Reviewed: Jolly Roger Pleasurewood Hills
Whilst we were on-park in 2011 to cover a full park review, we learned that 2012 would see the installation of a new Drop Tower at Pleasurewood Hills. Rumoured to be a 196ft Fabbri Giant Drop at the time, the project caught the attention of many news sites and coaster/theme park fans across the country.
Although the park has confirmed that their planning application was successful (and remains valid) for a 60m tower installation, the new attraction is the 40m (131′) Fabbri “Mega Drop” version named “Jolly Roger” – which is presented with a loose pirate theme.
The ride hasn’t been purchased by the park, but is on long term lease and represents part of a three year/¬£3.5 m investment plan for the park. UK Park News has been informed by PWH that the intention is to purchase the larger tower at some point. It’s unclear why the original purchase did not¬†transpire, however we have been advised that Jolly Roger will remain until then.
Pleasurewood Hills kicked off a small viral marketing campaign at the end of March 2012 by uploading a short video to Youtube about the new attraction. This was further marketed via the park’s official Facebook and Twitter Pages. The video shows a man who boards the ride and comes off a little worse for wear whilst a presenter tells viewers a little about the ride.
You can see the official video here.
This Saturday (31st March 2012) saw the first day of the season for the park, and the grand opening of the ride which is located on the site previously occupied by “Thunderstruck” – a Huss tri-star which has been relocated next to Wipout for this season and renamed “The Tide Traveller”. It looks as though the ride has been fully repainted, however despite today being the first official day of the season it was clear that the newly relocated ride was nowhere near finished – it was still in pieces with temporary fences restricting access.
However from what we could see (thanks to the excellent view from the top of Jolly Roger and Wipeout) it appears as though the Huss ride will be embedded into “proper” concrete foundations once construction is complete, opposed to free-standing like a travelling ride would be.
Jolly Roger certainly dominates the landscape of the park and is clearly visible from the entrance, standing over 130′ tall from base to peak. We made our way over to the ride (via calling off for a brew at The Flying Fish cafe) where we were able to walk right on. We didn’t really know what to expect in regards to themeing, since the viral marketing video didn’t give much away and there was little revealed from the park itself.
Unfortunately the ride (which is a travelling/fun fair model) is simply placed by itself, just in front of the “Enigma” rollercoaster, which sadly also wasn’t running during our visit. There isn’t any other themeing in place other than the ride’s own signage and backdrop. We feel this is a real shame. It’s unclear at the moment if the park intends to develop the area to a bespoke pirate land – we have been advised that the idea is on the cards, but there have been no firm decisions at present. In our opinion, it would have made more sense to keep the theme of the ride within context of the area (along with Enigma) opposed to choosing a strong pirate theme, without¬†committing¬†to it fully.
After watching a ride cycle and taking some photographs, we joined the queue, which only consisted of a handful of people
. We boarded sitting on the side that faced the operating booth, giving us a great view of the park. Seats are arranged three per side, seating a total of 12 and once we were strapped in, we were on our way to the top of the “140ft” peak. Unlike Detonator at Thorpe Park, there is no soundtrack which counts-down for guests, whilst some might think this to be a disadvantage, the sense of “lingering” at the top really does add a great deal of anticipation to the experience. After what seemed like an age, we were released and found ourselves hurtling back to the ground! Jolly Roger is slightly higher than “Detonator” at Thorpe which stands at 115′. This may not sound like much compared to the 131′ of Jolly Roger (excluding the crown/top section of the ride) however we thought this made a¬†noticeable¬†difference to the overall experience.
Jolly Roger certainly packs a punch and offers an intense, adrenaline-packed experience. No sooner than when we exited our first ride, we found ourselves walking straight back round for a re-ride, and we weren’t the only ones doing this!
The ride is no¬†doubt¬†a fantastic addition to the park, and the prospect of this being only part of a ¬£3.5m investment over three years is¬†definitely¬†a fantastic one for the business, it’s just a shame that it stands themed alone.