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  1. Really interesting - thank you for posting this! The very obvious and self-inflicted rise and fall of Thorpe Park, and the reputation damage following the Smiler crash are the standouts for me. Its also mad how erratic Alton Towers’ attendance has been over the years compared to the others. I echo what’s been said above - this is evidence that the public want to come and see new coasters and rides - NOT walkthroughs and stupid gimmicks. Semi-regular ride additions appear to increase attendance according to this graph.
    3 points
  2. This would never happen this way. You'd bring him to a pub, you THINK you offered him a drink but in fact you've just signed over your house, life savings and cat to him and you'd be none the wiser.
    3 points
  3. Tonight is the Press Night for this year's Fright Nights. Naturally spoilers for this year's event will come out. Please post any spoilery things here. Of course, your favourite Thorpe Park centric fan site will be there and posting updates on social media! Keep an eye out as we see if there are nightmares to be unlocked!
    2 points
  4. So I'll post my thoughts here. A review will be appearing on TPM later today (which will feature lots of nice pictures), and there's also some more stuff on our Facebook and Twitter of course. I prefix my review as I do every Fright Nights. Yes, I attended the Press Night, and these feature no queues, usually more actors and a sort of 'best representation' of the event. Of course, the point of these events is for influencers and fan sites to go along and post good things regardless of the quality of the event; that's what the TPM main site review will do. This review is my own, honest thoughts of what's gone down. AND of course, spoilers. Survival Games Let's start with the big new thing. I think the first thing that should be said is how big and imposing this looks from the outside. It's really well done. I like the music outside, and there's also similar music inside. The premise of this might sound a bit deeper or more complicated at first. You're effectively auditioning to join a new social media network, and to do that, you go through 'the Survival Games'. If you survive, you join the social media network, if you don't...well, you're dead. This is featured in the pre show and at the end, but outside of that, there is very little story in the maze. Actors have lines which fit in with that idea throughout, but that's about it. This may sound like a negative, but it's not. If anything, it's a positive. The idea of Survival Games is to be chaotic, and that's exactly what it does. Sticking to a long-winded, developed story throughout would harm it. The maze pre show works very well; splitting everyone off into individual cages, before having people individually 'snatched' away. This could be done even more extremely, but obviously a balance has to be made. You then make your way through various scenes before heading to the 'arena'. This is a huge space which takes up about half the space of the maze I reckon. It's completely free flow, with multiple routes, the ability to double back on yourself and very chaotic in general. Actors are everywhere, and do everything they can to intimidate, scare and disorientate you. It's fantastic. The ending of the maze sees you get put through a hidden door (in a bit which feels a bit Black Mirror Labyrinth esque), before being given one final scare. The finale is nothing original or special, but works in context. I have concerns about how well it operate on a standard day, which I raised with some of those responsible for the attraction, and I feel confident it will be well managed. I'm also a bit lost how this is the park's most expensive maze. The theming isn't anything special (though, like with the story, it doesn't need it). I guess a lot goes on the structure and set up. But even then, it surprises me this was a bigger investment than Trailers, which looks a lot better in terms of theming. All in though, I think this is a great experience, and up there with my favourites. It's just so much fun, with levels of drama and chaos you don't see often in mazes. Trailers There's no difference between last year's version of Trailers. All of the scenes have new posters indicating sequels, which is a fun little touch. That's something I'd like to see continued, as well as having scenes replaced every couple of years (having a Creek Freak room for example, in turn allowing for a chainsaw run out finale would work well!). So yes, don't expect any changes, but it's a solid cast and just in general a very lively atmosphere in there. Creek Freak Massacre Again, no real changes here, aside from a slightly difference script in the pre show which references Project Exodus tearing down the sawmill. I had a fun run, but this has never been something I've rated particularly highly. I hope it gets better received than last year. Scare Mazes: Bottom Line A thing which hasn't been noted really is the line up of these 3 mazes is actually Thorpe's 3 most expensive maze investments (or at least, 3 of the top 4). And those investments shine through. Whilst the upcharging of mazes is controversial, if it does result in new stuff having more money thrown at it and ultimately improving the experience, that's a massive win. I still think the upcharges are on the pricey side. Survival Games is worth the £8 outlay as a passholder (especially if you end up in there for 10-15 minutes like I did). £10 is too much in my books. But Trailers and Creek Freak are closer to the £5 price point for me. The Terminal sigh This. This is a thing. It looks terrible outside; no real entrance feature, and just a group of containers. What is The Terminal? It's an audio experience in darkness, so you wear headphone and have a story told to you, with loads of sound effects playing. And that's basically it. You have a pre show in your group. But it is very much just 'sit down and wear headphones'. There's a couple of extra effects, such as air sprays and vibrations. But for me, it doesn't do it. Don't get me wrong, this will get some people. Two people in my batch were terrified and had taken their headphones off at the end. But for those who are a bit braver, it won't do much. And you have to be truly invested in the experience from the word go to get anything out of it. This would be better with more sensory effects. Leg ticklers. Back and butt prodders. Leg grabs. Yes, I'm literally suggesting they take a page out of the Derren Brown Ghost Train book to improve this. But it needs a lot more. In The Terminal, I experienced the worst sensation you can experience in an attraction. Boredom. That about sums it up. Death's Doors So the new scare zone. It has a concept which sounds cool; knocking on doors and see what horror lies behind them. Obviously this has huge operational problems, and I can see them coming to a head soon. The doors are grouped together in blocks, and presumably one or two actors serve a block of doors. Already seems like a problem. One thing which took me by surprise is how...humour-filled the attraction is. Some of the characters include an evil Easter Bunny, an elf who's decapitated Father Christmas, a wicked Siren, etc. A little bit of dark humour works well, and is something which hasn't been featured in Fright Nights so explicitly before. I don't know if people will really expect it or get it as a result, but it's something which was appreciated by me. This feels like an attraction which has been shoehorned a bit for the 'unlock nightmares' tagline for the 21st edition of Fright Nights. The location isn't ideal. The characters don't quite fit the feel or story of the attraction. The ideas are there, but the execution is off. The Crows of Mawkin Meadow This is much the same as last year and good fun. However, there is the addition of a new route making use of the Saw Alive queue line, which takes you through the ruins of the village within the story. It's a nice idea, but doesn't quite work for me. They've partially draped the queue line, but for the most part, it feels like you're walking through a meshed fence queue. It needs more theming to get you immersed and to buy into the idea. Apparently the park did look at a larger solution of partially removing the queue line, but it wasn't financially viable for this Fright Nights. Maybe next year? Amity vs LycanThorpe High Another good, new, dance set, and the same usual fun. Very much seems the be the last year of this vampires vs werewolves, so presumably they have a plan moving forward for what follows. Look forward to seeing that. Birthday Bash Some good humour here (the addition of a grandma character is a big hit in my books). Again, new show, and again, good. Creek Freaks Unchained Didn't see it, but the roaming van they have used for all the events this year has had a Creek Freaks overlay. Legacy A new fire and light show is taking place on the small side of the Beach. It tested after the Press Event for the first time, and ran last night to the public for the first time. Have yet to see it. --- All in, Fright Nights is a fab event this year. They've built off the successes of last year, and have got a very good trio of high quality mazes this year. There's some lowlights, The Terminal in particular, and some potential issues which may come out during normal operation. But this is once again another great Fright Nights, and I'd really recommend going along this year!
    2 points
  5. Theme Park Fanatic

    Duel!

    @Matt N I suspect the Mad Professors Lab/Zombie scene is being ripped out. This scene was made purely for Duel.
    2 points
  6. But EA objections STILL remain, leading this planning permission to be referred to the Secretary of State, so it can actually be approved. The amount of misinformation is unreal.
    1 point
  7. Checked that first random planning application, that didn’t change after they moved onto thorpe park. Waiting for Jack Silkstones stream, Twitter is a mess now. People saying it’s been approved, running wild and saying “imagine if we see work start” wait until it has to be referred to government. I can’t imagine it’s been rejected, but a lot of fake news on Twitter
    1 point
  8. Trooper Looper

    Duel!

    Double post sorry, but:
    1 point
  9. I was eh on this year's event, let me review it deeper. The Terminal: This was awful- a waste of £10. It looks bad, it is boring, and has the worst ending to a scare attraction? I like how they are trying something new, but when charging £10 you would expect something fully realized, but The Terminal is a failed experiment and the queueline tonight reflected it. The ending feels like some sort of crappy self help book. Being told to appreciate my friends in a scare attraction? I think if they are to experiment again, maybe make it free timed tickets? I am very sure anyone paying for this did not end the attraction feeling like their £10 was money well spent.. Just poor. Trailers: With the setup I really believe they could of mixed a room up or two, but it is the same, and it looks pretty. My main problem with it from last year is still there- it is simply not scary to me, and this year it felt even less scary as it had seemingly less actors. it just lacks a punch to it, with Trailers I never quite get into my flight or fight- I can't quite word it. I think the summer edition of this maze was WAY better as they used it more for laughs and made it way more camp. But yeah, Meh. CF: I love this maze- actors always seem to know how to work the space and it feels like it is designed for the actors and not against them. The maze was intense as per usual, with buckwheats always being within sight in this attraction. It felt full, busy, and was fun. I have done this quite a few times so I generally know it pretty well now- but I can say it retains the position of being a really good maze. Survival Games: First off I know this has been mentioned by another, low-key superior Josh. But how did this cost so much? The theming does not exist- it is too dark honestly to even see the set, and generally the theming is a oil barrel or two. In ways I do wonder if Thorpe are falling behind a little on the theming front- just look at Doom Town or some of the mazes at Xtreme Scream. Despite this though- Survival Games is a really fun maze, it has a pocket sized Sub Species vibe to it. Seperation, dark rooms, touching. It very much reminds me of Sub Species- which is a positive. I think its honestly a really strong maze for the event, and I hope they can expand on it. I really liked Thorpe Park tonight- but I believe Terminal and Trailers need changing. I also found paying +£30 for 3 mazes and a shipping container with headphones a little too much. With an entry fee I have seen my friends spend too much money on one day- it also kicks that you only get one through, and if you want more you have to pay out even more. The scarezones though were great, and brought much joy. All four were great in their own ways- the high school in Amity seemed to really please families and seemed like some mild fun, the door knocking scare zone was actually a brilliant idea for a scare zone and ended up being something we did while walking across the park- we loved it! So yeah, it was a great night. But I do wonder if the pricing is a little extortinate. + points for good ride ops tonight as well
    1 point
  10. Mark9

    Cedar Point

    So far nearly all of the launch track, the station and offload and half of the break run have been removed. Rumours abound that the track is being converted to take LSM which seems pretty obvious to me. Still weird to see such an iconic and important coaster in bits.
    1 point
  11. So I went to fright nights yesterday, and given the constant rain the park seemed to empty out rather quickly and was generally rather quiet... and so were the mazes 😬 I apologise for the negativity in advance. --- So first was creek freak massacre in which we didnt hear nor see a single chain saw, which is meant to be the signature theme of the maze. For large portions the corridors were empty, and even though there were absolutely no queues and was just me and a friend in there it lacked the intensity I felt it had in 2019 when I last went to the event. However on a positive note some of the individual acting was solid. But ye, disappointed to say the least. --- Next we did trailers which I didnt do last year as I didnt attend the event. But this was for me just as poor as creek freak. The pre show story about everyone having being "sucked into the screens" was a bit odd and some of the scenes didn't actually have actors in them. I will say though that some of the theming was impressive. But ive certainly never walked out of the exit to that building so relaxed before 🙄 --- Last was survival games which was easily the best maze of the night. The start where someone comes up behind you and pulls you away was something I didnt see coming and was really effective. However the rest of the maze still suffered from a lack of actors but just to a lesser degree with some of the maze feeling empty. However being completely alone and lost looping back on myself was good fun and quite daunting. However the maze just didnt scare me one bit aside from the beginning. --- So overall as of 30/09/22, very poor event. I havent been back to the event since they began upcharging mazes and I really hope with a change of heart they'll stop doing it. They are in no way worth the money and non of the mazes had any sort of queue to them or any element of apprehension given I was already set up for disappointment given I just spent a tenner to walk through an empty queue. Again I apologise for the negativity but just going by **my personal** experience I won't be paying for mazes again. An upcharge maze should surely mean more revenue to invest into actually having actors and more than 3 mazes. They really need to go back to 4 or 5 free mazes that were actually good and bouncing with activity. But the event still somehow finds ways to become worse 😂 Hopefully this was all just down to thorpe anticipating the park would be quiet and the mazes will be better during peak weeks.
    1 point
  12. I personally think the Attic is the strongest out of the existing ones if you're just doing the one. Definitely worth checking out reviews from this year though
    1 point
  13. MattyMoo

    Duel!

    Not the tip - it'll end up in the TPWW woRlD oF TheMEpArkS (version 2)
    1 point
  14. Benin

    Duel!

    My thought is that a lot of the scenery will be old and with low upkeep so lots will be heading to the local tip. They'll likely need a bigger skip.
    1 point
  15. Hi guys. During the coaster consultations in 2021, Merlin released an attendance graph showing all their parks' attendance figures since the early 1980s. I had some time on my hands yesterday evening and decided to try and extrapolate some slightly more precise guest figures for each park from this graph to try and determine the precise(ish) attendance trajectory of each UK Merlin park from the earliest year listed here (1984 for Alton Towers and Chessington, 1983 for Thorpe Park, 1987 for Windsor Safari Park and 1997 for Legoland Windsor). For some idea, this is the original graph I was working with: https://www.cwoa-consultation.com/proposals?lightbox=dataItem-komw1163 To make things easier for myself, I divided each million on the graph into 8 rows (thus leaving ~125,000 guests per row, as my rather crude MS Paint annotation indicates): As such, I then decided to extrapolate a precise(ish) figure from the graph by looking at what row each park's figure fell within. All of these figures are rounded to the nearest 31,250; I know that sounds oddly specific, but it's 1/32 of a million, and a quarter of one of these rows, so it's the most precise figure that remains easy to determine by eye. It also keeps the margin of error to only 1 or 2 percent in most cases. The precise(ish) trajectories that I managed to extrapolate for each park, including percentage increases and decreases for each year, were as follows: Alton Towers - opened 1980, first year on graph 1984 1984: 1,843,750 (first year, #1/3 on graph) 1985: 1,812,500 (-1.7%, #1/3 on graph) 1986: 2,250,000 (+24.1%, #1/3 on graph) 1987: 2,312,500 (+2.8%, #1/4 on graph) 1988: 2,875,000 (+24.3%, #1/4 on graph) 1989: 2,412,500 (-16.1%, #1/4 on graph) 1990: 1,912,500 (-20.7%, #1/4 on graph) 1991: 1,843,750 (-3.6%, #1/4 on graph) 1992: 2,625,000 (+42.4%, #1/4 on graph) 1993: 2,843,750 (+8.3%, #1/4 on graph) 1994: 3,312,500 (+16.5%, #1/3 on graph) 1995: 2,843,750 (-14.2%, #1/3 on graph) 1996: 2,875,000 (+1.1%, #1/3 on graph) 1997: 2,875,000 (0.0%, #1/4 on graph) 1998: 2,906,250 (+1.1%, #1/4 on graph) 1999: 2,593,750 (-10.8%, #1/4 on graph) 2000: 2,412,500 (-7.0%, #1/4 on graph) 2001: 2,187,500 (-9.3%, #1/4 on graph) 2002: 2,687,500 (+22.9%, #1/4 on graph) 2003: 2,562,500 (-4.7%, #1/4 on graph) 2004: 2,125,000 (-17.1%, #1/4 on graph) 2005: 2,187,500 (+2.9%, #1/4 on graph) 2006: 2,218,750 (+1.4%, #1/4 on graph) 2007: 2,250,000 (+1.4%, #1/4 on graph) 2008: 2,593,750 (+15.3%, #1/4 on graph) 2009: 2,687,500 (+3.6%, #1/4 on graph) 2010: 3,062,500 (+14.0%, #1/4 on graph) 2011: 2,687,500 (-12.2%, #1/4 on graph) 2012: 2,406,250 (-10.5%, #1/4 on graph) 2013: 2,593,750 (+7.8%, #1/4 on graph) 2014: 2,312,500 (-10.8%, joint #2/4 on graph) 2015: 1,937,500 (-16.2%, #2/4 on graph) 2016: 1,750,000 (-9.7%, #2/4 on graph) 2017: 1,875,000 (+7.1%, #2/4 on graph) 2018: 2,218,750 (+18.3%, #1/4 on graph) 2019: 2,500,000 (+12.7%, #1/4 on graph) 2020: 912,500 (-63.5%, #1/4 on graph) All-Time Peak: 3,312,500 (1994) All-Time Low (excluding 2020): 1,750,000 (2016) Peak Within Merlin Era (2008 and later): 3,062,500 (2010) Low Within Merlin Era (2008 and later, excluding 2020): 1,750,000 (2016) Chessington/Chessington Zoo - opened 1931, first year on graph 1984, first year as CWOA 1987 1984: 625,000 (first year, #3/3 on graph) 1985: 562,500 (-10.0%, #3/3 on graph) 1986: 500,000 (-11.1%, #3/3 on graph) 1987: 875,000 (+75.0%, #3/4 on graph) 1988: 1,187,500 (+35.7%, joint #3/4 on graph) 1989: 1,250,000 (+5.3%, #3/4 on graph) 1990: 1,062,500 (-15.0%, joint #3/4 on graph) 1991: 1,437,500 (+35.3%, #2/4 on graph) 1992: 1,218,750 (-15.2%, #2/4 on graph) 1993: 1,531,250 (+25.6%, #2/4 on graph) 1994: 1,687,500 (+10.2%, #2/3 on graph) 1995: 1,875,000 (+11.1%, #2/3 on graph) 1996: 1,812,500 (-3.3%, #2/3 on graph) 1997: 1,843,750 (+1.7%, #2/4 on graph) 1998: 1,843,750 (0.0%, #2/4 on graph) 1999: 1,656,250 (-10.2%, #2/4 on graph) 2000: 1,562,500 (-5.7%, #3/4 on graph) 2001: 1,531,250 (-2.0%, joint #3/4 on graph) 2002: 1,281,250 (-16.3%, #4/4 on graph) 2003: 1,312,500 (+2.4%, #4/4 on graph) 2004: 1,250,000 (-4.8%, #4/4 on graph) 2005: 1,093,750 (-12.5%, #4/4 on graph) 2006: 1,000,000 (-8.6%, #4/4 on graph) 2007: 968,750 (-3.1%, #4/4 on graph) 2008: 1,281,250 (+32.3%, #4/4 on graph) 2009: 1,343,750 (+4.9%, #4/4 on graph) 2010: 1,437,500 (+7.0%, #4/4 on graph) 2011: 1,500,000 (+4.3%, #4/4 on graph) 2012: 1,406,250 (-6.2%, #4/4 on graph) 2013: 1,531,250 (+8.9%, #4/4 on graph) 2014: 1,562,500 (+2.0%, #4/4 on graph) 2015: 1,437,500 (-8.0%, #4/4 on graph) 2016: 1,468,750 (+2.2%, #4/4 on graph) 2017: 1,500,000 (+2.1%, #4/4 on graph) 2018: 1,593,750 (+6.3%, joint #4/4 on graph) 2019: 1,687,500 (+5.9%, #3/4 on graph) 2020: 500,000 (-70.4%, joint #4/4 on graph) All-Time Peak: 1,875,000 (1995) All-Time Low (excluding 2020, including pre-CWOA years): 500,000 (1986) All-Time Low (excluding 2020 and pre-CWOA years): 875,000 (1987) Peak Within Merlin Era (2008 and later): 1,687,500 (2019) Low Within Merlin Era (2008 and later, excluding 2020): 1,281,250 (2008) Legoland Windsor/Windsor Safari Park - opened 1970, first year on graph 1987, first year as Legoland Windsor 1996 1987: 812,500 (first year, #4/4 on graph) 1988: 875,000 (+7.7%, #4/4 on graph) 1989: 968,750 (+10.7%, #4/4 on graph) 1990: 1,062,500 (+9.7%, joint #3/4 on graph) 1991: 1,031,250 (-2.9%, #3/4 on graph) 1992: 968,750 (-6.1%, #4/4 on graph) 1993: 937,500 (-3.2%, #4/4 on graph) 1994: N/A (-100.0%, N/A on graph) 1995: N/A (0.0%, N/A on graph) 1996: N/A (0.0%, N/A on graph) 1997: 1,468,750 (first year as LLW, #3/4 on graph) 1998: 1,312,500 (-10.6%, #3/4 on graph) 1999: 1,500,000 (+14.3%, #3/4 on graph) 2000: 1,687,500 (+12.5%, #2/4 on graph) 2001: 1,531,250 (-9.3%, joint #3/4 on graph) 2002: 1,593,750 (+4.1%, #2/4 on graph) 2003: 1,437,500 (-9.8%, #3/4 on graph) 2004: 1,437,500 (0.0%, #3/4 on graph) 2005: 1,500,000 (+4.3%, #3/4 on graph) 2006: 1,625,000 (+8.3%, #3/4 on graph) 2007: 1,500,000 (-7.8%, #3/4 on graph) 2008: 1,875,000 (+25.0%, #2/4 on graph) 2009: 1,906,250 (+1.7%, #3/4 on graph) 2010: 1,906,250 (0.0%, #3/4 on graph) 2011: 1,906,250 (0.0%, #3/4 on graph) 2012: 2,031,250 (+6.6%, #2/4 on graph) 2013: 2,312,500 (+13.8%, #2/4 on graph) 2014: 2,312,500 (0.0%, joint #2/4 on graph) 2015: 2,343,750 (+1.4%, #1/4 on graph) 2016: 2,187,500 (-6.6%, #1/4 on graph) 2017: 2,312,500 (+5.7%, #1/4 on graph) 2018: 2,125,000 (-8.1%, #2/4 on graph) 2019: 2,062,500 (-2.9%, #2/4 on graph) 2020: 656,250 (-68.2%, #2/4 on graph) All-Time Peak: 2,343,750 (2015) All-Time Low (excluding 2020, including pre-LLW years): 812,500 (1987) All-Time Low (excluding 2020 and pre-LLW years): 1,312,500 (1998) Peak Within Merlin Era (2006 and later): 2,343,750 (2015) Low Within Merlin Era (2006 and later, excluding 2020): 1,500,000 (2007) Thorpe Park - opened 1979, first year on graph 1983 1983: 843,750 (first year, #1/1 on graph) 1984: 1,031,250 (+22.2%, #2/3 on graph) 1985: 1,093,750 (+6.1%, #2/3 on graph) 1986: 1,093,750 (0.0%, #2/3 on graph) 1987: 1,093,750 (0.0%, #2/4 on graph) 1988: 1,187,500 (+8.6%, joint #3/4 on graph) 1989: 1,343,750 (+13.2%, #2/4 on graph) 1990: 1,000,000 (-25.6%, #4/4 on graph) 1991: 968,750 (-3.1%, #4/4 on graph) 1992: 1,093,750 (+12.9%, #3/4 on graph) 1993: 1,281,250 (+17.1%, #3/4 on graph) 1994: 1,218,750 (-4.9%, #3/3 on graph) 1995: 1,125,000 (-7.7%, #3/3 on graph) 1996: 1,187,500 (+5.6%, #3/3 on graph) 1997: 968,750 (-18.4%, #4/4 on graph) 1998: 875,000 (-9.7%, #4/4 on graph) 1999: 906,250 (+3.6%, #4/4 on graph) 2000: 937,500 (+3.4%, #4/4 on graph) 2001: 1,187,500 (+26.7%, #4/4 on graph) 2002: 1,437,500 (+21.1%, #3/4 on graph) 2003: 1,531,250 (+6.5%, #2/4 on graph) 2004: 1,468,750 (-4.1%, #2/4 on graph) 2005: 1,562,500 (+6.4%, #2/4 on graph) 2006: 1,812,500 (+16.0%, #2/4 on graph) 2007: 1,843,750 (+1.7%, #2/4 on graph) 2008: 1,843,750 (0.0%, #3/4 on graph) 2009: 2,125,000 (+15.3%, #2/4 on graph) 2010: 2,187,500 (+2.9%, #2/4 on graph) 2011: 2,125,000 (-2.9%, #2/4 on graph) 2012: 1,843,750 (-13.2%, #3/4 on graph) 2013: 1,786,250 (-3.1%, #3/4 on graph) 2014: 1,843,750 (+3.2%, #3/4 on graph) 2015: 1,531,250 (-17.0%, #3/4 on graph) 2016: 1,625,000 (+6.1%, #3/4 on graph) 2017: 1,562,500 (-3.9%, #3/4 on graph) 2018: 1,593,750 (+2.0%, #3/4 on graph) 2019: 1,500,000 (-5.9%, #4/4 on graph) 2020: 500,000 (-66.6%, joint #4/4 on graph) All-Time Peak: 2,187,500 (2010) All-Time Low (excluding 2020): 843,750 (1983) Peak Within Merlin Era (2008 and later): 2,187,500 (2010) Low Within Merlin Era (2008 and later, excluding 2020): 1,500,000 (2019) To sum up each park's trajectory: Alton Towers may have been top dog for the bulk of the years since 1984, but it has also had the most volatile guest figures. It has had peaks as high as 3.3 million in 1994, but also troughs of only slightly above 2 million in the mid-2000s or even slightly below in the early 1990s and mid-2010s, with a nadir of 1.75 million being reached in 2016. At that point, it was well away from #1 and almost rubbing shoulder to shoulder with #3 park Thorpe. Interestingly, its peak was early, in 1994, and only 2010 has ever come close to that since. Merlin have attained fair growth at Alton Towers; between 2007 and 2019, attendance grew by 11.1%. Chessington started off fairly well, attaining steady growth from 1987 up until 1994, where it stayed at its peak until about 1997. However, attendance dropped through the floor from 1998 onwards, hitting a low of under 1 million in 2007, so it's fair to say that Chessington's trajectory has been far from uniform, although things improved notably under Merlin. Interestingly, Chessington is the park that has thrived most under Merlin, with attendance having grown by 74.1% between 2007 and 2019. Nonetheless, the high water mark was hit quite early on at Chessington, with that near 2 million peak guest figure being all the way back in 1995, and no year post-1997 has yet come close to it. Legoland Windsor has had the most consistent growth trajectory of all the parks. With its low back near opening in 1998, its peak in 2015 and no particularly catastrophic attendance drops (COVID aside), it's grown fairly consistently over the years. It's also a park that has thrived pretty well under Merlin; between 2005 and 2019, attendance grew by 37.5%. Thorpe Park has had a bit of a roller coaster of a growth trajectory. The 80s and 90s were a little bit choppy at Thorpe Park, with peaks of close to 1.5 million and lows of under 1 million. The park really hit its stride from 2001 onwards, maintaining a near perfect growth trajectory right up to the park's 2.2 million peak in 2010. However, things have been a bit of a struggle since then, with guest figures having almost consistently declined since 2011 right back to a low of 1.5 million in 2019. The park has comparatively struggled under Merlin, with attendance having fallen by 18.6% between 2007 and 2019. I hope you find this interesting! If you don't agree with something I've done or notice any errors, however, don't be afraid to flag them to me.
    1 point
  16. This crept up! Have a great time - looking forward to hearing about it
    1 point
  17. Why are people obsessed with this Emily Alton thing like she was ever anything more than a queueline gag? Merlin haven't got the best track record in refurbishments, but setting the expectations to some weird story that never existed because of a pun (repossessed clearly referencing to ghosts in general) is going to result in some disappointment when it's not THEIR vision when it opens. Original didn't have a storyline, I doubt the refurb will have much of one. And if it does it'll no doubt feel forced in by a hammer (much like the attempts of adding 'story' to Tomb Blaster). Much like with most of these ideas, the park are far better off redesigning from the ground up rather than attempting some weird nostalgia attempt with modern stuff.
    1 point
  18. @Mark9 your not very hopeful for the Duel refurbishment then? I hope the ride is reversed back to The Haunted House,or rethemed to Emily Alton and Snowy’s Dolls House. A eerie Dolls House would make an epic ride. I hope the queline with the armchairs and Rocking Horse and Garden Scene both remain. I would like to see Emily Alton and Snowy in animatronic form around the ride. My only concern with an Emily Alton retheme would be the redesign to the exterior of The Haunted House. The building is as I would mentally picture a Haunted House. It’s old,slightly run down in appearance and atmospheric. I would even like the original carriages to stay with slight amendments to remove the guns and score boards. I think Alton Towers bodged The Haunted House by transforming it into Duel. A couple of scenes are like your in a The Walking Dead Dark Ride. If the “repossessed” means Emily and Snowy have evicted the Zombies I congratulate them. I hope Emily packed their bags and ousted them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Zombies find a new home at Thorpe Park. They’d definitely fit the theme and design.
    1 point
  19. I’ve heard that a couple of the original Vampire trains operate in America. Can someone tell me which Theme Park they operate at? Apparently an Arrow Coaster needed trains and a few of Chessington’s still worked. Due to this Chessington exported a couple to America. I heard thease were stored behind the scenes at Chessington for a few Seasons. The rest of the original fleet were unfortunately scrapped. Even though defective I think Chessington should have retained at least one. Vampire is there flagship ride,and accounts for a lot of the Theme Parks success.
    1 point
  20. Better get on it Matt, you only have until next August to do it.
    1 point
  21. I can only speak from where I stand on it. Massive investment in 2000's is one thing but for that target market (thrill seekers, up for it families), that investment can't just stop. it has to keep going. The park also has to continually re-invest in the older rides to keep everything fresh. Colossus and Inferno in particular are not new rollercoasters anymore and look their age. That isn't acceptable anymore. Thorpe is also obsessed with walk throughs, horror mazes and psychological experiences. None of these are reasons to visit a place, they compliment existing attractions. Somewhere in a board room, the Thorpe execs thought Black Mirror was a revolution but it isn't. Family rides are an issue at Thorpe because they are either over 25 years old at this point or aren't main events. There's absolutely no reason why a family ride could fit the bill in the park but they don't ever pursue it. X was a great example of a short sighted decision. I'm not convinced by Exodus, it's just another thrilling rollercoaster in a park that relies heavily on them already. It will have an amazing first year and then what. How can they sustain it? It's not going to convince anyone that wouldn't already go there for the thrill rides. it's why I think a B&M hyper is a better option, that ride is the ultimate crowd pleaser and has near 25 years of success already. Back in the 00's there was a balance, even if slightly skewed. Things like Eclipse, Flying Fish's refurbishment, Quantum and Tidal Wave appeal far more to a wider range of people. I mention Tidal Wave because even though themed to a catastrophe, it has a fun, cheeky theme to sell it. All of this is just my view and I'm glad I'm not in charge because I don't really know how to rescue Thorpe from its lull.
    1 point
  22. One thing I would say is that I don't think thrills necessarily only appeal to teens and young adults. Thorpe may have a big selection of thrill rides and quite a heavy focus on the thrill market, but I don't think that's necessarily the architect of the park's recent struggles. A look at my data suggests that the extremely thrill-focused 2000s were very successful indeed, and the park actually rode that wave of success right up until 2011; they experienced sustained growth for the best part of 10 years under a thrill heavy strategy. Park attendance grew by 133.3% in the decade between 2000 and 2010, and the park's growth trajectory was a near perfect upward curve for this entire time. I don't think thrills and teens necessarily go hand in hand perfectly. Appealing to the teenage and young adult market doesn't necessarily mean appealing to thrillseekers and vice versa; the thrill market encapsulates a surprisingly wide range of people. It includes people like older families and adults as well as teenagers and young adults. Appealing to the teenage/young adult market can also be done in ways aside from building thrill rides. I'd wager that Thorpe's issue is one of recent investments and target market rather than ride lineup, in two senses. The first sense is that the park in recent years (under Merlin) has tried to go for too much of a niche part of the thrill market, in my opinion. The bulk of the park's additions within the last decade have not been traditional thrill rides, such as coasters and thrill flats; the only investment that would fit either descriptor is Swarm, which only narrowly makes it into the last decade having been built 10 years ago in 2012. Many of the park's recent attempts at thrill have not been "traditional" thrill rides with wide appeal; the bulk of Thorpe's recent thrill investments have been very "edgy", scare based, horror themed attractions with quite niche appeal. In my view, something like DBGT is aimed at a very specific, niche corner of the thrill market and will have far less universal appeal than something like a roller coaster. Ditto with the likes of Walking Dead; the IP is undeniably popular, but an attraction in the style of TWD:TR will appeal to a much smaller subset of thrillseekers (only teens and young adults, really). These investments undeniably appeal to the teen and young adult market very well, but attractions like these don't really open themselves up to the other (arguably more lucrative) corners of the thrill market, such as older families and adults. The second, and arguably more important sense in my view, is that the park seems to have struggled to target towards anyone in recent years. From Swarm onwards, and particularly strongly in the years following DBGT, the park has given off the impression that it has been somewhat paralysed by indecision about who its target market actually is. It seems to have been a fun family park one minute, but a hardcore horror park the next minute, and then a fresh-faced thrill park focused on coasters the next minute after that. The park arguably hasn't made an overly committal move towards appealing in any particular direction since DBGT back in 2016, and any attempts at appealing to one particular market have not been very sustained. In 2014 and 2015, the park went pretty family-based... before going hardcore horror in 2016 and 2017. The park rethemed X to appeal to families in 2013... before retheming it to appeal to hardcore horror fans, arguably reversing the effects of their prior move and then some, in 2018. The park started 2018 off by saying it was "The Year of the Walking Dead" and appealing to hardcore horror fans... before changing tack mid season and going for a more light hearted vibe with all the Love Island stuff to appeal primarily to teens and young adults. 2019 and 2020 were then relatively family-based... but the park went back to horror with Black Mirror in 2021. I get that it is difficult for Thorpe to pick a target market (I'm terribly indecisive myself...), I get that the park has had many different managers with different ideas in recent years, and I do understand that a public business with shareholders will likely find it difficult to have an overly long term view, but my view is that Thorpe would be a fair amount more successful if they took one particular path, properly ran with it, and made some properly decisive moves towards cementing the park as a destination for that particular target market. I think Exodus could well solve this issue (a 230ft hyper is certainly a pretty decisive move towards appealing to the wide subset of the thrill market who like roller coasters), but it does appear that recently, particular paths taken by the park haven't really been given enough time to succeed before the park moves on, and the moves towards these paths haven't been overly committal. The park in recent years has seemed somewhat "on the fence" about who its target demographic actually is, and quite uncommitted towards any particular path. I feel that if the park were to take one path and properly commit to it, they would be a fair bit more successful. Those are just my thoughts, though. I could be very wrong. I apologise, as I know I probably shouldn't question their decision making given that they have the KPIs and charts and things to back up their decisions and I don't. I also know that I'm being a massive hypocrite talking about indecision seeing as I'm pretty indecisive myself... so I should probably stop there seeing as hypocrisy is not a hill I wish to die on. I fully understand how difficult it can be to make a decision and stick to it sometimes.
    1 point
  23. I've always loved that graph. It puts a lot of things into perspective. Nemesis just was the ride that completely changed Towers. Look at that massive jump in attendance, something Towers has never managed to reach since. Wicker Man did a lot of good in recovering attendance after the Smiler crash. Rameses at Chessington was such a hit back in '95 and it remained quite consistent up until Samurai. But the lack of investment and rubbish kids rides really didn't do much especially when big rides weren't forthcoming. The shoddy way Dragons Fury was marketed as well didn't help. Thorpe doesn't surprise me, the massive investments in the 00's was always going to be a problem when it stopped. The new ride doesn't fill me with confidence that they can reverse the decline. It's a plaster to a much bigger issue.
    1 point
  24. Matt N

    Duel!

    Hello again @Trooper Looper; welcome over here to TPM!
    1 point
  25. Matt Creek

    Vampire

    Two years after my piano version,I finally got the chance to play the original Vampire theme on a real pipe organ. I only had one take, so excuse the mistakes.
    1 point
  26. Mark9

    Bubbleworks

    I remember when Chessington had one of the best dark rides in Europe then they decided they didn't want to anymore and completely wrecked it. Good times.
    1 point
  27. Mattgwise

    Bubbleworks

    Some very rare close up footage of how awesome the scenery and animatronics was in the true Bubbleworks ride, Professor Burps Bubbleworks. Those of you who thought Imperial Leather Bubbleworks was amazing didn't have a clue 😄 14:03 onwards
    1 point
  28. Marley

    Bubbleworks

    Just gone down memory lane with this one. Truly an amazing ride. I'm so grateful to have gone on annual trips to chessie in the late 90's into the 2000's to experience this gem. They don't make them like they used to...
    1 point
  29. Dr S

    Vampire

    We went last week which allowed me to take my son on the ride, some 31 years after I first went on it. Last time I was at CWoA they were still doing a half-way decent job of running 3 trains (as good as the absolutely daft slow "park" procedure in the station would allow) so to see how absolutely appalling the operations are these days was quite shocking. I actually thought initially they were only running one train as the dispatch times were that slow. The queue that was there would have taken a max of 25min in the ride's heyday, instead of which it was posted at 120-150min all day... Even on 2 trains the original ride wouldn't have likely breached 45min with that many people in the queue. The station was ok - good to see the organist moving again, and the lighting package was a bit better... It just looks so bare though. The ride was running a bit better than I remember, though still "shuffling" a lot. It's just a bit sad to see the ride in what is effectively quite a neglected state when it is very obviously still all these years later one of the park's main attractions. I know they won't ever bring back the old trains but surely a bit of engineering work to improve the efficiency and making sure that the ride is staffed properly with a crew that are motivated would be worth doing?
    1 point
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