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  1. Marc, it’s great you are so positive and it’s always great to get a positive opinion and outlook on life! Unfortunately I just cannot agree. Blackpool has had a really successful opening day (bar issues with the big one due to wind) whereas merlin parks have been a bit of a shambles across the board. I’m tempted to say there’s been more rides closed than open today, and when the closed rides aren’t advertised on the website in advance, that’s pretty unprofessional in my opinion. Chessington and Legoland posted a list of what’s going to be open and closed, whereas Alton and Thorpe left their customers in the dark as to what would be operating, then Thorpe had all water rides shut, and towers had 2 major coasters closed. We can argue indoor rides are closed due to social distancing but at the end of the day I think indoor rides being closed is just down to budget cuts- out in Europe parks have indoor rides open so I don’t see why it should be any different over here. In terms of covid mitigation, which is really important right now, merlin have done a pretty good job from what I’ve seen. But it doesn’t cover up the fact that parts of towers and Thorpe have been neglected and just not maintained, this was an issue pre-covid but is surely not going to be helped by the pandemic as any budgets left for park upkeep and refurbishment have probably been lost in the 3 months of the parks not being open. And to combine the abundance of SBNO rides today across all the merlin parks, it’s pretty poor. When I checked the Thorpe park queue times at one point today there was only 10 rides open and 14 closed, and because of this queue times are elevated too which means people are in close proximity for longer. I also struggle to see how chessington is operating on a 10am-4pm opening hours, that’s just shocking to be honest I can’t believe they can get away with that- not related to Thorpe though. So yeah in terms of covid measures, they’ve done a good job but there’s been way too many unadvertised ride closures today across Thorpe and towers and the parks are just looking really neglected. The pandemic isn’t going to help with this as merlin now will be struggling financially along with every other business out there. I just wish we had some more competition in terms of uk parks to give merlin that extra push in terms of investing in park maintenance, theming and upkeep.
  2. I reckon they weren’t bothering to do paper maps this season anyway. Lots of time and money saved if they don’t have to design and print thousands of maps for guests. Leaflets can be designed and pieced together much quicker. Would just be more sensible to have a sign telling guests no paper maps rather than handing out leaflets though.
  3. In terms of preparing the UK parks themselves with distancing markers and the like, unfortunately the government just aren’t giving the businesses enough notice. This could be exactly the same regarding the date they are allowed to re-open on. Until the government confirm an official date and exactly the measures that need to be in place, the parks just cannot move forward with staff training and setting up the parks. A big factor of the upcoming staff training is going to be enforcement. Training the staff to enforce the new distancing rules and try and make sure guests stick to them as much as possible. With the government potentially reducing the 2m rule to “1m plus”, it is impossible to train staff regarding enforcement rules until the new distancing rules are exactly clarified. There is no point setting up distancing markers in shops, queuelines and restaurants until the parks know whether it is 2m or 1m. Staff may also have to be trained to enforce that guests wear a face mask, if this is a condition of the 1m rule. Until the government inform merlin and other UK park owners more, it is impractical for training to take place. Therefore, it was probably premature to announce a 4th July opening date without an official confirmation. Training and setting up the park for a 4th July opening is going to have to be a quick turnaround and it’s not something that should be rushed when all the new hygiene and distancing measures need to be factored in.
  4. The event will definitely have to take place as a "temporary theme park" rather than a funfair. All funfairs have now been cancelled until at least November in Germany and it's inevitable it will be the same here. There's absolutely no way winter wonderland would be able to take place in the regular formatting and big changes will have to be made, for example distancing markers, hygiene stations, limited capacity and as you say pre-book only. I wouldn't be surprised if there were no beer tents and live music too. As for what attractions come across. The majority of the showmen in all countries have been really struggling throughout this time with limited financial support and not able to host any events. I think the demand for a position at winter wonderland would actually be higher than ever from the showmen as they will be desperate to make some turnover. Winter wonderland is a very established and popular event and I imagine the demand for pre-booked slots would be high. Therefore I also imagine the demand for a position for the attractions would also be high. However, no one knows whether this virus is seasonal etc and what will happen with a second wave. If everything is locked down again in the winter months, winter wonderland wont happen at all. But if they are able to open, they could perhaps be very successful as a "pop up theme park" rather than a mass gathering set-up. If international travel is possible come October and there isn't a significant second wave or lock down, I think the line-up of attractions could be as strong as usual. Would definitely see Olympia looping coming back onto this soil if they are able to do so, as they can turn a big profit here.
  5. Taiga only runs 2 trains of 16 passengers and dispatches every 90 seconds at the quickest (although in reality it is more likely every 2-2.5 minutes) and therefore hits an absolute maximum capacity of 640pph. (Theoretical capacity is 800pph) However linnanmaki is a much smaller park and therefore the capacity is more than enough for it, compared to a larger park like universal. Taron can run up to 4 trains and dispatches every 40-45 seconds at peak times, and can therefore hit 1280pph-1300pph in peak times at the absolute maximum. Although a lot of the time one train is out of use and therefore can only run 3 trains with 60-70 second dispatches, resulting in a throughput of about 960pph... So yeah the throughputs aren’t great, but taiga and taron are my joint favourite coaster. So if that’s anything to go by, this new coaster should be awesome. 960pph certainly wouldn’t be high enough for a park like universal, so if the coaster has short trains then they are going to need to have quick dispatches and extra trains in the maintenance bays to swap over with if there is a fault with one of the train. 1300pph would probably just be about OK abut might still struggle with universal crowds. Intamin and universal found a way to up the throughput for Hagrids, so hopefully there can be a way here too. Whether it’s longer trains to seat more riders or a system to facilitate super quick dispatches so the coaster can run more trains, I’m sure they will manage to come up with a system to keep those throughputs high. Because as soon as taron goes down from a 4 train to a 3 train service, the queue moves up at a snails pace (I know because I waited 100 mins for it in the dark on the celebration day in 2017- only on 3 trains as one was in maintenance).
  6. My only 2020 trip plan left is Phantasialand in December. If the restrictions are still in place though and shows aren’t able to run, I might consider pushing it back to the following year. It also depends on when the annual passes are reactivated, as I have 3 months left to use on mine so wouldn’t want to have to pay for full price tickets
  7. Even as a German you’d be lucky to get to europa park this season at all. Currently over 55,000 people waiting in the virtual queue and the hotels are fully booked out for the whole season. Foreigners have absolutely no chance this season of getting there when you add border restrictions into the mix.
  8. Seeing as I'm yet to venture out of Europe really myself (apart from crossing the border between tectonic plates in Iceland ) this topic is perfect for me as it's essentially listing my top 20 most loved coasters I've been on and my favourite parks I think I'll group it into parks as hopefully that might make trip planning slightly easier as you know which parks are absolutely must-dos! Park 1- Phantasialand Taron- my (joint) favourite coaster of all time. Sunset and nightfall are designed for this coaster, not the other way around. The whole atmosphere of Klugheim, the length, intensity, launches and airtime of the coaster are just phenomenal. If I could build my perfect coaster, then I would probably build taron. Colorado Adventure- Ok now this is awesome. It's not the biggest or the fastest coaster you've been on but its a great family-thrill coaster. It's really long, actually really thrilling and features moments where you dive into tunnels and its completely pitch black and you can't see a thing. Pretty awesome and well designed If you ask me. Park 2- Linnanmaki Taiga- Takes joint first spot in my top coasters along with taron, coincidentally 2 intamin launched coasters! This coaster has a really nice atmosphere in a lovely city park, the launches really pack a punch and its got plenty of awesome hang time and airtime moments. Really quite incredible. Park 3- Energylandia Zadra- The best RMC I've personally done to date. This coaster really towers over the park and is definitely a beast, awesome hang time and airtime moments, just typical RMC goodness, but one of the better ones we have in Europe (personal opinion). Park 4- Kolmarden Wildlife Park Wildfire- My first RMC and it still sticks in my head. Located in a beautiful wildlife park near Stockholm which overlooks the sea. Really quite a beautiful and picturesque coaster, and it rides really well too Park 5- Walibi Holland Untamed- Another RMC, again, I've been converted haha! This ones really awesome too, the ejector airtime is insane, almost too much! Got an awesome inline twist at the end of the coaster too. I recommend sitting towards the back of the train on this one Lost Gravity- Mack Big Dipper coaster. Really great hang time and airtime throughout the first drop really packs a punch as well! This one is better than it looks on paper and has a funky theme too Xpress platform 13- I absolutely loved this coaster. It's a pretty old Vekoma so it's not the smoothest of coasters but it honestly really packs a punch, and the theming is absolutely awesome too. Park 6- Hansa Park Der Schwur des Kärnan- Won't go into detail on this one and I recommend not doing any research before riding this, but this coaster is mental. Located in a beautiful park by the seaside as well. Park 7- Legendia Lech coaster- Really good new gen vekoma coaster. Comfortable, smooth, awesome first drop, great inversions and awesome airtime throughout. Packs a punch, has beautiful theming and beautiful setting next to a lake in a beautiful city park. Park 8- Liseberg Helix- I wasn't as impressed with this one as everyone makes out. It's a good, solid mack launched coaster and deserves a mention as lots of people really enjoy this one and class it as one of their top coasters. It just makes it into my top 10, it's got good airtime a long layout and awesome landscaping. Balder- Awesome intamin woodie. Plenty of airtime and so so smooth! Definitely worth a ride, and maybe an extra re-ride! Park 9 - Efteling Joris en de draak- Awesome pair of GCI racing coasters. Really fast paced and intense pair of coasters and really fun with the racing aspect not knowing who is going to win each race. In a beautiful setting in Efteling around a lake and awesome theming with a big dragon in the centre which breathes fire! Baron 1898- This coaster really captures the charm of Efteling. The theming is immaculate and whilst the ride itself is pretty short, this b&m mini-dive coaster packs a punch. The overall experience of this one is fantastic Park 10- Europa Park Silver Star- This probably doesn't compare to some of the b&m hypers in the states but for me I find it really enjoyable. Really good floater airtime and just a really fun coaster. Worth a try Euromir- This coaster has an awesome theme, and an awesome soundtrack. The way it's built around these huge towers with reflective glass is pretty cool too, and with the random spinning effect, if you end up going backwards on the second half of the layout it makes for a really intense and forceful ride! Park 11- Toverland Maximus blitz bahn- Not sure whether this really classes as a coaster or not as it's included on coaster-count but not on rcdb! This has great theming and it's a really fun toboggan-style coaster. Just good fun all round and in another stunning park. Park 12- Parc Asterix OzIris- I'm not a big fan of B&M inverts but this is one which really sticks in my brain. It's got a good, long layout, moments of varying intensity where it really picks up speed and some whippy inversions. Good operations too on a 3 train service on busy days and a good theme. Pegase Express- I love this coaster. A gerst family coaster which is really well themed and landscaped and just great fun all around. Park 13- Djurs Sommarland Juvelen- This coaster doesn't look like much on paper but it's actually pretty thrilling! Really awesome launches and hugs the terrain in a way which actually makes it pretty intense. On paper it looks like a family coaster but in reality I would definitely say it's a thrill coaster- really exceeded my expectations. Located in another beautiful park and awesome theming!
  9. Hoppings at the end of June just been cancelled, one of the UK’s largest funfairs.
  10. I think expecting any parks to be open before June is a very optimistic approach.. that's why I don't understand why a lot of parks have pushed back to April dates for the beginning of the season as it's not realistic in the slightest.
  11. At Europa park in the height of the summer you can be working 55 hours a week!
  12. Blackpool now closed too. All UK parks will be closed this weekend for sure.
  13. If they open they will be dead. I work in a retail store in a shopping centre and from Monday it’s been absolutely dead, the whole shopping centre has. Merlin will be making a loss is they continue to open.
  14. I think this is just a statement to cover their backs to make it look like they are doing something to prevent spread of infection. They really should not be open by this point.
  15. Currently the government has banned all free time activities (including amusement attractions) in the state of Baden-Württemberg until 15th june, however this will be brought forward if the situation improves before then. I find it strange Europa park have only announced that they are pushing back to the 19th April as with current guidelines they will prohibited from opening on this date and won’t be able to open until June 15th unless the government restrictions are alleviated before then
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