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  1. 13 likes
    Towers are getting a woodie though.
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    Nah, they just forget to untick the mow grass option on their Handymen...
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    After riding Ghost Train a few times last night here is my spoiler filled review:
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    Right. Firstly I'm not a fanof VR based attractions. I find it a cop out basically. I like Alpenexpress VR as an extra choice, and 1/10 Times I'll use the VR on Galactica. A whole attraction seems and is to me, too much. First part is unchanged basically, fine there were no major issues there. Second VR sequence is much better with in built buffers instead of a loop so if they're slow at loading You aren't watching a green mist loop. But, the new VR goes away from the sub core story or is very little tie in. Yeah. New ending is good though and it feels a lot more in Derren's styling. So yeah it's at least complete now and all flows. BUT. I feel it's pretty unreridable for me at least as its only VR and doesn't change so it isn't jumpy after one go. And the story isn't strong enough for you to just sit And enjoy in my eyes, especially as the train hardly moves so it's just like watching tv on your phone on the underground. Also, great it's better but this should have been version one, the last year debacle should never have been green lit so I find it hard to overly applaud them for improving something that was so bad to begin with. It's better yes, but that wasn't hard. Oh and it's still far too complex mechanically for what it does and I believe it will be unreliable as ever. It broke at least 4 times tonight, but they do seem to be able to start it up better now. Yeah, maybe queue10 mins for it but I fear itwill get repetitive very fast and is gonna cost a bomb to run so may struggle in the long term, especially if it's popularity dwindles.
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    Enthusiasts acting self-entitled and thinking they're better than other people 'because they're enthusiasts'.
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    Agreed. Otherwise expect HORROR RIDE AT SURREY THEME PARK headlines come opening day! * Riders stuck for 30 minutes in pouring rain * Eye witnesses reported test dummies being sent round before the ride opened later then scheduled at 11am * Dave (19) said the experience meant "He weren't gonna go to theme parks no more" (sic) and "Surely if they are testing it with dummies it ain't safe" * THORPE PARK - home of "The Colossus" is owned by Merlin Entertainments who also operate Alton Towers, where the Smiler ride caused unprecedented injuries in June 2015 Easy this journalism lark...
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    https://www.thorpeparkmania.co.uk/articles/18-04-2017/John+Burton+Q+and+A Q&A with John Burton from Merlin Magic Making here - some geeky references too!
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    More accommodation...
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    Blue Fire is the only Mack launch to get positive reviews? Lol Helix exists... As always, not about the speed, but what they do with it...
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    Warning - Spoilers!! Okay - I want to do do a full right up of my (our) day at Chessington at some point but in the meantime, heres what I thought of the Gruffalo:- Considering I'm an old boy and remember the original Professor burbs Bubbleworks from within a season or 2 of it's opening, I am filled with sentimentality and a natural criticism of Modern Merlin and IP attractions. However:- I really did enjoy the Gruffalo for what it was, I appreciated its newness and freshness and found this preferable to viewing a decaying classic - which previously just made me sad! This is now a stand-out piece of theme park immersion for the UK, The visuals and multi-sensory effects really excited me and drew me in, In particular the use of 'scent cannons' throughout the ride and a good balance between animatronics and projection effects! in particular I was impressed by the 'waterfall' effect which made use of projection onto textured scenery! I experienced instant comparisons with Europa park's Arthur attraction, which can only be a good thing! A downside Is the obvious Dead-spots and blank walls, with no effort in some areas to hide Vents, Pipes, wires, electric plugs and staff hatches! In other parks these would have been hidden with strategically placed screens, drapes, foliage etc - particularly when you look up and can see the warehouse corners! I think with the newer slower pace of the boats means you have longer to notice all of this - as well as it depending which way your facing - a case in point being the first scene with the giant book - if you face the other way (viewing the rest of that room) - you see a badly painted blue wall! Some of the animatronics could have done with being a bit more complex too - I know the characters are cartoony - but a moving jaw here and there would have added to the whole and added a further dimension to the 'fibre-glassy' look of the figures! The thing that concerns me with the Gruffalo like with many other merlin attractions is - 'Is an attraction only as good as its first season' - once the effects start to stop working - the ride will quickly loose its magic - It only works so well due to the sum of all its effects working! Another thought was the last room - the 'finale' - this could do with a lot more 'magic' - something climatic - it just feels a bit 'meh' - all the best effects seem to have been used earlier in the ride! - saying that I loved the fog projection before re-entering the station! (how long will that work for). THE other problem is the rest of Chessington now needs to catch up with the Gruffalos level of Immersion!
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    Thanks for a great meet guys! More photos in spoiler tags so as not to fill the page If anyone else has photos from the day, feel free to post them!
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    I'm not one for creating huge blogs so... Just got back from my second visit to Europa having been five years ago, and think I enjoyed it even more. This is truly a wonderful place and hope to be back sooner than five years. As you'd expect, all rides working, no breakdowns, high capacity, friendly staff, good food (and too much choice). Got on many rides and the longest queue was 25 mins for Matterhorn Blitz, everything else around the 10-15 mins mark. Sunday park open till 7:30 and Tuesday on our second day open until 9:00. Was fantastic to twice see engineers working on animatronics, proving they truly do keep everything going, unlike some places we all know a bit too well I really recommend visiting the Silver Lake Saloon for dinner if anyone visits the park and stays nearby. Great food and great surroundings. Just a few pics...
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    Bit late to the party...nevertheless, I think the new wooden entrance area looks pretty cool and definitely ties in the island theme better, rather than having a random hotchpotch of themes.
  21. 5 likes
    He moves quite badly to how he was designed and sticking the station theme outside on cheap speakers, with a tinny downloaded transfer of the music, sounds so tack and un-atmospheric, robbing it of any interest. You get far better sound design / setup at your average temporary scare maze, let alone a permanent queue at a high-priced theme park. The music doesn't even loop anymore, it has a gap every minute like 2006 Bubbleworks all over again (which would be so easy to fix). By the time you reach the station, you've heard it over and over. Remove the theme music from the queueline speakers Chessington. If you understand anything about themed audio, why was it not instinctive to create a basic ambient track for use outside? A quality ambient track could be knocked up using a professional royalty free sound library in 15 minutes, if you have some understanding, ability and imagination. Terrible standards at this park.
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    I don't see what people don't like about IMA Score. Their music is well produced, I don't see how that's a bad thing. The ride tracks all sound different and unique to me. I'm a huge fan of the Smiler theme, from the first time I heard it, I was blown away and it fits the ride perfectly. It's the best one they have made to date in my opinion. DBGT is very good too. I also have a recording of the pretty chilled music they were playing around Thorpe at the end of the day. It's like slow tempo Chillstep. Apologies about the voice recordings at the end. IMA_Thorpe_Endofday.m4a
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    Maybe it couldn't...bear to see the ride's fate. (I'm so sorry...)
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    As it was my first time at Chessington, I thought I would write a review of my first impressions of the attractions we visited. So here goes… Ride Reviews Scorpion Express I was surprised to learn it has exactly the same layout as the Flying Fish at Thorpe. Unlike the Flying Fish, the overall theming was very good. It has a very immersive queue which goes under and over the tracks in the middle of the ride area. The pyro and water effects also worked on cue for every run. To me it shows what can be done with a standard ride layout if they are consistent with the theming and maintenance of the effects. Rattlesnake The first thing I noticed about this ride was how small the cars were. I was struggling to get in so I definitely think the they were smaller than the cars on X for comparison. The ride very much felt like a classic wild mouse and was a lot of fun. The brakes on this though are way too strong, the cars come to a very sudden stop at the end. I say stop but it felt more like a controlled crash. Rameses Revenge It instantly reminded me of the much loved and now quietly removed Ripsaw. The state of the ride does not look good, as if it’s on it’s last legs. A lot of the panelling was clearly removed underneath the seats with visible wiring and hydraulic lines. It’s all very dirty (But Merlin don’t seem to clean their flat rides in general) and the sound of grinding metal was not very reassuring. The ride was still very fun however and just like Ripsaw, still draws a crowd to watch as riders are drowned by the fountains. The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure I thought that the new theming was very well done. There aren't any signs of reused props from the old ride and it appears to have been almost gutted and redone entirely. The timing for each scene was out as each bit started just before we entered. The boats were getting stuck and bunching together, there must have been a low water level at the time we were on. It was good to see that some of the fountains were kept in the final scene and are still a great part of the ride. The mist projection at the end was a nice addition, similar to what Merlin have used before at Madame Tussaud’s. Overall it’s a great ride which with any new attraction, just needs a few tweaks. The Adventure Tree It’s a great centrepiece for Chessington and looks great. The ride is very short however so I wouldn’t recommend queuing a long time for it. Dragon Falls It’s great that Chessington still has a working log flume since the loss of two flumes within the space of a few seasons. The water on this ride was crystal clear and very clean which very much enhanced the ride for me. On the drops, being at the front I did not actually get too wet. Dragon’s Fury This is the best spinning coaster I’ve ever been on. The car I was on spun a lot! I like how the ride area is not enclosed and travels around the park. It was certainly fast and furious, definitely worth queuing for. The Vampire Definitely the best ride at Chessington by far. It felt very unusual seeing the train in-front swaying from side to side. A very unique rollercoaster in the UK. There was a great atmosphere in the station, however it was lacking more theming. This is a must go on if you visit Chessington. The Temple Restaurant Later on, we went to the Temple Restaurant for dinner... The restaurant was nice and modern looking. I think it really sets the benchmark for all of Merlin’s new hotel restaurants. There’s a very impressive show including multiple elements such as lighting, wall mounted screens, the main fountain and black lights. The show does not happen too frequently as to not get too repetitive. It’s a very immersive experience which reminded me of the immersion found in the Rainforest Café. The food was only acceptable and there was not a huge variety of choice at the buffet. There wasn't any specially themed menu despite the great theming of the restaurant itself. Overall, the food could do with improving to reach the same level as most of Merlin’s other hotel restaurants. If it had better food, then it would definitely be on par with the Rollercoaster Restaurant at Alton Towers.
  25. 4 likes
    Merlin have just posted a great video about ride operations and why rides are stopped / closed throughout the day. I know a few people on here have been speculating about ride operations so this video should help clear things up. Great to see Merlin explaining these things to the public for reassurance too.
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    I love how the social media team even attempt to make a closure for the entire year exciting.
  28. 4 likes
    So did Gruffalo yesterday, and it's a good enough attraction. The set pieces are good, the animations are good, there's a nice balance between screens and 'real' theming in my opinion, it flows like a book would (which I assume was the aim), and it just generally sets out what it should be achieving. The spoken audio was a bit hard to hear. This shouldn't be too hard to fix and is one of those things which sometimes can only be got right after several tweaks. And it is quite dimly lit so may freak out the younger younger audience. But again, something which I'm sure can be tweaked if necessary. However, I do have a big problem with Gruffalo. Each scene has one set in one certain position. If your boat is spinning, or you're facing away from the set, it involves awkward head-turning and re-positioning to be able to see the scene. And given the nature of the ride system, this is likely to happen a lot for every person. This is unlike Bubbleworks (old and new), because there was always something to look at, and you only moved your head because you wanted to see what was behind you, not because you had to. I get that with the theme / story they were going for, to replicate the sets either side / theme everything wouldn't 'make sense', but it just doesn't work with the ride system. It would suit a more traditional 'face forward in a boat' style ride than a circular boat one. So yeah, it's good. In terms of theming, it's some of the best we've seen at Chessington this century, and certainly a great investment for the park. I'm not completely sold on whether it'll appeal to the younger end of the target market, and it has a couple of flaws, but it's good and a hopefully a worthwhile long-term investment.
  29. 4 likes
    How are the public finding it though? Is it a ride it once and that's it type thing. It has been walk on from about 3 everyday this week and while you could argue that's because it's being reliable, well so are the B&M's and Saw on these days and they have queues all day. Purely because reriding roller coasters is fun. You ride Ghost Train, yeah it gets you once, but that's it. It doesn't change, and it isn't thrilling enough to warrant you wanting to go again. The ending catches you off guard once and that's it. It's another investment where they haven't thought long term. It's expensive to staff and I highly doubt it's going to hold up popularity wise over time. The ride still does nothing and you are sitting still watching a screen most of the time, it's not even like a motion simulator. Yes it's better than last year, but it is not built around the demographic Thorpe get or even want to get. I see it like a midway they've cut in half and plonked in the middle of an amusement park.
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    Have hidden a couple of posts which linked to the person's social media. We don't condone the actions of the group of people who trespassed onto the park, and as such we do not want to generate traffic and attention towards their social media. Needless to say that the people have been banned from Thorpe for 2 years and face further action if they try and get into the park in that period. If anyone had any questions or concerns about us hiding content, please contact one of the team. If not, let's try and move on and not give these idiots any more attention. Thanks!
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    And if your house burnt down because the fire service were at Thorpe would you still think that? Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
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    Yup can you imagine the headlines if one of the idiots had fallen and seriously hurt themselves or worse - what possess someone to scale a fence to enter an empty theme park and then climb 200 odd feet up a rollercoaster?! The park would have got the blame for it in the media and no doubt The Smiler incident would be dragged up again - some people are a special kind of stupid
  33. 4 likes
    Apparently it came down to Icon or Zoomy Woo Woo Fun Time and I for one would prefer the latter.
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    Who would've thought Ghost Train would be one of the only major attractions to open in the first hour...
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    Mostly from Europa Park but a couple from Thorpe, one of a scorpion at Scorpion Express and one of Munich Looping!
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    Hi guys! I'm Fab DS and I make discover the best places to have fun around the world on my show Destination Fun on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/FabDS) I share with you the video of my experience on Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon filmed during the Press Night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dWVu9uVHPY Have fun Fab DS
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    Shouldn't have an attraction where quality is based upon staff availability... It pretty much means that not everyone will get the same experience and that's never good... We all know that anyone at the media night would get it at it's 'best', but it's 'best' should continue into day to day basis...
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    went on opening day, the thing was on 5 minutes for a fair amount of time throughout the day. Such an improvement, I genuinely screamed which is rare for me and horror attractions, and all the changes they have made make the attraction much more fluid and impressive.
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    Shawn Sanbrooke basically explains the entire thing in his last vlog
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    I think a completely fresh approach could have been taken throughout the ride for a true brilliant, timeless experience. It needn't have the story, the poor scripting and the reliance on actors. I feel honestly that if you were lost in those tunnels on your own, with nothing but pure theatre and effects unfolding all around you (as in Universal's type show attractions) while the 'demon' attacks or whatever happens, then it would easily be far more dramatic than having some staff members shouting and spelling out this infection story. Proper amazing theatrical effects - there needn't be a huge change to the theme itself - just paced better, dressed better, immersive effects and trickery, with the group (seemingly) lost on their own down the tunnels. There are many ways you could make it work. I still think the tube stations where you get off have no atmosphere too, static white lighting with mostly flat sets. Since you're supposed to be questioning what's real and not real, wouldnt it be brilliant if it used lighting or strange dressing to create surreal surprises/reveals? For example, once Scene 2 happens and all hell breaks lose - you get back on the train and now the station looks like the upside down from Stranger Things or something (to that effect). It would be a great illusion, but the station change is left as another missed opportunity. It's all about constant dynamic and surprise, keeping you on your toes about what you think is happening and what actually happens next. It could have been the greatest illusion & special effects ride in the UK. But they have still sidelined that opportunity, in favour of actors telling you "there are people infected, it's something to do with the drilling and gas". Is this really what a great show is made of? It's not a patch on one of Derren Brown's real shows. Remember how Hex was redesigned too. In fact Hex has enormous parallels with DBGT. When Hex first opened, it got so caught up in its story and forgot to deliver the drama, and people came out divisive much like DBGT last year. They were able to see the ride had brilliant moments yet it just wasn't delivering. And so they took a whole new approach, cut the characters and cut the scripting about guests getting stuck in the Octagon because of the lightning and all that - rewrote the whole show as a theatrical progression, showing not telling, and it worked so much better. It was wonderful and made the attraction so seemless, subtle, dramatic & fun, just by swalling their pride and taking a good new look at how the story thread unfolded. I appreciate that DBGT now has a much better ending, excellent. I hope it is the most Derren Browny twist ever, that would be a great way to finish. But what the ride really needed in my experience was a brand new approach to make DBGT more entertaining, more frightening and the potential to make it a masterpiece. I echo the appreciation though that, for what it was last year, it is now a much better experience.
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    A 'special ending'? Like one of those Thai massages? If so I'm game...
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    I would suggest that a lot of it would depend on the park's requirements/demands from the soundtrack... Chiapas has several variants on the theme throughout the ride changing along constantly, so IMAScore can do stuff like that, guess though many parks won't desire that level of commitment as it costs top monies... Klugheim is similar, but nowhere near as catchy imo... The best theme park tunes are the repetitive ones after all, even Tussauds knew that... A lot of park music relies on the context though, hearing it outside of the ride/park doesn't work really, I thought Blue Fire's soundtrack was iffy for years until I actually heard it properly and it suddenly clicked into place... IMAScore's success is certainly hard branding and also no doubt being a sudden dedicated signpost for themed music... Parks no longer need to source a composer and just get one company to do it... They saw a gap in the market and it's worked...
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    If Tower of Terror in Florida gets puked on by Guardians of the Galaxy, then this could very well be a reality for me.
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    When they've just spent all of their budget on a luxury blue fence and two multimillion flat rides, I can't see it!
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    Amazing operations at Pleasure Beach today and yesterday - all rides open on time, on capacity with fast dispatches and a 7pm close Wild Mouse is back open with its new magnetic braking system, only running 3 cars at the moment which I really hope is temporary (it has been testing on 4). Big announcement coming on Tuesday, I believe it may be a name reveal for C2018.
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    Rumba really needs a massive overhaul and refurbishment as the ride has been very rundown and neglected for the last five years (if not longer). The Rapids aren't a patch on Vikings and Congo in their current state, let alone Fjord, Pirana and River Quest. A modest refurbishment in an off year would be ten times better than a shoehorned low capacity walk through.