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Everything posted by MattyB

  1. You're right Josh, it is easier said than done. I was part of the team that moved the Belle from its old location across the lake to where it sits now. It was extremely challenging and that was when it was fully buoyant! I would be surprised they don't demolish it in situ as that is going to be a nightmare to move
  2. It wasn't replaced with anything. They replaced the damaged fibreglass trough with concrete and that was it.
  3. I believe Vortex was late due to the manufacturer? Not sure tbh, I just remember a hole in the ground by the Dome and the media having a field day about TP marketing 3 new rides for 2001 and only having 2 open. Guests were very unhappy as well. Mr Rabbits reopened, but without the Mill building so it was missing the big finale that made it so memorable (who doesn't like frogs singing that crazy Paul McCartney song eh?) So I think after the fire its time was limited. Also if you look at the Nemesis queue by the Nemesis shop, you can still see some of the old queue line that was used for Mr Rabbits, repurposed for Nemesis. And some of the old Mr Rabbits trough was used to strengthen the outflow for Loggers round by SAW.
  4. Yeah I think the development of the park would have been very different to what actually happened. I seem to remember (it was my first season in 2000 at the park so my recollection might be a bit hazy) that Zodiac appeared a couple of weeks after WWH burnt down and was literally plonked down where Vortex currently is. I agree with Matt N that the park may have been a bit more balanced with family and thrill rides rather than what we have got now. Its a shame as one of my first memories of TP was Phantom Fantasia. The day of the fire was pretty crazy!
  5. Thanks for this! Couldn't remember the name of the book 😀
  6. Been working on this for nearly a year now!
  7. I remember reading somewhere that John Wardley was most upset when it burnt down "before he could get his hands on it", so I would like to think that it would have survived with a John Wardley revamp until at least the 2010's. Also Josh you are correct with the RnR clone infrastructure issue. I remember speaking with the development director about why it didn't get built, and that was the reason he gave. He also stated the idea was a quick response to the fire, as they had heard on the grapevine that Disney Paris would be getting RnR (in 2002)
  8. Hey thanks Originally the idea was to use the arena as the new location for a "Ghost Train", as the arena wasn't being used all year round, Also it was the largest plot of land at the time to fit a show building on (remember at the time this idea was put forward the infill project was still ongoing). The original idea that was put forward was to: Emulate the old Alton Towers ghost train - something scary and fun! The attraction would have been called The Amity House of Wax, and would have been a "take" on a dilapidated Madame Tussuads, where the was figures would come to life. Big Bob mentions The Madame Tussuad's House of Wax in his radio show (tickets as the prize). I left the park in 2014 so not sure what had happened to this concept (even if it was any good lol), however its good to see the land was used as intended, just not delivered properly. One of the ideas was to move the maze (think it was Seven at the time) to underneath the Stealth top hat. I think if I was coming up with this type of attraction now, I would have used the trackless ride system (Ratatouille etc.). (They should replace Duel with this ride system and build a proper Ghost Train! ) M
  9. Hi, Long time lurker, 1st time poster. Excuse the long post, there is an on-topic observation at the bottom TP has been a big part of my life, from visiting the park in the late 80's to throughout the 90's. I then worked there for 15 years (2000 - 2014), in a variety of departments. Retail - some of the best times of my life (I've made life long friends from working in this department) Park Development and Planning - one of the most rewarding jobs I have had to date (see below) Facilities Management/Engineering - this is where my journey ended Park Development and Planning - I was the project lead for the land expansion project, and was involved in some of the early design/planning activities on SAW The Ride, SAW Alive, Kobra (CWoA), The Swarm, and an early Ghost Train concept. Whilst working in this department I learnt some fascinating history about the park. For example, did you know when the park was being constructed in the 1970's, RMC flew in an Imagineer from the States to help design the entrance and car park? Anyways, back on topic... I visited the RTP's for the 1st time (since leaving TP) last year and noticed that the overall quality has dropped across all 3 parks (CWoA probably was my favourite park out of the visits last year TBH). I noticed that at AT, unless you like roller coasters or kids rides, there actually isn't that much there. Duel should have been removed and replaced, or even reverted back to its former scary self years ago, and Hex is a shadow of its former self. I have never liked the Rapids since they removed the old boats. TP - DBGT - Ok this was not what I had originally envisioned for this plot of land. I found it to be an interesting concept, however it was not delivered well. The queue lines design (or lack of) makes it one of the worst (if not the worst) queues I have ever been in. I strangely found IACGMOH to be quite an enjoyable experience. I think TP are now in a weird position where they have got to develop two large areas of the park - the island next to Swarm (Island A) or Loggers. Which one do you do first? Island A needs that development to remove the dead end at Swarm (Parks should never have dead ends, they need to be free flowing), or do you develop Loggers which is a dead corner of the park? Is the investment there? CWoA seems to have flown under the radar a bit, and appears to have missed a lot of the Merlin clusterf**ks that have happened over the years. However, the drop tower replacing Rameses is again lacklustre and screams of "cant be bothered to develop this park properly"... Which leads me onto why I think these parks are suffering: The Smiler accident - I should imagine the insurance premiums across the UK parks are now extremely high, effecting large scale investments As far as I am aware, Merlin did not operate any theme parks until acquiring Legoland and the Tussuad's Group. I've noticed that all of the Merlin investments to date have either been lacklustre or poorly delivered (Ok Wickerman was good, however not too sure a pre-show was required - even though the show is good). I think there is a lack of interest within the company (I found this out when I was working at TP, and was shocked to find so many senior people not interested in the industry - a lot of them had never been to a Disney park... Its just a job to them) If you look at what parks around the world are announcing as new attractions, Merlin's UK offering is waaayyy behind everyone else. One of the most heated discussions I had whilst working at TP was surrounding the lack of a decent family zone/area. My argument was that parks such as Six Flags and Cedar Point (parks TP tries to emulate) all have decent (ish) kid friendly/family friendly areas. The answer from management was a return on the investment would not be possible as "how would they sell it"? Hopefully when (if) Paramount Park gets built, it will give Merlin a kick up the backside in getting there act together. Just my two cents... M
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