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YAY Merlin!

Matt N

Strata Poster
Is it a possibility that Wicker Man’s extra speed and enhanced ride experience while still keeping the same smooth(ish) tracking could simply be the ride wearing in, and getting better with age? That’s often said to be a thing with wooden coasters, particularly GCIs; for instance, I know that Wodan at Europa Park was said to be quite slow in 2012, but is now said to be ridiculously fast.

I think it might be Wodan where the park even confirmed that the ride had wiped a few seconds off of its ride duration since opening due to the increased speed!

I’ll have to see what I think to Wicker Man when I’m back at Alton in 6 days’ time… I’ve always loved the ride, especially since 2020, but it didn’t seem notably stronger than previous years when I rode in April; my rides in July 2020 (in rows 8 & 9, I should add) were a little stronger, from memory. I’ll admit, however, that it wasn’t that warm, and I was on the front row, which is often said to be Wicker Man’s weakest row, so I might think differently if I’m able to ride further back in the train (fingers crossed!). It certainly felt reasonably fast and airtime-filled for a front row ride, though, so who knows what it was like further back!
 
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FarleyFlavors

Mega Poster
This is all quite interesting!

I had my first go on Wicker Man last Thursday and was expecting a thoroughly mediocre ride based on the generally lukewarm reception it had been getting from enthusiasts (@Matt N being the notable exception, of course). Maybe those low expectations helped somewhat, but my first impression was that it's a terrific little coaster. First ride was second back row and we got thrown around like ragdolls. In a good "this is definitely a wooden coaster" kind of way. Second ride in the front row was much more sedate, but with a greater sense of speed. It really seemed to be hauling it faster than the claimed 44mph.

My initial thoughts were that y'all were just a bunch of jaded goons who'd been on too many better rides, but it sounds like whatever they did in the closed period has really improved the ride!

Sadly the park was too busy to get more than that couple of rides in, but I'll definitely be back later in the year on a hopefully quieter day. Too early to tell, but I reckon this could well become my second favourite coaster in the UK after Stealth.
 

Matt N

Strata Poster
I’ll admit that I do find it somewhat odd that I’m such a Wicker Man fan, given that I would never have traditionally thought of myself as a huge wooden coaster person; if given the choice, I’d definitely take steel in the vast majority of cases. I’m definitely not a hardcore wooden coaster fan in the way that many enthusiasts are, but I do absolutely love Wicker Man!

As much as I appreciate them from a historical perspective, I’m not a huge fan of the likes of Big Dipper and Grand National at Blackpool, and even in terms of a post-war UK woodie, I like Megafobia in certain rows (the front is fun, but I found the middle a bit average and the back too brutal for me), but it’s not my favourite coaster and I do find it a tad too “rickety” (for lack of a better word) on the whole. Admittedly, I did absolutely love Mine Blower when I did that in 2019 (in spite of reports that the ride is very rough, I found it no rougher than the likes of Wicker Man when I rode in the front row, personally, and I have a pretty low roughness tolerance), but Wicker Man just tops it for me. I think it’s because Wicker Man packs loads of really fun elements within a well-paced ride, but is also relatively smooth and comfortable, as far as wooden coasters go.
 
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Matt N

Strata Poster
To be honest, as much as I’m not often a hardcore wooden coaster fan, Wicker Man makes me really excited to ride other GCI woodies, as I’ve been led to believe that Wicker Man is one of GCI’s weakest creations by many!
 

Jared

Hyper Poster
Wodan’s speed increase was as a result of a change of wheel type I believe. From what I hear they went from a steel wheel to a resin/rubber combination that reduces the noise from the ride, whilst increasing speed. Perhaps that’s what’s happened here?
 

Jared

Hyper Poster
Wodan was slow during its opening season and the change happened ahead of it reopening the next year. Sounds like you may have just had it on an off day.
 

Will

Strata Poster
Not a great day for reliability across the resort today with no fewer than 4 major coasters having extended periods of downtime - but that's not what I'm here to talk about.

It may just have been psychological after reading the thread, but WM definitely had a real feel of speed today, particularly on my ride towards the back of the train - and with that speed came the forces that often feel lacking - as said above, it felt like a proper wooden coaster :) I actually rode twice, which is unusual for me - largely due to other rides being up and down!

On top of that, it was with reluctance that I joined a near-full queue line, advertised at 45 minutes, but to my surprise, I was at the station in under 30, during which time the queue barely stopped moving. Upon reaching the station, I realised the batching was being done German style ('You! Row 9! You! Row 10! etc.) with the result that trains were hardly standing still in the station and I clocked capacity at around 850pph. Sadly, later in the day with different staff wasn't as good, but this was enough for me to make a trip to Guest Services at the end of the day and give some rare positive feedback which I felt the afternoon staff deserved, especially with increased demand caused by the depleted ride offering :)
 

Matt N

Strata Poster
Were they running 2 trains? 850pph seems low for Wicker Man on 3 trains; I clocked the ride at 1059pph when I timed it in April, and even Coaster Bot timed it at 973pph.

But I’m glad that the operations were seemingly efficient, and that you enjoyed the ride!
 

Matt N

Strata Poster
Sorry to double post, but I had an absolute stonker of a day at Thorpe today! In 6.5 hours, my total ride count was a shockingly high 16! The rides I went on were:
  • 5x The Swarm
  • 3x Stealth
  • 2x Nemesis Inferno
  • 2x Detonator
  • 1x Saw
  • 1x Colossus
  • 1x Rush
  • 1x Flying Fish
In terms of some general thoughts, some things I thought would be worth pointing out include:
  • Oktoberfest has been set up very well indeed. Lots of banners about, and there are a lot of different food stands and entertainment areas to look at!
  • Effects-wise, things were top notch, with practically everything working. Everything in Saw’s dark ride section worked, Inferno’s tunnel had working lighting and absolutely tons of mist, the mister by Inferno’s top section of queue was in full working order, and Swarm’s scenery had tons of mist around it. Top job, Thorpe!
  • In terms of throughputs, I logged the 5 main coasters’ throughputs to be as follows, in order of highest to lowest; Swarm was 975pph, Stealth was 834pph, Inferno was 830pph, Saw was 702pph and Colossus was 651pph. Everything was running 2 trains, and Saw was running many cars. Operations were really good today!
  • Rush was only running on one swing for the entire day. I got quite lucky and rode it while there was only a minimal queue, but it had one of the longest queues on park all day because of it. I never knew S&S Screamin’ Swings could run only one swing; is this likely because of a technical issue, or is it more likely to be merely an operational decision by the park?
All in all, though; I had an absolutely outstanding day today! Thanks, Thorpe!
P.S. I did write a trip report, if you’d like a more in-depth analysis: https://coasterforce.com/forums/threads/thorpe-park-7th-september-2021.45030/
 
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Eyebrows

Mega Poster
Rush was only running on one swing for the entire day. I got quite lucky and rode it while there was only a minimal queue, but it had one of the longest queues on park all day because of it. I never knew S&S Screamin’ Swings could run only one swing; is this likely because of a technical issue, or is it more likely to be merely an operational decision by the park?
During my visit to BGW in April 2021 they were also only running one swing, so my guess is that it's an operations thing as opposed to a technical issue.
 

cookie

Hyper Poster
It's common at Liseberg during low crowds to run the Screamin' Swing with only one arm as well. They're designed to be able to run individually IIRC.
 

witchfinder

Hyper Poster
I went to Alton Towers for the first time this year last Friday and had one of the best days I've had there in recent memory. Oktoberfest meant longer opening hours than your typical September weekday (10am-7pm) and it was fairly lively but all the big coasters we rode were running multiple trains so queue times were 45 mins or less pretty much all day, dropping to less than 20 for the last couple of hours.

We got 13 coaster rides including 4 on Wicker Man, walked on to Gangsta Granny (which was better than I expected) and still had ample time to chill out with a beer and sample some of the Oktoberfest food and entertainment. One of the most laid back days I've ever had at Towers and we even left early! :D

This could be the best event they've ever done for the term-time visitor, so bravo Merlin!

Of course they had to spoil the end of the day by shutting the monorail early and I paid for parking but there was nobody at the exit barrier, but it couldn't be perfect could it? 😆
 

VonRolland

Hyper Poster
I went to Alton Towers for the first time this year last Friday and had one of the best days I've had there in recent memory. Oktoberfest meant longer opening hours than your typical September weekday (10am-7pm) and it was fairly lively but all the big coasters we rode were running multiple trains so queue times were 45 mins or less pretty much all day, dropping to less than 20 for the last couple of hours.

We got 13 coaster rides including 4 on Wicker Man, walked on to Gangsta Granny (which was better than I expected) and still had ample time to chill out with a beer and sample some of the Oktoberfest food and entertainment. One of the most laid back days I've ever had at Towers and we even left early! :D

This could be the best event they've ever done for the term-time visitor, so bravo Merlin!

Of course they had to spoil the end of the day by shutting the monorail early and I paid for parking but there was nobody at the exit barrier, but it couldn't be perfect could it? 😆
13 coaster rides isnt bad going! What did you think of the beer? Usually the monorail closes an hour after park close, what time was it closed?
 

witchfinder

Hyper Poster
13 coaster rides isnt bad going! What did you think of the beer? Usually the monorail closes an hour after park close, what time was it closed?
It could easily have been more if we hadn't left an hour early. Probably could have had another 4-6 depending on the ride :)

I only had the lager (forget the name now) but it was nice. I'm no beer expert though.

The monorail was closed when we left at 6pm but we think it did re-open as we saw one moving while we were walking back tp the car park, so it may have been a temporary closure but it was too late for us to risk walking back to the entrance!
 

Coasterotter

Roller Poster
Back in June, Thorpe submitted their first planning application since 2018 to Runnymede council. They wanted to change the ‘elevation’ of a security building and it’s been granted.
 

Will

Strata Poster
Despite being a slightly rushed job after restrictions closed the hotels, last year's Garden Lanterns Christmas walkthrough at Alton was actually really good, so I've been quite excited to hear about this, which looks like an expanded version...


(Something tells me it won't be free for AP holders though!!)

The Scarefest Gardens walkthrough that I didn't get to do last year is also back - I saw it being set up the other day :)
 

Thecoasterrus

Mega Poster
I have just had a fantastic day at Thorpe Park, one of the best days I have ever had at a UK park. It was dead and they ran 2 trains on all the major coasters. I even got re-rides on stealth, inferno and the swarm without getting off!

Ride Count:
Saw The Ride x2
Colossus x2
Inferno x4
Stealth x7
The Swarm x8
Flying Fish (new cred)
Samurai
Rush
Zodiac
Vortex
Storm Surge
Rumba Rapids
Tidal Wave
Quantum
Dodgems
Detonator x2

Total ride count including re-rides: 36

All in all a fantastic day! I am staying overnight at the cabins so I will on park again tomorrow to finally ride DBGT and see if I can get on the walking dead as it was closed today.



Sent from my SM-A217F using Tapatalk
 

JoshC.

Giga Poster
Usual cheap looking (expensive to buy) flat 2d tacky pins, but better than nothing.
I saw this and was going to say that's slightly unfair, as many of the recent pins are really nice metal ones with 3D designs.

But then I realised that all the event based ones are the plastic 2D ones. They're similar cost to guests to offset by the limited offering of them.

I'm not as big a fan of the 2D ones, but with good designs they still look nice (as above). And I understand the park going for those when they're limited edition products which may not necessarily sell out. Hopefully in the future they can go for nicer ones though.
 
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