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About BaronC.

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  1. Ride Accidents

    Since we don't have a Bobbejaanland thread... http://www.looopings.nl/weblog/8365/Bobbejaanland-sluit-achtbaan-Typhoon-na-botsing.html The Belgian park's Gerstlauer Eurofighter, Typhoon, had a "low speed" crash in the station last week. Seems like the final breaks didn't work properly, causing the car that had finished the circuit to crash into the one being loaded in the station. The ride is closed whilst it's investigated. Oh Gerstlauer...
  2. Parc Asterix

    Parc Asterix's Storm Surge equivalent had a bit of a crash... http://m.rtl.be/info/946259 Seems like part of slide near the bottom had come loose, causing boats to pile up. Couple of minor injuries, but nothing serious. Customer care has been very good though.
  3. SW8

    The Pagan-esque symbols are also carved into the wood either of the sign. I think it's fair to say that those symbols could be deciphered to say 'Be Chosen' (look in particular at the same symbol where an 'e' would be). The 3 symbols on the sign itself could be 'SW8', especially as the first symbol matches the 's' in 'Be Chosen'. Potentially something to look out for during the marketing campaign. Not unheard of for Towers to be interactive and get people to work out clues (the latter part of Smiler's advertising for example).
  4. Feng Ju is easily the worst madhouse I've done, largely because the story is so awful and the 'upside down' section is do meh. The harsh closing times are very annoying, especially since EVERYTHING stops bang on close time in my experience. But I wonder if that's a cultural thing? I had basically the same experience at Movie Park Germany where everything except the main shop was closed at park closed. And similar things happen on all my European park trips come to think about it. And on my visits to Phantasialand, the park seems to be dead very quickly after opening. So maybe the Europeans see and understand a, say, 8pm close as 'everything is closed by 8pm'. I do think we in the UK are a bit spoilt by our closing times in that respect, as it's only queues that close at park close, and many snack places and shops remain open later too. Just a shame park close in generally quite early..
  5. Chessington Howl'o'ween

    Not saying it should be encouraged, like Benin says they're all equally bad (arguably you don't need them to be good; they're essentially the same as construction sites). Just a shame that when parks do little things like this they get laughed at...
  6. FreBelGerAnd - Movie Park Germany

    So I'm skipping Phantasialand because everyone knows I think it's the best and I'm behind on writing TRs and stuff. So yeah, do excuse the delay and what will be rushed TRs, which will largely just be reviews of rides in no particular order of riding them... Movie Park was a park I had reasonably low expectations about. There wasn't many raved about, and any reviews of the park I had read always mentioned long queues, that their Fastrack was a saviour and people always having a sour taste in their mouth at the end of the day. In fact the only real positives I had heard about the park was about its Halloween event. These fears weren't helped when park close was extended from 5pm to 6pm, suggesting the park would be quite busy. But for late June, it wasn't that busy, everything was manageable and it was a decent day. Star Trek: Operation Enterprise The new-for-2017, triple Mack launch coaster was the big draw for finally deciding to pay MPG a visit. Figuring it would have long queues, we headed their first - annoyingly the ride is basically the first thing you see at the entrance, but the ride entrance is in the middle of the park. Fortunately we were first in the queue. There was a few minute delay as we waited for a couple more test runs, but no issue. The indoor queue line is nice, but a bit too clinical. I get that this is the theme, but it just feels a bit uninteresting, even after a short while. What follows are 2 pre-shows, with screens which give a back story from characters from the show (spoken in Germany, but with English subtitles), as well as a staff member guiding you through. They are nice, and the rooms are nicely themed, but they do go on too long for my liking. We got to the station and were on the second train (being first in the pre shows doesn't guarantee first in the station). The ride itself is fun. The traverser taking you to the launch track is in another very white room, which again feels quite boring. The launches are nice and smooth; they're certainly not fast but that's not really the point I feel. The inversions are taken quite slowly, giving a brilliant amount of hang time. Towards the end of the course there's an amazing bit of airtime which really got me. It's over quite quickly, but doesn't leave you feeling short changed fortunately. You do seem to spend an age waiting on the break run though, which feels even longer as there's not much to look at. After our ride, we noticed there was no one in the station (people were being held up by pre show!), so we were able to get a re-ride immediately. Though this didn't happen later in the day when we rode again, it makes me wonder how sustainable the pre shows are in their current format. Staff seemed to have iPads showing where groups should be, radios to communicate to each other and god knows what else. Seemed like a very faffy system for not a lot of pay off! Van Helsing's Factory This was perhaps the only ride I'd heard good things about before visiting. And I can see why. The theming is fantastic, the layout is fun and works well with the theming. The general mood and atmosphere is brilliant. Just everything about this ride works well together. Even the queue line, exit and shop just feels so right and complete. It's a fantastic example showing that a ride as a whole starts the moment you enter the queue (and even when you just see building!), and finishes the moment you leave the shop. This was a true gem and possibly the biggest surprise of the trip. The fact that our first ride we queued about 40-45 minutes (basically the longest queue of the trip) and I loved it right away shows its quality. Plus things quietened as the day went on, meaning several re-rides. Bandit We did the park's wooden coaster in the afternoon, and the queue time was displayed as an hour. Fortunately it was no where near that (15mins); seems Movie Park just update their queue times to the longest they get all day and leave them like that.. The ride looked like it had potential, but unfortunately fails to deliver. Every time it looks like it can pick up speed, or produce a decent moment of airtime, it just...doesn't? And that's the worst thing about this - excitement builds and builds, and it never delivers. It was so uninteresting, I didn't get any photos.. MP Express This was a Vekoma SLC. It was like any other Vekoma SLC - naff. The first half of the ride was actually not awfully and shows why SLCs can get decent rides. The second half was extremely painful, and right down there with the god awful El Condor at Walibi Holland. The Lost Temple Tucked away near the front of the park, Lost Temple is an immersive tunnel themed around finding a lost temple - shock horror - and uncovering dinosaurs and stuff. It features several burdenous pre shows (one of which was a real lift which we thought was fake!), and lots of faffing around between pre shows. The 'experience' as a whole took about 30 minutes, so thank goodness the park wasn't too busy otherwise that would have been a huge chunk of the day gone. The tunnel itself was meh; the Bobbejaanland one was a bit better really. The exit pathway and queue to the ride is decent though. Bermuda Triangle Another ride tucked at the entrance to the park (and easily missed!). This dark boat ride was literally walk on. I really don't know how to describe this. The ride starts off outside, before taking you into a volcano. There were times inside when I didn't know if I was dropping, going up or what. The theming inside is good, but obviously quite dated - along with the theme itself. The finale is being taken up a lift in a very misty, very warm part of the volcano, before dropping outside and splashing down. There's usually a huge amount of mist before a boat drops down, and there were occasional fire effects from the top of the volcano. It's a really good, yet really bizarre, ride. I'm gutted I didn't actually take any pictures of it. We tried to get a reride at about 5:20, but when we got to the entrance the entrance board said it closed at 5:15 (even though it definitely said 5:30 when we went there earlier). There was no queue, and I'm pretty certain the ride has stopped running shortly afterwards. A frustrating situation. Nick Land Nick land featured some randoms kiddie rides, some family rides and some coasters. One coaster, the Jimmy Neutron themed Vekoma SFC, was closed all day. Annoying spite. One coaster was a Vekoma rollerskater "themed" to the Backyardians. We more or less got straight on. It was meh. There was also a Spongebob "themed" Wild Mouse, which was alright. We also did the Dora the Explorer "themed" log flume, which got me drenched to the bone. I don't really have much else to say. Nick Land looked quite out of place compared to large proportions of the park. It felt very run down, the theming was minimal to non-existent, and I really feel like the park could do a lot better. Mystery River This Neverending Story esque rapids ride is tucked tight at the back of Nick Land, and turned out to be a neat little surprise. I'd say it's in my top 3 rapids rides; it has a good length, decent amount of theming and an acceptable level of wetness. It's also helped by the fact that you basically can't see the ride at all from anywhere on park, so you really have no idea what is coming. The biggest disappoint is that you have to survive walking through Nick Land to get to it. Crazy Cops Stunt Show I love a good stunt show, and we wandered into this show not really knowing what to expect, aside from screeching tires and loud noises. This ended up being really good, featuring a decent level of stunts featuring cars, bikes and falls, as well as some decent effects, slapstick comedy and an easy-to-follow 'story' of sorts. It was just great fun to watch, and a great way to break up the day. It's a shame things like this aren't as common in the UK any more.. The High Fall A tall drop tower with nice views of the park, a bit of suspense and tilting seats. Pretty good fun all in all. Tip - if anyone ever visits and sees a long queue for this, just do a double check. The indoor queue is a cattlepen where one wall is a mirror and makes the queue look double in length. Caught us out first time.. There was some other stuff around the park, including a simulator featuring massive sets and John Cleese, which was meh, a few nicely themed or styled flats that we didn't bother with (Top Spin, Disk'o, Rockin' Tug, etc). But the final thing of note I want to mention... The Walking Dead - Breakout A year-round horror maze with a 5 euro upcharge, Walking Dead - Breakout felt like it had a lot to live up to, since the park was apparently good at Halloween and with its scare mazes. Plus the fact Walking Dead is a huge brand and has mazes at several locations, it felt like it had to be good for Movie Park to be a deserving park to have it. The maze is open 1-4pm, and we bought out tickets online and booked for 1pm. Unfortunately the time slot system is non existent and you turn up whenever you want. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the maze is terrible. It's themed nicely, but there's no real scares, no opportunity for scares, not enough actors, no real scary atmosphere. It's just terrible. It terms of actual frights, I'd say it's comparable to Platform 15 (a maze notoriously known not to be able to offer many scares last year). This really was a crying shame, a huge disappointment - possible my personal biggest disappoint at any park across Europe. And so that's that. Movie Park Germany is perhaps a little underrated, though Star Trek definitely improves the line up. They've got a couple of solid coasters, a decent dark and water ride collection and the odd sparkle across flats and live entertainment. Certainly not a park I'd call a must-do, but definitely worth looking into at the very least. Next up (and hopefully before Christmas...) - Efteling!
  7. Rant

    You missed out the bit where you try and go through one of the automatic passport control things and it doesn't recognise your face, so you have to join the long, slow-moving manned passport control point.
  8. Chessington Howl'o'ween

    So Chessington do some low key theming and advertising outside one of their mazes and get slated. Thorpe and Towers do nothing but fencing and shipping containers outside and that's cool. Never happy are enthusiasts..
  9. Park Operations

    I believe some rides have seen wind speed checks introduced later than others, and others have had changes to how they operate following reviews with the manufacturers, etc. Hence why some rides are now more affected. I agree re Banana and Saw - very odd! Do remember though that how the wind feels on the ground can be very different to how it is 60ft up in the air. Remember that all rides will have computers tracking them and such. If a large gust of wind causes a flat ride to say be a millimetre or two out of its expected position, that could cause the computer to throw up an error or have a hissy fit or whatever. I assume rides will be built to allow for some margin of error to compensation for things like that, but Merlin will probably be wanting to run rides with a much smaller margin error than other places.
  10. Phantasialand

    Meanwhile at Vekoma HQ... It seems like there will be LSMs on an upward curve track, which is nice. Makes sense since a launch on a flying coaster won't be particularly intense. Photos from Phantafriends... https://www.phantafriends.de/topic/1873-neu-20xx-fly/?page=35&tab=comments#comment-88503
  11. Park Operations

    Certainly not a power cut; the spread of rides across the park wouldn't make sense. For example, if Detonator is closed down to a power cut, so would all of Jungle and Amity areas. Similarly, if Swarm is dead due to power, so would Fish. The wind speed issue is a hot topic in Merlin at the moment following recent events. I am of the understanding that most of the major rides have been fitted with specific wind speed monitors, that will alert when the wind speed is above a 'safe' level, which is set out by the manufacturer. Staff will then stop running the ride and won't reopen until the wind speed is consistently at a 'safe to operate' speed. The big issue is that if there's a particularly large gust of wind, this means that staff have to stop running the ride. So to stop running the ride, it only takes 1 instance of high wind, not consistent high wind. Of the rides currently closed, a few will always suffer more with wind. Vortex and Zodiac are right by the lake, where wind speeds can pick up more. Swarm also suffers similarly from this, and the majority of its full day closures have been down to high wind speeds. Depth Charge should also be understandable. And Detonator I guess. Banana Ride, Stealth and Colossus are weird ones. I guess if the wind is going in a certain direction it could cause issues with Stealth. Colossus isn't usually that bad even though it's by the water, and if that's suffering from high winds, Saw usually does too. I know people will come with the argument that 'well they've operated fine before, so why now?'. But we should of course remember that in terms of health and safety, Merlin won't want to take chances, so will be making themselves follow the strictest of rules. It's a case now of trying to find the balance of operating safely and operating effectively. Though I'd be more concerned at the fact that 3 rides are listed as Closed, indicating they won't be opening today, and that they all were yesterday as well...
  12. Fright Nights 2017

    The fortune teller (Madame Mephisto) had a crystal ball in 2015. Occasionally they'd use tarot cards as well, but I never experienced a ouija board. The ouija board was the key part of Platform 15's finale - you would try and summon the spirit of the conductor of the Sleeper Express, who had crawled through a "2 mile long tunnel" to try and get help. The ouija board either appeared at the end of the tunnel (where the scare happened, but it meat only the people at the front could see it), or before the start of the tunnel (which happened later in the event).
  13. The Swarm

    Worth mentioning that loads of Ghost Train merch is currently reduced at the moment as well. So Swarm's reduced merch might not be a sign of things to come... I hope. Please don't chop and change Swarm Thorpe. Please.
  14. Fright Nights 2017

    Mannequin heads were used in Platform 15, many of the 'dead' people on the train for example. So I think it's from there. Mannequins are also used in the Saw films to test / show off traps, which is why they're about in the queue for the ride.
  15. Scarefest

    Towers have always charged for mazes. Yes, it's true that they used to have a free maze, but any new maze has always been an upcharge, so I don't get why people are kicking up a fuss that this follows suit? The reality is that Towers charge £20 for 3 mazes (so £6.66 a maze), and those mazes have time slots available from 1-9pm. This maze costs £8, but has much stricter availability (5.30-9pm). So the extra charge compared to other mazes make sense in that respect - they've created a more limited experience, which should reflect in the quality, and so are charging more to reflect this. Of course, it means that Towers have set themselves a bar to reach (if it's not worth the £8, people will be disappointed), but that's a risk they'll have to take. Of course, it's frustrating that there is no free maze (especially since TotT is largely not as good as others, based on reviews I've read at least), but I imagine it'd be a nightmare trying to organise it with 3 mazes in such close proximity to each other. And yeah, £28 is a lot of money for the mazes, but I guess those interested in doing it will likely book in advance (£58 for park entry plus 4 guaranteed mazes isn't atrocious when you consider you'd pay similar at Thorpe), or be passholders and get it for £22.40 - and little over £5 a maze isn't bad.