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Sparkle Project


Mattgwise

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I went on the BTS tour of the park today. Great tour it should be said; it was headed up by Russ, who is a fantastic speaker.

On 3/7/2024 at 10:40 PM, tactic said:

No way they're staying with that screen for the start of the season. Just doesn't make sense to pay all that money to refresh the rest of the enterance and most of the park but leave the dodgy screen. 

 

Hopefully the new video/graphic is playing on it just to test how it will look when the new screen arrives....

 

I did mean to ask about the screen, but honestly forgot. It does seem like it won't be fixed for start of season (I believe the park said this in the passholder group a few weeks back too). A real shame. Hopefully they can hide the dead pixels with whatever they put on the screen.

 

Okay, now time for some updates. Everything is still a Work in Progress it should be stressed

 

Toilets

Loo enthusiasts rejoice. All the toilets have received some love.

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Swarm toilets. The walls have been painted green (originally white), and no more foot pedal sinks

 

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Megastore toilets are nicely themed

 

Tidal Wave

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The rebuilt bridge, with the original Pier 13 style.

The fire effect is proving very tricky to implement, but is being planned still

 

Big Easy Boulevard

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Stealth

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Colossus

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The park have released that the entrance is a bit flat, and so are looking to add more colour/depth to it, although this will happen mid-season.

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The shop front looks nice.

 

In terms of the rest of the repaint, and indeed a Sparkle Project continuation, the park hope to do that either next closed season, or the closed season after. The park want to do it regardless, and recognise they need to keep up appearances - literally - now that they've started to do this. Personally, I hope it happens next closed season, as it does look a little jarring in places.

 

The park is looking lovely though, with the Hyperia area coming along and looking smart. There's other small updates too, such as KFC getting refitted and other new food places. Some parts of the park are still a bit tired looking / haven't really been touched. Rumba/Inferno is the big example I would say. And the Sparkling up does highlight how tatty some parts of that area, and the likes of Swarm and Saw, look. I do wonder if this means that, come opening, some enthusiasts will focus too much on those and not the fab stuff that we've seen heavily documented and shouted out about.

 

But yes, it's clear to see the park have put time, effort and money into things this winter, and they're taking strides in the right direction. I'm excited to see what will happen and hope their plans pay off!

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The road markings outside the dodgems are... weird given they haven't changed the block paving underneath. One step forwards then jumping backwards there. See also the lovely stuff around Stealth then the half worn boxes and white lines on the floor.

 

Det photo booth looks tacky still. Not helped by the unfinished building next to it but does belie the query of why that exists when they didn't redo the photo booth facade?

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I think the thing that makes the road markings by the dodgems seem a bit odd to me is the fact that they don't fully extend the width of the path, just seems slightly off in my opinnion. 

 

Regarding the whole sparkle project, I think that Thorpe's intention is with it is great, I love that they are investing into the maintaince of the park. However, it just seems that the execution isn't quite there; the new additions just seem a bit cheap/tacky in some places. I'm still waiting to see these in person so I can't make a full judgement yet, but for me it just doesn't quite seem it.

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Watching peoples videos from the tour, the updates made do look nice! 
 

However, the flooring across the park needs to be replaced urgently. It actually brings down their work and by now should have all Covid markers pressure washed by now 

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Big agree on the paving across the park. It's a detail which can make the world the difference. 

 

It's like the old Ranger County white patches on the path alongside Ghost Train and near Banana Ride. They fit the style back in the 90s/early 00s, but these days just look out of place. Even if the paving is just replaced with consistent, plain concrete, it will just look smarter and less distracting

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A lot of the above is looking a lot better than before. 
 

Whilst I expect there are some imperfections and areas that will contrast (at least for now), I am looking forward to seeing these updates in what looks to be the biggest TLC project in the park’s post Tussaud days.

 

Lets hope they keep this a consistent thing and don’t abandon it like Towers Loving Care.

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I've always loved the Colossus entrance, but really hate what they've done with that. At least they recognize that and are going to make improvements though. 

 

Apart from that, I love what they've done. 

 

For the first time in a long time, I like the direction the park is going in and feel the current management know what they're doing and are making the right decisions. 

 

Hoping with the removal of Slammer at the end of the year we get a new flat in its place, that'll finish that area off nicely. No black mirror means we get a nice maze space back hopefully. 

 

They haven't given up on the Stealth SRQ queue by the sounds of it so hopefully we'll get that this season too! 

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Agree 100% - flooring being replaced makes a massive difference, maybe that'll come next year? CWoA looks transformed by consistent new surfaces instead of tarmac criss-crossed by trenches where cables have been laid. I remember moaning about the state of the flooring outside DBGT when it opened, and nothing has changed since. Also, as @JoshC. said - those Ranger County floor markings just seem weird and out of place now. Surprised they've lasted this long though to be honest!

 

And, yes, it really really really is time for the Covid markers to be cleaned away. Really hope they do that before opening.

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I think the flooring needs a full refresh throughout most Merlin parks. Resin flooring throughout would look far fresher and easier to maintain than block paving, and can be laid directly over existing tarmac. 
 

Overall however, I feel the sparkle project has been a massive success, stealth in particular looks the best that it ever has, even including launch. Quite clear the direction Thorpe are going in, big bright and fun feels, and whilst it is a bit brash, it’s a definite step forwards over everything looking ageing and run down. 
 

I hope Merlin keep this level of investment moving forwards, but also hope that Thorpe gets some more highly themed areas in the future, especially having seen what has been achieved with nemesis reborn. 

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If anyone is interested, Theme Park Worldwide have filmed a video walking around Thorpe Park with Russ, the park’s operational manager, and documenting some of the changes that have taken place as part of the Sparkle Project over the off-season:

 

Some interesting details from the video include:

  • The return of Tidal Wave’s fire effect is planned, but Russ could not give a concrete timeline.
  • The return of The Swarm’s fire and water effects is also planned. At least one of those will be ready for the start of the season, but I can’t remember which, off the top of my head.
  • Samurai will not be opening at the start of the season, as it is being refurbished and its repaint is still ongoing.
  • The reason for Colossus not being fully repainted this off-season is that a full repaint would have resulted in the ride not opening until later in the season, which Thorpe Park did not feel would be ideal.
  • Colossus’ entrance paint job is going to be altered further. Thorpe Park has taken on board the feedback about it being too yellow.
  • Saw’s chainsaw blades over the drop will be spinning again for the first time in a number of years in 2024.

I have to say, the park is looking brilliant! Everything looks very fresh, Big Easy Boulevard looks really nice, Hyperia is looking awesome, and overall, I am thoroughly excited for this season at Thorpe Park!

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2 hours ago, Matt N said:
  • The return of Tidal Wave’s fire effect is planned, but Russ could not give a concrete timeline.
  • The return of The Swarm’s fire and water effects is also planned. At least one of those will be ready for the start of the season, but I can’t remember which, off the top of my head.
  • Samurai will not be opening at the start of the season, as it is being refurbished and its repaint is still ongoing.
  • The reason for Colossus not being fully repainted this off-season is that a full repaint would have resulted in the ride not opening until later in the season, which Thorpe Park did not feel would be ideal.
  • Colossus’ entrance paint job is going to be altered further. Thorpe Park has taken on board the feedback about it being too yellow.
  • Saw’s chainsaw blades over the drop will be spinning again for the first time in a number of years in 2024.

 

All things TPM reported here and on social media a couple of weeks ago, without having to watch a 40 minute video with ads ;)

 

Thanks for rounding up the key things from the video Matt; appreciated as always!

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Any thoughts from anyone who has been at Thorpe these past couple of days?

 

The pics I’ve seen look great. Definitely a massive improvement.

 

The area leading up to Hyperia looks very good from what I’ve seen.

 

The entrance on the other hand really doesn’t look great - hopefully this is on the cards for the next year or so.

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On 3/24/2024 at 8:26 PM, Inferno said:

Any thoughts from anyone who has been at Thorpe these past couple of days?

 

The pics I’ve seen look great. Definitely a massive improvement.

 

The area leading up to Hyperia looks very good from what I’ve seen.

 

The entrance on the other hand really doesn’t look great - hopefully this is on the cards for the next year or so.

 

I visited at the weekend and I am very impressed with the efforts over the closed season. Finally, we are seeing the park move in the right direction after a decade of decline. (Excluding the DBGT 'investment') 

 

The Stealth area is looking great. Big Easy Boulevard is a huge improvement on Angry Birds. Personally I love seeing IP's replaced for an original concept. Rush, Vortex and Colossus have also been refreshed among others.

 

There is a way to go, however, the great news is for the first time in over a decade the pros outweigh the cons. It looks like Thorpe's Management/Merlin have smelt the coffee. They have realised presentation is vitally important to running a theme park. Hopefully over the next few years their attention will move to Rumba/NI, The Beach/DC and the park entrance. 

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