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Everything posted by JoshC.

  1. JoshC.

    Next Roller Coaster

    The worst part is that this has been their most liked and commented Facebook post since December 27th (a Throwback Thursday to Stealth's construction). Given the amount of social posts they do, it's concerning. I've said before how I don't like their social media strategy of posting stupid 'funny' things. It just doesn't work. Obviously we'll never know how many people are truly interacting with their posts, but based off pure interaction numbers, it's not good. Comes across as cheap and desperate. Makes you wonder if they've simply been told "you need to get X number of interactions this year", and they're just putting quantity over quality. And then throwing darts aimlessly until they get lucky and hit the bullseye.
  2. Little bit of insight about the engineering checks involved for DBGT. Interesting for them to be open about it, given how secretive they tried to be over it in the past. Almost like they've given up caring? Also, no idea why they decided to do the silly flicker from Part Seven to Part Six, given that they did Part Six last week. Achieves nothing..
  3. JoshC.

    Your Thorpe Park

    One thing which I think Thorpe should consider is turning Stealth's top hat upside down. I'm being deadly serious here. Though no doubt very difficult and rather costly, I'm sure it's not outside the realm of possibility, and within a similar budget to some of the park's other crazy investments. But from a marketing standpoint, it's an absolute win. You get a new ride experience to market. You get a world record of the highest upside moment on a roller coaster - a meaningless record, but something a lot of people would lap up. You can do a mrawS with it, and if/when the novelty wears off and they lose the record, change the track back. And from a ride experience point, it's pretty damn good too. Inverted top hats are fun. And hanging upside down at 200ft would be great. The view you get at the top of Stealth is decent, but nothing to exactly scream about. So yes, it's a crazy idea which is partially inspired by the park's philosophy of world records and instant returns. But I genuinely reckon Thorpe should look down that route and do it if it's possible.
  4. JoshC.

    Annual Pass renewal opening times in Jan

    It usually would have done by now, or at the very least the park would have announced times. Best bet is to contact the park to see if / when they are doing it this year.
  5. According to Towers Times, Merlin have filed a trademark for the name 'The Alton Towers Dungeons'. Taking it very much at face value, that suggests Alton Towers are certainly planning on getting a Dungeons-style attraction. If true, it wouldn't be the first attraction to get a Dungeons within it - Warwick Castle does have the Castle Dungeons, which is a 45 minute ish experience. I'm... intrigued by the idea. There's enough real history, and scope to embellish the truth (see Hex), to create a fun and unique Dungeons style attraction. But would it really work in a theme park environment, especially at a park where it's a stretch to do everything of note at the moment anyways due to the short opening hours? Also, would prefer to see the park get more rides. It'd be particularly good if it is something that can open after park hours too, and is an option to non-theme park guests, but I imagine that being logistically difficult. All depends on where they end up putting it too I s'pose. So what are your thoughts? Where could it go? Is this the right thing for the place? Is it the right time?
  6. JoshC.

    The Alton Towers Dungeons - New for 2019

    I guess it depends on what the charge is. For example, a £5 charge for a 30 minute mini Dungeons experience is reasonable enough in my eyes. I guess it also depends on the size of groups, etc, as to how much personal interaction you'll get too.
  7. JoshC.

    The Small Parks Thread

    Bobbejaanland have released concept art for their new Gerstlauer triple launch...
  8. JoshC.

    The Swarm

    After the rumours of lift hill chain issues over Fright Nights, Swarm has received a new chain this winter (much like Inferno). Whether this was always the plan, is anyone's guess...
  9. JoshC.

    The Swarm

    I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend the Media Event this evening, and I can say that the event was simply epic. As is the ride. Best. Ride. Ever.Unfortunately, I didn't get many photos, due to the darkness and my camera hating the that. However, I can recall pretty much every fine detail. However, I'm tired, and don't have the effort to do that now. I will, however, do so tomorrow (I assume I'm allowed, haven't been told otherwise) and will give a ride review as well. I also believe that not all effects were working during my rides, meaning that when it's all done, it should be even more epic!As said, the ride is epic, the area is epic, the theming is epic. Also heard the full [email protected] song; not the biggest fan of it, but it sounds okay I guess. Didn't hear it in the area though. I also believe that all the other audio was composed by John Murphy, who's done soundtracks for films such as 28 Days Later. (That may be wrong, but I remember being told the guy who composed the music for 28DL did Swarm, and that's what Wikipedia says). EDIT: I apologise, it is NOT Murphy who did the audio. I was tired, so just couldn't remember. In actual fact it was Glenn Freemantle, who's worked on soundtracks for films such as 127 hours, Slumdog Millionaire and more. I really could go on forever and ever, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. The Swarm - EPIC!
  10. Can hardly blame them when not even Merlin knows the difference...
  11. JoshC.

    CBeebies Land

    Towers are introducing two Frog Hoppers into CBeebies Land this year, adjacent to Mr Bloom's Garden Plans - http://publicaccess.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=127678 They will be second hand (not quite sure where from though). Presumably this spells the end of the Frog Hopper in Cloud Cuckoo Land, and leaves a question of how wise it is to dump all the children's attractions in one area.
  12. JoshC.

    Screams and Ice Creams

    Hello! Myself and a couple of friends have are trying out making a theme park food blog on Instagram. It's still very much in its infancy for now, but we're planning on building on it over the coming days / weeks. Basically just photos of food at theme parks; a big part of the experience (for us at least!), but something which can sometimes be overlooked or underappreciated. Would really appreciate any follows, and also keen to hear people's views too! https://www.instagram.com/screamsandicecreams/ [Disclaimer - this isn't associated with TPM, but rather a separate side project for me]
  13. JoshC.


    I don't know how long Vogel wasn't running three trains. The last time I rode it was July 2017 and it was eating the queue like no tomorrow. If it had been for a significant period of time, then it wasn't that noticeable to operations. If it wasn't for that long, it's good they were able to sort out a solution so quickly.
  14. JoshC.


    Some fabulous insight from Efteling on how they're planning on reducing queueing and waiting times... https://www.efteling.com/nl/blog/backstage/20190114-kortere-wachtrijen Highlights: -Longer opening times -Better flow at main entrance and car park -New system on Vogel Rok to allow 3 trains to run -Purchasing of a 5th train for Joris in case one requires maintenance -Introduction of SRQ on Flying Dutchman, following successful introductions on Bob, Baron, Symbolica, Joris and Python -New version of the app that notifies you when a queue reaches a certain length -Since last year, they've adopted the UK way of closing queue lines (IE at park close, not closing them so the ride stops running at park close). This isn't as common in Europe as you'd expect +More The park are still preserving with their version of Reserve n Ride, making further adjustments. I've yet to use the system (visiting only on extremely quiet days since it's introduction), but it was experienced some problems during its time. It's nice to see them learning and trying with it, but I wonder if they're clinging onto false hope trying to get it to work.
  15. JoshC.

    2019 Season

    Damnit, I was going to post this joke. And it works better for me since it's my 25th this year
  16. JoshC.

    Hocus Pocus Hall

    Efteling (and to a lesser extent, Hansa) has stuff around fairytales / legends which are very well known in their market (will get to that later). If we're being pedantic too, you could argue Phantasialand have at least dabbled with external properties, with Michael Jackson lending his name to Colorado Adventure, and with the Charles Lindbergh hotel being a thing. Slightly different I know, but it shows they acknowledge there's some form of strength in using something external to help them. My point is, even with those you've listed, it's still a minority of large, successful parks. And I fully expect the number to decrease over time too. I personally am all for the idea of themed lands. But that doesn't seem to be Merlin's direction quite so much now. They more seem to exist for reference to location. I've nothing against the idea of not having coherently themed lands (plenty of successful parks don't do this across their whole park). In some ways, it can be a positive, as it means you don't have to shoehorn in themes, and have greater scope. But yeah, maybe they should let go of the highly themed names if that's their direction. This is the thing, as I've said, the industry is changing (or perhaps even already has). Theme parks across the board can see there is a great deal of success to be had be extending brands into their parks. It's fine if people don't like that, but just because people don't like something, it doesn't mean it's necessarily wrong. But, does it really matter if it's a natural change? Why ask what people want when you can tell them what they want to suit you? Of course, this shouldn't make standards drop, overshadow originality, etc (which is the bigger issue here), but if you an make a change, just do it. Agreed. But IPs can and do have long term value, if the right one is chosen. There's definitely questions about some of Merlin's choices and their longevity, but theres plenty which are fine, and I don't think many parks outside of Merlin are really making questionable IP choices. Agreed. I absolutely hate the 'there can be no risk' style of thinking, and that is definitely stifling Merlin as a whole. The flash-pan IPs definitely reduce the risk, but carry little long term benefit. But the correct IP with appropriate work is fine. This is something I was going to mention in my previous post, but wasn't sure. Fairytales, etc. are a weird one. There's no third party to deal with to say 'you have to do this, that', but equally you're still bounded but keeping within that story's general realm. Do you really have much more creative license working with a fairytale than you do with an IP with a good working agreement? Arguably, the difference won't be that much. I really don't think that's how it would work. With young children (the target market for CBeebies), parents will want security in knowing that their children will like it. I don't think as many parents will see adverts for CBeebies Land and think it's a quick cashgrab as you think. They may think that when at the park and seeing the prices, but that'd basically be the same regardless of the IP. This is where the whole risk thing comes in - Merlin could have taken a risk to create something internally, but ultimately saw an IP as the safer option. My problems with CBeebies Land is that many characters they've used are human (making a lot of meet and greets impossible, which should have been key), and it's an IP that children outgrow. A young children's area still had the ability to cater to a slightly older audience if they're done right. Maybe Towers wanted to avoid that, but I personally feel like that's a missed opportunity.
  17. JoshC.

    2019 Season

    A subtle nod that this year is the park's 40th birthday on their most recent Facebook post... One hopes that they're deciding to capitalise on this, with some sort of event or something. Even a pin badge would be a step in the right direction..
  18. JoshC.

    TPM Guildford Meet Feb 19

    Should be available for both dates, but the Sunday sounds appealing!
  19. JoshC.

    2019 Season

    To be fair, they have been relaying grass down.. The map will be done in layers. Restaurant names and logos will be one of the last things added. However, to support the theory, the Burger King in that location is no longer mentioned on the Thorpe Park app, which also doesn't include I'm a Celebrity, nor Sticky Sisters (which appears to not be returning as it's been removed from their website also). I must stress that I don't think it means anything immediate. However, one cannot deny that the removal of multiple things in one area gives some hope..
  20. Surprised we don't have a thread for this yet... To kick this thread off (since opening times are being talked about elsewhere), it has been revealed that, as expected, the Annual Pass Day this year will be on Sunday 18th March. Yay. Use this thread for any discussion of the 2018 season generally (shock horror!)...
  21. JoshC.

    Thorpe Park Rides & Attractions Game 2018

    Now THAT sounds like an interesting, hilarious and potentially highly argumentative controversial game. I love it.
  22. JoshC.

    Is Nemesis the best Invert?

    It's because everyone is still reeling from the FOUR INVERSIONS
  23. JoshC.

    Next Roller Coaster

    The general expectation was the next coaster / big thing would go on the island behind Swarm. But given how dead Old Town is, it wouldn't surprise me if the park are taking stock and considering a new big thing in that area. It certainly would make sense to focus on pre-existing areas of the park rather than further expansion. One thing Thorpe aren't short on is space for future developments. They just need the actual developments to fill those spaces...
  24. JoshC.

    Hocus Pocus Hall

    Thing is though, IPs are the future of the theme park industry, and the even the wider entertainment industry. How many successful parks don't have external IP brands in these days? Whatever the answer, it's a dwindling number. And when you look further, the entertainment industry has been lending itself more and more to brands - sequels, spin offs, re-makes, merchandise, interactivity via the internet, etc. The entertainment industry is now primarily focused on creating things which have a strong focal point, from which further things can be created, and capitalise on that focal point to make more money. That's effectively the same logic as a park bringing in an external IP. Yes, you are bound to the parameters of the IP owner. But those parameters can be agreed upon by both parties. If a park agrees to use an IP when they've agreed too restrictive conditions for use of that IP, that's ultimately the park's fault, and I'd wonder if given the free reign to create an attraction for the sake of entertainment, they'd have done any better. That comes down to people not being fit for the industry, not IPs being an inherit hindrance in the industry. This is big thing that jumped out to me in your post. The industry has changed from what it used to be, what you liked it to be, and Merlin is responding to that change. Maybe they're being a bit too full-on with embracing this change, but that doesn't mean they're not about originality. Yes, they're a business, and yes any new attractions will include a check-list of silly buzz words that any new attraction must fulfil, and Merlin are taking less risks. But the building block behind that all is originality and entertainment. Just because you don't agree with the way things are done, it doesn't mean things have changed.
  25. Simple topic again - what's parks / attractions are you looking at visiting in 2019? I'll start it off... Definites -UK Merlin quartet -Phantasialand -Walibi Belgium -Walibi Holland Most Probablies -Linnanmäki -Paultons Maybes -Fantasy Island -Lightwater Valley -Europa Park -Hellendoorn -Slagharen -Duinrell -Drievliet Longshots / I'm hoping -Heide Park -Hansa Park -Skyline Park -Legoland Deutschland -Gardaland