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JoshC.

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Everything posted by JoshC.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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?
  4. 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...
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. I'm interested, but will depend on a couple of factors. So treat me as a Maybe for now.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. I could be mistaken, but it's always been my understand that only small pockets of the park are classed as flood zone 3b. The majority of the park is in a flood zone, but not this 'inconvenient' flood zone category. For example, Swarm has a couple of supports in an area that is classed as flood zone 3b, but the majority of the ride is not. That is where Thorpe's argument is standing at the moment, of course. They have form and a handshake agreement of sorts that suggested it would be okay to place supports in this area, but the EA disagree. I'm not surprised at this response, but I genuinely don't know what the next step will be. Will Thorpe try and respond and strengthen their case further in an attempt to get the EA to change their minds? Have they started talking with Mack to see if the support structure could be reworked? Will they just take their chances and hope the council overrule the objections of the EA? Who knows. But it's certainly an interesting situation, and one that Thorpe have never really faced before.
  16. I think the most expensive maze before this was Trailers (though it wasn't marketed as such). Though I guess it depends on how the measure expense, etc. And that assumes it's not just some throwaway phrase. But yeah, I like the concept of this at heart. Multi route, potentially being split up and the whole "survival" aspect. Really cool. The social media side is something that's been done a lot lately (you could even argue Black Mirror does this), so I hope that's more just a backstory and not a key focus of the maze. These things are difficult to do right, and it may take some time to bed in, but I'm excited to see how this develops.
  17. Today's announcement is a new scare zone, Death's Doors https://www.facebook.com/thorpepark/videos/598885065061349/ It's taking place in the pathway under Nemesis Inferno, and it sounds like it will have 21 different doors which you can open, and each has some sort of reference to Fright Nights. Some will be scarier than others. It's...a thing. The location sounds like a nightmare, especially being adjacent to the Birthday Bash show. And operationally it sounds like even more of a nightmare, especially when the park is busy. Could be a cool thing, but....yeah, I'm not sold on that.
  18. The Terminal sounds like an interesting experience and idea. The park are working with Darkfield for the experience, who have lots of experience with audio attractions (they very much became the rage during the Covid lockdowns). I believe that usually you do these experiences blindfolded, and it relies on your imagination somewhat. Couple that in with special effects (movements, mist sprays, etc), and it has potential to be a really cool experience. But. I think this experience suffers from being quite niche in market. I reckon it involves a certain level of buy in from the guest for it to truly work. How many people, at Fright Nights, want to go into a experience and actively participate in making the most of an attraction for themselves, whilst also - somewhat paradoxically - sitting in an enclosed space alone? I don't know, but I reckon it's a smaller proportion of the audience than those who are interested in going into a scare maze. In turn, it runs the risk of disappointing a lot of people because it may just end up feeling like "sitting in the dark with some headphones on". I'm not saying that's what will happen. But there's certainly a risk there. Could be a risk that pays off majorly though. Fair play to Thorpe for doing something which is truly different and not really seen before in a wider market. I really hope it works out well.
  19. The park did trial single rider on Saw in 2009, 2010 and maybe even 2011-12 (memory is hazy). In terms of filling up seats, it worked well. It was always a bit of an organisational faff though, since it didn't have the infrastructure set up for it to work. As I understand it, this is something which has been pushed to be tried by some staff for a while. So this is serving as a trial period to see if it works at improving utilisation scores (ie number of seats filled), and how it works from a practical / organisation standpoint. Then maybe they can go from there. The issue the park will face is the same they have always faced - the majority of the park's rides aren't designed with a single rider queue in place. Really, Stealth is the only one which has the infrastructure to do it properly and not interfere with Fastrack / Ride Access Pass queues and ride exits. The current Exodus plans don't show a single rider queue either (though these can of course be changed). So yeah, hopefully it works, and hopefully longer term the park can implement ways to make single rider queues work properly. But at the same time, it should be stressed this is just a trial, and even if it does go down well, there's no guarantee it will mean it stick.
  20. Vampires vs Werewolves is back: https://www.facebook.com/thorpepark/videos/3248466045420453/ I wonder if the graduation story line is a hint that this is the last year of the zone / show? With the confirmation that this was the last returning attraction, this means that Swarm: Invasion is not returning. A shame, as it was never given the budget it deserved to reach its potential. Although, with a new maze going behind Swarm, I wonder if they will introduce a new scare zone on Swarm's island still, so it doesn't suffer from "Sanctum syndrome" and feel isolated from the rest of the event? I expect we'll see 3 more announcements: the new maze, the new "experience" and one more zone or show. Speaking of the "scare experience", I'm thinking more and more that that could be a VR...'thing'. Alton Towers have also announced a scare experience for Scarefest, and they've already got a VR set up from Mack in place. It fits the bill of being an 'experience' rather than an attraction, is something that can be duplicated and tweaked for multiple attractions (which fits Merlin's remit lately), but is something that could be good if done right. I personally hope it's not a VR thing, but I think that feels more likely right now.
  21. JoshC.

    Duel!

    Throw in Rocky Express too?
  22. JoshC.

    Duel!

    I know Duel has loads of problems, but I'm sad to see it go. I love a good shooting dark ride, and Duel's length, theming and story give it a really good basis to be a good shooter. I'd really love to have seen it just be given a good budget and a lot of TLC. But we move forward. It'll be interesting to see if they opt for a complete new attraction, update the ride system or just the theming, and hopefully whatever they do it remains a cool, fun ride. There's certainly potential with it, and I feel reasonably confident they can do it justice too.
  23. Yes, Natural England had their own, separate, concerns regarding the Construction Management Plan, as well as some of the archeology of the area. As seen, the park have resolved these concerns (largely by providing more details and making things clearer). From my understanding, it was a largely simple thing to resolve, since all it required was more information and clearer information. These are the sort of concerns which aren't uncommon to be seen during planning applications: ones where a body doesn't really have a proper concern, but they need more information just be to sure But yes, the big concerns from the EA are still unresolved as things stand from my understanding, and we'll see what happens.
  24. One thing I'm finding frustrating with these videos is that, in isolation, they give very little detail about the attractions themselves. They're great videos, but they don't tell us: -What type of attraction it is (maze, scare zone, show, roamers, experience?) -Give any feel for what the attraction is actually going to be like -Are largely disconnected from the attractions themselves It's cool to build up extra story, hype and intrigue, but it does feel a bit too far removed for my liking. On a related note, I'm still not a fan of the park marketing roamers as an attraction. Through no fault of a guest, you can search high and low for roamers and not see them (even if they have a set route). Hopefully they have some sort of 'show' piece at set times too. But heyho, that's just a minor pet peeve of mine.
  25. If you have a frog in your throat, try a Strepsil, not a new thread. 🔐
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