Yes we are back and yes we do more than just theme parks now, but for this blog, I intend to talk purely about rollercoasters and thrill rides. In particular, new ones.
2009 is not a good year if you are superstitious – TWO Friday the thirteenths in just two months? Surely nothing good can come from that. Can it? If you are a theme park fan, then the answer is yes. Well, sort of.
On Friday March 13, Thorpe Park champions its latest offering to the masses: SAW – The Ride. Based on the film franchise of the same name, the ride is the world’s first ever horror movie themed rollercoaster. Having watched the films and been left feeling rather queasy after a few scenes, I must say the thought of this ride is horrid.
1. It has a past vertical 100 degree drop.
2. It reaches speeds of 55 mph.
3. It has a past vertical 100 degree drop.
While researching the ride, I stumbled across a few more facts: It will last one minute and 40 seconds from start to finish (queueing not included), has three inversions and cost a whopping £13.5m to build.
The cost is especially impressive when you find out how much the other new ride that opens on 13 March cost. We’ll get to this in but a moment. For now, my colleague and I are debating whether or not Thorpe Park had to pay a license fee for the ride, or if Lionsgate willingly gave the rights for free in return for future sales of the DVDs. Any of you guys know? Please let me know…
There is also some debate about whether or not SAW – The Ride is a worthwhile venture from the film industry, or if it’s simply a product of those marketing types looking to make a few extra bucks.
Also, in ten years time, will we actually remember the films, or will they be cast into the pit of forgetfulness along with the fizzy Nemesis drink that made its way into our vending machines in the mid 90s? (Look it up – it did exist.) Nemesis is still one of the best rides in the world – a true legend in fact, and SAW – The Ride looks set to be another major player in theme park land. There is no doubt in my mind that we will still be riding it ten years time – I am just not so sure I will remember anything of Jigsaw and his sordid ‘games’ with complacent victims.
The second ride opening this week is Edge at Paulton’s Park. If you haven’t heard anything about Edge, let me give you a brief description: It’s a big spinny-roundy disc that seats 40 people. Said disc then spins horizontally while moving along a 90 metre section of track at speeds of 43 mph. Back and forth, back and forth, I’m not entirely sure that anyone will be able to stand up or hang on to any lunch after riding the Edge.
The ride is another first for the UK – it’s the only one of its type here and the eighth of its kind in the world. Sure, Spinball Whizzer at Alton Towers does the same sort of thing, but that one actually goes round a proper ‘rollercoaster’ track and only accommodates four riders at a time.
Edge cost just £1m to build which, let’s face it, is nothing compared to SAW – The Ride. With the backing of Merlin, Thorpe can justify the spend. Paulton’s, on the other hand, can’t.
So where will you be heading this weekend? If you live near London, it’ll have to be Thorpe, but if you live near the New Forest – you’re surely going to Paulton’s. Me? I’ll be doing something far more cowardly, like stroking kittens, or watching Raven with my kids. Either way, you are going to need to take a packed lunch – the queues are going to be loooooooooong.