The start of the season, which usually is in March, finally happened over the weekend. Unfortunately, we were not able to get there but we did manage to finally pay a visit to Thorpe Park on Monday. We thought we would try our hand at writing an in-depth blog post about all the changes the park has done over its closed season, as well as about the changes implemented as part of social distancing. Wish us luck!
Let us start with the social distancing and new safety precautions that have been introduced because of Corona-virus. The park is restricting the number the visitors allowed into the park, so all guests will need to pre-book entry. Upon arriving at the park, you will notice that staff are directing guests to park in alternate spaces. This is to leave enough room for guests to get out of their vehicles safely. As you enter, all guests and staff will be temperature checked. Paper maps are no longer available, and guests are encouraged to use the mobile app. Hand sanitisation points are also available for use around the park. One big thing people will notice is the yellow dots on the floor around the park and entrance. These dots are to help guests with social distancing and guests are told that its one group per spot. New signage is up reminding guests to social distance as well as telling people not to dwell in certain key areas such as just outside the dome. Also, as part of the precautions, some rides and attractions will not be open. It seems, The Walking Dead the Ride, Derren Browns Ghost Train and Jungle Escape. Tidal Wave, Rumba Rapids, Storm Surge, Timber Tug, Lumber Jump and Rush are believed to be reopening once safety procedures are introduced and finalised, though this has not yet been confirmed by the park and is just rumour. One thing we can confirm is that the water guns on Tidal Wave have been removed. Guests must wear face masks on the rides and the baggage areas on Stealth and Saw now have huge plastic screens to protect staff. Most coasters will also be implementing social distancing and deep cleaning throughout the day. This, of course, will have a knock-on effect on queue times and guests are asked to be patient. It is also worth noting that the park is now cashless, so remember your cards. If you want to visit the Megastore, it is also worth noting that a one-way system is in effect. As far as I am aware that should be all the safety precautions covered. Let us move onto the general changes.
There have been many changes around the park that have happened during the closed season. Most notably are the changes in signage. This is apparent from the minute you arrive with new signs informing guests of directions and locations of things. On the bridge, a new fake foliage screen has been introduced. New signage has appeared on the entrance to The Dome. The park is looking tidy and presentable. Some damaged speakers have been replaced and general maintenance on some areas has been done. The arcade entrance that faced Derren Brown’s Ghost Train has had some work done with it now looking bare and quite ugly we must say, but we know that there is still work to be done on it. In the Megastore there is a lot of new merchandise including a retro range featuring the Thorpe Rangers. Also new for this year are Thorpe Park facemasks and hand sanitiser. Black Mirror, the parks now new attraction for 2021 has had some major work done to it. Anyone familiar with its location will know there is a huge tunnel that ran up the side of the pyramid. This was usually used for queueing for Cabin in the Woods and Living Nightmare during Fright Nights. This tunnel has been completed torn down. That is all we can say about this new attraction as the rest is inside and we cannot see it.
One area the park has done a huge amount of work on is their food and beverage outlets and offerings. Inside The Dome, Finn’s Bar and Grill has been rebranded to Infinity Bar and has a sleek modern vibe to it and looks awesome. Its menu is currently quite simple, but it does offer a dine in service. A new food outlet has popped up in The Dockyard area of the park selling Halloumi, wraps and chips. Elsewhere, Inferno’s Pizza & Paste Buffet is no longer a sit in restaurant, but takeaway pizza is available. Crust, the food outlet located where Do or Die was located during Fright Nights has had a rebrand to The Cantina. This place serves pasta and rice dishes as well as other various sides. Another rebrand is Sombrero’s Burrito Bar which is now Sombrero’s Street Food. The Amity Kebab Co. that was located near Tidal Wave has also had a rebrand to Calamity Kebabs. One last change to the food outlets is the Donut Compound. This is now the Amity Donut Bites. We also believe that the Coke Freestyle machines will be reopening soon too.
The park has said that they are hoping Fright Nights can go ahead and as such we got some pics of anything Fright Nights related, we could see, purely because we love Fright Nights. As you can see, they have not taken down the sign that points the way to Platform 15 and Creek Freak Massacre, but they did remember to take down the entrance sign for Creek Freak Massacre. The Thorpe Breaks website has also confirmed that Fright Nights will now be running 17th – 31st October.