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JoshC.

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Everything posted by JoshC.

  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.
  16. Abyssus update, now that track has started to be installed: Looking forward to seeing this develop!
  17. Very much depends on who makes contact and generally what the contract is. Some IPs do make contact with parks as they see it as a way of pushing themselves in the limelight more. And for the right price any park will say yes. Obviously it's more common for parks to contact IPs and go from there. But even then, an IP company is willing to spend some money for the initial investment so it matches their standards. Usually a park will pay a flat rate to the IP each year, then there will be extras on top based on merch/photo/food sales.
  18. I've never done it personally (but know of people who have), but Plopsaland is feasible if you are down south and can drive. Either get an early morning Ferry or EuroTunnel to Calais (or Dunkerque if Ferry-ing), then the park is less than a 45min drive. Then travel back in the evening. You could probably do Bagatelle in France in a similar fashion if you wanted (not that I'd recommend that mind...). I'm sure I've also heard of people doing Walibi Holland in a day. There's early morning flights from Stansted to Eindhoven and if you hire a car you can arrive before opening (it's about a 90min or so drive), and there's plenty of evening flights back. I guess you could do Tayto Park too but I don't know what flight times would be like. At a push you could even do Walibi Belgium in a day if you got the EuroStar to Brussels and travelled by public transport to the park, but you'd almost definitely arrive a couple of hours after opening and so would have to go on a quiet day. Off the top of my head, anything else would be a stretch tbh, usually because most parks are far enough away from airports that travelling between the two eats into valuable park-time. There's also the fact that a one day trip is quite expensive for what you're getting. If you're willing to stay one night, that opens up plenty of opportunities. It means you could do one and a half days at city parks like Liseberg or Linnanmäki, for example, and don't have to worry about the faff of hiring a car.
  19. Gangsta Granny seems to be the headline attraction of the area; presumably a new dark ride! At a guess the old Wobble World site or 4D cinema would be suitable locations..
  20. https://www.e-pages.dk/irishtimes/1997/article/1064276/14/6/render/?token=00ce01be065816f85730cda08caced2b&fbclid=IwAR2vzrBxyCPAqiMcFSDgmoYflNbXVkess-_qqLYVq1XaS5h9S-qhhxw5g68 A couple of people have lodged official objections with the council regarding the new coasters, which could cause delays stopping the rides opening from 2021.
  21. M&M is coming along nicely... And we have Part 2 of the Making Of...
  22. Internally, there's been a huge push for lifeguards in the Beach for many years now. Up to now, staff have required no different training or qualifications to any other attractions and it can make people feel uncomfortable to work on it. A huge bonus of having lifeguards is that it means the Beach can have deeper water and more extreme slides if the park choose to. Whether they do is a different matter of course, but it opens up a realm of possibilities. The big issue is that lifeguards are more expensive and in greater demand than ride hosts (who need no previous skills or qualifications). This makes the Beach more expensive to run and harder to get staff for. I do hope that the park are planning changes for the area, since I imagine very few trained lifeguards will really want to work for minimal pay to watch over an outdoor swimming during summer..
  23. The Snapchat update shows a very old aerial view of the park (from 2015; DBGT isn't built yet). Those images mean nothing.
  24. I don't think anyone is getting too excited here, which is of course sensible. The park usually do things like this, and it can be for a variety of reasons: 1) It is good practice to keep these not used areas reasonably tidy so that they can be accessed when needs be 2) It gives the Landscaping team something to do to test out new equipment / train new staff with low pressure, or to give them something to do during quiet periods. 3) To test the land We saw them go some tidying of the grassy areas by Loggers last year which of course meant naff all. The fact this happened in June and so few people noticed when on park shows that this is not as noticeable or extreme as Google Maps suggest either. Of course, if the park were to open a new coaster, that space is one of the most obvious spaces to go for. But at this stage, we don't know how far away that could be, so who knows.
  25. Indeed, that is true. But in can be used for as a paper trail too if needs be. Ideally, there shouldn't be many copies printed and a missing copy shouldn't be shrugged off as nothing, but what happens in an ideal world isn't always reality!
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