| n. A famous person, especially in entertainment or sport.
I'm a Celebrity offers families an entertaining diversion from the more thrilling attractions in the Park - but suffers from long wait times.
||Live Action Maze
|On Ride Photo
||Under 8s with an Adult
I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is one of ITV's most successful light entertainment formats, heading into its 15th season in 2015 (the series having been extended to at least 2018). The show continues to attract an average of 10 million viewers per episode, drawn to watch by the often gruesome Bush Tucker Trials and the ever likeable Ant and Dec.
Thorpe Park struck a deal with ITV to bring guests a "live action" experience to the Park to mirror the show. It sits in the building next to Nemesis Inferno, in the space previously occupied by The Showcase live show, and Fright Nights mazes Studio 13 and The Asylum. The first thing to note is that the presentation of the attraction throughout is very impressive: Scruffy Dog have done a fantastic job at bringing the leafy Australian jungle environment to far less humid Surrey. The themeing surely competes with the likes of SAW and The Swarm in its attention to detail.
The attraction itself is a long one, clocking in at around 12 minutes. Groups of 10 "camp mates" (guests) are guided around the attraction by "camp leaders" (actors), who implore the group to collect as many stars during the experience as possible. To begin, Ant and Dec provide a joke-filled intro to the experience via a pre-show video - beware hidden surprises lurking in the seating. After a group photo opportunity, guests are brought over a rickety metal bridge; walking past some clever floor projected ants, guests are asked to participate in their first Bush Tucker Trial - Holey Moley. Here guests must put their hand into one of the many holes in the rock to find the stars hidden within. This is not too difficult - most of the holes contain only sawdust, fluff and wool.
Moving on, guests are brought to the next trial, the Chamber of Horrors. Here sit 10 cubicle "tanks" that accomodate one person each. Once inside the tanks, Ant and Dec pose a question via a speaker that has to be answered by pressing buttons located on the wall; A, B or C. All those that dont answer the quickest (and correctly) get a surprise, which can include sawdust dropping from above, or wind / air effects, depending on the tank. It is not clear however that all of the tanks work correctly, and the resulting confusion is not helped by the fact that there is nothing to tell guests whether they have got the answer right or not; once an answer is given, a surprise may or may not happen, and then guests are ushered out of the cubicles onto the next task. All a bit baffling.
Getting to the next part of the maze includes negotiating a spider-web maze and crawling through a tunnel. A brief interlude by the famous red telephone box involves selected camp mates rummaging around in a box of grey goo (filled with "worms") for stars. Once completed, guests move on to the "Fawlty Towers" building, themed to the trial from the show. Here guests have 60 seconds to find as many stars in the room as possible - we advise checking in the chest of drawers as a starting point! Guests then move on to the final trial, "Celebrity Cyclone", via a corridor where the walls are both inflatable and press against each other - so guests must push their way through to escape.
The Celebrity Cyclone consists of being directed to run up a short incline under cargo netting, in the face of giant wind fans, strobe lighting, and water effects. This is not too difficult, and the wind / rain effects are mild at best - unfortunately a far cry from the mahem which occurs on the TV! Once at the top of the Cyclone area, camp mates are sent down a slide that exits out into the Nemesis Inferno shop. Winner "fanfare" music is played every time a group comes out the bottom of the slide, and guests can have their photo taken on the "King or Queen of the Jungle" chair from the show.
It's difficult to give the attraction a glowing review overall - much of it is pretty unexciting - which is a shame, because it looks so good. Your experience hugely depends on the actor "guide" who takes you through the process - get an enthusiastic and funny one, and it can be a good laugh. Get a tired or low-energy one (especially at the end of the day), and it all falls very flat.
We haven't yet mentioned the throughputs. This attraction processes, on average, around 150-200 people per hour. Two hundred guests per hour is shockingly bad. For comparison, The Swarm can crunch through queues up to six times faster than I'm a Celebrity. Surely this had been thought of in the design process of the attraction? Unfortunately, it means that even a short-looking queue can take over 90 minutes to stand through - and the payoff isn't really worth the wait.
Good fun for kids, and another commendable move towards a more family-friendly direction, but you may strongly consider whether spending your time queueing for any of the other headline rides would be more worthwhile.
- Superbly themed
- Energetic cast of actors can really enhance experience
- Ant and Dec!
- Dire throughputs means long, slow queues
- Experience varies hugely depending on actors
- Not particularly exciting
"I'm a Celebrity is a fun family maze - I really like this attraction and I think it's a great addition to the park. I like the part where you come out of the tunnel at the end and you are in the Nemesis Inferno shop! Overall, 6/10."
Molly, Kent, UK.