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Matt N

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Everything posted by Matt N

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if something was still happening to it… there are fair rumours of a retheme among those “in the know”, and construction work appeared to be happening in the shop at the end of 2022.
  2. Perhaps “family-friendly” was the wrong phrase. I was more meaning that I feel that Thorpe Park should try to aim for a slightly wider cross-section of the thrill market than they currently do. The thrill market is wider than teenagers and young adults, and if they installed more attractions that would work for families with older children (aka 1.2m in height and up), I think that that would go a long way in terms of helping to widen the park’s appeal while also keeping it appealing for its current thrill-seeking clientele and not reinventing the wheel too much. Older children and adults may not necessarily want super intense thrill coaster after super intense thrill coaster, so I do feel that things like a thrill coaster with slightly wider appeal could really benefit Thorpe Park. I agree that going full-on family friendly may be counterintuitive given the competition within both the immediate area and the wider UK, but I do feel that Thorpe Park could benefit if it focused on a wider portion of the thrill-seeker market than it currently does.
  3. Hi guys. I was scrolling through the Project Exodus thread, and I noticed that in some of the most recent posts in there, people were talking about the other things Thorpe Park needs to sort after Project Exodus is completed. With that in mind, I thought a thread discussing the things people would most like to see done at Thorpe Park after Exodus might be interesting. So, what do you think most urgently needs sorting at Thorpe? Personally, I'd like to see the following happen at Thorpe Park in the not-too-distant future: Either the installation of a new dark ride with universal appeal or a more family-friendly retheme/rework of Derren Brown's Ghost Train. I feel that Thorpe could really do with a dark ride with greater universal appeal; I had hoped that this might come with WC16, but the ride that Derren Brown's Ghost Train ultimately turned out to be is/was arguably far too niche in appeal to add much to the park's lineup for most. The installation of a non-inverting thrill coaster of some description with a lower height restriction. I think that Thorpe could really do with a non-inverting, 1.2m height restriction thrill coaster to heighten the park's appeal for older families and add a little more depth to their coaster selection. I think something like a GCI wooden coaster would fit the bill nicely. The retheme of The Walking Dead The Ride back into a more family-friendly theme. As much as The Walking Dead The Ride looks very well done, I do feel that retheming a Vekoma junior coaster to such a blatantly adult theme was perhaps a questionable move, and I think that making that ride a little more family-friendly again could widen the park's appeal and offer more for the older family market. In general, I would like to see the park focus less on things with overly niche appeal going forward. I've used the phrase "niche appeal" quite a bit within this post, but I do feel that Thorpe Park's recent undoing has been focusing on things that don't have especially wide appeal, even within the thrill market. Within the wheelhouse of thrills, things like thrill coasters and thrilling flat rides have fairly wide appeal, but the sorts of things that Thorpe Park have been doing in recent years arguably don't have a wide appeal in the same way. Things like DBGT, Walking Dead, Black Mirror and such appeal to quite a limited cross-section of the thrill market, and I feel that focusing on thrilling things with wider appeal could reverse the park's fortunes without necessarily reinventing the wheel. I have no problem with Thorpe installing attractions like that from time to time, but these types of niche attractions have been the park's primary focus for the best part of a decade now, and I do think that things with wider appeal should be the absolute bread and butter of the park's additions. But what do you think that Thorpe Park needs to focus on after Project Exodus?
  4. Oh wow... the excitement is really starting to heat up on Project Exodus now! Seeing Logger's Leap and Rocky Express gone does look very strange, as for all the years I've been visiting Thorpe, that area has always been relatively sleepy and calm. I cannot imagine a 236ft tall coaster in that bit of the park at all, and while it's very easy to dismiss something as "not being that big" when you're viewing renderings and such, I think Project Exodus will look truly ludicrous compared to everything else around it when it's been erected! As for the ride itself; I will make no secret of the fact that I feel that something non-inverting and with more of a focus on traditional straight airtime, such as a B&M Hyper Coaster, would perhaps have filled more of a discernible hole within Thorpe Park's coaster lineup and the overall UK industry, and if I'm being completely honest, such a ride would also have aligned with my personal taste a bit more. With that being said, the Mack Hyper Coaster as a proposition is certainly growing on me the more I look at it. While the ride layout doesn't have many straight airtime hills per se (only the one at the end), and perhaps doesn't look like the flat-out UK airtime machine that I and many others were yearning for, some of the inversions and other elements look very cool and could provide some high quality negative g-forces. To be frank, all of the elements look like they could really deliver. The first drop could potentially be top-class, the Immelmann looks awesome if the similar element on Icon is anything to go by, the outerbank into an inversion looks very unique and could be a really inspired element with some good negative g-forces if the fast roll on Blue Fire is anything to go by, the dive loop could provide some nice hangtime, the overbank could provide some interesting sideways forces and the airtime hill into the brakes could have some good airtime. Overall, it looks like an excellent layout with no dead weight or elements that don't really deliver. It certainly looks like a very unique hyper coaster, and I think that it has a very inspiring layout design. While it won't be the longest hyper coaster on Earth by any stretch of the imagination, it won't be shockingly short either (around 40 seconds from lift hill to brakes, and 6 elements in total excluding the first drop, which I wouldn't say is terribly short by any means), and the layout looks like one that plays to the strengths of a shorter ride duration. With a very intense combination of show-stopping elements, and no real "dead space" if you like, Exodus looks like it could suit being short. I reckon it could be like the Wodan of hyper coasters, where it's not the longest coaster on Earth, but doesn't let up at all and leaves people coming into the brake run suitably amazed! When all is said and done, though, it's just exciting to see a 236ft tall coaster being built in the UK!
  5. It would appear as though Derren Brown’s Ghost Train may have reached the end of the line after 6 years of operation, as all references to it have been removed from the Thorpe Park app: I’m quite surprised that DBGT has met its end this early, if it is going, but I guess the signs were there at the end of 2022, what with the construction work happening in the shop and the limited quantity of merchandise left. If the rumoured £30m budget is true, surely that would make it one of the most expensive theme park attractions ever per operating season? Given that it operated for 6 seasons, that would peg its final cost at £5m per season…
  6. I think that's likely to be bots rather than anyone on here doing it as a joke. It's an easy and valid mistake to make, but it can unfortunately have those types of consequences.
  7. While I do appreciate that John Wardley is a trusted source, I would not necessarily take his words to mean that everything is staying or that the ride will be staying mostly faithful to the 1992 original. He could well have been briefed on what to say by Merlin seeing as he is thought to be actively working on the project. Also, it's hardly like he's going to say "We're ripping out everything and plonking in loads of screens!" to someone who is hopeful for most of the 1992 stuff to stay; I'd wager he may well have crafted that message to make you excited about the upcoming ride, as you express a lot of hope for the 1992 original to stay. Also, I'd argue that that message does not say anything we didn't already know or at very least strongly assume. Realistically, I think that few expected this to be a drastic departure from the original in terms of basic concept, and John's message simply seems to reinforce that the basic concept and ethos of the 1992 Haunted House will be retained. Make of it what you will, of course, but personally, I would not take it as confirmation that the 1992 scenery is mostly staying put, I would not take it as confirmation that screens/projections won't be used at all, and I would not take it as confirmation that the ride will not be materially different from either of the previous iterations. I think that John's message is pretty vague and open to interpretation; in my view, his message could still work if the ride was undergoing a significant overhaul to make it fit the 2020s. My feeling is that he is referring to the well-liked attributes of the original ride rather than specific elements, and a more modern take on the concept with mostly new scenes and theming could still deliver those attributes. Based on the theming removal that we've already seen, my personal hunch remains that this will be a pretty hefty change and that we will be boarding a materially different ride to either of the previous iterations in 2023, even if it maintains the same basic concept. I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, for clarity. I simply don't want folk expecting the ride to mostly contain 1992 theming to be disappointed if it turns out to be less like the original than they'd expected. I'm simply trying to reinforce that nothing is confirmed or denied at this stage; anything could be happening inside that building.
  8. Chessington Buzz have leaked the names for the rides within the World of Jumanji: https://www.facebook.com/100063649206988/posts/pfbid04EoGAZGjL5JUFZu3xRb3fbpGmQkbUM4tG651sGq71isPb5nAsNTzD8CKkTnpbyLbl/ They are suggesting that the coaster will be named Mandrill Mayhem, while the two flat rides will be named Ostrich Stampede and Mamba Strike. I think having the names emphasising animals would be cool, and would fit with Chessington’s vibe well, but I must admit that a mandrill wouldn’t be the first animal to come to mind when thinking of a wing coaster for me… what do you guys think?
  9. An interesting drone shot has been captured by Danny from TowersStreet Talk that confirms that new queue line is indeed being installed, and that quite a bit of construction is going on in the area: Interestingly, they also seem to have covered the Phalanx tank outside the building with tarpaulin... I think this is a pretty strong sign that Sub-Terra is likely to be reopening in some form, personally! Here's Danny's original post on TowersStreet, if you'd like to view it: https://towersstreet.com/talk/threads/nemesis-sub-terra.4452/page-49#post-390995
  10. The plot thickens... aerial photos taken recently suggest that Sub-Terra is currently a hive of activity, and a local engineer has promoted that they are working on the ride on Twitter: Interestingly, the photos show that a new queue line is being built on top of the old boards... which would certainly suggest that the building is being reused, in my eyes. It should also be noted that this engineer referred to the ride as "Nemesis Sub-Terra", for what it's worth...
  11. Matt N

    Nemesis

    According to a recent interview from John Wardley, the ride will reopen with “greater storytelling” and more special effects and theming: I’ve got to say that that sounds pretty promising to me! I’ve always felt that Nemesis’ theme could be conveyed more clearly to the first time rider, and that compared to some of the newer themed experiences, it lacks the finer details in places to really help further the storytelling, so I was quite glad to read John’s hint. I have faith that whatever John is hinting towards will help to enhance the storytelling and make Nemesis’ story clearer as I said above.
  12. If you want my honest opinion, I’d guess that it’s unlikely to be any of the rides you listed, but I guess Cliffhanger going to Camel Creek might not be out of the question.
  13. Hi guys. As many of you may know, rapids rides have grown to be a rather contentious topic within the UK industry in recent years. Following the incident on Splash Canyon at Drayton Manor in 2017, the safety of these attractions was brought into question by the HSE and the parks operating them. As such, most water effects were removed, the prevalence of staff around the rides increased, and safeguards such as doors and higher backs were added onto the boats. This was not where the matter ended, however. The HSE released the results of their inquest into the Drayton Manor incident in 2021, and this inquest contained a number of safety measures for parks to implement on their rapids rides long term. These suggestions included the things already mentioned above, but it should be noted that this HSE inquest also emphasised the need to make riders’ risk of death from drowning very clear. The HSE said that parks needed to install frequent signage around the rides and their queues warning of the risk of drowning, and platform staff also became required to perform a strongly gesticulated safety spiel to each group talking about the risk of drowning before the ride. This subsequently meant that an emphasis on risk education and incident aversion was substantially amplified on UK rapids rides for 2022, and any notion of effects returning seemed to be put on the back burner, in the short term at least. Increasingly, some enthusiasts are beginning to argue that the situation with rapids rides in Britain is untenable. Many say that the new safety measures are so overbearing that they almost make rapids rides not worth operating anymore. I'm hearing terms like "glorified lazy river" and "boring" thrown around to describe many rapids rides in the UK these days, and even Adventure Cove River Rapids at Drayton Manor, which was newly rethemed for 2021 in accordance with these guidelines, does not exactly buck the trend effects-wise compared to other UK rapids rides. As such, questions are beginning to be asked about the long term future of rapids rides in the UK. People are wondering whether this type of attraction continues to be a viable fit for the UK theme park industry given how much circumstances have changed since many UK rapids rides were first built. With this in my mind, my question to you today is; in your opinion, what does the future hold for rapids rides in the UK? Personally, I don't think revered rapids rides being permanently consigned to history in the UK is necessarily a foregone conclusion, but I do feel that getting a revered rapids ride into the UK again would likely require the construction of a brand new one. To have special effects put back onto a UK rapids ride, I think seatbelts would have to be included, and to justify those, I think you'd need to design a rapids ride very differently to how any of the current UK rapids rides are designed. This is because on the current UK rapids rides, the risk of the boat capsizing, relative to the risk of someone coming out, is too high for seatbelts to exist. Whereas on a more thrilling rapids ride with larger boats, the risk of coming out is higher and seatbelts are therefore justified. I do think a new rapids ride could well be built in the UK at some point with some of these slightly more thrilling features, but I'll admit that I'm not sure if other types of water ride, such as a water coaster or new-gen log flume, might be more feasible for the modern UK market. But what do you guys think? What do you feel that the future holds for rapids rides in the UK?
  14. I'm back again! A new Merlin consultation can only mean one thing... a new version of the attendance graph updated with 2021 attendance! Here is the new graph for your viewing pleasure: I've had a play about with the new graph, and I've managed to extrapolate some figures! I should firstly note that I have restated a few of the previous figures following closer examination of this new graph. I apologise for my earlier error; the mistakes have been rectified in my opening post. The most notable thing I discovered are the 2021 figures for each Merlin park, as well as some seemingly altered 2020 figures and the 2022 figure for Chessington. Final 2020 Figures Alton Towers - 968,750 (-61.3%) Legoland Windsor - 687,500 (-66.7%) Thorpe Park - 562,500 (-62.5%) Chessington - 500,000 (-69.8%) 2021 Figures Alton Towers - 2,343,750 (+141.9%) Legoland Windsor - 1,562,500 (+127.3%) Chessington - 1,281,250 (+156.3%) Thorpe Park - 1,218,750 (+116.7%) Interestingly, Chessington also had a 2022 figure given. In 2022, the park received 1,468,750 guests, a change of +14.6% on 2021. Now we have this information, we can work out... which park recovered the best from COVID in 2021? There are multiple metrics by which we can establish this. The first potential metric to use is the percentage increases in attendance that each park registered in 2021... Percentage Increases Chessington - +156.3% (1,281,250 in 2021 vs 500,000 in 2020) Alton Towers - +141.9% (2,343,750 in 2021 vs 968,750 in 2020) Legoland Windsor - +127.3% (1,562,500 in 2021 vs 687,500 in 2020) Thorpe Park - +116.7% (1,218,750 in 2021 vs 562,500 in 2020) This metric would suggest that Chessington had the strongest recovery while Thorpe Park had the weakest recovery. However, this is not a perfect metric. This is because the parks' attendance decreased by marginally different amounts in 2020; while all parks were under the same COVID restrictions, some parks were affected more than others. For instance, Chessington's percentage decrease in 2020 was nearly 70%, while Alton Towers' was barely above 60%. This is important because if a park is coming from a more diminished base compared to 2020 in the first place, then its percentage increase is bound to be higher. A more reliable metric to use is the net percentage decrease from 2019 to 2021... Net Percentage Decreases Between 2019 and 2021 Alton Towers - -6.3% (2,343,750 in 2021 vs 2,500,000 in 2019) Thorpe Park - -18.8% (1,218,750 in 2021 vs 1,500,000 in 2019) Chessington - -22.6% (1,281,250 in 2021 vs 1,656,250 in 2019) Legoland Windsor - -24.2% (1,562,500 in 2021 vs 2,062,500 in 2019) This metric would suggest that Alton Towers had by far the strongest recovery in 2021, while Legoland Windsor had the weakest. Alton Towers' recovery in 2021 was miles stronger than that of all the other parks; Alton's 2021 attendance was only 6% lower than its 2019 attendance, while Thorpe Park's was close to 20% lower, Chessington's was over 20% lower, and Legoland's was nearly 25% lower. Why this could be is anyone's guess... I'm certainly stumped by it, as every park was hit by the same COVID restrictions in 2021. It should be noted that 2021 was still not an entirely COVID-free season, however, as the parks opened nearly a month late and attendance was still somewhat capped until July. With this in mind, 2022 attendance, when it is available for all parks, may be a better indicator... for what it's worth, Chessington's 2022 attendance remains approximately 11.3% lower than its 2019 attendance, so even in 2022, it has not recovered as strongly as Alton Towers managed to in 2021. Finally, I should remind you that all of this data is viewable in a Google Sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1T3bmW5I9gyq6AgqogFJ6xSppi8vRw-y2SWoRZPpfdzg/edit?usp=sharing I hope you find this interesting! I know I certainly found it interesting to compile... I'll hopefully see you again some time soon when the 2022 attendance is made available for all parks!
  15. I’ve got a good one… I’ve always been a bit underwhelmed by the 2003 cross valley coaster plans, and I’m glad that we got Wicker Man instead. I’m aware that that’s probably a blasphemous comment, so I apologise, but I must admit that while the cross valley coaster would admittedly have been huge, it didn’t have much to it aside from two big drops, whereas Wicker Man has a bit more to it and has loads of really fun airtime pops and twists and turns.
  16. I have to say, I agree with this one. I always leave Thorpe feeling like I’ve had a slightly more balanced day than I do at Alton Towers, and I personally feel that Thorpe Park, particularly where flat rides are concerned, have a more fleshed out and compelling non-coaster lineup than Alton Towers. Here’s one of my unpopular Thorpe opinions; in terms of individual ride theming, I actually think Thorpe Park beats Alton Towers on many fronts.
  17. I don’t personally see too much of an issue with the current logo myself. In my opinion, it’s fun, original and inviting. Admittedly, it might not be the most reflective of the park’s current brand identity, but I quite like it myself, and I’m not really sure what better logo they could replace it with…
  18. On the topic of Sub-Terra, I think this video that Alton Towers themselves posted is an interesting watch that could potentially be hinting towards a Sub-Terra return of some sort: I know it talks about Nemesis, but the bits about “new head of the Phalanx John Dalton” and “reports of inside corruption” definitely seem like they could be hinting towards some sort of new storyline and rebirth for what was Sub-Terra. I also found the “there’s more to this story than meets the eye” intriguing… What do you guys reckon?
  19. There are suggestions from Chessington Buzz that we may also hear something about Scorpion Express/Mexicana at the consultation, and that Scorpion Express could be on the chopping block to prepare for whatever is announced at the consultation: If it is being removed, then it would appear that I owe @Theme Park Fanatic an apology... they've been banging that drum for months, perhaps even years, but I myself genuinely thought it was likely to return. I sincerely apologise for not giving your idea more consideration.
  20. Matt N

    Nemesis

    That's my theory... it would be backed up further by the fact that they've blocked off paths near to Sub Terra with "Danger: Hazardous Materials" signs, as per Skyscraper on TowersStreet: Source: https://towersstreet.com/talk/threads/nemesis-general-discussion.5260/page-101#post-386326 To me, that possibly drops the strongest hint yet that something is likely to be happening with Sub-Terra for next year... EDIT: False alarm... apparently it was just someone reusing a construction picture from 2011.
  21. This is very exciting, in my view! An indoor waterpark is not an insignificant investment, and given that there are currently slim pickings waterpark-wise in the South East, I'd argue that it's also quite a shrewd one from a business perspective. As I said, there are few waterparks in the area, and the indoor factor will also give Chessington a second gate attraction with good year-round and all-weather appeal. Furthermore, a waterpark would considerably bolster Chessington's credentials as a family short break resort. It could have a lot of potential in this area given the considerable population in its immediate catchment area and lack of nearby competition! (While LLW has nice-looking hotels, it doesn't really have any second gate activities as such, and none of the other parks in the South East have an overly substantial, if any, accommodation and resort offering for families) I should also note that Jared, the administrator on Chessington Buzz (who first dropped hints about an indoor waterpark a few months back), has suggested that there may be multiple attractions discussed in this consultation rather than just the one individual attraction, so the park itself may well see an additional investment to supplement this as well. Take that with as much salt as you like, but given CB's excellent track record for accurate rumours, I trust Jared implicitly.
  22. One thing I would say to you is that “modernisation” might not necessarily be a bad thing, in my view. Modern technologies available nowadays can pull off all kinds of things that were never possible for the original 1992 ride, and having things like screens and projection mapping integrated into a ride in moderation can definitely enhance it, in my view. I know that “screens” are seen as the ultimate evil by many dark ride fans, but I believe that when implemented well, screens as well as technology like projection mapping can really enhance a dark ride. I am a firm believer in everything being good in moderation, and that extends to screens and multimedia in dark rides. Many brilliant dark rides integrate screens and multimedia heavily, but they don’t rely solely upon them; they marry them with plenty of physical scenery, and it works really well to provide a good, rounded dark ride experience that’s modern, yet has lots of attention to detail and charm. I agree that it would be a bit of a waste if absolutely every scene was replaced with a screen and nothing else. But I feel that having some screens and projection mapping integrated in with new, more advanced animatronics and plenty of physical scenery could elevate the ride onto another level and make it a modern, rounded experience while still maintaining its original overarching concept and the things that made it great.
  23. I think you might be onto something there; a now deleted comment on AS' Facebook post from an Attraction Source admin said that "those familiar with the situation say that it is replacing an existing attraction", for what it's worth. Take that with as much salt as you like, but I trust that anyone associated with Attraction Source is likely to be a fairly reliable source (AS is connected with a number of parks in a semi-official capacity), and I also find the fact that this comment was later deleted rather telling... could this person possibly have told a little too much about the truth of what's happening?
  24. Hi guys. I have very exciting news for you all this afternoon! According to Attraction Source, Chessington is holding a public exhibition showing off a “new attraction” on Wednesday 16th November: https://www.facebook.com/213894828494/posts/pfbid0298cGVxYnMfoovWQpQqqzfcgNkxuW9Scqmez8dJMMRmGj1QR8X29epFeWzG3AXCdjl/ Little else is known other than that, but details will apparently be revealed on the 16th, and there will be a public consultation period running until the 30th. Isn’t this exciting? I wonder what it could be; I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting another major investment at Chessington so soon after Jumanji, but I guess it would make sense seeing as I’ve heard reports of Chessington receiving £60m of CAPEX between 2022 and 2026…
  25. I must admit, I also had this thought. It wouldn’t be outside the realms of possibility for Towers to market a new attraction using a scare maze, and the theme of The Invitation, from what I’ve heard, also sounds as though it might fit a haunted house-style ride…
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