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12 hours ago, Wumbamillio said:

They almost certainly have plans to continue their rebranding of the rest the park. Expect Rameses to go as soon as next year, Tomb an IP /safari themed replacement, Vampire some IP and retheming, and Dragon Falls to do most likely go.

 

Merlin have zero interest in restoring classic attractions they didn't make, only keeping them in a terrible state long enough to be easily replaced by their own brand.

All IPs? Really? Do they not see the problem with this?

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IPs are favoured and theyre now using them more than any original concepts. Theyre not interested in original concepts because theyre so business rather than design led now, theyre very proud of each big IP they 'win' from other companies. But its already happened, most recent projects for the last 5 years have all been IPs (and just as flash in the pan as a result)

 

Sadly, its what entertainment companies are like when they are driven by expansion and shareholders, rather than an actual will to be

successful by being the best

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Regardless of it is an IP or not; there's an entire creative design team that take the IP and turn it into what is presented. The Gruffalo is a story, that though thought and planning vs existing facility vs budget created what they did. Same with things like SAW.

 

Just because it's an IP, it doesn't mean it's a cop-out or should be seen as a problem. It's a great way to promote. I work for a coffee chain; we give coffee to the homeless, we give out free drinks to people; and we actively partake in community projects just to get our brand out on the streets and in people's minds. Look at other examples; Halloween at Universal - American Horror Story did them incredibly well. And then don't even get me started on Harry Potter... but you never see people ripping Universal for that?

 

To a child / adult / the general public, it's much more enticing to go and ride 'The Gruffalo ride' than to ride 'The soap factory tour ride'.

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Doesnt mean it has to be a bad ride, yes. But it is done purely for commercial reasons and is basically a business-led project rather than anything creative-led, so the process is quite different and very different priorities in what gets produced.

 

I dont think you see how an IP completely changes the design process then, and that the IP owner becomes the design client, the design team essentially have to strictly stay within their representation all design is done to appease the client. The majority creative process is gone and it becomes a case of just fulfilling the existing brand as accurately as possible, by contract.

It is a commercial cop out in every sense of the word. It makes more business sense, for a company that'd care only about profit intake, to pick whichever IPs are available and then get their revolving door of design teams to produce it as automatically as possible. The entire ride also then depends on the success & characteristics of a completely separate entity. It waters down the entire attraction design industry, which pretty much doesn't exist in the UK anymore, as just churning out franchises for other industries in a very mechanical way.

It's an entirely different process to the design that goes into an original concept. The Gruffalo is much of a nicer IP because it has freedom to play with, and theyve worked nice touches into it, but its still so limited compared to what's possible with an original concept. Merlin don't seem to do original concepts very well though, and the company approaches design very formulaically, so of course they'd prefer IPs - it suits their business structure better. Unfortunately.

 

10 hours ago, Flipper said:

 

To a child / adult / the general public, it's much more enticing to go and ride 'The Gruffalo ride' than to ride 'The soap factory tour ride'.

I dont think anyone misses the ridiculous "soap factory" theme over this. To this day that the "soap factory" idea actually happened amuses me no end. Remember the soap factory idea was done purely to satisfy the sponsor in exactly the same way, except much much worse and no budget, at the cost of all the ride's fun. It was never done by design, it was done out of business only.

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8 hours ago, Fires of Fury said:

I agree, it was only refurbished by Garmendael in 2013/14, and this was to increase its life expectancy at the park.

When you say refurbished, do you mean most of the theming removed to be followed by an announcement of a forthcoming competition for new theming, that never actually took place? ;)

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On 22/06/2017 at 11:53 PM, Mattgwise said:

For those interested the track was virtually replaced completely. It should still have a fair amount of years left.

 

https://www.garmendale.co.uk/blog/case-studies/chessington-world-of-adventures-dragon-falls/

Yeah that article is a bit misleading, the trough wasn't replaced and is still very patchy. The ride had repairs done to the conveyors but the whole ride needs a proper refurbishment with new parts, not just piecemeal repairs.

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I visited again after three years away from the park and had a few observations.

 

Throughput/Capacity - I've heard a lot about how dire it has become, nothing can prepare you for just how awful everything seems to be now. Having operated Dragons Fury for three years for example, I know what the ride is capable off, 500/600 people per hour with good platformers. I was completely taken aback at how the throughput seems to have dropped to at best, 100 people an hour. It was running six cars  but sending cars about every two minutes. The way they insist on running it, they only need two cars because its not like they dispatch with any immediacy. Rattlesnake, exactly the same. It's painful. What have they also done to Tomb Blaster in this regard, can someone informed on Tomb indicate why the stops were taken out. I liked this change but it did surprise me. Vampire was embarrassing too, waiting for train two to return before even beginning to check restraints. No need for that level of slowness. Merlin would probably say safety is more important then throughput but the thing with these constant stops on Fury/Vampire/Rattlesnake is that people immediately presume the ride has broken down.

 

Ride changes - This was something I was far more impressed with. The first immediate thing is Gruffalo. What a great ride and was really pleasantly surprised. I've heard people criticise it for being a bit dark but I was okay with this and most kids around us seemed fine. I'm so glad Bubbleworks V2 was ditched, that thing was terrible and now has a vast improvement. Other changes included new metal bars attached to Bucaneer. I'm glad of this change as that ride had become a bit of a rule ridden nightmare and now that you enter/exit the boat on the same side, there seems to be better control of batching or exit riders getting on. Vampire had new(ish) queue line announcements which were delightfully amateur, the new theming in the queue was a step up from the run down Abdab animatronics. I liked the addition of a single rider to Dragons Fury and the change to that rides queue line. Scorpion Express, I still think is a decent attempt at doing something with Runaway Train, the best we will get out of Merlin in any case. Rattlesnake desperately needs a refurbishment. The climbing animatronic for example is just metal arms with completely degraded clothing. I miss Skyway and the older Carousel.

 

Zoo changes - The jewel in Chessingtons crown in my opinion, it was by far the most enjoyable part of the day. All animals were out and roaming on a beautifully hot day and we got up and close with the giraffes. I like the continued investment in this area which most of the time seems completely uncommented on. The news of a potential move for the tigers gives me confidence as integration between the zoo and the rides is a good step and is Chessingtons biggest asset.

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On the whole I had a good day out the park although it has to be said the place was incredibly quiet so therefore we didn't need to rush the place. With the way the rides are now run, I think I'd lose my mind on anything higher then a ten minute Fury queue.

 

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Black Buccaneer is absolutely awful operations-wise. They don't know what they're doing. Loading the boat literally takes longer than the ride itself. They get people in from the disabled queue, get them on the ride, get a group from the normal queue, get them on the ride, arrange them weirdly, get another group on the ride, make sure an over 16 is on the end, repeat. It's ridiculous.

4 hours ago, Mark9 said:

Vampire had new(ish) queue line announcements which were delightfully amateur,

I hate these new announcements. I prefer "The Vampire is Taking Flight" over "You're in for a Fright" but you can just tell they were recorded by an operator with a spare hour during the winter.

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19 hours ago, ChessingtonSam said:

Black Buccaneer is absolutely awful operations-wise. They don't know what they're doing. Loading the boat literally takes longer than the ride itself. They get people in from the disabled queue, get them on the ride, get a group from the normal queue, get them on the ride, arrange them weirdly, get another group on the ride, make sure an over 16 is on the end, repeat. It's ridiculous.

I hate these new announcements. I prefer "The Vampire is Taking Flight" over "You're in for a Fright" but you can just tell they were recorded by an operator with a spare hour during the winter.

 

I used to operate Black Bucaneer so I get the poor operations thing. I think they now have at least tried to address some issues even if its still a far cry from the days of air-gates.

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On 7/9/2017 at 9:40 AM, Mark9 said:

On the whole I had a good day out the park although it has to be said the place was incredibly quiet so therefore we didn't need to rush the place. With the way the rides are now run, I think I'd lose my mind on anything higher then a ten minute Fury queue.

I can confirm it's a total misery, on my only visit so far this year I waited 50min in fastrack (which was no more than half full) because they were taking well over a minute between dispatches.

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Sounds worse than the time they were getting everyone involved in 'guest interaction' and refused to send my car because after an hour of queue I did NOT want to 'flap my arms like a dragon'...

 

Think it's best I don't visit Chessie anytime soon, my head might just explode out of sheer anger...

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  • Mattgwise changed the title to Chessington General Discussion

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