Spring is when the leaves reappear, the flowers bloom and theme parks open their doors for visitors. Every year the competition gets more intense as the top parks struggle for thrillseekers’ attention – which means, bigger, scarier and ever more inventive attractions. This year will be no different, with the list of theme parks offering new rides including Alton Towers, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Chessington World of Adventures. With speed, danger, wildness and wackiness all featuring large in the new offerings of the UK’s best theme parks, we provide a round-up of some of the top new attractions for 2013.
Alton Towers – The Smiler
Being hurtled through time and space at a speed of 85 kilometres per hour through 1,170 metres of track for a lengthy 165 seconds while experiencing drops of up to 30 metres, might not put a smile on everyone’s face, but it’s fair to say that most rollercoaster fans will be delighted. The Smiler is Alton Tower’s latest ride, and at a cost of £18 million, the Staffordshire theme park will no doubt be hoping for a big success. With a scheduled opening in May, this ride is likely to prove a big draw for Alton Towers, helping it to stay ahead of the competition.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach – The Thrill-O-Matic
In their much loved animated films like A Grand Day Out and The Wrong Trousers, Wallace and Gromit have succeeded in capturing the hearts of moviegoers and Academy Award members alike. As of April 24th 2013, visitors to Blackpool Pleasure Beach will be able to get even closer to the action with the new Wallace and Gromit themed Thrill-O-Matic ride. Capturing the spirit of the animated adventures, the attraction takes visitors through a rollercoaster of wacky contraptions and familiar characters, all recognisable from the famous stories. Nick Park, the duo’s creator, has given his blessing for the venture, and real fans will enjoy the chance to indulge in some authentic goodies: there will be a Wallace and Gromit merchandise store on the way out.
Chessington World of Adventures – Zufari
Billed as a previously undiscovered land, Zufari will provide visitors to Chessington World of Adventures with the chance to experience a more authentic, and thrilling, safari ride. Riding on real off-road trucks, visitors to Zufari will enjoy up-close encounters with wild and entrancing animals like the white rhino, giraffes, flamingoes and blesboks. The route, which is described as a journey through extreme terrain, covers a 22 acre safari trail, and is the latest addition to Chessington’s range of wild and wonderful attractions.
Thorpe Park – The Swarm
Not a new attraction exactly, but the popular Swarm ride in Surrey’s Thorpe Park has been updated for 2013 with a new near miss and the option of backward-facing seating for the very brave. The UK’s first winged rollercoaster, the Swarm is a heart-stopping ride that goes at a frightening 92 kilometres per hour, pulling up to 4 Gs. Featuring an inverted drop of 127 feet, as well as that brand new near miss for 2013, it is not for the faint hearted. The final two rows will now be facing backwards, which will likely give dedicated thrillseekers even more to get excited about.
Image Courtesy: old.xplorercentral.co.uk/, dailymail.co.uk, blackpoolpleasurebeach.com, chessington.com, thorpepark.com