensity and inversions! It was great to be able to make the most of an inverted coaster like this, what with the current absence of Nemesis at Alton Towers:
After my three rides on Nemesis Inferno, I closed out the day with a final ride on Detonator. As with the earlier 3 rides, the drop was fantastically punchy and there was great airtime to be had! I also had quite a unique experience in that I was the only member of the public on the ride, so numerous ride hosts joined me on it:
After my final ride on Detonator, it was only four minutes away from the 6pm close time and my dad was waiting in the drop-off zone in the car park, so I bade Thorpe Park goodbye for the day and headed home:
So, that wraps up my solo day at Thorpe Park! I had an absolutely phenomenal day; I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's my favourite day I have ever spent at Thorpe Park and quite possibly one of my favourite theme park days ever! I managed a total of 30 rides during the 8 hours I spent on park; if you lost track, these are the rides I managed:
- Colossus x1
- Saw: The Ride x2
- Nemesis Inferno x5
- Stealth x10
- The Swarm x3
- Detonator x4
- Rush x3
- Vortex x1
- Samurai x1
I was chuffed to bits with having done 30 rides; that is joint with my June 2022 day at Drayton Manor for the most rides I've ever done in one theme park day, and my 10 rides on Stealth are the most I have ever ridden one attraction during a theme park day! As an added bonus, the weather was lovely, the rides themselves were absolutely great and I had some brilliant runs on them, and overall, it was one of those wonderful days where the stars aligned and everything seemed to go just right! If I'm being sentimental, it's theme park days like today that remind me why I love theme parks and roller coasters as much as I do. My day at Thorpe today has left me with some absolutely wonderful memories to cherish, and I have to say that in some of the moments lapping rides like Stealth and Nemesis Inferno, I felt truly in my element and like there was nowhere I'd rather be.
In terms of Thorpe itself; I have to admit that today made me realise that as much as enthusiasts seemingly love to hate it, I personally absolutely love Thorpe Park! The coasters are great, there's some great theming and surprising greenery in places, and there's just something about the place that I really like! In terms of a specific highlight ride-wise from today; Stealth was absolutely fantastic. Today's rides definitely raised it a fair amount in my estimations, and I now view it as my comfortable favourite ride at Thorpe Park, one of my favourite coasters in the UK and in my high top 20 overall. Nemesis Inferno was also awesome, Detonator was fantastic, Rush was fantastic, Swarm was decent, Saw was OK, and even Colossus was not nearly as bad as normal!
Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed this report! My next trip report will be coming on Sunday, when I make a solo trip to Chessington for my first visit in 9 years! I can't wait to see what Mandrill Mayhem is like, and I'm generally very interested to see what Chessington is like after nearly a decade of not visiting. Today will certainly be a tough act for it to follow, but if my day at Chessington is even half as brilliant as today was, then I'll be very happy!