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Thorpe Park | Project Exodus | Mack Hyper Coaster? (UK's tallest coaster) | 2023/2024

Smithy

Strata Poster
Out of interest, where did you get it from that Wicker Man wasn’t a success?

I was under the impression that it was a roaring success, and hugely reignited Alton Towers’ spark following the Smiler crash; attendance spiked by a fair amount in its opening year, anyway, both according to the TEA report and Merlin’s own numbers, and guest feedback seemed to be very positive.
Was what my general understanding was - admittedly this was the near-immediate reaction rather than figures 18 months later or so - but I don't recall ever seeing anything that suggested it was a huge success?
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Was what my general understanding was - admittedly this was the near-immediate reaction rather than figures 18 months later or so - but I don't recall ever seeing anything that suggested it was a huge success?
For what it’s worth, Merlin themselves actually cited Wicker Man’s strong performance as a reason for the RTP division performing well in 2018 in their results. Don’t know if that’s anything to go by.

In terms of the topic at hand; I’d say a more fun, rerideable thrill coaster with an airtime focus is what Thorpe currently lacks, personally. I’d personally love a B&M hyper.
 

Rob Coasters

Mega Poster
I'd like to see the old town area receive some new love first but when they build on the island behind Swarm, personally I'd like the coaster there to be a thin out-and-back layout that kind of hugs the edge of the island; with this you have enough room to plop down a flat ride and a restaurant in the middle area. If it's a huge twister layout you suddenly have no room for either of those two.
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
Suspending reality - what would Thorpe actually need? Woodie will be the obvious shout, or an airtime machine, but is there anything else?
They need something that will absolutely blow us all away, with no reservations. No 'diet coke' offerings that remind us of better elsewhere.

Something like Ride to Happiness / Pantheon / Zadra / Lech would go down a treat. That's what they need.

Imagine a Lech clone over the water. Phwoooar!
 

Jared

Hyper Poster
As great as a Lech coaster would be over the lake, it’s just another looping coaster to the GP. That won’t get them the surge in attendance they’re looking for.

A woodie is good, but in my eyes won’t resonate well with the parks (not so nice) GP clientele.

I think they need something big. Something unlike anything else in the UK. I firmly believe the best option is a hyper coaster. B&M would fit the bill, especially with Merlin working with them for Chessington, then there’s the two Legoland B&Ms in China too…
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
As great as a Lech coaster would be over the lake, it’s just another looping coaster to the GP. That won’t get them the surge in attendance they’re looking for.
You’re completely right in terms of ride variety. I’m just thinking (nay, hoping) of something that good.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Like @Jared says, I personally reckon a hyper would be the ideal option. It's a ride that enthusiasts would almost definitely be drawn to, but it would also appeal to non-enthusiasts by virtue of its raw size and intimidation factor, especially if they built it 235ft or above so that it broke the UK height record!

I think a modern steel airtime machine is a real gap in the market in the UK at present, and in terms of a hyper, Thorpe is the only UK park that could feasibly build one unless the London Resort comes to fruition. Every other park in the country is handicapped by at least one of money, space, planning restrictions or target market.

In terms of what kind of hyper I'd go for; my current #1 makes me lean towards B&M, as well as the fact that I think the park could do with something quite dependable and reliable for their first major in a few years, especially after how experimental DBGT was, but to be honest, I think any hyper would be a good fit myself!
 

Matt N

CF Legend
No advertisement works as well as word of mouth; and if the public start saying "Have you been on that new ride at Thorpe Park, it's even taller than Stealth!", then that'll pull the crowds in to really see just how big this huge coaster is.
A B&M hyper would look intimidating compared to the majority of rides and really make the skyline of the park something special.
The biggest issue with a B&M hyper is the grumpy locals who will most likely protest the height. But having the tallest coaster in the UK will really work wonders for Thorpe Park.
It certainly worked wonders for Blackpool Pleasure Beach, if that's anything to go by; the Big One really redefined BPB as a park, and it's arguably still their headline attraction 27 years on!

In terms of locals; if it's anything to go by, John Wardley said that a hyper would be doable within Thorpe's planning restrictions. (Well, Making Thorpe Park said that John reportedly wanted a hyper instead of Swarm, and this was cited as one of the reasons he thought it was a good idea)
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Was what my general understanding was - admittedly this was the near-immediate reaction rather than figures 18 months later or so - but I don't recall ever seeing anything that suggested it was a huge success?
Huge success might be a bit strong, but it was definitely a success. It's a well received ride that performs well in KPIs. It has a really strong brand awareness and sells a lot of merchandise (if you go to a Merlin park, you will almost definitely see someone wearing a Wickerman t-shirt or hoodie). And with Merlin's crude measurements of "Did it increase attendance compared to the previous year?", the answer is "Yes". It still attracts long queues which, if nothing else, shows people are willing to wait a long to go on it, which means something.


As for Thorpe and a hyper of some sorts, it's certainly something I'd like to see. But is it actually something the wider audience wants? Is "It's big" really enough to capture people's interest? Maybe I'm overcomplicating it, and I'm sure that 'The UK's tallest roller coaster' would turn some heads. But is, for example, The Big One popular "because it's big", or simple because "it's The Big One"?
I'm sure a hyper would go down well at Thorpe, but I don't think it's a nailed on cert for success that some people think it would be.
 

Niles

Hyper Poster
I think a B&M hyper would be the best thing for Thorpe and be a big draw, i think it would blow the UK GP away and work wonders as there is nothing like it in the UK, especially if they could get that UK height record. It would be interesting to see how tall they would build it, would they beat the Big one's real height of 213ft or the lie of 235ft. Considering B&M is the only company Merlin have worked with on large scale "Extreme" coasters over the last decade (Doubt they will work with Gerst again) I think it is the most likely company for Thorpe's next coaster whatever model it is, and with the Chessington coaster looking like a B&M we know they are still buying from them.

The location of loggers makes sense of being the next location for a big investment rather than the island as that area needs a good revamp while the island can wait for the next thing, however to me this area would suit a woodie and not fit the B&M hyper I want and with Wicker man, GCI is the only other company I can see them buying a large scale coaster from currently (if the issues did not put them off).

What I'm also interested in is that all four of Merlin's Big coaster parks are coming up on 10 years without a Large scale coaster with Thorpe's last in 2012, Alton 2013, Heide 2014 and Garda 2015, while some have seen smaller coaster and rides added they will all soon be desperate for that next big coaster.

So if I had any say I would look into a multi-buy and satisfy all four parks from one company. If it was B&M I would give Thorpe and Garda a hyper while Alton and Heide the Surf coaster. In my fantasy I would go for Intamin, Thorpe and Garda would still get a hyper while Alton and Heide would get a Blitz, if they wanna save money why not do the same but with Vekoma instead.

I really care for Thorpe but I have not been for a while and I doubt I will go again till they finally get a new coaster as I'm more interested in traveling aboard or going to parks I have never been before in the UK, I sadly think that the tree clearing might just be general upkeep but I cannot wait for there next thing and when it eventually does come.
 
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Rob Coasters

Mega Poster
I'm a big supporter for the Thorpe B&M hyper but Thorpe feels like the type of park that would get something stupidly intense. I do remember Swarm getting somewhat mixed reviews for not being "that intense" and in my eyes Merlin might be a bit concerned about the hyper ending up doing the same thing. But the other options are kinda.. not really something Merlin would do so B&M might still be the go-to.

They haven't worked with Intamin in forever and they only touch Mack for powered coasters. The latter they'd slap inversions on when the park is in desparate need of something that doesn't invert.

If the B&M hyper did happen I could see it having some SFOG-esque death helix halfway through.

Now the only hyper I've done is Big One so I'm basing this entirely off what I've heard, but that's just my two cents (pennies?) on the whole thing.

With this being said I think I'll still go for the B&M hyper being the best bet.

EDIT: A new thought - I think people won't complain about the intensity if the hyper isn't specifically advertised as being a massively intense ride like what happened with Swarm and Th13teen. So I think that solves the issue.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I'm a big supporter for the Thorpe B&M hyper but Thorpe feels like the type of park that would get something stupidly intense. I do remember Swarm getting somewhat mixed reviews for not being "that intense" and in my eyes Merlin might be a bit concerned about the hyper ending up doing the same thing. But the other options are kinda.. not really something Merlin would do so B&M might still be the go-to.

They haven't worked with Intamin in forever and they only touch Mack for powered coasters. The latter they'd slap inversions on when the park is in desparate need of something that doesn't invert.

If the B&M hyper did happen I could see it having some SFOG-esque death helix halfway through.

Now the only hyper I've done is Big One so I'm basing this entirely off what I've heard, but that's just my two cents (pennies?) on the whole thing.

With this being said I think I'll still go for the B&M hyper being the best bet.

EDIT: A new thought - I think people won't complain about the intensity if the hyper isn't specifically advertised as being a massively intense ride like what happened with Swarm and Th13teen. So I think that solves the issue.
Wicker Man was advertised as a thrill ride in spite of not being massively intense, and that seemed to go down fairly well with the public.

Besides, if the ride had other elements of interest, like airtime and speed, then the lesser focus on positives surely wouldn’t matter that much, would it?
 

Themeparkmedia

Mega Poster
I'm unfortunately sat in the 'It will have a pointless gimmic' boat, and I really cannot envisage TP getting anything sensible like a B&M Hyper.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
I’m just here to say one thing… Jack Silkstone (and others here!) already know if something is being planned or not, and probably what it is too!

Not jealous at all 🙈😂 TELL US!
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I’m just here to say one thing… Jack Silkstone (and others here!) already know if something is being planned or not, and probably what it is too!

Not jealous at all 🙈😂 TELL US!
I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack did know about something, if something were to be coming; he’s grown to be quite well connected with Thorpe in recent times, and the park sometimes use him for some semi-official promo footage.

However, people who do know things in these types of cases keep what they know secret for very good reasons, such as to respect their sources and the park management. I’m sure that if Jack did know something and was allowed to release it, he’d be telling his followers about it in a heartbeat!
 

Matt N

CF Legend
What I'm also interested in is that all four of Merlin's Big coaster parks are coming up on 10 years without a Large scale coaster with Thorpe's last in 2012, Alton 2013, Heide 2014 and Garda 2015, while some have seen smaller coaster and rides added they will all soon be desperate for that next big coaster.
Sorry to double post, but surely Wicker Man in 2018 would have been considered a large-scale coaster for Alton Towers? Merlin certainly considers it a major investment, anyway, and Alton considers it one of the big 7; it’s certainly not an insignificant coaster in thrill or scale, by my book!
 

Crazycoaster

Giga Poster
I used to go to Europa Park every year as a kid. Silver Star really put the park on the map and guest figures exploded year after year when they built it. You could feel a difference in attendance significantly. B&M hypers work.

Sure, they’re not the most extreme, but they’re ALWAYS fun. It’s a ride guests will come back to over and over. If they’re smart and build it as a backdrop of the park, like Shambhala, it’ll look incredible, people will think it looks intimidating and will bring people back over and over.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I think what @Crazycoaster says rings pretty true, in my opinion. It’s hard to step too far wrong with a B&M hyper; they’re very marketable rides, and while their layouts are often rather similar to one another, that does ensure a certain degree of consistency, which I’d argue that any hypothetical Thorpe Park investment would need. In terms of its intensity, I don’t think people would be bothered if it was a purely fun ride as opposed to an out-and-out intense one, and besides, I’m sure the raw size of the thing would add a huge fear and intensity factor for many. Look at the Big One; that ride, while it has its moments, isn’t exactly a mega-intense force machine, and plenty of people love that and find it intimidating!

I think a hyper at Thorpe would have no trouble being successful myself, given that Merlin are the absolute kings of ride marketing and generating brand awareness; if Thorpe Park were to build the UK’s tallest roller coaster, or a hyper of any kind for that matter, you could bet money on Merlin making sure that the whole country knew about it! It would have adverts being plastered all over TV, it would be all over cereal boxes and soap, it would be everywhere.

Rightly or wrongly, I think record-breaking coasters are immensely popular in the UK, and have no trouble generating popularity and brand image; for instance, look at the Big One at Blackpool and how iconic and well-loved that is 27 years on! Or in terms of a more recent record-breaker at a Merlin park; look at Smiler and how well-known and popular that ride is! If Merlin put their skills in marketing and generating brand awareness to good use, which I have every confidence that they would based on their current track record, then I think a Thorpe Park hyper would be a huge success, and have the potential to make a big splash for both Thorpe and the wider UK industry!
 

Rupert

Mega Poster
Firstly I agree with @Wazzupnerds that a proper, decent family coaster would be a good choice and work to balance the park’s lineup, but as has been said I think it’s unlikely and could dilute Chessington’s attendance which Merlin don’t want.

I’m also not at all optimistic about a hyper coming but I echo all that’s been said - it would be the ideal coaster: fill the airtime gap and would be a great imposing, clearly thrilling headline coaster.

The UK height record is clearly there for the taking (only needs to be 10ft/3m higher than Stealth to beat PMBO so shouldn’t be toooooo challenging from the planning point of view).

Interestingly though with The Ultimate now SBNO (for now), the UK length record is also up for grabs - it could legitimately be claimed with no forecast on whether The Ultimate will indeed ever run again. Even if it does come back later it’ll hardly matter, who has really heard of it? To be longest in the UK, longer than the Big One, a new hyper would only have to be 180ft/60m longer than decent B&M hyper Silver Star. This is eminently doable and so Merlin could hit tallest and longest coaster in the UK with one go - a proper substantial record, not just a gimmick.

Of course we know Merlin love world’s firsts, and there really isn’t any evidence they’re building/planning a coaster let alone a hyper, but it would be amazing if they do go for one.
 
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