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  2. And it's open: I read a statement whereby the park claimed it had 300k guests on its first day. Somehow I don't think so..
  3. Today
  4. So the park will be unrecognisable in 10 years? Maybe under water then. I would like to think good things will come, but I just cannot see it. Especially as the park has often promised remarkable things which never happened and with Merlin seeing the park as a failure also. I could be wrong, but I just don’t see it!
  5. And another Making Of video.. This series has probably been my favourite construction video series in recent years!
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-48700496 Merlin have, after many years of planning, moved two whales from an aquarium in China to a whale sanctuary in Iceland. Animal welfare is still a developing issue in China, and aquariums/oceanariums with whale shows aren't unusual. Merlin bought the Changfeng Ocean World Zoo in 2012 and rebranded it into a Sealife Shanghai, and committed very early to improving animal welfare and ultimately moving the whales, despite the massive popularity of the show. Indeed, Merlin don't actually list Sealife Shanghai anywhere on the Sealife website, and you have to do some digging to find out that they own/run it. The movement to the sanctuary had hit a couple of delays and was an expensive, logistical nightmare, but is now finally done. I don't know the long term plan for Sea Life Shanghai, but I imagine they're going to continue bringing it in line with other Sea Lifes, and further push education of animal welfare in China.
  7. You say that like it's a bad thing? A poor man's Helix is still at least a good ride, possibly very good. And supposedly this only cost half of what Helix cost (likely cos it isn't built on a massive hill), I'd still take that!
  8. Taiga looks unfortunately like a poor man's Helix based on the POV...
  9. I assume going for a family friendly approach will involve getting rid of Walking Dead cred then? Constant reactive decisions aren't helping, and as soon as changes are made and aren't successful in a season (because a massive change like target audience takes time) they'll revert back...
  10. Some people may be aware that a couple of weeks ago, TowersTimes had a Q&A session with Thorpe. An brief summary from someone who attended, found on CoasterForce: So it certainly seems like the 'next big thing' is a while away. It's no secret that Thorpe's non-big things over the past decade have left a lot to be desired, so it'll be interesting to see if they can change that. And also it's questionable whether the park can truly remain fresh and exciting without adding a major new addition for so long. And forgive my pessimistic scepticism, but I see little to be excited about. The park have see-sawed between families and teens/young adults again and again it makes you wonder if they'll ever get the balance right. Saying the park will look unrecognisable in 10 years time is a bold claim which requires a substantial amount of money to back it up (Walibi Belgium are doing something similar and spending at least 100m euros) - and this is during a time when Varney has said that Merlin will be investing less money in theme parks. It all sounds very much like Thorpe have been looking through rose-tinted binoculars and what the future could be like.
  11. Yesterday
  12. June is the month of POVs... https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10157148899100822&id=25556630821 Looks decent, though a shame that the final set of brakes makes the spike pointless.
  13. Last week
  14. Nah, we don’t want any unnecessary metal sheds hanging about.
  15. Maybe Hagrids should have been built inside then. 😉
  16. What I meant was that it is pretty much Star Tours on another level, Disney are very familiar with the simulator type ride and with it being indoors, it is less likely to have as much downtime as Hagrid's.
  17. I'd call Hagrid a glorified, everything but the kitchen sink family coaster myself but we can all be brutal at times. 😉 Just to clarify, I don't think either approach is perfect, Galaxys Edge at Disneyland has seen a massive attendance drop across the resort because of how Disney overplayed just how busy it was going to be. Universal seem quite happy with everyone piling into Hagrid based on how quiet the rest of the park was on those ten hour queue days.
  18. I nearly included a comment about over riding an error, but its actually not funny
  19. And it's what you've all been waiting for, a Taiga POV.. Today was the press event, with the ride opening tomorrow. Unsurprisingly, all reviews have been positive; good amounts of ejector airtime and some good intense moments. The stall inversion after the top hat looks bloody brilliant too. And if that's not enough to whet your whistle, here's the beautiful advert... Heading out here in September and I'm seriously hyped already 😍
  20. Good thing they didn't do a manual override of the train on the lift hill unlike certain theme parks
  21. Some extra hype with a back row POV...
  22. Gatekeeper stalled yesterday in strong winds https://www.ajc.com/news/national/cedar-point-coaster-gets-stuck-mid-ride/J7ZTQYmGEjHKtSFiUfdsiN/
  23. That article did make me laugh, I'm sure Universal would want guests roaming the park and spending money, rather than standing in a queue the whole day. Galaxy's Edge at Disney is much easier to implement a virtual queue system for (it's a glorified indoor motion simulator) than #Hagride (complicated Intamin coaster opening during storm season in Florida). Weather and technical delays could have turned the virtual waiting system into a nightmare with backlogs. Calling the whole process "inhumane" is a massive overreaction IMO, nobody forced guests to wait as long as they did for a coaster. The queue times were heavily advertised, and there's screens outside the park advertising when the ride is at capacity. Universal did a very good job of keeping guests in the queue happy and safe, free bottled water was dished out, toilet breaks were permitted by giving guests leaving the queue a password to get back in and entertainment put on. Regarding capacity, they have been running more full cars (some rows audio was not working, which has now been fixed. and Despite the long queues, guests have been coming off this ride absolutely singing it's praises. It appears Universal/Intamin have struck gold with this ride!
  24. Food outlets and kiosks around the park (but not inside the Dome) now serve Illy coffee, from freshly ground beans. No more disgusting Nescafé! Also pleased to say that most of the Coca Cola Freestyle machines offer water for free. Goes through the same filter and chiller as the other drinks so tastes great.
  25. They were fixed two seasons ago, but then broke again (or weren't swithched on). Last season i saw only the sink work on one visit and nothing on the rest. Was just nice to see them all working. The house sets certainly do look worn which is a shame. At least the park are trying to touch little things up and repair things.
  26. I think they were fixed couple years back, maybe not, but they're lots of fun. The toilet is pretty busted now though and has a plastic seat sort of stuck on top (used to be a themed toilet like from the 50s) with a perspex cover to stop people, err..! I think the radio on the shelf in the first 'house' used to speak too? The house sets looking pretty worn out these days sadly. It was a brilliant themed area when looked after, the best in park!
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