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On 9/1/2020 at 9:11 PM, Matt Creek said:

Interesting to see the ride revealing it’s original colours after ten years.

 

Anyone else remember when it was Billy’s Whizzer?

None of those colours are actually from Billy's Whizzer but  just the colour of the skeleton underneath all the decoration, none of that would ever usually be  seen. It's quite cool to see how it works underneath.

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Went two days ago, vastly different trip to other parks I've been to this year. I'll start with the negatives.

 

- Park reliability. Deary me. Closed all day were Scorpion Express, Seastorm and Jungle Rangers (what was Toadies). Add in that Dragons Fury opened at 12.

- Couple that last point with the fact that Wild Asia and Tiger Rock opened at 1pm. Not even 12pm but 1pm. Tiger Rock didn't open at that time either. I'm not that plugged into the matrix anymore so I didn't know that a quarter of the park doesn't open till further into the day. There was no signage to indicate that at the park entrances, only once you get to the areas themselves.

- There was some kind of gathering today because there was thousands of Jewish kids on park. 

- No social distancing whatsoever. By far the worst park for it that I've visited this year.

 

I genuinely find it astounding that after the year its been, the park has such huge reliability issues, that they open 5 of their rides half way into park opening and that based on pre-book numbers (after all you can't get in unless you book so they know numbers) that there was no foresight to have everything open at 10. With Fury having a moment, there was no fallback, with no Scorpion or Seastorm, there was no support rides. I've just come from Europa Park where without fail, rides are either open on time or open earlier. I will hold them to the same standard because the on the door price is only £7 more expensive.

 

And breathe.

 

Positives are:-

 

- The rides are looking the best they have done in years. I genuinely feel happy that all of these 30 year old rides are getting the attention they deserve. Vampire station was lovely with disco organist and the new music mix they're using. Really really nice to see.

- I liked the new Tomb Blaster. Even with the cheesy factor of the radio, I think they've done a good job with lighting and a lot to the scenes were very dark with only the lasers from the gun creating lights, particularly in the sphinx room.

- Gruffalo is my favourite ride in the park. It's got so much charm and you can tell that it is really looked after with all effects working. 

- Love the Zoo. Two tortoises were having the slowest time of their lives..

 

So all in all, a mixed bag

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On 10/9/2020 at 6:14 AM, Mark9 said:

I genuinely find it astounding that after the year its been, the park has such huge reliability issues, that they open 5 of their rides half way into park opening and that based on pre-book numbers (after all you can't get in unless you book so they know numbers) that there was no foresight to have everything open at 10.

 

Wild Asia/Tiger Rock opening at 1pm is nothing to do with ride reliability or needing extra time, those areas have been opening later on quieter days, presumably because of the effects of COVID and the cost-conscious world most businesses are now working in. On busier days, they have been opening at 10am like the rest of the park.

 

Those areas don't have many rides and on these quiet days they don't have big queues so 5 hours open is plenty of time. Obviously ideally everything would be open at 10am but this is just the world we are living in now with hospitality/leisure badly affected by everything.

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7 hours ago, professorb said:

 

Wild Asia/Tiger Rock opening at 1pm is nothing to do with ride reliability or needing extra time, those areas have been opening later on quieter days, presumably because of the effects of COVID and the cost-conscious world most businesses are now working in. On busier days, they have been opening at 10am like the rest of the park.

 

Those areas don't have many rides and on these quiet days they don't have big queues so 5 hours open is plenty of time. Obviously ideally everything would be open at 10am but this is just the world we are living in now with hospitality/leisure badly affected by everything.

 

I know its not because Tiger Rock and Wild Asia are ride reliability, I know exactly that its cost cutting, because I used to work there. The problem is, when I went, it wasn't a quiet day. And they knew this because they have direct access to gate figures through having to pre-book.. These cost cutting days are nothing new at all. They've been pulling this nonsense since way back when. Is a 60 minute queue for Dragons Fury considered short in the days of covid?

 

When you say these areas don't have many rides, Wild Asia has the most rides of any area in the park and Tiger Rock is the highest throughput ride there. I did a bit of working out. There are 21 rides at Chessington. On my visit, between 10-12, Tiger Rock, Jungle Bus, Jungle Rangers, Monkey Swinger, Kobra, Seastorm, Dragons Fury & Scorpion Express were unavailable. Thats a hell of a lot of real estate just sitting there doing eff all.

 

 

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Did creepy caves twice today, it’s incredible. 
 

There’s around 10 actors in there and the maze is so compact that you’re constantly being terrorised by at least 2/3 of them. Without spoiling it the first scene is great, and if it was done without COVID being a thing could possibly be made into one of the scariest moments Merlin has ever created in a maze (think start of subspecies mixed with E10).

The main portion of the maze is awesome, with great lighting, audio and multiple other effects throughout. It is such a loud maze. Actors use the theming and surroundings to their advantage... I never knew a log and metal drum barrel could make such a loud bang. 
 

Going thru in your own group because of social distancing makes it so much better, and the actors do a great job of terrifying despite not being able to get too close.

 

I won’t ruin it but the finale is truly something special and something I’ve never seen been done before, or even heard about. It has potential to be a proper run out depending on the run through you get and where actors are in the maze when you’re in the finale section.

 

Overall, this is the best creepy caves yet and is definitely not a family attraction. The actors and their costumes are truly amazing and would scare the absolute crap out of any child who couldn’t handle Thorpe mazes.

 

In my honest opinion this is miles above anything Thorpe has produced since 2017 (bar creek) and will be even more terrifying post-COVID restrictions whenever that may be. 
 

The only slight negative I can think of was that it’s rather on the short side, but it doesn’t really matter considering how intense it is from the moment you step foot inside. As annoying as the upcharge is, it’s definitely worth it every single time.

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After doing it, I honestly can’t see a good reason why creek couldn’t have opened this year with some adjustments. Creepy caves has just as just smoke and much narrower corridors and still manages to be both safe and terrifying at the same time. 

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8 minutes ago, Jack said:

After doing it, I honestly can’t see a good reason why creek couldn’t have opened this year with some adjustments. Creepy caves has just as just smoke and much narrower corridors and still manages to be both safe and terrifying at the same time. 

Main issue would be ventilation I'd expect. Creepy Caves was designed to be well ventilated when it housed animals, and the area itself still will be.

 

Creek Freak isn't the best building for ventilation - I believe it had many shutdowns last year because the smoke from the maze wasn't escaping. That would make it a nightmare to approve from a H&S perspective during Covid.

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Still don't know why the park didn't perhaps use Asylum's building or plonked a marquee around Zodiac and made something small but great. Roots Of Evil honestly looks hilarious. More like a guided tour of a woods in Staines than a maze. I chuckled at the POV. Alton Towers got SkinSnatchers approved somehow, so it definitely shows if there is a will, there is a way.

 

Creepy Caves is firmly on my bucket list, its good we have a decent scare attraction here in the south even though most of them decided to close.

 

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15 hours ago, JoshuaA said:

Still don't know why the park didn't perhaps use Asylum's building 

That'll be the same reason that they haven't used it for a proper maze since it became I'm a Celeb...

 

It's difficult to use the I'm a Celeb / Jungle Escape route for a maze. One of the reasons Vulcan Peak was a hooded maze was to hide that. And when they changed it so part of the route wasn't a hooded maze, it very much felt like you were walking through I'm a Celeb, not a maze.

 

Even if the park didn't want to keep Jungle Escape, they would have had to rip out all of Jungle Escape and build a maze in there. Something like that is not cheap, nor quick. They certainly wouldn't have been able to turn around a good quality maze in the timeframe they had.

 

 

15 hours ago, JoshuaA said:

or plonked a marquee around Zodiac

Again, cost and time would be a prohibiting issue. I wonder how well ventilated a marquee can be made too.

 

15 hours ago, JoshuaA said:

Alton Towers got SkinSnatchers approved somehow, so it definitely shows if there is a will, there is a way.

Skin Snatchers is based inside the Towers, which is a huge old building which is well ventilated. That's the main thing, and that's pretty much what would have stopped Creek Freak from opening. I still am surprised it's open given I remember it being a very tight layout, but the building itself is suitable to run a scare attraction under Covid guidelines.

 

The difference isn't that Towers were more willing than Thorpe. The difference is that Towers have buildings which could fit the restrictions, Thorpe didn't. Simple as that.

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Might be overthinking things, a set in the ruins basement isn't too different from a set in a draughty wooden shack, probably the ruins basement would be less ventilated. Actually I'm not sure there's any substantial ventilation at all in any mazes Ive been to this year?

The Alton mazes still use thick haze this year. Even before Covid I'd not heard of a maze ever needing to actually shut down because of haze too thick. Usually smoke would just get turned down/off and left to dissipate a bit if it got too much.

So maybe it's a case of Thorpe being over-precautious and Alton being more pragmatic about their maze H&S. They are two separate parks with separate H&S departments after all and probably just received general advice from above. OR Thorpe have other reasons (Covid related or not) why Creek Freak didn't open this year.

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1 hour ago, SteveJ said:

Might be overthinking things, a set in the ruins basement isn't too different from a set in a draughty wooden shack, probably the ruins basement would be less ventilated. Actually I'm not sure there's any substantial ventilation at all in any mazes Ive been to this year?

There will be enough ventilation within the buildings, occurring naturally or with the help of machines, otherwise they would not have opened the mazes in the ruins. It's an important thing in Covid regulations, especially for places in the entertainment side of things. My knowledge of the ruins is minimal, but I can only assume it's better ventilated than Creek Freak.

 

1 hour ago, SteveJ said:

The Alton mazes still use thick haze this year. Even before Covid I'd not heard of a maze ever needing to actually shut down because of haze too thick. Usually smoke would just get turned down/off and left to dissipate a bit if it got too much.

I think this was an issue with Creek Freak - it simply wasn't dissipating quick enough, even with the machines turned off. Coupled in with fumes from the chainsaws as well, that caused issues. Which does lead to question of can the park confidently say the area is well ventilated enough to fit the recommend Covid regulations.

 

If Alton's mazes are using thick haze/smoke this year, presumably it means they're able to refresh it enough to fit within those regulations.

1 hour ago, SteveJ said:

 

So maybe it's a case of Thorpe being over-precautious and Alton being more pragmatic about their maze H&S. They are two separate parks with separate H&S departments after all and probably just received general advice from above. OR Thorpe have other reasons (Covid related or not) why Creek Freak didn't open this year.

In any case, I still don't think Creek Freak should have opened this year, due to Covid. The route is largely narrow corridors so there'd be little room for actors and guests without breaking social distancing. Even if they could make it work, it'd be a much weaker experience in my opinion.

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52 minutes ago, JoshC. said:

I think this was an issue with Creek Freak - it simply wasn't dissipating quick enough, even with the machines turned off. Coupled in with fumes from the chainsaws as well, that caused issues.

There has to be ventilation wherever chainsaws are used and CO monitoring to shut down the maze if too much build up, so that sounds more likely the reason there were shutdowns.

Alton's mazes still have strong haze and narrow corridors, if haze too strong usually just opening a door for a few minutes would clear it.

I can't really imagine why the Creek Freak building would have a Covid ventilation problem worse than anywhere else, when it's a wooden shack rather than a stone basement, especially when chainsaw mazes usually require strong ventilation anyway (stronger than for Covid regulations)

Maybe there were other complications why it didn't open, or just different parks different approach
 

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41 minutes ago, SteveJ said:

There has to be ventilation wherever chainsaws are used and CO monitoring to shut down the maze if too much build up, so that sounds more likely the reason there were shutdowns.

Alton's mazes still have strong haze and narrow corridors, if haze too strong usually just opening a door for a few minutes would clear it.

I can't really imagine why the Creek Freak building would have a Covid ventilation problem worse than anywhere else, when it's a wooden shack rather than a stone basement, especially when chainsaw mazes usually require strong ventilation anyway (stronger than for Covid regulations)

Maybe there were other complications why it didn't open, or just different parks different approach
 

Did you go in the maze last year? It was literally just fumes, from the moment you walked in to exit. Perhaps complain to the park if you have an issue with the mazes not opening due to ventilation problems.

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In my opinion, Alton's mazes really don't seem too different in ventilation. Actually Skin Snatchers opening really shocked me. The maze in previous years has had a very tight and compact layout, it also is in the ruins of a gothic castle. The Attic is copy and paste.

I'm sure the indoor mazes at Thorpe could of happened if Thorpe could be bothered, but Roots of Evil probably was a very cheap way to add another maze for pennies. In my opinion it is mostly down to money and the teams behind each event. Alton have a very creative and willing team which is why Scarefest seems to actually be thriving this year.

 

Creek Freak maybe should be redesigned in the future then, if the fumes are so bad.

Thinking about it maybe that is why Chop Shop has its open roof?

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1 hour ago, SteveJ said:

There has to be ventilation wherever chainsaws are used and CO monitoring to shut down the maze if too much build up, so that sounds more likely the reason there were shutdowns.

Certainly a possible explanation. I don't claim to know the ins and outs; I've just pieced together what I've reliably heard along the grapevine. Though it's always possible I've created the wrong picture.

 

There were problems with getting smoke and fumes out of the building. It's something that can be corrected I'm sure, but I don't blame Thorpe if they opted to err on the side of caution when it comes to safety. Towers have had mazes in the ruins for many years so will know more and be more confident that they can ventilate the building sufficiently. 

 

17 minutes ago, JoshuaA said:

In my opinion, Alton's mazes really don't seem too different in ventilation. Actually Skin Snatchers opening really shocked me. The maze in previous years has had a very tight and compact layout, it also is in the ruins of a gothic castle. The Attic is copy and paste.

I agree about Skin Snatchers' opening being a surprise. It's a couple of years since I've done it, but I do remember it being very tight and compact, and imagine it's difficult to socially distance. I haven't heard many reviews of it this year, so I wonder if that's reflected in the experience?

 

17 minutes ago, JoshuaA said:

I'm sure the indoor mazes at Thorpe could of happened if Thorpe could be bothered, but Roots of Evil probably was a very cheap way to add another maze for pennies. In my opinion it is mostly down to money and the teams behind each event. Alton have a very creative and willing team which is why Scarefest seems to actually be thriving this year.

Whilst we don't know the exact reasons for Thorpe not opening Creek Freak, this is a pretty rubbish attitude to take. With the level of uncertainty over whether Halloween events could take place, ever changing guidelines and restrictions, and potential modifications required to the building, I really don't think it's right to say 'if Thorpe bothered'. You could take the exact same stance with anywhere - Tulleys could have opened a scream park this year if they bothered...

 

Is the Towers team stronger than the Thorpe team when it comes to Halloween events? Definitely. Could Thorpe have put more into Fright Nights? Sure. Should Merlin give Thorpe more budget so they can invest more into Fright Nights? Probably. But I don't think you can knock their effort. Especially when they're one of the few places to actually, ahem, bother to put on a Halloween event.

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37 minutes ago, JoshC. said:

Whilst we don't know the exact reasons for Thorpe not opening Creek Freak, this is a pretty rubbish attitude to take. With the level of uncertainty over whether Halloween events could take place, ever changing guidelines and restrictions, and potential modifications required to the building, I really don't think it's right to say 'if Thorpe bothered'. You could take the exact same stance with anywhere - Tulleys could have opened a scream park this year if they bothered...

 

Is the Towers team stronger than the Thorpe team when it comes to Halloween events? Definitely. Could Thorpe have put more into Fright Nights? Sure. Should Merlin give Thorpe more budget so they can invest more into Fright Nights? Probably. But I don't think you can knock their effort. Especially when they're one of the few places to actually, ahem, bother to put on a Halloween event.

Tulleys adapted. Basically all non Merlin events didn't open this year. Most of them did not open for H&S concerns, as well as how well their venue and mazes would adapt to a post covid world. Tulleys decided to deliver a Halloween drive in with roaming actors, and a fire show. They knew they would lose money, but decided to close because a lot of the park would NOT work in our current climate.

 

Thorpe Park did decide to open, but they also decided to give probably one of the worst offerings in history. Fair enough right it is tough, but then they decided to make it the most expensive year to date. Passholders have to pay £25 to get in alone, and then you need a tenner for each mazes. Which may I add, are some of the weakest mazes to grace a scare event. 

If you are going to charge premium, I expect the park to build premium mazes.  

Fear Festival could of been a one off change of pace for Thorpe. But it seems like an excuse to charge a lot for not a lot. Where Scarefest are delivering the goods, and Tulleys is doing something different alltogether than cannot be compared to their usual offering, Thorpe just seem to fail a lot of the landing.  

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5 hours ago, Glitch said:

Did you go in the maze last year? It was literally just fumes, from the moment you walked in to exit. Perhaps complain to the park if you have an issue with the mazes not opening due to ventilation problems.

Not complaining at all, just adding to discussion (the point of a forum).

"Fumes" you're probably not talking about the carbon monoxide like I was, otherwise everyone would be dead. The fact that chainsaws are used inside means there must be some ventilation, otherwise it would be far more dangerous than Covid. Even if it caused shutdowns now and then, that could be solved easily by adding more extraction.

Haze could just not be used if it was really that much of a problem. You know it's just an effect right?

The maze format last year wasn't too different to some of the Alton mazes. I reckon there are probably other reasons why it didn't open. Or it was just a decision made by Thorpe while Alton decided differently with theirs.

 

Difficult year for all events and being pragmatic is the best parks can do really.

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On 10/19/2020 at 2:40 PM, JoshC. said:

Main issue would be ventilation I'd expect. Creepy Caves was designed to be well ventilated when it housed animals, and the area itself still will be.

 

Creek Freak isn't the best building for ventilation - I believe it had many shutdowns last year because the smoke from the maze wasn't escaping. That would make it a nightmare to approve from a H&S perspective during Covid.


actually I did a behind the scenes tour last year when they were available and there isn’t very good ventilation in creepy caves, much worse than creek freak would have. I asked about it when I went this year was told they installed additional ventilation and filters to increase the level of airflow, filter the air and generally make it Covid secure.

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