Thorpe Park is one of the Merlin theme Parks and located on the west side of London, about 10 minutes off the M25, it’s focused on big-time rollercoasters with some family fun, them like many have been closed during the lockdown and reopened with government guidelines, this review focuses on there lockdown procedures and how it affects your day, for a more in-depth review there is on my site, and if you want more updates regarding Lockdown to check out their website just before you go.
Just the 3 of us.
With everything that’s gone on this is the first time we had been this year, we had planned to go earlier but for various reasons, it was delayed and then cancelled as the Lockdown started. So using our Merlin Passes we pre-booked our day, like almost all other parks you have to pre-book your day, this allows them to manage how many people are coming to park, so if you haven’t done it, don’t think you can just rock up, this trip was just me and Tigger and Roo.
This is largely because Thorpe park is more designed for older children, there aren’t many rides that Piglet is able to go on, we’ve tried it before and. we feel a little guilty as she runs out really quickly while the others are still queueing etc, Boo stayed at home with her as she isn’t fussed about theme parks lol.
Before you go
Before you get in the park there’s a couple of things to note, the roads etc will be like to be less busy than normal, this should make your overall trip easier, the M25 is still a busy road but compared to normal summer traffic its easier, once you arrive at the park-like normal you will be marshalled a car park spot, this is a paid car pack unless you have the premium Merlin Pass. With everything being a little quiet with people and the roads etc, the time is then tweaked with the entry.
There are 3 parts to is, and Thorpe park compared to others have gone for the volume of people, there is an extended queue on top of the queue, all signposted with Lockdown procedures, and social distancing, the first part is a temperature check, this is a quick scan with a gun style thermometer, this is relatively quick but with the volume of people it’s still slow, next is the bag search, this is even slower. however, if you have no bags there is a middle row you can fly through without joining this queue, the bag queue is designed into two queues, once through e bag search you can start queueing to actually get in.
This is normally easier as the two previous queues would have filtered down everyone, and getting through the gate is quick, if your prepared, so as you can see the 3 queues will slow you getting in, we took about 30 minutes, and the overall queue wasn’t full at the time, so there might be fewer people at the park but it still feels a busy day of people.
There are hand sanitisers and signs dotted all over the park, one thing I did notice was how big the park was there were always ones dotted around, with also ones located on the entrance and exit to rides, even if you were looking for them they were easy to notice, there were also floor markings, with one way systems and social distancing markers.
Alot of this was also detailed by a leaflet we were handed on our arrival, I’m surprised it’s not on the app, but at least it was good info, on the flip, there were no maps handed out, which is fine but it contradicts the leaflet handing out.
Essentially all rides were on, the indoor Angry bird’s show was closed for obvious reason, as were many shops and outlets to reduce the risk, this left the shops at the beginning and the odd food place around the park open, but these being enclosed for much of them meant masks should be warned, many of the rides and to be honest could see one where you didn’t, had to wear masks, this was signposted at the entrance of the queue and reiterated with vocal instructions from the staff,
This meant lots of people were wearing masks most of the time, this frustrated me in Legoland as almost nowhere asked for masks, but for those who would be concerned a lot, this makes it a lot more comfortable and at ease with masks being worn a lot.
With the rides, there are two more big things to be aware of, these will slow down your day, many of the rides will have either rows or seats closed, this is to be compliant with social distancing, separate pods like rides are fine as you are physically away from each other but many of the rollercoasters places you next to each other,.
Some of the other rides only allow your family group to be clustered together which means there will be empty seats as there might not be enough of you fill all the spaces this might be frustrating but it’s being safer, each ride will also be closed for a few minutes to be cleaned every so often, I’m assuming 30 minutes based on other merlin attractions, they do announce it, and you just have to wait im afraid,
The time they take seems to differ but that’s natural with humans and effort, things I did find strange is them cleaning areas that no one could get to? or even touch? which was odd. However with these two thins it makes you feel like the park is a busy summer day, the queues are still over an hour, like a busy day, there might be less in the queue or fewer people in the park overall, but with all these delays it just throws it back to busyness.
Out of the places I’ve been to so far this has done well in managing volumes of people during the lockdown, it might be frustrating at times, and you might think it ok there are less people, bu there still is alot, as their steps with signage, queues, cleaning etc has had a volume of people taken into consideration, in reality, you can still have a good time, and almost all rides are on, even Amity beach is still available you just have to book a time slot, the big thrill-seekers can still rides there big ones,
But you just have to plan your times, like a busy day, there were plenty of staff around and the info on each ride was very thorough, even walking through the main building at the beginning staff were telling people to put masks on, food and rink places are a little bit more limited but there refill drinks machine, which I found out does free water, are around the park and really good, but still, there are places to eat etc if you need to, it will be a slower day so just be prepared and it will be fine.