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About JoshC.

  • Birthday 04/06/1994

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  1. This is probably a post for the Walliams thread, but... I've seen / heard people moan about this elsewhere, and it's something I don't get. Sure, the ride system may not necessarily have been planned for Towers, but clearly the ride experience itself will have been. Sure, it's a bit forced and maybe not what was originally planned, but I don't think that reallllllly makes a difference to anyone when it comes down to it, because it's highly unlikely that it will feel like 'this ride wasn't planned for this park' when you're on the ride...hopefully. Not a rant or trigger or anything, just something I don't think is a problem.
  2. It was in the BBQ place (Dirty Hot Dogs under a tent or whatever it's called), at the other end closest to Old Town. It's literally just the bar, which only opens when busy and only serves alcohol.
  3. @Hethetheth makes a fantastic point about why Phantasialand are able to invest in greater depths compared to Merlin parks. But even then, it's not just Phantasialand that are able to do this: look at the likes of Liseberg, Hansa Park, etc - independent parks that are able to invest in large amounts on a regular basis. (I'm ignoring Europa and Efteling because of their other means of incoming). A better question to specifically ask is simply how are Phantasialand able to invest ridiculous amounts of money? Klugheim was said to cost something in the region of €60-70m. Rookburgh is rumoured to be a larger investment. Maus au Chocolat (2011) and Chiapas (2014 but should've been 2013) cost another €60m between them. The Deep in Africa land (2006) was another €30-40m. That's insane, and beyond anything that most companies could invest in several parks, let alone one company in one park. How they manage it is still mysterious. The park is owned by the Löffelhardt family, who co-started the park originally. Clever entrepreneurship meant they were able to continue to invest. They also bought Mirabilandia in Italy (they were in charge at the time the park added key rides like Katun), before selling it in 2006 (which no doubt was a big helping hand) in the future. From there, it's simply a case of having ownership that knows how to do business and how to cleverly invest in the park. There's a lot of passion within too which is great. In some ways, I guess their situation could be likened to what we're seeing at Energylandia. They're owned by someone who is wealthy and already has a great deal of experience in running a business, but also someone who is deeply passionate and wants something they can be proud of. The difference there is they very openly receive EU grants and the like to help accelerate their development, and are going for size and quantity over details and quality (of theming). The amount the park have invested on new rides between 2018-2020 probably could have seen them invest in something of similar depth and quality to any of Phantasialand's investments if they wanted to. Let's not pretend that the UK are the only place that is thrifty. Everywhere in the world is. The trouble is, Merlin have dug themselves into a hole. They set high prices and then give out a ton of promos. So of course people in the UK are then going to dig for the best deal. They'll naturally end up complaining that something doesn't represent a good enough value because, simply put, they've be trained to think they can always get something for next-to nothing. Merlin give tickets away because they chose to. Now they do it because they have to. This is a very common tactic. Have a low entrance cost and hit visitors with high secondary spends. Look at Vue cinemas - many of them have decreased their standard price significantly (my local one is £5 for any film). But then they can hit you with upgraded seats, high costs of drinks and snacks, etc. And people are more willing to do that because they feel they've 'saved' money for their ticket to watch the film, even if they haven't. Heck, even Phantasialand do this over their winter event. They usually have strong price integrity, so their pre-book online price is only a couple of euros cheaper than buying on the gate, and have very few promotions (and their entrance price is high, around €50). But over Winteraum, especially later in the event, they sell tickets online for €24. Why? Because during the event, they have lots of pop up stalls serving various food and drink (almost like a mini Christmas market), which are extremely popular. People spend a lot of money there and the park recoup any losses they may make from reducing the entrance price. I'd hardly call any of those parks competition. Drayton is dying. Blackpool ticks along, but when they invest in a brand new coaster, don't market it and then don't see suitable increases, you have to wonder how big a threat they are. And the Yorkshire parks are hardly competition when they barely invest (bar this year). Towers sees the most investment because Merlin know it's their crowning jewel. It's the UK's biggest park. It's the park that can easily get the highest attendance. It's well known abroad. It has hugely popular and well-known rides like Nemesis and Smiler. Plenty of legitimate world records / firsts that people are actually intrigued by. Towers receives the most investment because it's the safest bet to get a return. I don't get how you can laugh at Paulton's as being a competitor? They have made very wise investments and continue to do so. They're improving and growing constantly. They're a very legitimate threat to Chessington, whether Merlin admit that or not. Thorpe is different because of its target market. But it's clear to see that its numbers have been falling and popularity has decreased. It and Chessington benefit from location of being so close to London. But Thorpe needs to really push the boat to remain in a profitable state, because they're really sliding. It's a similar situation to where Chessington were 5-6 years, except Chessington were at least slowly retheming rides to bring them to standard.
  4. Sadly not; I don't think any Loggers Leap merch was released over the past 10-15 years!
  5. TusenFryd, in Oslo, are investing in a new coaster for 2021, which they've said will be their biggest single investment yet. The planning application gives an idea of the layout: It looks like it could be similar to Gold Rush at Slagharen, with a stationary swing launch to start. The train appears to have 8 rows so it's unlikely to be Gerstlauer, so it could be Intamin or Mack. Apparently this may not necessarily be the final layout, as their planning applications are more to show scale and location.
  6. It would certainly make sense. I guess it's also possible that Forbidden Kingdom could also see a retheme next year / when they inevitably tart up Tomb Blaster, which I could see happening in 2021 or 2022.
  7. Construction of Pantheon has been coming along nicely, and there's a very crazy-looking outside banked airtime hill type thing: Nice to see some different elements from Intamin, with hints of inspiration from RMC.
  8. Some nice aerial views of the park, including M&M construction, can be seen here:
  9. Taron clone has trains: Track was completed last month but there's still a lot of theming work to be completed. Will be interesting to see how it all looks when finished!
  10. Official link for Rainforest area: https://www.chessington.com/the-rainforest/ A focus on it being for younger guests (especially with the mini log time being an alternative for Tiger Rock). Hopefully the park do still focus on something a bit more thrilling too.
  11. Of course, don't expect similar levels from EVERY European park. Phantasialand set the bar high and are able to invest ridiculous amounts of money. But as Mark says, a lot of European parks are big on theming and immersion (especially compared to the UK), and it truly is a step up compared to most of our attractions.
  12. Can't wait to see the queues Elmer will get being in a prominent location again. Rainforest is a nice idea for an area (should probably set up a new thread for that..)
  13. It's a nice thought, but I reckon you're reading too much into it and it's just how they've decided to word it.
  14. Definitely due to visiting midweek. I was there Friday and the park was significantly quieter (queues no longer than 30mins) compared to the weekend. The park is of course extremely busy during the 12 days of Christmas, then dies down again for their open weekdays afterwards, but the weekends hugely pick up again.
  15. Went to Phantasialand this weekend and just, damn, I always forget how incredible this place is. Firstly, Rookburgh: no photos from me. However from the outside there's little to be seen since the last update. The glimpses are saw though are exciting. Next, Crazy Bats - the VR experience that at one point Phantasialand said they'd never get. It's a weird one: the VR headsets are good, and comfy - the first VR coaster I've ridden where I haven't needed to hold onto the headset. And the film itself is good. It's humour-filled, well done, has some nice tricks and fun to watch. But I did come off feeling a bit queasy (something VR hasn't done to me before), as did everyone else in my group. I think that's at least in part down to the sheet length of the film. The other issue, unsurprisingly, is the throughput. It's completely destroyed. A ride that could easily churn out 3-4 trains without stacking now just manages to send 2 with no stacking (which for a 4 minute + ride isn't good). And the first and last car were out of use throughout the duration of the visit (I don't know if that's a permanent thing or not, but that takes out 8 people a ride). And the clever conveyor belt cleaning system they had seems to no longer be used either, which is sad. The really surprising thing, though, is the popularity of Crazy Bats. The public were lapping it up. It regularly had the longest or second longest queue on park. People were willing to wait over 2 hours to ride this. Now 2 hour waiting times aren't uncommon for UK rides, sure, but in Germany you rarely see those sort of waits, except on exceptionally busy days. It's crazy. So clearly this has worked for the park. And that brings me onto the next point: the park was hugely busy this weekend. I've visited this weekend in January for the past couple of years, and whilst it's been busy, it's never felt mad. This year, however, it was heaving. The park coped very well and queues were all manageable. But it was a massive shock to the system to see how busy this tiny park gets, whilst still managing to deliver incredible experiences. People were queueing to get into the viewing area of the park's finale show (which, tbh, is a bit naff) an hour before it started! But yeah, despite the busy-ness, the park was brilliant. I can't recommend their winter event enough.
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