New for 2017 The Walking Dead have invaded Thorpe Park Resort. Out with the old and in with the new. Fright Nights is back with a bang and is scarier than ever with the biggest cast of actors ever. Some of the TPG team where lucky enough to make it down to the park for Press Night and managed to get a few photos of the mazes and experience everything the park had to offer.
One thing that Merlin have never been good at is park lighting, boring white flood lights have dominated the park over the past few years. However, Thorpe Park have set the standard high with new light stands set up around the park. A vast improvement on what we’ve seen at the park before. As well as new lights around the park some new music has been created by IMAscore for Fright Nights.
Park wide theming is something that Thorpe Park and Alton Towers always do very well at, but this year the park have found a nice level of park wide theming without it looking over the top. On the bridge into the park there’s a few scenes set up inspired from the series Walking Dead. Across the park heads can be seen hanging from trees along with bodies and crosses seen everywhere.
With Fright Nights aimed at older audiences, guests aged over 12. All of the family friendly rides shut at 3pm, such as Timber Tug, Rocky Express and Mr Monkeys Banana Boat. Branded merchandise for the event has also seen an improvement on the past few years, pin badges, books, pens and Walking Dead items are on sale in the Thorpe Park Megastore.
Walking Dead: Living Nightmare
Walking Dead Living Nightmare brings you face to face to Negan and his friend Lucille. With scenes from the AMC series the maze brings to life scenes like the prison, the governors secret room, the bus from the prison and the hospital scene from the first episode where the famous don’t open dead inside message came from. The theming inside the maze is outstanding and on a level, we’ve never seen before. Everyone in the group had high hopes for the maze as cabin in the woods was such a big hit however we think that Living Nightmare smashed those hopes and left us gob smacked that the park did such a good job. Possibly the best themed maze we’ve ever seen at Thorpe Park.
Walking Dead: Sanctum
Based outside next to The Swarm Island, Sanctum explores a never explored before piece of the park. Loosely based on the story from Terminus from the 4th and 5th series of The Walking Dead, you meet the occupants of area. Hungry for fresh meat some might find there secret a little hard to swallow if they found out the truth! Weaving in and out of the old experiment 10 shipping containers the maze also features some iconic scenes where we saw some people have their throats slit over a pig’s trough. The only thing that lets this maze down is the ending, walking down the side of the maze you feel like there’s no real ending to the maze. Walking down a exit you come across a few actors but nothing major. A nice addition to the Fright Nights line up however nothing major.
The Big Top
Back again for 2017, The Big Top has been refreshed a little in certain areas. As well as bringing back a few favourites like the mirror maze section and a slightly longer strobe maze section and bringing in a new twist where you pick from 3 doors. Gone is the large room leading into the chainsaw corridor. The big grand entrance of the maze has returned, being absent since its first year this year the park has made more of a big deal about the entrance of the maze.
At the start, instead of having an actor where your all around one large table there’s now a projection of a woman with a crystal ball. A nice touch in the middle of the maze is a slight reference from the walking dead where there’s a set of doors saying “Don’t Open Clowns Inside” A firm favourite the big top continues to be in our top 3 of mazes at Fright Nights.
Introduced in 2016 the maze was slated for being boring and not being very good. The park has taken on the criticism and has almost completely re-engineered the maze. Gone is the long boring path leading to the tunnel and suddenly a house has appeared next to the loggers leap trough. Along with new theming the ending of the maze has been changed slightly. The long dark tunnel has had better audio installed and more actors put inside it so you now have people interacting with you whilst your walking down. Last year we thought the maze was the weakest one however this year the park has seriously improved it! We can’t wait to see how they improve it over the next few years if it returns.
Saw Alive has remain unchanged since its installation back in 2010, located down the path near Saw the Ride. The maze takes guests through some iconic scenes from the Saw movie franchise. Unlike previous years where we’ve just seen one actor in each scene this year you often find two or three actors in each scene. Bringing in a sense that the trap is real and that your taking part in Jigsaws games. Seeing as there’s a new Saw film coming out this Halloween we have a feeling this might be the last year of Saw Alive before the maze is re-themed and upgraded to tie in with the new film. Saw Alive is always a good run though with lots of actors within the maze making it feel fresh again.
Containment is the weakest part of Fright Nights at Thorpe Park, rumours started circulating a few months ago that the breakout style attraction was going to be refreshed and given a face lift. Since its introduction to the Fright Nights line up three years ago the attraction has stayed the same and not changed at all. The issue with that is returning guests will do the attraction and have the same experience. The acting inside the attraction remains amazing just like the rest of the park, however the whole attraction needs a refurb and new scenes. The puzzles inside containment remain too hard to do without prompt.
Following suit with previous years Halloween events, the park has got a group of actors walking around the park pretending to be part of Negan’s gang. Armed with knives, guns and hammers there always fun to come across when you’re least expecting them. One moment that stands out to us was when walking through the press area we heard a faint whistle coming from the corner. Those that have watched The Walking Dead will recognise this as Negan’s gang notification for when they’ve found some people or intruders.
Final Cut Cinema
Back for 2017, the final cut cinema shows clips of AMC The Walking Dead series as well as the promo clip from the press night. Showing a few celebrities going through the mazes getting scared. It sounds quite boring but its a great watch to kill some time waiting for it to get dark.
Fright Nights 2017 has been amazing so far, and we can’t wait to see how this event progresses over the next few weeks.