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Alton Towers General Discussion

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I've just seen that Alton Towers is only open until 5pm on May half term. That is absolutely pathetic, bear in mind that it's probably going to be packed that is the typical "we've got your money now deal with it" attitude. I was thinking of going but probably won't bother now, it's not worth the effort for that amount of ride time.

That must have been yet another recent change as I am going on Sat May 16th and only 10 days ago it said 10 to 6. Absolutely ridiculous! And then they will wonder why attendance drops this year.

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The opening times are set 10 days in advance and are based on crowd projections.

The hours on the website are wholly inaccurate.

Alton Towers budgetary constraint is limiting hours this season.

:(

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The first time this season? That is just shocking. I still think they would get far more visitors if they had opening hours in summer of 10am-10pm. 6pm should be a standard closing time. 

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Would they be allowed to have a 10pm close? Would people stay that late?

 

Important questions that need considering...

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Maybe not 10pm, but anything below 7pm for the height of summer is unacceptable.

They could always do what Oakwood do and have a few 10pm closes each week, and 6/7pm the rest of the week.

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That late I reckon would encourage people to come form much further a field. If they did it on Fridays and Saturdays, advertised it as late closing and night rides. Introduce an after 4pm ticket. Then of course people would buy dinner as well as lunch so that's more revenue. I do also believe that they are allowed to operate until 10pm. Its perfectly viable, would encourage hotel use as well and improve customer satisfaction so would encourage their return. It works in Europe, so I don't see why it cant lend its self to the UK. 

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Rather than bickering about the age old closing times, perhaps at least celebrate it's been extended by an hour this weekend. It's a lot better than the grave situation of opening weekend - that's for sure.

With ERT, the park is open 9 hours on Saturday, Sunday and Monday which is fine.

It'll probably be dead after 4 on Monday anyway!

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6 should be pretty standard anyway, not something exceptional to celebrate!

 

For me down in Essex the opening times really are a limiting factor; I'm not going all that way for a 6 and a half hour day. I'd spend the same amount of time travelling as I would at the park! Increasing hours at the last minute is all very well, but a trip like that for most people is something you pan further in advance than a couple of days. 

 

Towers have the rides, park and infrastructure to command the truly national draw they consider themselves to have, but the operations of a regional park.

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I think at the end of the day, the only reason Alton is working in such a spiradic way is all down to costs. Most people use the BOGOF vouchers when they get the tickets at the park, meaning for each person your paying around £25. That £25 gets split up into a whole range of pots

- New Rides

- Staff Costs

- General Bills (Electricity, etc.)

- General Park Up-Keep

- Profit

The most important one to them generally is profit, as it is with most businesses. The longer the park is open, the less money they make in profit, because they are having to fork out an extra 1 or 2 hours on staff costs, and then electricity and a whole variety of other costs.

If they scrapped the BOGOF vouchers and brought the ticket costs down to say £30 each, they would end up making an extra £10 give or take for every 2 guests.

In this day and age with inflation going up and somewhere down the line minimum wage will go up, and we will see even more cuts. Itll either be even shorter days, or the cost to get into the park will keep rising, to a point where no one will want to pay to go in.

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I don't think it's fair to say Towers have wholesale operations of a regional park.

Opening times (on Saturdays in particular) should be later (we have been saying it for years) but the way they run rides is much stronger than most in Europe. Better throughputs than anyone else in the UK and apart from Disney and Europa-Park, can't think of a large theme park stronger this side of the Atlantic.

And yes - the problem is the BOGOF. It's of their own doing, a remnant from Tussauds. They need to get rid of them and instead charge £30 online. Then they could drop the headline gate price.

At least they've actually done it (extend) this weekend though.

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Yup, and as for May I can only presume it'll increase again (Easter was 'extended' back to 5:30 throughout, May Half Term is now 6pm...).

 

It's better to have 5pm on website and then update closer to the time, than have 6pm and reduce closer.

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They most certainly have operations of a regional park. Throughputs have nothing to do with operations, it comes down to ride/station design. The achieved throughput is operations however there is no way for the general public to know that.

Simple fact is that they should open later and say they are opening later right from the beginning of the season. Currently the opening hours are so short people from down south are put off.

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Would they be allowed to have a 10pm close? Would people stay that late?

 

Important questions that need considering...

 

Apparently when AT tried 8pm closing in the summer years ago it wasn't that popular and most people still left at 6pm. I think the issue is that 6pm is dinner time and you have the option of leaving the park, then eating on the way home or at home if close enough. Or if the park is open later you need to pay to eat in the park and there needs to be an incentive to stay after dinner. At Scarefest there are rides in the dark and then at Fireworks weekend, there are fireworks in the evening (and rides in the dark) this keeps people in later.

 

Look at Disney parks, they are still busy in the evenings because they offer fireworks every night meaning people eat dinner in the park and stick around. The only Disney park in Florida that doesn't currently have an evening show is Animal Kingdom and that normally closes 5pm - 7pm with many guests leaving before that time anyway.

 

It would be amazing if Alton Towers invested in something that could keep people in the park later, but I don't see it happening, plus they would also have to improve table service dining in the park even more, Woddcutters and Towers St grill are good but not great. Although with the FoodLoop restaurant in Forbidden  Valley coming soon, I think we might see this area of the park open later into the evening, especially as it already has access directly to the car parks.

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They can't open beyond 9pm I believe.. so that's the latest possible.

 

7pms were quiet.. however they should be at 7 or 8 in the height of summer. Gives incentive to visit, gives incentive to stay over, gives a lot for people to do in the evening if staying over. They can always reduce staffing as it gets quieter to save on costs.

 

Maybe one day..

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One thing I've picked up on is that Alton don't have the ride closing times on the signs outside the ride, so the public won't necessarily know that they are open later (not everyone checks before they visit).

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I do think the park would greatly benefit  from later closings as it would give people more time to get rides done. 10-5 should be the bare minimum and include all weekdays, 10-6 being the minimum for weekends and halfterm, 10-7 during easter holidays and 10-8 for summer holidays on top of 10-9 for scarefest.

 

Having been to Disneyland Paris, the smaller studios park usually closes a few hours before the main park does, with most outdoor rides [bar big thunder] closing at dusk [8pm during my trip] and then giving two hours until the big show [which was at 10pm when I went].

 

As great a towers show could turn out to be, my only concern is how they could do it without making too much noise or light pollution due to the strict planning in that area and there's odd roper or two in the village who despise towers all over.

 

Towers may never beat disney, but with better openings, increased food choices, more rides and improved upkeep they could be in the top 5 best parks in europe.

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If the food outlets open at all...

 

That last hour in Studios is always so dead, those walk ons for well, EVERYTHING...

 

10-6 should be the base hours for the UK parks... Plus whatever ERT the hotels are offering...

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They most certainly have operations of a regional park. Throughputs have nothing to do with operations, it comes down to ride/station design. The achieved throughput is operations however there is no way for the general public to know that.

Simple fact is that they should open later and say they are opening later right from the beginning of the season. Currently the opening hours are so short people from down south are put off.

Throughputs have nothing to do with operations?

I don't really get that.

I'd rather have high operational throughputs and open to 5pm than awful operations and longer queues to 6pm.

Of course - both is preferable.

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The maximum throughput of a ride will always be the same regardless of staff. The achieved throughput will vary on staff however the achieved on rides like the smiler and 13 dont require much effort because of the rides design. Basically as long as the staff are not stopping and talking to each other the throughput will be consistently near the maximum.

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