UK theme parks from another point of view!

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Thom
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2013 Season - General Discussion

Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:25 pm

With the 2013 season now underway, this is the place to post your observations, opinions and updates on the season so far.

- With the Smiler yet to open, is the park noticeably quieter?
- What closed season changes and refurbishments have you noticed?
- We will see a repeat of the operational cut backs that threatened last season?

Discuss here! :)
Last edited by Thom on Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Kenzie2012
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:30 pm

I've just got back from the opening meet and over the weekend made some small observations....

The Smiler

... Is not finished  ;) lol, but the bugger looks immense! Like quite simply it is absolutely huge and the aerial updates don't really show just how huge it is. The use of space has been fantastic, even if it has meant a chunk of the toilets wasn't quite accounted for  ](*,)
When we went on Saturday, The Marmaliser was on site and being uncovered in front of us..... That one big pei e of theming and it will look particularly impressive at Scarfest!

X-Sector

I'm going to be honest, I knew it was too good to be true. The place still looks a mess (not including the half that's a building site) Oblivion has been painted, it is still not black just to point out, but none the less look fantastic once again, but the trains still havn't been fully cleaned p, some are still in pieces. The station too has had some work. Submission looks better with freshly painted 'bits' and the paths have been given a new life too.
Enterprise looks terrible!? It wasn't working on Saturday anyway, when we did go on today it was making a god awful noise and as much as it has had some TLC over closed season, it's already dirty and covered in rust and green moss from poor winter storage. Chicken Co staff were cleaning the building, in and out on Saturday morning and I do mean cleaning. They were doing windows, signs, bin store doors, the whole lot!
It all seems like yet again, they have ran out of time and not finished what they planned on. I think half a job Henry needs to find a new job next closed season.


The Burger Kitchen

Really nice place to be honest, the food was pretty decent standard, clean, helpful staff and really all you could ask for.


The Sanctuary

Some how this has morphed into a brilliant little time filler. I wasn't a fan at Scarefest, but I really enjoyed it this weekend and the changes in the story to involve the Smiler were nice and subtle enough to not dominate the experience.


Dark forest


All I can say to this is that the DF is currently being taken over by UG Land! Sort it out!
Terrible reliability problems with both rides on Saturday and Sunday! Thirteen was closed all Saturday for unknown reasons.

Duel

1 ride on both days shows that 40% of effects are currently broken.

Random amounts of fencing all over the resort has been pulled out and replaced lioe the rapids queue, the Bridge and Duel extended queue, plus a scary amount of thee feeling has occurred too. Duel queue line, thirteen woods, near the gardens and Haunted Hallow are all areas where the trees have come under attack.


Not one single coaster has been washed or cleaned over the winter with the exception of one..... Just one, part of Airs track! Very random and depressing, to start the season with the place looking a mess is not good.


Overall, the new additions look brilliant, unfortunately though all the attention seems to have gone on the new stuff and left The existing stuff to rot. This isn't good when they have failed to pull off the new stuff in X-Sector anyway.
A lot of the work seems to have come from the mindset of 'oh, that broke 4 seasons back, lets fix it' no general TLC or loving has taken place in my eyes.


Good weekend though.
Last edited by Kenzie2012 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sixstringhotshot88
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:27 pm

Ah man thats a shame to hear about stuff being neglected. Give me a jet wash and i'll go wash coasters any day. Seams like most of the stuff that you mentioned seams to be down to lazyness as cleaning something doesn't take alot of effort.
 
12344321
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:20 pm

Cleaning has taken place! Thirteen has been jet washed to remove moss from the track!  Rita has seen its loading bays repainted, the panels on the steps have been replaced from the old ug land boards to see through mesh which has opened up the area.  Most of the tree felling is due to a disease which is currently making its way around the resorts plants, this I believe is why the foliage around 13s queueline and ride area has been cut back so severely.
13 was closed because of a drainage issue, not a problem with the ride itself, but the issue was severe enough the ride had to be closed, it has hopefully been fixed now!
My point, a lot of work has happened that you havent necessarily noticed! Sometimes the best work is that which you dont necessarily notice, like the restoration of the white bridge that was done last season.
 
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bensaund
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:24 pm

It was brilliant today, all rides were walk on :-)
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:01 pm

I hate it when you leave a post and then someone comes along and picks it apart using absolute bull for rubbish as their reasoning.

Thirteen has not been jet washed for the majority of the ride. I didnt see one single cleaned section, but may have missed it. This morning we all commented on the state of it. The whole track was covered in moss from the station to the crypt - so what you've said there is bull to be honest. My point was no coaster on park has had a decent clean.


Ug land paint work is creeping through all over and by the end if this season will need fixing or run the risk of being damaging to the park.

Either way, desease or not, a lot of trees have been chopped on resort.

I noticed a lot..... A lot of stuff left to look crap!!!
Last edited by Kenzie2012 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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12344321
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:09 pm

I agree ug land paintwork is creeping through everywhere, but they can't replace everything at once. I was merely trying to point out that some things have been done, it isn't being left, there's just a lot to do! And although it might still look a mess I can guarantee you 13 has been jet washed, I was there when they were doing it! It was however done at the start of closed season which is probably why it now has moss again.
It's a loosing battle over winter as things like cleaning will always look dirty by the time we open if done at the start of closed season but can't leave everything until the end otherwise it wouldn't all get done!
A simple I disagree would have sufficed, there was no need to say I was talking bull just because you disagreed with me!
 
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ukparknews
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:28 pm

Just look up at the Skyride pylons. The top half were never re-painted under the DF theme - they still have the Ug Land tree like design. Always bothered me.
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Jammydodger
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:15 am

Have they bothered bringing back the red dye for Nemesis yet? Or can we assume this is far too much to ask from park management from here on out?
 
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Kenzie2012
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:54 am

No they havn't just yet, it's as clear as any normal water course.


The reason - explained to me by Adz - the water level in the area ATM is so high that its flowing into the local water supply and if thee dye was used, it would straight away leak into the local supply.


It will be back, but ATM it needs to be kept under managment.
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:23 am

With only noticing what people were tweeting and FB'ing over the weekend (not just TT but other sites too), I gotta say, I am quite shocked with what I am seeing and hearing.

Jet washing at the end of last season - Really? What is the point in jet washing a ride in prep for no one going on it during closed season? Surely, it would make more sense for it to be jet washed along with the rest of the areas concerned a month prior to opening to give it a fresh and clean look? Maybe I do not see the logic in that or I am missing something? Reading Kenzie's no non-sense and completely honest account of "what a member of the GP saw", words are really struggling to make see positive in jet washing a ride at the end of a season with hardly any done prior to opening.

The main car park with virtually no cars on it at 11:30am for an opening weekend - people could be waiting for Smiler to open. It could be down to the weather. However, in the 11 years my interest in Alton Towers has come about, I have never seen the car park look so empty during an opening weekend like I did today. I was horrified in fact. I posted the image concerned on my wall and people still say its the economic climate and weather. last 2 years, Towers has seen income coming in quite well considering no new additions to the park. I just wish people will stop using the weather as an excuse. How many of us has seen an advert saying the Merlin parks are now open? I haven't seen one. Every year, we have seen at least one advert which says the park is now open the night before a new season. This year, not one have I seen even for Thorpe and Chessie. Saving money to show off Smiler? We'll see...

Rides not being open on opening day of the season - Just what exactly has happened this closed season with maintenance etc? Is their anything filtering down yet why this has happend?

Alton Towers Bus service being slashed - Reports of PMT sending 2 buses on Saturday morning and having to stop people getting on due to the lack of supporting services from other bus companies and Towers themselves is one where I can not understand for the life of me! From having 25 buses at the end of last season to 5 this season, a cutting of the budget for ATT has been cut by 4 5ths? They say they were not making money from last year. The Stoke - Towers service was! It was the most popular route on their timetable. Why? Because stoke has the mainline railway system going through it. 6 - 7 buses a day in each direction before event days/end of season late opening where that would increase to 7 - 9 buses a day. the majority packed out and people standing for a whole journey from Towers back to Stoke because there were no spare seats for people to sit down both staff or guests. They say the services were not making money? Not from what guests and staff saw last season. if it was down to price to be competitive in the public transport sector, they were winning hands down. more services, faster than the PMT one, only £1 for a return trip than PMT. I must be missing some key facts to go with this. Some weekend mornings, there would be double buses to cope with the demand. one would go and pick up normally, the other would be a direct service from Hanley bus station to towers with no stops or pick ups.

The tunnel scaffolding under the launch track of Rita - I am a bit sketchy on this due to being ill midway though last season and being based at opposite Rita last season but.. some people said it had been taken down during closed season while they sorted out the launch problem, others said it was still up. I saw a picture early on Sunday morning showing that particular tunnel. This picture was from Saturday. It was clearly showing some areas used for games were cut off due to the scaffolding and the scale of it. Are they still worried that something may yet happen with Rita this closed season and therefore, keeping the tunnel up and batching about 20 people at a time so no one is near the launch section in-case something does happen? 

Just seeing the images and reports from around park, there is still a lot to do with getting the park up to spec again. My concern is will this get better or will it stay like this for one whole season? Will some of the clearly bad decisions be u-turned and go more positive? When will we see this years "Park is open guys" adverts start to appear? I think just these 5 points above which may seem small to some but big to others may impact on the rest of the season.

I will say one thing, in JP's time at Towers, this would of never of happened and would of been dealt with by better forward planning and organisation. It just feels that everything is being poured into (and still as not all of the footers are in yet for Smiler :P ) Smiler and its construction while everything else is put on hold or cut back on. It is just leaving me very confused right now.
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DrReeve
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:22 am

Sounds like alton still has a lot of work to do. i know i want the smiler to be great but i also want some tlc on rides that deserve it.
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12344321
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:19 am

The Rita scaffolding was taken down over winter and the area cleaned ready to be fully open, as it was for John Lewis day last week, however last week it was decided it needed to go back up.  I am not sure to the exact reason but I believe they are awaiting Intamin to pass off the modification towers have made to the ride or something like that and until they have done this they have to keep the scaffolding up.  Hopefully this means it will be taken down again after a couple of weeks!
 
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Kenzie2012
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:05 pm

12344321 wrote:
The Rita scaffolding was taken down over winter and the area cleaned ready to be fully open, as it was for John Lewis day last week, however last week it was decided it needed to go back up.  I am not sure to the exact reason but I believe they are awaiting Intamin to pass off the modification towers have made to the ride or something like that and until they have done this they have to keep the scaffolding up.  Hopefully this means it will be taken down again after a couple of weeks!


I had forgotten about the Rita tunnel actually.....


On the positive points..... Have you tried Burger Kitchen?
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kezward10
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:53 pm

hi, do alton towers have an email address please?  :D
 
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Adz
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:25 pm

Hello Kezward.

Depending on the nature of your inquiry, Alton Towers have many email addresses. Though guest.services@alton-towers.com is usually your best bet!

For future reference, this type of question is best posted in this topic: http://forum.towerstimes.co.uk/alton-towers-general/quick-questions-2013/

I hope that helps.
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:06 pm

Adz wrote:
Hello Kezward.

Depending on the nature of your inquiry, Alton Towers have many email addresses. Though guest.services@alton-towers.com is usually your best bet!


Just tried this e-mail and it's no longer in use. Best bet is to use http://www.altontowers.com/contact-us/feedback/
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:10 am

I think generally AT are better than the other Merlin parks at cleaning and painting, but there are lots of oversights this year.

X Sector looks great in places, but the front of the Oblivion station still looks grim, and the transfer track has not been painted. There's various queue lines which were missed from being jet washed for gum, but overall the park looks quite nice.

I'm sure they will do something with Rita's scaffolding - it's current blocking off grabber machines etc - so must be temporary.
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Evil Lewis
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:33 pm

Really need to get to AT this year. Gonna have to earn some brownie points with Mrs Evil...
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Re: 2013 Season - General Discussion

Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:36 pm

I'll start by saying that I've been a fan of AT ever since I was a kid (25 years ago!) and absolutely love the place; always have, always will.  It has an atmosphere that IMO no other theme park can manage.

But like some others have said on here, I too have noticed the park looked a little worse for wear in places.  I visited on Sunday, a fairly dull day weather-wise so naturally things didnt look their best but even so, little things were still noticable.

One thing that really stuck in my mind was the state of some of the wooden fences; a lot seriously need some Timbercare on them to brighten them up!

I went to Florida and did Universal Islands of Adventure and Studios, Disney, Busch Gardens and Seaworld in January and while I appreciate far more money is available to them the attention to little details (like fences, lightbulbs, paint etc) is second to none and considering the parks are open all year round making cleaning and maintenance that little bit harder, they don't look rough round the edges!

I guess visiting AT now after the big American ones, I'm naturally going to compare and in one sense it is unfair to do so, but having said that I can't believe that there is not enough money in budgets to do the little things.

As someone posted above regarding cleaning the coasters, I'd be more than happy to help out as a volunteer over closed season weekends getting things up to scratch!!  Maybe this is something TT or AT could look into?  Lots of things to consider I guess, especially Health and Safety but if it's just things like painting or cleaning paths, weeding the gardens and flowerbeds or similar then I wouldn't of thought that is too dangerous!
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