Thorpe Park Resort

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This article is about the theme park. For the Lincolnshire village, see Thorpe Park, Lincolnshire.
Thorpe Park Resort
ThorpeParkLogo.gif
Slogan An Island Like No Other
Location between Chertsey and Staines, Surrey, England, UK
Coordinates 51°24′17″N 0°30′47″W / 51.40472°N 0.51306°W / 51.40472; -0.51306Coordinates: 51°24′17″N 0°30′47″W / 51.40472°N 0.51306°W / 51.40472; -0.51306
Owner Merlin Entertainments
General Manager Mike Vallis
Opened 24 May 1979
Operating season March - November
Rides
Total 28
Roller coasters 7
Water rides 5
Website www.thorpepark.com

Thorpe Park Resort is a theme park in between the towns of Chertsey and Staines, Surrey, England, UK. After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit. Thorpe Park was built in 1979 on the gravel pit which was partially flooded, creating a water-based theme for the park. The park's first large roller coaster, Colossus, was added in 2002. Merlin Entertainments own and operate the park.

Geared towards a young adult/teenage audience, the vast majority of the signature attractions are thrill rides and roller coasters. Popular attractions at the park include: Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, Tidal Wave, Stealth, SAW - The Ride, The Swarm and Rush.

History[edit]

Thorpe Park Lake in July 1979, the year the park opened to the public

Thorpe Park is in between the towns of Chertsey and Staines, Surrey, England, UK. After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit. Originally the gravel pit was owned by Ready Mixed Concrete Limited; in the late 1970s they decided to flood part of the site and create an educational theme park. The park opened as a small attraction, building slowly up to RMCs first large installation of "X:\No Way Out" in 1996. In 1998, The Tussauds Group bought the park (they also owned the nearby Chessington World of Adventures). From the outset the park started opening key attractions such as Tidal Wave in 2000, Colossus in 2002, Nemesis Inferno in 2003 and Stealth in 2006.

In 2007, Merlin Entertainments (a subsidiary of Blackstone Investment Group) bought the Tussauds Group;[1] the attraction target market was moved towards a teenage audience with large investment in the form of rides such as SAW: The Ride and SWARM. This was to prevent it competing with Legoland Windsor, and Chessington World of Adventures Resort, both within close proximity of Thorpe Park; Legoland was to cater for children and Chessington World of Adventures Resort was to have a variety of attractions.

Timeline[edit]

1930s-90s[edit]

Depth Charge water slides were added in 1991
  • Pre-1930s: The grounds are owned by the Lord of the Manor for centuries.
  • 1941-1971: The land now home to Thorpe Park is used as RMC (now a part of CEMEX) as a quarry.
  • 1979: Thorpe Park opens to the public as an open air exhibition centre. The park was opened by Lord Mountbatten.
  • 1980-1983: Attractions included the Cinema, Magic Mill, Waterbus services, Model World, Railway, Teacups, Nature Trails, Phantom Phantasia, Thorpe Farm, and Sunken Gardens.
  • 1983: Space Station Zero opened.
  • 1984: Treasure Island Railway (2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge)[2] opened.
  • 1987: Thunder River (later renamed Rumba Rapids) water ride opened, at a cost of over £2 million.
  • 1988: The 630 seat Palladium Theatre opened.
  • 1989: Canada Creek area opened. Canada Creek Railway (2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge)[2] opened. Loggers Leap (largest log flume in the UK until 1993, and again since 2005) opened. Rocky Express opened.
  • 1990: Space Station Zero was re-themed into the Flying Fish and moved outdoors. Carousel Kingdom opened. The Rangers Show and Drive in the Country opened.
  • 1991: Fantasy Reef area was refurbished. Depth Charge opened.
  • 1992: Children's area was refurbished. Viking Rowers opened. Hudson River Rafters opened. Treasure Island Railway closed.
  • 1993: Calgary Stampede opened. Virtual Reality Centre opened. Magic Mill closed.
  • 1994: Ranger County area opened. Chief Rangers Carousel opened. Mr. Monkey's Banana Ride opened.
  • 1995: Mr Rabbit's Tropical Travels opened. Drive in the Country rethemed as Miss Hippo's Fungle Safari.
  • 1996: X:\ No Way Out, the world's first dark backwards roller coaster, opened.
  • 1998: The Tussauds Group purchased the park. Palladium Theatre and Ranger Show closed. Dare Devil Drivers and Wet Wet Wet! opened.
  • 1999: Pirates 4-D, a 4D cinema attraction starring Leslie Nielsen, opened. Carousel Kingdom and Viking Rowers closed.

2000-2006[edit]

  • 2000: Tidal Wave, a Shoot the Chute made by Hopkins Rides, opened, becoming the tallest ride in the park at that time. The ride was promoted with a new version of the company website that featured a skeuomorphic "water-damaged" interface. Dare Devil Drivers and "Dino Boats" closed. A Fabbri Enterprise was installed in the park, opening late Summer 2000. On 21 July a major fire broke out in the centre of the park. The fire destroyed The Wicked Witches Haunt (previously known as Fantom Fantasia) and the inside area of Mr Rabbit's Tropical Travels. The Wicked Witches Haunt was closed immediately.
  • 2001: The Lost City area was established, with the Enterprise (now rethemed and renamed Zodiac) and Vortex (a KMG Afterburner) as its first rides. Detonator, Mega Drop made by Fabbri, opened in Calypso Quay. At the end of the season, Thunder River closed, ready to be revamped into Ribena Rumba Rapids for the 2002 season.
  • 2002: Colossus, an Intamin roller coaster with a record-breaking 10 inversions, opened. The 2002 website featured a Shockwave 3D "virtual ride" of Colossus. Safari High Dive show opened for one season, and Thunder River re-opened as Ribena Rumba Rapids. Debut of the park's annual Halloween event, Fright Nights.
  • 2003: Nemesis Inferno, a Bolliger & Mabillard inverted roller coaster themed around a tropical volcano, opened. Also Quantum, a Fabbri magic carpet ride, opened. Eclipse, a 25-metre (82 ft) tall Fabbri Ferris wheel with 18 pods, opened. A Spider-Man show was performed in the arena. This continued into 2004 and was replaced in 2005 by Stuntzmania. At the end of the season, Calgary Stampede closed to make way for Samurai.
  • 2004 Eclipse closed mid season due to a lack of riders, having lasted just over one season. Samurai, a Mondial Top Scan moved from Chessington, opened. New Spider-Man show opened. Tea Cup Twisters rethemed to Storm in a Tea Cup to fit with nearby Amity Cove's theming. Flying Fish closed at the end of the season to make way for Stealth in 2006.
  • 2005: Slammer, an S&S Sky Swat, opened in March, after being delayed due to technical issues. Rush, an S&S Screamin' Swing and the world's biggest air-powered speed swing (until the opening of Skyhawk at Cedar Point in the US), opened in May.
  • 2006: Stealth, an Intamin Accelerator Coaster which launches riders from 0–80 miles per hour (0–129 km/h) in 2.3 seconds, opened with the park in March. Zodiac was replaced by another Enterprise, sourced from Drayton Manor. StreetXtreme replaced Stuntzmania in the Arena.

2007-present[edit]

  • 2007: Flying Fish returned, located between Tidal Wave and Wet Wet Wet. X:\ No Way Out was slightly refurbished, with a new storyline added about how 'X Laboratories Facility' lost control of their super-computer, thus sending riders into the strange and disorientating ride. Also, robot dummies and new lighting were added to the queue line and ride. Thorpe Farm closed, due to a lack of visitors. Canada Creek Railway reopened as a small circuit around Canada Creek, and it no longer traveled to Thorpe Farm. The railway takes guest on a 'Bearhunt' where riders spot models of bears around the journey. Ribena's sponsorship contract ended and so 'Ribena Rumba Rapids' changed its name to Rumba Rapids. The ride remained unchanged. No show was hosted in the Arena, although the Se7en scare maze was still hosted there in Fright Nights. The park started opening for February half term; in previous years the park had not opened for the season until March. During February reduced entrance fees applied, as limited rides were available.
  • 2008: New 4D Cinema film "Time Voyagers" opened to replace "Pirates 4D". The arena was once again used for shows this season after having not been used the previous season. It was announced that Canada Creek Railway would not run for the whole season due to construction of SAW: The Ride
  • 2009: SAW - The Ride, a custom Gerstlauer Euro-fighter rollercoaster opened. Canada Creek Railway re-opened, and Miss Hippo's Fungle Safari closed.
  • 2010: Saw: Alive is opened. This is the park's second Saw-themed attraction, and its first permanent horror maze. This lasted for two years until 2012 where it was reduced to opening for the Fright Nights event only. Thorpe Park adopts a new brand image, aimed towards the teenage and young adult market, introducing the 'Fat Heads' mascots. Octopus Gardens closes in September and is demolished to make way for the 2011 relocation of Storm Surge from Cypress Gardens in Florida.
  • 2011: Storm Surge opened in March. Thorpe Park Blast returns but is renamed as 'Blow It Up'. The park introduced Experiment 10 as its newest Fright Night attraction. Time Voyagers 4D and Canada Creek Railway closed permanently.
  • 2012: The Swarm a Bolliger & Mabillard Wing Coaster, opened in March. Fright Nights 2012 introduced "The Passing", a new 2nd gate horror maze.
  • 2013: - A temporary hotel, "The Crash Pad" opens. The two back rows on The Swarms trains are turned backwards, and more theming is added to the ride, such as a large billboard which is also a 'near miss' feature. X:/No Way Out is renamed X and refurbished, with the cars now turned forward and new lighting effects added within the queue lines and within the ride area Fright Nights 2013 teamed up with Lionsgate to introduce 4 new horror attractions with IP based themes, My Bloody Valentine, You're Next, Cabin In The Woods & The Blair Witch Project.
  • 2014: The park is re-branded with a more family friendly image, the slogan "An Island like No Other" replaces "The Nation's Thrill Capital". Thorpe Shark Hotel opens to the public, replacing The Crash Pad with a more family friendly atmosphere. Angry Birds Land opens in May, featuring two new attractions: Angry Birds 4D on the site of the previous Time Voyagers attraction, King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems ride, and Detonator re-themed to Detonator: Bombs Away. Studio 13 replaces The Asylum in Fight Nights due to controversy surrounding the previouse attraction.

Events[edit]

As of 2014, Thorpe Park Resort operates three yearly events that occur each year. Ministry of Sound club nights in the Port Atlantis Dome occur one Saturday night a month from April to September. These club nights feature well known music DJs playing a variety of themed nights. Summer Nights is when the park reopens after a normal day on Friday and Saturday Nights in July and August from 7pm-10pm for some late-night rides consisting of The Swarm, SAW - The Ride, Stealth, Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, X and others.

Fright Nights is Thorpe Park's halloween event, formerly "Fright Nites". It is an annual event that has been running at Thorpe Park since 2002.[3] For a period of time during October, the park opens until 10 pm on peak days to allow guests to ride in the dark. To continue the Halloween celebration, special temporary attractions such as scare mazes are constructed for the event. Actors in costume and make-up are also found around the park.

Rides and Attractions[edit]

Rollercoasters[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Area Manufacturer Additional Information
The Swarm The swarm drop, thorpe park, england.jpg Wingrider 2012 Swarm Island Bolliger & Mabillard The Swarm is themed around apocalyptic devastation. It is built on its own island. Height Limit 1.4m
SAW -
The Ride
Sawopen.jpg Eurofighter 2009 SAW - Island/Canada Creek Gerstlauer Custom Eurofighter themed around the SAW horror movie franchise. Height Limit 1.4m
Stealth Stealth Thorpe Park.jpg Intamin Launch 2006 Amity Speedway Intamin Intamin launch coaster themed around 1950s drag racing, stands at 205 ft and goes 0 - 80 mph in 1.8 secs. Height Limit 1.4m
Nemesis
Inferno
Nemisis inferno.jpg Inverted 2003 Calypso Quay Bolliger & Mabillard B&M inverted coaster themed around the eruption of a volcano, sequel ride to Nemesis at sister park Alton Towers. Height Limit 1.4m
Colossus Colossus (Thorpe Park).jpg Steel Sit down 2002 Lost City Intamin World's first ten looping rollercoaster (record now beaten by The Smiler), and was the parks first major attraction. Height Limit 1.4m
X X-nowayout.jpg Steel sit down 1996 Lost City Vekoma World's first, backwards in the dark rollercoaster, however now runs forward after being revamped for the 2013 season, the ride is themed around a night club. Height Limit 1m
Flying Fish Thorpe Park flying fish 1.jpg Steel powered coaster 1990 Amity Cove Mack Rides Powered coaster themed around a surfing fish, originally opened in 1983 as space station zero, rethemed and refurbished for 1990 as flying fish. Height Limit 0.9m

Flat rides[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Area Manufacturer Additional Information
Detonator: Bombs Away Fasten Your Safety Belts^ - geograph.org.uk - 1165821.jpg Drop Tower 2001 Angry Birds Land Fabbri Group 35m tall drop tower. Re-themed to Detonator: Bombs Away for the opening of Angry Birds Land in May 2014. max speed 50 mph. Height limit 1.3m
Rush 'Rush' at rest - geograph.org.uk - 1294739.jpg S&S Screamin' Swing 2005 Lost City S&S Worldwide Giant swing with an incident in 2008. Height Limit 1.3m
Samurai Samurai Thorpe Park.jpg Top Scan 2004 Lost City Mondail Top scan ride that use to be located at Chessington World of Adventures Resort. Height limit 1.4m
Slammer Slammer at Thorpe Park - geograph.org.uk - 467533.jpg Sky Swat 2005 Canada Creek S&S Worldwide The last S&S Skyswat in the world. Height limit 1.4m
Rocky Express The Rock Express - geograph.org.uk - 1294763.jpg Sea Storm Ride 1989 Canada Creek Mack Rides Family friendly mock train ride. Height limit 0.9m
Quantum Thorpe Park Quantum ride.jpg Magic Carpet 2003 Lost City Fabbri Group Large magic Capet ride, more intense than it looks. Height Limit 1.2m
Vortex Vortex in action - geograph.org.uk - 1294900.jpg Afterburner 2001 Lost City KMG KMG afterburner ride that opened in June 2001. Height limit 1.4m
Zodiac Zodiac thorpe park.jpg Enterprise 2000 Lost City HUSS HUSS enterprise that opened in July 2000 after the fire. Height Limit 0.9m

Water rides[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Area Manufacturer Additional Information
Loggers Leap Off to get wet - geograph.org.uk - 1293811.jpg Log flume 1989 Canada Creek Mack Rides It was the tallest log flume ride in the UK when it opened.
Rumba Rapids River rafting ride 1987 Calypso Quay Intamin It opened in 1987 under the name of Thunder River, and is the oldest ride currently still in service at Thorpe Park.
Storm Surge Thorpe Park - Storm Surge.jpg River rafting ride 2011 Amity Cove WhiteWater West The ride contains a 19.5 metre lift hill, and gradually 'spins' to the bottom of the slide.
Tidal Wave Tidal Wave Thorpe Park.jpg Shoot-the-Chutes 2000 Amity Cove Hopkins Rides When the ride was constructed in 2000 it was the tallest water ride in Europe.
Depth Charge Thorpe park skyline.jpg Water slide 1991 Neptune's Kingdom NV Aquatic

Other Attractions[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Area Manufacturer Additional Information
King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems Dodgems 2014 Angry Birds Land Bertazzon Officially opened on 24 May 2014.
Angry Birds 4D 4D Cinema 2014 Angry Birds Land SimWorkx 4D Cinema showing the Angry Birds 4D movie.
Neptune's Beach Thorpe Park fly motion.jpg Beach Area 1979 Neptune's Kingdom Ready Mixed Concrete Originally called 'Fantasy Reef".
The Hideaway Stage 2014 Ranger County Merlin Entertainments Studios Performances throughout the year.

Theme Park areas[edit]

Thorpe Park is split into various themed areas, which include: Amity Cove, Amity Speedway, Calypso Quay, Canada Creek, Neptune's Beach, Lost City, Ranger Country, Swarm Island and Angry Birds Land, which opened on 24 May 2014.

Amity Cove is themed as a 1950s fishing village that has been left devastated by a tidal wave. The main attractions in this area are: Tidal Wave, Flying Fish and Storm Surge.

Canada Creek opened in 1989 themed around the Canadian Rockies. This area has the UK's tallest water ride, called Loggers Leap, the world's only Sky Swat: Slammer, and the small train ride named the Rocky Express. Canada Creek is also home to the now defunct Canada Creek Railway, which closed in late 2011.

Calypso Quay is an area in the part themed around a calypso in a jungle, with a volcano as its centrepiece. Four rides reside within this area: Nemesis Inferno, Storm in a Teacup and Rumba Rapids.

Ranger Country opened in 1994 and is an area aimed mostly at younger visitors, the main attraction is Mr Monkey's Banana Ride, alongside the Chief Rangers Carousel.

Lost City opened in 2001 and is themed around an ancient Aztec land. Main attractions include: Colossus, Quantum, Rush, X, Samurai, Vortex,the slammer the slammer Zodiac. Neptune's Kingdom is mainly a small beach and water area for children, with two separate water slide attractions. Neptune's Beach opens on warmer days from May onwards, along with a separate attraction Wet Wet Wet. Beside this attraction is Depth Charge, a four lane water slide. The Swarm Island is a new area for 2012, it paints a picture of an apocalyptic end to the world with the roller coaster The Swarm.

Angry Birds Land is the newest area and opened on 24 May 2014, and is themed around the Angry Birds video game franchise. Attractions include: Angry Birds 4D, Detonator: Bombs Away and King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems.

Amity Cove[edit]

Visitors at the destruction-themed Amity Cove

Amity Cove is themed to look like a 1950s fishing village that has been hit by a tidal wave. With the attraction Tidal Wave as the key ride. The Area, which opened in 2000 originally only contained Tidal Wave, KFC and a games stand, however it was extended in 2006 with the arrival of the Stealth rollercoaster behind Tidal Wave, adding itself and the pre-existing Storm in a Tea Cup ride to Amity Cove's lineup. Again in 2007 when the Flying Fish rollercoaster was moved into Amity Cove, its attraction list was increased. In 2011 Storm Surge opened on the old site of the Octopus Garden.

Amity Speedway[edit]

Amity Speedway is themed around an American 1950's race circuit. It was originally part of Amity Cove until Angry Birds Land opened in 2014, splitting the area in two. Its only attraction is Stealth a 205 ft tall Intamin Rocket coaster which opened in 2006.

Ranger County[edit]

Ranger County is a children's area that is themed to the now non existent Thorpe Park rangers. There is Mr Monkey's Banana Ride a small Huss Rides pirate boat and Chief Ranger's Carousel as the only attractions.

Neptune's Kingdom[edit]

Neptune's Kingdom is a children's water based area with three attractions, only one is open for the whole season. Depth Charge is main attraction in this area and is a four lain water slide. Neptune's Beach is a small water play area for families and is open from May until September. Wet Wet Wet is a selection of water slides that lead into Neptune's Beach.

Calypso Quay[edit]

Calypso Quay is a Caribbean themed area with three rides. The key attraction is Nemesis Inferno, a B&M inverted coaster themed around a volcano. Storm in a Teacup is also in the area, which is next to the Rumba Rapids water ride.

Lost City[edit]

Colossus

The Lost City is themed to the ruins of a recently unearthed Atlantean civilisation with the Colossus rollercoaster as the main attraction opening in 2002. The area opened in 2001 with the Vortex and Zodiac rides as the only attractions. In 2003 Quantum, a magic carpet ride opened. Two more attractions have since joined the rides line up with Samurai opening after being moved from the also Merlin owned Chessington World of Adventures in 2004 and Rush an S&S Screamin' Swing opening in 2005. In 2013 the X rollercoaster was rethemed in the area.

Canada Creek[edit]

Canada Creek opened in 1989 and is themed around the Canadian Rockies. It has three attractions, a Burger King and the Wild Wings Noodle Bar. The main attraction in the area is Loggers Leap a Mack log flume with a double drop. The area also has the Rocky Express Sea Storm ride. Located just outside of the area is SAW - The Ride, a horror themed rollercoaster based on the SAW franchise.

The Swarm Island[edit]

The Swarm Island only contains one attraction, The Swarm, an apocalyptic ride that interacts with the areas landscape.

Angry Birds Land[edit]

Angry Birds Land opened on 24 May 2014 and its based on the Angry Birds video game. Attractions include: Angry Birds 4D, King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems, and Detonator: Bombs Away (previously known as Detonator). The area has three entrances: one from Calypso Quay, one from Amity Cove and one from Amity Speedway.

Records the park holds[edit]

  • Stealth was previously the fastest rollercoaster in the world until Furius Baco took the record in 2007. Stealth still holds the record for the fastest acceleration of any roller coaster in Europe (0–80 miles per hour (0–129 km/h) in 1.8 seconds as opposed to Furious Baco's 0–83.9 miles per hour (0.0–135.0 km/h) in 3.5 seconds) and is still the fastest in the UK.
  • Loggers Leap is the tallest log flume in the UK, although it lost that record for several years to The American Adventure's Nightmare Niagara, then regained the record when that ride was removed.
  • Nemesis Inferno has the longest pre lift section of any inverted B&M coaster in the world, and was the first inverted coaster to feature interlocking wingovers (corkscrews)
  • The Swarm, is the only backward winged coaster in the world (back 2 rows), it is also the only winged coaster that is in the United Kingdom.
  • SAW – The Ride is the only rollercoaster themed around a horror movie, and is therefore dubbed as the world's scariest ride. It also holds the record for the rollercoaster with the steepest free-fall drop in the world, at 100 degrees, and sixth steepest drop overall in the world after Steel Hawg at Indiana Beach in the USA, Mumbo Jumbo at Flamingo Land in the UK, Timber Drop at Fraispertuis City in France, Green Lantern Coaster (with an angle of 120.5°) at Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia and Takabisha (with an angle of 121°) at Fuji-Q Highland in Japan. The drops on the proceeding S&S Worldwide manufactured roller coasters and Takabisha are controlled by braking fins, whereas the drop on Saw is not, hence it holds the title of steepest free-fall drop. It's also Gerstlauer's 2nd steepest rollercoaster, preceding Takabisha, the current world record holder for the steepest drop.

Thorpe Shark Hotel[edit]

Port Atlantis Entrance

The Thorpe Shark Hotel (formerly The Crash Pad) is a temporary metal hotel. The hotel has 90 rooms and is themed around a metal shark, made from scrap metal, that will appear to be rising out of the lake. The hotel is linked to the Port Atlantis Dome. It is also the entry point into the park.[citation needed]

Incidents and controversies[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Main gallery: Thorpe Park Resort at WikiCommons

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]