Raptor Attack is an indoor roller coaster ride at Lightwater Valley Theme Park in North Yorkshire. Opened in 1987, it was the first roller coaster at the park, and paved the way for the record-breaking Ultimate.
Raptor Attack at Lightwater Valley Theme Park
Raptor Attack is contained within a warehouse-type building which is hidden by trees and embankments. This gives the illusion that the ride is actually underground. The ride takes place in complete darkness making it impossible to predict the upcoming direction of travel, thus making it more thrilling. Before the ride was rethemed in 2010 the cars resembled rats, now they look like mine-carts.
Top Speed – 64km/h 40mph
Cost – £unknown
Length – 1837ft 560m
Height – 50ft 15m
Type – Steel – Enclosed
Inversions – 0
Theme Park – Lightwater Valley Theme Park
Year Opened – 1987 (as Rat Ride) 2010 (as Raptor Attack)
History of Raptor Attack
When the ride first opened, it was themed around sewer rats and named the Rat Ride. The corridors which led guests to and from the ride accurately replicated a real sewer and the ride vehicles were shaped as giant rats. At the end of the 2009 season, the Rat Ride was closed for refurbishment. The thrill ride reopened at the start of the 2010 season completely rethemed with animatronic dinosaurs and renamed Raptor Attack. Along with the new theme, the braking system was also updated.
The Birth of a Major Attraction
Lightwater Valley Theme Park became a major attraction in 1987 after the purchase and creation of the Rat Rollercoaster in 1987, which at the time became the world’s first and only subterranean rollercoaster. Robert Staveley was keen to expand on the family market and provide something for the thrill market whilst still being suitable for the younger audience. At the time, his wife was a keen protector of the country park status and did not like the idea of having a roller coaster spoiling and compromising this. Eventually, she permitted the construction of a roller coaster as long as it was out of sight. In order to keep his wife happy Robert decided he would bury the roller coaster in the ground. This led to the idea of a subterranean roller coaster themed on the dwellings of a sewer rat where riders were led to believe that they were descending down into a sewer where the rat themed cars awaited to take them on their thrilling adventure. The ride was constructed by blasting large amounts of rock (which was sold) to form a large hole which was then capped with a large barn style building. The ride attracted much attention, nearly doubling gate figures. The parks increase in popularity following the installation of the Rat Ride led to further developments in the ride offering including, the park’s first looping coaster, the Soopa Loopa, featuring two vertical loops. Following the success of the Sewer Rat, the park decided to embark on a new project to create a brand new record-breaking rollercoaster for the park. In the late 1980s, Robert Staveley submitted the plans for the new coaster that would eventually be named the ultimate following a public vote to decide the name.
The rat rides theming lasted until the end of the 2009 season when the decision was made to upgrade the ride and the scenery to that of an abandoned mineshaft that has been taken over by Raptors from the Jurassic period. The ride is now known as Raptor Attack and has been extensively renovated.