Inside: Our experience of taking under 5s to Thorpe Park.
I cannot think of the last time I went to Thorpe Park but I used to go all the time as a child. It has changed quite a bit over the years, focusing more on teenagers and thrills rather than the younger audience of years gone by. So when we were asked to be ambassadors this year I did wonder how well it would suit us as a family – how would it compare with other theme parks aimed at younger children.
We arrived bright and early to beat the queues – doors open at 9ish and depending on when the last safety checks are completed the park is opened between 9.30 am and 10 am.
Getting there early was great as we were able to get in a few rides before the masses arrived. Although as we weren’t going to be aiming for the bigger, more popular rides we weren’t imagining too much of a wait all day.
Which rides are suitable for under 5s?
The rides have different height restrictions on them, and out of 28 rides there are 14 suitable for your average 5 year old (under 1.2m) and quite a few of those were also suitable for 3 year olds (around 1m).
Amity Beach – a lovely beach area with a shallow pool to splash in. Suitable for the whole family.
Depth Charge – min 0.9m and under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult
Flying Fish – min 0.9m and under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult
Storm Surge – min 1.1m and under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult
Storm in a teacup – min 1.1m and under 1.3m must be accompanied by an adult
Rocky Express- min 0.9m and under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult
Timber Tug Boat- min 0.9m and under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult
Lumber Jump – min 0.9m and under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult
Mr Monkey’s Banana Ride – min 0.9m and under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult
Rumba Rapids – min 0.9m and under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult
Angry Birds Experience – 4D cinema, suitable for all. Wills was terrified though, so perhaps not so suitable for babies around a year old.
King Pig’s Wild Hog Dodgems – min 1.1m and under 1.3m must be accompanied by an adult
X – min 1m and under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult
Zodiac – min 0.9m and under 1.4m must be accompanied by an adult
The girls enjoyed every minute of the day and found their inner thrill seeker by going on Zodiac. Lils was laughing so much she was dribbling uncontrollably, which was hilarious and disgusting in equal measure as it slopped all over my face!
Of course, as adults, we would have liked to have gone on the bigger rides but with queue times of up to an hour on most, it wasn’t feasible to leave one with the kids while the other waited in line.
But, as part of our trip we were also invited to stay over in the Thorpe Shark Hotel and with that, you are given a Fast Track wristband for the following day until 11am. That is definitely the way to go if you are wanting to go on the big rides – it is so satisfying cutting ahead of everyone else!
Stealth – on the list for next time!
We both managed to squeeze in Derren Brown’s Ghost Train and Nemesis Inferno before the passes ran out at 11 am. Bonus!
The hotel is an experience, not like anywhere I have ever stayed before. The rooms are converted shipping containers and do indeed live up to their ‘bite-sized’ name. I hadn’t looked ahead to see what the rooms were going to be like so it did take me by surprise, but as long as you think of it as a handy stop-over with the bonus of breakfast and fast tracks passes then it is quirky stay.
The girls thought it was very exciting staying in such a different style room and loved their bunk beds. We took a travel cot for Wills so you would have to do the same if staying with a baby.
Breakfast is included in your stay and you are able to help yourself to a full English buffet breakfast – all you can eat too which is always a win! Fins is within The Dome as you enter the park and also serves lunch and dinner.
We had dinner on Friday night and it was delicious. The kids were given colouring sheets and crayons, so they were happy and we even managed to spot a rainbow so their day was made.
I’d had my doubts that the park would be able to cater for a young family but in the end we were busy from 10 am on the Friday to 12 pm on the Saturday. There were plenty of rides and with the beach area there is enough to keep everyone happy.
We definitely want to go back just us two though as we want to go on more of the bigger rides and with Fright Night coming up soon that is the perfect opportunity to have some time to explore the park as adults!! So keep an eye out for that!
Have you been to Thorpe Park recently? Are your kids thrill seekers like mine?