Alton Towers, Staffordshire, has unveiled its new attraction: Wicker Man – the rollercoaster. Opening in 2018, the new wooden-tracked ride will be a “world first” in that it will be the first attraction of its kind to feature “wood and fire”.
“Wicker Man” will be the first wooden rollercoaster built in the UK for 21 years. The project, on completion, will have cost the Staffordshire theme park £16 million.
The ride will feature a 58ft Wicker Man structure which will appear to burst into flames as the ride’s thrill-seekers speed through it three times on a 2,028ft wooden track.
The themed attraction is based on the 1973 horror cult classic The Wicker Man starring Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland and Edward Woodward. Of course, The Wicker Man is not the first horror film to become a theme park attraction. The Saw franchise has been running as a coaster at Thorpe Park for the past nine years. Saw would seem like an obvious choice for a violent, bloody ride that gives riders near-misses and face-to-metal encounters with rotating blades. However, The Wicker Man is a much slower paced film with none of the guts and gore that really appeal to a theme park’s young following.
The Wicker Man (1973)
Bradley Wynne, the theme park’s creative lead, said:
“We hope visitors will be blown away by Wicker Man’s breath-taking scale whilst the primal essence of the wooden coaster and astonishing effects will leave them delighted, exhilarated and eager to ride again.”
Since the catastrophic accidents that occurred at Alton Towers in 2015 on “The Smiler”, “Wicker Man” will be the first new addition to the theme park. Alton Towers said “the safety of guests has been paramount” in building the ride, which has involved “rigorous testing and hundreds of training hours for ride operators”.
So, whilst Alton Towers have got the “world first” accolade under their belts and have covered safety issues which may have tarnished their reputation since 2015’s crash, was “Wicker Man” a good choice of theme for this ride? Since jumping on the “horror rollercoaster” bandwagon, is The Wicker Man dynamic and thrilling enough to make a truly great theme park attraction?
The ride opens in Spring 2018 at the Staffordshire theme park. For those rollercoaster fans among you, keep an eye out for highly anticipated ride reviews online.