On the 30th of March 2017 we were invited to Thorpe Park Resort to try out the newly updated Derren Brown’s Ghost Train. Re-named for the 2017 season as Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise Of The Demon. As well as the name being changed, the park also created completely new VR scenes, a changed non VR section and a very surprising finish to the ride! What follows is our review of the changes and updates made the ride during the closed season.
Watch our POV from on the Ghost Train below!
If we first remind ourselves of what last year’s ride was like then we can base our opinion upon the improvements rather than stating or explaining things that haven’t changed at all. There were four basic components of the 2016 version, pre-show, VR, live action and then VR again. All of the VR scenes were digitally created and to be honest did not seem that real. The line between what was reality and what wasn’t was quite clear to tell. Now that you know what last year was like we can explain the updated version in all it’s glory!
Keeping it simple
One of the things that has changed is that now you keep your bags with you at all times, we presume this has been done so that the bag area could be used for the end scene, although this seems like an annoyance we feel like it adds more to the experience.
The pre-show & small talk from the conductor have not changed, so we will skip explaining it.
Now, we say that keeping your bags with you adds to the experience and this is said due to the fact that when you get on the train you have to take your bag off to sit down; which makes it feel more like you are getting on the tube in London because this is of course what you would do in an everyday situation. It’s not a big thing but it adds to the whole experience.
The difference is noticeable
As shown in BTS (behind the scenes) video’s of the ride, released before opening, new technology and ways of filming were incorporated into this year’s VR content. With the use of the Nokia OZO Thorpe Park Resort were able to record real life scenes aboard the train carriage. This addition of real life footage with actors completely changes the experience. Last year when you looked around you couldn’t see anyone else in the carriage; whereas this year the other passengers on the train were incorporated into the action.
On a sidenote, when we say the other passengers were included we mean that the pre-recorded passengers (actors) were included; they are yet to include the people who are actually sat around you yet into the VR content due to it being highly complicated to do.
This year’s VR content was more highly focused on the actual demon of the ride. With a large proportion of the content being us watching it break into, walk around and snatch people from the carriage. Although the emphasis on the gas being “down there” is still very strong. A more solid story line this year makes guests really connect with the experience they are included in.
Just as last year, staff members from the train are timed to interact with guests by running there fingers across your legs to stimulate the demon on the VR. Last year was just a run across the knees but this year they’ve added an ankle grip & chin touch. For some this might be too much and it isn’t strongly advised that you ride.
We won’t continue too much into detail about what the new VR content is as we don’t want to spoil the ride. Below is a very small amount of footage from the headsets and if you do really want to know what happens in the VR realm then send us an email at [email protected].
It’s abit like Fright Nights
With an age restriction of 13 the park is really pushing the limits of what they can do. Along with the new VR scenes comes quite a considerable amount of gore. We wouldn’t personally say there was too much but we would say that others that rode with us considered it too much.
The park have also changed the live action part of the ride for the 2017 season; it now includes live actors which have been “infected” with the gas. With the usual story line of having to walk down the side of the tunnel to escape, you prepare to escape the loud sounds & flashing lights.
The reason we say this year it’s abit like Fright Nights (Thorpe Park Resort’s Halloween Event) is because after the lights go out, a red light creeps into the room and the actors start screaming in agony running straight at you. Hitting the fence, trying to escape and hissing at you, as if they are trying to infect you, train staff shout at you through a megaphone to not touch them and to stay away otherwise they may infect you. It is during all of this you are also being told to run back to the train, to safety. Overall the scene is very overwhelming and although deep down you know it’s not real you still get caught up in the moment and run back to the train.
Overall the changes that have been made have all improved the ride and made it much more inclusive & enjoyable experience, filled with jump scares, immersive technology and incredible dedication from the staff. With the usual queue time being somewhere between an hour and a half and 2 hours on a busy day, you have to be pretty dedicated to wanting a ride. We would strongly advise waiting! This is one of the longest ride times you’ll get in the park; ranging from anywhere between 13-20 minutes.
We’d like to say a BIG thank you to Thorpe Park Resort and staff for having us at the event and to Taylor Herring for organising it!
Book your tickets to Thorpe Park Resort to ride Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise Of The Demon here: