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Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon


Marc

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7 hours ago, Matt N said:

Maybe they could do some sort of refurbishment to convert it into a more regular dark ride? I'd imagine that DBGT probably has more track than you might expect, so that could work!

 

If the wanted to a more conventional dark ride, they would pretty much have to rip out Ghost Train and start again. In terms of tracks, Ghost Train literally just has a pair of parallel train tracks, so a conversion/refurb wouldn't really do much.

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It really is an awkward one isn't it? Maybe just some new VR I guess then once Derren's name removed? Or maybe not even that - you wouldn't know Derren has anything to do with it other than the hologram and the countdown when you are "back in the room" on the VR or whatever he says.

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The weird thing was that when we got on the train the actors kept saying “don’t take the headsets out of the bags yet” giving the impression that the headsets actually work.  My niece who I was with assumed the same (we hadn’t been on for a couple of years and a ton of headset were in bags) - after the first section my niece said she got shouted at by one of the actors for not using a headset - cos it was broken.  Apparently the actor was quite rude and shouted at her for not having a working headset - would make more sense for the actors to tell people that the headsets in bags don’t work but they didn’t and implied to take them out once everyone was seated.  I think my niece has only done ghost train twice before and due to covid and what was being said it’s an easy mistake to make, however I don’t think shouting sarcastically at a guest is the best attitude to have!

 

Honestly I wish they would flatten the thing - at least the arena was a decent space for fright nights mazes

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Sounds like they're being told to not say "headsets in the bag are broken" (or at the very least, to avoid words like broken), and then muddling up how they're communicating with it.

 

The attitude ain't great though. Wonder if that's them being told to stick within a character and them not judging when to tone it down correctly, or just poor staff

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9 hours ago, JoshC. said:

Sounds like they're being told to not say "headsets in the bag are broken" (or at the very least, to avoid words like broken), and then muddling up how they're communicating with it.

 

The attitude ain't great though. Wonder if that's them being told to stick within a character and them not judging when to tone it down correctly, or just poor staff


They definitely weren’t communicating well - if you were riding for the first time you might assume the ones in bags are the clean ones maybe.  Anyway I didn’t hear what was said as I had my head set on but apparantly the actor was both shouty and very sarcastic.

 

Also - do they no longer touch peoples legs in there?  That’s the main reason I went on 😂🤣.  The ride is so dead in the water.  We just had a woman coughing at the end - right in my face at one point so hoping she didn’t have a dose of covid.  Will the demon at the end ever resurface?  That was genuinely the best part of the ride

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To me, without the demon ending, the whole storyline is completely disjointed.

Granted the 'infected' ones are the more promiment ones in the storyline, but after they got rid of the demon in the tunnel/lights on a stick schtick for Rise of the Demon - it kind of makes the demon a bit... irrelevant?

 

They should either scrap the demon idea entirely and just focus on the people 'infected by the gas', or scrap the infected and go with the demon.

 

'Rise of the Demon' doesn't make any sense anymore - but to be fair, I never understood the idea of why a demon was involved when the gas was turning people infected?

Really, really poor storyline.

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The whole experience is just a mess and it’s like they never really thought things through that well.  The 2 photo points in the queue are no longer in use so the ending part and the photo booth is pointless.  They had the bag drop the first year and then got rid of that after just one season.  Instead of fixing the mid section which I thought was a really good effect they’ve just hashed up a mini maze in there.  The pre show is so long and tedious and they’ve now added almost a second preshow with an actor which seems to go on forever and as a result the second VR section has been cut.  The initial second VR section was very odd so I do prefer the updated one but I would rather it have stayed what it was instead of cutting it to accommodate the actors speech which is quite tedious.

My favourite part was the exit/gift shop but they’ve fudged that up now that the demon is gone - it genuinely scared me the first time I saw it but now just a person coughing doesn’t have the same effect.

Even the shop looks pretty awful compared to how it used to be - half empty and selling other ride merch.

 

Its just not worth re-riding (I only do if I’m with someone who hasn’t been on and wants to try it).  There are so many options they could have gone for for a dark ride - even a bog standard ghost train would be better at this point.  All the hype surrounding it and it’s just a pile of crud - I guess it was a gamble they took which hasn’t paid off.  Wondering at which point it will just be called “ghost train” because I don’t think I’d want my name to be affiliated with it.  Maybe I’m being harsh - I just miss the arena in all honesty.

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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

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Wow, it sounds worse than ever.  What a mess :( 

 

Thank you for sharing guys - I don't think I was planning on ever 'riding' this again tbh, but now I'll definitely give it a miss.

 

It's been 6 years since this opened now. Surely that's long enough for the park to give it a go now, before getting rid?

The whole thing needs bulldozing. In my opinion the park was better off with the unused Arena - it was less disappointing.

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Just to add to what @Han30 said - I just can't believe that the second VR featuring the demon, which was actually quite good, has been cut so much, so that it now barely features the demon - which features in the name of the flippin' ride!

 

Also - that 1950s style microphone on the Minds Wanted plinth looked very familiar, I wonder if the Lycans will want it back for Fright Nights? Or maybe it was an "easter egg".

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13 hours ago, MattyMoo said:

Just to add to what @Han30 said - I just can't believe that the second VR featuring the demon, which was actually quite good, has been cut so much, so that it now barely features the demon - which features in the name of the flippin' ride!

 

Also - that 1950s style microphone on the Minds Wanted plinth looked very familiar, I wonder if the Lycans will want it back for Fright Nights? Or maybe it was an "easter egg".

 

Not an easter egg... certainly just a 'nod to', or whatever other buzzword Thorpe likes using these days.

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