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Thirteen vs Wicker Man; Battle of Alton Towers’ 1.2m Secret Weapons

Thirteen or Wicker Man?

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Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. When talking about the Alton Towers Secret Weapons, the first to come to mind for many enthusiasts are the extreme behemoths with 1.4m height restrictions, like Nemesis, Oblivion and The Smiler. But an often forgotten group of Alton Towers’ Secret Weapons are the “family thrill” Secret Weapons, with 1.2m height restrictions; these are Thirteen and Wicker Man (OK, calling Wicker Man forgotten is a stretch, but it doesn’t seem to get mentioned as often by enthusiasts as the likes of Nemesis and Oblivion). So I’d be intrigued to know; which of Alton Towers’ “family thrill” Secret Weapons do you prefer?

For me, it’s an easy vote for Wicker Man. As much as Wicker Man is the simpler, more obtuse ride experience of the two in terms of technology, I think it feels a fair bit more thrilling and vastly more fulfilling as a ride experience for me. As much as I’m not someone who necessarily thinks that a ride needs to be intense to be great fun, and I can often find that too much intensity is detrimental to a ride experience, I personally find that Wicker Man hits just the right balance for me, and its blisteringly fast pacing, smooth (well, smooth in woodie terms) curves, surprisingly strong pops of ejector airtime and general rerideability just make it float my boat a fair bit more than Thirteen does. Controversially, it’s actually my favourite coaster at Alton Towers, and one of my favourites in the UK, but that’s a story for another day!

That’s no slight against Thirteen, however, as I do actually really like Thirteen for what it is! I think it’s very smooth, has some nice twists, turns and pops of airtime, and the drop track and backwards section are always a laugh! However, I’ve felt that it feels slower on recent rides, and I generally find it to be lacking something compared to Wicker Man; I can’t quite put my finger on what, but there’s a certain je ne sais quoi that Wicker Man has that Thirteen just doesn’t have, for me, personally.

But which of Alton’s family thrill, 1.2m height restriction Secret Weapons do you prefer? As much as I voted WM, I know that Thirteen has its fans, and I equally know that there are many who aren’t too fond of WM, so I’m intrigued to see what people’s opinions are!


Mega Poster
So i agree for the most part. I think both coasters are great rides and great family coasters. Wickerman is just more intense, i think in the back row it is as thrilling as Nemesis/Smiler. I also believe it is a more complete ride, though Thirteen has that drop track that slaps. I also really enjoy the floaty drop, and the junior intamin twisty section.

Wickerman i think overall is a lot better, it also has way better theming.
But that says more about Wm than does about Thirteen to be honest. Because it is a pretty class family coaster.


Giga Poster
I'd rather ride Thirteen. I prefer the general atmosphere of the thing. Their weaknesses are about on par, but I don't think any part of Wicker Man matches the impact of that drop track for me (maybe the pre-show, but that's only worked for me once (both technically and psychologically) and I have to assume never will again) - the creaking and the teasing, it's one of my favourite moments at Alton.
I'm now just imagining if we combined the two attractions and WM did that in the shed at the end. That could be something to get excited about.


Giga Poster
Oh easily Th13teen.

It's outdoor section isn't particularly "good", but I enjoy it. But the indoor section is brilliant. Plus the return to the station never fails to make me smile thanks to how unnecessarily quick you get pushed out of the brakes. The theme is the right side of spooky too.

Wicker Man doesn't do it for me. I've only had one ride (out of nearing a dozen) that's given me any good pop of airtime. It's rattly and jackhammers you around much of the course. It's definitely one of the weaker wooden coasters I've done.

And honestly, I've never quite got the "Wicker Man is well themed" argument. It has the centre piece theming, and then the preshow and station. Aside from that, there's some wooden carvings and....not a lot else? Don't get me wrong, it's well styled and presented, but in terms of actual theming, there's not much there.
Thirteen has a well themed station and indoor queue (in lieu of a pre show) too, and then is presented and styled better than Wicker Man, thanks to the rather dense forest it is a part of. Sure, it doesn't have a centre piece theming element, but it arguably doesn't need one.

I could go to Towers and happily miss out Wicker Man. I'd be a bit disappointed if I missed out on Thirteen.


Strata Poster
Wicker Dude for me. Not much in it really, neither of them exactly blow me away, but WD is the more thrilling of the two.


Giga Poster
Not entirely sure what the obsession with ranking the coasters at Alton Towers over and over and over again is.

Surely this information is available in the last Alton Towers coaster ranking you did, no?

Matt N

CF Legend
Not entirely sure what the obsession with ranking the coasters at Alton Towers over and over and over again is.

Surely this information is available in the last Alton Towers coaster ranking you did, no?
Sorry… I just thought it might be interesting to compare the two head on, personally.