Attractions industry news

08 Jan 2018

Fire meets wood as Alton Towers unveils £16m Wicker Man coaster

Alton Towers has revealed details of its secret two-year ride project – a wooden coaster with a six-storey flaming structure as its centrepiece.

The first such ride to combine wood and fire according to Merlin, the £16m (US$21.6m, €18m) “Wicker Man” has been created by Great Coasters International.

While sharing its name with the 1970s British cult horror film starring Christopher Lee, the ride is actually inspired by the beliefs of multiple cultures.

The 57.5ft-tall (17.5m) 'wicker man' will burst into flames as riders race through the flaming structure three times during the course of the ride.

The park said it has used the "latest in proven safety technology" and that rigorous testing is taking place before launch.

Plans for the ride were first submitted in June 2016, showing the 2,028 ft-long (618m) wooden coaster replacing the park’s flume ride.

Then called 'SW8' or 'Secret Weapon 8', a design and access statement submitted by Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners said the coaster will be made of dark-stained timber elements, predominantly made of southern yellow pine.

The statement also said the ride will include themed sound tunnels, as well as an area at the entrance to the ride which will feature a 140-second pre-show for up to 50 people. A new themed area around the attraction, which will feature a shop, games unit and food kiosk, is also included.

“We hope visitors will be blown away by Wicker Man’s breathtaking scale,” said Bradley Wynne, creative lead at Alton Towers for Merlin Magic Making.

"Guests will be ‘chosen’ to take part in a celebratory ‘rite of passage’ as they race through the flaming Wicker Man.

“While the primal essence of the wooden coaster and astonishing effects will leave them delighted, exhilarated and eager to ride again.”

The ride has been set an opening date of Q2 2018.

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