Thorpe Park

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Thorpe Park Resort
Thorpe-park-logo.png
SloganAn Island Like No Other/Alive Like No Other
LocationChertsey / Surrey
Coordinates51°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
OwnerMerlin Entertainments
Operated byMerlin Entertainments
General ManagerHelen Bull (Divisional Director)
Opened24 May 1979; 40 years ago (1979-05-24)
Operating seasonMid/Late March – late October/early November
Visitors per annumDecrease 1.5 million (2018)
Area490 acres (2.0 km2; 200 ha)
Attractions
Total26
Roller coasters7
Water rides4
WebsiteThorpePark.com
StatusTheme Park
Open
Hotel
Open

Thorpe Park Resort, commonly known as Thorpe Park, is a theme park located between the towns of Chertsey and Staines-upon-Thames in Surrey. It is operated and owned by Merlin Entertainments and includes rides, a themed hotel, live events and the UK’s fastest rollercoaster Stealth.

After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit. Thorpe Park Resort was built in the 1970s on the gravel pit which was partially flooded, creating a water-based theme for the park. It was officially opened to the public by Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1979. It has since grown into one of the major theme parks in the UK.

Major attractions include a large water ride Tidal Wave, a number of rollercoasters including Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, Stealth, Saw – The Ride, The Swarm, The Walking Dead: The Ride and dark ride Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon. Other smaller attractions include a water area called Amity Beach and an Angry Birds themed land. It also has on-site accommodation, the Thorpe Shark Hotel.

History[edit]

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

The demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s saw the site transform into a gravel pit, originally owned by Ready Mixed Concrete Limited. In the 1970s RMC flooded part of the site and created a water leisure and exhibition park, opening in 1979. The first theme park development began a few years later, with new attractions opening throughout the 1980s-90s. The last large attraction opened by the park's original owners was "X:\No Way Out" in 1996. In 1998, The Tussauds Group bought the park. 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.[citation needed]

In May 2007, Blackstone Group purchased The Tussauds Group from then-owner Dubai International Capital for US$1.9 billion; the company was merged by Blackstone into Merlin Entertainments and Merlin took over operation of Thorpe Park.[1][2] Dubai International Capital also gained 20% of Merlin Entertainments.[3]

On 17 July 2007, as part of the financing for the Tussauds deal, Merlin sold Thorpe Park, to private investor Nick Leslau and his investment firm Prestbury under a sale and leaseback agreement.[4] Although it is owned by Prestbury, the site is operated by Merlin based on a renewable 35-year lease.[1] In 2018, along with other Merlin attractions, Thorpe Park teamed up with Coca Cola to offer half price tickets for recycled plastic bottles. [5]

The target audience for the Resort is Teenagers and Young Adults, adding rides such as Saw - The Ride and The Swarm for example. In 2014, Merlin decided to also target a more broad-family based market with new attractions such as Angry Birds Land and the park's onsite hotel.[6]

On the 20th of February 2019, the official twitter account of Thorpe Park confirmed the closure of Loggers Leap.[7]

Rides and attractions[edit]

Rollercoasters[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Territory Manufacturer Additional Information
The Swarm The swarm drop, thorpe park, england.jpg Wing Coaster 2012 Swarm Island Bolliger & Mabillard The UK's first winged coaster, opened in 2012. Features an inverted 'wing-over drop'. In 2013 the rear two rows faced backwards. As of 2016, all seats face forward again. Height Limit 1.4m. Max Height Limit is 1.95m
SAW -The Ride Sawopen.jpg Eurofighter 2009 Old Town Gerstlauer A custom Eurofighter themed around the SAW movie franchise. Height Limit 1.4m.
Stealth Stealth Thorpe Park.jpg Intamin Launch 2006 Amity Intamin An Intamin launch coaster, 205 ft tall and accelerating from 0 - 80 mph in 1.9 seconds. It is the second tallest coaster in the UK. Height Limit 1.4m. Max height limit is 1.95m
Nemesis Inferno Nemisis inferno.jpg Inverted 2003 The Jungle Bolliger & Mabillard B&M inverted coaster themed around a volcano, named after Nemesis at Alton Towers. Height Limit 1.4m.
Colossus Colossus (Thorpe Park).jpg Steel Sit down 2002 Lost City Intamin Opened as the 'world's first ten looping rollercoaster' (record now beaten by The Smiler). Height Limit 1.4m. Max height limit is 1.95m
Walking Dead: The Ride Steel Sit down 1996
(2018)
The Dock Yard Vekoma Located at the centre of the park in a pyramid. Previously X and X:\No Way Out. Height Limit 1.4m.
Flying Fish Thorpe Park flying fish 1.jpg Steel powered coaster 1983 (1990) Amity Mack Rides Powered coaster. Opened in 1983 as dark ride Space Station Zero, rethemed and moved outdoors in 1990 as Flying Fish, moved to Amity area in 2007. Height Limit 0.9m.

Flat rides[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Territory Manufacturer Additional Information
Timber Tug Boat Rockin' Tug (ride) 2017 Old Town Zamperla A Zamperla Rockin' Tug that was relocated from Weymouth Sea Life and opened in 2017. Height limit 0.9m.
Lumber Jump Frog Hopper (ride) 2017 Old Town Zamperla A Frog Hopper ride that was relocated from Weymouth Sea Life and opened in 2017. Height limit 0.9m.
King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems Dodgems Ride 2014 Angry Birds Land Bertazzon Dodgems ride added in 2014 for Angry Birds Land. Height limit 1.1m.
Rush 'Rush' at rest - geograph.org.uk - 1294739.jpg S&S Screamin' Swing 2005 Lost City S&S Worldwide A Giant swing ride Max speed 40 Mph. Height limit 1.3m.
Samurai Samurai Thorpe Park.jpg Top Scan 2004 Old Town Mondial Top scan ride, formerly at Chessington World of Adventures Resort. Height limit 1.4m.
Quantum Thorpe Park Quantum ride.jpg Magic Carpet 2003 Lost City Fabbri Group Large magic carpet ride. Height limit 1.2m.
Zodiac Zodiac thorpe park.jpg Enterprise (ride) 2001 Lost City HUSS HUSS enterprise that opened in 2001. Height limit 0.9m.
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.
Detonator: Bombs Away Fasten Your Safety Belts^ - geograph.org.uk - 1165821.jpg Drop Tower 2001 Angry Birds Land Fabbri Group 35m tall drop tower. Originally named 'Detonator', renamed 'Detonator: Bombs Away' for the opening of Angry Birds Land in 2014. Max speed 45 Mph. Max G-force 5.5 . Height Limit 1.3m.
Rocky Express The Rock Express - geograph.org.uk - 1294763.jpg Sea Storm 1989 Old Town Mack Rides Family friendly spinning train ride. Height limit 0.9m.
Mr Monkey's Banana Ride Pirate Ship 1994 The Jungle Metallbau Emmeln A small banana themed swinging ship ride. Height limit 0.9m.
Storm in a Teacup Teacups ride 1986 Amity Mack Rides A teacups ride. Height limit 1.1m.

Water rides[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Territory Manufacturer Additional Information
Rumba Rapids River rafting ride 1987 The Jungle Intamin It opened in 1987 as Thunder River and is one of the earliest remaining rides at Thorpe Park.
Storm Surge Thorpe Park - Storm Surge.jpg Spinning Rapids Ride 2011 Amity WhiteWater West The ride has a 19.5m lift and spins riders down a spiral chute.
Tidal Wave Tidal Wave Thorpe Park.jpg Shoot-the-Chutes 2000 Amity Hopkins Rides When the ride was opened in 2000 it was the tallest water ride in Europe. Height limit 1.2m.
Depth Charge Thorpe park skyline.jpg Water slide 1991 Amity NV Aquatic Opened as the first four lane dingy waterslide in the UK.

Other attractions[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Territory Manufacturer Additional Information
Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon Derren Brown's Ghost Train .jpg Dark Ride 2016 The Dock Yard Various, including Intamin, Simworx and Figment Productions Multi-sensory dark ride created in collaboration with Derren Brown.
Angry Birds 4D Experience 4D Cinema 2014 Angry Birds Land Simworx 4D Cinema showing the Angry Birds 4D movie. Replaced Pirates 4-D and Time Voyagers.
Amity Beach Thorpe Park fly motion.jpg Beach Area with Pool and Waterslides 1979 Amity Ready Mixed Concrete Originally named "Fantasy Reef".
Bouncezilla Inflatable Obstacle Course 2019 Lost City Hold my Shoes 90m inflatable assault course.
Jungle Escape Escape Room 2019 The Jungle Rogue Productions/ Thorpe Park Resort

Territories[edit]

Since 2016, Thorpe Park is zoned into eight 'island territories'.

  • Port and Basecamp includes the turnstile entrance, bridge and dome.
  • Amity (originally 'Amity Cove') opened with Tidal Wave and now includes Stealth, Depth Charge, Wet Wet Wet, Amity Beach and Storm Surge.
  • The Jungle contains Nemesis Inferno, Rumba Rapids, Mr Monkey's Banana Ride and a street of restaurants.
  • Angry Birds Land is sponsored by the Angry Birds video game. Attractions in this area include Angry Birds 4D, Detonator: Bombs Away and King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems.
  • Old Town is located towards the back of the park and includes Saw - The Ride, Rocky Express, Timber Tug Boat and Lumber Jump.
  • Lost City contains Colossus, Rush, Quantum, Vortex and Zodiac.
  • Swarm Island opened as the plaza for The Swarm.
  • The Dock Yard (initially named 'The Depot') is the plaza immediately outside Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon and includes the nearby The Walking Dead: The Ride rollercoaster.

Port and Basecamp[edit]

The 'Basecamp' area contains the turnstiles and bridge where guests enter the park. This leads to the dome, now named 'The Port', which houses Fin's Bar and Grill, an arcade area, food and beverage outletes, toilets, lockers, the Island Gift Shop, guest services, first aid and staff areas.

The dome was previously known as 'Port Atlantis' with an Atlantis themed interior. Much the scenery and underwater effect went missing since Merlin's acquisition of the park and was removed altogether after the building's change of name.

Amity[edit]

Amity is set as a 1950s-era American fishing village hit by a tidal wave and opened with Tidal Wave in 2000. It was previously named 'Amity Cove', as still named on themed signage. The area was expanded in 2006 with Stealth, set at 'Amity Speedway' racetrack. It later took on attractions from the former 'Neptune's Beach' family area, Depth Charge, Wet Wet Wet and Amity Beach outdoor water park.

It also includes attractions from the former 'European Park' area, Flying Fish and Storm In A Teacup'. Flying Fish was originally located beside Tidal Wave but moved following construction of Stealth to its present location. In 2011, the raft water ride Storm Surge was re-located from Cypress Gardens in Florida, USA to the former site of the 'Octopus Garden' childrens area.

The Jungle[edit]

The area's main attractions are Nemesis Inferno, a Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coaster set in a volcano, and Rumba Rapids. Previously named 'Calypso Quay', the area includes part of the former 'Ranger County' family area, including Mr Monkey's Banana Ride, as well as shopfronts and restaurants from the former 'European Park' area.

In 2019, Jungle Escape opened in the building formerly housing the I'm a Celebrity... Maze.

Angry Birds Land[edit]

Angry Birds Land opened in May 2014 and is sponsored by the Angry Birds video game. Attractions include Angry Birds 4D, King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems and Detonator: Bombs Away.

The Dock Yard[edit]

This area is primarily the plaza for Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon and also contains The Walking Dead: The Ride. The area has no themed features, other than buildings and scenery remaining from 'Octopus's Garden' (a since-closed childrens area).

Lost City[edit]

The Lost City theme is that of ruins of a recently unearthed Atlantean civilisation with the Colossus roller coaster as the main attraction opening in 2002. The area first opened in 2001 with the Vortex and Zodiac rides as the only attractions. In 2003 Quantum, a magic carpet ride opened. More attractions have since joined the rides line up with Rush an S&S Screamin' Swing which opened in 2005.

Old Town[edit]

The main ride in this area is Saw - The Ride, a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter with a 100-degree drop. The ride is sponsored by the Saw movie franchise and is set in a derelict warehouse. Samurai was relocated from Chessington World of Adventures in 2004. Timber Tug Boat and Lumber Jump were childrens attractions relocated from the Weymouth SeaLife Adventure Park and Marine Sanctuary. The area includes a Burger King and the Wild Wings Noodle Bar.

The area was previously named 'Canada Creek' and was the plaza for Loggers Leap log flume, opened in 1989. It had a loose Western theme, although this has mostly been lost through redevelopments. Today the main attractions listed in the area sit outside the plaza. Rocky Express, a small Mack flat ride, is the only attraction remaining from 'Canada Creek'.

Logger's Leap has remained unoperational since 2015 and its permanent closure was confirmed in 2019.[8]. This area also was home to Slammer a S&S Sky Swat, which also still stands but was confirmed to be permanently closed.

Swarm Island[edit]

Swarm Island is the plaza for The Swarm, a Bolliger & Mabillard wing-rider rollercoaster, opened in 2012. The area was built on land reclaimed from the surrounding lakes. The area is themed as the scene of an apocalyptic disaster with crashed plane and destroyed church.

Records the park holds[edit]

  • Nemesis Inferno is the first inverted coaster to feature interlocking corkscrews.
  • The Swarm opened as Europe’s tallest Wing coaster.
  • SAW – The Ride had the steepest drop in the world upon opening in 2009. It now has the sixth steepest drop after Steel Hawg at Indiana Beach, USA, Mumbo Jumbo at Flamingo Land, UK, Timber Drop at Fraispertuis City, France, Green Lantern Coaster at Warner Bros. Movie World, Australia and Takabisha at Fuji-Q Highland, Japan. Unlike the current record-holders, Saw's drop is not controlled by braking fins, hence it can be considered to have the steepest "free-fall" drop in the world. It was also advertised as "the world's first horror-movie themed roller coaster".
  • ‘’Colossus’’ held the world record for the most inversions on a rollercoaster on opening in 2002.
  • ’’Stealth’’ is the UK’s fastest roller coaster, launching from 0-80 in 2.3 seconds. It is also the UK’s second tallest roller coaster standing at 205ft.
  • ’’Rush’’ was the world's largest screamin’ swing on opening in 2005.
  • ’’Tidal Wave’’ opened as Europe’s tallest water ride.

Events[edit]

As of 2014, Thorpe Park Resort operates three yearly events. 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, Walking Dead and others.

Fright Nights[edit]

Fright Nights,[9] formerly "Fright Nites" is Thorpe Park's terrifying annual halloween event and also its largest Halloween event in the UK. It's an event that has been running at Thorpe Park since 2002, celebrating Halloween with the park staying open until late at night, as well as operating a range of temporary halloween attractions. Roaming actors in costume or with make up can also be found around the park.[10] During Fright Nights, the park stays open until 10pm, with a range of scare mazes available for guests, who normally enter in groups of 8-10. "Face it Alone" has sometimes been available as an upcharge, where a guest enters unaccompanied and must sign a disclaimer before entering.[11]

In 2013, Fright Nights was relaunched with a horror movie theme, courtesy of a three-year contract with Lionsgate. All of the pre-existing Fright Nights attractions were removed with the exception of The Asylum to make way for new horror-film themed attractions.

In 2014, when the Thorpe Shark Hotel opened, Thorpe Park decided to do an overnight scare attraction that involved live actors terrorising you while you are in your bed.[citation needed] Before the experience began you were led to the back of the hotel where an actor would read you some scary stories.[citation needed]

In 2017 Fright Nights was reinvented with a Walking Dead theme. The addition of two Walking Dead attractions coincided with the season 8 premier of the show. SAW Alive, The Big Top and Platform 15 remained in operation from previous years, with Containment returning as an upcharge attraction.

Season(s)
active
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
3
Freakshow 3D
3
THE FREEZER
5
Carnival of the Bizarre
9
The Asylum
6
Hellgate
6
Se7en
5
The Curse
9
Saw Alive
1
Dead End
2
Experiment 10
1
The Passing
3
My Bloody Valentine
4
Cabin in the Woods
5
Blair Witch
Blair Witch
1
Studio 13
4
Containment
3
The Big Top
3
Platform 15
2
The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare
1
The Walking Dead: Sanctum
1
The Walking Dead: Do or Die
1
Vulcan Peak
1
Terror at Amity High
1
The Big Top: Showtime
1
Dead Creek Woods
1
Screamplexx Cinema

     – Previous Fright Night attraction.      – Current Fright Night attraction.

Hotel[edit]

Guests can stay over on-park at the 'Thorpe Shark Hotel', comprising 90-rooms converted from shipping containers with a link to facilities in the adjacent Dome. The accommodation takes its name from its shark head entrance feature built from scrapped park signage.

The hotel initially opened in 2013 as 'The Crash Pad', run by external company Snoozebox. The temporary development was purchased by the park the following year and rebranded as the Thorpe Shark Hotel.[12]

Thorpe Park had originally been planning to build a permanent 250-bed hotel as far back as 2006. This would have been located on the opposite side of the lake, on the site of former excavation works, featuring a lakeside bar, health club and restaurant.

The development was pitched again following the installation of 'The Crash Pad' to "test market conditions". The park received planning permission to construct the permanent hotel in 2014, with construction planned to begin in 2016 and an opening in 2018. However, the hotel was never constructed and the Shark Hotel's planning permission was extended by 10 years instead.[13]

Developments[edit]

In 2010, the park outlined a 5-year development plan that outlined new coasters for 2012 (The Swarm) and 2015, as well as a permanent lakeside hotel. No application was ever submitted for the 2015 development and the intended site of coaster behind The Swarm remains vacant.

Incidents[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Main gallery: Thorpe Park Resort at WikiCommons

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Merlin conjures up leaseback deal". 17 July 2007 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  2. ^ Cho, David (6 March 2007). "Blackstone Buys Madame Tussauds Chain" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  3. ^ "Tussauds firm bought in £1bn deal". BBC News. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Alton Towers sold in £622m deal". BBC News. 17 July 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  5. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (25 July 2018). "UK theme parks to offer half-price entry in exchange for used plastic bottles". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Thorpe Park - Coasterpedia - The Roller Coaster Wiki". coasterpedia.net.
  7. ^ https://twitter.com/THORPEPARK/status/1098160331350777858
  8. ^ https://twitter.com/THORPEPARK/status/1098160331350777858
  9. ^ "FRIGHT NIGHTS at THORPE PARK Resort". www.thorpepark.com.
  10. ^ "Haunted Attractions UK - Thorpe Park Fright Nights... an EVILution!". Archived from the original on 26 December 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  11. ^ "What to expect from Face it Alone 2016 (my first ever.)". Thorpe Park Mania Forums.
  12. ^ Sim, Nick. "Thorpe Park names new hotel for 2014 as Thorpe Shark Hotel". Theme Park Tourist. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  13. ^ Total Thorpe Park. "Thorpe Park Hotel planning". Theme Park Tourist. Retrieved 21 May 2019.

External links[edit]