I, like so many others, was awestruck when I first saw Vortex when I arrived at Thorpe Park during a visit in Summer 2001. Given my previous fondness of Pirate ship rides, I was expecting it to be a good laugh, and it way surpassed my expectations. Most people have complained about hitting the same height of swing each time, but I haven't often found that to be true, or at least, I haven't noticed! I enjoyed the ride so much when I first rode it, I did so twice again, and if there is one ride that is visited twice every time I go to Thorpe Park, it is the Vortex. That held true this Monday. I have never stopped enjoying this ride. Congrats to
love spin rides, and found Vortex comparable
even to the mighty Samurai. It could turn a bit faster, though, as the spinning
isn't really evident.
hate spin rides, but this is truly exhilarating.
I really enjoyed it.
don't really like spinning rides, but Vortex changed my mind.
Brilliant ride -
would just about fit in my back garden!
My fav spinning ride in the UK by far,
looks stunning and a pleasure to ride. There's few flat rides I'll queue
for more than half an hour for, but Vortex more than justifies it's
often lengthy queue.
Though it took its time to arrive this
is an excellent ride, with slightly repetitive music and a wonderful
I loved Vortex, despite it
being a lot smaller in real life than expected, it spins you just enough
and for long enough not to feel sick and the music with the circling at
the start is really cool. But maybe we could have done with out the 'OK
here we go' fairground style voice over just as it was getting going.
And it's true that the way it spins, only certain sides get the go high,
and the other stays facing up, which is a bummer.
A truly fantastic
attraction. It is actually one of the only rides I would truly describe
In 2001, the UK theme park world went
crazy. Thorpe Park installed thrill rides! As part of the remarketing of
newly Tussaud's acquired Thorpe Park, it became THE place to overload
your senses. 2001 saw the introduction of three new high thrill flat
rides. One of these was Vortex.
Vortex got off to a bad start, being
late in arrival from KMG and hence opening weeks after opening day and
resulting in a Watchdog article on the programme. It was worth the wait
Vortex is the first KMG Afterburner to
appear in a fixed state at a theme park, previously only appearing on
the travelling fair scene. Although a potential marketing gold mine, was
never exploited, and so with a lack of advertising and a late arrival,
Vortex started off life as the underdog.
Compared to its accompanying instalments,
Vortex might seem quite tame. It doesn't have the speed of Detonator,
nor does it have the upside down sensation of Zodiac. Yet in ride
enjoyment, Vortex wins hands down.
An imposing structure it is, a giant of
a ride, a hybrid of a Pirate Ship and an Egg Whisk to quote the official
site. You and 31 fellow riders take your seats in one of 8 rows facing
inwards, making up the octagon. The floor lowers and the octagon starts
to rotate before the operator presses the Go button and the pendulum
starts to swing. A few swings either way before the ride reaches full
height. It is here when the ride starts to show its true colours. At a
maximum angle of over 100 degrees you swing back and forth whilst
The rotation isn't as fast as the likes
of a Huss Frisbee but faster than an Intamin Gyro Swing. A perfect
mix... almost. You see, the "clever" people at KMG made a
fatal error with the rotating of Vortex. Get the right seat and you will
be at the highest point of the octagon but get the wrong seat and you
will be at the lowest, fine you may say, but the rotating is so precise
that you will be at the same point on every swing. The rotation is such
that is rotates exactly half way with each swing, so you will always be
in the same spot.
It is perhaps this that lets it down,
as if everyone could experience the top seat each ride then it would be
a perfect ride. But when queuing over and hour and not experiencing much
more than a pirate ship, it is hardly a thrill ride to shout about.
A super ride when at the top yet a real
disappointment when at the bottom.
As you enter the bridge that leads into the
heart of Thorpe Park, the closest ride you will see is Vortex, to your
left hand side. When this ride is in operation, it is truly breathtaking
to watch - even more so if you have not encountered this type of ride
What differentiates this ride from it's
fairground equivalents is the speed of the spin more then anything else.
Far from pinning you into your seat, it acts as a gentle addition to the
swinging motion, making the ride feel far more graceful as it
majestically swoops from side to side.
Length is just right, though if you are unlucky
enough to choose a bottom seat the ride experience will be very
different. The lost city theme is getting overused, but there is no
doubt that the pounding drums as the ride starts to swing fit perfectly,
before disintegrating into some forgettable straing chords as the ride
reaches it's climax.
The length of the queue and the slow loading of
the ride is a problem, though in many cases this is because of factors
that staff cannot control. (If you get lumbered with slow staff, it
makes it all the worse!)
The floor's screw mechanisms are very very slow
compared to the hydraulic fair versions, and it doesn't start rising
until the ride has fully stopped swinging - which due to the low power
of the motor, takes a while in itself. Once the floor has finally
managed it's way up, riders exit in the same direction that they enter -
meaning that if the gate it opened straight away, the two get entangled
and it takes even longer for everyone to get sorted. Bags are frequently
left by the edge of the platform, not a good idea with a lowering floor
and need to be tidied up before the ride can start.
The restraints cause even more problems. KMG are
known for tight harnesses, and Vortex's really take the biscuit. It is
not uncommon for guests to be asked to leave the ride as they cannot be
locked. Restraints can only be unlocked whole-ride at a time, and once
the guest has left, there is the added hassle of getting everyone to put
their arms out to lock them all again. An easy answer may be to have a
test seat by the entrance - ala the main roller coasters?
It's a good ride, but slow operation due to
several factors leaves the queue far longer then it might ought to be.
If such problems could be ironed out, this could well be the best flat
ride at any British Theme Park.