This was in fact our second visit to Thorpe Park in as many weeks. My five-year-old nephew has become obsessed with the place, even though he’s only tall enough to go on a handful of rides. And the easiest way to end a five-year-old’s repeated requests to visit the park again, is to actually visit, which is how we ended up back there once again.
It’s my favourite of the Merlin theme parks. I love the fact that it’s spacious and clean and because it’s mainly aimed at thrill seekers, the rides for younger children are rarely busy. We waited an average of five minutes for our favourite rides – Mr Monkey’s Banana Ride, Rumba Rapids and the Flying Fish rollercoaster.
IJ, now approaching 13, loves rides, but hasn’t yet plucked up the courage to brave the huge ones (like Stealth, which takes you from 0–80 mph in under two seconds, and Nemesis, a hanging rollercoaster with speeds of up to 50mph). The Corkscrew in Alton Towers was as terrifying as it got in my day with its one, possibly two loops. Times have changed.
This time she did try Thorpe Park’s Quantum. It’s a giant flying carpet a little like a pirate ship but this one that goes over the top, travelling the full 360 degrees. My stomach can no longer cope with anything so fast and furious so I was more than happy to watch from firmer ground below.
This visit, with IJ a little braver, I joined her on the spinning water ride Storm Surge for the first time, which we both loved. It was a 30 minute wait but worth it to ascend to a height of 64 feet and come sliding down in a life raft.
Watch for guests at the bottom of the ride who, just went you thought you’d survived it without getting wet, spray you with water at £1 a go. My brother and nephew were the guilty party in this case. We refused to speak to them for a full ten minutes.
We’re a fan of water rides (that you don’t get wet on), so we went on Storm Surge because the log flume at Thorpe Park is no more. You can get a glimpse of the disused ride over the fence that (mostly) keeps it out of view. It’s slightly spooky to look at sitting there abandoned. We prefer the log flume at Chessington World of Adventures so it’s no use huge loss to the park.
A short walk from its former home is the new Derren Brown ghost train ride due to open later this month (note the May 6th opening date has been pushed back). IJ’s class is going to try it out soon on a school trip to the park. She thinks it sounds brilliant. I think it sounds terrifying. The words Derren Brown and ghost train conjure up something mind blowing that leaves a lasting effect on you, and not in a good way! I’ll let IJ’s school friends try it out first.
We contemplated trying out Tidal Wave but decided the weather wasn’t quite warm enough because you really do get soaked. Not unlike the log flume that once was, the ride plunges you 85ft into the water below, creating – as the name suggests – a tidal wave.
It’s fun to watch though and if you stand in the viewing area you can feel the spray as it hits the water. Stand in a certain spot and you get completely drenched.
It’s one for the summer months when we return. I’m planning to relax on the beach with a book and an ice cream and leave the bigger rides to the thrill seekers. I’m sticking with the dodgems, Tea Cups and Angry Birds Land.
Special thanks to Merlin for our Merlin Annual Passes. I’m a Merlin Pass Ambassador for 2016. We’ve been provided with family passes for the year but all opinions are my own.