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Thorpe Park in 'Every-Ride-Open' shocker!, Sun 29th March
Howie
post Apr 14 2009, 9:33 PM
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Look, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Either some of you have just been really unlucky with your visits to Thorpe Park recently, or I’ve been exceptionally lucky.
Last season I visited the place 4 times. All 4 times, every ride was open. Ok, one of those visits was during the Fright Nights and the queues were horrendous, but I was only passing on the way back from an airport run, was on my own and so didn’t actually go on anything, just popped in for a look. But every ride WAS open.

I must admit, I was actually quite excited by the prospect of Saw- The Ride. Not really a fan of the films, think I’ve only seen the first 2, but I liked the fact that someone was finally building a rollercoaster based on a full-on horror flick. Been saying it for years! And seeing as I haven’t yet been on Speed, I was keen to see what the crack is with these Eurofighter things.
Anyway, I wanted to get down there fairly early in the season - as much as I like Thorpe Park, I’m well aware of how crowded the place can get and how bad they can be at queue management.
So, I gathered 4 of my mates together (2 of whom were Thorpe virgins!) and went down on Sunday 29th March, 2 weeks after full park opening. Not ideal, a week day would have been preferable but nobody could get any time off work so I prepared myself for some queuing.

I didn’t wanna get my hopes up, but checked the website the night before to see what would and wouldn’t be working. Woo hoo - all rides available! Even so, I still didn’t get my hopes up, a day can make a big difference at Thorpe Park!
We arrived on time, about 9.50. A heavy flow of traffic into the car park filled me with dread. There was also a heavy crowd of people gathered round the ticket booths, the turnstiles AND the annual pass queue. Uh-oh! This could be a bad day…
I joined the pass-queue, my mates queued for tickets with their 2-4-1 vouchers and we were all inside by about 5 past 10 without any fuss whatsoever. Eh? That was easy, considering how busy it was.

Naturally, most of the crowd headed straight for Saw. The guy in the ticket booth warned of long queues on Saw today as they’d only be running a limited number of cars so that was our plan too - get it over with before the queues get TOO big… until we overheard a member of staff say that Saw wouldn’t actually be open til about 10.30.
Hmm, ok, not great but never mind, Stealth it is then.
Brilliant - Stealth was open and the queue was almost empty, got our first go within a couple of minutes. Still one heck of a ride - the 2 Thorpe newbies were simply stunned and we were all mad for another go. ‘Shall we single-rider it?’, we said. No need, the normal queue was still non-existent. So we queued for front row. 10 minutes later, job done, brilliant! One more go? Why not…
Next up was Inferno. Same story again, within 15 minutes we’d had 2 goes, one on the front row.
Then Detonator, queue was about 5 mins. What was happening?? Well, from the top of Detonator I got an idea of what was happening. It looked like the flow of traffic streaming into the car park had stopped and all those people at the gates at opening time were already in and riding .
For whatever reason, it seemed that everyone who went to Thorpe Park on that day arrived in the first 10 mins and the place wasn’t actually gonna be that crowded at all.
Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad day after all, so we headed for Saw…

Queue time was showing as 90 mins. Oops, spoke too soon. Shall we get fast-track tickets?
“Sorry, we’re not selling any fast-tracks for Saw today.”
So we tried Colossus, that too had big queues of about 60 mins but they WERE selling fast-track tickets for that so we caved in and bought some. Once we’d ridden that, we hit Slammer (zero queue!!), Samurai (15 min queue) and all 3 water rides (about 5 mins each). That took us to about lunchtime, so it was KFC’s all round.

After lunch, things continued to go swimmingly, conquering virtually every ride in the park except Saw by about half past 3, including Time Voyagers 4D, Depth charge, Flying Fish, X:/ WTF and another blast on Stealth (single rider).


Ok, it was time to bite the bullet and join the queue for Saw, we can’t come all the way to Thorpe Park and not go on Saw, can we?
Queue was now showing at 120 mins and with sad hearts, we were just about to join it when one of the lads spotted a discreet hand-written A-board next to the fast-track entrance. It said: ‘Saw - single rider entrance’.
Single rider entrance?? We were all fairly sure that it hadn’t been there before. So, gingerly, we tried it, fully expecting to get turned away with ‘Sorry, single rider entrance not open today’, but no, amazingly the queue line was empty and the first one of our group was herded onto the ride almost instantly. Two minutes later, 2 more of us were on and within 10 mins we’d all had a go. Wicked!!

And I tell you wot, we all thought it was a cracking good ride. As the UK’s first genuine movie-ride tie in I think Thorpe/Merlin have done a marvellous job. Ok, it’s not quite Revenge of the Mummy, but it’s the closest thing we have and anyone who feels the need to moan about it deserves to suffer a grisly death at the hands of Jigsaw himself. The theming is great, the music and sound effects are actually rather un-nerving, the dark-ride section is inventive, well executed (pun intended) and does have a surprise or two and the outdoor section is well paced, has some nice elements and is sufficiently different from Thorpe Park’s other coasters to be a more than worthy addition to the line-up. Bit on the small side perhaps, but on the whole Saw gets a solid thumbs up from the Howiemeister.
Quite liked the Saw Store too, some quite cool souvenirs in there - couldn’t resist one of those blood-filled ‘syringe’ pens - sick, I know, but only 99p (bargain!) and I’m swigging tea from a Saw- The Ride mug as I write this review.

It was 4 o clock and we’d been on every ride in the park, so we had a beer and went for one more go on Inferno, Stealth, Colossus and Saw single rider again before heading home, all 5 of us knackered, completely coastered-out and buzzin’ our tits off.
So, I ask again, have I been very lucky, or has everyone else been really UNlucky? ?

Now, I’ve defended Thorpe Park before. I know it has some issues, some of them serious - capacity, reliability, efficiency , queue management etc… and I also know that Thorpe Park can’t call itself anything like a resort, not yet anyway but I don’t care. For me, it’s all about the rides and when it comes to rides, Thorpe’s line-up is hard to beat. And that was BEFORE they added another first-rate rollercoaster.

Meanwhile, Alton Towers have taken down one of their coasters and added. . . . . . some fish.

Sorry guys, my loyalties are still lying down south I’m afraid. Thorpe Park rules!


*ps having spent all of 2008 stuck on a frustrating 98, Saw - The Ride gives me my 99th coaster credit! Yay!

This post has been edited by Howie: Apr 14 2009, 10:06 PM
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D4n
post Apr 14 2009, 9:46 PM
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Nice review there. I'm glad to hear a positive review of THORPE PARK on an Alton Towers forum for once! smile.gif
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AstroDan
post Apr 14 2009, 11:05 PM
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Glad you had a good day, but as you know the Corkscrew replacement is coming in 2010. As for your day, you did get very lucky - I thought Slammer was closed according to the Website it's been down for a few days. To enjoy THORPE as you did on a full to capacity day is really quite commendable as queue's last Thursday on my visit were pretty much all between 1 and 4 hours with even Single Rider on Stealth massive.

So yes - you have been incredibly lucky, but I am glad. It's about time someone left THORPE happy.

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This post has been edited by AstroDan: Apr 14 2009, 11:08 PM


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