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