UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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Sam
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The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:37 pm

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This is a project, a movement that hopefully will build to try and improve the dark rides at Alton Towers.

It works on a simple principle: that very minor minimal-cost no-maintenance static scenery can have a hugely disproportionate effect on the overall ride experience.

One thing I've always hated about Duel is that apart from the moving effects, the ride seems very sparse. Charlie is the same, but without even the moving effects.

Let me give one extreme example of how the principle could be used really effectively.

Take the nut room on Charlie. It's almost empty except for a few over-sized nuts and squirrels and a video. On either side of the boat is just empty flat space until the walls. Now imagine if on either side of the boat there were 3 or 4 wooden crates, overflowing with empty nut shells (pistachio nuts or the like), so that surface was covered in empty shells. You could even have a Willy Wonka factory logo stamped onto them like this.

Now this wouldn't set the world alight, and it definitely wouldn't make Charlie a good ride. But for the amount it would cost (I dunno, about £30 maximum? It'd be pretty easy to get nut shells from some nut maker) it would have a HUGE effect on the ride, relative to how much it cost. It would require no maintenance, and would simply be a permanent improvement. Relative to the overall park budget for a year, it'd be peanuts (excuse the pun).

Now another example with Duel on a bigger scale. I think in dark rides, every scene should be a feast for the eyes. In the very best dark rides, every room is overflowing with wonderful things for your eyes to look at. I've always thought Duel would be improved if the park gave someone £1000 and let them go crazy in shops selling old rubbish furniture and stuff. Imagine if on Duel, every tabletop and the like was shimmering with hundreds of fake gold coins. Imagine if every blank wall had a beautiful throw or drapes hanging down. Yet again, this would cost an absolutely minuscule amount relatively but would dramatically improve the ride experience and require NO maintenance.

I think it's a principle Disney really get. Look at the queue for Expedition Everest. Full of little curios and other static theming that help to create a genuine ATMOSPHERE. It's a feast for the eyes:

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Going back to Duel, every blank surface that's lit up should be used. Imagine if around Electric Bill there were loads of little portraits like this or this. All hung up in random places and all different sizes, would help create such a great spooky atmosphere. Again, relatively it'd be incredibly cheap and most importantly, a ONE-OFF expense! These static effects are also an important back-up for when the motion effects aren't working. At the moment Duel rests ENTIRELY on which effects are working. With more static theming, it would shift the balance slightly.

I'd like to reach out to the park, who I know read these forums. It would be absolutely fabulous if every closed season, Charlie and Duel were both assigned a small amount of money (£500 each) to add in these little improvements and every season the rides would get better and better at virtually no cost. I'd love for there to be a way for enthusiasts to be involved in the experience, possibly picking out stuff from charity or antique shops, or simply just sending in all there old nutshells!

I'd like to ask the park to seriously consider the above proposals. I'd love for people on here too to make a post saying they agree with the above ideas and principles and pledge their support to this project! Help improve Duel and make it Alton's jewel in the crown! :)
 
Joelio

Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:48 pm

Thats a fantastic well thought out simple idea, wich is easy to execute. Take nearly every Disney queueline or restaurant for that matter, ladened with period stuff reflecting the theme. BTM would be a prime example, the queueline is made to look like a mine shaft because they used actual mine tools and signage aswell as antiques like you've mentioned.

To be honest static theming is something they can do to improve any themed area, hopefully they'll read this and catch on... or they've already got something like it in the pipeline.
 
Mr P

Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:50 pm

:clap: Bravo Sam!
If this gets to Merlin, and they want enthusiast's help, I'm in!
Great idea, I really hope this goes places :D
 
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Tom G
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:19 pm

If only these forums were monitored by Alton Towers as closely as Valley Mania's are by Lightwater Valley.
 
Chris W
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:27 pm

These forums are read by Alton Towers. There are a number of staff who read our messages, it was proven a few weeks ago that John Wardley/Morwenna Angove read TTF.

Very good topic Sam!

Although not a dark ride there where those small theming improvements at Congo River Rapids not that long ago so hopefully things of that investment level could happen again in the future.
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:01 pm

I guess it's a case that sometimes somebody needs to point out what should be obvious - well done Sam.

Which leaves me wondering why JW has not already done something like this. His love of theatre is well known, and when one looks back at his work at Barry Island and Chesington the attention to detail shows through - and doubtless he waas working to low budgets in those days.
 
Joelio

Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:08 pm

Good point though by Tom Green, yes its confirmed that they do read the forums, but how often and which bits are they reading? I know there are a few legal reasons why we can't suggest some useful ideas and they'll o them. However if we phrase it differently surely they'll see it as a good idea.

I'm merely saying its not "I think this" or "i'd like that" more of a "wouldn't it be good if" or "i'd love it if that...". Its not really applicable here per se, but it could be a factor why stuff isn't being done, I know Disney has a policy very much like my examples, so much so they'd send written letters back to people unread and stamped.

It also seems logical "set dressing" is the term :)
 
Crofty

Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:17 pm

Great idea Sam but it seems that its just not as easy as we like to think it would be and that's probably why it doesn't happen, although we have seen improvements of sorts like this happening recently in mutiny bay for example. :)
The sad fact is that every penny needs to be accounted for and there doesn't seem to be a 'imagineer' (sp?) type person assigned to improving rides. I guess it fall under maintainence in Towers and they probably have a lot more important things to do (in their eyes). The other department would be Merlin Studios who would probably charge a small fortune to install a crate of nut shells. :roll:

I really do hope you get some results regarding this though. :)
 
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:55 am

"Sam" wrote:
I'd love for there to be a way for enthusiasts to be involved in the experience, possibly picking out stuff from charity or antique shops, or simply just sending in all there old nutshells!

I'd like to ask the park to seriously consider the above proposals. I'd love for people on here too to make a post saying they agree with the above ideas and principles and pledge their support to this project! Help improve Duel and make it Alton's jewel in the crown! :)



I'll back that! Would be nice if AT could set up a webpage where we could "submit" items for donation, like upload a picture and description. Then they could choose to accept it and we simply send it to them.

They will get tons of free themeing. :clap:
 
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:58 am

"PeteB""][quote=""Sam" wrote:
I'd love for there to be a way for enthusiasts to be involved in the experience, possibly picking out stuff from charity or antique shops, or simply just sending in all there old nutshells!

I'd like to ask the park to seriously consider the above proposals. I'd love for people on here too to make a post saying they agree with the above ideas and principles and pledge their support to this project! Help improve Duel and make it Alton's jewel in the crown! :)



I'll back that! Would be nice if AT could set up a webpage where we could "submit" items for donation, like upload a picture and description. Then they could choose to accept it and we simply send it to them.

They will get tons of free themeing. :clap:[/quote]

Agreed. I'd be more than happy to spend a little money on some theming :) Is it not worth contacting the towers directly, or will they just ignore it? I'm sure if we got a list of people who would donate items for this, then it wouldn't exactly be hard, or money consuming to go and glue them all down.
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:23 am

I would help! Just think if this did go ahead more crazy PR stunts from Morwenna!

'Enthusiasts Help Out!'
'Could You Be One?' (take a quiz or something like that to get the General Public involved)

Anyone else think of other wacky headlines? :lol:

I offer my services! Great idea Sam!
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:45 pm

"numb3r1towersfan" wrote:
I would help! Just think if this did go ahead more crazy PR stunts from Morwenna!

'Enthusiasts Help Out!'
'Could You Be One?' (take a quiz or something like that to get the General Public involved)

Anyone else think of other wacky headlines? :lol:

I offer my services! Great idea Sam!


Yeah thats a good point, I'm sure Morwenna could get lots of press coverage for this. :D
 
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:21 pm

^ I bet shes reading this and Laughing! :P

I would love the idea of Enthusiasts helping out though, not just with this but with a few things around the park
 
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:18 pm

"?V?" wrote:
Why do you think the monorail was left in such a state for decades?


I don't know, but you're just contridicting yourself here. Why do you think the park fixed the monorail? Would certainally not be what I'd do if I simply 'didn't care' about how my theme park was being run.. ;) They didn't leave it for decades, the thing wasn't open until 1986 and thus only opened for just over two decades, and most likely didn't become shabby until the final year of operation for the old trains. ;)

Why is duel such a mish mash of broken effects and scenery?


Tussauds laziness really, but you've got to hand it to them a ton of effects have been fixed since february half-term. Again, if the park didn't care about the guests in their theme parks it would end up simular to many other haunted-house attractions - a state.

Why is the Nemesis smoke barrel never refilled in the mushroom clouds bus/duel/RMT entrance?


I'm pretty sure the technical smoke on Nemesis along with the Nemesis Nosh bus, i may be wrong though. I've never notced RMT entrance smoke, must have been broken for a long time as it wasn't present in a picture of me standing outside the entrance back in 1998. Also, the Duel smoke was working on the 3rd and 4th of June for the first time it ages. Seems they care about something else aswell...

It doesnt happen because they

a) dont care
b) have little to no enthusiasm/understanding of what makes a good theme park/attraction
c) there is nobody in charge of attention to detail
d) no "imagineers" who care about the rides and their experience
e) the working staff care even less about such things


a) As said above, they do care and Merlin have been very good to us sorting out the little touches.
b) Are you sure you've not got Alton mistaken with Thorpe Park or Blackpool Pleasure Beach? They seemed to have hit the nail on the head with good theme park attractions recentley. (Th13teen, Battle Galleons, Sharkbait Reef).
c) Doese there really need to be? You can't constantly have people going around sorting out loose-ends as it would just cut out of the park's money for sorting out things like that. I'm sure 'little-touches' are discussed at park meetings however.
d) Never heard of the almighty John Wardley? You should read the theme park bible more. :P
e) I find the majority of working staff very enthusiastic tbh...

Of course, I'm not knocking your opinion but it seems to me that Alton Towers care greatley for these little touches.

Anyway, Sam these ideas are brilliant and will improve the dark rides so much! :D
 
[Archive]

Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:27 pm

"JoeKoopa" wrote:
d) Never heard of the almighty John Wardley?

Well, John Wardley is not associated with Alton Towers anymore. He works for Merlin consulting the design for rollercoasters and other projects. He does not and never did go around refilling smoke machines and proposing theming improvments. The only rides where he was directly involved with theming was the rides that he designed before his semi-retirement, (ie Nemesis, Haunted House, Bubbleworks, Vampire, etc). He has no decision on that anymore, Thirteen and Saw - The Ride were done by Merlin Studios.

Hope that helps.
Last edited by [Archive] on Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:29 pm

"?V?" wrote:

Why is the Nemesis smoke barrel never refilled in the mushroom clouds bus/duel/RMT entrance?


Not true at all! I was there in april, and smoke was on (smoking?! :wink: ) on both the Nemesis "mushroom cloudy" bus AND at the entrance to Duel. As for RMT, I've never actually seen smoke there before - but I'm sure as KC is one of Alton's main family areas they would make sure that all of the effects are working there more than any other.

As for the set-dressing Idea, FANTASTIC!

Imagine a "missing persons" display located somewhere in the dark forest or in the queueline for duel, with pics of enthusiasts or ride operators!
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:31 pm

"electricBlll""][quote=""JoeKoopa" wrote:
d) Never heard of the almighty John Wardley?

Well, John Wardley is not associated with Alton Towers anymore. He works for Merlin consulting the design for rollercoasters and other projects. He does not and never did go around refilling smoke machines and proposing theming improvments. The only rides where he was directly involved with theming was the rides that he designed before his semi-retirement, (ie Nemesis, Haunted House, Bubbleworks, Vampire, etc). He has no decision on that anymore, Thirteen and Saw - The Ride were done by Merlin Studios.

Hope that helps.
[/quote]

Yeah, but I was making the point in reply to ?V? saying that no-one cared about the rides or their experiences. John Wardley, as an example, certainally does when he designs rides for the Towers.
 
[Archive]

Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:39 pm

"JoeKoopa" wrote:
John Wardley, as an example, certainally does when he designs rides for the Towers.
But he doesn't design rides for the Towers anymore. People such as Candy Holland, Head of Merlin Entertainments' Art Department, do that as their job (she designed the theme for Thirteen, presumably along with others in her team). Unfortunately there is no such job for a person to make theming improvments or keep up/add to effects as far as I know. Although, remember the air-pressure cannons and squirell animatronic added to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Along with tiny little details popping up all over Duel? Perhaps there is such a department/job, just they have not made any significant improvments yet...

So, something along the lines of this little project would work very well. if they are listening to us or not is a different matter, however. I would say, sadly, they are not. :cry:
 
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:47 pm

"electricBlll" wrote:
Unfortunately there is no such job for a person to make theming improvments or keep up/add to effects as far as I know. Although, remember the air-pressure cannons and squirell animatronic added to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Along with tiny little details popping up all over Duel? Perhaps there is such a department/job, just they have not made any significant improvments yet...

So, something along the lines of this little project would work very well. if they are listening to us or not is a different matter, however. I would say, sadly, they are not. :cry:


Exactly right, I think. Can anybody remember Disney neglecting the 'little things'? It's the attention to detail that creates the special atmosphere, and as Sam has highlighted can be done for very little capital expenditure.

Maybe they don't need to address it this year - we all know that the park is busy this year because of Th13teen. But they could employ somebody after the end of the season (or keep somebody on) to start working on those little details which add so much to the experience, and keep the park feeling fresh and cared for.
 
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Re: The 'Duel in the Crown' Project

Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:02 pm

"?V?" wrote:
It doesnt happen because they

a) dont care
b) have little to no enthusiasm/understanding of what makes a good theme park/attraction

The management at Alton do care about the place and want the attractions to be a success. If they didn't care they wouldn't have there jobs in the first place. You've got to remember that they are given a budget each season and have to work around that budget, yes they're making a hell of a lot of money each year but they only have so much money to spend each season.

"?V?" wrote:
Why is duel such a mish mash of broken effects and scenery?
Why is the Nemesis smoke barrel never refilled in the mushroom clouds bus/duel/RMT entrance?

Thing is, with these things it depends on what you see on your visit. Not everything will be working all season. Effects break in the season, smoke is sometimes not put on/not re-filled, nothing will be 100% perfect all season.

Well other than that I do think it's a great idea, Sam. A small amount of money assigned to certain attraction(s) each closed season would be great. I'd happily give Alton stuff in the attic that is no longer needed. It's a great idea as we get to see ride theming improve, Alton get free stuff, and most importantly, Morwenna and her team get to create some more PR Stunts. :P

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