|Click here to watch the on-ride POV|
|A promotional poster released alongside the attraction's announcement on 8 January 2018.|
|Manufacturer||Great Coasters International|
|Designer / calculations||Skyline Design, LLC., Jeff Pike, John Wardley|
|Riders per train||24|
|Propulsion||Chain lift hill|
Top speed70.2 km/h
| Bank angle: 68°|
Theme: Universal Rocks
Musical score: IMAscore - HELP
Wicker Man is a wooden roller coaster located at Alton Towers in the United Kingdom. It was manufactured by Great Coasters International and opened on March 20, 2018. It is the sixth operating "Secret Weapon" and was codenamed SW8 during development. The Secret Weapon line is a line of roller coasters at Alton Towers emblazoned with the Secret Weapon code name during development. This line started with SW3 (Nemesis) and has been emblazoned onto all of Alton Towers' major thrill coasters (excluding Rita) ever since.
History[edit | edit source]
In the early 2000s, Alton Towers applied for planning permission to build a new wooden roller coaster. This was never built due to complaints from the public regarding noise pollution and environmental damage.
The Flume closed on October 10, 2015. While not revealed at the time, it would later be replaced by Wicker Man.
In March 2016, the park began teasing the ride to the public through its Towers Loving Care Twitter page. On May 31, 2016, Alton Towers filed for planning permission to build Wicker Man on the site of The Flume. The plans revealed that the ride would be a wooden roller coaster, and sound comparisons hinted at the ride being manufactured by Great Coasters International. The application was approved on August 24, 2016 and in December, demolition of the Flume began.
On May 7, 2017, wood arrived at Alton Towers. This followed the arrival of GCI earlier in May.
On May 21, 2017, vertical construction of the ride's station track and pre-lift section began.
On May 30, 2017, vertical construction of the ride's large theming element began.
In June 2017, vertical construction of the station began.
On June 27, 2017, vertical construction of the ride's lift hill began.
In July 2017, construction on the rest of the ride began with the installation of part of the first drop.
On July 7, 2017, the ride's lift hill reached its full height. This was commemorated by the British and American flags being placed on top of the lift hill, representing the two countries involved with the project.
On August 16, 2017, Alton Towers began a new marketing campaign for the ride. This marketing campaign involved the tagline Be Chosen, some Pagan-esque runes being placed on the construction fences surrounding the ride which apparently also translate to Be Chosen and the first in a series of videos marketing the ride. The second of these videos features YouTuber Elliott Crawford and was released on August 23, 2017. The ride is also currently being marketed as a world class experience by the park.
In early September 2017, Alton Towers announced a new scare maze for the park's Scarefest event called The Welcoming. The Welcoming was heavily linked with Wicker Man.
On October 6, 2017, Alton Towers introduced a new logo depicting a burning wicker man into the ride's marketing. Also, the SW8 minisite started redirecting people to TheWelcoming.co.uk, where people were given more of an insight into the ride's story and the scare maze, including the introduction of another slogan; Feed The Flames.
On October 22, 2017, the park released another teaser featuring Elliott Crawford. This teaser featured runes teasing parts of the ride's storyline.
By the end of the park's 2017 season on November 5, 2017, the ride's queue line was being erected and most of the ride had the wooden track installed and was only awaiting the installation of the steel rails. Also, the exterior of the station and maintenance shed was mostly complete.
In late November 2017, Alton Towers released a partial time lapse video of the ride's construction. This was followed by a teaser on November 22 entitled Unite with the chosen ones.
On December 9, 2017, the European Coaster Club and multiple other sources reported that the ride made its first test run on December 7, 2017.
On December 22, 2017, Alton Towers sent out planks of wood to the media with the ride's logo on reading All will be revealed 8-1-18, confirming an announcement on January 8, 2018. Alton Towers subsequently announced that the ride would be named Wicker Man and that it would be the world's first roller coaster experience to fuse wood and fire. However, this claim was later removed from the marketing campaign reportedly following a claim to the Advertising Standards Agency.
The roller coaster was planned to open on March 17, 2018, but due to poor weather, this was pushed back to March 24. Despite this, it first operated to guests on March 20.
Design[edit | edit source]
Wicker Man features four sound tunnels during the ride; one during the pre-lift section, one after the lift hill, one on the first airtime hill and one on the brake run.
The ride's chain lift hill changes gradient from 24 degrees to a shallower 12 degrees shortly after starting its ascent. This is to allow sufficient clearance for vehicles to utilise the access road below. This is unusual, and not seen on any other roller coaster built by Great Coasters International.
Trains[edit | edit source]
3 trains with 12 cars per train. In each car, riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 24 riders per train. Wicker Man uses GCI's Millennium Flyer trains, with a custom piece on the front of each train depicting a miniature version of part of the ride's main theming element.
Photo Gallery[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- "Wicker Man". Great Coasters International. https://www.greatcoasters.com/?p=wickerman.
- Alton Towers pulls wood coaster plans - Amusement Today (Wayback archive)
- "Wicker Man Info & Stats". TowersTimes. http://www.towerstimes.co.uk/sw8/about/.
- "Wicker Man Unearthed by Alton Towers Resort". TowersTimes. https://www.towerstimes.co.uk/blog/2018/01/08/wicker-man-unearthed-alton-towers-resort/.
- "Wicker Man". John Wardley. http://www.john-wardley.co.uk/wickerman.html.
[edit | edit source]
- on the Roller Coaster DataBase.