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  1. Looks like a load of dumped shingle/hardstanding to me, almost certainly for storage, site offices etc. One would assume the loggers trough that's underneath it next to the CFM/LL station building will be the very last piece of Loggers that'll be removed (and then cut into slices to sell as merch innit). I eagerly await the Peepy Poop guy to say something along the lines of: Exodus has something in STORE, and the ROAD maybe shorter then you think. Buckwheats or out of luckwheats Rocky or just rocks Time will tell. Who's Ghost Train is it? (oh hold up went off on a tangent there)
    8 points
  2. ben199

    2021 Season

    Not once did D.M.K mention crowds or the park being busy as a source of disappointment. All the issues raised were operational and customer services ones completely in the parks control.
    7 points
  3. Mark9

    Islands of Adventure

    Has there really not been a post here for over a year, even with Velocicoaster opening. Wow. So I managed to get over to Florida after a two year delay and part of the trip was to give Universal a bit more time to enjoy. I usually give the whole resort a day to do everything but this time each park got a day. Which I think is more than enough as with good planning you can get on everything you want really easily. Whilst everyone rushes to Hagrid's and Velocicoaster, we started with Hulk, Spiderman, the Seuss rides, Forbidden Journey and Jurassic Park before 10:30. Which is the ideal order as it covers over half the major stuff before going into the longer waits. Baring in mind, the last time I went, the Dragons had only just stopped duelling so majority is new. So:- New Hulk- Rides better then the previous version and the soundtrack really adds to the ride. I still maintain that the last third of the ride are a complete waste of time but the first two thirds are so snappy, precisely paced and hit after hit that I am more forgiving than I was in 2012. Spiderman is great, still remains a revolution in dark ride design and is a lot of fun. Seuss land is nice. Forbidden Journey has aged really well. It is a lot of fun and now that it doesn't command an hour queue at a minimum, its so much easier to ride and a lot less is hanging on the ride experience to deliver. My fiancé doesn't understand a thing about Harry Potter but appreciated the effects and ride experience. I'm completely biased in saying River Adventure is one of my favourite rides at the resort. I love dinosaur themed attractions, I love Jurassic Park and I love the variation and story telling of this attraction. It's so much fun and the physical precense of the dinosaurs really adds to make this a 10/10 attraction. So there. So to start.. Velocicoaster. So this is one of the best rides in the world. I think we all saw this coming but it further refines the successes that Intamin have had with Maverick, Taron and Taiga and I think adding this in a Universal park, one that commands huge attention in the theme park industry will bring Intamin a lot of success. We got four rides in various rows and it delivers in every seat. It feels like what would happen if Taron were more refined. Thats not to say that I think its better then Phantasialands ride (The jury is still out on that front) but the two are very similar in terms of sensation and pops or airtime litter both rides. Pacing is important to me and this ride has it in droves. The theming is okay, I think the story itself is a bit forgotten the moment you complete the first launch and it just becomes another rollercoaster albeit this has a beautiful location over the lake. Next Hagrid's motorbike thing. We waited an hour each for both of our rides and this ride is okay. It throws every Intamin trick in the book at you and its frankly a miracle that this works. I don't think its the greatest ride in the world because the Harry Potter implementation is a tad too weak for a Hogsmeade ride and frankly a lot of it is just a bit meandering. I admire the ambition if nothing else. So thats IoA for another decade. A great visit. 26F85C4E-CCD9-4EB2-801F-3CFE4F83D57B.heic
    6 points
  4. It's loggers, isn't it? 😄
    6 points
  5. JoshC.

    2021 Season

    I believe it is currently waiting on a part. I think it's been removed from the app, so will probably be down for a while. Rotten timing given the weather and it being half term. This is a dreadful idea in my opinion. Despite what many people think, queue prediction is hard. Few parks actually manage to do it well in my opinion. At the moment, it is even more volatile thanks to Covid and social distancing (or lack thereof). I imagine this idea is being tried for the following reasons: 1. They don't know what the queue times are when they're very long 2. They're getting a lot of complaints because of long advertised queue times When it comes to solving problem 1, there's not much they can do short term. The park is busy, queues will be long. But that in itself is a problem. A quick look on social media suggests that plenty of people feel that numbers aren't being restricted enough for Covid. Should the park, in future, be restricting numbers more? Should they now be looking at relaxing social distancing measures on rides (filling up all seats / rows)? The second problem is more insightful to their thought process. Anyone who's filled out one of the park's survey machines will know that you're asked a question to the effect of 'Did queueing spoil your day?'. This is a pretty big KPI that all the Merlin parks (and likely parks outside of Merlin) are interested in. Presumably, at the moment, they're getting a very high percentage of people answering "Yes" to 'Did queueing spoil your day?'. They've probably also noticed that "Rides per head" (the average number of rides each person has ridden) is low. As such, one possible conclusion that could be drawn is that "People aren't riding rides and saying that queueing has spoilt their day. We're advertising long queue times, so maybe people are put off by the long queue times". The solution there is then to not advertise long queue times, but instead advertise a minimum waiting time. That might not be what has happened. To be honest, I'd be surprised if there's people looking into KPI scores and probing in that way to come to that conclusion in that way. But it's a possible thought process. Equally, it could just be that they're getting a ton of complaints of 'The queues are all saying they're 2 hours'. As Matt says, people will not see the '+' here, and just assume a 90 minute queue. People leave common sense at the door when going to a theme park. There's another problem I've skirted around here. Operations in general. In my experience this year, they've been a mixed bag. Certainly not as bad as they have been in recent years, but not as good as they should be. Why that is, I don't know. But they need to come up with practical solutions to be able to get more consistent operations that are sensible and in line with what the rides can achieve, and with what the park needs. As for the more specific topic at hand... 1. If this is a trial to see if '90+' works, I hope they see it doesn't work, and they see that quickly. 2. If there's concerns about accuracy, introduce broader time frames, especially for higher values. 3. Work on actually make queue times accurate. More on this below. 4. The park need to understand that, ultimately, long queues are happening To expand on these points... 2. Perhaps they should introduce ranges like '90-100', '100-120', '120-150', '150-180'. When a queue is at that high level, it doesn't matter if it's 120 or 140 really, it's still a 2-2.5hour commitment of your day. Next to no one is going to enter a 140 minute queue, and then check their watch just before boarding and go 'Ooh, well that queue only took us 137 minutes, great job!' 3. I'm sure some remember a trial that happened on Saw a few years back to improve queue time accuracy. This would display queue times accurate to the minute, rather than in increments of 5-10 minutes. There's more details on this technology, provided by a company call Headmapper, here: http://www.headmapper.com/case-studies Interestingly, there is also a report which outlines how successful the trial was in 2015, which is largely positive. The technology was again used in 2017 for another trial. One reason why it didn't seem to carry on was costs involved with the product. Another is because it's a bit of faffy system which requires fixed cameras at certain locations (when usually, cameras are need to be moveable for security purposes)....so it would involve the costly installation of more cameras. So if the park really wants to improve queue accuracy and have a positive impact on people's day out, they could put their money where their mouth is and fork out for this. But then that still doesn't address the above point. And why spend out so much for something that doesn't tackle all the issues here. There are alternatives though, which are much cheaper. However, getting people within the park to get on board with the idea that queue accuracy is important is much harder than one might expect. So unless there's a shift in philosophy on that, this will never happen. 4. I'm not saying that the park don't know that long queues happen, or that they're bad or anything. But from my experience, there's a certain fear in acknowledging that the park will have long queues, and that this impacts that all important aforementioned KPI. Instead, there's an over-focus on improving queue accuracy, short term incentives to ride staff for improving throughputs and other weird stuff. Instead, there should be an acceptance that queues will be long as it stands and looking at ways to sustainably ensure that this causes minimal impact to someone's day. This should include making queues more interesting to be in, investing in the park so there's more things to do and making the park a more pleasant place to be in outside of the rides. And that should happen on top of the park improving queue accuracy and throughputs. Even if that should be a secondary focus. --- Wow, that was a bit of rambling rant. I'm sure some people on here know this is something I've had prior involvement in in one way or another. and even if not, it's probably clear I have some level of interest in this at a deeper level. Obviously there's many issues here, and many of them are long term, costly things to sort out. It's worth looking at short term alternatives, as well as little things that can be trialled in the short term to get a gauge on if they work. But honestly, this is the equivalent of sticking a used plaster on a wound that needs stitches. In short, the park need to acknowledge that they will always have long queue times, invest in the park to improve the number of things people can do, have queue lines be more interesting to be in and put some actual thought into how to estimate queue lengths over just picking a number out of thin air
    6 points
  6. Rewinding just over two years ago, I and a few friends had booked a trip out to Hamburg, which would include one and a half days at Heide Park - plus a stay in their hotel - and a day at Hansa Park. It would coincide with two of our birthdays too. What better way than to spend a birthday at a new park? At the time, this Covid-19 thing had just turned up on the British doorstep, and concerns were growing. But the idea of a lockdown was a far away thought. Obviously, come March, that all changed, and the trip cancelled (fortunately fully refunded). So instead of celebrating my birthday in some new foreign park, it was spent hunkered down in lockdown. "Ah well, maybe net year" I thought. Obviously I could go to Hamburg at other times, but I dunno, something felt kind of right about doing this trip over my birthday. But the world had other plans. Lockdown III was coming to an end, but foreign travel was out of the question, and the UK parks were out of the question. Instead, my birthday in 2021 was spent playing some outdoor mini golf (which was a big deal at the time tbf). Early 2022 came around, and things seemed a bit more promising. Maybe I could spend a birthday out of lockdown for the first time since 2019!! And maybe, just maybe, I could finally get out to Hamburg. I tried to rally up those who I originally planned to go with, but after being met with radio silence, it became apparent if this was going to happen, I'd be going solo. Ooft. Solo park trips aren't something I've done for a long time. Well, I haven't really done them at all. I've maybe spent a couple of hours at a park alone when someone had to leave unexpectedly early, or a bit of time when arriving early. But never a full day, and never at a new park. But to be honest, it wasn't a difficult choice..."ahhhh, screw it, let's do it!" was basically my thought process. To keep costs minimal, this was going to be a short trip - fly in on a Tuesday evening, one park Wednesday, one park Thursday, fly home Thursday night. Ideally I'd've flown in Wednesday morning, but flight times just didn't work out. I had planned to drive too, but that was very costly (plus the rising fuel prices scared me), but I quickly realised both parks were pretty accessible by train. It increased the journey times, but it saved a lot of money really. Anyways, enough pre-amble ramblings. Time to get to it... Day 0 This was my first flight since January 2020. Things have changed a fair bit since then, with both Brexit and Covid. Gatwick airport was pretty chill, and boarding on the Easyjet flight was fine. As Germany require FFP2 masks in certain places (such as planes, airports and trains), crew were freely giving out these masks to anyone who didn't have that specific type of mask. Pretty chill. A not-short queue through passport control followed. It was at this point where I expected to have to show my vaccine passport (the only requirement to get into Germany at the time), but I didn't. Oh well. My hotel was a 20 minute walk from the airport, and was surprisingly cheap and nice given the location. Boom, easy. Day 1 - Heide Park I was faced with two problems for my day at Heide Park. First thing, the weather. The weather had been pretty miserable the past few days prior; cold and wet with threats of storms. Having checked their park app in the days prior, that seemed to be affecting ride availability too. And the weather today didn't seem much better - cold and dark clouds, with high chances of rain. Just a tad concerning. The second was more of an "operational" concern. The park say on their website that the nearest train station to the park is Wolterdingen, which is a 20 minute walk to the park. Annoyingly, when travelling from Hamburg, you can only arrive hourly, at 48 minutes past each hour. So I was left with a choice: arrive to Wolterdingen at 08:48 and awkwardly wait outside the park for ages, but be one of the first through the gate...or arrive at the park late. I expected the park to be quiet, so arriving late wouldn't be the end of the world, buttttttttt I like to get to parks for opening wherever possible. So I opted to get out of bed the hour earlier to get there earlier. Who needs a birthday lie in when there's creds to get?! Getting from my hotel to Wolterdingen was straightforward enough. U-Bahn from hotel to Hamburg's main station. 20 minute wait time for connection to a random place called Buchholz, then a 15 minute wait to connect to Wolterdingen. Easy enough. U-Bahn went smoothly. But then disaster struck. The connection was delayed...by 15 minutes. Ffs. The train pulled into Buchholz just as my connection left. And it was an hour until the next train. I came to really hate Buchholz. It was a large station which was very windy and cold, and there was no indoor waiting area that I could find. Fortunately, the rest of the journey was easy enough, and the walk from Wolterdingen to Heide was a straight line, and only took me 15mins. And so, a little after 10, I was finally here! Waltzing straight on through, with no whiff of security, my first port of call was the dump my stuff in a locker. I don't usually use park lockers (usually opting to visit light), but didn't fancy lugging all my stuff all day, especially with the ominous storm clouds hanging over. An all day, unlimited-entry locker cost 5 euro...not awful, but could be worse I guess. Checking the app, it suggested that of the "big" rides, only Krake, Flug der Damonen and Big Loop were open. All with 0 minute queues, fortunately. But not a great start, and already cred anxiety was kicking in. But let's not focus on that, and instead let's get some B&M-goodness... Krake wasn't particularly something that was on my radar. Drop, inversion, over, right? A fun +1, but I didn't expect any more. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. I walked on to front row straight away, and got a very nice ride. You seem to hang over the drop for a good few seconds (much longer than Oblivion and Baron at least), and the splash effect is really cool. The whole ride is filled with nice floaty moments, and even then those it's quick, it left me feeling fulfilled. Coupled in with the nice music and nice theming, I was quite happy. It's nothing special, but it does what it aims to do very well. On an even more exciting note, I noticed whilst on ride that Colossos was running. And it looked like people were on it too! I checked the app and it said it was still closed. This left me with a choice...not head over and tick off the nearby creds, or trek to the other side of the park and see what's what. With Colossos being my most anticipated cred of the park, and with it's availability seemingly being sporadic over previous days, I decided to venture over. This turned out to be a very good choice; I saw it run again, and there were clearly people on it. Woohoo! Colossos Fortunately there was no queue, and even getting into the station, there was only a one train wait. The ride, like everything, was on one train, which gave me a good feeling about the level of busyness to expect. Opted for the back row for my first ride. WOW. I didn't really know what to expect from the ride. I hadn't heard much about it, and didn't know the layout. But having done Balder, I had high expectations for my second Intamin woodie. And damn, they were, pretty much, met. Climbing up the lift hill hearing the audio is a neat thing. The first drop is fantastic, lifting you out of your seat. The first airtime hill flings you out too. The second gives you nice really nice floater airtime too. Then you hit the turnaround. This kills the ride a bit. It doesn't make anything bad, but it loses its ability to give decent airtime. You get little pops, but it feels weak compared to what you've just experienced. And this feeling carries on until the helix, where the ride picks up speed and its aggressive nature again. The final couple of hills have some good, consistent airtime, and leave the ride ending on a high note. The "wicker monster", as I call it, looks really nice, and is a good first time effect on-ride as a near miss. It didn't have any fire effects going though, which was a shame. After my first ride, I was itching to get on again. And with no queue, that's exactly what I did. In honesty, there's not many rides where I've had that immediate feeling of "Damn, let's do that again, like right now!"; it was very much a 'Top 10%' ride for me from the get-go. Taking advantage of there being no queue, I went for the front this time. I was surprised at how consistent the ride was compared between front and back. And the pure rush going down the first drop on the front row is something I really liked too. Two rides in, and I decided - reluctantly - to move on. The park seemed like it was going to be quiet, but with the threats of storms still looming, I thought I should try to mop up the creds just in case, and then return to Colossos later if I could. With that, I went to the neighbouring Desert Race. It's basically a Rita clone. I like Rita, so expected to like this. However, it fell a bit flat for me, for reasons I can't quiet put my figure on. Maybe the bare-ness of the ride? Maybe the slow ops, where they waited for an entire full train before dispatching? Maybe the annoying announcements? Just little fiddly things. This also feels like a very Tussauds investment: plonked down, minimal theming, very tacky in general. I hope the park do something with this sooner rather than later. I then went back the way I came towards Big Loop Bog standard old Vekoma. Not much else to say. Then it was time to tick off the remaining B&M, Flug der Damonen. I had been intrigued by this, due to its tight layout and neat theming. Despite the app saying this had a 0 minute queue, there was a bit of a wait...about 10 minutes. No problem really though I guess. I really liked the station; had a real nice vibe to it. I got a front row ride on the right hand side. And the ride...was not that good. It starts off nicely, standard B&M wing. But then it tries cramming all its elements into a small space, and it just seems to make the ride a bit juddery, and it lacks any sort of flow. A real shame, and definitely the weakest one I've done so far. The app still listed Scream, Bobbahn and Limit as closed. These rides had all been closed any time I'd checked the app on previous days too. As they were nearby, I decided to check them out and see what's what. Scream had a sign outside saying it was waiting for a part, and should be ready to open for "Week 15". Sad times, as I like drop towers. Bobbahn had a sign outside saying it was too cold to open. Gah, spite Limit, however, had no sign. It wasn't open, but there was a solid handful of people waiting outside, and staff in the station. I overheard a conversation between guests which I loosely managed to translate to as "it will open soon". So I decided to hang around. To be honest, I can't believe I decided to willingly hang around and see if an SLC would open soon. Especially when it lunchtime, I was hungry, and I was in the same park as a walk-on Colossos. But heyho, a man's gotta get his creds. After about 10 minutes, it opened up. Yay... I managed to get on the second train of the day. Second train of the season. I got a middle row seat, and braced myself in usual SLC-fashion. But something strange happened. It wasn't...awful. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't good. But it didn't try to massacre me, and I left the ride without my head feeling like I'd been in the ring with Drederick Tatum. Maybe the ride hadn't warmed up enough, so it was running slowly and, somehow, less rough? So there we have it folks, if you want a not-awful ride on an SLC, make sure to take one of the first rides of the season on a cold and stormy day! I also quite liked the music - nice rock track. After a quick spot of lunch, I went to the other side of the park, where the water rides and a smaller cred lived. I did both the log flume - which had a long cattlepen queue you couldn't skip over thanks to Covid barriers still being in place - and the rapids in quick succession. They were nice; not too wet, not too dry, and solid, yet unremarkable, examples of their ride types. I ticked off kiddie cred, Indy-Blitz, too, getting a solo ride and a +1 for my troubles. Next up was perhaps my second-most anticipated ride of the day...Ghostbuster 5D. I make no secret that I love shooting dark rides. I'm not big on the Ghostbusters franchise, but I acknowledged that it was something that had huge potential with this ride type. The exterior is very Merlin, in that it looks good in context of what the theme of the ride is, yet still a bit bland for a theme park. And it's kind of let down by the dodgy shipping container entrance. The mathematician in me feels obliged to take photos of any mathematical equations that work their way into theming within rides. As for the ride itself...I dunno. I'm not sold. The idea is cool, especially the working together to take down ghosts. But the pacing feels a bit off. Some scenes are far too long, others far too short. There's not one which is 'just right'. There's not really anything between screens, and the attempted compensation is "let's spin and jerk the car around quickly". This left me feeling a bit motion sick, which was a shame. A bit better pacing in the scenes, and some better breathing space between scenes, and this would be SO much better. On my way to the final cred, I took a nice slow wander round. On this random, meandering walk, I noticed a random fire effect, which was coming from the boat ride in the How to Train Your Dragon area. I don't particularly care for the franchise, but liking fire effects, I thought sod it, I'll give the ride a go. It was a nice little ride, with some neat effects and was largely indoors, protecting me from those pesky storm clouds (which were still threatening rain, but not following through!). Detour completed, I did the final open cred of the day, Grottenblitz, a Mack powered cred, with shared the same building as the previous boat ride. It had a nice layout. But I didn't get any photos (it was getting rather cold). Now it must have been around 2 / half 2, and I'd ticked off all the creds and all the rides I wanted to do. Yes, there were loads of flats, but none appealed. The park have a monorail and train ride, which I would usually do, but both looked slow and burdensome to do in cold weather. So I took the chance to do re-rides, and a do a fair few of them at that. Throughout the last couple of hours, I managed another two rides on Krake (on 2nd and 3rd row, both were nice, but not quite as good as the front, of course), and ride on the opposite side of Flug (which was even more juddery on the back row). I decided to give Ghostbusters another shot, but even being prepared for the spinning, I still felt a little queasy afterwards. More importantly, I managed another 6 goes on Colossos, including another front and back row ride. All in, it really cemented itself as a top ride for me. It had warmed up nicely, and the middle third was running better by the end of the day. Still a weak spot, but the first and final thirds more than compensated for it. I also took the chance to just wander round the park and take some more photos. So here's a little final photo dump on my least terrible photos... All in, I had a really nice day at Heide Park. The weather held off, the park was sufficiently quiet and it has a good selection of rides. It had quite a Merlin feel about it, and even moreso a feel of a park that's had three very different owners and directions. There's the older, classic rides which have a nice, integrated feeling. Then there's the Tussauds-era, plonking rides down and just rolling with it. Then the more recent Merlin-era, where theming and ride integration clearly plays a part, but can be a bit hit and miss. In saying that, I would happily go back again in the future - especially if they were to add a more traditional dark ride, and maybe replace Desert Race with something that uses the space better! The day ended off by taking the train to Lubeck. It was a good couple of hours journey along 3 trains (Wolterdingen to the much-hated Buchholz, to Hamburg, then to Lubeck), but simple enough. Sadly, the weather decided to finally take a turn for the worse, and the heavens opened. The 20 minute walk up the hills of Lubeck felt so much longer thanks to the rain and bitter wind. Cheers for the birthday present, Lubeck...just what I always wanted! Coming soon, day 2 of 2...a wet, cold and anxious day at Hansa Park...
    5 points
  7. Just to say what I did on Twitter - this drilling is for soil sampling so they know what they are dealing with when putting in footers/excavations etc. It will categorically, 100% NOT be being used to drill holes for construction itself and is purely for investigative purposes. Still - progress is progress, and is exciting to see.
    5 points
  8. PLANS HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED. Some highlights: -The ride will feature trains of 20; 10 rows of 2. The trains will have lapbars. *Not too surprising, but nice to know. -No manufacturer is confirmed; this is not of interest for planning permission, but it is acknowledged it is of interest to roller coaster enthusiasts. Equally, the application just mentions ride comparison are done to a 'similar ride in Europe' -The ride will reach a maximum speed of around 130km/h (though this is not definite) -The ride will have a light track colour high up, similar to Stealth *This was mentioned in the consultation period. I haven't found confirmation of *what* the colour is for the high points, or the low points. This is usually contained within there somewhere. -The ride's highest points are: 72m, 50m, 48m and 43m *This puts to bed an initial thought I had that the park might try to go for the world's tallest inversion record. -Lots of trees will be planted around the station building -During construction, the lake will be infilled partially. Originally, the supports were meant to go into the lake, but it looks like they will go into a small part of land within the lake. I guess this is a compromise between having a nice looking lake and ease of maintenance. -The expanded construction area appears to just be for the *full* demolition of Loggers Leap, as opposed to just the bits in the way. So no extended layout. -Construction should start late this year, and the whole process should last 16 months. So Spring 2024 opening Now some more photos: An interesting look at an alternative layout Trees In past applications, we have gotten a look at the design of buildings, etc. But I can't find any of that. Usually we'd even get fencing plans, saying the style, height, material of every fence in an application. Again, doesn't seem to be here. Interesting, in a geeky sorta way. All I can say about the station is it has walls and a metal roof (a roof shouldn't be taken for granted). So there's no clarity on theming, style, colours or anything. Random note: the transfer track is after the station and at the start of the ride, as opposed to at the end of the ride / before the station. Somewhat different.
    5 points
  9. JoshC.

    Anti-Rant

    This seems like as good a thread as any to post this in... I passed my PhD today!
    5 points
  10. Roses are Red Violets are Blue I have limited patience... ...for lame cryptic Clues
    5 points
  11. Oooooh, I think I get the honour of writing the first full Black Mirror Labyrinth review online. What an exclusive! I should start by giving a disclaimer: Yes, I attended a preview event which invites celebrities and influencers, and the intention of these events is for such people to share positive thoughts about the experience. If you want to see that stuff, check out TPM's social pages, and a review will be live on our website later. What follows is a balanced reflection of my genuine thoughts of the experience. As always, whenever I attend these events, I try to give my feedback to staff/managers/creators too, good, bad, or ugly... Slight spoilers follow. --- "It's...interesting" That was my immediate reaction. It doesn't sound very positive, but it's also not very negative either. I guess a good way of describing it is a grown up Hocus Pocus Hall. And that's not a bad thing. It's a multi-route experience, with dead ends and multiple special effects. There is a mirror maze in there, yes, but that is just one part of the experience. Your name and face is used at a couple of points too. The story is that the Labyrinth is an AI creation which has become self aware. It's stolen all its information about you, and now wants to 'delete' you. So the premise is original, but slightly Black Mirror in tone. It's a fun experience with some quirky moments. We got lost a few times. We became disoriented. There were some moments which were a bit of a surprise. There's nothing special, but it all works and flows pretty nicely. After having done the experience twice, though, I'm not clambering to do it again any time soon. That's just the nature of this experience - there's not enough multiple routes to keep it completely fresh each time, and it is kind of 'one and done'. That's not a bad thing really, as it is an enjoyable enough experience in its own right, but I don't think it's what Thorpe need right now. Some assorted Q&As: -Is it scary? No. And I wonder if that will lead to complaints with people expecting a FN like maze... -What is batching like? You're batched in your household group exclusively. And it seems like it will be a group every 90 seconds. -What would batching be like without Covid? It seems like there's space for 12 people per group normally. That would give a throughput of 480pph in theory. Bog standard for a Merlin maze really. -What are Covid rules like? This is a weird one. You have to remove your mask whilst your photo is taken (this is for a special effect). And inside you naturally end up touching things as you find your way round, and you may come into close contact with people due to the non-linear route. I expect this may make some people feel uncomfortable. Some fun facts: -Figment Productions have been involved with parts of the experience -The experience was rethought and had extra money put into it last year, since they had extra time -Though nowhere near as much was invested as in a new ride, a lot more was invested in this compared to a Fright Nights maze (about 7-10 times the budget of a maze I believe) -There's a couple of little Easter eggs about (and some I probably missed) There's a couple of photos on TPM's Facebook, I won't post them here because effort. So all in all, the premise of the experience is interesting. As I say, it's not something I'm itching to get back to doing again, but it's a fun experience. It's another indoor experience for the park, which is needed, but ultimately it is very much a 'one..possibly two... and done' type thing, which is perhaps not what the park needed. I'm very much worried about how this will cope with the crowds. It seems like an operational headache. However, given it's going to be Timed Tickets for a while, and it should be pretty reliable, hopefully it means physical wait times are minimal for now, if done right. So definitely worth giving it a crack when you're next on park.
    5 points
  12. Another double post, sorry to my fellow members of the cOMMuNiTy. Got to experience this today for the first time as it's now not on timed tickets, and just a standard queue. Shout out to the guy batching the queue today who was very good in character - and another shout out also to the guy in the registration room with a fabulous moustache, who made me laugh, as when I saw my photo on the screen, I shouted "That's disgusting" and quick as a flash he said "Participants are reminded that their photograph is of their own face" 🤣 The experience itself was pretty good, definitely has zero re-ride (re-experience?) potential but I feel it's been executed pretty well. The mirror maze bit is good and we did get lost. All the effects seemed to be working, it just needed to be a touch darker in there I felt as the projection mapping effect is lost a little when it's brighter. All in all, it seemed to make sense to an extent, and I did enjoy it. Can't really see it lasting more than another 2 seasons though, personally - but I would assume Thorpe know that.
    4 points
  13. Thought we'd do this today as the park was so quiet and could get a booked ticket. So we took the plunge, what could possibly go wrong? Arrived at 1.30pm, the start of our timed slot. Entered the queue and there were already 2 groups batched (2 trains) in the pen, and a fair few in front of us. Queue time on the app jumped to 25 minutes - and we actually got in at 2.05pm so they were about right... my goodness though, that queue is so frustratingly slow. I think people (not me, I hasten to add) expect that you would be able to jump straight on with a timed ticket and not have to queue at all... that's of course not the case. I assume the timed tickets are still happening with DBGTROTD because of a heady mix of unreliability and slow throughput, meaning timed tickets mean a minimum/controlled number of potentially disappointed guests. Someone in front of us asked the batcher how long the queue would be, and she said "We aren't allowed to give exact queue times but it should be about 25 minutes" - clearly that instruction must come from past experience or management above with this ride (which is odd considering the app shows a time but maybe that's just a guess from number of timed tickets "sold") Anyway, we get in and Dezza B appears (he hasn't aged a bit!) and talks about thrillseekers, scaring babies, keeping secrets and all that. We then enter the preshow. A man is on a plinth with a microphone saying he is from Minds Wanted and we are to go on an expedition to investigate with Sub Core and decipher what's real and what's not (or something). He asks for a lead volunteer for the group, asks them to count backwards from 3 and look left and right to test how intelligent they are, much hilariousness. He then gets us to remember a number and repeat it. He then asks if anyone knows what siderodromophobia is. Of course no one knows, and it's the fear of trains. Asks if anyone has this fear. Picks someone and double checks they don't have it... almost as if he's stalling for time... he then asks if anyone knows what arachnophobia is - bit random - much chatter ensues and then finally someone bursts through the doors saying Sub Core are "drilling in to our mind more like" and the Minds Wanted chap tells her to shut up and stop being a nuisance and tells us to ignore her and we go into the train loading. She roams around telling us to go back etc. Now, to be fair to both of these actors, I can't imagine this is a particularly easy role, but my god it just did not work. For a start, that pre-loading room was never meant to have people in it for that amount of time, it just felt uncomfortable and evident they were stalling for time. We get on the train, and put on the headsets (read: me and my mate both have to hold them on because they will not stay on our heads despite all manner of adjusting the straps and velcro). Dezza pipes up "10...9... 8... 7.... 6.... 5.... 4... 3.... 2.... 1...." Here we go... "the night vision" mode kicks in, train starts to move... within seconds "Please stay seated and follow instructions from your ride hosts, we are sorry for the delay" (or words to that effect). I say to my mate - this isn't good, we've barely moved out of the station. Air con goes on, someone asks if it's OK to get off after about 10 minutes, which of course isn't possible because we are stuck in between the two stations. After what feels like forever, the lights go back on with Sub Core on the screens and we get on with our JoURnEy. This first bit of VR had the old guy with the dog as always, and then a young girl - which I hadn't seen before. There was no jump scare as such from her, think she might have warned us to go back and tell us how the gas was effecting her. Anyway, off with your headsets QUICK QUICK QUICK, we are ushered through a few switchbacks of fencing in the tunnels bit, lots of screaming and such.... we congregate in the main room where a couple of actors seem to have gone feral and are jump scaring etc cos of the fumes and that, and to be fair - it's clear who the scare maze actors are and those who are just normal ride ops being forced to try and act. That's no disrespect to those ride ops/staff, it's just a matter of fact, and I don't envy them for trying to have to make this all make sense. DID ANYONE REMEMBER A SET OF NUMBERS? No cos we've been stuck on a tube train for ages mate it's been a nightmare. 5631. 5..6..3.....1 OK, that's right. How does she know? What do these numbers do or where do they go, who is she telling them to, NO ONE KNOWS but it's immersive. Back on the train we go quick quick hurry put on your headsets NO NOT THAT ONE IT'S IN A BAG quick sit down REMAIN SEATED. OK. My headset this time around was only working on the left hand channel. I'm not sure what's gone on here, but the second section of VR was not only a lot shorter, but actually felt like you were just watching TV, not sure how to explain it but previously it did feel that you were moving with it etc. This time nothing. Odd. Anyway, quick take off your headsets. DON'T GET UP REMAIN SEATED EVERYONE REMAIN SEATED. It's clear the train is in the wrong place for whatever reason as the lights are now on and you can clearly feel movement. Maybe that's why the VR felt dead? ANYWAY we are back in the station where we started - can you believe it? No, I can't but no one actually notices and please exit through the gift shop. Announcement from the staff member behind the photo purchase point (what do you mean there was no photo taking point anywhere in the ride, HUSH) - "Sorry everyone, someone's reacted badly to the VR and they've been sick on the stairs so we have to keep you here whilst we clear it up" WHAT. I mean, fair dues, the group behind us believe it but come on.... Suddenly stuff starts to shake, the lights go off and a coughing man appears complete with noises of a demon that appears briefly in the bit of second VR (and also on the ride sign outside) but said demon cannot be seen anywhere in the shop. Exit into actual - very empty - real gift shop. Absolute disappointment and an absolute mess. I KNOW a breakdown doesn't help but even without that - this ride is a complete hotch potch of ideas and a storyline that doesn't make sense, or only makes some sense in parts. The staff are trying their best but please, Thorpe Park, just shut this thing next year whilst you decide how to fix it. My personal idea to get some money back is turn it into an upcharge year round 15-20 minute extreme long scare-maze experience. You could ditch the VR, maybe amongst the fellow passengers you could have actors who look like customers who become possessed/something during the journey I don't know.... Oh and what time did we get out? 2.50pm. We were in there for ONE HOUR TWENTY MINUTES (including the queue). Thank goodness the park was dead! I don't think I'm being particularly nasty on purpose here - like I always say, the Dezza hologram is good. The theming (Victorian train, building, interior, tube train stations) is top notch. The whole storyline, overall experience and VR? A complete disjointed disaster. Sorry. EDIT: Just read Han's review above, so am pleased to see that I'm not going mad/forgetful and the 2nd bit was a lot shorter, and that it is a general shambles xoxox
    4 points
  14. Some more plans for Exodus have been uploaded, showing the theming for the entrance and other areas. Looks like they're going for an abandoned forest plus mountain exploration theme. I guess the idea is that the forest hides the lake, and climbing the mountain allows you to find the tranquil lake? All of the new plans are over on TPM! EDIT: If you weren't fooled - and if the link didn't give it away! - this was an April Fool's. The images were hastily mocked up by yours truly using images from Ghost Train's and Swarm's planning applications, and are not real. Glad I caught a few people out though
    4 points
  15. Mattgwise

    Nemesis Inferno

    Mist has been very reliable the last two seasons or so and nice to see, but it hadn't worked for the start of this season. However today whilst queueing half way through day it just came on, so was guessing it just wasn't switched on. But nice it's back, makes a difference.
    4 points
  16. JoshC.

    Colossus

    Colossus opened 20 years ago today! To celebrate its successful opening on what was a moderate Thursday in March, where the ride welcomed 7000 guests, we have taken a quick look back at the ride that put Thorpe Park on the map! https://thorpeparkmania.co.uk/articles/09-03-2022/20+Years+of+Colossus (This was heavily inspired by @Mark9's original 10 year article, which currently isn't on the main TPM site, but can still be viewed here!)
    4 points
  17. JoshC.

    The Swarm

    The Swarm opened 10 years ago today! We at TPM have an article looking back at 10 years of The Swarm, right from the initial plans, through construction to the changes since it opened. Whether you believe in Lez Cougan or not, have a look here... https://thorpeparkmania.co.uk/articles/12-03-2022/THE+SWARM%2C+10+Years+On
    4 points
  18. Vampire*

    Introduce Yourself

    Hey guys and girls! I used to be on these forums, years back and somehow drifted away. It says I joined in 2012. I also briefly worked at Thorpe Park in 2005! This all sounds so funny when your typing it up or saying it aloud. So Hi everyone!!! I didn’t say much on here before, so I don’t expect anyone to remember me, but it would nice to use this again and make some friends with similar interests. And lastly, I’m thinking of getting an annual pass so I can visit more!
    4 points
  19. From an engineering perspective it is likely to be mandated that the structure survives 25 years. Where the pieces of track are deemed replaceable. Non replaceable parts will be designed for atleast 50. Fatigue issues in steel start occuring at 2x10^6 load cycles which rollercoasters will start hitting around 25-30 years old. So if we assume 240 operating days a year at 8 hours. In that time lets assume perfect capacity for nemesis of 37.5 dispatches an hour. It would result in a lifespan of 27.7 years. Time to hit 2,000,000 cycles. Colossus - 24y Nemesis Inferno -29y Stealth - 19y Saw - 21y* You can design for more cycles. The eurocodes permit allowances up to 5x10^6 but it requires the stresses in the steel to be low. Saw can probably get away with that hence it not being 8 years. I cant be bothered to work out allowable cycle ranges so for saw I assumed the maximum and the other coasters the minimum. Basically Thorpe park would have an expensive few years coming up if you couldn't extend lifespan in other ways. It would just come down to is it worth extending. Unfortunately for Colossus I think the answer is no.
    4 points
  20. An easy one Crossing the causeway into Cedar Point. Nothing will ever beat that drive across lake eerie and seeing the greatest skyline of any park in the world just standing there before me after 14 years of badly wanting to visit!!
    4 points
  21. Come on Thorpe. A double-down tribute to Loggers. Please 🙏
    4 points
  22. Isn't the idea of building a tall hyper coaster to actually use the speed gained from that height for a long and adventurous layout? I think this looks like it will have a couple of fun elements, but will hit the break run before it really has a chance to do anything. It looks like a post-lift duration of less than 30 seconds, which is unfathomably short for a hyper coaster. It looks like a hyper coaster by definition, but really, not a hyper coaster. It's compact, doesn't take you anywhere outside of its self-contained area, and very very short. I was hoping for a ride that actually takes you somewhere, on a journey, with a decent length and some tall hills. As well as it not really fitting the bill of a hyper, the other issue is that Thorpe really needed a long and impressive coaster to balance the short coasters already at the park. This adds to the problem as it will potentially have a shorter duration than even Swarm? It feels like this is the bare minimum Thorpe could have gotten away with to get the UK's height record. It looks like a layout that's been designed just to get the height record, rather than to be a decent coaster.
    4 points
  23. And breathe. As a local, I attended. I aired a question of concern I had, speaking with a member of the presenting team afterwards. I will give a brief rundown of what we know. I'll try and post in more detail later. 1. 72m / 236ft high. 2. A proposed layout didn't give anything away in terms of manufacturer. 3. Someone did say "There is a team performing noise surveys on a similar ride in Turkey" 4. The current design suggests a station roughly where the old train station is. It is compact round the Loggers lake. 4a. A "splash zone" overlooking the lake 4b. Possible inversions, but maybe not. Hard to say. 4c. If inversions, then maybe world's tallest inversion is possible. The general vibe was that people are frustrated with current noise levels and how the park is operating, but don't seem particularly opposed to a new investment. As I say, I will try and post more later. Please remain calm.
    4 points
  24. Matt N

    Introduce Yourself

    Hi there! I’ll probably be a familiar face if you’re a frequent reader of TowersStreet or CoasterForce, but for those of you who don’t know me; I’m Matt, I’m 18 years old and I’m a theme park enthusiast from the Forest of Dean! In terms of my own history with Thorpe; my first visit was back in 2014, when I was 11, and I’ll admit that even though I didn’t visit Thorpe at least once every year as a child in the same way that I did Alton Towers (the bulk of my Thorpe experiences have certainly been quite recent, unlike Towers where I have a plethora of childhood memories), I have grown a real soft spot for the park over all my visits since then, and I always enjoy a day there! My favourite Thorpe ride is The Swarm, but I’ll admit that Nemesis Inferno has really grown on me in recent years and comes a very close 2nd these days; it’s a smashing coaster, in my opinion! In terms of other theme parks and rides; my current coaster count is 79, my current favourite roller coaster is Mako at SeaWorld Orlando (I last rode it in August 2016, but my goodness do I remember the airtime being brilliant!), and my favourite theme park is Universal’s Islands of Adventure (the theming and general sense of immersion is just spell-binding, in my opinion, and the rides are excellent too; it really is the full package!)! So, that’s a brief introduction to me, for those of you who don’t already know me! I apologise if that’s a little more than you wanted to know (I’m not the best at concise writing…), but that’s some stuff I thought you might find interesting!
    4 points
  25. Timber might be coming to Thorpe.
    4 points
  26. I attended the passholder preview event a couple weeks back and I must admit I was slightly disappointed. It was my first Fright Nights event so held high expectations, but can't help but feel a little let down. Trailers, as incredibly themed as it was, I felt lackluster in scares. As the scenes themselves were so very small, I found the majority of the scares to be massively predictable and probably didn't jump any more than once or twice. Granted it's a new maze, and is inevitably going to return year on year judging by the amount of investment that clearly went on in there judging by the external and internal scenery, so fingers crossed it's a maze that only gets better with age. I must say, though, I was pleasantly surprised by Creek Freak Massacre and even Platform 15 after seeing it being slated by the majority of people that have visited it over the years 😂 Hoping to get at least one more visit in before the end of the season to re-evaluate my thoughts, but ultimately felt like the things that were being hyped up the most this year (Trailers & Legacy, Legacy mostly because it has only just started so I never got the chance to see it) turned out to be quite the disappointment - certainly glad I only paid £5 per maze, I definitely don't think either of the three are worth the £10 price point.
    4 points
  27. I did - paid for the ticket though (RIP Pass bought in February 2019) - have to say, that's a complete no brainer, never queued all night, multiple runs through mazes, a drink, £10 of food and a t-shirt all for £87! Maze count: Coven of 13: 5 Hellements: 1 Creepy Cottage: 4 Twisted Clowns: 2 Wastelands: 2 Chop Shop: 2 The Island: 1 The Cellar: 3 Haunted Hayride: 1 In Merlin terms, that's £210 worth of mazes Coven Of 13 was evidently a highlight, and Cottage always is too - mainly we feel the actors there have to work even harder than the others.
    4 points
  28. JDann

    2021 Season

    Yeah that was my thought - I'd say the host probably takes you up the exit (Not in that way), but I can't say that justifies an extra £150pp.
    4 points
  29. Think I've said it often now but Asylum absolutely blew practically every other FN maze that ever existed out of the water. I wouldnt necessarily say it is nostalgia that gives me that opinion, its the genuine fact that for me and 95 percent of the people that did it, it just did its job which was to scare. It was loud,chaotic,disorienting and the cast that was in it on most of my visits during its tenure absolutely went all out to deliver. No FN maze that has came after it has came anywhere near matching it in those regards. Then we look at some other mazes the park historically had. Experiment 10 created one hell of a sense of isolation that at the time was a breaking of the mold for UK theme park halloween mazes Se7en was the single most disgusting and psychological maze I have seen on these shores. Those scenes,smells and sights to this day have stayed with me Hellgate whilst not particularly unique in that it was just a generic haunted house themed maze, was an absolute jump scare ridden fun experience. Those opinions to me are nothing to do with nostalgia. Its just as I remember them on their own merits during their time at the event. They did their jobs far better then MOST of the mazes that have been at the event since Asylum left. Aside from Big Top and Cabin, none of the other mazes that have been at the event have done anything for me personally. For all Platform 15 is worth, one might as well leave the park early and just head round to monks walk for an evening stroll....you're now doing Platform 15 for free.
    4 points
  30. ChessingtonSam

    The Swarm

    Went to Thorpe today and got to experience the new Swarm stuff in person. The area soundtrack is strange, the spoken parts are pretty bland, sometimes it overexplains stuff a bit, and again the whole thing is so unrealistic to the actual situation depicted in the ride. Which is fine, if the area is also themed in an unrealistic and outlandish way. This works for WWTP Radio, the hosts are constantly cracking jokes and it's all a bit nonchalant given the town is being hit by multiple tidal waves, but not only are there actual jokes in the WWTP Radio audio, but the area isn't exactly a serious area, whereas The Swarm is literally themed to the end of the world. I'm seeing crashed vehicles and a destroyed church, yet I'm hearing a completely calm sounding reverend being interviewed by a newsreader who keeps casually mentioning that the entire country is under attack? It doesn't really work. The song choices also don't really work, unsurprisingly. I can't tell if it's some kind of attempt at humour to be playing 'Highway to Hell' on this fake radio station as the world is literally ending around us, but again, it doesn't work when the rest of the area and even the audio is entirely serious up until then. The station audio is something else entirely though, it's actually really good. You can hear a clip of it here: I really wish the area audio was closer to this than what we got.
    4 points
  31. ThorpeAddict

    2021 Season

    The capacity has been reduced, but pre covid the park never really hit capacity anyway. So even though the capacity has been reduced, there is pretty much the same amount of people they would get on a standard weekend. Mix that in with the reduced capacity on rides and social distancing, the park looks and feels busier than pre covid. I really don't think they should be advertising the fact they have a reduced capacity, same with all the merlin parks. It's giving people the wrong idea that the parks are going to be less crowded when in reality, there is pretty much the same crowds as normal.
    4 points
  32. My first thoughts (from POV, I'm no VIP) is that if this sort of set up was used as the entrance and exit of X, with effects of comparable quality during the ride, that would make one complete, excellent attraction rather than two slightly lacking ones we now have.
    4 points
  33. 26th April 2022 (Travel) Hi guys. Today was a very exciting day; the start of my first ever trip to Europa Park! This might possibly be my most significant theme park trip in some time, and it’s quite a significant change in tune compared to the bulk of my recent trips, with a number of new experiences in store for me; my first time travelling abroad post-COVID, my first time at Europa Park, my first time in Germany full stop… I could go on, as there are so many firsts for me this trip! So join me over the next 5 days as I visit Europa Park, a major bucket list park I have legitimately wanted to visit for the past 7 or 8 years, for the very first time! This was only our travel day, so I haven’t set foot into the park itself yet, but I’ve already gotten some glimpses of what Europa Park Resort has to offer. So let me start today from the very beginning. Interestingly, today started out with the longest single leg of the trip there; a 3 hour drive from Gloucestershire to London Stansted. The drive actually felt quicker than expected given it was 3 hours, and my dad said it was very easy, so I guess that’s all you can ask for, really! After that, we went into Stansted itself, where check-in & security were surprisingly quick; we were through it all very quickly compared to what I always remembered Manchester/Gatwick being like, which is always good! It felt very weird being back in an airport… the last time I flew abroad was to Florida in April 2019, so after the few years we’ve all had, it felt almost surreal being back travelling abroad again, with surprisingly few differences compared to pre-COVID! It was exciting, though; even though an airport in itself is perhaps not the most pleasurable of experiences, being in an airport preparing for a foreign holiday does give you a certain buzz that I can’t quite put my finger on, particularly when your destination is a park you’ve spent years dreaming of visiting! After a wait of around an hour in Stansted’s departure lounge, we headed to our gate and boarded our plane to Baden-Baden: This flight was my first ever Ryanair flight, which I’m led to believe is somewhat of a rite of passage for any theme park enthusiast, and I’ve got to say, it was quite good! The seats were perfectly comfortable, the flight was short (only 1h 25m); what more can you really ask for? After getting off our flight, we headed through immigration in Baden-Baden, which was fairly quick, and that’s when it hit home that Europa Park really was well within my reach: Wow, seeing that was exciting! After that, we got our hire car and headed down to Europa Park itself from Baden-Baden airport, which my dad described as a surprisingly easy drive. It took around 45 minutes, and I must say, I was stunned by quite how convenient Europa is to reach from the motorway; when people described it as being in a town/village, I was expecting something like Alton Towers, where you wind your way through all kinds of country lanes and villages for miles on end once you leave the motorway, but it was literally a case of “exit the motorway… wow, there’s Europa!” in an almost America-style fashion! I was also surprised at how much Europa Park dominates Rust; I was anticipating it being a case of Europa Park being in the middle of a large town that engulfed it, but it’s almost more like Rust is an add-on to Europa Park, which I found very interesting! Then, we headed onto the resort itself. I have to say, first impressions are very good; the hotels are stunningly themed, and they’re all very grand in scale! My first view of a Europa Park hotel was the lobby for El Andaluz, where we checked in, and I must say, it’s stunning: We’re staying in a Standard Room Plus in Hotel Castillo Alcazar, and the room is very nicely themed, as well as surprisingly big. The park view is also fantastic, and gives Blackpool’s similar park view a run for its money for sure: After getting settled into our room, we decided to take a stroll around the Europa resort and see what some of the other hotels had to offer. We firstly stopped at Hotel Colosseo, where we loitered around the piazza for a bit: And then we went up to the top of the Colosseum replica, where I got some views of the piazza from above: As well as Rulantica: And also some of the surrounding Black Forest area; EP is surprisingly rural and in a surprisingly nice forest setting for such a huge resort: After that, we strolled past Hotel Bell Rock: And finally, we ended up walking past Colosseo again and going back to El Andaluz: After our little stroll around, we headed into the Castillo Restaurant in Hotel Castillo Alcazar for an evening meal, which it must be said was very nice; the restaurant is also very nicely themed. I didn’t take any photos of the restaurant, but my mum did catch a photo of the very nice corridor leading up to it, which is very well themed indeed, and certainly sets the tone for the restaurant: Finally, I caught a few photos of the stunning night time view from out of our window; Europa really does look stunning at night: So, that was the first day of our trip! Apologies that this was a bit of a boring report today; I hope the next few days’ worth of reports are a bit more interesting, seeing as we’re going to be in the park itself on tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. I’m incredibly excited; I can’t wait to see what Europa has to offer after years of wanting to go! What I’ve seen of the resort so far certainly bodes well for what I’ll think of the park, as it’s all very nice! Tomorrow, we’ll be stepping into the park for the first time… I can’t wait!
    3 points
  34. Casual first post in this thread in 4 years.... park was absolutely DEAD today, don't think I've ever seen it so quiet, with rides on 0-5 minutes for most of the day - longest I saw was Colossus peaking at 30 minutes at the start of the day. Ride/eXpErIEncE count (could've easily done loads more, but I like to keep my food in my stomach cheers huns) Stealth x3 (including one front row, still love love looooove this) Swarm x2 (no queue all day) Inferno (feeling INTENSE) Saw (feeling sore) Colossus (feeling 20 years old) DBGTROTD (don't get me wound up) Black Mirror Purple Boat In The Tunnel Sit Down Please
    3 points
  35. I concur, I finally feel safe again with regards to my hobby of licking door handles ❤️
    3 points
  36. As we approach the start of the 2022 season, I thought I'd do a few blog post ramblings on some nostalgic Thorpe memories I have. Let's start off with Dr Pepper Sun Scream! Launching way back in 2009 when Saw opened, Sun Scream ran every year for many summers at the park, bringing live music, silent discos, stunt displays, beatboxing, sideshows and festival vibes. In reality, Sun Scream wasn't much in terms of an event, starting off as simply a stunt show and some yellow t-shirts for the rides staff, it evolved as the years went on and new things were tried, but I do have a lot of good memories from my annual mid-summer visits in the sunny weather! The amazing Stunt Show The standout feature of Sun Scream for me was the incredible stunt show in the Arena in the centre of the park. This was one of the few times during the season that the Arena was actually used, but it was used well! I remember sitting in the stands watching the Red Bull Stuntriders going over jumps and performing in the small area, and it was very impressive! I do remember one year one of the riders came off his motorbike during one of the performances, and was luckily ok, but the show was very good and (other than fright nights and Thorpe Blast) was probably the best 'show' the park has ever put on in my opinion, even in later years when it was replaced by a BMX display team. Other activities There were some less than ideal 'activities' as part of Sun Scream.. I distinctly remember a silent disco was tried one year in the Colossus queue line. At a point early in the queue, everyone was offered a pair of wireless headphones which played music for everyone to jam to in the queue. The thing is, in a typically British fashion, very few people actually took the headphones, and even fewer took part in the disco. A nice idea, but didn't really work in reality. I also remember several performances, like a beatboxer one year.. Again, nice idea, but the crowd in front of the stage (in front of X) never really grew to more than about 10 people at any time despite the best efforts of the staff pulling people in. Late opening One of the great things about Sun Scream was the 8PM closing time. Being summer, this didn't really allow for night rides, but it was 'dusk' at least towards the end, and on the warm summer evenings it was great to stay late in the park after the crowds left. This no doubt paved the way for the Summer Nights event that followed years later. That 'Thorpe Park feeling' was at its strongest I'm not sure about what it was about Thorpe in the 2009 - 2012 period, but for me that was when Thorpe was at its absolute best. I always remember driving home from Thorpe, especially in the summer, with "that Thorpe Park feeling". I can't describe it, but it's the feeling you get when you've had a great day, you're knackered, aching and have a fuzzy head, your hair is a mess, and you stink... But you can't wait to go back and do it all again, preferably tomorrow. Sun Scream brought this feeling more than ever - it was such a positive and lively event, the sun was nearly always shining, the staff were lively and happy, and the park was always on top form. We also had a new ride in Saw, and The Swarm was under construction. The park was alive in this period and at its best. Dr Pepper Dr Pepper was the sponsor for Sun Scream, and as such during the event the staff handed out free little Dr Pepper cans. Because of this, I always associate the taste and smell of Dr Pepper with Thorpe Park, and every time I have it even all these years later, it takes me right back to "the good days" at Thorpe. __________ Does anyone have any memories of Sun Scream?
    3 points
  37. As we approach the start of the 2022 season, I thought I'd do a few blog post ramblings on some nostalgic Thorpe memories I have. I started off with Dr Pepper Sun Scream, now it's time for Brave it Alone back when it opened in 2013... I have hazy memories about this, but recently I found an old post I made after I experienced it and thought I'd spruce it up a bit and share! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - We did Cabin in the Woods way back on Sunday 13th October 2013, when the experience was brand new (and in my opinion at its best!) So... Here's what happened! After park closing at 10 pm, we met the Director, his assistant, and some park managers along with the other 'brave-it-aloners' at the bar area in Clypso BBQ, where we were read a very long and elaborate warning speech while having a drink. We then had to sign an agreement that stated that 'you are prepared for anything to happen' and that 'TP takes no responsibility for anything', blah blah... After around 20 minutes, when the guests had all left the park, the 10 or so of us were then given one of the classic "Don't wet yourself" ponchos to protect clothes from fake blood, dirt, facepaint and bodily fluids (yep, really). We were then split up and were walked with a park manager to our chosen mazes, where we were asked further questions such as "are you aware that literally anything could happen in here", and "please you must tell us now if you have any reason to not experience this"... At this point the nerves were setting in - why did these warnings keep coming up? What on earth was going to happen inside? After waiting outside the cabin door for a few moments listening to the actors inside, I stepped in to the cabin's first room, the one with the 4 doors, which was brightly lit. I was alone. Suddenly the lights turn off for a second, then back on, but now there are 2 actors standing right in my face! Do any of you remember the guy who played Les Coogan back in 2011/2012? Well I had asked him if he's still known as Les Coogan earlier in the day, But I'll come back to that in a minute. 'Les' pushed me backwards in to a chair in the corner of the room, where I was screamed at and told of the horrors I was about to see. The chair was then tipped backwards and I was led on my back! This was amazingly intense. The interrogation continued. The actors were hillbillies of some sort, so there was... Umm... dribble.... lol! I was then told to crawl in to the next room. Here I was left alone with a single actor who after a while forced me to 'kiss the moose' on the wall, similar to the film. Interrogation went on for a couple of minutes, lights flashed on and off, the actor started getting crazy bouncing off the walls, when my friend crawled in to the room with an actor riding on his back! (I did laugh at this!) I snuck out in to the next room at this point... This room had a person in a plain white mask, and was one of the most surreal parts. She forced me against a wall and slithered around me... very odd! The lights then went out, flashed back on, revealing her mask right up in my face. This happened a few times with her appearing and disappearing at different points. I was then grabbed by another actor who looked panicked, saying "don't look, just get over here". He stood facing me and grabbed me by the shoulders, then pushed backwards (quite fast!) through several flaps and doors until my back banged against a wall!! I was then pushed (very violently) back down on to the floor by a different actor, and told to continue onwards. This next part is a blur to be honest, but I did a lot of walking, crawling, being pulled and pushed around, had lots of jump scares, until I reached the spinning tunnel, which had 2 female clowns inside... Both clowns had 'penis shaped' balloons which they, errm, 'rubbed' me with in various ways... Yeah I'll leave that to your imagination... They then taunted me with them and popped them in my ears. One of the clowns then got behind me, wrapped herself around me and held me still, while the other licked my face and neck while the other laughed in my ear. This was very uncomfortable and weird!!! CLOWNS!?! All of this while the tunnel was spinning around me! I can't remember what happened between here and the final room., however when I did reach the final room, the actor who played Les Coogan in previous years (remember from earlier?) stormed up to me, with about 5 other actors in tow! They each took hold of one of my limbs, picked me up and put me flat on my back on the floor.... 'Les' then completely went crazy!! They were dragging me around, and Les's final words to me were "DON'T YOU ****ING DARE CALL ME LES COOGAN AGAIN BOY. GET OUT OF HERE NOW." I was then pretty much forced to apologise to 'Les', and literally thrown in to a door leading out of the maze! The look on the faces of the park staff was hilarious when I came out! I particularly remember one of the managers looking genuinely worried! It was absolutely fantastic and much more intense than I could have imagined. The whole experience lasted around 10 minutes. Worth every penny of the £15! Bargain. I have probably missed bits here, and probably haven't done it justice, but you get the basic idea. We then all made our way back from the various mazes and met back at the 'bar' in the BBQ, where we all had a good chat about it! Some of the other guests had done Asylum, which was totally mad apparently. They were all drenched in fake blood, and said that many of the asylum patients were completely naked. Lots of 'adult' themes going on in there, including a performance in the bed scene which I'm not sure would hold up today. Some of the others had done Saw Alive which was apparently amazing as well. I can't describe how good Brave it Alone was in its first year! Genuinely terrifying to have literally ALL of the actors focusing on you the entire time.
    3 points
  38. 2nd Detty tower finally happening.
    3 points
  39. Forgive me for continually posting random pictures, but here's an overlay of the two plans, which is probably the clearest look at how the development area has been extended: Now, time for some speculation: If this for a layout change, I have an idea for what it could be. And I don't expect it to be anything drastic. Many people noted that the ride takes a lot of speed into the suspected splash zone area, and that that area could be quite trimmed. And even if not, it does have a lot of speed and doesn't do a lot. I expect that the short layout is, in part, a creative choice. The ride very much looks designed to be big, fast-paced and hard hitting. Rather than creating a long, drawn out experience, it seems to be a "throw everything at you as quickly as possible" experience, designed so that when you hit the brakes, you're left stunned, and begging for more in a good way. You won't feel short changed, but you'll want to go round again. So a potential adaptation to the layout would be as follows: Now forgive the crude drawing, but let me explain what this would achieve: -A straight section post-splashdown, to include one or two powerful airtime hills. -A new turnaround, which could be dragged out for some sustained forces, or be quirky / different (like the other turnaround) -Give more space pre-brake run for another airtime hill, rather than the airtime moment post-turnaround as currently suggested. My particular thought on the final point is that they could create a 'double down' airtime moment which is similar to Loggers Leap's drop. This would be in the exact same position as Loggers drop, and serve as a reminder/Easter egg/reference/whatever you want to call it to the ride (something that Thorpe and John Burton, the likely Creative Lead of the project, love doing). This would address the concern which a lot of people had about the ride's ending, whilst keeping in line with the (what I expect to be) feel of the ride. May not be everyone's cup of tea or what people want, but it's what I feel would be most likely. Equally, I think this is a sufficient change to improve the ride. Obviously, this is all speculation. But I don't see anything more significant than this.
    3 points
  40. ...changes Turn and face the strange Ch-ch-changes Bowie, the ride. At last, a theming idea I can get behind.
    3 points
  41. Parm Pap's posts clearly say to me that the Derren Brown IP is being extended due to it's incredible success, and the new coaster will form part of Derren Brown Land, featuring the UK's first coaster themed around a mind control man.
    3 points
  42. I think I made it sound worse than what it is. Ultimately everyone seemed understanding of the need for expansion and investment, but found that the noise from tannoys and some screaming can carry over the lake. The concern was that the park didn't fully appreciate or understand what the base level of noise can sometimes be. I think it's easily rectified with some dialogue between both sides, which is the point of this consultation. I don't think it's a particular bump in the road, and don't think people will end up being against the investment. I'm sure a good resolution can come from this. It was to do with traffic. Peak times around the park are congested (not just because of the park of course), and I'm aware in the past construction of rides has highlighted this further. I'll give a summary of everything I can remember, but obviously we'll have actual pictures and stuff tomorrow: The Ride I will give an honest reaction here: when people see the visuals shown today, I think people will be divided. It didn't look that long. Looks can be deceiving and it was hard to get much of a feel from quick looks at the visuals. It's a very densely packed layout. It goes over the central lake a few times, but doesn't sprawl much. It has quite a few high points, again all closely packed together. It gave me a little bit of Steel Curtain (Kennywood, USA) vibes in some sense, where there's a lot of elements packed together. Looking at it, it's hard to tell if there were inversions or not. The visuals are very loose. There's elements which look like they could be inversions, but they could also be non-inverting elements. IF there are inversions, we could be looking at the world's tallest inversion. We could be looking at anywhere up to 6 to 7 inversion or so. There's also a splash zone, which could indicate a splash down too. But it didn't look like it was near any track. Very confusing. So this will be very interesting to see people's reactions when we get a look at the visuals. Other details -Manufacturer: The official line was they are still talking to multiple manufacturers. One member of the team speaking at the consultation said "there's people doing noise tests on a similar ride in Turkey". Would suggest the Flash clone, and hence Mack, but who knows. -Other rides: No other rides were shown in the area. -Existing rides: They said they're looking to retain "at least one of the existing rides". -Height: 72m/236ft -Speed/Length: Nothing said Timeline (if all goes to plan) -Today to January 2022: Consultation period -Spring 2022: Plans submitted to council -Summer 2022: Plans approved -Late 2022: Construction starts -Date TBC: Ride opens. They did mention 2024, seemingly by accident. It also seems likely, given the timescale. It does beg the question why Old Town needs to close now if construction isn't due to start until late 2022. I guess they could do some work during 2022 to prep, with main construction starting in 2022. It also answers a potential question about Creek Freak Massacre. That could certain return next year if work around that building hasn't started by next October. Project Name One of the visuals labelled the roller coaster as Project Exodus. So that answers that. Track Colour Stealth is coloured white on the top to blend in with the skyline, then has blue elsewhere. The park are considering something similar with this, but nothing is confirmed. Visitation The park said that they see the need for investing as a way of stopping declining visiting numbers, and getting people coming back. They don't expect the visitor levels to rise up dramatically. They also acknowledged the potential for competition from London Resort. Personally I found it convenient that Merlin don't think it will happen, but they'll cite it as a need to invest in a new ride. ha Anything Else I can't think of anything else major. There will be lots of trees cut, but these will be carefully chosen and likely lots of ones which are dying. The area isn't of any ecological interest. I'm sure everything else will come tomorrow and I'll remember more. Locals The actual consultation was fine (at least, the one I went to was). Maybe a couple of questions which were more geek-oriented, but it was nice to see people being respectful that this was a process for locals. That said, it's a little disappointing hearing and seeing people online referring to people as "Karens" for bringing up concerns. I don't think that anything raised by anyone was unreasonable. These are people with genuine concerns, some of whom have lived in the local area for many years before the park became filled with thrill rides. As I've said, I don't think anyone is against development particularly (and indeed, even those with pressing concerns acknowledged that it looks and sounds good for the park), but these are people's lives. I think it's worth stressing time and time again, there's a pretty good two way communication between the park and locals, and both sides are keen for that to continue. I just hope that everyone appreciates that, and don't berate people in any way for having concerns. It's not like they're even being Roper-esque (Alton Towers reference), they just want a very happy and respectful compromise.
    3 points
  43. https://www.thorpepark-consultation.com/ 👀
    3 points
  44. Couldn’t they just aim the high points of the ride away from Staines and towards the back corner of the park? If they did that, surely that might overcome some of the problems? I’ve often heard it said that Thorpe could run a hyper around the back of the park from Old Town/the Logger’s Leap site, with the main body of the ride itself running along the service road around the back of the park. For what it’s worth, John Wardley even said that a hyper would be doable within Thorpe’s planning restrictions. In terms of where Wardley said this, it was a comment made within Making Thorpe Park regarding a B&M Hyper that Wardley and B&M had strategised for a 2012 coaster instead of The Swarm. The source was cited as an interview with John Wardley himself conducted as part of the research for the book (the source is cited as “Interview with John Wardley, 20 July 2020” in the book’s bibliography). Here’s the exact comment; the relevant part is in bold: “When [B&M] was approached to suggest ideas for the first of the new development islands, they were strongly against using the new Wing model. The flat piece of land didn’t really play to the strengths of the concept, and Wardley felt that a different B&M option should be used instead. His preference was a Hyper Coaster, a tall ride that offers high speeds and massive airtime. Having good knowledge of local planning restrictions, he was confident that permission would be agreed and it would be the perfect complement to the four major rollercoasters already in operation at Thorpe Park.” For context, this would have been a few years after Stealth, perhaps around 2009-2010. Thorpe’s height ceiling is 500ft, apparently, with structures over 200ft needing to apply to the CAA for approval (due to Heathrow being close by). While I’ll admit that a 500ft coaster seems like a long shot in terms of approval, I don’t see them struggling too much with a hyper in the 200-250ft range, personally. As much as Stealth may have required special permission at the time, I’d argue that it may well have set a precedent for the minimum height that Thorpe would be allowed to build a coaster to; if a coaster of Stealth’s size or a little bit taller encountered issues, then the park could quite feasibly say “We’ve operated Stealth at 205ft for 15 years with no issues” to defend themselves and make a case for the approval of a hyper coaster.
    3 points
  45. The legendary Karen who works in guest services has also confirmed the return of professor burps bubbleworks!!
    3 points
  46. Not enough of you have been to Port Aventura.
    3 points
  47. New Valhalla promo image released today; Source: https://twitter.com/MandsThompson
    3 points
  48. Dr S

    Vampire

    We went last week which allowed me to take my son on the ride, some 31 years after I first went on it. Last time I was at CWoA they were still doing a half-way decent job of running 3 trains (as good as the absolutely daft slow "park" procedure in the station would allow) so to see how absolutely appalling the operations are these days was quite shocking. I actually thought initially they were only running one train as the dispatch times were that slow. The queue that was there would have taken a max of 25min in the ride's heyday, instead of which it was posted at 120-150min all day... Even on 2 trains the original ride wouldn't have likely breached 45min with that many people in the queue. The station was ok - good to see the organist moving again, and the lighting package was a bit better... It just looks so bare though. The ride was running a bit better than I remember, though still "shuffling" a lot. It's just a bit sad to see the ride in what is effectively quite a neglected state when it is very obviously still all these years later one of the park's main attractions. I know they won't ever bring back the old trains but surely a bit of engineering work to improve the efficiency and making sure that the ride is staffed properly with a crew that are motivated would be worth doing?
    3 points
  49. What do you get if you mix the London Dungeons, Derren Brown's Ghost train and a £70 (average) price per person ticket? Glad you asked.... You get a 2hour, 20 odd scene story rendition of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, an excellent story with a premise of these metal alien human killing robot machines, as seen in Woking. As a fan of the story seeing the arena show and music maybe 3 times now, it was refreshing to see the concept transformed into an interactive experience promising VR, simulators and live actors. But why do I compare to the Ghost train and dungeons? Well because many of the scenes were a bit like something I had experienced in the London dungeons before and the attraction relied on using the bulky VR headsets 4 times throughout the attraction including the finale, and as with VR the technology can be very hit and miss. With a £70 pp price tag this isn't your average MAP holder group attraction, I'm sure they would be complaining about the price alone, but that does mean the groups are smaller around 12 say and are generally engaged with the story rather than focusing on what they can complain about to report back to the 1000's of followers on the MAP group. Oh and one last thing before I go into spoiler mode, @Martin Doyle and @Mattgwise would be proud to know that they give you robber style masks to cover around your eye's, for what I can only assume is to block out vision to the unthemed ceilings or perhaps a Covid protocol for VR. If you do go let me know your thoughts, ok in spoiler mode... (I still don't know how to add spoilers so sorry) THINGS I LIKED: A really well themed bar greeted you on what looks to be an office block building in the heart of the city of London (Ledinhall Street) The artillery man scene was excellent as a peppers ghost effect somehow transformed a live actor into a ball of fire. Excellent use of mini planetarium style cinemas to project a scene in 360. Props, we used a telescope with projections to look at the planets and see the red mist come in. A slide Isolation booths + VR, now this really did up the scare factor, you started in isolated booths, pretending to be a confessional in a church, the alien then comes and sets fire to the church and starts to probe people, heighten by the litter picker effect of staff prodding you and the scream's around making you know what is coming... I really think Thorpe could do something like this to make DBGT a better attraction. Engaged cast, really passionate about their roles. THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE SO MUCH: Some scenes were carbon copies of what you would get at the Dungeons for example sitting around a table in the pitch black etc... they could of been a bit more creative. An over reliance on VR including the finale which was a balloon ride / motion simulator, by this point I was getting a bit sick of faffing around with a headset and would of preferred a live action finale. Ended within obligatory green screen photo, that will be another £25 please.... Price, not worth £70+ So overall is was a bit of an upmarket London dungeons with new technology, hopefully Merlin will go, test it and incorporate it into their concepts or even do one better and buy the place, hopefully making it a bit more affordable. Tickets and images are available here: https://thewaroftheworldsimmersive.com/ Overall: 7/10
    3 points
  50. Benin

    2021 Season

    So we're blaming the parks poor usage of the RAP system (I bet 100% that Thorpe don't fill in correctly given Towers don't either) for aggressive upselling of Fastrack now? I'm very sorry that you think disabled visitors who require carers are so problematic for the park. Maybe if they charged for carers they could afford to fix the wheelchair lifts for Saw and Inferno? The RAP system being abused does NOT mean the park have to aggressively upsell Fastrack. Especially since they've been doing that for a far longer time than RAP has become a real issue. Other parks don't seem to have the same problems with their systems in my experiences and most don't even have a time card.
    3 points
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