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Dan
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:07 am

After missing out on opening weekend due to the weather, I finally got round to riding Wicker Man yesterday.

Long story short: it’s incredible!

After spending the majority of the day yesterday on and around the ride, I can’t find anything that I don’t like about it.

The plaza area in front of the ride has been very well done, and that continues with the entrance and the queue line. From the minute you enter it, you can tell that the park have really thought about every single detail with this attraction. A lot of queue lines can be very tedious places to be, but not this one. From the theming props scattered around the area, to the sensational views you get of the coaster, it’s a ride I actually enjoy queuing for.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but the batching room before the pre-show really reminds me of the holding room of The Welcoming: Be Chosen, with the ambience and lighting providing a familiar feeling to those who experienced the scare maze.

The pre-show itself is excellent. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to avoid spoilers before I saw it for myself but that didn’t make it any less impressive. At times the ride host controlling the pre-show did forget to switch the lights in the pre-show room back on before the next group entered, which meant we entered the room in total darkness, so I hope the hosts get a bit more slick with this as it really is an impressive setting when you first walk in.

The station has, once again, been completed to a very high standard. The level of detail throughout this attraction is not like anything we’ve seen before from a Merlin-owned brand, and it’s something I really hope they keep up with future installations.

Now on to the ride itself.

WOW.

The audio on the lift hill really helps build the suspense and then once you set off down the first drop, it really doesn’t let up. It’s far, far more intense than it looks, with some great forces at various points. There is also some airtime to be found, although nothing you would consider “major”, but that isn’t what this ride is about. In a nutshell, it’s a boat load of fun, and offers excellent rerideability.

I was lucky enough to get 6 rides on it yesterday, including both the first and last trains of the day. It’s a ride I could do over and over again, so much so it’s now at the top of my coaster list. I just love it!

To finish, here’s an off-ride video I shot yesterday:

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Credit to the BubbleBoi
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:36 pm

I won’t give my review of the attraction yet as I have only been on the ride once, and didn’t get a full experience as the guest in front of me kept waving their hands in every direction.. in the middle of the train is not a good place to be :lol

I just have 1 concern to the ride.. although that steel bar didn’t get finished off, you can see it was meant to but they either forgot to or ran out of time.. but that’s just a little nit pick aha.

My only concern for the ride is the maintenance shed.. I genuinely thought something would happen in there.. as there wasn’t plenty of time for the train ahead to move into the station, and for us to be sat on that section.. so do we know if anything will be added in the future? Similar to a N:ST scenario with the maze but obviously something to enhance the wait on that section?

Apart from that, good ride! Will give a full review once I’ve been on again.
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Morgan
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:45 pm

Managed to get both a front and back row ride today. It's kinda what I expected- fun, but not overly thrilling. Preshow is nice, ride has tonnes of lateral forces, but the brake run just feels empty. It feels like there's supposed to be more in there other than some fog and lights (that I assume the train is supposed to pass through, but it isn't timed quite right). Same goes with the first tunnel, an effect or two in there would be great.
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Justin
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:51 pm

I believe it is timing issues. Certainly on the brake run, last Thursday, we had well timed effects with the smoke and lights blowing on us as we passed. I believe the tunnels should be the same as they currently flash in an empty tunnel before the train enters. On the Friday, we were held further back on the brake run and saw the effects go off in front of us whilst stationary. Hopefully, these will be resolved soon. I do think it is an awesome addition to Alton Towers and I must admit, I'm one of its biggest fans!
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Chris
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:09 am

The effects are not 'effective' if three trains are stacked.

The smoke and lights seem to be triggered off by a train entering the building, but then if there is another train stationary waiting behind the one loading, the entering train will stop in the straight brake section and the effects continue to go off anyway.

Once the constant restraint recheck issue is resolved and throughputs speed up, it should work as intended.
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Yappo
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:06 am

Ahh I did wonder what was up with those effects. On all 4 rides I've had on it so far, the train stopped and we just saw the effects going off in front of us so I just assumed that was what's supposed to happen. I thought "is that it? That's extremely underwhelming." I suppose it makes a lot more sense if you're supposed to be going through it when it goes off.
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Justin
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:13 am

Yes, it is pretty cool when you do. It certainly had a few people screaming :lol
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:23 am

Would of been good to have a screen on the left where that curtain is now, showing the ride and Wicker Man itself actually burning down, as you have just escaped the flames.. then that little effect at the end of the tunnel would of been a little jump scare.. seriously need to make a version on Planet Coaster or No Limits 2..
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Stan.H
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:57 pm

Got on Wicker Man for the first time yesterday. And at this moment in time, it's ranked my second favourite Towers coaster (Nemesis at 1, The Smiler at 3). However, I feel after a night ride it could potentially be my number 1 (Towers) coaster.

The entire ride area is very well thought out and flows well into everything. Even the food and game kiosks have been themed, which I love! Also, not forgetting the Welcome-Inn - which looks brilliant inside!

The queue line for the ride is definitely one of the best queue's Merlin have ever done, in fact probably the best! Although the extended queue is a big cattle-pen, it at least has good views of the ride, loud music and theming left, right and centre. The rest of the queue swirls around the layout of the coaster allowing great photos and anticipation for the ride. My only problem with the queue is the fact that Towers totally advertised the queue with a wrong waiting time, which I did find a bummer (advertised 140 minutes, waited for 200..). However, I suppose it did go down around 3 times we were waiting for it, so I won't let that leave a sour taste.

After we had queued for the long period of time, we got to the baggage hold which is absolutely stunningly themed (and like said before, very similar to The Welcoming's) - soundtrack blasting out and theming above and around you. It's just a shame to think that in a few years down the line the baggage hold will be no longer and we will be putting it on the station (much like The Smiler & TH13TEEN this year).

On to the pre-show, having not heard or seen any spoilers it worked brilliantly - and very mesmerising. Similar to such as Derren Brown, however, the curtain on it isn't as obvious. I also like that it's short but sweet, as at that point we just wanted to get on :lol . The bass on the speakers in there is also class! Hopefully, they keep it that volume as it is for the foreseeable future!  After that, you head into the station, which yet again is very well themed and has the soundtrack playing again (slickly flowing from the pre-show). 

The only thing I don't like at the moment about it is the fact that you get allocated your rows, but luckily we got back row! 

Once we had our restraints checked (which took at least 3 minutes, due to someone of a larger size was having issues with it). Then we were dispatched! The small turn around before the lift hill was great, however, I would like some effects and louder music to be played, to add to the anticipation.  The lift hill also has music which again, adds to the experience! Then the coaster itself I thought has a really good layout filled with a lot of ejector airtime and force. The theming element as well works as a great head chopper and the flames do make the ride ever so more stunning (but in my opinion, looks better off-ride). My only current issues with the ride are that the mist and smoke effects weren't working on the Wickerman, and in the second sound tunnel - which isn't a bit deal, but I'd like them fixed sooner rather than later. Also, the brake run was a bit of a disappointment, unless anything else is supposed to happen? We just got some smoke shooting down at the track, then we were just sat in the dark. So I wonder if anything else is supposed to occur, even audio?

After you come off the ride you collect your baggage, view your ORP and enter the brilliantly themed shop! 

All in all Wicker Man is a superb family coaster and a very very good investment! It really makes me hope Towers get an RMC in the future because I think it would fit in very well, especially if Towers go to this level of theming, detail and perfection. Other than that, I really hope they sort out the teething problems with the ride and fix the effects. But conclusively, its a very solid attraction, and deserves the hype it is receiving. Very very excited for a night ride! I'm impressed towers! Bring on SW9...  
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vikkimoo
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:08 pm

I've heard a few things about larger guests having issues with the restraints - how large are they? I'm worried about my bum/thighs...
 
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Marcus
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:25 am

Pre-show is absolutely pheononinal, on par with Hex. Theming is perfect. The videos don't justify how intense the ride is.
 
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:53 pm

Finally got to ride Wicker Man yesterday after failing to ride it on Bank Holiday Monday due to being closed from the snow, but what can I say - wow!

The queue itself seemed to go quite quickly to say it was an hour wait, but your so taken back with all the views and angles of the ride and the music building the tension to the station is just fantastic. The pre show although seeing a sneak peek online, took me by surprise and actually did send a few shivers down my spine - and then once finished, straight into the station and straight into the 'pens' (wasn't expecting that at all, thought another 15 minute wait or so was on the cards).

The ride itself is amazing and everything a wooden coaster should be, it feels so much faster than what it actually looks which is brilliant, and throws you about the whole way round. The mist on the Wicker Man itself when you go through them is a fantastic effect blinding your vision slightly but... NO FLAMES!!! Was slightly gutted about this and thought to myself 'Already Alton, not even for a month can you keep all the effects running'. Then came the most disappointing bit - the shed!

I mean, what even is that shed at the moment, surely that can’t be the finished product?! You come off the brake run into the pitch black shed and literally just sat in darkness for two minutes until you’re rolled round the bend to sit behind the next train in the station. Yes, you see the odd jet of smoke in the distance which you could imagine going through if timed correctly, but I was half expecting the shed to go up in flames up the walls to give the feeling of being 'burnt alive' or something (just me)??

All in all though, loved it, and cant wait to get back on it!
 
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:11 am

For me personally, I've decided that the pitch black in the shed suggests the dark abyss of death once you've been burnt to death as a sacrifice to the Wicker Man.

I know that probably wasn't the intention, but it gave me my own end to the story, so what the hey? :-)

And the blasts of 'smoke' are the gateway to whatever's next.

I don't know.
 
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Re: Wicker Man General Discussion

Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:29 pm

I finally rode it twice today and it’s an amazing ride (especially back row) but the maintenance bay is underwhelming at best, we were sat in pitch black for what seemed like ages and a few of the gp were wondering wether it had broke down. I really hope they do something in there as it’s really confusing for those first riders.
 
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Re: Wicker Man General Discussion

Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:53 pm

Does anyone else think that they'll add live scare actors into the maintenance shed during scare fest, as that's what I think it's planned for.
 
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Re: Wicker Man General Discussion

Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:01 am

jwewan wrote:
Does anyone else think that they'll add live scare actors into the maintenance shed during scare fest, as that's what I think it's planned for.

That would be pretty cool if they did! Thinking about it, seems like quite a genuine possibility too! :)
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Re: Wicker Man General Discussion

Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:12 am

Honestly if they just added some triggered lights and blasts of smoke in that section when people are least expecting it, with some small fire effects.. that would even make it better than what it is currently..

Heck, I’m sure B&Q /gadget shops sell stuff like that for garden decorations.. wouldn’t be hard with a few sensors.. I’d even go as low as B&M bargains having something similar.. I know Merlin love their bargains :lol
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Adz
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Re: Wicker Man General Discussion

Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:03 pm

There is absolutely no plans for anything else in the maintenance shed at this stage, and it wouldn't be feasible to have actors in there during Scarefest either. I think most are in for disappointment if you think anything else is going to appear. 

Once the issues are resolved with the ride operations then you will spend a very limited amount of time in there and the effects that are already present will interact with the trains better. :)
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:06 pm

I must agree with Adz, once the timing issues have been resolved, then the current effects will have an impact. I was lucky enough to experience a well-timed run, even if slightly out.
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Re: Wicker Man Reviews & Discussion [SPOILERS]

Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:16 am

So, I finally had the chance to experience Wicker Man on my two day visit to Alton Towers, and I can say it certainly did not disappoint!

Surrounding Area
The whole feeling of the surrounding area near Wicker Man and Mutiny Bay has completely changed! New theming around the games stalls and food kiosks, as well as The Burger Kitchen receiving new more fitting colours, and The Tavern becoming The Welcome-inn are all fantastic changes that really help portray the theme! The Wicker Man soundtrack can also be heard in these areas! All these new things really help extend the experience and vibe beyond just the ride.

The Queueline
Probably one of my favourite queuelines at Towers. Not the typical cattle pen, aside from the area at the beginning. There are some really breathtaking views of the coaster and the Wicker Man effigy from certain areas of the queue too! It's also really nice to see a shop – a nice change from the usual vending machines. The queue theming was also fantastic. Wicker signs, bunting, flags, torches etc., all helped to really make the queue a part of the overall experience. The changing background music is brilliant, and really works well, becoming louder and more dramatic as you near the station!

The Pre-show
I mean, wow! Where do I even start?! The whole thing is exceptionally well executed from the moment the doors open till the moment you step out onto the station. The theming around the pre-show room is excellent. The show itself is breathtaking. Holovis have done such a fantastic job here! The story is explained well, yet simplified into just a few seconds, and presented in such a clever way! It's dramatic, maybe even scary for some younger guests, it builds the hype and tension for the ride ahead perfectly, and most importantly, it never gets boring, no matter how many times you see it! 

The Ride
Finally, onto the cloaster itself! Entering the station from the pre-show, the amazing theming continues too. Having never been on a wooden coaster before, I wasn't entirely sure of what it would be like, but wow, I feel Wicker Man is something special. Even before you get to the lift hill, you're sent flying through a smoke filled tunnel. The first drop, aka the "Wardley Drop", is good, but the next twisty drop is just amazing. Having tunnels filled with smoke are also really cool, and make a great change from just a completely open air ride. The Wicker Man effigy looks amazing from on the ride, and as you go through it, even if you only get glimpses of it! All in all, I feel there is something about Wicker Man, or perhaps just wooden coasters in general, that just feels so special. It's such a different experience to the modern steel coasters, and really fills the gap in Towers coaster line up well!

Another thing I want to make note of – Tuesday had just 20 mins downtime, while on Wednesday, Wicker Man was operational all day with any downtime whatsoever, even if it did open rather late (but thats a story for another topic)! It seems they (hopefully) have all the issues pretty much sorted out now! :)
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