Following the successful Ten Year Reunion at Alton Towers a few weeks ago, Rich, Paul and I decided to take a trip to Thorpe Park.
We had deliberately waited until the schools had gone back, thinking the park would be quieter. We were a little unprepared for how busy it turned out to be, on what was probably one of the final warm sunny weekends of the year.
However, our unpreparedness was nothing on the park's ... everything seemed to run out, the ride queues were enormous and the staff seemed to be on "go slow". Some might say, that's just normal Thorpe these days...
With the crowd swarming over the entrance bridge onto the Island Like No Other, it was clear Thorpe Park was going to be Crowded Like No Other
First priority of the day: caffeine
Rich claims he likes Costa coffee, yet he poured half of it all over the place
Everyone was held back on the Dome balcony until 10am: you must not have fun at Thorpe Park until the correct time
We made our way over to Swarm Island for our first ride
Thorpe Park may get a lot of things wrong, but The Swarm is superb
... OK, maybe that compliment was premature. What has happened to the church roof theming, and why is it now just a load of ugly brown metal?
Quite a substantial collection of lost belongings have gathered in the station flyover nets!
Despite the theming deterioration and the broken effects, The Swarm is still my favourite coaster at Thorpe Park
The Rich had not been to The Thorpe Park for a few years, so hadn't ridden The Retheme of The X:\No Way Out into The Walking Dead: The Ride, so we entered The Walking Dead: The Ride: The Queueline through The Walking Dead: The Ride: The Entrance and rode The Walking Dead: The Ride: The Rollercoaster next. This year The Thorpe Park have added a couple of actors at The Walking Dead: The Ride: The Ride Exit, which has added a bit of fun to The Experience.
In sharp contrast to most of the park, the area around the Tea Cups is looking beautiful with some amazing planting and colourful flowers
Time for coffee and a snack, but this place had no hot water so no joy here ...
... It got even worse at Donut Factory: After taking my money, they realised they had no ice cream for my donut sundae. A member of staff with a seriously bad attitude huffed and puffed
about having to give me a refund, telling me that he doesn't turn the ice cream machine on until he gets to work so I shouldn't have expected it to be frozen and anyway,
this is a donut concession not an ice cream shop, and I should go to Nitrogenie if I wanted ice cream. None of those arguments made much sense to me (especially since the main selling point of Donut Factory are the ice cream donut sundaes!).
I probably should have put in a complaint at guest services, but my energy had run out more than their ice cream machine by that stage ...
... And so it was back to Coffee Shack in the Dome. At least they hadn't run out of anything ...
... In fact, they had an abundance of cardboard boxes. I don't think Thorpe Park have heard about the strive to reduce unnecessary packaging! In Corner Coffee at Alton Towers they put things in a paper bag, so there's really no excuse.
The shipping container that has been placed on top seems to contain a lot of fencing, which would probably be a lot easier to get at if it wasn't 10 feet in the air
Storm Surge had a 70 minute queue - ouch!
We went to join the queue of people waiting for Derren Brown's Ghost Train to open at midday, and were the second group on. It wasn't a bad run through, apart from my VR headset packed up halfway through the second sequence.
After a morning of disappointments and things running out, we had lunch in Finn's ... which had run out of beer!
Spot something missing? The shortcut bridge over the Tidal Wave lagoon has been removed!
We'd made him wait long enough: It was time to let Rich (aka "Stealth God") ride his favourite rollercoaster, Stealth
The queue was massive, just like old times
Rich and Paul doing an impression of Stealth riders
Also just like old times, Stealth broke down
The engineering team didn't take long to get it fixed, and we were soon riding. The launch is as powerful as ever!
Nobody mention anything about Slammer. Just pretend it isn't there.
It was time for a cup of tea. We were about to order one from Wilderness Bar & Kitchen, but then we witnessed the girl serving everybody putting her fingers all over her mouth, which kind of put us off. We went to The Grill in Old Town instead and were served by a lovely friendly guy - it didn't come as much of a surprise when we found out he was actually a separate business rather than employed by Thorpe Park!
The Logger's Leap water channel is still there, but looking increasingly abandoned and overgrown
The Platform 15 exit is being prepared too: Fright Nights are almost here
With queues for everything at well over an hour, we decided to call it a day
Most regular visitors know that you should have relatively low expectations when you visit Thorpe Park, but sadly even those weren't met today. Ride breakdowns can't be helped, long queues on busy days would be fine if the park was running all their trains, but the amount of unavailable food & drink and slow operations were not really acceptable.
Apart from the guy in Donut Factory with a lousy attitude, at least the other staff were generally nice and friendly. Let's hope things pick up for Fright Nights!
More about the Park