Thorpe Park Resort opened its gates for the first time in 2018 last weekend, offering the first opportunity to see the changes and developments across the Island. SouthParks round up all the developments.

The Walking Dead: The Ride
With 2018 set to be ‘The Year of the Walking Dead’, opening weekend offered the first chance to take a look at progress towards the headline attraction – The Walking Dead: The Ride. Work on the ride’s entrance is almost complete and fans of the popular TV show will recognise references to both the prison and the Alexandria Safe Zone.

Entrance Plaza
A number of changes have been made to the Island’s entrance area over the closed season in an effort to improve the guest experience as they purchase their tickets and go through the security check point. The entrance arch at the front of the plaza has been re-painted and had new signage installed, and the former Annual Pass Hut with this now being renamed the ‘Island Ticket Centre’. The building to the right hand side of the turnstiles have been cladded in a wooden beach hut style, matching the theming in the main turnstiles area which was installed last year. The former ticket kiosks towards the centre of the plaza are in the process of being re-purposed as ‘Island Security’, a move which should make the bag checking procedure much more efficient than the temporary solution in place during 2017.

Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon
Now entering its third season, Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon has had some changes to its middle scene (skip to the next section of the report if you want to avoid spoilers). The middle train scene between the two VR sections has now been changed into a scare maze style experience with guests proceeding into the tunnel, encountering the train, then doubling back to proceed to the next section. The changes are a definite improvement helping the attraction flow much better than it did previously.

General Updates
Across the Island, a number of areas have received some TLC during the closed season. Stealth’s entrance sign has been completely replaced, whilst Tidal Wave’s splash pool has received a new coat of paint. The roofing of the previous ‘Pier 13’ bridge structure has been replaced with a material to match the splash pool which does look out of place with the overall theme of the area. Amity is just one of the areas that has received a jetwash to the paving to remove dirt and gum, making the areas look fresh and clean.

Colossus has also received some attention with some of the supports painted and some of the rockwork around the ride also being improved. Nemesis Inferno has had new station audio added alongside the show lights for the dispatch sequence being replaced.

The Swarm has had its wooden cladding surrounding the steel roof supports for the station removed, although it is understood that this will hopefully be replaced soon. Vortex has also had both its ride structure and the platform beneath the ride repainted.

Sadly it seems that Logger’s Leap hasn’t received any attention during the closed season with the ride still abandoned behind the walls in Old Town. Slammer also remains standing but not operating following its retirement last year.

Food and Beverage
There have been a number of changes to the food and beverage offering across the Island. Both Bush BBQ and Roast ‘n’ Relish are now closed with Bush BBQ completely blocked off. It perhaps would have been useful to retain the under-cover seating Bush BBQ provides, even if the outlet itself no longer served food – with the closure of the area it now significantly reduces the places guests can sit and eat if the weather is poor. Mexican Cantina has also been closed, however it is understood that this will re-open in the near future under a new name stated as being ‘Sombrero’s Burrito Bar’ on the Resort Map. On a more positive note, Crust which is located near Colossus, has re-opened, and Pizza and Pasta has been extended providing a much needed boost to the popular restaurant’s capacity. Proper Cornish have opened a franchise in The Jungle, offering traditional Cornish pasties and sausage rolls. As at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, all outlets have removed full fat Coca Cola and Sprite, with the ‘diet’ and ‘zero’ options now taking their place.

Perhaps one of the most significant changes to the food and beverage outlets is that most now accept card payments only in an effort to speed up service. Although it is good to see the Resort putting procedures in place to speed up service in their food and beverage outlets, the new card only system in many of the outlets may present some issues for some guests, especially those visiting the Resort on school trips who are more likely to have a need to use cash and not hold a form of payment card.

Have you had the chance to visit the Island for the 2018 season yet? What do you make of all the changes to the Resort? Join in the discussion over on the TowersTimes and SouthParks Forum. With ‘The Year of The Walking Dead’ set to bring a whole host of events to the Island, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on all the latest news.

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