I had some holiday to use up, so I took Wednesday off this week to go and visit the theme park Thorpe Park. I've been there quite a few times before, but they've just recently opened a new rollercoaster for this year: Stealth.
It's a 'launched' rollercoaster, which sends you from 0 - 128kph in 2.3 seconds, then vertically upwards over a 205ft high hill, then straight down again, into a break run and back to the station. The whole ride lasts about 10 seconds - but what a ten seconds! The acceleration is unbelievable, and I had no choice but to scream an expletive the whole way round.
The rollercoaster is in an area themed as a 1950/60's coastal town in New England, USA. The coaster is meant to be part of a 'Speedway', which explains the acceleration, but perhaps not the 200ft hill. Much of the feel of the theme comes from a spoof american radio station - 'WWTP Radio' - playing in the background. In the morning whilst I was there this was just playing some great period records (including the Beach Boys and tracks from Grease) and jingles. In the afternoon though, an American trailer had turned into an outside broadcast unit, and a couple of DJs (suitably dressed up in old american clothing) were spinning the records and reading out messages (in an OTT american accent) to people in the queueline.
Mixing a radio station with theme park theming has always been and idea of mine, and so it's great to see Thorpe Park doing it really well. The music really adds to the feel of the area, and the 'shout outs' and requests are a good way of entertaining the crowds and creating a bit of a 'live' feel about the whole thing. I hung out in the area for a while, just soaking up the cool atmosphere.
The only downer on the whole day was seeing the newly-sponsored Tidal Wave ride featuring Original Source (the shower gel/shampoo company) branding. They had at least put some thought into making the advertising as tasteful as possible, but it still jarred and took something away from the genuine 'theme' they're trying to create.
See Flickr for my Thorpe Park photos.