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Inferno

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  1. Wow well done Matt, that’s fantastic!! Congratulations! 🍻 Well done for sticking at it and achieving that First - amazing.
  2. Oh dear what a nightmare for anyone visiting over the busy summer 😬 It’s bad enough for queues when everything working. The more time that goes on, the more bizarre the Mandril decision seems to get - what an absolutely dreadful decision it was to go with that ride type given the capacity issues that have plagued the park for years.
  3. Only 2 years late, but here's my write up of Brave it Alone in Studio 13 in 2014.
  4. Oh definitely. The sort of period of time I'm reminiscing about was probably a good 15 years ago really... Which is crazy, there are enthusiasts riding the coasters at Thorpe right now who weren't even born at the time I'm harking back to... 🫥 A lot has changed since then. Oh this is definitely true, and I think some of the forums were responsible for their own demise.
  5. As we approach the start of the preparation for Fright Nights 2024, I thought I'd do a few more blog post ramblings on some nostalgic Thorpe memories I have. I started off a couple of years ago now, with Dr Pepper Sun Scream, then Brave it Alone in Cabin in the Woods back when it opened in 2013... Now it's time for another trip down memory lane, to Brave it Alone in Studio 13, 2014 (a staggering 10 years ago somehow). - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - We did Studio 13 way back in 2014, the second ever year of Brave it Alone, and I believe the last year they let you choose which maze you wanted to experience? So... with our brave it alone tickets booked for the brand new Studio 13, here's what happened! 10PM came around on a surprisingly quiet Fright Nights at Thorpe. We had been fortunate in that we'd managed to experience all of the mazes multiple times that evening, including I believe 3 or 4 runs through Studio. I think unfortunately the days of the lucky quiet evening at FN have long since gone! Much like the previous year when we'd braved it alone in Cabin in the Woods, we met up with the other participants at the Clypso BBQ, and were asked to sign the waver form. One notable difference this year was that there were far fewer staff running this, there were no managers present as there were in large numbers the previous year, and the bar was closed and we weren't offered a drink as part of the experience, although the Director was there again chatting to us along with a couple of members of park staff. As far as I remember, there were 2 of us (my friend and I) doing Studio, 2 others doing Cabin, and 1 doing My Bloody Valentine. So in all honesty you can see why Brave it Alone had to change - they were having to keep 3 mazes open after hours for very little money really.... After chatting with the director for 20 minutes or so, we were taken by one of the members of staff down to the iconic and formidable blue door at the entrance to Studio 13, where we waited and chatted with the member of staff for another 10 minutes or so, the memorable Studio queue music still playing! This was a stark difference to last year, where we were very much outnumbered by concerned staff and Thorpe management who were I think quite stressed about the whole affair... This year it was very much cut back in terms of a single member of staff with us, having a nice chit chat! Anyway... the time had come! While we were chatting at the door, it suddenly swung open, and an actor grabbed my shoulder and screamed at me "YOU'RE LATE! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?", as she pulled me inside, shut the door, and held me against the wall opposite. Here, she stood very much in my face and warned me that if my lateness made her look bad, I'd be dead. I was given the hurry up and told to run down the iconic first corridor, while she pushed me along it. When I reached the end of the corridor there were multiple actors waiting for me, all seemingly very upset about how late I was! I was pulled and pushed around, backwards through various doors as far as I remember, then was stood against the wall while they took my 'photo', which involved a blinding flash, before I was spun around multiple times and sent on my way through the next part of the maze alone. I don't think I made it far before I made it to the makeup department scene. I was sat down in to an office chair and as far as I remember I was taped to it, to stop me from 'wasting any more time'! Here I had the unpleasant experience of multiple actors putting makeup on my face! This only lasted a few seconds before I was released and sent on my way through the rest of the maze. I am finding it a struggle to remember the middle part of the maze, but from memory I think much of it was a similar idea to the Asylum, it was very much a case of following the fences through the maze, with no particular scenes as such for a short while. What I do remember though is spending the entire middle portion of the maze being utterly crowded by the actors, who were all seemingly taking it in turns to get right up in to my face to tell me to hurry up! I distinctly, however, remember the ending of the maze... As I approached the bedroom scene, I was surprised to realise that one of them had managed to get a bottle of water in to the front of my jeans and had proceeded to empty the contents in to my nether regions... I have to admit at this point I did think to myself... ok, wtf is this? The majority of the actors then disappeared, and I was left at the entrance of the bedroom scene with a single actor, who had interacted with me earlier on after the makeup scene! He had complimented my pretty eyes and told me "You'll do nicely".... The reason behind all this then became apparent, as he said he wanted me to meet his daughter. I don't specifically remember at what point during the maze my hands had been tied in front of me (or was I wrapped in tape with arms by my side? Can't remember), but I was tied up regardless. The actor pulled me in to the bedroom where I saw his daughter (a live actor I think?) led on the bed. He told me to say hello and give her a kiss, which of course I denied. He pushed me towards the bed, and I believe other actors then came to his aid and also assisted in getting me to be on the bed with her... He then asked me what I was doing, and seemed very angry when he discovered how wet the front of my trousers were 🙄 He had the chainsaw in his hands at this point and told me he'd never let me do this to anyone ever again, before the chainsaw was very abruptly pushed up between my legs, and off we both went down the exit corridor and out of the doors! I was half way across the path before the chainsaw was eventually removed from my damp crotch. The member of staff was waiting at the exit, where she said to me "... you ok?" 🤣. A few moments later my friend came out, who had suffered the same fate, and off we went (still tied up by the way) to collect our bags from the BBQ before heading out. Unfortunately there wasn't an opportunity to chat to the other participants at the other mazes this year as there was previously. -- In conclusion, I will say that I did enjoy Brave it Alone in studio 13, although this was a very different approach to Cabin in the Woods the previous year. Where the Cabin BIA experience focused on a lot of physical pushing and shoving, shouting, being physically picked up and moved, crawling, and even bodily fluids to some extent, the Studio experience was more about making you feel uncomfortable and awkward, and it was a lot less 'hands on' when it came to all the pushing and shoving. It certainly was a less 'scary' experience than the previous year. I don't want to be a bore, but I wouldn't have gone with the bedroom scene, and if I'm honest the wet underwear was something I could have done without on the drive home! I also found the "You're late" storyline (which seemed to fade away during the maze) meant that the experience was very quick as it really was a fast run through the maze. I have to say that I did also miss the 'meet-up' at the bar with everyone at the end, as this was a great way for everyone to chat and compare experiences as you all left the park. All in all, this is a great memory I have of 'old thorpe' - I commend them for trying something niche, and for daring to be different. I love the idea of brave it alone, and who knows, maybe one day it'll make a return in some form or other. But until then, I'll never forget it - Fright Nights a decade ago was Thorpe at its peak in my opinion.
  6. It's such a shame isn't it! I really do miss the way it used to be.
  7. You know those 'memory' notifications you get on your iPhone now and then, where it features a load of photos from a past trip? One of those popped up for me recently from an old meet up we had on another site, which sent me on a bit of a nostalgic frenzy. Since that happened, I've spent a bit too much time these last few weeks looking back through old photos and videos, and it's prompted me to reach out to some old 'theme park friends' who I haven't spoken to for a while. To be honest it's been absolutely bloody fab. But it's got me thinking... Being a theme park enthusiast just isn't what it used to be. I'm wondering if others feel this way too? Of course I dearly miss the days in my teens where I'd regularly meet my friends at the parks, but equally I am finding myself really missing all the fan forums that there used to be, and how busy they were every evening. The forums used to be buzzing with excitement and discussion about our weird shared favourite topic! And that was just it, it was a discussion, often about the unknown. It was rare that we actually knew what was going to be happening at the parks, so speculation and rumour really did drive the discussion and keep everyone interested! Aside from the big forums and fan sites, there were also countless smaller sites, run by people who loved the parks just as much and just wanted to share their hobby and interest. It didn't stop at the forums either - YouTube was awash with videos from enthusiasts everywhere, not just the big names, who now seem to have unlimited access to everything. I remember sat at my laptop in my room at my parents house, most nights I'd check my usual sites and channels for any updates I could find! It was exciting - had someone managed to get a blurry photo from underneath a fence, or even better get a 20 second video clip of a scare maze entrance, or a trench being dug somewhere? Or the rare holy grail, someone had found some plans on a planning portal somewhere! 😮 I absolutely loved the mystery and excitement surrounding everything - "what could be under those tarps?", "Did anyone see that crane today?", "There's a new poster for Fright Nights!"... If you wanted to know what happened inside the Asylum, you would need to physically go into the Asylum and find out for yourself! There were no HD POV videos from press night, no behind the scenes videos, and no real construction updates to speak of. All you had to go on was the reviews and discussion from others who had been through before. God... it was brilliant wasn't it? There's no denying, however, that things are better now. We got what we wanted. We now have more access to information than ever before, with the parks being very open about what they're doing, and the YouTubers and Influencers of today being very detailed in what they show. It really is good that we have access to all this stuff - but I have to admit I do miss the days when the 'news' came from everyone - whoever happened to be at the parks (or peeping over the fences) that day, with their blackberry camera out and ready to snap a picture or two! I think the age of the influencer and all of this free and open information has nearly killed off the forums, and the way that theme park enthusiasm used to be. It seems that now, the 'star enthusiasts' who run the major YouTube channels and social media pages, are in some ways an extension of the park's own marketing team, with some influencers quite literally being employed by the parks, even creatively responsoble for some of the attractions... It would also appear that, although I have nothing against any influencers out there, that the enthusiast game has in some ways become about building up an audience and even making a living from it - it's not as much a 'hobby' as it used to be it seems? Taking a wonky photo of the Curse arriving on the rain soaked beach, or Saw the Ride's brand new supports going in to the newly reclaimed land, and getting home to plug in your cable to transfer the image to your laptop to post it on the forums was never about seeing how many likes you could get - it was about sharing the joy with like-minded people from across the country, or it was in my case at least, then having a good chat about it. Social media has killed off the forums really hasn't it, all those little hidden communities where friendships were made and interests were shared! There's no denying that social media is better, and information is more readily available, but are we better off as enthusiasts? I'm not convinced we are.
  8. It is a bit of a shock - it’s only been open a few weeks 😬
  9. The tummy-bubbling new Fanta sponsorship has arrived a season early.
  10. I know that Thorpe are absolutely doing all that they can, and yes I'm aware that new rides of course have teething troubles, but is anyone else finding it a little worrying how difficult it seems to be to actually get Hyperia consistently running properly? The reliability and time it takes to do the testing seems to be dreadful, and I echo the comment above - how on earth is this going to work with Fright Nights, and the busy summer season which is right on top of us now? Also when Fastback sales are allowed to pick up, this level of downtime is going to be crippling. I'm (finally) getting there next week to ride it - hopefully it's running well by then.
  11. Back from DLP last week - my first ever visit there. A few little things that stood out to me! What an incredible place overall. I'm lucky enough to have been to WDW a few times, and I must admit I did wonder if DLP would be inferior... But really, it holds its own, and honestly I much prefer Disneyland Park over Magic Kingdom. Big Thunder Mountain (and Frontierland as a whole) is fantastic - probably better than the one in Orlando. The sections under the lake are fantastic. Disneyland Park feels 'complete', and there aren't really many areas that lack theming or look unpolished. This can't be said for Magic Kingdom, which is unpleasant in places. Disney Village was very disappointing - run down , small and messy - fortunately they are in the process of refurbing it. I was expecting it to be a little more like Disney Springs, but really it's a far cry from that. Hyperspace Mountain is hysterically badly done. Far worse than I thought it would be. The Star Wars overlay is sloppy and abysmally sparse, and the queue is truly dreadful - just a dark tunnel with a couple of posters on the wall? Come on now. The coaster however is very good, and I'd have love to have seen the ride as it was intended. A very poor show really. Disneyland Park is truly stunning and I can absolutely see why this is known as the most beautiful Disney park. The Studios Park is very much under construction and is covered in temporary fences, which is to be expected, but still offers a good part day at the least with some truly brilliant attractions. Avengers Flight Force is a standout - the coaster feels fast and quite forceful, with some good theming in the queue and screens throughout the ride which work well I think. The restraints aren't great, but overall a very good ride I thought. Doesn't deserve the criticism I've read! Tower of Terror is excellent. I wasn't expecting it to be so creepy, and so different to Orlando. Ratatouille and the surrounding area are beautifully done and is a good sign of things to come at the Studios park. Something that surprised me was how horrible some of the queues are at DLP - Many of them are very sparsely themed, and incredibly cramped cattlepens. Big Thunder for example was not a good experience for us, with many of the French smoking in that undercover section where the queue inexplicably splits for a while then re-merges again (which was causing some tension among some people in front of us). Weird. I'm really looking forward to going back already. You can really see the change in quality from where Disney have taken the reigns, so I think really it's on the up!
  12. That would be a real shame to think that Detonator could be on borrowed time if it's a struggle to find parts. It's an incredible drop tower. Hopefully all will be sorted soon and they can continue to source bits. I bet many of Thorpe's rides are starting to hit these sort of troubles now at about the same time - many of the flats were built within a few years of each other.
  13. I wonder if they're going to put a screen up and show the football over the coming few weeks maybe? (grass is footbally isn't it?)
  14. Wasn't there supposed to be some sort of investment in to something causing Colossus' crap operations during the off season? I guess that never happened in the end?
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