Reviewed: Storm Surge Thorpe Park
The ride is clearly visible upon entering the park, but unfortunately this is due to it hap-hazard placement and out of place theming left over from its previous life at Cypress Gardens.
After meeting up with some of the other UKPN team members, we headed over to the ride around 10:30am to find a lengthy queue had already formed, not surprising for a park’s new attraction. ¬†As we joined the queue, the voice over the ride’s tannoy system advised the current wait time was approximately 50 minutes. However, we soon realised that throughput seemed to be very poor, with regular stop/starts and despatch of empty boats.
Technical difficulties can be quite common for a new attraction, however another voice over the tannoy advised us that the problems were actually caused by the poor weather conditions – it had been raining since we arrived at the park. ¬†The ride operative then went onto say that the rain was affecting the ride’s sensors, which was quite amusing, since this is a water ride!
As we were queuing, it was nice to see that the park had “hillbillies” walking through the line entertaining guests and re-enforcing the already¬†themed Amnity Cove. ¬†Queuing around the ride also give us great views of the large sections of the area that can only be described as a building site due to the temporary metal fences, leaking joints and areas yet to be landscaped.
We also noticed that the newly painted fences, that had been dampened by the rain, were transferring the paint onto our clothes. ¬†We are unsure whether this was due to the type of paint used, or simply because not enough time had been allowed for the paint to cure fully; either way it was quiet annoying.
In Thorpe Park’s defence we have subsequently discovered from one of their employees that not all of the theming elements are yet complete. ¬†More detail will be added in time for the official start of the season next week. ¬†Lets hope this brings the ride in line with the quality theming we have come to expect.
As we came closer to boarding we noticed section of the queue line where guests were able to take control of 4 water cannons. ¬†Located at the bottom of the water slide they were perfect for firing water at unsuspecting guests as they flew by in the boats. ¬†This proved to be the wettest part of the ride, and a lot of fun (for those in the queue)!
After 90 minutes in the queue we finally made it to the station and were told that each boat can take up to 6 passengers. The four of us boarded our vessel, and the park staff appended another couple to our group to fill all seats – and although good considering the waiting time we would have liked the three boats in storage used to ensure a maximum through-put.
Once at the highest point of the 64ft structure, we were tipped over the edge and began our slide back to earth. Along the way the ride has friction points on one side of the slide. These caused the boats to begin to spin anti-clockwise and after passing a few of these were were spinning¬†uncontrollably; some of us becoming quite disorientated! ¬†We managed to escape the worst of the water cannons, by burying ourselves in our ponchos until we were sure we’d passed them – much to the dismay of the onlooking crowd.
Overall we thought Thorpe Park’s new 2011 attraction was no more than average. With the park’s already impressive water ride line-up such as Tidal Wave & Loggers Leap, it’s hard to see how after the excitement of a new attraction has died down, Storm Surge will add any extra value to the park.