Derren Brown’s Ghost Train has started operating for ‘technical rehearsals’ at Thorpe Park Resort, giving the general public their first opportunity to experience what awaits behind the gates of Thorpe Junction.
Beginning Friday afternoon (1st July), the much anticipated attraction finally opened its doors, allowing guests to experience for the first time what has been billed as the ghost train reinvented for the 21st century. However, with the ride being in a technical rehearsal phase, there was no guarantee that the attraction would be available for the full day, with it opening towards lunch time on most days over the weekend and experiencing several technical delays, something which is only to be expected whilst the ride experience is perfected and any issues ironed out.
Located in a custom built warehouse at the heart of the island, Thorpe Park Resort and Derren Brown have combined HTC Vive virtual reality technology, live action, physical transit, and grand illusion to create a 13 minute experience designed to get guests to question their perception and reality. Once guests have passed through the gates, some of the exterior theming offer some hints as to what to expect inside, with posters offering clues towards some of the themes explored in the ride’s storyline, and one of the photo points being styled as an ‘infection control’ point. Once batched into a group, and after placing any bags into the baggage hold, guests are then led into a short pre-show before being directed towards the centrepiece of the attraction – the suspended Victorian train carriage. As part of the experience guests are asked to keep the secrets of what happens inside, therefore we’re not going to say any more about the ride experience itself. What we can say however is that based on the technical rehearsals the ride looks set to be a strong addition to Thorpe Park Resort’s line up and genuinely makes you question what you have just been through and what is real.
The attraction has previously been operating limited previews for selected guests, including some lucky hotel guests, over the course of the last two weeks. However, these latest technical rehearsals mark the first time the general public have been allowed access to the ride.
Originally scheduled to open on 6th May 2016, the attraction, masterminded by illusionist Derren Brown, has experienced a number of delays and setbacks with the ride’s opening initially being postponed until the end of May before being delayed once again, this time with no new opening date being announced. With technical rehearsals now underway many people will be hoping it won’t be much longer until an official opening date is confirmed by the Resort.
Taking a team of over 1000 specialists more than three years to create, Derren Brown’s Ghost Train is Merlin’s biggest investment to date. Speaking about the attraction back in May, Derren Brown said:
I am very excited to be launching my Ghost Train at Thorpe Park and can’t wait to get it started with all elements fused together.
From training the actors to working closely with the Merlin Magic Making team and the technology outfitters this has been an incredibly hands on project for me, and an experience that is entirely different from writing TV shows and stage performances as the experience needs to work without me.
Yes, there is a hidden message, an underlying story that has been pinned into the narrative – this is a ride with a mind of its own, that has been produced to mess with your mind, so why not provoke thought also.
Mike Vallis, Divisional Director of Thorpe Park Resort, added:
The attraction is a full assault on guests’ senses and will play with their minds, in an original and fully-immersive experience. We ask that guests keep their experience secret, so that other visitors are also allowed to take their journey unaware of the shocks that lie behind the doors once they board the Ghost Train.
Have you had the opportunity to experience Derren Brown’s Ghost Train during its technical rehearsals? What are your thoughts on the Island’s latest addition? Have your say on this and more over on the Attraction Source Forum.