I visited today and on the whole it was a positive experience.
Entering the park was seamless and well organised with a temperature check taken before entering the bag drop area. It was fairly quiet being midweek & term time. Two staff members were situated at the entrance of the dome reminding guests to wear their face covering before entering. In the queue lines the vast majority of people were abiding by the social distancing floor markers and frequent Covid related announcements were made on most rides.
As for park operations they were a bit hit and miss as expected although all rides were open except TWD, DBGT, & Angry Birds 4D (Loads of people all dressed in black entered half way through the day, potentially fright night actors for a meeting...). Stealth, Swarm, Detonator & Inferno had excellent operations throughout with hardly any train stacking. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Vortex & Saw. I understand the nature of the rides effects through put more than others but I felt the operations could have been much faster.
The Octoberfest area was fairly quiet today although I feel the area could be very congested on very busy days so it will be interesting to see if the park try and enforce social distancing or some sort of crowd control in the area. On the whole it's a nice idea although hard to take too seriously with their beer selection, they should definitely have gone for something that's not on tap in my local Wetherspoons 😄
To some up the park in general sadly it's in the worst state in my 15+ years of visiting and is crying out for investment. I feel the current state of Old Town sums everything up, directionless and tired. Hopefully we get some competition in the UK theme park market over the coming years to persuade Merlin to either invest in Thorpe or sell up. I think the best we can hope for (and even this is wishful thinking) is a medium sized investment in 2022/2023. Maybe a Vekoma Bermuda Blitz with a well thought out layout, marketing campaign, and crucially lighter theme (1.2m height restriction, thrilling but fun family attraction). This could then increase visitor numbers and most vitally revenue/profit to remove SBNO attractions, freshen up the park similar to a Thorpe TLC programme similar to Alton. It's well known that the thrill seeker market spends less and demands more in regards to ride hardware, therefore it's not a sustainable business model and Merlin have started to realise this with knee jerk reactions like the additions of the two Old Town rides found in the lost property box.