UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
Chris W
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:50 pm

Today's 3 questions:

Q7

CCJared asked the following question:

How did you come to have such a good working relationship with B&M and become part of their new concepts (such as the new wing-rider trains at Gardaland)?

My good relationship with B&M stems from the fact that they have always delivered what they were contracted to do, on time, on budget, and with no hassle. They are delightful people to work with and I respect them enormously. They always give a bit more than you expect, their after-sales service is superb, and they are prepared to listen to our views and work with us on developing new ideas.

Q8

Many people wanted to know about the famous "Wardley Jacket", although that question was not directly asked the following was:

Maybe people think of you as a bit of a celebrity, with many pages on the TowersTimes wiki about one of your jackets ([url=http://wiki.towerstimes.co.uk/Wardley%27s_Jacket" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;]http://wiki.towerstimes.co.uk/Wardley%27s_Jacket[/url]) and the various tunnels you have created on your rides. ([url=http://wiki.towerstimes.co.uk/Category:Wardley%27s_Index" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;]http://wiki.towerstimes.co.uk/Category: ... %27s_Index[/url]) Do you think of yourself as a bit of a rollercoaster celebrity? And do you get embarrassed with the attention you get at ride openings/scarefest etc?

I regard ride openings as a great opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts, and chat about things we all love chatting about. I’m no celebrity …. just someone who’s been fortunate enough to make a career out of something I passionately enjoy doing, and having the opportunity of sharing it with others of the same mind is an added bonus. The TH13TEEN evening was just such an occasion, and I hope there’ll be many more of them.

Q9

Finally, D4n asked:

Many have asked about the future of the Blackhole Tent. Are there currently any further plans that have developed in recent months?

Merlin Studios and Alton Towers have lots of ideas for the Black Hole tent. You’ll have to ask them if and when they might implement them.

---

And for those of you who are unhappy with the choice of questions, there are not any further questions about Alton Towers' future. See you all tomorrow with the next batch!
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Rowe

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:55 pm

I do wonder if he actually read the articles seeing as you sent him the links :P Bless him though on modesty about being a 'celebrity'.
 
[Archive]

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:03 pm

Glad to hear tomorrows will feature no questions about the future that John obviously cannot say/does not know anything about. Do some people think he "owns" Alton Towers or something? #-o

Anyway, such a shame to see that he has said nothing about the coat. I feel very embarrassed for him because we know he is a modest man and sending him links to the TTF Wiki (of all places! :P ) might seriously make him feel awkward...
Last edited by [Archive] on Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Gloomy Dude
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:12 pm

Really enjoying these, but I have to agree with young Mr Bill. I think asking so many questions about the future plans of Alton Towers that he a - doesn't have much to do with and b - can't talk about anyway has been a bit of a waste. I suppose it was worth and punt, and what's done is done, but I really hope in the coming updates, there is far more about John's past projects (those which made it to fruition and those which didn't). There must be a wealth of obscure facts to find out about Nemesis, Air, Oblivion, SW1&2, Chessington, Duel/Haunted House, Megafobia etc etc
[size=90]For some things there is no rational explanation. There is no way out. There is no happy ending to this story. Welcome to the unknown. Welcome to eternal darkness.

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Chris1
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:39 pm

Good to know Alton Towers have plans for the Black Hole tent, hopefully they'll get a move on and get them implemented!...
 
Chris W
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:12 pm

Only the 2 questions today. (Due to fitting 20 questions in 7 days)

Q10

First, a question from Badgy.

Do you consider that the building restrictions placed on Alton Towers can actually help rather than hinder the creation of a better ride experience? While obviously considerably more expensive, Nemesis on a flat piece of concrete would not be anything like the coaster it remains to this day. Maybe to a less extent Oblivion without the tunnel too.


Yes, although at times we curse the planning restrictions, it is absolutely true that it forced us to be more creative and think outside the box. We may not be able to build the world’s highest rides, but I like to think within the budgets which we have we build some of the most innovative.

Q11

deadwing asked this question:

You mention on your website that you've always been inspired by Disney and were influenced by Big Thunder Mountain in partciular. Did you ever consider working for Walt Disney Imagineering?

No, I never considered working for Disney for one good reason. Have you ever tried to tell a joke to an American? The chances are, if you do it will fail miserably. It’s not that Americans don’t have a sense of humour, it’s just that what tickles their funny-bones is very different to what tickles ours. The psychology of entertainment is a fickle thing that changes around the world from nation-to-nation and from culture-to-culture. My background gave me a thorough insight into the way the British mind works ….. what makes us laugh, gasp with surprise, scream in fear, marvel in amazement. That is my craft, and I don’t think I would be any good at it in America. It works both ways as well, which is why none of the big American theme park designers have made any inroads into parks in Britain. We are a unique bunch, and although we go to parks in America and are impressed with what we see, it wouldn’t necessarily work back home where the sun doesn’t shine every day, we don’t have a domestic market of 310 million residents, and we have a very different take on things.
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[Archive]

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:15 pm

Question 11 has the best answer yet. Really great and interesting stuff. :D
 
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Michaél
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:20 pm

^Completely agree... Question 11 is by far the best yet, good question, great response! Intriguing stuff!

Thanks again for doing this Chris! :D
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Blaze

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:23 pm

No, I never considered working for Disney for one good reason. Have you ever tried to tell a joke to an American? The chances are, if you do it will fail miserably. It’s not that Americans don’t have a sense of humour, it’s just that what tickles their funny-bones is very different to what tickles ours. The psychology of entertainment is a fickle thing that changes around the world from nation-to-nation and from culture-to-culture. My background gave me a thorough insight into the way the British mind works ….. what makes us laugh, gasp with surprise, scream in fear, marvel in amazement. That is my craft, and I don’t think I would be any good at it in America. It works both ways as well, which is why none of the big American theme park designers have made any inroads into parks in Britain. We are a unique bunch, and although we go to parks in America and are impressed with what we see, it wouldn’t necessarily work back home where the sun doesn’t shine every day, we don’t have a domestic market of 310 million residents, and we have a very different take on things.


John you absolute God! :P :clap: :lol:
 
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James
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:37 pm

"GOD" wrote:
Have you ever tried to tell a joke to an American? The chances are, if you do it will fail miserably.


I hope I'm not the only one who really LOL'd at that. :P

Agree with all of the above. Best answer so far. John you are God! :P :D
 
Jordan

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:25 pm

Really great answer for Q11, never thought of it that way. :) Thanks John! :clap:
 
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deadwing
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:28 pm

What an awesome answer from an awesome guy. Thanks TTF for picking my question, that's made my day :D
In the coat you wore to Alton Towers is still the way I see you now...
 
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Gax
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:18 pm

Thankyou so much to everyone involved for making this happen, really enjoying it so far!
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Badgy
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:31 pm

Over half way and good stuff so far, especially on the "what he has done" questions rather then the "what is going to happen". Seems more beefy which is to be expected.

Q11 was one I thought would be answered with "of course I would", but having read the answer, it is exactly right.

Of course I liked the answer to Q10 too :D

Badgy
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Rollercoaster5000
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:24 pm

His answer to Q11 on americans is actually accurate, well sort of. I'm a member of Theme Park Review and have found that the majority of American members there just don't find British jokes funny really. Made a jokey comment in a topic on that forum and recieve an awkward sounding response Elissa which was immediately followed by a rude response from Robb of all people :evil:! Exactly why I now stay well clear from that forum although I have joked with americans my age and the result was success so that does make JW a bit wrong there :P .

John is answering the questions very well, thank you to those who organized this :clap: .
 
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:27 pm

As an American, having lived in the UK for 18 years! I will simply say that the differences in humour are this;

> America is quite traditional and backwards with its comedy. It is mainly slapstick still and child like.

> Britain has a very unique comedy that even Europeans dont really get. Its based on sarcasm, fast whit, intelligence and cruelty.

Based on this I would say John is right in his observation at our humour but wrong in saying he would not be successful in the US. Fear is Fear, laughter is laughter, shock is shock. Spend enough time in a country and you will understand their thinking.
 
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:02 pm

"dan219" wrote:
As an American, having lived in the UK for 18 years! I will simply say that the differences in humour are this;

> America is quite traditional and backwards with its comedy. It is mainly slapstick still and child like.

> Britain has a very unique comedy that even Europeans dont really get. Its based on sarcasm, fast whit, intelligence and cruelty.

Based on this I would say John is right in his observation at our humour but wrong in saying he would not be successful in the US. Fear is Fear, laughter is laughter, shock is shock. Spend enough time in a country and you will understand their thinking.


Think you hit the nail on the head with the sarcasm. Why is it Americans don't find sarcasm funny?
 
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:29 pm

...probably because they are such a lovely bunch of peace keepers...
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Chris W
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:30 pm

Back to 3 questions a day again now!

Q12

DiogoJ42 asked John Wardley...

Film special effects have become dominated by CGI these days. Many people (myself included), lament the loss of animatronics, models, stop motion etc.
Do you think this could be happening in the themepark industry as well? Rides like The Haunted House and Terror Tomb had amazing animatronics by the dozen, whereas dark rides these days tend to use static props, 3D UV paint, or video. To take it to the extreme, look at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... Almost all video projection.
Are animatronics out of fashion these days? Or are they too expensive to build compared to the cost of animating a few pixels?


A very good question. When it is done well, cutting edge technological effects can be sensational in the context of amusement rides (take Spiderman at Universal Orlando, for example). I was not involved at all with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory so I can’t comment on it. But I think we must embrace all new technology when its application is appropriate.

In my “James Bond” days, when a scene needed to show something being blown-up, you built a set and you blew it up! Now a team of people sit at computer keyboards for a few months and type away. It’s not so much fun!

Q13

Our TH13TEENTH question is from Jem8472:

Are your family big rollercoaster fans? If so, which do they think is the best ride you have created?

Yes. Nemesis

Q14

And today's final question was a question about Scarefest. Both Ritadz and SAM93 wanted to know about this topic area.

Can you give us any insight into the park events you have worked on. I understand you worked on Scarefest this year (such as in the Carnival of Screams were many of TowersTimes saw you in the opening room). Is there anything you could tell us about the Carnival of Screams?


James Paulding (who has now left Alton Towers to work for Merlin Entertainments in the States) asked me to be involved in the Carnival of Screams, as he knew my background in film effects, stage illusions and animations. I devised the first room (with the Laughing Sailor) and the finale room (the Gorilla Cage) as well as being part of the team involved in the attraction as a whole. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had in the past few years, as I like to take a hands-on approach and be involved in the operation (something which my other rôle as ride consultant doesn’t allow). There is a great team of dedicated people in the entertainment and operations departments at Alton Towers, and it was a privilege to work with them all.

We inevitably had a few sequencing and throughput teething problems through the maze on the first day, and the queue started to build up, which is why James and I stepped in and helped with the batching of the guests and the re-sequencing of the actors. By the middle of the evening we had gobbled-up the queue, and were actually exceeding the predicted hourly throughput!
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DiogoJ42

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Answers

Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:36 pm

WOOO! :D/ My question got asked! :mrgreen: And God liked it! :mrgreen:
Thaaaaaaanks Chris! :D

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