To me, nothing quite says vacation like a trip to a theme park. I was really excited when we managed to squeeze in a visit to Thorpe Park in Chertsey during our last trip to England. We joined a million other tourists and visited on a hot weekend day in mid-August.
We arrived just before park opening and saved time/money by purchasing our tickets online.
When I worked for Universal Studios Hollywood, I always thought it was funny that their tagline was "The Entertainment Capital of LA". It's bit lackluster. I mean Disneyland claims to be "The Happiest Place on Earth". Disney's competition should try to aim higher in its lofty claims. Thorpe Park had a slightly upgraded version of Universal's claim.
I've seen several signs warning about "anti-social behavior" all over England. I know this is serious, but being American, I've never heard it phrased like that. When I think of the term anti-social, it seems more mild... like I prefer my cats to most people and I like staying at home to parties.
We entered the park and walked over an enormous bridge with signs advertising the coasters. Getting amped up for the day!
We spotted a very cool, shark shaped hotel that looked like it was made from corrugated metal.
The shark theme continues with a section of the park called Amity Cove. I thought that Thorpe Park might have some connection to Universal Studios, but I couldn't find any actual evidence. It was suspiciously similar to Amity Island and all of the Jaws stuff at Universal.
Dan and Zoe went on the first ride of the day, a rapids ride called Storm Surge. I didn't want to get wet and Felix was scared, so we watched them go on the ride.
One of the best themed areas in the park is the Angry Birds Land. The signature attraction is a 4-D movie experience. Although well conceived, it was a bit intense for younger children. We all liked the Angry Birds bumper cars attraction.
The kids were too short for the big coasters, so we spent a majority of the day around the smaller rides and carnival games. The kids really liked the Rumba Rapids, a gentle rapids ride with a tropical theme and Mr. Monkey's Banana Ride. There was a Tetley Tea themed spinning cups ride and a carousel with unusual creatures.
We may have not ridden any coasters, but we certainly took pictures of them. Here are some shots from around the park.
One problem that plague the theme parks in Europe are wasps. Tip = Reminding the kids that wasps are attracted to sweets and soda, is a good way to get them to make better food choices!
Several times we crossed paths with a group of teenagers dressed in superhero costumes.
Thorpe Park even had a mini-water park area stuck in the middle of all of the rides. It seemed out of place, but plenty of people had their swim-suits on.
If I could have ridden on one coaster, it would have been Saw. I'm a huge fan of the LionsGate horror franchise. Thorpe Park has a whole themed section dedicated to Saw, which includes a coaster and a permanent walk-through maze with live actors. The maze is open during their Halloween events and as it's a permanent structure, I think that it is likely open during other peak times or as requested.
I split from Dan and the kids to get some pictures of the Saw area. I'm too chicken to go through the maze, but hopefully we can do the coaster on a future trip. I also thought that there might be a Universal Studios connection as many of the mazes advertised for the Halloween event have the same themes.
We had a fun day out at Thorpe Park and headed home in the late afternoon, when the crowds started to become overwhelming. I'm looking forward to future visits and hopefully a ride on Saw. As a consolation prize, Dan surprised me with a Saw The Ride mug. It's enormous and painted to look like it's covered in splattered blood, perfect for my morning cup of coffee.