UK theme parks from another point of view!

  • 1
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
 
djtruefitt

Re: Travelers on park today

Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:00 pm

I was on park on Saturday, and during the whole day I only saw no more than 10 "gypsy" looking people, either that or there was some fancy dress competition going on that I didnt know about..

But I didnt see any trouble or problems. However I know Easter Sunday is the main day for them to visit.

It seems towers were more planned this year, there were metal detectors set up at the enterance. And at the enterance to both hotels they had security, and they were only letting people in who had rooms in the hotel, as they had a list of people staying over. We managed to get in by showing our annual passes (and im guessing we didnt look like trouble!). There were also more staff around and more security inside the hotel.

I dont know how today ended as I wasnt at the park, but I know a few people were so im sure we will hear more later on. But I do think Towers should be alot more strictor at the park enterance and in the park. They have policies in place about dress code, queue jumping, etc. If someone queue jumps security should be sent straight down, and the people should be kicked right out the park. If they are staying in the hotel they should be kicked out of the hotel.

I imagine normal guests wont have a good day if its anything like it was on scarefest, so Merlin need to sort the problem out, I certainly wont want to visit again when they are on park.
 
User avatar
[email protected]$
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 257
Joined: March 2012
Location: Dark Forest

Re: Travelers on park today

Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:29 pm

Will they be there on Saturday??
#GETCORRECTED
BETTER NOT GO ALONE
Image
 
User avatar
mrbrightside
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1100
Joined: July 2011
Location: Norwich

Re: Travelers on park today

Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:31 pm

In a word, no. It's an Easter thang.

(That's now more than one word, I know).
ImageImage
 
Kaycee

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:18 pm

It's an Easter weekend thing (Uttoxeter races being the main draw for them to the area, I think?), although there was a day of note last Scarefest where they randomly turned up. I remember being on Enterprise that afternoon/evening, and having a whale of a time with them! :P

In my experience of them (as an operator working there, and as a fellow guest), it really is just a cultural thing. They appear to start fights, but generally only with each other. (I say 'generally' because I know people get caught in the crossfire too). A lot of them really remind me of unruly children! I always found taking a very firm 'no sh*t' attitude with them - but with a grin on my face! - always seemed to work with them, if they gave me banter, I'd give it them back, and as long as I stayed friendly at the same time, I never got accused of racism or discrimination or anything. I would be like a very firm mother, a lot of them seem to just need some discipline in their life! They seemed to ask stupid questions just for the sake of asking stupid questions, and demanding the simplest things being explained to them, and I wouldn't really entertain that. Hard work, but I guess I was pretty lucky in that I can't remember ever having a serious problem with them. I remember getting into an argument with one traveller girl for queue-jumping in the Th13teen queue, and barging right past me (I was a guest that day), and it really doing a fat lot of good. :lol:


I think I've just been very lucky, but they've always been more a source of amusement for me more than irritation - I have heard many stories of them causing an absolute nightmare though. I think generally if they think they can run circles round you, they will try.
 
daboywunda
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 255
Joined: March 2004
Location: Gloucester
Contact:

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:15 pm

Was to park today and yes, I had totally forgotten about this "habit day"...

Must admit that it dawned on me and my judgemental instincts kicked in, but although the traveller community were out in force, other than the fact that the girls had clearly made a little too much effort to be at a theme park, potentially fuelling an "older man takes a shining to an under-age girl" story for The Sun (notice my political corrected term)  and some of them wearing just the one colour making them look like Power Rangers when they are in a massive group, I didn't see a single bit of trouble... Either between each other or with other park guests. In fact, I saw LESS trouble today than I have previously on park - Doesn't mean that none happened of course, I wasn't every-where at once.. Merlin increased security and from what I saw controlled the groups impeccably. The groups knew that they were being watched and didn't act up.

Plus, on the whole, they didn't seem to queue for anything.. The park were expecting 20,000 today and I don't know how close they came to it, but the max queue was 45 mins for anything (Air, Th13teen, Squirrel Nutty (WTF?!), Sub-Terra and an expected 80 mins for Spinball) - Which I was expecting to be at least double or triple this! It was like it was just an expensive day out in a park!
 
jayron7
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 13
Joined: May 2009
Location: Wild Asia

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:52 pm

I was at the park yesterday and today. I did notice that yesterday there were no police and security, but today they had police at the front gate and X-ray machines for bags like at an airport.  When I asked the police why, they said its because of the bank holiday weekend! A little honesty wouldn't go astray! Not sure if there was a problem on Rita coz I noticed it closed at about 5:30 and there were lots of police in the area but 13 was still going. By the way daboywunda, lol at the power rangers comment! Too many pink rangers though! Haha
 
daboywunda
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 255
Joined: March 2004
Location: Gloucester
Contact:

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:05 pm

There was also something going on in front of the towers at about 5 too... We were walking from SkyRide to Oblivion and had to walk through the sea of people that had congregated at the front.. Although, the police were all over them (not in an oppressive way) and kept it under control..

The scanners weren't there when we got in to the park at 9, but saw them on our way out. Were they searching every-one? It was like a day at Thorpe! :)

I can understand why they weren't honest about it.. Not needing to cause undue discrimination claims etc.
 
Coaster_Dude
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 171
Joined: September 2010
Location: Cheshire

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:12 pm

daboywunda wrote:
I can understand why they weren't honest about it.. Not needing to cause undue discrimination claims etc.


Yep, sounds fair enough to me. Saying that they've had trouble at this time of year in the past is reasonable enough without singling out a group of people.
 
matt1980uk
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 5
Joined: April 2012

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:23 pm

1st post!!!

Hi everyone, I've been going to AT for years and my wife used to operate the Enterprise in her youth but anyway...

Having moved near Derby recently from Brum I decided to sort out some annual passes having let our Drayton Manor passes lapse.

We'd initially signed up for the water park and then today made the mistake of going to get full Merlin Passes.

All I can say was it was a bit of bloody stress. It wasn't fun because literally it was kicking off everywhere.  I sent a complaint to AT customer service earlier but below are the highlights (lowlights). I'd also like to add that I know everyone deserves a nice day out and I'm not a fascist, racist or a zealot but there was a lot of trouble today and in every case it was a Traveller causing it.

I was initially surprised at the large police presence pulling into the car park and at being offered tickets by touts some 4 times from the car park to the main entrance. One guy within the monorail station was particularly aggressive despite me politely declining.

At this point I was then really surprised that all of my children’s bags and mine we required to go through airport style security. Again I didn’t mind but thought this seemed was excessive. After literally a minute or two I realised that we were in the midst of a large group of Travelers/Gypsie families.

Literally throughout our entire day, these groups of Traveler youths seemed to treat the rules of the park and other patrons with total disregard. On literally every ride we had gone on, Travelers pushed past us and queue jumped. On only one ride, 13, were the Alton Towers staff vigilant (and in sufficient numbers) and sent them back to the start of the queue. My youngest child is 4 and was told at one point to “**** stop staring”, he’s only 4.

This occurred as we exited HEX into a group of around 200 Travelers. There were people spitting, screaming obscenities, throwing rubbish. In all truth I’ve never been so happy to see a few policemen!

On boarding the cable cars, the group of Travelers in the car in front were kicking and forcing the door of the cable car to open. It got so serious that the ride attendants had to stop everything call an older male member of staff over, who then promptly ejected them from the ride. This was all accompanied with lots of swearing and threatening violent gestures, all witnessed by my children.

During the 4D cinema show, again groups of Traveller males, started shouting “Bollocks” and play fighting. At one point the older male attendant threatened to stop the show and kick them out if they didn’t stop but it was too late, they’d ruined the show for many of us. At the point we exited the show, I witnessed 5 people from this same large group pick up toys, gifts and teddy bears from the store and walk out with them.

Myself and another lady told the guy on the till about this, he explained they'd been totally overrun. I can’t help but question the logic of Alton Towers management to allow such large groups to enter the park. I’m now really regretting buying the Merlin Annual pass.

I have to ask why Alton Towers would not do more to prevent such chaos in the park. What about other people in the park and their own staff, I’d imagine they were feeling as stressed as me today.

On the way out of the park I spoke with 2 other families who’d had an equally bad day (Both saying they’d never go back) and they both also felt pretty aggrieved that given the police/private security firm presence, there was an obvious idea/plan of who and on what scale, people would be visiting the park and that there should have been prior communication on the website or wider pre-warning people of this.

Had I have known I would never have come. I’ve got 3 sons aged 4,5 and 12. I’m in no way a prude and like to think we’re unfazed by most things, but the atmosphere today was pretty horrible. It certainly wasn’t a fun family day out. I felt genuinely terrible for exposing the 2 younger ones to such scenes.
 
jayron7
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 13
Joined: May 2009
Location: Wild Asia

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:24 pm

It looked like they were only searching people with bags and younger people! One of the guys in my group had to put his bag through the scanner, and when he went through the metal detector he alarmed but they let him go, let's just say he is older than most haha! However the two younger people behind alarmed and had to empty all their pockets!

Also in the Rita que I had a couple of youths try the old " my friends are just up there, trick". I politely refused to allow them to pass, which resulted in cries of " the man won't let us through"! Other than that I had an excellent day. Multiple nemmy rides!!
 
User avatar
BigAl
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2265
Joined: June 2010
Location: South East Cheshire
Contact:

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:30 pm

jayron7 wrote:
When I asked the police why, they said its because of the bank holiday weekend! A little honesty wouldn't go astray!


Eh? They aren't exactly going to turn around in front of everyone and say "we're being strict because lots of gypsies/travelers are coming today and they are going to cause fuss", or something along those lines. That wouldn't have gone down very well at all, really. They dealt with things in a subtle way that didn't cause offense as it was used on everyone (even if it was intended for a different group of guests) as opposed to singling certain guests out.

I still feel that a year round dress code should be put in place as it is a family theme park and there are some guests that won't appreciate people walking around in certain... attire (if any at all :P )! This is also another way of dealing with any problems without discriminating against a certain group of people. If parks like Disney and Europa can have dress codes then there is absolutely no reason why Alton Towers can't either.

:)
 
User avatar
Scott
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 315
Joined: May 2009
Location: Crewe
Contact:

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:35 pm

Easter Sunday is never an enjoyable time to visit any theme park, especially Towers or Pleasure Beach.

I spoke to a friend earlier on who works at Towers and they were quite surprised at how difficult of a day it is to work on at Towers, I only ever had to put up with one Easter Sunday in my time at Towers and it was the least enjoyable of them all.

I am glad they increased security, the lack of security last October when Towers was full of travellers was a real concern.
Number ONE for Pleasure Beach Blackpool;
[url=http://www.pleasurebeachexperience.com\" onclick=\"window.open(this.href);return false;]http://www.pleasurebeachexperience.com[/url]
Image
 
Dormiens-Dave

Re: Travellers on park

Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:44 pm

unfortunately the traveller situation is a yearly issue but Towers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, can you imagine what the traveller community would do if they actively criticised their presence at the park.

Political Correctness prevents any real potential for Towers to deal with this issue and they where even spitted at LegoLand in vast numbers today.

I would simple spread the word to friends and family not to visit any themepark on Easter Sunday.
 
matt1980uk
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 5
Joined: April 2012

Re: Travellers on park

Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:04 am

I totally appreciate the PC dilemma it puts Merlin into.

Thing is I spent £450 or around that figure for the annual passes today and as a parent it was really really stressful. My kids are too young to really understand whats going on. Some other parents I spoke with were also really on edge.

I think some of the issues seem to be that you have almost a cultural clash, especially around things like queuing but some honesty would from be good from AT. I mean there was no alcohol on sale today (THANK GOD) and I was told it was because it was a special family fun-day....

Why not set aside some days as Traveler only days...surely that would get rid of the problem? Good PR for AT, good news for rest of the general public and Travellers get some exclusivity to do AT how they want?
 
User avatar
mrbrightside
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1100
Joined: July 2011
Location: Norwich

Re: Travellers on park

Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:08 am

But equally then can you imagine the backlash when people get told they cannot come because it is a "traveller day" - anyone can hire the park out, but they have to pay for that. If the traveller community did so, then they could feasibly do what they want!

I wouldn't feel unsure or let down about your Merlin Annual Passes though. This has clearly been an unfortunate day for you, but I can assure you that the park atmosphere so far this season has been nothing short of wonderful. It was a pleasure to visit Towers last week, and I am sure that will continue into the rest of the season. Try not to be put off :)
ImageImage
 
jayron7
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 13
Joined: May 2009
Location: Wild Asia

Re: Travellers on park

Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:10 am

BigAl wrote:
jayron7 wrote:
When I asked the police why, they said its because of the bank holiday weekend! A little honesty wouldn't go astray!


Eh? They aren't exactly going to turn around in front of everyone and say "we're being strict because lots of gypsies/travelers are coming today and they are going to cause fuss", or something along those lines. That wouldn't have gone down very well at all, really. They dealt with things in a subtle way that didn't cause offense as it was used on everyone (even if it was intended for a different group of guests) as opposed to singling certain guests out.

I still feel that a year round dress code should be put in place as it is a family theme park and there are some guests that won't appreciate people walking around in certain... attire (if any at all :P )! This is also another way of dealing with any problems without discriminating against a certain group of people. If parks like Disney and Europa can have dress codes then there is absolutely no reason why Alton Towers can't either.

:)


There's a difference between them saying "it's a bank holiday weekend and it might be busy", to "we're here because last year somebody got there head kicked in"! Obviously not those exact words! At least I could make a decision whether or not I still wanted to take my family in!

I agree with matt1980uk! It's not fair for people who pay a lot of money to get in for a nice day out with their family! I don't care about political correctness, I care about the safety of my family!
 
User avatar
Nightfall
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2730
Joined: September 2009
Location: Cambridge

Re: Travellers on park

Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:22 am

matt1980uk wrote:
I totally appreciate the PC dilemma it puts Merlin into.

Thing is I spent £450 or around that figure for the annual passes today and as a parent it was really really stressful. My kids are too young to really understand whats going on. Some other parents I spoke with were also really on edge.

I think some of the issues seem to be that you have almost a cultural clash, especially around things like queuing but some honesty would from be good from AT. I mean there was no alcohol on sale today (THANK GOD) and I was told it was because it was a special family fun-day....

Why not set aside some days as Traveler only days...surely that would get rid of the problem? Good PR for AT, good news for rest of the general public and Travellers get some exclusivity to do AT how they want?


Nice idea but I suspect that if you made the Travellers day an official thing they'd deliberative ignore it. Living outside of society's normal boundaries is the core aspect of their life that makes them travellers.

Thankfully though this is normally only a one off event so the £450 you spent on the annual passes should become worth it over your other visits. It’s just unfortunate this has spoilt this trip.


Overall it sounds like the park has actually been ok today compared to when this has happened in the past. But claiming the no alcohol rule was for a more family fun-day was definitely foolish. I’ve never been bothered by travellers on park before but If I’d been with children I know it would be a different story.
Last edited by Nightfall on Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
ImageImage
 
matt1980uk
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 5
Joined: April 2012

Re: Travellers on park

Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:33 am

I guess having my kids with me really does change your outlook on things. Normally I'd not even blink but things like extreme swearing when I have little ones who get worried when voices are raised and they see people acting violently.

Of all the things that annoyed me most was probably the 4D cinema, mainly because my youngest couldn't hear at points due to the shouting. And then I felt pretty cross at the blatant lawlessness of people literally stealing from the 4D shop as they left. Forcing the cable car doors open also seemed like a recipe for disaster, talk about idiotic.

Well I've sent a complaint in, if I get a free ice-cream out of Melrin it's a bonus really if not well my hope is that they take on board some of my points.  It's such a shame, my wife used to work on Enterprise many years ago and was totally shocked by some of the behaviour today. The worst she'd ever seen in two seasons was one drunken fight near the Black Hole- oh how times have changed.

For me, I can remember going around Doom and Sons and really love AT, and it's almost like watching people disrespect something you care about, especially with it being personal to so many of my own childhood and family memories.

The lack of alcohol though I do think was a saving grace. At one point near HEX I feared getting kettled as about 10 police officers responded to a build up of about 200 travellers. It was pretty hairy and booze would have made it 100x worse.

I think the main thing is now that I know about certain dates I'll simply avoid them moving forward.
 
daboywunda
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 255
Joined: March 2004
Location: Gloucester
Contact:

Re: Travellers on park

Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:44 am

Hiya Matt.. From one Newbie to another.. Hello!!

I'm completely shocked that we had totally different experiences today! We didn't have a single bit of trouble and at one point, some travellers from in front of us changed their mind about queueing for front row on Air and actively went to the back of our little queue, despite being invited by myself and my mate to return to where they were before they left.

I thought that the security presence was kept at a perfectly understated level - not "in your face we are watching you" but not so hidden that they can't be seen.. Was just enough to give the impression that they were willing to act at first sign of trouble - Which from what I witnessed was very much the case..

If you don't already know, Thorpe Park regularly execute stop & searches prior to entry on a daily basis due to the "London Urban Culture" - Which they argue makes the park a much safer place - A tactic adopted by the Towers today. Although certain preventative measures can be taken to limit their behaviour, it cannot be stopped.. Which makes me a little sad that your 4 year old had to be subjected to it.. A crowd of people to a youngster is intimidating enough, let alone ones that seem to have very little respect and common sense.

The Towers' hands are very much tied in how they can respond to this day - other than closing for the dya, I'm totally out of practical ideas to bring to the table - but I do also agree that the ban on alcohol today was a god-send!

I'm no Towers representative, nor am I staff - just a mere fellow pass holder and from one holder to another, I really hope that your experience today has not put you off or given the wrong impression of how the parks are run. I've been on so many occasions I've run out of hands, feet and hairs to count on and today was by far a one-off event (or once a year event as the case may be) - The obvious advice would be to not visit on an Easter Sunday again - I plan not to..
 
matt1980uk
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 5
Joined: April 2012

Re: Travellers on park

Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:50 am

Hi, thanks for your words.

I guess it's the luck of the draw really. I've been to many of Merlins owned parks, and have never really experienced anything like today before. I guess we were just unlucky, the positive thing really is that I don't think my kids were overly concerned and on arriving home devoured a few easter eggs before bed without any further mention.

I know there's good and bad in everyone from every walk of life, it just made for a stressful afternoon at times and took some of the magic off the day.
  • 1
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 142 guests