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Everything posted by JoshuaA

  1. I think this year/next year will really prove a sink or swim year or two for the company. The wheels are in motion in Europe and Asia, but it does beg the question whether we'll see a project over the pond. I know S&S and Vekoma are pretty much the same company now, but their products are different enough for Vekoma to branch outside of Europe and Asia. I sincerely hope more parks snatch these models up.
  2. I certainly think this is just the start of Vekoma's redemption. Tripsdrill I think were pretty smart to get the first STC as it'll probably be a great coaster. Tripsdrill is certainly on the bucket list now. Karacho looks like enough reason.
  3. It certainly is a rough time for all the operators. Cedar Fair, Seaworld, and Six Flags included too. Hopefully all these operators get support and survive this difficult period.
  4. I think it just boils down to how important the role of theming plays within the park. I think Thorpe Park has theming but in most areas its pretty loose and the areas are just kinda there. The area around Colossus and the cluster of flats in that area is a good example, it looks good for the most part, but its more loose. Like Six Flags has 'themed areas' too, doesn't make 'em a theme park lol. When I visit Thorpe Park it gives me Six Flags vibes to be fair, and that is not a bad thing. Six Flags Great America is very similar, some areas are themed well (Southwest territory) and others not so much. They do vary a lot though. Parks like Europa are meant to fully immerse you in its world. Then look at a park like Cedar Point which has no theming on any ride (I guess Steel Vengeance and Maverick have some pretty queue lines?). These parks are both brilliant, but they are incredibly different. You go to Europa Park for the experience, for the theming. The rides are kinda like the cherry on top. You go to Cedar Point exclusively for the rides. That I think is the core difference between an amusement park and a theme park (though obviously a lot of parks straddle this line). I think Thorpe sits toward the middle, but is more in the direction of being a amusement park as the theming is more secondary to the rides.
  5. Yeah sure the park needed something that was different from the big thrill coasters. That is why X was so popular, it was a coaster that was fun, everyone could ride it, and it focused on being fun, not 'OMG THIS IS SCARY'. That is another mistake the park made, not making the Ghost Train accessible for families. I think what people wanted was more attractions that everyone could enjoy as a family, and Thorpe just built another attraction that really isn't much different from the coasters when it comes to theme and the type of people it attracts. Yeah I wasn't saying it being a dark ride was the issue. Was just listing a bunch of stuff they could of got for the price that they paid. Its sad cos Wallace and Gromit and Hex are such fun rides and a decent dark ride like that would be good at Thorpe. Honestly I kinda view Thorpe as more of a amusement park. Its loosely themed, but I honestly think the park really isn't about the theming or immersion and more about the rides. Like sure some rides are well themed there, but the areas themselves aren't really immersive or anything worth caring about. Angry Birds Land is a brilliant example of how seriously you should take Thorpe as a theme park lol. If they made it more of an amusement park in the future I honestly wouldn't mind.
  6. It is a grave shame the park didn't just build a freespin or a Raptor with that money. Also lets not forget Wildfire cost less than this.
  7. So due to boredom I have decided to make a thread to rank the Merlin Parks. This will be by recent investments and just how each park fall in the hierarchy. I think this will be a lot harder than Cedar Fair and Six Flags as Merlin is pretty even with their parks tbh. I'm gonna be ranking all of the abroad parks but I will lump the Legoland's into one category because ranking them individually would take a while. A Tier: Alton Towers Easily the most loved Merlin Park. When this park receives a coaster, its usually very high quality and unique. They usually have good in between years to boot, with constant money being thrown into their hotels, the resort, and into their family and kiddie offering. This year's addition is a real good example of a solid intermediate investment and Wickerman back in 2018 was an amazing investment for the park. This park is only behind Legoland in attendance in the UK, and with that you can expect a great new coaster here soon. B Tier: Legolands (all of 'em) These parks are absolutely everywhere. There is 9 currently, and more are coming. They are really a strong point for Merlin, they draw in a lot of families and must make the company a stupid amount of money. They have a simple but fun IP, and they usually receive a fair amount of investment to keep the masses of families coming in. These usually are not coasters, but if you look at Legoland Windsor's investments in the past 10 years its surprisingly respectable. A bunch of brilliant medium sized investments that give the park a pretty decent lineup of dark rides. As stated, Legoland Windsor has the highest attendance in the UK, these parks bring in the crowds. C tier: Gardaland I was going back and forward for this placement, but then I saw Gardaland's attendance and nearly spat out my coffee. I think this park gets kinda overlooked due to its shaky coaster lineup, but Gardaland drew in 2.9 million people in 2018. That is a incredible amount in comparison to other Merlin Parks. The park hasn't received a big coaster since 2015, though the additions certainly haven't been bad either and I could see this getting some good investment in the future. No wonder the park decided to add 2 B&M's to this place with gate figures like that.. Heide Park: This park has had decent investment in the past decade, actually pretty much ditto to Gardaland. Other than that they revived their Intamin pre-fab woodie, so that was cool I guess. I think with Colossus back this park is very ready to continue to compete with Hansa down the road. Though it is lower than Gardaland due to its attendance not being as impressive. D Tier: Chessington: Chessington have had a decent enough past 5 years or so to keep them out of rock bottom. Now this park just generally is a smaller park and I think is seen as such by Merlin. Recently they have been improving their old rides (bar Tomb Blaster) and dragging them into the modern era. Tiger Rock is a fun redo of Dragon Falls, and Gruffalo is much better than Bubbleworks was in its final years. They received a mini log flume this year, and next year they are replacing the problematic Rameses with a fun looking drop tower. Overall Merlin seems to be interested in keeping this park decent and fresh enough. Even if its just with small rethemes or small additions. Either way its a much better position to be in that the park below it. F Tier: Thorpe Park: If I made this list in 2012, this would be A Tier. Every investment they have gotten since then has lead this park to its current state. What has the park done since 2012? Added a huge failed mess of a dark ride, added another room to it that sometimes works as a good finale? Lost their best family ride in Loggers, lost their second best family ride in X by converting it to something scary which now means their mild Vekoma coaster is now back to low ridership.. Basically a whole lot of nothing. And the park seems really like the last in the queue for any major investment in the future. It is a shame as the park has a pretty relaxed location when it comes to permits, and the park has a fair amount of space they could utilise if they wanted to. But this park I think will remain the park that receives small investments that fail in the long-haul (Black Mirror next yay!) Anyway feel free to rank the parks, I'm interested to see what people's opinions are. I think Merlin parks are actually quite hard to rank tbh, as investment wise they kinda spread out their money. Like Thorpe is at the bottom of my list but that could change big time in 5 years.
  8. I think each Arrow suspended coaster is its own case tbh. They are dying out, and I would not be surprised if Vampire was forced to run with the new Vekoma trains or close completely. Like Iron Dragon is still operating yes, but that ride is much more tame and I could imagine that ride doesn't put much stress on the track at all. Vortex, Bat, and Ninja obviously still operate despite seemingly being as intense or if not more intense on the track, though obviously this could be due to a variety of reasons and each coaster I bet has its own set of circumstances which means one size does not fit all
  9. I think the Ghost Train could not function without VR. It relies on it so much, the main VR sections are dull with VR, without VR they would even more bland. I honestly cannot think of a route to make this into an attraction that will be sustainable for the park. In some of my last visits the attraction seems to be fairly unpopular for a fairly new ride, and the queue it did have made sense considering the ride is unreliable and never seems to achieve a decent throughput. If I were Thorpe I would just completely start again. I would keep the building but everything inside would be completely removed. I really think this attraction on the whole is just a mistake. Anyway here is a few outcomes that I see with DBGT. The VR sections are just kinda of skipped through. The attraction is turned into a makeshift scare maze which is fun but will be unpopular and removed in a couple of years time The attraction is closed due to 'hygiene' reasons that is blamed on coronavirus. The attraction sits SBNO until further notice. The attraction briefly reopens, but closes down in a year or two due to low popularity and is SBNO until Merlin want to use that space again The attractions operates, but operates with limited capacity and limited hours to cut costs and parts of the attraction are compromised because of its low ridership. Maybe like only open it on weekends, after 12am opening, closures on quiet months.
  10. I did not hear about this. That is very interesting. Its a huge shame the park's investment has been kinda stalled by the virus. Have to admit I did not see another expansion to Wastelands coming, Tulleys were not messing about, that is some aggressive expansion. Its a huge blow for them but I think they will be okay, they have running for 25+ years now so I see them being able to push this investment back another year or so. Though obviously it will be not be easy at all for them. I think its very hard to predict. In 6 months time this could be a complete distant memory, or it could be still lingering. I think with most scare events it will ultimately depend on if other leisure attractions (like theme parks) are back open, But even then I could see the park running with certain attractions tweaked or closed. Like VIXI for example probably wouldn't work (the rope being touched by a lot of guests, ect).. I think JoshC has a point with the attractions adapting, you can certainly scare without being close to people. But obviously in some mazes (Cellar, Cottage) the small spaces kinda might make doing scares from a distance a chore. Fingers crossed things are less grim by August.
  11. So the 11th attraction the park teased earlier this year has been removed. I think this makes a lot of sense considering the whole pandemic. The farm also opened a fairly busy drive through shop which probably means they really don't have time to plan and build another attraction. I honestly am kinda relieved as getting all 10 attractions done in one night was difficult as it was! In other news the park have received quite a few SCAR nominations, quite a bit more than in previous years. Wastelands has been nominated for bet set and design and best halloween maze, coven's fire finale has been nominated for best scene, and they also have a nomination for having the best street team and entertainment.
  12. Got to love Vampire. Honestly riding Iron Dragon at CP made me really appreciate just how good Vampire is. Despite the outrage over what hasn't and has been done to the station, I enjoyed the upgrades on my last visit. It is not a Europa style refurb, it is not the same as it was back in 1990.. But its still decent and I think people perhaps are getting a bit nit-picky. Look at Swarm's Station (a 8 year old coaster)..
  13. Here's the must dos in my opinion: Wildfire Untamed Zadra I think the Americans will wanna see how our RMC's compare to theirs. Zadra and Wildfire probably put up a fight with Steel Vengeance too (probably not as good though..) Taron Taiga ISpeed Maverick is considered a top tier ride over there so people will probably have interest in the other blitz coasters Black Mamba Nemesis Oziris Well themed inverts with good interaction with the terrain/tunnels. I think these inverts are really something different from the ones in the US (bar Montu) Smiler Karnan Fluch Von Novgorod Proof that Gerstlauer are actually good (well, just don't ask Six Flags that..) Expedition Geforce Shambhala Helix Piraten Lech Coaster Balder Colossus (Heide Park) Just good rides All of the coasters at Europa Park/EP in general Not the best coaster collection or the best coasters, but the theming and atmosphere is something that has to be experienced. Especially Arthur, that thing slaps. If Baco got better restraints maybe it would be on here, or if Red Force didn't have a shaky a*** launch, whats with Portaventura and rough intamins? Also didn't want to put Stealth or Wickerman on here as both are kinda nothing too special when compared to their american counterparts.
  14. So due to the corona virus, I thought I would actually post on this blog (for my own amusement as well as others) This blog today will rank every Tulleys Maze ever to exist (bar a few that I did not sadly get to experience) Here is the few attractions excluded from this list: Field Of Screams- this was a maze in the park's former cornfield (where The Wreckoning currently is) I sadly didn't get to experience this or some of the future reincarnations Dr Plagues Trail of Terror- This is the 2012 successor to Field Of Screams Woodshock: Rottin since 69'- Another Field Of Screams incarnation I sadly did not get to experience ItsCurtains- This is one I really regret not being to able to walk through. This was the original Clown Maze that debuted back in 2009. This maze apparently was incredibly confusing with the classic curtain maze being the staple of this attraction. This is now Twisted Clowns 3D. Anyway, onto every haunt I have been through! Ranked from worst to bet, this was hard list! The Wreckoning: (present) Tulleys have done quite high quality attractions throughout the years, this makes finding a 'worst' maze hard. The Wreckoning sadly falls short compared to other Tulleys attractions. It just doesn't quite work. It certainly brought some interesting ideas though, and I think with some extensive tweaks this could be a great maze. Coven wasn't my favourite in its opening year and look at that maze now. If they give this the coven treatment next year I could see this being a highlight attraction for the park, I think this year though it just got a bit upstaged by another new maze.. Pandemonium's 3D Carnival: (2016) The clown maze at Tulleys has always been chopping and changing. Back in 2016 they debuted the 3D element, this element is incredibly cool though the maze only had its second half in 3D, which meant you had a awkward pause in the maze and the pacing kinda didn't work because of that. Silver Scream Drive In Scare Zone: (2014) I think this one gets forgotten about really easily. Silver Scream was located next to the entrance of Twisted (before Chop Shop and The Colony were there) and it was a lot of fun. This scare zone is where the 'popcorn girls' originated from, the girls who walk around with their disgusting flavoured popcorn. It is not higher due to the fact it was pretty short and small, but it still has a left a mark on the park today with the popcorn girls still coming out every now and then. The Tunnel (2014) Before The Colony was the incredibly suspenseful and long, The Tunnel. This maze's first half was just long dark tunnels with short spaces and extended pitch black darkness. The maze at points made you feel the walls to find the way which was unnerving for 10 minutes at a time! The second half was a long Wastelands style strobe maze, it was long and incredibly confusing to the eyes after the stupid amount of darkness. The maze was very fun though I have ranked it this low due to the first half having little to no actors. But when its so dark and claustrophobic, I'm kinda glad they didn't have actors in that first half. The Volt (2015) 2015 was a huge year for Tulleys. With Nightshade, The Colony, Chop Shop, and this maze debuting, it was a big year for them. Unlike the huge highly themed Colony or Chop Shop, The Volt was a very minimalist attraction in comparison, the theming was really not all that good. The maze didn't really focus on theming though, it was a 5 minute pitch black maze meant to create anxiety with the electric shock gimmick. The maze was all about the idea of the shocks with the actors being somewhat of a afterthought, overall The Volt was unique and certainly was a interesting concept. I do think The Dark at The Howl (2015) did this concept better and I can see why the concept was not brought back after the initial year. The reason it isn't lower as it actually was quite scary, like the shock element was very psychological and it meant actors had a very easy job of scaring. Chop Shop (Present) Chop Shop is such a hard maze to rank as on its opening year it was amongst my favourite mazes ever, but sadly over the years it has kinda ran out of steam. I decided in the end to rank it by its current incarnation which isn't bad, it has such great theming in the first half and the maze certainly is enjoyable. Creepy Cottage/Haunted House (present) The Creepy Cottage was my first haunt at Tulleys and I always have had a soft spot for it. Its tight corridors, amazing theming, and good use of a small cast really makes this maze for me. Its not the scariest, its a bit cheesy, but its such a classic that makes me smile every year. It can also pack quite a punch depending on the cast! The Cellar: (Present) Arguably the signature maze from about 2009 to 2012, The Cellar has spanned a very long time at the event. The maze has seen an extension and a cage section since opening, but besides that it is completely the same as it was in 2009. The Cellar remains a long jump scare focused assault, with some theming here and then to compliment the experience. The reason it isn't higher is that I think the event has really grown a lot since 2009, and Cellar in a way has became a little dated. It still is a brilliant maze though that certainly is a classic. VIXI (Present) This is gonna piss some people off, but I like VIXI. I think it was a trailblazer for the industry and its something completely different to any other maze at Tulleys. When you have so many haunts like Tulleys it is so important to have a maze that is so different, Vixi really impressed me last year. The experience seemed to have a good amount of actors and the maze actually made me want to go again! I think Vixi gets a bit over-hated if I'm being honest. Twisted Maze: (2012-2014) Twisted Maze was honestly such a fun time back in 2014. It didn't focus on scares but it had a lot of funhouse elements including a section where you walk through a slanted corridor, a huge check room with actors in matching costumes (this room was a lot bigger than the current check room), many elevation changes, darkness, and a bunch of curtains. This maze was not very scary but it was buckets of fun and honestly it was my fav maze when I visited in 2014 (that is very nostalgia flavoured though..) Though I do admit its future incarnations are superior (barring Pandemonium) Nightshade Circus (2015) This maze was really a push up from Twisted. The maze had severe layout changes along with a new entrance with a themed facade (it is Tulleys after all!) The Nightshade Circus introduced a lot of UV lights into the clown maze as well as refining the classic Tulleys Clown Maze formula with a brilliant layout and a curtain maze or two! The Nightshade Circus also had some new music as well as a really fun finale which is now sadly absent. Twisted Clowns 3D (Present) Very close with Nightshade but ultimately Clowns 3D is probably the best edition of the park's clown maze. The Bungee scare really lights up the first half of the maze and the 3D element being consistent throughout most of the maze makes it very trippy and fun. This is very biased though considering I've worked in here for the past two years 😉 The Colony (2015-2018) The Colony was utterly epic compared to The Tunnel. The maze has so much theming and it never seemed to end. It was easily the most impressive maze back in 2015. I think this maze certainly is missed, it was a absolute monster of a attraction. Coven Of 13 (present) I was incredibly harsh on Coven upon its debut back in 2016. Let me just pull up that review to show just how harsh I was.. Every year since the maze has got progressively stronger for me. In 2017 I lukewarmly liked it, and my run through in 2019 with the new finale honestly blew me away. The maze really feels complete now. It is long, has a great finale, great scares, and a nice variety of inside and outdoor sets. This now makes Coven a maze that I think will be a staple in the lineup for many years, it also is quite unique with its all female cast. Haunted Hayride (present) The heart, the soul, and the lungs of Shocktoberfest. The hayride never seems to get old, even with some of the scenes like the billboard being the same since its debut.. It is just such a brilliant attraction that sums up everything that Tulleys is about. The Hayride is here to stay and easily the most iconic attraction at Shocktoberfest. Wastelands (present) Probably one of my favourite mazes to ever grace the earth, I adore Wastelands. Its not even the maze, its the area around it, the queue, and the show. Its more than a new maze, its a immersive scare zone, show, and a brilliant maze. Wastelands to this date is probably the most epic, the most immersive, and the best attraction to grace Shocktoberfest. Anyway hope you enjoyed this list. Make sure to stay safe everyone!
  15. That is exactly why the Corona Virus is so out of our hands. There is minimal ways to minimise it, those who try to contain it have only spread it more. I'd rather get on with my life and not lock myself away for a month after raiding the loo roll isle at Lidl. The only thing you can do really is keep away from people when you're ill, obvious. Even when it was less serious the news and papers have hammered on and on about the virus, it is no surprise some people are stockpiling pasta and bog roll. You literally turn the news on and 80% is about the virus, its literally a drinking game at this point every time they mention it. I hate Boris with passion and honestly I like the way he has handled it, just keep calm and carry on. Its a nasty virus, not the apocalypse.
  16. Children have been said to be at the absolute lowest risk though.. Not many young folks have died from the virus, actually the current number for the age range 0-9 is 0. And 10-19 is a very low death rate. Young people are not the worry here. Honestly I like the UK approach, I find the current media coverage to be somewhat drastic and melodramatic. People mass buying crap and self isolating themselves are just perhaps a little too easily influenced by the current media brainwashing them. It is a nasty virus and some people are going to die, but there is many other things such as cancer, heart problems, or even the Flu itself which kills tons of people a year but I don't see anyone locking themselves in a room crying over it? There is more chance of crashing your car on the way to the parks that catching the corona virus.. But you still drive cars don't you?
  17. JoshuaA

    2020 Season

    Yeah if the queues are bad now, imagine how bad they would be if they full in depth checked every guest if they were worthy of the pass, it would take ages and would slow things even further. I think the only thing Thorpe can do is enforce things better, even with that some fake doctors note will slip through. They will always be fraud and abuse of the system. Having medical staff on hand is great on paper, but imagine how long it would take to examine each person who wanted a RAP (somewhere in the 100's range on busy days..)
  18. I think it'll be fine, they built Blazing Fury at their sister park down the road just fine. They are not new to in-house stuff. It also I guess would save some money, and it isn't like Intamin have the best record ATM with their raft rides.. Infinity Falls looks brilliant but honestly after all the problems I could see why you would just wanna avoid using them.
  19. When Legoland and Michigan's Adventure are getting new coasters this year and Thorpe still be getting those bottom of the barrel additions..
  20. JoshuaA

    2020 Season

    Yeah I think Merlin are in a bit of a corner with the RAP. The system sucks, but even when enforced properly it would still be abused and flawed. They can't really win, we live in a culture where its the norm. Even some of my 'suggestions' to improve the system would honestly just open more cans of worms (like making it blue badge only for example). I think no matter what Thorpe do with the RAP it will be flawed.
  21. Thorpe is officially the worst Merlin park. Confirmed.
  22. JoshuaA

    2020 Season

    I remember Vortex and Samurai having a step, I had to use it quite often as I'm not very tall (getting in Samurai's seats is still annoying to this day for me tbh)
  23. I think this will be a good way for Alton to hopefully boost their attendance during September. This could be a neat little event.
  24. JoshuaA

    2020 Season

    As JoshC said above, we would of seen planning permits by now.. Or some sight of construction.. Thorpe can't just pull a new ride out of their ar** for March.
  25. JoshuaA

    2020 Season

    Maybe they are referring to Alton/Legoland/Chessie (parks that are actually getting something decent this year?) If Thorpe were getting anything at all we probably would of heard about it by now. Unless they were referring to the shameless aroma prime advert?
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