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Thorpe Park 7th September 2021

Matt N

Strata Poster
Hi guys. Today, I went to Thorpe Park for a bit of midweek fun; my uni course doesn’t start until 20th September, so I thought I might as well make the most of it! I say “I” because today’s visit was actually my first ever solo theme park visit; my mum & dad dropped me off at Thorpe and went to Wentworth, so I was there entirely on my own. As such, I was interested to see how solo theme park visiting actually worked out for me. I was able to get there bright & early; after bag check, I was able to be in the park just in time for opening at 10am:
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Something I didn’t realise before visiting is that it was actually the park’s Oktoberfest event today, and it looks like they did a nice job! There were lots of stands around selling different types of food and drink, and the park has some banners and actors around, as well as some themed ride announcements. Nice job, Thorpe!

Anyway, getting back to my day, I got through the gates at about 10am and went to my first ride...
Stealth
Stealth was on an advertised 5 minute queue, so I decided to join it. In reality, 5 minutes was a rather pessimistic estimate, as it was a station wait, with me only needing to wait for the next train before being able to board; great stuff! So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 5, and it was pretty good; I do like Stealth, and that launch is certainly a rush! The airtime over the top hat is amazing too, although as I found on my last Thorpe visit, I did find it to be getting a touch on the rougher side, although by no means really rough. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the ride:
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After being woken up with a bang on Stealth, I initially decided to head over to Nemesis Inferno, but the ride was “delayed”, so I decided to give it some time to reopen by riding...
Detonator
Detonator was on an advertised 5 minute queue, so I decided to give it a go while I waited for Nemesis Inferno to stop cycling empty trains around. Also, I was fancying a go on it anyway, as I love Detonator and hadn’t ridden in a while. As it turned out, 5 minutes was once again a somewhat pessimistic estimate, as I was the only one in the queue and only had to wait until the ride cycle was over. As such, I was only joined by 2 other people on my Detonator ride! So, how was the ride? Well, it was great as usual; that drop is so deceptively punchy! Overall, I thought Detonator was great, and is definitely right up there with WMSP’s Venom as one of my favourite UK drop towers; I love those Fabbri towers! I’d say Venom just pips it for me, but that’s no slight against Detonator; it’s a great ride:
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After Detonator, Nemesis Inferno had reopened, with a mere 10 minute queue...
Nemesis Inferno
Nemesis Inferno had now reopened with a mere 10 minute advertised wait, so I decided to give it a go. Yet again, 10 minutes was a very pessimistic estimate, with me being able to waltz straight onto the ride with no wait at all! So, how was the ride! Well, it was very good indeed, with good pace throughout and just the right amount of force for my liking! There was a little bit of head banging in the corkscrews, but nothing too terrible (it was fairly smooth for the most part), and on the whole, it was a great ride:
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After Nemesis Inferno, I decided to head over to The Swarm, which had a 30 minute advertised queue; this seemed like a fair estimate, as it was one of the more substantial-looking queues of the day and was also the first remotely substantial queue I’d encountered so far. However, I would never know because merely a few minutes after I joined the queue, the ride broke down with all guests being advised to leave the queue. As such, I heeded this advice and instead headed over to...
Rush
Rush was on an advertised 5 minute queue, so I joined it. I was keen to get back on Rush, as I really like it and it’s not something my parents will ride, so I don’t very often ride it. As with the earlier 3 rides I rode, the queue was minimal, so I had little waiting to contend with. One interesting thing I did observe was that the ride was only running 1 of its 2 swings; I didn’t even know S&S Screamin’ Swings could do that! I don’t know whether this was due to a technical problem or whether it was just an operational choice, but regardless, this did result in the ride having one of the park’s longest queues for the remainder of the day; I certainly lucked out by riding when I did! But enough about the queues; how was the ride? Well, it was really good fun; in spite of the fact that I’m not especially into flat rides on the whole, I do really enjoy Rush, as it’s not too nauseating and provides brilliant bursts of airtime! So overall, I had a great time on Rush, and certainly enjoyed riding:
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After a great ride on Rush, I headed back over to…
The Swarm
The Swarm’s earlier technical issues had subsided, and it once again had a 30 minute advertised wait time. I’d say this was about accurate, possibly slightly understated. So, how was the ride? Well, I had a back row outer seat on the left hand side, and while I enjoyed it as per usual, it was unfortunately the roughest ride I’ve ever had on Swarm, with a definite judder throughout. I wouldn’t have called it unbearably rough by any stretch of the imagination (“roughest ride I’ve ever had” is very much speaking in relative terms), but there was a definite noticeable vibration, and it did detract from it a tad for me. I still very much enjoyed the ride on the whole, though; that first drop is amazing, the overall sense of speed and exhilaration is amazing, and that final inversion still wows me every time I ride Swarm regardless of how many times I ride it! The rattle did detract for me a touch in this particular ride, though, and the harnesses also seemed to be digging in more than I’d remembered on my previous visit:
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After my ride on The Swarm, I headed back over to Stealth for a reride, as it was only on a 25 minute queue (the shortest on park at this point; crowds had notably increased by this point). This time, I was seated in row 4, and my thoughts were much the same as earlier.

After that, I headed for a reride on Nemesis Inferno, which also had a 25 minute queue, although I ended up waiting closer to 35. This time, I actually queued a little extra for the front row, as I’d never done Inferno in the front before, and it was pretty good! I will say, though, that I don’t think Inferno in the front provides quite the same upgrade in experience as it does in the original Nemesis at Alton Towers. Maybe Nemesis’ interactions play a role on that particular ride?

After reriding Inferno, it was about 12:30 (if you haven’t been keeping track, I’d already done 7 rides by this point!) so I sat down on a bench for a few minutes to reapply sun cream and eat my lunch before joining the queue for…
Saw The Ride
Saw was on a 40 minute queue, so I decided to give it a go. This actually turned out to be a little overstated, with me actually waiting closer to 30-35 minutes. So, how was the ride? Well, as much as Saw is by no means my favourite coaster, I have to say it was not running badly at all today! I was seated in the back row in a middle seat, and I’m happy to say that it was quite possibly the smoothest ride I’ve ever had on Saw! Yes, while “smoothest ever” is very much relative in this case, like I said with Swarm earlier, it was certainly an improvement in terms of roughness on many of the previous rides I’ve had on Saw. Don’t get me wrong, the first drop and post-MCBR section were still very rough and bashed me around a fair bit, but the stuff from the first drop up to the MCBR wasn’t particularly rough at all, and the headache when getting off certainly wasn’t as strong today as it has been! And that reminded me that for all the ride’s flaws, I do actually really like Saw’s layout; it’s fast-paced, has a fair bit of airtime and on the whole, I think it has many really strong elements! Overall, while it is still a bit too rough for my personal liking, and that is ultimately why it’s not one of my favourite coasters, Saw was running pretty well today all things considered, and I certainly had a more enjoyable ride than usual on it:
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After Saw, I decided to head back over to The Swarm, and I then had 3 back-to-back rides on it (well, one ride, then a brief break to go and get a Magnum and a bottle of water, and then two back-to-back rides), as the queue had drastically shortened compared to earlier (advertised 15, but the queue barely extended beyond the old baggage hold area), and I’m happy to report that these rides were considerably more enjoyable than the one I’d had earlier; I had a row 4 inner right, a row 5 inner right, and a back row inner left, and all 3 were really excellent!

After my little Swarm session, I headed over to the other side of the park to go and ride…
Colossus
Colossus was on an advertised 15 minute queue, so having had a decent fill of the park’s other major coasters, I decided to give it a go. Surpisingly, I actually didn’t queue for long at all (not much before the Fastrack merge point), which is a bonus! So, how was the ride! Well, as many of you may know, I’ve never been a fan of Colossus, and I’m afraid that today’s row 10 ride did nothing to change that, as it was easily my least favourite ride of the day and quite possibly the worst ride I’ve had on it in a while; extremely rough, with those restraints really digging in to my thighs quite horribly. I came off with very sore ears and a pounding headache! It’s a shame, as I think Colossus is a very aesthetically pleasing coaster, and I think that in spite of the fact I’m not huge on the second half irregardless of ride smoothness, the first half would actually ride quite well if it were smooth:
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After Colossus, I headed over for a second ride on Detonator, with a minimal 5 minute queue, which was just as great and punchy as earlier! Then, I rerode Stealth with a 15 minute queue; this time, I was directly on the back, and I have to say, the airtime moment coming off the top hat is absolutely superb in the back when compared to the middle!

After Stealth, I noticed that a somewhat more relaxing ride was walk-on…
Flying Fish
Flying Fish looked practically deserted as I was walking by towards Swarm, so I decided to hop on. As there was basically free reign in terms of picking where to sit, I went for a seat near the back, and in terms of how it rode; it was a fun little ride for what it was! Sure, it’s nothing too special from a thrill-seeker’s standpoint, but for its family audience, I think it’s a fun little ride:
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After Flying Fish, it was getting towards 4:10pm, so I had one final ride on Swarm (virtually walk-on) before my parents picked me up (they’d said 4:20pm). The ride was in the row 5 inner seat on the right wing, and it was really excellent; quite possibly my favourite ride of the day! Alas, I ended my day on a slight lowlight, as I ended up being sat on Swarm’s brake run for 20 minutes due to the ride breaking down, meaning that I didn’t ultimately leave until about 4:45pm. After finally getting off Swarm, I met back up with my parents and we all headed home.

So all in all, I had an absolutely smashing day at Thorpe Park today! If you didn’t keep track, my final ride count between 10am and 4:20pm (I’ll exclude getting stuck on Swarm at the end) was a shockingly high 16 (!!!), and when combined with the gorgeous weather, I’d have to say that it was one of my favourite days I’ve ever had at Thorpe Park! Solo theme parking was also far less strange than I’d anticipated; I was somewhat nervous before visiting, but it was absolutely fine, and worked well!

I hope you enjoyed this report; my next one will be a 2-day one from Alton Towers Oktoberfest, coming this weekend!
 

Thecoasterrus

Mega Poster
Great report Matt! Looks like you went on fairly quiet day. I will be heading down to Thorpe Park next month and I am way more excited then I should be about it as it is my first visit since 2016.

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Matt N

Strata Poster
Great report Matt! Looks like you went on fairly quiet day. I will be heading down to Thorpe Park next month and I am way more excited then I should be about it as it is my first visit since 2016.

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Thanks @Thecoasterrus; I hope you have a great time on your own visit!

It was actually not too quiet; it was surprisingly busy for a weekday in the middle of the day, with some long queues in places (some rides hit 60+ minutes at points), but based on today, I’d say that the start and the end of the day can be quite important to your ride count. This morning, I waltzed through 6 rides before 12pm, and I got on a fair few in the last hour or so!
 

Thecoasterrus

Mega Poster
Ah, well at least you got plenty of rides in. I am solo tripping myself, but I am little miffed that I can't ride Walking Dead on my own. I have the credit, it's just that I haven't ridden it in it's new form.

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Matt N

Strata Poster
Ah, well at least you got plenty of rides in. I am solo tripping myself, but I am little miffed that I can't ride Walking Dead on my own. I have the credit, it's just that I haven't ridden it in it's new form.

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I’m not 100% sure, but wouldn’t the easing of COVID rules mean that they could theoretically get rid of that policy? There were certainly people being seated next to me on a number of rides, so I don’t see why it would be an issue.
 

Thecoasterrus

Mega Poster
Oh I thought it was to do with the lack of seat dividers, but you might be right, I'll guess I will just see what happens

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Matt N

Strata Poster
Oh I thought it was to do with the lack of seat dividers, but you might be right, I'll guess I will just see what happens

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I know that pre-COVID, they did seat groups next to each other, or sometimes even send a “Walker” to sit next to you if you were alone or in an odd-numbered group…
 

Howie

Giga Poster
Welcome to the world of solo theme park-ery, Matt. It's a big, bold step, one that every goon needs to take, but it opens the door to a whole new world of adventures. You'll be US road-trippin' in no time! 😁
Also, you'll now need to add your contribution to this thread: 😉


Nice report btw, sounds like my kinda day! 👍
 

JoshC.

Giga Poster
Nice report! The busyness sounds about right; the best time to tick off loads of rides at Thorpe is in the morning (if you're smart with the park), which is exactly what you were able to do.

To answer a couple of the points raised here (or in the YAY Merlin thread):

-Rush running 1 swing could well be by choice. It was running 2 at the weekend, for example, but only 1 last Wednesday. It could also have been a maintenance issue. In either case, it likely wouldn't be an operational / cost-cutting measure, as the same number of staff are required either way.

-September weekdays, especially the earlier half of September, usually ends up being 'busier than expected' for many people. There's this whole thought process that because kids are back at school, it will be quieter. But it's also prime time for uni students (who are largely not back) and adults with no children to visit, because they all think it will be quieter. Thorpe have at least learnt to prepare and run most, if not, all, rides on full capacity.
Usually, the back end of September and weekday, non-Fright Night dates of October, are even quieter.

-Solo riders (and, of course, odd-numbered groups) can ride Walking Dead at the moment. You are just paired off with another odd-numbered group. When the ride opened this year, they did enforce the even-numbered group rule, and I can't quite remember when it was dropped (probably around the time all restrictions were lifted though, I imagine).
 
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