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Fright Nights 2020 - No Spoilers

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Jack Silkstone recently uploaded a Fright Nights video which shows that some work has happened around what was Platform 15's queueing area last year. In particular, it shows new fences and a new themed section. 

 

 

It's hard to know when the work was done of course, but it certainly points towards the maze returning this Fright Nights. Obviously Platform would be one of the easiest to bring back too.

 

 

Outside of that, there's no obvious work happening towards Fright Nights. 

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After watching the video (and I think the first time someone said "sick" wasn't until the end so that's something) it feels like we could have platform, some other outdoor maze in the Blair Witch space and terror at amity high or something similar based on the job postings.  Then some other walk through scare zone or similar (could have actors in cages or something) might work too if thorpe go down that route. Just speculating here though. 

 

As much as I'd hope we can have an indoor maze like creek freak I just can't quite see how that would work given the Covid guidelines without majorly long waiting times, you couldn't risk groups bunching up in a not overly spacious area  and some household bubbles may only be 2 or 3 people. Perhaps conga lines in household groups will return so that its easier for actors to keep a one meter distance from groups

 

I'm also assuming all actors will be wearing masks or behind screens, so how exactly that will work and the actors kept safe is hard to see at this stage, but at least some kind of fright night event is better than nothing!

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Fright Nights 2020 details up on the website:

 

https://www.thorpepark.com/explore/theme-park/fright-nights/

 

Lots of scare zones as predicted, two mazes, Platform 15 and Roots of Evil (looks to be located where Blair Witch was).

 

Intrigued by the Swarm one and the Crows!

 

EDIT They're doing clowns... but not The Big Top.

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10 minutes ago, MattyMoo said:

As I just posted on social meeeedya... I'm hella impressed with that promo video.

 

Good to see Swarm get some loving... And no IPs at all! £10 a maze upcharge is pretty "frightening" though 😄

Yeah I did wonder how the mazes would work, and I guess charging £10 a maze and requiring people to book a time in advance is one way to reduce the demand a bit! I know there are 2-4-1s about but combining the website price of £42, plus the two mazes puts you at £62 which is pretty punchy. Having said that, not a lot of choice for other halloween events so I'm sure it'll be as popular as ever. Sad that creek freak can't return this year in its full form but it did feel very unlikely that a maze indoor could be done safely.

 

It says this about roots of evil:

 

Unearth the horrors that lurk within a forsaken forest and prepare to meet the terrifying abominations that dwell within. Move discreetly through the dark undergrowth and pray your presence goes unnoticed, or risk becoming one of the forgotten forever.

Located in The Jungle, opposite Wilderness Waffles.

 

It says on the website that 'the crows' are at 'various mystery locations' so I'm assuming they'll be roaming masked actors of sorts, perhaps with a plague doctor like mask.

 

Overall I'm liking that there's a variety of themes on offer with the scare zones, and that thorpe are doing something with the swarm theme finally.

 

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Sounds like a decent lineup actually based on circumstances. 

 

I am for the up charge tbh as its going to likely be really restrictive in what they can do and could be the future for managing horrendous queue times during the peak of the event.

 

Maybe £8 each or a combo of both for £15 would have been a better pricing structure. 

 

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£10 for Platform 15...

 

£9 if you’re a pass holder...

 

A maze that was once free for the last 4 seasons...

 

And now costs more money for both a regular guest and a pass holder than any ScareFest maze did last year...

 

And the park still have the nerve to charge standard pass holders a minimum of £10/£25 to enter this “Fearstival”...

 

This could get... interesting. 
 

😬

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P15 and Blair Witch 2 better be good - as both I found the weakest last year. Agree a 2 maze deal for less money would be good... I predict they will struggle to have enough people for it in the early days of Fright Nights, so drop the price, and then end up putting it back up again towards the end of October.

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Its a decent lineup of scare zones more than I thought they were going to do! I wonder why alton seem to be doing indoor scare mazes though and Thorpe have decided against that? 

 

As said above, interesting decision to charge for the mazes and still charge up to £25 on some nights for pass holders to get in. Towers normally have a maze for free as well.

 

I certainly won't be paying £20 for mazes I've done many times before for free and have found the weakest in previous years but will still be going for the extended opening hours and scare zones.

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There's a lot going on there. Quite a bit of good. A bit of not good too.

 

Okay so first, the upcharge mazes. Ultimately to be expected. If you can only go through a maze with the people you visit with, it's going to drastically reduce the throughput. If you have it as a free for all like normal, you're going to be left with ridiculously long queues and people will be unhappy.

 

There's the second issue of the park needing to make money. The park have missed out on half a season. So they're going to want to play catch up wherever they can. And they haven't extended park opening hours like the rest of the Merlin parks (except for one day). Which suggest they may not be doing as well as the other parks. So using Fright Nights to make extra money is a good idea.

 

There's also the third point of maybe they should start charging for some mazes. Towers' system works because they charge for mazes - they spend money on the mazes, they charge for them, they get the money they spent on them back from maze tickets plus more, meaning they can invest more next year and still make a profit. It's a nice, neat closed system which doesn't rely on park entrance tickets or Fastrack or whatever. Thorpe just put a pot of money into Fright Nights each year, the number depends on how the entire park performs. A pay per maze structure works much better in a long term sense. And it's something I know Thorpe have considered for a while now.

 

The issue, though, straight up is the price. £10. That is a heck of a lot for one maze. I've been thinking and thinking, and I can't think of any standard scare maze which has a higher price. I can think of special / extreme / alone maze experiences which are priced higher. But standard experience? No. 

(Okay, actually, I lie - I can think of one. Walibi Holland have introduced a new maze to their - severely Covid impacted - line up this year, which is priced at 10€. It's not clear if that's a standard maze experience though, so wait and see there..).

 

Sure, Thorpe may do something different, but does anyone honestly expect that? I expect not. Especially when their hands are tied with Covid restrictions. It's a very high price which will command very high expectations. And honestly, I don't think it can be met. This is particularly the case for Platform 15, which has been free for 4 years. And even then, Roots of Evil in Blair Witch's space can only do so much and only be so different to the maze that was there for 2 years previously.

 

The idea of charging for mazes is one I can get behind (though Thorpe should always balance that with at least one free maze imo). But this is way too high, and too much of a change too soon. I can only see that ending with a lot of unhappy guests.

 

Also, another issue - there's still charges for Standard Merlin Passholders and Thorpe Season Passholders. At peak period, these people have to pay £25 to enter the park, plus pay for mazes. A bit of a kick in the teeth for them, especially when Towers' set up has entrance included for those types of Passholders.

 

Enough moaning about the charges now...

 

As for the maze offering. Platform 15 is going in reverse this year. Brave it Backwards if you will... I love the idea in theory, as it means you can have a weak, but potentially unnerving, start with the tunnel, build up through the village, then have the train explosion, then have a chaotic finale with the space they have. Obviously with the space they have they couldn't do that normally due to there being nowhere for a queue to go. Covid seemingly forces their hand here as it means they can control guest flow through the tunnel better. 

 

The issue is, the maze is designed to flow from the train station to Samurai. The village looks great going that way, and boring going the other way (because you're not meant to see the back). The train is facing the wrong way and has less impact. The ending will be very open and weak. These are things which aren't easy changes, or cheap changes, and a quick fix round them isn't going to have much impact. So again, nice idea, but I can't see them executing it well.

 

Roots of Evil is a nice theme and backstory. As I said earlier, I don't see what they can do with the space to make it feel different to Blair (given that not much work has gone into the area at the moment). But hey, Blair was decent enough the past couple of years, so it'll be okay enough in its own right I'm sure.

 

 

The scare zones, however, sound good. I'm not fussed either way about IPs, but this is the first year since 2016 that IPs haven't been the focus, and the first since 2009 where we've had no IP maze. It's also a nice varied thematic line up: vampires, werewolves, hillbillies/chainsaws, clowns/freaks and aliens, plus the roamers (btw, a stretch pushing roaming actors as an experience, but whatever) and the ghosts and dark/creepy theme of the 2 mazes. They're not doing anything particularly original or groundbreaking, but sometimes that's a good way to get the quality right.

 

Interestingly, Swarm: Invasion isn't said to be a Scare Zone on the website, whilst all the other scare zones explicitly say 'Scare Zone'. So I have reservations there...almost not expecting actors, just set pieces.. But we'll see. 

 

Fearstival Arena looks like it'll be a mini freak show, and will probably reuse some Big Top props. A stage has been set up opposite Ghost Train for Oktoberfest, so they'll probably use that.

 

Hopefully Lycanthorpe High is another dance show type thing. Make it feel like a competition between the two. Links things together a bit more.

 

 

So all in all, some cause for optimism, but also a lot to be weary of. I hope for Thorpe's sake that the price point of the mazes. Some other stray thoughts...

 

-I like that they're calling it Fright Nights Fearstival. Helps show that it's not a normal Fright Nights. 

-I wonder if any of the scare zone themes will develop into fully fledged mazes in the future? Or if any of those themes were meant to be mazes this year?

-It's great to see practically the whole park have something Fright Nights based now. Swarm island, Lost City, Jungle, Amity, Old Town all have something! The quality of those things remains to be seen, but it's a start.

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For £10 I will expect to have a ball gag in my mouth, made to squeal like a pig and crawl around on all fours whilst being pushed about and then have a big fat man dressed as a baby put a custard pie in my face and throw straw at me #BigTopBraveItAlone #TheGoodOldDays #SharedBallGagNotCovidSecure

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The thing with the price is simple. With Alton Towers, the mazes are significantly higher quality than what Thorpe has given in recent years if you take away Big Top and Creek Freak Massacre. So I can justify paying the upcharge as the quality is there. 

 

When you are paying an upcharge on top of paying to come through the gate, the attraction had damn sure best be good. If Thorpe still had the quality that the old days had with Asylum and E10, I would be more than happy to part with my money.

 

Platform 15 however!! If that is worth paying £10 then I will walk through it stark naked.

 

Face it alone was only £15 for most its run for christ sake!!

 

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I actually quite like the lineup considering covid. The pricing however, yikes. I get the park is limited capacity, and they wanna make money. But juicing annual passholders like lemons feels a little wrong.. Charging to get in and then for the mazes as well.. Passholders already had it kinda rough having to book weeks in advance to even get in. This feels like the nail in the coffin, if you weren't already pi**ed off that you could barely ever get the date you wanted during the summer, now for FN you have to pay more than ever to get in which doesn't even include the mazes. As said the worst part is that Thorpe never really has had the quality of Scarefest. When you pay for scarefest mazes, you usually know its a well thought out, well themed, long attraction that is worth your money. Fright Nights however, unless Platform and Blair Witch II are drastically changed then honestly I see the reception being frosty. 

 

I do like the variety of scare zones/experiences/whatever some of these are. Its spread out across the park, and hopefully will give the park a better atmosphere than previous years. No IP's as well, and something around Swarm Island is a god-send and overdue. Even if its just some decoration.

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21 hours ago, Martin Doyle said:

The thing with the price is simple. With Alton Towers, the mazes are significantly higher quality than what Thorpe has given in recent years if you take away Big Top and Creek Freak Massacre. So I can justify paying the upcharge as the quality is there. 

 

When you are paying an upcharge on top of paying to come through the gate, the attraction had damn sure best be good. If Thorpe still had the quality that the old days had with Asylum and E10, I would be more than happy to part with my money.

 

Platform 15 however!! If that is worth paying £10 then I will walk through it stark naked.

 

Face it alone was only £15 for most its run for christ sake!!

 

 

21 hours ago, MattyMoo said:

For £10 I will expect to have a ball gag in my mouth, made to squeal like a pig and crawl around on all fours whilst being pushed about and then have a big fat man dressed as a baby put a custard pie in my face and throw straw at me #BigTopBraveItAlone #TheGoodOldDays #SharedBallGagNotCovidSecure

 

Very interesting insight into your wants and needs here gents.

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And here I am just hoping I get a glass of Prosecco or something for the cost of now going through the mazes, was a nice gesture in the early face it alone days. How I miss them!

 

Given how dreadful 2020 Halloween will be anyway I guess this is better than nothing.

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On 9/4/2020 at 11:01 AM, MattyMoo said:

For £10 I will expect to have a ball gag in my mouth, made to squeal like a pig and crawl around on all fours whilst being pushed about and then have a big fat man dressed as a baby put a custard pie in my face and throw straw at me #BigTopBraveItAlone #TheGoodOldDays #SharedBallGagNotCovidSecure

Sounds like an average evening in Staines to me.

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Plenty of attractions of different types operate free (admission included) timed ticket slots on a first-come-first-served basis, so let's not pretend that charging £10 per maze was Thorpe's only option here.

 

I understand that the parks have suffered a lot financially this year, but nevertheless I don't think it's right that Thorpe have introduced such a hefty fee for these mazes when they are essentially one that has been around for years and Blair Witch without the IP.  Ultimately I do not believe it represents good value for money and it feels as though Thorpe are exploiting the fact that they are one of few operating Halloween events this year by charging such a high amount.

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Bit late, I know...

I understand the reasons why they wanna charge so much for the mazes... However there's absolutely no chance I'm paying £10 for Platform 15 or Blair witch (or its new equivalent). Only mazes I'd pay a tenner for are Ex10 and Asylum. 

 

The only good thing I can see coming out of this event really is Thorpe hopefully carrying this improvement in parkwide atmosphere and theming into future events. Hopefully one day we'll see both better mazes again, and consistent Halloween Horror Nights style scarezones and park experiences that have always been missing. 

Oh and the fact they finally decided to ditch the IPs which have consistently proven to be inferior to their own idea experiences year after year. Thank god for that, hopefully no more walking dead🤞🏼

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Update from Theme Park Guide: https://themeparkguide.co.uk/news-page/Fright-Nights-2020-Preparations

 

Should stress there's a couple of spoilers in there, particularly for Platform 15.

 

Speaking of Platform 15, a thought I've had recently. What if this year they completely get rid of the tunnel, and use that area as a queue? Having the entrance to the maze where it's ended in previous years leaves effectively no space for a queue, which is necessary even with timed tickets. They could obviously get rid of a bit of it, but I could see them just getting rid of it entirely.

 

Of course, the reason for the tunnel idea because, technically speaking, people aren't allowed to walk down that route whilst Saw is operating unless undercover. So an undercover queue would still be necessary, but that's easily sorted out really.

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Not sure if this should go here or the covid thread but if the news is right and there is the potential for a 2 week lockdown in October (which could be during the half term weeks to minimise school distruption, and naturally be over halloween) that would really wipe out the majority of the fright night dates. Would they even hold it at all if it was just for 2 weekends? Hoping it doesn't come to that of course and its just a rumour/speculation, as it would be disastrous for the leisure and hospitality industry in general. 

 

Also hoping they can still do the house part of the village scene in platform 15, highlight of the maze was often someone popping out of the fridge if you didn't expect it lol!

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I'm sure Thorpe (and Towers) are, simply put, bricking it right now. Everything is so up in the air and there's so little they can control. More and more independent events are cancelling too, despite maintaining they would open - I can only think of a handful still running now. 

 

I guess at this point they'll just run when they can. Everything is still being set up and they've spent the money on designing and building stuff, hiring actors, etc. At this point, they have to run whenever they can otherwise it's all for waste (a risk that they were no doubt aware of).

 

As for the village section, I see no reason why it can't stay during Covid. Since you'll be in your own bubble it doesn't particularly matter if you enter an enclosed section briefly. How they'll manage it with actors though is a different question. And whether the village section is still usable too..

 

I also wonder what the situation is for actor experiences and the "Rule of 6". If a group of 6 enters these maze, then technically an actor makes it an unallowable group of 7 at any point. I'm sure that's me overthinking it, but the government's rules are usually ridiculous, so who knows what their rule is in that sense.  

 

Vaguely related too, I wonder how Thorpe and Towers will cope with the 10pm restriction coming to place? It's not uncommon for some coasters to have longer queues at park close - will they be having to stop running rides at 10pm regardless? And it limits people staying onsite with the evening meals. Not a desirable situation. Obviously that's something that will come clearer later today, hopefully, but all a bit of a faff. 

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Fright nights is advertised until 9pm but queues have been hitting 2-3 hours lately (it’s a joke) so there’s no reason it would be any different during fright nights, arguably the busiest time of year.

 

I’d imagine rides with a queue longer than 60 minutes would have to close the queue-line early(based on the approx queue time) so that the last ride has ended by 10pm and guests are on their way out of the park. Logistically might seem quite complicated but is the process for european parks such as Phantasialand and efteling.

 

Thats if the event can run at all of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if hospitality was cut by this time next month with the way things are going again. 

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Yes, worrying times - think Tulleys played a blinder in retrospect... it would be far more damaging to go ahead with an event that doesn't go ahead/gets cancelled half way through vs. no event at all.

 

The 10pm rule is for bars and restaurants, is it not? Therefore, they just don't serve any food or drink after 10?

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