A/V Room









Theme Parks - Chessington, Thorpe Park, etc

Preview: Jack Foley

THE UK's theme parks are gearing up to offer thrill-seekers plenty of fun in 2005, with a wide variety of activities to keep the whole family amused - not to mention the odd new ride!!!

At Thorpe Park, for instance, adrenaline-junkies can try out the SLAMMER, the first ride of its kind outside the US and one of the world’s most awesome rotary thrill rides.

First riders are taken soaring 105 feet towards the sky. Then, as their faces confront the clouds they are flipped over to be slam-dunked towards the earth in an intense 30mph 'free fall', only to swoop skywards again just before hitting the ground and giving the ultimate pulled out of your seat experience!

It is billed as an impressive looking ride, giving both a positive and negative g-force experience, with two giant paddles rotating 360 degrees backwards and forwards around a centre axis.

Also coming in June 2005 is Rush, the world’s biggest full-throttle speed swing!

No pansy playground swing, Rush will launch riders powerfully into the air to swing to and fro at speeds of up to 40mph, to a degree of 120 and reaching a whopping 4G!

While, for the more quiet-natured, the theme park will be taking part in another series of bird-themed events as part of its ongoing initiative with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Buy Thorpe Park tickets

Legoland - Windsor

Legoland Windsor, meanwhile, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with five new attractions.

First up is the Fire Academy, offering families the chance to enrol for a hilarious workout to test their fitness, speed and teamwork.

Active families compete on this ride by jumping into LEGO fire engines and powering them by pumping levers and pushing buttons, across a runway to put out a ‘burning’ building.

Then there's the new Dino Dipper, a fast-spinning carrousel ride which revolves around an enormous nest full of dinosaur eggs and young hatchlings.

And the Dino Safari, which takes visitors through a prehistoric jungle full of giant animated LEGO? brick dinosaurs.

If that's not enough, then why not try Cape Canaveral, offering space fans the chance to blast off from Cape Canaveral and visit the John F Kennedy Space Centre to Miniland.

The new model has an 8ft shuttle, a 12ft tall launch tower, rocket garden and vehicle assembly building made out of 50,000 LEGO bricks.

Finally, to mark the bicentennial anniversary of Denmark’s most famous author, Hans Christian Andersen, Legoland Windsor is staging the DUPLO Theatre, a number of puppet shows to celebrate his classic children’s fairy tales.

New for this year is the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’.

Buy Legoland tickets!


Chessington, meanwhile, opens its doors for the first time this Summer on May 5, 2005, and promises plenty of themed days for the approaching season.

First up, is Noddy's return to Chessington, along with his friends Big-Ears, Tessie Bear, Martha Monkey, Mr Plod and Bumpy Dog for a live performance of laughter, song, dance and stories.

The genial children's favourite will be at the park on May 1, 2, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and 30 and 31, as well as from June 1 to 5.

Chessington will also be celebrating Father’s Day on Sunday, June 19, by turning the tables to allow FATHERS in for FREE.

Hence, all children under 12 will be able to get their dads in FREE when they download the special Fathers Go Free voucher from the theme park's website.

While Scooby Doo fans will have the chance to meet Scooby Doo and the gang and solve clues around the park to complete a mystery trail.

There will be all sorts of ghoulish going-on at Chessington’s Halloween Hocus Pocus, which brings this year's season to a close.

Buy Chessington tickets!

If you fancy travelling further afield than London and its fringes, however, why not try the ultimate theme park experience - Alton Towers?

The newest attraction for 2005 is Rita - Queen of Speed, which delivers an awesome 0-100kph in just 2.5 seconds.

Building up to a G-Force of 4.7, this is racing at its most extreme and a must for adrenaline-junkies.

Rita provides an excellent new addition to the theme park's many high-velocity attractions, the most popular of which include Air, Oblivion, Nemesis and Ripsaw.

There are also plenty of family-friendly activities, including the ever-popular Tweenies Theatre, The Squirrel Nutty Ride, The Flume and The Runaway Mine Train.

While All-Round Fun is guaranteed from the Tea Cup Ride, Hex and the Spinball Whizzer.

Among the many themed events this year will be the Sound of Music Tribute Week, from May 30 to June 3, 2005, when the hills of Alton Towers reverberate to the sound of music - a celebration of 40 years of the 'Sound of Music' played out by the Magic Makers and guests, who will of course be invited to join in.

During the week, comedy nuns around the theme park will entertain visitors with short sketches, proving it's not only Julie Andrews who gets the crowd going!

Then, at the end of the day, guests can join the entertainment team on Towers Street for a carnival incorporating the most popular songs from the show.

With choreographed routines and Do-Ray-Me party dances, you'll end the day with a bang that no-one could possibly shake their edelweiss at!

A traditional Halloween Spectacular will also bring the season to a close from October 15 to 30, while Scooby Doo will make his presence felt between July 18 and August 31.

Order tickets now!



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