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Not once did D.M.K mention crowds or the park being busy as a source of disappointment. All the issues raised were operational and customer services ones completely in the parks control.

Thanks @ben199 and @Coaster for supporting the points I raised in my post.    @Glitch, I feel if you re-read my post, you would understand my gripes are nothing to do with the attendance lev

Having been a merlin pass holder for a number of years I have to say it's about time the management at Thorpe Park got their **** together!Visited 14/6/21 and the number of breakdowns of rides was a j

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Nice to see they've extended the opening hours over the holidays, defiantly needed. Thorpe arguably has the worst opening hours out of the 4 merlin parks in the last year so hopefully more extensions to come.

 

26 minutes ago, Nathan.cmw said:

Evening everyone!

 

Just brought tickets for 10th June, and I'm tempted to pay for unlimited fast track ūüė¨

Does anyone think it will be worth it, or a waste of money?

Thanks 

 

Evening, I personally would never pay for unlimited fast track but that's up to you really. It's hard to predict really how busy it'll be, its a weekday the week after school holidays so should be off peak. But with social distancing and unis/colleges breaking up it may be busy.

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Today was really quite busy, most coasters going between 60-100 minutes and Samurai, Rush and Vortex being around 45-60. Really have no clue when schools break up/half-term dates but, being an off-peak day I was a bit surprised. I think if you like the fastrack then go for it because it seems people are eager to go now lockdown's easing off and its almost certain that the next few weeks are going to be REALLY busy.

 

I personally also dont love fastrack and you should really be able to squeeze all the coasters in and its quite expensive but, again, its up to you!

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19 hours ago, RobF said:

Thorpe copied October fest

this just seems a rehash of the mardi gras idea at Towers.

 

Thorpe seem to be unable to come up woth Unique ideas at the moment

To be fair they are literally all the same company  - I wouldn’t say it’s unusual parks do similar / same events 

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The events for this year just got announced, only 3 this time around though. A new one called park vibes whatever the hell that is from 21st-25th of July was announced a few days ago I believe. Then obviously Oktoberfest was announced and Fright Nights also got confirmed as expected for the 8-10th and 15-31st.

 

Quite suprised theres only 4 days worth of events during the summer, I'd love to see summer nights return one day. They were a hell of alot of fun.

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31 minutes ago, LukeP_8 said:

The events for this year just got announced, only 3 this time around though. A new one called park vibes whatever the hell that is from 21st-25th of July was announced a few days ago I believe. Then obviously Oktoberfest was announced and Fright Nights also got confirmed as expected for the 8-10th and 15-31st.

 

Quite suprised theres only 4 days worth of events during the summer, I'd love to see summer nights return one day. They were a hell of alot of fun.

 

The summer event is 21st June - 25th July, so over a month long

 

I would also love to see Summer Nights return, its a shame seeing the park close at 6 or 7 when the parks still busy

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On 5/28/2021 at 3:19 PM, RobF said:

Thorpe copied October fest

this just seems a rehash of the mardi gras idea at Towers.

 

Thorpe seem to be unable to come up woth Unique ideas at the moment

 

Interestingly, I heard that Thorpe were the first park to come up with the idea of running an Oktoberfest event (discussions took place during 2019). However, they weren't given the budget to execute it, so it was never part of their (pre-Covid) 2020 line up. 

At some point, Towers then went for it, and then with all the changes that happened due to Covid, Thorpe had enough budget to do some form of Oktoberfest event.

 

Quite how and when Towers got the Oktoberfest idea is a little up for debate. I heard one version of the story that said Thorpe came up with the idea, but Towers' size and scope meant they were effectively given it. Others that it was just a coincidence.

 

 

I don't see the problem with the parks sharing events, as long as they're different enough. No one complains that they both have Halloween events, for example. 

My main, albeit slightly stupid, worry with the ParkVibes event is that it starts right after Towers' Mardi Gras finishes. Could that just have been done so there's no overlap? Or is it because a lot of the external food stalls are the same and just going from one location to the next? 

 

Also feels weird that there's no event happening in August. 

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Does anyone know what's wrong with Tidal Wave? Saw some pictures yesterday with it not having any water and I think its been out for a few days now.

 

On a side note I believe tickets for Thorpe are sold out now up until Saturday.

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With queues seemingly reaching 120 - 150 mins this week they seem to have come up with a unhelpful trick with the display boards to try and reduce people complaining about the initial times they see. They are putting 90+ mins instead. I see this doing more harm as many will read it as 90 mins and then by very upset when they wait 120 to 150 mins. 

 

 

Screenshot_20210602_121957.jpg

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1 hour ago, jessica2 said:

Does anyone know what's wrong with Tidal Wave? Saw some pictures yesterday with it not having any water and I think its been out for a few days now.

 

I believe it is currently waiting on a part. I think it's been removed from the app, so will probably be down for a while. Rotten timing given the weather and it being half term.

 

1 hour ago, Mattgwise said:

With queues seemingly reaching 120 - 150 mins this week they seem to have come up with a unhelpful trick with the display boards to try and reduce people complaining about the initial times they see. They are putting 90+ mins instead. I see this doing more harm as many will read it as 90 mins and then by very upset when they wait 120 to 150 mins. 

 

 

Screenshot_20210602_121957.jpg

 

This is a dreadful idea in my opinion.

 

Despite what many people think, queue prediction is hard. Few parks actually manage to do it well in my opinion. At the moment, it is even more volatile thanks to Covid and social distancing (or lack thereof).

 

I imagine this idea is being tried for the following reasons:

1. They don't know what the queue times are when they're very long

2. They're getting a lot of complaints because of long advertised queue times

 

When it comes to solving problem 1, there's not much they can do short term. The park is busy, queues will be long. But that in itself is a problem.

A quick look on social media suggests that plenty of people feel that numbers aren't being restricted enough for Covid. Should the park, in future, be restricting numbers more?

Should they now be looking at relaxing social distancing measures on rides (filling up all seats / rows)?

 

The second problem is more insightful to their thought process. Anyone who's filled out one of the park's survey machines will know that you're asked a question to the effect of 'Did queueing spoil your day?'. This is a pretty big KPI that all the Merlin parks (and likely parks outside of Merlin) are interested in. Presumably, at the moment, they're getting a very high percentage of people answering "Yes" to 'Did queueing spoil your day?'. They've probably also noticed that "Rides per head" (the average number of rides each person has ridden) is low.

 

As such, one possible conclusion that could be drawn is that "People aren't riding rides and saying that queueing has spoilt their day. We're advertising long queue times, so maybe people are put off by the long queue times". The solution there is then to not advertise long queue times, but instead advertise a minimum waiting time.

 

That might not be what has happened. To be honest, I'd be surprised if there's people looking into KPI scores and probing in that way to come to that conclusion in that way. But it's a possible thought process. Equally, it could just be that they're getting a ton of complaints of 'The queues are all saying they're 2 hours'.

 

As Matt says, people will not see the '+' here, and just assume a 90 minute queue. People leave common sense at the door when going to a theme park.

 

There's another problem I've skirted around here. Operations in general. In my experience this year, they've been a mixed bag. Certainly not as bad as they have been in recent years, but not as good as they should be. Why that is, I don't know. But they need to come up with practical solutions to be able to get more consistent operations that are sensible and in line with what the rides can achieve, and with what the park needs.

 

As for the more specific topic at hand...

1. If this is a trial to see if '90+' works, I hope they see it doesn't work, and they see that quickly.

2. If there's concerns about accuracy, introduce broader time frames, especially for higher values.

3. Work on actually make queue times accurate. More on this below.

4. The park need to understand that, ultimately, long queues are happening 

 

To expand on these points...

2.

Perhaps they should introduce ranges like '90-100', '100-120', '120-150', '150-180'. When a queue is at that high level, it doesn't matter if it's 120 or 140 really, it's still a 2-2.5hour commitment of your day. 

Next to no one is going to enter a 140 minute queue, and then check their watch just before boarding and go 'Ooh, well that queue only took us 137 minutes, great job!'

 

3.

I'm sure some remember a trial that happened on Saw a few years back to improve queue time accuracy. This would display queue times accurate to the minute, rather than in increments of 5-10 minutes. There's more details on this technology, provided by a company call Headmapper, here: http://www.headmapper.com/case-studies

 

Interestingly, there is also a report which outlines how successful the trial was in 2015, which is largely positive. The technology was again used in 2017 for another trial. One reason why it didn't seem to carry on was costs involved with the product. Another is because it's a bit of faffy system which requires fixed cameras at certain locations (when usually, cameras are need to be moveable for security purposes)....so it would involve the costly installation of more cameras.

 

So if the park really wants to improve queue accuracy and have a positive impact on people's day out, they could put their money where their mouth is and fork out for this. But then that still doesn't address the above point. And why spend out so much for something that doesn't tackle all the issues here.

 

There are alternatives though, which are much cheaper. However, getting people within the park to get on board with the idea that queue accuracy is important is much harder than one might expect. So unless there's a shift in philosophy on that, this will never happen.

 

4.

I'm not saying that the park don't know that long queues happen, or that they're bad or anything. But from my experience, there's a certain fear in acknowledging that the park will have long queues, and that this impacts that all important aforementioned KPI. Instead, there's an over-focus on improving queue accuracy, short term incentives to ride staff for improving throughputs and other weird stuff.

 

Instead, there should be an acceptance that queues will be long as it stands and looking at ways to sustainably ensure that this causes minimal impact to someone's day. This should include making queues more interesting to be in, investing in the park so there's more things to do and making the park a more pleasant place to be in outside of the rides. And that should happen on top of the park improving queue accuracy and throughputs. Even if that should be a secondary focus.

 

 

---

 

Wow, that was a bit of rambling rant. I'm sure some people on here know this is something I've had prior involvement in in one way or another. and even if not, it's probably clear I have some level of interest in this at a deeper level. Obviously there's many issues here, and many of them are long term, costly things to sort out. It's worth looking at short term alternatives, as well as little things that can be trialled in the short term to get a gauge on if they work. But honestly, this is the equivalent of sticking a used plaster on a wound that needs stitches.

 

In short, the park need to acknowledge that they will always have long queue times, invest in the park to improve the number of things people can do, have queue lines be more interesting to be in and put some actual thought into how to estimate queue lengths over just picking a number out of thin air

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Tidal Wave, Flying Fish and Samurai have all been removed from the app over the last few days so I assume they will all be down for some time. Shame as they need as many rides available as possible this week, and Tidal Wave is a huge loss with the weather we have had this week. 

 

I agree the '90 mins +' is an awful idea and is just going to result in more complaints. 


Its quite clear that all the merlin parks across the board have had there capacities increased this year, and while they are still running reduced capacities on a lot of rides this is a problem. Hopefully social distancing will be scrapped as planned next month, if not I think merlin really need to look at the capacity at all there parks ... 

 

Interesting stuff re Saws queue times a few years back, I didn't realise a third party company was involved. Shame they didn't continue it and roll it out to more rides as I thought it worked quite well.

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Anyone actually know the numbers of people currently on park in it's current capacity? Literally every coaster is out the queues, rumba rapids up to teacups and the flats almost full. There's still a tonne of people queueing to get in. 

 

Three rides being down plus timed tickets and fastrack/Rap isn't helping.

 

Edit: Fish has reopened. 

 

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I have no idea what they think they were doing coz this 90+ mins thing is completely misleading and I can guarantee guests would rather be told a queue is 150 minutes than just guess....... Feel bad for the guest services team these next few days are gonna be rough¬†ūüėĒ¬†

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On 6/3/2021 at 12:03 PM, Mattgwise said:

Anyone actually know the numbers of people currently on park in it's current capacity? Literally every coaster is out the queues, rumba rapids up to teacups and the flats almost full. There's still a tonne of people queueing to get in. 

 

Three rides being down plus timed tickets and fastrack/Rap isn't helping.

 

Edit: Fish has reopened. 

 


I seriously question whether they have actually reduced visitor numbers - I went today and left at 1.30pm.  Colossus shut until after filming for This Morning, Tidal Wave not running (although in this weather I doubt it would be popular) and samurai has scaffolding around it.  We managed 2 rides on TWD purely because at the start of the day there was no queue, then went to Saw, teacups, had an early lunch, did Stealth then left.  The queues were massive - even the dodgems have a gigantic queue.  I honestly felt so bad for the people in the queue for Storm Surge - I wouldn’t queue more than 5 mins personally.

 

Today was my 3rd visit this season and every time we have left early and gone shopping.  It’s just not enjoyable currently and it’s frustrating that you have people on top of each other in the queues but then social distancing is in place on the rides which lowers the throughput.  I totally understand why but it just seems bloody pointless when you have a complete stranger literally breathing down your next whilst in the queue. 

 

So far this year I’ve done Thorpe x 3, Chessington twice and Legoland once and Thorpe just seems manic - last time I went I took anxiety meds whilst being herded like cattle behind the gates in the park until 10pm - it makes zero sense to hold guests back in giant groups when they could let them disperse into the park and be more spread out.  Today whilst queuing to get in I took anxiety meds.

 

My MAP runs out in just under a month and I can’t see me renewing - I know covid isn’t the parks fault and guests not sticking to the distancing but what is the point of the covid marshals?  They literally walk among the crowds.

 

Queues today were horrendous and that was in awful weather conditions.  I knew it would be rammed before going so only expected to get on a couple of rides but I really feel for people who have paid for a day ticket to spend the majority of the time in a queue.

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The capacity has been reduced, but pre covid the park never really hit capacity anyway. So even though the capacity has been reduced, there is pretty much the same amount of people they would get on a standard weekend. Mix that in with the reduced capacity on rides and social distancing, the park looks and feels busier than pre covid.

 

I really don't think they should be advertising the fact they have a reduced capacity, same with all the merlin parks. It's giving people the wrong idea that the parks are going to be less crowded when in reality, there is pretty much the same crowds as normal. 

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I really feel given the crowd levels this past week and some of the measures still in place on the rides that the park should have stopped selling fastrack again. Of course, being a business they are going to want to bring back lost income, however It really made a difference last season and given its now busier than any day I remembered last season I feel it could do without that slowing the queues down massively. 

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Felt the same way on both of my trips to Towers. The parks just aren't enjoyable at the moment. They're fine outside of holiday times when the visitor numbers are lower and you are able to keep distant. But at the moment, the higher park capacity mixed with the lower ride capacities that haven't caught up yet, makes for a miserable experience. 

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10 hours ago, ThorpeAddict said:

The capacity has been reduced, but pre covid the park never really hit capacity anyway. So even though the capacity has been reduced, there is pretty much the same amount of people they would get on a standard weekend. Mix that in with the reduced capacity on rides and social distancing, the park looks and feels busier than pre covid.

 

I really don't think they should be advertising the fact they have a reduced capacity, same with all the merlin parks. It's giving people the wrong idea that the parks are going to be less crowded when in reality, there is pretty much the same crowds as normal. 

 

This is what I feared was the case.

 

I also think that last year the maximum capacity was significantly lower at first, and slowly climbed up. Not sure whether this year's capacity is the same as the highest capacity we saw last year, but in any case, I don't think we ever saw the park 'full' last year either?

 

It's a massive shot in the foot for the park. And as said earlier, I think the parks now need to take stock and either reduce capacity of their parks or increase ride capacity again. They simply cannot carry on in their current form imo

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Thorpe have announced that every day up to 20th June will see closing extended by an hour, meaning 6pm closes on weekdays and 7pm closes on weekends. 

 

The park looked extremely busy today with many '90+ min' queues advertised. It's a catch 22 situation at the moment - it's good to see the park popular and attraction people, but a shame to see they don't seem to be able to handle the crowds fully.

 

Currently it is back to the 5pm/6pm cycle from the 21st, which is when the ParkVibes event is due to start. I expect those hours have yet to be finalised and will be at least 6pm every day...hopefully longer.

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Good to see them extending hours again, I imagine this will just continue getting extended and we will see the park close at 7 throughout the summer holidays + weekends.

 

Really hoping we'll get 10pm Fright Nights back, but looks like they've used them hours on Fridays / Saturdays during Oktoberfest instead which is a shame.

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4 minutes ago, ThorpeAddict said:

Really hoping we'll get 10pm Fright Nights back, but looks like they've used them hours on Fridays / Saturdays during Oktoberfest instead which is a shame.

 

I'm hoping that the Fright Nights hours listed at the moment (9pm close) are just conservative because of potential changes that could happen because of Covid and those restrictions. 

 

We've seen that under normal circumstances there's demand for 10pm closes, and if current form is to go on, the park is going to be popular enough to demand it.

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1 hour ago, JoshC. said:

 

I'm hoping that the Fright Nights hours listed at the moment (9pm close) are just conservative because of potential changes that could happen because of Covid and those restrictions. 

 

We've seen that under normal circumstances there's demand for 10pm closes, and if current form is to go on, the park is going to be popular enough to demand it.

 

I really hope so too, as you said there is demand for it and the 1 hour really does make a difference.

 

The only thing that makes me think otherwise is with the 9pm closes there is 20 hours knocked off Fright Nights, and exactly 20 hours have been added to Oktoberfest (+2 hours on 5 Fridays and Saturdays) which makes me think they didn't get any extra budget for opening hours for Oktoberfest and have simply moved the hours from Fright Nights. 

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Impossible to recommend thorpe at the moment. Its far too packed and every single ride is breaking down multiple times a day.

 

If you want to get on anything, youre better off keeping an eye on the app for whatever ride has broken down, then going and joining that queue in the hope that it’ll re-open on 60mins or less. 

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The 2021 season so far has been an absolute shambles and it's evident from the comments on social platforms. Seems both Chessington and the Towers are suffering with similar problems. 

 

We recently visited TP and I got our money back after a terrible day - although it was evident that Guest Services were suffering. 

 

This is solely based on opinion but I found the main issues were:

  1. Multiple rides down all-day and at least one major attraction "delayed" at any one time. The amount of "technical difficulties" they have with rides at Merlin parks has become evident in recent years. 
  2. Pre-COVID attendance levels but with COVID protocols still in place. The protocol of wiping down the rides every 30mins - 1hr is ridiculous. The staff were half-heartedly spraying the rides, most the time missing seats while chatting away, using the time as an break. Witnessed this multiple times throughout the day. 
  3. Upselling of Fastrack was intense. Staff obviously tasked with hard-selling Fastrack. At the start of the day, staff were repeatedly mentioning they were expecting 90min+ queues. 
  4. General operations were really hit-and-miss. There just doesn't seem to be the desire from staff to get throughput up. 

Really hoping things improve but we've decided to stay away from the parks for the remainder of the season. 

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  • JoshC. changed the title to 2021 Season

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