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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/20/18 in all areas

  1. 19 points

    Closed Season

    I have... But of course, you'd never get anything wrong. ?
  2. 15 points
    Shots fired from tulleys ?
  3. 15 points
  4. 15 points

    Fright Nights 2018 - Spoiler Thread

    - Fan boys ‘designing’ audio for Thorpe Park’s Fright Nights and then watching the forums for comments and getting all defensive because nobody really understands the complete lack of artistic or creative design. “Woo cameos from the theme park community - intense!” - Flashing, multicoloured LED park wide lighting with no design or thought whatsoever - Significant lack of maze design, coherent theme and complete lack of quality - No Big Top - A non-show in the Dome where actors chase guests to some music because the competency to build the maze was no longer available - Another laughable, confused, messy marketing “campaign” - Black walled mazes (oh, they almost left Fright Nights) - Vulcan Peak Goodbye Fright Nights.
  5. 13 points

    Logger's Leap

    The unprofessionalism all round from Thorpe Park is shocking. And no offence but it's pretty embarassing to see a self-appointed theme park 'personality' seemingly using their job at Thorpe Park as self validation for their inflated enthusiast opions. I know many enthusiasts (in the real sense of the word, not this enthusiast "community" cult ideology) who are extremely hard working and have been in the attraction industry for years. They make it all happen to entertain others, they dont get any wider recognition and they dont seek it either. Whereas this Jordan character trying to get PR attention at any opportunity, the tweets, that dumb enthusiast awards thing and many other enthusiast cliques, seem to be far more interested in themselves than working in entertainment. Or getting their enthusiast friends 'in' behind the scenes so they can boast about themselves too. Thorpe Park needs to get back to basics, get back in touch with the public (especially if it's wanting to go for families more like it says it does) and offer a good value day out. Not a day in a tarmac car park sponsored by a hundred fads, with signs constantly reminding you you're on "the island" (whoops, you built over most views of the water years ago!), and then getting egotists to tell others why they're wrong online. Theme parks are really just about having a laugh out with friends, with a day of fun. Isn't that what we all got into it for? People behind the scenes need to be open minded, less self congratulatory and sort the park out properly. But I guess massively glamorising the 'brand' to the point that it bears no resemblance to the park is what they're better at and all they're interested in currently.
  6. 13 points


    Apologies for the long pedantic post, but to save misunderstanding, here's the full story behind Vampire's audio over the years! Obviously all the following is more technical info, no guests are gonna go in Vampire thinking 'hang on this is the wrong mix' – but the point is for the music to sound good and have good effect, and clearly this is not happening today. The ride currently sounds awful. Here is where it gets pretty complicated and you need to consider how technology has changed massively over time to get your head around it. Let's break it down to: Production tapes (pre dubbing, pre downsampling) 1990 Ride 'dual zoned' mix 1990 stereo cassette mix 2016 Smart mix The original music would have been produced from tapes as a high quality production master by the composer in 1990. A standard mix for listening would have been in stereo obviously, but for use in the ride it was mixed differently. Theme park audio is usually always in mono mix, or 'multi mono' if its a score for a whole ride that changes as you move through it. This is because a stereo image requires a left and a right speaker, but in an attraction you're constantly moving around space with usually multiple speakers playing the same track, so it makes more sense to have it in mono. Vampire actually had a 'dual' zoned effect where the same music played throughout the station, where the organ stage played the organ instrument, and the backing track played through the rest the station (guitar in both). This opened up the sound a bit more and gave the effect of the organ playing the actual organ part. To do this effect, a mix with split organ and backing was sent to Sparks (who produced the Vampire station), with one on the L channel and other on R. This wasn't a traditional stereo mix, it was more of an installation mix, so would sound great standing in the station, but would sound bizarre played on a home stereo. Sparks also dubbed it with the familiar screams and thunder sounds. This mix was unique to any other mixes, which is why all other versions sound slightly different. However, because of the technical limitations of the time, the ride track needed to be downsampled to play on solid state EPROM chips, which could only hold a certain amount of memory. The downsampling means it's lacking bass, but otherwise is good and wouldnt have been noticeable on the big station sound system – as anyone who went in Vampire in the 90s would remember it still sounded great! However, in mono, it wouldnt sound so good in isolation on a home stereo. This zoned effect was lost in Vampire around 2000 when the sound system was changed. From then on it played as one zone throughout the station, but was the same 'mix'. Then there was a souvenir cassette that was sold in the Chessington shop in the 90s, this was a very different mix to the ride version – and was in stereo (for listening). This is the one more commonly heard online. Although a more polished mix, the sound quality has always been dire, because the same warbly digital transfer has been passed around since forever (the original cassettes are hard to come by). Somehow this was the track that Chessington replaced the original with in 2014 when the sound system was changed to mp3 playback. What! It sounds awful due to the poor quality of the transfer from cassette and is not edited to loop correctly. Then a few years back the composer put up his own version (the Smart mix), from his own tapes, pre-downsampling... BUT it was actually yet another mix, half the 'cassette' version and half the 'original' version. This is the best quality version of the track available, but doesnt have the zoned effect or the 'rawer' guitar. After years of trying to find the original track, I first found just the backing part on its own, which only had the guitar and organ on it faintly. This is what's on Soundcloud, edited to sound less 'mono' and with the organ part turned up a bit. More recently I finally found the organ track to go with it, so will update the Soundcloud track soon. Have sent this to Chessington. These are the downsampled, dubbed tracks that played in the ride from 1990 to around 2000. So, not full listening quality and would sound weird played on a stereo, but would sound good restored in the dual zones in the station. Much better than the current dodgy mp3 being played. Ideally, a brand new mix should be struck from the original master tapes (if they still exist with the composer) to recreate the dual zoning and the more 'raw' original mix – but without the downsampling, since this is no longer necessary with today's playback technology. Combine this with a repaired sound system and it would sound amazing. However, the original composer seems to be completely uncontactable. So, there's the saga of Vampire's audio! Once sounded classic, now sounding very lame with the poor recording they're using at the moment. But, simply putting back the orginal mix on a broken, mono system probably wouldnt make much difference. What it needs is a new, overhauled sound system and a full quality zoned mix.
  7. 12 points
    Guys, the tent is up. Quite a compact size this year but Big Top now confirmed. ?
  8. 11 points

    Closed Season

    Would have thought you of all people would have realised a sarcastic post when it's slapped across your face. Clearly not.
  9. 11 points
    There has to be some pretty good reason if Big Top isn’t to return this year. *snaps fingers*
  10. 11 points

    Some photos from 10/07/2018

    Hi All, I'm a bit of an amateur photographer and took my camera with me on Tuesday (10/07/2018). Quite happy with some of the shots. Please note that I have personally taken the images and if you do wish to use them elsewhere then please ask my permission first, but just really wanted to share these! Hope you like them.
  11. 10 points
    I hope everyone gets what they wish for... ...In reality, another year waves hello to yet another shake up in Thorpe’s management, staffing, project management and direction, meaning, yet again, consistency goes out of the window. Fright Nights is sadly an unorganised and chaotic event with little to no thought, direction or drive, and change in personnel can mark very significant differences in delivery. Big Top not returning due to lack of tent? More like lack of intent, with the creative minds and team behind its success walking away heads held high after completely turning around what was a disasterous delivery in 2015...
  12. 9 points

    2019 Season

    Looking forward to JackSilkstone's Closed Season Update video with a thumbnail that says "NEW HYPERCOASTER CONFIRMED?!?!?!?" or similar 😍
  13. 9 points

    Fright Nights 2018 - Spoiler Thread

    My thoughts from last night's mEDiA pRESs NigHT at the Island Like No Other as follows... Top 5 Celebs I spotted. 1. TheJackSilkstone - was behind him in the free buffet queue so I now know how to create the SICKEST of SICK combos of buffet food. ? 2. The Scottish Man What Won Strictly Last Year 3. Err.... Right onto the important stuff - at approx 9pm the bar bill on just one of the tills in Fins was over £2k already. Oh no wait, I jest, now onto the important stuff... Mazes Ranked from Best to Really Really Really Awful: 1. BLAIR WITCH If you told me I was going to find this the best maze of the night before visiting, I would have said pickle me sideways and call be Shawn Sanbrooke but alas here we are! We had 3 run throughs on this, two of which where we were in just a pair and I have to say, the first in particularly, was ruddy brilliant. The scene is set very well at the start, love ending up "back where you started", some excellent jump scares, was proper dark and you really did feel you were going through the woods - Thorpe have played a blinder with the scenery in the dark, not so sure how it would work at 3pm! One run we had in a group of 8 (C'mon guys it's press night m8) wasn't as good so maybe come proper FN's with large groups this won't rank highly among da fans - but yes, for us it was our standout. One thing I will say - the Heras temporary fencing (Thorpe love the stuff) at the very start should have black plastic or a thicker tarpaulin on it because yellow (?!) doesn't exactly set the scene, nor does it manage to hide the platform of P15 to the left, so you can see the tour guide waiting for guests. I can also forsee the queue of Blair Witch going far far beyond the area they have set aside, it's tiny. 2. CONTAINMENT Cracking run on this in it's tweaked format. We were useless. The actors were most definitely not - the blonde girl doing the doctor intro at the start was fantastic, delivered so many lines as if she knew them like the back of her hand and performed it like she meant it. No actors in first room obvs, but the second room with the clocks - man, the actor in there was losing his sh**, amazing stuff, trashing the filing cabinet, getting up in our faces, muttering about time, freaking out - awesome. Similarly, the dentist room next was equally as hectic and delivered with passion, I was made to sit on the chair and the actor performed the creepy dentist role perfectly - also love how the assistant in the back ground does nothing and just looks creepy - until you get into room 4 where it all kicks off! Again we were thoroughly impressed with this attraction and the actors involved last night should be commended if they end up reading this, they knocked it out of the park. 3. THE WALKING DEAD: LIVING NIGHTMARE We got a Neagen, and Neagen had a proper mic! Impressed with this, as anticipated - top notch theming inside, and I love the intro (even if the families don't like the swears). New little twist halfway through at the car scene which worked well. As I say, love the theming on this, the bus is absolute quality and the rooms prior to that were packed with actors - good scares, breathing on your neck etc. Top tip: don't point out to the girl freaking out on her bed that her bottle of Smart Water is on her bedside table as she'll gesture to you to move away 4. MATT CREEK'S HAUNTED WOODED AREA This isn't actually a scare zone but a legit maze... we had low expectations but again there were some decent scares and everyone loves a chainsaw right? Again, a good intro and set piece (via some temporary fencing and you end up doubling back on yourself) which sets the scene well, a decent amount of actors scattered about. I liked it - some actors followed us out too (as they must have been going on their break!) but continued to scare us outside of the maze which was cool. Good interaction, and good to see the actors progressively more "contaminated" as it goes on. A solid effort if you ask me and we enjoyed. 5. SAW ALIVE Not much really to say about this - nothing has changed, it was OK... seemed to be over very quickly and there weren't too many actors vs. other mazes but it's SAW and it's well themed. 6. SANCTUM DO OR DIE THE WALKING DEAD If you look very carefully at this you can tell they've used the shipping containers from Sanctum in it's construction... We were underwhelmed by this, considerably. Expected good things - again, a good start with the bus and set piece with two actors arguing but after that it deteriorated pretty quickly. The area is too well lit (considering it was 8pm!) so you can see exactly where the actors are... just didn't do it for us at all and it all feels very temporary in it's construction (I appreciate it is temporary but you know) - this wouldn't be so noticeable if the lighting wasn't so bright. Perhaps we got unlucky with our run but for us it ranked about the same as Sanctum last year. 7. PLATFORM 15 Right, whoever's vanity project Platform 15 is at Thorpe Park - please, please, please admit defeat and get rid of it. I cannot comprehend any Youchoober or vlogstar or fan site raving about this. The walk at the start goes on for too long and does nothing in particular, walking alongside a rotting Loggers Leap, still lit up like a Christmas tree. You see the train with some dummies on it, you might get a bit of fire, you find a bride wandering about, then there's a house that smells of human faeces (which to be fair, had like 4 actors in which was random), then there's the never ending tunnel where not much happens and you get told to go back, and then you have to do a seance (and to put some positive spin on it - the actress here was good and felt like she was holding onto my hand for dear life) and then the conductor appears and then you're out, and you wonder - what the hell was all that about? And the answer is, no one actually knows. Maybe if they filled some areas with some smoke machines (although that's an expense) there'd be more atmosphere, but the walk is just too big and any pace or anticipation just goes and then you think "oh look, there's some actors coming up" and there they are. Kudos to the actors involved like I say because they were good, but the maze just doesn't work and we found it more of a chore to complete than a thrill. Sorry guys but I think Platform 15 needs a new timetable in 2019 where it gets taken over by Southern and then just never turns up. 8. VULCAN PEAK Well. Wow. This has to be quite possibly one of the most hastily and cheaply thrown together embarrassments of an attraction at Thorpe Park I've ever seen. Heck, it wasn't even supposed to open last night because it was still being finished, showing as "opening 5th October". The only plus point I can draw from this "attraction" is that they created an introduction video to watch, but make no mistake other than this, this maze is total utter garbage. I find hooded mazes pointless anyway, the original Hellements at Tulleys was poor, but they at least improved it last year by adding a live action section at the end. We must have literally had 1 actor in Vulcan Peak last night, and it was basically 5 minutes of walking round in the dark with a bag on your head. You then have to take off the bag, before walking through the inflatable walled section, and then you're out. Because that makes a lot of sense. Also - and this is possibly a small thing but it's all about the details - why on earth are there blue LED string lights in the bit where you take off your hood? Do they mean anything? Who decided to put them there? Who at Merlin signed that off? It looked like something from Maplins (RIP) and served no purpose - why not have a flickering light or something SpOoKy. Why not green so it's vaguely "jungle" themed? Anything, but that. That detail just typified the maze for me: cheap, tacky and pointless and I defy anyone to find it anything otherwise. This just screamed to me, Merlin wanted quantity over quality this year. I take pity on anyone should this get big queues and people decide to pay for a Fastrack one shot not knowing the horror that awaits. I can't comment on Fanta Horror Thing as it was still being finished (though did look quite impressive), nor Screamplexx. Spotted the Big Top show happening in the dome but didn't bother watching. Terror at Amity High - I assume this just means the roaming actors? I think? Anyway, they were out in force on the entrance bridge and were good! Massive shout out to the awesome clowns and associated freaks too, they are fantastic walking around and then starting their menacing clap before terrorising someone - genuinely top stuff there, was impressed and added to the night. More of this please! Had two rides on Stealth on the dark including one front row (swoon), a nice night ride on the smooth Swarm, a not so smooth ride on Sore The Ride, and my first ever ride on X Version 2.0. Which, to be fair to Thorpe really isn't that bad at all considering what they had to work with in terms of converting a family coaster. However, as expected, whoever signed off the article stating "15 out of 10 on the scare scale" really really needs to consider their life choices ? Total utter hyperbole as I expected but like I say - in terms of slapping on an IP on to X, they've done a pretty good job - I like the nod to X on the trains (at first I thought they'd just left the old logos on, ha!) No actor in the after ride bit though which was a shame. One thing I touched on earlier - being able to see P15 from Blair Witch etc. - those 3 mazes in Old Town are seriously seriously close together, and I wouldn't like to be queuing round there once FN's get in full swing and there's fast tracks and RAPs and what not going on because there is going to be SO many people in such a small place, it isn't going to be pretty. The Blair Witch queue as I say is tiny, assume they can extend out but yes, the quantity of mazes angle they are going for, when you have a finite amount of space like Thorpe has, could make peak times pretty horrific. Congratulations if you read all that. Bit of a mixed bag as you can see. Be intrigued as to how I find it when the general public (shudder) are allowed in when in visit on the 11th and 13th! ? Oh one thing I forgot to say - Thorpe definitely got a great bulk deal on human waste smell pods this year, bleugh! Could smell 'em in 4 different locations.
  14. 9 points

    Park Operations

    After visiting the park last Saturday on the 29th September leading up to Fright Nights, I feel now is a good time to voice some big concerns I have with the way several rides are being operated not just across Thorpe, but other Merlin parks such as Alton and Chessington. This problem has been getting worse and worse as 2018 has progressed and up until the start of 2017, this was never an issue before until now. But last Saturday demonstrated this system has now gone too far, and this is regarding the use of priority or disabled passes by guests. Now, I understand this may be a discussion which can be quite sensitive to some readers and I am not criticising or demeaning those who use these passes that have a genuine disability, but I am going to pick at the way the parks manage this system because it has reached boiling point after my experience last weekend and here's why with some examples I've experienced this year and indeed last weekend. Used spoiler tags for each example to keep this post shorter: (Saturday 29th September - Colossus) (August Bank Holiday - Th13teen) (Every visit in 2018 - Derren Brown's Ghost Train) (September 2018 - Vampire) (Opening day 2018 - Wicker Man) Before 2017, this system never really posed any problems or frustrations in the past at any of the Merlin parks, but every time I visit any of the parks now, the number of people I am seeing using these ride access passes has increased dramatically, so much so that in most cases, they are in fact longer than the Fastrack queues and this poses a huge problem. All the main queues for every ride across every park are moving so slowly now that it makes Spinball Whizzer's queue look like nothing these days. What should be short & quick queues on quiet days are now doubling in length for the most part across the majority of rides at Thorpe, and I have noticed this on every visit I have made this year. Staff on most attractions are allocating far more seats to those with a priority/disabled pass to the point where as highlighted with Colossus above, they are now filling entire trains of these people in order to keep the length of them down. With Fright Nights soon approaching where queues will hit their maximum lengths, I am deeply worried many attractions are going to have some horrendous queueing experiences for guests not only in the main queue, but also the disabled and Fastrack ones where they will need to also wait longer because of the quantity of people that are now using these passes. I'm unsure what solution I can suggest to prevent this getting further out of control, but this needs to be brought to attention because the situation is getting worse and worse every visit I make and nobody else is talking about this ever-growing problem shockingly. I need to be careful with how I word this, but something needs to change with the allocation of these passes because right now, I am seeing the disabled entrance as nothing more than just another Fastrack queue given many people through my eyes don't look like they have a disability. And for those with a genuine disability such as being in a wheelchair, I find this incredibly unfair for them, just like the father at the example with Th13teen I mentioned above. I can only ever dream of a queue system similar to the likes of Phantasialand and Europa Park, but understand this will never happen sadly. As it stands, not one of the three queues at Merlin parks is a win for guests, so something needs to change to keep this from degrading and getting worse.
  15. 9 points

    2018 General Discussion

    I feel sick.
  16. 9 points

    Wicker Man - The Truth

    When it comes to reviewing something, I try to be as honest, straight-talking and truthful as I can to the reader because above anything else, integrity to me is the most appreciated value I admire in someone when I am seeking for advice with their opinions. That way, if I decide to pluck down my own money, time and effort on something, I can be assured there is nothing being kept hidden when trying the product myself and therefore, trust can be built. I believe this first paragraph needs to be put at the very start of this review because after trying Wicker Man for the first time, I want to be as honest as I possibly can in what you are about to read. There are presently a lot of exaggerated claims, promises and expectations being thrown around about this coaster at the moment by various people and I refuse to fall into this category, so everything below is exactly what it is with no filter in place, for good and bad. Now onto the ride itself. I’ve been moderately quiet during the construction of Wicker Man these last several months despite the constant updates, advertising, drone footage and leaked name ages before, primarily because time and time again, I have stupidly built false promises and expectations with a lot of Merlin’s recent investments these last several years. Promises which inside I knew they couldn’t deliver but still believed in nonetheless and as a result, I have been scarred by it all and have a real grudge against the majority of Merlin attractions that have been built across the parks from 2014 onwards. To be blunt, I approached Wicker Man with a pessimistic view from the day it was announced until the day I finally rode it. Wooden coasters for me are something special; special in a way that cannot be described easily. Because despite not having fancy elements, being the fastest or tallest or the most amazing coasters out there, they tend to be underestimated a lot of the time and can really surprise you with how great they are. I’ll never forget that first ride on Megafobia at Oakwood, Wales back in 2010 where it left be stunned. Also quite recently sitting on the back row of Balder at Liseberg, Sweden in 2017 and being shocked and amazed by the extreme forces you go through, especially down the first drop after the lift hill. It certainly is an amazing feeling! So whilst I was pessimistic given Merlin’s track record for the last 4 years, coupled with their management of special effects, I was secretly all this time really excited to try Wicker Man and didn’t want to jump to any conclusions too quickly and then regret what I said all the time before trying it (e.g. - Derren Brown’s Ghost Train). I simply didn’t fall for any of it this time and approached the coaster with an open mind for a change. But my word, I’m really glad I did that now, as this coaster has been quite a surprise! To begin this thorough and in-depth review, I’d like to begin with the setting and scenery of the attraction which will be the first thing every person sees upon experiencing this ride: APPEARANCE AND SETTING: When I was at the park’s fireworks display last year and finally saw the majority of the track constructed, I can’t lie, but it did look quite impressively large and dominant through those window fences. However, when seeing it fully constructed and running, the thing looks wonderful! Everything about this ride looks brilliant. The track is moulded against the landscape very well, the rumbling sound of the trains really dominates the area similar to Nemesis, the audio sounds superb and there was a huge amount of buzz and excitement flowing through the entire area on it’s opening ceremony day. Another nice touch was seeing a wooden coaster fresh, because I’m so used to seeing wooden coasters where the wood has faded into a dull, grey colour that it was nice seeing it all looking and even smelling fresh and yellow for once! As silly as this sounds, it made a nice change for once. The entrance plaza and queue line is nicely routed, landscaped and constructed too. Seeing loads of fire beacons filling the plaza with real fire used, coupled with the nicely themed entrance and bizarre-looking vegetation to match the rest of the ride’s theme made the whole area feel more permanent, complete and designed well, unlike the ugly-as-heck-yellow-box-of-an-entrance The Smiler uses. A small touch I liked in the queue were the little bits of theming present used for lighting and signs as you progress nearer and nearer to the station. Unlike the typical laminated, dull-as-anything printed signs we see so often across other rides across Merlin, these were all shaped and sculpted to match the theme, which was a nice detail I appreciate the team for doing. Also, having a queue line for the most part which is linear and doesn’t have endless cattle pens like Smiler and Rita was another touch I appreciated, plus, the queue oddly seemed wider too compared to most other rides. For the landscaping, this is a mixed bag. Whilst some areas surrounding the coaster have clearly been worked on with new plants and turf mats installed, others have not and look as though they are still in the middle of being constructed with dirt and soil everywhere. Also, something I wished the team did before opening this ride was to clean the concrete supports holding the track in place because they were filthy all over and looked quite off-putting, especially in contrast to the freshly installed wood for the track. If the park can clean these concrete supports using a jet washer as well as laying down turf or giving the remaining sections of the area some green grass, I believe it will neaten the overall profile and presentation of the ride, since it was a bit mixed in several places and could have looked better. Just a smaller detail compared to everything else, but an important one regardless. THE WICKER MAN EFFIGY Always knew from the moment the name was announced back in January 2018 this figure of the Wicker Man himself would be the centre of all attention and man, I can see why after finally seeing it in-person as it looks really lovely! The scale of this effigy is huge and very nicely themed and detailed, so much so that I would put it up there with something we would expect to see at Phantasialand. OK, I know that might be an over-exageration here, but that’s what I gathered after witnessing it for the first time. The wood looks genuine even though it isn’t, especially around the shoulders, the shape and design of the two-faced head looks impressive and the attention-to-detail used even for the small holes the train passes through three times was looked after which was a nice surprise. Plus the amount of mist (yes, water mist, not smoke) used really filled the inside of the figure and the holes through him, which was especially great when passing through on the train! Also, I loved how there were audio effects used every time a train passes through which sync with the real fire effects. Probably the best thing about this effigy is when you are passing through the second time after making the banked u-turn, because the position of the track which passes straight through his chest is perfect! The brief view you get when passing straight through the centre of his chest is ideal, especially coupled with the mist and fire effects used on the shoulders. It captures your attention and is a really effective head-chopper effect, especially with the small bump present in the track just before passing through. Very effective and convincing effect used! However, I have to admit, whilst it looks pretty when you see it in real-life, it will not be as impressive up-close as opposed to a distance of at least 20m I theorise. The reason for this is because those fire effects used inside the figure are actually just TV screens playing a loop of some generic flame behind a black background used when filming, plus, the resolution of these displays are not that great because up-close, you can see the pixels used and cameras can pick up some artificial flickering from them, similar to when filming Thorpe Park’s entrance screen on any smartphone or camera. Another detail that aggravated me was the size and position of the fire used on the shoulders, because when standing on the ground, you barely even see the fire used when they are lit normally, but it’s only when they are enlarged in size whenever a train passes through you can see them properly for only a few brief seconds. Not a major issues, but be aware the flame effects might not be as impressive in real life compared to what they look through promotional videos and pictures. But besides from that, the effigy is a really nicely and detailed piece of theming which I welcome being there for the coaster and can really enhance the experience, even though it has some flaws when seeing it up-close. AUDIO When it comes to hearing audio on an attraction, to me, this is absolutely crucial to get right as it’s a very effective piece of theming to any ride regardless of how small or big it might be, plus, it gives it an atmosphere and defines it’s character. Rides like Chiapas, Taron, Helix and The Smiler I simply wouldn’t love as much if it weren’t for their audio in all honesty, so the audio on Wicker Man had to be loud, dominant and catchy for me to appreciate as a whole much more and thankfully, this is the case! This is probably the biggest secret weapon of the coaster, because I noticed across all areas of the ride from the plaza/entrance, start of the queue line, end of the queue line, baggage/pre-show room, station and track sections there were various different pieces of audio playing from the lovely guys at IMAscore. Upon seeing the effigy around the entrance and plaza, the first track you hear sounds very happy and charming similar to Klugheim village at Phantasialand, which gives the impression to riders the whole ride itself has a welcoming theme to it all, but as you progress through the queue, you begin to notice the tune, pitch and instruments used changes and the closer you get to the station the darker it begins to sound as you get ever-closer to the baggage room. After walking through the entire queue, I am certain it’s done in a similar way to Big Top’s audio where there are at least 3 variations of the same 30 minute track, only each one has a darker and more unsettling theme to it. It’s once you are inside the building itself the more vocal sections of the audio are used similar to the snippets found online. Drums are used, the tune changes and a more honestly scary-sounding track plays inside the buildings amongst the darkened rooms. In the station especially where whilst the audio is lower in volume compared to outside, that coupled with the burning wood effect creates a really unsettling theme inside as though something bad is about to happen. A really excellent thing the park have taken advantage of is in the badge waiting room for the pre-show and station, the doors and train dispatch have themed audio playing alongside the use of lighting, which creates a really exciting atmosphere for riders and builds up a lot of anticipation! When the train dispatches, a loud roar of drums starts and the lighting in the station begins to change and flicker, similarly to how the dispatch looks on Nemesis Inferno and Black Mamba, only this time, much more effectively I would say! Same for when a train arrives back into the station too which has is timed to when the train stops on the brake run and people disembark. Just in case that wasn’t enough, even the darkened waiting tunnels once the ride finishes have themed audio matched with smoke and light effects inside, which means even the wait caused by the stacking of the trains is looked after which I thought was great! Also, the lift hill has timed audio with the train too, making the excitement and anticipation even greater for the rider! But in summary, Alton Towers and IMAscore have done a fabulous job with the audio management for this ride and should be commended for their efforts. Excellent job! PRE-SHOW I’ll keep this brief without giving away any spoilers for the viewer, but this was quite a nice addition made. The inside is shaped like a dome tent with pieces of theming all over the walls and flooring with a big projector screen right above you in front. All this scene does is give a little insight as to what the Wicker Man is, how it works and preparing you for what awaits ahead such as “The time has come for the wicker man to rise!”. The audio was nice and loud, the picture was sharp and the video was 60fps which was lovely to see. However, I have to be honest here, this scene felt unneeded and superfluous and didn’t really add much to the experience at all, mostly because of how short it was to watch. Heck, it’s only just over a minute long. To me, this seemed more like another batching room to help reduce the number of people in the station, nothing much more. A nice touch, but a needless one. STATION If you were to ask me “What is your favourite station for any coaster?”, I would have to give it to Wicker Man here. The station is great! Unlike a lot I’ve been through, this one did not feel crammed or overcrowded inside as the platforms on each side of the track were nicely spaced out with plenty of room to move around whilst waiting/disembarking the carriage for a start. The next part being the lighting used inside as it wasn’t too bright or dull, but instead, nicely orange/red filtered, themed and lit perfectly inside to match the rest of the ride. Also, I always look for details on the ceiling and walls for a station so that the entire room is consistently themed, unlike Thirteen with black cloth everywhere and Galactica with industrial machinery everywhere. In Wicker Man’s case, both of these areas have been attended to and look really nice with the wooden beams, themed drapes and flickering lighting on the walls for a fire effect. Glad finally to see a station where all areas have been looked after for once, yay! But to summarise, the station for Wicker Man is really well done and everything about it is perfect from the lighting, to the audio, to the theming and the consistency. Excellent work here! RIDE EXPERIENCE Now onto the best part finally and goodness me, this was surprising! My first ride was incredibly lucky because I was allocated the very back two seats of the train on my first go and couldn’t be happier as it’s always the best. xD The trains themselves look great, neat and fully detailed all over and they are quite comfy to sit in too. Haven never ridden a GCI woodie before, I was expecting something really uncomfortable such as Tomahawk, Stampida and even Balder to some degree, but the seating was wide, spacious and relaxing. I could easily move my feet and legs around a bit when on the train and didn’t in anyway feel cramped or pinned down in the restraint, meaning it was a really comfortable ride from start to finish. Quite pleasantly surprised by the comfort of those seats. Once dispatched and the train immediately turns right under the building, you go through a massive jet of smoke (smoke, not mist this time) filled with lots of red lighting and sound effects of wood burning. It must be said, the amount of smoke which fills this room as you turn to exit the lift hill was huge and obscured your vision for the briefest of moments. Quite liked this actually and hope it stays! Once ascending the lift hill, the audio as mentioned earlier plays through the speakers and whilst you get a lovely view to the right of what awaits, I did find the lift hill incredibly slow which killed the great pace the ride had at the start exiting the station at a surprising speed. That coupled with the absolutely stupid bend on that lift hill made it worse. I’m probably the only person who has a problem with that bend on the lift hill as whilst it was needed due to the design of the layout, to me, that should have been designed better as it frankly looks dumb, especially when you climb it. But once you reach the top where the tunnel lies, everything begins finally. What I didn’t expect on the back row was that left turn before the drop was declined slightly and as a result, was whipped round that corner incredibly fast which took me by great surprise! And even though the first drop is quite small, the airtime you get at the back going down it is quite big and was a great start to the ride! Next was the bunny hop into the second tunnel and the S-bend which follows after and this was by far the best section. Because not only are you whipped again over the second hill, but because the S-bend goes downhill the whole way, you pick up some seriously high speeds down this section and the banking of the track can whip you around a fair bit on the back row! Not uncomfortably so, but enough to make the sudden changes in orientation a lot of fun with even more airtime moments! Without doubt the best section of the layout here. Once passing through the effigy and performing the u-turn back through again, the speed does slow down a moderate amount here noticeably, but not enough to kill the pace thankfully. The bend is nicely shaped and isn’t too extreme for the riders until you reach the small hump as you race through the effigy again everything becomes faster once more. The small drop as you exit the 2nd pass-through of the figure has a bit of a noticeable jolt similar to Smiler’s 12th inversion, though nothing unpleasant, it just gives another small dose of airtime to the rider! From here onwards when the ride continues to make turns, smaller drops and twists, the train does slow down, but it still keeps a strong pace from start to end with more airtime hills and strong forces exerted on riders. Probably the weakest section of the layout is the flat and slow 180 degree turn you make just before dropping back down and passing through the figure again. To me, if this was banked or had a small dip in the middle similar to the way both of Smiler’s turns work for both lift hills, this could have made it a little more interesting. Soon later, you reach the final brake run and the main section of the ride is over. Something I need to mention is regardless of where you sit on the train, be prepared to get a little wet from the mist effects used in the effigy, especially when you pass through the holes. Apart from the mist, water is dripping from the jets used and will drip on you as a result, especially when you go through the 3rd hole. Nothing too major, but enough to notice! You enter the darkened tunnels again with themed audio and more smoke effects before getting back to the station and disembarking to leave for the exit. The ride is now over. If I’m to summarise the experience in one word, it would be “WOW!” Sure, it’s not a Megafobia or Balder killer, but compared to how it looks and what it’s actually like riding, this coaster has some serious surprises to it, the least being the several moments of airtime you get sitting at the back over various parts of the course! This coupled with the comfort of the trains made this a really fun and exciting coaster to try, even though the layout isn’t amazing. The pace is constant after the lift hill, it feels faster than what the statistics say, the interactions with the scenery and effigy are great and it’s just intense enough to allow those as little as 1.2m onto the ride without it being too much for them. Plus, even though the coaster has a few jerky moments that throw you around a bit, it wasn’t rough at all anywhere and didn’t try breaking the rider’s back like Stampida does. SHOP Again, the theming continues here too and the shop looks really nice too! Loads of detailed theming everywhere similar to DBGT’s one with theming across all the flooring, walls and ceiling and some of the merchandise was pretty nice. There was a hand-made figure of the Wicker Man available in the shop too, but for £3,000? Nuuuuuuuu thanks. OTHER POINTS Here are some other points worth mentioning when you try it: • There is a baggage hold for this ride staffed by workers, but I thought Alton were eliminating all of them……? Very confused… • If all three queues are full, the ratio will be 1:1:1 for main, fastback and disabled, so the waits can get incredibly and frustratingly slow at times. • Be aware the lift hill is incredibly noisy when you stand underneath it. • The shop is routed, so it may be difficult or cumbersome to reach one side of the shop to the other. • When this ride breaks down, be prepared to wait a fairly long time. Over an hour was spent sending the trains round when it broke down with full and empty trains going round constantly. I believe the ride was experiencing weight issues, hence why 3/4 rows were running round empty all afternoon. • The on-ride photo camera is at the bottom of the first tunnel drop straight after the lift hill. • Be aware there is a major design flaw with placing the camera here. Honestly shocked nobody has picked this up yet, but the smoke in the 2nd tunnel if blown in front of the camera can make your on-ride photo look very strange with a weird ghost effect. Below is this issue me and Martin ran into, so you have a 50:50 chance of this appearing. Didn’t appreciate this after waiting 2+ hours and making it our only ride on it that day: CONCLUSION If you have read all of what I’ve put above, you probably most likely realise by now despite going in with low expectations, pessimism and serious doubts given Merlin’s recent track record, this ride has honestly surprised me on a level I haven’t witnessed before. It’s surprised my because during all the construction stages, apparent rumours the first drop was re-profiled by John Wardey, negative stabs from enthusiasts and the constant, vacuous marketing WORLD FIRST claims I was seeing for this thing, Wicker Man has delivered on being what I can only describe as a superb family coaster. It really is! Whilst I still have some doubts and questions of the theme behind this ride for a family coaster, especially if one has seen the films or does research behind the whole sacrificial belief behind it, the park have done a superb job with theming the ride as a whole and must be given credit for it. The smallest of details have been looked at, especially in the station, the audio matches it perfectly and everything feels complete and not half-finished like Smiler still does today. But my biggest concern is regarding the special effects used. Whilst for now they might all be working great with no flaws whatsoever, I seriously and honestly cannot see this lasting too long. It won’t be long before the sprayed mist on the effigy starts to degrade similar to The Marmaliser’s The Giggler leg, or 1+ of the screens displaying a flame inside breaking, or even one of the fires on the shoulders breaking. I might be sounding paranoid here, but for a coaster that for the most part lives on the promise of the effects working on this figure, that is incredibly risky of Merlin/Alton. Hopefully I’m proven wrong over time, but I still think eventually they will begin to break one bit at a time. But besides that, if the park can get the coaster to run perfectly with no hiccups regarding the operations and technical faults it has, maintain all the effects to a working standard every day beyond 2018, they could be onto a real winner here. Already I say this is their best family coaster without a doubt at the park, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying this is the best coaster in the country like some YouTubers and vloggers have said. It’s still loads of fun regardless and is a solid addition, but all I’ll say is don’t expect anything amazing here. Instead, expect to be surprised by it and really enjoy it for what it offers because it executes at being a fun, enjoyable woodie really well! Just to add a little more to this review, besides from the masses of pictures above, below is a short video showing many off-ride views, including a naughty sneak of the pre-show. Don't worry, that section is only 5 seconds long! So in summary, Wicker Man to me is a solid addition to Alton Towers, deserves credit for all the teams who put it together and should go down really well with it’s target audience. Heck, if it gets a 3 hour queue just from one day, I can only begin to imagine how big they’re going to get this summer! Wicker Man - 8 / 10
  17. 9 points
    Oh god it was ****
  18. 8 points

    2019 Season

    Thing is as well, these are things that are pretty plentiful in loads of places now... Can't fall over without finding an Escape Room company (there's about 5/6 in city centre alone up in Leeds), there's numerous trampoline/activity places opening, and gaming stuff is starting to come in due to esports... But if you're interested in these things would you do them at a theme park? It's a similar question to having a Dungeons attraction at Towers (though at least at Thorpe the hours are slightly better), why would you take 45 minutes out of your day to partake in something like this after paying whatever the entry fee is? Would people rather this, or the park replacing Slammer with, well anything? These additions scream of a park under the thumb of a company giving them little money to spend, and the worrying thing is it's only going to get worse apparently since the focus is on building Legolands everywhere in the world... Towers has an attraction foisted upon them, Thorpe have no money to spend on anything worthwhile and Chessie are getting another retheme of an attraction which was mothballed... Here's the thing, these events would be fine IF (and I cannot stress the IF enough here) the rest of the park wasn't in dire straits and in desperate need of picking up, getting a dusting down (or a repaint) and generally sorting out... But the parks aren't given enough money to do this because of KPIs or ROIs are directly noticeable from such things, even though having a park that looks the part is one of the most important factors in terms of guest satisfaction... If it looks like a cheap death-trap, then likelihood is guests will come away with that viewpoint...
  19. 8 points

    2019 Season

    My favourite comment on that FB post of Thorpe's was "10 minutes on the MAP group suggests this is very wrong 😂" I'm saying nothing... Oh and also someone has commented this, bravo:
  20. 8 points

    TPM Meets Calendar 2019

    Hello TPM peeps, Please find below a provisional plan for the year ahead. Dates are provisional until I confirm in the individual topics Sunday 3rd Feb - Bowling and meal (other ideas welcome) Saturday 30th March - Thorpe Park opening meet Friday 5th to Sunday 7th April - Blackpool meet Saturday 18th May - Chessington meet Saturday 29th to Sunday 30th June - Alton Towers meet (likely to go up Fri evening) Friday 2nd August to Monday 5th Aug - Phantasialand international meet (2 days - Sat and Sun) Saturday 12th October - Thorpe Park FN December (Date TBC) - London attractions/Winter Wonderland I might look at adding a few smaller parks in at random weekends across the year as well. Any thoughts/opinions/ideas are welcome.
  21. 8 points

    'I'm a Celebrity' Maze

    Any money spent on it could've literally been used on ANYTHING (even polishing Varney's car fleet) and it would've been a better return...
  22. 8 points
    We love interacting with our followers! Especially when they're extremely annoyed by the park!! And we love them so much we give copy and paste responses! These don't always answer their problems! Sorry if you feel disappointed by this! - CC
  23. 8 points
    Vulcan Peak. I’m going to write a review of this as I have never laughed so hard in (or at) a maze before (Fright Night meet yesterday). The queueline wasn’t too bad, it was 40 minutes or so but the walls outside were lined with some neat looking wheat, forgetting the cheap looking plastic human hearts that seemed to have faces hanging in the bushes. At the end of the queue, our group were guided by an attendant (TP staff) to stand outside the ‘entrance’ (a standard fire exit) where we were given a speech to “never take our hats off in the maze”, then we were left there. After about 3 minutes still standing there waiting, the attendant came back round the bend in pure horror shouting directly at us “Didn’t I tell you to move?? Go inside I said!!”. Did we miss something?! So we sat down in a room already filled with other people sitting down watching a screen and a TP staff handed us small bags that were inside-out, mine had foundation smears and marks showing on it. Once the film finished people walked towards the first corridor. There was no mention of putting the bags on our heads and I noticed at least 5 bags still laying on the seats behind where some people had left them! It wasn’t particularly dark and there was no instruction of what was going on, we just followed the crowd. It became apparent that this must be the actual maze now so some people put on the bags, but the theming of IAC could be seen clearly and the bags weren’t even needed. The only “scary” part of the walk was the slightly uneven flooring. We kept stopping due to congestion ahead and the atmosphere was ruined dreadfully, we were just walking through a leafy corridor. No actors, forgettable sounds, and the lighting was still bright enough to see everything without the hood. After a few meters, we came to a tiny corridor/room with a cheap, bright white strobe light that was dreadfully placed and was lighting up the ugly ceiling, wires, and goodness knows what. We were stuck in this room for a couple of minutes just standing there due to some serious hold up and eventually the next group caught up too, causing a jam. I don’t even remember any sound at that point (was there even any??), I was laughing too hard at the ridiculousness of it all. Then, a member of staff just came finally and roughly ripped the hoods off of our heads, pulling some of my hair!! When we finally started moving again, we entered another corridor with a half deflated blow-up tight passage, and then.... the Inferno shop. That was it. It was just the most dreadful, disorganised, least atmospheric maze ever that was so bad, it was almost good. I for one could not get over the ridiculousness of it, I laughed so unbelievably hard my stomach hurt and it became a highlight. Later, the unknowing queue was coming out the entrance and slithering about 30 steps further... I’m not sure if they had as much fun as I did!!
  24. 8 points
    I just laughed for about 12 minutes
  25. 8 points
    Wicker Man. I think it’s fair to say that I had very mixed feelings during the construction and build-up process for this ride. Whilst I was happy to see a new wooden coaster finally grace the UK line-up, I had reservations about how good it would be; there weren’t any huge drops in the layout, so would it pick up enough speed to be thrilling? On approaching the ride, the excitement builds from the moment you see the hugely impressive Wicker Man structure and entrance signage come into view with the music droning in the background. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing – it’s such a compelling sight, nothing looks out of place and everything just ‘works’. Moving into the queue-line, the design is fantastic with so many vantage points for the ride – small items of theming are expertly placed creating brilliant photo opportunities. Throughout queuing there are many good places to watch the coaster from, and it’s so pleasing to see that everyone seems to be enjoying it. I really like how the smoke effect is pulled around the corner by the train after exiting the second tunnel, in particular. Being surrounded by the roar of a wooden coaster combined with the soundtrack, theming and screams of joy is really something quite special. Onto the preshow, I enjoyed this and found it delivers a lot in a short space of time. The transition is clever and the show lasts just long enough to stay interesting whilst not becoming a burden after a few rides. I found the theatrics and changes in atmosphere particularly impressive, however it was a shame on one of the rides I had that the automatic doors at the back of the room kept opening. Exiting into the station, the lighting and dispatch/unload audio keeps the theme consistent and is very impressive. With the thematic elements done to a very high standard, how well would the coaster itself hold up? After five rides on two separate occasions, I absolutely love it. Dispatching out of the station, the pre-lift section is very Nemesis Inferno-esque (with the mist-filled tunnel) and sets the scene for the ride very well. Ascending the lift hill, the views of the ride are excellent and the audio helps to build anticipation throughout. The first corner and drop help to build up the speed, and the tunnel adds a level of disorientation, as you exit already facing the ground. The section that follows is truly sublime; after going over the second hill in the tunnel, you emerge blinded from the light to be thrown (yes, THROWN) first to the right, then to the left and into a ground-hugging turn. This is my absolute favourite section of the ride; the forces are much better than I expected and the transition from right-to-left is just so much fun. Diving through the Wicker Man structure and up into the turnaround, this offers a nice view of the queue-line and theming structure before hitting the two small bumps (which are much better than they look!) and then plunging to the right through the structure into yet another fantastic and unexpected sideways-banked drop. I found that the flat corner goes a long way to making the ride feel longer, as it gives you time to process the elements you’ve been through before heading into the next section. The straight drop which follows provides a nice feeling of weightlessness, however on the back row at the end of a rainy day there was some incredible airtime there! Following this is a sharp right-hand-turn through the structure, before turning left under the lift-hill and into the brake run leaving the clank of the lift chain ringing in your ears. After some time to think it through, I can say in full confidence that Wicker Man is genuinely one of the best roller coasters I have ever ridden. Firstly, it’s the first time Alton have delivered a fully complete theme under Merlin, with no obvious corners cut and nothing looks out of place. I could nit-pick, but it's the best we've had in the UK for years - so I won't. The coaster itself is great fun and is a superb example of a wooden coaster. Combined, it’s a masterpiece. My only concerns going forward are the reliability issues the ride is currently having, and maintenance of effects. The fire, smoke and audio add a lot to the overall experience, and with the fire already broken, I only hope that Alton can manage to maintain them to a high standard. Thanks for reading, a few more photos below. Wicker Man = AMAZING.
  26. 8 points


    So proud of Colossus for becoming a Great British icon.
  27. 8 points

    The Walking Dead - The Ride: SPOILERS

    I bet people can't wait to ride this indoor rollercoaster at midnight, it's going to make a big difference.
  28. 7 points

    'I'm a Celebrity' Maze

    I appreciate this is your POV but this just seems like typical Merlin delusion to me. Merlin have proven many times how out of touch they are with the public, I really don't think it enters their minds what people respond to other than what their statistically skewed KPIs and surveys tell them. Of course we don't hear about everything that goes on, which is a shame because there are plenty of stories. For years they held that mantra about a wooden coaster in a UK park, when finally they built one it was very popular. Replacing its last big all-round family ride (in a park that desperately needs a major family ride) with a ticketed Dungeon attraction is not knowing how the public respond. They have no clue what they're doing with Thorpe Park. Wasting their most expensive project ever on a ride that doesn't know what it wants to be and was largely rejected by the public is not "getting the most out of the UK audience". Labouring a declining park with a ride that costs so much to operate and a bunch of fad IPs is not knowing what entertains the public. Until recently they squandered Chessington's development with their weird ideology that it's not allowed a new coaster because it's a family park, and not allowed new rides unless they have animals shoved in somehow, so denied practically everything for years. It's long been obvious to everyone Chessington needs a new coaster to absorb the queues, restoring old rides and fresh new ideas. If British people went to Phantasialand, Efteling and Europa Park would they not enjoy it as much as a Merlin attraction? Many non enthusiasts I know who've visited those places told how amazing it was, they havnt been to nearby Thorpe for years. All that Merlin care about the British public is to monopolise them and hype them up so that they can fleece them of more money. Hence IPs, just broker a deal with something that's already successful. IPs have been around for years, even at the time these parks were being built and that didn't stop them becoming popular. I believe the British public can be a cynical bunch and Merlin certainly know how to mislead them, but sooner or later they wake up to the overpricing, the poor value for money and commercialised parks. I think they're more ready to enjoy whatever's thrown at them than Merlin give them credit for, so long as it gets the fundamentals right and is entertaining, then word of mouth spreads. Merlin have proven time and again they have no idea how to do this other than roller coasters or IPs. Merlin monopolised the market, "hey ho that's business". No, you can make great business out of entertainment without monopoly. If anything monopoly is a way to get away with shoddy business because you own the whole market. I hardly call that business, just domination and shouldn't be shrugged off as 'just the way things have to be'. Merlin is also an extremely inefficient business underneath the hood.
  29. 7 points

    2019 Season

    Looks like LOTS of cuts for 2019...
  30. 7 points

    Logger's Leap

    I dont want to sound like an angry vox pop but I feel like it's justified here after the continued unprofessional attitude from Thorpe Park Absolutely ridiculous that park doesnt just come out and say "Loggers Leap is closed". How hard is that? The moment Loggers Leap closed it got glossed over by people either too over-optimistic on what to expect from Merlin, or who were doing it to save bad press. While it probably could have been refurbished as necessary and reopened (like any other park would), this just isn't Merlin's track record. No surprise to everybody that it's sat there for years seizing up and much is now probably beyond reasonable repair. So just tell your customers Thorpe Park, the ride is closed. It's the least you could do! You've only created far, far worse response by trying to shove your biggest family attraction under the carpet. And now this tweet, probably because the park is such a joke at the moment that its own staff find it funny (I would). It needs a proper sort out this place.
  31. 7 points
    So tonight I decided to bite the bullet and give fright nights a chance. Before I say my own thoughts, I would just like to mention a brief chat I had with a couple I met in the Do or Die line. This years fright nights was the first year they went since 2008 (the best year in the events history) and the first thing they said to me was “what happened?? I remember this used to be so good!!” So this couple has not seen the decline of fright nights since 2008, they have seen the then and the now and that to me must be even worse than the decline that I’ve seen year on year. Without mincing my words, this years fright nights is EASILY the worst fright nights I have been too and I have been going since 2004!!. Vulcan peak is an absolute insult to the space that once occupied The Freezer/Asylum. It really is not only comfortably the worst horror maze in the events history, it is the worst horror maze I have ever had the displeasure of going through!! Honestly want to know who thought that maze was good enough to open to the public some of whom are paying good hard earned money to attend. The other new “mazes” to me also felt cheap and last minute.com and as a whole it just all felt rushed together this year. Next year, the event needs a major overhaul as far as I’m concerned as it really has now turned into a laughing stock in relation to both other events in the country AND what the event used to be back up until the damn Lionsgate IP’s came in. The event now lacks a “go to” maze that you know would salvage the event no matter how bad everything else is thanks to the absolutely ludicrous decision to not bring The Big Top back and that has always been something fright nights has had since the start of the event (Freezer,Asylum,Studio 13, Cabin In The Woods and Big Top) so now there is absolutely nothing in my opinion that saves this event. For those of you who are reading this who never got to see how great this event once was, I truly am sorry!!
  32. 7 points
    I think you probably answered your own question there!
  33. 7 points
    Right, so with this new announcement today, this is what we have for Fright Nights 2018. Italic ones mean they are "new", or something: • Saw Alive - ticked off as done for 2018 earlier this summer. Not unique to FN. • Platform 15 - average outdoor attraction with a long tunnel again. • Living Nightmare - again, ticked off earlier this year during summer. Not unique to FN. • Containment - more than likely the same rooms as before with a +£10 charge. • Do or Die - Sanctum with a different name. Simples. • Blair Witch - why is this back again? Never thought it was that good. • Terror at Amity High - Dead End Terror Zone meets Amity Cove? • Vulcan Peak - I'm a Celeb meets The Passing? • Screamplexx Cinema - 99% certain it will just be Walking Dead scenes coupled with the occasional Lionsgate film. • The Big Top: Showtime - I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the best attraction in 2016/2017 becoming this... If you factor in Do or Die just being a revised version of Sanctum, the return of Blair Witch and cancel out the scare zones and cinema, the only genuine new maze for this year is Vulcan Peak, which is frankly just gonna be "I'm a Celeb: Extreme Edition" with bags on your head to hide yourself from the frighteningly glaring faces of contempt from Ant and Dec. Still not hyped or excited about this year one bit.
  34. 7 points

    2018 General Discussion

    Towers it is then
  35. 7 points


    The biggest problem with this refurbishment is they seem to have spend the money in all the wrong places. Of all the ride’s flaws, why’d they bother fixing up the zombie tomb at the entrance? It’s looked cheap since the beginning of time, reparing part of it wasn’t going to fix that. Demolishing it really would’ve been better, as it makes the ride seem super tacky, hence most guests don’t bother riding. The space it’s in would serve much better as a proper entrance sign. Likewise, the money for those TV’s in the queue was a huge waste, they’re too bright, and distracting from the proper portraits. While on their own they’re a nice touch, they certainly should not have been a priority. The lighting in most places is still tragic, especially the timing. The great hall demon is only lit up towards the end of its movement, yet we see the whole thing reset. The same can be said for plenty of the effects. I think the only one that disappeared on time was electric bill? On the topic of the ride’s exterior- while it’s pleasing to see they’re now diverting guests though the woodland queue, rather than just shoving them though by the side of the house, the entrance really could benefit from having a proper sign to make it stand out, it sort of just seems like a gap in the hedge at the minute. Oh, and please change the name. No guest reads “Duel” and thinks ‘ghost train’. If it had a name that actually told you what the ride was, maybe it’d be more popular
  36. 7 points

    Alton Towers General Discussion

    Well, it’s better than nothing.
  37. 7 points
    That's the best use of faint praise I've ever seen.
  38. 7 points
    This is the battery I wish to charge on this garbage ride.
  39. 6 points
  40. 6 points
    Yes they do. "No other company on the planet delivers projects of such quality, with such value, within the timescales achieved." MMM website http://magic.lmcpreview.co.uk/ (click Read More) MMM of course is the organisation that produces and markets all of Merlin's attraction developments, including the Alton Towers Dungeons. Also, it has regularly been used in staff inductions, promotions, etc to make out they are "second to Disney" in any sense. I rarely see it specified as being only about attendance anymore. Yes, attendance is how they originally based that claim, but they have been using it disingenuously since. Along with many other ridiculous statements they make (eg that Spring update video), Merlin seemingly DO believe they make some of the best attractions in the world. So please don't be tired of the point being raised, Merlin themselves raise it allll the time so you can expect a valid counterargument! But do you think this is going to turn out anywhere near as good as Wicker Man? When it opened, I think quite rightly Wicker Man was a big hit with the public and enthusiasts alike. Yes there was a lot of cynicism beforehand from some, but mostly about the layout. Fair enough, because it's very short compared with the many other wooden coasters that were cancelled at Alton Towers. Other than that, the rest was just speculation and people being (understandably) disillusioned with Merlin after other recent developments that were nothing like Wicker Man. Maybe not "easy money", but they do it for the reason of spreading their own brands and guaranteeing marketing success by using a pre-existing concept (and therefore guaranteeing profits, according to them). But as usual, they are even internally dysfunctional, and you're right it will cost them more in the long term. They keep proving they don't care about the long term of their parks.
  41. 6 points
    Can someone edit the title of this topic please, as it is not technically a completely "new" attraction as it uses the old Hocus Pocus Hall building. #petty
  42. 6 points
    Project LC

    Merlin Entertainments

    Investors are starting to become worried that underwhelming economic performance is not due to current market conditions and is more to do with the quality of the attractions. In April when the latest financial data is released and another underwhelming year is revealed the share price will either fall or flatline. Investor predictions will most likely turn to sell and Varney will be under pressure to make changes or walk. From what he has said in the past he doesn't like change and blames standard cycles in the economy. What I feel Varney has failed to take account of is that the current economic cycle has just past its peak and it is very unlikely they will be able to increase profits in the coming years with the eurozone heading towards recession. With any luck the board will oust Varney and someone with a refreshed vision can take the reigns. You really have to question if one person can continue to come up with new ideas to drive forward the company for as long as Varney has been there. His current direction is suffocating the parks and I see issues on the horizon as major assets reach the end of there service life.
  43. 6 points

    TPM Awards 2018 - The Winners

    It's official - 2018 was the tightest year yet! Some spectacularly close fought contests were had, and there's even a TPM first. But more on that later... For now, the winners... PARK AWARDS Best UK Park 1) Alton Towers (13) 2) Blackpool Pleasure Beach (6) 3) Thorpe Park (3) Best UK Coaster 1) Nemesis (7) 2) Icon (4) 3) Stealth (3) Best UK Flat 1) Rush (8) 2) Detonator (5) 3) Samurai (4) Best UK Water Ride 1) Valhalla (12) 2) Tidal Wave (6) 3) Tiger Rock (3) Best UK Dark Ride 1) Hex (13) 2) Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon (3) 3) Duel (2) Worst UK Ride 1) Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon (13) 2) Hero (3) 3) Storm Surge (2) Best International Park 1) Europa Park (8) 2) Phantasialand (5) 3) Cedar Point (4) Best International Coaster 1) Steel Vengeance (5) =2) Taron, Helix & Shambhala (3) Best New-for-2018 Attraction 1) Wicker Man (9) 2) Icon (5) 3) Steel Vengeance (4) Most Disappointing Merlin Moment 2018 1) Fright Nights; specific mentions included Vulcan Peak (10) 2) 'Everything' or words to that effect (4) 3) Alton Towers' infamous "It's better than nothing" tweet (3) Best-Looking New-for-2019 Attraction 1) FLY/Rookburgh, Phantasialand (5) 2) Untamed, Walibi Holland (4) =3) Rulantica, Europa Park & Taiga, Linnanmäki (3) Best Manufacturer 1) Mack (8) 2) B&M (5) 3) RMC (4) MEMBER AWARDS Best Member 1) @JoshC. 2) @Mattgwise 3) @Cedar Creek Best Team Member 1) @Marc 2) @Mattgwise 3) @JoshC. Best Quality Posts 1) @Wumbamillio 2) @Coaster 3) 4 runners-up (see below) Most Knowledgeable =1) @Wumbamillio & @JoshC. 2) @Coaster 3) @Benin Most Dedicated 1) @Cedar Creek 2) @JoshC. 3) @Mattgwise Most Sarcastic 1) @Benin 2) @Cedar Creek 3) @Coaster Most Likely to be Banned in 2019 1) @MarkC 2) @Coaster 3) Thorpe Park's Twitter Page Funniest Member =1) @Martin Doyle & @MattyMoo 2) @Benin 3) @pluk Biggest Fanboy 1) @Cedar Creek 2) @Marhelorpe 3) @Marc Sexiest Male 1) @Cedar Creek 2) @Ryan 3) @Martin Doyle Sexiest Female 1) @terrortomb 2) @jessica2 3) @Cedar Creek Storm Surge Award 1) @Ivsetti 2) @Cedar Creek 3) @Coaster Member You'd Like to See More Of 1) @Coaster 2) @BenC 3) @pluk Congratulations winners! This year was one of the tightest yet, so wear your victories with pride! As for the six-way ties, these will be decided by a...*cue dramatic X Factor music*...public vote. Head over to this thread and cast your! The nominees are... Best Member @Cedar Creek, @Coaster, @JoshC., @Martin Doyle, @Mattgwise and @pluk Best Quality Posts @Cedar Creek, @Coaster, @JoshC., @Marhelorpe, @pluk and @Wumbamillio The votes will be open until Thursday, 23.59, when hopefully a winner will be decided! These votes are anonymous, but you can see how many people have voted for a particular person at any given time. In the nature of good sportsmanship, nominees - don't vote for yourself! Happy voting all!
  44. 6 points

    Closed Season

    This makes me laugh more than the actual post you have quoted! The forum is a place for opinions and supposed to be a fun place so there was no harm done in saying what was said! Clearly Cedar Creek (and myself) was joking and would not think those things would actually happen!
  45. 6 points
    You know, I’m sensing a BIT of a vested interest with this one ?
  46. 6 points

    2018 General Discussion

    I see from Facebook that today is "that" particular day where people Travel from far and wide to Thorpe Park & Alton Towers... #prayfortheannualpassholders EDIT: my fave tweet thus far is someone asking why there are so many people in high heels on park today ?
  47. 6 points
    Nah, sod Asylum or Experiment 10, the maze everyone wants back for 2018 is the amazing ‘The Passing’ of course! Always missed those highly detailed white-painted walls, UV death certificate and the £3 up-charge, all with a black bag over your head the entire time, hiding your eyes from Hellgate’s previous theming. But, admittedly, 2010’s ‘Dead End Terror Zone’ is the one that needs to come back more than any other. Nothing screamed “2nd to Disney” quality more than a single actor jumping out from behind Mr. Giraffe with a Tesco Value Halloween mask on their face. Ah, those were the days... ?
  48. 6 points
    "No Punctuation: Search For The Missing Full Stop" horror maze confirmed as new for 2018 at Thorpe ?
  49. 6 points


    I personally like the comments from people saying it's gone from "Year of the Walking Dead" to "Year of the Brain Dead" ?
  50. 6 points

    Alton Towers General Discussion

    Actually, that could be their new slogan; "Alton Towers - it's better than nothing"
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