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Everything posted by Morgan

  1. That is true, but Universal are generally IP based parks, they started out using their own IPs but have branched out to third parties to fill the gaps in their line-up. Adding Harry Potter was a no-brainer regardless if it wasn't their own property. Obviously they have created their own original attractions (e.g HRRR & Hollywood Dream), but these are few and far between.
  2. The majority of the big rides mentioned that allow you to take bags on do provide storage areas in the ride vehicles, generally elasticated nets in front of you. Rides like Thirteen don't have any space to include a storage net so a bag drop is a better option in my opinion. It would be a similar case for a small scale dark ride, using the Oceaneering ride vehicles being used in the Six Flags Justice League rides, that were posted about previously as an example they will provide a wide range of movements, which could include spinning, but aren't big enough to include storage nets, so bags would have to be stored elsewhere. It's also worth considering that a lot of parks simply don't allow you to enter the queue with any bags (Universal is a prime example of this), and insist that you store any loose articles in a locker before joining the queue, and some parks charge for this, so a bag drop is a fairly good alternative.
  3. Its a risk due to its marketability. For example if Thorpe were to advertise an original dark ride with a time travelling alien theme, it would have nowhere near the impact that advertising a new Doctor Who ride would. Those two words give it instant appeal factor and will have thousands of kids pestering there parents to go to Thorpe Park. I think comparing the themeing for The Smiler is a little redundant as it is for a coaster, yes they did a great job with the story, but would it transfer to an effective dark ride which requires an immersive storyline. It would probably do a decent job, but a dark ride based on a mysterious organisation trying to make you 'happy' wouldn't draw anywhere near the amount of visitors as the world's first 14 looping coaster. There is also merchandising to consider. The potential revenue stream of a ride based on an IP is vastly greater than an original story. There aren't that many original story dark rides being developed these days anywhere in the world. Cedar Fair are probably one of the only ones producing high end(ish) non-IP dark rides with there Trio-Tech rides (Wonder Mountain Guardian & Voyage to the Iron Reef), Disney don't base any of there dark rides off original material anymore (I don't think there's been any since Countdown to Extinction in 1998), and Universal have never done it, so it's not surprising that the UK has shifted to an IP influenced outlook. Personally, if they put something similar to the new Justice League rides being installed into Six Flags I'd be happy, you could argue that shooting dark rides are a bit past it now, but if they had an immersive story which gave you a reason to be blasting instead of just shooting lights to increase your score it would create a great experience. The MiB ride at Universal is a vastly superior experience compared to most shooter rides, because you feel like you are in the action and are actually battling not just shooting.
  4. The Sky Roller does look a bit on the boring side though just going round in a circle, at least the Sky Fly has some height variation. It would be better if Gerstlauer made a bigger capacity Sky Fly, with another 12 seater gondola on the opposite side of the arm, bringing the capacity in line with the larger Sky Roller. That's something I'd like to see at one of the Merlin parks, and it would fit perfectly as it can be either a gentle scenic ride or a spinny thrill ride, good for all the family.
  5. Morgan


    You do get a time slot with the maze tickets, you have to go to either of the mazes within that time slot and then have 40 minutes to do the second maze. Obviously if there is a massive queue for either maze they are understanding of this when letting you in for the second maze. On the first day of Scarefest, The Sanctuary had a huge queue (around 1hr) when our time slot came up at 6.15pm, but Terror of the Towers was only a couple of minutes wait. When we came back round to do The Sanctuary the queue had grown, and we didn't move for about 10 minutes or so. The issue with the time slot system is (presuming no changes have been made since the weekend) that it doesn't specify which order you should do the mazes in. So everybody from one timeslot could do Terror of the Towers and then go back round to do The Sanctuary, and by that time the next time slot has come round and all those people could go to The Sanctuary first instead, so the queues could in theory have double the amount of people in than is intended. In the past when they had the mazes over at the hotels, they gave you separate time slots for each maze, which in my view was a better idea, for one it cuts down on the possibility of large queues and also it allowed you to choose when you did the mazes, allowing you to break them up a bit if you wanted. Now you are forced to do the two mazes back-to-back, which may not be to everybody's liking.
  6. The problem with RnR to me is, Thorpe are trying to implement a system without the proper investment. Look at WDW and 'My Disney Experience', fair enough that project encompasses a hell of a lot more than just ride reservations, but it is a major part of the project which has apparently had in the region of $2.8 billion spent on it. I'm not suggesting that they need to be spending anywhere near that money on it, but if they are serious about implementing it, they need to ensure that it is accessible to all, so not just smartphone users, and also streamlined so it is easy to use. The simplest way is to tie it directly to your park admission, be it a day ticket or annual pass, all admission has a barcode so these could be scanned to either make or redeem reservations, this would also rule out playing the system for groups reserving multiple attractions at once. So similar to Disney's Fastpass+, they would need to have kiosks around the park (which needn't be anything more than an iPad, which they already use for feedback surveys) to allow for non smartphone users to make reservations and scanners on the 'RnR' entrance at each attraction. Without physical capital expenditure I can't see how they can expect RnR to succeed, without looking like a temporary system. Of course regardless of all this, they need to either go all in with it or not at all, there's no way the system can work if they have a normal queue, a RnR queue and a Fastrack queue.
  7. Morgan


    They tend to be considerate of timings. As long as you arrive at the first maze within the time slot you'll be fine, you do need to then go to the next maze straight after the first though. I've never tested it but I'd imagine they wouldn't let you into the second maze if you left it until later on, I know we've had to wait around because we turned up slightly early before.
  8. Yes there will be, we're heading down there in the morning, so we'll posting throughout the day with bits and pieces, with the main coverage starting once Fright Nights kicks off in the evening. Tune in at live.thorpenerd.com.
  9. The last time I went on Sub-Terra in August all the effects were working as far as I was aware.
  10. I agree that the Studios is in need of more attractions to bring it up to par with the other parks, but I think it's harsh to say there is nothing else to do for families, and Epcot is certainly not short of attractions. If WDW didn't really care about the guest experience in relation to the queues or capacity of these two rides, they wouldn't be spending the large sum of money it will take to expand them, it's not like they can really use it as a marketing tool, I can't imagine them producing an advert saying that "Soarin'/Toy Story Mania can now handle double the amount of riders!", it'll just be an improvement that opens up relatively quietly. Disney do this type of thing a lot, perhaps not increasing capacity, but improving their rides that have been around for decades, take all the technological improvements they made to Haunted Mansion in recent years, they could've quite easily just maintained what they had to begin with, but they added lots of new effects and interactive queue that have plussed the attraction, without a huge fanfare to launch it. Mostly from Screamscape. I believe it's been on the cards for a bit now, but the relocation of the Frozen merchandise shop from the Stage 1 building next to Toy Story Mania, has sparked the rumours off again that they may be preparing to start work on an expansion. I think it's purely down to the fact that the Frozen shop which is part of the temporary Frozen event, which is now running until the end of the year is supposed to be moving to the exit area of the Tram Tour. Which would seem weird to move a shop which is not going to be around for too much longer. Obviously this is all just rumours, but things are definitely pointing in this direction.
  11. I can't see them doing Cars Land without Racers, I think Test Track and Racers can offer a different enough experience to each other to allow them to be in close proximity to each other. Although having said this I'm sure I read somewhere that Cars Land had been put on the back burner for now, while they concentrate expanding the Star Wars area of the park, presumably to capitalise on the impending surge in popularity when the new trilogy is released. For Cars Land to become reality they need to close the Lights, Motors Action stunt show to allow for the necessary room for such an expansion, although I guess they could start work in the old tour area before having to close the show off. There is also rumours that Toy Story Mania is getting a second track expansion to tackle the capacity issues it has, similar to Soarin's expansion happening at Epcot, which I think is extremely admirable of Disney, I can't think of any other park that would go to the expense of that just to increase the capacity of an attraction which has been there for years.
  12. If you compare it to the Halloween events in the states, £10 for 5 fairly good mazes is not a bad deal. Across the pond the majority of events are all separate ticket events, costing even more. Obviously there tends to be a bigger effort put into those events, but comparatively Thorpe's pricing is not outrageous. Even compared to Towers it is still better value, as you are paying a minimum of £10 just to experience the two premium mazes regardless of what pass you have, when you look at it as £2 per maze it's really not that bad. Having said this, I think it's a big coincidence that the price hike is coupled with the introduction of the terror pass, so it's obviously a way of trying to encourage the purchase of the new pass.
  13. While I'm not saying that I think the station building is well themed, I don't think it matters in the slightest, as you never really see it. The track and The Marmaliser are the stars of the show, it's hard to really notice the building, plus the bits of the building that you do see while queuing have been decorated relatively well. If they had spent money on an elaborately themed station, it would've been a waste, and only diverted money from other areas.
  14. You can compare this to parks like SeaWorld and Disney though who offer free charging points, having said that though I would never use one of these free or not, as it ties you down too much. It's far easier to buy a portable charger and charge on the go if you need it.
  15. I don't think SeaWorld will ever stop exhibiting Orcas, the only thing that will stop them is a law being passed to make it illegal, which I can't see happening either. There was a bill trying to be passed to stop the San Diego park from keeping its Orcas and that stalled immediately, as SeaWorld has the support of the government, if only because it is a major attraction and employs a lot of people. It's easy to say that SeaWorld could survive without the Orcas, but there are a huge part of who SeaWorld are and are the biggest attraction of all the parks, over any other ride or attraction, and losing them would make a massive difference in their attendance. Personally I thing the Blue World Project is a great announcement, for one it does address some of the negative press they have been getting (regardless of whether or not it was deserved), and it also gives the parks a proper Orca exhibit, as at present it is only really possible to see the Orcas in the show, or in a relatively small underwater viewing area, this will make a huge attraction for the park. Blackfish has obviously done what it set out to do, which was make headlines and hurt SeaWorld, but over time SeaWorld will bounce back and Blackfish will be forgotten. I'm not sure that I would like to see anybody takeover the SeaWorld parks, the danger with Comcast is that it will bring in a load of IPs, which I don't think the park needs at all, it has been able to create lots of attractions based on original themes, and I think it would be a shame if that was lost.
  16. Morgan


    I think Oakwood would greatly benefit from a new owner who would put in some investment into it, such as Merlin. Sticking with Merlin as an example, it has no attractions in Wales at all, and Oakwood's location is perfect for attracting the vast amount of tourists that holiday in the area each year. There is very little competition within a wide radius of the park, the biggest attraction I can think of anywhere near it is Folly Farm, which really isn't in the same market being a zoo. Someone like Merlin could come in and spend a relatively low amount (compared to its other parks), and improve the overall infrastructure and quality of the park, and it would only really need to add a couple of major attractions to make it into a viable full day park that would attract a hell of a lot more visitors each year. It's obvious that Aspro don't have the best grasp on the market, and looking at their portfolio it is mostly marine or water parks, and Oakwood is their only notable theme park. With the lack of investments since their acquisition (I know they have done in the past two years, but is this too little too late?) and now the introduction of an extremely flawed fastrack system, I just don't think that it's looking that great for Oakwood at the moment, and a more experienced hand sterring the ship would hold a much better future for the park.
  17. The park doesn't have the best food, it's all fairly basic "theme park" food and it isn't cheap, a standard burger type meal is around £7 I think. In the past I've left the park and gone to either the café inside the entrance building or the restaurant in the shopping village just outside the entrance building, they're generally better quality, than the in park offerings. With regards to the restraints, I imagine that the only ones that might be an issue is Eagles Claw and Whirlwind, I would imagine that The Ultimate's would be relatively accommodating, and all the other rides shouldn't be any issue.
  18. The main difference was the sizeI think, Black Hole was the Jet Star II, and Beast was the Jet Star III, which had an extra drop. The Jet Star II typically only ran one car trains, but Towers had it modified to run two car trains to boost capacity, so this made them even more similar. They both offered different ride experiences though, purely from Black Hole being enclosed, which worked really well with the fast turns it made.
  19. Universal generally use Kidzone as the entrance to two maze locations, so generally there is a Halloween presence in the area, in fact I believe one of the mazes uses the Barney show queueline for it's own queue. I personally can't see there being any difference than previous years with Angry Birds Land, in recent years there hasn't been anything changed in that area other than the audio played.
  20. The missing element in The Smiler's theme is the lack of a pre-show. The indoor queue area would've been a perfect opportunity to have a Ministry of Joy "Welcome" video on a loop, giving insight into the backstory of the ride. Instead we are presented with the "Optical Procedure" room which isn't particularly impressive or very enjoyable to be stuck in, being too dark and loud. It could've quite easily had a doctor's waiting room theme, which firstly would've been a bit of a surreal transition from the outside queue, and it would've also led very well into the surgical station area.
  21. Looking at it Towers' 4.2% increase for The Smiler is actually better than that seen in 2010 for Thirteen which was 3.8%, but really I think Towers attendance stays relatively static generally. New attractions will give that boost, but it mainly encourages those that have been in the past to return. Parks like Thorpe and Chessington in their locality have more alternatives, so are more susceptible to fluctuations.
  22. I was at Paultons on Monday, and I have to say the new entrance building and plaza is fantastic. The tree water feature is really beautiful and the atmosphere is great within the plaza. The actual entrance building is huge, with the turnstiles in the centre, leading inside with the new Wildwoods Restaurant on the right and the Big Toy Shop on the left. The shop is probably the best I've seen in a UK theme park, very well themed and everything is split into distinct sections and a distinct lack of cheap tack that seems to fill the shelves of most other parks shops. The new double decker carousel looks good as well, and the landscaping around it is superb, with lots of different topiaries surrounding the ride.
  23. Q-bots are a great way of offering fastrack, I've never used one, and probably won't unless I go to a busy park that I'll most likely not be returning to in a long time, to make sure I get everything done. It obviously works at parks like Six Flags, and as a premium system I think it's much better than the current fastrack system, as it at least bases the improved wait times on the rides current queue length. Although the best queue system is Disney's Fastpass (or Fastpass+ now). That is the ultimate fair system, it's free and accessible to everyone to use, it doesn't overly impact the regular queues and it's easy to use, even more so now that you can make reservations on your phone and in advance. With regards to eliminating queues, it won't ever happen. People queue naturally, even if the system works, you will still get people turning up before their slot to wait to go in. Obviously the idea is for people to make the most of their freed up time, but if they've got 15-20 mins until their slot and it's not lunch time, they are most likely just going to wait for their slot.
  24. While I agree to a certain extent on the IP front, I can see Dr Who being an incredibly versatile theme. I think it would absolutely have to be a dark ride for it to work in anyway, but if done smartly enough they could make it so it could be updated as the show changes. Look at Wonder Mountain Guardian for example, that has been tooled in such a way that the ride theme can be changed in an instant, which is already evident with the promise of a special Halloween experience coming later in the year. If they could make a dark ride that could be updated in such a way, it would not only fill a gap in Thorpe's ride line-up, but also allow it to stay relevant for many years to come. Although in reality, I think we would've seen some kind of activity, if there was going to be a major dark ride at the park next year, so unfortunately I think this is all just blue sky thinking at the moment.
  25. Rumours on Screamscape are suggesting that Thorpe may be getting a Doctor Who themed attraction next year, I don't know where the rumours have come from, but I imagine that relationship formed between Merlin and the BBC for CBeebies Land may have fuelled the rumours some what.
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