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Sadly its not really by choice that things like the organist fall into disrepair. Unlike Disney and Universal, Merlin Parks don't have a huge budget for fixing up themselves. Unless its attached to a new project or an IP, there is no push for things like that to get done as it is not going to attract any more guests. Not many guests complain or even notice how things aren't working. 

 

I am sure that if you gave the parks the opportunity to refurbish the parks they would jump to the opportunity. If there weren't so many "H&S issues" with the chandeliers, they would be up right now otherwise they would have been straight in the skip.

 

It shouldn't be a PR stunt (Towers Loving Care). It should be something they do regardless of if it will attract more guests. However that is not the way Merlin parks are organised and set up at the moment.

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10 minutes ago, A Lost Zookeeper said:

If there weren't so many "H&S issues" with the chandeliers, they would be up right now otherwise they would have been straight in the skip.

The chandeliers haven't been binned, just stored at the back of the station, you can see them if you look closely as the train goes back into the platform.

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On 11/5/2018 at 3:33 PM, Kerfuffle said:

It's just sad to know that Chessington apparently take no notice of the animation...yet still decide a couple years ago that it's the HAIR that needs an "upgrade". So now the organist not only doesn't move much (if not at all) but also appears to belong in the Georgian era, while not being remotely intimidating by any means.

Interestingly the current hair is near identical to how the same organist character looked in the Black Forest Chateau. Personally I don't think he looks any less effective, it was always a Phantom of the Opera style vibe the room was going for. Although the theatrical humour in it doesn't come across at all now, it's in such a bad way.

What really lets him down is the fact he moves so little on the rare occasion he does work. The park are wanting to get him moving, but will it be a proper refurbishment to get back to its original lifelike standard? If they did do it, that would look brilliant.

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23 hours ago, A Lost Zookeeper said:

Sadly its not really by choice that things like the organist fall into disrepair. Unlike Disney and Universal, Merlin Parks don't have a huge budget for fixing up themselves. Unless its attached to a new project or an IP, there is no push for things like that to get done as it is not going to attract any more guests. Not many guests complain or even notice how things aren't working. ... It should be something they do regardless of if it will attract more guests. However that is not the way Merlin parks are organised and set up at the moment.

The Disney / Universal are the biggest, wealthiest entertainment companies on the planet and are also in competition with each other, so I wouldnt say that's a fair example. It needn't be as good standards as Disney, it just has to be decent.

A better comparison would be the likes of Europa Park, Efteling, Phantasialand, which are all run by companies infinitely smaller than Merlin, but they maintain their parks fantastically. A trip there costs you about the same as a Merlin park but is infinitely better value.

True it's not Chessington's choice that they get no budget or structure for this kind of maintenance, it is Merlin's method. Like you say, if it isn't able to be rebranded then they just don't care, this is their strategy. Even with new rides, once the press launch is over they rapidly stop caring. It's not the attitude of a real entertainment company interested in return customers and long term benefits for their parks.

However, Chessington is particularly bad at maintaining its effects and attractions, compared to Alton Towers for example. Sometimes it feels like, top down, Chessington are totally unaware that audio, lighting, etc even makes a jot of difference to guests.

You would very soon notice the difference in guests' reactions if these attractions as good as they were originally. The fact that "not many" of them actively complain about specifics is true but not really a valid reason to not maintain something. Why should it be the guests' perogetive to know the details of lighting, sound, animation, etc? They are paying for a good experience and instead getting a sub par overall experience.

IL Bubbleworks had plenty of regular complaints about how poor it was long before it got removed, nothing was done about it for years until they could get a new brand in. Also, the fact the park looked shabby and run down for years was a frequent online complaint from your average guests, but all that happened was they got the local painter decorators in to paint one facade per year.

The only excuse Merlin have is they can just hype up the brand and monopolise the UK market so nobody knows the parks could be any better.

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Had 39 rides on Vampire today! Old music's been restored inside the station though I'm not an audio expert and don't really know more in depth (it sounds good) The lighting in the station also looks quite a bit better. Looking great and vampire is running absolutely beautifully. 

IMG_20181201_105839.jpg

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37 minutes ago, Sarger said:

Had 39 rides on Vampire today! Old music's been restored inside the station though I'm not an audio expert and don't really know more in depth (it sounds good) The lighting in the station doesn't look like a school disco any more either! Looking great and vampire is running absolutely beautifully. 

 

Good to hear they did go ahead with the various changes they said earlier! Looks like they've finally replaced all the light bulbs on the organ (even if it's not as good as it used to be it's still nicer to have it properly lit). Are the floods in the ceiling just a static colour now?

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2 minutes ago, EpicSmatty said:

 

Good to hear they did go ahead with the various changes they said earlier! Looks like they've finally replaced all the light bulbs on the organ (even if it's not as good as it used to be it's still nicer to have it properly lit). Are the floods in the ceiling just a static colour now?

 

As far as I can remember, yes. Lights on offload side are now purple, too.

 

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Thank goodness the original music is back in the station. It was so embarrassing it was ever replaced with that YouTube download that didn't even loop properly. 

 

Now all they need to do* is produce a proper ambient track for the queue line, playing the station music out there ruins the effect so badly. 

 

 

*Besides bringing back the chandeliers, coffin bays, cloth dressing, lightning crashes, crypt queue area, and relighting the station.

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its a cool video, so funny to see staff larking about on the ride's supposed closing down day. A couple pretty strange things in there if you watch the whole thing, haha!

Shame it doesnt show the station under the show lighting but even in work lights, shows how fallen the brilliant station is now. People said Wicker Man set an amazing standard for a themed coaster in Britain  (which it did) – but truly Chessington had it even better years ago with this incredible Vampire queue and preshow!

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On 12/10/2018 at 5:40 PM, Wumbamillio said:

its a cool video, so funny to see staff larking about on the ride's supposed closing down day. A couple pretty strange things in there if you watch the whole thing, haha!

Shame it doesnt show the station under the show lighting but even in work lights, shows how fallen the brilliant station is now. People said Wicker Man set an amazing standard for a themed coaster in Britain  (which it did) – but truly Chessington had it even better years ago with this incredible Vampire queue and preshow!

This ride used to be such a spectacle. It's sad that the kids of today can't experience its greatness.

 

Can you imagine a beloved disneyland ride ending up in this state? No you can't, because disney would never let that happen.

 

Is it wrong to want a disney-style guest experience from UK theme parks?

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Vampire really is in a mess isn't it, the station looks and sounds awful, none of the animations or lighting effects working and the state of the ride itself... wow.

 

Also Aldi adverts playing in the queueline... REALLY?

 

This video isn't even when it was at its best, but the difference in how the soundtrack sounds there and now is massive.

 

 

 

:(

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15 hours ago, Coaster said:

Vampire really is in a mess isn't it, the station looks and sounds awful, none of the animations or lighting effects working and the state of the ride itself... wow.

 

Also Aldi adverts playing in the queueline... REALLY?

 

This video isn't even when it was at its best, but the difference in how the soundtrack sounds there and now is massive.

 

 

 

:(

Nothing new about the Aldi ads in the queue, I recall over a decade ago when every queue with a telly had that bloody muller yogurt  advert constantly.

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The external ads have been around for a long time. It's a decision that comes when the parks / Merlin higher-ups have partnership/sponsorship/advertising deals with these brands. Usually, they say "we have X number of screens, guests will see them Y number of times a day, and will see them for Z number of minutes", and the brands will pay a nice lump of money to have their names plastered on there. Little to no consideration comes goes into where those screens are and the surrounding area.

 

This is one of the benefits, from a thematic storytelling perspective, of having attractions themed to IPs, since it means no other brands can advertise in that space.

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17 hours ago, Coaster said:

This video isn't even when it was at its best, but the difference in how the soundtrack sounds there and now is massive.

A genuine question, have you visited this winter? The original soundtrack has been restored and the bad cassette recording is finally gone.

Not to its orginal 1990 state with the corridor audio and zoned organ, but definitely to how it was at the time that video clip was recorded, the way it was in the 2000s.
If you have visited this month and think it still sounds bad, it may be more to do with the aging state of the sound system, or that it needs tweaking now that the original audio is back.

 

Although I still think having the same music outdoors on those PA speakers numbs the impact of hearing it the first time in the station, hopefully they will change this to an ambient track outdoors.

 

1 hour ago, JoshC. said:

This is one of the benefits, from a thematic storytelling perspective, of having attractions themed to IPs, since it means no other brands can advertise in that space.

IPs are purely for business purposes and really nothing to do with thematic storytelling. The motorway service station type ads in Chessington's queue are super tacky, gives a really commercial impression about the park. Yuck!

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11 minutes ago, Wumbamillio said:

IPs are purely for business purposes and really nothing to do with thematic storytelling. The motorway service station type ads in Chessington's queue are super tacky, gives a really commercial impression about the park. Yuck!

I've worded that poorly. My point was more that contracts with IPs almost always mean that another brand can't use that space - you wouldn't (or, at the very least, shouldn't) see any adverts for Aldi, Pepperami and whatever else in the queue for Gruffalo, Saw, CBeebies, etc.

 

Since a big complaint in the past was that external adverts take away from the story / theme of the ride, I was saying a bonus of IPs is that you won't see them there.

 

Agree that, generally speaking, the adverts they do have are generally a bit naff, though.

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2 hours ago, Wumbamillio said:

A genuine question, have you visited this winter? The original soundtrack has been restored and the bad cassette recording is finally gone.

Not to its orginal 1990 state with the corridor audio and zoned organ, but definitely to how it was at the time that video clip was recorded, the way it was in the 2000s.
If you have visited this month and think it still sounds bad, it may be more to do with the aging state of the sound system, or that it needs tweaking now that the original audio is back.

 

Although I still think having the same music outdoors on those PA speakers numbs the impact of hearing it the first time in the station, hopefully they will change this to an ambient track outdoors.

Yes, I visited yesterday.  I'd noticed the track sounded slightly better, but the sound system/volume of the audio still sounded quite muffled, and nowhere near to the same effect as in the video link I posted.

 

It is also still doing that weird thing where it sort-of cuts out as the loudest part comes on.

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Can't say how great it felt to hear the original soundtrack again when I went the other day. It may not quite have its former glory but hopefully it means Chessington are onto something.

 

Only critique I have though is the new PA. Sure it briefly tricked me into thinking the operators were doing it themselves like they used to, but regardless, I think the guy who recorded it maybe needs to go back to acting school...

3 hours ago, Wumbamillio said:

Although I still think having the same music outdoors on those PA speakers numbs the impact of hearing it the first time in the station, hopefully they will change this to an ambient track outdoors.

I would physically pay Chessington to bring back the original queue ambience! :ninja:

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Ive not heard it in there myself but remember well the effect the audio used to have, hopefully is just yet to be tweaked (the ride had almost no winter period) than left in a half-done state.

Great that it's now looping properly, has the SFX back and no longer sounds like an awful warbled recording. But why did it ever get in such a bad state in the first place? Complete carelessness.

Although I'm not sure that rubbish phone recording really gives any accurate impression of how it sounded, other than showing the original mix and sound effects. But it definitely used to sound suitably loud and really fun, which it needs back.

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1 hour ago, Wumbamillio said:

Great that it's now looping properly

I am not sure it is looping properly. Heard it cut out and start again twice whilst in the station a couple of days ago. Certainly better than it was beforehand though!

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The atmosphere was really good in the station the other day. I don't know how it was in the past but the soundtrack was a massive improvement, and the lighting was much better too. I just hope they get better announcements because as Kerfuffle said, he sounds bored during them, and the music cuts out during them which is annoying.

 

What wasn't so good, was operations. It was on one train, with the other one seemingly in parts bagged up next to the brake run which is worrying. I understand it's just a Christmas event, but it was causing much longer queues than it should have had. I really, really hope that second train is back by March.

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It'll be winter maintenance. One train will have been serviced now / in the weekdays during the event, and the train that's been running for the event will be serviced over the next couple of months. 

 

It will be running two trains come the main season, although only time will tell if the extra pressure of having it open over Christmas causes a delay to the operating of it. If it's been planned and thought through properly, though, it'll be fine.

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The music in the station sounds so much better now. I'm so glad the original track has finally been restored.

 

That track is a Gothic masterpiece, the other one sounds awful in comparison.

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I visited recently.. Well what did I expect. The original audio track in there is great, but of course the sound system is so busted (probably speakers that are a million years old and parts blown) that it makes no real difference anyway. It used to be really good in there!

The old queueline 'scenes' through the windows have also been boarded up. The station is as bare and sterile as ever, no real lighting or detail anymore. Thank god the rubbish ceiling LEDs have stopped changing colour.

I don't go in looking for problems like some inspector, I just go in and can't help remember how fun it used to be. What's entertaining about it now? It's just 'there'.
It's gone from a -3 to a -1 . Will Merlin spend proper money to restore The Vampire for the thousands who ride it every day? Probably not.

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The organ track is being played on its own without the backing track, so you;re only getting half of the sound.

 

Plus the backing track is the one that has all the bass, so the music sounds tinny.

 

It also sounds like the speakers on the organ stage are only ones working.

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