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streetmagix
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:12 am

When I was there last week quite a few people were complaining about the operations and opening times ('Most of the rides open at 11am, what a con!' is a direct quote from someone on the monorail at 9:15. I heard things similar to that throughout the day too).

TripAdvisor is taking a hammering too, the public have really woken up to the cuts now.
 
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Robert.W
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:18 pm

Justin wrote:
An enjoyable day can still be had at Alton Towers, although it seems more and more apparent that you need a good knowledge of the park in order to maximise your day. 

This. And even then, we were turning corners with plans for our next move to be met with signs saying entire areas didn't open until 11am, only for them to open even later than that. 

I was visiting with family, who whilst they enjoy a day out at Towers, are certainly not theme park enthusiasts. Yet even they were looking on in horror at some of the situations that were happening – rides opening much later than their already late advertised opening time, the monorail not opening (does anyone know what's actually wrong with it??), numerous ride closures make it difficult to plan how we'd get on them all. While it certainly is possible to have a great day at Towers this season, all the things which are happening make it somewhat difficult to plan strategically to make the most of your day.  
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TPC
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:52 pm

Justin wrote:
This doesn't just go for Alton, but Thorpe Park and Chessington too. I know on the days we have visited, so far this year, that there have been reports of some guests only riding 2 or 3 rides all day when we have managed 9, 10 or more.


I don't get how Merlin believe they have a 96% customer satisfaction rating, as stated on this year's annual report. Did they only survey the midway attractions or was the metric so simple that they counted anyone who at least smiled for a second during their visit as satisfied?

It's sad to see Alton have this poor of a start to the year. Everything I'm reading is sounding like Thorpe Park last year, but with the added wonderfulness of shorter operating hours. I'm hoping by the time they let Merlin pass holders book at the hotel again (currently technical issues preventing that for the last week...), they might have at least figured out either staffing or reliability issues.
 
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Dan
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:37 pm

Alton Towers have published their opening times for the first few weeks of May. They continue to see the theme park open 10am – 4pm on weekdays, and 10am – 5pm during weekends, as well as on Bank Holiday Monday 7th May.

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Robert.W
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:49 pm

I'd say 10am opening times are just a tiny bit misleading don't you think? Most people would expect all the rides to be open from the times listed above, not having them open randomly throughout the day... also slightly surprised at the lack of 6pm closures on weekends.
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Dan
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:24 pm

Robert.W wrote:
I'd say 10am opening times are just a tiny bit misleading don't you think? Most people would expect all the rides to be open from the times listed above, not having them open randomly throughout the day... also slightly surprised at the lack of 6pm closures on weekends.


While I agree that the staggered ride openings could be made clearer, I don’t think that advertising a 10am opening is misleading.

After all, the park does open at 10, along with the majority of rides & attractions. I can’t remember if the resort map details the staggered ride openings, as this would be a good way to inform guests, and also help them plan their route around the park.

The worst thing, for me, is that we’re discussing staggered ride openings and early ride closes at what is supposed to be the UK’s #1 theme park. I still love the place to bits and do enjoy myself when I visit, I just wish that it wasn’t being forced to operate on such a shoestring budget.
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:32 pm

This is not mentioned on the map anywhere. Its also very hard to find on the website so the majority of people would only find out when they get to the barriers at the towers and KC or when they check the queue times and see 'open at 11.00'. Most of these peoples' next words are: "What a con"
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Robert.W
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:34 pm

Yeah, misleading probably wasn't the right word to use. The ride opening times really are just so badly communicated to guests. They really should have put them on the map, because when you're walking around in the morning, and you're greeted by several blocked off pathways saying that the rides in those areas don't open until 11am, and people are standing around wondering exactly what is open... just isn't that great to be honest.

And this situation is made even worse when the rides open even later than advertised on the signs around the park... it really is sad that staggered opening times have come to Alton. It just rubs salt in the wounds to open the rides even later than that, then to have them open and close numerous times during the day due to poor reliability.

I'll always love Alton, it'll always be my number 1 park. But it is sad to see what things have come to. One can only hope that Merlin will learn a lesson from what they are doing to the park this year.  
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:00 am

Can always hope for next year. Thorpe Park had a bad year last year, but this year we get longer opening hours again and even late nights over the summer.

It wasn't long ago I was hearing noises that they are looking to move Alton to year round operations, and the increase in hotel rooms can only be useful for them if they are actually open.
 
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Robert.W
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:13 pm

That's a good point. I do have a bit of hope that things will be different next year! 

Moving to all year operations sounds interesting. And you're right about the hotel rooms too. Surely they'll only make even more money if the theme park is actually open! :) 
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streetmagix
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:18 pm

I think it'll be a while off before Alton Towers are ready for year round operation but it would be nice of them to open say the Gardens/Towers and maybe Cbeebies Land year round. They could maybe have a rotating set of thrill rides open on certain days to judge the demand. Monday X-sector and Dark Forest would be open, Tuesday Dark Forest and Forbidden Valley, Wednesday Forbidden Valley and Wicker Man and so on. They could then do winter maintenance on a rotating basis but still offer some rides to the guests visiting.
 
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TPC
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:59 pm

Definitely seems most likely that any increase in operating days will centre around CBeebies Land. Looking at last year's Christmas pictures, looks like they did a really nice job and were open each weekend and Christmas week.

Of course, what they should do is fill the B&M coasters with water, attach a few immersion heaters, then they'd have the world's first centrally heated rollercoasters, that will work whatever the weather. Merlin like world's firsts don't they? :D
 
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Robert.W
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:14 pm

:lol To be honest, that's not even a bad idea, heated roller coasters!! 

I like what streetmagix has suggested, with the rotating of different areas, depending on demand, as well as to get maintenance done, whilst maybe keeping say CBeebies Land, Mutiny Bay as well as Duel and Hex open most of the year.
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streetmagix
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:21 pm

Somehow Phantasialand claim to be able to run Black Mamba (a newer B&M Invert) at -10c! When I was there it was around 2-3c and it ran very well. 

I guess they have special cold weather wheels and grease, not really worth it for a few days (see opening weekend) but for an entire winter season it could be done.
 
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:09 pm

-10c! I rode the Swarm over Easter in about 5c and light rain, and it felt like I was going to get frostbite in my fingers after a few goes.

On the rotating opening idea, it seems something like this could have been done instead of this staggered opening silliness. Have a morning crew trained to operate a couple of rides, then move them around as necessary for morning variety and to mop up issues when the chosen ERT and 10-11am rides don't want to start that day.
 
wamdue
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:06 pm

yes I rode Swarm, when it rained, was not pleasant. 
 
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Morgan
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:17 pm

I personally don't think Alton Towers could handle being open all year right now. It seems that they're struggling to run the park as it is because of the tiny budget the resort gets given, so extending this to another hundred or so days seems impossible without a substantial increase in budget.

The suggestion of certain areas for certain days isn't one I'm particularly fond of- I already struggle to fill the day as it is when everything is open (especially when combined with the staggered openings), so having entire areas closed wouldn't help. Also to note is that some people have very tight work schedules, so they may want to ride Nemesis for example, but the only times they could visit, it would be shut. If this is to do maintenance, then why not do it like Disney where they shut a ride off for a month or so before reopening it? Whilst neither are ideal, I prefer it to shutting entire areas off. 

I also believe that there isn't the demand for the park to be open daily either. Whilst the park is certainly busier this year (or at least seems so because of the staggered openings), the park would virtually always be quiet. It sounds appealing, but it would cost the resort a lot of money for a product that not many would be interested in.
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:25 pm

First time back since last July and it seems there are a lot of positive changes. Very impressed with the increase in theming across many attractions, Duel actually feels like a haunted house again and the smoke effects with the lasers are brilliant. Felt that Hex had also had some touching up in the second show room. There's a neat little model of the Wickerman track in the rollercoaster restaurant.

Monorail to the park a complete nightmare though, even at 11am. From outside it seemed they barely got 30 people on at a time and the queue only really moved when people gave up and walked. Return was handling things much faster. But they really need some air gates in there so they can batch people while the trains are moving.

Was also surprised to see bag check removed from Th13rteen. Can understand the cost savings on that, but it's certainly awkward placing bags right at the back of the station after clambering through the train. It's not like a B&M where you can easily walk to the cage and back.
 
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:30 pm

I went to the park a few weeks ago, and my father who I went with was so appalled at the staggered opening times and the fact The Smiler was closed all day that he wrote a letter of complaint to the park. In a response email they sent us 2 free tickets to the park, and 2 solo fasttrack passes to all rides but Wicker Man. 
I'm not a fan of them closing the single rider queues, or the new baggage holds either, found Th13rteen's awkward too
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This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move
 
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:04 pm

A lot better today, all rides seemed to open all day, no massive queue at the plaza. Ride effects working again. Much better.

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