New for 2017 at Thorpe Park Derren Browns Ghost Train promises to be scarier than ever before. With new virtual reality footage and an extended shop, we went into the ride not knowing what the park had changed or what to expect. DBGT Ride of the Demon was a true mystery to everyone riding on the press night. Unlike the previous press night for the ghost train the ride hadn’t open for the general public so nothing was spoiled or leaked out.
Just like previous press events the park had hosted there was an open bar and food buffet in fins bar and grill along with a ministry of sound DJ playing music for the evening.
Unlike other press events the park has hosted in the past the event didn’t seem to be filled with many famous people this year. However just before we got onto the ghost train we did bump into a famous face from the band McFly.
With the ride being a little bit of a let-down last year the park looks to have taken on criticism from guests and upgraded a few bits. For starts last year the biggest issue whilst on board the ride was noise from other guests. Although this adds to the experience it did ruin it most of the time. Gone are the old headphones found inside the headsets and replacing them are professional sound cancelling headsets. Along with what we think is a vast improvement on the audio quality on the first section of VR footage.
Before you read any further in this write up we warn you we will now be talking about what happens in the new section of the ride…
The new extended front of the ride where the baggage hold used to be is simply just two new batching areas. After the second photo point your batched into a group of 58 or 56. Waiting behind the door until your called you then watch the same pre-show from last year. Although it would have been nice to have a new pre-show the old one still does the trick and makes guests jump out of their skin when the bulb smashes. After the pre-show you walk up to the top of the stairs but rather than walking straight onto the gantry’s you now have to wait for a “train conductor” to come and greet you. There’s a good chance you might get a speech. Two out of the three times we did the ride on the press night we had a speech about how the train is suspended by nothing more than chains. A nice touch would be if the park pre-recorded this and played it whilst you were waiting.
Also of the ride is the same up until the start of what we’re call scene two. Where smoke is coming up from the ground and a train starts coming towards you. Or in our case on the press night, people coming down the train tracks. This would make a cool addition to the ride for Fright Nights maybe? However now the train is open to the public the train is now back in operation and scaring the creeps out of people.
When they find “an infected person” behind your group new siren noises start going off saying “Warning, Warning” some music you might recognise from Nemesis Sub Terra at Alton Towers.
Getting back on the train we start the new VR Footage section. Although we don’t want to give too much away what we will say is that we could feel our hearts pumping whilst watching it. Gone is waiting around in green smoke for what felt like hours upon end. The demon has risen! Will you survive or be yet another notch on the track. When you take your headset off at the end of the VR footage Derren Brown has recorded a new video message that plays on the TV screens inside the train.
And that’s it… or is it?! Exiting through the shop to the left you can browse items for sale however you have to pick them up from the counter. Derren Brown has one last surprise for you. “Shhhh keep it a secret” is all we can say…
So, what do we think of the new ghost train?
Merlin Magic Making and everyone involved in the Rise of the Demon project has done an amazing job over the past few months. And the fact that nothing has leaked out has been a surprise once again. There’s a few things we would have / add as we’ve mentioned above however it now feels like a finished product rather than the rushed feeling the ride made us have last year. I think out of 10 we would give it a 7 now. There’s still room for improvement but as the park has said, the ride is a “Smart Attraction” meaning they can add stuff in an instant.
What would be nice to see is different VR for the last section. At the start of the ride you have 3 different people you can see but in the ending there’s only one VR film you can get.