A LOOK AT THORPE PARKS HISTORY

An in-depth look at the history behind the nations thrill capital. It is clear that the park has had a substantial growth from 1998 when the Tussaudes group aquired the park and even more substantial growth when Merlin Entertainments took over in 2007.

 

1979- May 24th sees the opening of Thorpe Park as a water based recreation ground. The park opened with the Mountbatten pavilion (dome) and Model World (now Stealth)
1981- The first rides and attraction begin to develope at the park with the arrival of Octopus Gardens Play Area 1 & Cinema 180, The first of it's kind in the UK.
1982- Magic Mill and a 1930's traditional farm open at the park.
1983- The Phantom Fantasia opens to the public.
1984- Space Station Zero arrives at the park, a dark powered roller coaster.
1986- This year saw the arrival of The Tea Cup ride (known as Storm In A Teacup today).
1987- A large rapids ride known as Thunder River opens to the public (known as Rumba Rapids today).
1988- the 630 seat palladium opens with theatre arrives at the park.
1989- Loggers Leap, Britains tallest log flume opens to the public.
1991- Fantasy Reef is renamed as Neptune's Kingdom this year. This area contains Depth Charge, and the beach areas.
1992 - The Hudson River Rafters and Viking Rowers opened this year, along with the Redevelopment of the children's ride area into what is now known as Octopus Garden.
1993 - Canada Creek grows as the Calgary Stampede as added next to Loggers Leap. The Phantom Fantasia is re-themed as 'The Wicked Witch Haunt.
1994 - Thorpe Park's mascots get their own area near the back of the park, named Ranger Country.
1995 - Project X started construction starts and the "Magic Mill" is re-themed into Tropical Travels. The "Fungle Safari" also opened this year.
1996 - RMC's biggest and last major investment to the park is opened. X:\ No Way Out was the worlds first 'blackwards' rollercoaster. The park launched a huge advertising campaign declaring that there is No Way Out!
1997 - Whilst no new attractions opened this year, the park won the Tommy award for its dedication towards family fun.
1998 - For the second year running, the park won the Tommy Award. Not only this but three new attractions were added. The 'Dare Devil Drivers' was a dodgems ride located near the entrance at the park, 'Dino-boats' were basic bumper boats near Tropical Travels and 'Wet Wet Wet' was built near Depth Charge. This year also saw the aquisition by The Tussauds Group.
1999 - Tussauds added the first attraction, Pirates 4D near Wicked Witch's Haunt.
2000 - The first new direction ride added by Tussauds, Tidal Wave was Europe's highest and fastest water ride. Featuring a brand new themed area called Amity Cove, the ride was a hit for the park. Unfortunately the success was eclipsed by a fire in July which completely destroyed Wicked Witches Haunt, the parks only dark ride. The rides structure was torn down shortly leaving a large space in the centre of the park. Tropical Travels was also damaged in the fire. A temporary Enterprise was added.
2001- The park opened with news that the Worlds first 10 looping rollercoaster was to be added the following year. This buzz was helped along by three new additions. Zodiac (which was the Enterprise) was made a permanent feature in Lost City along with a KMG afterburner named Vortex. A 115 foot drop tower called Detonator was added into Central Park on the space where wicked Witches Haunt used to live. Unfortunately Watchdog picked up on the parks poor reliability during Easter half term where Detonator and Zodiac were often closed and Vortex was not even constructed. Luckily the park shook the criticism and opened Vortex in June.
2002 - Thorpe Park opened the world's first 10 looping roller coaster this year, Colossus. Extensive coverage of Tussauds brand new Intamin record breaker featured in the media on the rides opening day, 22nd March. Along with the opening of the looper another rollercoaster was announced for 2003. Nemesis Inferno was to be built in Central Park, a successor to the original Nemesis at Alton Towers. This was the first year of Fright Nites.
2003 - To start the new season, Thorpe featured a premier screening of its new addition. Nemesis Inferno was a hit with its guests in its first season and its popularity continues to grow. Unlike "Colossus"Colossus, Nemesis Inferno had to share its debut year with "Quantum"Quantum (a magic carpet) and Eclipse (a Ferris wheel). Eclipse offered excellent views of the rides from above the trees whilst Quantum offered a fun and thrilling ride to Thorpe's line up. This was to be Calgary Stampede's last season as the ride was seen as less exciting compared to the parks recent additions. Samurai was announced as moving from Chessington to accommodate its space.
2004 - Samurai opens to a rather muted audience as the ride was seen as slower then other rides of its type. Teacup Twisters opens with a new Amity cove style, renamed "Storm in a Teacup." The park announces two new rides for 2005. The year was seen as a disappointment by enthusiasts as "night rider" which was heavily advertised in 2003 maps was cancelled as well as the firework nights which had long been a feature during the RMC days. Also the Flying Fish, one of Thorpe's old favorites flies for the final time (or so we thought) as it is removed for Stealth construction.
2005 - Slammer, a new S&S Skyswat opens a few days late but offering a different take on going up-side down. Unfortunately the ride had poor reliability and on one occasion leaving guests up-side down. "Rush, an S&S Swing opens late May. Stealth construction begins in mid April with the ride track completed in September. The Fright Nite mazes are renamed and styled to "The Asylum" and "Hellgate".
2006 - Thorpe Park's signature rollercoaster "Stealth" opened this year. It launches riders 0-80mph in just 1.9 seconds. In July The "Flying Fish" is announced to be returning. Away from rides the park begins a new event, named "Be Discovered" with singing competitions taking place in the Dome. Fright Nites also features a new maze, named Se7en and themed around the seven deadly sins.
2007 - The park opens for the February half term making it the earliest opening of the park ever. Whilst limited rides were available, three of the major rollercoasters were open to guests, as were a number of flat rides. Flying Fish flew back with a new surfer dude theme-tune. Finally, the fireworks returned in a new event named Thorpe Blast. The Tussaudes group was bought by Merlin Entertainments, The second largest visitor attraction operator in the world
2008 - Once again, the park opened early this year, with a much improved line up than last years. Pirates 4D was replaced with a new movie, Time Voyages, which was already open at a another park owned by Merlin, Gardaland. Fright Nights ran this year more popular than ever, along with a new horror maze "The Curse" on Neptune's Beach. Thorpe Blast also ran for its second year.
2009 - Saw - The Ride, the worlds most terrifying rollercoaster was launched in March 2009. A new event Sun SCREAM made its debut in the summer sponsored by Dr Pepper with the infamous slogan 'What's the worst that could happen?'. Thorpe blast was also cancelled this year.
2010 - New for 2010 comes "Saw Alive" the worlds most extreme live action horror maze. This year also saw the end of February half term openings. 2010 also saw the return of an all new and improved Sun SCREAM once again sponsored by Dr Pepper. In September 2010 Octopus Gardens closed for the last time and removal begun for the new ride coming in 2011.
2011 - New for 2011 Thorpe Park opened "Storm Surge" an all new Spinning Raft Ride in Amity Cove! The ride was second hand from "Cypress Gardens" an American theme park acquired by Merlin Entertainments. 2011 also was the end of an era when the Canada Creek Railway closed after 22 years of service. Time Voyagers 4D also departed the park. 2011 also saw the arrival of Experiment 10, full of dark and lonely corridors.
2012 - THE SWARM opens at Thorpe Park built on a new island adjacent to Stealth, this marks the biggest investment by Merlin on a single attraction at £20 million. Thorpe Park started a new club and ride night for over 18's, in association with Ministry of Sound Tours. For Fright Nights THORPE PARK are unleashing a whole new style with a penitentiary feel as well as a brand new attraction, The Passing, a maze unlike any other at the park you will be passed over to the grave.
2013 - 2013 saw no new additions to the park but significant changes were made to two major attractions. After just one year of operation Thorpe Parks newest ride 'The Swarm' had the seats on its two rear rows turned around to create a new 'brave it backwards' sensation, while one of the parks oldest rides 'X No Way Out' was rebranded as ‘X’ and had its trains flipped to face forwards after 16 years of running backwards, with the pyramid also filled with new music, lighting and effects. Park opening hours increased with 'Summer Nights' late weekend openings and Ministry of Sound club nights continuing. Fright Nights received an extensive revamp to a movie themed event in partnership with Lionsgate films, with all mazes replaced except The Asylum.