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What's always baffled me about the entrance is how long it can often take to get inside the park.

 

Alton Towers can get you through the turnstiles in minutes. Yes, the Monorail does drip-feed guests in a controlled manner, but even the queue for the monorail at the other end is nearly always much faster than queueing to get in at Thorpe.  AT can process far more people, far more quickly.

 

I kind of agree with Marc, for me the issue isn't with the buildings or how it looks (although yeah, wouldn't complain if they did something different..) It's more about how dreadful the first impressions often are.

The big logo sign is pretty cool imo, and the screen is quite good. It's the queues and temporary "f*** it that will do for now" nature of everything that's the problem.

 

Is it just a case of more throughput needed maybe (somehow)?

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I imagine next year will be a near repeat of this year.    TWD, DBGTROTD, BM all closed. Capacity issues elsewhere.    If only they had a nice open space like a farm to relax

They are waiting for a new pump, they ordered one but they received the wrong one

I dont think there anything to say that hasnt already been said... I would say the state of the park is embarrassing but I dont think Merlin have enough shame to be embarrassed by anything. 🥴  I gu

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I haven't visited on a really busy day in a long time, so my take might be skewed a bit. But from what I've seen, a big issue always feels like the number of security officers doing bag checks was never enough to cope with the mass crowds. Especially when compared with, for example, Towers. 

 

Using the old Admissions huts probably hasn't helped to a degree, given they create a bottle neck. I think the introduction of the marquee with the scanners helps spread things out more. That's obviously where a redesign would help. But without the staff to back that up, it wouldn't make a massive change.

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5 minutes ago, JoshC. said:

I haven't visited on a really busy day in a long time, so my take might be skewed a bit. But from what I've seen, a big issue always feels like the number of security officers doing bag checks was never enough to cope with the mass crowds. Especially when compared with, for example, Towers. 

 

Using the old Admissions huts probably hasn't helped to a degree, given they create a bottle neck. I think the introduction of the marquee with the scanners helps spread things out more. That's obviously where a redesign would help. But without the staff to back that up, it wouldn't make a massive change.

Loosing the old addmissions huts ruined the look and feel of the area along with the amount of staff processing on the day customers aside from the fencing, security would/could have been much better placed.

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On 4/1/2021 at 4:24 PM, JoshC. said:

Jack Silkstone is recording his now seemingly traditional pre-season video. The second photo from his Instagram post shows that the park have installed directional signage around the park:

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CNH6XEDB3WU/?igshid=d7v9xcxmufgm

 

I know the park is small, but I've felt for a long time the park should introduce something like these!


Interestingly the signage doesn’t say this way to “Swarm Island” or “Old Town” or “The Jungle”. The different areas are labelled as “Intense Thrills” or “Little Thrills”.

 

Minor I know, but few years back they started to use names like old town and swarm island. I think a lot of people thought they were gonna go down the theme park route. Now they revert back to this, the “leaked” 2021 map doesn’t even mention the areas.

 

I get its minor, but I feel it’s inconsistent. Again it shows the park do not know which direction they are going in. The Themed Amusement park route or a Theme park route.


I’d prefer the latter, but who knows. I must say I really like the branding and the dark blue colours now. Just confusing the direction (if you pardon the pun) they are taking it.

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Yes that is interesting. In the one sense, I don't mind that as it is helpful for getting people to understand where certain things are. 

 

It does signify a potential to move away from themed lands again, which would be a shame. Also, it makes me wonder how often they would change the signs - every time an attraction is added (or taken away), some signs immediately become obsolete. Seems awkward in the long run compared to just pointing towards areas.

 

Ultimately, I don't care whether Thorpe decide to go down the themed area route or just themed attractions and no coherent themes between rides. But just stick with one and roll with it. It is frustrating seeing them seesaw between directions and ideas every couple of years.

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There’s a different sign for rush and a different sign for quantum. Once’s “Intense Thrills” and one is “exhilarating thrills”. Which doesn’t make sense considering they are they same area and direction lol.

 

Yeah I don’t mind what way they go with Thorpe. Just proves there’s still confusion and inconsistency with their direction even in 2021

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https://youtu.be/e02Pc5h7NMM?t=22

 

The security area has changed, there's now three channels on either side so hopefully this speeds it up now. The fencing has had signage added too so I imagine it will be hardly noticeable when the gates are open. The map has been redone too, and it looks like the areas of the park have been replaced by ride intensities as mentioned before. WWTP truck looks good although I do think it'd be better in its original spot, even if it sold food there too.

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If they stay away from the different park areas from now on and separate them by intensity, then it’s no bother.

 

I personally think the entrance area is getting better, they’ve modernised the signage and painted the security huts in the  slightly new blue and orange branding. They just need to get rid of the temporary marquees and repave the entrance area...

 

I don’t like how simple the new WWTP truck is, like the red speakers which used to be on there are gone but I suppose it’s one less thing to get vandalised.

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I would love to see Thorpe have a proper go at doing themed areas again, I first visited when they were starting to lose any sense of direction but there was still a nice infrastructure there. Over a decade later and I don't think it would be as quick or simple to go back into themed areas again (if you want them cohesive and done well). I would really expect them to go down the themed route properly and commit to it, but the current trend of IP attractions and the nature of said IPs makes me wonder if it is something that could really work any time soon.

 

I think Angry Birds land really dampens some of the parks potential seeing as it replaced Amity and now you kind of have Tidal Wave and Stealth with similar theming but kind of not together. I'm not sure when the IP for Angry Birds is due to end though, it must be soon unless they are extending it, but I feel like it is kind of running its course now. I think if Amity was redone with the dodgems, detonator and the cinema as well as Tidal Wave and Stealth it has potential to be really good and perhaps the nicest area of the park... 

 

Of course, maybe there is a way in which themed areas can be done nice and properly again, maybe I am just being a bit too fussy lol 

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Your not really meant be going onsite at all, It’s private property and that video goes past the entrance gates. Not the best of influences, everyone’s gonna try and go in and scale the gates to have a peek 😂

 

I’ve seen many people driving down to go and have a look at the van..... it’s a bit strange tbf I don’t get it. Just wait a week or two and see it then 😂

 

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A marquee has appeared on the plaza next to Zodiac: 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thorpeparkmania/posts/10165416546300624

 

I believe that the government relaxed rules surrounding the set up of marquees so that pubs and restaurants can have more outdoor, but covered, seating. So presumably this will be an area featuring seating - and maybe some food offerings - whilst the park is unable to have indoor seating as normal. 

 

EDIT: So apparently the rule from 12th April is that, for the hospitality industry, any roofed structure must have at least 50% of its walls open to be classed as outside. One would presume that applies for hospitality within an entertainment venue too.

 

So as long as this marquee has one of the longer sides and an end open, it's presumably okay to be used as undercover seating. But in theory, they can't have the 2 long sides with walls and the 2 short sides open. Obviously Covid rules are very confusing and convoluted at times, so who knows.

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Vampire at Chessington is open... maybe at least 50% of the attraction is outdoors it’s allowed to open? So including the actual track, it would be more then 50%.....

 

Not sure tho.. 

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31 minutes ago, 2542464 said:

What does this mean rides-wise though? Like Saw or Nemesis for example

 

I perhaps should have been more specific: the 50% rule is for roofed structures in relation to dining/eating. I'm not sure how far it spreads (ie whether the 50% rule is for all roofed structures in hospitality), or on what the rules are regarding attractions with indoor sections.

 

It's all very muddled though. Please forgive me in advance for a rambling post, which will perhaps be controversial...

 

The rule, loosely speaking, is that outdoor visitor attractions can open from April 12th, and indoor from May 17th.

 

Many parks have made the decision to not open completely indoor rides (in particular dark rides) from the 12th. I'm also aware that some zoos, miniature villages and similar outdoor visitor attractions are not opening indoor viewing areas (for example, Chessington are not having the covered Gorilla viewing section available). 

 

However, Blackpool Pleasure Beach are slated to open all their dark rides. And Drayton are opening Sheriff's Showdown, their shooting ride. The main common factor across those rides are that the stations, at a minimum, are not totally enclosed / indoors. You can also be seated in your bubble exclusively. So it seems like there's a work around to a degree for theme parks with indoor attractions. What that work around is though, is unclear.

 

What that means then for rides that are largely outdoors but have indoor sections / stations is even more confusing. If the reason Blackpool and Drayton are able to open attractions which are predominantly indoors is because you're exclusively sharing a ride car with your bubble, should something like Saw be allowed, since you will probably be sharing the car with people outside your bubble? Perhaps not. If it's solely because the station is outdoors, and it's just coincidence that all the opening dark rides can be ridden exclusively in your bubble, then something like Saw perhaps should be okay, because you spend the majority of the ride outside.

 

There's also the other issue of indoor queueing. Whilst it's not banned (obviously), it's another interesting caveat potentially in the rules. Theme parks are being allowed to reopen because they're outdoor attractions, settings where Covid transmission is shown to be much lower. Should parks be allowing indoor queueing when the reason they're open is because they're outdoor attractions? Arguably not. It's not a major issue, but with some rides (eg: Saw, Th13teen, Vampire), there's at least some small queue indoors during normal operation. If indoor queue is frowned upon, then it could have operational knock ons.

 

Obviously all of this is just what I understand from the guidelines the government have given. They're never concrete, because they could never give a set of 'cover all bases' rules, and they're always vague anyway. So one would assume / hope that each park, and outdoor attraction, has had the opportunity to clarify points with government representatives, and then make the correct choice. 

 

However, in my opinion of how I read the guidelines, I don't think that any indoor rides should open. I also have reservations about rides with indoor sections opening too.

Simply put, the 12th April relaxations are for outdoor settings. Why should parks be able to, effectively, bend the rules to open indoor attractions, when independent indoor attractions are left to be closed for another month, especially if they can operate just as safely? Feels a bit of a kick in the teeth to them.

 

For avoidance of doubt: I genuinely don't think under (how I interpret) the guidelines, the like of Saw, Th13teen, Smiler, Wicker Man, Vampire, Dragon, etc should really be opening on the 12th. They all have substantial enough indoor sections imo.

Other rides with indoor stations (Colossus, Inferno, Nemesis, etc etc) are okay I'd say. That can be likened to walking through a pub to access their beer garden, for example, which is allowed. 

 

This is all coming down to very fine details, I know, and I could be completely wrong with my interpretations of the rules. But the ability to be able to open indoor attractions does feel like the exploitation of a loophole imo. It's not to be unexpected that some places make mistakes; for example, I believe Go Ape reopened on 29th March, but closed down earlier this week because they were told they shouldn't be opening until 12th April. 

 

For what it's worth, I feel like the parks can safely open indoor attractions (including dark rides), and that most indoor entertainment is safe to open. I certainly think they're safer than indoor retail, for example. Equally though, I appreciate the need for things to reopen slowly and cautiously, and that indoor retail is more important than indoor entertainment at this stage.

 

tl;dr - Rules are unclear. Some rides which are set to open next week I don't think should under the rules. Parks hopefully have sought clarifications and gotten the answers, and don't end up having to shut down certain attractions.

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I pretty much agree with you there, you touched upon this but indoor queuing is not much different to queuing inside a shopping centre.

 

However, I think/hope at the Merlin parks for stations like saw. I hope they make people wait outside until it’s clear to board in the station. I don’t see much harm in that, if people are in and out of the building and not lingering.

 

Indoor attractions such as dark rides should not open, I don’t agree with Blackpool opening their indoor attractions whilst all the other parks are keeping them closed. It’s unfair and at the end of the day, dangerous and irresponsible.

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So then, we now have a first look at the amazing new theming which has replaced the gas ball around Tidal Wave:

950745399_Screenshot2021-04-10at21_17_34.thumb.png.1aa71ea9233dc07bb9e2b818ee6f1c75.png
 

Apparently, there's going to be some form of fire effect coming from the small red petrol pump they have added here too, so at least something impersonating the original ride theming returns finally.

 

It's something I suppose (and hey, it's better than nothing right?), but in all honesty? I really wish they had reconstructed that gas ball again rather than doing this. The pool now looks so plain and boring without it, even if the fire effect didn't work on it for over a decade prior.

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Jack Silkstone has released his pre-season behind the scenes video, where he's shown round by the park's Commercial Director, Russ:

 

 

If videos aren't your thing (though tbf, it's a nice video), here's a fairly comprehensive overview of the changes for 2021...

 

  • Changes to the Drop Off system in the car park. There's now a barrier and you have 30 minutes after entering before you're charged (thanks to number plate recognition)
  • Thorpe Perk Express, the rethemed car from Stealth's plaza, will serve breakfast food, hot dogs and Costa drinks
  • The Dome has a new, sparkling blue floor
  • The Coffee Shack in the Dome will be open for takeaway only
  • No seating will be available in the Dome to support government guidence
  • Indoor arcades are not allowed to open until May 17th, so these will be covered up
  • The company who bought out Picsolve last year, Pomvom, have a facial recognition system being trialled at Thorpe and Towers. Effectively, you take a selfie on your phone, and any on ride photos get sent to your phone (presumably with a watermark / low res) for you to view to decide if you want them
  • Lots of signage to fit in with the rebrand that started last year, including new signs for Amity Kebabs and Colossus Hotdogs
  • The fingerpost signage directing to rides instead of areas is because it's felt guests just want direction to rides rather than areas, but the areas will still exist
  • The Megastore has seen a refresh
  • Tidal Wave will be receiving a flame effect, some new audio effects and has had a refresh in the queue line and surrounding water
  • The partnership with Nitrogenie has ended, but the unit is still being used for nitrogen-made ice cream, and will also serve ice cream cookie sandwiches 
  • The Fastrack unit now has self-serve machines
  • Jungle Escape has fences around it hiding it. When asked about it, Russ was very much dodged answering about if it would reopen, so I don't expect to see that again tbh
  • In terms of dining options, everywhere is expected to be open, with Pizza Pasta operating takeaway service only for now
  • The marquee by Zodiac is indeed just going to have seating, and will be available for people staying at the Shark to use, with the nearby Cantina having an extended menu
  • The Saw police car is back, near the Fastrack entrance, behind some theming
  • Possible summer event might be happening

 

Black Mirror

  • As expected, Slammer's old queue line will be the queue line for the experience. The fences seem to have been painted black
  • The endless tunnel that was used for waiting when mazes were there has been removed. That walkway exists for wheelchair users
  • The pathway leading up to the entrance has been smoothed out, with the rocks around there removed
  • Because of the delay, some further work was done to improve the experience
  • There will be some sort of Black Mirror merch

 

Tidal Wave

I'd usually avoid screenshots from videos, but for reference, here is the new theming feature which has replaced the decaying old rusty ball:

image.png

A flame effect will be coming out from the petrol pump. I'm very intrigued how that will happen, but if they've managed to get something that is a proper fire effect, looks good and works reliably, that is very impressive.

 

There will also be a sounded effect from the tower, and there's also been more theming placed in the pool where the remote control boats used to exist (they have been removed from there this year).

 

EDIT: Ninajed by Marhelorpe, but meh, it can stay

 

It's always worth reminding one's self that these videos are effectively a form of marketing from Thorpe, so some stuff should perhaps be taken with the tiniest pinch of salt. And naturally the focus will be on the new and the good, and not the ignored and bad. But in general, the park is looking nice and I'm a fan of many of the changes. 

 

Some impulse reactions from me:

  • The new Dome floor looks very shiny and bright. I have fears it will dull down quickly and may not look the part after a year or two. It also looked a bit tacky from the video, but hard to say until seeing it in person. 
  • It's nice to know that the branding has been extended throughout the whole park. It's not my favourite branding to have existed at the park, but on the whole it's nice. I just hope they stick with it for more than 2 years...
  • I can't help but think that the park should just give up with themed areas. They haven't gone all in with them in YEARS, and it just leads to confusion and things being messy. If the guests really just want to know about ride locations and not areas, then just focus on that. I'd rather that than half in / half out themed area ideas
  • I'm already overly excited about the existence of ice cream cookie sandwiches at Thorpe tbh
  • If Jungle Escape really has gone, please please please Thorpe, use the space for Fright Nights again
  • Seeing the Saw police car behind a fence is sad, but given how often it was carted away because people destroyed it, I'm not surprised
  • Black Mirror's entrance looks nice

 

So yeah, in short: park is looking nice, and I'm intrigued by the changes. We're at a point where it's been a long time since there's been anything new, and the Black Mirror attraction doesn't solve many of the problems. But I feel more optimistic than I have in a couple of seasons about the park, which is a nice surprise!

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