About Paultons Parkway
- Birthday 03/11/1998
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Twenty-five years ago, Thorpe Park was a completely different place to today. It was a much more family-oriented park with no inverting rides, only two roller coasters and more in the way of gentle rides and educational experiences. Chessington on the other hand had more in the way of intense rides at the time with Vampire, Rameses Revenge, Rodeo and the newly opened Rattlesnake. The latter was definitely considered to be the most thrilling of the Surrey theme parks throughout the ‘90s. 1998 was the year Tussauds Group purchased Thorpe, although I have been wondering whether they always had vision to swap the target audiences of Chessington with Thorpe, and whether the primary reason for this was to do with the fact that Chessington could not expand or build bigger rides due to green belt restrictions. Since then, the only major thrill rides that have been built at Chessington are Samurai, Dragon’s Fury, KOBRA, Croc Drop and the new Jumanji coaster opening this year. Apart from Samurai which opened merely a year after the purchase and was moved to Thorpe Park soon after, none of the above are what you would describe as extreme thrills. What’s notable is that these rides have been able to be built within the park’s green belt restrictions by digging down, whereas it’s unlikely any of the Tussauds era installations at Thorpe would have been approved at Chessington due to their height and footprint. If it wasn’t for the Green Belt, would Chessington have continued to develop itself with more intense rides? Would Thorpe have remained a family oriented park or would it have continued to compete with Chessie like it did in the 90s, assuming Tussauds didn’t take it over?
Project Exodus - New for 2024 (Hopefully)
Paultons Parkway replied to Mysterio Ka's topic in The FutureLooks impressive! What could have been. At least the X pyramid has been repainted/clad to look the same as Colossus’ station.
Project Exodus - New for 2024 (Hopefully)
Paultons Parkway replied to Mysterio Ka's topic in The FutureWas the plan to stylise the exterior of the X:/ No Way Out pyramid as part of this? Besides, the coaster that now is The Walking Dead: The Ride would probably have made a decent Egyptian tomb themed ride.
Paultons Parkway replied to Rich's topic in UK AttractionsAs somebody with a keen interest in the history and development of the UK’s major theme parks, I thought I’d give a reflection on one of the very first theme parks I visited, and from my own opinion how it has risen to become a significant player in the UK’s theme park lineup with major investments in the past decade. I can see potential for Paultons to become a premier destination for the London and South East regions, putting it in the same league as Legoland, Chessington and Thorpe. I first visited Paultons in the summer of 2004 on an end of year school trip. Back then, it was dominated by kiddie rides (I was 6 at the time so comfortably in the target market), minimal theming and the park’s former owl mascot Percy (with the strapline “It’s a hoot hoot!”). Throughout the years, we would return annually and witness the opening of the Cobra roller coaster (2006), Sky Swinger (2008), Edge (2009) and Magma (2012). These four rides are what I would call the park’s first major “thrill rides”, which would be a centrepiece for the major developments that were to come. Meanwhile, the opening of Peppa Pig World in 2011 was what I would call the first significant development for Paultons, since this became the park’s first properly themed area and the first theme park area dedicated to the universally recognised character, driving up attendance figures and really putting Paultons into competition with Chessington. Unsurprisingly, this area would become the park’s primary area for kiddie rides, and while there were still a fair few around the rest of the park, I imagined that these would eventually be redeveloped into making the park a more attractive place for people of all ages. And boy was I right! 2016 saw what I would call the park’s greatest investment to date - Lost Kingdom. A brand new dinosaur-themed area with the centrepiece consisting of two coasters aimed for the more thrill-seeking end of the family market. The theming was above and beyond too, with a previously bland area of the park spruced up and emblazoned with character. At the same time, the traditionally more established parks of Thorpe and Chessington were going downhill with their investments, neither having opened a new coaster for 4 and 12 years respectively, yet Paultons were leading the way with two for the price of one in the same year. A couple of years later, plans were announced to redevelop the area around the existing Wave Runner ride to an American theme. Known as Tornado Springs, this area would house a new spinning coaster and a spinning flat ride similar to Vortex at Thorpe Park, Paulton’s most intense ride to date. This area was due to open in 2020 but ended up being delayed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When it finally did open however, it was certainly worth the wait. Paultons now had 6 coasters and a wider variety of flat thrill rides than Chessington, the nearest comparable park for ride variety and target audience. The developments at Paultons since 2011 have been highly executed and well-received, although this has made the remaining unthemed areas of the park feel dated, despite many of its rides having only opened within the past two decades. With the success of recent development, I imagine Paultons have plans to redevelop these areas, although how this might be executed remains to be seen. I expect that most of the bigger rides will remain in place with major retheming taking place, while the traditional kiddie rides will probably be removed since Peppa Pig World now caters for this market, opening up more land for future development. There is also a large chunk of undeveloped land to the south of the Edge and west of the car park, although I’m not sure if this would be suitable for building rides on, and I doubt Paultons would want to risk a retrospective planning application again after the furore with the Cobra and Edge shortly after they opened. Even so, there appears to be plenty of land within the existing park ripe for development, and with the track record Paultons have in executing this well, I expect there will be a lot more to offer from the park in the future. Personally, I really hope we will see additional themed areas covering the entirety of Paultons, as well as a greater variety of thrilling flat rides, an inverting roller coaster and a dark water ride. This will really put the park on the map and make it a premier destination for the South Coast of England, appealing to both families and thrillseekers alike.
Paultons Parkway replied to Dan_Rush's topic in The Real WorldHello all, long time lurker first time poster here. I’m Peter, 25 years old and from Bournemouth. In addition to riding coasters, I also enjoy learning about the history and development of UK theme parks. I first visited Thorpe Park on a school trip in June 2013, although I couldn’t ride any of the coasters due to the fact I had undergone major surgery on my back a few months earlier. I returned a year later when I finally had the all clear from my doctor and was able to experience an inverting roller coaster for the first time, Nemesis Inferno. Such an amazing ride and still my favourite coaster of all time. To this date, I have completed all the coasters at Thorpe, Paultons and almost all at Chessington (I am yet to experience Dragon’s Fury), as well as a few at smaller theme parks. The next destination on my bucket list is Alton Towers, which I’m surprised I still haven’t got round to yet as my mates always suggest it. I’m not sure however whether it’s better to go this year or leave it until next year when Nemesis reopens. Since it would be a shame to go without riding this iconic coaster, next year seems logical. Conversely, at the rate Towers is closing rides, something else might go before then hence visiting ASAP might makes more sense (and I could always go next year as well!)