Thorpe Park

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This article is about the theme park. For the Lincolnshire village, see Thorpe Park, Lincolnshire.
Thorpe Park Resort
Thorpe-park-logo.png
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 Entertainment
Operated by Merlin Entertainment
General Manager Mike Vallis
(Divisional Director)
Opened 24 May 1979; 37 years ago (1979-05-24)
Operating season March - November
Visitors per annum Decrease 1.85 million (2015)
Area 200 ha (2.0 km2)
200 ha (490 acres)
Rides
Total 27
Roller coasters 7
Water rides 5
Website ThorpePark.com
Status Amusement Park
Open
Hotel
Open

Thorpe Park, styled THORPE PARK Resort, is a theme park with a temporary hotel in between the towns of Chertsey and Staines, Surrey, England, UK. It is operated and owned by Merlin Entertainments. After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit.

Thorpe Park was built in the 1970s on the gravel pit which was partially flooded, creating a water-based theme for the park. This essentially allows guests to view the park as an island, which is where the "island like no other" slogan originates from. It was officially opened to the public by the late Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1979.

Major attractions include Tidal Wave, Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, Stealth, SAW - The Ride, The Swarm and Derren Brown's Ghost Train.

The park is mainly geared towards a young adult/teenage audience due to the vast majority of signature attractions being roller coasters and thrill rides. The tallest of these being Stealth, an Intamin Accelerator Coaster, which launches riders from 0-80 mph in 1.8 seconds sending them 205 ft into the air. As well as this, The Swarm, which is the only B&M wing coaster in the UK, has a total of 5 inversions and is 127 feet tall.

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 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.[citation needed]

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 The 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.

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, X and others.

Fright Nights, formerly "Fright Nites" is Thorpe Park's halloween event and also its largest. It's an annual 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.[2]

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.

Rides and attractions[edit]

Rollercoasters[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Area 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. Features an inverted drop. As of 2016, all seats face forward. Height Limit 1.4m.
SAW -
The Ride
Sawopen.jpg Eurofighter 2009 Old Town Gerstlauer A custom Eurofighter themed around the SAW horror movie franchise. Height Limit 1.4m.
Stealth Stealth Thorpe Park.jpg Intamin Launch 2006 Amity Beach Intamin An Intamin launch coaster themed around 1950s drag racing, stands at 205 ft tall and goes from 0 - 80 mph in 1.8 secs. Has the fastest acceleration of any coaster in Europe and is the tallest launched coaster in the UK. Height Limit 1.4m.
Nemesis
Inferno
Nemisis inferno.jpg Inverted 2003 The Jungle 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 Beach 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 45 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 Max speed 60 Mph Height Limit 1.3m.
Samurai Samurai Thorpe Park.jpg Top Scan 2004 Old Town Mondial Top scan ride that used 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 Old Town S&S Worldwide The last S&S Skyswat in the world. Height limit 1.4m.
King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems Dodgems Ride 2014 Angry Birds Land . Dodgems ride added in 2014 for Angry Birds Land. Height limit 1.1m.
Rocky Express The Rock Express - geograph.org.uk - 1294763.jpg Old Train 1989 Old Town 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 2001 Lost City HUSS HUSS enterprise that opened in 2001. 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 Old Town Mack Rides Currently the tallest log flume in the UK. Closed for the 2016 season due to maintenance reasons.
Rumba Rapids River rafting ride 1987 The Jungle 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 Spinning Rapids Ride 2011 Amity Beach 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 Beach Hopkins Rides When the ride was constructed in 2000 it was the tallest water ride in Europe. Height limit 1.2m.
Depth Charge Thorpe park skyline.jpg Water slide 1991 Amity Beach NV Aquatic

Other attractions[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Area Manufacturer Additional Information
Derren Brown's Ghost Train Derren Brown's Ghost Train .jpg Dark Ride 2016 Thorpe Junction Various, including Intamin, Simworx and Figment Productions Multi-sensory technologically advanced dark ride with heavy input by Derren Brown.
Angry Birds 4D 4D Cinema 2014 Angry Birds Land Simworx 4D Cinema showing the Angry Birds 4D movie.
Amity Beach Thorpe Park fly motion.jpg Beach Area 1979 Amity Beach Ready Mixed Concrete Originally called 'Fantasy Reef".
I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Maze Themed Maze 2015 The Jungle ITV Studios & Merlin Entertainments Studios Maze based on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Partnership between Merlin Entertainments and ITV Studios.

Theme Park areas[edit]

Thorpe Park is split into themed areas: Port & Basecamp, Amity Beach, The Jungle, Old Town, Lost City, Swarm Island, Angry Birds Land and Thorpe Junction.

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

Old Town, previously Canada Creek and SAW Island, opened in 1989 and 2009 respectively. It is themed around the Canadian Rockies. The main attraction of the area, is Saw - The Ride a Gerstlauer Eurofighter with three inversions. It is the only coaster themed around a horror film. This area also 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.

The Jungle, previously Calypso Quay, is an area in the park themed around a tropical caribbean jungle, with a volcano as its centrepiece. Four rides reside within this area: Nemesis Inferno, Mr Monkey's Banana Ride, Rumba Rapids and the I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Maze.

Lost City opened in 2001 and is themed around an ancient Aztec land. Main attractions include: Colossus, Quantum, Rush, X, Samurai, Vortex, Zodiac.

The Swarm Island was the new area for 2012, the land was reclaimed from the water that surrounds the island. It paints a picture of an apocalyptic end to the world with the roller coaster The Swarm.

Angry Birds Land opened on 24 May 2014, and is themed around the Angry Birds video game franchise. The area was previously part of Calypso Quay (now the Jungle), and Amity Cove (now Amity Beach). Attractions include: Angry Birds 4D, Detonator: Bombs Away and King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems.

Thorpe Junction opened on 24 March 2016 and is themed to a disused train depot. The building houses Derren Brown's Ghost Train and The Ghost Train Shop.

Amity Beach[edit]

Amity Beach has an American 1950s fishing village theme that has recently been hit by a tidal wave. With the attraction Tidal Wave as the key attraction. The Area, when opened in 2000 contained only a Tidal Wave, KFC and a games stand. It was extended in 2006 with the arrival of the Stealth rollercoaster located behind Tidal Wave, adding with the pre-existing Storm in a Tea Cup ride to Amity Cove's lineup. In 2007 the Flying Fish roller coaster was moved into Amity Cove, increasing the attraction list. In 2011 Storm Surge opened on the old Octopus Garden site. Storm in a Teacup is located near Stealth. Following the addition of Angry Birds Land in 2014, the area is now split in two, with guests having to go through Angry Birds Land in order to reach Amity Speedway, which has Stealth and Storm in a Teacup. Near the Flying fish there is Depth Charge, Wet Wet Wet, and the Amity Beach.

The Jungle[edit]

The Jungle is a Caribbean jungle themed area with four rides. The key attraction is Nemesis Inferno, a B&M inverted coaster themed around a volcano. Mr Monkey's Banana Ride is also in the area, near to the I'm a Celebrity Get Me out of Here Maze attraction. Rumba Rapids water rapids ride, and is the oldest attraction in the park. Part of the area was originally known as Ranger County, but after the removal of the Carousel in late 2014, the areas were merged due to having a similar theme.

Angry Birds Land[edit]

Angry Birds Land opened on 24 May 2014 and is based on the Angry Birds video game. The area was previously part of Calypso Quay and Amity Cove. Attractions include: Angry Birds 4D, King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems, and Detonator: Bombs Away (previously known as Detonator). As of 2016, Angry Birds Land is a sub-area of The Jungle.

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 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 roller coaster was renamed and moved to the area.

Old Town[edit]

Old Town opened in 1989 and is themed around the Canadian Rockies. It has five attractions, a Burger King and the Wild Wings Noodle Bar. The main ride in the area is Saw - The Ride a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter with a 100-degree drop and 3 inversions. It is based on the Saw franchise and the coaster's station and indoor area is themed as a sawmill. The area also houses the Slammer, an S&S Sky Swat, and Rocky Express, a small Mack Seastorm ride. Lastly, the Loggers Leap log flume is currently closed until further notice while essential remedial work and decisions around the ride's future are made.

The Swarm Island[edit]

The Swarm Island only contains one attraction, The Swarm, a rollercoaster themed around an alien invasion apocalypse that interacts with the areas landscape.

Thorpe Junction[edit]

Although not an official area according to the theme park map, Thorpe Junction is the name of the building that houses Derren Brown's Ghost Train and The Ghost Train Shop. This is found at the center of the island.

Records the park holds[edit]

  • 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 closed.
  • Nemesis Inferno has the longest pre lift section of any inverted B&M coaster in the world, and is the first inverted coaster to feature interlocking wingovers (corkscrews)
  • The Swarm, is the only winged coaster located in the United Kingdom. Also, between 2013 and 2016 it was the only backward winged coaster in the world (back 2 rows).
  • SAW – The Ride is the only rollercoaster themed around a horror movie, and is dubbed as the world's scariest ride.[3] 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 is themed around a metal shark, made from scrap metal, that appears to be rising out of the lake. The hotel is linked to the Dome. It is also the entry point into the park.[citation needed]

Developments[edit]

In 2010, the park outlined a 5-year development plan. The development plan highlighted a potential developmental area for a new roller coaster, with a target opening year of 2015, but has since been delayed to at least 2019.

In October 2014, the park submitted plans for an indoor attraction, codenamed 'Project Whitechapel', or ' WC16', due to open in March 2016. Featuring a pre-show area and a post-ride shop, the ride is being constructed on the site of the old arena as well as Chief Ranger's Carousel. On 26 October it was confirmed that illusionist Derren Brown has partnered with Thorpe Park to create a world's first immersive, psychological experience.[4] recently Thorpe Park released a teaser website 'www.mindswanted.co.uk' which shows project updates and new teasers for the new attraction. On 18 January 2016, it was officially announced the name for the attraction will be "Derren Brown's Ghost Train", and will open on 6 May 2016. This was later delayed and eventually opened on 8 July 2016.

On 27 March 2015, Thorpe Park Resort opened the world's first "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!" maze, set in the building which was home to Studio 13 during Fright Nights 2014. The attraction is home to three of the popular television programs Bushtucker Trails, including The Chambers Of Horror and Celebrity Cyclone. The attraction was announced on 11 February 2015 on social media websites, following a series of hints posted by Thorpe Park on their Twitter and Facebook pages. The maze has been fitted with the latest technology and special effects, including multisensory 'leg ticklers' and a vibrating bridge walk way.[5]

Incidents and controversies[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Main gallery: Thorpe Park Resort at WikiCommons

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC News (March 2007). "Tussauds purchased in £1bn deal" (Online). BBC News. Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  2. ^ "Haunted Attractions UK - Thorpe Park Fright Nights... an EVILution!". Retrieved 30 August 2007. 
  3. ^ "Thorpe Park's Horror Rides For Halloween". What's Good?. 2014-10-01. 
  4. ^ "2016 Attraction Plans Released". Thorpe Park Mania. 2014-10-30. 
  5. ^ "Thorpe Park: I'm a Celeb". ThemeParks-UK. 2015-12-13. 

External links[edit]