If you’ve ever been enchanted by the golden ticket premise from the popular children’s book and film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, you’ll appreciate a recent scheme devised by London’s Olympic Park.
The Park is accepting golden tickets in exchange for a free ride on its ArcelorMittal Orbit—Britain’s largest example of a sculpture. Also perhaps to heighten the excitement of the event, they are accepting the unique currency for a small window of time: between 10 am and 11 am on Wednesday, December 20th. Though technically not free (100 chocolate coins are required to gain admission), the option is still more economical than the standard £16.50 adult price.
UK-based company Tesco is now selling 3 bags of coins containing roughly 8 for £2, which means you’ll have to stock up on 4 to 5 to have enough. Visitors have to climb 114 meters high to enjoy the assaulting panoramic views from the top, and the access the ride, considered by many to be world’s fastest and longest ride.
The Story Behind the ArcelorMittal Orbital
The ArcelorMittal Orbit represents a unique and impressive collaboration: conceived of by British sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor, he collaborated with noted engineer Cecil Balmond and German artist Carsten Höller to execute his vision. The tunnel of the park slide itself measures 178m—and the tall structure features dark and light sections to add to the pulse-pounding excitement. All of this happens as riders whiz past some of the most unique and special sights that make up the London skyscape.
And let’s not forget about the seemingly endless curves and loops inside the slide: they combine to make the 40-second journey even more thrilling, and dramatic. Circling through the slide 12 times before the ride is finished, visitors also pass through a tight section shaped like a corkscrew. It's given the appropriate name of bettfeder, a German word which translates to “bedspring”, which could also be a nod to Höller. The finale—a 50-meter straight drop—is no doubt the highlight of the entire ride.
In terms of the engineering, the superstructure is supported by steel supplied by ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest producer. It was a conversation between company chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal and former London Mayor Boris Johnson that initially led to the project, designed originally to showcase the city for the London 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics games. Close to 35,000 steel bolts went into constructing the impressive structure. Beyond this, steel is also highlighted in 4 specific areas:
• The spiral stairs
• The Corten steel chosen for the canopy
• The basis for the red super-structure
• The steel mirrors that are located on the upper viewing platform
So for Londoners, or for the lucky visitor who happens to be in town next week, we would recommend taking part in this event that truly supports the philosophy that it’s good to be a kid at heart.