For my Teen’s birthday this year he wanted to go to Thorpe Park (a large, extreme thrills theme park in Surrey) on ‘Fright Night’. We have been before, the last time we went was on his 13th birthday, two years ago, although we have been plenty of times in between, just not on Fright Night, which I have to say is absolutely fantastic.
As a teenager myself, I wasn’t a lover of rollercoasters and theme parks, mind you I didn’t go to that many, I was a bit of a wimp. I remember going to Blackpool Pleasure Beach a few times and Alton Towers (I grew up in the North) but that was it.
Fast forward many years, I am now a fully grown woman with four kids, and I find myself frequenting theme parks more than ever!
Being the parent of a teenager would do that to a person.
It’s amazing what we do for our kids! Even though I have four, my youngest three are closer in age than my Teen is to them, so I feel as though he doesn’t have much in common with his younger siblings anymore (he’s growing up!). Therefore I think it’s important to do things just for him sometimes and I’ve taken him and his friends to Thorpe Park as a treat on a number of occasions.
In fact, it’s safe to say, Thorpe Park has featured quite heavily in my past few years of existence! Teen LOVES it there. He has a new found passion for all things thrill seeking and I have to admit, it’s rubbed off a bit on me!
It’s always on our to do list during the Summer Holidays (Thorpe Park has a man made beach and mini water park in the summer months which is lovely for younger kids) but it’s definitely geared up for the older child and adults. There are more big, extreme thrill rides here than anywhere else, 11 major ones, with at least 8 others.
One of the best rides in my opinion – Stealth – I can’t even begin to explain what it feels like to ride this. But with a G-force of 4.5 and speeds of 0-80 in 2 seconds, you get the idea! My gorgeous Teen having a giggle whilst queuing up for it!
Fright Night at Thorpe Park though is a very different and unique experience.
When is Fright Night?
Well, there are some selected dates during the month of October, where Thorpe Park pays homage to Halloween, and brings the scare factor into the thrill factor! It’s on all week during the half term and finishes early November, when the park closes for the Winter.
What is Fright Night?
As well as the Halloween theme and the fact that you get to ride all the rides in the dark, which in itself is very cool, it’s a night designed to scare the living day lights out of you. They erect four ‘live horror mazes’ for the event based on some very scary horror films, complete with replicated rooms of terror; blood splattered walls, torture equipment, dead bodies…. and you are cordially invited to walk through them in groups, in pitch black while blood splattered actors in costumes that depict evil and madness, hide and jump out on you…. all in the name of having a good time, disturbance and being frightened to death!!!
Sound like fun?
Myself and the OH took Teen and a couple of his friends, they were also meeting up with some other groups of friends whilst there. It was jam packed as always, it really is amazingly popular at this time of year, on Fright Nights. The weather was good, cold, as you would expect for the beginning of November but not too bad and at least it was dry!
After Stealth, we separated for a while. Teen and his mates went off, while myself and OH went on a couple more rollercoasters together… how romantic (lol)… we had such a laugh though, giggling like a couple of teenagers ourselves! We went on the brilliant Nemesis and Colossus before grabbing a bite to eat.
There are plenty of eating outlets in Thorpe Park to cater for a variety of tastes; Chinese, Mexican, Pizza, KFC and fish and chips to name some, but my favourite thing to eat are the delicious hot doughnuts that you can purchase from some of the little huts… these with a cup of tea and I’m happy!
By this time it was starting to go dark so we decided to try out one of the mazes. It’s worth noting that the horror mazes at the park don’t usually open until 3-4pm, to gain maximum effect from the disappearing daylight! We were lucky enough to have fast passes so the queue time was minimum. Queue times without fast passes can be as long as an hour and a half. You can purchase individual fast passes once inside the park if you don’t have them included in your entrance tickets and these are usually £5 each time. You must get these quickly though because they sell out for the mazes.
This year the horror mazes were based on the films:
As if these wen’t enough, there’s the one horror maze that’s open all year round:
Don’t get me wrong, Fright Night IS fun!! Looking at these posters I guess you’re thinking it doesn’t look like entertainment but believe you me, I’m the most scaredy cat person you’ll ever meet and even I enjoy it. It’s the whole atmosphere in the park, it’s hard to describe but it’s filled with excitement. As it goes dark, actors in all states of scary, halloween dress, begin to wander around the park… giving the air of creepiness. Hardcore Fright Night Fans dress up too!
As for the mazes, I would compare them to the rollercoasters, in that you know they’re frightening but you ride them anyway and feel completely exhilarated afterwards! The mazes ARE hilarious, in a terrifying way – we know it’s not real so we can enjoy it – kind of!! It’s an experience like no other.
You enter the mazes in groups, after having the ‘warning talk’ from the reps, who basically tell you to enter at your own risk and if you suffer from any heart conditions, they advise you not to go in, which puts the fear of god into you before you’ve even started. You really feel as though something terrible is about to happen. You and your friends are already giggling nervously but excitedly, the anticipation is palpable. They tell you that the actors inside ARE allowed to touch you, shout/scream at you, chase you, pull at you but you are reassured that they won’t hurt you.
Phew, thanks for that!
The first one we tried was Asylum.
Some girl friends of my Teens outside Asylum
We went around the maze amid flashes of strobe lights and gory scenery, and ‘monsters’ jumping out at us – I hid behind the OH the whole time, whilst the girls in our group (Teens friends) screamed continuously!! In the last scene, a blood splattered public toilets, you could just make out a crazed inmate with a chain saw sitting in the corner, who suddenly jumped up at you as though to attack you with the chainsaw (which wasn’t real obviously but felt and sounded very real!), before chasing us out of the maze. The sound effects alone were scary enough! Teens friend cried! She was so funny bless her.
From there we headed over to Swarm which was a new rollercoaster last year and one I hadn’t tried. You can sit forwards OR backwards on this ride that is built on a backdrop of a plane crash, complete with ambulances, police and fire! It was brilliant. I’m not sure whether riding the rollercoasters in the dark was scarier or not…
We then tried the Blair Witch Project and the Cabin in the Woods horror mazes. Both brilliant but Cabin in the Woods was superior, slightly different to all the others in that, instead of going in holding on to the shoulders of the person in front of you, in line formation, you could wander around in here. You were also given options of doors to choose from which made it slightly more interactive! Remember all the mazes are in darkness, with just the odd flash of light to get a glimpse of the gruesome surroundings and demented characters!
Teen and friends went on more thrill rides before meeting up with us again to go on Saw the Ride. This is Teens favourite ride and I have to say it’s terrifying! It’s based on the film Saw (obviously) with a puppet of ‘Jigsaw’ the sick serial killer, taunting you all the way; he sneers at you as you start the ride, saying “you are on a mechanical device… time is against you…. live or die…. you choose….”. Eek let me off…. are your thoughts at this stage! You complete the first, indoor, underground section of the ride, then Jigsaw says “Game Over” before sending you up a vertical climb then over an inverted drop.
SAW: How do you fancy having a go of this?
The queue for Saw is a creepy experience too. You are taken through an old warehouse with wire fences and various, rusty torture items lying around along the path.
Teen and friends, myself and the OH queuing up for Saw the Ride
‘Saw’ the horror maze was pretty much as you’d expect if you’ve seen the films. I think because this one is there all the time, Teen said it wasn’t as good as the others but I disagreed, I really thought this was one of the better ones. Majorly scary, I jumped out of my skin every few seconds, Teens friend screamed the place down yet again (she did this in all the mazes) – she was shouting “please don’t let them kill me!!!!” at one stage (we still have a chuckle at this) – It’s probably not a good place to bring teenage girls, ha!
The best maze in my opinion was ‘My Bloody Valentine’, it could’ve been due to the fact that half way round all the lights came on and we were ushered out because of a technical fault. This freaked me out. But no, once back inside, it had an extra scary aspect because some of the pitch black passageways were blocked with a spongey material that you had to feel your way round to get past it, either by crawling along the floor or squeezing down the side, knowing that you were being chased!! Utterly terrifying!
So that was it.
All the rides closed at 10pm but the park was still pretty busy, everyone running around trying to get one more ride or one more maze in.
Fright Night is definitely worth a visit as the mazes have to be experienced, but it’s not for younger children, the recommended minimum age is 13.
I must mention, and I can’t believe this is even an option but people evidently do it, for £15 you can ‘Face It Alone’….. that is, to go into a horror maze ON YOUR OWN!!!! OMG – no way! How anyone could do that is beyond me!
We had an amazing time. I was utterly exhausted but we were all completely buzzing from the excitement! I did question my mentality at times as I was being fastened into the seat of a rollercoaster that was about to flip me upside down hundreds of feet up in the air, but like I said, that’s what having a teenager does to you!
Fright Night is a great day/night out. Brilliant, petrifying, heaps of fun and exhilarating.
Thorpe Park is closed for the Winter now and will reopen in March for season 2014, with Fright Night arriving again in October…. keep checking their website for dates.
Disclosure: I was offered complimentary tickets for Fright Night in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own.