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Wicker Man - New for 2018

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5 minutes ago, GetEchoes said:

To be fair we don’t know the reason for removing the beams. It could be that the wood needed to be re-treated to stop it rotting and with the weather it wasn’t done in time so removed as a safety thing. You have to bear In mind everything costs the park. Why would you remove it if you didn’t need to. 

 

Look st the old Canada creek railroad. The barriers are still in place. It’s never going to be used but it costs too much to remove them from the ground. 

 

Sometimes everyone is a little quick to judge and say Merlin or Thorpe are bad, ruining everything. Maybe there are operational reasons for stuff like this. Business isn’t so simple and why would you do something if you didn’t need to. 

This exactly - they didn’t remove it for the fun of it - replacing it will be a much tougher job than removing it - it’s better to open like that and fix when possible than close it to fix.

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No need to panic!! The fire will be fixed and then we will get either of the following.

 

1. Seasonal operating of the fire effects (Easter and then May half term followed by the summer holidays and then scarefest and fireworks)

 

2. Fire going off on every third train!!

 

3. Fire effects after 11pm!!

 

No need to worry whatsoever!!

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Just remembered I never really shared my thoughts on Wicker Man, so here goes:

 

As some of you will know I get R.A.P so I didnt get to experience the main queue. From the disabled access queue, though, the ride looks amazing, and very intimidating (I was absolutely bricking it looking at the second drop haha). The audio is absolutely fantastic here, I assume it was the third track throughout the queue I've been hearing about, and I wish it was on the Internet. The audio in the baggage hold area is great also however with my ASD I'm fairly sensitive to loud noises and I didnt appreciate the sudden loud music when the doors open, I guess it fulfilled its purpose though haha.

 

Now, I wasn't going to experience the pre show anyway, but it's not like that mattered because someone with a small child who had already experienced it just walked right through and shoved open the doors to the station, so nobody got to see it anyway. I think they should put up some signage and such to prevent this from happening in the future. This also messed everything else up, there were 4 people on our train, and nobody waiting for the next train when ours dispatched (the pre show operator's reaction was priceless though haha). The station, while great, imo is too scary for younger kids. My nine year old sister was in tears just because of the audio (she didnt go on the ride).

 

Now, the actual ride. Probably worth mentioning this was my first wooden coaster altogether. First time round, I was pretty scared and also pulled the restraint down far too tight, and I think I was sat wrong, so my, ahemIllacus felt like it was being torn to absolute shreds on the ride (something which I think was actually caused on Dragon's Fury). The second time round though, I loved it, for pretty much the same reasons as everyone else. For those reasons, at least until I ride some other bigger coasters, Wicker Man sits at #1 for me, joint with Galactica.

 

Also shoutout to the staff on the ride, they are absolutely brilliant, especially the one who went out of his way to take care of my little sister, even giving her earplugs and offering her water and the like. Another standout was the guy who took me and my dad out of the baggage hold and through a "restricted access" door straight on to the ride, so we could avoid the pre show.

 

I realise this was a wall of text and I wish I had a whole load of nice photos to share - but, I don't. So here's a photo of the statue and also a game - spot me.20180412_152101.thumb.jpg.cbb67cc2c3802380de54b7b2888acf25.jpg

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Sam it’s great to hear you enjoyed and braved the Wicker Man. It’s a top ride for me too now at Towers. My brother has ASD/Autism so I can appreciate how difficult it is to find the confidence to try these rides.

 

Wicker Man really is fast paced; and if you can do that and Galactica (and you’ve done Thirteen?) I would totally give Rita a go on your next trip; followed by Nemesis and Oblivion and Smiler. You seem to be like my brother deep down you enjoy the rides but you’ve gotta jump that hurdle! :-)

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On 13/04/2018 at 1:41 AM, Flipper said:

I’m not disputing any of what you’ve said; and before I say this I want to point out I grew up with Pleasure Beach, and hold a soft spot for it even though I visit maybe once a year now. But. Valhalla. Everything you’ve said, it’s reflectable onto Valhalla also. The ride was in such an abysmal way it needed to be overhauled a few years ago. The exterior was rotten through to framework, effects didn’t work and were subsequently removed etc. and that was an award winning ride.

 

I’m not knocking that maintenance should be far higher on the scale than it is. But I think the problem lies that Merlin hold a monopoly in the UK sand until someone truly rivals them or a park, they will continue to do enough to turn maximum profits like any business would. Things are different in Heide and Garda, there’s an element of competition so they have to upkeep the parks. Whereas at present the closest competition is Chessington and Legoland vs Paultons Park. And I think that is starting to become apparent as Merlin have suddenly pulled their finger out to invest into LL and CWOA. Towers and Thorpe to a degree still ride on their own branding. Thorpe could be an amusement park (like Cedar Fairs or Six Flags) and people will still go, and through the hundreds of thousands of people who visit only 1-2% will make their opinion known... so things won’t change.

Oh I completely about Valhalla, and have said enough on the sad state of affairs there in the BPB topic... a once world-class dark ride left to rot.  With the exterior, propping the original facade up with old PMBO track was never going to have any longevity (yes... they actually did that!) - if they'd done it properly in the first place we'd still have the original skull, wonderfully crafted exit shop and exterior theming.

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On 4/14/2018 at 7:54 AM, GetEchoes said:

To be fair we don’t know the reason for removing the beams. It could be that the wood needed to be re-treated to stop it rotting and with the weather it wasn’t done in time so removed as a safety thing. You have to bear In mind everything costs the park. Why would you remove it if you didn’t need to. 

I think it comes down to how much the park takes care of the theming and structures- if this was Europa, that would of been sorted and refurbished ASAP as they actually care about the finer details and theming of their park..

 

Everything costs in a park, but some parks make the effort to do things they really don't have to do- Merlin really rarely do that.

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Personally would rather the parks focused on the operations and uptime of rides rather than a bit of wood. Fact it’s still in the Park implies it will most probably be put back on. Might of been a time constraint coupled with extreme weather at park opening which delayed the maintenance and ops took over priority. 

 

As as nice as it is to look up and see some wood would rather get on the ride myself 

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It isn't like the operations are that good either.. 5 minutes on a break run on a two train B&M?

Europa keeps the upkeep of the park as well as running max trains with minimal stacking.. Breakdowns at Europa also only happen once in a blue moon.. You can focus on both.. Its just Merlin doesn't put in the extra effort when it comes to theming that parks like Europa do.. And most of Europa is OPEN in the winter too.. They have less time to refurbish stuff, but they still do it so the park looks nice for guests..

 

Knowing Thorpe/Merlin the wood will be re-done when the structure is falling apart and rotting.. Look at Tomb Blaster, Tidal Wave's fire effects, ect..

Another example is Loggers Leap.. That surely isn't being left to rot up due to operations eh?

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Not saying they do a good job and they are perfect but Merlin and Thorpe are a different company than Europa who operate in a different tax system than in the UK including a totally different currency.

 

We don’t know budgets from Merlin on the parks, what the overheads are, financials and pressure from the economy. We don’t know what the problem is with loggers or how much it will cost to fix, and if that’s even doable with budgets from the park or Merlin. 

 

Merli is a a group of a number of parks and attractions, second largest in the world I believe. If UK profits have been hit over a number of years then that will affect all parks

 

dont get me wrong. Thorpe ops are generally bad. Feel like the park isn’t run well by any means but there could be reasons for stuff like this. People are too quick to compare a UK park (in UK, with our weather and our cost of living, labour and external companies) to other counties which I don’t feel is a fair comparison. 

 

Ultimatley their business is is a tourist attractions. If Merlin wasn’t trying to do their best then the company would fold - and I know for sure that’s not what anyone at Merlin wants. So there has to be some logic to their decisions even if we don’t understand them 

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Merlin compare themselves to Disney, why can't we hold them to that comparison?

 

There's clear reasoning why certain things at Merlin parks are prioritised, and that's to please the shareholders over the guests... Maintenance doesn't bring in the money (at least, not in the short term, providing regular maintenance over time prevents having to do one big cash drop when the ride is effectively condemned or when a child falls through the rotting fence), so what does that matter to the shareholders?

 

Comparing to other parks regardless of location is fine... The UK was basically inspiration for a lot of European parks after all (as well as the typical Disney influences) at the peak of the 90s powerhouse, why can't we now look to other parks for inspiration of how to build and run them?

 

Europa is an unique one because it is effectively a showroom... But Mack go above and beyond anything really; just look at the Old 99 retheme!

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On 02/04/2018 at 2:32 AM, Flipper said:

Agreed. Loved the thrill of sitting in a pitch black unthemed tunnel being squirted with scented smoke. I’m sure you’ll love it too.

Yep, it's was great! :) 

When the restraint issues are sorted out, there should be less waiting after the ride has finished. But it did not in any way detract from the experience as a whole.

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On 15/04/2018 at 2:06 PM, JoshuaA said:

It isn't like the operations are that good either.. 5 minutes on a break run on a two train B&M?

Europa keeps the upkeep of the park as well as running max trains with minimal stacking.. Breakdowns at Europa also only happen once in a blue moon.. You can focus on both.. Its just Merlin doesn't put in the extra effort when it comes to theming that parks like Europa do.. And most of Europa is OPEN in the winter too.. They have less time to refurbish stuff, but they still do it so the park looks nice for guests..

 

Knowing Thorpe/Merlin the wood will be re-done when the structure is falling apart and rotting.. Look at Tomb Blaster, Tidal Wave's fire effects, ect..

Another example is Loggers Leap.. That surely isn't being left to rot up due to operations eh?

 

Europa is becoming a bit of a lazy comparison these days. It's the best theme park in Europe, possibly the world so is there much point saying Europa do this, Europa do that when Merlin are never going to be at that level. Saying they should aim to be that also isn't ever going to happen. The UK theme park market is stagnating and whilst I love the Wicker Man and I think Icon will be excellent, its a temporary positive and I think 2019 will be back to normal.

 

On 16/04/2018 at 8:55 AM, Benin said:

Merlin compare themselves to Disney, why can't we hold them to that comparison?

 

There's clear reasoning why certain things at Merlin parks are prioritised, and that's to please the shareholders over the guests... Maintenance doesn't bring in the money (at least, not in the short term, providing regular maintenance over time prevents having to do one big cash drop when the ride is effectively condemned or when a child falls through the rotting fence), so what does that matter to the shareholders?

 

Ooh go on then. Big Thunder Mountain smoke effect as well as the water splashdown, off. Snow Whites hand which has been broken for at least a year off, half of the last room on It's a Small World not working, water effects in Adventureland off, Cheshire cat's eyes off and no water effects on Alice in Wonderlands maze, R2 D2 stuck looking one way in one room, robot covered in tarp in the next room on Star Tours, no fire on Frontierland entrance sign.

 

This is why Merlin shouldn't do the effects thing too often because they don't have the budgets to maintain them. When someone said the fire on Swarm was still on I was taken aback.

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Comparing Merlin to Disney in some ways is a bit like comparing Tesco to Waitrose. There’s some similarities between the two, but the latter generally offers a more premium price and one could argue is more upmarket.

 

Whilst Merlin will never be up there with Disney, there’s no doubt that they can create  quality attractions. Swarm, Wickerman and Gruffalo first come to mind. However what’s affecting these are limitations in budgeting, marketing and structure. 

 

The parks desperately need a complexion of themes that are upbeat, comical and mysterious. Less-so modern day dark/abandoned and bright garish themes. I understand the demographic have previously asked for these, however what was hot topic five years ago may be relevant today. 

 

Budgeting is another thing, as the parks typically only get funding for new attractions (investment levels rotated), basic maintenance and ‘essential’ safety improvements. Sometimes the parks really have to push for extensive upkeep (see the TLC scheme) which should never have to happen like this. The under prioritised upkeep from Merlin is the real reason little things like Vampire’s chandeliers and mothballed/removed rides have been happening.

 

Merlin have the full ability to run all parks as high-level leading european Parks. Whilst they may not necessarily reach the heights of say Efteling or Phantasialand (which are operated differently), they have the potential to be near their league if they willing to pull out the right stops. It’s such a shame they choose not to and continue to tighten already stiff budgets, just because they want to make a massive profit, please shareholders and build dozens more Legolands. 

 

The parks themselves have a difficult fime through such limited budgets, however there are people who work in these parks that are definitely trying the best they can, even though they are basically expected to clean a toilet with just a broken toothbrush and almost empty cleaning bottle.  

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15 hours ago, Mark9 said:

Europa is becoming a bit of a lazy comparison these days. It's the best theme park in Europe, possibly the world so is there much point saying Europa do this, Europa do that when Merlin are never going to be at that level. Saying they should aim to be that also isn't ever going to happen. The UK theme park market is stagnating and whilst I love the Wicker Man and I think Icon will be excellent, its a temporary positive and I think 2019 will be back to normal.

I'm already classing 2018 as a negative year in all honesty.  We've gained Wicker Man (a fantastic coaster) and Icon (hopefully another fantastic coaster), but we've lost one of the most wonderful coasters ever to grace the UK lineup.  No new coaster can make up for that, IMO.

 

In addition, there's Alton operating on a shoestring budget (a park opening a major new coaster shouldn't be operating a schedule which sees four major coasters open at 11am), Blackpool cutting hours, the less said about Thorpe the better and I can't even face visiting Chessington.

 

We've got two new coasters but the negatives still outweigh the positives, IMO.

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11 hours ago, Coaster said:

In addition, there's Alton operating on a shoestring budget (a park opening a major new coaster shouldn't be operating a schedule which sees four major coasters open at 11am), Blackpool cutting hours, the less said about Thorpe the better and I can't even face visiting Chessington.

 

We've got two new coasters but the negatives still outweigh the positives, IMO.

Disagree. Yes Alton are running on a shoestring budget but they're still trying to recover so it's expected. But that aside; they're trying. Yes there's lots of downsides, but look at Nemesis. It's looking great and they've invested into its future. Something keeps occurring around Sub Terra so we can only hope there's a future plan for it. There's murmurs of work being done to Cloud Cuckoo Land to bring the area back and re implement CATCF as an attraction (albeit without the Charlie IP). Yes things aren't great but with a park like Towers it doesn't phase me the staggered openings as most guests are heading straight for Wicker Man anyway, and its no different in my view as Blackpool's staggered openings. I'm just thankful that we've now got a more-or-less full ride line up again (bar CATCF and 4D as we know ST is dead) and that cuts were made in Splash and Tree Top Quest over the theme park experience.

 

Thorpe is doing good in my opinion. They've made the entrance look acceptable from something very run down and grubby; they've tried with TWD - and I'm still happy its not VR on a ride, plus I haven't ridden it yet - and their operational calendar is amongst the strongest it's been for years with late night openings in Summer, and frequent 6pm+ closes. Great hotel rates to drive footfall which reflect the product offering in price and the return of the Annual Pass deal which is welcoming for the general public.

 

And I'd argue good for Chessington too. Yes there's flaws, but again, they've not had a bad start to the season. People are very quick to highlight the negatives but aside from Tomb, the park isn't looking too bad. I for one am excited for Land of the Tigers, and I think this year they've really tidied up the park somewhat, to a degree I've already visited twice and usually I go once a year.

 

I 100% respect, understand and see your viewpoint. But I feel there's too much negativity for the parks which are all trying really damn hard to recover, rebuild, and carry on after having budgets slashed left right and centre, when on reflection, we've seen Towers add one of their best coasters in the last decade, whilst refurbishing attractions back to a fresh state; Chessington bring a needed area refurbishment with new experiences to help themselves grow; LEGOLAND riding on the back of Ninjago: The Ride with the Haunted House breaking ground finally; and THORPE utilizing assests they have to hand in the form of Walking Dead and looking at their marketing and operations to grow themselves as a park.

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9 hours ago, Flipper said:

Disagree. Yes Alton are running on a shoestring budget but they're still trying to recover so it's expected. But that aside; they're trying. Yes there's lots of downsides, but look at Nemesis. It's looking great and they've invested into its future. Something keeps occurring around Sub Terra so we can only hope there's a future plan for it. There's murmurs of work being done to Cloud Cuckoo Land to bring the area back and re implement CATCF as an attraction (albeit without the Charlie IP). Yes things aren't great but with a park like Towers it doesn't phase me the staggered openings as most guests are heading straight for Wicker Man anyway, and its no different in my view as Blackpool's staggered openings. I'm just thankful that we've now got a more-or-less full ride line up again (bar CATCF and 4D as we know ST is dead) and that cuts were made in Splash and Tree Top Quest over the theme park experience.

 

Thorpe is doing good in my opinion. They've made the entrance look acceptable from something very run down and grubby; they've tried with TWD - and I'm still happy its not VR on a ride, plus I haven't ridden it yet - and their operational calendar is amongst the strongest it's been for years with late night openings in Summer, and frequent 6pm+ closes. Great hotel rates to drive footfall which reflect the product offering in price and the return of the Annual Pass deal which is welcoming for the general public.

 

And I'd argue good for Chessington too. Yes there's flaws, but again, they've not had a bad start to the season. People are very quick to highlight the negatives but aside from Tomb, the park isn't looking too bad. I for one am excited for Land of the Tigers, and I think this year they've really tidied up the park somewhat, to a degree I've already visited twice and usually I go once a year.

 

I 100% respect, understand and see your viewpoint. But I feel there's too much negativity for the parks which are all trying really damn hard to recover, rebuild, and carry on after having budgets slashed left right and centre, when on reflection, we've seen Towers add one of their best coasters in the last decade, whilst refurbishing attractions back to a fresh state; Chessington bring a needed area refurbishment with new experiences to help themselves grow; LEGOLAND riding on the back of Ninjago: The Ride with the Haunted House breaking ground finally; and THORPE utilizing assests they have to hand in the form of Walking Dead and looking at their marketing and operations to grow themselves as a park.

I'm not blaming the parks independently as much, as I fully appreciate that they put a lot of effort in with the budgets they're given.  The underlying issue is, IMO, under-funding and a lack of care from Merlin in relation to Towers, Thorpe and Chessington.

 

Nemesis is looking great at Alton (albeit missing its blood waterfall, the station is stunning) but it's an exception to an otherwise very poorly operated park IMO.  Wicker Man is truly an outstanding coaster for the UK, but the operations elsewhere leave a lot to be desired.  Regarding staggered openings, they're operated differently to BPB - whilst Pleasure Beach doesn't open the majority of rides until 10:30, there are only two (Valhalla and Grand National) which open at 11am - different to having four major coasters across different areas opening at 11am IMO, plus it's something that never used to happen at Alton apart from for the water rides.  A huge budget cut.

 

Whilst Thorpe may have improved some things, ride availability was atrocious the afternoon and evening of the pass-holder event, nearly every ride we approached was either down or going down as we got to it.  Loggers and Slammer are both still sat there festering.  The opening times are indeed looking great throughout the summer, a huge improvement.

 

I can't comment on Chessington this year as the ride operations and standard of service experienced on our one visit last year means that a return visit is totally out of the question at present.

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I think the real problem is Merlin and their greed for pure profit.  Yes they suffered a loss from The Smiler disaster, but that was back in 2015.. 

The park made cuts back in 2016 which is fair enough, but you really think they would of sorted their sh** out by now?

 

9 hours ago, Flipper said:

Yes things aren't great but with a park like Towers it doesn't phase me the staggered openings as most guests are heading straight for Wicker Man anyway, and its no different in my view as Blackpool's staggered openings.

I think the difference is that Blackpool's rides usually don't get much of a queue anyway.. I went Easter Holidays last year on a "peak day" and everything was pretty much 10-30 minutes or in some cases.. Completely walk on. Okay staggered openings suck, but if the park's dead anyway.. It doesn't really affect my day.

 

The Towers also lack the support rides that Blackpool has, okay you have Duel or Hex, other than that the lineup besides the coasters is very thin.

 

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Got to ride Wickerman on Friday at Towers - I was very concerned we weren't going to get on after travelling 200 miles to get to Towers - but, fair play to Merlin, as despite being down from 1.30 ish, they re-opened at 3.45 with officially 15 minutes of queue-open time remaining - and then stayed open until 4.45pm. In the morning - the ride didn't open until AFTER ERT (oops) and the queues in the morning were peaking at 60-80 minutes so we decided to wait until the afternoon and do the 0 minute queue rides instead, which nearly ended in our downfall :P

 

Anyway - have to say that I think Merlin are on to a winner with Wickerman here. The queueline is the best I've been in some time in terms of setting you up for the ride, the Wickerman statue looks awesome, and the coaster as a whole is stunning. It really does roar round <3

 

The pre-show was spot on and sets the scene perfectly. The ride itself I loved (got to ride twice!) - screamed and laughed around the track, fantastic stuff - you can really feel it slide into the corners and it's pretty relentless, and picks up decent speed - it's pitched perfectly if you ask me, a properly fun and thrilling ride, that looks incredible and rides just as well. Great attraction to the lineup, and glad it's come to fruition as I wonder if it was close to getting shelved due to the Smiler accident.

 

Well done Towers - now just fingers crossed the Wickerman starts behaving itself and has less down-time. 

 

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Double post to say - "real" flame effects were off when we visited, everything else was working as it should.

 

There was a bit of a wait for the train to move back into the station as we were stacked behind another both times, but I'm sure this will improve over time :)

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I was lucky enough to ride Wicker Man last Saturday - I say lucky because the ride's availability was like a yo-yo all day.

 

It's a winner. It's not going to win any awards for being the most extreme or "world's first <who cares>" or the fastest or the tallest... but of course it doesn't need to, to be a solid ride. It carries an excellent - and consistent - theme, complete with theatrical pre-show, matched with a comfortable and yet still out-of-control ride. Signature GCI. And the clear, standout highlight is that first drop, which starts tame, becomes more exciting with the airtime hill, and then totally surprises with the fast banked right-left turns. Outstanding.

 

The slow turnaround in the back half feels a bit of a waste to me, and I would have loved for it to have been longer, but all Wicker Man really had to do was show the UK market that wood can compete with steel. And with recent reports that guest feedback has been stellar, it sure does that.

 

Unfortunately, I can't speak of 2018's Towers with the same affection. Last Saturday was a sunny 21 degrees, and the crowd levels reflected that. A 10am - 5pm opening in these circumstances is inexcusable. There was no closing time extension, despite queues of over 60 minutes on all the coasters, all day. Smiler hit 100 minutes, Wicker 150. The crowd I was with had never been to Alton before, so we took the early call to invest in Gold Fastrack (at £60 each) to enable us to actually ride all the big rides in this shorter time frame. And even with the Fastrack, we found it more than a little stressful to get round the park in one day (ride breakdowns didn't help - and Rita eluded us altogether).

 

Not only that, but operations in places were abysmal. Oblivion was on one train loading, with just 3 platform staff; throughput can't have been more than 300 per hour. Galactica's queue was crawling (with the VR payoff far from a good enough justification). Congo River Rapids was closed all day. And with no Sub Terra, no Ripsaw, no Charlie, no Submission, and no Flume - not to mention the closed stalls & eateries - you can't help walk around the place wondering where all the magic has gone. Depressing stuff.

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4 hours ago, BenC said:

I was lucky enough to ride Wicker Man last Saturday - I say lucky because the ride's availability was like a yo-yo all day.

 

It's a winner. It's not going to win any awards for being the most extreme or "world's first <who cares>" or the fastest or the tallest... but of course it doesn't need to, to be a solid ride. It carries an excellent - and consistent - theme, complete with theatrical pre-show, matched with a comfortable and yet still out-of-control ride. Signature GCI. And the clear, standout highlight is that first drop, which starts tame, becomes more exciting with the airtime hill, and then totally surprises with the fast banked right-left turns. Outstanding.

 

The slow turnaround in the back half feels a bit of a waste to me, and I would have loved for it to have been longer, but all Wicker Man really had to do was show the UK market that wood can compete with steel. And with recent reports that guest feedback has been stellar, it sure does that.

 

YAS! I have never seen a UK ride receive this much love and excitement for since well, Nemesis. It's an absolute pleasure to ride and it to me is the single most important ride built this century. (hyperbole necessary). I'm so glad it comes across as so middle of the road because when you get off the thing, you're blown away by how good it is and Alton fully deserve the praise.

 

4 hours ago, BenC said:

Unfortunately, I can't speak of 2018's Towers with the same affection. Last Saturday was a sunny 21 degrees, and the crowd levels reflected that. A 10am - 5pm opening in these circumstances is inexcusable. There was no closing time extension, despite queues of over 60 minutes on all the coasters, all day. Smiler hit 100 minutes, Wicker 150. The crowd I was with had never been to Alton before, so we took the early call to invest in Gold Fastrack (at £60 each) to enable us to actually ride all the big rides in this shorter time frame. And even with the Fastrack, we found it more than a little stressful to get round the park in one day (ride breakdowns didn't help - and Rita eluded us altogether).

 

Not only that, but operations in places were abysmal. Oblivion was on one train loading, with just 3 platform staff; throughput can't have been more than 300 per hour. Galactica's queue was crawling (with the VR payoff far from a good enough justification). Congo River Rapids was closed all day. And with no Sub Terra, no Ripsaw, no Charlie, no Submission, and no Flume - not to mention the closed stalls & eateries - you can't help walk around the place wondering where the all the magic has gone. Depressing stuff.

And here's what bugs me. Wicker Man is excellent but it cannot paper the cracks of poor decision making. On a hot day the park should never close at 5. Oblivion only runs two stations on absolute peak days, thats crazy. Wicker Man is clearly having a big effect on the park, more people are visiting and therefore the park should be reacting quicker to this stuff. Galatica is a mess. The quicker the VR goes the better.

 

The sad thing is Saturday was a travesty but I went on Monday and at one point WickerMan only had a 5 minute queue, was running three trains all day and had no breakdowns. Thats the kind of guest experience the park should be delivering every day and a 4/5pm close to me seems no longer warranted or excused.

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I got my rides on Wicker Man yesterday (3 to be precise), and, well, it's good, but I have one major problem with it.

 

Let's go back to what I was expecting from Wicker Man:

 

On 1/29/2018 at 7:37 AM, BaronC. said:

I watched [a testing video], and it looks as I've always expected it to look.  A simple, fun, low key family experience.

 

As a coaster, this is what Wicker Man is. It's a fun family coaster; it's got its moments of fun and 'woah' bits, but it's quiet low-key: there's nothing during the course which made me, as someone who would be an older member of the family, think 'Wow, that was fun'. It was all very bog standard. And that's fine, as that gives a coaster for the younger age of the ride's market (6-8 years old) a perfect coaster to ride.

 

But then that's where's the problem lies, as they've done sort of done a Th13teen again. The pre-show (which might I add, I thought was brilliant) is, in my opinion, too scary and over the top for that age range. 6-8 year old me would have HATED it, to the point I'd have been afraid to go on the ride. The pitch black brakes at the end of the ride are equally going to be unnerving and too creepy there too (and would have benefitted from something actually happening in there anyways aside from a blast of smoke).

 

I don't know how well I've explained this, but I remain really unconvinced by this for now. We've got a coaster, which I enjoy, and fills in a gap in the market. We've got a theme and pre-show which I enjoy. But the two don't work together, creating a weird identity crisis of a proper family ride once again trying too hard to be scary. And unlike Th13teen, this isn't something which will die away in time, since the scary stuff is present in the attraction.

 

Maybe I'm making something out of nothing. Maybe 6 year olds are braver these days, I was a wimp back then, I'm over-exaggerating, or whatever. But to me, there is a clear divide in the ride experience which is given and the ride experience it is styled towards.

 

HOWEVER. I did ride with some people who have ridden it before, and they did say it was running noticeably slower today; both from an off and on ride perspective. That was regardless of time of riding (about 12pm, 2pm, 4pm) or where I was riding (near the front, back, middle respectively). So maybe I've caught Wicker Man on a bad day, in which case, I look forward to being able to catch it on a good day.

 

For more positive stuff:

-I love the queue

-I love the audio

-I love the statue

-I like the trains

-The random effect on the brakes at the end did catch me off guard on my first time.

 

So yeah, to round off. I got the coaster I was expecting. And it's a good representation of what a 'low-thrill' family coaster can do. But with the presentation of the theme and story, they've got a mismatch on their hands.

 

Hopefully I've caught it on a bad day. But if I have, one has to wonder if that was bad luck, or how many more bad days there are to come...

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7 hours ago, BaronC. said:

But then that's where's the problem lies, as they've done sort of done a Th13teen again. The pre-show (which might I add, I thought was brilliant) is, in my opinion, too scary and over the top for that age range. 6-8 year old me would have HATED it, to the point I'd have been afraid to go on the ride. The pitch black brakes at the end of the ride are equally going to be unnerving and too creepy there too (and would have benefitted from something actually happening in there anyways aside from a blast of smoke).

I'm sort of 50/50 on this. On the one hand, my sister was in tears in the station and she wasn't even going on the ride. On the other hand, the pre show is skippable, and I think there are some signs and such that make it clear it's pretty scary, (idk as I didn't pay too much attention to those signs), the staff are also really good with scared children - my sister was given free earplugs and water - and not to mention I can't see too many 6-8 year olds who will want to ride it. Maybe that's just me though.

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With the pre show being skippable, I think the thing which concerns me is that people may not realise it's skippable, or realise how scary it is until it's too late. There's only so much staff can do. There's also my stubborn attitude of if you're designing a family ride, it should be inclusive to everyone in the family at all points - having a skippable bit just seems like an oversight.

 

20 minutes ago, ChessingtonSam said:

and not to mention I can't see too many 6-8 year olds who will want to ride it. Maybe that's just me though.

I'll have to disagree with you with. 6-8 year olds are the kids who will be hitting 1.2m tall, and the coaster is the perfect thrill level for them! They're the ones who Towers should be making want to ride it the most!

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