Thorpe Park Resort is a theme park in Chertsey, Surrey, England, UK. After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit. Thorpe Park was built in 1979 on the gravel pit which was partially flooded, creating a water-based theme for the park. The park's first large roller coaster, Colossus, was added in 2002. Merlin Entertainments own and operate the park.
Thorpe Park Lake in July 1979, the year the park opened to the public
Thorpe Park is in Chertsey, Surrey, England, UK. After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit. Originally the gravel pit was owned by Ready Mixed Concrete Limited; in the late 1970s they decided to flood part of the site and create an educational theme park. The park opened as a small attraction, building slowly up to RMCs first large installation of "X:\No Way Out" in 1996. In 1998, The Tussauds Group bought the park (they also owned the nearby Chessington World of Adventures). From the outset the park started opening key attractions such as Tidal Wave in 2000, Colossus in 2002, Nemesis Inferno in 2003 and Stealth in 2006.
In 2007, Merlin Entertainments (a subsidiary of Blackstone Investment Group) bought the Tussauds Group; the attraction target market was moved towards a teenage audience with large investment in the form of rides such as SAW: The Ride and SWARM. This was to prevent it competing with Legoland Windsor, and Chessington World of Adventures Resort, both within close proximity of Thorpe Park; Legoland was to cater for children and Chessington World of Adventures Resort was to have a variety of attractions.
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Depth Charge water slides were added in 1991
Pre-1930s - The grounds are owned by the Lord of the Manor for centuries.
1941 - 1971 - The land now home to Thorpe Park is used as RMC (now a part of CEMEX) as a quarry.
1979 - Thorpe Park opens to the public as an open air exhibition centre. The park was opened by Lord Mountbatten.
1980 - 1983 - Attractions included the Cinema, Magic Mill, Waterbus services, Model World, Railway, Teacups, Nature Trails, Phantom Phantasia, Thorpe Farm, and Sunken Gardens.
2000 - Tidal Wave, a Shoot the Chute made by Hopkins Rides, opened, becoming the tallest ride in the park at that time. The ride was promoted with a new version of the ThorpePark.com website that featured a skeuomorphic "water-damaged" interface. Dare Devil Drivers and "Dino Boats" closed. A Fabbri Enterprise was installed in the park, opening late Summer 2000. On 21 July a major fire broke out in the centre of the park. The fire destroyed The Wicked Witches Haunt (previously known as Fantom Fantasia) and the inside area of Mr Rabbit's Tropical Travels. The Wicked Witches Haunt was closed immediately.
2001 - The Lost City area was established, with the Enterprise (now rethemed and renamed Zodiac) and Vortex (a KMG Afterburner) as its first rides. Detonator, Mega Drop made by Fabbri, opened in Calypso Quay. At the end of the season, Thunder River closed, ready to be revamped into Ribena Rumba Rapids for the 2002 season.
2002 - Colossus, an Intamin roller coaster with a record-breaking 10 inversions, opened. The 2002 website featured a Shockwave 3D "virtual ride" of Colossus. Safari High Dive show opened for one season, and Thunder River re-opened as Ribena Rumba Rapids. Debut of the park's annual Halloween event, Fright Nights.
2003 - Nemesis Inferno, a Bolliger & Mabillard inverted roller coaster themed around a tropical volcano, opened. Also Quantum, a Fabbri magic carpet ride, opened. Eclipse, a 25-metre (82 ft) tall FabbriFerris wheel with 18 pods, opened. A Spider-Man show was performed in the arena. This continued into 2004 and was replaced in 2005 by Stuntzmania. At the end of the season, Calgary Stampede closed to make way for Samurai.
2004 - Eclipse closed mid season due to a lack of riders, having lasted just over one season. It was moved to Chessington and renamed Peeking Heights. Samurai, a Mondial Top Scan moved from Chessington, opened. New Spider-Man show opened. Tea Cup Twisters rethemed to Storm in a Tea Cup to fit with nearby Amity Cove's theming. Flying Fish closed at the end of the season to make way for Stealth in 2006.
2005 - Slammer, an S&S Sky Swat, opened on 26 March, after being delayed due to technical issues. Rush, an S&S Screamin' Swing and the world's biggest air-powered speed swing (until the opening of Skyhawk at Cedar Point in the US), opened in late May.
2006 - Stealth, an Intamin Accelerator Coaster which launches riders from 0–80 miles per hour (0–129 km/h) in 2.3 seconds, opened with the park on 15 March. A 'Ride It First' competition was held with the lucky winners experiencing Stealth before it opened to the rest of the guests. Zodiac was replaced by another Enterprise, sourced from Drayton Manor. StreetXtreme replaced Stuntzmania in the Arena.
2007 - Flying Fish returned, located between Tidal Wave and Wet Wet Wet. X:\ No Way Out was slightly refurbished, with a new storyline added about how 'X Laboratories Facility' lost control of their super-computer, thus sending riders into the strange and disorientating ride. Also, robot dummies and new lighting were added to the queue line and ride. Thorpe Farm closed, due to a lack of visitors. Canada Creek Railway reopened as a small circuit around Canada Creek, and it no longer traveled to Thorpe Farm. The railway takes guest on a 'Bearhunt' where riders spot models of bears around the journey. Ribena's sponsorship contract ended and so 'Ribena Rumba Rapids' changed its name to Rumba Rapids. The ride remained unchanged. No show was hosted in the Arena, although the Se7en scare maze was still hosted there in Fright Nights.
The park started opening for February half term; in previous years the park had not opened for the season until March. During February reduced entrance fees applied, as limited rides were available.
2008 - New 4D Cinema film "Time Voyagers" opened to replace "Pirates 4D". The arena was once again used for shows this season after having not been used the previous season. It was announced that Canada Creek Railway would not run for the whole season due to construction of SAW: The Ride
2009 - SAW - The Ride, a custom Gerstlauer Euro-fighter rollercoaster opened. Canada Creek Railway re-opened, and Miss Hippo's Fungle Safari closed.
2010 - Saw: Alive is opened. This is the park's second Saw-themed attraction, and its first permanent horror maze. This lasted for two years until 2012 where it was reduced to opening for the Fright Nights event only.
Thorpe Park adopts a new brand image, aimed towards the teenage and young adult market, introducing the 'Fat Heads' mascots. The entrance is repainted and most signage around the park replaced. Octopus Gardens closes in September and is demolished to make way for the 2011 relocation of Storm Surge from Cypress Gardens in Florida. Construction of Storm Surge begins in late September.
2011 - Storm Surge opened on 17 March 2011. Thorpe Park Blast returns but is renamed as 'Blow It Up'. The park introduced Experiment 10 as its newest Fright Night attraction. Time Voyagers 4D and Canada Creek Railway closed permanently. Two new food outlets were opened: Bar 360, replacing 'The Glass House' in the Dome, and Amity Kebabs replacing Amity Bugle in Amity Cove.
2012 - The Swarm a Bolliger & Mabillard Wing Coaster, opened 15 March 2012. Fright Nights 2012 introduced "The Passing", a new 2nd gate horror maze.
2013 - A temporary hotel, "The Crash Pad" opens. The two back rows on The Swarms trains are turned backwards, and more theming is added to the ride, such as a large billboard which is also a 'near miss' feature. X:/No Way Out is renamed X and refurbished, with the cars now turned forward and new lighting effects added within the queue lines and within the ride area Fright Nights 2013 teamed up with Lionsgate to introduce 4 new horror attractions with IP based themes, My Bloody Valentine, You're Next, Cabin In The Woods & The Blair Witch Project.
2014 - Thorpe Shark Hotel opens to the public, replacing The Crash Pad with a more family friendly atmosphere. Angry Birds Land opens in May, featuring two new attractions: Angry Birds 4D on the site of the previous Time Voyagers attraction, King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems ride, and Detonator re-themed to Detonator: Bombs Away. The resort is updated with a new brand image, complete with a new map and website design, aimed at being more family friendly. A new slogan is also added 'An Island Like No Other' has replaced 'The Nation's Thrill Capital'.
As of 2014, Thorpe Park Resort operates three yearly events that occur each year. Ministry of Sound club nights in the Port Atlantis Dome occur one Saturday night a month from April to September. These club nights feature well known music DJs playing a variety of themed nights. Summer Nights is when the park reopens after a normal day on Friday and Saturday Nights in July and August from 7pm-10pm for some late-night rides consisting of The Swarm, SAW - The Ride, Stealth, Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, X and others.
Fright Nights is Thorpe Park's halloween event, formerly "Fright Nites". It is an annual event that has been running at Thorpe Park since 2002. For a period of time during October, the park opens until 10 pm on peak days to allow guests to ride in the dark. To continue the Halloween celebration, special temporary attractions such as scare mazes are constructed for the event. Actors in costume and make-up are also found around the park.
Seasonal Fright Nights attractions as of 2013
Fright Nights attractions include:
The Asylum - The Asylum is a 'live action horror maze' attraction that has been a part of Fright Nights since 2005. It uses a maze of chicken wire fencing, smoke and strobe lighting to disorientate guests. The Asylum involves various actors, including a patient armed with a chainsaw to chase guests out of the exit.
My Bloody Valentine - Live action horror maze - located in the arena.
The Cabin in the Woods - Live action horror maze - located in the back of X, next to Slammer.
SAW Alive, a walk through maze themed around eight different SAW scenes. Opened in 2010 as a full-time attraction, leading to only opening in Fright Nights from 2012 onwards.
The Blair Witch Project - Outdoor scare zone - starts in the former Canada Creek Railway station.
You're Next - Whilst not an attraction as such, the characters from the film roam around the park (live actors) and the music from it plays.
Past seasonal Fright Nights attractions
Former yearly attractions include:
For 2002 only, the stretch of park from Canada Creek through Ranger County was converted into Scare-Zone. Two haunted-mazes, The Freezer and Freakshow 3-D were installed at either end of the area.
The Freezer ran from 2002 until 2004. The attraction consisted of a maze which was entered through a large freezer-style door. The Freezer was altered slightly for the 2005 season and was renamed The Asylum.
Freakshow 3-D ran from 2002 until 2004 Guests wore 3D glasses through the maze style attraction.
Saw - Movie Bites was shown in the Time Voyagers theatre in 2009. It featured short clips from the SAW films and was strictly for guests over the age of 18.
Hellgate was introduced in 2005 and was located inside the X:\No Way Out pyramid, with the entrance at the rear of the building. The attraction was based on a run down stately home, ruled by the fictional evil spirits of Lady and Lord Denham. The attractions last operational year was 2010.
DEAD END is a 'scare-zone' that was introduced in 2010. It is based around the park's past, and features pieces of 'dead' rides and theming, as well as actors.
Se7en open in 2006 was the gruesome third maze, based on the Seven Deadly Sins - lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. The attraction was situated in the Arena in the centre of the park where a temporary structure is erected inside a tent. In 2011 it was then moved to Neptune's Beach, which was the attractions last operational year.
The Curse Opened in 2008 themed around a cursed shipwreck in Amity Cove.
EXPERIMENT 10 Opened in 2011, a walk through maze of a scientific experiment. It was the first attraction to be created by Merlin Magic Making.
THE PASSING Replacing Hellgate, the Passing is a themed walk through maze which replicates death, and being buried alive. This was the first attraction to use headmasks with Bluetooth technology to provide a commentary.
Thorpe Park is split into various themed areas, which include: Amity Cove, Amity Speedway, Calypso Quay, Canada Creek, Neptune's Beach, Lost City, Swarm Island and Angry Birds Land, which opened on 24 May 2014.
Canada Creek opened in 1989 themed around the Canadian Rockies. This area has the UK's tallest water ride, called Loggers Leap, the world's only Sky Swat: Slammer, and the small train ride named the Rocky Express. Canada Creek is also home to the now defunct Canada Creek Railway, which closed in late 2011.
Calypso Quay is an area in the part themed around a calypso in a jungle, with a volcano as its centrepiece. Four rides reside within this area: Nemesis Inferno, Storm in a Teacup and Rumba Rapids.
Ranger Country opened in 1994 and is an area aimed mostly at younger visitors, the main attraction is Mr Monkey's Banana Ride, alongside the Chief Rangers Carousel.
Lost City opened in 2001 and is themed around an ancient Aztec land. Main attractions include: Colossus, Quantum, Rush, X, Samurai, Vortex and Zodiac. Neptune's Kingdom is mainly a small beach and water area for children, with two separate water slide attractions. Neptune's Beach opens on warmer days from May onwards, along with a separate attraction Wet Wet Wet. Beside this attraction is Depth Charge, a four lane water slide. The Swarm Island is a new area for 2012, it paints a picture of an apocalyptic end to the world with the roller coaster The Swarm.
Angry Birds Land is the newest area and opened on 24 May 2014, and is themed around the Angry Birds video game franchise. Attractions include: Angry Birds 4D, Detonator: Bombs Away and King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems.
The Swarm Island
Visitors at the destruction-themed Amity Cove
Amity Cove is themed to look like a 1950s fishing village that has been hit by a tidal wave. With the attraction Tidal Wave as the key ride. The Area, which opened in 2000 originally only contained Tidal Wave, KFC and a games stand, however it was extended in 2006 with the arrival of the Stealth rollercoaster behind Tidal Wave, adding itself and the pre-existing Storm in a Tea Cup ride to Amity Cove's lineup. Again in 2007 when the Flying Fish rollercoaster was moved into Amity Cove, its attraction list was increased. In 2011 Storm Surge opened on the old site of the Octopus Garden.
Amity Speedway is themed around an American 1950's race circuit. It was originally part of Amity Cove until Angry Birds Land opened in 2014, splitting the area in two. Its only attraction is Stealth a 205 ft tall Intamin Rocket coaster which opened in 2006.
Ranger County is a children's area that is themed to the now non existent Thorpe Park rangers. There is Mr Monkey's Banana Ride a small Huss Rides pirate boat and Chief Ranger's Carousel as the only attractions.
Neptune's Kingdom is a children's water based area with three attractions, only one is open for the whole season. Depth Charge is main attraction in this area and is a four lain water slide. Neptune's Beach is a small water play area for families and is open from May until September. Wet Wet Wet is a selection of water slides that lead into Neptune's Beach.
Calypso Quay is a Caribbean themed area with three rides. The key attraction is Nemesis Inferno, a B&M inverted coaster themed around a volcano. Storm in a Teacup is also in the area, which is next to the Rumba Rapids water ride.
The Lost City is themed to an ancient Aztec land with the Colossus rollercoaster as the main attraction opening in 2002. The area opened in 2001 with the Vortex and Zodiac rides as the only attractions. In 2003 Quantum, a magic carpet ride opened. Two more attractions have since joined the rides line up with Samurai opening after being moved from the also Merlin owned Chessington World of Adventures in 2004 and Rush an S&S Screamin' Swing opening in 2005. In 2013 the X rollercoaster was rethemed in the area.
Canada Creek opened in 1989 and is themed around the Canadian Rockies. It has three attractions, a Burger King and the Wild Wings Noodle Bar. The main attraction in the area is Loggers Leap a Macklog flume with a double drop. The area also has the Rocky Express Sea Storm ride. Located just outside of the area is SAW - The Ride, a horror themed rollercoaster based on the SAW franchise.
The Swarm Island
The Swarm Island only contains one attraction, The Swarm, an apocalyptic ride that interacts with the areas landscape.
Angry Birds Land
Angry Birds Land opened on 24 May 2014 and its based on the Angry Birds video game. Attractions include: Angry Birds 4D, King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems, and Detonator: Bombs Away (previously known as Detonator). The area has three entrances: one from Calypso Quay, one from Amity Cove and one from Amity Speedway.
Records the park holds
Stealth was previously the fastest rollercoaster in Europe until Furius Baco took the record in 2007. Stealth still holds the record for the fastest acceleration of any roller coaster in Europe (0–80 miles per hour (0–129 km/h) in 1.8 seconds as opposed to Furious Baco's 0–83.9 miles per hour (0.0–135.0 km/h) in 3.5 seconds) and is still the fastest in the UK.
Loggers Leap is the tallest log flume in the UK, although it lost that record for several years to The American Adventure's Nightmare Niagara, then regained the record when that ride was removed.
Nemesis Inferno has the longest pre lift section of any inverted B&M coaster in the world, and was the first inverted coaster to feature interlocking wingovers (corkscrews)
The Swarm, is the only backward winged coaster in the world (back 2 rows), it is also the only winged coaster that is in the United Kingdom.
The Thorpe Shark Hotel (officially stylised as THORPE SHARK Hotel) opened in April 2014. The hotel has 90 rooms and is themed around a metal shark, made from scrap metal, that will appear to be rising out of the lake. The hotel is linked to the Port Atlantis Dome which has the restaurants, bars, shops, and reception. It is also the entry point into the park.