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About BaronC.

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    I am Lez Cougan

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    Theme Parks.

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  1. Fright Nights 2017

    I believe that last night was the night were there was a large number of certain visitors in the park. They cause more trouble and it does affect the operations a lot. For some staff (especially if they're newer / haven't experienced that behaviour in large quantities before), it can be intimidating, difficult to control and a bit 'rabbit in headlights' for some. And the security team will always be stretched regardless of how many staff they get in. That's certainly not to give staff / the park a bye for the operations / handling of some things, but perhaps it's easier to be a bit more forgiving given the circumstances.
  2. Fright Nights 2017

    Given it's hard enough to see your own hand in front of your face in the strobe maze, I really don't see how you can give any fair estimate for the number of people in there? People get lost in there and stay in there so long, I imagine there's always more people in that section than people think. There's people on here who have said they've gotten lost in the strobe section for 5-10 minutes, which would mean that at least 2-3 groups should also have entered the maze by then too, yet never did anyone complain of overcrowding. Not saying there wasn't necessarily a large number of people in there (having no pre show won't help that), but it's not exactly uncommon or something which necessarily affects the experience. Skipping pre show is poor though. It doesn't really change anything throughput wise (since it's a similar length to the safety talk), and it does set the maze up nicely. Hopefully just a one off more than anything else. Regarding Fastrack, in theory it shouldn't matter how long the Fastrack queue is, as the same number of people should be batched in every time. So it doesn't matter if there's 10 people there, or 200 people, only 6 Fastrackers say (I've got no idea on the actual number) should be in a group. Fastrack is designed so that if you buy a ticket, you wait at most 1/3 of the advertised queue time (so in theory if there's a 90 minute queue, you could still wait up to 30 minutes). This fails when people don't stick to their slots, advertised queue times are wildly inaccurate, etc. If / when these things go wrong, it leaves staff having the struggle with an in-balance for the rest of the night. Also, just to clarify my comment about Facebook posts - yep, every comment is just as valid as any other time of year. But it's always worth baring in mind that there's always more negative feedback during Fright Nights compared to other times of the year, and social media rarely gets used to express good feedback, only excellent feedback. Whether the negative feedback is proportionate to the crowd numbers we don't know, but it's always worth keeping in mind that it will never tell the full story.
  3. SW8

    I definitely didn't pick up on this - you should have been more vocal about your dislike for it...
  4. Fright Nights 2017

    Worth remembering that Facebook comments are always the worst and were terrible this time last year too. Not excusing anything, but I don't think we can necessarily draw any major conclusions from how good or bad the event is being received from Facebook comments. One issue they'll have now is that the pre-recorded safety messages on Big Top and Platform means that there's a strict length between dispatches. It means that you won't get groups catching up with each other (so arguably improves the experience), but does make it more difficult to get the queues moving quicker at times. Living Nightmare is also going to struggle as its pre show is heavily scripted and has to be adhered to by, meaning it cannot be rushed. Ride availability was particularly poor last night - Ghost Train was closed all day, Storm Surge closed due to a nearby drain being blocked, which also affected X temporarily. Maze availability was fine, but queues were moving slowly. Another issue they've got is that Sanctum, for one reason or another, doesn't seem to be soaking up the queues. It does have a high throughput, and being away from the rest of the mazes meant it had the ability to control / spread crowds better. But it just doesn't seem to be doing that. So whereas last year when all maze queues were pretty even in length (once Blair Witch opened), Sanctum is noticeably shorter than the rest. So effectively it means more people are queueing for the other mazes. It's an odd situation.
  5. SW8

    Presumably it's just that the corner will be taken at such low speed it doesn't need banking. Means you get a bit more lateral action when turning I guess.
  6. Park Operations

    Saw can run with a minimum of 5 actually, though I think it only did that for a brief period shortly after it opened due to some teething issues. In practice, the lowest they'd ever really run it with is 6, and that'd only happen if they were running 7 cars on a quiet day, doing general work on the 8th, and they had to take another car off due to a technical issue. I think the workshop only has room for 2 cars anyway?
  7. Park Operations

    Going to have to be pig-headed stubborn here. This time last year, on the 10-4 Mondays in October, both Rush and Rumba were open. All coasters were on minimum capacity. Coaster queues were around the 30-45 minute for a large majority of the day, just like they are this year, without Rumba and Rush. It's simple - on off peak days, the filler rides* are dead. They will have next to no queue all day, and if they get a queue, it'll go almost immediately. The number of people queueing for and on the rides is nothing compared to the people queuing for the coasters. Sure, in effect it may mean you wait an extra circuit because 2 people were ahead of your group of 2. But it makes no real impact to how long the queues really are. It's perhaps a crude way to look at it, but that's how it is. *with the exception of Storm Surge. The public love Storm Surge somehow. If anyone ever goes on an off peak day next season, with the wonderful Rush and Rumba open, they will see no queues and not all seats / boats filled. And though I can't be certain of an actual number, I'm reasonably constant that on average, at any given time, you won't have more than 100 people ever on/queueing for those rides. Happy to eat my hat if I'm wrong. The closure of Rumba and Rush will (and has) affected guest enjoyment on off peak days, but it isn't because queues elsewhere are longer.
  8. Park Operations

    At any one time, you'd probably have at most 50 people riding / waiting for the next cycle of Rumba and Rush combined. Even if all of those people went and joined 1 coaster queue (which they wouldn't anyway), that ups the queue by 5 minutes, 10 if things are particularly slow. Spread all those people across the whole park and the impact it makes is nothing. It's fact. The cause of long queues on off peak days is the fact the major rides are on reduced capacity. That is the only reason.
  9. Park Operations

    Of course filler attractions ease major attraction queue times. But on these quiet days, their affect is negligible. Be willing to bet that if Rumba and Rush were open on Monday, they would have had no queue, Rush would have struggled to make a full cycle, and you'd have had 2-3 boats of people on Rumba at most at any one time. Because that's what is like on every other quiet day. Those numbers redistributed around the rest of the park makes very little difference on a quiet day. Busy day is different though. People will still complain, as they're rides that people can't go on even though they want to. It is adversely affecting people's enjoyment. But it isn't really making the queues for other rides any worse.
  10. Park Operations

    To be fair, I wouldn't exactly call Rumba a key attraction...especially on an off peak day. Even calling Rush one is pushing it on an off peak day. The likes of Rumba and Rush (and Slammer, Loggers, I'm a Celeb and whatever else for all the pendants out there...) won't be affecting the coaster queue times. People go to Thorpe for the coasters, and it's the 1 train op which is giving them the long queues. The fact they haven't got the rapids open isn't why Inferno is a 30 minute queue instead of a 10 minute queue.
  11. Rant

    I know the feeling pluk. I suck at 1 on 1 / 2 on 1 interviews majorly. I freeze, nothing comes out, and then - worst of all - start panicking about not saying anything which means you say even less and so the vicious circle starts. The funny thing is I'm fine when presenting to a group (either mid-sized or large-sized), but interviews crumble me. Kind of feel like I'd do better if I had 5 people interviewing me at once. Fingers crossed the job gods give you some slack and you get given the job. Would more than make up for not being able to drown those sorrows.
  12. Colossus

    Exactly this. You tend to see trends of how long people are willing to wait for certain rides. So with something like Colossus, which is very popular and doesn't have an amazingly high throughput on full capacity anyway, it'll always reach a natural maximum queue time before people go 'nah, I don't want to wait that long, let's try again later'. Funnily enough, on 'busy' days, 90 minutes is probably the natural maximum. Though on crazy busy days (ie schools week and Fright Nights half term when the park is basically at capacity), people are prepared to wait longer anyway, and 3 hours is about that natural max. If the capacity was doubled, you'd still see it get long queues (if/when the demand was there). Rush is a good example to show this at the other end of the scale. On 2 swings, the queue will rarely exceed 45-50 minutes on 'busy' days, but if it was on 1 swing, the queue would go up to 70-80 minutes and stay there. That'd be the natural maximum, but on 2 swings it'll very rarely hit that because there's essentially not enough demand.
  13. SW8

    I don't think they're actually advertising them as being parts of the coaster (correct me if I'm wrong!). They're more just there as a commemorative piece - many other parks do the same too. Plopsaland can go one better; Heidi blocks are €8.
  14. SW8

    Following photos from TPG's Facebook... Looks nice - surely there will be fire effect on this? Also, as many other parks with wooden coasters do, Towers are selling pieces of wood with SW8 branding... At a cost of the low low price of £25, it can belong to you...though apparently the shelves where they were sold were empty by the end of today...