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JoshC.'s Review of the Thorpe Park Season - 2011


JoshC.
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*First of all, apologises for splitting one post into three, but due to the large number of photos, it was a necessity. Anyway..*So, Thorpe Park has been closed for over a month now, and the end of the year is now in sight. With Thorpe keeping our attentions focused on The Swarm and 2012, I'm choosing to look back over what has been a pretty interesting season, with many ups and downs. So, sit down and hold tight, as this is going to be one heck of a ride!For those of you that have missed, or ignored :(, my TRs, you won't know about the epicly large amount of photos I've taken this year. Every trip, I've been armed with my trusty camera, taking photos pretty much anything related to Thorpe Park. Nearly 1000 photos, and a couple of unsuccessful videos, later, I've had many moans and groans from friends and family asking why on earth I keep taking photos, especially of the same things all the time... But ah well, it's part of being an enthusiast to me! Anyone who wants to view all my photos from the year can see them on my FB profile (if you're not friends with me, drop me a PM and I'll link you to it - or, alternatively, you can see my name crop up somewhere in this review and just try and find my yourself. And that's my FB profile plug outta the way :D).AP OfficeMy season started on the Saturday of opening weekend, as opposed to the AP Preview Day like for many enthusiasts. After dodging what seems to have been, with hindsight, Thorpe's worst day of 2011, I was still optimistic about my day. After arriving three-quarters of an hour before the half 9 opening, I'd avoided the misfortune of a long AP queue that happened to me last year. However, I was disappointed that the doors for the AP office didn't open until 10 minutes before opening. Certainly something I hope Thorpe reconsider for later years - over opening weekend, there's bound to be more people renewing / buying APs, so they should open earlier. Also, another compliant about the AP office is the lack of tills - I believe there's only about 3/4 that are used now, even though there's space for something like 9. Thorpe need to realise that the longer people wait going into the AP office, the more agitated they'll become with the park itself.Posted ImageAfter all my waiting to get my AP, I turned out blue.. YAYYYY-not.Storm SurgeI'll now turn to the little thing known as Storm Surge. I must admit that I wasn't overly keen on the ride coming to the park, mainly due to the fact it didn't seem worth the effort and that it looked atrocious. When I first when with non-enthusiast friends, they said 'Well, Storm Surge looks sh!t'. However, when we went on it, we admittedly enjoyed it. The long, relaxing lift hill gives nice views of the park, and the way down was surprisingly enjoyable and the splash, shower and water squirters at the end were just right for this sort of water ride. At first, I felt the only real troubles with the ride were the aesthetics and the theming - they needed improve, and still do. However, for a little filler ride, this isn't too bad in my opinion. However, the ride experience itself has gone downhill dramatically. As the season progressed, the bits of 'Velcro' on the slide stopped serving their purpose, meaning the dingies never span. The shower was completely out of time with the boats, and the water squirters had mixed fortunes all season long. What really took the biscuit was how the boats could become ankle-deep, or higher, in water, and it being viewed as nothing wrong, and with staff telling people to have their feet touching the floor. It made the ride experience uncomfortable and unpleasant. In short, at first, Storm Surge exceeded expectation, but as the season went on, the ride just went a little flat.. Rating: 4/10, which is pretty bad considering my original 7/10 rating! Posted ImageView from the queue.Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImageThemed signing = win.Posted ImageI do like the water squirters.Posted ImageMe with the fire car thing! :DNemesis InfernoNow, Nemesis Inferno has always been my favourite Thorpe coaster, and still is at the moment. It probably ranks as my favourite Thorpe ride too, so I've been very happy to see that the mist effects have been working practically all season! I was glad to see the queue line mist back, and the tunnel effects have been pretty good all season. The audio has been good as well, with the station having the music loudness just right. Despite many rides and re-rides, the experience never wears off - the ride is well-timed, and has that elegance about it which no other Thorpe coaster has got. That, and it is also one of the most photogenic rides on-park, with plenty of opportunities to capture the train all around it's circuit.Posted ImageAt the beginning of the season, when my timing was a little off.Posted ImageThe curious case of the missing row 6.Posted ImageOh, people's face. XDPosted ImageDunno why, but I really like this one.Saw - The RideI'll keep this one more short and sweet. Many people criticise Saw for one reason or another, be it the rough ride it gives, the missed chances of theming or whatever, but I seem to be in the minority that feel it's a relatively good success for the park. I've never really felt the 'roughness' people moan about, just that it is an intense ride, which to me, is only a good thing. Effects inside the warehouse have been of high quality throughout the season, which pleased me as well.Posted ImageAlways good to see an empty queue on one of your favourite coasters.Posted ImageObligatory close up..Posted ImageNew lick of paint above the ORP area; always nice to see these little touches.Posted ImagePigeons watching over the queue line. Jigsaw probably felt they were more reliable than getting new apprentices..Posted ImageShots from the Samurai queue tend to be the best!Colossus and StealthI avoided the Intamins these year it would seem, with only 5 rides on Stealth (4 of which were on the first night of Fright Nights - more like Dead Night) and my yearly ride on Colossus. Colossus is certainly intense, but the long queues it attracts are rarely justifiable. Stealth doesn't really do it for me, it's more a filler ride for me than something I must try and do. That that really.Posted ImageStealth's sign has become very washed-out looking.Posted ImageStealth showing me the poor quality photos my camera can take.Posted ImageColossus looking pretty at night.Posted ImageMe looking attractive on Colossus.The Water RidesThorpe has a wide variety of water rides when you think about it, especially when considered to other parks. What I like is the varying ranges of 'wetness' you get from them - from Tidal Wave where you get drenched to the bone, to Depth Charge where a refreshing splash is your lot. I must admit that Loggers Leap and Rumba Rapids are two of my favourite rides on park, due to their upbeat themes, good audio tracks and chances to have a laugh with people in your group. They're perhaps not spectacular examples of how to do a log flume / rapids ride, but that still hasn't taken away from just how fun they actually are. Also good to see that the pre-waterfall tunnel has made a return for Rumba Rapids.Tidal Wave I tend to give a miss, and this was the second season in a row I avoided it. I still love how visually stunning it is. Depth Charge has made for a nice filler ride, though now it has reached its 21st, I can't help but feel it won't be long now till it makes way, which will be a shame to say the least.. :wub:Posted ImageRumba Rapids received new padding on it's handle bars, which was a welcome change to the metal that was previously there.Posted ImageRumba also received a new sign, replacing the old one which just had the Ribena logo somewhat tackily covered over with a splash-shaped cutout.Posted ImageMack's strange decision is a blow to the families that still decide to visit Thorpe Park.Posted ImageRandom bird-house-feeder thingy at Rumba Rapids.Posted ImageLoggers Leap making a splash.Posted ImageDepth Charge!Posted ImageBack of Depth Charge.Posted ImageTidal Wave always looks amazing.CCRRight, I'm going to keep this short and sweet, simply because I have a whole post dedicated to the closure of the ride.CCR was a ride I have been going for more or less my whole life, so to see it go is quite literally a bit of my childhood ending. Costs of it were rising, and probably it became less worthwhile with the change in target market, but I'm still gutted to see it go, and still would have preferred to see it stay, but ah well, there we go. As for this season, staff seemed to lack enthusiasm on the ride for the most part, with many drivers going through the circuit very speedily, and many of the guards seeming very lethargic to the ride. A couple of years ago, the energy and enthusiasm staff had to the ride made it one of my favourite rides on park. A bit of a shame, but there we go.And all the othersI could go on forever and ever and ever... about every single ride on park, but I won't for obvious reasons. Memorable rides of the year have been my many goes on Flying Fish (not to spy on The Swarm or to go on a ride with no queue, of course..), the ever-dependable Rush and the good old Teacups. Disappointing rides for me during the season were Slammer and Vortex, the former due to it's on-off reliability and the latter for it's seemingly shortened and less forceful rides. Reliability has been generally on the up, bar the odd blip, which is something of a success for the park and shows the ever-improving reliability of rides on park, which spells on good things for the future. Anyways, some miscellaneous pictures.Posted ImageNew Teacups signage, prior to the height restriction changes.Posted ImageAnd the edited one..Posted ImageTetley sponsorship.Posted ImageA badly edited photo of me using the board outside Teacups! :DPosted ImageX has been hidden away slightly..Posted ImageVortex had a below-par season for me, for one reason or another.Posted ImageNeed to put some Rush love here.

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Twisted CarnivalThere were many special events during the season, and this was the first major one I guess. Hearing some of the names that were showing up, specifically Tobias Mead and Stevie Starr (aka The Regurgitator) from BGT, I made a special trip to the park specifically for the event, and for those two acts.The park seemed set up quite nicely for the event, with a carnival tent set up in the arena, a stage by Storm Surge and a couple of other bits and bobs. Tobias' dance act seemed suited to the park, with tie-ins to the Saw theme, which worked very well. If you've seen The Regurgitator's act once, you'll know more or less what happen, so I won't go into the details of what each specific act entailed. Posted ImageTwisted Carnival Sign.Posted Image Tents.Posted ImageActs performing at the Storm Surge stage.Posted ImageWith Tobias Mead!Posted ImageStevie Starr and his assistant. (Also a chance to see the old uniform! :wub:)Posted Image With Starr!Also enjoyed watching him regurgitate some girl's annual pass when she asked him, which was really nice of him (and very good)!Thorpe did do a similar event in 2010, which I unfortunately missed. However, these events really do 'work' for the park - it's something everyone enjoys, and the park do seem to get some decent outside acts in. I hope next Easter seems a very similar event return, as it would definitely draw me in to visiting over Easter!Head RushReturning to our May Half term for the fourth / fifth season running was the motorbike, stunt show in the arena. Basically the exact same event as the preceding years, and more or less the same show. As much as people probably enjoy these sort of shows, it isn't doing the trick and pulling in the added crowds. It's gotten a bit old, and I think it is time for Thorpe to call it a day on this event and try something new, and a bit more original. Okay, I'm not saying the event is terrible and failing, but the park could, and should, be able to do better.Posted ImageThe set up and the riders.Posted ImageThe best bit of the event - an interruption at the beginning of the show asking if anyone ordered the Thorpe Park Pizza! XDPosted Image One of the better tricks.Posted ImageCheeky advertising, to get people to know about Sun Scream (which I didn't attend) and FN.Fright NightsThe 10th year of what it probably the best time of year of Thorpe. They certainly kicked it up a gear, with Experiment 10 changing the classic idea of a scare maze at Thorpe, and many roaming actors around the place.I'll start off with Experiment 10. The maze is certainly my favourite out of 6 I've been in at the park, bringing an original concept that pushed how to scare people. Splitting people up certainly plays on a few fears, and the park should try and consider it in future scare attractions, as it really does work. Top quality from Thorpe, great new attraction for the season, and can only get better once the kinks are ironed out.Se7en is a maze I've had a soft spot for, and have regularly enjoyed. This season it seemed to be pushed up a notch, as it wasn't unheard of for members of one line to be taken away and forced to rejoin another later on. The sensory affects, specifically the smells, were as effective as ever. Whilst there are a couple of rooms in the maze which are one trick ponies, there are others which work really well time and time again. Needs more recognitions than it's given in my eyes.The Asylum was better for me than it was last season, but I still don't get why so many people sing it's praises. I've never really find it scary, more just something which will effectively give me a niggling headache. The actors do a good job, but the maze just doesn't do it for in the way the above two do. The Curse, meanwhile, needs to just be rethought and gotten rid of - it is the worst maze on park and has been pretty pathetic to be honest.The roaming actors were great, and I think it is showing that Thorpe have realised that Fright Nights doesn't just have to be about scaring people; it can be a bit of a laugh as well! Sure, some people were creeped by the clowns, but many just enjoyed their presence, and it shows that Thorpe and mascots work well together. Also great to see Barry and Stuart back again, further showing just how good Thorpe are at getting outside acts for them. My only grumble would be about the lack of theming: more park-wide and specific ride theming, like there's been in the past please!Posted ImageFright Nights entrancePosted ImageExperiment 10 control unit.Posted ImageHazmat suit actor!Posted ImageI loved the AP night - literally no queues!Posted ImageRoaming clown.Posted ImageBody bags by Experiment 10.Posted ImageExtensive theming right there.Posted ImageAnd again...Posted ImageMuch better theming.Posted ImageGotta love Barry and Stuart - the ending needs to be improved though; doesn't do the act justice I'm afraid.Posted ImageMe with one of the Experiment 10 employees.Posted ImageMe with the sterner Experiment 10 employee.Posted ImageMe with a roaming clown.Posted ImageMe with happy clown.Posted ImageSeeing this photo reminds me of the guy's extremely funny and hilarious high-pitched voice.I really enjoyed Fright Nights this season, quite possibly my favourite one yet, and I can imagine future events being better and even closer to a perfect Halloween event.Blow $#it Up!The new event for the season, and it was great to see fireworks make an explosive return. The event was planned very well and the show itself went down well with the crowds. The fire performers which I was looking forward to were a bit of a let down, but ah well, can't have everything perfect first time round. My grumble was the long, single queue to buy / collect tickets on the day after opening, which made getting into the park an unpleasant experience; something no park wants to do when people are visiting for the last time of the season. The controversial burning of Jedward was something that I thought the park did well, and the inclusion of it was brilliant. To be honest, there's no faulting the actual final show. The blowing up of the fire engine to advertise Swarm was genius, and something which will be very hard to beat in following seasons..Posted ImageA test of the fire engine.Posted ImageBad fire performer picture.Posted ImageA picture of the fire engine following the explosion and the fire being extinguished. Food and DrinkOf course, theme parks are never just about the rides. I remember reading a comment a while ago made by AeRo on another forum, 'the whole concept of a Theme Park, is really a modern day equivalent of a sea side Amusement Park'. I dunno why, but reading that just made me think a little about how food outlets and shops are somewhat overlooked at some theme parks, so just a quick low-down and where I like to eat and my views of the AP unlimited drink capsule. A new outlet for the season was the Amity Kebab Co. I like a good kebab, and good kebab this gives. Okay, maybe not the best themed shop to have, but still, it's darn good food for a darn good price, even more so with AP discount! Posted ImageThemed sauce is win.Posted ImageCost me all of £4.60, which is pretty good really.Another food outlet I tried for the first time was Desperado's Mexican Cantina, opposite Pizza Hut. Again, another great place with really cheap food. It is certainly somewhere I'd recommend going to, especially if people were trying to restrict their spending.Posted Image Okay, this picture doesn't show the nachos in the best way, but at £3.88, it well and truly is worth it.Then there's the usual Bar Grill 360 and the Amoy Noodle Bar which adds enough variation for me, and shows just the wide variety of choice there is for food in what is quite a small park. Then, of course, I got my £16 worth from the drinks capsule, filling it up a good 5-6 times a visit at a minimum - a brilliant idea by Merlin, and well worth the money for regular visitors.I was going to include some of the merchandise which has made me surrender more money to Merlin throughout the year as well, but I'm feeling a bit lazy, and can't be bothered to go through the looong list.. :$ I will mention this, which is one of the (few) things I ended up NOT buying...Posted ImageSunken Gardens and NatureAnyone whose read the majority of my PTRs will know of the odd random pictures and birds and fish that I see and quickly snap. It's weird in some ways that, despite all the loud noises of the rides, and the large number of people around, that there are still so many animals that live, and thrive, around the park. Then there's Sunken Garden, which is certainly a bit of a forgotten area to many people, but the upkeep that is put into it surprised me in honesty. It's best to just let some pictures do the talk for this part really..Posted ImageBaby...somethings?Posted ImageBirds nibbling food that's on the floor.Posted ImageGeesePosted ImageGeese and PIGEONS!Posted ImageIs this a moarhen? Posted ImageI love that sprinkler by the way...Posted ImageThe beauty of Sunken Gardens.Posted ImageSunken Gardens IIPosted ImageSunken Gardens IIIPosted ImageSunken Gardens IVPosted ImageSunken Gardens VPosted ImageSunken Garden VI - LEAVES!!It's a shame that there isn't a little bit more of this nice, relaxing, green areas around the park. I hope that a little bit more is added around the park soon; I have spent plenty of time round Sunken Gardens enjoying the peace away from the hustle and bustle of the park.
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Swarm SpotlightWhat would a review of the 2011 season be without mentioning The Swarm!? The park have got everything spot on with the ride during the year, from the strange posters around the park, the crazed roaming actors, the minisite and the explicit marketing on park. There is actually nothing I can think of that could fault it - a big congratulations to Thorpe here! Then, of course, there's been the actual construction of the ride to go on top of that. All I can say is, I am really looking forward to 2012!Posted ImageThe site is hardly recognisable now.Posted ImageThe first roaming actor / Lez Cougan.Posted ImageLez creating some commotion with some girls.Posted ImagePoster.Posted ImageThis photo makes me smile. You have to 'uncover' the poster, which lets you 'uncover the truth'.Posted ImageLC12 stamp!Posted ImageAdvertising tank.Posted ImageOther side.Posted ImageA very realistic chase between a Lez and a police officer.Posted ImageAdvertising bit.Posted ImageAdvert board and tank.Posted ImageAnother Lez!Posted ImageAdvert board.Posted ImageA busy construction site.Posted ImageManagement enjoying the view..Posted ImageMissing wall by the advertising bit.Posted ImageFinal weekend.Posted ImageMe with one of the Cougans.Posted ImageMe with another Cougan.I guess we can only expect more of the same, top quality moves from Thorpe in the coming months, and anticipate what looks to be an amazing coaster, which some like billing as the most exciting project in the UK since 1994.And so that's more or less it. The 2011 season has quite possibly been more exciting for me than the past 3-4 seasons, with Swarm advertising, amazing events and just generally some great days out to the park. Hopefully the 2012 season will have more of the same, and see Thorpe improving their theme park status even further. And, to round this all off, my 2011 ride count...Rumba Rapids: 19Inferno: 14Flying Fish: 14 (50 laps in total)Teacups: 13Loggers Leap: 11CCR: 11Storm Surge: 10X:\No Way Out: 8Rush: 7Saw - The Ride: 7Detonator: 6Samurai: 5Stealth: 5Vortex: 4Quantum: 4Zodiac: 3Depth Charge: 3Saw Alive: 2Rocky Express: 1Colossus: 1Time Voyagers: 1Slammer: 1Experiment 10: 4Se7en: 2The Asylum: 1The Curse: 1Thank you for reading, and look out for my PTRs next season! :wub:
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I may do one for Chessington soon if I get the time, but I probably won't do any others, as I haven't visited other parks enough times this season for it to be worthwhile.So yeah; watch this space! :)EDIT: Thinking about it, could you Sheepie (or any other mod) change the title of the thread to fit Thorpe in it somewhere, like 'JoshC.'s Review of the Thorpe Season - 2011', just so it's clearer? :wub:) Thank you!

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  • 3 weeks later...

are you going to be doing this for other parks too? :P

Just thought I'd let you know Sheepie, and anyone else who may have been interested, that I'm not going to do one for Cheesie now, simply because I didn't go there enough to make it feel worthwhile. Depending on how well this year turns out for me, I'll probably end up doing another Thorpe one and maybe a Cheesie one for this upcoming season. :D
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