Thirteen: General Discussion

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Hi guys. I’ve noticed that while a number of the major roller coasters at the park have their own general discussion thread, Thirteen doesn’t have one, so I thought I’d start a discussion thread for the park’s 2010 Intamin Multi-Dimensional Coaster!

So, what are everyone’s thoughts on Thirteen as a ride?

Personally, it’s one that has grown on me over the years. I never used to think much to it, but I do think it’s really quite good fun these days! Each part of it is unique and fun in its own way; the outdoor section provides some nice twists and floater airtime pops, while the indoor section with the drop track is always fun, and the backwards section is surprisingly vigorous! I also think Thirteen has aged very well; it’s still blissfully smooth and comfortable, even at 11 years old! So on the whole, I think Thirteen is a solid, fun family roller coaster; my current 4th favourite coaster on park, and worthy of a solid 7/10!

The other reason I made this thread was because I recently re-read Nick Sim’s brilliant book Tales from the Towers (definitely worth a read, if you haven’t read it already!), and until reading it, I never realised quite how insane Thirteen’s marketing campaign was. I knew it was somewhat out-there, but according to the book, they had all sorts of stunts for it, and hyped it up in all kinds of ways, including:
  • They said that you could only ride once a day, and could only be between 16 and 55 to ride.
  • They said you had to sign a waiver saying that you couldn’t sue the park if the ride caused psychological damage.
  • They provided rubber pants for people riding in case of “unfortunate accidents” on board.
  • They provided an option for health insurance with entry for £1 extra, so that you could see a medical professional near to Thirteen after having ridden if you felt the ride had caused you such strong psychological pain.
  • They said that a builder was “paralysed by fear” while building it.
  • They got Simon Cowell’s bodyguard to “guard” the ride’s construction.
This sounds interesting, and incredibly different to any marketing campaign I’ve ever seen for a ride! It must have worked, though, given that the park pulled 2,750,000 guests in Thirteen’s opening year according to the TEA report; the most since 1994! For anyone who remembers Thirteen’s opening year, did the park ever follow through with any of these stunts?
 

Thameslink Rail

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
Hi guys. I’ve noticed that while a number of the major roller coasters at the park have their own general discussion thread, Thirteen doesn’t have one, so I thought I’d start a discussion thread for the park’s 2010 Intamin Multi-Dimensional Coaster!

So, what are everyone’s thoughts on Thirteen as a ride?

Personally, it’s one that has grown on me over the years. I never used to think much to it, but I do think it’s really quite good fun these days! Each part of it is unique and fun in its own way; the outdoor section provides some nice twists and floater airtime pops, while the indoor section with the drop track is always fun, and the backwards section is surprisingly vigorous! I also think Thirteen has aged very well; it’s still blissfully smooth and comfortable, even at 11 years old! So on the whole, I think Thirteen is a solid, fun family roller coaster; my current 4th favourite coaster on park, and worthy of a solid 7/10!

The other reason I made this thread was because I recently re-read Nick Sim’s brilliant book Tales from the Towers (definitely worth a read, if you haven’t read it already!), and until reading it, I never realised quite how insane Thirteen’s marketing campaign was. I knew it was somewhat out-there, but according to the book, they had all sorts of stunts for it, and hyped it up in all kinds of ways, including:
  • They said that you could only ride once a day, and could only be between 16 and 55 to ride.
  • They said you had to sign a waiver saying that you couldn’t sue the park if the ride caused psychological damage.
  • They provided rubber pants for people riding in case of “unfortunate accidents” on board.
  • They provided an option for health insurance with entry for £1 extra, so that you could see a medical professional near to Thirteen after having ridden if you felt the ride had caused you such strong psychological pain.
  • They said that a builder was “paralysed by fear” while building it.
  • They got Simon Cowell’s bodyguard to “guard” the ride’s construction.
This sounds interesting, and incredibly different to any marketing campaign I’ve ever seen for a ride! It must have worked, though, given that the park pulled 2,750,000 guests in Thirteen’s opening year according to the TEA report; the most since 1994! For anyone who remembers Thirteen’s opening year, did the park ever follow through with any of these stunts?
The park didn't follow through with any of those stunts, the marketing for Thirteen is really bizarre particularly as they were advertising a 1.2m thrill ride as the 'ultimate ride'. Whilst this advertising bordered on misleading, it did in many ways work although the drop in visitor numbers in 2011/2012 implies that people weren't too impressed with Thirteen.
 

Skyscraper

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
Hi guys. I’ve noticed that while a number of the major roller coasters at the park have their own general discussion thread, Thirteen doesn’t have one, so I thought I’d start a discussion thread for the park’s 2010 Intamin Multi-Dimensional Coaster!

So, what are everyone’s thoughts on Thirteen as a ride?

Personally, it’s one that has grown on me over the years. I never used to think much to it, but I do think it’s really quite good fun these days! Each part of it is unique and fun in its own way; the outdoor section provides some nice twists and floater airtime pops, while the indoor section with the drop track is always fun, and the backwards section is surprisingly vigorous! I also think Thirteen has aged very well; it’s still blissfully smooth and comfortable, even at 11 years old! So on the whole, I think Thirteen is a solid, fun family roller coaster; my current 4th favourite coaster on park, and worthy of a solid 7/10!

The other reason I made this thread was because I recently re-read Nick Sim’s brilliant book Tales from the Towers (definitely worth a read, if you haven’t read it already!), and until reading it, I never realised quite how insane Thirteen’s marketing campaign was. I knew it was somewhat out-there, but according to the book, they had all sorts of stunts for it, and hyped it up in all kinds of ways, including:
  • They said that you could only ride once a day, and could only be between 16 and 55 to ride.
  • They said you had to sign a waiver saying that you couldn’t sue the park if the ride caused psychological damage.
  • They provided rubber pants for people riding in case of “unfortunate accidents” on board.
  • They provided an option for health insurance with entry for £1 extra, so that you could see a medical professional near to Thirteen after having ridden if you felt the ride had caused you such strong psychological pain.
  • They said that a builder was “paralysed by fear” while building it.
  • They got Simon Cowell’s bodyguard to “guard” the ride’s construction.
This sounds interesting, and incredibly different to any marketing campaign I’ve ever seen for a ride! It must have worked, though, given that the park pulled 2,750,000 guests in Thirteen’s opening year according to the TEA report; the most since 1994! For anyone who remembers Thirteen’s opening year, did the park ever follow through with any of these stunts?
If you haven't seen it Matt, Expedition Theme Park did a fantastic video on Thirteen's marketing failure. Really worth a watch. :)



Personally, I love Thirteen! The drop track always gets me, even though I know it's coming, and don't even get me started on how awesome it is in the dark :D
 

Benjsh

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
I love Thirteen too. However the only thing that lets it down is the first part of the ride through the trees. It needs way more to look at and some near misses. A huge flaw in the design of this ride. Audio would be great too.

The rest of it is great. I think the theme is great, the audio in the station is spot on, the drop section is well done and the backwards bit has a bit of punch about it.
 

Danscott22

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
Woah woah woah. Calm down
I did say "potentially" - Nemesis doesn't have a real drop really, Galactica's is meh, Rita doesn't have one, Wicker Man's is ok, The Smiler as much as I like it has nothing special "drop" wise and with Oblivion that's essentially all it is so I can't just put it first for that reason - thus my deducting Thirteen as potentially the best first drop. Also worth noting I mean on rows 9 and 10 only.
 

Matt.GC

TS Member
It's a decent enough attraction. Reasonably fun. The fact it can creep out some of the younger end of its target market seems to be a hangover of the silly marketing. Music and theme are OK, station and indoor queue section are good, crypt inside is decent, I enjoy the backward section at the front, reasonable first drop at the back for a family coaster. The best thing about it has to be the fact it's quite unique the drop track and backwards section is a great element and genuinely takes new riders by surprise.

My criticisms would be that Dark Forest is a crap area, with a crap name (the park already has a Gloomy Woods and a Haunted Hollow) and you can't not blame Thirteen for this. I hate all the scaffolding on the buildings that seems to have bled into the 'theme' of the area. The shipping container shop looks awful. It's overall layout between the first drop and the crypt is very unremarkable and black track going through some trees on some flat land is dull.

Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk
 

Jonathan

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Helix <3
Th13teen was badly marketed, which doesn't help its reputation. It does have issues with minimum rider numbers, which is a problem. Having said that, it's a very solid family coaster, and the drop does still get me on occasion. Even when I knew it was coming when I rode it for the first time, it was still a shock. Went on it later in the day with some friends from school (by astonishing coincidence, we realised that I'd be on park with my family the exact same day my friends were due to be there!), and the screams from my friends were hilarious. :p One minor annoyance is that if you ride Th13teen in the dark, then the ORP's flash WILL blind you for a few seconds. :p
 

Tim

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Air / Blue Fire
@Matt N your original post makes me feel old :p
I remember Th13teen's construction and marketing as if it happened yesterday. I completely forgot that it has now been over 10 years and some members won't remember it.

I think you've only just scratched the surface with all the crazy claims that were going on at the time. They even built a roller coaster car out of snow (it was quite a cold winter that year) and claimed it as a train reveal. Not that it looked anything like the final cars.

Beyond the parks marketing a huge amount of hype was built up by the Theme Park community. Speculation ran completely wild. Merlin had only just taken over so there was far less skepticism than you see now. They'd brought back John Wardley and the Secret Weapon code name. The trick track was also kept a complet secret (until a week before opening in one of the weakest reveals ever (I think it was on GMTV if you want to Google it)). On top of that this was the first major investment since smartphones and the Internet became easily accessible to everyone.
The result was some of the most insane theories and speculation you've ever seen. If you head over to TowersTimes and bring up the old topics you can see how insane it got.

As for the ride itself I love it. It has some faults and I wish the outside section made more use of the land available. But from the crypt onwards its pure fun and that's all I really want from a ride.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
With Thirteen though I just wish the outside area hade more trees (learn from rollercoaster tycoon, near misses with trees gives loads of excitement points) and was a bit longer to make the overall ride longer and less reliant on the gimmick.
 

Tim

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Air / Blue Fire
although the washing machine element on The Smiler is also up there.
True, although with hindsight the washing machine element wasn't without logic. The rumor was The Smiler would break the inversion record (which turned out to be true). But the plans were intentionally misleading by the park with half the inversions sneakily omitted. So the washing machine seemed to be the only way to make up the numbers.
Some of the rumers surrounding Th13teen were completely insane. Like the crypt including a 3D (without glasses) motion simulator. Or that the ride was secretly a stand-up 4D coaster.
 

Andrew

TS Contributor
Thirteen was heavily mis-marketed but it did the job, built up the hype and brought in visitors.

The ride is fairly decent as far as family thrill coasters go. You always come off having a laugh and the crypt drop sequence is really well done (including the false drop at the start which still gets me).

Ideally, with a bit more money thrown at it now, you'd theme more of the queue to make it a bit darker, build up the trees so they block out more of the light and really go for the abandoned, creepy woods vibe that was teased in the marketing.

Add in a couple of bigger theming pieces around the outdoor section and you're onto a winner - even some fallen trees as headchoppers and a larger tree that the first helix could wrap around would work quite well.

Of course, it's never going to happen but I still enjoy the ride and it does the job for a middle-ground coaster
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
I still think one thing that could've improved the drop section is having a wraith start to 'chase' the train as it leaves & goes backwards. Possibly a bit clichéd, but it may add something.
Do you mean something like an animatronic that jumps forward slightly, in place of the wraith that currently blows air at the train?
 
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