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The only reason I posted this was to put it out there. I'm not hopeful because of Thorpe's latest additions (apart from DBGT) and the cheap events they pulled but I just hope whatever they are teasing at the moment isn't something like GameFX. Seems like Merlin's putting money elsewhere. Guess I was being too positive.

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4 hours ago, CoasterFlix said:

 

This is going to be a very long message, beware.

 

Back in 2017, I wrote a letter to Nick Varney (current CEO of Merlin) asking a few questions. I have held this for a while but I felt like 2020 was the time to share. Something, not sure how big, is coming in 2020. I have had to censor some stuff (like my address) but here is the response I got. I have only selected bits I thought would be of relevance, this is why the whole letter is not shown.

 

If the images don't come out clear enough, this is what it says. I have also made sections in bold that I thought people would want to read.

 

  • What is the future of Merlin be like?

"Exciting! We are expanding all over the world and constantly introducing new concepts and ideas. One day we will entertain more people than any other company giving them all memorable experiences."

 

  • What is the future for Thorpe Park?

"The future for Thorpe Park Resort is looking very positive. We are the home of exhilarating fun and have a great development pipeline for the next 5 years. This year with Derren Brown's Ghost Train Rise of the Demon we delivered a bigger, better and scarier experience which quenched our guests desire for greater fear and cutting edge technology on rides. Later in 2017 we are re launching our Fright Nights experience with a new game changing Intellectual Property (famous brand/character). Merlin Magic Making are currently working with us on our plans for 2018, 2019 and 2020 but sadly at this point I cannot share them with you; but I know as a future ride designer you will not be disappointed."

 

[This next section may not seem significant at first, but here it is]

  • What is the process of building and designing a ride?

"It is a lengthy process and normally takes about 3-4 years. For example, we have currently briefed our Merlin Magic Making colleagues on our major ride investment for 2020. They will then meet with ride manufacturers and come back to us with some options before a concept proposal is submitted to the Executive Board for approval, then plans are drawn and implementation can take between 2 and 3 years including Research, Design, Build and Test." (It did continue there but that was the significant part)

 

Take what you want from this, but it is constantly referred to as a 'ride'. I hope they actually make this so-called ride.

Merlin Letter-1.jpg

Merlin Letter-2.jpg

Merlin Letter-3.jpg

As others have mentioned - sadly we won’t see a new ride at Thorpe this year - but credit where it’s due - it’s good of Nick to write back to fans like that - Merlin get a lot of slack (and yeah sometimes it’s deserved) but things like this are nice to see!

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10 minutes ago, Marc said:

As others have mentioned - sadly we won’t see a new ride at Thorpe this year - but credit where it’s due - it’s good of Nick to write back to fans like that - Merlin get a lot of slack (and yeah sometimes it’s deserved) but things like this are nice to see!

Thorpe have been slightly disappointing for the last 2 years so hopefully they aren't teasing another season of events with all of this "Initialising 2020" stuff.

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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 a new - not rehashed - coaster. The general public are now as tired of Thorpe's PR and false hope as RMC thirsty enthusiasts were 5 years ago. If 2019 was a tough year for gate figures, then 2020 is going to be even tougher. 

 

People don't want "experiences".

People don't want actor led attractions all year round.

People don't want a tent with old consoles in.

People don't want upcharge attractions that add to the entrance price.

People probably do want to leave the car park in a timely fashion. #NewFor2020

People. Want. A. Big. Massive. Themed. Tangible. VR Free. Coaster.... And wanting that after eight years isn't too much to ask.

 

If Alton get another "next big thing" before Thorpe does then it's clear where Merlin's priorities lie. But still, it's great to go to a park and see an SBNO sky swat, log flume and scare maze - right lads?

 

PS. Thank goodness for Stealth.

 

 

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10 hours ago, MattyMoo said:

If Alton get another "next big thing" before Thorpe does then it's clear where Merlin's priorities lie. But still, it's great to go to a park and see an SBNO sky swat, log flume and scare maze - right lads?

 

That would 100 percent confirm to me that Thorpe is indeed bottom of the food chain when it comes to the companies priorities. I maintain that if they don't want to give Thorpe the money it needs to get itself back on track, just sell the damn place. I know that's not happening any time soon but when even the general public are waking up and smelling the coffee as well as the so called "entitled" enthusiasts, it's game over. 

 

I don't think asking for the SBNO rides to finally get removed and space developed is too much to ask. It's hardly asking them to build an expedition everest level of detail attraction. 

 

In terms of a new coaster, Alton Towers has now been given 2 (3 if you include the Galactica overlay) major coasters since Thorpe last had one. So I agree, a new coaster at Thorpe is really not too much to ask either. Unless the future of the park is indeed just cheap short term tat and IP driven summer events.

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46 minutes ago, Martin Doyle said:

 

That would 100 percent confirm to me that Thorpe is indeed bottom of the food chain when it comes to the companies priorities. I maintain that if they don't want to give Thorpe the money it needs to get itself back on track, just sell the damn place. I know that's not happening any time soon but when even the general public are waking up and smelling the coffee as well as the so called "entitled" enthusiasts, it's game over. 

 

I don't think asking for the SBNO rides to finally get removed and space developed is too much to ask. It's hardly asking them to build an expedition everest level of detail attraction. 

 

In terms of a new coaster, Alton Towers has now been given 2 (3 if you include the Galactica overlay) major coasters since Thorpe last had one. So I agree, a new coaster at Thorpe is really not too much to ask either. Unless the future of the park is indeed just cheap short term tat and IP driven summer events.

Alton has the family market. Families = ££££££££

Thorpe has the teen + annual pass + enthusiast market = Not wanting to spend money.

 

Alton Towers is also a household name whereas Thorpe perhaps not everyone knows the brand therefore ofc they will favour Alton

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I don’t think you can include the Galactica overlay at towers as a new coaster personally.

 

Thorpes at a funny stage at the moment - its all well and good wanting Merlin to throw money at it but their next move HAS to be right or god knows the consequences... We all know the problems DBGT had for various reasons, which was the parks last “big” investment and it didn’t deliver, before that, The Swarm, it also didn’t deliver the return which was expected. 
 

Thorpes next “big” investment will probably be the most important one the park has had to date - the future of the park will be banking on it being right - they really can’t afford to get it wrong a 3rd time - fingers crossed we will start to see / hear things on this soon but it’s not something they should rush into till they are certain both it’s the right time and the right investment.

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Thorpe has reached a stagnation point so bad now that it makes the other Merlin Parks look innovating. 
 

It is pretty clear the park is struggling from both a business and directional one. They don’t know what they want and where to go. Would love to see some investments along the lines of an RMC, but unfortunately until they can prove to Merlin it is worthwhile, they will only likely receive the mouse’s share of investment.

 

Gone are the days of major investments every few years and instead, a churn up of events, pop up attractions and maybe re-themes  if we are lucky. 

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1 hour ago, Marc said:

I don’t think you can include the Galactica overlay at towers as a new coaster personally.

 

Thorpes at a funny stage at the moment - its all well and good wanting Merlin to throw money at it but their next move HAS to be right or god knows the consequences... We all know the problems DBGT had for various reasons, which was the parks last “big” investment and it didn’t deliver, before that, The Swarm, it also didn’t deliver the return which was expected. 
 

Thorpes next “big” investment will probably be the most important one the park has had to date - the future of the park will be banking on it being right - they really can’t afford to get it wrong a 3rd time - fingers crossed we will start to see / hear things on this soon but it’s not something they should rush into till they are certain both it’s the right time and the right investment.

 

Now I know this is said to death to the point even I am tired of it, but this is where I think an RMC would do wonders for Thorpe.

 

The enthusiasts would absolutely descend on Thorpe and the traction the park would get in the European enthusiast community could very well be big. When I was at Walibi, I encountered many enthusiasts who had travelled from all over the continent to ride Untamed. Hell some even came from America to ride it. Wildfire at Kolmarden was the same story. Enthusiasts from all over have made that trip to the middle of nowhere in Sweden just to ride it. So Thorpe to me would be wise to cash in on the overwhelming popularity RMC has gained in recent times. They may have to act on that soon however before the popularity and hype surrounding RMC dwindles and they miss the boat.

 

I know the enthusiast community is a drop in the ocean compared to the general public, however the general public just want good rides as well which an RMC would almost certainly deliver. Would an RMC boost the gate massively in regards to the GP?? Only time would tell. That's the calculated risk you have to take in buisness sometimes. A good ride will almost always capture the public's imagination.

 

I could sit here and talk about why an RMC makes sense to Thorpe because they usually are amazing rides until the cows come home, but I find it more crucial at this stage that it's pointed out why it makes sense buisness wise.

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So what if a few enthusiasts travel for a coaster? That won't fix the park's other faults.

 

Walibi added theirs on the back of a long term plan of changes (whilst the owners are seemingly heavily involved in given the additions to the other parks in their group). But when you go to Walibi the park isn't in a complete state of disrepair, adding crap small additions that cost all the budget to run. The food doesn't cost the earth, the operations aren't terrible (nor are they good), and they certainly didn't invest millions into the "future of theme parks" to see it fail.

 

What's missing from all Merlin parks is a viable long term plan. Though Chessie and Towers have suffered less as they sort of have one, Thorpe has chopped and changed almost yearly. Redo NWO to become family friendly, change it to adult orientated theme. Add family theme area to park in attempt to get them to visit, then give up after a year.

 

The first thing the park needs to do is improve the infrastructure in preparation for the next big thing. Through sensible small additions building up to whatever massive coaster they build. But that'll only happen if Merlin have not only a plan for the park but to invest correctly and not focus on crap USPs that don't help the park progress.

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25 minutes ago, Benin said:

So what if a few enthusiasts travel for a coaster? That won't fix the park's other faults.

 

I absolutely agree. It won't fix the more major issues at the park. A new coaster at Thorpe is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

1. SBNO rides just left there.

2. General cleanliness.

3. The direction as to where the park is heading in terms of what sort of park they actually want to be as right now, they feel like a park with an identity crisis.

4. Upkeep on current rides 

5. The running of the park in terms of the stupid wind policy,queue management and how every one and their dog can get RAP.

 

Amongst other things, are all more pressing issues in my opinion. However I do feel a new coaster would be a step in the right direction in regards to bringing back the excitement and interest in the place.

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But adding a new coaster before fixing those issues is like putting a plaster on an amputation.

 

You build a new coaster first and then all these people come and the park is still awful, just with a shiny new coaster, people will notice.

 

Hopefully the new owners of Merlin can kick the parks back into life to cover most of the issues. However the RAP argument is a faultless task, and not one that can be easily solved.

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Besides, Chessington proves your theory completely wrong. They've not added a big coaster since 2004 and they are currently going from strength to strength with smarter, more targeted investment. It goes back from what we've said before, CwoA knows exactly what it is, what its target audience values and it just works. Do the managers at Thorpe Park know what attracts people to the place?

5 hours ago, Martin Doyle said:

 

I could sit here and talk about why an RMC makes sense to Thorpe because they usually are amazing rides until the cows come home, but I find it more crucial at this stage that it's pointed out why it makes sense buisness wise.

 

I would adore Thorpe to get an RMC. Deep down I know they won't.

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4 hours ago, Mark9 said:

Besides, Chessington proves your theory completely wrong. They've not added a big coaster since 2004 and they are currently going from strength to strength with smarter, more targeted investment. It goes back from what we've said before, CwoA knows exactly what it is, what its target audience values and it just works. Do the managers at Thorpe Park know what attracts people to the place?

 

I would adore Thorpe to get an RMC. Deep down I know they won't.

 

That's just the thing though. Chessington is a family park and knows it's a family park. Their investments have suited that market (As such they haven't necessarily needed a coaster specifically) and they have their direction.

 

Thorpe Park however made a name for itself as the "thrill seekers" park. What appeals to that market? Coasters and thrill rides. However, the issue currently I feel with Thorpes recent investments is the park very much seems to be having an identity crisis as to is it a thrill park or is it a family park. The prime example being going from X:no way out into X and then to Walking dead. I just think the powers that be need to sit down and actually decide who/what is Thorpe Parks market and go with it.

 

If they want to be a family park then I agree that they don't necessarily need a new coaster if that's the specific market they are going for. However if they want to roll with the park being a thrill park, then a new coaster is what would make perfect sense as the "next big thing"

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10 hours ago, Martin Doyle said:

 

Now I know this is said to death to the point even I am tired of it, but this is where I think an RMC would do wonders for Thorpe.

 

The enthusiasts would absolutely descend on Thorpe and the traction the park would get in the European enthusiast community could very well be big. When I was at Walibi, I encountered many enthusiasts who had travelled from all over the continent to ride Untamed. Hell some even came from America to ride it. Wildfire at Kolmarden was the same story. Enthusiasts from all over have made that trip to the middle of nowhere in Sweden just to ride it. So Thorpe to me would be wise to cash in on the overwhelming popularity RMC has gained in recent times. They may have to act on that soon however before the popularity and hype surrounding RMC dwindles and they miss the boat.

 

I know the enthusiast community is a drop in the ocean compared to the general public, however the general public just want good rides as well which an RMC would almost certainly deliver. Would an RMC boost the gate massively in regards to the GP?? Only time would tell. That's the calculated risk you have to take in buisness sometimes. A good ride will almost always capture the public's imagination.

 

I could sit here and talk about why an RMC makes sense to Thorpe because they usually are amazing rides until the cows come home, but I find it more crucial at this stage that it's pointed out why it makes sense buisness wise.

In a recent talk with Merlin's CFO, she said that even the Wickerman at Alton Towers hadn't succeeded financially. Yes families go and enjoy the ride, but its still seen as a one and done. Remember the enthusiast market is still very much a niche, and so would the millions spent on an RMC payoff? Probably not, hence the need for a hotel and secondary attraction first to make it a resort.

 

Investments at the end of the day are a risk, just like Derren Brown.

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12 hours ago, Marc said:

I don’t think you can include the Galactica overlay at towers as a new coaster personally.

 

Thorpes at a funny stage at the moment - its all well and good wanting Merlin to throw money at it but their next move HAS to be right or god knows the consequences... We all know the problems DBGT had for various reasons, which was the parks last “big” investment and it didn’t deliver, before that, The Swarm, it also didn’t deliver the return which was expected. 
 

Thorpes next “big” investment will probably be the most important one the park has had to date - the future of the park will be banking on it being right - they really can’t afford to get it wrong a 3rd time - fingers crossed we will start to see / hear things on this soon but it’s not something they should rush into till they are certain both it’s the right time and the right investment.

I think DBGT needed to have the changes it has now at launch to meet the required "hype" that was built around it. After all of the "Unavailable" period lots of people lost interest almost after the first ride. Thorpe needs a big investment to draw people in but has to make sure it is a ride people will want to keep on going on. This is probably why it's taking so long to share the next project.

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So getting back on topic... PJW Contracts LTD has been doing some work for Thorpe Park (noticed their van parked outside Nemesis Inferno in a recent YouTube video). Their website lists a few things they've done at the park, but most of them look to be fairly old photos: https://www.pjwcontractsltd.com/services.php?page=merlin-entertainments.php. Could be something very unexciting considering they do corrosion repair and similar jobs.

Edited by EpicSmatty
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11 minutes ago, EpicSmatty said:

So getting back on topic... PJW Contracts LTD has been doing some work for Thorpe Park (noticed their van parked outside Nemesis Inferno in a recent YouTube video). While I cannot tell if this is work that has been done this year or not their website lists a few things they've done at the park: https://www.pjwcontractsltd.com/services.php?page=merlin-entertainments.php. The Rumba Rapids one looks likely to be from this year as the handrail looks different to how it does now, unless these are from beyond the days I've visited Thorpe!

I'm fairly certain that's from a few years ago - it certainly used to be painted that vibrantly in the past!

 

Nice find though; the Tidal Wave photos are particularly interesting 

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Just now, JoshC. said:

I'm fairly certain that's from a few years ago - it certainly used to be painted that vibrantly in the past!

Did a bit more digging from Google Streetview, the works done to Amity Beach are several years old since the slides in the photos aren't there anymore. I'd imagine the other ones are fairly old too. Probably just some repairs on the Nemesis building I'd imagine

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