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

Matt N

CF Legend
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.
I don’t think Thorpe are really a family park as such anymore; while it would be nice to perhaps see them eventually try something a bit less intense, I do think a thrill machine is perhaps a more reliable bet for now.

In terms of the record suggestion; it’s worth noting that Blackpool markets the Big One as 235ft, so the UK height record is a little harder to reach than the 213ft that RCDB lists.

However, the length record as well as the height record is certainly an interesting possibility to consider. It’s worth noting that the Big One is not only the UK’s longest operating roller coaster, but Europe’s longest operating roller coaster, so if they were to beat the Big One, they would technically have the UK’s tallest and Europe’s longest roller coaster; quite the record breaker indeed, and certainly makes it pretty marketable, especially given that I’d imagine such a ride might also steal Stealth’s UK speed record! “Tallest, fastest and longest coaster in the UK” is a pretty appealing proposition, I’d say, especially if they did call it “longest coaster in Europe”, although I’m unsure that they’d want to reference length for fear of angering Lightwater Valley…

I certainly think it would be doable, especially if the ride was towards the taller end of the 200ft range (like, say, Shambhala-sized); Orion, which was decried as being short throughout its development, is only 176ft short of the European length record!
 

Matt N

CF Legend
soo a b&m dive?
I’m not too sure they’d go with a B&M Dive myself. While it’s a nice suggestion, and certainly a ride I’d approve of, non-enthusiasts would probably see it merely as a less steep version of Saw. Or a smaller version of Oblivion at Towers without the hole (if it were the D6 Dive Coaster model like Merlin seemed to like previously).
 

Skyye

Mega Poster
I’m not too sure they’d go with a B&M Dive myself. While it’s a nice suggestion, and certainly a ride I’d approve of, non-enthusiasts would probably see it merely as a less steep version of Saw. Or a smaller version of Oblivion at Towers without the hole (if it were the D6 Dive Coaster model like Merlin seemed to like previously).
honestly i would be kinda surprised if this park gets a B&M coaster period. yeah they already have two buuuut...
 

Intamin Forever

Mega Poster
Merlin are known for advertising their rides by using gimmics to bring people into the parks, for example:

Wickerman - the first coaster to fuse wood and fire
SAW : The Ride - first horror movie themed coaster
The Smiler - Most inversions on a coaster
Oblivion - First vertical drop coaster
Air/Galactica - First Flying Coaster
Th13teen - First Pyshcoaster

Just to name a few.

So a dive coaster wouldn't be a bad bet, it could follow the same path as DR DIABOLICALS CLIFFHANGER and go for a beyond vertical drop, possibly 97 degrees.
 

silenthillXD

Hyper Poster
Merlin are known for advertising their rides by using gimmics to bring people into the parks, for example:

Wickerman - the first coaster to fuse wood and fire
SAW : The Ride - first horror movie themed coaster
The Smiler - Most inversions on a coaster
Oblivion - First vertical drop coaster
Air/Galactica - First Flying Coaster
Th13teen - First Pyshcoaster

Just to name a few.

So a dive coaster wouldn't be a bad bet, it could follow the same path as DR DIABOLICALS CLIFFHANGER and go for a beyond vertical drop, possibly 97 degrees.
I don't know if they'd do that given they already have Saw which is 100 degrees. Personally I think it has to be something reliable in the thrill category. The park is too thrill orientated to make a family coaster provide the boost in attendance they're desperately in need of.

What type of rides? I mean if Chessie is getting a B&M would it be too far fetched to hope for some form of multi purchase deal? I'm not going to lie a B&M Hyper would be absolutely perfect for the park and the UK as a whole. It'd definitely be in contention for the best ride in the UK and possibly even Europe. If not B&M a good old Intamin Multi launch could be good, especially if it were in the same as Pantheon and Toutatis. I'd like to say an RMC could be possible, but for some reason I just can't see it happening.
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
So a dive coaster wouldn't be a bad bet, it could follow the same path as DR DIABOLICALS CLIFFHANGER and go for a beyond vertical drop, possibly 97 degrees.
I don't think that's likely in the same park as Saw (especially when Oblivion has been knocking around for so long).
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
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!
Yeh… That was kind of my point 🙈😂 I don’t expect him, or the others, who are members here but remarkably quiet in this thread, to tell us anything…

And I’m bloody jealous… I wanna know!!!!
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
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!
Wicker Man appears to have a height difference of 22 m, a length of less than 800 m, and barely hits 70 kph. It may be large-ish, but for a thrill coaster it's somewhat puny. It's way smaller (albeit a bit longer) than a Mega-Lite, for instance.

Merlin seems to have decided that they don't have to build big coasters so long as they can compensate for the lack of force-induced thrills by making a ride scary by other means. Just take a family coaster, give it an ominous name, theme it to some unknown horror, and market it as an "intense psychological experience". Voila, adult attraction for kiddie ride cost. For Thorpe's next thrill coaster, the Merlin executives would probably buy a Go Gator and theme it to cannibalism if not for the issue of capacity.

I'm torn when it comes to my hopes for Thorpe. On one hand, it is pretty much the only UK park with the budget, room, height permissions, and target audience to build something really interesting. On the other, the chain has shown a stunning tendency towards cheapness in recent years, and they seem to have found it sufficiently successful as well. Why build a coaster if the crowds will also come for a bouncy castle? The problem, of course, is that a bouncy castle will only last one or two seasons - but by then, you can put together a maze out of plywood and tarps, then slap makeup on some staff members and call it a horror experience. And the year after that ... eh, you can probably come up with something. It only has to be interesting enough, and the marketing department can make anything interesting.

Not to harp too much on my usual point, I think Thorpe needs another attraction people will still queue up for in 20 years. Something new that will draw the crowds and make them want to return to ride it over and over, not just a one-and-done experience people will come for once. It doesn't even have to be a coaster, it could be another addition to the flat ride lineup. The park hasn't really seen anything like that for almost a decade now. The park feels ripe for another addition to its long-term backbone of attractions. However, I don't know if I trust Merlin to do so, instead of being lured by the low cost and acceptable profits of another cheap short-term attraction backed by a popular IP, or the medium cost of an inexpensive coaster souped up with scary themeing.
 

rob666

Hyper Poster
Yeh… That was kind of my point 🙈😂 I don’t expect him, or the others, who are members here but remarkably quiet in this thread, to tell us anything…

And I’m bloody jealous… I wanna know!!!!
Or perhaps it is just a little social media poke to keep Thorpe in the front of peoples minds as the peak scare season comes round.
Some medium sized trees chopped down...probably simple estate management...small trees are far cheaper to fell than big ones.
Time will tell, but after flushing the resources of the ghost train down the drain, I don't think Merlin will be putting Thorpe at the front of the investment queue.
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
RE Wickerman...
It represented a major investment, yes, and is marketed as one of the park's headline attractions. It's certainly not an out-and-out thrill ride; it's a family thrill ride. It's probably what Towers needed most at the time and it's been a good fit for the park.

So it all comes down to what metrics you use to define `major'. It's coming up to 10 years for all the big coaster parks in Merlin since they added new out and out thrill coasters, but there have been major investments in between.


Time will tell, but after flushing the resources of the ghost train down the drain, I don't think Merlin will be putting Thorpe at the front of the investment queue.

I mean at this point, Thorpe are at the bottom of the investment queue. Since Ghost Train, we've seen...
-Towers get Wicker Man
-Heide Park get Ghostbusters and Colossos refurb
-Gardaland get Jumanji
-Chessington get (presumably) Jumanji land

And even the small-to-medium investments at Thorpe pale in comparison to those parks.

If Thorpe don't get something major before one of those parks gets another major investment, it would be very telling about how Thorpe is viewed by the higher ups.

Please don't give Thorpe Park that idea, I agree it would work at any other UK park but not Thorpe Park for the love of god.

Thorpe Park's gone back and fourth and back and fourth with whether they want to attract family's or thrill seekers to the park over the years, and a family coaster would be the final nail in the coffin for Thorpe Park. (In my opinion)

The park desperately need something big to firmly stick themselves back on the map for both UK visitors and more importantly, international visitors; and a family coaster would do **** all.

I don't disagree with your point - at this moment in time, a big family / family-thrill coaster won't do Thorpe much good.

Long term though, I think the park does need to get a proper family thrill coaster. If nothing else, the park need a solid coaster which isn't too thrilling to break up people's days. The park can try and be a mini American park with thrill coaster stacked on top of thrill coaster, but I think there will come a point when the park would need something a little different.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Or perhaps it is just a little social media poke to keep Thorpe in the front of peoples minds as the peak scare season comes round.
Some medium sized trees chopped down...probably simple estate management...small trees are far cheaper to fell than big ones.
Time will tell, but after flushing the resources of the ghost train down the drain, I don't think Merlin will be putting Thorpe at the front of the investment queue.
Maybe… But by 2024 it will have been 8 years… 8 years is a long time. Also the fact the rumour is 2024 is interesting… Tree felling now could easily be for 2023, so I don’t think the rumour is based on that alone…
 

Matt N

CF Legend
If it’s anything to go by, Merlin recently said in a financial report that CAPEX cycles are gradually starting again at their parks after having been paused during the height of COVID, so with that in mind, it would make sense that Thorpe would be up for a major investment. I also remember it being mentioned at the Project Amazon consultation that “all of the parks” would be receiving major investment in order to help them recover from COVID and capitalise on pent-up demand.

There’s certainly more rumours in favour of Thorpe getting an investment soon than there are of SW9 coming to Alton Towers any time too soon, anyway… I’ve heard numerous people on the internet claim to have seen a project intended for Thorpe Park in 2024, while I’ve heard nothing regarding SW9.

Also, this rumour is not just based on the tree clearance. There have also been markings sighted in Old Town, it’s Platform 15’s final year at FN, and there have also been numerous unconnected people claiming to have seen plans and/or to know of a coaster project planned for 2024.
 
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Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
Thorpe certainly is bottom of the food chain at the moment. I guess you have to view Thorpe as the 'Six Flags America' of the chain. The potential to grow the park seems very low, and probably is viewed that way by higher ups. The park since 2016 has basically recieved nothing. They ruined their family coaster, added a mirror maze, bugger all else.

Coasters probably will be given out with major hesitation, so any Merlin park getting a coaster will be lucky, never mind a park as low on Merlin's priority list like Thorpe. It is a distant dream IMO.

I do see a big investment/coaster drought happening, some may blame covid. But honestly i don't they would of got anything anyway for a long time.
A hyper would be amazing! But really i think we all know that is a bit of a pipe dream for a park that has received the square root of nothing in 5 years.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Another thing worth remembering is that Merlin is no longer in public ownership. They can now invest into all of the parks without worrying about things succeeding. Private ownership means that they’re not so fixated on a ride’s short-term success any more, and can focus more on long-term gains. That would surely increase their drive to invest in Thorpe, no?

Merlin have expressed intent to invest into all of the parks now that they’re under private ownership. I’m personally confident that Thorpe will get something within the next few years.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Thorpe certainly is bottom of the food chain at the moment. I guess you have to view Thorpe as the 'Six Flags America' of the chain. The potential to grow the park seems very low, and probably is viewed that way by higher ups. The park since 2016 has basically recieved nothing. They ruined their family coaster, added a mirror maze, bugger all else.

Coasters probably will be given out with major hesitation, so any Merlin park getting a coaster will be lucky, never mind a park as low on Merlin's priority list like Thorpe. It is a distant dream IMO.

I do see a big investment/coaster drought happening, some may blame covid. But honestly i don't they would of got anything anyway for a long time.
A hyper would be amazing! But really i think we all know that is a bit of a pipe dream for a park that has received the square root of nothing in 5 years.
I don’t think UK parks have been hit as hard as elsewhere. Most of our lockdowns have happened during closed times, the one that really ate into the season (lockdown 1) ate into the part of the season when parks are extremely quiet.

At all other times parks have felt much much busier than usual, even with pre booking and apparently ‘restricted’ numbers. Due to the pent up demand and the desire to be outdoors, where it’s ‘safer.’

Many sectors in the UK have been forced to look at ‘outdoors’ options in order to make money / stay afloat.

My hope is that, if my observations are right, and outdoor attractions have massively outperformed indoor attractions, then Merlin have a rekindled love affair with their parks!
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I think the key thing to remember here is that the parks’ patterns during the public era of Merlin are not necessarily what will continue into the future. We don’t really know what’s in store for many of the parks, and I don’t think we’ve seen the entirety of private Merlin’s intentions just yet.

For instance, who’d have predicted that Chessington would build a B&M, when they previously hadn’t had a coaster since 2004? Who’d have predicted that Alton would have a year so filled with events?

I think the winds have certainly changed at Merlin, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this reflected in the other parks within due course.
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Another thing worth remembering is that Merlin is no longer in public ownership. They can now invest into all of the parks without worrying about things succeeding.
I get what you're trying to say here, but I don't think this is it. :p

Private ownership means that they’re not so fixated on a ride’s short-term success any more, and can focus more on long-term gains. That would surely increase their drive to invest in Thorpe, no?

Merlin have expressed intent to invest into all of the parks now that they’re under private ownership. I’m personally confident that Thorpe will get something within the next few years.
Whilst the public ownership increased the fixation on short term success, that was always a Merlin thing. If a major ride didn't give an instant rise in attendance or similar, questions were asked as to why. I'm sure it's the same for plenty of other parks too tbf. But just because they've gone back to private ownership, it won't mean that they'll drop their philosophy of wanting rides to provide instant success.

There has been expression of intent to invest though, which is a good sign. Even seeing the likes of Chessington getting a new coaster shows that there's something good happening behind the scenes. But of course, expression of intent and actually building something is two very different things.


I don’t think UK parks have been hit as hard as elsewhere. Most of our lockdowns have happened during closed times, the one that really ate into the season (lockdown 1) ate into the part of the season when parks are extremely quiet.

At all other times parks have felt much much busier than usual, even with pre booking and apparently ‘restricted’ numbers. Due to the pent up demand and the desire to be outdoors, where it’s ‘safer.’

Many sectors in the UK have been forced to look at ‘outdoors’ options in order to make money / stay afloat.

My hope is that, if my observations are right, and outdoor attractions have massively outperformed indoor attractions, then Merlin have a rekindled love affair with their parks!

This year has certainly been a good bounce back, but last would have been a disaster. Opening in July, losing out on school trips and a slow summer period is a massive hit for the UK parks.

The worry which should be in mind now is what happens when international travel picks up again majorly. This year the parks will no doubt have benefitted from staycations and similar ideas. But historically, after a boom in staycations, there's then a boom in people travelling abroad and not showing an interest in home attractions. Merlin should be prepared for that to happen, and either have realistic expectations, or have a plan to keep people invested in visiting their parks over going abroad.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
This year has certainly been a good bounce back, but last would have been a disaster. Opening in July, losing out on school trips and a slow summer period is a massive hit for the UK parks.

The worry which should be in mind now is what happens when international travel picks up again majorly. This year the parks will no doubt have benefitted from staycations and similar ideas. But historically, after a boom in staycations, there's then a boom in people travelling abroad and not showing an interest in home attractions. Merlin should be prepared for that to happen, and either have realistic expectations, or have a plan to keep people invested in visiting their parks over going abroad.

We’ll have to wait and see I guess. I would agree that the school trips would be a blow to visitor numbers, but not necessarily revenue. They’re massively subsidised and not ‘big spenders’ on park. During my seasons working at Towers, the season never really got started until ‘Scottish week’ in July. And even then it was school kids mainly who, as mentioned earlier, were not big spenders.

A bigger blow may have been the May / June half term. Which, whilst very weather dependant, could be fairly busy. It’s a shame, as last year’s weather was superb :(
 

rob666

Hyper Poster
Schoolkids not big spenders?
They certainly are at Blackpool in the school trip season, they set out extra confectionery stalls, and the spend on tat souvenirs and games stalls is far higher by the kids than the mainstream punters.
Many often turn up with wads of cash, and leave with a full bag of clothing at the end of the day.
Back at Thorpe, was it packed solid all summer?
It will only get new headline stuff if numbers are falling, I thought it had been steady busy all year through the peak.
 
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