Thorpe Park


Theme parks are my favourite weird places in the world. It feels good and okay to accept these arena-islands where impossible swollen engineering compliments casual and flowery grounds. At Thorpe Park there were iridescent rocks encircling a fake beach. You walked through Lost City and Old Town, past food trucks, claw machines, queues and queues of nervous bodies, and it felt good and okay. Curly wooden spikes edged the top of a ride operator’s tiny office box. Plush doughnuts were pinned to a fake rusty boat, the ceiling of a stall for games with balls and buckets. Dance music was played all day long everywhere and none of it made any sense. And so * you have this real life unreal constellation, and you are thrown over this world really really quickly, and you try not to vomit on yourself while you fly and I love it.

I went with my sister and we are both game, both front-seat-rider-brave. We went on The Swarm first and the speed did something to my eyelids and I just shouted mY EYELIDS repeatedly, and the day kind of went from there - I literally cried laughing on every single ride. I loved Stealth, like the south’s Rita. Nemesis Inferno was good but too head-bangy. I liked the stop-start-ness of The Saw ride, but I think it could have been scarier - hmMm generally I wanted everything to be more than it was. Last year my sister and I went to a waterpark with the kamikaze slides that begin with you standing on a trapdoor. There was a red countdown above you until 0, when the floor below you disappeared and you fell into a vertical water hole. That tbh has upped my adrenaline bar, and now I just want everything to be faster and longer and more ridiculous.

I gotta write about the Derren Brown ride as well, a ride still in its beta stage - after which there is a questionnaire asking for feedback —— well Here’s ur official white pube critique, Derren, babe. The VR experience launched this year but the graphics are already outdated, which is awkward. There were moments when the staff grabbed your legs in sync with the VR narrative, and I wanted to enjoy this, but having strangers grab your legs while you are wearing equipment that cancels out the audiovisual outside world just feels violating - violating rather than theatrical or immersive. I don’t know how you can warm visitors up to this, but I think you should figure it out. My fav bit, though, was the moment you were ripped out of the CGI horror and made to actually run out through the set. (I wish the staff were better actors but) staff try to figure out how we can all escape down a big hole, away from the scary things - until a hologram underground train storms at the audience. I Literally ran into the wall and tbh this is good, because it means I was convinced and scared enough. Thank u for my sore elbow. My p.s. bonus critique is the amount of merchandise in the Derren Brown gift shop is overestimated and conflated and awkward, pls reel in it.

ALL IN ALL, I think the whole park needs a paint touch up, a better estates team. My sister thinks it is magical that the bins in Disneyworld disappear into the floor, so you never see them being changed. She thinks it is special that the air is perfumed there. (ALL IN ALL, the grounds aren’t as nice as Alton Towers’, and the rides aren’t as tight as Universal Studios). There was a little shop half way through each queue which I thought was generous, and the cloakroom’s placement just before you board a ride was sensible (The White Pube is TripAdvisor now). It is a good day out, the rides are fun, I had a nice falafel pitta, but it isn’t life changing and this review is harsh because basically I am too hard for Thorpe Park xxx

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