UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
KiLLaGoD1664
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1
Joined: January 2018

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:38 am

*OVER DRAMATIC CRYBABY POST ALERT*
I read this forum a lot but must confess to being a lurker rather than a contributor. I don't really have much insight into the park so I prefer to read, and nerd out on the stuff you all post. However the new ERT restrictions and ride times has irked me so much I had to register so I could vent my spleen! I've probably visited AT around 80 times over the last 15 years including a glorious 3 years of Annual Passes and camping at the Star round the corner around the time Th13teen went in. I genuinely love going to AT and like just about everyone I've watched the build up to Wickerman with growing excitement and a resolve to get 2 annual passes for this year (one for the other half).

The new ERT restrictions are not great. The ride times are actually shocking. It's pathetic but I'm actually slightly in mourning this morning (pun definitely intended) after seeing the news last night. Coming on top of the fact that there really aren't enough rides there anyway and the fact the business seems to think it's special for actually bothering to maintain it's rides in the off season (TLC) it really feels like the last straw. I'm so angry I've cancelled my plans to visit AT this season (and Thorpe Park) and am now planning to go to Blackpool to ride the Mack Mega going in there and probably going to get a cheap flight to Salou for PortAventura.

I've tweeted, fb posted and fb messaged AT about this but I doubt it will do much good. I guess time will only tell how much if any damage this will do the park but they've lost the business of this family who repeat visit and I'm tipping plenty more people will feel like us.

*OVER DRAMATIC CRYBABY POST ENDS*
 
Muppet738
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 40
Joined: July 2015

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:28 am

I thought Alton Towers was supposed to be their flagship park? I'm sorry but after this news I think Thorpe Park is now taking it's place, at least it's open longer.
 
TheDuke
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 199
Joined: December 2016
Location: Dublin

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:31 pm

As someone who has to travel between countries to get to the Towers and would stay in the resort for the ERT, whats the point now? The day is so much shorter for someone who can't come back easily, I've 2 days minimum but most of the park is closed until 11. Even if the ERT selection wasn't good in the past you could wait around at Nemesis or Oblivion for opening and get a few rides in before queues formed. The fact ERT is half an hour now and most of the park is closed makes it pointless really except if you want to queue for Wicker Man a bit early.
 
User avatar
PhNx Survivor
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 357
Joined: November 2012
Location: Derby

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:07 pm

Has anyone thought about this being an early April Fools joke?

I really, really don't see them going through with this decision.. as people have already stated, they are getting slaughtered with all the feedback from that news.. even to the point now where people have started #SaveAltonTowers :lol

I don't think we'll have anything to worry about as the GP will get done what needs to be done!

Anywho.. happy we got a hint for Wicker Man's opening date :lol
“A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one”
 
User avatar
Kraken
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 156
Joined: December 2004
Location: Staffordshire

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:29 pm

This just proves that Merlin are hell-bent on running Alton Towers Resort into the ground.  They claim they've had unfair press coverage but then go and pull tricks like this staggered opening out of the hat.  They're seriously reducing what is already a limited ride offer (compared to other parks).  Lets leave Disney out of the argument as they have a unique market position.  Would you see the likes of Europa Park pull stunts like this?  No way.  

If you have not already visited Europa park, then I urge you to do so.  It's the best park in Europe IMO, the rides run like clockwork and the theming is amazing.  It will open your eyes to how short-changed we are at ALL the Merlin parks in the UK.  

At one point, Merlin Entertainments used to have a tag-line along the lines of "We're second only to Disney" - I can hear Mickey Mouse laughing right now!  
 
User avatar
MakoMania
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1574
Joined: February 2015
Location: Who knows?

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:07 pm

Alton Towers have today confirmed to me on twitter that the new season passes will not be valid for Early Ride Time despite the opposite being stated when the passes first went on sale.
Image
Thanks to Nemesis Rider for the signature!

SeaWorld has rescued over 33,000 animals in need!
 
User avatar
ponder
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 604
Joined: June 2009
Location: Nr Colchester, Essex

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:12 pm

Kraken wrote:
If you have not already visited Europa park, then I urge you to do so.  It's the best park in Europe IMO, the rides run like clockwork and the theming is amazing.  It will open your eyes to how short-changed we are at ALL the Merlin parks in the UK.  

Agreed. And if anyone is concerned about the price of travel / entry, then I can reassure you that you will spend far less on site than you would at a UK park, with on-ride photos coming in at 6 Euro each and food has barely any mark up on what you would pay outside of a theme park.
It's genuinely not that much more expensive to reach Europa, PortAventura, Liseberg etc than a weekend at AT if you shop around for cheap flights.
 
TheDuke
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 199
Joined: December 2016
Location: Dublin

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:36 pm

ponder wrote:
Kraken wrote:
If you have not already visited Europa park, then I urge you to do so.  It's the best park in Europe IMO, the rides run like clockwork and the theming is amazing.  It will open your eyes to how short-changed we are at ALL the Merlin parks in the UK.  

Agreed. And if anyone is concerned about the price of travel / entry, then I can reassure you that you will spend far less on site than you would at a UK park, with on-ride photos coming in at 6 Euro each and food has barely any mark up on what you would pay outside of a theme park.
It's genuinely not that much more expensive to reach Europa, PortAventura, Liseberg etc than a weekend at AT if you shop around for cheap flights.


Echoing this as someone outside the UK, I find it easier to reach most mainland European parks at least from Ireland anyway than the towers and at this point its a cheaper and becoming a better which is a shame as I do believe that the towers was the best European theme park I wouldn't be here if I thought otherwise its just decisions like this that don't improve the situation.
 
Ste_Man
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1
Joined: January 2018

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:33 pm

Hi guys, I used to be on this forum years ago and sort of lost the ability to have the same amount of time to spend here.
However, following the news I saw today from a facebook comment from someone I know from my erstwhile days here, I was suitably horrified to learn that some areas of the park will not be opening until lunch time!
This I had to re-register to air my disgust.
It seems like Merlin are really set out to destroy all public relations for good. 
I've been going since 2003 and every year since then, it has been less magical, with gradual but noticeable price hikes every year, later openings, earlier closes.
And now this announcement. I have, however, noticed that no posts have been made to facebook since yesterday. I do hope that they are now pretty worried about their decision. And let's face it, those who don't look at the FB page or small print on the website, will only find out about this con job once they arrive at the park and will probably kick off.
 
User avatar
RobHand
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 62
Joined: June 2015
Location: Essex - UK
Contact:

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:36 pm

MakoMania wrote:
Alton Towers have today confirmed to me on twitter that the new season passes will not be valid for Early Ride Time despite the opposite being stated when the passes first went on sale.


The gift that keeps giving ...
Image
 
User avatar
Nickolai
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 453
Joined: July 2016
Location: In The Smiler's Baggage Hold

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:45 pm

It is like detentions where if you get one and complain, you get another one! :lol
Image
Image
Formally Smiler313
 
User avatar
ROYJESS
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 326
Joined: March 2012
Location: Norfolk

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:55 pm

This is Alton's standard copy and paste reply to the staggered opening times, according to them, they have done this in the past and this year is no different  :lol

Image
 
User avatar
Nickolai
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 453
Joined: July 2016
Location: In The Smiler's Baggage Hold

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:21 pm

They had better subject to change throughout the season!
Image
Image
Formally Smiler313
 
User avatar
hursty
Team TTSP
Team TTSP
Posts: 937
Joined: January 2010

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:32 pm

Whilst they have done staggered opening before, they've either been mostly water-rides or have still been controversial!

I think the line "this year is no different" is poor choose of words, because it can be misinterpreted to mean the same staggered times as last year - which isn't true! Without really acknowledging that it is much worse than previous years, it's easy to see why it's not calming the complaints.
The other thing missing is that this year is not any old year, it is the year of a new rollercoaster (SW as well!) and the response doesn't really convey any excitement for the year ahead.
Image
Image
 
User avatar
NemeJaney
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 890
Joined: November 2013
Location: Back, right-hand seat of Nemmy

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:10 pm

hursty wrote:
The other thing missing is that this year is not any old year, it is the year of a new rollercoaster (SW as well!) and the response doesn't really convey any excitement for the year ahead.

Good point. You'd expect to see them mentioning WM in their comments more, but then again maybe they are trying to focus on answering people with a direct response that is suited to the comments themselves. This has given me an idea...
...Perhaps their bizarre plans have something to do with how the Wicker Man area will flow, so are sticking to them for that reason? It's entirely possible that they've announced these times to keep people on that side of the park in the morning for a better appearance of guest numbers in the early days (especially if there are going to be media cameras everywhere who would love to capture an image of a struggling park), then have been intending all along to revert to earlier openings again as the initial novelty of WM wears off. Maybe that's a slightly salty, far-fetched theory, but it could be a positive factor for Towers among all the negatives. :)
 
User avatar
Joel Allen
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 75
Joined: December 2017
Location: Bedfordshire
Contact:

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:13 pm

I just hope we get a backtrack from Alton due to the publics response. I’m hoping the Forbidden Valley opening time is around 10:30 and Congo River Rapids has a longer operating schedule, into April. It’s not good to have one of your only water rides not running for half of the year :(
 
User avatar
Justin
Team TTSP
Team TTSP
Posts: 2433
Joined: April 2014
Location: TTSP Forum
Contact:

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:26 pm

An interesting thought made on Facebook, but would it be better for Alton/Merlin to outsource their F&B again? This way, they could charge rent and generate money that way instead of controlling it themselves? I'm purely thinking F&B at present and not the whole park, but I suppose it really depends how much Merlin make from their F&B brands. I expect food makes a lot of money for them though!

Also, if they are struggling, how about reintroducing sponsorship, as long as it it done correctly without a detrimental affect on the attractions/area!
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Phild94
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 371
Joined: December 2012
Location: Newcastle under Lyme

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:28 am

[Insert Alton Towers Rant Here]

I won’t quote your whole post Justin but couldn’t agree with you any more on every single point.

Nearly every F&B outlet took a nosedive after removing the affiliated brand. I have no issue in eating at unknown places (as my Just Eat account would show), however there is a certain stability to brands; the guarantee of specific level of food quality and service.

The woodcutters bar and grill, Mexican Cantina and FCC were all exceptions to this rule, however have been owned and drown by merlin for a long time to get to an appropriate standard.

I don’t want AT to become overrun by lavish marketing campaigns from every company from Adidas to Zurich, but to have a light sponsorship would help to balance their books without these monstrous cuts to service.

A day at Alton Towers is meant to be a magical, care-free day of riding stupid rides, screaming in terror and laughing with joy. It’s an expensive pleasure, but at least it used to be worth every penny.

I sincerely hope that they come to their senses and realise that visitor numbers will be their saving grace. I just hope they realise that before they alienate their fan base and disappoint the general public.

[End Alton Towers Rant]
 
User avatar
Hazard
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 61
Joined: June 2014

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:30 am

Terrible. We usually get there for opening (Early Ride Time)  and get the day over and done with by 2pm and make our way home (Essex) probably doing a few rides on the main hitters. The fact that the opening times are staggered makes this difficult. Yeah it can still be done on quiet days but if we are leaving at 4pm then the day is very long if you take into account travel. Even with free tickets I'm not sure ill bother with these staggered openings.

My suggestion would be for everyone to complain after using the park, get free tickets/money back and only then will Alton listen. It's safe to say the longest queues of the day will be at the customer relations desk. 
 
User avatar
hursty
Team TTSP
Team TTSP
Posts: 937
Joined: January 2010

Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:34 am

NemeJaney wrote:
...Perhaps their bizarre plans have something to do with how the Wicker Man area will flow, so are sticking to them for that reason? It's entirely possible that they've announced these times to keep people on that side of the park in the morning for a better appearance of guest numbers in the early days (especially if there are going to be media cameras everywhere who would love to capture an image of a struggling park), then have been intending all along to revert to earlier openings again as the initial novelty of WM wears off. Maybe that's a slightly salty, far-fetched theory, but it could be a positive factor for Towers among all the negatives. :)

I'm not sure we'd see much media on opening day. I think they will be mostly constrained to a press launch event / previews. I did make a comment in the Nemesis thread that what crowds do arrive, won't be really reaching FV until later in the day, and means they don't have Nemesis going around empty, which would show a quiet park.



Joel Allen wrote:
I just hope we get a backtrack from Alton due to the publics response.

I think we might see some changes over the course of the season tied to guest numbers, whether they would actually U-turn before opening day remains to be seen. It's a massive distraction and has seriously clouded the PR drive for SW8. What might be the deciding factor is whether the mainstream press pick up on it and run a "Struggling Alton Towers, where admission is £50+ and the rides aren't even open all day" type clickbait.
Whilst this has undoubtedly upset a lot of enthusiasts (who would consider themselves loyal to Merlin and the Resort through the recent troubles), if it bleeds into the general public realm, this year will be head south and they'll be little new in the next few years to pull it back. SW8 year needed to shine, and bad word of mouth following some deep cuts and annual pass curtailments could mean 2018 is off to a sluggish start. What hasn't helped is doing the Annual Pass sale & Park "Season Ticket", before revealing another set of restrictions - making people question their investment. Refusing refunds, whilst likely legal, isn't particularly endearing to a park that could do with a lot of understanding at the moment. The timing of all of this is really poor, but gives the passholders the sense they were tricked -  and now trapped. Somethings going to give somewhere.



Justin wrote:
An interesting thought made on Facebook, but would it be better for Alton/Merlin to outsource their F&B again?

Whilst the quality/availability of food at the Resort needs to improve, I'm not sure the gate figures would give a strong business case for chains to invest, particularly when they've been brought in house before and also given the rates Alton would need to charge. 
Given how many food outlets haven't been open in recent years, and clearly concerns that caused the smokehouse to be delayed/cancelled, doesn't give a strong case for external investment.
I miss the days of "beat the traffic, stay for dinner" signs at some of the restaurants - where you could get breakfast, lunch and dinner on park. Perhaps returning to that might be more profitable, but the food offering would need to be better than last year!



Justin wrote:
how about reintroducing sponsorship, as long as it it done correctly without a detrimental affect on the attractions/area!

Image

Unfortunately what we've seen so far with a Carex bottle and some blue bunnies is not really going to bring the really serious revenue, I don't think that Alton Towers is the powerful brand it was the last time they did sponsorship, which is what they need to bring in the big bucks. And I think the chances of screwing it up would be so high and with the reaction to these cuts at the moment, could be perceived as desperate. I think they need to build the brand value back up, before even thinking of overt sponsorship. The other challenge is with things like the IP protection of CBeebies Land, it can significantly limit sponsorship. In terms of reaching the normally desirable 18-30 demographic, there are more modern ways to get through to them with most conventionally strategies seeming dated.

Business is hard, and it's easy for us all to pick fault. So all of this is easier said than done. There's always going to be questions of the decision to go public, as to whether that has prompted a drive for quick wins, rather than long term plans, although recent events will have been having a profound impact. My hope with 2018 was that Merlin would run AT at further loss if needed, to put on a compelling guest experience that brings positive word of mouth, and happy stories would hopeful reach countless friends through social media - much more trustworthy and organic than ad campaigns. This might have meant looking at ticket prices (or offers - like the season pass), but certainly improvements to food and entertainment offering. ATTP/Pirates back on the Towers Street / Mutiny Bay Courtyard, good opening times etc.

I have a worry if they keep cutting, they will end up in cycle that would see the park deteriorate. Alton have a really good line up of rides, it's the guest experience they need to focus on, and for me it's good ride availability, giving park ents more resource to create the memories we all treasure, as well as making to food offering something guests would look forward to.
Image
Image

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 143 guests