With around four weeks to go until the start of Thorpe Park’s 2024 season, the park is a hive of activity with nearly every area either under construction, seeing changes, or improved upon as part of what the park have called the ‘Sparkle Project’. This is taking place in addition to Hyperia, the UK’s tallest coaster being built, along with the retheme of Angry Birds Land into Big Easy Boulevard. Thorpe Park kindly invited us along to cover the progress, so please join us as we walk around the park to check out the investment that is being poured into the UK’s most thrilling attraction.

Before we even stepped foot into the park, it was not hard to miss the entrance sign being painted in the new brand colours, with the stylish teal being the dominant shade. The security booths and ticket windows are also receiving the same treatment, along with the iconic bridge that transports guests on to the Island, with its support structure, fencing and overhead framework being painted. We understand that all of the signage in the entrance area will shortly be updated. On entering the dome, the Coffee Shack is undergoing a major renovation.

To provide some background on the Sparkle Project, it’s a multi-year investment that has the sole aim of making the theme park look the best it ever has. The past few months has seen Thorpe Park introduce a new chapter in their history, with new branding, the new logo, and a very transparent approach when it comes to documenting their progress, such as the introduction of the passholder group and the constant stream of updates within to complement their general social media strategy.

The first port of call was Swarm Island, which is one of the areas not being worked on other than the flooring throughout being jet washed, and an interior refurbishment of the toilets taking place. The Swarm received a lot of work last year, and we’re glad to see it still looks so presentable. A special mention needs to go to the famous round basins that we saw staged outside the toilets and are being replaced in other locations around the park too. To operate them, the user would have to step on a foot peddle to activate the water, and although this seems an obvious thing to do to some, many guests were left confused and frequently assumed the basin was not working. Not ideal for general hygiene!

Tidal Wave is receiving a huge number of repairs and restoration work this closed season, including a complete rebuild of the exit and viewing bridge. Considering the previous one was hit by a large, chlorinated wave every few minutes for over 20 years, we can understand why it needed replacing! The new corrugated roofing panels were being painted nearby, and we’re glad to see the original ‘Pier 13’ motif return. The splash lagoon has received a complete repaint in a tropical blue colour, which really does make the water sparkle in the sunshine. The roof of the station is also having work done to preserve the boarding area for years to come. It would be good to see the return of the round gas tank and floating bridge at some point in the future, but for now we’re just grateful that Thorpe Park are taking care of such a classic attraction.

Across the main walkway, KFC is about to undergo a refurbishment, with new theming and updated corporate branding introduced. The general Amity Cove area has also been opened up somewhat, with the removal of the Amity Artists unit which historically blocked some of the best views of the attraction to non-riders. New turf has been laid in the planter areas which looks great.

Although Hyperia will be the main new attraction for 2024, Big Easy Boulevard is another welcome addition that will bring some new energy to the centre of Thorpe Park. The park is billing the New Orleans inspired area as “The perfect place to seize the moment, create unforgettable memories and let the good times roll”. We feel this is a nice upgrade on Angry Birds Land, with the area forming a more fitting and sympathetic transition between Amity Cove, Stealth and Nemesis Inferno, and will feature three rethemed attractions, a reimagined food outlet and shop, along with upgraded facilities throughout.

At the time of our visit, most of the building facades had been stripped of the former Angry Birds decals and repainted in the new bright colour schemes. Scenic painting had commenced on Detonator’s former photo building, and the foundations had been dug for the new façade that will feature at the front of the ride platform. King Pig’s Wild Hog Dodgems is being transformed into Big Easy Bumpers, which aims to pit three teams against each other: red, blue and green, with the cars now decorated accordingly. Much of the theming for the area is yet to arrive, including the new frontage for Sunset Cinema. The retail store, CandyPips SweetEasy, and the quick service restaurant, Boulevard Bites, are in the midst of refurbishment – we cannot wait to see what themed products they will offer on opening!

Stealth is undergoing a significant upgrade with many scenic changes taking places around the area. Starting under the top hat, the hydraulic launch bunker is being repainted, with the existing themed signage restored to how it looked when the ride opened in 2006. The unsightly water tank will shortly be moved out of guest view, and the neighbouring Sunken Garden was being worked on by the gardening team, with some beautiful flowers already planted for guest enjoyment. We’re glad that Thorpe Park have kept this little oasis for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the rest of the theme park. Stealth’s main entrance tire is being repainted, and signage updated to reflect the correct launch speed: 0-80mph in 1.8 seconds – still such an incredible statistic for one of the world’s best coaster launches.

Along the front of the queue line are new themed panels which look fantastic. These are similar in design to those that were introduced in the Ghost Train queue line last year – and the feedback about them was so positive, Thorpe Park started to sell smaller versions in the shops! Stealth’s versions make a subtle nod to the original Amity Speedway theme, but also include elements referencing Big Easy Boulevard – all part of the plan to ease the transition between areas, which is consistent with the park’s ethos of still having themed lands, but not for the purpose of wayfinding. The decorated shipping container shop which had been closed for many years has been removed, and the station buildings have undergone quite the glow up, with a new colour scheme, signage and artwork applied.

The wooden façade on the Dobble Tea Party structure has been replaced, and signage installed once again. Over at Nemesis Inferno, work is underway to replace some of the queue line, and we noted new TVs had been installed, which is also the case for other rides such as Stealth.

The Lost City is another area receiving significant investment. Colossus, the world’s first coaster to feature ten inversions, is undergoing a two-year refurbishment. The southern end of the track layout has been repainted in its original teal and cream colours, which really looks fantastic. A lot of work has also gone into restoring the original theming to make it look presentable again, with an update from maroon to blue in some areas, along with the addition of celestial patterns. Rush, Vortex and Samurai are due to be repainted in the coming weeks, with the latter being painted in a black and red colour scheme, akin to how the ride originally looked when it was located at Chessington.

The moment you have been waiting for! It was awesome to see Hyperia from different viewpoints around the theme park – its presence makes a commanding backdrop and the sheer scale of the ride up close is breathtaking. We won’t go into too much detail about current construction progress in this article – that’s what the full update is for in our dedicated Hyperia construction archive. No opening date has been announced just yet, but the team are very much on the home stretch with vertical construction, with just the remainder of the 236ft lift hill and first drop to be installed. Once that is done, the two trains will be delivered, the lift chain added, ride electrical and control system connected together, and then finally the commissioning and testing stage can begin.

The former Old Town toilets and Burger King buildings opposite Hyperia are receiving extensive refurbishments, and as well as the interior of the toilets being rebuilt completely, both structures will be re-clad in a style similar to Hyperia’s station and maintenance garage for continuity. This marks the end of an era for the former Old Town / Canada Creek theming. Thorpe Park recently confirmed that Slammer will finally be removed at the end of the year, and with Black Mirror Labyrinth closing at the end of the 2023 season, there’s a good opportunity for this area to be developed again in the future.

Thorpe Park are spending a staggering amount on the Sparkle Project, and it’s been great to see this work take place first hand, so thank you to the park for inviting us down to check it out. We hope you agree that the 2024 season is looking like one of the best ones yet, and it’s clear the teams at the park are laser-focused on a positive guest experience.

So, what do you make of Thorpe Park’s Sparkle Project, and the relevant progress? What are you most looking forward to this year? Let us know via our social media channels.

We’re proud to announce that we’ll be collaborating with Thorpe Park again to host two Attraction Source Events in 2024! At this stage, we need to wait until the launch date for Hyperia has been announced before we can confirm the exact dates, but stay tuned to our social channels and AttractionSource.com/Events for updates in due course.

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