Reviewed by Patricia Shaw
The pouring rain did not stop us from enjoying our day out at Thorpe Park on Tuesday 27th May 2014, in fact it meant that the queues were shorter and most queue times were between just 5 and 25 minutes. We had a brilliant family day out and this is why:
New for 2014: ANGRY BIRDS LAND – How lucky we are to have been amongst the first people to experience the new Angry Birds Land which opened this week. We all thoroughly enjoyed the King Pig’s Wild Hog Dodgems – the brand new cars were so easy to drive and the four of us had great fun chasing each other round, dodging and bumping away. The children loved meeting Red and having their photo taken with him before heading into the cinema for the amazing Angry Birds 4D Experience. With the vibrating seats, which give you the sensation you are catapulting through the air alongside the birds, and other special effects such as bubbles, smoke and water jets you become totally immersed in the action as the birds fight to retrieve their stolen eggs. You can’t help being surprised and there were squeals all around at certain points of the film. This was our first experience of 4D and we all thought it was fantastic. Back out in the park the Angry Birds themed sideshows were great fun and very appealing with brilliant prizes on offer if you managed to ring the bell at the top of the ladder. Detonator Bombs Away is another popular Angry Birds themed ride although aimed at the more adventurous.
But what about the rest of the park? It has been years since I last visited and what a transformation has happened in that time; what used to be a theme park aimed more at young families is now very much a thrill seeker’s paradise. There are 5 amazing roller coasters: Nemesis Inferno, Stealth, SAW – The Ride, The Swarm and Colossus. Unfortunately for us Colossus was closed due to technical issues, nonetheless the other 4 seemed to satisfy my 9 year old daughter’s desire to be thrown around upside down and up high. This is what she had to say about each of them:
The Swarm – “I loved the scenery as you queue up and I was glad you could choose whether to go forwards or backwards. Going forwards was scary enough for me.”
SAW The ride – “It’s really exciting. You start off inside and it is terrifying because you think you are going to crash into the spikes. Then outside as you go over the top you feel as if you are falling.”
Stealth – “I loved it even though you get lurched forward at the beginning because it is so fast.”
Nemesis Inferno – “I loved this because I love going upside down and this one keeps twisting you round and round.”
In addition to the rollercoasters there are a number of other thrill rides such as Vortex, Rush, and Slammer which did not appeal to us, as well as Samurai which only my daughter was brave enough to try!
I was concerned that my 6 year old who is just over 1.2m would feel left out as there are so many rides which have a 1.4m or 1.3m minimum height. However this was not the case as there were still plenty of rides for him to enjoy. Younger visitors have the choice of rides such as Flying Fish (a gentle rollercoaster), Rocky Express (a fast train roundabout), Mr Monkey’s Banana Ride (a small pirate ship style ride), Storm in a Teacup, and the Carousel amongst others, although there are minimum height restrictions varying between 0.9m – 1.2 m for these. The website gives you the chance to check out the different rides available to you by filtering the results according to height and type www.thorpepark.com/rides.
There are a number of water rides to guarantee you get wet. Rumba Rapids is probably the calmest of them all followed closely by Storm Surge – although how the weight is distributed in the round boats affects the speed at which you spin and fall down the slopes. Logger’s Leap is a log flume with a difference; with a double dip on the last chute the kids couldn’t wait to go on again. Depth charge is a slide in rubber boats which they loved although the queue seemed to take ages despite looking fairly short. But the water ride that will get you (and any spectators who stand too close) absolutely soaked is Tidal Wave. There are haystack driers near all the water rides so you can get dry quickly – but with the amount of rain it really wasn’t worth it for us.
Weather permitting there is also the beach area with water slides for families with younger children so if you visit on a nice day remember to take your beachwear. Throughout the park there are sideshows where you can try your luck to win a prize, although these cost extra.
Finding your way around the park is not particularly easy, especially if like me you lack a good sense of direction. I frequently took a much longer route than necessary and I would welcome more signs and static maps around the park as the paper one we had got soaked fairly quickly due to the rain.
I particularly liked the information boards dotted around the park which keep visitors informed of ride waiting times and closures as well as any other announcements relevant for the day.
If you want to take home something to remind you of your day there are souvenir shops and stands where you can buy a variety of items. The big rides give you the usual photo opportunities but some also offer the chance to see your whole ride on DVD.
There is a wide variety of food and drink outlets including fish and chips, a Noodle Bar, Mexican, Burger King, Pizza Hut, coffee and doughnut stalls, and many more. We enjoyed the food and drinks from Peckish which is located just opposite King Pig’s Wild Hog Dodgems.
All the staff were very friendly and helpful especially those who helped look for our lost property at the end of the day. We had a fantastic day out and look forward to returning very soon.
Tickets cost from £24.99 in booked online 2 days in advance, children under 12 £19.99. Normal at gate price is £48.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.thorpepark.com.
THORPE PARK Resort is open for the full season from 20 March to 9 November 2014. Visit THORPEPARK.com for more information. Advance online booking rates available from £24.99 adults, £19.99 children (under 12 years) – over 40% saving when you book 2 days in advance. For year-round group savings and benefits, including free group leader tickets, go to Merlin Groups (merlingroups.com). Group sizes start at just 10 people and bookings can be made online or by calling 0871 663 1673 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras). Fastrack tickets, VIP experiences and special event offers are available online when booking in advance at THORPEPARK.com. Height restrictions apply on certain rides.
Download the THORPE PARK Resort iOS and Android Official App for FREE from the App Store. www.thorpepark.com/plan-your-visit/thorpe-park-official-app.aspx
THORPE PARK Resort, Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8PN