Thorpe Park has begun teasing "surprise plans" for the 2013 season, sparking rumours that the theme park could be set to refurbish an existing ride or even install a new one.
The park has released two hints as to the nature of its plans via its official Twitter account, promising that guests will "experience the evolution" and that "the string is in the tail". Further details are expected to be released in the lead-up to the opening day of the new season on March 14.
The addition of new rides at UK theme parks is generally preceded by a planning application, which makes keeping plans under wraps something of a challenge. While Thorpe Park submitted its Medium Term Development Plan in 2010, promising to install up to five new flat rides by 2016, it has made no ride-specific applications this year.
This would appear to rule out one rumour put forward by fans - that the Vengeance "5D" laser gun attraction from The London Dungeon is on its way to the park. The ride, which opened in 2011, is not part of the Dungeon's plans now that it is moving to a new site close to the London Eye. However, owner Merlin Entertainments Group, which also operates Thorpe Park, has given no indication that the low-capacity attraction will find a new home at one of its theme parks.
Another rumour circulating on fan sites, which would appear to be more credible at this stage, is that the much-maligned X:\No Way Out roller coaster could be set for a refurbishment and name change. The coaster, billed as the "the world’s only backwards roller coaster in the dark", was updated in 2006 with new video and sound effects. However, the video screens are now turned off, and the ride’s safety lights are often switched on, removing one of its claims to fame. Its theme, based around being "trapped in a computer virus", is also beginning to show its age.
Another rumour, which appears to fit well with the clues released so far, is that Thorpe Park will reverse the rear seats on The Swarm roller coaster. The ride debuted in 2012, and features a backstory based around an invading alien swarm - one that might possibly "evolve" in 2013.
Thorpe Park has generally opened a new attraction every year over the past decade, which has seen it expand rapidly. However, the focus for the 2013 season appears to be on The Crash Pad, temporary on-site accommodation that will be used to test demand for a planned permanent hotel.
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