TR: Thorpe Park (04/23)

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Thorpe Park 23rd April 2003

It was a very busy day at Thorpe Park yesterday and served as a timely reminder why not to visit in the school holidays. I don't have a clue just how many people were on park, but it seemed like a mid-summers day (by the way anyone know what the busiest day of the season so far is?). As a result lines where horrendous for EVERYTHING.

Arrived bang on 10AM (totally missing XRT, how I could have kicked myself) to be faced with half an hour lines at the ticket kiosks so that the three non-ap'ers i was accompanying/showing around could get their tickets sorted. The queues were ever so slow moving and I was forced to twice endure that stage-school pop-band thing that they've got going on at the park now.

After finally getting in to the park we made haste for Inferno, I think the ride entrance said that the line was 35mins, but our wait was no more than 20mins. Everyone seemed impressed with Inferno's ace theming (everyone loved the bark lava trails, and I think that the big nets are a great idea-much more imaginative than fences and people can't sit on them!).

Like Colossus, the Inferno line also gives some awesome views of the ride as size-nines and tens fly by overhead. The volcano is well done and the water mist steaming out of the peaks is a nice touch. I found the station to look a little unfinished but this is not really an issue as you are only in there for a short amount of time, and the time which you are in the station is spent looking in awe at those huge, trembling bass canons. Still it'd be nice to see this station dressed up a little more.

Much has been said already about the ride so I wont bang on here for too long, BUT, I loved it! The out-of-station drop/tunnel/bunny-hop/lift hill combo are great fun and this little pre-ride section really gets the adrenalin pumping and makes the start to the ride really memorable rather than just another lift hill. More parks should do fun little things like this to make the lift section of a coaster a bit more fun.

The first drop/loop/zero-g roll section of the ride is awesome. The water effects seem a little bit wasted on non-front-row riders but the loop pulls some strong gs which are quickly contrasted by the flick upwards and the zero-g roll. The set of corkscrews come fast and the turn around between the two seemed equally frantic. The down point of the ride came next for me; the first of the two helixes-the downward one. This seems dull and slow with no real force, it's bad, but is over quickly and doesn't marr the ride experience greatly. The next, upward, helix is a great punchy finish to the ride.

To sum up Inferno:
- Great Theming.
- Great start to the ride/lift hill
- Awesome first drop/loop/zero-g roll combo.
- Disappointing downward helix.
- Bare looking station.
- Unfinished looking mantainence shed.

All in all though, a real HIT!

You can see my DIY Inferno Ride Photo Here.

By the time we left Inferno the line had swollen to over an hour, with a five minute wait just to get Fast Passes. Next we headed for Logger's Leap, 25mins line, great fun as ever, especially the dark drop. However the decision to ride Logger's turned out to be a fatal error because on leaving the 'Leap and heading for Colossus we were faced with the horror of an all-gone Fast Pass machine or a 70mins line (turns out we should have rode then, but more about that later!). It also looked like it was on one train op, but I didn't get a proper look.

Not being one to endure lines very well we made the decision to head down to the Lost City Thrill Zone to get our kicks but the masses had already descended on to this cramped corner of the park. Lines were: Vortex 60mins/Zodiac 45mins/Quantum broken down. We opted to join the line for Zodiac as none of us had ever seen the Thorpe Park Enterprise in action before. The ride is very slow loading and today's ride program was painfully short (as were all Lost City thrill machine programs), it's a good fun ride but something which isn't very special, just another Enterprise like the one which comes to town with the Fun Fair. This is why I love Vortex so much, because it's great fun and also so unusual.

Ate lunch next at the cutely named Hungry Pirate. Very tasty stuff!

Headed back to the Lost City Thrill Zone for some more, er, sensory overload, this time on Quantum which had just opened and, according to the ride entrance was packing in a wait time of 40mins. However it was more realistically about 20mins which made us all very happy. The ride itself is great fun, just like the Chessie version, but with more comfy seating. Indeed it was astonishing to hear the amount of people in line for the ride reminisce about Chessie's past-glory.

After departing Quantum we headed for Tidal Wave (seeing as it was such a sunny day, and seeing as the queue was *only* 60mins) but as we approached it became obvious by the two Thorpe Park staffers strapped to the lift hill, scratching their heads that the ride had broken down.

So we hung around and did nothing for a while before heading to see the Spiderman show, one of the only things which we wouldn't have to wait for (or so we thought....). Arriving at the old Ranger Country Arena thingy about 25mins before show time we were greeted by a huge swarm of people all waiting for a seat for the show. This really crowds the paths and is a pain. Why can't they just open the arena half an hour before show time like is the norm over in Florida for the big theme park shows, this way when people arrive early for a show they can grab a seat and rest up for a while and more importantly keep them out of the way of the people trying to use the midway. This big line for the show almost merged with the line for No Way Out.

The show itself is no award winner but I'm no theater critic and the kids seemed to enjoy it. The Street Dance Crew have since become cult heroes in our house.

After the show headed for Vortex, still at 60mins, skipped it headed for Colossus with the jaded hope that the line may have shrunk, of course it hadn't and had bubbled up to 100mins. Went and watched Pirates 4D instead, great fun as ever, especially the Bird Poo scene.

Then hung around Calypso Quay for a bit before walking around the park to tally up the lines. So here's the big countdown.
- Tidal Wave, 75mins. Well it was a very sunny day.
- Flying Fish, 90mins. People must have been mistaking this for Inferno.
- Rumba Rapids, 90mins. Are people mad???
- Inferno, 120mins. No surprise.
- Loggers, 70mins.
- Colossus, 120mins. And counting.....
- Zodiac, 60mins.
- Vortex, 90mins.

Thought screw this, lets go home. Went home.

To sum up:
A gorgeous day. But also a very busy day. I normally avoid the school holidays like the plague and have never seen the park so busy, its a shame when its like this because it makes the day disappointing. We still had great fun (always do when you're at a park with friends) and Inferno was again awesome, but its a bit of a let down to see all the ace rides and not be able to ride without waiting hours. I know it's partly my fault as being a seasoned off-peak visitor I'm used to 10min lines and walk ons and am not really prepared to wait 120mins for something which I can ride 15 time in one day on an off-peak day. But today was the first time that I realised that if you don't want to wait in the lines at Thorpe Park on a busy day then there's not much else you can do (even have to wait in line for the shows!). So it looks like I won't be visiting again the the school holidays and can't wait to get back in a couple of weeks time when the kids are finally back in school.

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