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