UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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Jack
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:47 am

I'm going to be totally honest, I'm worried about SW8. I'm worried about the speculated theme, I'm worried about the quality of the ride itself, I'm worried about reliability, throughput, popularity and much more. Because at the moment this ride is looking to be the most disappointing SW thus far. I want to be excited for it, I want to be looking at the plans, the speculated theme, etc, knowing that I'm looking at a ride that I will love as I did during the time we only knew the Smiler as SW7. But nothing is coming through it that really makes me feel as if it's going to hold a torch to even Thirteen and Rita.

I hate to be so negative about it, anybody who has spoken to me in depth about SW8 knows I've been pushing for it, I've been defending it. But really seriously looking at this I can't see how any of it will be successful for families, thrillseekers, and especially enthusiasts.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach are investing in what will be one of the UK's top roller coasters, and there are strong rumours from parks all over the UK that they could be getting a large investment for the same year, and if these turn out to be true I honestly I believe SW8 will do incredibly badly for an Alton Towers roller coaster with the significance of an SW.

Remember, I want this ride to be the amazing, if it proves me wrong I won't dwell on what I've said in this post, during construction and beyond. On opening day I will make sure I keep an open mind and don't judge everything until I have ridden it and seen it. But for the moment I will stick with what I have said in this post. :)
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Nickolai
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:58 am

I am looking forward to SW8, however, I am new to this game. Your opinion is respected and I see where you are coming from Jack.
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S.J_O'Grady
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:19 pm

Merlin have made a few bad decisions here and there, but I can only hope that they have the sense to realise that they are competing, and that it'll take more than a short, generic woodie for them to be even on par with other parks. They must know the need something bigger and better to pull in the crowds so at the moment I'm keeping fingers crossed that there's something special hidden that we just haven't seen yet somehow.
Life is a roller coaster. You can either scream every time you hit a bump or you can throw your hands up in the air and enjoy it.
 
xylyx
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:42 pm

That pic of the flume lying in ruins is disturbing, and being cast in the gloom of an autumn evening doesn't help either.

In regard to the plans the mock ups that some fantastically talented folks have done inspire confidence and I don't believe much has changed since they were done. They do have a lot to compete with in 2018 with BPB particularly but if aimed properly this could be a nice alternative to that level of imsanity.

Ultimately the whole thing has only just begun so judgement should be reserved. I remember only bafflement when I saw the plans for the smiler but this looks straightforward, unless the entire time in the tunnel is inverted :p , and fun. So I'm looking forward to following the construction closely :D
 
Sawboss
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:29 pm

I think everyone's just depressed from the cold weather and long nights.
 
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Jack
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:07 pm

I just want to address a couple more things before I stop complaining and just go back to speculation; I personally cannot understand what this ride has to offer to enthusiasts, families or general thrillseekers. I understand there is hype about a wooden coaster, I bought into all of this to begin with, but after putting the layout under scrutiny, it just feels disappointing, as if quite a lot is missing and that something much greater could have happened in its place. In my totally honest opinion I have to say that even if you plan on judging it only by your actual experiences of the ride (as I plan on doing once it is open), I can't see how the ride is defensible as it currently stands on paper. There is an almost total lack of airtime judging by the multiple NoLimits recreations the were created using the plans, along with seemingly slow pacing as well as no real intensity.

I understand fully that this is a family roller coaster, but in response I would have to say that so is Megafobia, the only wooden coaster I have experienced, and it is very intense, has a bucket load of airtime and packs a reasonable amount of force. And so in contrast SW8 feels as if it is watered down and far from what it could have been and no matter if there is a "secret element" or not, the ride can't be saved by that, unless the coaster proves me wrong by being exactly what a good family coaster should be (in which I hope it is), however I doubt it will stand up to the Dark Forest coasters or even Spinball Whizzer.

As for theming we have seen nothing to suggest it will be extensive, I hope it will be but I can't really say much about my opinions on it until I really have seen that. However, the speculated subject of the theming leaves me with little hope as I expressed in my first post on the matter due to the dark nature and family base of SW8 as a coaster which makes me worry about the marketability and success among the target audience as the last thing Alton Towers needs is to get peoples image of the ride to be something it isn't especially with how they handled Thirteens marketing.

TL;DR: SW8 doesn't look good on paper no matter how you put it and the theme could be bad, however I could be totally wrong about it once it has opened. :)
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S.J_O'Grady
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:20 pm

I'd agree with all that, but as I've said, you would hope and assume that whoever's in charge of coming up with new ideas would have more capability and understanding in the market than enthusiasts on a forum - we'll just have to wait and see!
Life is a roller coaster. You can either scream every time you hit a bump or you can throw your hands up in the air and enjoy it.
 
Owen
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:14 pm

I have been looking at SW8 a fair bit recently and so I think I may as well post my thoughts and opinions on the development.

To me, Secret Weapon 8 isn't just a roller coaster for Alton Towers, it's a way for them to prove me wrong of what I personally have seen as lack lustre planning and business decisions over the last few years, and for this reason is in my eyes one of the most important Secret Weapons to date. This (at least to me) means that the design needs to be inpactful and hyped from the moment the plans are released, much like what happened with Secret Weapon 7, The Smiler. Now lets look at SW8. So far we know very little, but what we do know is that it will be one of GCI's smallest installations and that it has a fairly turn-filled layout. In terms of theming, around the ride we know of one standing theming element and a tunnel, however we don't know what may be inside the station building. Most importantly we know the reaction to the development was almost non-existent originally, and now many have turned their noses up at it. I think it's important to highlight this fact before even getting into my opinion on the development as it's very concerning to me to think that the development is even being regarded as disappointing by enthusiasts and fans of Alton Towers. Now lets look at what it's replacing - one of the most iconic rides, not only at Alton Towers but arguably in the UK. I guarantee there are even members on this forum who still have glimmers of the first time they rode The Flume, not to mention the public reaction to its removal (it hasn't been good!).

All of this aside, I must admit the only aspect of this that excites me is the fact that I'll be able to experience a GCI coaster - however even this becomes irrelevant in my case as I would have ridden White Lightning not 6 months earlier, and some would argue this looks a better coaster. I am intrigued by the alleged theme, although if we are to believe the theme around a Wicker Man/cult how on earth can this be used in what seems to be a family orientated coaster. It's even more concerning in this case as it is based off of real world 'magic' and so this automatically makes the idea of having a family attraction based around something quite dark much more disturbing than TH13TEEN for example. Then we move onto theming, which (I believe) previously had 3 theming elements during the attractions course as well as a tunnel. My personal most anticipated element was the incorporation of The Flume's station as it would be a wonderful burst of nostalgia and we have seen how well this can work with Heide Park's "Flug Der Dämonen". However now, before construction had even stated, two of these what were major theming elements have been cut. You can say what you like about The Smiler, however The Marmaliser is so prominent in its layout I personally think that by cutting theming they made the attraction look far less cluttered. The mystery theming element on this on the other hand looks fairly small and not very impacting in its placement. I can't say much about the layout as I can't predict how the attraction will ride, but I personally think White Lightning at Fun Spot Orlando look far superior whilst being a smaller attraction. The queue may be void of cattle pens, however it still lacks any notable theming as far as I can tell and we have already seen there have been slightly disappointing alterations the queue line. On top of that, after seeing what Galactica's "pre-show" was I have my doubts about this attractions pre-show as well. Due to all of this I have to admit this is not a worthy successor of either The Smiler or TH13TEEN at this stage, and it does worry me when it has not only got Blackpool's MMXVIII down the road to compete with, but also coasters such as Liseberg's Valkyria and EnergyLandia's unnamed hyper coaster to compete with (all three I would take over SW8 at this stage).

Now, the various negatives aside I do have to emphasise there is still room for surprise. Personally, I was one of the few who was quite let down by The Smiler's plans (mainly because of Gerstlauer) however as construction went on I warmed to the ride and it has now grown to one of my favourite attractions ever. The layout may also entertain some interesting forces and some sort of theatrical element that will improve the experience. For this reason I am going to try to keep an open mind and I believe so should everyone else - but keep an open mind to both sides of the argument, to be disappointing or impressed. Find a happy medium and I am sure when it comes to it, you'll at least appreciate the attraction. In my opinion, there's no point being overly positive as the attraction is far from perfect, however on the flip side there's no point being completely negative as there must be at least a single aspect of the development you enjoy.

I apologise for the essay, but I do think a fair few points within this post are extremely relevant and should be taken into account by both sides of the debate. :)
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:36 pm

I feel like I haven't thrown my 2 pence in to the SW8 discussion for a while. So here's my thought on the latest developments.

Like Jack, I'm quite genuinely worried about SW8. This is coming from someone who generally has a fair amount of faith in Merlin and their attractions - SW8 seems like it may be having a bit of an identity crisis from what I'm seeing. The speculated Wicker Man/Pagan Festival (maybe VooDoo-esque theme?) theme is an odd choice, it seems too adult for families and possibly too family based for adults. If this coaster doesn't know what it wants to be (so to speak) I could see it being dominated by MMXVIII in terms of visitor numbers.

As for the layout, I honestly don't dislike it that much. I feel like we could have got much better, but GCI's from what I've seen (and experienced) don't need that much momentum to be thrilling. From the speculated layouts, I've seen there's no way at all they're hiding an inversion in there. It just won't have the kinetic energy for that to not be uncomfortable in my opinion. In essence, it's an OK layout, definitely nowhere near as good as coasters such as Wodan or Troy, but with strong theming the total coaster could be brought up to a high standard.

That segues nicely onto my next point. I'm sorry to say this but, the theming on this doesn't seem that great. It just feels like it's missing a centrepiece, a Marmalizer or a Galactica portal type thing. However, theming is one element I feel will advance on the final build - we have to consider Galactica's signature portal was intended for the lift hill but moved to the first drop without any planning permission (and I think we all agree it looks better on the drop than the lift!).

I'm unsure whether this has been mentioned, but I am a fraction concerned about maintenance on SW8. Merlin really only operates one other major woodie - Colossos at Heide Park - and, whilst this is a completely different ride to SW8, I've heard that successive managements haven't quite given the coaster the care it deserves. This has culminated in extensive downtime and, from July, an extended closure (which isn't great assuming it's only 15!). That said, I doubt SW8 will have maintenance issues, however it's a point worth mentioning.

In conclusion: I want SW8 to be amazing, very much. But I'm just not convinced by what we're seeing right now. For once, I want Merlin to prove me totally wrong and pull off something that works and pulls in the guests, otherwise I fear we'll see successive mediocre investments that will be shunned by the enthusiast community, and maybe even the GP.
 
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:50 pm

Can I just say I don't miss the flume. It didn't fit in and was my worse flume ride in the UK I have done at merlin parks. Only saving grace was the ducks
 
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:52 pm

ThemeParkCrafter wrote:
Can I just say I don't miss the flume. It didn't fit in and was my worse flume ride in the UK I have done at merlin parks. Only saving grace was the ducks


Indeed some didn't like The Flume, but many members on here loved the ride and it's terrifying duck when they were younger (including myself) so that's why I made that part of my original post :)
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S.J_O'Grady
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Re: SW8

Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:54 pm

One thing I'd like to add to the discussion is that the only thing the general public know about SW8 is that it is "ground-breaking". I too am worried about what this ride could have to offer but the way I look at it, they surely wouldn't get away with calling it ground-breaking if it's genuinely as generic as the plans suggest. There just has to be more to it for them to even be able to promise that.
Life is a roller coaster. You can either scream every time you hit a bump or you can throw your hands up in the air and enjoy it.
 
ASturge21
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Re: SW8

Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:37 am

Merlin are a company driven by a USP for major investments and based on the not very spectacular plans this will no doubt have something. The days of SWs like Nemesis and Oblivion are gone even the Smiler wasn't that groundbreaking but if it's a hit with the public then Merlin and their shareholders are happy.

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xylyx
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Re: SW8

Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:53 am

Ground breaking could mean it's based around a mining theme :P
 
Nickolai
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Re: SW8

Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:17 am

I'm surprised no one has mentioned that yet! That could be a really simple clue, like the underground symbol from DBGT the island is changing
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S.J_O'Grady
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Re: SW8

Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:49 am

I hadn't thought of it that way actually! Ground breaking might mean that as well, but I'd have thought it would have to be the actual meaning of the word too or else it's a bit misleading for the general public. :D
Life is a roller coaster. You can either scream every time you hit a bump or you can throw your hands up in the air and enjoy it.
 
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tcw1993
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Re: SW8

Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:17 am

Jack wrote:
I'm going to be totally honest, I'm worried about SW8. I'm worried about the speculated theme, I'm worried about the quality of the ride itself, I'm worried about reliability, throughput, popularity and much more. Because at the moment this ride is looking to be the most disappointing SW thus far. I want to be excited for it, I want to be looking at the plans, the speculated theme, etc, knowing that I'm looking at a ride that I will love as I did during the time we only knew the Smiler as SW7. But nothing is coming through it that really makes me feel as if it's going to hold a torch to even Thirteen and Rita.

I hate to be so negative about it, anybody who has spoken to me in depth about SW8 knows I've been pushing for it, I've been defending it. But really seriously looking at this I can't see how any of it will be successful for families, thrillseekers, and especially enthusiasts.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach are investing in what will be one of the UK's top roller coasters, and there are strong rumours from parks all over the UK that they could be getting a large investment for the same year, and if these turn out to be true I honestly I believe SW8 will do incredibly badly for an Alton Towers roller coaster with the significance of an SW.

Remember, I want this ride to be the amazing, if it proves me wrong I won't dwell on what I've said in this post, during construction and beyond. On opening day I will make sure I keep an open mind and don't judge everything until I have ridden it and seen it. But for the moment I will stick with what I have said in this post. :)



No disrespect but I think the last group of the target audience is enthusiasts. You're wanting the "perfect ride" NO ride is ever marketed for everyone really. There will be a group of people that won't be happy, no matter what!


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Sawboss
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Re: SW8

Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:42 am

A mining theme would be a bit redundant right next to the RMT, wouldn't it? Maybe SW8 will be called the Especially Runaway Mine Train, Or Runaway Mine Train 2: Electric Boogaloo. An electric boogaloo being the technical name for a magnetic lift hill, don't you know.
 
Nickolai
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Re: SW8

Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:53 am

If it is going in Katanga Canyon, then they are going to have to make it fit in somehow. But, I am sure they will do something to make it different to Runaway Mine Train if it does end up being mine themed.
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Owen
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Re: SW8

Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:00 pm

Personally I think a mining theme is too safe for Merlin. One thing I adore about Merlin is their way of being brave and unique with their themes. If we look at previous themes a mining theme just seems a bit bland.

TH13TEEN - A family coaster with the theme of a forest taking over a pre-historic town
The Swarm - Machincal flying aliens plucking people from the ground and taking them around a destroyed landscape
The Smiler - A happiness machine devoloped after various forms of brutal human testing occurred
Ghost Train - A tube train which is attacked by monsters due to a hideous gas that is changing people

To me a mining theme seems a bit generic. Of course they could always put a spin on it and make it something different, but I personally think something more magical is needed in order to bring back the Alton Towers magic that's sorely lacking at the moment :)
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