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Mattgwise

The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure

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It's not so much a retheme of the whole area that will include vampire, it's really just an attempt to make it "fit in the area", because changing the name, logo and colour of something is enough to persuade lots of nonethewiser people into thinking 'its ok - it fits with the theme now'. Does the theme have any charm and feel great like it did years back anymore? No, but don't worry it "makes sense" in the most contrived way. Shame that UK parks are regularly this naff.

The new advert is sentimental goo as you'd expect from Chessington's current aims.

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I guess the facade of the building(s) in "Wild Wood" won't be too dissimilar to Gloomy Wood at Alton Towers... except Gloomy Wood has a lot of real life bona-fide trees :D

 

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The Wild Woods name reminds me of Legoland's older days probably because they used to have an area called Wild Woods (Pirates now).

 

As names go, they could've done worse but I still prefer the area's previous area, Transylvania. The same goes for the facade, although the central entrance position is one advantage. 

 

As for the advert, it feels rather patronising if I'm overly honest but perhaps that's because it's for the target audience they are getting. How times have changed.

 

 

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2 hours ago, MattyMoo said:

I guess the facade of the building(s) in "Wild Wood" won't be too dissimilar to Gloomy Wood at Alton Towers... except Gloomy Wood has a lot of real life bona-fide trees :D

 

 

Yeah, although the shop is apparently getting a renovation, I'd assume the most they'd do to the outside facades is add ivy/overgrowth to the building's like Dark Forest at AT. 

 

Otherwise, as said the name change is probably just to make Gruffalo and Vampire 'fit' together in the area, same as Market Squares name change with the new Carousel.

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Oh my gosh what a load of toss this is :aggressive:

 

Mainly due to the fact they are calling it a "New Ride For 2017" and a "World's First".

 

I think the fact that the majority of the GP won't realise it's just Bubbleworks with a bunch of new props is the worst bit, because I think if people did realise this then people would be a negative reaction to this announcement rather than a seemingly positive one...

 

It makes me angered that Merlin can get away with things as shoddy as this and across Europe we have areas like Klugheim at Phantasialand being created from imagination and being mastered to perfection. It's such a shame the standard of parks within the UK is so appalling(with the major exception of Paultons who have come a long way) because  by European Standards an addition like this would be extremely frowned upon. 

 

Yes at the end of the day it may be a nicely themed attraction, but it is merely an excuse to get the GPs attention and also to try and cover up the fact bubbleworks wasn't maintained properly over the years- It also certainly doesn't cover up the fact that the rest of Chessington is falling apart.

 

The UK theme park industry really needs a miracle to happen, Paultons I'm pleased to say is on its way to success with quality theming, immersion and customer experience and I can see this park growing and growing in future years but as for the rest of the UK industry, well, whatever "magic" Merlin has done needs to be reversed because I quite frankly don't see how they've let all of their UK parks into such a poor state and managed to get away with it.

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To be fair a dark ride being totally re-themed is pretty much a new ride - the experience will be totally different to that of Bubbleworks and hopefully significantly better than bubbleworks v2!

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7 hours ago, TPJames said:

The UK theme park industry really needs a miracle to happen, Paultons I'm pleased to say is on its way to success with quality theming, immersion and customer experience and I can see this park growing and growing in future years but as for the rest of the UK industry, well, whatever "magic" Merlin has done needs to be reversed because I quite frankly don't see how they've let all of their UK parks into such a poor state and managed to get away with it.

 

Thats an easy one, people still visit. How many members of TPM for instance, repeatedly slate the parks and yet still visit every other week. 

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11 minutes ago, Mark9 said:

 

Thats an easy one, people still visit. How many members of TPM for instance, repeatedly slate the parks and yet still visit every other week. 

 

This. I've never owned a MAP and I'm proud of it ;)

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People do need to wake up and stop visiting Merlin parks if they don't actually enjoy them anymore. If you genuinly still enjoy them, then that's fine, but I would argue that very few of their attractions still offer a satisfying experience, even for younger families. Constant upselling, way overpriced, increasingly rubbish attractions, very commercialised themes and brands, overcrowding and poor management.

But people keep going year on year, and Merlin's biggest success is in its heavy branding, annual pass schemes and what have you - to keep customers loyal regardless of what happens. It's a culture of being told what's good and what's amazing, and trying to stop people thinking for themselves or seeing the reality behind things. The Gruffalo advert, as predicted a couple posts up, is entirely CGI and creates an impossible depiction of the ride - even the damn hotel is green screened in. The emphasis is on BOOK NOW right from the start. People follow regardless and don't think twice that perhaps they could be having a better day out somewhere else, for half the cost and double the fun.

Rather than be angry by Merlin or how they have now totally changed the classic parks into generic chocolates in their MAP boxes, the best thing to do is find something else that really does engage you (the European parks for example have shot in popularity in the UK in the last couple years, probably because more people are realising just what's possible outside of Merlin!) or create your own alternative.

 

I really do hope that something counter to Merlin grows in the UK in the future, it may be niche but it will end up like music or film where the big commercial business-led releases get all the mainstream attention, but the really amazing stuff can be found if you look for it and be a big success in its own right.

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5 hours ago, Marc said:

To be fair a dark ride being totally re-themed is pretty much a new ride - the experience will be totally different to that of Bubbleworks and hopefully significantly better than bubbleworks v2!

 

This <_<. I would let chessington get away with even calling it a "new ride experience"- but no, you're incorrect, it's not a "new ride", the ride hardware is remaining unchanged, therefore as "Bubbleworks" it was a Mack rides dark water ride and as "The Gruffalo" it is still a Mack rides dark water ride. Therefore it may be a new "experience" but to call it a "new ride", well that's just a load of rubbish.

 

1 hour ago, Wumbamillio said:

People do need to wake up and stop visiting Merlin parks if they don't actually enjoy them anymore. If you genuinly still enjoy them, then that's fine, but I would argue that very few of their attractions still offer a satisfying experience, even for younger families. Constant upselling, way overpriced, increasingly rubbish attractions, very commercialised themes and brands, overcrowding and poor management.

Rather than be angry by Merlin or how they have now totally changed the classic parks into generic chocolates in their MAP boxes, the best thing to do is find something else that really does engage you (the European parks for example have shot in popularity in the UK in the last couple years, probably because more people are realising just what's possible outside of Merlin!) or create your own alternative.

 

This is exactly why I've stopped being a regular poster on this forum to becoming more of a lurker. I used to post very regularly on TPM  because I was a massive fan of the Merlin parks and a regular visitor of thorpe park and chessington etc, even visiting Alton, Chessington and Thorpe all back in 2014. I love TPM and am so grateful to be a member as you guys really helped me realise what a theme park truly is. You guys helped me take my first ever theme park trip abroad to Portaventura back in Summer 2014 and I was absolutely stunned(although now I've managed to learn that their operations are completely dire there so I'm no longer as much of a fan), although Shambhala is my favourite ever rollercoaster I've ever been on. TPM provided me with discussions and information about this park and helped me to be able to get abroad and actually be able to have an enjoyable time whilst at the park. This opened up a world of new trips for me, since then I've been lucky enough to go to parks across Europe such as Phantasialand, Tivoli and Europa Park, which are all incredible and I am so incredibly lucky to have visited them. In the future I plan to revisit these as well as new parks such as Energylandia, Efteling and Liseberg. No matter how the generation of theme parks changes or develops in the future these three parks, Phantasialand, Tivoli and Europa have captured me and inspired me, they are all so beautiful and immersive and are such a joy to experience; I really hope to revisit these as soon as possible just to admire how incredible they are and I am truly grateful that I have managed to be able to visit them, with the help of TPM who have managed to help me to make the most of my trips to these wonderful places.

 

However, visiting these places comes at a cost, as visiting these atmospheric and inspiring parks led me to realise what a tragic mess Merlin have made of the parks in the UK. The European Merlin Parks may be slightly better, however I still plan to avoid those similarly how I am avoiding the UK ones; I had the opportunity to visit Heide Park however I declined. I was lucky enough to discover Paultons this year with the opening of the lost Kingdom, and I hope this family run business continues to thrive and prosper and grow bigger and better over the years(a new immersive water ride will do them nicely instead of the fairground style logflume). Paultons is truly the most immersive, well themed experience the UK has to offer and it puts the merlin parks to shame, I believe it potentially is and will be in the future, on par with these European Parks we talk about.

 

As I explained in the last paragraph, visiting these wonderful and creative parks have not only made me want to become involved in the industry in the future however have also "harsh but fair" ly pointed out to be what a disappointing mess Merlin have made of the UK industry. With Merlin it really is one step forward then two, three maybe four or even more steps back.

 

It is such a shame as "The Swarm" at Thorpe Park is probably one of the best step forwards Merlin have ever made. This B&M wingriders is one of my favourite rollercoasters, the area surrounding it is so incredibly themed and you truly feel immersed in your surroundings, not to mention it is also a pretty damn decent cred, it does place in my top 10. Another example of one of the best step forwards Merlin have ever made is "Wild Asia" IMO; this area was a vast improvement to Beanoland, it had a thriving theme and you could immerse yourself in taking on the mighty cobra or taking a flight with the monkeys. It actually fit in with the name Chessington "World of Adventures".  The reason I have highlighted this in bold is because I want to highlight how does "Wild Wood" fit into a "World of Adventures"?, does the "Gruffalo" really fit this theme either? The whole point of the existing areas was that you could feel as a child like you were experiencing parts of the world which were hidden and you'd never seen in reality before, such as flying with vampires in Transylvania or meeting the mighty cobra in Wild Asia. Now all we have left is "Wild Wood"- well if I really want to explore a wild wood I can just go down to the local Go-Ape thanks very much, there is nothing interesting or immersive or exciting about it whatsoever!

 

Anyway, so my point is that Merlin are making a huge step back with Chessington however it's probably not even worth thinking about as they've already made so many mistakes no matter how big or small they are e.g leaving dragons falls to rot, ruining tomb blaster etc. and it's not like Thorpe Park and Alton Towers are doing any better too, at Thorpe we have loggers leap rotting, the introduction of two "new"(once again they aren't new, they are second hand) children's rides, Ghost Train, I'm a celebrity, Angry Birds Land all disasters and to be honest I'm tempted to say Saw The ride was a step back for the park too as IMO it's a bit naff but I won't get into that. At alton towers we have the removal of the flume, SBNO of hex, removal of ripsaw and blade, SBNO of Charlie and the chocolate factory. The list goes on and on at all three parks, there are so many tragic steps back that these parks literally have no attraction or draw for me to come anymore. 

 

So IMO in the time Merlin have taken over, we've had two absolutely incredible, immersive and iconic themed areas been built but what have they done for the other 8 or so years they've taken over? Pretty much nothing, and if they've done anything, it's actually made the parks a lot worse and even more run-down than doing anything right. Where is the love and care for your customers and experience within your attractions Merlin because I see absolutely no evidence of it whatsoever! It's all about the money, money, money for you and I'm unhappy to spend any money towards your profits for your company anymore.

 

Rant over.. I guess?!

 

 

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I'm actually quite happy with this replacing Bubbleworks - apart from the dull name & embarrassingly desperate advertisement, the probability of it being naff and..and...

Pessimism always gets the best of me.

I guess my happiness fuels from the fact that The Gruffalo was one of the few building blocks of my childhood, and I never got the chance to ride the original BW and always had a "meh" sort of feeling upon exiting it. If they execute it decently (to say the least), I'll be all smiles.

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On 05/01/2017 at 1:03 PM, TPJames said:

 

This <_<. I would let chessington get away with even calling it a "new ride experience"- but no, you're incorrect, it's not a "new ride", the ride hardware is remaining unchanged, therefore as "Bubbleworks" it was a Mack rides dark water ride and as "The Gruffalo" it is still a Mack rides dark water ride. Therefore it may be a new "experience" but to call it a "new ride", well that's just a load of rubbish.

Well, it's not built by Mack in the first place, (despite what the internet tells you), so you're wrong there. 

 

And I fail to see your issue with it being branded a new ride. Was the 5th Dimension to Terror Tomb not a new ride? The average punter is hardly going to noice the similarity . 

 

Its a dark ride. Who cares if the hardwear is the same? Guests watching the advert aren't going to ride it and say "oh no, this Leisuretec boat ride moves us along the same way the old one did. It's a con." As long as they remove all remnants of Bubbleworks it should be fine...

 

Granted, Merlin do lie an awful lot in their advertising. (Look at how many people, even on here, are referring to the Gruffalo ad imagery as "concept art" when the real ride will look nothing like it.) Sure, call them out for lying, but by doing it here, you're taking the credibility away from instances when it really does matter (a la Galactica, Shark Hotel, all other Chessington ads...)

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Gonna split some ice here.

 

I thought the advert looked pretty decent. Unless you guys are focusing on a single sentence throughout the advert by calling it 'desperate' I think it looked pretty spot on for selling the spruced up attraction.

 

The same with all your comments about disappointment about bubbles. Bloody hell you guys are a wreck 'OLD BUBBLEWORKS SUCKED BECAUSE IT WASNT A PATCH ON 1990!!!111!11!!! NEW BUBBLEWORKS ISNT EVEN BUBBLEWORKS ANYMORE ITS AN IP RETHEME THATLL [email protected][email protected]!?!?!

 

Have any of you even been on the ride yet. No? Ok then stop making opinions on it. You have complete justifications to expect things, but you don't already know it's gonna suck. Merlin have done some decent stuff recently (namely oblivion;black hole) and cebeebies land is pretty decent if we want to go on IPs, and if we want to talk about ride spruce ups also look at wallace and grommit, a truly charming ride (this was used as a reference, showing how old charming rides can be remasked and recieve good attention from a potentially dead IP? I never said it was made by merlin??) . Hurts my head when you argue all this and people don't even know who made the darn thing.

 

Complain when you do something about it, complain when you don't.. If you're frustrated about the IP then give it a chance. There's so much to explore using bubble's hardware and the story, it could knit together nicely.

 

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Why are we comparing a non Merlin spruce up to Gruffalo? W&G makes zero difference as it's a different park and company behind it...

 

Oblivio is decent, that's about it though, those few pieces of theming around the drop are all you get in terms of that... Building is still bland and the queue just reuses an old tent from before...

 

I do love the old arguments that come from these things... YOUVE NOT RIDDEN IT SO CANT DECIDE IF IT'S GOOD!

 

I think you'll find we can, I know Project V will be dull and a Soarin rip off because of expectations, so with this until Merlin subvert our expectations with pushing the boat out on a new addition, not just focusing on USPs and putting full on effort in we can expect this to be minimal effort based on all their other additions, because that's what Merlin do...

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6 hours ago, wegloo said:

I thought the advert looked pretty decent. Unless you guys are focusing on a single sentence throughout the advert by calling it 'desperate' I think it looked pretty spot on for selling the spruced up attraction.

 

The same with all your comments about disappointment about bubbles. Bloody hell you guys are a wreck 'OLD BUBBLEWORKS SUCKED BECAUSE IT WASNT A PATCH ON 1990!!!111!11!!! NEW BUBBLEWORKS ISNT EVEN BUBBLEWORKS ANYMORE ITS AN IP RETHEME THATLL [email protected][email protected]!?!?!

 

Have any of you even been on the ride yet. No? Ok then stop making opinions on it. You have complete justifications to expect things, but you don't already know it's gonna suck.


I see why you say this, but that attitude is more reactionary than anything I've read in other people's comments, I havn't actually seen hysterical or unjustified reactions about Gruffalo or anything. And people should be right to make their own minds up, I think most opinions people have expressed are about what they've already seen and experienced of Merlin and franchised attractions in general.

 

Don't go if you don't enjoy Merlin's systematic product, no point hoping that by chance 'the next one is better', when you could be spending your time on better things. My favourite UK attraction last year was one that came totally out of the blue at Paultons and I only heard about word of mouth. So much more pleasant and genuinly fun than playing Merlin's dumb hype game or debating hot air before & after something new opens.

 

Things like the sales-focussed advert (looking nothing like the actual ride as usual), Cbeebies Land or Oblivion 2 are as generic as it gets when compared to Prof Burp's - which was pure simple fun in a really surprising and addictive way. Although I don't think people should compare - at all, because they're decades apart and times are different. The industry is so different now, not "more advanced", but just different in the way it works (for better and worse).

 

Quote

There's so much to explore using bubble's hardware and the story, it could knit together nicely.

 

Of course it could, it could be a great attraction, there's endless potential with that transit system and building. They will surely have tricks up their sleeve too and have designers & teams working hard to built it.

 

But the thing is, Merlin as a company are not interested in creating great attractions, they're interested in reputation, brand, market dominance and global expansion. Any projects that fall out their rigid system which do turn out decent are always stingy in their goodness, don't last long and rely largely on fads or hype to get people excited. Guests & fans should say no to more of this, if they want any hope of things improving.

 

It's actually not that 'hard' to create a brilliant fun attraction concept with the amount of talent around in the UK. Yet that rarely gets seen now, in favour of the most commercialised stuff instead. From experience, I expect this project to be the same as all Merlin's others, and I will only care if, once the ride opens, word of mouth spreads and actually it turns out to be a genuinly fun family ride.

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Wallace and Gromit wasn't a Merlin project so I don't see how it has any significance to whether The Gruffalo will be good or not.

 

It's no wonder people aren't looking forward to this, they've been let down too many times by the likes of Ghost Train, IAC, etc...

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To be fair they've needed a major new addition for while that doesn't comprise an embarrassing truck journey with animals and this is probably the attraction that breaks that gap.

 

I'm sure it'll be pretty successful for the park despite replacing a contrived form of a classic. 

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17 hours ago, Marc said:

To be fair I expect the majority of people are looking forward to it - I've no doubt it will attract huge attention when it opens.


Since when has this meant anything to the final quality of the attraction? I'm sure the majority of people were looking forward to Derren Brown before it didnt open and underwhelmed "the majority" of riders according to Thorpe's feedback. I'm also sure the majority of people looking forward to the next global headline action movie would rather it would turn out to be good and not a big disappointment. Huge attention is only attracted by promotion, not the quality of a ride.

 

Merlin constantly churn out underwhelming attractions, which shouldn't be the case for a company of their size and wealth. Why defend them over clearly shoddy work time and again? If the Gruffalo is a well design attraction, that would be a break through. But we are allowed to demand for more original ideas, otherwise they will stick with brands and IPs forever more if that's what they measure that people want.

PR and promotion is a whole different thing to the design and build of a good attraction. This is why Merlin spends as much money as they do building a ride as they do to promote and market it. So whether lots of people are looking forward to it or not doesnt mean anything to the finished ride at all, especially if those expectations are based on CGI images and make believe advertising.

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I wonder how much of the attention it gathers will be because of the new attraction itself and not because it's what replaced Bubbleworks. After all, Bubbleworks is the only ride at Chessington to get two goodbye events, the best Samurai got was a sign and Rodeo was left to rot for 9 months. 

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22 minutes ago, Wumbamillio said:


Since when has this meant anything to the final quality of the attraction? I'm sure the majority of people were looking forward to Derren Brown before it didnt open and underwhelmed "the majority" of riders according to Thorpe's feedback. I'm also sure the majority of people looking forward to the next global headline action movie would rather it would turn out to be good and not a big disappointment. Huge attention is only attracted by promotion, not the quality of a ride.

 

Merlin constantly churn out underwhelming attractions, which shouldn't be the case for a company of their size and wealth. Why defend them over clearly shoddy work time and again? If the Gruffalo is a well design attraction, that would be a break through. But we are allowed to demand for more original ideas, otherwise they will stick with brands and IPs forever more if that's what they measure that people want.

PR and promotion is a whole different thing to the design and build of a good attraction. This is why Merlin spends as much money as they do building a ride as they do to promote and market it. So whether lots of people are looking forward to it or not doesnt mean anything to the finished ride at all, especially if those expectations are based on CGI images and make believe advertising.

 

I never commented on how good / bad the attraction would be? Coaster stated that people "Arn't looking forward to this" which I disagreed with.

 

Everyone has different opinions - for example I enjoy ghost train, hence why I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on this.

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I wonder how well IPs work, if they actually do attract hugely more attention (if attention is what a park is after, as with Merlin's parks) than a really good original concept. They seem to be more of a status achievement when parks claim they have acquired the rights to certain IPs.

 

Sure, they work far easier to give guests a 'preset' theme they know about and so know what theyre getting into when they join the queue. But for fans of a movie franchise, or the Gruffalo for example, will they come flooding in greater numbers than the normal guests coming just for the park? Surely not that significantly, because they'd know the movie or book so well that they'd be disappointed to see someone else's realisation of it? Unless it really was stellar like the movie themed attractions in Universal.

 

Fans of Saw for example took almost no notice of Saw The Ride when it opened and it was barely promoted by the actual producers of the movie franchise. Because it was a very thinly spread imitation of the movie franchise (perhaps that's a good thing when it comes to Saw!)

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41 minutes ago, Marc said:

 

I never commented on how good / bad the attraction would be? Coaster stated that people "Arn't looking forward to this" which I disagreed with.

 

Everyone has different opinions - for example I enjoy ghost train, hence why I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on this.

Some people are, some people aren't, I was talking from the perspective of those who are not looking forward to The Gruffalo.

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