Thorpe Park Resort opened the gates of the Island to Annual Pass holders this weekend, offering one of the first opportunities to take a look at the changes which have taken place across the Resort during the closed season. SouthParks take a look at all the developments from across the Island.

One of the first, and most noticeable changes is at the entrance to the Resort with the turnstiles area having received a complete refurbishment. All the walls now have a wooden finish with suitcases and island theming, whilst work has also taken place on the roof to clear the skylights allowing more light into the turnstiles area giving it a much more pleasant, light and spacious feel. New audio has also been added replacing the pop tracks which previously played as guests entered the park.

The island theming also extends to The Dome which has seen several refreshes for the new season. Inside, the main gift shop has been renamed to The Island Shop and received a number of new theming elements including beach hut fascias in front of the tills, and surfboard shelving. An additional, permanent retail outlet has also been added to the outside of the gift shop which will help relieve the pressure at peak times. The Coffee Shack has also received some new external theming and now serves Costa Coffee, and the seating area now includes surf board style tables and a camper van theming feature. Screens which used to display the queue times from across the Resort have been removed, however at this time it is not known if this is a permanent removal. New audio has also been extended to The Dome and, although not confirmed, sounds like it may have been composed by IMAscore.

Whilst Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon is not set to open until Friday 31st March, the newly extended Ghost Train Shop was open to guests. Inside the shop, the attraction photo counter has been moved to the opposite side, whilst some of the feature elements of the shop have been relocated to account for the relocated exit point for the attraction. Outside, it is difficult to tell where the original section of the building ends and the extension begins, something which Thorpe Park Resort have to be commended on for integrating the extension so well. Whilst there are few clues on the outside to what the newest incarnation of the attraction will include, there have been a couple of aesthetic changes with the final part of the queue line now covered, and the baggage hold has been removed. New signage has also been added to the attraction’s entrance to reflect the new name.

Over in Old Town work is ongoing on the installation of two new children’s rides, Timber Tug Boat and a Frog Hopper Ride which does not feature on the Resort map and is as yet un-named. New queue fencing has been installed and it is expected that both rides will open at Easter. What used to be the food and beverage outlet in the area has now been converted to The Hub, a schools and events space. Sadly it would seem that Logger’s Leap is set to be closed for much longer than originally stated by the Resort with all but one of the signs removed from the attraction, and no sign of any work or development on the ride.

Rumba Rapids has had a significant amount of work carried out in preparation for the 2017 season with the entrance and queue being repainted in a more natural brown colour scheme, although hints of the former purple and green can still be seen on the underside of the roof. All the Ribena Berry theming has been removed from around the full length of the course, including the tunnel which now has new lighting. Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences is the removal of almost all of the trees from around the course, with the stumps of those on the final bend being given a charred effect. Whilst the removal of the trees looks rather stark at the moment, as the leaves return to the other plants around to the ride this should soften the currently harsh appearance. During the Passholder Preview Day the ride had all three pumps in operation for the first time in a while making for a vastly improved ride experience which saw many people get a soaking!

There has also been a number of trees felled along the pathway behind Nemesis Inferno. With the significant tree removal in the Rapids area and the ongoing closure of Logger’s Leap, could this suggest the site along the back side of the park could be earmarked for a future development?

In the area by Tidal Wave’s entrance a new unit is under construction which again uses the island beach hut theme seen elsewhere across the Resort. Whilst it is not yet known what this unit will offer, it looks like it may potentially become the new home for the Coke Freestyle machines which last season were offered from a unit outside The Dome. The Hydration Station over by X has been transformed into The Donut Factory offering a small selection of both plain and flavoured donuts.

Across the Resort a number of areas have been given re-paints and touch ups including the Saw: The Ride and The Swarm queues, and several flower beds and fences, all of which help to give the island a much cleaner and fresher look for the new season. Each area now also has its own themed signage which is currently being used to display adverts. New bins have also been placed throughout the theme park.

Did you visit Thorpe Park Resort for Annual Pass Preview Day? What do you think to the changes to the Island this season? Make sure you share your views over on the TowersTimes and SouthParks Forum.

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