Now that I've been this season, I think I can safely put some more thoughts down here. Now initially, when I got to the park, I couldn't wait to leave. Admittedly the weather was pretty bleak, with dark clouds over the park making it look washed out and miserable. So:-
-Entrance. With all the changes here, the entrance now feels really claustrophobic. I understand the changes required for security reasons but it doesn't make the entrance look inviting in the slightest. They've compacted the area down completely. With all that space at the front what with the drop off area and car park, a better change to open up the entrance should be to push security forwards. I don't like it at all.
- The Dome. Why do they insist on making the dome as bland and featureless as possible. Black walls with just a screen breaking up the tedium. I think I preferred the Atlantis theme, it at least made the place vibrant. It doesn't come across like that at all and now completely unfriendly.
- The shops. Why are the shops at Thorpe so awful? Bland and featureless. Take the Inferno shop, completely empty, so much open space with nothing of real interest to buy. The Thorpe megastore, painted in boring white on the inside. The Colossus shop with half of it barricaded off. What exactly is that about. We know this company can do interesting shops (The Smiler and The Wicker Man for example) so why does Thorpe get so shafted?
- Rumba Rapids. This gets a special mention as this thing is absolutely dire. It was never exactly a special rapids, as Thunder River it was plain as a cracker but it had some charm at the very least. What Rumba is now is appalling and needs to leave. I don't think it can be saved anymore. What have they done to the look of this ride? The fencing paint is awful, you'd think this was an abandoned theme park or in some Japanese park that opens for four hours a week. Not an Island like no other. No splashing, no waves, embarrassing theming, bland and featureless. Waste of time.
- Amity Cove. Anyone aware of my past Thorpe love will know that Amity Cove and Tidal Wave used to be my favourite ride and park area in the UK. What have they done to this area, I'm talking specifically about the Tidal Wave area. Why have they chosen to try and hide Tidal Wave behind things like Bear Grills punch bags, waffle shops, basketball hoops etc. Why is the Tidal Wave entrance hidden behind a set of Coke freestyle machines. Why was the splash pool bridge taken out and the pathway next to it turned into a smoking area? When I was a young little TP fan, the Tidal Wave entrance sign never worked. Now that it does, the sign can barely be seen because of the amount of stuff chucked into the area. And what is worse is that none of it is themed at all. Not even a small attempt to make it work in the area. It's a 1950's themed American fishing village but you can hardly tell. I've long given up on the water tanker sending out water of the fire hydrant going off but the rest of it, isn't nice for me.
- The food offerings. So I'm at the fortunate age where I prefer to have nice meals at theme parks and not rush around with KFC or Burger King. So why is it hard to find something nice at TP? Chessington has the Barbecue place, Alton has Woodcutters and Food Loop. Thorpe has the dome restaurant which is so far behind most theme parks, it makes me somewhat sad. Why aren't menus on tables regularly available? I remember last year that when I went, you couldn't buy food before 12pm. I can get smashed on stella if I wish, but a burger and fries is too far. The barbecue place near Old Town suffers from being outside at fright Nights time and the Pizza restaurant is only really a valid option if you want to be a glutton. So its the dome or fast food and I thought it was below par. Chips were nice though.
- Aesthetics. Colossus's concreting off water areas, Inferno's track slowly turning white, the chewing gum pole at Saw the ride and the subsequent litter all over the indoor section, The area near Walking Dead and Storm Surge being a complete theming catastrophe, areas such as Inferno's queue stairs flooding. It's all very ugly and some are quick fixes.
But you know what.. there are positives.
Full capacity is something I always approve off, effects such as all of Inferno's smoking and Tidal Waves entrance sign working or The Swarm where the operator insisted the attendant turn the train lights on. The rides are on the whole, actually okay. Good opening hours. Good lighting.