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Thorpe Park: 16th May 2009 Trip Report
AstroDan
post May 17 2009, 5:31 PM
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Thorpe Park TR: Saturday, 16th May 2009

It has been some time since I have written a detailed trip report, but given my very mixed trips to Thorpe Park over the years, I feel obliged to comment on yesterday's visit.

Yesterday's visit was my first return to the park since the shambles of the opening fortnight, when many rides were closed or suffering prolonged periods of downtime. I decided to take my "non enthusiast" friend Steve, who I happened to be visiting for the weekend. Merlin had provided me with 4 tickets to the park, fastracks and £20 money to cover the cost of lunch. Obviously I have one of the tickets to my friend and used my Annual Pass to gain entry myself.


We arrived at the park at 9:20am and made our way to the turnstiles. Whilst there were the usual crowds at the plaza, it wasn't anywhere near as chaotic as the opening weekend. The park opened slightly early, and people ran in. We took a left in the dome in order to be very close to the front for Saw. We arrived at Saw just before 9:30am and the ride was testing. We were about 30 people from the front. The ride opened shortly after. It was noticeable that several effects in the dark ride were not working - particularly the choppers on the drop. It was also very quiet in there, and left me feeling a little deflated. The jolt at the bottom of the first drop is still there and the ride remains, for me, considerably average. However – at least we had our go, without much of a queue.

Samurai was still testing, but Colossus had a very short queue – so we did that. We were directed to the very back of the train which was rougher than I remembered. However, Steve likes Colossus – and rates it over Saw – and to ride with next to no queue was a real bonus. No waterfalls seemed to be working on Colossus which was a shame.

Next, to Samurai – which again had a very short queue. The gondola made one empty cycle due to a technical fault, but we got on shortly after with ease. It seemed slower than March, which was a pity – but it was nice to be able to ride without a queue.

Having done 3 thrill rides within the first 30 minutes of the park being open, we headed over to Loggers Leap which was walk on. The audio at the start of the ride (wildest ride in the wilderness) wasn't playing, but the rest of the ride was OK. All I would say is that it absolutely STINKS round the back – particularly at the bottom of the indoor drop. It is truly disgusting which led Steve to name it "Mount MRSA"!

Slammer was unavailable all day, so we headed over towards Detonator and queued for around 10 minutes. Next up was X:/No Way Out, which also had a 10 minute queue. X:/ seems to get worse everytime I ride it – it's truly awful and the sooner it's replaced the better. Loads of the indoor effects failed and the mannequins were invisible!

We then decided to collect the fastracks and funny money as the park was beginning to get busier. Following a quick drink the Glass House, we decided to hit Quantum. Fantastic ride host/operator on this who was interacting heavily with guests. This is the first time in several seasons I can recall such quality interaction between staff and guests on rides. Quantum remains a cracking little ride and one that really does give more growl than it looks to have!

Rush had a 45 minute queue, so we decided to use a fastrack. We were then going to do Depth Charge, but that was closed all day. We had a quick go on Flying Fish – which Steve hadn't been on since the 1990's. He said it was nowhere near as good as he remembered and to be honest it's rather embarrassing to go on it… it's funny how I don't feel embarrassed to go on Runaway Mine Train / Runaway Tran at AT or CWOA, but on this I really do!

We then headed over to Stealth and fastracked a 45 minute queue. What an awesome ride this remains. The launch is sensational and front row makes it even better. Truly Thorpe's iconic rollercoaster which for me and my favourite launch coaster in the UK. However, where has the smoke gone on launch? And what's with the ridiculous Yorkie adverts plastered all over the train!? Ugh!


We then went over to Rumba Rapids which had a 10 minute queue. The ride wasn't great, a lot of the effects near the end were off entirely. What's up with that shower? Is it really that hard to fix it!? The whole ride seemed pretty dirty to be honest. Steve named this one "Rubella Rapids".

The only ride which really remained (that we wanted to do) was Nemesis Inferno, which had a 45 minute queue – so we fastracked it via the exit. No effects in the tunnel whatsoever, nor the smoke or geysers, but the ride was getting really good throughputs by the looks of it so good stuff for that.

We then went to Calypso BBQ for lunch. This was delicious – much nicer than Courtyard Tavern at Alton Towers. The ribs even gave Rita's Chicken & Ribs a run for its money. Prompt service and reasonable prices too.

Following lunch, we did Time Voyagers to let the ribs settle.

We'd pretty much done the whole park and had lunch by 2.30pm – which for Thorpe Park on a Saturday, was a real achievement. OK – we'd used fastracks on 3 rides, but still – I was pretty happy.

In the afternoon we repeat rode Stealth (queued for 45 minutes), Colossus (fastracked), Nemesis Inferno (fastracked) and Saw. I must confess, that Saw's throughput yesterday was excellent. We queued properly, from just inside the barbed wire section, and only waited 60 minutes. Much, MUCH better than earlier in the season.

So, overall – a much improved visit to Thorpe Park and one that I would say is my best since Fright Nights 2005. However, there is still a long way to go with many things still not right. But it's small steps that matter and this was better.

For those interested, Steve – who's not an enthusiast, rates the Thorpe coasters as 1) Stealth 2) Nemesis Inferno 3) Colossus and 4) Saw. He just said that Saw was far too short and after I had bigged up the indoor section, it wasn't as good as perhaps he had expected. He says that Stealth is better for the thrill and Nemesis Inferno is better for the loops. Saw, according to him, is just a cross between the two whilst being as good as neither. I must confess that I too now don't rate Saw. It's short and the whole "insanity" thing about the last inversion – I just don't buy it.

Positive points of the day

+ Most rides operating and capacities seemed good

+ Staff seemed happier and some interaction on a couple of rides

+ Reasonable atmosphere

+ Park opening earlier to avoid the masses at the entrance plaza

+ Very good food at Calypso

Negative points of the day

- Two rides closed all day (Slammer, Depth Charge). OK, not bad for Thorpe – but this is still very poor.

- Effects not working across the park. Stealth smoke, Nemesis Inferno tunnel and geyser. X:/No Way Out lighting, Saw choppers and audio, Colossus waterfalls, Tidal Wave flame, Rumba Rapids showers, Loggers Leap audio…

- Short queue's actually make you realise just how small Thorpe Park is!

It really is a pity though, that following a good day today, another friend is at the park today who I have just spoken to. No Loggers Leap, Stealth or Slammer today. It seems Thorpe is just so erratic but at least, for once, I actually had a good time. I waited long enough.

RIDE COUNT

Saw 2
Nemesis Inferno 2
Colossus 2
Stealth 2
Detonator 1
Time Voyagers 1
Loggers Leap 1
Rumba Rapids 1
Samurai 1
Rush 1
Quantum 1
Flying Fish 1
X 1

This post has been edited by AstroDan: May 17 2009, 5:35 PM


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Howie
post May 18 2009, 9:13 AM
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See? I knew it wasn't just me, Thorpe Park CAN provide a good day out, if you're careful.

What happened to: "I'll go back for Saw, and then no more"? Hmm?

I hear ya about ride effects being temperamental, and things like reliability, efficiency and queue management still leave a lot to be desired but good ol' Thorpie is not the wretched hive of scum and villainy that people make out.
Glad you had a good time Dan. . . at last!

ps, couldn't agree more with you about Quantum - it rocks! Long may it remain!

This post has been edited by Howie: May 18 2009, 9:16 AM
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Graeme
post May 18 2009, 11:54 AM
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Tidal wave flame is never going to return, as the gas cannisters have been removed and Stealth now stands there!

I remember someone posting on my Facebook wall "Not giving Thorpe another chance until Thorpe Blast" *coughs*


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AstroDan
post May 18 2009, 1:58 PM
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The thing is, Merlin sent me 4 free tickets that were valid May and June ONLY. Also, £20 Fun Money and 20 Fastracks. I went with my non-enthusiast friend, who also paid for my train fare to get there in return for the free ticket.

I wasn't planning to go back in all honesty, but with Steve wanting to do a park while I was down there, it was the logicial choice. I still wouldn't say I have any major desire to return prior to Thorpe Blast, but who knows. The only three rides that really tickle my fancy at the park are Stealth, Rush and, when on a good setting, Samurai.

Still though, Slammer and Depth Charge?! Closed boooo.

This post has been edited by AstroDan: May 18 2009, 1:59 PM


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Luke
post May 18 2009, 5:08 PM
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Good report, - I definitely agree with you about Quantum, it's the Dynamo of Thorpe Park; a small, rather mediocre-looking ride that really surprises you and can pack a hefty punch!

I last went down to Thorpe Park for the Fright Nites in 2007, and I can honestly say I'm not in no Rush (oh dear) to go anytime soon. They have some fantastic rides that I really love including Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, Stealth, Quantum and Samurai; but until they can really improve on reliability, guest-services and the queue-jumping issues it's never going to come close to Alton in terms of overall guest-experience, in my opinion. Overall, Alton offers a much better day out, and as it's on the doorstep for me, I can't see myself making the effort to get down to Thorpe anytime in the near future.
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