Thorpe Park

17th March 2009

Thorpe Park has received a lot of media attention in the last week thanks to its new roller coaster. Much of the coverage for Saw - The Ride (#1329) focused on a disastrous media day event, where the ride broke down with celebrities on board, leaving the invited guests to watch an evacuation. The public opening was scarcely better, as the ride managed a grand total of ninety operational minutes on the Saturday before shutting down for the rest of the weekend. Today, however, the majority of the problems appeared to have been solved; there were still at least three breakdowns that we noticed, but fortunately all the interruptions were short.

Thorpe Park

To begin with the positive, the theming on the ride is superb, beginning in the queue and continuing all the way out into the main part of the coaster. There are a number of pretty cool moments which I'm not about to spoil, but suffice it to say that even the most jaded coaster enthusiasts are likely to be impressed. The coaster layout itself is also very good. Unfortunately the entire experience is utterly destroyed by track work that feels like a SLC on a bad day. There are several oh my god that hurt moments, including a particularly nasty slam at the base of the major drop, the fastest point on the ride. Worse yet, one can hear some very dubious sounds coming from the ride mechanism at points in the course, which hardly bodes well for a brand new ride. We decided after our third lap that enough was enough, despite there being an almost non-existent queue; additional laps would only have been fun with padded clothing and headache tablets. Perhaps the most telling thing of all was that the wait time for Samurai was four times longer than that for Saw - The Ride!

The rest of the day was one of the most relaxing days I've spent in a park in the last few years. A good third of it was spent drinking coffee with Tom. Beyond that, we rode the recently reopened Flying Fish, a ride which must be ridden with hands down; the clearances are sufficiently tight to remove hands (and indeed large sections of arm!) from anyone disregarding the safety warnings. Stealth was out of order, apparently having been that way since the tail end of last season; clearly four months was insufficient for the park to resolve whatever happened to it. Nemesis Inferno was running very well indeed, and as for X:/WTF... well, no comment. Before anyone asks, I don't get on Colossus any more unless I'm there with someone who really wants to ride it.

Outside of the coasters, we got absolutely drenched on the Rapids which for some reason was operating in summer mode with all the water sprays fully activated. We didn't brave Tidal Wave, though we might as well have done; we wouldn't have been any wetter! We attempted to watch the Time Voyagers 3D cinema movie, but got treated to the sound and special effects, but no picture. On a second attempt we got the three together, but it was hardly an improvement; the film was utterly devoid of any discernable plot, the only slight amusement being the Gardaland titles at the end. Either the movie has lost something in the translation from Italian or, as seems more likely, the movie never had anything to speak of!