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Thorpe Park 2017: DBGT: Rise of The Demon

Is it open? A photo taken from FB which was posted by a friend of mine who is an ex Alton Staff.


They also posted the following comment on FB :)

"Survived Derren Brown's Ghost Train!"

EDIT some photos have been posted on TT website http://forum.towerstimes.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=115&t=31776&start=4140

Sorry for posting a link to a dodgy site ;)
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It's having 'technical rehearsals', thus means it is likely to open at random times so do not enter the park and expect it open, some people waited 3 hours for it to open for...... Some reason...
Here is a reply from my friends on FB who were there yesterday

"There was a 'preview' today but the queue line was only open for about 90 mins."

Looking at some of the comments on TT and from Leah's post above, it sounds like they are aiming to get it open to the public today (all subject to everything being OK)

It could be a few months before I get to go on it, so please do not post any spoilers on here as I don't want to know or spoil the experience before I get to ride it.

Roy :D
UPDATE: They are having technical difficulties opening the ride today. They are aiming to open to the public today, though it is unlikely to open unto this afternoon. There is a chance of it not opening today, though the engineers are hopefull and all the staff are being really helpful.

Also, thanks to everyone for the tips for bracing on colossus and saw. Really helped (neither were particularly painful, apart from saws restraints which seemed to cut off most of the blood flow to my legs)
Sorry for a double post, but I think this is worthy enough to warrant an update.

It should open today. 99% certain. IT WILL NOT BE THE FULL RIDE, BUT A PREVIEW. Lots of people in suits wandering round the area. Staff have height sticks and are in the baggage hold. Looks like it will open in the next half hour or so after having difficulties all morning. Music has been turned up. People are queuing from the closed fates to the entrance of I'm a celebrity (and I'm at the back). Looking good, will say when it opens.
There is a very detailed review (spoilers obviously) by a user called Martin. C over on Thorpe Park Mania in the blogs section, if anyone is interested. It has certainly peaked my interest, all sounds very unique.
There is a very detailed review (spoilers obviously) by a user called Martin. C over on Thorpe Park Mania in the blogs section, if anyone is interested. It has certainly peaked my interest, all sounds very unique.
Hmm I can't seem to find his review. Any chance of a link, please? :)
Seeing as the ride is now in technical rehearsals, I feel it would be an apt opportunity to give my review and overview of the ride after I rode it last week. This does contain spoilers so please take a great deal of care should you wish to avoid spoiling the ride. It really is best experienced when you're unaware of what is going to happen.

I originally found it difficult to describe the ride experience of the Ghost Train after riding. It's a radically unique experience in the UK and something Merlin have invested a great deal of time and money into. It's only over the past few days however that I realise the ride is only a radically unique experience in the UK, and not worldwide. In short, Derren Brown's Ghost Train is the lovechild of Universal Orlando's Hogwarts Express, and the dearly departed Disaster.

Two equally well themed rides that offer similar experiences, however with one claiming the crown for visuals and the other for the on-ride set pieces.

DBGT seems to take these concepts and merge the two, with a sprinkle of authentic and real tension that is enough to arouse the curiosity of any hardened thrill/scare seeker.

The moment you enter the building and stand as a group over three steps, observing a lonesome chair centred in a spotlight, the theatrical aspect to the attraction becomes all too obvious. The following couple of minutes will become all too familiar to any theatregoer who has seen Derren's shows, with a torrent of mind-teasing wordplay and invoked self-assessment from the man himself (a superb usage of projection). Like his shows, he asks that guests keep the secret of the ride to surprise others, I can only hope the spoiler tags suffice).

Onwards and upwards to the next room where the group is gathered, before the pinnacle of the attraction awaits next door: the Victorian train carriage.

Without a doubt, the single best piece of theming Merlin have ever attempted. The sheer size of the carriage suspended several feet off the ground invites your jaw on a romantic date with the floor, whilst the eerie silence within the room drives the atmosphere. Even the rowdier bunch at the back of the group hushed at the sight of it.

It's here that Derren begins his mind tricks for first time guests, whilst repeat riders will begin deciphering the technology behind the multi-million pound attraction. The doors open and whilst dated and splendid on the outside, a very different environment is on the inside. Pleasant greetings are issued by modern London Underground staff before guests are ushered into the interior of a modern Underground train. Everything from the heat to the smell is painstakingly replicated, and windows hidden and suspended Vive headsets aside, you can easily believe that you're deep underneath the streets of the capital on a cramped and not-so-desirable commute.

Merlin's second attraction of the year to utilise Virtual Reality makes much better use of it than Galactica, with the headsets superior in every aspect. Those who embrace life behind a pair of glasses like myself are invited to keep them on. The headsets are sturdily supported from behind and gleefully fit snugly to your face rather than trying to slide off it in the style of an avalanche.

During headset calibration, there's less awkwardness unlike Galactica where riders learn more about the ride experience, particularly about the fictional fracking company SubCore, who deliver a usual political statement about being better for humanity and the long term future.

As the video on the headset begins, you find yourself on an empty tube carriage. Whilst the train on the video sets off into motion, so does the real train you're sat on, despite being suspended several feet above the vast and empty floor space. The tension creeps higher and higher as the lights flicker, and the occasional total darkness envelopes you in its grasp. A jump scare feels inevitable, but the ride refuses to give you the smugness of being correct. Instead, the whole train (on the video and in reality) is brought to a stop at a station. The doors open, with the authentic beeping and sliding door sounds London commuters know all too well. A dog boards, along with one of five different passengers who of course, sit directly opposite you on this creepy, empty carriage.

As the train continues on its journey, the person opposite you (I had an old lady the first time, a younger gentleman the second) remind you of how brave you are venturing underground with all the fracking. The gasses that have escaped from the activities are causing individuals to become infected, and it becomes fairly obvious exactly what has happened to the person opposite you. Before they can do anything however, the train screeches to a halt and they mysteriously disappear, with a possessed individual taking their place. They beg for help, grabbing your knees before the train rapidly accelerates into the next station and the whole train is evacuated.

Upon leaving the train, the suspended Victorian train carriage has been left behind, and the exterior of the London Underground train is visible for all to see. There is very little time to wonder how you got there or where the carriage is however, as you're escorted into the tunnels where the fracking is taking place. A couple of tube trains are peeking through the tunnels into a central room, where a drill and a member of SubCore staff are drilling into the cracks all around you. As the staff inform you of a plan to leave through one of the tunnels, a very predictable but yet equally impressive tube train comes screeching around the corner straight towards you, before crashing at the mouth of the tunnel. Here is where I found my first negative point of the whole experience, as the tube is not so subtly reset and pulled backwards for the next group. A projection of an unearthly creature is played in its place, and everyone is hurried back onto the train.

The second half of the VR experience is where the issue with virtual reality lies. The graphics which have all been built from the ground up compared to the recorded actor segments on the first half, are god awful. The scene where the train is left on the tracks over a London street as the sewers explode and gas escapes to the surface is painstakingly bad to watch, and the demons themselves, no matter how close they get to your face, simply can't be scary when you can count the number of pixels on their head. More touching of your kneecap continues, before the ride draws to its conclusion, back in the safety of the Victorian train carriage.

The transit system behind the ride is apparently relatively simple, yet is staggering to believe. With each headset reportedly costing £600 a piece, and the monumental effort required to shift each carriage around the warehouse complete with the mid-course set piece, it's easy to see how the costs for the ride have racked so high. The first half of the experience lures you into a false sense of security. Yes, Derren Brown has been involved and has had a huge say in the project, but how have Thorpe Park and Merlin who only last year delivered a shamble of an IP based maze, pulled an attraction of this scale off?

Sadly, the second half is where the helium leaks out of the balloon, and the reality of operations and your exact presence at Thorpe Park catches up with you, and sadly leaves the ride on a hollow note. The graphics and what feels like a rush to get you back to the finish line is what shatters the grand illusion and the tension that has been crafted so beautifully up to this point. What had the potential to be the best dark ride in the UK and potentially one of the best in the world has been let down by the crescendo of reality, and I couldn't be left feeling slight disappointed with the ride despite its amazing introduction and first half. There's no doubting it is a phenomenal attraction for the most part, and I ultimately did experience the ride before it began technical rehearsals. I will of course return to see if the ride's second half can win my heart over so I can fall in love with the whole experience in the inevitable future, but as it stands, Derren Brown's Ghost Train isn't quite on the right tracks to claim my thorough and full approval.
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Hmm I can't seem to find his review. Any chance of a link, please? :)
It has genuinely disappeared!! Perhaps the site have asked him to remove it as it was extremely detailed, not sure why though. Strange! Perhaps my mind has been derailed and it never existed in the first place...
It has genuinely disappeared!! Perhaps the site have asked him to remove it as it was extremely detailed, not sure why though. Strange! Perhaps my mind has been derailed and it never existed in the first place...
If it was really detailed then that could have been the case. With TPM being an official fan site, Thorpe could quite easily ask them to remove certain content. Never mind. :p
If it was really detailed then that could have been the case. With TPM being an official fan site, Thorpe could quite easily ask them to remove certain content. Never mind. :p
Apologies anyway, if it pops back up again I'll drop the link on here. Strange though, the one blog review that has been left on there is the distinctly more negative one.
So the scary remote control creature that Darren was using in the park in one of the promo vids..is it used in the ride? Feel free to "spoiler" your answer...I just can't see where it fits in.
Given that I spent more than an hour queuing for it earlier, might as well give my thoughts on it. Spoilers of course, so I wouldn't advise you to read it if you intend to go on anytime soon. Sorry, quite a detailed review so congratulations if you manage to read it all.

The queue/exterior/the technical rehearsal excuse
Decided that we would get down to the ghost train first to ask what's happening, then keep checking back until it opens. Good thing we did this, as the queue wasn't open long before technical issues closed the ride again so we managed to get on.
The exterior of the ride is amazing. The music was overpowered by the music blasting from nitrogenie and I'm a celebrity, but it was turned up quite loud once the gates opened. Along the queue, posters about how cracking should be banned can be seen. I give it about a week until these are peeled off the walls.
Overall, very impressive.

not too different to how it's done on galactica. For the first photo, You look through a window and watch a short introduction video. I didn't think these photos were great. The second photo is better, however, I was rushed through this room for no apparent reason. In this room, you rest your head on a bar and it scans your face "to see if your infected". At the end of the ride, for £15, you can by a jar with your face in it. The samples looked alright, but they didn't yet have the jars in stock. Again, similar system to galactica where you scan a ticket at the end of the ride to view your photo.

The ride
i did not experience the whole ride as was open for a rehearsal, so I apologize if I miss things out
the most important part of the experience of course, though I think the best way of describing it is meh. The VR is better than that on galactica, but not good enough. The introduction is good, a peppers ghost (I think) of derren Brown talking about fear and ghost trains. You then go into the room with the train. Very impressive, looks just like the concepts.

Unfortunately, the Victorian image created so far is ruined after this point. You enter the Victorian style train, only to find that the inside looks like the interior of the tube. You then scramble to find a headset with little help from staff (again, rehearsal stage). The headsets cannot be focused, meaning it's blurry in one or both eyes.

The first use of VR is alright, and genuinely frightening (especially when the infected woman lunges at you and someone actually grabs your leg (how's that done anyway?)). My only real issue with this section of the ride was the fact my VR failed repeatedly (I saw the green CGI cylinder with seats inside instead of Actually being in the train).

The next section is fantastic, I assume it was added recently after derren Brown said it wasn't good enough. You are told to run out of the train into a fracking chamber. Very good section, and in my opinion the best part of the ride, especially when the train drives at you from the darkness.

You are then told to run back onto the train, for the finale and what is in my opinion the weakest part of the ride. It made little sense and really didn't add much. Had another VR failure where for some reason I was behind the seat and couldn't move the image at the same time as my head. Just shouldn't have been there, would have been much better if the live action scene was continued. There was no real ending either, it felt like it ended too soon. A poor end to the ride.

the shop and merchandise
nice shop, one of thorpes best in my opinion. I like the derren Brown fortune teller. Doesn't give much away about the ride itself.

The merch is the same sort of thing they sell everywhere: pens, pencils, badges (the ghost train 3D one is quite a good one), medals, hoodies, sweets, etc... as well as some more unusual things - the levitating train being an example (though I was not prepared to pay £50 for it). Not the worst merch in the park.

A question to those who have been on the ride: when you see the first person on the first VR video (holding the lighter), who is it? I'm certain I saw a man in a green jumper, though my dad insists it was an elderly woman. Who is right or is it different for different people?
Thanks for the review, Leah! Odd that they were originally saying there are several different 'routes'/'experiences' when there seems to be only 2 differences in VR.
@Leah, you can focus the headsets. I can't quite remember how I did it, but I remember doing so. Also, each character is different each time.
Any idea who the other "people" are?

Brings me to another point though, why do it? I would assume that its pointless if I had known about different actors before I went on, but after having a debate with my dad about who it was, I began questioning my memories, just like derren Brown said I would in the introduction.

And great review @Danny. Looks like they did manage to get the whole ride (can I call it that?) Open for the rehearsals today. And I agree that the experience as a whole is great until that final VR scene (though the "fraking" scene could be executed better - it's pretty obvious your not going through that tunnel as the doors lit up and the tunnels faced off. It could be reset once you've left the chamber). The train itself is honestly the best set piece I've seen at a merlin park, and wouldn't look out of place even at universal.

Question though: how is the leg grab effect achieved? Is it just staff because it seemed perfectly synced with the VR, but even if I put my legs up on the seat it still got me.
I'm going to utilise the spoiler tags as I fear this is starting to creep into spoiling it for everyone.

First of all, I'm aware of three characters and I believe there are meant to be 5. A little girl, the elderly lady and the man.

Secondly, the leg grab is indeed the staff just running up and down the train grabbing hold of you. I assume they'll know the exact timings or will have something to indicate to them which section the VR is playing.