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JoshC.

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About JoshC.

  • Birthday 04/06/1994

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    Chiapas
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    Phantasialand

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  1. So I'll post my thoughts here. A review will be appearing on TPM later today (which will feature lots of nice pictures), and there's also some more stuff on our Facebook and Twitter of course. I prefix my review as I do every Fright Nights. Yes, I attended the Press Night, and these feature no queues, usually more actors and a sort of 'best representation' of the event. Of course, the point of these events is for influencers and fan sites to go along and post good things regardless of the quality of the event; that's what the TPM main site review will do. This review is my own, honest thoughts of what's gone down. AND of course, spoilers. Survival Games Let's start with the big new thing. I think the first thing that should be said is how big and imposing this looks from the outside. It's really well done. I like the music outside, and there's also similar music inside. The premise of this might sound a bit deeper or more complicated at first. You're effectively auditioning to join a new social media network, and to do that, you go through 'the Survival Games'. If you survive, you join the social media network, if you don't...well, you're dead. This is featured in the pre show and at the end, but outside of that, there is very little story in the maze. Actors have lines which fit in with that idea throughout, but that's about it. This may sound like a negative, but it's not. If anything, it's a positive. The idea of Survival Games is to be chaotic, and that's exactly what it does. Sticking to a long-winded, developed story throughout would harm it. The maze pre show works very well; splitting everyone off into individual cages, before having people individually 'snatched' away. This could be done even more extremely, but obviously a balance has to be made. You then make your way through various scenes before heading to the 'arena'. This is a huge space which takes up about half the space of the maze I reckon. It's completely free flow, with multiple routes, the ability to double back on yourself and very chaotic in general. Actors are everywhere, and do everything they can to intimidate, scare and disorientate you. It's fantastic. The ending of the maze sees you get put through a hidden door (in a bit which feels a bit Black Mirror Labyrinth esque), before being given one final scare. The finale is nothing original or special, but works in context. I have concerns about how well it operate on a standard day, which I raised with some of those responsible for the attraction, and I feel confident it will be well managed. I'm also a bit lost how this is the park's most expensive maze. The theming isn't anything special (though, like with the story, it doesn't need it). I guess a lot goes on the structure and set up. But even then, it surprises me this was a bigger investment than Trailers, which looks a lot better in terms of theming. All in though, I think this is a great experience, and up there with my favourites. It's just so much fun, with levels of drama and chaos you don't see often in mazes. Trailers There's no difference between last year's version of Trailers. All of the scenes have new posters indicating sequels, which is a fun little touch. That's something I'd like to see continued, as well as having scenes replaced every couple of years (having a Creek Freak room for example, in turn allowing for a chainsaw run out finale would work well!). So yes, don't expect any changes, but it's a solid cast and just in general a very lively atmosphere in there. Creek Freak Massacre Again, no real changes here, aside from a slightly difference script in the pre show which references Project Exodus tearing down the sawmill. I had a fun run, but this has never been something I've rated particularly highly. I hope it gets better received than last year. Scare Mazes: Bottom Line A thing which hasn't been noted really is the line up of these 3 mazes is actually Thorpe's 3 most expensive maze investments (or at least, 3 of the top 4). And those investments shine through. Whilst the upcharging of mazes is controversial, if it does result in new stuff having more money thrown at it and ultimately improving the experience, that's a massive win. I still think the upcharges are on the pricey side. Survival Games is worth the £8 outlay as a passholder (especially if you end up in there for 10-15 minutes like I did). £10 is too much in my books. But Trailers and Creek Freak are closer to the £5 price point for me. The Terminal sigh This. This is a thing. It looks terrible outside; no real entrance feature, and just a group of containers. What is The Terminal? It's an audio experience in darkness, so you wear headphone and have a story told to you, with loads of sound effects playing. And that's basically it. You have a pre show in your group. But it is very much just 'sit down and wear headphones'. There's a couple of extra effects, such as air sprays and vibrations. But for me, it doesn't do it. Don't get me wrong, this will get some people. Two people in my batch were terrified and had taken their headphones off at the end. But for those who are a bit braver, it won't do much. And you have to be truly invested in the experience from the word go to get anything out of it. This would be better with more sensory effects. Leg ticklers. Back and butt prodders. Leg grabs. Yes, I'm literally suggesting they take a page out of the Derren Brown Ghost Train book to improve this. But it needs a lot more. In The Terminal, I experienced the worst sensation you can experience in an attraction. Boredom. That about sums it up. Death's Doors So the new scare zone. It has a concept which sounds cool; knocking on doors and see what horror lies behind them. Obviously this has huge operational problems, and I can see them coming to a head soon. The doors are grouped together in blocks, and presumably one or two actors serve a block of doors. Already seems like a problem. One thing which took me by surprise is how...humour-filled the attraction is. Some of the characters include an evil Easter Bunny, an elf who's decapitated Father Christmas, a wicked Siren, etc. A little bit of dark humour works well, and is something which hasn't been featured in Fright Nights so explicitly before. I don't know if people will really expect it or get it as a result, but it's something which was appreciated by me. This feels like an attraction which has been shoehorned a bit for the 'unlock nightmares' tagline for the 21st edition of Fright Nights. The location isn't ideal. The characters don't quite fit the feel or story of the attraction. The ideas are there, but the execution is off. The Crows of Mawkin Meadow This is much the same as last year and good fun. However, there is the addition of a new route making use of the Saw Alive queue line, which takes you through the ruins of the village within the story. It's a nice idea, but doesn't quite work for me. They've partially draped the queue line, but for the most part, it feels like you're walking through a meshed fence queue. It needs more theming to get you immersed and to buy into the idea. Apparently the park did look at a larger solution of partially removing the queue line, but it wasn't financially viable for this Fright Nights. Maybe next year? Amity vs LycanThorpe High Another good, new, dance set, and the same usual fun. Very much seems the be the last year of this vampires vs werewolves, so presumably they have a plan moving forward for what follows. Look forward to seeing that. Birthday Bash Some good humour here (the addition of a grandma character is a big hit in my books). Again, new show, and again, good. Creek Freaks Unchained Didn't see it, but the roaming van they have used for all the events this year has had a Creek Freaks overlay. Legacy A new fire and light show is taking place on the small side of the Beach. It tested after the Press Event for the first time, and ran last night to the public for the first time. Have yet to see it. --- All in, Fright Nights is a fab event this year. They've built off the successes of last year, and have got a very good trio of high quality mazes this year. There's some lowlights, The Terminal in particular, and some potential issues which may come out during normal operation. But this is once again another great Fright Nights, and I'd really recommend going along this year!
  2. With spoilers inevitably coming out tonight from the Press Launch, we now have a Spoiler Thread: Please post anything spoilery there. This thread will remain open for now for those who wish to avoid spoilers.
  3. Tonight is the Press Night for this year's Fright Nights. Naturally spoilers for this year's event will come out. Please post any spoilery things here. Of course, your favourite Thorpe Park centric fan site will be there and posting updates on social media! Keep an eye out as we see if there are nightmares to be unlocked!
  4. With regards to the contract length for Derren as an IP... I believe it is due to expire soon. It was a longer contract than most IPs that Merlin have gone for, but presumably still has the standard options for extensions. If there's an "automatic extension trigger" clause, then Thorpe could well activate it just so they don't lose an attraction from their line up / don't have to do any work to it. After all, it's easier and cheaper to just do that than get something new as a replacement. Obviously there's arguments about whether it's worthwhile even having the ride. But if it's getting some riders and getting not awful KPI scores internally, they'll presumably keep it for now. It seems clear that Derren himself is unenthusiastic about the ride, for whatever reason. He rarely (if ever) has talked about it since the Rise of the Demon addition. It's not promoted at his shows in his programmes, which seems like a sure fire thing you'd do? But at the same time, if he gets say £50k a year from it for doing literally nothing, and it doesn't affect his brand, does he really care? I genuinely would not be surprised at any given year to not see it return. But equally, I can see it just ticking along. The majorly ironic thing is that in the current Thorpe set up, an arena space would have been much more suitable for the park than the ride itself. A big stage space, seating, space for other entertainment and also something that could be used at Fright Nights. Seems perfect now, no?
  5. We have a TPM article which details things a bit more. But for here... In short: 1. The Officer Report says that the council have been recommended to grant the application. 2. HOWEVER, as there are objections from the EA still in place, if it is granted, the application has to go to the Secretary of State for review. This could result in the council's decision ultimately being over-ruled. The Officer Report basically supports Thorpe with regards to the EA's objections. It's also noted how frustrating dealing with the EA has been, with them taking 8-12 weeks to respond and log their issues, when the park have been very prompt with giving extra details. Indeed, the original expectation was that a decision would be reached 13 weeks after the application was submitted (back in MARCH), and the EA is effectively the sole reason this has not happened. Thorpe are aware of the potential issues that could come about with the application going to the Secretary of State for review. I don't know what would happen during a review by the SoS, how long it could take or any potential issues / delays it could have. But presumably the park and their planning consultations are confident the application won't be rejected in any case, and are just so fed up with the EA at this point that they're pressing forward. This will hopefully mean they won't lose too much ground in terms of construction and still be able to open it in 2024. So exciting times, but still with an asterisk next to it for now...
  6. In the past when the park applied for flat rides, they were usually submitting applications late summer / early autumn for them to open at start of season. The most recent comparable example would be the Dodgems in Angry Birds Land, which had its application submitted in December 2013, and opened in May 2014. I've never been quite sure how Thorpe managed to place Timber Tug and Lumber Jump/High Striker without planning permission. There must be some loophole there I guess, especially given the size of the ride. But in short, if the park want a *new* ride which is of any sort of substance, we'd be seeing a planning application for it.
  7. I think the thing to remember with flying theatres is they are physically very tall; I believe Sky Lion's building is around 30m tall. Not to say this won't be a flying theatre / pair of theatres, or some variation thereof. But I'm not sure per se if the physical height of this building is something which suits that style of attraction?
  8. With regards to the partial opening of Old Town: The Construction Management Plan for Exodus did show the queue entrance for Creek Freak to be where Platform 15's was last year, with a bridge over the Loggers trough. The exit would then be a narrow pathway to the old train crossing by Samurai. However, actual construction for Exodus was never planned to really kick off until November. There will be preliminary work that would have happened before, but the key work wasn't meant to start till November. So, technically, there is no delay But with no approval in place, one has to wonder if they've paused the preliminary work. And one has to wonder why they've changed their original plan for Creek Freak's entrance. It could be purely innocent / a FN design choice, but it does raise eyebrows. However, as has been mentioned, I do have concerns about delays. We still don't have approval. It's not set to be discussed in October, so it's likely that approval from the Council - if it happens - will come at November at the earliest. If that's the case, the park are up against it to stay on their original plan. And that doesn't account for any delays that could occur with groundwork, construction, getting parts delivered in a post-Brexit, Russian-war landscape. If the plan was to open this at the start of 2024, it is going to be very tight, and summer feels that bit more realistic. And yes, this doesn't even discuss the need for the park to invest in other rides and attractions too, which is a huge other discussion.
  9. I'm interested, but will depend on a couple of factors. So treat me as a Maybe for now.
  10. JoshC.

    Booking slots

    Black Mirror no longer needs a time slot; you just queue as normal. Ghost Train slots tend to be available until the late morning/early afternoon in my experience. But that can depend on how busy it is.
  11. So we have some more stuff to go through. Basically, the park have said they have nothing more to add about Objection 1 (the supports being in a bad flood zone), and have given more details about Objection 2. There is also a General Correspondence document from the council towards the EA: In short, it appears that the council are confused by the EA's position (specifically about "Objection 2" I believe), and are seeking further clarifications. As has been discussed in the past, whilst bodies like the EA can object to a development, the ultimate decision lies with the council. They can take these objections on board, but still decide to give approval, provided they give their reasoning. Seemingly, as things stand, the council side with Thorpe on Objection 2. And with Objection 1, it seems that Thorpe have nothing more to say. But, the park do have history with construction in these 'bad' flood zones (Swarm being the key example, which the park have leaned on). Optimistically, one could suggest that the council would be more inclined to again side with Thorpe over the EA in this case too, given the history there. The interesting subplot about this now that hasn't been mentioned really is timing. In the original, full, application, the park said they'd look to start construction in November. Obviously preliminary work would take place before then (and did earlier in the year). There's two things I wonder now: 1. Did the park stop doing preliminary work because of some uncertainty during all this? If so, has that delayed them? If not, why was construction going to start in November, when they anticipated a summer approval originally? 2. The absolute earliest this could be approved now is October, but even then, there's no guarantee it will be considered then. Could this be dragged out long enough that, if approved, construction starts later than planned? Will the park literally be having to play catch up from the word go?
  12. I know there were a lot of audio changes on Friday to reflect the passing of the Queen. I wonder if that had a knock on effect onto Saturday (especially if the team who look after audio had others issues to deal with).
  13. Saw has 8 cars. It used to run all 8 until a few years back (my memory is hazy...I want to say like 2018/9, but could be wrong there). I believe there was some operational reasoning behind it; the throughput on 8 isn't substantially greater than on 7 for the additional maintenance and engineering costs sounds plausible enough, but I could be pulling that out of my backside. 5 is the bare minimum that Saw runs on. To run it on that on a Saturday is...interesting. It would be very unusual for the park to actively choose to run it on 5 on a weekend imo, especially when the park have been largely very good at running rides on a suitable capacity the last couple of years in particular. But equally, it would be unusual for at least 2 cars to be out of order (depending on if the 8th car is also receiving maintenance as part of a cycle). So yeah, unusual.
  14. It's just so...weird. Like I could almost understand the decision with Chessington if they wanted the very specific factors of a shuttle, launched, winged coaster, and it was something that B&M were in a position to offer. And then to duplicate that across the portfolio once the R&D and tweaks were made makes sense. But to have junior wings pop up at Legolands, and them basically be...kiddie wing riders is confusing. I mean, Chessington getting a shuttle, launched wing is still confusing too. But yeah, these investments are just so out there and filled with "huh?". I'm really intrigued to see how they develop.
  15. JoshC.

    Legoland

    Great addition for the park frankly. I think another family coaster is exactly what they've needed, and this hits the spot pretty much perfectly. It makes the park even more well-rounded and adds some nice diversity to the park too.
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