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Thorpe park 16th Feb 08 – what a disappointment.


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Well as I was down visiting old friends and relatives down in Kent, I thought I might as well make the most of my annual pass, and head over to Thorpe for its opening day, but what a disappointing day it was.

 

I don’t usually do long written trip reports, unless it has been a very good, or in this case, bad day, so here goes.

 

Got up early to catch a 6:50 train, with a few stops, got me in to Stains around 9:20, where a chav filled shuttle bus to Thorpe Park awaited. It is a pretty good service, as it only costs £3, and is very regular, but they truly couldn’t pack any more people on that bus.

 

Got to Thorpe Park about 9.35, and realised just how busy it was, which was a surprise as I went this time last year to the park, and it was dead. I felt sorry for the people that had to buy or pick up tickets, because the queue was unbelievably big, as they only seemed to have the building for picking up tickets open, and no kiosks were open, so everyone, no mater if you had bought on-line, or were paying now, had to join this huge queue. Thank god I had a season pass, and could join the relatively small annual pass queue to get in to the park. Unlike most parks who let guest in around half an hour before the rides open, Thorpe park like to keep there guests waiting outside, until the park opens a few minutes late, but they did open with a cheesy start of 2008 season count down which put a smile on my face, but probably didn’t to the people who were standing in the mile long queue as they would probably not get in to the park for another 20, maybe even 40 minutes.

 

I got firs public ride of the season on one of my favourite flats, vortex, and then head over to Inferno. When I got to Inferno, I noticed that they were sending empties around. I went over to the entrance, and joined the back of the small queue waiting at the entrance. I asked the staff member why it wasn’t open, and he informed me that the ride couldn’t open, as it was too cold (has to be 5C to open), and this was the reason that colossus also hadn’t opened, although, they managed to open stealth. Whether this was true or not, I am not sure, because they were sending empties with no problem, and even sending trains with staff members in. also, the fact that Colossus didn’t open until later in the day (probably about 2PM), and that they were sending the train around with test dummies in at about 11.30 suggested that they just didn’t have it ready in time for opening.

 

When Inferno finally opened at about 10.45, I got on the first train of the season, and then went to meet 2 of the people I planed to meet up with. We then headed over to Stealth, which was advertised to have a 45 min queue, so we could do that, and still be in time for the meet up with TPM at 12. Sadly, the queue was actually about 1hr and 10 mins, so we missed the meet up time, and the one member of the forum I had a phone number for didn’t answer his phone, so the 3 of us just went round together.

 

The fact that the queues were reaching 90 mins, and the park didn’t put 2 trains on the coasters, but continued to sell fast pass tickets I thought was discussing. I went to Alton Towers on the Monday, and Pleasure Beach the Saturday before, and both managed to keep the queues to a minimum (under 10 minutes, or even walk on in a lot of cases) by putting the rides on high capacity. Because Thorpe Park continued to sell fast pass tickets at £3 a pop, it meant that people standing in the normal queue, only got about 10 – 15 people on each train!

 

I actually ended up buying a fast pas for XNWO as it had an 80 min queue, and still had to queue 20 mins!!!! I am glad I did though; as the ride has improved a lot since the last time I rode it.

 

This is the first time since about 03, 04 I have ridden Inferno and Colossus, and all the big coasters together, so I got to compeer them well. Inferno is a lot worse than I remember it, and was a bit of a let down, but it was still good. Colossus was way better than I remembered it, and I had a very good ride on that. Stealth was the same as last year, but I probably enjoyed colossus more. One ride that scared me sh!tless was Slammer. I have done a sky swat before, back in 2005, but have never done this one before. The thing that made me seared was that the little shoulder bars wobbled quite a bit. I was also disappointed that the music for this ride wasn’t working properly.

 

I left the park at 4, as all the queues were to long, and I couldn’t be bothered anymore. I also noticed that Inferno broke down at the end of the day, and colossus closed early for no apparent reason.

 

Ride count:

 

Vortex 1

Colossus 1

Quantum 1

Slammer 1

Nemesis Inferno 1

X:/ no way out 1

Stealth 1

 

Good pointes:

Doing Slammer for the first time

Riding Inferno and Colossus again after a few years.

The food was good in ranger country BBQ (I think it is called), although expensive.

Meeting two new nice people.

Pretty good staff.

 

Bad points:

Rides on low capacity, despite the park being extremely busy, and still selling fast passes.

Not meeting up with the wrest of TPM.

Being tolled the queue time was 30-45 mins on colossus, when it was actually 90 mins, and being tolled it was 45 mins on Stealth, when it was actually 70 mins.

Detonator not being open (although I knew it wouldn’t be)

Having to stand outside the park for it to be opened slightly late.

Paying £3 for a fast pass, and still having to wait 20 mins.

2 big coasters opening late.

 

Pics:

I await the early train.

 

The sign is in need of some TLC.

 

Tidal wave is having work done.

 

The smoke only worked while the ride was testing.

 

The queue for Inferno.

 

 

 

Stealth also had a big queue.

 

 

Woooooo!

 

We were nearly there.

 

They enjoyed it.

 

Rush was having work done.

 

Inferno.

 

Vortex.

 

Colossus.

 

New coaster will be here in 2009.

 

This is were the staff keep there bear, and come to kick back after the park has closed.

 

Colossus

 

 

Group epic.

 

The security did a full lap of the queue line.

 

Colossus station.

 

Work continues on rush.

 

Some of the coasters need to nip in to this shop so maybe they will work in the morning.

 

Slammer.

 

 

 

Security were now over at inferno, kicking people out of the queue.

 

And it had broken down.

 

 

The rapids were dry.

 

Stealth.

 

A closed flying fish.

 

The engineers got infernos and stealth’s restraints mixed up.

 

Thanks for reading!

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Great TR man.

 

It just amazes me the market that Thorpe has! Regardless of the opperations, any park that can fill three coasters with hour long queues in the middle of February looks popular enough for my tastes. I can't believe that seven years ago, the place had no big coasters, and now it draws these gigantic crowds!

 

But paying £3 for X:/WTF??? Wow, you must like that thing.

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Sorry to hear your day wasn't better. Going in school half term is never really a good time to go now that the park is getting more popular every year, and the cold snap we're having also didn't help your day either. But they seem to be beginning to have some issues which are almost scarily reminiscent of a certain Californian theme park.

 

It is becoming the sort of place where Fastpass is must on a busy day. That's a shame, especially when I've been going there, because I've never felt the need to pay for one. But I limit my visits to out-of-season days so I don't have to buy fastrack tickets.

 

I think that Thorpe's idea of having a primarliy thrill based park will come back to bite them somewhat. It's not the same situation as the Six Flags parks circa the Premier era, the parent company have Legoland and Chessington on their books and within spitting distance, but they need to do more to cater for for more people. Hopefully they'll start to turn a corner in the next few years after the recent boom of thrill rides they've been installing.

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Thorpe may be popular, but for the 2nd time running it failed to properly recognise how busy it has been these past February openings...

 

I'd rather not have February openings if it meant everything was actually open in March, and while we're at it, SRQ back on Inferno...

 

Yeah right

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I can imagine any Theme Park can get quite busy on it's 1st day of a new season and I would want to see most of the rides open.

 

Has TP got worse since it's new owners took over..? I think so.

 

"Queues" are a Trademark of England and they will get longer due to management of the parks not bothering with customer service or from anyone complaining.

 

Welcome to a new age of Theme Parks, " You Q for most of the day and only get 1 ride of a few mins on each coaster for £32 per head".

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Has TP got worse since it's new owners took over..? I think so.

 

Thorpe Park got 'worse' before Merlin took over - The park is just getting too popular for the amount of rides it has I think.

Maybe the park is not being run as well ?. Alton Towers a few years back went thru the same 'growing pains'. No doubt it will improve in time

 

Welcome to a new age of Theme Parks, " You Q for most of the day and only get 1 ride of a few mins on each coaster for £32 per head".

 

It was £15 to get in to Thorpe Park on Saturday ...

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But they seem to be beginning to have some issues which are almost scarily reminiscent of a certain Californian theme park.

If you are referring to SFMM I completely agree. I've heard its improving now but when I went 3 years ago I was shocked at the state a theme park could be-this was when Thorpe was still clean and tidy. Recently Thorpe has not focused on customer service, and it shows. When they don't even increase the number of trains on a ride despite it being busy it shows one of two things - either the other trains are not ready for the new season, in which case Thorpe should have just opened later in the year when they are actually ready to open, or the person deciding how many trains the rides should run is incompetent.

Even though some parks stay open continuously throughout the year and don't have major trouble, I don't think Thorpe should open early. It is never ready.

Considering Disney World charges $71 per daily entry I think it is pretty shocking that Thorpe charges in the summer £32 ($64) per entry. I know Thorpe is a very different experience, aimed at thrillseekers, but Thorpe does not spend $100,000,000 on a ride (Expedition Everest). Which experience seems better value?

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You may think Thorpe was busy, but there were actually only 3,500 there on opening day - which is less than were at Alton Towers where the longest queue was 15 minutes for Air... Indeed, Alton Towers attratced over 6,000 guests the weekend just gone (23/24 Feb) yet queue's were still low with 15 minutes for Air & Spinball Whizzer whilst Nemesis & Oblivion were less than 10 minutes all day.

 

I was at Thorpe on this day too, and waited 1 1/2 hours for Stealth. It's a pity the park seem to have these problems - after last season I thought they may look to get off to a good start. You just never seem to be able to go to Thorpe and not have to wait!

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Considering Disney World charges $71 per daily entry I think it is pretty shocking that Thorpe charges in the summer £32 ($64) per entry. I know Thorpe is a very different experience, aimed at thrillseekers, but Thorpe does not spend $100,000,000 on a ride (Expedition Everest). Which experience seems better value?

 

You'd probably find most parks in the US are alot cheaper than the UK anyway, as are most things, especially when the exchange rate is in our favour so much. 6 Months ago we got tickets for SFMM at $35 each. Also if you take into account online prices you'll probably be able to get tickets for Thorpe at £24-26 anyway during the summer. Comparing park entry prices in different parts of the world doesn't give a fair judgement.

 

I understand what you are saying about Thorpe, but I have always found a comparison to a Disney park is also unfair. Disney has several other business areas they they earn millions from. In addition to this, Disney is open all year round, and isn't seasonal like Thorpe. Thorpe makes NO money during the winter months, and so the money needs to be made over the spring/summer. I'm not defending the park's poor approach, just saying that you can't really compare Thorpe to the likes of Disney.

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