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

Nicky Borrill

Giga 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.
Not sure about Thorpe ‘this summer’ but it was ridiculously busy last year, it was actually horrendous at times. I hope you’re wrong, and they don’t see that as reason ‘not’ to invest. 🙈

As for kids, not the case at AT at all, fast track queues are absolutely empty, (I know this is still the case as I use them during these weeks to avoid the kids!) no ‘special stalls,’ (sit down) restaurants are quieter… They may buy a bit of tat from the shops, I don’t know 🤷🏻‍♂️ and the fast food stalls (especially the bloody chicken shop) always seem busier… But I do know the real money is still made during the holidays and events following… When fast track queues (almost 100% profit) restaurants, bars, hotels AND shops are full!

Anyway, the original point was that for that tiny period when parks were hurt (the last month of lockdown 1) the upsurge in the periods following may well have made up for it. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

Matt N

CF Legend
It will only get new headline stuff if numbers are falling, I thought it had been steady busy all year through the peak.
Are you talking about during COVID, or in general? Because if you’re talking generally, Thorpe’s guest figures have been on a steady downward trajectory since about 2014, with consistent falls since about 2016.
 

Themeparknewbie01

Roller 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.
Might be big spenders, but if they are paying half the general ticket price isn't exactly quids in for the Park
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Might be big spenders, but if they are paying half the general ticket price isn't exactly quids in for the Park
I'm sure Merlin are assuming that everyone is paying a reduced entry fee, though. The reduced prices have been around for so long now that they're just standard operating procedure these days.

In other words, anyone who pays full price is a bonus to them, rather than everyone who pays half price being a loss.
 

owentaylor121

Giga Poster
Are you talking about during COVID, or in general? Because if you’re talking generally, Thorpe’s guest figures have been on a steady downward trajectory since about 2014, with consistent falls since about 2016.

Their really isn’t any evidence of this though, the attendance figures published every year are never 100% accurate and going by this year, that report seems to just be making the figures up.

Thorpe is a pretty well performing park in the grand scheme of things, it does a lot better than most mainland Europe Parks, yet those parks still get a constant stream of investment.

Merlin are cheap, they always have been, if the park is performing well without heavy investment, then why invest? That definitely seems to be the Merlin standard for Thorpe.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Their really isn’t any evidence of this though, the attendance figures published every year are never 100% accurate and going by this year, that report seems to just be making the figures up.

Thorpe is a pretty well performing park in the grand scheme of things, it does a lot better than most mainland Europe Parks, yet those parks still get a constant stream of investment.

Merlin are cheap, they always have been, if the park is performing well without heavy investment, then why invest? That definitely seems to be the Merlin standard for Thorpe.
There was evidence of this; Merlin posted actual attendance figures for all the parks during the Project Amazon consultation. It’s not actually the TEA consultation where this idea came from:
F3-B6-EEBB-2-A8-F-44-F1-AA67-E527881-A6-E99.png

Thorpe Park is the red line on the chart, and you can see that since 2011, there’s been a gradual downward trend in attendance (occasionally bucked by slight increases in 2014 and 2016, but mostly downward). Attendance in 2011 was slightly over 2 million, while it was down to around 1.5 million or slightly below by 2019; in 2019, the park was actually overtaken by Chessington and became the country’s least visited Merlin park.
P.S. Sorry; for whatever reason, the image is way smaller than I’d intended… a clearer, larger version is visible on this link: https://towersstreet.com/talk/threads/uk-merlin-park-guest-figures-through-the-years.5778/
 
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Howie

Donkey in a hat
Ah yes, the old 'what's next for Thorpe Park?' discussion. We've been here many times. Of course, after such a long hiatus of major investment into the place, saying that 'something might get built in the next 3 years' isn't too much of a stretch. Like Poke' says, roll the dice enough times and eventually you might drop lucky.
And once again, the prospect of a B&M hyper is front and centre in the debate. Yes, a B&M hyper would be absolutely perfect for Thorpe Park, it would be absolutely perfect for the UK coaster scene and, dare I say it, it wouldn't harm the European coaster scene either seeing as there's only 2 of the things on this side of the pond. It grieves me that there's more metre-age of B&M hyper track in Carowinds alone than there is in the whole of Europe!
And also, yes, if you're gonna go to the trouble and expense of building a B&M hyper at Thorpe, it would kinda make sense to go all out and claim the UK height record. With T'ultimate gone, you could claim the UK length record too, maybe. And if you've got the UK height record, then the UK speed record would probably come with it by default. Sounds wonderful.
I mean, if I woke up one day and was the boss of Thorpe Park, the very first thing I'd do would be to phone Claude or Walter and say 'Dude, I'm sending you a blank cheque, please build me a British Shambhala, asap.', because I know full well that that would be an instant and enormous success. It just would. Of course it would. Even if the Staines Massif were wary of it at first, the sheer number of goons flocking in from all over the Western world to ride it would more than make up the visitor numbers. You know it, I know it, and everyone who's ever ridden a (*good) B&M hyper knows it.
I suspect even Merlin know it too.
So why won't they do it? Why didn't they do it years ago??
Well... durrr, isn't it obvious? It's money innit. B&M hypers are expensive. Like, super expensive. I mean, just the sheer volume of steel involved makes them expensive by their very nature. Especially if you're gonna try and build a Shambhala beater - you've gotta be talking about £30 mill' for one of those bad boys, right?
Ok, so what if they scaled it back a bit and built something a bit smaller, something more akin to, say, Mako? Yes, it would still be a B&M hyper, it would still be that crucial airtime machine that Thorpe (and the UK) needs and it would still be a bloomin' good coaster. I've not ridden Mako but I hear it's decent (might even be Matt N's number 1, not sure 🤔). And, crucially, with a third less steel involved it would be significantly cheaper than a Shambhala beating monster.
But would it have the necessary impact, or marketability of something huge? Hmm, not sure. You wouldn't be able to claim any UK records with a Mako.
So where does that leave us? Well, suppose I'm the boss of Thorpe Park again. Suppose I had £20 million to spend, and on the phone to Claude he said 'A Shambhala is gonna cost you £30 mil' mate. For £20 mil' the best I can do is a Mako, and that's only cos I like you'. Then what?
Well, in that case I'd be on the phone to Intamin: 'Dude, I'm sending you a cheque for £20 mil', please build me a Kondaa asap'.
Forget about the height, speed and length records - you've still got that large, airtime filled, EGF/Goliath beating, killer ride that Thorpe (and the UK) really needs and goons will come flocking in from all over the Western world to come and ride it. With it being Intamin you could get them to throw in some wacky, world-first element too so the marketing boys don't have a meltdown.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I like this idea. But it's still not my prediction for what will happen. I still don't think Merlin would shell out £20 million on a Thorpe coaster. But let's go back to UK height, speed and length records for a moment. We know that a record breaking steel coaster is probably asking a bit much, but what about wood? 'The UK's Longest, Tallest, Fastest Wooden Roller Coaster' has Thorpe Park written all over it and is a much more attainable target. In fact, it'd be a piece of piss - something the size of Troy or Wodan would comfortably do the job. What the hell, you could make it the steepest one too. No expensive theming required, no flaming effigies, no elaborate pre-show, just a kick-ass, airtime filled, decent length woodie with a ready-made tagline and USP built in. And all for (probably) less than 15 million quid. Bargain! It really is such a no-brainer that I find it incomprehensible they haven't done it already. And if they're not careful, somewhere like Paultons could quite easily beat them to it.
So that's my prediction. Not British Shambhala, sadly, but a woodie, probably (but not necessarily) a GCI, one that claims a handful of UK wooden coaster records.

And you know what? I think I'd be fairly happy with that outcome. 😊
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Not sure about Thorpe ‘this summer’ but it was ridiculously busy last year, it was actually horrendous at times. I hope you’re wrong, and they don’t see that as reason ‘not’ to invest. 🙈
I'm not sure when you visited, and I'm sure there were busy days, but last summer Thorpe really wasn't that busy on the whole. Queue times were inflated because of reduced capacity from social distancing, and the park seemed fuller because people had to spread out.

But compared to previous summers, the actual attendance numbers were very much reduced compared to previous years.


Might be big spenders, but if they are paying half the general ticket price isn't exactly quids in for the Park
As Hixee said, Merlin's whole strategy is to have a high entrance price but lots of discounts available. Very few people pay the full on the gate price. Whilst the school trips will pay a price slightly less than the 'standard' reduced price, it's more than made up for by the sheer number of school kids and the extra spending they do on park.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I've got a thought; even if they did go for a smaller hyper, could they possibly claim "most airtime in the UK" as a record, in terms of seconds of or moments of airtime? I'd certainly imagine a B&M hyper would quite easily steal at very least the airtime seconds record, and it would also be a USP to justify it to Merlin's board!

Or they could do what Cedar Fair did with Orion and market it as simply "the tallest coaster at Thorpe Park".
 

MakoMania

Mega Poster
They’d only need a hyper to be 214ft to market it as the UK’s tallest coaster. That’s not much taller than Mako at all.
 

Nicky Borrill

Giga Poster
I'm not sure when you visited, and I'm sure there were busy days, but last summer Thorpe really wasn't that busy on the whole. Queue times were inflated because of reduced capacity from social distancing, and the park seemed fuller because people had to spread out.

But compared to previous summers, the actual attendance numbers were very much reduced compared to previous years.

About once a fortnight usually, sometimes more often, sometimes less, but certainly at least 4 or 5 times last summer… Haven’t been at all this summer though (during the holidays) because of how horrendous last summer was… 🤷🏻‍♂️

BTW, the last price I know of for school trip tickets was £15… But with kay being 18 now that was 4 ish years ago. And in the interest of complete transparency, there’s no way to know if that was partly subsidised by the school or not. Sadly Kyle didn’t get a chance to go :/ or I’d have more up to date information :(

EDIT: Nevermind, it has hardly changed at all... From £8 to £16.50 depending on which day of the week... https://www.altontowers.com/schools/prices-and-planning/
 
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Matt N

CF Legend
They’d only need a hyper to be 214ft to market it as the UK’s tallest coaster. That’s not much taller than Mako at all.
Remember that Blackpool claims Big One to be 235ft, so they’d probably be better going for 236ft or taller to make it truly eligible for the record. Or at least, Merlin’s marketeers would be more satisfied with that, anyway, regardless of what RCDB says; they don’t want to anger Blackpool unnecessarily.
 

Rupert

Mega Poster
Remember that Blackpool claims Big One to be 235ft, so they’d probably be better going for 236ft or taller to make it truly eligible for the record. Or at least, Merlin’s marketeers would be more satisfied with that, anyway, regardless of what RCDB says; they don’t want to anger Blackpool unnecessarily.
Oh come on. Merlin don’t give a **** about ‘angering’ Blackpool or about what Blackpool claim, not least because the Big One’s height claim is false/uses height above sea level, but also because they are competing businesses and don’t care about hurt feelings at a rival company. If Merlin accept this insane height above sea level method for some reason, then they can also use Thorpe’s height above sea level (~60ft) which follows that they would only need to build a 175ft coaster. It’s just ludicrous.
 

Nicky Borrill

Giga Poster
Oh come on. Merlin don’t give a **** about ‘angering’ Blackpool or about what Blackpool claim, not least because the Big One’s height claim is false/uses height above sea level, but also because they are competing businesses and don’t care about hurt feelings at a rival company. If Merlin accept this insane height above sea level method for some reason, then they can also use Thorpe’s height above sea level (~60ft) which follows that they would only need to build a 175ft coaster. It’s just ludicrous.
Yes I did just go and check Thorpe's elevation 🙈

Does this mean, by BPB's own methodology... Stealth is the tallest coaster in the UK? 😂🤣😂🤣




Edit... Never mind... Smiler's elevation is 179M... Take that BPB, Smiler is 685 feet!!! 🙈 🤣

Yep... this is stupid! 214ft would be indisputably the tallest coaster in the UK... Unless they want to look very silly.
 
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Matt N

CF Legend
Oh come on. Merlin don’t give a **** about ‘angering’ Blackpool or about what Blackpool claim, not least because the Big One’s height claim is false/uses height above sea level, but also because they are competing businesses and don’t care about hurt feelings at a rival company. If Merlin accept this insane height above sea level method for some reason, then they can also use Thorpe’s height above sea level (~60ft) which follows that they would only need to build a 175ft coaster. It’s just ludicrous.
I only say it because Merlin probably don’t want to get embroiled in an ASA drama again like they did with Wicker Man’s “wood & fire” claim; Blackpool only ever claim 235ft for the Big One (they also claim 85mph, making the UK speed record harder to claim), so if they built a coaster of 220ft, say, and tried to claim the UK height record in marketing, someone could rightly or wrongly pull them up on incorrect advertising due to Blackpool’s claim.

As much as RCDB claims the Big One to be 213ft tall, a non-enthusiast watching Blackpool’s adverts would probably go with the park’s claim of 235ft, and non-enthusiasts are ultimately the park’s primary demographic. If someone saw Merlin claiming a 220ft hyper or whatever to be the country’s tallest coaster, someone watching both parks’ adverts could quite legitimately say “but the Big One at Blackpool is 235ft, so that’s an incorrect claim”.

On the subject of Blackpool referring to Big One as 85mph while RCDB says 74mph; notice how Thorpe have never expressly referred to Stealth as the country’s fastest coaster, even though RCDB says that at 80mph, it is; they always use “one of Europe’s fastest rollercoasters” in marketing.
EDIT: My mistake; as it turns out, Thorpe does use “UK’s fastest” for Stealth.
 
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JoshC.

Strata Poster
I only say it because Merlin probably don’t want to get embroiled in an ASA drama again like they did with Wicker Man’s “wood & fire” claim; Blackpool only ever claim 235ft for the Big One (they also claim 85mph, making the UK speed record harder to claim), so if they built a coaster of 220ft, say, and tried to claim the UK height record in marketing, someone could rightly or wrongly pull them up on incorrect advertising due to Blackpool’s claim.
Was the ASA thing ever actually...a thing? I remember seeing something mentioned, but I thought it was little more than an enthusiast trying to be 'funny', and there certainly wasn't any real firm basis for a complaint imo.

In any case, if a park did build a ride which was between Big One's actual height and advertised height, and Blackpool did decide to try and cause a stink, it would more likely backfire. It's not the coaster which is highest above sea level in UK, and it's not the tallest structured coaster in the UK. The only reason it hasn't caused issues currently is because it's a mute point.

More to the point, if Thorpe in particular did decide to chase the UK height record, I could envision them trying to go above 235ft anyway. If they only go to 214ft, for example, it's barely taller than Stealth, and makes it feel almost pointless. If it's going to be the tallest ride in country, I think they're going to want to make it reasonably clear it's taller than anything else in park!
There's also the interesting discussion point here in how Thorpe manage to build another 200ft+ coaster, whilst not ruining the aura of Stealth and not dwarfing the park's other coasters in comparison. In a park of Thorpe's size, that's something they would have to carefully do.


On the subject of Blackpool referring to Big One as 85mph while RCDB says 74mph; notice how Thorpe have never expressly referred to Stealth as the country’s fastest coaster, even though RCDB says that at 80mph, it is; they always use “one of Europe’s fastest rollercoasters” in marketing.
EDIT: My mistake; as it turns out, Thorpe does use “UK’s fastest” for Stealth.

Stealth is an interesting one. They advertise the launch of "0-80mph in x seconds" (the exact acceleration time is sometimes up for debate, but you're looking at between 1.9-2.3 seconds). But 80mph isn't its top speed - it does go a bit faster. I think it probably hits around 84-85mph.
My guess is they chose not to advertise the max speed to avoid confusion, and chose 80mph as the acceleration speed because of it being a nice round number. Certainly I think saying "0-80mph in 1.9 seconds" sounds slightly nicer than "0-85mph in 2.4 seconds", for example!

And if this isn't the case (and the maximum speed is 80mph), this shows that the nitty gritty details of the records and advertising aren't that important. Which ride is faster - Big One or Stealth? Go by rcdb, it's Stealth. Go by marketing, and it's Big One. Both can say they have the UK's fastest coaster and neither really cares enough to go out of their way to correct the other. Whilst the height record might be a bit more touchy, I don't think the park's would care *that* much, and neither would the wider audience.
 

emoo

Mega Poster
Has the locals objecting to tall things or obscuring their precious skyline not been brought up?

You could do a tall lift hill with a low laying ride that follows (and maybe beg for one tall airtime hill) akin to I305 which would be something and cool. Just not what I personally would want.

How deep can they dig - in general let alone when surrounded by water, to offset the difference needed.
 

Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
I’ve not read the entire thread but have seen the cravings for a B&M hyper and rightly so, I think it’s almost a no brainer for Thorpe. Well, I think it was a no brainer 10 years ago but I’m not so sure anymore. Is a hyper really enough to satisfy the GP’s expectations now? It would absolutely have to be taller than both stealth and the big one and I think Thorpe know that and thus they know it’s gonna cost a bomb. I think Thorpe will think it’s wise to spend their pennies on something with a little more marketability that will likely cost a little less. It may not fit the line up from an enthusiast point of view but a launched steel coaster with inversions or an RMC may be more likely.
 
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Nicky Borrill

Giga Poster
I’ve not read the entire thread but have seen the cravings for a B&M hyper and rightly so, I think it’s almost a no brainer for Thorpe. Well, I think it was a no brainer 10 years ago but I’m not so sure anymore. Is a hyper really enough to satisfy the GP’s expectations anymore? It would absolutely have to be taller than both stealth and the big one and I think Thorpe know that and thus they know it’s gonna cost a bomb. I think Thorpe will think it’s wise to spend their pennies on something with a little more marketability that will likely cost a little less. It may not fit the line up from an enthusiast point of view but a launched steel coaster with inversions or an RMC may be more likely.
I’d take any RMC over a B&M hyper any day 👍

/fanboyism
 

Georgie-M

Roller Poster
The Thorpe RMC discussion has been done to death for so long that I honestly believe there are better options now. Intamin's recent launch coasters have been pulling off similar manoeuvres to RMC but without the bulky wooden supports and with better designed, more comfortable trains. Plus, having the launches run through the old railway trenches would make for some fantastic use of what little terrain Thorpe has. Would also allow the park to build the airtime machine it desperately needs without having to build a 200ft+ tall monster.
 
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