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JoshC.'s Review of the Thorpe Park Season - 2012


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In what I hope I can make a seasonal thing now, here's the 2012 edition of my Review of the Thorpe Park season! First of all, a couple of little points - again, I won't be doing any for other parks, simply due to the fact I haven't visited them enough to do a 'season review' like this one. Hopefully next season will see me expand out to other parks a bit more regularly, so it is a case of watch this. Also, apologises about some of the bad photos; I've included as few shockingly bad quality photos as possible, though some do help aid what I'm talking about I think. Over the festive period, I'll be treating myself to a new camera, so hopefully 2012 will see the end of my bad photos (hears loud cheers across TPM ;) ). I also have split this up into three posts for two reasons - there's an restriction on the number of images in one post and it helps lay out the review in a natural way. To anyone who wants a quick link to last year's review, CLICK HERE (one of a couple cheeky plugs thrown in...). With those little points out of the way, "hold on tight folks, 'cause this is the wildest ride in the wilderness..."

The Swarm

Let's get straight down to it then - the big and shiny new 127ft monster that's invaded Thorpe Park this year. With the build up to the ride being practically perfect in every way, I was left really looking forward to the ride and the experience, ending last year's review by saying it looks like an "amazing coaster". And that's exactly what it is. I really can't sing the praises of this coaster enough; I absolutely adore it. Thorpe have hit the nail on the head in almost every aspect; a fantastic coaster (though maybe a little short) with an interesting layout, a good, clear story, great, large-scale theming, brilliant audio, everything. The Swarm is a ride you just have to fall in love with instantly.

My first ride came on Media Night (second and final cheeky plug right there ;) ), and being fortunate enough to experience my first ride in the dark is amazing. The ride's first four public days with the 'Premiere Screaming' event went down an absolute hit in my eyes as well - brilliant actors playing the role perfectly and so forth. It's unfortunate that the LED eyes and the fire weren't working earlier, and even more unfortunate that I haven't been able to experience the ride with fire, but their inclusions really do add to the overall experience. The additions of extra theming, in the ambulance and telephone box are very welcome as well, and show just how much thought and attention the park have put into the attraction, not just the ride. The fact that not all the theming from the plans wasn't including in the ride and yet that hasn't caused a grumble is a testament to the quality of the ride. Then there's been other little touches, such as the fence which once covered the front of the over-turned lorry (used for the game stall) being removed, and the entrance sign to the island being tweaked / spruced up; little things like that which have gone unnoticed by many, yet do add that little bit extra to the overall experience. Hopefully the ride may continue to grow, especially when the adjacent island opens, and that the ride cements itself as a top Thorpe ride in years to come.


My first go on Swarm. Love my face. :P


Me with Lez Cougan and his followers during the Premiere Screaming. It's a shame that actors weren't present on the Swarm island after this, especially during Fright Nights.


The area it so photogenic, including general track sexiness.


The helicopter. It's a shame that the 'Rickety Jetty' that was on the first plans was axed early on; would've made for some great shots of the helicopter and the turnaround there.


Love the little cryptic facts on the shop.


Even though this photo is terrible quality, it remains one of my favourite Swarm shots for some reason...


Me holding up the ambulance.. ;)


...and the phone box.. :P




My 'Then and Now' of Swarm - the first photo being taken on 14th April 2011, the second on 24th March 2012 and the final on the 1st September 2012 (sorry about the completely wrong time stamp on the first photo!).

Rating: 9.5/10. Not necessarily the 'best ride ever' that I said after my first go ('new ride fever' I guess), but it's certainly my favourite, and I see it as incredibly hard to beat.

Saw - The Ride

I've always made it clear that I like Saw, placing me in the minority of enthusiasts who do. However, this season has seen me realise just how much I like it - it now ranks as my second favourite coaster on park (no guesses behind which one). I don't know why it's happened now, but I dunno, it just has. I'm not going to rabbit on about why I like Saw so much, as I've done that in my blog and in various other places, but it was great to see the ride have all the effects working pretty much every go I've been on it. As expected, the worn-down theme has grown well with age; especially with the outdoor queue and the overgrown plants creating the abandoned warehouse feel all the more.

After Swarm's additional theming was added mid-season, many questioned why other major coasters haven't received additional theming. Personally, I think this criticism is only justifiable with regards to Saw; the area is lacking something a bit more interactive and having some form of interactive 'trap' / 'game' in the queue line / plaza is just what I think is needed to liven the area up a bit more.


Saw looking nice in the sunshine.


Generic abandoned look - achieved.


This season's newest addition to Saw - a 'Wait here' sign!


The ride also feels a bit more exposed now the trees near Samurai have gone (though I seem to remember some trees being cut down near the end of the 2011 season anyway?). As a side note, now seems weird not having the chance to see the ride from CCR any more - always gave nice interactive opportunities with the ride, which aren't really present now, except if you get lucky on Loggers.

Nemesis Inferno

This season, Inferno remained a reliable and well-received coaster. The ride offers and experience which is needed in the park - a smooth, intense ride which doesn't seem daunting. In a way, Inferno is the park's least-intimidating main coaster - Colossus had the TEN INVERSIONS, Stealth is high and fast, Saw has the beyond-vertical drop (and is themed to a horror franchise..) and Swarm has it's unique first drop - all of which are intimidating to the public. Inferno has not such 'intimidating factor' - the inverted coaster is nothing special these days, and it has no 'gimmick', if you will. Yet this is exactly the purpose, and it fills these shoes perfectly. For some reason, Inferno has dropped in my rankings a bit this season - though I really have no idea why. I still enjoy the ride and theme, but hey, that's that I guess.


For those who remember my lucky shot of the 'Missing Row 6' from last season, here's my best attempt at recreating it this season... :P


To me, Inferno remains one of the most photogenic rides on park, only behind Swarm and Tidal Wave (and possibly Colossus).


Love this statue you see as you exit for some reason. Hard to believe it's 30 years old next season, yet looks in pretty darn good condition!


So, being 10 years of the 'Power of 10', Colossus deserves its own little section this time around. I'm not a huge fan of the ride; personally I think it is the most uncomfortable ride on park. The ride seems to have aged badly, with the paint work looking a lot older than 10 years old. It surprises me just how much of a queue this ride still gets though - always seems to attract a full queue almost all the time, even when running on full capacity? Out of the 14 rides I had on it this season, only two rides on it was during actual open hours on park - and that was a fluky 15 minute queue. Certainly strange. Not going to lie, was a bit disappointed there wasn't a little more push on the 10th birthday to the general public - other than a mention on the map, I don't think the park really put the 10th birthday of the first 10 inversion coaster out there (NOTE - talking about the general public, so the TPM event doesn't technically count...more on that in a sec). Really do feel as though it was a missed opportunity by the park there. :(

I was also fortunate enough to be able attend the TPM Colossus 10 meet - despite my dislike towards to the ride, I did 'enjoy' (can't think of the best word to describe it, so that will have to do) the experience. Many thanks to Thorpe and TPM for organising that - despite missing an opportunity to push the 10th birthday to the public, they hit the nail on the head for us in my eyes. Also a thanks to all the members on that meet - being my first meet in over 2 years, I was a little nervous, but felt really welcomed and comfortable around everyone. Hopefully I can attend more meets next year! :)


Colossus is a classic Tussauds addition - being interactive with non-riders and photogenic.



And a couple of my favourites from the Colossus meet...


Me looking very upset for some reason; think the head-banging must have been getting a bit much... (I'm 5th row in, blue top ;))



All the Colossus riding went to my head it seems (second photo credit to our very own Sidders!)

X;\No Way Out and Rush

"Hmm, that's a strange combination of rides you've got there..." some people are no doubt thinking here. Well, to save this getting ridiculously tedious and boring, I'm just grouping rides together which I like / deserve some notable mention for the past season. X has continued to grow on me for a few seasons now, and this season has been no different. However, I must confess that compared to the past couple of seasons, I've found it a bit disappointing - the audio has been quiet / temperamental, and the lights which previously added a lot to the ride seem to have just gone away / lost effect. In a way, I hope the rumours of a major refurb next season are true, and in a way, I hope they're not. I really want the ride to receive some attention, but it would be a shame for it to face forwards / lose its original appeal in any way.

Following the major work which happened over closed season, Rush has been great. As far as I've seen, it's been reliable most of the season and worked on both swings too. Quite possibly the best flat on park, and something which everyone raves about - a great ride which has had a great season.


When it comes to Thorpe's flat rides, Rush always steals the limelight for me.

Slammer and Samurai

Unlike the previous pairing, these two rides shouldn't come across as a strange pairing to most. Both of these rides suffered quite bad periods of downtime this season, Slammer's spanning many months (yet again...), and Samurai conking just after summer, but reopening just after Fright Nights begun (somehow). Whilst it is disappointing that this has happened, kudos to the park for getting them up and running again. For Slammer, it does show their dedication to the ride, and even though I personally think it's a waste of space and should be scrapped ASAP, it is good to see the park are trying so hard. Considering there was a sign stating Samurai would not reopen until 2013, the fact it opened again this season is impressive. You do have to wonder, however, how long these rides have left - Slammer is plagued with downtime and, despite its uniqueness, you do wonder how much longer it will be before the park say "enough is enough". Being a funfair ride which has operated for about 14 years (I believe it is exactly the same parts as the one at Chessington?), how long does it really have left?


The surprising site of a working Slammer...


Lack of signage.


Back working in time for Fright Nights (as the large queue for The Passing suggests the time of year...). Did the signage actually every get put up before the season ended? :P


Samurai's 2013 opening sign.


In pieces.

And all the Others

Of course, I'm not going to do a section for every ride / every couple of rides, so just a few words here and there about all the other rides. Storm Surge appears to have gotten worse and worse since its opening last season, and I'd say some of the fears and concerns that were expressed have come to fruition. Last season, Vortex found itself on a list of 'disappointing rides' for me, but this season, I seem to have rekindled my joy for it, even though the movement of the swinging feels a lot more 'jagged' lately. It also seems to be a case that it isn't really too busy as well, presumably because it's a bit away from everywhere else and doesn't bring too much attention to itself. Loggers and Rumba Rapids remain favourites of mine, but unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to ride them that much this season. I do hope the rumours of the outright removal of the Loggers tunnel do not come true, and that Rumba receives a bit more love over the closed season.


Storm Surge doing what it does best - look rubbish.


I really don't care about Stealth, but may as well throw in a mediocre-quality photo of it for whatever reason.


Depth Charge celebrated its 21st season in 2012. Will be interesting to see how long it's got left...

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The Swarm's Premiere Screaming

The first major event of the season took place in the first four days. To celebrate Swarm's opening, a temporary stage was set up on Swarm's island, where bands played live music and there were some Lionsgate / Hunger Games related competitions. There were also copious actors around the park / Swarm's island, along with some theming at the entrance, and audio changes around park to have Swarm-interjections (which also saw the park's original entrance music make a brief return!). Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come from Merlin with opening new major rides; just a little bit of effort goes a long way. The event itself worked well for me, and being the only time during the season actors were on the island was great.


Lez Cougan and his followers were telling people how he was right all along...


The Swarm's invasion sparked a military response.


A selection of the bands that played.

Mash Up

This season's Easter weekend event changed from the past couple of events, which focused more on the freaky and bizarre, and was instead sponsored by Ministry of Sound. DJs, silent discos and karaoke were orders of the long weekend, and it seemed to go down a hit with the public. I did pop along, but in honesty, it's not really my cup of tea, though I did enjoy it. If a similar event happens next season, not too sure how likely I'd be to visit the event, but heyho, you never know. As I said, the event seemed to work a treat and suits the park well - they should definitely stick with it, and maybe look into a MoS event for next May/June half term as well.


Some of the things going on each day.


SWARM ZERO-G ROLL! Oh, and some Mash Up related stuff.


Colossus had a silent disco for the event; unfortunately I arrived a little too early for it. :P


Slacklining was going on in the arena, along with the standard stunt show.

Club Nights

Speaking of the Ministry of Sound, 2012 saw the introduction of 18+ club nights at the park, along with the tweaking of Reload to Trax, a 15-18 club night. I did not attend any of these, as they're just not my thing. However, just a few words - again, I think it suits the direction the park are currently heading, and that's not a bad thing. They've been marketed well, and as far as I'm aware, they haven't had many issues. Then there was also Ride and Rave, the summer party / club night thing the park had, which sounded okay too.


Advertising sign!!

Sun Scream

For the second season running, I didn't go to Sun Scream (which more revolved around being ill at the time, as opposed to not wanting to go). In its fifth(?) season now, it must still be popular and worthwhile, so not much else to say on that. There have been other Dr Pepper related things throughout the season as well, such the second open weekend in March seeing a pants world record attempted to be broken (most people in a pair of underwear) as well as the giving out free Dr Pepper cans over summer. Obviously a good relationship between the park and Dr Pepper, and no complaints from me with it.


Pants world record thing-a-ma-bob.


SWARM! Dr Pepper stuff...



Fright Nights

What with moving to university this year, it looked doubtful that I'd make it to Fright Nights this season, or any season for the next few years. However, with 'The Passing' tempting me and an earlier-than-planned visit home, I went. Due to this, it gave me much less freedom than previous seasons, which is a shame, especially as I visited on one of the worst days (crowd-wise, at least). I only managed two mazes, Experiment 10 and The Passing, of which the former was a disappointing, hollow shell of its former self. The Passing was good, but needs a lot of work on it to bring it to the standard most expected of it. Roaming actors and audio were highlights of Fright Nights for me; as usual, they were great. However, the park SERIOUSLY needs some additional theming - what's the point in having this spectacle event if you don't focus on creating a brilliant atmosphere everywhere? Following some bad experiences during my trip, I have left myself wondering if it's worth a visit to Fright Nights next season - no doubt I will end up visiting there, but if there's not sufficient improvements, I may give it a miss unfortunately.


The only additional theming of the event?


Oh, and some crosses that lit up at night (which were nice, admittedly)..


There were muck ups with Passing's queue system in my eyes, resulting in much longer than expected queues - needs sorting out.


Me with death and an inmate after surviving The Passing...

Food and Drink

When it comes to food outlets, I think the park almost always hit the nail on the head. Granted, the food outlets aren't always related well to the themes of nearby attraction (Mexican place nearly a tropical volcano for example), that's no big issue - it's the quality of these places which is important. This season's new outlet was Roast and Relish, just off Swarm's island. The place serves meat baguettes, at a reasonable price of £3.75 or 4 for £15. I quite like it; good quality food at reasonable prices, along with free extras such as sauces, stuffing and crackling. However, I can't help but think there should be more choice - there's only ever two different fillings to choose from. So, if you don't like an option, you have a choice of one; if you don't like either, you're stuffed. Give some more variety and the place would be better. When it comes to the quality of the food, though, it's fab.

My favourite place to eat, though, has to be Desperado's Mexican Cantina. Cheap, good quality and always quick service. Always good for a day out as well I find, as the meals can fill you up, but not to a point where it can make you feel too full to ruin the rest of your day. If you vaguely like some form of Mexican food, it's really worth a try!

Also a big fan of the kebab place - for the amount and quality of food you get and the price you pay, I'd say it's the best value of park. Always get quick service as well. Seriously cannot complain with it. Oh, and that Inferno Hot Hot Hot Sauce! :wub: Also like Bar 360, but only when feeling rich / have a lot of time on my hands - the biggest downside to it is the slow service. Unfortunately, was disappointed with Wild Wong's noodle bar this season. Used to love the place, but quite early on in the season, they changed the noodles they use, and I really just don't like them. Certainly seemed to be of lesser quality too. Shame really. :/


Roast and Relish. Personally, I think this position is better than the planned one of where the Games Stall is. In that location, it would probably be a lot busier, and create a lot more congestion.


Nice little nod at the LC12 codename for the benches of R&R.


Just a quick word on merchandise really. It's no secret I'm a sucker for merchandise, and with the high quality Swarm merchandise that came out this season, it has pretty much left me telling Thorpe...


Swarm bears (small and large), statues, models, hoodies, bags, lanyards, hats, mugs and whatever else there is. All of it is absolutely brilliant - genuinely cannot fault it. The introduction of more shirts. pens, models (Stealth resin statue for example), as well as novel items like Rubix cubes have no doubt helped Thorpe's and Merlin's profits increase, and left my wallet feeling incredibly light...


Swarm model thing.


Merchandise I haven't added to my collection - condoms. Colossus - The Ultimate Screw. Stealth - Hard, Fast and Up in Seconds. The Swarm - The End is Coming. (Sorry for the quality by the way!)

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Sunken Gardens and Nature

Another thing I quite like is nature. Unfortunately, as we know, there's not a lot of quiet, green spaces around the park, yet it always interests me just how much wildlife survives around the park (probably scrounging from food which is just chucked on the floor and such, but meh, still interesting). So, here's a nice little section dedicated to the park's only real green space, Sunken Gardens, whose days could well be numbered, and random wildlife I've seen...


Pwetty flowers (think these were by Vortex actually).


The tranquillity of Sunken Gardens. Even with the loud launches of Stealth, and the roars of Swarm in the distance, it always feels really peaceful.


Sunken Gardens II


Sunken Gardens III




Nature-y, I guess. I believe under the bridge in the distance is where there's a arm with a sword poking out, relating to something from the 80s? One of the older members who visited the park back then may know more information if they have a clue what I'm referring to.. :lol:

A Look Ahead

2013 sees the introduction of The Crash Pad. I am in the minority in thinking the look of them won't be that bad, especially as once you're inside the park, you really just won't see them / pay attention if you do catch a glimpse of them. I also remain hopeful that, like most Merlin shipping containers, that they'll be well-styled. Despite the high prices (at least, I think they are), I believe that they'll be a success - especially for the club nights. It will be interesting to see just how popular they are however, and if this testing of the water shows that Thorpe do need a proper hotel. It seems highly likely that there won't be a new attraction (as in, something brand new installed) next season, with the only rumour circulating around being Vengeance moving into the old 4D theatre. Personally, I hope it doesn't happen - the ride doesn't have the throughput to cope with the park, and just wouldn't be a worthwhile investment in my eyes; I'd much rather a 4D film put in place. There's also the rumour of X being refurbished hugely, with new, forward-facing trains. Whilst I hope that there is a fair bit of money injected into the ride, I'd personally prefer it to stay facing backwards - why take away the thing that is most special about the ride? Apart from that, I'd like to see some spruce ups here and there; just generally improve the park's appearance a bit more.

And so, that is more or less it - another season down. The 2012 season for me has been a bit quieter Thorpe-wise for me, due to illness over the summer and moving to university in October, which has been a shame, as with the introduction of the world-class Swarm, the park is really improving. Hopefully the 2013 season at Thorpe for me should see me on park a little more, and show everyone how the park doesn't need to add big, new attractions left, right and centre to draw guests in. To round this all off, like this last season's review, I'll post my 2012 Thorpe Ride Count:

The Swarm x15

Colossus x14

Vortex x8

Nemesis Inferno x6

X:\No Way Out x6

Saw - The Ride x5

Flying Fish x5 (16 laps in total)

Rumba Rapids x4

Rush x4

Samurai x3

Loggers Leap x3

Zodiac x3

Detonator x2

Stealth x2

Storm Surge x2

Depth Charge x1

Quantum x1

Slammer x1

The Passing x1

Experiment 10 x1

Thank you for reading; any comments / criticisms would be greatly appreciated! Look out for my PTRs and reviews next season! :wub:

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