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Mattgwise

The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure

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Saw resulted in one of Thorpe's highest annual attendances, whilst Thomas Land and Peppa Pig World turned around the fortunes of their respective parks... Paultons especially...

 

They are quite successful, although it is important that the quality of the attraction(s) represents the branding, otherwise they wouldn't be successful...

 

 

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Yes, whereas the parks' greatest successes used to be the thousands it attracted from great original rides, now the only successes in Merlin (and other massive attraction companies) perspective is the inflated extra thousands who come for the IPs. A bit sad really but that hype & branding for you! The European parks do it so well without losing their own identity and replacing creativity with globalisation.

I truly believe the best and most fun attractions wil be in less commercial, lesser scaled and smaller independent projects in the future. If only there was some market competition in the UK to allow it..!

I believe many people will know real fun when they see it, real imagination and different from the norm, but until then...

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You say that but Merlin have proved with Smiler they are more than capable of creating a strong well known brand what people instantly recognise too so wouldn't say we will just get IP's just yet (I hope!)

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I'm quite looking forward to trying the Gruffalo. It is a real shame that Bubbleworks closed but to be honest as far I'm concerned, the real Bubbleworks closed 10 years ago and the current version was nothing but a nostalgia trip for us each time we went on it. In fact the condition that it closed in was much better than when it first opened as Imperial Leather in my opinion, they really messed up the music big time which as far as the thing was concerned the music and the fountain finale were really the only reasons worth riding it after the sponsorship.

 

I can understand why people are doubtful of this purely based on Merlin's past track record on this kind of thing especially as far as Chessington is concerned because the method at that park in particular is to just take away rather than add to any experience. Just taking a similar ride changing to an IP, Charlie at Alton Towers was quite empty and baron after Toyland Tours (Though not Merlin at the time) so hopefully the Gruffalo will be more impressive.

 

The Imperial Leather sponsorship must have been the cheapest re-theme in Theme Park history though, it was hilarious literally just rehashing Professor Burps, disconnecting animatronics and adding a few ducks in the process. Though I've read on here and other sources that the sponsorship was to sort out structural issues within the ride & the building rather than to go for a full on experience.

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Yes the original ride closed only for reasons of building maintenance and no budget was given, so a sponsor was needed, and then it was thought a good opportunity to advertise as a new ride and "modernise it". Which ended up removing all humour, effects and its old school charm into something schmaltzy and bare!

Merlin didn't manage it at the time, but it was the same design studio that's doing Gruffalo that did the IL 2006 version. The only big difference now is the money Merlin spend on new attractions compared to DIC which barely kept the rides standing and cut corners with budget all over the place.

Had the management been better, we'd probably still have Prof Burp going strong now, and still a great ride. But that's what happens with poor management and capital venture sales

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It's pointless of me pointing out I know, but I'm guessing it didn't take long for some people to realise where the inspiration for the promo art came from tbh:

gruffalo-concept.jpg

Bubbleworks.png

The river follows the same meander, both pictures have boats emerging from a hole/archway. Even both have the riders pointing! Very few people would immediately think of the last picture. :P 

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That Prof Burp art is quite cute but pretty weird, it looked really old fashioned compared to the kind of style Chessington was going for at the time and shows scenes that never really existed in the ride (probably just like that Gruffalo graphic too!).

 

It looks like it was probably drawn by a traditional amusement park artist who'd not been on Prof  Burp's. A nice drawing, but pretty schmaltzy compared to the finished ride!

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That's really interesting, it could just be a coincidence or they were looking at old artwork for inspiration. I would say that's it's unlikely to be based off of it but with the opening at the back and the meanders it's extraordinarily similar.

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It's going any way you imagine because it's a promo graphic and the boats are sat on a green screen floor with actors pretending the ride exists yet. It's arranged in the layout of a promo poster, not an actual ride. The background is based on the Gruffalo cartoon. This image is just part of the ride's promotion, the ride could look like anything!

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Comparing the promo art to the ride experience in the park is a bit like news stories. Where telling the news and the telling the truth are two completely different things.

 

Take for example the original Derren Brown's Ghost Train advert and promo art.  At least 80% of what actually appears in them, does not appear on the ride. Whether that be the twin dolls, duplicated and the duplicated/demented Derren never appears in the actual ride. Scorpion Express, Enchanted Village and other such investments remain other examples here.

 

The promo art mostly there to get people excited and interested for the next new ride rather than offer a realistic expectation on the attraction. 

 

 

The ride could be good if everything is tackled correctly, although recent projects unfortunately don't show much optimism I'm afraid and we will just have to wait and see whether they pull off something nice or it's just another sub-standard investment. 

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Surprised nobody has mentioned yet, Chessington have said this ride will open on the 18th March, one day after the rest of the park. Bit strange but I assume it's because the 18th is a Saturday?

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13 minutes ago, ChessingtonSam said:

Surprised nobody has mentioned yet, Chessington have said this ride will open on the 18th March, one day after the rest of the park. Bit strange but I assume it's because the 18th is a Saturday?

After The Smiler and Ghost Train, I wouldn't get your hopes up. ;)

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