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10:15pm on Friday, 29th June, 2012:

A Rollercoaster Ride


My younger daughter and I went to Thorpe Park today. We would have taken my wife but Friday is her day off; she has a lot of telephone meetings on Fridays, though, and as she can't take her day off off she couldn't come.

OK, so Thorpe Park is formally a theme park, but there isn't much theme about it. It's basically a collection of a few big rides and some lesser rides, about a 90-minute drive from where we live (well, it was 90 minutes to get there — three hours to get back...). We went on all the big rides because we like rollercoasters. Also, because there were only two of us, there was no-one telling us not to pay extra to queue-jumpfast-track, so for a few rides we did. The queue to buy fast-track tickets was quite long though; sadly, they didn't have anyone you could pay to fast-track to the front of the fast-track queue.

So, the rides, in the order we took them:

The Swarm. This is the park's newest big ride, and it's excellent. It's fast, swoopy and has a great zero-gravity roll. Its strength isn't so much in its stats as the fact that it's put together very well into a really compelling ride. It's also very smooth. I loved it!

Nemesis Inferno. This is another very enjoyable ride, although I didn't like the start all that much. I wouldn't say it's as good as Nemesis at Alton Towers, but it's still a lot of fun and quite a smooth ride. You need to get your land legs back after it, though — more than any of the other rides.

Saw - The Ride. Another really great ride I adored. This one's signature is a drop beyond the vertical — rather than falling at 90 degrees it's more like 100 degrees, so you can't see the track below you as you come down. It has a number of other really classy loops, though, including one with a sustained feeling of weightlessness. I enjoyed this one no end.

Colossus. This one turns you upside down 10 times, including an extended roll that goes on for rather too long. It's quite rough as well. We sat at the front for this one, on account of how the queue for getting to sit at the front was far, far shorter than the queue for sitting elsewhere. Unfortunately, it started to drizzle while we were waiting and we ended up punching our way through the mist and getting pretty damp bythe end of it.

X:\ No Way Out. Rubbish. It's a backwards roller-coaster, which means you can't see where you're going so you get shaken up a lot. It's in the dark, which means you can't see where you're going so you get shaken up a lot. It stops abruptly several times, which means you get shaken up a lot. This is not a ride I'd care to go on again.

Stealth. This ride is a one-trick pony — but what a trick! You sit in your seat, are accelerated to 80mph vertically, then you come whooshing down again. The whole ride takes 19 seconds. Those are a wonderful 19 seconds, though!

I'm not so sure they're wonderful enough to spend an hour standing in line for, though. That said, the two young women in front of us in the line managed to occupy themselves as we queued with a great deal of snogging and heavy petting of a "maybe you should go to your room..." intensity.

The Swarm (again). After we'd been on all the big rides (except the water ones, because we didn't want to get wet), we did The Swarm again prior to coming home. This time, I sat in the inside seat and my daughter at in the outside seat. When I'd sat in the outside seat, at one point in the ride I got a few drops of water sprayed on me from a fire engine effect. It was so little that I didn't even bother to mention it. This time round, though, they threw a pond at us and my daughter took it full in the face. I may have paid a tenner for the fast-track, but this made it worth every penny.

So, all in all a very enjoyable day.

They need to put more signs to the M25 on the way back, though, it's very easy not to go in the right direction...

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).