Got on Wicker Man for the first time yesterday. And at this moment in time, it's ranked my second favourite Towers coaster (Nemesis at 1, The Smiler at 3). However, I feel after a night ride it could potentially be my number 1 (Towers) coaster.
The entire ride area is very well thought out and flows well into everything. Even the food and game kiosks have been themed, which I love! Also, not forgetting the Welcome-Inn - which looks brilliant inside!
The queue line for the ride is definitely one of the best queue's Merlin have ever done, in fact probably the best! Although the extended queue is a big cattle-pen, it at least has good views of the ride, loud music and theming left, right and centre. The rest of the queue swirls around the layout of the coaster allowing great photos and anticipation for the ride. My only problem with the queue is the fact that Towers totally advertised the queue with a wrong waiting time, which I did find a bummer (advertised 140 minutes, waited for 200..). However, I suppose it did go down around 3 times we were waiting for it, so I won't let that leave a sour taste.
After we had queued for the long period of time, we got to the baggage hold which is absolutely stunningly themed (and like said before, very similar to The Welcoming's) - soundtrack blasting out and theming above and around you. It's just a shame to think that in a few years down the line the baggage hold will be no longer and we will be putting it on the station (much like The Smiler & TH13TEEN this year).
On to the pre-show, having not heard or seen any spoilers it worked brilliantly - and very mesmerising. Similar to such as Derren Brown, however, the curtain on it isn't as obvious. I also like that it's short but sweet, as at that point we just wanted to get on
. The bass on the speakers in there is also class! Hopefully, they keep it that volume as it is for the foreseeable future! After that, you head into the station, which yet again is very well themed and has the soundtrack playing again (slickly flowing from the pre-show).
The only thing I don't like at the moment about it is the fact that you get allocated your rows, but luckily we got back row!
Once we had our restraints checked (which took at least 3 minutes, due to someone of a larger size was having issues with it). Then we were dispatched! The small turn around before the lift hill was great, however, I would like some effects and louder music to be played, to add to the anticipation. The lift hill also has music which again, adds to the experience! Then the coaster itself I thought has a really good layout filled with a lot of ejector airtime and force. The theming element as well works as a great head chopper and the flames do make the ride ever so more stunning (but in my opinion, looks better off-ride). My only current issues with the ride are that the mist and smoke effects weren't working on the Wickerman, and in the second sound tunnel - which isn't a bit deal, but I'd like them fixed sooner rather than later. Also, the brake run was a bit of a disappointment, unless anything else is supposed to happen? We just got some smoke shooting down at the track, then we were just sat in the dark. So I wonder if anything else is supposed to occur, even audio?
After you come off the ride you collect your baggage, view your ORP and enter the brilliantly themed shop!
All in all Wicker Man is a superb family coaster and a very very good investment! It really makes me hope Towers get an RMC in the future because I think it would fit in very well, especially if Towers go to this level of theming, detail and perfection. Other than that, I really hope they sort out the teething problems with the ride and fix the effects. But conclusively, its a very solid attraction, and deserves the hype it is receiving. Very very excited for a night ride! I'm impressed towers! Bring on SW9...