Thorpe Park Fright Night 2016
As is now my Halloween custom, I travelled up to Thorpe Park for my third Fright Night (2014 and 2015 here). This year, Marie was at a convention, and we'd been to Alton Towers Scarefest anyway, so I took Myles along with me instead.
Of course, Fright Night is always very busy so I've always bought Fastrack tickets for the main five rollercoasters. It's an extra cost on top of the ticket price but it's well worth it as the queues are always super long at Halloween weekend. When we arrived at the park, I had to pick the tickets up and then realised I'd left behind my purse, which contained my ID and the payment card needed to collect prepaid tickets. Thankfully, the staff member was really helpful and, after asking a few questions to confirm my identity, I had the tickets tightly in my grip.
I wore this awesome blood splatter skirt from eBay (it's from the same seller as the bat skirt I wore here), teamed with a black funnel neck jumper from Primark (similar here). I teamed it with my Simply Be leggings and Skechers again to keep my feet comfy. I'd also bought this dripping blood choker but completely forgot to wear it because I'm an idiot!
Since we'd arrived early, we were some of the first in the park and I suggested going straight to Derren Brown's Ghost Train because we didn't have Fastrack for it. As we walked through the dome, Myles said "Oh, Derren Brown's closed. It says it up there" so instead we headed to Saw and rejoiced at the ridiculously short queue. By the time the ride finished, queues for the big rides were forming so we decided to concentrate on the less popular ones, saving the rollercoasters for the afternoon when we could use our Fastracks.
We walked straight onto the Rubber Dinghy Rapids and the teacups, then queued the 15 minutes for Detonator, which is always one of my favourites. By the time that was over, it was 11:30 and we were both feeling a little peckish. Myles had the genius idea of getting lunch from KFC there and then, even though I thought it was too early. Turns out he had absolutely the right idea as we enjoyed our meal in an almost-empty restaurant and when we walked past a short while later, it was absolutely packed.
Once we'd filled up with delicious chicken, we headed towards the Lost City area of the park to ride another of my favourites- Vortex. There's something about this one that I find so relaxing. I swear, if it went on any longer, I could actually fall asleep on it! As we got off, we noticed there was no queue for Zodiac so we walked right onto the next ride. There was also no queue for Quantum, but Myles wanted doughnuts so we set off in search of them.
We found a doughnut hut next to Derren Brown's Ghost Train which, guess what, was open. Turns out, inside the dome, there's a sign suggesting rides to start your day. They're all the quiet, less popular rides, presumably to try and convince people to stay away from the main rollercoasters. Unfortunately, Myles had seen this and assumed they were the only rides open and, as Derren Brown wasn't on there, he'd felt quite assured that it was closed. Unfortunately, by this point, the queue was 180 minutes long so we decided against it. We returned a few times throughout the day and the time didn't change at all so I went home without experiencing it. It's a shame but I'd rather just try it another day, rather than wait hours for it. We did pop into the gift shop, though, and that had some really interesting stuff, including the cutest teddies. It's probably a good thing I forgot my purse, to be honest, as I would have bought the whole lot of them otherwsie!
Walking through the park, we noticed a short queue forming outside the Platform 15 maze. It wasn't opening for another half an hour but since the queue was so small, we realised that if we waited in life for those thirty minutes, we'd be able to walk straight in once it opened and avoid standing in line for ages later. Even thought it was daylight, it was still quite creepy walking through the maze, especially as Myles and I ended up at the back of the group! It was much longer than the mazes I'd experienced before and can only imagine how scary it would be in the dark. The second half of the maze was walking through a pitch black tunnel in single file, which was more psychological as there were only a couple of actors in this part. Still, clinging onto a stranger's shoulders and repeatedly kicking him in the shins while struggling to keep up with the group was scary enough for me without people jumping out!
Our Fastracks were just about to start as we left the maze so we rode Stealth, Nemesis, Colossus, Saw and The Swarm in quick succession. Unfortunately, The Swarm no longer allows you to ride it backwards which is a real shame as it's just not the same going forwards. Originally, we'd planned to go on Samurai and experience the Cabin in the Woods maze before going home, but Myles was tired and had to be up early the next day for football training, so we headed home early instead.
We had a really great day but the atmosphere was lacking this year, for some reason. Since it was the 15th anniversary of Fright Nights, I'd expected a lot more but we ended up with far less than other years. There was no decoration in the park and I didn't see any actors in the park, beside those in the maze. After experience such a fantastic Scarefest event, with such extravagant decoration and creepy actors, it felt like a bit of a downgrade. However, this was the only complaint I had. I've seen a lot of people complain about the crowds, saying they didn't get much done. We left early and did almost everything we wanted so here's my advice for getting everything done on Fright Night:
Fright Night is always busy, especially on Halloween weekend. Anticipate that the park will probably be at capacity and plan accordingly- buy your tickets in advance, arrive early, wear comfortable shoes for standing around in queues and, if you want to avoid being stuck in the car park for hours, leave before the park closes.
I know you shouldn't have to pay more on top of a ticket to avoid the lines but unfortunately it's the only way to guarantee a short wait. If you can, consider getting Fastrack because it's well worth it. By the way, check ticket prices for different days when you book as they vary hugely. This year, the ticket on Saturday was double the cost of Sunday's ticket. In fact, the cost of our Sunday ticket and Fastrack combined was the same as a basic Saturday ticket.
If you can't splash out on Fastrack, and even if you can, prioritise your options. We really wanted to ride Derren Brown's Ghost Train but it wasn't worth waiting three hours in line. If you decide it is worth the wait, be aware that you probably won't get much else done with your day. Decide what's important for you and what you can go without, rather than trying to fit in absolutely everything.
Schedule your day
Go against the crowd. Arrive before the park opens and go straight to the ride that's likely to have the longest queue (and ignore your little brother when he tells you it's closed). Eat lunch early, take advantage of those rides with 5- 10 minute waits and start queuing for mazes before they open. The downside of this last one is that they're not as scary in the daytime so choosing an indoor maze like Big Top might be the better option.
Of course I'll be returning to Thorpe Park next year but hopefully it will be a little more atmospheric.
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