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Everything posted by JoshC.

  1. It was confirmed a few days ago that Pirates in Batavia will reopen at the end of July. Here's a look at a boat:
  2. In that case, it's time to move this thread
  3. Thorpe plan to open on July 4th, assuming the Covid situation does not change. They are postponing Black Mirror until 2021. https://www.thorpepark.com/about-thorpe-park/coronavirus/
  4. Yep, the general rule is that parks are encouraging social distancing between different groups of people. So within in your group (ie - household), you can stand as close as you like to each, sit together on rides, etc. Anyone outside your group, you have to maintain the 1.5m / 6ft / 2m (depending on country) distance and you should be sat away from them on any rides. Many reports I've seen, however, have suggested that enforcing this is particularly difficult / staff just aren't bothering with it, particularly in queues and pathways
  5. And the update is as follows: -Theme parks are allowed to reopen from July 1st -Fairgrounds, etc are allowed to reopen from August 1st -Belgian borders open June 15th, leaving just over 2 weeks where Belgians are free to go to other theme parks.
  6. With Germany and the Netherlands now having most of their parks open, Polish parks opening this week and Scandinavian parks reopening throughout the month, two big countries that are still yet to reopen parks are Belgium and France. Parc Asterix are set to reopen on June 15th, with a max of 5000 people a day. Haven't looked into other French parks in much depth, but with the exception of Disney (which I believe is classed as within the Paris region, which is still hit quite hard?), I believe other parks are reopening soon too. As for Belgium, the story is a bit more interesting. The current date set Belgian government was June 8th, which is set for review this week. The current plan however is that this date could be pushed back until July 1st or August 1st, to which all the big Belgian parks have reacted...in an upset manner... https://www.looopings.nl/weblog/14563/Belgie-wil-pretparken-tot-1-augustus-gesloten-houden-attractieparken-reageren-woest.html With Belgian people able to cross borders to Netherlands and Germany soon (if not, already), they're particularly worried that when they do reopen, they'll have lost the reopening boost that would come, along with the fact they miss half of the summer season.
  7. Indeed, I was wrong. Why exactly Heide haven't got any of their dark rides open is unclear to me. It could potentially be guidance from the Lower Saxony region of Germany. Alternatively it could be down to staff not being fully trained on the rides yet. Or maybe budget cuts. Or any other reason. Still curious..
  8. IoA are building a thrill coaster themed to Jurassic Park for 2021. It's expected to be a multi-launch Intamin coaster, on a similar scale to Taron and Taiga: Launch track has been in place for a whole now, but more supports and track have recently been erected. Certainly one to keep an eye on!
  9. The Amsterdam Dungeons reopened today; pre-book only with limited numbers. Here's a fun video: Basically, you're asked to wash your hands before entering and don't touch anything unnecessarily. Before going in as well, you're assigned a logo to stand by in each scene too.
  10. Thorpe are releasing a retro line of merch this year: The park have also said they'll be doing an online shop, though I understand they encountered some complications in getting it finished. I wonder if it'll launch this week then?
  11. Foots have been placed: Various sources, but these came via Coasterforce. Hard to know how much work will take place whilst the park is open given this is almost slap bang in the middle of the park and would almost definitely require the closures of pathways and the like for construction to continue. Still really not keen on the location of this.
  12. For those who want the original source*: As I mused in the Coronathread, it appears that no dark rides at Merlin parks are opening for now. This could be coincidence (especially since they're planning on opening Dungeons attractions - with Amsterdam Dungeons opening on the 1st June), but there's a very clear trend happening now. For comparison, none of Heide Park's dark rides have opened, but all other dark rides across the country have been fine. Would be a good explanation as to why a perfectly ready to open ride isn't opening. Also, if my rambling musing is the case, how would a day at Towers feel without the likes of Duel and Hex? *wait, do they still have sponsorships with Merlin? Who knows...
  13. German parks update... Phantasialand Honestly, Phantasialand doesn't look that different. They are limiting numbers, making it pre-book only, etc., and practicing social distancing. However, rather than 1.5m markers stuck to the floor, they've done it with fencing and expecting people to use their judgement (something Germans are largely very good at). Their park map has some details: These are markers are at / near entrances to rides, shops and restaurants: (images from phl-info.de Facebook) Crazy Bats is currently running only without VR. Everything else is business as usual. There's no major new Rookburgh updates. Europa Park Europa and Phantasialand are pretty similar with social distancing rules and the like. Europa have also introduced virtual queue options to Blue Fire, Arthur, Euro Sat and Euro Mir. The park are, interestingly, still offering some of their VR experiences. Heide Park The main thing to note from Heide Park, which opened on Monday, is that they are not running any of their dark rides. This appears to be a Merlin-wide thing, so I fully expect that when the UK Merlin parks reopen, we won't see any dark rides open.
  14. I get your point, I do. But how often have Merlin's investment been "good"? How often have the hit the mark and truly got it right? Not often in my opinion. So it's hard to expect a good investment when their track record is so hit-and-miss. I want stuff to be good, I hope for stuff to be good. Doesn't mean I can expect it though. For now, all I can expect is for it to not make things actively worse than they were before: this children's area seems to do that (indeed, the addition of the log flume is a great step forward imo). And honestly, I hate feeling this way. New additions at theme parks should come expectations they'll be fun and great additions. Having a personal expectation set low isn't a good thing. A company such as Merlin do have the ability and staff to be able to make things great. But it just doesn't happen all that often.
  15. JoshC.

    Thorpe Park 2020

    In fairness, I expect that any IP will be understanding of the situation and not expect an attraction to open if it's not safe to do so. It may means some renegotiations are had when it comes to money and that, but that'd all depend on the fine wording of the contract.
  16. I guess it comes down to expectations. What have Merlin done over the past 10 years to make anyone think that their attractions should be classed as world class? Even moreso over the past 5 years. Merlin's investments do the job. They're better than quite a few parks, and at an individual park level their larger investments are more regular than quite a lot of other parks (although it has stretched out further admittedly). "It's fine" sums it up quite nicely. We can want Merlin parks to do fantastic things. We can want every park in the world to do fantastic things. But honestly, Merlin don't hit the fantastic mark often, so it just feels unrealistic to expect that. You could argue it's a pessimistic outlook, but equally it's quite realistic imo
  17. Walibi Holland reopened for the first time yesterday. Here's a run down of what they've done: There's an indoor area near their entrance (similar to the Dome at Thorpe, but smaller), which is now divided into two; each side is a one way system. There's similar markings on some pathways There's lots of hand sanitising points everywhere Barriers have been set up outside food places and restaurants to encourage social distancing, and create clear entrances and exits. Their train is only stopping at one of its three stations People are only let into toilets one household (ie group) at a time. After they leave, the toilet block is cleaned. This means there's a staff member constantly in every toilet, and they effectively batch you in. Nice branded signs though Three attractions are closed: Neurogen (VR experience), their dodgems and their Skydiver upcharge attraction. Furthermore, their enterprise and frog hopper rides, which are part of a rethemed area, are not built back up yet. On that topic, here's a look at the newly themed Speed Zone, which looks decent: As for queueing for rides, the park have opted for a virtual queue system. You reserve on your phone, and book a slot, and wait the queue time virtually. Presumably not all rides you have to do this, since some will constantly have no queue. Walibi's QuickPass system utilises virtual queueing (with options of waiting 10%, 50% or 90% of the queue), so it's nothing new to them. Once you wait the entire queue length virtually, you go to the entrance of a ride, a member of staff (stood behind a screen) scans your phone, then you're in and wait very little time. Reports I read said the longest virtual wait was 40mins for Untamed, but the queue once you get in is less than 5. The park also have a small number of phones people can hire for the day, with a €100 deposit. Any cattlepens have had large barriers put in place to allow people to walk through: Goliath Lost Gravity All photos from Looopings It's an interesting set up, especially with the virtual queueing, and some stark differences to Efteling (especially the toilet thing).
  18. Max and Moritz will open on June 20th, with annual pass previews taking place from June 2nd... Also this shows how much of a horrid cattlepen queue this is going to have. Eurgh.
  19. This is a family ride. Not a children's ride. I'm sure children will love the spike and backwards sensation. It's quite unique to them. But you can give that same sensation and give it more of a purpose and make it a bit more entertaining for the whole family. It doesn't help that they've already got another family coaster which, though fun, again is perhaps a little on the tame side for the general family audience.
  20. Wakala is testing: It's growing on me all the more. The ride starts off a bit tame and I'm still not sold on the spike / backwards section, but as an overall package it looks pretty darn good. And the music is a proper winner.
  21. Honestly? Probably not a lot, if anything. I'd imagine they'd have cleared it with the TUV / Dutch Theme Park Association before. There's also the alternative of their 2m pole they can use to check bars, which is hardly much better. As said, the actual physical checking of restraints is almost placebo-like for guests. Once a bar is locked in, it won't unlock unless something is mechanically wrong with the ride. A staff member giving a gentle tug usually won't change that. I'm not sure if Efteling are getting people to pull on their restraints after they've locked to show they're locked, but that's just as good as getting a staff member to do it. Yep, that honesty can't be understated. Every park that opens will do so knowing the experience they're offering is one of damaged limitations. People will want to go for the rides and the escapism, and I'm sure you can get those moments are the rides themselves. But in the greater context, no, it is those constant reminders. One thing I forgot to mention: masks are in no way required at any point in the park. By maintaining social distancing, masks don't add any extra layer of protection. And when you're on rides, masks are unlikely to help protect if someone does have coronavirus. That goes against many parks which have happened / have announced their opening plans.
  22. I guess this could/should go in the corona thread, but sticking it here so I don't forever clog it up. Efteling is back open, and Looopings has a handy look at many of the changes in place. Here's some highlights: The park is covered in these red and white tape markings. Red is 'do not stand here', white is 'stand here in your groups'. These are literally everywhere where people will queue. The park originally went with yellow/black hazard tape everywhere. During their many rehearsal days, this was decided to not be a good idea, hence the change. Attractions with indoor areas / preshow, such as Symbolica and Villa Volta, have numbers on the floor. Groups are told which number to stand on. The numbering system also applies to the park's carousels. Where railings are used in queues, the red/white tape is one the railings. Where possible, cattlepen queues have been demolished and redesigned or shut off. Where cattlepen queues had to remain, screens have been introduced. Their water coaster, Flying Dutchman, has screens in the station to protect staff. Social distancing is in place. There's lots of these 'disinfection stations' around, as well as themed hand sanitiser dispensers across the park. A look at the seating arrangement for Python. Cleaning takes place between rides. Interestingly, Efteling have taken a Disney approach and are no longer checking restraints. They ask you pull them down yourselves, make sure you feel safe and comfortable, and dispatch. Of course, you don't staff to physically check any restraints (the ride's system will confirm if all restraints are locked); staff checking is for peace of mind and to ensure rider comfort in most cases. In the pre-show to their 4D film (yes, that's a thing), boxes have been marked out to show where groups should watch. As for food, there's a greater emphasis on 'grab and go' food, with tables marked off, etc. The park have installed some fun food shoots too: People are encouraged to pay contactlessly / via an app as much as possible too. Other bits: -The music in Joris en de Draak's station is turned off so people can hear staff instructions clearly. -The bag area for Baron 1898 (outside the preshow) is no longer in use. Lockers are still available for €1. I'm not sure if that means you can't have bags in the queue now, but I imagine you can leave them in the station (which was how the ride originally opened). -Most shows are not taking place, except for a couple of acts that take place in the Fairytale Forest. This includes the park's roaming mascots. An interesting scenario which I hadn't thought about yet was what happens during a shutdown. Many people like to leave a queue if a ride suffers a shutdown, but it's physically impossible to maintain social distancing in that case. Be interesting to see what the messaging will be in these scenarios. The Looopings article ends with a quote from Efteling Director Fons Jurgens, who says that whilst he believes all measures in place are necessary, the temporary barriers and red/white tape "hurts" and also said "If you just look at this very honestly, you cannot say that we now offer a top product here."
  23. https://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/202005/7466/ An interesting article about Disney's and Universal's social distancing plans. Effectively, Disney are planning on marking spaces where people cannot stand (as seen already at Disney Shanghai), whereas Universal will be marking spaces where guests can stand. It's a little difference, but given the proximity of the resorts in America and the ever changing situation, it's a shame that a sensible message couldn't happen across both companies.
  24. Indeed, this is just a copy of the generic Merlin one, but with the Merlin logo replace with Madame Tussauds' one (and some purple text changed to red)! It references that staff have a coronavirus-specific training guide too, which I believe is over 60 pages long. Hopefully that's trained out properly...
  25. You seem like the competitive type Mark; why don't you have a crack at winning this one?
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