Here are my thoughts:
It's a universal rule of message boards that whenever a messageboard is anticipating something, the levels of fevered hype in the run up go a bit over the top, and there is ALWAYS a degree of negativity and disappointment when that thing actually comes out. I've seen it on band websites when new albums are coming out... you see it on Mac forums whenever the latest Apple product comes out...
so you end up measuring whether something is a success not by whether that negativity is there or not, but by how much negativity there is.
And for 13, there's actually a lot less than I was expecting - and most of the negativity is not about the fact that the ride is terrible - I've not seen anyone who thinks that - but that it doesn't quite measure up to the hype; the budget; previous SW's, other coasters in the world, that kind of thing. Which is fair enough.
From what I've seen (I've not ridden yet) - the ride looks amazing - brilliant theming and at it looks at least as thrilling/fun as I was hoping/expecting.
It opened on time and has seen brilliant reliability and throughput. And it will only improve as the theming is finalised and the landscaping beds in.
Well done Alton Towers! and thanks to everyone who has shared their thoughts and pictures! It's really appreciated by people like me stuck all the way over here in Australia!
---- Post Info Added ----
do we think that the 'missing' theming of 13 will be like the missing theming on air?
Ie - never actually appear because people just accept it as it is.
I think it's slightly different - Air ran in to loads of problems and went massively over budget - theming was scrapped as a cost saving measure. With 13, the weather etc meant they just ran out of time - you get the feeling that the additional theming is ready to go, it just hasn't been added yet - bits will be added whenever the park gets chance, outside of openining hours. A closer parallel would be CATCF - not that it improved matters, but bits of theming got added to that during its first season and over the winter, following its first season.
I still dont think 13 is comparative to air, nemesis or oblivion.
I think this is part of the problem! Nemesis still rates as one of the best coasters in the world, and Oblivion and Air were genuinely ground-breaking coasters. The bar for rides at AT has been set incredibly high.
But I think, in its own way, 13 is as impressive as those. It's theming is superior to any of them, and it offers a more varied experience than any of them - an out and back coaster, a worlds first freefall drop, a backwards dark section, and a switchback.
I also remember when Air first opened -there was MUCH more negativity than there has been about 13 - the lack of theming, the fact that it was too slow and unthrilling, and the huge amount of downtime it had when it was new. It took a long time until people began to rate it as highly as Nemesis and Oblivion.
13 is certainly deserving of its SW tag.