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Why are UK Theme Parks left to rot?


thorpeparkjunkie
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After having visited many theme parks across the globe I just can't seem to understand why are parks are so badly maintained eg dirty faded tracks, worn out theming and effects etc... Places like port aventura coaster tracks are gleaming all year round year after year but ours are either faded or rusting anyone know why? I am aiming this more at Thorpe as Alton are sorting some of their coasters tracks slowly 

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Unfortunately, it would seem that as repainting things isn't something that will bring in guests, it is seemingly ignored over here...

Why I'm not sure, as it does form part of a product that entices constant return visits... Look at Trip Advisor where a fair amount of comments are regarding the run down look of the parks and its something that guests DO notice... Why it's ignored I'll never understand, as its one of those things that's really noticeable when it is dilapidated and worn...

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OH BOY A BASHING THREAD!

 

Anyways,

 

The Long Answer

repainted rides, theming and areas apparently does not bring in any guests for a profit company. Unless it's part of a re-theme or directly next door a major new ride, it will be ignored unless it breaches safety regulations (sadly often resulting in just removal instead of replacement). 

The short answer 

They don't really care about presentation. Just profit.

 

There are parks out there though which do take some care for presentation though. Notably Paultons, Blackpool & to a lesser extent Drayton.

(awaits criticism from a fanboy).

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I don't think it's fair to say they don't care - they obviously do, you can tell that from how they have repaired theming across the parks over the past few years, obvlion had a repaint just a couple years ago Nemeis this year.

What they don't have are the budgets to spend multi millions on referbs.

I think Merlin do a better job at up-keep than we had under Tussauds.

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I think it must also be something to do with the climate. Britain is a lot wetter than Spain; this must have an effect of the maintenance requirements. Plus there appears to be a desire by the 'public' for something 'New' every year. If perhaps demands changed parks would invest more money on refurbishing/maintaining attractions rather than having to create something new every year.

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Out of the parks I've visited so far this year, Blackpool and Drayton are clean and well kept in most areas, with planting/hedges trimmed back, ride carriages cleaned on a regular basis and pathways kept clean - whereas Thorpe and Chessington are not so much so.  With Thorpe it's general things such as the state of the entrance buildings, other buildings within the park and some of the rides/their areas.  Chessington is much the same but on a worse scale IMO.  There have been improvements in places; Thorpe's landscaping this year is great and some areas of Chessington have been painted & updated, but the overall impression is still grotty.

It's a shame that a lot of parks in the UK don't focus on the overall appearance as it makes a huge difference to the overall impression they leave on people.

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3 hours ago, Imagineer said:

I think it must also be something to do with the climate. Britain is a lot wetter than Spain; this must have an effect of the maintenance requirements. Plus there appears to be a desire by the 'public' for something 'New' every year. If perhaps demands changed parks would invest more money on refurbishing/maintaining attractions rather than having to create something new every year.

I would say it's up to the parks to change this perception, much like Chessington did when it first opened, and it completely changed the idea of a theme park to the UK...

It's not a big question of budget really, as smaller parks are able to keep up with repaints and keeping the parks generally tidy... It's an attitude thing, and whilst Towers have started that with TLC, I still think it's because of a reaction to the crash last year rather than an actual deliberate step forwards...

They need to do things on a regular basis, reviewing everything come the end of year and actually push for a budget to fix it...

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Walked the prom in Blackpool this afternoon,

the sea frontage of the Pleasure Beach looks very run down,

a complete sh!thole in fact.

I know they have tidied up the inside,

but the outside needs a bit of TLC.

One or two of the "Ocean Boulevard" buildings have been repainted,

but the vast majority of the frontage buildings look in a very poor condition sadly.

Further naffed off by the newly reopened Star pub refusing us beer at lunchtime,

they opened at 1pm apparently.

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It's not that our parks are left to rot its that the bottom line is more important then the parks visual appearance. I don't want to overlook some of the good the our parks do, take Thorpe which paints the Tidal pool every couple of seasons or that Oblivion and Nemesis have been redone in the past few years. 

 

In truth, what our parks need more then anything is a fresh perspective. The people in charge have got so used to mediocrity that painting a few shop shutters in a single colour is a job well done. I'm really hoping for a shake up otherwise it's not going to get that much better.

 

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I feel as though this thread should more be named 'Why don't Merlin regularly paint / deep clean their attractions?', as to say UK parks are left to rot is completely wrong in my opinion.

 

I think Mark is 100% right - a fresh perspective is what is needed.  It's not necessarily the lack of competition, though I agree that it doesn't help.  What it more is is that there's an attitude of 'It'll do', because as long as it works and is safe, then the aesthetics can be overlooked.  And I think even if there was competition, that same thought process would be there, because the Merlin parks can keep drawing in the guests with their tried and tested 'World's First _____', as that's seemingly what the UK market laps up.  So a fresh perspective somewhere reasonably high up along the line could do a world of good.

 

In saying that, we shouldn't overlook some of the good things the Merlin parks have done, such as Oblivion repaint, Nemesis repaint (eventually), Amity repaints / repairs and so forth.  And it's not like there isn't the desire to do at a local scale (I believe a Colossus repaint has been discussed on more than one occasion); it's the higher up powers and the purse strings which are likely stopping these things happening.  And it doesn't help that during the Tussauds era, things like ride effects and general upkeep of appearance were pretty much overlooked, with a 'If it's broke, don't fix it' attitude almost.

 

Just wanted to bring up regarding that photo of the beach.  The TPM photo was taken the day after a day of long rain showers and wind; this naturally causes the water to get some dirt and leaves in it unfortunately, and does happen every so often with the beach.  However, as Marc says, it was being cleaned and dealt with appropriately once the weather had been sorted out.  

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Not sure why the username matters when providing some criticism that is quite frankly deserved...

Towers are only doing their stuff this year because the crash opened everyone's eyes to the place's flaws... Trying to fix them in an urgent manner overnight with this 'scheme' which is basically standard maintenance dressed up...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think it's rather unfair to say they are left to rot. Nemesis Inferno's paint at the moment makes it fit in rather well with the theme. the staff at all parks make sure their rides look good for each day (etc cleaning the queue line) and they do a bloody good job of it. I think Thorpe looks great. SAW looks great and won't need a repaint for quite a lot of years. a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to make sure the rides look good and work well. just cause they look a little rusty don't mean it actually is rusty. we have horrible weather which means our rides fade quicker than others. 

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1 minute ago, Matt Creek said:

Decaying volcano, abandond Canada creek,  area cohesion, Colossus and Rumba. Yes Thorpe does look great. Least they fit in though.

 

Whilst i agree with Canada Creek and Rumba Rapids, the rest i'd say are hardly an issue..

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Agree with Benin that the general public do notice when parks are run down. People I work with have said it - people who are not enthusiasts, only visit occasionally and haven't even been to any parks abroad to compare it to! Chessington in particular is picked up on :rolleyes:

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On Monday, June 13, 2016 at 2:14 PM, GladiatorFanKyle said:

the staff at all parks make sure their rides look good for each day (etc cleaning the queue line) and they do a bloody good job of it.

 

That's got to be a joke?!

 

In my eyes it is exactly that area the parks are most lacking. Have you looked up in Inferno station? There's  so much dust and grot up there I'm supprised the structure is still standing under the weight. Have you walked through Rattlesnakes chewing gum tunnels? The Smilers projector room is falling to pieces faster than the ride itself. Scruffy presentation is rife.

 

The reason I joined this site all those years ago was to ask a question of how the parks were management structure because coming from a retail management background I couldn't understand a set up which allowed such poor presentation to be accepted as the norm and nother fixed. The bottom line appears to be no one has overall responsibility for specific areas of the parks presentation at any given moment, and it's all 'this team' and 'that team' blaming each other for any failing (see also - fastrack ticket allocation), when the guest doesn't care who's fault it is and would just like it fixed.

I don't think anything much has changed in all that time. 

 

I really believe guests notice this stuff much more than the parks think, and more than the guests themselves even realise. All the sights you take in with your eyes forms an overall impression in your mind, even if you can't quite put your finger on why he place feels unloved and a bit rundown. It's a shame, because this stuff is easy and inexpensive to fix if you just put the right people and processes in place, it never seems to be a priority in our parks though.  A frustrating shame.

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