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19 minutes ago, Mark9 said:

 

Really? These staff haven't worked at these attractions for three months (nearly a whole closed season fact fans) and some will have never worked with guests before. Thats a lot of pressure to get your rides teams up to standard in 13 days. 

I get your point, and I shouldn't have downplayed how it will be difficult and stressful to pull off.

 

From my experiences, I've seen waves of people trained extremely quickly and more or less immediately put into their roles and working with guests once that training is completed. In many ways, this isn't that different. And as it's a case of refreshing people, that is something that will be done very quickly too.

 

When we look at parks abroad too, they had similar turnaround times with similar closed periods. Obviously there's differences there, but if parks have made things work with similar challenges, it's reasonable to think our parks can do similar.

 

It won't be easy, and there will be a lot of pressure on staff. Hopefully some of that can be balanced with reduced numbers of guests.

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Just taken a glance at the comments on Thorpe's recent 2020 social media posts. So much hate, and that isn't just from hard to please can't win enthusiasts.    All the general public want is

And here’s a reminder of what the dome used to look like.     It’s not perfect but definitely better than the mediocrity shown in the newer pictures. Everything looked so much b

WELL! There goes my hope for an RMC coming our way any time soon.

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The next review for the lockdown is next Thursday (25th June 2020). Either the parks will have to wait a further 4 weeks for a change in legislation or they'll be allowed to open the following weekend (4th July). The following Monday (after Thursday's announcement) is the most likely date they'll begin to bring staff in for training (because I'm not sure how successful informing people the previous night they have work the following morning is going to be).

4 or 5 days is an extremely short period of time to retrain staff (they're not hiring seasonal positions so all front-line staff will be those that were going to be at the park for March).  

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12 minutes ago, Ivsetti said:

The next review for the lockdown is next Thursday (25th June 2020). Either the parks will have to wait a further 4 weeks for a change in legislation or they'll be allowed to open the following weekend (4th July). The following Monday (after Thursday's announcement) is the most likely date they'll begin to bring staff in for training (because I'm not sure how successful informing people the previous night they have work the following morning is going to be).

This depends on how it's handled up to that point by Merlin.

 

Companies will have ideas of what is going on. Many within the entertainment and leisure will have their own liaisons with the government which are giving them further advice. Whilst no one can know exactly what is going to happen, a clever company would be open with staff and relay conditional plans to them. Or they would gauge staff opinion on how much notice they would need to start work again. They have to make the best out of the situation with the information they have.

 

If on Thursday they're told they're definitely allowed to open on the 4th, they could probably get training underway from Saturday (even Friday afternoon if they pushed it) if they've been smart with it up to now in my opinion.

 

12 minutes ago, Ivsetti said:

4 or 5 days is an extremely short period of time to retrain staff (they're not hiring seasonal positions so all front-line staff will be those that were going to be at the park for March).  

It's not necessarily retraining though, it is more refreshing. It depends on their stance of how to go about it, and how comfortable staff feel, but they could do it in a short period.

 

One could argue that theme parks shot themselves in the foot by announcing so early their intention to reopen on July 4th with no concrete idea of when they could get staff back in. I guess, equally, you could say they were given the impression they could manage it appropriately from the government and they want to reopen as soon as possible. It's a six of one, half a dozen of another sort of situation there.

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In terms of preparing the UK parks themselves with distancing markers and the like, unfortunately the government just aren’t giving the businesses enough notice. This could be exactly the same regarding the date they are allowed to re-open on. Until the government confirm an official date and exactly the measures that need to be in place, the parks just cannot move forward with staff training and setting up the parks.

 

A big factor of the upcoming staff training is going to be enforcement. Training the staff to enforce the new distancing rules and try and make sure guests stick to them as much as possible. With the government potentially reducing the 2m rule to “1m plus”, it is impossible to train staff regarding enforcement rules until the new distancing rules are exactly clarified.

 

There is no point setting up distancing markers in shops, queuelines and restaurants until the parks know whether it is 2m or 1m. Staff may also have to be trained to enforce that guests wear a face mask, if this is a condition of the 1m rule. Until the government inform merlin and other UK park owners more, it is impractical for training to take place.

 

Therefore, it was probably premature to announce a 4th July opening date without an official confirmation. Training and setting up the park for a 4th July opening is going to have to be a quick turnaround and it’s not something that should be rushed when all the new hygiene and distancing measures need to be factored in.

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Unpopular opinion but I love then new modern design on the dome looks so minimalist, modern clean and fresh! Perfect for the park and hopefully they go round the rest of the park when they have the time to minimalist the design of many areas, making them more clean and modern! 

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13 hours ago, Mark9 said:

 

Really? These staff haven't worked at these attractions for three months (nearly a whole closed season fact fans) and some will have never worked with guests before. Thats a lot of pressure to get your rides teams up to standard in 13 days. 

All staff who were in and trained prior to main season will likely just need a reassesment same as any closed season for returning staff, this is a quick process. The only difference maybe amendments to the COSWP for the individual rides to account for covid procedures, which will likely be a talk demonstration ,read of  processes and sign the amendment.
 

None of this will be rocket science and a full retraining process unless they re write the whole COSWP for each ride.

 

fyi if you dont know the COSWP

 

Is the code of safe working practice and basically its a bible for procedures for the specific attraction, all fun fair rides etc are required to have and abide by the rides COSWP

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7 hours ago, RobF said:

All staff who were in and trained prior to main season will likely just need a reassesment same as any closed season for returning staff, this is a quick process. The only difference maybe amendments to the COSWP for the individual rides to account for covid procedures, which will likely be a talk demonstration ,read of  processes and sign the amendment.

 

Just as a reminder, I did used to work at a theme park and do remember the absolute chaos that start of the season begins. I know that a certain other theme park is in disarray about reopening as they have not been told returning dates and have no training plans in place because it's being left to last minute. 

 

I remember a time in Summer at Chessington when I was the only ride operator who could operate Dragons Fury and Peeking Heights. My breaks were dictated by when a senior manager could cover me. Now I'm not saying that any of the parks are in this position. I'm saying a lot of staff ride training is completed when the park is open (particularly ride operators) and nearly four months will have already ticked by. If they have a lot of returning staff they'll be fine. If not then.. well...

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33 minutes ago, Mark9 said:

I remember a time in Summer at Chessington when I was the only ride operator who could operate Dragons Fury and Peeking Heights. My breaks were dictated by when a senior manager could cover me. Now I'm not saying that any of the parks are in this position. I'm saying a lot of staff ride training is completed when the park is open (particularly ride operators) and nearly four months will have already ticked by. If they have a lot of returning staff they'll be fine. If not then.. well...

Maybe I'm playing devil's advocate a bit here, so forgive me if I am, or if I'm just over-simplifying the problem, but..

 

Would parks not more or less be the in same place they were in March, assuming all staff come back? The parks were either already open, or a couple of days away from opening. They should have already been in a position to have all rides open. If they're not in that position post-Covid, is the over-arching uncertainty of whether they can reopen and when they can get staff in the heart of the problem?

 

I know that staff will need the time to readjust to operating rides (I've heard rumours they're looking at tweaking the rules to suit the situation re. how often you should work the ride to be certified to work on it) and need to get used to new procedures, but these things can be turned around quickly. Obviously in an ideal world there'd be a lot more time though.

 

I don't have much experience or knowledge when it comes to all this, so there's every chance I'm over-simplifying. And ultimately I feel for all the staff on the front line and those immediately above them, who will be bearing the brunt of the pressure. I don't want to downplay that. 

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1 hour ago, JoshC. said:

Maybe I'm playing devil's advocate a bit here, so forgive me if I am, or if I'm just over-simplifying the problem, but..

 

Would parks not more or less be the in same place they were in March, assuming all staff come back? The parks were either already open, or a couple of days away from opening. They should have already been in a position to have all rides open. If they're not in that position post-Covid, is the over-arching uncertainty of whether they can reopen and when they can get staff in the heart of the problem?

 

 

 

I think that's ultimately it. The parks don't know. They won't bring people in to get them up to standard as they simply don't know if they will be allowed to open on the 4th. I don't blame them either. Why they are being left to uncertainty is what I don't get. 

 

 

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I expect the parks know more some more than we do though, even if not much. Merlin parks are now selling day tickets from 4th July so they must be fairly confident they will be allowed to open on this date baring any last minute changes.

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On another note, I was looking on Thorpe's website just now at information regarding their reopening procedure and couldn't help but notice the price of a 1 day ticket has suddenly shot up in price this month which I believe should be highlighted.

As soon as the 10th June just 13 days ago, their website advertised a day ticket as £33. Now however, it is a whopping minimum of £39; an increase of £6 for an advance online booking. To make it worse, this price applies to everybody over the age of 3 now, so there is no longer a discount for those aged 3-11 which was classed as a child ticket previously.

Chessington and Legoland I've noticed are also now doing this new ticketing system, but Alton Towers is not strangely. Here's a breakdown of all prices for a 1 day visit to each of the Merlin parks as of today:

• Alton Towers (Adult) - £34pp
• Alton Towers (Child) - £28.50pp


• Legoland (1 size fits all ticket) - £29 or £33pp

• Chessington (1 size fits all ticket) - £29.50pp
• Thorpe Park (1 size fits all ticket) - £39pp

 

So it appears Thorpe Park is now officially the most expensive theme park in the UK, finally surpassing Alton Towers at long last, yet still no "proper" new ride hardware since 2016...

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New Jack Silkstone video about the 2020 changes from inside the park itself:

- Tetley no longer sponsors 'Storm in a Teacup'

- The main megastore sign has gone

- The Cantina replaces Crust

- New vegan/vegetarian unit

- New hedge on the bridge (which looks really random)

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28 minutes ago, TPC said:

New hedge on the bridge (which looks really random)

Guessing this is the cover up the parking lot/ shed to the right of the bridge which IMO has always been an eyesore when you entered so it's good they've done something to address it.

Also looks like the park are pushing for the "brighter" and "fun" route .

Increasing prices when the economy is heading towards a recession and people are poorer is probably not a good idea too.

 

I feel the (current management's) direction is pushing towards is a more amusement park-y entrance (and when looked from that perspective the dome doesn't look so bad). Who know's what'll happen to themeing of rides of the future. Also I love the way the new Infinity restaurant looks - it looks premium and high end. 

Missing from @TPC'S comment above:

  • The park reportedly lowered prices on some F&B offerings.
  • They ARE still running rides presumably so they're not dormant for lengthy periods of time (engineers, not ride staff apparently)

 

EDIT: I'VE EDITED MY COMMENTS as I progressed through the video which is why JoshC's quotes look slightly different to mine (in case you're wondering why there's a discrepancy. Treat below quotes as written by me).

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7 minutes ago, Ivsetti said:

Guessing this is the cover up the parking lot/ shed to the right of the bridge which IMO has always been an eyesore when you entered so it's good they've done something to address it.

Yes, this will be it. It's an unfortunate side effect of having the bridge. Ideally they'd create some sort of tunnel feature so it feels like a natural way of hiding it. The hedge thing looks fine in its own right, but awkward in context imo.

7 minutes ago, Ivsetti said:

Also looks like the park are pushing for the "brighter" and "fun" route (which again is completely opposite to what occurred merely 2 years ago: directionless much?).

Directionless, overpriced and mundane are the three big words any enthusiast would probably give to the park in its current state.

I'm all for the brighter / fun push. It does look good. But as you say, it is a complete u-turn to what they've done in the past. Let's hope they actually stick with it, instead of doing another u-turn 2-3 years down the line.

 

As for the video, which focuses primarily on the new commercial stuff..  Russ is clearly someone who has his head screwed on, and there's definitely some positives. Some things he mentions:

-They've reviewed food prices, and reduced about a quarter of their prices compared to last year

-More than quadrupled their vegetarian and vegan offering

-Introducing more alcohol offering

-Karaoke available for hotel guests in the evening (though likely postponed till next year)

-The park want to eliminate single plastic usage by 2021

 

KFC and Burger King are here to stay for quite a while too by the sounds of the video..

 

Now some screenshots from the video

 

A look at the Infinity Bar and Kitchen, the rebrand of Fin's

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The bland dome signage sadly continues. The inside looks nice enough, but again bland. Interestingly in the video, Russ says the park want to create units which feel like they belong in each area of the park, yet I think this looks exactly like something out of the highstreet? Quite standard and bland. The feel is a step down from Fin's imo.

 

Cantina, which replaces Crust and will be run by the park:

image.png

This looks nice, and will serve rice and pasta dishes

 

A new vegetarian and vegan only place near Ghost Train

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This will be run by a third-party. I hope to god that the signage improves the look of this, because it looks bloody awful right now.

 

New Megastore sign:

image.png

The inside matches that sort of style too

 

And, as mentioned above, an unbranded Teacups:

image.png

 

There's other refreshes around the park in other units too.

 

There's definitely some nice touches and refreshes around the park. The dome feels like a glaring problem, which is a shame since it is such a focal point. Perhaps my expectation are a bit high in that these sorts of things should be done yearly anyway, but it is nice to see all the same.

 

As I said earlier, one can only hope that the branding direction they're stepping into they don't drop in a couple of years time. And, also, it'd be nice if there was some further direction with the developing the park itself, but that's another story...

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16 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

So it appears Thorpe Park is now officially the most expensive theme park in the UK, finally surpassing Alton Towers at long last, yet still no "proper" new ride hardware since 2016...

Debatable, perhaps the are driving you to buy a season pass, and how to these compare in value to the likes of Paultons and Blackpool? 

Yes a dayticket price is high but realistically I wonder what % of the market buys these.

Plus £39 seems to be good value you too when something like a gig can now cost upwards of £80 for a ticket. 

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10 minutes ago, Glitch said:

Debatable, perhaps the are driving you to buy a season pass, and how to these compare in value to the likes of Paultons and Blackpool? 

Thorpe's online price is more expensive than Paultons and Blackpool. So it's not debatable - they are the theme park with the most expensive online ticket.

10 minutes ago, Glitch said:

Yes a dayticket price is high but realistically I wonder what % of the market buys these.

This is an online ticket at a time when online pre-booking will be pushed more than ever, perhaps even be essential. So regardless of what percentage of people bought those tickets beforehand, that percentage will be increasing.

 

It may be part of a bigger push on buying season / annual passes, but it doesn't stop the price being high in its own right.

10 minutes ago, Glitch said:

Plus £39 seems to be good value you too when something like a gig can now cost upwards of £80 for a ticket. 

Weird to compare a theme park price to a gig price? Sure, there's some similarities, but they're both very different markets.

 

When you look across parks in Europe, £39 is at the premium end of theme parks. And whilst, in fairness, the ride hardware on offer at Thorpe is pretty premium, is the overall experience a premium one? Arguably not.

 

16 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

• Alton Towers (Adult) - £34pp
• Legoland (1 size fits all ticket) - £29 or £33pp

• Chessington (1 size fits all ticket) - £29.50pp
• Thorpe Park (1 size fits all ticket) - £39pp

Looking at these differences (for adults only, I think it's crazy that child prices aren't cheaper tbh) is really interesting. Legoland and Chessington are pitched just right, and even Towers' I can accept. But Thorpe's is the one that's off base here. It just doesn't fit.

 

Unless the other parks are increasing their prices too and Thorpe are ahead of the game, it just feels off. 

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Plus £39 seems to be good value you too when something like a gig can now cost upwards of £80 for a ticket. 


Not really comparable, gigs are once in a lifetime, even if you go and see the same band again, they may have new music or change up what they're playing, gigs are also few and far between. Your favourite band might come to your nearest city once every couple of years, Thorpe Park isn't going anywhere. Thorpe also hasn't changed all that much since my last visit in 2016.

Also, out of all the gigs I've been to (probably verging on 40 or 50) only 4 have been anywhere near the £80 mark, most of the time they're about £25. 2 were stadium tours by a band that hadn't toured in several years, 1 was a pop act in the O2, and 1 was a resale ticket that cost more than it should have. The last gig I went to cost me £18. I could see that gig twice and still spend less than a day ticket to Thorpe, and I had far more fun at that gig than I ever did at Thorpe.



Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk

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15 minutes ago, Benin said:

To raise the online booking price when EVERYONE will have to book online is dodgy however you slice it.

I guess it’s to make up for some of the losses they will make from no walk up tickets for the foreseeable future and being closed almost 4 months, that and capacity where I expect Thorpe will likely suffer most being as compact as it is. 
 

I’ve no idea how ticket prices are set for theme parks, but I expect there’s some sort of market research into it and how much people are comfortable paying for a day out before they feel ripped off, that and I’m sure many 2 for 1 vouchers work online now?

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I think its awful. Chessington is compact and small too, but that is priced modestly..

Thorpe Park does not warrant that price jump. It should be the lowest in price IMO, as it has the least to offer. Lets also consider that the park has not received a proper new ride since 2016 (and that ride will most likely be closed for sanitary reasons and also because its terrible lol).

 

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6 minutes ago, JoshuaA said:

I think its awful. Chessington is compact and small too, but that is priced modestly..

Thorpe Park does not warrant that price jump. It should be the lowest in price IMO, as it has the least to offer. Lets also consider that the park has not received a proper new ride since 2016 (and that ride will most likely be closed for sanitary reasons and also because its terrible lol).

 

I’d say Chessington is a fair bit bigger bigger than Thorpe? The parks much more spread out, It has the zoo too to help distribute guests further. 
 

Of course Alton offers more but then Thorpe will always have the extra premium being within the m25, as will Chessington.

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More expensive than Efteling Or Cedar Point for instance on the gate if I am not mistaken.

 

If I am mistaken then I apologise in advance and if correct.....wow this country is overpriced.

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