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Will

Is the Uk Theme Park Industry going down the drain?

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Are other British Theme Parks going down the drain?Alton: The place is supposed to be number 1 and they cant even get half the things they want right. The Flume, Enterprise and Submission are crap, Gloomy Wood and Katanga Canyon haven't seen development in ages. Adventure Land is crap and UG Land have major theme clashes. Oblivion, Nemesis and AIR are the only things they got right.I love Alton Towers, so this is heartbreaking that they had effin locals being so damn out of order - don't they realise that they are keeping the local town from going bust.Other Merlin Parks:CWoA: No new ride or coaster since 2004 - 6 years (assuming 2010 is our year) But I love the 2009 developments.Thorpe: Concreate island with carnival and un-themed rides. No landscaping, rides always breakdown, queues always with chavs running aroundOther UK Parks:Drayton Manor: Don't get me started one car for G-Force? And they're wanting a hotel with waterpark? :(BPB: Cramped ridesOakwood: No new ridesLWV: No new rides since forever and their latest attempt is a fibre-glass river rapids.All the other parks in the UK are either crap or gone/going soon into adminstration/bankruptcy that Paultons, Adventure Island and Flamingo land are a few of the only non-Merlin British parks that seem to be doing things right.The £1 Million Pound question is:Are other British Theme Parks going down the drain? With the recession and everything that has been happening, especially to Camelot, I can realistically see LWV, Oakwood and Drayton Manor going bust with Merlin Ent buying them. What are your thoughts?

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Just today the complete opposite was in the pape about Chssington. They are employing 600 staff this year with expectations of it to be one of their busiest seasons in a long time, this is expected due to the amount of people who would plan to go abroad for a holiday but will instead be visiting somewhere more local such as Chessington.

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I notice Adventure Island has been left off the list...A UK Park that is actually doing well, while some of the inland parks have been on the decline, AI''s been climbing the ladder.Look at the recent investments:2004 - Zamperla DiskO & Sky Drop (the only other rides of this type in the UK were at Great Yarmouth, installed at the same time) as well as two home-built rides, 'Sk8Borda' and 'Jumping Jolly Rogers'2006 - New home-built rides, a special effects cinema and a spinning ride 'Fireball'2007 - Rage, goes without saying really2008 - Over The Hill, a very heavily themed dark ride2009 - A new rebuild of the Whip ride giving this classic ride concept a new lease of lifeAmong other things in the pipeline, not to mention the launch of a radio station and restaurant, and the purchase of another restaurant on the seafront. I think it's fair to say that for a park of its size and location, Adventure Island is doing very well indeed.

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Just today the complete opposite was in the pape about Chssington. They are employing 600 staff this year with expectations of it to be one of their busiest seasons in a long time, this is expected due to the amount of people who would plan to go abroad for a holiday but will instead be visiting somewhere more local such as Chessington.

CWoA had quite a few days when it's gate figures were even higher than Thorpe, with CWoA expecting even higher gate figures than last year due to the recession stopping people going abroad - Domestic tourism will shoot up and people will start visiting UK attractions a lot more than they have in the past.
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Alton are going down the drain so much......What are your thoughts?

Its slowed down in recent years, but its not going down the drain. I love the other UK parks trying their best with investment trying to match or beat merlin, its fantastic.As for recesssion? Recessions kill off mostly firms which were financially unstable in the boom periods. Will our parks suffer? With a favourable exchange rate (into the UK), and people preferring to take holidays at home because its becoming a cheaper comparison plus they'd rather a day or two instead of a week abroad? I think not.Gerr.
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Will, pretty much every theme park in England (well... the Merlin parks anyway) saw a rise in gate figures for the 2009 season. Alton has it's best year gate figure wise since the year Nemesis opened back in 1994 and Chessington had one of it's best gate figures ever! They're hardly "going down the drain" are they? You've criticized Flamingo Land's new coaster before you've even ridden it, or anyone else has for that matter. You've said PBB is bad because of cramped rides, the park doesn't have enough space to spread out it's rides and still have a decent theme park.There's nothing wrong with Drayton Manor either, admittedly not the best park in the world but 2 excellent coasters and one of the UK's/Europe's best lof flume rides is hardly bad going.My conclusion is... no, I don't think that UK theme parks are going down the drain. :(

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There's nothing wrong with Drayton Manor either, admittedly not the best park in the world but 2 excellent coasters and one of the UK's/Europe's best lof flume rides is hardly bad going.

Drayton is an absolute joke of an amusement park, for a park that doesn't invest in it's rides and general park infrastructure, I don't know how it's lasted so long. It has one train on their quite frankly crap X Car, for something that is meant to be a signature ride, it shocks me how a park could do something like that and pretend it's a good theme park, when it's miles off the mark. It's got competition from Alton and Blackpool, so logically it should be a good theme park as competition means more investment should happen (but hey, look at BPB and it's owners, it isn't justifiable competition), albeit this is not the case with Drayton - and now they want to buy a hotel?! How the hell will that work 4 or 5 years down the line? It's obvious that CWoA and Alton both thought out what their target market wanted and they found it was appropriate not only for guests at the theme park, but also for business and other activities, e.g the Spa at ATH., yet Drayton is close to what, and what other activities does the park double up as?I'm still lost as to why they are still operating without a loss..
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The credit crunch won't be all bad to theme parks. Think about it, more people in the UK will spend their money on cheaper mini holiday breaks in the UK therefore theme parks, museums and other tourist attractions will get a ride in visitors, however holidays abroad may decrease due to people wanting to save their money.

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I love the comments this topic is getting compared to the comments from my version on the TTF topic - mass gang-up and slaughter on me :( purely unedited. I get them bullying me because my opinion didn't match what they wanted or agreed with.These comments are my own - I haven't rode Mumbo Jumbo and no I don't plan to unless I am down at that area for an other reason. I admire the fact that they are climbing up the ladder but I would wish that they don't have to invest in a compact coaster but something solid that will pave the way for smarter decisions.Kumali, even though it looks short (POV video) its quite remarkable but I feel that additions such as velocity is a poor-effort despite the fact that its a first in the UK. I would have personally would like a Gerstlauer/Mark launch coaster that is relatively inexpensive compared to Intamin to name one.I appreciate the fact that all of you here - answered the question on whether you thought our industry is going the drain w/o mass ganging-up.

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I don't think our theme park industry here in the UK is going down the drain at all. Personally I think it's something that is just going to be improved on and get better. The main issue is obviously funds. We're lucky because Merlin/ Blackstone are quite well off so we can continue to see investment in their theme parks.The UK theme parks will always have issues receiving planning permission, and to be fair in Alton's case it's just because it's in the media and stuff that we know so much about the problems they have. Alton's restrictions will just force the development team to get creative and work out solutions to any major issues. Hopefully :(Thorpe is very flat in general and therefore landscaping costs a bomb. There was an interview with Wardley somewhere talking about digging the cobra roll pit for Colossus and saying how expensive it was. But yeah, Saw will no doubt ensure another fantastic season in terms of attendance and therefore profit. Some of the non- Merlin parks may have some troubles as they're not in a massive company to protect them but as Hurri mentioned, Adventure Island seems to be coming on in leaps and bounds. So it's mainly positive.And I'm waffling. I'll end it there I think! :(

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Ah ok, thanks Will for the clarification there. I think a major thing here is that it's not really fair to make an opinion on something when it's not even built yet let alone be open. I can say initial impressions of Mumbo jumbo, but until I've been on it I can't say whether its rubbish or not.Alton for example is in no way going down the toilet. Instead of adding big rides constantly they are going back over the park and bringing everything up to scratch. I would much rather have them doing up the Skyride and Monorail then to just throw in another Rita/Spinball with little thought. If it wasn't for the restriction we certainly wouldn't have Nemesis, a ride that is world re-nowned. Oblivion would be like G5 and we wouldn't have a flying coaster that is very different to the others. I don't think its fair to say that Nemesis and Air are the only rides they have got right as that's only looking at a very small selection of Alton. Hex, Duel, RMT, Congo, Mutiny Bay, Old McDonalds Farm are perfect IMO.Thorpe and Cwoa are playing far more to their strengths then previously. It's no surprise that Thorpe had its best year last year and Cwoa had its best year since 2000. The recession is actually helping the home parks as the Euro has become stronger against the pound meaning admissions around Europe are similar to our own. People are far more likely to now stay then before.Adventure Island and Paultons are doing well and it wouldn't surprise me if Flamingoland are doing far better then we realise. So now I don't think they are going down the drain.

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It's a general seaside park but IMO its a lot better than the average ones, from what I gather its run like a proper theme park and not just 10yr old chavs operating the rides! It seems to have a lot of local support and they have deals going with train companies for 2 for 1 wristbands etc so its well publicised in Essex. The other things that make it appealing are the fact it houses a Eurofighter which is a bit more than your standard fairground ride! Over The Hill definatly impressed me too, not to mention made me soil myself :( I do like Adventure Island and I'm glad the future is bright for it.

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Well that don't matter because it is better phrased - where it makes sense. I've asked a question and I'm grateful people are answering it.Flamingo Land, I will retract my comments from and will look forward to one-day visiting it. I just don't think that most of the non-Merlin parks are doing a good job.I feel that they either need to do what FL/AI are doing or get an investor or sell to Merlin. Merlin SO FAR have done a good job but they got a way ahead of them. As for the other parks, they need to step up the game.LWV, Oakwood and Drayton need to defo step up their game and invest in new rides - they could have gotten ride of the Buffalo Coaster and replaced it with a inexpensive Gerst/Maurer Launch Coaster to name one possible coaster.

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Drayton need to defo step up their game and invest in new rides - they could have gotten ride of the Buffalo Coaster and replaced it with a inexpensive Gerst/Maurer Launch Coaster to name one possible coaster.

Are you serious? Look at what they invested last year, a whole new Thomas themed land with lots of different variety of children and family rides PLUS they are getting a new 4D cinema for this season too. Am I correct in saying that they had one of their best seasons last year too in terms of gate figures?
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I don't think it's a case of the industry going down the drain, how ever I do think some parks really need work.Alton towers: Good, with major rides, a hotel and good park atmosphereBlackpool Pleasure beach:. Seriously needs work done to it, even though it's got some of the oldist rides in the UK. Prices are a mes, the park is a mess, and I generally think that it won't last much longer.Chessington: I think they've forgotten "World of adventures" and consontrated more on the zoo part. Last major atraction we saw was Dragons fury, and unless they work hard to get a new atraction out this year, then I think people will stop visiting the park.I can't comment on Draton mannor, I've never beenYou all seem to have forgot leggo land, obviously the worst theme park in the UK. with the exception of 2 or 3 atractions, it's a waste of money, and a waste of time going.Thorpe:. Lots of new rides, although less attention is payed towards the theming and upkeep of old atractions. Rides are always breaking down, some of the theming just goes with out thought of even brushing it up and it's surrounded by troublemakers

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I wish that were possible, wake up walk down the road and there it is... A huge theme park outside my door, and on it's own island.On subject, I don't feel the industry is going downhill, the vision is there but it's going to have to be slowed down due to this fragile time. Let's face it what we have is great, be it in need of some tlc. The UK will never be as desireable as the US for tourism and money to spend.

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Apologies to everyone after OP whose posts I have just skipped, but I feel the unrelenting need to inform you Will that your opinions are just fundamentally flawed in every way possible.You've got to try and understand how these Businesses work, and make no mistake that’s what they are. Sure the park owners, particularly at small family run parks like Oakwood (which is one of the best theme parks in the country, by the way) put a bit more heart and soul into the business, but essentially they are there to make money. Nothing more nothing less.Therefore, they aren't about to rip out a perfectly functioning ride which people enjoy, just because it could be replaced with something which you deem, in your opinion, to be better. A replacement ride is neither simple nor cheap. Millions of pounds to any firm no matter size or nature of business is just not cheap. It isn't just the ride either, it has to be marketed, it has to be built, and it comes with different operating costs. If you're removing an old attraction then that has to be taken down, the ground has to be levelled, the old ride has to be disposed of. It's just nowhere near as simple or 'cheap' as you seem to think it is.Thirdly, stop suggesting the Merlin just buy every theme park in the UK that goes into receivership, which is just ridiculous. Why purchase another park which will just compete with the attractions you already run? Surely it would be more beneficial to have a competitor removed from the market and the people that would have previously visited that park to visit one of your current attractions? Then you don't have to purchase a failing enterprise, don't have to invest in it and don't have to compete with yourself.Also, you can't just 'get investors’; it just doesn't work like that! Especially if you're a failing business with mountains of competition, people aren't going to want to invest large amounts of money because it's extremely high risk.Phew, I’m done for now.

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Adventure Island could potentially reclaim land from the sea and build onto it, but it's a very expensive process and relies on planning permission being granted. Plans were drawn up once for a huge expansion into the sea, but with the amount it would cost and the fact the only ways into Southend are two A-roads which both already suffer heavy congestion that a huge resort type park would make a whole lot worse, I can't see it happening any time soon.But the park make very good use of the space they've got, and that's what matters.

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