Saw, Thorpe Park, UK

Copyright: Thorpe Park

Copyright: Thorpe Park

RATINGS

Speed 3/5 or 4/5

Surprise factor 3/5 

Fear factor 4/5

Vertigo factor 5/5

Overall 5/5

MY VERDICT

Even though I’ve never watched the film ‘Saw’, I thought this ride was great. At the start, the puppet, Billy, tells you what’s going to happen on the indoor part of the ride – it’s part dark ride and partly outdoors, which is one of the best things about it. The vertical lift hill/100° drop in the middle was really fun too – at least for me (my mum was less of a fan…)!

STATS

Launched 13 March 2009

Cost £13.5 million

Duration 1 min 40 secs

Maximum speed 55mph (89kph)

Maximum height 30 metres

Maximum drop 30.3 metres

G force 4.8

Inversions 3

Big One, Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Big One, Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Copyright: tourist board

Big One, Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Copyright: tourist board

Speed 4/5

Surprise factor 4/5

Fear factor 3/5

Vertigo factor 4/5

Overall 4/5

MY VERDICT

Don’t you think the Big One looks a bit lame after you look at The Smiler or Hurakan Condor? Well, dat ain’t da case. It’s actually really good and definitely worth going on. It’s like a mini-version of Shambhala.

I think it’s good in different ways, like how it twists round on the first drop, and how long it lasts. My mum also liked the views along the coast.

The only reason I don’t give it 5/5 is that it rattles a lot and it gave me a bit of a headache.

STATS

Launched 28 May 1994

Cost £12 million

Duration 3 mins

Maximum speed 74mph (119kph)

Maximum height 65 metres

Maximum drop 62 metres

G force 3.5

Inversions 0

The Smiler, Alton Towers, UK

The vertical life on The Smiler

The vertical lift on The Smiler

Speed 2/5

Surprise factor 5/5

Fear factor 3/5

Vertigo factor 2/5

Overall 5/5

MY VERDICT

The Smiler… OMG, EPIC! Upside-down 14 times – wheee, fun! The great thing about The Smiler is that it’s not too fast, so you can see what’s coming – all the more frightening, mwa ha ha. That’s better than getting messed up like you do with Nemesis where it all goes too fast for you to take it in. The Smiler is quite long and that’s good – and quite unusual.

There are rumours about The Smiler having laughing gas on it, but that’s not true – trust me because I’ve been on it. The ‘mind manipulations’ are really just thematic extras and not so much part of the ride. The vertical lift (my first one) was amazing and weird.

Seeing the ride as you walk towards it, it’s easy to see why it’s the most expensive ever built in the UK.

STATS

Launched 31 May 2013

Cost £18 million

Duration 2 mins 45 secs

Maximum speed 53mph (85kph)

Maximum height 22 metres

Maximum drop 30 metres

G force 4.5

Inversions 14

Furious Baco, PortAventura, Spain

Copyright: Rhonda Carrier

Copyright: Rhonda Carrier

Speed 5/5

Surprise factor 4/5

Fear factor 3/5

Vertigo factor 2/5

Overall 2/5

MY VERDICT

I don’t rate this ride very highly because it is like Rita at Alton Towers – it goes too fast and is over too quickly (about 30 seconds once the pre-show is over). It is a bit better than Rita, though, because it goes upside-down. Furious Baco goes very fast – from 0–84mph in 3.5 seconds! – so it’s definitely an eat-my-dust kind of rollercoaster.

WARNING: If you are just over 1.4 metres tall, like me, you will probably get a headache from being bashed around!

STATS

Launched 5 June 2007

Cost €15 million

Duration 55 secs

Maximum speed 84mph (135kph)

Maximum height 14 metres

Maximum drop n/a

G force 4.7

Inversions 1

Nemesis Inferno, Thorpe Park, UK

copyright: Thorpe Park

copyright: Thorpe Park

Speed 3/5

Surprise factor 3/5

Fear factor 4/5

Vertigo factor 2/5

Overall 4/5

MY VERDICT

I think this ride was actually a bit better than the original Nemesis at Alton Towers because you know what’s coming – that makes you feel more excited. If you can’t see what’s coming, what’s the point? I also like this ride because they make it seem like you’re in a rainforest by growing tropical-looking plants. The fake fire is quite good too.

STATS

Launched 5 April 2003

Cost £6–10 million

Duration 1 min 43 secs

Maximum speed 50mph (80kph)

Maximum height 29 metres

Maximum drop 35 metres

G force 4.5

Inversions 4

Stealth, Thorpe Park, UK

Copyright Merlin Entertainments Group

Copyright Merlin Entertainments Group

RATINGS

Speed 5/5

Surprise factor 4/5

Fear factor 5/5

Vertigo factor 5/5

Overall 4/5

MY VERDICT

Stealth is a booster rollercoaster – which means it starts off really fast (0–80mph in 1.8 seconds!). It’s like Rita,Queen of Speed at Alton Towers (see below) but much much better, because it then shoots you up over a really steep ‘top hat’ (not literally though!). Signs warn you that sometimes it doesn’t make it to the top and rolls back down backwards – not for the squeamish but I think I might like that!

The only thing is that it’s so short – I think it should maybe have another top hat or something at the other end.

STATS

Launched 15 March 2006

Cost £12 million

Duration 19 seconds (29 seconds to station)

Maximum speed 80mph (129kph)

Maximum height 62 metres

Maximum drop 62 metres

G force 4.8

Inversions 0

The Swarm and The Swarm Backwards, Thorpe Park, UK

Copyright: Merlin Entertainments Group

Copyright: Merlin Entertainments Group

RATINGS

Speed 3/5

Surprise factor 2/5 (4/5 Backwards)

Fear factor 4/5

Vertigo factor 4/5

Overall 5/5

MY VERDICT

The Swarm is really cool because the first drop is an inverted drop – that means it twists round at the top to go upside-down and plummet at the same time. It felt really strange. The ride is famous for its ‘near misses’ (sometimes it’s supposed to look as if you’re going to crash into a plane wing, a billboard saying ‘Don’t Lose Your Head’, etc) but I didn’t think they felt very close – but that might have been because I was riding it at night-time (and because it was hailing as well!).

Riding it backwards was very weird because you didn’t know when it was going to drop or even where you were at all. I think I liked it forwards the best because you could tell what the ride was really like, but you should absolutely try both for different kinds of thrills.

STATS

Launched 15 March 2012; Backwards 16 March 2013

Cost £20 million

Duration 1 min 25 secs

Maximum speed 59mph (95kph)

Maximum height 39 metres

Maximum drop 39 metres

G force 4.5

Inversions 5