visited Thorpe Park as a family on a sunny day in 2003.
I was taking the
photographs as usual. Mum and the nippers were enjoying all the
fantastic rides several times over. Even I indulged more than normal, as
the crowds thinned. NK
Park is an amusement park in
Chertsey, Surrey, England built in 1979 on the site of a gravel pit
which was partially flooded to make a water theme park. It added its
first thrill ride in 1983, the "Space Station Zero" roller
coaster (subsequently moved and re-themed as "The Flying
many theme parks, Thorpe Park is split up into several distinctly themed
more commonly as "The Dome", Port Atlantis has a marine theme.
This building contains such essentials as guest services, shops,
toilets, lockers, a bar and staff areas. When the park initially opened
this was known as the Mountbatten Pavilion.
largest area of the park contains the majority of the park's rides and
is loosely themed around a lost - presumably Mayan - kingdom. Rides
— Opened in 2002, this Intamin built rollercoaster features ten
inversions (Vertical Loop > Cobra Roll > 2 Corkscrews > 5
Inline Twists) and currently holds the record for the most
inversions of any rollercoaster in the world. The ride was also the
first to feature Intamin's stadium seated cars outside of their
megacoaster models. A clone of the ride was constructed at a park in
— Mondial Top Scan which originally opened in 1999 a few miles
down the road at Tussauds' sister park Chessington World of
Adventures. It moved to Thorpe Park for the 2004 season following a
trip back to the Mondial plant in The Netherlands to be refurbished,
which included a change to the colour scheme. Despite only ever
seeing work at theme parks, Samurai is a fairground model and sits
on a trailer.
— 32-seater park-based model of the popular KMG Afterburner. The
ride opened in 2001.
— Fabbri Magic Carpet ride, opened in 2003 alongside Eclipse (A
Fabbri Observation Wheel which moved to Chessington World of
Adventures for the 2005 season) to act as an extra filler
— Although the ride has only ever gone under one name, the park
has actually had two Zodiacs. In 2000 following the destruction of
one ride and the closure of another due to a fire on the Wicked
Witches Haunt ride, the park purchased an ex-German Travelling Huss
Enterprise to keep guests happy. Unfortunately due to the age of the
ride and the amount of work it had seen, the ride was scrapped at
the end of 2005 only to be replaced by another second hand Huss
Enterprise, this time from Drayton Manor Theme Park who had been
forced to sell the ride due to noise complaints from locals.
No Way Out — Housed within a very distinctive terracotta-coloured
pyramid is the world's first (and only) backwards in-the-dark roller
coaster. The ride is a modified version of the Vekoma Enigma and
opened in 1996. One of the last major developments by former owners
RMC to remain in the park today.
— an S&S Screaming Swing seating 32 people on two arms, which
uses compressed air to propel them up to a height of around 60 feet.
The ride is renowned for its use of simple lap bars for restraint.
The ride lost its crown as the world's largest Screaming Swing when
Cedar Point opened a larger model.
Quay is home to:
Inferno — a Bolliger & Mabillard inverted roller coaster,
thought to include the familiar name of Nemesis (a popular roller
coaster at Alton Towers) within its title for marketing purposes (a
sign, when exiting the ride, invites riders to visit Nemesis at
Alton Towers and refers to it as its "brother ride").
Themed as an escape from a giant volcano.
— a drop tower in which riders are hoisted up 115 ft, with legs
dangling, and launched down by pneumatics. This gives a comparable
amount of airtime to freefalling from a tower twice as tall.
4D — a 3D cinema with water and vibrating effects in the
Rapids — a river rapids ride by Intamin, which was updated
from Thunder River in 2002.
in a tea cup — this ride was rethemed to look worn down and
damaged to fit with nearby Amity Cove's tidal wave theming.
around a Canadian creek, this area is home to:
Leap — a log flume which is themed around logging in Canada
(hence the boats are themed as "logs"). Features two drops
(one indoors/underground). The larger of the two drops contains a
straight section (double drop) which adds airtime to the ride.
— an S&S Sky Swat, located to the rear of X:/ No Way Out. This
ride is the first Sky Swat outside of America, and only the second
to be built by the company. The ride was plagued with problems in
its initial year of service, stranding riders in most positions
imaginable (including upside down) and regularly opening late or not
Express — small, circular roundabout-type ride for younger
the Fright Nights around Halloween, Canada Creek also becomes home to
the "Hellgate" horror maze (previously "3D Freakshow").
around a 1950s American fishing village devastated by a tidal wave. The
rides in this area include:
Wave — a "shoot the chute" style ride from O.D.
Hopkins, on which riders are carried in a 4-tonne reinforced GRP
hull to a height of 85 feet over a 3 million gallon lagoon. The boat
is then dropped down a track into the lagoon with an impact force of
1.5g, forcing 3 tonnes of water into the air. Most of this water
either shoots straight up and lands back on the riders, or shoots
forward in a long spray that reaches a 'Splash Zone' where
spectators can stand, meant to represent a tidal wave. It is often
seen as 'the wettest ride in England' as the sheer amount of water
dropped means that the riders get completely soaked.
— Thorpe Park's newest roller coaster which opened in 2006.
Stealth is an Accelerator Coaster designed by Intamin AG and
features a hydraulic 80 mph (128 km/h) launch up a 205 ft top hat
incline at approx 3gs, a vertical drop and a large
County is themed totally around the "Thorpe Park Rangers"
mascots, which are becoming more and more phased out of the park's
identity as the years progress. The current rides consist of:
Monkey's Banana Ride — a small swinging ship type ride, themed
to a banana.
Ranger's Carousel — containing figurines of the Thorpe Park
rangers and references to past rides.
Hippo's Fungle Safari — cars travel around a short track
through figurines and shrubbery.
Sing Zone" is currently featuring on the Ranger County stage.
the Fright Nights events in October, Ranger County also contains a
themed maze, which has been known as "The Asylum" since 2005.
around the mythical Neptune, this area is home to:
Charge — a four lane water chute ride. Riders sit in dinghies.
Beach — two large paddling pools for small children with
various fountains and an imitation sandy beach.
Wet Wet — 3 water chutes differing in height.
small aquatic-themed area with several small rides for very young
children. Currently working every half an hour.
is the current name for a priority queuing system in place at Thorpe
Park as well as other Tussaud's parks. The system used to be based on
the idea of assigning guests a time to ride a particular attraction and
allowing them to skip the queue. The system has worked in a number of
ways at the park and under a number of different names. The first such
system to be introduced was the Q-Bot system which emerged in the 1990s
and attracted attention from BBC
programme Tomorrow's World. This system gave families a pager-like
device which beeped when it was their slot on a particular ride. This
system did not last long due to the high cost of the devices and did not
catch on in other parks.
next system emerged around 2000 known as Virtual Q. This method worked
using a number of machines by the entrance to a ride, guests would scan
their park tickets in the machine and were printed out a ticket with a
time to ride the particular ride. This system remained in place until
the 2005 season albeit being rebranded as Fastrack in 2002 and the
number of tickets people could receive were limited to 1 per ride per
day. The system was partially successful but it was not without
criticism. It gave people the chance to skip queues for free but it
often led to far larger normal queues than would have existed without
the system. Tickets also used to run out within the first few hours of
the park opening and the machines also had a button to print out tickets
without scanning your park ticket in. The system was also rarely in
operation on busy days and often on quieter days had longer queues than
the normal queue, somewhat defeating the object of queue jumping. The
system was used less frequently throughout 2004 and 2005 and has now
disappeared throughout all Tussaud's parks.
exists now is a similar system but one which is not free. Guests still
have the option of skipping the queue but they are required to purchase
their Fastrack tickets at Guest Services or other ticket outlets at a
cost. Numerous tickets are available such as ones including all the
Roller Coasters or all of the Water Rides etc and are not dependent on
riding an attraction within a specific time window as the previous free
system had. Prices vary depending on the season. The system is largely a
success as a vastly reduced number of tickets are issued and the main
queue is less affected by the scheme. Criticism is mainly aimed at Tussaud's
penny-pinching but it does allow people to ride all the rides even on
LINKS and REFERENCE
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Utah - History
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Beach - Florida USA
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