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Marc

2019 Season

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23 minutes ago, Marc said:

Is this not the one which has been open since start of season? Maybe wrong!

Somewhere in the back of my mind I had some vague memory of it being mentioned before but it must be so poorly advertised in the park that I had forgotten about it! The website also makes it seem like it isn't open yet. My mistake!

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Seems a lot more people are getting the coca cola freestyle capsules. They really are great value and offer great choice. Only £4 refill charge with an AP is a steal! 

 

Hope it gets rolled out across other Merlin parks. 

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Food outlets and kiosks around the park (but not inside the Dome) now serve Illy coffee, from freshly ground beans. No more disgusting Nescafé!

 

Also pleased to say that most of the Coca Cola Freestyle machines offer water for free. Goes through the same filter and chiller as the other drinks so tastes great.

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Weirdly, it was great to see the park busy today - the park always has a bit of a buzz to it when it’s a bit busier - especially in the sun, fingers crossed they can have a decent summer!

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Hi guys,

 

Does anyone have any insight into how to get into the theme park industry?

 

I've got 4 years project management but am open to many roles based in the south of England

 

Any advice would be hugely appreciated - thanks :) 

 

Couldn't find the right topic for this sorry!

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On 6/17/2019 at 11:01 AM, Zappomatic said:

Also pleased to say that most of the Coca Cola Freestyle machines offer water for free. Goes through the same filter and chiller as the other drinks so tastes great.

 

Dare I say this is one of the few things Thorpe do better than Europa Park is giving guests access to free water.

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1 hour ago, TPGG said:

Hi guys,

 

Does anyone have any insight into how to get into the theme park industry?

 

I've got 4 years project management but am open to many roles based in the south of England

 

Any advice would be hugely appreciated - thanks :) 

 

Couldn't find the right topic for this sorry!

https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1235972495/ they come around every 6 months or so....

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For good companies might be worth looking on Blooloop's job section too, jobs in all sorts of leisure stuff...

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Only visited Thorpe 3 times this season and went today - it was a nightmare.  When we go we always leave to get there later than opening in hope that the majority of the bag search is done and this is usually the case.  Not today - arrived and it was heaving to the point where I had a panic attack and spoke to a staff member whilst crying like an idiot - credit to him as I explained that I have anxiety and RAP so he asked to see the RAP card and then sent us down a different queue with about 3 people in.

 

Got into the park - Tidal Wave shut, Inferno shut, Stealth shut, Walking Dead shut and the queue to get RAP was ridiculous - we walked around for about 40 mins (didn’t get on anything as the queues were pretty long) then went back to RAP queue which had got even longer.  So yeah, first time I’ve visited Thorpe and only used the toilet - my niece and I decided we’d have a better time going shopping so we walked an hour to Staines.

 

I don’t like to be negative but today just made me dislike Thorpe even more - my first visit this year I didn’t enjoy, the last 2 were ok but today was just terrible.  I’m grateful that the guy at the queue for security let us go into a quicker queue but the whole place just feels shambolic at the moment.  Massive queues for bag searches, massive queues for the poor sods buying day tickets, massive queue to get RAP.  Yes I get that at this time of year it will be busy but surely the park can manage the queues a bit better?  More staff doing bag checks, more ticket kiosks open, maybe split the RAP queue between where it is now and Island help.  Oh and the cash machine at the front now charges you to take money out which is nice ?

 

If I were a day guest paying full price (if anyone even does) or BOGOF I would be narked - having to spend a large chunk of time just to purchase a ticket is a joke.

I fully agree with bag checks but they just need more people doing them to speed up the process - the queue today for bag checks at an estimate must have been at least an hour (probably closer to 90 mins) as the queue was actually coming out of the queue and snaking around.

 

I used to enjoy visiting Thorpe and maybe I’ve just visited the place too many times over the past 6 years but it just feels meh - no new rides this year - the confirmed loss of Loggers and now Saw Alive and in return we get an inflatable obstacle course which frankly looks hideous, naff gaming events and a pay for escape maze.

 

I love the rides at Thorpe (most of them) so I’m in no way slating them but the place just doesn’t have the same feeling that it used to - would love to see it turn around and I get that a lot of people will feel differently but for me recently the main enjoyment I get out of a day there is spending time with my niece 

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I think the security / RAP queues are a tricky one to solve - particularly RAP - I’m guessing it was moved from Island help so that wasn’t clogged up so much in the morning so that guests with different issues were seen quicker - this should in theory have also made the RAP queue quicker as you are in a queue just for RAP rather than mixed with people with other issues. I think the whole RAP system could do with looking at - I know they’ve introduced cards to try improve it but maybe some sort of online q bot system , maybe like the reserve n ride system they used would be perfect for it. 

 

As for security it’s another thing which has sort of been rushed in and forced on them - I think the current setup is better than it was in the tents when they first had to start searching every bag but the current entrance area isn’t really designed for everyone to be bag searched.

 

Shame to hear about rides being closed - they’ve stepped their game up this year compared to previous with ride availability - particularly with getting rides open on time and at full capacity- hopefully today was a bit of a blip in that!

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As far as rides go I do believe that most rides did reopen so credit for that.  Agree about the security thing being forced upon them and that it is better than when they had tents but Christ the bag check process is so long and seems nowhere near as bad as Chessington and Towers.

 

Regarding RAP - it’s a tricky one - although I’ve being visiting parks regularly since 2013 I have only got RAP since 2017 - was told in 2013 that I was entitled to it but back then I seemed more able to queue but anxiety is a b%^tch and it’s got progressively worse the past few years - honestly don’t know how people will happily stand in a massive queue to get a RAP sheet for the day when it was probably one of the longest queues in the park.  But saying that I don’t know what disabilities those people had as I know with mine it does vary.

 

The place just seems like a park of queues - yes you expect queues for rides at this time of year which is fine but to have to queue a ridiculous amount of time before even entering the park I think isn’t great.  Thorpe have some fantastic rides and credit to the guys working the rides that I’ve encountered this year as they seem a lot more cheerful than last year.  It just seems that Thorpe management have zero interest in guest experience or feedback which is a shame

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On 7/9/2019 at 1:07 AM, Han30 said:

As far as rides go I do believe that most rides did reopen so credit for that.  Agree about the security thing being forced upon them and that it is better than when they had tents but Christ the bag check process is so long and seems nowhere near as bad as Chessington and Towers.

 

Regarding RAP - it’s a tricky one - although I’ve being visiting parks regularly since 2013 I have only got RAP since 2017 - was told in 2013 that I was entitled to it but back then I seemed more able to queue but anxiety is a b%^tch and it’s got progressively worse the past few years - honestly don’t know how people will happily stand in a massive queue to get a RAP sheet for the day when it was probably one of the longest queues in the park.  But saying that I don’t know what disabilities those people had as I know with mine it does vary.

 

The place just seems like a park of queues - yes you expect queues for rides at this time of year which is fine but to have to queue a ridiculous amount of time before even entering the park I think isn’t great.  Thorpe have some fantastic rides and credit to the guys working the rides that I’ve encountered this year as they seem a lot more cheerful than last year.  It just seems that Thorpe management have zero interest in guest experience or feedback which is a shame

Now they issue the ID cards, there should just be a band pick up point that moves almost instantly show badge here you go bye .... as tbh you will have been given the talk when you got the ID card

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If I were Thorpe I would have a doctor on site to permission genuine need for a RAP. The system is clearly abused and to the point of making it a bad day experience for the genuinely disabled in  having to join long RAP queues, I feel really bad for those guys. For too long the idea of not all disabilities being visible has been used as a cover for a cheap alternative to fast track. Next time you go to Thorpe do a little bit of people watching and you will see a sea of yellow bands everywhere.

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I think the park should just make the requirements a lot more difficult like it is at Europa. I also think they need to max the groups out at 3 (including the user).

2 hours ago, Glitch said:

If I were Thorpe I would have a doctor on site to permission genuine need for a RAP.

Sounds great on paper but I don't think that would actually function properly. Like, the abusers usually have good stories and a script, I'm unsure whether a doctor could judge whether the person is telling the truth (especially with any mental illness). There is many conditions and illnesses that a onsite doctor can't just confirm within a few minutes.

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3 hours ago, Glitch said:

If I were Thorpe I would have a doctor on site to permission genuine need for a RAP. The system is clearly abused and to the point of making it a bad day experience for the genuinely disabled in  having to join long RAP queues, I feel really bad for those guys. For too long the idea of not all disabilities being visible has been used as a cover for a cheap alternative to fast track. Next time you go to Thorpe do a little bit of people watching and you will see a sea of yellow bands everywhere.

This wouldn't work, most take months to diagnose someone, or years. A doctor can't decide this on the spot. Most places require a letter from the GP, not sure if thorpe do or not?

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1 hour ago, JoshuaA said:

I think the park should just make the requirements a lot more difficult like it is at Europa.

 

Europa don't do it do they? Because no German parks run an equivalent to RAP since they're randomly a few years behind in the disabled stakes...

 

Plus I think there's a belief that wheelchair users can't hop onto rides in some cases... Which is weird...

 

I think it's the UK culture that's the issue, as so many parks offer them, but the only other park I've seen really bad RAP queues at is DLP, and even that's predominantly BTM...

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31 minutes ago, ProudToServe said:

This wouldn't work, most take months to diagnose someone, or years. A doctor can't decide this on the spot. Most places require a letter from the GP, not sure if thorpe do or not?

Thorpe require a letter from a GP. But most GPs will do it with no questions asked (even though technically you should be charged). I'm sure you can easily forge them as well.

 

Having an on site doctor is not feasible in any way though. Nor should it in any way be considered.

 

 

The big issue is that Thorpe and Merlin have tried to be as accomodating as possible to disabled guests, and in doing so, have been too accommodating. If you reverse the decision and make it stricter, it'll be a PR disaster. Can see the tabloids now: "Thorpe Park said my son wasn't disabled enough! Discrimination!!". Merlin won't want to risk that backlash now. They've dug themselves into a hole and I don't see how they'd get out of it.

 

4 minutes ago, Benin said:

 

Europa don't do it do they? Because no German parks run an equivalent to RAP since they're randomly a few years behind in the disabled stakes...

 

Plus I think there's a belief that wheelchair users can't hop onto rides in some cases... Which is weird...

I know that Phantasialand do offer a version. A very strict version mind, and if you qualify for it, you can't do most of the rides because as you say there a view you wouldn't be safe to do so. They got into some heat a while back for refusing to let a blind guest on coasters - but most of the media sided with the park..

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3 hours ago, Benin said:

 

Europa don't do it do they? Because no German parks run an equivalent to RAP since they're randomly a few years behind in the disabled stakes...

They do run a system but you literally have to have a blue badge or a obvious psychical issue to use it. I think there is less motive to use it too considering Europa don't have fastrack and the queues there are usually pretty reasonable anyway due to the stupid throughputs their rides achieve.

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1 hour ago, JoshuaA said:

They do run a system but you literally have to have a blue badge or a obvious psychical issue to use it. I think there is less motive to use it too considering Europa don't have fastrack and the queues there are usually pretty reasonable anyway due to the stupid throughputs their rides achieve.

 

Here is the problem though with their system:

 

"Safety restrictions provided by the TÜV (German Safety Standards Authority) state that the following attractions are not suitable for wheelchair users and blind visitors: Arthur, Atlantica SuperSplash, Atlantis Adventure, Alpenexpress Enzian, Alpenexpress Coastiality, blue fire Megacoaster powered by GAZPROM, Cassandra's Curse, Euro-Mir, Eurosat - CanCan Coaster, Eurosat Coastiality, Fjord Rafting, Ghost Castle, Matterhorn Blitz, Family Rollercoaster Pegasus - The YoungStar Coaster, Poppy Towers, Swiss Bob Run, Silver Star, Tirol Log Flume, Volo Da Vinci , Water Rolleroaster Poseidon, WODAN-Timburcoaster"

 

So even though a wheelchair user could transfer to these rides, I think based on how some parks have reacted to a wheelchair appearing at their door they don't let them on these rides...

 

For the UK parks, the only real system they could go to is requiring a Blue Badge, DLA or PIP... If you don't have it then no RAP for you...

 

It's the only system that could be deemed fair and difficult to fake a form...

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I used a wheelchair due to a severe illness back in 2014 at Europa and I rode rides, though obviously I could walk. If you can't walk then yeah it is kinda bad but I think thats just German laws.

The system isn't perfect but I think it works well considering German Laws.

 

2 hours ago, Benin said:

For the UK parks, the only real system they could go to is requiring a Blue Badge, DLA or PIP... If you don't have it then no RAP for you...

 

It's the only system that could be deemed fair and difficult to fake a form...

Agreed. This would probably be the only option that would be fool-proof, though obviously it would make things hard for people who don't have those any of those.

The current system certainly is accommodating for many different illnesses and people who don't have a PIP, DLA, or Blue Badge, though I think that accommodation really has been thrown back in their face with people cheating the system time after time.

 

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We have used systems at Europa park and portaventura without issues it was needed at portaventura however you cant use the system for rapids. Europa park was easy in the sense of just showing the blue badge at the ride exit, overall we didnt really use it much at Europa but we did visit one one of there busiest days of the year!


The uk system Simply is oversubscribed of users and the parks need to deal with that better either change criteria or the system.

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The amount of RAP users is huge and I agree with requiring both a doctors note and blue badge/PIP etc.  I would imagine it would be harder to forge a PIP letter than a GP one but then I’m sure people would find a way round it.

 

The issue with just getting a GP letter is that pretty much anyone can go to their doctor and say they find queuing hard, pay £20 odd quid and get RAP when they may not need it at all - thus making RAP queues bigger and longer for those who struggle.

 

With me because I don’t get the higher rate mobility of PIP due to my problems being on the mental side, I needed a GP letter - my doc knows me very well and wrote one for me no questions asked.  As I’ve said before, I only started using RAP 2 years ago as I didn’t think I would qualify for it plus my anxiety wasn’t as bad back then.

 

There are a lot of issues with RAP which make me understand why some of the GP get annoyed with.  For example I’ve seen people taking well over 3 helpers onto rides when it should be maximum of 3.  Also it’s pretty common for ride hosts to either not sign the RAP card or sign it without putting a time on it - the new system at Thorpe with the scanners is hit and miss and in most cases they don’t bother scanning the RAP card at all.  

Ive personally witnessed a woman in the RAP queue for Colossus (when the RAP was at the ride exit) - she got her card signed (was also wearing the wristband) and then buggered off while 4 people went on the ride!  The system is messed up in that I’m sure there are loads of people getting RAP when they don’t need it, and those that abuse the system - I’ve also seen someone take off a RAP wristband and give it to someone else - another guest witnessed it and reported it to staff and they dealt with it well.

 

I wouldn’t be surprised if Merlin change their policy to just one helper which I believe is what BPB have.   A lot of people believe RAP to be free fast track but when it’s done properly it’s virtual queuing - when staff don’t bother signing the card then it is akin to fast track which is wrong.  I think staff need more training on the issue (Thorpe is by far the worst park for not signing cards).  It needs to be consistent throughout the park and maybe have more staff because I think a lot of times the staff don’t sign the cards because they are dealing with not just RAP queues, but fast track aswell as the main queue line.

 

I saw a vid on YouTube recently (think it was filmed a couple of years ago) group of young(ish) lads going to Thorpe to get “free fast track” - one had crutches which he didn’t need, they went to guest services, got RAP and boasted about it - the vid has had thousands of views so I’m sure it gave people ideas to do the same thing and the way they said it as free fast track - RAP isn’t free fast track but virtual queuing for those who struggle in large queues.

 

 

Wow I’ve typed an essay 

 

Edit - forgot to mention when I went to Thorpe for the first time this year they did the new photo card - I explained to the young girl that my RAP card expires in June which she saw when I gave it to her but she proceeded to do my photo card and the expiry date is March 2021? I questioned it and she said it’s valid until then and when my RAP card from CWOA runs out to sort it with them.

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Yeah Europa (and Germany) have essentially removed such a system since 2014 unfortunately...

 

I think now that Blue Badges are being issued to non-visual disabilities such as Autism it would make things much easier... With the right level of PR preparation it could be changed easily (but the base response to any complaints being, "we've changed this to ensure fair and equal treatment blah blah") and hopefully the mistreatment of the system can be removed...

 

Of course they would need to consider temporary situations such as broken legs but they could do a DLP and have a tiered system for that... The parks just need to sort it out because it's an utter pain in the arse for those who need it...

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