An unearthed burial site has recently been discovered in the mysterious depths of the Dark Forest, where an ancient crypt lying undisturbed for years has now been found and is ready for guests to explore. But before you can set foot into the seemingly supernatural woods, an eerie voice will give you a one and only warning; “If you go down to the woods today, you’d better not go….. alone”.
Min. Rider Height: 1.2m
Max. Rider Height: 1.96m
Ride Photography: Yes
Manufacturer: Intamin AG
Ride Type: Family Freefall Drop
Opened: 20th March 2010
Cost: £15 million
Track Length: 756m
Max. Track Height: 18m
Max. Speed: Approx 66km/h
Passengers per Train: 20
Capacity: 1100 riders per hour
Duration: 1 min 40 secs
After venturing past Rita to the bottom end of Dark Forest, guests begin their experience of TH13TEEN by passing two dilapidated statues and into a queue line that winds deeper and deeper into the Dark Forest. As guests make their way towards the awaiting crypt, sightings of an old van, various tombstones and even staff members who have become possessed by the forest will occur.
As guests arrive at the exterior of the crypt, they are presented with the ability to deposit all bags and loose articles in exchange for a keyring, which can be exchanged back after the adventure for any deposited belongings. After this, it’s time to head inside!
After ascending up a flight of stairs, passing under a ladder whilst doing so, guests find themselves within the ancient building. As the lights flicker dimly, the walls are revealed to have plenty of written messages scrawled onto them, informing guests they should not go down to the woods alone. Whilst awaiting in the queue for TH13TEEN , you will hear the eerie voice of a little girl counting upwards from one to thirteen. Upon finally reaching thirteen, a large Tesla coil will power up before your eyes, certain to give one or two guests an unexpected scare!
After descending down the next set of stairs, guests are finally presented with TH13TEEN’s station. After passing through the airgates and finally onto the ride train, riders are told to pull down on their lap bars. After being safely checked by a member of staff, the ride trains are quickly dispatched and your journey to unearth what lies within the crypt begins!
After a quickly paced 180 degree left turn, the train climbs 20 metres (60ft) up to the tree tops of the Dark Forest. Upon reaching the top, riders will barely have any time to admire the view as they are quickly plummeted down into the woodland below. Smile for the camera, as the on ride photo point awaits you at the bottom of the drop!
After banking right into a 270 degree helix, riders are taken up and down multiple times across the woodland floor and into the air, narrowly missing the branches of the trees all around the track. After a sweeping, shallow S shaped hill, the train drops you back down to the woodland floor for one last time before ascending a second lift hill. Suddenly riders appear to be back where they started at the ruins, albeit this time ascending into a previously hidden entrance.
As the train enters this newly discovered portion of the building, riders are hit with a musky smell before the train comes to a sudden stop at at a dead end. As the door behind you closes, the green lights illuminating the room suddenly go out. The track, train and riders then freefall downwards by a small amount of distance, accompanied by a blast of air and the sounds of the cracking wood floor. You’re not left with much time to gather your breathe or make sense of the situation, as you are then propelled straight down to the crypt floor.
After temporarily catching your breath, the room is illuminated to reveal a giant statue of a wraith overlooking the train. With no way of escape forwards or sideways, there’s only one direction left to go. Backwards!
The train is accelerated quickly backwards, plunging downwards to the right before being passing through a disorientating 360 degree upwards helix, experiencing all of this under the cover of total darkness! The track is shaped in such a way to make the riders feel as if it is swaying from side to side as you eventually emerge from an exit into a clearing.
After a swift change to the track, riders are finally accelerated rapidly back into the station where you can finally disembark to recollect your belongings. After surviving your adventure on the world’s first freefall drop rollercoaster, don’t forget to check out your on ride photo as you make your way back into the main Dark Forest clearing!
Towards the end of 2008 it was announced that after 28 years of service, the iconic Corkscrew rollercoaster would be sadly departing from the park. During a farewell event featuring the last ever ride of Corkscrew, it was revealed the rollercoaster would be replaced by a brand new world’s first attraction.
As March 2009 rolled around, planning applications were approved for the brand new rollercoaster to be situated on the site of Corkscrew. When the park reopened for the 2009 season, guests were presented with a barren and desolate site where TH13TEEN’s mighty predecessor once stood.
Once construction was under way in summer of 2009, various snippets of marketing began cropping up around the area, informing guests a brand new world’s first rollercoaster was to arrive for 2010. Guests were also told to ride the “Demon of the Dark Forest” and to “Surrender in 2010”. Surrender was widely speculated at this point to be the ride’s name. Speculation also commenced regarding a potential retheme for the neighbouring rollercoaster, Rita, as well as the rest of the surrounding Ug Land area.
During the closed season of 2009, a Flickr account set up by the Alton Towers Resort revealed a large truck, carrying a mysterious load on a trailer. The contents of this trailer remained a mystery as they were wrapped in a large tarpaulin, with the words “Authorised Personnel Only – Secret Weapon Inside”. The Flickr account also kept the world watching as it slowly posted construction updates of the ride’s station and even gave a potential look at what the ride trains would look like when sculptors made use of the heavy snow that had fallen at the time! On the 11th December 2009, a press release officially unveiled the name of the rollercoaster. After months of being known as it’s project name, Secret Weapon 6, the newest addition to the Resort was revealed to be called TH13TEEN.
When 2010 eventually came around, a bootcamp event was held in order to find the first 20 riders of TH13TEEN. The attendees spent a weekend at the Alton Towers Resort, undertaking activities such as orienteering, archery, tent pitching and riding Air consecutively for one hour in order to become one of the first riders. On March 20th 2010, TH13TEEN, the world’s first vertical freefall drop rollercoaster opened to the public. As guests ran to experience the ride on the day it opened, they were greeted with a brand rethemed area in the form of Dark Forest as well as a new look Rita.
In the opening weeks, the ride was subject to various marketing strategies that caused plenty of controversy online. Many guests were angered with the way the ride has been marketed, claiming it had been made out to be a white knuckle thrill ride when in actual fact it was a rollercoaster that all members of a family could enjoy. The ride was dubbed as the “ultimate rollercoaster” and even a brand new form of ride known as a “psychoaster”. Despite the various forms of backlash regarding the marketing that occurred early on in the ride’s life, TH13TEEN is now widely accepted as a brilliant family rollercoaster and has cemented itself as part of the wonderful line up of rollercoasters at Alton Towers Resort.
Several themes, rides and areas were considered for 2010, and one theme which featured heavily was that of Dark Forest, which caught people’s imaginations and, as they say, the rest was history.