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  1. New for 2020 confirmed..... Car Parking Simulator... *upcharge attraction
  2. Technically not. It just allows the Park to pursue one if they want to - but unless they caused any actual damage pushing for a conviction is hard, costly and potentially pointless.
  3. Yep. The crime would be committed by follow-up acts such as breaking into buildings, damage caused by their trespass (broken fences from climbing etc)...
  4. My 2020 realistic wishlist? It's tough to know what to suggest and keep realistic knowing that Merlin are investing else-where in the portfolio, other parks are seeing increased investment over Thorpe, Alton would be due their next SW within 3 years and so a new Thorpe coaster wouldn't want to compete, the taking over of Merlin by Lego (they need time to settle into a direction) etc. A newly published Mid Term Development Plan that updates the previous, now expired one. Given the new Head Of Thorpe being there a year, she will probably have a direction now. Build on Fright Nights "Island Changes After Dark" - Have the park operating as a normal park during the day, then as the sun sets rides start changing their music, lights change colour, smoke machines kick off, mazes open, actors roam the park etc. Give it that true "changes after dark" eerie feeling. Almost like the park is taken over by the witching hour.. Some sort of development towards a new coaster... Trouble is, Canada Creek / Loggers seems to be the logical site but Creek Freak Massacre and Platform 15 are so popular, would they want to milk another year our of them - or develop the area? Tricky one that... There are plenty of places to develop though: Swarm Island needs connecting up to Stealth.. So... Continue the strength of the events that have been seen this summer. Bouncezilla was fun, offensive to the eyes and popular with the public. In the absence of anything major next year, doing something with the Saw Alive / Thorpe Belle boat as a new attraction would be good. Return to fireworks to mark the end of season. Late openings over the summer are great, but they just don't work without a decent purpose - Even some Fright Nights struggled this year.. A new event called Ride-And-Seek. no idea what it would be about... but I just liked the pun... In terms of more unrealistic but possible: New, decent flat some-where (no, not a top spin) Complete top-to-toe, end-to-end repaint, repair, refresh of everything on park - buildings, rides, coasters, effects, paths re-laid and unified etc. Literally strip the park down to bare bones and build it up again, fresh and new. The long-awaited Entrance and Car Park upgrades. They need more parking barriers, better parking ticket system, better traffic flow, more concrete parking, better drop-off / pick-up / coach facilities etc. Maybe even a second gate or 2 outside the park to make Thorpe year-round (Sea-Life, Little BIG, restaurant, new brand etc). Work on the new hotel over the lake finally starting. In terms of no-way unrealistic: Time to start the process of owning "Six Flags Identity" and competing with Energylandia style aggressive expansion: Corner off the whole of Old Town / Slammer for the 2021 coaster and area overhaul Also Begin construction on new coaster behind Swam for 2022 Start preparation for the removal of Thorpe Shark and it's "entrance hugging" coaster that will replace it.
  5. Shotgun a Topspin... and the Ramses Revenge relocation rumour. BANNED AND BLOCKED.
  6. Interesting that you say this.. I've just run it past a criminal defence barrister I know who's exact response was "this is textbook trespass". To do with terms and conditions of entry being that you are only allowed on site as a paying guest during "permissible trading hours". Once the final ride has been closed down, guests are required to vacate the park and the Tresspass Injunction kicks in. So, technically this IS a criminal act, the police just couldn't be bothered, for whatever reason, to follow it through. Difference being that they cannot be charged and convicted retrospectively. So, they will now profit from the video having broken the law. EDIT: That said, Tresspass isn't criminal.. it is civil.. so the Police weren't required to act on it any-way. But then, that also explains why the area is typically quite rife with "petty lawlessness", but that's a different topic of conversation.
  7. I{t must be close to or just above "theoretical" capacity today (The park operates 2 tiers because of the size and layout: Theoretical Capacity: The point that the park starts to become uncomfortable to be in) and Absolute Capacity: Max number of people allowed on park from an H&S point of view. I say close to because if Colossus and NI were open, the 120 min queues would most likely be 90ish...
  8. I think overall this season has been a good one. It has probably performed in line with expectations given the low investment year and guest satisfaction seems to be up. Fright Nights was always going to be a sticky one for attendance this year because of the 2 half terms of London / Surrey being different weeks; so unlike previous years where every-one visits in the same 1 week, this year is spread over 2 weeks. I think that the package of Fright Nights could be better - wish there was more obvious "The island changes after dark" other than a few mazes that open and a flash-mob dance, such as ride music being normal in daylight and changing at night, actors in public areas, light colour changes, more decoration etc but it is what it is. They tried by adding smoke machines which work well when it isn't windy. I've visited pretty much every Saturday since the season started thanks to my annual pass and season fastrack pass. It does seem that ride availability has been generally excellent and presentation of the park is better than it has been in years (mist on Nemesis Inferno, smoke on Stealth, effects on Saw, skimmers and fire (albeit intermittent) on Swarm etc). Bouncezilla seemed to do what it needed to do - provided a filler for now and seemed popular with the GP - Not a crowd pleasing, attendance increasing attraction; but decent enough "for now". It seems that the flat rides are now suffering seasonal fatigue and are limping home... Something that should be considered given the lack of interest in flat rides over the parks in general. A few questions come of this though - Are we about to get a flurry of new coasters to replace these like Alton seem to be doing or will the park just be left to fall into ruin. The park almost need to admit to and own their "we want to be a British Six Flags" park rather than trying to masquerade as a theme park. If they do, they can throw a tonne of hardware at the park and own their new image. Consider an RMC hybrid or (high capacity) Raptor, Mack or Intamin launcher, a decent airtime machine that hugs the entrance etc. But that is just a fanboy wish list. Works for Cedar Point...
  9. It seems that Rush is also limping home too. Was operating on 1 arm with a 60 min queue on Friday evening - and was the only "decent" attraction open thanks to the wind closing everything else. A poor end to an other-wise pretty decent season.
  10. Couldn't agree more Joshua. You hit it on the head. Thorpe need to become a "good amusement park" rather than a theme park. Hit the Six Flags / Cedar Point model and you're onto a winner by being different enough to Chessie and LEGOLAND just around the corner..
  11. You also have an element of Global business strategy going into play here too: 1. Nick V will only invest if it guarantees 25% return on investment (as quoted in an interview he did last year). This was not the case for the last 2 big investments, so there is an element of caution with Thorpe. Once bitten, twice shy, third time reluctant. 2. The strategy of Merlin is to add bedrooms and hotels. This is where the majority of the investment is happening because this is where the majority of the capital comes from - the rest of the investments are kept low key where possible and the parks hardware investment has ground to pretty much a halt except for special circumstances. It is safe business / revenue generation. Thorpe is limited to what it can do in this space because of location, available space etc. Compare Thorpe Shark to the hotels at Windsor, Chessie, Alton and Gardaland. As a result, you have a park that seems neglected because they aren't getting huge investments for hardware (other than DBGT) nor are they getting the hotel investments either. 3. IP's generally work. When you get the right one. Peppa Pig in Europe has been a massive hit at the parks and the World Of Play new openings are huge around the world. Sadly, Merlin will never have the UK license so has to settle for other IPs instead. Saw broke the mould and was a success. But piggy-packing on some-ones IP is less risky than creating your own - arguably the lazy, "quick win" option, but if it works you're a fool to not exploit it. 4. Thorpe seem to be becoming the Six Flags option of Merlin. They are going down the generic, lifeless, soul-less way of running a park as an experiment because they have no specialism - Chessie with the zoo; LEGOLAND with, well, Lego; Alton and the Towers, Gardaland being a bit like Disney, Heide Park being beautiful etc, Thorpe has no anchor and while it is so close to Chessie and LEGOLAND I don't think it ever will have one. But, they are now stuck in a rutt of this way of working doesn't work andno-one is willing to give up the capital to break them out of the cycle because of the toxic "you must perform financially in order to be given money to better yourself" attitudes that modern businesses have. I'd love it if Merlin were to just say "Right, here's £100 million. Sweep the entire park and make it great again within a year so that we can ramp up profits next year" but it won't happen. 5. I have a feeling that the new "owners" will not be as restrictive as playing shareholder politics. They are going to be investing for the strength of their business and not the perceptions and opinions of shareholders. This may see an uplift in investments in due course. But, don't hold your breath 6. MMM seem to play it safe with investments and there are no rumblings anywhere of us working with pioneering or elite ride manufacturers. And while Merlin have the perception that rollercoasters bring in more people than flat rides (which are by large more expensive to maintain for the investment they require in comparison), we will always see the decline in flats and ramping up of coasters of varying quality. Maybe if they were more daring, we would see an RMC spring up at Thorpe.. or a Mack Launcher at Chessie.
  12. I don't think the park are struggling as much as people may think they are.. Perceptions are only part of the truth. However, pulling the 8pm closes is a good decision. The few I've been to this year have all been dead by 6 - even when the queues throughout the day were 60+ mins. I've arrived at 5pm to a sea of people leaving because that is just the behaviour and habit of the locals (and in general the UK). It took Thorpe THREE simultaneous events last summer to get even remotely decent numbers in past 6pm: "Summer Lates", "Love Island" and "Ministry". And even then it was akin to one of the quieter off-peak days. It's just not viable and we just don't seem to have the desire, demand or culture to accommodate late theme park openings here. Look at Gardaland in Italy - they're open until 11pm every night between June and September - because their culture and offering supports it. You can look at queue times, see "10 mins for their headlines rides" and think that it isn't viable for them to do it.. but they get 2 waves of people going to the park - one in the morning and one around 5pm. They can still see upwards of 20,000 through the gates and maintain 10 min queues on their headline coasters. Over here, we just don't have that type of offering. Even the seaside ones struggle after "tea time" - BPPB (excluding their fireworks nights), some of the piers, Fantasy Island and so on. It isn't exclusive to Merlin parks. We just simple have a culture of "tea time is here, get home, get fed, get the kids to bed". No amount of coaxing people to stay has worked and for that reason Thorpe are right to ditch something that isn't working... Now to just convince them the same of DBGT..
  13. I think this is ultimately the point at the bottom of it all. Although people would happily argue that it breaks the Lost City emersion, it isn't taking a ride or attraction away to be there. Slammer and Loggers were already gone and who knows, this could be an experiment or future investments to see what works with the GP outside of expensive hardware - which some people seem to forget that Merlin don't OWN the land and so have to first seek permission from the owners to install. Yes, something big and shiny will be coming along soon - the Loggers / Slammer site can't stay as it is forever; nor can the island behind Swarm. But, just throwing new rides and coasters at the park doesn't work in 2019 - it did back in the early 2000s because that was the worldwide theme park culture back then, but not now. It's no longer about parks being ride / coaster count heavy, it's becoming more about park-wide experiences. Ask yourself - outside the community, was Steel Vengeance or Valravn a success for Cedar Point - did it engage visitors and increase their numbers massively? The 2018 TEA report would suggest not, whereas Gardaland added Peppa Pig and increased their visitors by around 10% (the exact figure escapes me) - it's nothing new or shiny. It's a well done retheme with a successful IP. And let's be honest, the park this year is operating on a much higher level than previous years. It seems to be slicker, more care put into appearance (look at the park last weekend for the birthday - the only effect not working on any ride were the skimmers on Swarm) and actually more professional. All of this seems to go unnoticed by any-one quick to criticise. They literally can't win.
  14. Jeez guys, this is one echo chamber full of negativity - talk about "love us, hate Merlin" sometimes. So, no. Bouncezilla isn't a multi-million pound rollercoaster or flat ride. No it isn't an immersive dark ride. No it isn't long term. It is as every bit garish, loud and obnoxious as it suggests. It actually does what it does well and although the location isn't perfect, it's something different to do in the park (along with GameFX and the Lunar cinema too). At the moment, there are lots of rides and games stalls, but very few attractions or experiences. So, it's nice that Thorpe are exploring the possibility of things outside of rides. It's just a shame that some people interpret this as cheap, low effort and poorly thought out. Ultimately, this seems to be popular with the public and I guess that matters more to Thorpe than some die-hard forum keyboard warriors out to criticise every aspect of the park and Merlin. People seem too willing to pick them apart for every tiny detail not to their taste, but seem to be unwilling to recognise when they do well or congratulate them for at least trying something new. Given that DBGT and The Swarm didn't generate the ROI they had hoped for, allowing Thorpe to explore other aspects of their park and guest profile is actually wise. But of course, Thorpe could build an RMC to rival Steel Vengeance or a Hyper that would challenge Hyperion and they would still rubbish it "because it is Thorpe".
  15. Personally, I love it. I frequently go on my own.. Probably because I'm a billy-no-mates who likes rides a little too much haha. As Pluk says above, you can just get on with your day and selfishly do Thorpe in your own way, own time, without any politeness needed. Want to go on Swarm? Go. Want food? Go. Want the loo? Go. Want to go home at midday? Go. Eventually, if you go enough, the staff will recognise you and you'll end up making "friends" with them and your day doesn't feel as lonely or empty any more. There's one particularly great lady dispatching Detonator at the moment, who I'm sure must think "God, do you have nothing better to do than come on your own?" but she always says hi and recognises you. If you people watch, you will also find loads of others that are there on their own too and suddenly being there on your own isn't embarrassing or pathetic any more.. The parks are also trained on how to spot and look after lone guests (once they have determined that you're not a threat in any way). so even though you won't know it, staff will have your back. Hope you enjoy your lone day!
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