Zodiac is a ride at Thorpe Park, Surrey, United Kingdom.
The ride originally opened in 2000 as 'Enterprise', though it came to be renamed 'Zodiac' the following year to better suit the expanding Lost City theme alongside the opening of Vortex (Thorpe Park). This marked the decision to maintain the ride as a permanent installation, though an incident during which a gondola became partially detached from the main frame of the ride early during the 2004 season necessitated that the ride is replaced. The eventual replacement (for 2006) was yet another HUSS Enterprise - sourced from Drayton Manor theme park - that was differently decorated to the original (2001-2004), having a plain white finish on the spokes and minimal red stripes. This has still not been rectified, suggesting that the park have no intention of doing so.
Ride Experience Edit
Riders enter small gondolas that are suspended next to a large disc that spins once the ride is in motion. The small gondolas seat two people and there are no restraints, the idea being that the force of the ride will hold you in place and allow you to experience the ride more freely. Ride operators run around the large disc to check that all the cabins have their gates closed correctly. When it is considered safe, Zodiac is put into motion. The disc starts to spin, slowly at first but becoming faster and faster. Eventually, the suspended gondolas are being forced almost completely sideways and the disc starts to pitch upwards into the air on a powerful hydraulic arm. Once the spinning disc is upright, riders are inverting in the suspended cars, completing a manoeuvre similar to a vertical loop element of a rollercoaster. After several full rotations, the arm lowers, the disc slows and riders slowly come to a halt as gravity takes over and reorientates the base of the gondolas towards the ground.
Two teenagers sustained minor injuries when one support on a gondola broke on the ride. The gondola repeatedly hit the decking at the bottom of the ride whilst the operator attempted to stop the ride. The incident was taken to court, where the judge criticised the length of time it took to shut down the ride after an abnormal noise had been noticed. The park was fined £65,000 and made to pay an extra £35,000 in costs.