Since Wicker Man opened at Alton Towers on 17th March, most riders say it is their favourite Alton Towers coaster ever! We spoke to Bradley Wynne, Creative Lead at Merlin Magic Making to discover how the attraction was developed.
“We knew we had a high budget for the next project at Alton Towers and we had been looking at ways to get a “Woodie” in for a long time. The concept of wood and fire tested really well with consumers (which is compelling because it’s almost the obvious thing NOT to do!).
We were briefed to create the most immersive rollercoaster Merlin have ever made. Over the course of a 4 year design process, we develop stories and themes true to wood and fire, whilst a very talented multi-disciplinary team of experts designed an amazing ride layout. We chose Wicker Man (not affiliated with the movies) as it really maximises on the timber of the wooden coaster. We created an amazing pre-show which sets up the story - it feels fresh, unexpected and we’re really proud of that!"
"As part of the process we actually had to build a Wicker Man, a six story tall spectacle which isn’t actually made of wicker at all! The Wicker Man is made with fire retardant materials and a steel superstructure.
We had long discussions to get the exact position, size, design, etc of the Wicker Man feature to get the maximum impact for our investment. In the end, the ride passes through him three times whilst he bursts spectacularly into real (and faux) flames, so he works really well on-ride and provides a great photo opportunity for those off the ride.
If you haven’t yet experienced Wicker Man – you’ll have to ride it yourself to find out what all the buzz is about – it has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated!”